Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Have You Ever Had to Make Up Your Mind?

As you might remember from previous posts, I am seriously thinking of finding a new bike.  Not necessarily brand new, but new to me.  Something a little more upright, something with a little more space between the foot pegs and seat so my knees aren't as cramped therefore making it more comfortable for longer distances.

We have been looking at several makes and models and kicking tires for a few months now.  I think we have it narrowed down to a short list of bikes...well, so far anyway. The list seems to be rather fluid and changes weekly. Here are a few that have been on the list recently.....

A used 2013 Ducati Hyperstrada in pearl white popped up on Craigslist a few weeks ago.  I immediately loved the look of the bike and started doing research.  It is essentially a Hypermotard they have added some touring features to.  

(Photo courtesy of Asphalt and Rubber - 2013 Ducati Hyperstrada)
It seemed to tick all the boxes and weighs 6 lbs less than the Gladius.  I became a little worried about the electrical issues mentioned on the Ducati forums.  2013 was the first year of the Hyperstrada.  We never made it up to Portland to check it out in person and the ad disappeared sometime in the last few days.  I am thinking someone took a chance on it.

Another bike on the short list is the Honda NC700x.  Princess Scooterpie has an NC700 and loves it. The NC700x has a little more off-road appearance in that the beak and 'frunk' (front trunk) where the fuel tank should be, are different. I am not sure it really has any changes beyond that.  There is a local dealership in the Portland area that is selling hold-over brand new 2014's for $5,000.  Pretty darn good price for  a new bike with warranty.

(Photo courtesy of - 2014 Honda NC700x)
This bike seems to tick all the boxes but I do wonder if the 17" tires will do any better in the gravel than the Gladius.  (*note all three bikes in this post have 17" tires) I also wonder about getting used to the fuel filler being under the pillion seat so you always have to get off the bike to fuel it.  And if you fuel it up while it is on the side stand is it being filled all the way.......

We have thought about other bikes as well; BMW Sertao, Ducati Scrambler, Triumph Tiger 800, Suzuki V-Strom 650, Honda CB500X, KTM 690 Duke, Yamaha FJ-09..... (FYI - an FJ-09 with TKC-80 tires on it really tall)

Last Friday I was off work at noon and we drove to Sublimity to visit Power Yamaha.  They are also a Kawasaki and KTM dealer and have several hundred used bikes of all makes and models in stock.  Our intent was to ride our motorcycles there, but the weather was not cooperating. The highest we saw on the thermometer of the Fiat was 108˚F (42.2˚C). Not only did we not ride there, but the blazing sunshine made it a wee bit difficult to sit on any bikes since most were outside in direct sunlight. Those black seats get mighty hot in the sun.

I did sit on a 2016 Kawasaki Versys 650 and was pleasantly surprised. I liked the ergos and the price.  I wonder how easy it would be to maneuver when parking and/or at a standstill because of the 33 inch seat height and 476 lb wet weight.  While I wasn't flat footed I felt sure-footed even in sandals. It is 30 lbs heavier than the Gladius, but I think that is half fuel - it has almost 2 more gallons in the tank than the Gladius.

(Photo courtesy of - 2016 Kawasaki Versys 650)
Currently the dealer has the 2016 Versys 650's on for $6,999 and the LT version with color matched hard panniers and hand guards for $7,999 (both are $1,000 off MSRP).  I have never really been a fan of Kawasaki.  Not sure why, just never cared for their bikes.  Didn't really like my Ninja 650R when I had it. It always felt too top heavy to me. I guess this is why I was surprised when the Versys appeared to be a comfortable fit when I sat on it.  LINK to specs on the Versys.

At some point I know I'll need to test ride a few bikes.  I don't like test riding because I don't enjoy riding unfamiliar bikes.  The whole scenario makes me anxious, but I also don't see a way around it.  

The hardest part of bike shopping is trying to see what make and model might tick the most boxes while still prioritizing wants and needs.

I think my first priority should be an upright riding position, followed by weight/height, and lastly gravel road capability.  Oh yeah, price and insurance costs should be in there somewhere too.

So, have you ever had to make up your mind?

- Au Revoir

" The inability to make has decision has often been passed off as patience." - Author Unknown