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El_Flaco 12-13-2002 09:03 AM

Re: MO Readers ask which bike to buy...
SV650s can do everything! Oh, except write my term papers for me.

rsheidler 12-13-2002 09:12 AM

Re: What bike for a tall guy?
Welcome, Renato

Most of us here on this site are American, thus many will not be that familiar with some of the bikes you mention. The Diversion 600 is, I believe, what was sold here as the Seca II. This bike is no longer inported to the US. The CB500 has not, to my knowledge, been imported here.

Before giving my opinions, I would have to say that this is a very hard question to answer, without knowing more about your level of experience and the type of conditions you will encounter, or how much you are willing to spend. I speculate that you are relatively inexperienced, so my comments reflect that assumption. Please forgive, if I am wrong.

Your height should not be much of a factor, other than perhaps to steer you away from the very smallest models -- it certainly should not be a problem with any of the bikes you mention. Actually, you would be only a bit above average for Americans, but pretty tall for southern Europeans.

Personally, I would probably lean toward the "so called" trail bikes, especially as you are fairly tall. Shorter riders sometimes have difficulty feeling confident at stoplights, when they have to hold the bike on tiptoes. I have riden both the Aprilia Pegaso and the BMW 650, including a fairly extended tour, with passenger and luggage, throughout Switzerland and parts of France (this on the BMW -- one of the early versions). As long as you avoid exended periods on the autostrada, it is quite suitable for this purpose.

Between the two, I think it comes down to personal preferences, as mechanically they are very similar -- both use versions of the Rotax 650 which is very reliable, and, for a big single, reasonably smooth running and powerful.

All of these bikes are reliable -- maintenance is easier on the single cylinder bikes than the 4s -- especially if you do your own.

I am sure you will see plenty of other opinions.

Good luck with your choice.

Bob (aka Roberto)

SeanAlexander 12-13-2002 09:13 AM

Re: MO Readers ask which bike to buy...
except write your term papers... AND.... Of course, SV-650s make you look really silly if you're wearing chaps and fringe. (you know as opposed to NOT looking silly in chaps and fringe, if you are on a cruiser (wink...wink)

seruzawa 12-13-2002 09:19 AM

Re: MO Readers ask which bike to buy...
Hard to beat the BMW R1100R. Maybe you can find a nice used one in your price range.

rsheidler 12-13-2002 09:20 AM

Re: MO Readers ask which bike to buy...

I was gonna suggest the same. Depending on your budget and all, a couple of other possibilities are Bandit 1200 (my sister, who is about your height, rides one and she fits fine) or one of the other naked or semi-naked standards (eg Yamaha FZ1).

A little more expensive (don't know about Canadian prices, though) is the BMW R1150R -- in the US this is $10,000 without ABS. That would probably be my choice, if it fit within my budget.

Good luck with your choice


intruderman 12-13-2002 09:23 AM

Re: MO Readers ask which bike to buy...
Java Dragon should consider a Suzuki Katana 750. Not too big, good power, good wind protection, comfy for the long haul, good for a passenger (get a Corbin seat), good range, fun in the twisties.

longride 12-13-2002 09:25 AM

Re: MO Readers ask which bike to buy...
My suggestion is to buy a Honda 750 Nighthawk. Reliable, decent power, 2-up comfort, not too big, good gas mileage, cheap, pretty easy to service, proven design. No, it's not the most exciting thing going, but the requirements mentioned in both posts point to this bike more than any others. I also bet this bike can be found at a discount, as they aren't flying out of the showroom. Honda dealers are everywhere, so parts or service would not be a problem.

rsheidler 12-13-2002 09:32 AM

Re: MO Readers ask which bike to buy...
Serazuwa's suggestion of a used BMW R1100R is probably better than my suggestion for the R1150R (which is the replacement model), given your specified budget.

Here, you can find good, clean R1100Rs in the range of US$5,000, usually including bags, electric handgrips (well worth the $$ if you ever ride in cool weather) etc. These bikes are almost always well maintained by more "mature" riders (KPaul would say old farts) who are less likely to routinely bounce the revs off the rev limiter.

Eric 12-13-2002 09:47 AM

Re: MO Readers ask which bike to buy...
Longride suggesting an inline 4. Someone tell KPaul! Actually, I agree with you. I had an 86 Nighthawk that I thoroughly enjoyed. It was comfortable enough, handled well enough, and had sufficient passenger accomodations to fit my small budget and general desire to be on a motorcycle.

In short, a great all around bike if you don't mind being seen on something that, to be generous, isn't exactly cutting edge in any major category.

hojka 12-13-2002 09:50 AM

Bike for JavaDragon
Take a look at the Yamaha V-Star review on They give it very positive reviews and it seems to meet the criteria that you are looking for.

Mooner 12-13-2002 09:53 AM

Vote #2 for the SV650S
I've almost gotten mine to do a term paper for me.

javadragon 12-13-2002 09:55 AM

Re: MO Readers ask which bike to buy...
Is the NightHawk sold under a different name in canada? Looking at Honda canada's models page I don't see it listed.

teapotdome 12-13-2002 09:57 AM

Re: MO Readers ask which bike to buy...
For Renato, the Euro-version CB750 is a lot more compact and handy than the North American Nighthawk 750 -- I'd definitely look twice at that bike. Great ergos, reliable as lemon trees in the Algarve, great handling, roomy enough for two.

For JavaDragon, I agree with the previous post regarding the Katana 750. For a little more punch, though, you might check out a first gen ('95-'97) Triumph Sprint. Plenty of power, great handling, and with a 6.6 US gallon fuel capacity, more than adequate for the distances you describe. Extremely comfy, but not a "tourer," plenty of handling capability, but without the splash-boy graphics. And plenty to keep you entertained well into multiple seasons.

longride 12-13-2002 10:03 AM

Re: MO Readers ask which bike to buy...
Check to see one. I guess Canada dealers don't sell em, but maybe they can get you one if you ask at the dealer. Not sure really but may be worth a try.

Joseph_Betor 12-13-2002 10:14 AM

Re: MO Readers ask which bike to buy...
This might sound odd but for JavaDragon, I suggest he look into a used VX800. It's comfortable, has 170+ mile range, good torque and very affordable for a re-entrant rider.

SuperBill 12-13-2002 10:28 AM

Re: MO Readers ask which bike to buy...
Welcome to (or back to) motorcycling! You are facing some tough decisions because there are so many good motorcycles out there. Unfortunately, none of them do everything the best, so the only reasonable thing to do is to accumulate several motorcycles (one for two-up touring, one for sport riding, one for dirt, etc.)

Once you have resigned yourself to owning several motorcycles, you now have the much simpler task of deciding which to get first. I recommend making sure that the first bike is good for two-up riding. If you are married or in a serous relationship, it is imperative to get your partner on board early on to generate a mutual enjoyment of the sport. Two-up bikes don’t have to be big and powerful, but it doesn’t hurt. It should be well sprung – check the manufacturer’s specifications to figure out how much load a bike can handle. (By the way, the definition of "good for two-up" changes with time – my wife and I used to do 350 mile days on a Honda 360, but we were 25 years younger and a whole lot lighter back then!)

BMWs have a good reputation as "sport touring" motorcycles, and I have an old airhead Beemer that has served my wife and I well for over 80,000 miles. They tend to be somewhat tall, so they might not work for JavaDragon, but Renato would love a tall GS.

I recommend starting with a used bike – most modern bikes (especially the Japanese models) are very reliable and are not much of a risk to buy used. Test ride everything you can, see what feels comfortable, and buy it if you like it. If it works out, great – if not, sell it and get something else. Or, you can do like a lot of us do - DON’T sell it and get something else anyway!

ashmason 12-13-2002 10:40 AM

Re: MO Readers ask which bike to buy...
Can only give you my experience....

My first bike was a Yahama 600R, plenty of power yet not hard core and easy to ride for long trips, not as radical seating for a sports bike, and the passenger seating is comfy enough (So I was told) Somthing to consider anyway, a much under appriciate bike, still sold today, and can be picked up well in your price range.

My current bike is a Triumph 600TT, not so far removed from my old Yamaha, again the seating and riding position is comfortable and passenger friendly. You may want to also check out a Triumph daytona super sport, a friend I have loves it and does Long rides every other month or so.

Other experiences are Cruise Bikes, I recently rode a Yamaha 1100. Initially it felt great, relaxed and comfortable. But after a while my feet got cold, as did my er... family jewels... and my back started cramping. This was on a nice but cool sunny day in Sothern California.

My advice, test ride lots and see what fits, it's such a personal thing too. :) Have fun!

Hadji 12-13-2002 11:38 AM

KTM, BMW, etc. - Singles and Twins
Renato, I would steer you to a KTM 640 LC4 Adventure for trail and a KTM Duke II for street. Either will take all you can dish out and ask for more. Really, any of the KTM 640 LC4 series, i.e. Dualsport, Supermoto, etc. would be great for you. As they are all fundamentally the same.

JavaDragon, if your 6 hour trek to civilization runs through dirt roads or anything similar, I would suggest an enduro from KTM, BMW, etc. new or used. At 5'-7" finding one that lets your feet touch the ground might be difficult. If it is paved all the way, then you couldn't beat an SV650s or an R1100/1150, but cruisers like the Suzuki Marauder (800cc v-twin, shaft drive, low seat height, easy maintenance, etc.) would be hard to beat.

As you can tell, I am biased towards singles and twins. I like to keep it simple when it comes to motorcycles and I like the power delivery and sound of these bikes. Gentlemen, good luck with your selection and ride safe.

Buzglyd 12-13-2002 11:45 AM

Impractical choice for Java Dragon
I'm going to weigh in with a slightly less practical choice for you. A Ducati ST2 seems like it could be the bike for you. The two-valve motor makes great midrange power. If you're handy with a wrench you can adjust the valves yourself. A slightly used model can easily be had in your price range.

Prior to 2001 the bike came with fully adjustable suspension, after 2001 non-adjustable.

It comes with factory hardbags, outlet for electric vests, and it makes better noises and will put a smile on your face far more than the practical choices. It's great handling and fast and comfortable for two people.

It also get 45 mpg and has a 5.5 gallon tank. Dealers are probably few and far between for you which would be the one downside.

My ST4 has been totally reliable and the ST2 is simpler mechanically.

gooseman_1 12-13-2002 11:46 AM

Re: MO Readers ask which bike to buy...
Buy an '03 SV650s this spring. It's a great bike whether you're 5'7 or 6'1, and you'll really appreciate the fuel injection in Canada. It satisfies all your requirements. They go for $6,300; lower if you haggle. Good luck!

milo 12-13-2002 11:50 AM

Recommendations for me too?
I am also looking for a new motorcycle and am out of my element. I am a relatively new rider, about 6 years, and I am moving to South Africa come Feb. of 2003. My current bikes have all been older Kawi's that I fixed up and rode. KZ440, KZ1000LTD were my last rides.

I am looking to step up to something along the lines of a trail bike but also good on the pavement. I have seen the BMW GS series, Triumph Tiger, and a couple of similar bikes and am little concerned about seat hight since I am only 5'8". Are there any SA local's out there with some experience or at some models that I haven't seen yet? I would welcome any opinions.



crazybike_37 12-13-2002 11:56 AM

Yes, I do ride one, so you can underdstand why I suggest it. Let's address what you said you wanted:

Range- well over 200 miles if you're easy on the gas, and even if you aren't, you'll still get at least 200.

Comfort- I'm 6'3'' and it fits me just fine, and I can do all of those 225 miles in total bliss.

Power- Not only does it have great power and big torque stock, but you can bump it up an extra 10-15 horses and a good 10 ft. lbs. for an insanley small amount of money(500 bucks gets you that extra 10-15, just e-mail me for details, I did it).

Twisties- Buddy, if you want a sweet handling ride, this is it. Flickable, tossable, stable, accurate, and just plain lovable.

Price- I found a 2001 model in perfect shape for under $4000. Even a brand spankin' new one is less than $6200. Insurance is very cheap too. I'm 18, male, and pay about $20 a month for FULL COVERAGE.

Reliability- If you can make this break down, well.... damn, cause you are one mean SOB.

Passenger- Crank up the preload and take off, 'cause the pillion seat is just as comfy as the pilot's.

Bonus- Consider yourself lucky, Suzuki is coming out with a new style this year, and it looks every bit as sexy as the last one. Think Ducati, only more comfrotable and way less expensive. The SV also has an enormous aftermarket following, so just about anything you want to do is within your grasp.

rsheidler 12-13-2002 12:09 PM

Re: KTM, BMW, etc. - Singles and Twins

I would also endorse the KTMs -- my only reservations are:

1) As I stated in my earlier post, I have assumed that you are relatively inexperienced. From my brief riding experience on the KTM Duke, I feel it might be more suitable for an experienced rider, and could be too demanding. It seems to want to ride on either the front or rear wheel -- great fun, but easy to get in trouble!

2) Unless you have an exceptional riding partner (maybe one who is into S&M), or are looking to get rid of your wife/girlfriend/etc, I am not so sure that I would recommend taking her very far on the back seat of the Duke. The Pegaso or BMW 650 have much better passenger accommodations.

Oh yeah, if something in that genre is what you are looking for, another bike you might consider is the MZ Baghira (may go by a different name in Europe) -- basically is is a "soft" supermoto. Actually, there are several versions, with either larger diameter dirt-type tires/wheels or more sport-oriented 17 inch. This bike is powered by a 660 cc Yamaha single. This bike falls somewhere between the Pegaso/BMW and the KTM Duke -- more sporting than the Pegaso/BMW and more comfortable/practical than the Duke. At least in the US, the MZ is cheaper as well.

speedsport 12-13-2002 12:11 PM

Re: MO Readers ask which bike to buy...
The SV would be an excellent choice, the worst thing that can be said in CRAP! suspension components. A low milage VFR800 is a better choice, a true do-it-all bike that you will never "outgrow". plus you get legendary HONDA build quality.

Dave305 12-13-2002 12:44 PM

Re: MO Readers ask which bike to buy...
Forget the Corbin. For comfort get the Suzuki gel seat.

RonRad 12-13-2002 12:53 PM

Disagree a little bit
As a 6'3 person, and my girlfriend owns an SV, it will *NOT* do a 6 hour ride for a tall person. She has the 'S' and I'm used to riding sportbikes, and although I love the SV as a fun bike for riding around, I wouldn't go for a ride much over an hour on it. The windscreen is way too low, and the tank is too short to really get down under the windscreen.

rsheidler 12-13-2002 01:10 PM

Re: Recommendations for me too?
Hi Milo

Most of us here are Americans -- but maybe some RSA residents lurking about will have something to post.

I have not been back to beautiful South Africa for almost 7 years, but I used to spend about 4 weeks a year there on business -- unfortunately, I did not have the opportunity to ride a motorcycle during those visits. It was always one of my favorite places to visit, and the people there are the most friendly I have ever encountered.

It sounds like you expect that a significant portion of your riding will be on unpaved or poor quality roads (of which there are many, as I recall). If your riding will be primarily limited to fairly well graded dirt or gravel roads, a BMW GS or something similar could be good, although, unless you need a lot ground clearance and suspension travel, the R1100R (or new R1150R) works at least as well, as the lower center of gravity makes it easier to handle -- probably even more so as you are not too tall.

I don't know just what bikes are now available in RSA, but you might want to consider the following:

For light-duty off-road/bad road conditions:

Big BMW GS/Triumph Tiger as you mentioned -- would be great for paved roads and good unpaved ones. Weight and high center of gravity could be a challenge in low traction conditions.

MZ Baghira -- as I mentioned in one of the above posts. Not sure if it is sold in RSA. Probably smaller dealer network, although Yamaha powerplant should be OK for parts and service.

BMW 650 -- several variants are available. Much lighter than the big GSs, work well on pavement, but less comfortable for long rides on pavement (not bad though) -- should be pretty good parts service availability

Aprilia Pegaso (dunno about availability)

For less pavement, more severe offroad conditions:

KTM Adventure

Any of the big Japanese Dual-Sport bikes

I would try to ride any of these you are considering, or if that is not possible, at least sit on one in the showroom to see how the ride height works for you. As you are a reasonably experienced rider, you may not have that much problem getting confident with even the taller bikes.

Good luck with your move and in choosing a bike,


rsheidler 12-13-2002 01:16 PM

Forgot to add V-Strom
I meant to add (in the general catagory of the GS and Triumph Tiger) -- although I have not ridden one myself, I hear great things about the new Suzuki V-Strom -- I believe that there was a good review here a few months ago.

sarnali 12-13-2002 01:23 PM

Re: MO Readers ask which bike to buy...
I'd recommend the 1200S Bandit, good handling, comfy, good wind protection, and the air/oil cooled GSXR based engine has a nice broad powerband thats good for just motoring around, or you can open it up and cover some serious mile's, plus the bandit or SV650 for that matter, are inexpensive to get into and reliable as bricks, and the bandit has screw/locknut adjusters for the valves, so you can do most of your own maintainance, that's a plus if the nearest dealer is 160 mi.'s away, or as stated earlier any older BMW would work also.

Gootch 12-13-2002 02:03 PM

Re: MO Readers ask which bike to buy...

I have the Seca II - Diversion (although now I spend all my time on a CBR600F4). I'm 5'6" and the Seca was perfect for me -- I'm guessing it would be a little small for you. It's not a great bike for carrying a passenger unless that passenger is light. If it fits you, you can ride all day on the Seca in complete comfort.

In Europe, don't you have the Diversion 900? I understand that it's a little bigger and has a shaft drive; I believe you also can get hard bags for it. You might want to look at it.

Agent0090 12-13-2002 02:11 PM

Re: MO Readers ask which bike to buy...
Hey guys, I'm struggling with the same question with simiar requirements here in the U.S. (I'm 6'2" tall.) Right now I have an 82 Nighthawk 750 which I love, but is getting old. I'm looking at the following new bikes: Katana 750, Bandit 1200, new Nighthawk 750 (CB 750), ZR-7, ZZR 600, or a YZF 600. I think the most expensive on the list is the Bandit at US$7000, and almost all of them are available used, as well. Good luck with your decision and we're gald you're riding.

cyclesteve 12-13-2002 02:33 PM

Re: MO Readers ask which bike to buy...

I would suggest you look at a used VFR 750 (1994-1997) or VFR 800 (1998-2002). Possiblly the best all around bike of all time. Very reliable,good power,comfortable for 1 or 2 up and able to do sport riding.You will not go wrong here.


dean_1 12-13-2002 02:53 PM

Re: MO Readers ask which bike to buy...

gceaves 12-13-2002 02:53 PM

Re: MO Readers ask which bike to buy...
A Honda Transalp is the only solution.

I paid KRW 4'000'000 (about US$ 3'125) for a 2001 model, a 'grey import' from Japan. The 400 cc engine is smooth, the seat is comfortable, the tank is ample, and after-market modifications are available online.

I've toured down to Pusan, over to Cheju island, and around the mountains on the east coast. The bike can carry a tent and sleeping bag, as well as a change of clothes and a flat of beer.

Normally I only carry thin female passengers, and only for short distances. But the bike is also capable of taking two buddies at the same time home from the bar.

Go for a Transalp.


Seoul, Korea

BMW4VWW 12-13-2002 04:18 PM

Re: MO Readers ask which bike to buy...
Renato and Java Dragon, think about acquiring a BMW R100 GS. It is still possible to find these bikes in good condition and if you ditch the painful stock saddle for a Corbin seat you can ride all day in comfort. I have owned over 30 motorcycles of all types and makes. trust me the GS is the true Swiss army knife of motorcycling. You can tour with the commodius luggage options offered for this model. The old air head motor puts out adaquate power, and the older GS although heavy by dirt bike standards it can still serve as a dirt trail explorer, and is worlds lighter than the newer paralever models. These bikes (especially the PD version) have well over 200 mile fuel ranges. As for comfort you can vary your foot placement from the stantard postition to the rear pegs, and the stock crash bars. Hey these bikes handle well too, the wide handle bars and narrow tires make for instant lean angle. I have suprised many sport bike riders on the less than race track quality mountian roads here in northern Califorina. The best testament that I can give is that I was constantly buying new motorcycles for 25 years, but since I bought my GS in 1991 I haven't even thought about replacing it! BTW these things last a looong time, and are very easy to service. Good riding. VWW

sqidbait 12-13-2002 04:28 PM

Re: MO Readers ask which bike to buy...
The last time I checked ( about 3 years ago, when I lived in British Columbia - I live in Northern California now. :-) ) the Nighthawk wasn't available in Canada. If it was, it'd be my first choice.

Why? Standard, competent motorbike with hydraulic valves.

If your nearest dealer is 6+ hours away, I'd strongly suggest not getting anything too exotic or maintenance intensive. It'd be a real PITA if, for example, you had to make special trips to the dealer twice a year to have the valves adjusted. And just imagine the nightmare if your dealer doesn't have parts and the bike has to stay there for a couple of weeks! Yikes!

Motorcycles also go through tires much faster than cars. Unless you change your own ( or get the local HD dealer to do it for you... if they will ) I'd steer clear of the more powerful bikes.

If you were in a larger city, I'd be more lax about maintenance requirements, but if you are way out in the boonies, then I think that's a primary concern.

I don't personally like HDs, but if you have a local dealer, maybe a Sportster is an option?

You won't be able to get anything larger for $10K Cdn.

Used bikes are a possibility, but depending how far you are from one of the major Canadian cities, pickings may be very slim.

-- Michael

GreyOne 12-13-2002 04:40 PM

Re: MO Readers ask which bike to buy...
My present bike a 1999 VFR800. Any pre 2002 should fit the budget and all of the other criteria. My previous bike was the YZF600 and I consider it to be the best bike for the dollar I have owned. Both bikes are bullet proof, comfortable, reasonable 2 up and pleasing to the eye after the honeymoon period is over.

EbonFlame 12-13-2002 04:45 PM

Re: Disagree a little bit
I'm 6'0". and I'd have a tendency to agree.

For the price, the SV-650S is the BEST sport / combo bike I've EVER seen (though I admittedly haven't ridden tons of 'em.), but I find that, for longer rides, I find that the 'half a sport bike" pose that you must assume for decent wind protection becomes tiring.

Still, though, for USD6,200 or less, it's an AWESOME bike. At a local dealership, there are three last-of-line '02 SV-650S's for USD5,700. That's the funnest, fastest bike for the money I've heard of.

ltcmdr 12-13-2002 04:47 PM

Re: MO Readers ask which bike to buy...
Renato- Look at a Suzuki V-Strom.

JavaDragon- for two up comfort, reliability, price, try a Suzuki Volusia.

Ask any owner of these two bikes, don't just count on the write-ups, although most reviews are overwhelmingly in favor of both bikes.

neko 12-13-2002 05:22 PM

Re: MO Readers ask which bike to buy...
I agree with your comments on the dynamic virtues of the airhead GS, as I put 30,000 miles on a '95 GS in 2 years. Comfy, fun and satisfying. If you are mechanically adept, they are easy to work on, BUT the old airheads were notorious for having weak/iffy electrical systems. I finally sold my GS after being stranded for the 4th time with electrical failure. Subsequent Hondas have never let me down.

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