Perfect Bike

Discussion in 'Road Warriors' started by Royal Panda, Jun 5, 2021.

  1. squish

    squish Out of the office.

    Dec 4, 2003
    Where the Ghetto meets the sea.
    I've been riding street bikes for 30 years now, and off road even longer than that.

    I've been lucky I've had my ass on hundreds of bikes over the years.

    tons of miles in all sorts of weather, all sorts of roads. All types of bikes.

    I've not found a perfect motorcycle, hell I've not found 5 perfect motorcycles

    I have hung on to some for a long time, I bought my 1983 R80ST in 1993, and my TY175 in 1980.

    But whats perfect? Sometimes I like canyon riding, sometimes I like open road touring, sometimes I like open desert off road, sometimes riding the trees, sometimes I just like to putt. I love a good looking bike. When I'm touring I want a comfortable, functional, quiet bike.
    When I'm heading out to meet up with a buddy for a cuppa, I like a bike with style.

    I've not found a bike that can do all of those things.

    I'm envious of guys who are happy with one bike. I remember reading a story about a guy who bought his brothers broken Honda CB750, he fixed it up and then proceeded to put something like 300,000 miles on the bike over something like 25 years of riding it.

    Thats just crazy. I have 30K miles an 8 years on my DL650 and that's been the longest sustained regular mileage I've put on a bike.
    Before that I had a 2004 DL650 that I put 24K miles on it in 7 years.

    So that would have to be close, but it's no way a perfect motorcycle even post customizing it's still an ugly bike, and it's not very fun in the trees
    It does ok in the canyons for my more mature riding sensibility. But as a motorcycle it doesn't drip cool, and I've never walked away from it and looked back at it think, damn! that's a good looking bike.
    TCBronson and Juan Loboe like this.
  2. TheGr8Pumpkin

    TheGr8Pumpkin Been here awhile

    Oct 8, 2014
    Atlanta, GA
    Sounds like you want a Honda pacific coast, well except the styling.
  3. Johann

    Johann Commuterus Tankslapperus

    Feb 11, 2006
    I don´t even mind the tupperware on those, I think the problem now would probably be the bodywork ageing causing lots of niggly faults with things lining up/vibrating and getting spares for said bodywork probably making them a pain to own which defeats the point.
  4. 9Realms

    9Realms Drawn in by the complex plot

    Jul 23, 2010
    Central Minn.
    Gone but not forgotten :bmwrider

    cold case beer PC.jpg
  5. KingOfFleece

    KingOfFleece SplitWeight(tm) waterproof seat covers Supporter

    Aug 1, 2010
    Western New York
    All my motorcycles have been perfect. Some more perfect than others-but all perfect. I don't really understand the idea that the bikes are anything but-it's the riders expectations and use. All over this forum are statements that "it's not this-or that". Look at the Pan Am H-D thread. Folks up in arms that there is no quick shifter. Seriously? THAT is the determining factor? Is that where we really are-riders cannot enjoy themselves if that have to use a clutch? I'm no luddite-I mod my cycles for what's important to me but all the nonsense about what extra crap is included with a bike-ugh.
    Point is that chasing perfection, however one defines it-will always be just that-a chase that never ends. Same with wanting-"I want to be a better rider, faster, quicker, whatever" only leaves one in a perpetual state of wanting. MUCH better to set a goal-and then figure out how to achieve it. Measurable and obtainable is what counts. "I want to corner faster" becomes the process of learning how to read the road, understand cornering lines (different on the street), the commitment to practice emergency braking from the speeds at which you travel-and so on. A continuous state of chasing perfection only leads to no appreciation of the present-and that's NOT settling. Ride and enjoy the motorcycle-whatever it is.
  6. KingOfFleece

    KingOfFleece SplitWeight(tm) waterproof seat covers Supporter

    Aug 1, 2010
    Western New York
    I hope no one thinks this is a dig at a choice-whatever it is. Not intended that way at all.
    Ginger Beard likes this.
  7. timblanch

    timblanch Been here awhile

    Aug 22, 2012
    Holland, Michigan
    OP - if you read your list, notice how often you rate the Gold Wing highly. Maybe you should try the new "ST1800", as all the ST1300 guys call it (I put 100,000 miles on my 2005 ST1300.) The ST1800's lost 90 pounds and all ST guys say it is actually easier to handle than the 100 pound lighter ST1300 and DCT is pretty darn relaxing. I'm checking one out tomorrow with the wife.

    On your theme "perfect bike" i have concluded as a motorcylce "expert" that opposites reinforce the positives of each bike while somehow simultaneously lowering the negatives. Two bikes - one for comfort, big, heavy, smooth, luggage, wind protection and one for "fun" simple, stripped down, light easy to hop on and off.

    TuonoBiker and KingOfFleece like this.
  8. Gustavo

    Gustavo Motociclista Errante

    Jun 1, 2004
    Sometimes in Hillsburrito
    Actually, based on @Royal Panda list of requirements (or rather, things he doesn't like about some bikes), I was going to suggest one. No vibration, no buffeting, no heat issues (unless it's cold outside, then you can turn the heater on :vardy), no high speed stability problems (or low speed stability problems), no problems dealing with the weight and plenty of dealers (not that you'd need them, but they are there). Preferably a hybrid of some sort, so it will also get better mileage than all those bikes... :deal


    I think you really need to drill down and figure out what is it that you do like about riding and motorcycles, not just what you don't. It's hard to find a solution to a problem that is only defined as what it shouldn't be. And sometimes you have to customize the bike to your preferences. The idea that a single bike can be perfect off the showroom floor for riders that can range over a foot in height and over a hundred lbs in weight is unrealistic. Unless you are in the Goldilocks zone the designers and engineers were aiming for, you have to modify it to fit you physically, let alone your preferences.

    I have two bikes currently, they are similar in engine size, but different in character. Both are really good for my use. I wouldn't say perfect, there is always something that can still be improved. But I haven't added (or subtracted) anything from either in years and about 40K miles each. So maybe close enough? :dunno

    Anyway, that's a very long winded way of saying that even when we agree on what a "perfect" bike is, our "perfect" setup can be completely different. Take all the advice here (especially mine :loco) with a large grain of salt, and figure out what works for you. :beer

    KingOfFleece likes this.
  9. TuonoBiker

    TuonoBiker Long timer

    Mar 13, 2012
    So.Central PA
    I've owned a few bikes in my day (see signature), but not as many as a lot of people. I've spent several hours on other bikes that I've never owned but rented (RT-air, RT-wet, K1600, Honda ST1300.) Once I bought my '12 GSA, I immediately knew I'd always have one in the garage. I love it above my '18 GSA. But as good as it is for being an "all arounder", this year I added a fantastic '17 Duc SS.

    All I'm saying is that there is no "perfect" bike. Some do come really close....but having 2 bikes that complement the other one's shortcomings, as timblanch said, brings a whole different level of enjoyment and satisfaction.

    I get it, maybe not everyone is in the financial position to own 2 or maybe they just don't want to own 2 bikes (or more)...that's up to the individual. The perfect bike is the one in the garage with gas. Go ride it and enjoy it.
    choppahead likes this.
  10. vtduc

    vtduc Been here awhile

    Dec 25, 2006
    I've realized over the years that the wanting is more fun than the having, at least for me.
    Motonirvana, Vrode and fastring like this.
  11. JETalmage

    JETalmage Long timer

    Oct 11, 2014
    Yes there is:


  12. djauofd

    djauofd Aged Wine

    Sep 10, 2014
    Annapolis sailing capital of the world
    Reconsidering my earlier post of what makes a perfect bike. A perfect bike is a bike that is paid off, has a full tank of gas in it , and the weather is . Everything else is just details .
    Pabst, DutchBoy, Argyle and 9 others like this.
  13. leighwgold

    leighwgold Ph.D. of B.S. Supporter

    Oct 18, 2008
    Salisbury Heights
    My 2017 R1200 GS Adv is just fine for me. I’m 5’10” in the old language, it’s possibly the best “road” bike I have ridden, and I have the option of heading down that dirt road whenever. It’s comfortable, plenty of herbs, has enough wind protection and a few luxuries like cruise control and heated grips.
  14. Whiskey Tango

    Whiskey Tango 1*

    Mar 16, 2008
    As has been stated, there is not perfect bike and it takes struggles, concessions and compromises to even get the fleet down to three or four.
    That being said, your list has many of my favorites in it. Harleys are great for mileage munching and are surprisingly vibration free on the road. There are H-D Stealerships just about all over the place and just about every town that has a working traffic light has or can get Harley parts. They have hydraulic valve lifters that do not need adjustments and are truly quite reliable. Get a Harley for travelling even though the Gold Wing will spank it in those frivolous trivialities such as acceleration, deceleration and handling. Of the Baggers, uh, Touring Models I've that the three fairings and prefer the Road Glide for big roads at big speeds for big miles. My Road King's detachable windshield is great for open air cruising once you arrive at the rally or other destination. Street Glides at rallies are like beer, tattoos, leather and silicone - not that there's anything wrong with any of that but ... just sayin' ...

    With a Road Glide for touring and if you were to limit yourself to just two bikes, the other would be a 650 Thumper with two sets of wheels, one for dual sport and the other for street. I've ripped all through the Black Hills of South Dakota on my Road Glide and a V-Strom while both my sons give me a run for the money - one on his KLR650 and the other on my DR650; they are great bikes. If more asphalt and less dirt in in your plans, the DL650 Wee Strom would be my choice. Remember, it's more fun to ride a slow bike fast (even though the DL650 really isn't that slow) than it is to ride a fast bike slow.

    Three bikes allows for a Road Glide, a sport or sport-touring bike or ADV bike and a dedicated dual sport with more dirt tendencies than road tendencies.

    Once you get to four bikes ... oh never mind; I've already said too much!
    ktm4me likes this.
  15. CaseyJones

    CaseyJones Ridin' that train

    Aug 10, 2010
    Western Montana
    ...and the age. Old equipment is never, EVER, trouble-free.

    Honda played with the idea of a Yuppie cycle (Nighthawk S; Pacific Coast) and then gave it up. Cruisers get shaft drives, and I have no idea why - they're ridden so slowly and cautiously, they'd be better off with belt or even chain drive. I don't know if any Honda has hydraulic tappets now.

    There is, or I imagine there is, a big market for bikes that are low-maintenance but not Goldwing weight and cost.

    I have an NT700V/Deauville, and it's shaft; and it's reliable. But it is NOT vibration free; and the valves are NOT hydraulic-tappet; and getting the cladding off...let's just say that owners much handier than I, say it's not so bad the third or fourth time.
    TCBronson likes this.

    TALLGUY Been here awhile Super Supporter

    Sep 14, 2008
    Indian Challenger?

    You might go try that Indian Challenger. They put a water cooled motor in a stiff frame then added real suspension.
    In my quest for the perfect bike, it is the closest thing I have ridden that might be a contender in stock form.

  17. TuonoBiker

    TuonoBiker Long timer

    Mar 13, 2012
    So.Central PA
    Here's how I count my "necessary" bikes: And it's perfect, IMO. :D
    1. The '12 GSA is going to live in MT storage for fly-n-rides (leaving friday! :clap)
    2. The '18 GSA stays home for moto-camping, solo and 2-up touring
    3. The '17 Ducati SS is the commuter/evening/weekend fun romp around bike
    4. Kawi KLX300 - want to add - will last 30+ years w/ no repairs; pickup truck loadable for camping upstate and exploring forest roads
    5. '18+ HD Softail Slim - want to add - beautiful and perfect looking, simple designed motorcycle.
    (Love 'em or hate 'em, all motorcyclist enthusiasts need to own a Harley at least once. Especially if you're 'Merican. :D )

    IMO, these 5 bikes will be the perfect garage.....for the moment, at least. :lol3
  18. Rogue_Ryder


    Dec 8, 2005
    Pinewood Springs, Colorado
    There will never be a "perfect bike" and definitely not one that can do everything let alone everything well. About 20 years ago I was a fresh out of college new hire and moving into street bikes A 70 year old guy I worked with told me he had been looking for the perfect bike since he had first started riding when he was 15! and had yet to find it. So don't hold your breath on finding it anytime soon.

    There's great bikes out there which excel in their particularly designed duties provided you actually fit on them; some bikes like the KTM Twin ADV bikes are tool tall from many folks, and some guys are just too big for bikes like the VFR400 (a great race bike in it's time). A lot of what determines a perfect bike for an individual is where and how it'll be ridden. Some places I've found an XR250 was the perfect bike for the given area and riding conditions other places the R1200GS has been perfect (long rides, lots of highway mixed with back roads and some dirt).

    To me the perfect everyday bike would have 100hp be Air or Air/Oil Cooled, EFI, get 80 MPGs, had brakes like a superbike, shaft (or belt) driven, and have 7-8" of suspension travel to soak up every bump. Basically a Ducati Hypermotard but with Yamaha reliability and better fuel mileage a unicorn that doesn't exist yet.
  19. -clinton-

    -clinton- Been here awhile

    Mar 25, 2018
    Kansas City, Missouri
    I absolutely LOVE LOVE LOVE my KTM 1290 Super adventure Touring, or SA-T, 7.9 gallon tank, heated seats and grips, cruise. Good ergo and wind protection. It's the dealer network that's pushing me away from KTM. Two dealers within an hour and neither one has factory trained techs. $44 for a spark plug? Really? No thanks. Every interaction I've had, in person or from the KTM aftermarket has left a bad taste in my mouth. I did over 11,000 miles on my SA-T last year and I think its the best bike I've ever had, GS, VFR, FJR, I've had some good ones, but I am so tired of giving my money to people who act like they deserve it instead of trying to earn it. I'm concerned, because I don't wanna py BMW prices, and I don't wanna ride appliance type japanese bikes. I don't know what's next but its not KTM.
  20. TCBronson

    TCBronson Been here awhile

    Sep 16, 2007
    Hot Springs, Arkansas
    Been riding since 1971 because of a TV show called Then Came Bronson. Constantly looking for "The Perfect" bike. Always the next one it seems, at least for a while. It's interesting to me how a bike can do what it's intended to do but there is no emotional connection. I like the idea of getting off my bike and as I walk away I turn back for one last look! So it helps if you really like the looks of the bike as welll as how it performs. I really envy those that can be happy and content with ONE bike for a long time! My latest "Perfect Bike" is a 2014 CB1100 DLX. 20210612_191800.jpg