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Thursday, March 19, 2015

Don't tell Kimmie but....

I've been looking at other bikes.

Maybe it's because spring is just around the corner.  Maybe it's because of my daily commute.  Maybe it's because Sue and company have been pushing me to buy a trike or Cam-Am.  I have to be honest, the Cam-Am idea has grown on me but frankly if I were to buy anything with three wheels it would more likely be a Ural.  It' fits with my "weird" side rather nicely.

Kimmie has been giving me issues lately and is currently in the shop.  A oil leak that I can't identify (originally I thought it was a bad drain plug) resulted in my engine light going off one day last week (I pulled off to the side ASAP and luckily I was near my buddy's Craig's house and he was able to get us home).  Cold weather starts are still a issue and for some reason my "check battery" light came on.

So for these reasons my guys at Affordable Motorsports (my go-to mechanics) are giving her the once over twice.  While their at it I asked them to pull the Tupperware off and give me an idea of the wear on the CVT belt.  This is her second day in the shop.

Depending on the cost of repairs; I'm looking at a couple of different options, although any change is still six to nine months down the road.  While I can certainly afford a new bike, I'm hoping to put it off as long as possible for economic reasons.

I have been "nickle'ed and dime'd" to death on cars in the past and don't want Kimmie to end up costing me more than she is worth,  Kimmie is about seven or eight years old and I've put 20,000 + miles on her in the last 2 years, in addition to wrecking her once.  She's served me very well and I've no desire to get a new bike...but I have to be realistic too.

Truthfully the idea of a manual transmission still scares me a bit.  I just think that with the traffic being what it is in Florida - where one out of every four or five drivers is uninsured - worrying about gearing and such is just an extra burden.

However that also limits my choices.  I also want a little more power than I currently have.  The 500cc of Kimmie has meet my needs and more, but I think a slight tick upward into the 650 to 850cc range is in order.  My choices narrow even more.

Here is a rough idea of the bikes that I'm looking at.  They are in no particular order and the links are all to the newest models.  It makes more sense to buy used but again if I buy new then I know exactly what maintenance was done when and who did it.

Suzuki Burgman 650 - The granddaddy of all maxi scoots!  Storage and comfort at a semi-hefty price although their are lots of options available.  Plus, honestly I'm leaning more towards an "actual motorcycle".  The secondary market is great for a Burgman however.

Aprilla Mana 850 - An automatic motorcycle with paddle shifters. I have mixed emotions about this one.  While I like a lot of what it has to offer, it's also a bit pricey and the reviews don't seem that great.

Honda CTX - probably my favorite.  ABS and a good price although limited options.  Storage is non existent.
Honda CTX - thanks to Honda for the pic

BMW GT 650 - Pricey but a lot of options.  ABS is standard and it's probably the only "beamer" I'll ever own.

Kymco Myroad 700i - Well Kimmie's bigger better sister (Myra?) has a bigger engine, the ergonomics and storage are still an issue for me.

Triumph Bonneville - OK, not really an automatic but that lovely classic design and the secondary market is full of them.  Again no storage.

Royal Enfield - Again not automatic, or even that powerful (it's only 500cc) and would probably be better suited to life in the city.  Not the long commute I have now.  Still its a great looking bike and they even make a diesel model!  Who knows if we will ever see it in America.

In the end though it will come down to form vs function.  What is going to meet my needs and satisfy my soul.  So the Honda CTX, just may be my next bike.  Of course it all depends on how Kimmie heals.


Anonymous said...

I'd go with the Honda CTX700. You can probably get an excellent deal on it and add on plenty of luggage to carry whatever you can think of. The Honda will give you almost 20 mpg better mileage than either of the scooters and 30 mgp better mileage than the Triumph and RE. I rode one of the manual CTXs, and fell in love with the engine and tranny. It's sweet.

Low seat height will be nice in the city and the bike's fairing will do you well on the road.

You can add a lot of farkles on the CTX...and still not get to the price of a new Burgman 650 or BMW scooter.

I would use SearchTempest and see what you can find in the way of a used model of whatever bike you settle on. All of these bikes have been the same for the past several years. And many owners put on a thousand miles a year and baby them. If the bikes are worth keeping...they can overcome even the worst maintenance a previous owner can dish out on a low mileage babied garage kept previously loved motorcycle/scooter.


BWBandy said...

I have a Burman 650 Executive and love it. Get a top case and you will be more than set for storage.

Dar said...

Don't worry about shifting, it's easy peasy - really! You just have to keep it smooth! Great bikes, but if you are looking at the Honda CTX take a look at the Honda NC750. It is sweet and it's my choice. They have moved the gas tank under the seat and where the faux tank is it is storage just like in a scooter, it holds a full face helmet, add some Givi hard bags and you are set.

As for the mana with the paddle shifters I think I'd be a little nervous about that, it seems un-natural and almost too many things going on up on the handle bars, break, throttle & paddle shifters.

If you can find a BMW scooter I think the make a 650 & 850, beautiful, but lots of cash.

Dar said...

Ps go for the URAL or even another bike with sidecar, I saw an amazing triumph all kitted out.

Shazza said...

Just have fun exploring. I've been putting off upgrading mine for a while. Still want a perfect feeling bike. Looking forward to your sharing your new journey.

David Masse said...

Interesting thoughts Rob.

Speaking as a guy who recently tried shifting for the first time, if you drive a stick shift car shifting a bike is easy. Getting used to the rear brake was the bigger challenge for me, but that is not difficult by any means.

I suspect Kimmie's issue might be piston rings. Sounds a little like a story I read about an MP3 500 recently that had what turned out to be a piston defect.

Personally I think trikes are like cars. All the risk of a motorcycle, but none of the fun. A Ural might be the only three-wheeler I'd like.

Nice to have choices.

With a little luck Kimmie will have plenty of miles and smiles still to give.

SonjaM said...

All good thoughts, Robert. My personal choice would be the Bonneville or the Enfield. However, if you would want to take the wife with, I bet the Ural hack would do the trick. The sidecar provides an easy entry for Susan. On the Burgy... she would have to climb up.
Anyway, it will be fun to follow you around, while you look at bikes and weigh the options.

Trobairitz said...

Does it feel a little scary to want to branch out a bit?

You certainly have great options if you decide on a change. Hopefully Kimmie won't take much to fix.

To me, shifting is pretty easy, but then I come from using a manual transmission car. I know that it isn't easy for everyone and has a learning curve.

I say choose what is right for you. Try a few out if you can. Even take a training course that lets you use their little bikes so you can see if you even like shifting.

Wait until you feel the love and then that is your choice.

I like the Spyders but I can't see spending more on a Spyder than I did on the Subaru.