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Delvo
2010-Jan-04, 04:47 AM
I've been looking at the websites of motorcycle manufacturers lately and noticed a couple of things that I don't get.

Suzuki, Honda, Yamaha, and Kawasaki all have two separate categories called "cruisers" and "touring bikes", but I can't tell what makes some of them fit into one group and others fit into the other group. Among Hondas and Yamahas, the touring bikes and sport-touring bikes (a blend of their touring and sport/racing styles) have large fairings and storage compartments. The cruisers have no fairings and less storage space or none at all, and their engine parts and teardrop gas tank are exposed and easily visible (the standard Harley Davidson look).

But Kawasaki, despite mostly following that general trend, has exceptions to both rules, and lists some models in both categories but others in only one category or the other. Meanwhile, I see no sign of any difference between these categories at all in Suzuki, which makes just one of the two kinds I see (the naked kind that would usually be called "cruiser" by other companies) but puts them in two groups and calls one group "touring bikes" anyway.

So what's the actual definition; what makes each group what it is? It must be something I'm not seeing yet.

Also, can anyone explain why touring bikes, or at least motorcycles fitting the description I gave above that works for Honda & Yamaha and almost works for Kawasaki, are so much more expensive than the other types? (See the attached image.) I don't know what would make them that much more complex than other motorcycles. Do they just figure they can charge more because they expect the customers for that type of motorcycle to be wealthier than the customers for the other types?

captain swoop
2010-Jan-04, 12:22 PM
Touring bikes tend to have lots of extra 'bits' like the intercoms, seats, fairings, panniers etc. Suspension, tyres and so on tend to be better quality
Transmission is shaft drive rather than chain on some of them as well (although sports tyres can cost a fortune and only last about 500 miles, I payn about 400 each for mine.)

Plus people who go touring tend to have the cash to spare.

Cruisers look flash and have an 'easy' riding position but they tend to be less robust and the riding positions a, fairings and tank capacities aren't designed for a long trip at high speed on a motorway.
Sports/Tourers are the closest to an 'everyday' bike Riding position and performance is more sporting.

As a long time super sports rider I know little about cruisers and tourers.

cosmocrazy
2010-Jan-04, 10:51 PM
I think you summed it up pretty well in your description Captain Swoop. The "touring" bikes tend to be equipped for long distance comfort riding and as you mentioned tend to have many extra accessories such as sat-nav, stereos, etc..
The cruisers on the other hand are basically exactly what it says on the tin. They are designed for easy riding. A machine you can just jump on and have a stroll round the park, as they say. But really its down to each individual manufacturer's own definition of what they are trying to promote in each model they design and produce for sale.

eric_marsh
2010-Jan-05, 12:09 AM
Don't forget sports touring bikes - they tend to split the difference between sports bikes, i.e. lightweight powerful quick handling and touring bikes i.e. able to cross states in a single bound. Then there's what I have heard called GT or open class bikes - the Hayabusa and ZX-14. I've got one of each. The fourteen in particular is smooth and has a comfortable riding position - to me anyway. Except for the seat being a little hard riding a couple hundred miles isn't tough to do on these bikes.

Delvo
2010-Jan-05, 05:58 AM
Cruisers look flash and have an 'easy' riding position but they tend to be less robust and the riding positions a, fairings and tank capacities aren't designed for a long trip at high speed on a motorway.That sentence seems to be missing some words, but I think I still caught two things about the difference between tourers & cruisers: that cruisers are "less robust" and have smaller fuel tanks. But what do you mean by robustness? (It sounds like it means cruisers would get worn out more quickly and easily, but then, why do people buy them, especially the really expensive ones?)

Since you mentioned highway speeds, I'm guessing that you might be bringing up something specific to speed, but I'm not sure what it is that you're saying about speed. Are touring bikes given different transmission gear ratios to keep RPM (and thus noise, vibration, and wear & tear) down at high speed, while cruisers use higher RPM?

Also, if cruisers have an easy riding position, what's less easy about the position a touring bike puts you in?


The cruisers... are designed for easy riding. A machine you can just jump on and have a stroll round the park, as they say.There's that "easy riding" phrase again. What does it mean? And about "jumping on" for a "stroll": what about other kinds of motorcycles (particularly touring bikes) makes them not as good for that?


intercoms, seats, fairings, panniers etc. Suspension, tyres and so on tend to be better quality
Transmission is shaft drive rather than chain on some of them as well
extra accessories such as sat-nav, stereos, etc..By "intercoms", do you mean something for a rider and passenger to plug their helmets into so they can talk to each other? That can't be much more than a couple dozen dollars of electronics.

Fairings are found on the cheapest sport bikes. They and panniers (storage things; I had to look up that word!) are just simply bulky shapes of metal, polymer, or fiberglass, plus some small light hinges and locks. At a stretch, that's a few hundred dollars. A navigation system and stereo add another couple hundred at most, and the same goes for tires. Whatever's different about the seats can't be very big either; they're still just seats.

The price difference between any given company's cheapest touring or even sport-touring bike and their cheapest in other categories is from 6 to over 10 thousand dollars. So your lists leave almost all of that to be accounted for by suspension, transmission, and "etc". What's the rest of the "etc"? I'm still not seeing how this adds up, especially when sport bikes are the category that would place the most demand on engine and transmission performance and that class includes some of the cheapest motorcycles.

* * *

I also note something else about the price distributions. The sport and cruiser categories have wider price ranges than the touring category does, with each company's sport bikes spanning roughly a 5k-9k range and cruisers spanning a roughly 10k-16k range; the red bars are not only shifted to the right, but also shorter than the blue and green bars. (This would be easier to see at a glance in Honda's case if I hadn't merged the "touring" and "sport-touring" into one line for simplicity; their sport-touring bikes are under 16k and their only dedicated touring bike is over 22k.) What makes those other ranges so wide is another separate question, but the fact that the touring bike price ranges are narrower means maybe that's the question I should have asked in the first place.

The difference between categories shrinks a lot if you compare the touring bikes to only the top half or so of another category. So what if the touring category would have had just as wide of a range, but the bottom half just is missing so all we can see is the top? That would explain a lot of the between-category difference as just a result of the same things that cause within-category variation, just with the cheaper potential touring examples (which could have completed the range) being absent.

But that just leads to the questions of why prices vary so much within a group, and why the other half of the touring group, where the potential prices would have been lower, isn't there...


Then there's what I have heard called GT or open class bikes - the Hayabusa and ZX-14.Their manufacturers call them sport bikes, and they look like other sport bikes to me. What's the difference, why don't the manufacturers say they're different, and what does "GT" stand for?

Middenrat
2010-Jan-05, 07:19 AM
I think, Delvo, you could explain the differences and causes of mosickle pricing yourself if you have any insight in that market, or is your above critique an analyst's breakdown of the statistics presented?

captain swoop
2010-Jan-05, 09:04 AM
Sports bikes vary in price dependinmg on the technology and performance plus quality.
I have a Yamaha YZF R6. It's a 'Supersports' It's not the latest model but the YZF has 'Fly by wire' throttle' lots of Carbon Fibre, Engine management systems and the tyres are over a 1000 a pair. I am getting rid of it this year and going back toa Ducati 996. It's a few years old but has single sided swing arm, carbon fibre parts, etc. There are sports bikes that don't have as much expensive technology and so they cost less but they perform less.
As for 'cruisers' then tend to be low revving V twins with chrome trim to look 'cool' they are fairly low tech.
'Proper' tourers have multi cylinder engines for smooth delivery and low vibration, they are set up for carrying a heavy load, some of the big tourers like the Honda 'Gold Wing' have 6 cylinder liquid cooled engines and can tow a trailer.
Cruisers while they look comfortable I find they are only good for a couple of hundred miles. My Yamaha is only good for about 50 miles before my wrists, neck and legs ache because of the riding position. They are 'hard work' to ride properly as well. At high speed the headwind takes the weight off your wrists but you have to 'move about' on the bike to corner properly. Tourers sit you in a comfortable upright position and the fairing keeps all the wind off you so that you can maintain speeds of 70 plus in comfort and keep dry.

eric_marsh
2010-Jan-05, 01:13 PM
Their manufacturers call them sport bikes, and they look like other sport bikes to me. What's the difference, why don't the manufacturers say they're different, and what does "GT" stand for?

The GT term is something that I've seen some magazines use, meaning Gran Tourismo.

Delvo
2010-Jan-09, 05:46 AM
OK, on the difference between a touring bike and a cruier... in terms of ride smoothness and comfort, you've made it sound as if touring bikes are just plain better than cruisers, so why do people buy the more expensive cruisers, whose prices are equivalent to touring bike prices? Is it just for looks, or do cruisers actually do something better than touring bikes? Do the more expensive cruisers have touring-like engines & suspension, and just lack fairings (and have smaller or no storage compartments)?

And what are Kawasaki and Suzuki thinking with their categories? I know I can't see in a picture how the engines & suspensions work, but you've indicated that fairings and seating position are important to touring bikes' purpose, and I can see those. And Kawasaki has mixtures of motorcycles fitting both descriptions listed under both categorical names, whereas Suzuki seems to only make what looks like one of the two types (cruisers) but calls some of them touring bikes anyway. Why would they do that?


I think, Delvo, you could explain the differences and causes of mosickle pricing yourself if you have any insight in that market, or is your above critique an analyst's breakdown of the statistics presented?I don't understand. I don't get what would make you think I have any particular insight (or that I've claimed to have it), and I don't know what "statistics" you're talking about (just the simple price ranges?) or who the "analyst" you're talking about would be (me?).

I'm just saying I see these price differences between types of motorcycle according to the manufacturers' websites, and don't know how to explain them in terms of the mechanical, physical differences between the motorcycle types. I'm used to similar things making a much smaller difference in other contexts (for example, the difference between two engine & suspension package options in the same car or truck would usually be much smaller than this gap, and so would spoilers, cars' nearest equivalent to fairings). And there's not much price difference between the categories of "sportbike" and "cruiser", which do have working parts about as different from each other as theirs are from "touring" bikes'. So I ask because I don't know what's going on here and haven't seen others comment on it elsewhere. It might be just a matter of marketing and the relative wealth of the customer base, but I didn't want to conclude that it must be that before checking to make sure there wasn't some important engineering distinction that I was missing.

captain swoop
2010-Jan-09, 11:29 AM
It's down to markets. In the UK for example cruisers are very much a minority style. They are seen as 'American' and have a reputation for vague handling, not cornering too sharply and having a soggy ride. Our tradition is one of sports riding in the summer and hiding behind a big fairing in the winter wearing gloves and suits heated from the bike electrics. Cruisers are seen as not being for a serious 'Biker', they tend to be seen being ridden by middle aged men in the summer on gentle runs to the coast.
A Harley is OK as that comes with the 'Outlaw biker' mythos but is horribly expensive. Japanese copies of Harlerys are seen as not being quite right.
I have always had sports bikes. Before I had my car license I had a 'summer' sports bike and a winter 'hack' Kawasaki GT 550. a low end 'tourer' much beloved of couriers in London as they have the same engine as the GPz sports and a built in carrier rack on the back.

NorthernBoy
2010-Jan-11, 03:14 PM
(the standard Harley Davidson look).

That look is very far from standard. It is very much a niche look, favoured by only one manufacturer, and which is only popular inly in one country.

As to why people buy cruisers, it is genuinely a mystery to many of us bikers. I ride a BMW R1200GS for when I want to cross continents, a Husqvarna TE250 for when I want to cross deserts, and a Honda PS125 for when I want to cross London. Each is designed to do this job as well as it possibly can, whereas a cruiser is a bike designed around a look, or, to put it another way, it is a bike where fashion has dictated form almost entirely.

Still, though, some people do flock to them. Harley have made some efforts in recent years to make better bikes, as they understand that fashion can change, and the product must stand on its own two wheels to ensure survival, but they do seem to be rather popular with middle aged office workers who want something to match their tasseled jacket and chaps that they wear for their ten mile sunday morning ride.


Their manufacturers call them sport bikes, and they look like other sport bikes to me. What's the difference, why don't the manufacturers say they're different, and what does "GT" stand for?

Bikes like the Hayabusa are sports-touring bikes. Before my BMW, I had a Honda Fireblade. Despite it being less powerful and "slower" than the Hayabusa, it was most definitely a sports bike, designed to circulate a racetrack as fast as it possibly could. The Hayabusa is heavier, longer, and with lazier steering geometry, which makes it excellent for crossing Germany at 150mph, but less good round the Nurburgring, where the more nimble sports bikes are better suited to the conditions.

To answer your more general point about which classification of bike means what, the distinction is somewhat arbitrary for some models. The manufacturers will try to make a range of bikes to attract as many customers as possible, but the question of where to draw the line between sports, sports-touring, and touring is not clear, and that's before we even get into dual purpose, commuters, big trailies, enduro bikes, maxi scooters, and so on.

Are you thinking of buying one, then?

NorthernBoy
2010-Jan-11, 03:22 PM
I'm just saying I see these price differences between types of motorcycle according to the manufacturers' websites, and don't know how to explain them in terms of the mechanical, physical differences between the motorcycle types.

On this specific point, it is the quality of the components, the development costs of the technology, and what the market will support which dictates the price more than the niche into which the bike is placed.

Perhaps one reason that tourers go for more money is that they tend to be bought by older riders, who in turn tend to have more money than younger riders do.

When I was at college I scraped what I could together for the fastest sports bike I could get my hands on (A Yamaha RD350 YPVS followed by a Honda VFR400). Comfort, practicality and longevity were simply not a consideration, all that mattered was what the bike could do when I wanted to go fast.

Now, a few years later, I could not ride these bikes for fun. The riding position would hurt my wrists, I would get bored of the engine drone on my 300 mile ride to Newcastle, and there is not much space to put luggage (and that which I do have would have to be strapped on and removed at each stop). Instead, I want a bike that lets me ride all day long, has room for luggage (and which lets me continue when the road stops).

BMW know that there are plenty of us in our thirties with ready cash and a desire for something like the above, and have brought to market a very expensive bike that ticks all of our boxes. I am pretty sure, if it was seventeen year olds that wanted a big enduro bike, that they would be coming in at a much cheaper level than they currently are.

captain swoop
2010-Jan-11, 04:58 PM
I like an out and out sports bike. I like to 'scratch' arounf the smaller A roads across the Norht Yorks Moors and the Dales. We have some of the top biking roads in the country. I usualy ride with 3 or 4 others.
At the moment I have as I have already posted a Yamaha YZF R6, it's a 600cc bike. I have had bigger but they aren't as fast round the roads I ride. I am going to trade back to a Ducati 996 I have had 2 o fthese in the past, I am looking at a 2001 model. It's a bigger engine than the Yamaha but the weight and handling is very similar, they are compact bikes compared to their rivals.

I have never seen the point of 'Cruiser' I would feel far too frustrated being passed by all the sports bikes and not being able to do anything about it.

captain swoop
2010-Jan-11, 05:00 PM
I do fancy an old Air Cooled Yamaha RD 250 twin though, 1970s vintage, they were mental 2 stroke screamers. I learned to ride on one, it had rear set pegs, clip on bars and a crazy tuned pipe.
I traded that for an RD 350 YPVS like Northernboy. It was fast but not the same some how.

NorthernBoy
2010-Jan-11, 05:38 PM
I like an out and out sports bike. I like to 'scratch' arounf the smaller A roads across the Norht Yorks Moors and the Dales. We have some of the top biking roads in the country. I usualy ride with 3 or 4 others.

As my brother lives just outside Northallerton, I'm often there on the bike, and always stop en route to Northumberland from London (although for Christmas I took the RS4. Heated seats, a roof and four wheel drive seemed a better choice than the bike for that trip). The roads up there are definitely far better than what I can easily reach from Canary Wharf.

I definitely miss the performance of my 'Blade (although I purposely bought a slower bike to avoid jail), but managed some pretty respectable laps of the 'Ring on the GS last year. Its riding position inspires confidence, letting me push right up to its limits on every bend in a way that I rarely managed on a proper sportsbike.

Perhaps one day I'll own a Harley, but I think that the transition to that decision will have to involve some form of major head trauma, as at the moment I genuinely cannot understand what people use them for.

captain swoop
2010-Jan-11, 07:33 PM
I drink in the 'Station' in Redcar, a long time biker pub. There are a few Harly owners in there, it's something you are bortn to I think. They went from learner bikes to Chops and Harleys when we were all youngsters many moons ago.
It's mainly the long time sports riders (as opposed tothose that come to biking in middle age) that are either dead or walking with a limp.

cosmocrazy
2010-Jan-11, 08:24 PM
I do fancy an old Air Cooled Yamaha RD 250 twin though, 1970s vintage, they were mental 2 stroke screamers. I learned to ride on one, it had rear set pegs, clip on bars and a crazy tuned pipe.
I traded that for an RD 350 YPVS like Northernboy. It was fast but not the same some how.

Yeah I had an old air cooled twin RD 250, when it became un-road worthy my uncle put some spud tyres on it and let his boys loose on the fields it went like stink! I then moved onto a RD-LC 350 which was a great bike at the time. I ported and polish the cylinder head stuck on a illegal exhaust and did some other bits of tunning. It was quite quick and good fun to ride. I then bought a Suzuki Gamma RG 250, this thing was rapid and would accelerate like a super bike! But man it was temperamental!
Oh... the good old days! :)

captain swoop
2010-Jan-11, 10:06 PM
RD aircooled and the LC are both collectors classics now, they go for a fortune.
There is a company that will upgrade your old Yamaha LC with the forks from a Suzuki Gamma and the swingarm from an Yamaha FZR so you can put on some modern wheels with wide sticky' profile tyres. It turns it into a modern bike that can hold its own with a lot of the 600 class Sports Bikes on the twisty stuff.

Delvo
2010-Jan-13, 06:19 AM
That look is very far from standard.It's Harley Davidson's standard, which is all I was referring to with that phrase. :D


Are you thinking of buying one, then?Not seriously, for the next few years, partially due to money... but the way I'm looking at this is based on what I would want if I were buying soon, or what I'll do if and when I decide to really get one in a few years.

I have no interest in cruisers at all. In fact, I count that look as a negative. I only brought them up because of Suzuki calling some of them "tourers" for no apparent reason and Kawasaki mixing the two types of machine under both labels. It made me wonder which ones were which and why. Now I see that the definitions I had inferred from Honda and Yamaha, which Kawasaki also sorto follows, are correct, the common definitions in use by people... even though Kawasaki has exceptions and Suzuki completely ignores them.

What would interest me most would be touring or sport-touring bikes: I would want fairings and storage boxes and a relatively relaxed upright position. The one type of motorcycle fitting that description with the least-insane price is the Honda NT700V (http://powersports.honda.com/2010/nt700v.aspx). I'd be using it for routine transportation in my city, at least. I'm not sure about long highway trips, which I might rather us a car for anyway, but even just using it around town means it would be close to useless without some way to carry at least some small items with me. (I do shop, and go to school, and occasionally take things to and back from work.) For such local distances, maybe crouching forward to some extent wouldn't be bad, so getting a cheap sport bike like a Kawasaki Ninja 500R (http://kawasaki.com/Products/Product-Specifications.aspx?scid=6&id=315) or 250R (http://kawasaki.com/Products/Product-Specifications.aspx?scid=6&id=431) or Suzuki GS500F (http://www.suzukicycles.com/Product%20Lines/Cycles/Products/GS500F/2009/GS500F.aspx?category=sportbike) just for the cheapness would make sense, if they just has some storage! I've even thought of somehow customizing such a bike with added-on storage myself, but then I thought "What keeps Kawasaki or Suzuki from doing that themselves; why does adding some boxes and shifting the rider's position up and back a bit triple the price?".

But my questions have been mostly semi-idle curiosity about how the system works, because I'm already fairly sure that my practical requirements and my desire not to waste money on pretentious image will both lead me, in real life, to a scooter. What people normally think of when they think of scooters (things like a Honda Metropolitan (http://powersports.honda.com/2009/metropolitan.aspx) & Elite (http://powersports.honda.com/2010/elite.aspx) and Yamaha Vino (http://www.yamaha-motor.com/sport/products/modelhome/328/0/home.aspx)) probably wouldn't handle some of the faster-moving, heavier-traffic streets around here very well, but if they can't, then there are bigger, beefier "scooters" that I think would, like Yamaha Majesty (http://www.yamaha-motor.com/sport/products/modelhome/415/0/home.aspx), Suzuki Burgman (http://www.suzukicycles.com/Product%20Lines/Cycles/Products/Burgman%20400/2009/AN400.aspx?category=scooters), and maybe Honda SH150i (http://powersports.honda.com/2010/sh150i.aspx). If I could be sure that the "performance" of either type of scooters isn't just inadequate for my urban environment, then I'd just go straight to a scooter and never give any type of motorcycle another look.


On this specific point, it is the quality of the components, the development costs of the technology, and what the market will supportI'm curious how they concluded that there can be no market for cheap components and simple technology such as apparently characterize the cheaper sport bikes & cruisers, but in the shape of a motorcycle with an upright seating position, fairings, and storage boxes. Each of those features can be found, separately, on relatively cheap sport bikes or cruisers, so why not all three together and still for an equivalent price? It's the kind of motorcycle I would want, so I'm not getting what makes me so rare.

captain swoop
2010-Jan-13, 08:35 AM
I would go for the Kawasaki 500 or the Suzuki GS

Both are considered to be 'Commuter' bikes in the UK not Sports Bikes (whatever the manufacturers claim) although they take some of their styling from their 'proper' sports brothers they have a more relaxed riding position and the engine tune is more relaxed for steady riding rather than high revving. Wheels and tyres aren't as 'extreme' as on sports bikes so you don't have to spend a fortune every 1500 miles on expensive tyres, they don't need the stickyness and profile of out and out sports tyres so they last longer. and fuel consumption is a lot better. Don't go for a 250, you will have to rev it and dance on the gears to make any kind of progress, too small for a proper relaxed ride. I know someone with the Kawasaki, it's a good bike and the Suzuki GS is a fave of Riding Schools in the UK.

I wouldn'y go for a V Twin, whatever the manufacturer says they vibrate and can be 'lumpy' Although it doesn't have a full fairing consider the Honda Hornet.It's what I would call a factory built 'Street fighter' You get the performance of a proper Sports Bike in a cheaper package with a more relaxed riding style.

crosscountry
2010-Jan-15, 05:29 AM
I've owned half a dozen cruisers, and they all have a similar riding position - on your tailbone. They have chrome covering many parts. The cylinders are exposed, and the exhaust is covered by chrome.

My current bikes include one cruiser, and two dual purpose bike. With luggage one of the latter becomes a "sport tourer" which is how I use it.

crosscountry
2010-Jan-15, 05:31 AM
I wouldn'y go for a V Twin, whatever the manufacturer says they vibrate and can be 'lumpy' Although it doesn't have a full fairing consider the Honda Hornet.It's what I would call a factory built 'Street fighter' You get the performance of a proper Sports Bike in a cheaper package with a more relaxed riding style.


don't knock all v-twins! cruisers tend to have more vibrations, but many sport bikes and dual purpose bikes are v-twins. I find them just as comfortable as 4 cylinder bikes to ride for smoothness. They also have a distinct advantage in torque and thus low end acceleration.

crosscountry
2010-Jan-15, 05:34 AM
Sports bikes vary in price dependinmg on the technology and performance plus quality.
I have a Yamaha YZF R6. It's a 'Supersports'


in the states we consider sport bikes with more than 750cc. fewer than 750 is not

crosscountry
2010-Jan-15, 05:35 AM
I have never seen the point of 'Cruiser' I would feel far too frustrated being passed by all the sports bikes and not being able to do anything about it.

haha, maybe on the straight roads. you haven't ridden with many good cruiser riders. it's more about the person riding than the actual bike ;)

captain swoop
2010-Jan-15, 08:41 AM
I don't knock all V Tiwns, my fave bike is a Ducati, am thinking of swapping the Yamaha for another 996 this year,. It's 996cc but has the size and weight of a smaller bike.
Engine size isn't a factor in classing 'Sports Bikes' in he UK, it's down to performance, riding position and handling. 600cc class is popular for insurance reasons here and for licensing reasons in Japan. Put together in means the 600 class is prob the most highly developed and 'sporty' class on the road. Around our twisty A roads they make faster progress than bigger bikes.

Delvo
2010-Jan-18, 07:12 AM
I would go for the Kawasaki 500 or the Suzuki GSThen what would you do about carrying small items with you? Wear a backpack?


Don't go for a 250, you will have to rev it and dance on the gears to make any kind of progress, too small for a proper relaxed ride.Interesting note: some of the bigger "scooters" I've been looking at (the Suzuki and Yamaha's Majesty) have a bigger engine than that (about 400cc), and even Honda's SH150i is only about 40% less. :D Of course, the smaller, more normal scooters hang around just one or two fifths of that. But they are lighter and cheaper with more storage space...

captain swoop
2010-Jan-18, 12:10 PM
Scooters have small wheels,they are less stable and more prone to 'tramlining' on road defects, bouncing over potholes and have less stability and will wander around in the wind. Small wheels and tyres also mean less grip than a bike.
they are however easy to ride, keep your legs dry and don't use much fuel.
If I have to carry anything I either use a rucksack, tank bag, cargo net on the rear or you can buy a removable 'top box' that fits onto the rear top of the bike. removable panniers are also available.

Albion
2010-Jan-18, 03:26 PM
You know, the terms given for bikes in the cruising and touring line are pretty much moot now a days. But the name explains it all.

Touring = Bikes built for cross country touring. People that want to take their bikes on vacation. Primary extras, storage space, fairing, comfortable passenger seat, beefier motor.

Cruising = Bikes built for short cruises. Maybe at most a few hour circle around the countryside or back and forth to work. Primary extras maybe a set of saddle bags and a small clear fairing, but usually neither of those.

Keep this in mind. Know what you want before you buy a bike. If you're younger you'll probably change bikes at least once in the first 5 years of ownership. Most people find that they've made the wrong decision or grown bored with their bike after they've ridden for a while. (That and the fact that nearly 1/2 of new riders dump their bike within the first year is why I always suggest buying used) After their first few years most people move on to something more practical. Riding a chopper makes you look f**king cool, but most are hard tails (no rear suspension) and leave little to be desired in the butt and back area. Sport bikes are fast and fun, but not very good during long trips and pretty uncomfortable IMHO. Cruisers are awesome for riding to work or bar hopping but again are not optimal for riding long distances. Touring bike are VERY nice for long trips, but they're clunky and awkward when you just want to ride solo around town.

My wife has been looking for a bike lately. It seems at least here in Milwaukee women have converted from passengers to drivers. I see more and more women on the road every year. But anyway... She's sick of sitting on the back of my cruiser. lol So I took her to a bunch of second hand bike shops and let her sit on all types of bike. After that she had a MUCH better grasp on what she wanted. Like I tell my wife... Ultimately comfort is going to be your #1 priority and finding a bike that fits you will be the best decision you ever make.

Good Luck.

-Al

NorthernBoy
2010-Jan-18, 04:05 PM
although sports tyres can cost a fortune and only last about 500 miles, I payn about 400 each for mine.)

Hang on, you are paying 800 a set for road tyres, and getting through them in 500 miles? Which tyres cost so much, and what are you doing to wear them out at that pace.

NorthernBoy
2010-Jan-18, 04:10 PM
don't knock all v-twins! cruisers tend to have more vibrations, but many sport bikes and dual purpose bikes are v-twins. I find them just as comfortable as 4 cylinder bikes to ride for smoothness. They also have a distinct advantage in torque and thus low end acceleration.

There is no inherent feature of a twin's design over a four that gives it more torque. What you might find is that because large capacity twins are not easily made to rev highly (heavier pistons or longer stroke) their designers have to go a different route, and focus on getting more out at the bottom end of the range.

My bike (R1200GS) does feel torquey, but in reality has less than a fireblade, despite the japanese bike having less capacity.


haha, maybe on the straight roads. you haven't ridden with many good cruiser riders. it's more about the person riding than the actual bike

Only within limits, though. A similar ability of rider is going to be faster on a sportsbike than on a cruiser in most situations. For one thing ground clearance limits cruiser riders to a very pedestrian rate of progress in the bends.

They just feel that they are going fast because so many bits of the bike are dragging on the deck...

HenrikOlsen
2010-Jan-18, 06:48 PM
Cruisers are awesome for riding to work or bar hopping but again are not optimal for riding long distances.
:eek: I don't like the concepts of driving and bar hopping in the same sentence.

Albion
2010-Jan-18, 07:42 PM
:eek: I don't like the concepts of driving and bar hopping in the same sentence.

That's only if you assume the consumption of alcohol. ;)

HenrikOlsen
2010-Jan-18, 07:43 PM
I though alcohol was the purpose of bar hopping.

Albion
2010-Jan-18, 07:58 PM
I though alcohol was the purpose of bar hopping.

I like going on poker runs. At each bar the wife and I stop at we get a playing card. The team with the best poker hand at the end wins a prize.

I agree with you though, riding and alcohol do not mix. My wife gives me the business if I have even one beer on a ride. Trust me, it's very unproductive to annoy the wife, so I refrain from drinking. It's better that way in the end for everybody. If I wanted to drink I'd go home, get the car and make the wife drive.

-Al

pzkpfw
2010-Jan-18, 08:00 PM
[Edit: lo and behold, while I was typing this, the above was posted...]

There's a thing they do here called a "poker run".

Guys ride from pub to pub, and at each place get a playing card.

At the end of the event the person with the best poker hand wins something.

I'm sure most riders are careful, and it's only their pillions who really drink - but still, I'm never going near an event like that,

When I ride, my alcohol limit is zero.



P.S. I do have to mention that "****" in a post is not a good thing.

NorthernBoy
2010-Jan-18, 08:04 PM
:eek: I don't like the concepts of driving and bar hopping in the same sentence.

The guys on cruisers daren't drink, as their moms would have a hissy fit when they got back home...

captain swoop
2010-Jan-18, 09:42 PM
Hang on, you are paying 800 a set for road tyres, and getting through them in 500 miles? Which tyres cost so much, and what are you doing to wear them out at that pace.

Little bit of exaggeration I am afraid, that's prob my annual cost.
I use Pirelli Supercorsa or Metzeler Sportec M-3, I pay about 280 a pair plus fitting charge, so about 320 altogether. I get about 500 - 600 miles before they are starting to wear out on the shoulders, I get through 2 and a half to three sets a summer. I will start this year with a few hundred miles left on last years set.

Most of my riding is quite hard around the twisty roads of North Yorkshire in the Dales and along the North Yorkshire Moors and into the Wolds plus some Track Days at a couple of circuits, Weekend trip to Donnington for the GP etc.
Usualy in company with other riders.

I am one of those annoying ones that scream past in matching leathers with metal knee and elbow pads in company with 5 or six others :)

captain swoop
2010-Jan-18, 09:53 PM
We ride from Cafe to Cafe. Along Bilsdale and up over the moors to Helmsley, stop for cuppa. Across to Scarborough, stop for a cuppa. Back inland to Pickering stop for a cuppa then over the Moors past Fylingdales and down into Whitby. Fish and Chips, anotrher cuppa (lots of toilet breaks) then over the Moors home. Or blast across inland and up through Whnseydale and cut across up to Alston and then west and down to Penrith and back home along the A66.

Delvo
2010-Jan-19, 05:16 AM
You know, the terms given for bikes in the cruising and touring line are pretty much moot now a days. But the name explains it all.

Touring = Bikes built for cross country touring... People that want to take their bikes on vacation...

Cruising = Bikes built for short cruises. Maybe at most a few hour circle around the countryside...I'm still at a loss to imagine how the kind that's not so good for a long trip could be better for a short one. I'd expect the longer trip to be more demanding and the shorter trip to be easier to be good at, so that whichever machine is better for longer trips would also be at least as good for shorter ones. I can't picture how the combination of being best for long trips but not so good for short ones is possible.

In other words, it just seems odd to describe what any machine (such as cruisers in this case) is supposed to be good for, in terms of how little of that activity it's good for and how much you would not want to continue using it. I can't imagine, for example, anyone saying that one of the great things about a certain type of food is how bad it tastes after too many bites, or a home being advertised for how good it is at making you wish you didn't live there after a couple of years.

crosscountry
2010-Jan-19, 05:24 AM
cruisers not meant for touring???

here's my 1997 VS800GL in a few places

http://photos.crosscountryadventures.us/albums/RoadTrips/TripWest2005/MCandGC/DSC02860.jpg

http://photos.crosscountryadventures.us/albums/RoadTrips/TripWest2005/arizona/DSC03275.jpg
Oceanside, California

http://photos.crosscountryadventures.us/albums/RoadTrips/NationalParks/dsc04274.jpg

http://photos.crosscountryadventures.us/albums/RoadTrips/Summer2006/DSC06652.jpg

http://photos.crosscountryadventures.us/albums/RoadTrips/CrosscountryTrip/my_pictures/Maine-1.jpg
that says Maine Information Center


http://photos.crosscountryadventures.us/albums/RoadTrips/Summer2006%20part%202/statemap%21.gif
I've got a lot more pictures

http://photos.crosscountryadventures.us/albums/RoadTrips/Americade/DSC02218.jpg

who says cruisers cannot travel?
http://photos.crosscountryadventures.us/albums/RoadTrips/CrosscountryTrip/my_pictures/georgia-03.jpg

NorthernBoy
2010-Jan-19, 11:39 AM
I am one of those annoying ones that scream past in matching leathers with metal knee and elbow pads in company with 5 or six others :)

I'm not sure what that looks like, not having ever been passed...

The reason I swapped the 'Blade for the GS was that I was hitting ts top speed every day on the way home from work up the M11, and realised that one day I'd get caught, and that 170mph+ sends you to prison, and probably not only for a day or two.

Still, the GS was sufficient at the 'Ring last year (on sticky rubber) that I was passing 20-30 bikes per lap, and being passed by one or two, which I don't think was too shabby.

NorthernBoy
2010-Jan-19, 11:47 AM
who says cruisers cannot travel?

Yes, cruisers can of course be used for long trips, but they are rarely the best choice. Similarly I used to do massive trips on an RXS100, and later to travel the length of the country on an RD350, so pretty much any bike an be used for any trip that you want. That's not to say, though, that they are ideal for it. I'd actually say that that 200 Yamaha 2-stroke is a better tool for distance work than most Harleys, just because of the riding position, and conversely, my Husqvarna could take me round the world if I wanted, but would be a very, very bad choice on which to do that kind of trip, even compared to a Dyna Glide.

captain swoop
2010-Jan-19, 05:45 PM
I go to the Isle of Man for the TT in the summer if I can (not got there for a couple of years) and I go down to Donnington for the Moto GP and sometimes the World Superbikes. I can pack a fair bit onto my SPorts witha Tank Bag, Rucksack and a cargo net/bungee cords on the back. Between 5 or 6 bikes you can take enough stuff for a weekend.

captain swoop
2010-Jan-19, 06:06 PM
I'm not sure what that looks like, not having ever been passed...

The reason I swapped the 'Blade for the GS was that I was hitting ts top speed every day on the way home from work up the M11, and realised that one day I'd get caught, and that 170mph+ sends you to prison, and probably not only for a day or two.

Still, the GS was sufficient at the 'Ring last year (on sticky rubber) that I was passing 20-30 bikes per lap, and being passed by one or two, which I don't think was too shabby.

I was going to get a Blade back in the 90s when I was still in London, I got my first Ducati instead, it was lighter and a lot less effort to throw around the twisty bits although not as a fast in a straight line. I have never been banned for speeding but I had 9 points on my license at one time and I have had some 'on the spots' for undersize plate and a noisy 'can' on the Yamaha.
You have to be careful speeding over the moors, there can be a couple of hundred bikes in Helmsley or Scarborough on a summer weekend and the police take a keen interest. Usualy bike units but also a traffic car is usualy about. North Yorkshire Police have 2 unmarked Blades with video camers and 'discrete' blue lights. Both are black so not too difficult to spot when you know.
What you have to be careful of isn't being caught speeding, a lot of the roads are too twisty for a very high speed. What they will get you for is 'Racing' if they see a few of you in close proximity at high speed and 'out braking' each other into the bends.

NorthernBoy
2010-Jan-19, 06:29 PM
I've just come in from my first proper ride on my new Husqvarna, and will definitely not be losing my license for speeding on that, as it's geared for a top speed of about 65mph at 11,000RPM, which is quite enough for a single cylinder motorcross bike.

The full-on knobblies and dirt brakes mean that it's back to the olden days in terms of stopping distance, and it does not seem to have a fuel tap, so rather than reserve it will jut run out, I think, but I think that it's going to be a lot of fun when the going gets particularly rough.

pzkpfw
2010-Jan-19, 07:48 PM
What they will get you for is 'Racing' if they see a few of you in close proximity at high speed and 'out braking' each other into the bends.

Yuk! I don't like laws where it's relatively subjective.

Over here, to clamp down on "boy racers" (what we call teenage boys hooning around in their cars, sometimes also called "boy ricers") some new laws were brought in recently.

I'm all for some control on the roads, and door knobs driving (or riding) around at night waking people up are annoying, and idiots spreading diesel on the road so their wheels spin on purpose need something done to them, but, some of these laws seem to boil down to:
"The cop thinks you took off from the traffic lights too fast".
"The cop thinks your wheels shouldn't have spun like that"
and
"The cop thinks your exhaust is too loud".

It leaves a lot up to opinion.

captain swoop
2010-Jan-20, 11:59 AM
In the UK spinning your wheels would show you weren't in full control of thevehicle and would be Driving without Due Care and Attention. An over loud exhaust would have to be measured or on a bike your exhaust can has to have a standard mark and can't be further modified. Laws on driving without due care and attention are always going to be sibjective. At the end of the day it comes down to evidence, that's why the traffic cars have cameras. In court if you go NG and there isn't any video it's down to the word of the officer against yours.

I have to admit that in my yoinger years i was a hooligan on a bike. I still push it too hard sometimes. My last bike before this one died in a hedge on the Scarborough road. I haven't broken any bones for years though.

NorthernBoy
2010-Jan-20, 07:10 PM
I've often been pulled over by the police for doing things that they think are inadvisable, but they've always just given me a bit of a talking to, and asked me to go home. For example, when I bought my first proper sports car (an Elise), I spent half an hour circulating the local roundabout in Canary Wharf at 50mph learning how it moved between grip and slip, and how to control it on the throttle. After sitting watching me for a while it was suggested that I'd had my fun, and ought to move along.

The last time a few weeks back had a bike officer utterly furious that I'd ridden around the outside of him on my scooter when he thought that he was "making progress". I had to try very hard not to laugh as he tried to work out what law I'd broken by breezing past him on what is frankly a girl's shopping trolley.

NorthernBoy
2010-Jan-20, 07:21 PM
I'm still at a loss to imagine how the kind that's not so good for a long trip could be better for a short one.

To come back to this point, it's about what you want for the two. A supersports bike requires some contortions to ride, but gives you very good feedback about what the front wheel is doing at its contact patch. For an hour or two this is perfect when what you want is to get close to its limits. For a 600 mile trip on the autobahns, though, it can end up being literally a pain, in the neck, wrists, and legs.

Or, to take another example, I have a "supermoto", which is a competition motocross bike with road-racing qualifying tyres on it. It is great fun for stunts, jumps, and just playing around, and makes me smile in a way that a big touring bike never could, but the tank range is about thirty miles, I need to mix oil in at every fill, and put in a new sparkplug every few hours. In short, I'd never even consider using it for a ten mile commute, let alone a cross-continent dash.

If you want a good value all-round bike, manufacturers have produced a wide variety of very good ones in recent years. A Suzuki V-strom 600, for example, will suit most possible uses that anyone could ask of it, as would something like my BMW GS (which has been offroad over Mont Blanc, round some of Europe's best circuits, as well as across London and up and down the length of England this last year).

The choice nowadays is endless, and there is pretty much a continuum of purposes from which to choose.

In fact, there are very few bad bikes nowadays.

Oh, well, except Harleys...

captain swoop
2010-Jan-20, 11:47 PM
Go and ride some, or at least sit on them.
For a general purpose bike I would recommend a Yamaha Fazer, Suzuki Bandit, Honda Hornet, Kawasaki ZZR or a Ducati Monster.

Fazer or Bandit top.

crosscountry
2010-Jan-21, 01:28 AM
If you want a good value all-round bike, manufacturers have produced a wide variety of very good ones in recent years. A Suzuki V-strom 600, for example, will suit most possible uses that anyone could ask of it, as would something like my BMW GS

My VStrom 650 is a fantastic bike, the best I've ever owned. And it is really comfortable, reliable, and quick.

pzkpfw
2010-Jan-21, 01:42 AM
This pic might be useful.

Delvo
2010-Jan-21, 02:50 AM
I'm still at a loss to imagine how the kind that's not so good for a long trip could be better for a short one.To come back to this point, it's about what you want for the two. A supersports bike requires some contortions to ride, but gives you very good feedback about what the front wheel is doing at its contact patch. For an hour or two this is perfect when what you want is to get close to its limits...

Or, to take another example, I have a "supermoto", which is a competition motocross bike with road-racing qualifying tyres on it. It is great fun for stunts, jumps, and just playing aroundYa, I got that about the sports and motocross bikes, but the question was about cruisers. If they don't have what makes a touring bike good for touring, OR the stunt ability or offroad ability of a motocross bike, OR the on-road speed of a sport bike... then what DO they have going for them? They're the only type that I still haven't seen defined or described in terms of something about them that's better in any way than the other types.

pzkpfw
2010-Jan-21, 03:58 AM
Tassles.

crosscountry
2010-Jan-21, 04:08 AM
Ya, I got that about the sports and motocross bikes, but the question was about cruisers. If they don't have what makes a touring bike good for touring, OR the stunt ability or offroad ability of a motocross bike, OR the on-road speed of a sport bike... then what DO they have going for them? They're the only type that I still haven't seen defined or described in terms of something about them that's better in any way than the other types.


dude, if I have to explain it to you, you won't understand.


It's the cool factor. Wanna guess how many more girls want to ride on my cruiser than my other bikes?:doh: I try to tell them that the others are more comfortable or go faster or have more capability. Doesn't matter, they want the vibrations of the v-twin and the coolness of black leather and polished chrome.

NorthernBoy
2010-Jan-21, 07:36 AM
Ya, I got that about the sports and motocross bikes, but the question was about cruisers. If they don't have what makes a touring bike good for touring, OR the stunt ability or offroad ability of a motocross bike, OR the on-road speed of a sport bike... then what DO they have going for them? They're the only type that I still haven't seen defined or described in terms of something about them that's better in any way than the other types.

It's in large part the look, really, a fashion thing. The whole style is based around Harleys from decades ago (which is also what most Harleys now still look like), and so is a case of function being driven in large part by form.

With Harleys in particular, people often believe that they are buying into a rebellious lifestyle (this seems much less the case with the Japanese cruisers), and so they appeal to accountants and dentists of a certain age, who want to do a couple of miles to the cafe on a Sunday morning with their tasseled friends to pretend that they are in a tough gang.

captain swoop
2010-Jan-21, 09:44 AM
Real 'tough gang' members also ride Harleys but it's easy to tell the difference. People who ride Cruisers want all that 'Easy Rider' and 'Outlaw' Mythos.
Listen to Bon Jovi 'Wanted' Dead or Alive' and Steppenwolf 'Born to be Wild' :)
In the UK we have Chris Spedding 'Motorbiking' and George Formbey 'Riding in the TT Races'
If I had to buy a 'Cruiser' it would be a Harley but not one from their current range. I would want something stripped down like their 'Sportster' model.
If you want a bike with a Harley engine but the style andcomfort of a Tourer or 'Street' bike then look at Buell http://www.buell.com/

NorthernBoy
2010-Jan-21, 10:54 AM
If you want a bike with a Harley engine but the style andcomfort of a Tourer or 'Street' bike then look at Buell http://www.buell.com/

Harley have canned the Buell brand entirely. You can get a very cheap one if you want the last of the line still sitting in shops, but after that, they are no more.

For me choosing a cruiser motorbike is a bit like buying a Chrysler PT cruiser car. The relationship of your average Harley to my bike is about the same as the Chrysler to my car (Audi RS4), and I very, very definitely do not view owners of Chryslers to be style leaders who I aspire to follow.

I'd personally put their coolness on a par with Ray Ban Wayfarers, as nicely summed up on the excellent "Stuff White People Like".

http://stuffwhitepeoplelike.com/2009/12/22/130-ray-ban-wayfarers/

But, of course, everyone has different tastes, and if a particular look floats someone's boat, there's no way that I am going to say that they are wrong, only that my tastes are quite different. It'd be a boring world if we all wanted the same, after all.

captain swoop
2010-Jan-21, 03:05 PM
I can see the attraction of a big low revving V twin Cruiser and a long stretch of 2 Lane Blacktop off into the sunset. Just like I can see the attraction of an old Brit Twin or Single. There's a certain atttraction to roar round the country lanes on a BSA Gold Star or a Vincent. I wouldn't want to do it myself though.

Albion
2010-Jan-21, 04:21 PM
I'm still at a loss to imagine how the kind that's not so good for a long trip could be better for a short one. I'd expect the longer trip to be more demanding and the shorter trip to be easier to be good at, so that whichever machine is better for longer trips would also be at least as good for shorter ones. I can't picture how the combination of being best for long trips but not so good for short ones is possible.

In other words, it just seems odd to describe what any machine (such as cruisers in this case) is supposed to be good for, in terms of how little of that activity it's good for and how much you would not want to continue using it. I can't imagine, for example, anyone saying that one of the great things about a certain type of food is how bad it tastes after too many bites, or a home being advertised for how good it is at making you wish you didn't live there after a couple of years.

I'm not saying that a cruser can't be turned into a touring bike, cause it can. Converting a touring bike into a cruiser, on the other hand, is not so easy.

Yes, you can buy a middle of the road bike. Crusing and Touring are just on either end of the spectrum. Some manufacturers use the same bike for touring and crusing, it's just the extras you have added. Some manufacturers, like Honda, do not. A Goldwing cannot be easily stripped down to be a cruiser.

Aside from costing lots of money, most _nice_ extras (seats, sissy bars, windshields, bags, etc...) you buy are not snap on. Extras take time and tools to add or remove, especially if you want something like hard bags, a trunk and leg protection. In some cases, it's about the look you're portraying. I wouldn't want to show up riding solo to an event with a sissy bar, windshield and a big ole langauge seat. In some cases it's about practicality. I wouldn't want my wife to endure long hours of sitting on my solo seat's tiny langauge pad. I have to balance those out based upon the amount of time I want to spend the day before a ride converting from one to the other.

With the langauge seat and sissy bar.
http://lh3.ggpht.com/_Gbc-i06Jo-I/SSwfsmygijI/AAAAAAAAE6E/110SAZIz-X8/s400/IMG_5297.jpg

With my solo seat.
http://lh6.ggpht.com/_Gbc-i06Jo-I/Rp_MKYENtZI/AAAAAAAABlk/i8OsxHHIknU/s400/Scooter.jpg

-Al

NorthernBoy
2010-Jan-21, 07:08 PM
In some cases, it's about the look you're portraying. I wouldn't want to show up riding solo to an event with a sissy bar, windshield and a big ole language seat.

You know, I think that that says more about the difference between cruiser riders and bikers than I could have managed in ten times the number of words. Modifying your bike between rides because of fashion is just inconceivable to me.

pzkpfw
2010-Jan-21, 07:51 PM
If you want a bike with a Harley engine but the style andcomfort of a Tourer or 'Street' bike then look at Buell http://www.buell.com/

Another option, sort of, now they've killed Buell, is the XR1200x.

http://www.motorcyclenews.com/MCN/News/newsresults/New-bikes/2009/July/jul2709-new-harleys-for-2010/

Albion
2010-Jan-21, 08:11 PM
Modifying your bike between rides because of fashion is just inconceivable to me.

And that's exactly why a lot of bikers have two bikes; one for show and one for practicality. :)

It may seem inconceivable, but all cynicism aside, humans are driven by image and popularity. Sometimes I think the majority of people care more about image then anything else. Some are even willing to go broke in an attempt to fit in.


...they want the vibrations of the v-twin and the coolness of black leather and polished chrome.

Exactly.

When I go out riding with my buddy John, the girls would rather ride the fender of his hardtail then ride on my nice comfy Honda. And that's not mentioning the Harley orgasm factor. lol

-Al

Fazor
2010-Jan-21, 08:14 PM
Eh, I wanted a Honda Rebel for a while. I'm short (5'6") and thus wanted something smaller. Also not a bad price, and I think they look pretty spiffy at that.

But then I decided that I'm lucky to walk from my house to my car without tripping and killing myself, so a motorcycle might not be the best thing for me to buy. I didn't, and still don't, have the money for it anyway.

Instead, I've decided that if/when I have the extra money, I'll get a little fishing boat instead. I'll enjoy that more anyway, and it'll help me catch things to eat! (Other than bugs, I mean. ;)).

captain swoop
2010-Jan-21, 09:07 PM
Here is my current bike, its a 2006 model YZF R6 Yamaha. I have had it since Spring 2008.

http://i821.photobucket.com/albums/zz133/captain_swoop/New2008.jpg

NorthernBoy
2010-Jan-21, 09:10 PM
And that's exactly why a lot of bikers have two bikes; one for show and one for practicality. :)

This is a sub-culture that I suspect is limited to the US, as I've never come across it anywhere else in the world.

pzkpfw
2010-Jan-21, 09:21 PM
Here is my current bike, its a 2006 model YZF R6 Yamaha. I have had it since Spring 2008.

Very very nice. I've always thought the 2006 model year was especially nice. I nearly bought one (in 2006) before settling on the bike pictured in my profile.

The R6 I was looking at was on sale, but the Z750S I bought was "on saler" (it was the 2005 model) and suits my kind of riding more. (I wouldn't expect to keep up with either you or Northern Boy on any group ride...).

captain swoop
2010-Jan-21, 09:37 PM
This is a sub-culture that I suspect is limited to the US, as I've never come across it anywhere else in the world.

I have, I used to have a 'summer bike' and a winter 'hack'
I have friends with an out and out sports bike like my R6 and something more relaxed. I even know people with a sports bike and a cruiser.

captain swoop
2010-Jan-21, 09:40 PM
(I wouldn't expect to keep up with either you or Northern Boy on any group ride...).

Well, that would depend on the road and the group.

I ride differently depending on the group as well, if I am out with a 'mixed' group I ride slower than if I am out with the people I ride with on a regular basis. Weather plays a part as well, the tyres I have are terrible on anything but a warm dry day. Any rain and I potter along like I was on a motorised wheelchair.

NorthernBoy
2010-Jan-21, 10:05 PM
I have, I used to have a 'summer bike' and a winter 'hack'

That would only fit the description if your R6 was for "show" as opposed to "go", with your winter bike being the opposite. What you have there are two bikes with different purposes, not one for posing and one for riding.

Edited to say, I've thought through my posessions, and can't really think of anything much where I've gone for looks over performance. Jewellery is probably the only area, but even then I've picked a watch with a GMT hand instead of the platinum version without, and titanium rather than platinum on other pieces. None of my bikes ever gets washed, and outside work the last trousers I bought were from a plumbers merchants (in work it's tailored suits, but that's to blend in rather than stand out).

Maybe I'm just not normal...

NorthernBoy
2010-Jan-21, 10:49 PM
I wouldn't expect to keep up with either you or Northern Boy on any group ride.

I don't go so crazy on the roads nowadays, both for legal issues, and because I've had bad enough scares down the years that I always make sure that I can stop in the distance I can see to be clear. I don't feel as invincible in my 30s as I did in my 20s or teens.

On top of that, I know that I'm not a great talent. On track days experience means that I'm among the faster people, but that's because I've got a bike that flatters the average rider, and I'm happy to push it to its limits. There are always, though, others who are simply faster through natural ability. I like riding hard, but am under no illusions that I could have made a living at it if I'd wanted to.

captain swoop
2010-Jan-21, 11:57 PM
I wash my bike, and polish it and I have replaced some of thestock parts with blingy anodised and carbon fibre bits. My Leathers match my bike and my helmet has been sprayed to match.

HenrikOlsen
2010-Jan-22, 12:13 AM
I long ago decided that if I were ever to have a motorbike it would be a Nimbus (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nimbus_(motorcycle)), but I guess veteran bikes is a different segment altogether.

Production of new bikes stopped in 1960, spare parts are still produced, so keeping one running in top shape is considered to be in the cheap range for bikes.
Keeping one running with all original parts is something completely different:D

pzkpfw
2010-Jan-22, 01:09 AM
...and I have replaced some of thestock parts with blingy anodised and carbon fibre bits.

Mods are part of what makes our bikes... ours. So far I've added/changed:

Pack-rack (with all three fittings). (Perhaps not a good look on an R6!).
Dark tint double-bubble screen.
Steibel horn. (Stock horn would suit a childs tricycle).
Frame sliders.
Ermax belly pan (colour matched).
Ermax hugger (matt black).
Braided steel brake lines (colour matched front, black rear. Front now two separate lines from master cylinder).
Rear shock off ZXR6.

Projects for the coming winter are:

Cut down the exhaust (a mate gave me a spare stock exhaust).
Build a tail-tidy/fender-eliminator.

Possibly stop there, though.

crosscountry
2010-Jan-22, 03:19 AM
pictures of my bikes :D (just the ones I own currently, not my former bikes)


1997 Suzuki VS800 Intruder
http://photos.crosscountryadventures.us/albums/Bikeshowsandposes/Bike%20Poses/DSC01516.jpg



2006 Kawasaki KLR 650
http://photos.crosscountryadventures.us/albums/Bikeshowsandposes/Bike%20Poses/HillKilleratairport/DSC08523.jpg


2007 Suzuki Vstrom 650
http://photos2.crosscountryadventures.us/albums/2009/July/KY/IMG_3007.jpeg

Tensor
2010-Jan-22, 04:59 AM
With Harleys in particular, people often believe that they are buying into a rebellious lifestyle (this seems much less the case with the Japanese cruisers), and so they appeal to accountants and dentists of a certain age, who want to do a couple of miles to the cafe on a Sunday morning with their tasseled friends to pretend that they are in a tough gang.

I'm neither an accountant nor a dentist, nor what you would call wealthy, I ride my Harley every day, in all sorts of weather (of course living in Florida helps). I had the look (earrings, tattoos, hair, and beard) long before I bought the bike (it goes back to my teens, except for the earrings).

I've had my current bike for right at two years and have over 28,000 miles on it. It's not a cruiser, it a tourer ( I have two trips of over four weeks and 5,000 miles (on that bike)). My last bike had over 80,000 miles on it when I traded it in (yes it was another Harley, a cruiser, the one before that was yet another Harley). I can also tell you that true Harley riders are as dismissive of the "weekend weenies" as you seem to be.

On the other hand, I'm not in a MC (but have been asked, I declined as I'm not interested in the MC lifestyle and prefer to ride with just me and my wife), and you wouldn't think that I do acting and set design (not to mention being on a science board) from looking at me(also not really compatible with the MC ifestyle) .

http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=80484&id=678844206
Note the two pictures of me. The neat one is me during the run of a show. The beard is coming back nicely right now, but is a couple of inches shorter than in the photo. The others are shots of the me and my wife on the bike.

NorthernBoy
2010-Jan-22, 10:52 AM
I wash my bike, and polish it and I have replaced some of thestock parts with blingy anodised and carbon fibre bits. My Leathers match my bike and my helmet has been sprayed to match.

I've put some modifications on my bike, too, but they are all to help if it's dropped, or to make the 600 mile days a bit easier (the standard screen was too noisy for cruising at 100mph, and the buffeting left me too tired at the end of a day like that, for example). I've also installed a GPS (worth its weight in gold when you are running short and need to know which side of the mountain has the closest petrol station, or whether you can eke out another service station before you refill).

It's the same with the car; a sports car, but inside a slate grey saloon car body. I think that I just much prefer having my vehicles nondescript.

It was not always so, as I used to have a matching yellow Lotus and Ducati parked next to each other, and I still do like the colour, I just prefer not attracting attention. Maybe I've changed since I hit my thirties.

Edited to say, I've just run into two good counterexample of me not being so worried about aesthetics. First, I just saw a really nice bag in a sailing shop that does no more than my current bag, but looks nice, and (and I really should not have overlooked this), although she's far from a possession, Mrs Northernboy is a woman of shining beauty, which I'll freely admit was a factor in me falling for her.

NorthernBoy
2010-Jan-22, 11:04 AM
I'm neither an accountant nor a dentist, nor what you would call wealthy, I ride my Harley every day...

I'm genuinely curious; what made you choose a Harley over other brands? I know that since Porsche helped them out they've become less agricultural, but for me I can't see what they do that for example a GS1200 would not do better.

For the weight, they have very little torque and power, and the handling is compromised by the geometry and construction.

If it is mainly down to the look, then why not one of the other brands?

Tensor
2010-Jan-22, 01:08 PM
I'm genuinely curious; what made you choose a Harley over other brands? I know that since Porsche helped them out they've become less agricultural, but for me I can't see what they do that for example a GS1200 would not do better.

It comes down to "if I have to explain it, you wouldn't understand" I'm afraid. My wife put it this way when we got passed by a sports bike, "It sounds like a sewing machine". I also realize that the bike culture in Europe is different than it is here in the states.


For the weight, they have very little torque and power, and the handling is compromised by the geometry and construction.

I would suggest you get on and ride a current Harley, before making this statement. While horsepower is less, the low end torque is just fine. As for handling, when I had to get my motorcycle permit (after more than 25 years of riding, law change) I went through the advanced class. This requires you have your own bike. I ended up as the only driver to get a perfect score on the driving test, this with a bike that weighs in at around 470 kilos, with the rider. I was the only Harley and there were several 600-700 cc sized sports there.

According to several friends who have ridden mine, the low speed handling is better than their sports. The only caveat to that is the lean angle is somewhat tempered by the floorboards (mine have quite a few scrapes on the bottom). Although I had no problem on the Tail of the Dragon (http://www.google.com/imgres?imgurl=http://www.gingerich.net/motorcycles/images/dragon%2520map.jpg&imgrefurl=http://www.gingerich.net/motorcycles/trips/Blue%2520Ridge.htm&h=592&w=570&sz=102&tbnid=lnzRtiTriyjpCM:&tbnh=135&tbnw=130&prev=/images%3Fq%3Dtail%2Bof%2Bthe%2Bdragon&hl=en&usg=__0xMn6ff9O9H7w0PP9kRSM_sPjyM=&ei=d59ZS5acMc6a8AbMoeXzBA&sa=X&oi=image_result&resnum=4&ct=image&ved=0CBoQ9QEwAw). You see some photos Here (http://www.tailofthedragon.com/dragon_misc.html) , here (http://www.tailofthedragon.com/dragon_misc_2002.html) , here (http://www.tailofthedragon.com/dragon_misc_2003.html) , here (http://www.tailofthedragon.com/dragon_misc_2004.html). If you would like more info, do a search on Deal's Gap.


If it is mainly down to the look, then why not one of the other brands?

Again, it's not just the look. It's the rumble, the sound, the way the bike looks (chrome and metal, instead of plastic). Sorta like having a combination of things, not any one thing. I would have no problem having a BMW, though I believe I would want a Japanese bike.

NorthernBoy
2010-Jan-22, 01:47 PM
It comes down to "if I have to explain it, you wouldn't understand" I'm afraid.

Oh come on now, quoting what Harley put on their badges is a poor substitute for answering a politely asked question. Did you for example try the other brands and find that you could not get comfortable on them, or was it because the sound mattered, or was it because you'll buy American whenever you can? There must have been something that made you choose it above the competition.

I'm curious because it is only in the US that many people buy Harleys.

Surely you know yourself why you have one.


I would suggest you get on and ride a current Harley, before making this statement. While horsepower is less, the low end torque is just fine.

I have, and the feeling lines up well with the actual figures. For example an Electra Glide has 64BhP and 73 lb-ft whereas a similar Japanese bike such as the FJR1300 has 141Bhp and 99 lb-ft.

I can understand if you said that you don't feel the need for a strong engine, but it's not really true to claim that they can match what modern bikes give.


I would have no problem having a BMW, though I believe I would want a Japanese bike.

Then get one, life's too short for not getting what you want.

HenrikOlsen
2010-Jan-22, 02:49 PM
Could you please try not to treat this as another religion discussion.

crosscountry
2010-Jan-22, 04:15 PM
I'm genuinely curious; what made you choose a Harley over other brands? I know that since Porsche helped them out they've become less agricultural, but for me I can't see what they do that for example a GS1200 would not do better.

For the weight, they have very little torque and power, and the handling is compromised by the geometry and construction.

If it is mainly down to the look, then why not one of the other brands?

It's not nice to put down another man's motorcycle.


I guess, by looking at Tensor's pictures, that the motorcycle is a big part of his lifestyle, and any other motorcycle would not allow him that.

Tensor
2010-Jan-22, 04:35 PM
Oh come on now, quoting what Harley put on their badges is a poor substitute for answering a politely asked question. Did you for example try the other brands and find that you could not get comfortable on them, or was it because the sound mattered, or was it because you'll buy American whenever you can? There must have been something that made you choose it above the competition.

It was not meant to me non polite. And while it may be a slogan, it is very close to the truth. When I fire up a Harley, it just feels and sounds right and I smile. I didn't get that with the other bikes. How do you explain something like that? I would have to fall back to my second to last sentence in my previous post: "Again, it's not just the look. It's the rumble, the sound, the way the bike looks (chrome and metal, instead of plastic). It feels like a motorcycle. Remember, I started riding before bike became as refined as they are now.


I'm curious because it is only in the US that many people buy Harleys.

It may have something to do with working on the bike yourself. Of all the riders I know, Most of the Harley Riders (the true Harley riders, not the weekend guys) do their own maintenance. Most of the Japanese riders don't (I don't know that much about the European bike guys except for the BMWs. They seem to be split). It much easier to do it yourself on a Harley than it is on the others. We do have a German in our HOG chapter who lives here 6-8 months a year. He has five Harley's here and four in Germany. I asked him why and he couldn't explain it either, except to say he just likes the whole package better.


Surely you know yourself why you have one.

One of the reasons is I didn't want to have to spend 20 minuetes just pulling plastic off to change the oil. The other is as above. I have the feeling that I'm not doing a very good job of explaining it.


I have, and the feeling lines up well with the actual figures. For example an Electra Glide has 64BhP and 73 lb-ft whereas a similar Japanese bike such as the FJR1300 has 141Bhp and 99 lb-ft.

Note I said that he low end torque is fine. I didn't claim it was better. And I'd be interested in where you got those figures. This (http://www.motorcycle-usa.com/46531/Motorcycle-Photo-Gallery-Photo/2009-Kawasaki-Concours-14-Sport-Touring-Shootout.aspx) article shows the FJR maxing out at 87 ft-lbs at 6800 rpm. The low end shows ~60 ft-lb at 2300 rpm to ~73 at 4000, up to the max at 6800. Perhaps you were looking at the European specs. Most quotes on torque for the Harley 96 twin cam show 92 ft-lbs. But I don't believe that would be at the tire. This (http://www.motorcycle-usa.com/43527/Motorcycle-Photo-Gallery-Photo/2009-H-D-Ultra-Classic-Electra-Glide-vs--Kawasaki-Voyager.aspx) chart shows a max of 73 ft lb, as you stated. But note how flat that torque curve is on the Harley.


I can understand if you said that you don't feel the need for a strong engine, but it's not really true to claim that they can match what modern bikes give.

Again, where did I say they can match modern bikes?


Then get one, life's too short for not getting what you want.

Typo on my part. While I would consider a BMW, I would not now want a Japanese bike. I've had them. I recall fondly a 1981 CB900C from Honda. At least you could see the engine. Don't really like the look or sound of the modern bikes. I guess it really comes down to preference and experience with a particular manufacturer.

Tensor
2010-Jan-22, 04:38 PM
It's not nice to put down another man's motorcycle.


I guess, by looking at Tensor's pictures, that the motorcycle is a big part of his lifestyle, and any other motorcycle would not allow him that.

While l appreciate the support, the criticisms don't bother me. It can be very difficult to explain the feeling (I have problems explaining it, even to my friends). Although I do think you do understand.

captain swoop
2010-Jan-22, 05:23 PM
I feel the same about Ducati. I am planning to ditch the Yamaha and buy another Duke. I have had 3 in the past and I keep going back to them. I have tried and dislike Honda and Suzuki and I can tolerate a Kawasaki. I have never considered buying a Triumph or. BMW, something about the image they have I think.

In the UK bikes were for racing and competition or the working mans transport.Up until the late 60s and even into the 70s cars were for the middle and upper classes. Us working class folk had motorbikes. It's certainly all I could afford when I left school.

In the USA I think cars were a lot more available to the workers and the young.

captain swoop
2010-Jan-22, 05:32 PM
Mods on my bike are upgraded tyres. Sintered Pads, upgraded chain. Crash Bobbins on the fairinf and bodywork (they make contact in a slide or if the bike is knocked over and stop the plastic getting shredded) Carbon fibre frame protectors on the exposed bits, Tail tidy, anodised fasteners on the fairing and various fittings, smaller indicators with bright LEDs instead of bulbs and a tank scratch protector on the top.

I have a braided hose kit with anodised fittings to go on when I get round to it.

Tensor
2010-Jan-22, 05:41 PM
I feel the same about Ducati. I am planning to ditch the Yamaha and buy another Duke. I have had 3 in the past and I keep going back to them. I have tried and dislike Honda and Suzuki and I can tolerate a Kawasaki. I have never considered buying a Triumph or. BMW, something about the image they have I think.

Cool. Funny how different people react differently to bikes.


In the UK bikes were for racing and competition or the working mans transport.Up until the late 60s and even into the 70s cars were for the middle and upper classes. Us working class folk had motorbikes. It's certainly all I could afford when I left school.

In the USA I think cars were a lot more available to the workers and the young.

In the late forties though the late 50s, most of the bikes, in the US, were bought by former GIs who were having trouble adjusting to sedate society (probably many of those were suffering what's now called PTSD). The bike gave them a outlet for there desire for excitement. Since, at that time, about the only active manufacturer was Harley (not to mention all the army surplus Harley's available cheaply) Harley kinda sorta became the default bike in the US. This, of course, changed in the sixties and seventies. I recall late sixties Triumphs were pretty cool.

NorthernBoy
2010-Jan-22, 05:50 PM
I guess it really comes down to preference and experience with a particular manufacturer.

That is certainly true with me. My main bike is a BMW at the moment, but I still feel that I have an affinity with Honda, and that I'm just waiting for them to attempt a bike like the GS, which would let me switch back to my favourite brand.

I'm not certain exactly why I'm drawn to them, but a large part of it is probably the build quality, which led to a feeling that it would never, ever let me down.

This is not a 100% rational standpoint, as some other brands are probably just as reliable nowadays. I hate how badly my BMW is constructed (although it's a step up from the last one), and am tempted to move to Ducati just to get something that will survive winters better.

Now there's a line that I could not have imagined writing ten years ago...

NorthernBoy
2010-Jan-22, 05:53 PM
he default bike in the US. This, of course, changed in the sixties and seventies. I recall late sixties Triumphs were pretty cool.

This was helped, of course, by Marlon Brando riding one in "The Wild One".

I looked after a friend's Daytona 595 for a while (a strange name for a bike with a 1 litre engine), and while it never felt nice enough for me to want to own one, I loved the way that the back end moved so lazily when you broke grip there. You could exit roundabouts on opposite lock with it never feeling that it was going to spit you off.

It's only on the dirt that any other bike has felt like that.

captain swoop
2010-Jan-22, 06:36 PM
Ducati is notorious for electrical problems. I had one that died at the side of the road and the immobilizer stopped the ignition from working for no apparent reason. Had to be trailered to the dealers.

In the late forties though the late 50s, most of the bikes, in the US, were bought by former GIs plus there were thousands of cheap ex military Harleys to be had.

NorthernBoy
2010-Jan-22, 06:48 PM
Ducati is notorious for electrical problems.

I think that that's changing nowadays, though, and they'd have to try very hard to nail them together as badly as BMW do with their bikes nowadays, or to make them from as poor a choice of alloys.