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Moving on from 1st big bike

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Moving on from 1st big bike

Hey guys I'm after a bit of advice. I've been riding now for nearly 2 years on a 96 yamaha yzf600r thundercat and i'm thinking that this is the last season for me with this bike. It's been amazing but im ready to move on. She's getting a bit old and tired these days and is lacking in a few areas, problem I have is what to move onto? I always dreamed as a kid that once I started riding supersport motorbikes that I'd have them forever but having had a relatively sporty bike for a while I've realised that they are rather unnecessary on the road. I mainly use my bike for a short commute and some weekend hooning. I love the size of the thundercat which seems to be hard to find these days, most modern 600s look like toys next to mine. I'm thinking I'd basically love a modern version of the thundercat, similar size, similar mid - sport seating position 600cc - 800 cc inline 4, just with modern additions such as fuel injection, digital speedo, abs etc So the question I'm faced with now is where to go next?? I love a sport bike look and I want something that's more powerful but im not really interested in being folded I to a pretzel ever day on a road race replica? Here's a list of a few bikes that I like but im wondering what people's views are and if there are any other suggestions? Honda vfr 800 (closest I can find to what I'm after) Suzuki gsr750 (great but naked) Triumph street triple (" ") Suzuki gsx650f (more practical but possibly underpowered) Kawasaki z800 ( again naked) BMW s1000rr ( naked but amazing) Suzuki sv650s (faired version, underpowered twin?) Yamaha xj6 (faired version) I know most of them are naked bikes but I do love naked bikes it's just I wanted the practicality of fairing plus I like having a 'cockpit'. So far the vfr 800 seems closest to what I'm after? I'm looking at this next bike being either brand new or a few months old when i get it and will be keeping it long term so I wanna be 100% on it As you can probably tell by now I'm completely stuck. So any opinions would be greatly appreciated Thanks

Also i like the yamaha fz8, honda cbr600f and honda hornet 900

Unless you get a really great deal, never buy brand new.  As soon as the dealer gives you the keys and you wheel it out of the showroom, you're down a few grand.  If you're only interested in brisk B and A road riding then I'd thoroughly recommend a naked bike.  They're great fun in the twisties.  I currently own an '06 Kawasaki Z750 and would thoroughly recommend it or the Z800.  An SV650s is also a good bike and is certainly not underpowered.  I very nearly bought one over my Z750 but I just can't get over the 160 rear tyre, doesn't look right to me.  In my opinion, I think stepping up from a '96 600 to an S1000RR would be a bit too much.  The difference in performance is tremendous.  In the end, you can only choose what you like.  The only rule of thumb to remember is that there are thousands of bikes out there for sale so don't jump in and buy the first one you see.  Go to your local dealer, get to know one or two of the sales people and test ride bikes that you fancy and test ride some more!  Some dealers can be anal about who they let test ride bikes but I find if you get to know a few of them and become friendly with them, they let you ride anything.  I can go to my local dealer and test ride any bike for an hour or two if I speak to the people I know there.  Do the same online.  Go on ebay, chuck in your postcode and sort by nearest and go visit people.  So what if you have no real intention of buying their bike, you're ticking one off the list and it's helping you learn about what to look for when buying a bike. 

Thanks that's some great advice, I think I am heavily leaning towards a naked bike. The more I think about title the more sense it makes.
Still thousands to choose from though haha
I like the z800, think it's a stunning bike but I also love the the gsr750.
According to all the reviews if I want a powerful naked streetfighter then the two top choices are the street triple and the mt-09 but to be honest I hate the triumphs boggle eyes ( they look like they should be set in fairing) and I really don't like the yamaha. The fact you have to put the key in near the headlight really annoys me (and I don't know why haha)

The other thing is do I want a litre bike? So many people say they are unnecessary and too expensive to run etc etc but I've never ridden anything bigger than a 650 so I don't quite get it yet?

As for test rides my local shops aren't the best. They're only really interested if they think there's a good chance you'll be buying something that day. If your just 'browsing' they dissappear like smoke lol

I,ve only recently moved to a bigger bike myself and went for a VFR 800fi 2001  (5th generation) and I,ve found it to be everything I need on the road. It tops 140mph, is a pussycat up to 6500 revs so is brilliant for commuting, is incredibly well balanced with a comfortable riding position and when you give it the beans over 6500 revs it goes faster than you ever should Add all that to the bullet proof nature of these Hondas , a single sided swing arm which looks great and means tensioning the chain takes about 3 minutes with no alignment malarkey, the ability to carry lots of gear, and  good instrumentation, you,ve got a bike that you won,t get bored of for a few years.  The newer VFR 800f for 2014 gets great reviews, but the one before that is a great bike if you want to save a packet. Just test ride one over 7000 revs as the 6th and seventh gen,s  have a variable valve power delivery which switches from 2-4 valves and powers away, which some have said they don,t like. Ride one, they are SOLID, flexible and quick and are all over 100bhp.  I commute on my old 13 year old girl, she never lets me down, is very planted but still makes me shit my pants now and again when I wring her neck, which is why we love bikes! I take regular 600 mile round trips up north...and arrive without having to have a neck transplant. 

VFR800 Fi. You can't go wrong.Does everything well.Pick up a good used for 2K, will last you a life time. Fast, reliable, handles well.

Triumph street triple I don't get what all the fuss about, yes it's light, yes the brakes are excellent but it felt gutless to me and it's not pretty is it. I much preferred the Z800 with plenty of smooth power, it's heavy but you don't feel that when riding. I've ridden one 2/3 times and like it apart from the clocks which i think are a bit rubbish. The other good thing if you go new there are some great deals to be had on kawasaki. I tried the Z1000, nice bike but A little over priced for what you're getting against the competition in the litre market and lacking a lot of feature the others include. Litre bikes are great, I bought one as a second fun bike and yes you can commute on it but they don't really like sitting in traffic and aren't the best on fuel. My mate rides a Z750r and he wanted something more for touring as he doesn't commute on his bike now so tried the new vfr800 and was totally underwhelmed by it saying it felt very heavy (it is) and wasn't impressed with the power. I like the MT-07/09 but you already knocked them on the head..I would suggest you go and try one, as someone else mentioned try as many as possible it's the only way you'll know for sure you're getting the right bike for you.

FZ1S (Faired version) I have one and it is a known all rounder.

I've got a Triumph Sprint, only my second bike, moved up from a Kawasaki ER-6f. I'm smitten, a proper sized bike, fun on the twisties, but stable and refined on the motorway. Maybe a little large for general in town commuting, but it doesn't stop me!! The power is there from idle up to redline, really smooth and linear, just keeps pulling. It's worth a test ride anyway!!

Thanks for all the input guys. I went down to my local yamaha/kawasaki dealer today to have a look about. I've got to say the mt 09 is growing on me slightly, the demonstrator model had a little screen on it which in my opinion greatly improves the look.

My biggest issue while sat on it is that I can't see any of the bike. I like to have the clocks/screen etc in my lower peripheral vision (if that makes sense)

I did fall in love with an mv brutal 910. Was absolutely stunning but I've read it a one of the worst bikes as a commuter that money can buy haha....shame

I really like the z800 and the weight doesn't bother me as my thundercat weighs in at 230 kg and doesn't feel heavy at all.

I'm gonna have to book some test rides but my dealers a bit of a pain and only let ya when your ready to buy. Guess they have too many dreamers and joyriders just messing them about

What are people's opinions on aprilia? I've not owned one since a 2001 rs125. I was looking at the tuono as a full on balls to the wall naked racer (which sounds fun) but I've just recently seen the shiver 750 and while it may not be as powerful it's certainly a lot better looking, but are the Italians to be trusted making bikes? Is the reliability on par with the jars. ? After all the majority of Italian made cars are crap haha

I was going to suggest you have a look at\go on the Kwak Z1000SX, but I see somebody else has beat me to it...

Yeah the z1000 looks lovely but im not sure I'd need it over the z800? Is there much of a difference between the two? Just a lot of people have said there's no need for a litre bike when it's only for short commutes and weekend fun. That's why I'm looking more at the 800cc ish range.

Fair comment I guess, but the question over whether anyone actually 'needs' a litre bike is completely subjective isn't it!  Do you carry pillions, or do you tour? These are legitimate reasons I'd maybe take the Z1000 over the Z800.  I personally think it's a better looking bike too (also subjective, of course).

Try out the CB1000R too. Detuned fireblade engine

Yeah I think the faired part is what's causing the problem. There are plenty of bikes about that fit my requirements that are naked but very few with fairing.

From what ive seen and what people have said I think I've narrowed it down to z800, mt-09, aprilia shiver or gsr750. Honda don't seem to make a decent mid range streetfighter?
I've got a test ride booked for the z800 next week and i'm trying to get an mt 09 ride while I'm there. Gsr750 I can ride whenever as my friend has one its just the aprilia that I can't try. No showrooms near me carry aprilia
I'm going to motorcycle live this year so I'm hoping they will have some interesting things to ride too so might get some new ideas

There's always the Hornet, if you're considering the GSR and the XJ6. Striple is probably a better bike than all of those three, but out of the rest I'd go with the Hornet. F6, with the carbs, flash back to the old school, but with plenty of nice touches; high can, USD forks, digital clocks/dash/trip. Or the newer ones, but they're more tech-y, heavier but more powerful, subjectively not my brew.I've got an Aprilia (Strada 650), and a dealer 30 miles away, but every day I worry just a little tiny bit in the back of my brain that if something does go wrong it could be considerably more awkward than something from the big four. Best of luck with whatever you wind up with.Orrrr - Get a Harley

Well I've got an Italian bike and I don't 'worry' about it going wrong anymore than I would if it were Japanese. It's an Aprilia btw. The Italian Honda if you believe the hype. I don't, I believe in preventative maintenance.

In answer to the original post though....   The Shiver will feel a little underpowered - a claimed 95bhp equates to an actual 80ish at the rear, and it ain't the lightest - but the Tuono will feel as epic as it is. The second generation (2006 on) is a fabulous bike with the legendary aprilia V60 (actually a Rotax engine) twin cylinder producing around 126bhp and 70 odd lb/ft of torque. The Shiver does look the dogs though and has switchable riding modes. Both are as reliable as anything made in Japan but dealer backup can be sketchy if the worst happens. My 13 year old Ape is good to go every day so long as I stay on top of the battery, though she's going to need a few bits and bobs replacing soon. All easy to come by on THAT auction site though.

Well I've test drove the mt 09 and to be honest I wasn't a fan. It's probably due to only riding sport bikes but it felt really odd to ride. Handlebars were to wide and felt way to light for my liking. I'm assuming most naked are similar?
I may get used to it eventually but on the test ride it just didn't feel natural for me so looks like I'm back to drawing board....

Has anyone got an opinion on the new fazer? Looks ideal for what I want? Also that honda vfr800x crossrunner looks like an interesting new direction to go in?

By the new fazer i meant the fz8 and fz1 I forgot they'd changed the names

get a zzr1100d make sure the gearbox is sweet , check it has full power carb tops      you will get a reliable 170 plus mph beast if you ride within the law and a bit you will get 60 mpg easy the best bit £1500 for a gud un     enjoy  

if you have no self control buy a lower powered retro / streetfighter and pay the premium  

@falcorob It's just one of those things I can't shake. There's still a stigma attached to Italian bikes, despite having come along quit some way in recent years.I love them, especially Guzzi's, but I'd never feel entirely comfortable owning one.@dudeofrude The riding position will take a little getting used to, obviously, but you can always fit lower bars (Renthals, or similar and even cut them shorter) to get you more leaned forward. The wide bars give the advantage of more leverage, and they probably won't hinder filtering that much (mine are 32" including bar ends which is the same as the MT09 and I've not found them a problem). that site lets you compare riding positions and might be worth checking out. You can put your height and in seam in, and a pillion on etc, it gives you a visual representation as well as figures in degrees. A lot of people complain about the neck strain from the wind, with naked bikes, but you soon get used to that. There's a few solutions to the fuelling problem now, Yamaha offering a new map for free to existing customers, but they might be putting them on all bikes that go out now. Something to ask about if you fancy one.A lot of people have complained about the front feeling light in the tests I've seen/read.Just some food for thought, might not help, but it might

@scratchnsniff24 thanks they site is great! Really helpful to see how your gonna fit on a bike without having to find one first ????
And thanks for the info but I really can't be sold on the mt. I like to feel the bike under me and that was just like riding on air (which some may like) it just didn't instill much confidence.

I guess I'm just gonna have to keep trying things out till I find something I like..... wasn't this hard buying a car haha

Yamaha MT09

I have actually I'm stuck deciding between Honda cb1000r, kawasaki z1000 or possibly the new suzuki gsxs1000. I'm going to motorcycle live next week so will hopefully get to test ride some interesting things too. I'm still riding the cat through the winter but come springtime I should be (hopefully) be ready to buy one ????

dudeofrude wrote (see)

According to all the reviews if I want a powerful naked streetfighter then the two top choices are the street triple and the mt-09 but to be honest I hate the triumphs boggle eyes ( they look like they should be set in fairing)

 How can you resist this?

Coz it looks like a fly haha if it had a nice headlight then I'd be more inclined to give it a go.

Actually make that a praying mantis. ..... that's what it looks like haha

I have 2002 CBR600F4i (my first ever bike) and 2014 Daytona 675.  I ride both on regular basis, though now more Honda, as I am not going to Swiss Alps anymore (too cold and roads are closed).  I don't understand that "pretzel" thing. I sit very comfortably on both (I am 185cm tall), the only part of my body that gets tired on either bike after an hour or so is my right foot. Both bikes are great in the twisties, both are powerful enough, both are great in the city traffic (in fact, D675 is the easier bike in traffic!). I do not understand this naked fad, I tried some naked, including S1000R, Monster and Diavel, Street and Speed Triple. The high steering handles are just not for me, and it does not feel like real biking, more like riding a bicycle with an engine, no excitement. I feel most comfortable on sportbikes, in particular supersports (superbikes I tried as well, but that amount of power is to me both boring and a waste, I like to shift and I like to wring the engines out). Did I mention I ride daily, even now when temp is +3C? I ride in city (Zurich) traffic in the morning, I ride in city traffic in the evening, filtering, red lights and all. I have NO PROBLEM AT ALL with the supersport like D675, and when I open it up (which I do quite often, especially in some tunnels), I have no problems with wind blasts thanks to fairing. BTW, I am 36. Embrace life while it is still good - buy a REAL bike = supersport/superbike.

@nopasarn To be honest I'd never thought about the cbr 600 f4, that was the original bike I was after before I got the Thundercat but couldn't afford one. That is exactly the kind of thing I was looking for in my original post, basically a thundercat but with fuel injection, digital tacho etc and still a decent size... only downside is the age of them now. It's hard to find a good one and I'm not keen on the newer ones. If they made them look like they used to then they'd be perfect ????
Still its something else to consider.... Thanks very much ????

Have had my VFR800 since July and have been on holiday to Devon and Cornwall on her in fair and foul weather. I just love the comfort and all that creamy power.

Yes, F4is are now pretty old and many have high mileage. Where I am at there are a couple (or even one now) on the market, with 24000km on the clock. I bought mine with 37000km on the clock, I just fell in love with this particular model. Now it has 49000km and I've done these 12000 since May 15th this year, the date I bought it. I bought it dirt cheap but I did invest some cash into it, and I will now change both the shock (to Wilbers) and the fork springs/valves (Racetech), so I will keep this bike for some time. I find it perfectly fine. Yes, up in the Alps (2000m up) one feels that is it a bit gutless, but it is still strong enough, and definitely strong down below in the planes, and I weigh 100kg with equipment. I like how I can pull the gas handle real hard in first gear and it just goes, no wheelies, just plain acceleration, I am very content with its 109hp/65nm, very easy to ride, very balanced and friendly. Man, I love that old sweetheart!

1290 SuperDuke?I bought mine in July.  It's great for running around town.  I ride it or my 690 Enduro to work most days.  The electronics make it so easy to ride at almost any pace.  It absolutely carves in the canyons.  The first weekend I had mine, I rode 1000 miles in 2 days.  It is an extremely easy bike to live with. 

Got a year old Yamaha XJ6 Diversion F - got the matt grey with blue wheels, looks fine. Easily the cheapest 600 for me to insure £66/year fully comp with LV.  My first big bike - the VFR800 felt a bit big and fast for me, the Yam felt fast but slimmer and more maneuverable. Gets 50mpg unless I thrash it. Comfortable on the motorway and keeps me quite dry in the rain. I cant see past it as a commuting bike that can shift when you take it out weekends - looks great too.

Can't recommend the VFR enough. I have a 2001 VFR800Fi which I've owned since 2004. Perfect faired bike with just the right amount of power and it's never skipped a beat. I don't do that many miles, but the thing is carved out of steel and you know it'll never go wrong. I came from a Naked Bandit 600 and it was a lovely upgrade. If I were to change bikes now, it would only be for one of those Husqvarna Nuda 900s like the Royal Jordanian rides... See if you've had your head under a rock!

Well I test drove various naked bikes at motorcycle live (z800, Mt 09 street rally, mt07 etc) and have come to the conclusion that it's the upright seating position I can't get on with. I feel most comfortable with low bars and being over the tank so it's gonna be sports bikes all the way. Does the VFR have clip ons or risers??

I actually sat on a load of different bikes while I was at the nec and I was surprised by a few.
I've always idolised the triumph daytona but having sat on it I really wasn't impressed, but he zzr1400 (which I think is hideous) was really comfy and a nice size. So just goes to show ya shouldn't pick a bike on looks alone haha

Next week I'm (Hopefully) going from a CBR600F to a CBR1000RR. I am very excited to say the least.

Lots of sage advice on here, difficult to argue with anyones choice. Seems like you want to stick with "head down bum up " style..but not too extreme...that rules out the Daytona 675...which is unarguably the best sportsbike under 1 litre...but it's a pretty "focussed" riding position. VFR  800s are a very good choice and there are loads out there with low miles ...but remember, servicing cost are not cheap and that goes for most Ducatis as well. The CBR 650s looks like a modern take on where Supersport bikes were a decade ago....and ticks all the boxes of a road rider. My choice if you don't do any pillion work would be to look for a 636 ZX 6R...wonderful motor, roomy but or green...look the part. Punt your own bike privately, cut out the dealers, and watch the classifieds for a bike near you....low mileage is critical, look for an older seller...job done.

I'm thinking of looking for a decent zx9r. I've always fancied a kawasaki and I saw one of these today at the petrol station, looked lovely. Reviews seem quiet good and if I can find a decent late model then seems like they'd be everything I'm after

VFR has clip-on bars, but the riding position is not as extreme as a focused sportsbike...

ZX10r. Sorted, convo done.

I have a very similar riding background to yourself by the sounds of it. However I may have missed a few comments as I skipped them. I still have a naked 99 600 bandit as my first big bike after passing my test last year. I wanted a bigger bike, but like you, I commute most days and also like the weekend rideout. I also wanted a new bike, it is a divorce present for myself, long story, I looked at and tested loads of bikes, from supersport to full on touring. The bike I settled on was the new 2014 VFR800, and I must say I have made the perfect choice when it comes to living with it every day. Although I would say that wouldn't I.  As I am sure you know it has all the toys you could want, heated grips are now a very welcome addition. On paper it does not sound the most up to date bike, or the fastest, lightest etc. But I just love it. The V4 is addictive. (Go for the Akrapovic and take the noise baffle out, oh yes.) It has plenty of poke for the roads, I hope to get track time next year to see what it is like there. But it gives me so much confidence. I will agree it may not be the most exciting bike when compared to supersports, but it fits me and my needs perfectly. The only niggles I have found so far are the two trip computer buttons are in an awkward position, but I don't use them much so not too bad. The Dunlop tyres the bike comes with are not great in the wet, but good enough. Mirrors could be spaced slightly wider, but so could most of the bikes I tested. Perhaps that is me though. The self cancelling indicators take a bit of getting used to. But once you know how they work they are quite good. (cancel in seven seconds if you do not make a manoeuvre for example) I have an average of 45mpg over 1200 miles so far. Its comfy once your hands are used to the slightly aggressive seating position. (noob). Basically I love it!

It's still naked but have you sat on the bmw s1000r? It swings more towards a supersport by sitting in the bike and leaning forward than all the other naked bike i sat on as your are bolt upright on them. Might be worth a look

Vfr seems to be very popular. Am struggling to get a test ride for one at the minute but hopefully when the new season starts and I've got green in my hands the dealers will start playing ball. Going to try some old school litre bikes too when I can find some for sale in showrooms just to see if it's worth the extra cc, so. Thanks everyone for all your input, had some Stella advice and ill be sure to post pics once I've finally settled on one.

I went from a 2009 yamaha xj6n for a year and have recently bought a 08 cb1000r abs. Absaloutely love it. loads of torque from the detuned blade engine. I test rode a street triple, mt09, tiger800xc, gsxr750, and an f800gs adventure Before opting for the honda. This gave me a clear idea of what style I prefered riding, for me it provided the thrill of the gsxr at lower speeds, was better built than the triumph and mt09 and was still practical enough to Do a few weekend trips away on/ daily work.  Hope this helps  oli 

Honda VFR800 pre vtec. Dam good bike. RAW but does all you need and leaves a grin.

Well just to let anyone know

Well just to let anyone know who still reads these that I ended up with a 2007 Yamaha Fz1n Abarth. Stunning bike and wicked quick and since having a naked I've not looked back. Seating position is so much better than my old sport bike. Back and knees have never felt so good haha Thanks to everyone who had some input

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