Suggestions for a new bike

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MiniNinjaMk5
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Joined: Tue May 08, 2012 12:57 am

Suggestions for a new bike

Post by MiniNinjaMk5 »

Hey guys

Am thinking of getting a new bike over the next few months. I haven't ridden for some years (8-9 years ago) since I moved to work abroad which necessitated sale of my ZHR400.
Now I'm a bit older and fatter and after something as a sports-tourer type bike for rides into the countryside (with Pillion), the occasional commute and maybe sometimes a longer trip.

I've narrowed it down to the following, don't have a massive amount of money to spend which is restricting my choices to 2nd hand.
BMW F800ST
Honda VFR800 (2014 onwards)
Suzuki GSX650F

Has anyone any experience of these bikes or of anything similar? The Beemer is probably top pick at the moment as it seems a good price for what you get (Rotax engine, shaft driven). I love the look of the VFR, and the romantic in me wants the V4, but worry it might be a bit heavy/bulky and 'too much' bike for something to be jumping back onto. The Suzuki looks nice but is relatively more expensive vs. its original sale price (so am conscious of 'you get what you pay for' certainly next to the VFR).

Are there any other bikes in this category I should be considering?
I will get some test rides at some point as it might be my preconceptions are completely incorrect

Cheers in advance!

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Tumi
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Joined: Sun May 02, 2010 12:49 am
Location: Kuusankoski, Finland

Re: Suggestions for a new bike

Post by Tumi »

I've some experience with a F800S, not a lot as I don't have much time to ride these days. I bought it some years ago with 21 kkms on the clock, now it has 35 kkms. It doesn't have a shaft but belt drive was the reason why I chose it over a VFR. I might be happy with a GSX650 if they were built by someone else than Suzuki.
There are some points worth checking, original stators don't last long, mine expired and left me stranded near Arctic Circle. Original fork springs are flaccid and front brake started to pulsate but cleaning the calipers and moving pistons in and out fixed it. There was a recall for early rear hub bearings and 2006 engines had piston slap. Coolant pump seems to weep a drop every now and then. Fuel mileage is extraordinary good.

kenup283
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Joined: Thu Jun 27, 2013 4:40 am

Re: Suggestions for a new bike

Post by kenup283 »

I really enjoy my Suzuki Bandit. I have the 1200, but look up the 1250 of you’d like fuel injected. They go by GSF1200 or 1250 and come pretty cheap. Best bang for buck factor. They also come in smaller 600/650 cc but if taking a passenger I think you’ll find the larger 1200’s better suited. The bike pulls hard and the engine is a tank. I’ve done track days, to commuting, and couple hundred mile rides, all without any complaints.

The down side is i haven’t really tried many others, but one I might could strayed for would’ve been Yamaha FZ-1, aka Fazer, they too make a middle size but again I think you could adapt to the larger one and be better off with a passenger and more torque / fun when solo.

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MiniNinjaMk5
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Joined: Tue May 08, 2012 12:57 am

Re: Suggestions for a new bike

Post by MiniNinjaMk5 »

Thanks a lot for the replies guys, really appreciated.

Tumi - thanks for the notes about the F800. I have read about the different models by year and it sounds like 2008 onwards is the best choice? Once they had ironed out the gremlins and piston slap. That sounds like an adventure you had with the arctic circle! Hopefully the bike would be OK with colder UK weather then in that case.
The only thing pushing me now towards the VFR800 is that there seems to be some ridiculous good deals. £5k or so for a 2014/15 model seems to be going rate. The F800ST seems to have a very cheap price less often, I guess that's a good sign people must not want to sell when they have one.

Kenup - thanks I will check out the 1200. Is it a very big bike physically? I am not a big guy (other than spreading outwards through lockdown unfortunately). I loved how light my ZXR400 was and you could flick it around, and worry with some of the bigger bikes that the bike would be riding me instead so hence have been looking at the middleweight category. For performance, again I am conscious of stepping up in size too much. My ZXR could beat my partners Boxster S to about 80-90 which already felt way too fast for me! :)

Thanks a lot for the replies guys I think next step is to try and get some test rides booked as there only so many reviews you can read!

kenup283
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Joined: Thu Jun 27, 2013 4:40 am

Re: Suggestions for a new bike

Post by kenup283 »

The bandit is on bigger size. I took some time warming up to it. Im 5’10-11” 200lbs to move around and once moving a lot of that weight disappears but is felt moving it around the garage etc.

Thinking about another option that would put you closer in performance size power weight to your Zxr400 would be an SV650. These are famous for high grin factors at affordable cost and very capable middle weight bikes. Many people tour on the as well and put lots of miles on them. They can also suit shorter riders well. One of complaints is taller people complain about but may fit you like a glove. Extra torque from v twin might be a helpful bonus too :)

The SV also serves as base for a more adventure style V-Strom that has almost a cult like following and said to be suited for taller riders. Just mentioning to say that that motor has gotten around as well in differ forms from killer track bike to adventure sport touring.

I know you came to narrow things down, all I can do is add more to your search, but hearing what you liked about you high performance 400 the SV650 would be worth a look.

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MiniNinjaMk5
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Re: Suggestions for a new bike

Post by MiniNinjaMk5 »

Thanks Kenup! Just had a look at the SV650 and it looks lovely. I see there is an SV650s option as well with the fairing which looks good too.

Another added to the list for me to test ride! :)

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MiniNinjaMk5
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Re: Suggestions for a new bike

Post by MiniNinjaMk5 »

Hey guys - a quick update. I did a refresher course the other day, just because it has been so long since I last rode. Thankfully the adage about riding a bike held true and once I had got over mistaking the kill switch for a start button I was fine :D

Realised what I had been missing, great fun and some lovely weather riding out through the countryside. Coincidentally had an SV650. Looked a bit intimidating size-wise but once I got onboard and got going it was easily manageable. I haven't ridden a twin before but it was good fun, very torque-y engine and lovely engine note. One thing I did notice was the lack of the fairing, I had forgotten how un-aerodynamic you become at 50mph+, like a brick punching through the air. So if I go for a bike now for the kind of riding I will be doing something with a fairing is a must. I see there is a fairing version of the SV so I will check that out.

Another bike on the list now is the CBR600F - up to about 2007 I believe, the new versions have a tiny pillion seat and there is no way I could my partner through that. The older bike looks like a nice compromise of something fun but also nice big banana seat to have my GF on the back seat.
I am probably discounting the VFR800, was doing some spec comparison and it is so damn heavy, over 230kg which is almost 70kg up on the CBR I have been looking at (essentially have a person on the bike).

Hopefully get some test rides in over the next few weeks as soon as the lockdown restrictions here start to ease (at the moment you can go and look at stuff in a yard, hear the engine etc. but can't ride, which isn't very useful as I'm not completely sure what I want!) Ridiculous that bikes have been tarred with the same brush as a car, really being out on a bike, helmet and equipment on, you couldn't be any more covid secure.

Apical
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Joined: Wed Mar 30, 2011 7:48 am
Location: Burragate N.S.W.

Re: Suggestions for a new bike

Post by Apical »

How is the selection process going my recently refreshed friend?

So many good rides to choose from.
"Faster, faster, until the thrill of speed overcomes the fear of death," Hunter S Thompson

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