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tl;dr My '93 GSX-R 750 was WAY more fun than my newer '00 CBR929RR. Do modern sportbikes lack the character of older bikes?

My first bike was a '93 GSX-R 750. Carbureted! I went to a VERY good riding school and learned how to not get myself killed, and I was off to the races.
I don't know what mods that bike had, but I bought it for like $1,000, and I swear, every time I got on that bike and went for a ride, I'd feel like I had come within inches of being bucked off.

Throttle response was ridiculous, speed would come on fast, it would pull from the get-go then PULL from 11k up. It was so loud I'd cringe as I was coming home often at 3am after riding all day and night- I tried to keep it low RPM and coast as much as possible in residential neighborhoods because the thing screamed.

I remember hitting a corner one of my first times riding in the rain, committing to my line, and then seeing a manhole cover come into my sight after I was leaned, and just thinking "don't move" and trying hard not to upset anything. The back wheel slid laterality as I passed over the wet, slick piece of metal, and I puckered, but everything worked out fine.

In short, it was a big, heavy, unapologetic monster, and if you weren't fully awake and alert you would be within minutes of getting on it. I've almost never felt so alive as when this bike was possibly trying to kill me. I was almost as afraid of the bike as the cagers, but I loved that I had to ride it.

Fast forward a couple of years, I had sold that bike and was upgrading to a '00 Honda CBR929RR. Very linear powerband, it turned out to have electrical issues left right and centre. Maybe even more issues than my GSXR had had. With less weight and more power, I expected it to be a more exciting ride. Instead, it was boring as hell. I didn't have to ride. It was like being a passenger in a car, all I had to do was point the thing in the direction I wanted to go and it would go there. There was so little for me to do.

So. I'm not looking for a bike that will kill me, but I'm concerned that newer sportbikes may not have the soul that I experienced in my '93. If I'm looking for a sportbike that has character, where should I be looking?
 

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I guess it depends on your budget really. I have always been a twin fan and consider the low end grunt very rewarding. I have had an 01 rc51 for 12 years and it still makes me smile while I open it up. I also have a '15 KTM 1290 Super Adventure and can ride it in a way that gets your adrenaline going.

If you have a healthier budget I would recommend a '10 and up R1, Aprilia RSVR's or even a '05 GSXR 1000.
 

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a turn of the century offering is far from a good example of 'modern'.

as mentioned above budget really has a way of shattering any grand ideas of nostalgia

things changed drastically even a handful of years into the 2000's as technology, tires evolved.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
On what planet is a 20 year old bike modern?
You missed my point. I didn't say a 20-year old bike was modern, I was asking if modern bikes have lost the character that old bikes had.
Read it again. My example was a '93 GSX-R that absolutely destroyed my "more modern" '00 929RR. Perhaps not on paper, I can't be sure - but in subjective experience there was no question.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
a turn of the century offering is far from a good example of 'modern'.

as mentioned above budget really has a way of shattering any grand ideas of nostalgia

things changed drastically even a handful of years into the 2000's as technology, tires evolved.
"More" modern, not modern. The point stands: my '93 GSXR destroyed my '00 929RR. Here's the question again, in case you missed it: do more modern sportbikes lack the character that old bikes had? My example was case in point.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
I guess it depends on your budget really. I have always been a twin fan and consider the low end grunt very rewarding. I have had an 01 rc51 for 12 years and it still makes me smile while I open it up. I also have a '15 KTM 1290 Super Adventure and can ride it in a way that gets your adrenaline going.

If you have a healthier budget I would recommend a '10 and up R1, Aprilia RSVR's or even a '05 GSXR 1000.
Haven't tried twins, but I'd like to. Thanks for the suggestions.
 

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Well ... I wouldn't call a 929 a modern sportbike when its now 20 years old. Maybe you should be buying another old gsxr if you are missing the "soul" factor.
Personally I'm finding all kinds of soul in my modern day sportbike in the form of 200 horses, exceptional suspension and handling.
I tried out an Indian ftr recently. It might offer the character you are looking for. Good luck finding whatever ticks the right boxes for you.
 

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"More" modern, not modern. The point stands: my '93 GSXR destroyed my '00 929RR. Here's the question again, in case you missed it: do more modern sportbikes lack the character that old bikes had? My example was case in point.
oh, well that explains it.. so DVD players are more modern than VHS players.. got it..

what does that make 4k players? my 75 inch Qled screen plays 4k games at 120hz..

wait, i see.. Donald Duck was 'considered' a game back in the late 80s..

does that answer your question? i put a lot of 'effort' into it. But not 'more' effort than required.

 

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Maybe you should be buying another old gsxr if you are missing the "soul" factor.
Personally I'm finding all kinds of soul in my modern day sportbike in the form of 200 horses, exceptional suspension and handling.
Similar thoughts. However, a lot of older GXSR's have lot aged well. The newer GXSR's are known as "sewing machines" for the very reason that you have cited, they have lost a lot of their soul (in comparison to older models). But as has been said, there is a lot to be thankful for with modern bikes despite some of the character being pounded out of them.
 

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The bikes I've had with "soul" also came with engines that would overheat, carbs that had to be tweaked, brakes that locked up and parts that were difficult to find. And when oil was found on the track, everyone was looking at me (it wasn't mine).

Modern bikes are more reliable and safer. Neutered and resistant to modification? Maybe. But still plenty to enjoy IMHO, and a lot less trouble.
 

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I've had vintage bikes, cars, electronics,... but damn do I hate fixing things now.
For every "classic" I always have a modern, and despite the love of old, use the new way more often.
They're more boring in that I don't have to worry about finding parts for the next exciting problem.
 

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I've had vintage bikes, cars, electronics,... but damn do I hate fixing things now.
I came to that same conclusion quite a few years back. I used to enjoy tinkering with things, debugging, fixing, improving. Then I realized I spent more time tinkering than actually using and enjoying the damn thing (whatever it may be - electronics, vehicles, etc.). Now I want things to "just work," even if that means using a simplified, dumbed-down thing (vs. competitors that are more powerful, but also less stable).

This is 1000% the case with vehicles. I buy them for a purpose, and expect them to serve that purpose, not to eat up all of my (already limited) free time.
 
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