Tuesday, March 14, 2006

I want a new bike

When I bought the Honda the choice was made based on price, reliability, ability to ride two-up, and be somewhat sporty on the weekends. Somewhat sporty is a fucking stretch with a stock 550 Honda but you get the idea. The poor thing needs some TLC and I do like her. I don't love this bike, however. It's practical and you can still get parts blah, blah, blah. She needs a paint job and the top end has to come apart again to fix a neglected cam chain issue. The carbs could use a good synching. I'll get to all this in good time but in the mean time, I'd like to just go for a ride. I'm a firm believer in multiple motorcycles. You have a new bike that you can just push the button and go and then the moldy oldy with all the character and oil leaks in the corner. I currently own three bikes; the 550 Honda, the Sprint, and an XR70. Smidsy left a comment about the Puta de Oro down there about how that does nothing for him. I get that, but I tend to enjoy motorcycles within their particular context. By this I mean, the gold chopper is a neat looking bike that would be fun to blast around town on and air out the armpits. A bar-hopper if you will. I don't do much bar hopping these days, but I digress. I would certainly not have that as my only bike. I'd like something that will go, stop, turn, and not pound my kidneys to mush. Smidsy's comment got me thinking about what scoot I'd actually drop some hard-earned cash on if I was to do so. Awhile back, after being at the new bike show I mentioned what I would buy if I had a bushel basket full of c-notes. Like all 30 something working stiffs, I do not have a huge pile of cash laying around. My point here is cost would be a big factor in buying a new bike. I decided to take a look around at the options available from the big four. They all have something in the 600cc-ish range for a bit more than a thousand bucks per 100cc. Sort of the modern equivalent of my POS Honda. Honda has the 599 which looks just like the 919, and it comes in a stunning array of one color. Grey. (Yes, I spell grey with an E. If you don't like it write your own damn blog). Kawasaki has the new critically acclaimed 650 Ninja. It's a 650 parallel twin with the ugliest damn splash of red on the frame and fork legs. I've seen the bikes up close and if I bought one of these I'd have to paint the frame and polish the fork legs before it ever made it out of the garage. Sort of reminds me of the BSA's with the grey frame that the dealers would paint black so they could actually sell them. The sportiest of the four is the FZ6 from Yamaha. I like this one a lot. It has nice looks, reasonably priced and if it's anything like it's big brothers I'll bet it goes like stink. Going like stink notwithstanding, it's not really one of my purchase criteria (but it helps). Rounding out the four is Suzuki with the SV650. They have a SV650S which is a little sportier and looks a lot like the Yamaha. Call me old-fashioned but I'll save the 500 bucks and go with the round headlight and taller bars, thank you. This one also comes in a beautiful, wait did I say beautiful? Its a horrendous teal green color. It looks like the color of your moms bedazzled sweatshirt. Imagine this bike wearing high-waisted, acid-washed, elastic waistband jeans. With pleats. Don't get me wrong, I actually like this bike a lot and the color is really not that bad. Ok, it's that bad. It also comes in red. The Suzuki is a V-twin and I would imagine it's not unlike Lucky's VX800 with a different style and a little smaller. BMW has a 650 single for a little more money but I don't think I could own it knowing that I could not have the R1200S. I came up with these bikes by doing a cursory search and chose the models based on price and looks. I have not ridden any of these, but the more I think about it the more I really want a new bike. Which one would I buy, you might ask? The Suzuki. I think mainly because of the price ($5,949 MSRP) and it kind of resembles by old SRX6 if you go with the round headlight. I'd guess the Yam would be a close second and then Honda. That red Testors model paint that they spilled on the forks just looks too bad to consider buying the Kawasaki. Talking the wife into the purchase of a new bike might be a tough one. If I sold both my Hondas I could make a pretty good dent in the purchase price of the 'Zuk and I'd still have the Sprint to tinker with.
One interesting aside, blogger's spellcheck prompts you to replace Kawasaki with sausage.


Grumpyunk said...

An SV would be a good choice. Hard to beat. Dogboy, is probably gonna have one before much longer.
To bad the Triumph Dealers stayed away from the Chicago show, you'd have been able to check out the new 675 triple. It looks great and the road tests speak well. SV is still the best bang for the buck.

Lucky said...

I actually bought my bike thinking "Cool! A proto-SV650!"

I got to ride an SV (the "sport" version) a while back. If I had the cash I'd buy one in a heartbeat.

You can pick up a used one for not much cash, since lots of people think they need at least 1000ccs to have any fun. I see alot of them for around $3000.

Surly said...

Yeah, after writing that I did a little more poking around. I cant seem to find anyone with anything bad to say about one. Even one of my buddies, who shoots down all my decisions said it was a good choice. Crap, now I have to buy one.

Der_General said...

The SV is my favorite too, even though I'm usually not a Suzuki fan. The Honda & Yamaha are in a tie for second, and no Kaw has done anything for me since the '78 Z1R. I believe the SV is getting a bit long in the tooth (they were first of the big 4 to the "naked standard" party if I remember correctly), so you might want to take that into consideration. I love Triumphs but their dealer network kinda fell to pieces around here a few years ago. I'm in the same boat as you with the Beemers - if I can't afford the one I want, I'd rather not have one at all (although the F 650 GS looks like a blast). Personally, I'd take a long look at the Ducati Monster series (the red/black 695 is molto sexy ...

sparx said...

Reading your post it occured to me theat weird manufacturers trait of selling the same bike under different names around the world. I had no idea what the Honda 599 was until I checked out the link and bugger me, it's a Hornet 600! Good bike but lousy tank range. We get it in a few more colours over here as well.

The Kawasaki is better known to us Brits as the ER6-n and has been getting rave reviews as a first 'big bike' The nekkid version is a better looker though.

The FZ6 hasn't been taken to by our press. The old one was mucho loved i'm afraid.

If you like the Suzuki why not try the GSR600, assuming it's being sold over there. Trad looks with a modern 'B-King' twist to the styling and a Gixxer engine.

Surly said...

I'd never seen the GSR600 before and I probably never will. I dont think they are available over here. They look pretty cool, however.
We get the gs500f :(
I thought about the Ducati too but the insurence would be higher and though they are bitchin, they are known to have stupid issues and I don't have a nearby dealer.
I'm going to see how much $ I can scrape up before the end of the season and see what happens. Til then I'll just keep on with my Vintage Treasure.

Grumpyunk said...

I believe we saw the GSXR 600 at the Chicago show. It looks just like the bigger ones, so not noticing it would be easy to understand.

Can't see the Surly guy on a Gixxer. Maybe one of these tho'

Surly said...

The GSR is not a GSXR. Different animals.

red said...

There were two SRX6's on eBay yesterday. Man, they're sweet looking bikes.

I'm not a big Suzuki fan but that would have to be my choice. It's got a nice naked look with a slight hint of vintage styling.