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Steve781 02-14-2003 08:07 AM

Dealer Support Seals The Deal
Has to be a Honda. No other manufacturer has such high quality dealerships nor as many dealerships. My experiences with the suzuki dealerships ( I own a Bandit and a VFR) have been pretty poor. Nothing in stock in the parts department and poorly trained or unscruplous staff. And support is what is going to make this work, or not. BMW dealerships are too few and far between. Yamaha would probably come in second.

Now just pick a bike. I like my '01 VFR with givi bags just fine as an all around bike. I also paid the extra $600 bucks for 5 year, unlimited mileage warranty. Does anyone else even offer this? At something like 14,000 miles per year on just the VFR, dependability is important for me.

I could also make a strong case for the 919 or the nighthawk under these conditions. A full-on sports bike or touring rig is too limiting for my mixed use riding (communing, weekend sport riding, and the occassional track day.)

wwalkersd 02-14-2003 08:10 AM

Re: Brand Loyalty
Hmm. I'm not sure about the longevity issue, but my current Suzuki V-Strom comes close to being an ideal 20-year bike. Why? Versatility! It's a got a riding position you can live with for the rest of your life (well, OK, seat height might become an issue), with readily-available luggage it makes a great tourer, it's got power and handling enough to be fun for track days and riding twisties, it can do light off-road work, it's a good commuter, etc. The looks probably won't stand the test of time very well (heck, I don't think it's good-looking _now_).

What this assignment calls for is a bike very like the 'Strom, but with more assurance of reliability and long-term parts availability. I don't think a BMW GS qualifies, due to lack of oomph.

wwalkersd 02-14-2003 08:14 AM

Re: Brand Loyalty
"Ok Brand loyalty for 20 years would come down to what country you live in."

I disagree on this point. Unless the US economy totally hits bottom, we're too big a market for the import makers to ignore, regardless of politics.

nweaver 02-14-2003 08:20 AM

Honda ST1300 ABS
Honda ST1300 ABS, with top case, heated grips, and possibly a sterio.

Something I KNOW can last for 100,000 miles: rock solid reliable. Something which is VERY comfortable. Something which is OK on twisty backroads (can still take them faster than I can).

BMW4VWW 02-14-2003 08:45 AM

Re: Boxer Beemer.
Having owned my BMW G/S for 13 years now I can attest to the longevity and relatively easy serviceabiliy of this brand. Like many of you I never pictured myself as a BMW rider, but after owning over 30 other motorcyles ranging from what passed then for the fastest sport bike you could buy to the coolest chopper, I haven't bought another bike since 1990! Hey these are really well built and fun bikes to own. I agree with your coice of the R1150R as it is the only bike I have seriously considered buying to go along with my G/S. VWW

jtred6r 02-14-2003 08:46 AM

Re: Brand Loyalty
Given any price goes. I think I would have to go with the 2001 black and silver screaming eagle package HD Road glide. It can carry almost anythink. In keeping with 20 year duration fact. I think parts will be easy to find. In my fourty's already, my 6r or superglide won't be that confortable down the road. Besides that when you start with a 28000.00 bike. It will still have a very good resale value. so I can start on my next 20 year bike. jk

Hadji 02-14-2003 08:58 AM

OK, I did.
Well, funny you should mention it, cause I bought my R1100SBX using the criteria you laid down. The R1150R was my second choice. What I really wanted was a Ducati ST4s, but I just did not know how it would fare 10 years down the road w/150K miles on the clock. I have not had the pleasure of riding a G/S. Now that KTM is making it's presence known, I am thinking of getting a Supermoto or Adventure and selling my DR350.

Singles & Twins Forever!

rsheidler 02-14-2003 09:10 AM

Bob's Picks
Good question, LongRide

The marriage analogy is a good one, made more pertinent in my case by the fact that tomorrow is my 23rd wedding anniversary – an event that lends itself to introspection on the nature of long-term relationships.

Before getting down to specifics, I have to elaborate on your 3rd condition. Is this to be taken in the same sense as oneÂ’s wedding vows, where it is an ideal to strive for, but where the occasional dalliance, so long as there is not emotional involvement, the other party does not find out, and nobody is hurt is, if not condoned, is at least overlooked? If, in a moment of temporary weakness, I succumb to the temptation of that beautiful, young Italian seductress and give her a quick test ride, is my relationship finished, or can I use this as an opportunity to recommit to my relationship, perhaps making it even stronger as a result?

Anyway, I see that there are several dimensions that I would have to consider:

1. Reliability and durability. I like to ride a lot, so I would put a lot of miles on a bike over 20 years. At 10-20,000 mi per year, that equates to 200-400,000 miles over the next 20 years.

2. Parts availability. Since I will certainly need to do some major work over the next several hundred thousand miles, the expected availability of parts – not just the major parts, but also the piddley stuff like levers, switches etc – will be a major issue down the road.

3. Versatility. Since I am limited to one bike, it needs to be able to do everything I want a bike to do. By definition, it will be a compromise, so I have to decide how to weight the various types of riding I intend to do.

4. Chemistry. No matter how compatible another person seems, if there is no chemistry, no passion, the prospects for a happy, successful relationship are limited. Same with bikes.

5. My changing desires and requirements. I am almost 53 years old, so in 20 years I will be in my 70s. If I were asked a similar question 20 years ago, I would have wanted very much the same things I want now; however, the inevitability of physical aging, slower reflexes, reduced agility etc, are likely to have a much more significant impact on my riding in the next 20 years than in the past 20.

Predicting future reliability and parts availability, and for that matter, my own future limitations, is a guess. I feel the best way to predict them is to look at previous generations. I had a pretty good indication of how my wife would age from observing her parents. Her mother was hot – not only physically attractive, but energetic, with a love of life. No guarantees, but that was my best information then available. I have used the same approach here.

I would start by ruling out certain types of bike or certain manufacturers. To start off, I would reluctantly cross off what is possible my current favorite type of bike – the pure sport bike. Since I also need to maintain my other long-term relationship (with my wife), I cannot expect her to spend many hours perched on the pillion of any of the current sport bikes. Also, I have to be realistic about my ability to continue folding my aging body into the racers’ crouch required – especially as I approach my 70s.

I also would reluctantly rule out any of the more dirt-oriented dual-purpose bikes, or Supermoto bikes for some of the same reasons.

I have to rule out the pure touring bikes such as Honda Gold Wing due to lack of sporting prowess and striking out on the passion criterion – plus my wife refuses to be seen on the back of one. Slightly more sporting (in performance and image) mounts such BMW R-RTs would not be categorically ruled out.

I have never had any real desire for a cruiser, so don’t see any reason to start now. The style does not appeal to me, and the feet forward, hands-at-shoulder-level riding position is particularly uncomfortable. (Note that I do not include all Harleys in this group – eg the Dyna Sport or Sportster -- especially the Sport -- have "normal" riding positions, and I DO like the style.)

I would probably rule out any of the manufacturers that do not have a relatively long track record and reasonably sound financial position. DonÂ’t want to be stuck trying to buy parts for an orphan bike in a few years. That rules out Victory, Indian, MZ, Benelli, etc and leaves a question mark next to Triumph (as long as John Bloor is involved, he will keep it afloat, but not so sure once he is out of the picture) and maybe even Aprilia and Ducati.

I would be tempted by something like a Ducati ST2 or ST4. It meets many of my criteria – certainly has the sex appeal, wide focus, etc. My concern is with long-term reliability. Too maintenance intensive, with too complex (and expensive, if outsourced) valve adjustments. I’d be looking at something like 400 desmo valve adjustments over the next 20 years. May have to pass.

Some model of Harley could meet several of my criteria. Good track record of parts availability, and service personnel able to troubleshoot and repair the older machines. Simple maintenance is a plus. However, I HAVE NEVER EVEN RIDDEN A HARLEY, other than as a passenger at age 11. The only one that I have ever seriously considered was the Dyna Sport. That could be a contender, but without riding one, I have to reserve judgment.

Probably my leading contender would be one of the BMW oilhead boxers. Like Harley, BMW have a history of keeping old bikes on the road. Good parts availability, strong support from other owners, including active ownersÂ’ groups. Of the various models, I think I would pick the R1150R for its classic, naked simplicity, reasonably light weight, and versatility.

There you have my choices:

1. BMW R1150R

2. Harley Dyna Sport

3. Ducati ST2/4

rsheidler 02-14-2003 09:16 AM

Re: OK, I did.
Singles & Twins Forever!

My Motto!


Cherii 02-14-2003 09:22 AM

First off, I think 20 years is just too long. I wouldn't even keep a car that long. I can imagine perhaps 10 to 12 years, which is as long as parts are likely to be available, possibly even tires of the correct size. Anyway, I've owned cruisers, standards, and sportbikes. I've rented and borrowed tourers, but I really like the sport tourers. For that kind of longevity, I'd take a VFR. Sporty enough to be fun, comfy enough for commuting and traveling, and with luggage options by Givi or now factory, the only thing you can't do is off road.

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