No not turtles. Oh that reminds me – I do have to sit through the latest one.
I test rode the Ninja 1000sx this afternoon. I really wanted to like it, it was smooth, plenty of power. Nice seating position and I can’t see it struggling with full panniers or two up. Brakes seemed good too.
But I found that the seat had two creases that I found quite uncomfortable after only a few short minutes. Even after I got off the bike I still was a bit uncomfortable for at least a half an hour. That really made it hard to like the bike.
The VFR moves back to the top of the list and I’m considering that the newer one is the better choice. Revised and refreshed with some better technology. And available at some reasonable prices second hand.
Commuting home on the Daytona the other day I finally decided that it was no longer the bike for me.
Don’t get me wrong, it’s a fantastic bike. And I’m still super happy to have decided that my experiment into the sportbike world was on such a sweet machine. Its performance is amazing, handling is fantastic. It’s actually pretty easy to ride every day even in traffic. And I have travelled some distance on it.
It is the decision two years in the making, ever since the roo jumped onto the Hume and laid down my VFR. I didn’t enjoy the track day, I don’t have time or the real interest in putting effort (time, money and stress) into track day schools. I have also decided that I don’t really like heading out to the same road and just repeating it over and over.
I want to head out for a couple of hours (or days or weeks) and explore. Heck, this even sounds like my WoW interests, lol. The Daytona doesn’t really lend itself to that. I’m not out there wanting to shave seconds off time, I’m happy cruising along at the speed limit(ish) and eating miles looking around. A topbox would be great for work commute.
So I’m heading back to the Sports Tourer world
But no idea how I’m going to pay for it.
Sell the Daytona is the first step.
That should give me enough money to get a good condition VFR800, say 2010 or so. A known bike I would be content with.
So what else?
Well the new VFR seems an obvious choice. I have decided to loosen up my personal restriction and investigate the over 1000cc bikes. Otherwise, there basically isn’t anything to choose from that isn’t choked by Learner Approved restrictions. I may also consider the strongly road orientated “adventure” bikes, this opens it up somewhat too. I would like at least a windscreen (so no nakeds please!) and hope for factory panniers/topbox. LED headlights are a big plus having experienced that in my car now. The difference between normal halogen and LEDs is massive! Maybe I would have seen that roo???
So my list currently has
Honda VFR800 – Newer than my old one. Has LED Lights, same sweet engine and similar ergonomics. Almost a known factor, can get second hand too. Panniers/topbox, tick.
Kawasaki Ninja 1000SX – I step up to 1000cc. Plenty of power. LED lights, ABS, traction control. Panniers OR topbox, not both at same time.
Triumph Tiger Sport – LED lights, ABS, traction control. I presume options for topbox, panniers. More adventure tourer than sports tourer. 1000cc triple (triples are sweet). Heated grips etc etc.
Yamaha MT-09 Tracer. – LED lights, ABS, traction control. I presume options for topbox, panniers. More adventure tourer than sports tourer. 900cc triple (triples are sweet). Heated grips etc etc.
All four of those are improvements on the version before. Better suspension or better tuned engines, improved seating or some such. Ninja, VFR and Tracer should be available in good second hand versions, without some of the newer bits and pieces (LED lights mostly).
I can’t really think of any others. Possibles might include Suzuki GSX1000F (though it’s pretty ugly). Ducati Multistrada 950.
I’ve put the Daytona up for sale at work. I’ve tested a 2017 VFR800, and plan to test the Ninja on Friday. I think thats the strongest alternate to the two VFRs.
Now and then again I see something that drives it home again just how lucky I was 2 years ago in my bike crash. Today I watched some of a YouTube video where a bike ran a red light and hit a car. These guys were being complete wankers stunting on the street and rode through the lights at speed. I don’t have a problem with the stunting, its when these riders are blocking traffic, running lights or on the wrong side that they’re just being dickheads and giving riders a bad name.
While the first bike made it cleanly the second collected a car and the rider and his pillion were thrown across the bonnet and down. The pillion’s foot is either completely torn off or hanging by a thread. I didn’t look too closely. If you’ve a stronger stomach than me go and check it out.
I hit the road at a higher speed than these two and was lucky not to get thrown off more violently. I could have gotten tangled in the bike or the roo or slid heavily into the fence. I might have landed differently and torn part of myself apart as I slid 100m along the road. I might have been run over.
I wore a mix of good and great gear. I had a kept a fair bit of space around me in the very light traffic. But when the roo was there – there was NOTHING I could have done to avoid it.
But I was also lucky. Very lucky.
And now and then there’s something that makes a cold chill run down my back and remind me.
Wasn’t because he loved me… it was because he wasn’t paying attention.
I was commenting in on the Daytona the other morning and had stopped at a give way. The car behind then proceeded to drive into me. Not hard enough to knock me over, but hard enough to bend things.
It looks like the other guy (and he’s someone at my work too!) has gotten away with about $100 in damage – a bent bobbin (the little knob that is used with a paddock stand) and a bent indicator. I’ll be replacing both of them.
He claimed the sun was in his eyes etc etc. Rubbish he wasn’t paying attention.
Something you can’t help but pay attention to while riding is other drivers. For obvious reasons, a rider’s life is much more dependent upon being aware of what the cars (and other vehicles) around you are doing.
So after a few years in traffic you get to pick up signs of what people are planning to do, often even before they even realise it themselves. The guy glancing to his right – there’s a strong chance he’s going to be changing lanes. The car slow or moving about in their lane – probably on their phone, all these signs are there and sometimes you don’t even realise you’re seeing them. But you’re slowing or checking your escape options.
So when the the guy in the ute next to me is driving along with his hand on his indicator I was pretty certain he was just waiting for a chance to change into my lane. I had only a car length a bit in front of me, so when the ute moved forward a bit and indicated right (into my lane) I was not surprised or very happy. I held my ground as there was plenty of room behind and there was no reason for him to cut in so tightly.
And I’m well glad I did, the ute dropped back and changed behind me. Immediately he then changed further right, slowing for a turn lane.
So if I had let him in, he would have immediately slowed with me less than a car length behind him, and changed lanes again. A good chance that I might have crashed into him.
It’s a day off for me, exams. After they were done though, I was torn (well not really) – go and see Captain America, go for a ride on the bicycle, perhaps even a MTB ride, or take the Daytona out.
But where? Ten Mile Putty is too far, be at least 4-6 hours and I did have be home with dinner ready. Colo was an idea but I didn’t really feel like the hour plus to get there. Google tells me that Mt White on the Old Pacific Hwy is only 1 hour away. That was a real surprise as I always thought it was ages and ages away.
Well it’s not.
And I always thought it sucked as I remembered 60kmh limits and loads of traffic.
Well the part around Pie in the Sky is actually 80.
And it was Tuesday, I guessed traffic would be light.
And it was, lol.
So I rode up Old Pac, completely changed my opinion of at least the 80 part. And it really did only take an hour. I left home about 10am and after riding to Mt White, and back to Pie, having a Pie and then doing a lap in the 80 zone before heading home, I still made it home before 1pm.
I wasn’t impressed though with the guy who passed outside of me in my lane around a tight bend. If I had f’ked it up we would have both gone down. Much rather he was like his mate and just blitzed past me on a short straight on the wrong side of a solid line.
My Daytona had a service yesterday. As always I asked for their loan bike to get to work and back.
Getting a loan bike from a shop is always an interesting experience. First there is the initial curiosity of what exactly it is going to be. You know it’s going to be something small, they have to cater for learners after all.
Then you wonder what state it is in. Sure it will work and have a tank of fuel, but it’s unlikely to be in perfect shape.
So I rolled out of the shop on a mighty Ninja 300 (don’t get me going, again, on Kawasaki’s naming conventions!). First impressions are sluggish (but that’s not really fair stepping off the Daytona) and small. The distance from the seat to the ground was noticeably less than the Daytona. Strangely this made it kind of awkward later when I was filtering.
Actually, it was a pretty good little bike, and the other dramas on the day were more related to other road users. Oh and getting halfway to work and remembering that I couldn’t use the toll road on this borrowed bike and had to detour on to the slow road. However, getting back on the Daytona afterwards was like coming home again 🙂
But I’ve had some other interesting bikes over the years. Usually a very sad looking CB250 from one shop. It seemed like every time I used it something else was wrong with it. On one occasion, it was missing the side stand. This would be fine as there was also a centre stand, but some previous rider had actually managed to bend this out of shape. Made it very awkward.
It was close to my favourite loaner though and fanging it along up to 110kmh on the freeway I did always keep waiting for it die, but it never did.
One time the same shop gave me a slightly less battered GS500. This was horrible and I asked that they never let me have that one again. I would rather hoon about on their CB250
A previous shop gave me a Honda 650 Duelsville (I think that’s it’s name) I renamed it the Dullsville. Bland and boring. Great commuter (and I later met a guy who had one for just that). I think the more recent NC750 should be much better.
I’ve talked previously about the time the shop gave me a GSX1300R Hayabusa. That was interesting. This shop had earlier given me a GSXR600 when their loaner hadn’t been returned unexpectedly.
To be honest, I’ve almost ridden more different bikes through shop loan bikes than test rides! I think I’ve test ridden the
2013 Ducati SF848 Streetfighter
2004 Honda CBR600RR
2013 Triumph Street Triple 675R
2013 Suzuki GSX600R
2015 Honda VFR800F
(Can you see where I was shopping and ended up with the Daytona)
What different bikes have you ridden from the shop?
My commute home has a long stretch where they are making the two way road into a dual lane divided road (and they’ll probably reduce the speed limit). Most of it is done now, and its pretty sweet, with several lights for me to filter through.
The patch where it’s not complete has become a bottleneck though, and even though I’m heading the opposite way to most commuters, the traffic can back up a bit (though nothing like what the people headed the other way have to deal with).
Last night I was coming up to this part when another rider caught and then passed me. He caught up to the cars ahead and sat quite close behind, much less than my several bike lengths. Just as he did, the cars in front had some random (I couldn’t see why) reason to slow a lot, quite suddenly. But there was a moment that he had to brake hard as well, as I slowed. I had a heart in mouth moment that I was about to see him run into the back of the cars. It was pretty close, with him swerving towards the other lane as well.
The cars slowed like this a couple of times, as the other rider continued to sit off the back of the last car.
Expecting the worst at any moment I was slowly increasing my gap to this lot.
At this point the road became dual lane for a short period. The cars at the back who had also been frustrated at whatever the car in front had been doing, shot out into the new lane and along with the bike were racing for the merge.
Initially I did too.
But very quickly I could see that the bike was going to be stuck in the middle of a bunch of cars trying to merge before they hit some concrete walls and if I continued as I was going I would be in the middle of that too. I back off several car lengths to let them all sort it out.
One car almost merged right on top of the bike, he gave a wave, the usual SMIDSY.
It was extremely close from my POV, and looking at it, that car drove through where I would likely been riding too. Still expecting the worst.
It all cleared up shortly after, but I was astounded that the other rider continued to ride on the rear bumper of the cars, even after two near misses in less than a kilometre.
Perhaps I shouldn’t have been surprised…. the Nike shoes he wore looked expensive, but matched nicely with the red Ducati 999s….
We don’t like it when cars tailgate us…. why do some of us do it to them??
A giant farm bike is sometimes how I feel riding this bike. I think that might be because I’ve not ridden any motards and very few naked bikes.
While in NZ I will be taking every chance to ride this Aprillia Dusodoro 1200. Have done about 150km so far and it’s been good – it’s not the bike I would buy but it’s a good ride.
The first time I chopped the throttle in first gear I almost bumped the handlebars and then opening the throttle I almost flew off the bike. The big v-twin has plenty of go. Manoeuvrability is excellent with the high position, wide bars (not clip ons) and vision is great too. It’s a big dirt bike seat so likely not so comfy long distance.
But with a fuel tank of something like 14L it hasn’t got the range to spend too long before a break. And this is probably the main limitation of the bike if you’re going to be roaming about on it.
Where any bike is better than no bike this is a pretty good bike to be “stuck” with. Not a bike that would suit me or what I ride (I’d almost need to refuel it every other day on the commute) but an interesting ride.