$3000 sporty standard, ST, or road going adv bike

Discussion in 'Road Warriors' started by JBMorse, May 25, 2020.

  1. JBMorse

    JBMorse Been here awhile

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    I know I know, there are millions of threads like this. But I enjoy reading them and all the people writing have different perspectives, so here is mine:

    I am a millennial with a decent job but modest income, and would like to get a newer bike to commute on and tour around the back roads of New England. My current bike is an ancient Honda, a '71 CB500k that I love and will keep forever. I have toured, commuted on it and rode around for fun for over 10 years. It's so much fun, so easy to live with, and just a well balanced bike.
    But it's old. This year I'm doing chain and sprockets again, rear swingarm bushings, some fork work, a bunch of little things. The old gal takes a lot of maintenance and for years I've been saying for years that I will get something more modern so I can ride more and wrench less. Not NEVER wrench, I plan to do my own maintenance, but my beloved 500 has 3k mile service intervals.....

    I am rather.....um discerning...about bikes. Modern bikes are amazing, but there are so many things wrong there. A normal service on a new Ducati costs way more than I paid for my old Honda. I hate TI85 dashboards, I don't want 185 HP, and come on, how about a little style! I rode an MT07 last year and it was brilliant in every way except that it broke my eyes.

    So, in a year or so, I am going to look for a newer sporty standard, a sport touring, or a sportier adv bike. I already have a project Transalp, so I don't need anything off roady. But, my favorite roads around here can be a little medieval, and I occasionally go down dirt roads. So I prefer a more upright seating position.

    Requirements:
    -I'm 6'2, so it has to fit or be easily made to fit.
    -good for 2 up. I would like something slightly bigger than my little old 500 so I can more comfortably bring my gal along.
    -Good luggage options. I want to commute so I would bring a couple clothing layers, work boots, lunch, etc.
    (PS I hate top boxes, good looking side bags are my preference)
    -SPORTY. No dirt bikes, cruisers, etc. But I don't need huge power. I stick to back roads.
    -Not too pedestrian. The sensible person would by an older Versys 650 and be done. But I just find them boring....
    I would love any insight, advice, ridicule or whatever else about the following contenders:

    VFR800 5th gen
    This is what I thought I wanted all along. Sort of exotic but also easy to live with. Well made, awesome performing, will take bags nicely. But my older brother has a 4th Gen VFR, I tried it. Not sure I want that riding position. Too much weight on the wrists. Maybe bar risers are all I need there?

    Ducati ST2/3/4
    I love these. I think they are great looking and sounding, and I think I would fit. Almost the same ergos as the VFR though, maybe too committed for what I like?

    older Triumph Sprint
    These are cool, affordable, well made and not too ugly.

    But I am used to nakeds so,......
    Kawasaki ZRX1200R
    I've always admired these. Never ridden one. Not sure about luggage options.

    Suzuki Bandit
    Another 4cyl bruiser, cool bikes, maybe build to a price point.

    790 or 865 Bonneville
    These are sometimes available around 3k. I love that engine and these are nice bikes overall, but maybe the riding experience is a little too similar to my old Honda?


    and I'm tall sooooo....

    Ducati Multistrada 1000 or 1100
    Wow I always hated these because of their horrible looks. But they've grown on me. They're kind of big and goofy looking like me so maybe it's a match. I like air cooled Ducatis, I like the upright seating on these. And yes I know, Ducati maintenance yadayada, but my daily driver is a 22 year old Saab. I'm not afraid of a little work, I just want something less maintenance intensive than my antique Honda. Valves and rubber bands on these Ducs are interesting and don't seem beyond my abilities.

    Triumph Tiger
    It's not uncommon to see the 955i in my price range. They're sort of huge and look top heavy, but I've tried comparing online to the older Multistrada and it looks like they're fairly close in size and weight. Once in a while there is a 1050 Tiger in that price range, is that too much a stretch?

    Moto Guzzi
    I love Guzzis. The sound, the quirk, the simple elegance of those big twins. Sometimes you can find a Breva 1100 or an older Sport in that price range. I would love any non cruiser Guzzi.

    Yamaha Fz1
    Awesome bikes, not too ugly, but man so much power. I would never touch half of it.


    Ok, those are the obvious ones. Hopefully you get an idea of my taste. I'm interested in your insights and whether there are bikes I've overlooked here.

    and for eye candy, here is the bike that a newer one would share a stall with:
    [​IMG]
    #1
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  2. villageidiot

    villageidiot Long timer Supporter

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    id say Vstrom 650/1000 but it may be too "honda civic"
    #2
  3. SpartanSaint

    SpartanSaint Adventurer

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  4. JBMorse

    JBMorse Been here awhile

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    Yup, not sure why, but I find these boring. I am a fan of the SV650 though, and haven't ruled that out. Go figure. I guess bikes are so damned subjective.....oh and the stroms are almost exclusively owned by humorless dweebs around here :lol3

    I LOVE these. Awesome looking, fit and finish, I mean, come on it's a HONDA. But, not so much a $3,000 bike in my area. More like $6k.
    #4
  5. szurszewski

    szurszewski Long timer

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    The Ducati ST is a good choice if you want to do the belts/valves yourself (can be done pretty easily on the 2 - gets more complicated as you go up to/toward the 4s), but it might be a little tight for you without lowered pegs or bar risers (both can be had, or course).

    I had an ST2 that I loved - great for the kind of roads you have there, but also for wide open interstates like Montana and Texas; perfectly happy cruising all day at 90mph, and very capable of twisty canyon sprints.

    Maybe also consider the BMW R1100S. Like the Ducati ST, they are valued pretty low on the market now but are really appreciated by riders - you’ll get lots of compliments and questions. I picked up a 2004 while I was waiting to do some work on the ST and ended up selling the ST ... and then I got another BMW S ... because it seemed a really good price. ;)

    Ergos, power and weight are similar. Looks are subjective but I think both look really good. Luggage is better and bigger on the bmw, steering is a bit lighter on the Ducati. I find maintenance/work on the bmw easier but maybe just because I’ve got more experience. No chain on the bmw - I like that, but others find the shaft and final drive intimidating.

    I know you said a year, but I would sell my extra S.... it’s a 2001 w/ABS and luggage. I was just about to recover the seat, so I could set that up with a nice 2 up foam job.
    #5
  6. TripleTriples

    TripleTriples Long timer

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    The 955i Tiger is a great machine. I "replaced" mine with a KTM 1090 last spring, but still haven't been able to let my old Tiger go.

    It's ugly and well broken in, but I still love the bike. Very good on the road and good enough for easy adv riding.

    The only reason I bought the KTM was that I wanted something a little more off-roady.
    #6
  7. JBMorse

    JBMorse Been here awhile

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    I forgot about those. Thank you, maybe I will add it to my radar. And on the ST, sounds awesome but my bike savings account currently has $130, hence the waiting a year :lol3 I'm elbow deep in a '67 MG Midget project so my precious little expendable cash is currently being wasted on that. But if you keep the ST, a fly and ride next summer would be fun!
    #7
  8. SpartanSaint

    SpartanSaint Adventurer

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    Im probably projecting my own emotional response to the cb1100, but imo its the only option for someone who has a love for ujm, and wants modern power/reliability.

    Stretch for it brother, top ramen is tasty.
    #8
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  9. villageidiot

    villageidiot Long timer Supporter

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    cb1100's are definitely priced well on the second hand market. and a stunner of a bike.

    bandit 1200 is also a VERY good bike, but will benefit from some suspension upgrades
    #9
  10. SpartanSaint

    SpartanSaint Adventurer

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    #10
  11. optimum_malarky

    optimum_malarky Premium nonsense

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    I say for price range; cost of ownership; the ability to scratch a bit, but not be racing everywhere; two-up and luggage options -- 5th gen VFR all day. I've owned or ridden almost everything that the OP mentioned (never owned a Kawi -- yet!), but I know VFRs are around for $3k all day long. Handlebar risers and you have the comfortable riding position. I found the 955i Tiger to be very top heavy, although a Sprint ST might fit the bill. My issue with the Sprint was that because it was so smooth, I found myself ripping around at 80+ everywhere, all the time, whereas the lumpy vibe of the v-four gave a better sense of speed. My 98 VFR had 40k on the clock and felt totally fresh, while my Sprint with the same mileage was slightly less so. Just my opinion!
    #11
  12. JBMorse

    JBMorse Been here awhile

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    I love it. But my next bike doesn’t HAVE to be UJM. I rode my Transalp for a couple years while my CB was being rebuilt. I loved it. And I’ve loved most of the sportier bikes I’ve tried. Only category I really hated was cruiser.
    #12
  13. scootertrog

    scootertrog Jedi Fart Master

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    KIMG0177.JPG Excellent-condition 1st-gen FZ1's can be had all day for around $3,000. Or spend another $500-$1000 and you can have a 2nd-gen. Both are awesome and pretty bullet-proof. I put right about 10,000 miles on my 2008 last year.
    #13
  14. Kawazacky

    Kawazacky Mad Typist Supporter

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    Bandit. The discerning older riders I knew Ll had them, and they had the money for lots more...
    But it was enough for them.

    The bandit 600 is also under appreciated, and Honda's versions, the 599 and 919
    #14
  15. Vectored2adv

    Vectored2adv Been here awhile

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    CBDE9AC0-4A3A-4764-B051-08FB18C9CC30.jpeg ZZR1200
    Excellent wind protection. I upgraded to one after a VFR750. Very strong torque from idle to redline.
    I bought mine for $2500 with 11000 miles. Toured with it in comfort and pulls to top speed effortlessly.
    160hp. Was briefly rival to hyabusa when released.

    FZ1 good choice too. Had an FZ6 that was a lot of fun without excessive 1000cc speed.
    #15
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  16. bodine003

    bodine003 Long timer

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    #16
  17. bodine003

    bodine003 Long timer

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    99-2002 tuber Buell
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  18. johnwesley

    johnwesley wanta be

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    those old Buells are nice and the st3 is comfy. Maybe even the Ulysses comfy position, good handling, nice motor. The 04 up protesters are nice and better for two-up than the 03 and older. Though I like them more. The tiger 955i is easy to get in the 3 range and has a great motor with good feel and sound. it is a little tall but with your size, it should be good, good all roads bike. I did 100,000 miles on a zrx1100 never a problem and loved that bike. So much so that I tried another and it just wasn't the same. did soft luggage for touring on it. the Ducati air-cooled bike is an incredible machine all the way around, little maintenance-heavy but super machines. Those Guzzi 1100 sports are an experience but have a riding position that is unlike anything else and I couldn't get use to it. the do sound and look good though.

    For better opinions, what two up is for you will help. I'm 5'10" 220 and the wife 5'6" medium build, what works for us doesn't for my buddy. He is 6'4" 275 and his wife 5'10" 200ish. I would love to see them try to fit on some of the recommended bikes. Age, or maybe wear on the body makes a difference too on what is considered two up ok. Did a lot of 2 up, on an 05 Sportster with my 100lb daughter. Once did a couple of thousand 2up on the zrx, after that the wife never wanted to do a trip two up again. she rides her own bike.

    Odd list you have with the Sportster thrown in, but I do like them a lot and maybe as good as any on your list for two up and better than some. The Sportster is a decent bike on dirt roads too
    #18
  19. OJ-J

    OJ-J Chillin

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    Great list, I'd say go with the VFR, maybe add the Blackbird to the list?
    #19
  20. CaribooBC

    CaribooBC life is an adventure

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    Lots of good stuff in this post. I will add my 2 cents as I have just sold a BMW R1100S and I own two ST 3’s and my wife has a VTEC VFR800

    The VFR is the most complex of the three and had charging system issues from new. Most will have had the stator fixed by now, but that still does not mean that your R/R will not fry at an bad time. Google VFR Charging Issues. You will have thousands of hits. Pretty solid motor, valves are the hardest to adjust of the 3 bikes, but really only need to check every decade or so and then not very often to find any out of adjustment. Another issue can be their thermostats. Again, Google VFR Thermostat replacement. Fairly sporty, but crap suspension. Quirky saddlebag mounts. Did not fit me well. I am 6’1” and 230lbs.

    The BMW is the most refined, feels solid built. Great saddle bags. Good mounts. Big heavy bike when compared to the others. Tall and a nice reach to the bars for large people with long arms. Clutch replacement involves splitting the bike in two. Google BMW spline failures. Common on early 6 speed oil head transmissions. Absolutely no soul. It was a boring bike. Easiest of all three to do the valves, but interval is short. Fill the gas, check the oil and set the valves at the gas station before heading out for an Sunday morning blitz.

    ST3. My favourite. Very sporting, lightweight and great handling, especially the ST3S with Ohlins shock and upgraded forks. Bags feel light and cheap, but have not broken. Great real world power, good torque and decent hp. Best for solo touring. Valve adjustment is the hardest of the Ducati’s. Need a third hand to get the helper springs out of the way, but still less work than the VFR. A great riding experience as all red headed Italians are. Make sure, when buying that there are service records. Belts are easy, but Ducati recommends every two years. I stretch the interval to 3 years.
    #20