Touring Bikes With Low Maintenance Costs

Discussion in 'Road Warriors' started by MHaz01, Mar 15, 2013.

  1. StriderJim

    StriderJim Adventurer

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    Kawasaki makes a very fine touring bike called a Voyager. I have a friend who has one with 150,000 miles on it, and still running strong. It has a frame-mounted fairing, and lots of farkles, to compare with the 'Wing.

    I ride a Harley Road Glide Ultra, which is the same bike as the ElectraGlide except that it (also) has a frame mounted fairing. Very comfortable and very good handling motorcycle. I've put 25,000 trouble-free miles on it in 18 months, and expect it to go for a very long time. Can be had for a little less than a new 'Wing.

    Of all these bikes, the Harley is probably the easiest to service, though a 103 c.i. air-cooled engine requires a bit of commitment. It's not for everyone.
    #81
  2. JerryH

    JerryH Long timer

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    The Voyager XII was an excellent bike, but no longer available new. Most of them have high mileage on them now.

    For a passenger, there is no better bike on the planet than a Goldwing. It is also smooth and quiet, which should suit someone coming from a BMW. Yes, it is a bit like a 2 wheeled car (though not an Accord, or Camry, the most boring cars in the world) but that is what it takes for long trips with a lot of luggage and a passenger. The 1800s handle very well. Only things I don't like about them are the chain cam drive (used to be belts) and the valves that have to be adjusted (the 1200 and 1500 has hydraulic valves). The ride is as close to an early '70s Cadillac as you are going to get.
    #82
  3. StriderJim

    StriderJim Adventurer

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    Hi Jerry,
    If you're responding to my post about Kaw Voyagers, you're not up on current models. In 2009, Kawasaki introduced a new touring bike which whey call "Voyager", though it's very different from the old Voyager series.

    http://www.kawasaki.com/Products/Product-Specifications.aspx?scid=28&id=723
    #83
  4. boatpuller

    boatpuller Long timer

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    EXCELLENT question.
    #84
  5. boatpuller

    boatpuller Long timer

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    I too have gotten that kind of mileage on a rear tire on my 09 Road King, without trying.

    Got over 13,000 miles on the OEM Dunlap tire. Still had lots of tread, but was prepping the bike for a 12,000 mile 4 Corners Tour ride (all 4 corners of the contential U.S. in under 21 days), and there was not enough tread left for that upcoming ride. Did not want to change tire on the road during a timed trip.

    Replaced it with the Dunlap American Elite rear tire sold by a non-HD dealership. Rode it 18,000 miles, mostly highways, solo, but heavily loaded with enough gear for three cold weeks on the road, and basic camping equipment. There wasn't room for a passenger with all the gear. Lots of 80 to 90 mph miles, as this country has a lot of vast empty areas. There was still good tread on it, but there was another upcoming big trip....

    Replaced that rear tire with another of the same, Dunlap American Elite. The OEM tire was now available at non-HD stores, but I had good luck with the prior that I kept with it. So far, only have 5,000 on it, but those were very heavily loaded, two up, pulling a one-wheel trailer with too much tongue weight. If that rear tire wanted to up and die, it would deserve to. But, no, it looks great, and I've got another 10,000 miles of trips planned this summer and have no intentions of changing the rear tire for them.

    Most riding is highway, around town, and gentle back roads. The motorcycle is 800 pounds, plus my 190 plus all the crap I always have in the saddle bags, plus luggage. Don't race the bike, but don't baby it either. No burn outs, but do sometimes hit the rev limiter on hard acceleration. Have participated in Motor Officer class, so do know the bike's abilities and am not afraid to lean it. My chicken strips are quite respectable for a touring bike. Do drag the rear brake for slow speed stability, and aid the front brake in normal braking, aiming for 70/30 ratio.

    Agree, that with these tires, I don't see the need for the dark side.
    Note: The OEM Dunlaps felt a little more sure footed than the A.E. Dunlaps, but at a higher price. Both stick just fine and I'm happier with these than the Metzler's and the Avon's I used to run. Michelin now makes one for HD, and i might try it next time just to see how it works; like their car and truck tires.

    Oh, tire PSI is around 42 all the time.
    #85
  6. boatpuller

    boatpuller Long timer

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    Can't speak for your 20 year old EGS, as it had different engine, transmission, frame, etc. than either of my late model Road Kings. But, none of your concerns happened in either my 07 or 09 Road Kings, and they are mostly stock. With cruise control on, I often ride only using one hand, or sometimes no hand if I have to adjust a glove. The rubber mounts do a wonderful job of keeping the engine's vibrations away from the motorcycle frame and the rider, so I have never felt my feet "vibrating off the boards."

    You might want to find a renting dealer and try a new one for a day. I suspect that everything you liked about your old one will still be there, and most you didn't like will be gone. Even Harley haters are slowly admitting that today's Harley's are pretty nice.
    #86
  7. boatpuller

    boatpuller Long timer

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    Thank you for your fair, objective look at Harley. The 2010 you rode was the first year with a catalytic converter in the exhaust pipes, and most report they do get hot. Keep in mind the factory sends them out lean, which equals heat, to pass emissions requirements. You can thank the EPA for that. It is fairly easy and a few hundred dollars to correct that with the aftermarket. Runs cooler, removes pinging, and gives the engine more power.
    #87
  8. boatpuller

    boatpuller Long timer

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    There is something liberating about having an item no one wants to steal.

    A lot of HD riders over stress the "theft" thing. Maybe it is part of the image they want to foster, that "What I've got and spent too much for is so nice that everyone wants to steal it." Or, some HD owners have too much of their identity wrapped up in their motorcycle, poor souls, and the thought of having anyone mess with it shakes them on an emotional level.

    Now that I'm typing this it will probably happen, but at all the hotels I've parked at, most without a cover, nothing has ever happened to my Harley's. I do lock the bags and ignition overnight, and the fork occasionally, and remove the overpriced GPS every time. But chain it up? No. And I've ridden in 46 states, tens of thousands of miles, and no idea how many hotels, all with no problems. (I use normal judgment about the hotel and surrounding neighborhood, avoiding areas that look suspicious, but frequently use inexpensive hotels. Try to park in well lit spots, and like to see the motorcycle from the rooms' window, but do the same when traveling in a truck or car.)

    In fact, the only motorcycles I can recall seeing chained up were two sport touring bikes at a sleepily little hotel in rural VT. So, maybe we choose different kinds of hotels, or maybe I need to spend more time in the South.
    #88
  9. NonDairyCreamer

    NonDairyCreamer incomprehensible

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    Grelcar and Boatpuller, thanks for your comments. I'll be renting a couple of FL models in the coming weeks.
    #89
  10. Blakebird

    Blakebird r-u-n-n-o-f-t

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    Valve adjustment intervals on the flat six are 32,000 miles, so it's about as close to a maintenance free system you'll find shy of hydraulic. They're quite easy to get to when the time comes too.

    I owned a GL1800 and it was a terrific touring bike - almost cheating to do a Saddlesore 1000 on it compared to doing one on a Blackbird or an R1100S.

    But, comfort is a subjective thing. My wife liked riding pillion on the Wing, but says the Guzzi Stelvio was much more comfortable for her 5', 115lb frame. Shape of the seat, seat-peg relationship, etc. She preferred the Stelvio to the Wing, ST1300, and FJR1300.

    Of all the big touring rigs though, I will say that the big Wing is the sportiest one I've ridden, and can keep a sportbike guy entertained.
    #90
  11. boatpuller

    boatpuller Long timer

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    Wonderful, and you are welcome. Please report back after the rentals.
    #91
  12. jprism

    jprism Got Miles & Smiles

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    Had a 2005 with 125,000 and now a 2010 with 37,000. Oil, filter, tires and never one visit to the Honda dealer. Yes you are supposed to have the valves checked and all that other crap but guess what if you don't it does not void the factory warranty 3 years unlimited miles. p.s. You can remove the rear and front tires on the center stand, buy new tires from Jake Wilson cheap and have them mounted and balanced for $25.00 each. A oil change 10w40, 4 quarts and Fram filter $25.00 takes all of 15 minutes to change again on center stand. Regular gas at 3.49 times 36mpg.

    Ride and enjoy...if you ride 2 up with a spouse you will be her King as the back seat is the best around.

    Good Luck and Happy Trails
    #92
  13. LoneTraveler

    LoneTraveler Captain Zoomtastic

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    I bought a used 2000 Concours in 2009 with 24k on the clock. It just turned 78k about 2 months ago (I've since bought a Concours 14, so riding that mostly), and in that time, I believe I've spent a grand total of $1200 on maintenance and repairs (not including tyres, which I change probably too often.)

    It's one of the simplest bikes to maintain that I can think of, overall. The new C14 is quite a bit more involved, but it's also new, and hasn't had 2 shitheaded previous owners to screw it up...
    #93
  14. jon_l

    jon_l Long timer

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    #94
  15. Bug Dr.

    Bug Dr. Extroverted Loner

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    JerryH, I might be the only redneck you meet that wears a Roadcrafter and rides a BMW....but thanks for the stereotype.

    I owned a ST for three years and put 50K miles on it before I sold it and bought a RT. The ST is one of the most reliable, fun, capable bikes on the planet. It is also quite comfortable IF you take the time and spend the bucks to make it fit you. Very low cost to maintain to boot.

    The RT fits me very well and the only thing I've added to it was my Zumo 550 that I already owned and a set of Illium Works highway pegs for my knees. That's it! My dealership consists of good guys/gals and don't spend any of your money that isn't needed. They even let me hang out in the service bay while my bike is being serviced so I can learn.

    Does the RT cost more to maintain than the ST? Yes, but not as much as a difference as I thought it would.

    To the OP, I think a Wing you fit your needs if you ride two-up. Connie, FJR or ST if solo. I know, it has been said many times on this thread already.

    I just thought it was cute that I was basically being called a yuppie and had to respond.
    Mike
    #95
  16. Bueller

    Bueller Cashin?

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    Jerry usually offends both of the people on the internet who actually pay attention to him. Apparently you are one of them. His posts are rife with stereotype and misinformation he attempts to represent as fact. You're best off to just move along to the next post.
    #96