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MO Readers ask which bike to buy...

27220 Views 99 Replies 74 Participants Last post by  david_l_sumner
SV650s can do everything! Oh, except write my term papers for me.
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Re: What bike for a tall guy?

Welcome, Renato

Most of us here on this site are American, thus many will not be that familiar with some of the bikes you mention. The Diversion 600 is, I believe, what was sold here as the Seca II. This bike is no longer inported to the US. The CB500 has not, to my knowledge, been imported here.

Before giving my opinions, I would have to say that this is a very hard question to answer, without knowing more about your level of experience and the type of conditions you will encounter, or how much you are willing to spend. I speculate that you are relatively inexperienced, so my comments reflect that assumption. Please forgive, if I am wrong.

Your height should not be much of a factor, other than perhaps to steer you away from the very smallest models -- it certainly should not be a problem with any of the bikes you mention. Actually, you would be only a bit above average for Americans, but pretty tall for southern Europeans.

Personally, I would probably lean toward the "so called" trail bikes, especially as you are fairly tall. Shorter riders sometimes have difficulty feeling confident at stoplights, when they have to hold the bike on tiptoes. I have riden both the Aprilia Pegaso and the BMW 650, including a fairly extended tour, with passenger and luggage, throughout Switzerland and parts of France (this on the BMW -- one of the early versions). As long as you avoid exended periods on the autostrada, it is quite suitable for this purpose.

Between the two, I think it comes down to personal preferences, as mechanically they are very similar -- both use versions of the Rotax 650 which is very reliable, and, for a big single, reasonably smooth running and powerful.

All of these bikes are reliable -- maintenance is easier on the single cylinder bikes than the 4s -- especially if you do your own.

I am sure you will see plenty of other opinions.

Good luck with your choice.

Bob (aka Roberto)
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except write your term papers... AND.... Of course, SV-650s make you look really silly if you're wearing chaps and fringe. (you know as opposed to NOT looking silly in chaps and fringe, if you are on a cruiser (wink...wink)
Hard to beat the BMW R1100R. Maybe you can find a nice used one in your price range.

I was gonna suggest the same. Depending on your budget and all, a couple of other possibilities are Bandit 1200 (my sister, who is about your height, rides one and she fits fine) or one of the other naked or semi-naked standards (eg Yamaha FZ1).

A little more expensive (don't know about Canadian prices, though) is the BMW R1150R -- in the US this is $10,000 without ABS. That would probably be my choice, if it fit within my budget.

Good luck with your choice

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Java Dragon should consider a Suzuki Katana 750. Not too big, good power, good wind protection, comfy for the long haul, good for a passenger (get a Corbin seat), good range, fun in the twisties.
My suggestion is to buy a Honda 750 Nighthawk. Reliable, decent power, 2-up comfort, not too big, good gas mileage, cheap, pretty easy to service, proven design. No, it's not the most exciting thing going, but the requirements mentioned in both posts point to this bike more than any others. I also bet this bike can be found at a discount, as they aren't flying out of the showroom. Honda dealers are everywhere, so parts or service would not be a problem.
Serazuwa's suggestion of a used BMW R1100R is probably better than my suggestion for the R1150R (which is the replacement model), given your specified budget.

Here, you can find good, clean R1100Rs in the range of US$5,000, usually including bags, electric handgrips (well worth the $$ if you ever ride in cool weather) etc. These bikes are almost always well maintained by more "mature" riders (KPaul would say old farts) who are less likely to routinely bounce the revs off the rev limiter.
Longride suggesting an inline 4. Someone tell KPaul! Actually, I agree with you. I had an 86 Nighthawk that I thoroughly enjoyed. It was comfortable enough, handled well enough, and had sufficient passenger accomodations to fit my small budget and general desire to be on a motorcycle.

In short, a great all around bike if you don't mind being seen on something that, to be generous, isn't exactly cutting edge in any major category.
Bike for JavaDragon

Take a look at the Yamaha V-Star review on They give it very positive reviews and it seems to meet the criteria that you are looking for.
Vote #2 for the SV650S

I've almost gotten mine to do a term paper for me.
Is the NightHawk sold under a different name in canada? Looking at Honda canada's models page I don't see it listed.
For Renato, the Euro-version CB750 is a lot more compact and handy than the North American Nighthawk 750 -- I'd definitely look twice at that bike. Great ergos, reliable as lemon trees in the Algarve, great handling, roomy enough for two.

For JavaDragon, I agree with the previous post regarding the Katana 750. For a little more punch, though, you might check out a first gen ('95-'97) Triumph Sprint. Plenty of power, great handling, and with a 6.6 US gallon fuel capacity, more than adequate for the distances you describe. Extremely comfy, but not a "tourer," plenty of handling capability, but without the splash-boy graphics. And plenty to keep you entertained well into multiple seasons.
Check to see one. I guess Canada dealers don't sell em, but maybe they can get you one if you ask at the dealer. Not sure really but may be worth a try.
This might sound odd but for JavaDragon, I suggest he look into a used VX800. It's comfortable, has 170+ mile range, good torque and very affordable for a re-entrant rider.
Welcome to (or back to) motorcycling! You are facing some tough decisions because there are so many good motorcycles out there. Unfortunately, none of them do everything the best, so the only reasonable thing to do is to accumulate several motorcycles (one for two-up touring, one for sport riding, one for dirt, etc.)

Once you have resigned yourself to owning several motorcycles, you now have the much simpler task of deciding which to get first. I recommend making sure that the first bike is good for two-up riding. If you are married or in a serous relationship, it is imperative to get your partner on board early on to generate a mutual enjoyment of the sport. Two-up bikes don’t have to be big and powerful, but it doesn’t hurt. It should be well sprung – check the manufacturer’s specifications to figure out how much load a bike can handle. (By the way, the definition of "good for two-up" changes with time – my wife and I used to do 350 mile days on a Honda 360, but we were 25 years younger and a whole lot lighter back then!)

BMWs have a good reputation as "sport touring" motorcycles, and I have an old airhead Beemer that has served my wife and I well for over 80,000 miles. They tend to be somewhat tall, so they might not work for JavaDragon, but Renato would love a tall GS.

I recommend starting with a used bike – most modern bikes (especially the Japanese models) are very reliable and are not much of a risk to buy used. Test ride everything you can, see what feels comfortable, and buy it if you like it. If it works out, great – if not, sell it and get something else. Or, you can do like a lot of us do - DON’T sell it and get something else anyway!

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Can only give you my experience....

My first bike was a Yahama 600R, plenty of power yet not hard core and easy to ride for long trips, not as radical seating for a sports bike, and the passenger seating is comfy enough (So I was told) Somthing to consider anyway, a much under appriciate bike, still sold today, and can be picked up well in your price range.

My current bike is a Triumph 600TT, not so far removed from my old Yamaha, again the seating and riding position is comfortable and passenger friendly. You may want to also check out a Triumph daytona super sport, a friend I have loves it and does Long rides every other month or so.

Other experiences are Cruise Bikes, I recently rode a Yamaha 1100. Initially it felt great, relaxed and comfortable. But after a while my feet got cold, as did my er... family jewels... and my back started cramping. This was on a nice but cool sunny day in Sothern California.

My advice, test ride lots and see what fits, it's such a personal thing too. :) Have fun!

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KTM, BMW, etc. - Singles and Twins

Renato, I would steer you to a KTM 640 LC4 Adventure for trail and a KTM Duke II for street. Either will take all you can dish out and ask for more. Really, any of the KTM 640 LC4 series, i.e. Dualsport, Supermoto, etc. would be great for you. As they are all fundamentally the same.

JavaDragon, if your 6 hour trek to civilization runs through dirt roads or anything similar, I would suggest an enduro from KTM, BMW, etc. new or used. At 5'-7" finding one that lets your feet touch the ground might be difficult. If it is paved all the way, then you couldn't beat an SV650s or an R1100/1150, but cruisers like the Suzuki Marauder (800cc v-twin, shaft drive, low seat height, easy maintenance, etc.) would be hard to beat.

As you can tell, I am biased towards singles and twins. I like to keep it simple when it comes to motorcycles and I like the power delivery and sound of these bikes. Gentlemen, good luck with your selection and ride safe.
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Impractical choice for Java Dragon

I'm going to weigh in with a slightly less practical choice for you. A Ducati ST2 seems like it could be the bike for you. The two-valve motor makes great midrange power. If you're handy with a wrench you can adjust the valves yourself. A slightly used model can easily be had in your price range.

Prior to 2001 the bike came with fully adjustable suspension, after 2001 non-adjustable.

It comes with factory hardbags, outlet for electric vests, and it makes better noises and will put a smile on your face far more than the practical choices. It's great handling and fast and comfortable for two people.

It also get 45 mpg and has a 5.5 gallon tank. Dealers are probably few and far between for you which would be the one downside.

My ST4 has been totally reliable and the ST2 is simpler mechanically.
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Buy an '03 SV650s this spring. It's a great bike whether you're 5'7 or 6'1, and you'll really appreciate the fuel injection in Canada. It satisfies all your requirements. They go for $6,300; lower if you haggle. Good luck!
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