Urban riding - for road warrior types

Discussion in 'Road Warriors' started by jposttx, Jul 5, 2012.

  1. vicmitch

    vicmitch Been here awhile

    Apr 4, 2007
    Brooklyn, NY
    V-Strom works for me, but my Victory Sport Cruiser gets me through as well
  2. flkovacs

    flkovacs Been here awhile

    Feb 16, 2009
    sf east bay
    looks like you got some great advice, but it really depends what stirs your soul. if that is not an issue, there are some nice scooters out there, with storage built in that i'd recommend (bmw has one). you could also consider going electric for around town - short jaunts - may even land you free parking and charging spots (or is that only in california?).

    the wee is a a wee bit too wide for tight spaces i'd anticipate in the city.
    low end torque, tall seating, narrow (is lane sharing allowed there?), perhaps even loud, good suspension, lights.

    my f800r is a nice city bike, but let us know what you come up with,
  3. sixspeed

    sixspeed Tired of whining yet?

    Feb 27, 2011
    Exiled from the land of gum bands & bottle of pop
    Rules violation! Fouling the gauge. :D
  4. jposttx

    jposttx Been here awhile

    Jul 31, 2006
    Gulf Coast of Texas
    So what is today's nighthawk s?
    Seems like the "standard" 600s like te sv or wee strom are just right
  5. Ron Bullard

    Ron Bullard Been here awhile

    Apr 9, 2008
    Los Angeles, CA
    Not exactly an apples to apples comparo, but my SV has been great in and around LA.

    "Naked" model, so fairly upright and easy to maneuver, pretty lightweight, L-twin (or however you call the design) keeps the bike narrow. Stone reliable, good brakes, and plenty of power for 90mph freeway blasts when it's necessary. Do the simple basic maintenance they require and pile the miles on without worry. Mines 11 years old, so it's not exactly on the top of any thief's list.

    I've blasted my little XT350 dualsport around LA, and it's nice too - lightweight, with surprising power (for what it is), but the brakes and suspension are lacking. I imagine that a DRZSM or something close would be super maneuverable and also an excellent choice.

  6. Kai Ju

    Kai Ju Long timer

    Jul 29, 2009
    Long Beach, California
    Honda 919, owned one for 22,000 miles and used it to commute in LA, splitting lanes etc. Not popular = less likely to be stolen.
  7. vicmitch

    vicmitch Been here awhile

    Apr 4, 2007
    Brooklyn, NY
    the wee is a a wee bit too wide for tight spaces i'd anticipate in the city.
    low end torque, tall seating, narrow (is lane sharing allowed there?), perhaps even loud, good suspension, lights.

    lane splitting is illegal but it is the norm. in NYC. Bikes are usually going at twice the speed of the cages. The wee is quite slim and gets the job done.
  8. southwade

    southwade ΜΟΛΩΝ ΛΑΒΕ

    Oct 6, 2011
    Inside the Beltway
    Honda nc700x
    kawasaki er-6n
    suzuki 650 v-strom
    ducati hypermotard 796
    yamaha fz8
    ktm duke
    triumph bonneville
    kawasaki versys
    husqvarna nuda
    triumph speed triple
    triumph street triple
    kawasaki z1000
    ducati monster
    aprilia dorsoduro
    ducati streetfighter
  9. MookieBlaylock

    MookieBlaylock Long timer

    Feb 29, 2004
    nyc is kind of scary on the bike as cities go. Theft not so bad in the bay area so i like the ktms, fast thin and very good compliant suspension
  10. jon_l

    jon_l Long timer

    Feb 8, 2008
    Collingwood, Ontario
    Most dual-sport type bikes are underpowered in the braking dept, which is a more significant defect for crazed-urban-assault riding than being underpowered in the engine dept. I ride into Toronto, and the traffic is awful while the quality of driving seems abysmal. I like the linked ABS on my CBF1000 for these conditions a lot.

    My 1st choice would be bikes like these:
    Street Triple
    Monster 796

    If dual-sport / supermoto type, which seem otherwise ideal, it would have to have high-quality brakes (not like stock Japanese brand bikes like the KLR, DR650SE, WR250R/X, KLX250S/SF, DR-Z400S/SM, etc.)

    I might also look at Bonneville SE, Scrambler, or Guzzi V7 because their size is right, they look cool to me but not so much to punks, and the Guzzi is also pretty light.
  11. daveinva

    daveinva Been here awhile

    Oct 6, 2011
    Washington, D.C.
    Okay, this is going to strike pretty much everyone as thread-shitting, but hear me out: a Can-Am Spyder RS.

    Off the bat, you lose the ability to lane filter, and you'll need to park in car spaces. For all practical purposes, you're not on a "powered bicycle," you're in something the size of a small car ala Mini, SmartCar, or Fiat.

    That said-- you're the size of a small car ala Mini, SmartCar or a Fiat. All of which are great urban assault vehicles in their own right.

    But the advantages you DO get on the Spyder in the city are better than most any bike:
    -- You can't drop it.
    -- You don't have to put your feet down at every freakin' stoplight or traffic jam.
    -- You can ride through, atop and over anything on the road. Potholes, gravel, debris, gators, leaves, construction plating, grooved asphalt, spilled fuel/oil/coolant-- nothing phases the ride. When you don't have to worry about what's under you, you get to pay attention to what's around you-- a huge advantage in the madness of city traffic.
    -- Visibility: plenty more people see a Spyder than a bike.
    -- If you get the semi-auto trans, no clutch cramp in traffic.
    -- HUGE braking power (with ABS and traction control)
    -- Liquid cooled.
    -- Integrated storage.

    (Oh, for full disclosure: the fuel mileage sucks compared to bikes, that's a downside. But what's gas when you have short city commutes?).

    Anyway, after years of riding through city traffic on bikes and scooters, I was instantly fond of the Spyder, it gives me far more peace of mind than navigating the DC urban hell on my two-wheelers.
  12. Disco Stu

    Disco Stu Long timer

    Oct 6, 2006
    The Center of my Own Universe
    lose the sidecases, add a topcase and a tankbag.
  13. sfrider300

    sfrider300 Been here awhile

    Jun 25, 2012
    San Francisco
    Hypermotard 796 has almost every virtue you'd want for the city: light, nimble, upright position, compliant suspension, great brakes. Downsides: low rpm fueling not so great, bars a little wide for filtering.

    I've ridden the little Sym Wolf 150 in the city and loved it because you can filter through any situation. With it's tiny size and clip ons, no gap is too narrow.

    But I live in a lane-splitting state. Can you legally do that in NYC?
  14. Splendidtutional

    Splendidtutional What does that mean?

    Jun 8, 2012
    the US Capitol
    I live Downtown DC and work in Anacostia (across the bad river) and ride a 09 G650GS and I think its perfect. I have a top case and with a backpack I can take my gym bag, lunch, and wear the backpack with my school stuff in it. After work, I am off to class (Arlington, about 10 miles, maybe?) and then back to my apt downtown. Best purchase I have made since being here. Just another option to muddy the decision!
  15. roma258

    roma258 Been here awhile

    Aug 23, 2010
    Philadelphia, PA
    I live in Philly, which I would stack up against any other city in terms of road madness. Ideally you don't rely on your bike for commuting and have access to public transportation to get you to work. In most American cities, where lane splitting isn't legal, there is really no advantage to riding your motorcycle on the surface streets, in fact a pedal bike will get you to most places faster. That said, a nice mid-size twin with upright handlebars is probably perfect. My Hawk GT certainly did the job, so did my buddy's SV650, though he put on clip-ons which made maneuvering more of a pain than necessary. Just bought an Apilia Tuono (love it!!!), which would make for a great city bike if the clutch pull wasn't so damn heavy and the turning radius sucks.

    So yeah, for me, motorcycles are mostly a way of escaping the city, not the primary way of getting around. I think that's probably true of most urban riders in America at least.
  16. Leakey

    Leakey Adventurer

    Jun 29, 2008
    Sydney, Australia
    I honestly don't think you could beat a KTM 690 Supermoto in the city. Even the 690 Enduro in SM form, which would be my choice in case I wanted to tour the state.
  17. cug

    cug --

    May 31, 2009
    Sunny California
    The WR250X has pretty good brakes. Way better than the R version. The 17" front will also transfer brake power much better to the street. Best urban assault vehicle I have had so far.

    Other than that, a Vespa 300GTS or so is awesome, but more for agility and convenience than for the "assault" part.

    I don't like most of the other choices for European city areas as they are pretty much all big and heavy and that's not helping in tight cities. In most American cities, pretty much any bike under 200kg would be okay for me. In San Francisco I'd go back to a scooter, just for all the stupid hills. A WR250X would be great for any city for me personally. But I've also done longer road trips on one, so I might be biased. I love that bike.
  18. Uglyprimate

    Uglyprimate UglyPirate

    Jul 18, 2006
    Fort Whine Indiana
    Every one of your arguments also describes a Jeep Wrangler

    Which is cheaper, gets the same mileage and has a whole lot less dork factor
  19. Cat0020

    Cat0020 El cheapo

    May 1, 2002
    NW of Philly, Hoboken, Brooklyn.
    To be on the cheap, I would ride a bicycle.
    If you are mechanically inclined, a Chinese scooter with decent underseat compartment.
    In NYC, you're not going to need a motorized vehicle more than 25-30 hp that can easily carry you to traffic flow.
    Any moto that require constant clutch and shifting, without capability to carry items without adding extra width or semi-perminent weight to the vehicle seems impractical to me.
  20. apessino

    apessino Long timer

    Jan 7, 2008
    Orange County, CA
    :lol3 so true...

    Not to mention the Jeep would handle better. Those 3-wheelers are what, 3 track vehicles? The absolute worst cornering dynamics one can imagine.