So I have a cruiser, and a enough riding time that it's been serviced twice. Ya, I bought my first bike new. Dumb move? Maybe. But it's got a service plan, and it's not the kind of bike that you take to the track. It has saddlebags for carrying my uniform to work, a reasonably comfortable passenger area just in case I ever find a girlfriend, a nice, high fairing for reducing wind, and a comfortable, upright posture.
The problem is, it still leaves me "wanting." It's loud, it's shiny, the "chicks dig it", and, in a straight line, it's fast enough. But then I come to a corner. Things like weight, wheelbase, lean angle, and seating position all come into play. It's a lot like a Cadillac. Lots of power, very comfortable, ride it all day on the highway. Couldn't stay competitive for a single lap at Laguna. That's just not what it's for.
So gotta get a sport bike. Problem is, how do you find the one you want?
Litrebikes are out. Not even a question. I'm not ready for one. Don't want a sport-tourer. I already have a bike that's basically purpose-built for touring. I have the airliner, now I want the fighter jet. Don't want a streetfighter, don't like the look. Pretty much left with the 600's, or the 500 Ninja.
I know any of them are far more capable than I am. I don't need the lastest, greatest, fastest, most advanced, newest, hottest street ride. Just something that'll put a grin on my face when I exit a turn. I'd rather be talking about what I can do on my bike than what Sport Rider's professional tester can make my bike do. I don't care if the bike I get was number 3 in the dyno comparison last month. I don't ride well enough that .05 seconds is going to matter. Magazines, for the most part, are no help. They're all great at telling us how the bike does on the track. Haven't read an article yet that mentioned what it performed like in rush hour. I've never seen a multiple stop light test done, or a review of parking lot performance. The right bike seems to be very individual. Do you fit on the bike, or not? That's so hard to tell in the showroom. Not one bike I've sat on causes wrist, shoulder or back pain in the showroom. But how do you find out what they're like after an hour? How is control placement after 15 minutes in the city?
I'm not a racer. I will probably never be a racer. I ride because I love being on two wheels. I started riding this year, and I'm hooked. Action's SloMo created an addict. But buying a bike for it's stats makes no sense for me. I want to buy one that's got high performance capabilities for those hot summer nights on the Coq, but that I don't have to rest for 20 minutes every 50 kilometres.
I also plan on keeping it for a while. I'd love to have the money to buy a different bike every couple years. But if I did, I think I'd be better off taking that money and investing in a long series of advanced riding courses. Instead of spending 15k on three learning bikes, I'd rather spend 10k on a bike, and 5k on schools learning to ride it well. The bike may never see the track. It also may never see 150. I don't care about it's straight line speed.
Any riders around 5'7", what bike works for you, and which ones don't? Why is that? I've heard the F4i and the YZF600 have less aggressive positions. Someone else suggested a Katana. What are the thoughts of the masses? How did you find the right bike for you?