Alanf’s blog…
Scattered thoughts

Friday, December 17, 2004

New bike deliberations…

Author: site admin
Category: Bike Updates

Help me out here, folks.

Next year, I’m planning to buy a new bike. This bike will replace one of my bikes (the Minister of Domestic Tranquility has forbidden adding a new bike to the garage without first getting rid of one of the four I already have). I’m keeping the relatively new 2000 DRZ400, so my current thoughts are:

1) Finally sell my ancient 1988 Suzuki GSXR1100 (ex-Team Hammer Suzuki race bike) and replace it with a new sport bike. This is the most logical, after all sport bikes have changed dramatically in the past 16 years but also the most difficult since I’ve done so much riding on the old thing that I’m quite attached to it. Nonetheless, if this were to happen I’d be getting something completely excessive like the new Suzuki GSXR1000, Kawasaki ZX-10R, etc. I considered, as a variation on this idea, to replace the GSXR with something more exotic like an Aprilia RSV1000 or a used Ducati 998 but realized I use a sport bike for strictly utilitarian purposes. Why buy an expensive dinner fork? Besides, the old GSXR isn’t worth much so that would mean even more out-of-pocket expense to buy some tarted up European replacement.


2) Replace my 2001 BMW R1150GS with a new BMW R1200GS. On one hand, this is very attractive since the R1150GS is relatively low mileage (40,000) and thus will have a decent trade in value. I love the GS, so the thought of having the same basic bike but 40 lbs lighter is very, very appealing. The downsides to this are that the R1150GS is relatively low mileage, so why trade it in? Also, I *loath* BMW’s power assist brakes and that is a standard item on the new R1200GS. Finally, does it really make sense to pay all that money (hey, I complained about the BMW purchase price the first time around!) just to loose those 40 lbs? Maybe I could get a Touratech carbon fiber sub-frame for the 1150 for the same amount and with the same benefits.

3) Upgrade my ‘82 Honda FT500RR track bike. The reason this one is likely to crash before ever getting off the ground is that I never use the damned thing as it is. Still, I hand built the thing (with some help on the frame from Bare Bones Racing) and I thought it was a hoot to ride the two times I’ve ridden it. Something like an SV650 would make a much better platform for track riding (and racing, should I ever get around that). Factor in that a used SV would be incredibly cheap and this is undoubtedly the best financial decision. A slight alteration to this would be converting the old GSXR into a track bike, ditching the race Ascot and reverting back to plan #1 of getting a new sport bike.

I’d also thought about getting a vintage bike to toy around with (since an early 70s Kawasaki H2 has always been on my wish list ) but I’d rather have something newer right now. Besides, I don’t have enough time to maintain the projects I already have!

I plan to look around at the Cycle World International Motorcycle Show this weekend but I know I’ll end up liking whatever I sat on last the best. Does anyone want to offer suggestions?

[image from Lone Star BMW]

5 Comments so far


Dean W
December 17th, 2004 at 10:32 am

You’re not going to like this…

Keep the R1150GS. The new DRZ has you covered off-road.

Ditch the Ascot. Sorry, but as you said yourself, you never ride it anyway.

Also ditch the GSXR. Yes, you’ve got a lot of emotional ties to it. I had the same feelings for my FJ1100, and the last two years I had it, I rode it almost as much as you’ve been riding your Gixxer of late.

So, sell both the GSX-R *and* the Ascot. Use those accumulated funds to replace the Ascot with a used SV for track use, and any one of a number of liter-class bikes for street riding. Net bike count remains unchanged, you’ll be out of pocket the price of one good bike and wind up with a monstrously tough choice to make every time you suit up, esp. if you leave the lights on the SV except for those track days.

Bikes to consider to replace the Gixxer: A brand-spankin’ new R1, CBR1000RR, GSXR-1000, or ZX-10R. You’ll get to go straight to the top of Poseur Mountain, at least for a few months. More performance than you’ll ever be able to use on the street. You’ll have the chance to become reacquainted with all those sheriff’s deputies you lost track of a few years back.

Or, a used Aprilia Mille, or even more pedestrian, Fireblade (CBR900/929/954RR). The Mille is possibly one of the most under-appreciated bikes in the US. If there was a right way to combine Italian and German (Austrian, actually) engineering, The Mille is it. (Get the -R version and you can sample some of what they can do in the Netherlands, too- and you can do worse than Ohlins boingers.)

The Fireblade isn’t to be sneered at, either. Honda’s been developing that motor, and chassis, for so long they don’t just work to stiffen the frame blindly- they know it well enough to *tune* chassis flex for real world conditions.


Doug K.
December 17th, 2004 at 3:56 pm

Alan, Just found your blog. Lots of good reading here. I’ll add a link at my place.

As for adding another bike to your stable, how about a classic BMW like the R100RS? Covers the vintage/sportbike/tourer thing all in one machine.



December 17th, 2004 at 5:12 pm

Hey Dean and Doug. Thanks for the bike advice. I doubt I can convince my wife that I should get two bikes in the same year. As for the Mille,
I thought it was the most beautiful bike at last year’s Int’l Motorcycle Show. If the price is right (IE close to that of the new Japanese liter bikes) then it is definitely something I’ll look at. Otherwise, its hard to beat the GSXR, ZX or R1 at the cost/performance ratio.

As for the old Beemer, I like the RS but my main focus for the new bike is track and sport riding. I doubt I could ride a R100RS harder than I can ride my current GS. Still, if I had a Jay Leno sized garage, an old airhead RS would be in the collection!

Again, thanks for the ideas.


December 19th, 2004 at 4:42 pm

This is going to be fun…
Ditch the Ascot, you haven’t ridden it on the track for too long. While you’re at it, ditch the GSXR too, you’ve only ridden it once in the last 3 years (?) as well. Get a sport bike! - You need it, you want it… You’ve got the 2-up/commute bike as well as an enduro bike (that needs more exercise, by the way), so you have a gapping hole in the sport category. As for what TO get, I have no idea, but I’ll bet you DO!


Steve B.
December 23rd, 2004 at 4:48 pm

I know someone *cough*me*cough* who has a ‘99 SV for sale all track ready with bodywork, penske shock and everything.

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