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Discussion in 'Road Warriors' started by shoeb, Sep 28, 2015.
919 to a 750 to a CB500X and a CB1, no regrets so far...
I've ridden bikes of all sizes from a Turbo Hyabusa to 49cc scooters and had fun on all of them. Fun is what you make of it. I owned a 2002 Ninja 250 and had a blast with it. It was a bit anemic when stock but an aftermarket exhaust and pods helped a lot. Then I stripped off everything I could find that wasn't required to make it go or stop and wound up with a bike that weighed 279lbs dry. After porting the head and fin tuning the bike , it dynoed at 34.1 whp. Sub 300 lbs and over 40 hp at the crank is just silly fun. Crap!! Now I want to set up another small cc track bike!!
If you're not worried about "mega speed" and you like to "chuck it around on the back roads," as you say, down-size. The smaller bikes are way fun, less expensive, easier, less troublesome and demanding, etc. than the RR/hyper/hi-po/big-bore/etc. bikes. If you want to push it and test the limits, the big boys are awesome. But they come at a price; a number of prices, actually. If you're not in need/want of that, down-size. It's great stuff.
I had many of the latest and greatest bikes for decades and I wouldn't trade it for anything. At this point, however, I have no desire to go back to it, either. But, if that ever changes... I've had my fun. As the old motorcycling adage goes: "You start out w/an empty bag of experience and a bag full of luck. The object is to fill up the bag of experience before you empty the bag of luck." I believe I got there (Well beyond there, probably.). The ego bikes are no longer worth the money, discomfort, and risk for me. Make your call.
Don't get me wrong. The reduction in weight was definitely noticeable, but the reduction in power was way more noticeable - like divded by 3!
Another factor, I think, is where you live. When I lived in urban Japan, where the drivers are sane and the speed limits are ridiculously slow everywhere, a smaller bike was nice. In the USA where drivers are mad and people are driving very fast, my 650 suits me much better. I haven't been to UK, or your particular area, so don't know how your environment is.
Same here, current road bike is an '11 GSA that hasn't had any recent road trips. I have had two Wees over the years and am considering trading the GSA down to a Wee. I am on my second KLX250S and enjoy the wizzer a bunch. Gas it, shift and gas it again and purdy soon I'm going as fast as an old guy wants. Rode the KLX250 Chief Joseph from Cody to Cooke City and back and had a blast.
I went from a Goldwing 1800 hippopotamus in running shoes to a C-14 to the GSA and lost a few bike pounds each time. Weight makes a huge difference IMO.
I once was a big fan of big HD twins touring bikes along with high HP offerings. I now own a Guzzi V7 and a Bonneville. I've found I can do everything with the smaller bikes. Don't think I'd own another big heavy touring bike or even another 100 HP motorcycle again.
I did a test tour with the V7, 8 states over 3,000 miles and felt great after 600 mile days. Found out I can do everything in the same comfort level with the small bikes as the large bikes. Only draw back is the lack of weather protection in heavy rain situations, that can be overcome with really good rain gear.
At my age I've found it best to get off the road with those larger rain storms and find a motel. No more of that Lt Dan macho pushing it to the limits in foul weather.
First thought in my mind these days..."LIVE TO RIDE ANTOHER DAY".
I guess I’ve ‘downsized’. In the last 4 bikes I’ve gradually went from 1300cc to 954cc. I’ve owned bikes with anywhere from about 60whp to in excess of 160whp. What I’ve found is that I enjoy having enough power to EFFORTLESSLY cruise down the road (6-8000rpm is not ‘effortless’ in my book-feels too ‘frantic’ to me) as well as whip by slow lane slackers with nothing more than a slight twist (60whp doesn’t cut it). I’m a bit of a power junkie I guess but I cover a decent amount of ground with an 80mi daily commute so I like the more ‘relaxed’ highway feel of a more powerful bike. However, there is a practical limit where there is SO much power on tap that my self-preservation instincts kick in before my ‘fun’ hunger has been fully satisfied. The Hayabusa DEFINITELY was at that point for me.
For me the perfect bike has around 100-120whp and weighs under 550lbs wet. My current bike is pushing the wild side in the power/weight regard (130whp/430lbs wet) but it is insanely fun and I’m enjoying it. It definitely meets my ‘effortless’ requirement too.
Smaller bikes have a lot of advantages. I ride a lot of off road and dirt roads that include 300+ mile days. A friend of mine used a Kawasaki KLX250S for several years for all kinds of riding. He would cruise at 75 mph all day. The only downside was climbing mountain passes and strong headwinds where the 250 just didn't have the horsepower to maintain speed. Passing traffic on two-lane roads took a lot more planning and room too. Sometimes trying to pass on a uphill grade wasn't possible because it just took too long to get around. Within those limitations it was a sweet bike.
I went from 140 hp (FZ1) to 14 hp (CBR125R) once; that took some getting used to. I enjoyed it except for needing to use the shoulder to climb mountain passes :)
Good point there. I wager our roads tend to be twister and narrower than in the states. In the UK people do drive well over the limit, but I have never felt in danger on the freeway when I was just doing 70mph or even less. Just stick in the slow lane. Lots of bikers seems to say "I wouldn't feel safe on a bike that can't do at least (insert speed way over the limit) mph", but honestly I've never felt that intimidated by the idea of being overtaken!
Not a dig at you, Domingo, just something I've observed before. BTW, get yourself over to the UK if you haven't been there's great biking to be had, just bring some good waterproofs! I got somewhere you can stay in Yorkshire ( don't even bother going south unless you like horrendous accents and gridlock).
I've gotten away from liter bikes....ZRX1100, Concours, FZ1...and now have an FZ6 for touring, an older (99) ninja 600 because it was too good a deal to turn down, and a thruxton just because. I've had a ninja 250 and it was lots and lots of fun. But this is a BIG country and I never felt comfortable traveling on it. But Lord Almighty, it was more than a bit of fun for a backroads blast! I'd say go for it and laugh all the way to the bank. I'll never go back to big bikes again.
+1 for a supermoto. Nothing is more fun to ride slow or fast. For city only it's perfect. I like extremes. My ktm 525exc is amazing to ride because it can scare the crap out of me, jump off stuff, hit 111mph, and go around corners as well as anything while sliding around. The soft dirt suspension exaggerates the movement of the bike, which makes it exciting even at low speeds. Total weight is around 247lbs.
My Grom is hilarious to ride because it's balls out 99% of the ride, which makes me laugh constantly. It's a great choice but I wouldn't make it my only bike.
I kind of downsized, went from a 2004 V Strom to a 2007 Ducati 1100s MTS. Not exactly a smaller motor but about 100 lbs lighter and a couple of inces shorter. And did I mention it's a Ducati.
My God, I'm turning into a bike snob.
But then I'm also selling my DRZ400e and going back to my XR650r. I'm comfused.
I'm completely considering this right now.
My current ride is a Moto Guzzi 1200 Sport, which I love but find a bit heavy around town.
Seriously looking at the CB500X, a local dealer has one lightly used for a good price...
Is it better to ride a slow bike fast than a fast bike ..... Never mind.
I went from FJR to VFR. Couldnt be happier.
I traded my NIghthawk 650 for a CB500F last Spring.
Not much lighter but a lot better brakes (ABS) and fuel injection.
Big enough for my 1 hr rides. If I want to go faster, I ride my VTR250.
Ride safely & have fun
Really depends on what your priorities are.
About 10 years ago when my first son was born I sold my aprilia due to financial reasons. About 6 months later I bought an SV650 to commute and do short day trips on. So that was a 1000cc -> 650cc change. I couldn't have been happier. The SV was more nimble, more comfortable, and fit my skill-set much better than the aprilia could. I was living in Hawaii at the time.
Now? I still miss the SV. But my touring bike fits the bill better. I really like going on long multi day rides and can only have one bike at the moment. So downsizing would not be an ideal option.
With all THAT being said. I would not ever downsize to a 250. My exwife had an ex250 circa early 00. While it was a motorcycle and would be ok for certain applications in general the budget parts on it would rule it out. That and I had to ring it's neck, and not in a good way!
Back in 2013/2014, I went from a (nearly) half ton, 1800 cc road sofa down to something with nearly half the weight. I won't be riding big cruisers any more in this lifetime. Less weight is more fun, especially when there's a healthy HP/Weight ratio.
I downsized from a Goldwing to a Silverwing Interstate (not the scooter) a few years ago. The 50 hp of the Silverwing is plenty for me and the smaller bike is much more enjoyable. For commuting and around town use I prefer my little 200cc Chinese bike. Cheap and reliable transportation that is light weight and fun.