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Nice article. As the owner of my fourth Sportster-a 1200R, I must agree that overall it is a radical improvement from its '03 and earlier versions. It can still be easily smoked by most of the other "small" bikes in the test, but the grin factor when riding this bike thru curves is astounding.

The saddle continues to be an ergonomic pain-in-the-arse, the headlight equals a weak batteried flashlight and the stock Showa suspension combines nicely with the dummlopp "rim protecturrzz" to compromise handling. That said vast improvements are only(!!) hundreds of dollars away: Race Tech up front, good shocks in rear, Bridgestone BT45Vs, an aftermarket saddle...watch out curves! IMO, of the 65 or so bikes I've had the 1200R ranks up there with the best for being lotsa fun to ride. My BMW R1150GS will easily show her saddlebags to the 1200R, but the 1200R is the usual choice for riding. DFO
 

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I bought a VStrom last month as a commuter bike (wind protection, good mileage, easy to mount a top box and tall, upright position for better vision.) I was amazed at how much I liked riding it everywhere. It handles curves beautifully, making it great for day trips in the mountains. At the same time it is very comfortable for long trips (anyone complaining about the seat should sit on the original SV seat for 20 minutes) with over 200 mile range (nice when you get east of the Cascades.) Maybe it's because it's new, but my other two bikes are getting neglected these days.
 

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Great story guys!

Ok, I wasn’t going to say a thing, but, given all the moaning and *****ing going on I just had to pipe in.

Great job guys, once again you guys tell it like it is out in the real world on the street. I especially love the part "the fastest guys (Sean, Martin) were always in the front" no matter what they were on.

I have seen this myself where a friend who is a great rider on his Suzuki 1400 Intruder keeps some newbie squids at bay on the latest and greatest sport bikes down extremely twisty roads. It's so true that the rider is what makes a bike fast on the street and if we spent more time and money on training and learning then the latest gewiz sport bike and accessories we would all be faster.

Also before all you guys get so blown out of proportion about the Harley I have to mention a couple of things:

1. One freebie with a Harley that has not been mentioned at all is a whole family of friends ready to ride, stop, talk, assist, tour and just plain have fun with that you will never ever have with most of the other bikes. Ok, sure some of that goes on, but until you are in the family you just don’t realize how much there is to it.

2. The Harley may have 1200cc of displacement but, it really is a Middleweight in size and power, which suits a lot of people just fine.

Great job Sean, Buzz, EBas, Martin, and staff.
 

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The Toad
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Good article. Actually testing bikes that people might ride is a good thing. Maybe more people will look at these bikes for their first or next purchase and the sales figures might shift away from the boring metric cruisers.



However, for the life of me, I can't figure how the bike that everyone seemed to hate came in 4th place. After reading the rider coments on the Yammerhammer I couldn't figure how it came in anything but last.
 

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So which one won again? :p It was the Ninja 500R right?



You guys really have come a long way over the years and it's been a gas to watch and be a part of.



This comparo had it all for me. (Well almost all. Some fly-by videos would have been cool.) The best line was about Sean riding the balls off the Sportster and leaving everybody in his wake. I love that. It aint just the bike that makes you fast and that's a fact. The Dyno runs were nice because I like hearing the bikes. The walkarounds were interesting but I'd rather have the fly-by vids. And the best part was getting a couple members to join in the fun.



One question though: Why the huge difference in votes between Fonzie and everyone else? I love the looks of the FZ-6 but have been hearing reports similar to what the rest of the testers said but Fonzie picked it 1st. Other than the daily use of the bike are there any other reasons? I have been lusting after the Ninja 500 for some time now and was happy to hear such glowing remarks from the racers in this group but he picked it dead last. I'd like to know why he voted this way on these two bikes.



Thanks MO!
 

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So which one won again? :p It was the Ninja 500R right?



You guys really have come a long way over the years and it's been a gas to watch and be a part of.



This comparo had it all for me. (Well almost all. Some fly-by videos would have been cool.) The best line was about Sean riding the balls off the Sportster and leaving everybody in his wake. I love that. It aint just the bike that makes you fast and that's a fact. The Dyno runs were nice because I like hearing the bikes. The walkarounds were interesting but I'd rather have the fly-by vids. And the best part was getting a couple members to join in the fun.



One question though: Why the huge difference in votes between Fonzie and everyone else? I love the looks of the FZ-6 but have been hearing reports similar to what the rest of the testers said but Fonzie picked it 1st. Other than the daily use of the bike are there any other reasons? I have been lusting after the Ninja 500 for some time now and was happy to hear such glowing remarks from the racers in this group but he picked it dead last. I'd like to know why he voted this way on these two bikes.



Thanks MO!
 

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AHAhaha... Now that's one hellofanidea. I'd love see Sean leave everyone behind in THAT comparo! No! Even better! Use the Triumph Rocket III! Yeah, baby!



I thought the 1200 Sportster fit in pretty well with this crowd of "Middleweight Standards". The Sportster is a very small bike with a big engine. It feels downright tiny if you compare it to say the Yamaha V-Star 1100 or Honda Spirit 1100, which might be considered comparable.

 

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LUSTING after EX500?

see a doctor. I see the FZ-6 with a nice vibratin quelling Renthal aluminium handlebar. Seems like four-cyl. vibes sometimes subside after a few thousand miles too, for reasons i don't understand. Maybe your arm nerves die?
 

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Re: LUSTING after EX500?

That handlebar isn't going to do anything for your rear and your feet.

And T&P: Lusting for an EX500? Lusting? You might want an EX but lusting for the little Ninja would be like lusting for Jeanine Garafalo. I might like to take her for a ride but my fantasies are far more expensive.
 

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The Toad
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Re: LUSTING after EX500?

Lusting after Janeane Garofolo would be more like lusting after a Ural. And only if it has a really really good muffler.

The EX500 is more in the "chick on the weather" channel class.
 
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