Touring the EU Small cc style

Discussion in 'Road Warriors' started by Jimmy the Heater, Mar 31, 2012.

  1. Jimmy the Heater

    Jimmy the Heater Tilting the Horizon

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    So if things go according to plan I will be following Wheatwhackers advice and in spring of 2013 purchasing a bike in Ireland to do a couple of tours of the EU over the next couple of years.

    What I'm looking for is something in the 250-650cc range, multi cylinder, and something not available in the USA just because I can. Not looking at low cc bikes because I lack experience, I simply enjoy them more. Loved touring on my Ninja 250 and 500 more than my K1200LT.

    Also not really looking for a big trailie as these tours will be all pavement.

    The ones that have caught my eye so far.

    Honda Hornet 250-A 250 inline 4 has GOT to be fun.

    Suzuki Bandit 400-I know we got these in the US but they are so rare that they don't count really

    Kawasaki ZZR 400-Is this just a sleeved down 600 and therefore not any lighter?

    Yamaha FZX 250-Don't know much about them other than I saw a few on Done Deal

    Any other cool small bikes that I'm missing? (I'm sure there are a bunch) Or any riding impressions on the ones I've listed would be appriciated.

    Oh yes, no scooters, I like to shift my own gears :D
    #1
  2. bk brkr baker

    bk brkr baker Long timer

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    Cagiva Raptor, available in 650 and 1000cc sizes. Also X-Raptor 1000 with more trickery stuff.
    They're sort of a SV powered Monster, made by Cagiva. The 650's are more plentiful and seem a good bargin. At least what i've seen checking e-bay GB.
    The M-3 Yamaha with the 660 single is a cool bike too.
    #2
  3. kfalls_rider

    kfalls_rider Been here awhile

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    Honda Varadero 250
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  4. Jimmy the Heater

    Jimmy the Heater Tilting the Horizon

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    That Cagiva looks nice! Gets good reviews as well. Yup will add that one to the list.

    Varadero 250? The only references I could find were for a 125....and not really interested in the 1000.

    Oh and I should mention that I'm looking somewhere around € 2500. Less is better therefore more gas! Or should I start saying petrol?
    #4
  5. RaY YreKa

    RaY YreKa Palanquins RTW

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    If you liked your smaller kawasaki's, how about the ER6n; not available in the USA and within budget for an '06 or '07. You could probably sell and not lose much once the tour is over.
    #5
  6. Cos

    Cos Re-Greekified

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    Or a newer Hornet.
    #6
  7. bluesman

    bluesman Long timer

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    Hornet 250 is brilliant fun for sure. And very well made too. Better quality than EU assembled Hornet 600.
    VTR250 - hell of fun bike. Looks like very small Ducati Monster, but it's a Honda.

    If you into really racy bikes - VFR400, the holy grail of people, who love sharp handling, great motor and looks just like smaller RC30. Not most comfortable, but not too bad.

    And of course CB400SF or/and CB-1
    #7
  8. Meter Man

    Meter Man Living on a prayer

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    Varadero 125 would be my choice, although I've never ridden one, it is a larger bike size wise than most 125s
    #8
  9. LasseNC

    LasseNC XSessive!

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    Mz etz250
    mz ts250
    mz es250/2
    #9
  10. Jimmy the Heater

    Jimmy the Heater Tilting the Horizon

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    ER6-Yup, Would never shy away from the naked version of the well loved Ninja 650 + fuel injection is nice :D

    Hadn't seen the VTR before....very nice!
    And the VFR-Drool! Lil more supersport than what I was looking for but I wouldn't say no if I found one at the right price and time.

    EU got the CB-1? Yup, add that to the list as well.

    Varadero 125....Gah, nice for what it is but that is just a lil too small on the engine size. Gotta be at least a multi cyl 250.

    The MZ's are cool bikes but that is a bit too old for me to want to trust without my home tool chest. Looking for late 90's into 2000's Disc Brakes are a MUST!

    Looks like the ZZR 400 is just a sleeved down 600 so no weight savings. Might as well get the 600 at that point. :(

    Loving looking at the European machinery with the intent to buy instead of thinking Damn, we can't get that here either.
    #10
  11. perterra

    perterra -. --- .--. .

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    Beats the shit out of me, but it sounds like fun regardless.

    I couldnt do it on a modern bike, I'd have to spring for a classic of some variety depending on where I was going. The autobahn wouldnt be much fun on an enfield single but it might be doable on an older Benelli tornado, Ducati, Triumph or Norton.
    #11
  12. bluesman

    bluesman Long timer

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    Sorry - should have replied with details earlier.

    CB-1 officially not imported, but there are quite a few of them as grey import in UK and I also saw in Netherlands some of those.
    I am not sure, but I THINK that all VFR400 I seen here also were originally grey import, but I saw quite a few even here in Belgium.
    VTR250 officially available at least in Switzerland, from Honda. One of guys I know just bought it last year, new.

    Dare I mention crazy device called CBR250RR, totally and utterly grey import minirocket with incredibly trick high-revving motor with gear-driven cams? :) I seen shedload of them in UK in the past, all grey import.
    #12
  13. ZZ-R Rider

    ZZ-R Rider Captain Fantastic

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    Of course I have to reccommend the Kawasaki ZZ-R250 (EX250-H) ... cheap to buy and run, dead reliable and is in reality an up-scale version of the pre-2008 Ninja 250's that were offered in the U.S. The ZZ-R250, available in Canada and overseas, was marketed as a small Sport Touring bike in some of Kawi's Canadian literature and has an aluminium perimeter-type frame, different body work than the U.S. spec EX250, 17 wheels/tires front and rear (U.S. spec = 16" hoops), dual trip meters, Ninja 500 front-end, adjustable rear suspension, left-side fairing storgae pocket and different tuning than the standard pre-'08 Ninja 250 which gives it a 13,000 RPM red line.

    [​IMG]
    #13
  14. Jimmy the Heater

    Jimmy the Heater Tilting the Horizon

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    Ohhh grey market goodness! Doing research on all those :) The CBR250rr is a lil bit too much of a supersport for me to tour on but god I would dearly love to ride on one all the same.

    Oh yes the ZZR 250. I know I would love that bike as I love my US spec 04 Ninja 250. Would never discount one of these either.

    I'm beginning to think that it's gonna be pretty easy to find a bike over there that I'm going to get along with. There are a great number of wonderful small to mid cc bikes to choose from and they seem to be going for reasonable prices. The first week (hopefully less) of days of my trip will be taken up by finding a bike and getting it sorted. And the remaining time I can get away for the tour.
    #14
  15. Jimmy the Heater

    Jimmy the Heater Tilting the Horizon

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  16. johns

    johns Been here awhile

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    I second the CB-1. Great bikes. They're a bit small for me, but even so, I wouldn't mind using it for touring around Europe on my own.
    #16
  17. PorLaTierra

    PorLaTierra Por La Tierra

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    finally some realistic discussion of good small bikes. There is another thread where a guy asks about small bikes and everyone suggests 650, 800, even an 1100, clearly missing the point.

    I live in the South of Spain and I have been drooling over the VTR250s because they are very fun, very fast for a 250 and get incredible mileage. I would love to see one with some touring gear.

    What did you end up getting? When do you start your Euro trip? If you loop through Spain dont skip the South, PM me if you need a place to stay.
    #17
  18. MODNROD

    MODNROD Decisions, decisions

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    If you like little bikes, and you like multi's as well, then there are a range of 4cyl whizz-bangs that will do the job. UK has a lot of grey imports, same as Oz, but realisticallt parts support is OK, nowhere near as bad as what some people reckon (Some people sook if they have to travel more than 10 miles to a dealer and wait more than a few hours for parts).
    Most of these bikes (and the 400's are just a bit bigger with a bit more torque, but slightly fewer revs) weigh in at 350-400lbs, average around 16-18km/L, and rev to over 15K screaming like a banshee!
    Good fun. :D
    #18
  19. SnappNBrrap

    SnappNBrrap Been here awhile

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    The bandit 400 is a fantastic bike. the 400cc screamer (4cyl) makes the bike quit quick for what it is and they look really cool. If you are set on a bike this size, this would get my vote every time.

    kawi is good at amking overweight destroked versions of their bigger bikes that aren't worth a S##T.

    Yamaha and Honda make a few cool bikes that everyone wants here in the US but wont get to see.
    #19
  20. Vertical C

    Vertical C Long timer

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    The zzr250 was imported here officially, i had one when i was learning as we were restricted to 250s for the first year, i did several 600km days on it and felt fine with luggage strapped on the back and i am 6'2" (but I was 18 at the time). It was well fast enough on the freeways here at 110kmh. That was the bike that first gave me my taste of motorcycling and i loved it.

    I sold mine at 70000kms with only wear items done. Very reliable, up to 400km on a tank and 4l/100km. I did sell it for a bmw r80 because i was doing so much distance and i was wearing it out but i think you wont do the kms like in australia in europe.

    My brother had the cbr250 it wasnt as comfortable, i have ridden the vtr and it is good but no fairings.
    #20