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  #1  
Old 07-19-2015, 10:25 PM
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A Bike Thread

I've been on my Ninja 650 for 3+ years and 22 thousand and some change miles. I'm thinking about an upgrade and I've done a little research so far. I'm looking for improved suspension, improved brakes, and a bit less vibration. I'd also enjoy more power and a more flickable bike. I'm also really short and would like to get a bike that I can ride comfortably without modification.

I went and sat on a couple ZX6's, a 2012 and a newer one. No dice. I couldn't get them off the side stand. Same with a CBR600RR. The GSXR-600 and GSXR-750 were short enough for me to get a toe down on each side. I'm not sure how well I'll get used to the much more aggressive riding position. I also sat on a Z1000 (felt pretty good), and a FZ8 (also felt pretty good). I tried the Triumph Street Triple and really liked the ergos. I'm also an Anglophile so I'm pretty excited about the possibility of having a British bike. I'm concerned about the lack of fairings or a windshield, since I've only ever had faired bikes.

I'd prefer to save my money and buy on the used market. There are more gixers around than you can shake a squid at, but the other bikes I mentioned don't come available as often. I also need to get insurance quotes for representative models.

Thoughts? Experiences? I know we have some riders on here.

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83 300D Turbo with manual conversion, early W126 vented front rotors and H4 headlights 367,xxx miles
08 Triumph Street Triple 30,xxx miles, lowered 10mm in front, Pirelli Angel GT tires, EBC HH brake pads, otherwise stock.
88 Jaguar XJS V12 93,xxx miles. I should be in the garage now.
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  #2  
Old 07-19-2015, 11:01 PM
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I don't know about what you are doing but you seem relatively comfortable with what you have and just want something more. So, perhaps you can buy a different bike but what do you do if you find something else you don't like about the new bike and that puts you back to square 1? I would ask this. How much do you think it would take to get the bike where YOU want?

This is like marrying a girl and then wanting to dump her for another girl with bigger boobs. Maybe the answer is to keep what you have (known devil) and mod it to have bigger boobs or in this case, make it the way you want. Or as the old hillbilly joke goes "Marry them young and bring them up any way you want.".
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Old 07-20-2015, 12:19 AM
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The mod idea has been kicked around KawiForums quite a bit. The conventional wisdom is that if you have a Ninja 650 and want a faster bike, you should just go and buy a faster bike. ZX6 front fork swaps have been done, and would take care of most of my desires as far as suspension and brakes, but that still leaves the engine. It's a 649cc parallel twin, so it's not going to be as smooth as a triple or inline four, ever. Also, that engine doesn't respond very well to big power mods. It's 72 hp from the factory and the most people are getting reliably without a turbo is a bit more than 80. The bikes I'm looking at are in the range of 105-145 horsepower while being roughly similar in weight to the Ninja 650.
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Whoever said there's nothing more expensive than a cheap Mercedes never had a cheap Jaguar.

83 300D Turbo with manual conversion, early W126 vented front rotors and H4 headlights 367,xxx miles
08 Triumph Street Triple 30,xxx miles, lowered 10mm in front, Pirelli Angel GT tires, EBC HH brake pads, otherwise stock.
88 Jaguar XJS V12 93,xxx miles. I should be in the garage now.
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Old 07-20-2015, 12:38 AM
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So if modding it is not feasible, would you be better served with a larger displacement of the same style and modifying the forks?
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Old 07-20-2015, 01:03 AM
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If you're talking about an engine swap, there isn't a bigger or more powerful one that goes in without major rework.

Edit:

This just in: Insurance quotes for some representative bikes.

'13 Triumph Street Triple: $276
'15 GSXR 750: $1260
'09 GSXR 600: $413

Looks like if I buy a GSXR 750 I'll have to make sure it's at least a few years old. This Street Triple is looking better all the time. Incidentally, the CSR accidentally looked up the same year Speed Triple (1050 cc triple instead of 675) and the insurance is the same.
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Whoever said there's nothing more expensive than a cheap Mercedes never had a cheap Jaguar.

83 300D Turbo with manual conversion, early W126 vented front rotors and H4 headlights 367,xxx miles
08 Triumph Street Triple 30,xxx miles, lowered 10mm in front, Pirelli Angel GT tires, EBC HH brake pads, otherwise stock.
88 Jaguar XJS V12 93,xxx miles. I should be in the garage now.

Last edited by Skippy; 07-20-2015 at 01:25 AM.
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  #6  
Old 07-21-2015, 07:50 PM
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  #7  
Old 07-22-2015, 08:41 AM
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Which one? I've sat on a SV650 and didn't find it all that comfortable.
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Whoever said there's nothing more expensive than a cheap Mercedes never had a cheap Jaguar.

83 300D Turbo with manual conversion, early W126 vented front rotors and H4 headlights 367,xxx miles
08 Triumph Street Triple 30,xxx miles, lowered 10mm in front, Pirelli Angel GT tires, EBC HH brake pads, otherwise stock.
88 Jaguar XJS V12 93,xxx miles. I should be in the garage now.
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  #8  
Old 07-22-2015, 10:44 AM
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Get an 80s Z king
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Old 07-22-2015, 12:40 PM
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My insurance guy noted that for the most part, British bikes are cheaper to insure than Japanese bikes. I noted this when I was shopping back in December/January - a 675R (while it was a more expensive bike) was actually cheaper to insure with full coverage than an R6. The Street Triple is a beautiful looking bike, though I can't comment on the ride/handling. I will say the 675R I took on a test ride felt absolutely sublime! Had nice midrange power, a very unique sound, great looks, and awesome handling.

Have you considered any Italian options...?
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Old 07-22-2015, 01:50 PM
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What do you mean by "flickable?" If you like fast sweepers, "flickable" is not generally a good thing. My Ducati isn't terribly flickable, but it corners like it's on rails and I much prefer that. But it's a touring bike, so that's what it's designed toward.

Have you tried any of the bikes in the "multi" genre, like the Suzuki Vstrom (or, speaking of Ducati, the Multistrada)? That would be more "flickable" than the Ninja and it has a little cowl fairing. If the vibration was low (and that's one thing you can't delete from the littler Ninja) that might suit your needs. Might at least be worth a test ride or two.

That said, the people that have them seem to love them, so there aren't a lot in the used market, particularly near Carson City.
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Old 07-22-2015, 03:59 PM
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Flickable: Rapid turn in and high roll rate with fairly light control inputs, resulting in the ability to change direction rapidly.

I tried a Daytona 675-too tall. Looking at cycle-ergo, I think that's going to be the case with most or all of the "multi" type bikes.
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Whoever said there's nothing more expensive than a cheap Mercedes never had a cheap Jaguar.

83 300D Turbo with manual conversion, early W126 vented front rotors and H4 headlights 367,xxx miles
08 Triumph Street Triple 30,xxx miles, lowered 10mm in front, Pirelli Angel GT tires, EBC HH brake pads, otherwise stock.
88 Jaguar XJS V12 93,xxx miles. I should be in the garage now.
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Old 07-22-2015, 04:09 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Skippy View Post
I tried a Daytona 675-too tall. Looking at cycle-ergo, I think that's going to be the case with most or all of the "multi" type bikes.
Have you investigated the possibility of adjustable suspension parts?

I had the suspension on my 848 tuned, and one of the adjustments was ride height. Initially, I'd have to stand on my toes at stops, but now I can flat-foot it.
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Old 07-22-2015, 06:16 PM
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Most/all the bikes I'm looking at have some adjustability in the suspension. I don't think any come with an actual ride height adjustment like your 848. I figure with a proper suspension setup I'll get a little bit lower static seat height, since I'm lighter than the theoretical rider the bikes come from the factory set up for (but not by a whole lot). I'm thinking that will be worth something in the ballpark of 10 mm though.

My Ninja 650 had a lowering link in the back when I bought it. After about a year I took it out. The difference is enough that I want to avoid lowering a suspension if I can help it. Seat shaving and/or a factory low seat are possible, but there are bikes out there with characteristics I want that I can ride without modification, so I prefer to look more at those.
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Whoever said there's nothing more expensive than a cheap Mercedes never had a cheap Jaguar.

83 300D Turbo with manual conversion, early W126 vented front rotors and H4 headlights 367,xxx miles
08 Triumph Street Triple 30,xxx miles, lowered 10mm in front, Pirelli Angel GT tires, EBC HH brake pads, otherwise stock.
88 Jaguar XJS V12 93,xxx miles. I should be in the garage now.
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Old 07-22-2015, 08:31 PM
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I've briefly ridden the street triple. It seemed a very nice all around bike. The R version with Ohlins suspension sounds like it meets your description quite well. The Triumph triples are wonderful engines.

Have you considered the BMW F800 series? It can be had with low seat, low suspension, or both. Available as a naked, sport-touring, or full on touring bike. They seem a bit pricey when new, but depreciation takes the edge off a used one.

Or how about a Japanese 600cc four cylinder standard? I see these kinds of bikes fully kitted out with hard bags as mid-size tourers in Europe. Our selection is limited on this side of the pond, though I think Honda is bringing over the CBR600F these days.
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Old 07-23-2015, 09:14 AM
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Originally Posted by jcyuhn View Post
I've briefly ridden the street triple. It seemed a very nice all around bike. The R version with Ohlins suspension sounds like it meets your description quite well. The Triumph triples are wonderful engines.
There was a grumpy old man in England who used to post to kawiforums. He transitioned from a Ninja 650 to a Street Triple and was very happy with it. He was also a shorty, though not quite as short as me. His experience is part of what got me looking at those bikes. Unfortunately, he doesn't post there anymore.

Quote:
Have you considered the BMW F800 series? It can be had with low seat, low suspension, or both. Available as a naked, sport-touring, or full on touring bike. They seem a bit pricey when new, but depreciation takes the edge off a used one.
I didn't until you brought it up. It's one more thing to check craigslist for. I'm not sure if I'll like one, but a test ride would confirm. I didn't mention noise as one of my criteria in my first post, but for me it's a consideration. My Ninja with a Scorpion slip-on makes a good noise, but more cylinders and more rpm would please me more. It's one of the things a 600 supersport has going for it. Sounds like an old F1 car when you get on it.

Quote:
Or how about a Japanese 600cc four cylinder standard? I see these kinds of bikes fully kitted out with hard bags as mid-size tourers in Europe. Our selection is limited on this side of the pond, though I think Honda is bringing over the CBR600F these days.
I know the old CBR600F4i reviewed very well and fit most of what I'm looking for quite well. However, they quit selling those a while ago, so the newest ones are already old-ish and carbureted. I have a co-worker who has a 2000 GSXF 600 that I thought was a GSXR until he set me straight. He likes it. I found a CBR650F at the Honda dealer. The ergos weren't any better for me than a GSXR, and they detuned the engine on that one rather a lot. Do you know some other model names to look for? This seems like another good possibility.

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Whoever said there's nothing more expensive than a cheap Mercedes never had a cheap Jaguar.

83 300D Turbo with manual conversion, early W126 vented front rotors and H4 headlights 367,xxx miles
08 Triumph Street Triple 30,xxx miles, lowered 10mm in front, Pirelli Angel GT tires, EBC HH brake pads, otherwise stock.
88 Jaguar XJS V12 93,xxx miles. I should be in the garage now.
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