May 31, 2012

Three Little Words

First off, I thoroughly enjoy my Sportster, and I am not ready to let go of it just yet. However, with my hooligan streak out of the closet, I have been working my CFO to approve the change to a two-motorcycle policy.

Decision is still pending but meanwhile didn’t deter me from peeking at a variety of naked bikes in the mid-displacement: Gladius, FZ8, ER-6n, Street Triple, F800R and Shiver, Monster and out of competition the Duc Streetfighter.

While the inclined testosterone driven potential buyer would evaluate speed, torque, rpm, horsepower and the likes, I was looking for the right ergonomics, handling, and weight.

I am not the biggest fan of chain driven motorcycles (The Harley has a belt, one reason I opted for that model at time of purchase.) but I will have to make do, because there is neither a belt driven nor a shaft driven two-wheeler in that class to begin with.

The winner in the category 'most economical' would certainly be the Suzuki SFV650 Gladius, which is also the baby in that category. The Gladius was high on my list back when I lived in Calgary, and I really liked it ok, just never enough to make a purchase.

I haven't found a Yamaha FZ8 on display, but I didn't look hard either. The Kawasaki ER-6n although nice seating position and extremely well priced out, is just not my preferred brand.

I never quite liked the Monster. I like the engine sound of a Ducati though and it comes with ABS. The Ducati Streetfighter really does strike my fancy. The Italian diva doesn't really belong to that group but has that distinct sound only Ducati can produce. It does come at a cost though...

There is the highly favorable Triumph Street Triple R, the reliable BMW F800R and another interesting Italian candidate, the Aprilia Shiver SL750 fighting for pole position.

Alas, Aprilia has a very scattered dealer network, and being an Italian diva, chances are the bike will get in trouble sooner or later.

The looks, the feel and the sound put the Street Triple right on top of my list. But there is the poor fuel economy, no fuel gauge (seriously? Even my Vespa has one...), and no ABS option.

With a similar price tag ABS is available on the Beemer F800R (including heated grips & power outlet).
 
The Speed Triple (and the Tiger) however comes with ABS and surprise: a fuel gauge. A mighty pretty bike, but it is as heavy as an oil tanker, and the seating position doesn't work for me. 

What a difference three little words make: Antilock Breaking System.  Now, do I need to postpone my purchase until Triumph is ready to offer an ABS version of the Street Triple?

22 comments:

  1. Wow, it seems everyone in your household is shopping. Good luck.

    Ah, that ABS thing.
    ~k

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    1. Except for the beemer all my bikes were sans ABS. I just find it a nice safety feature to have on a 100+ hp bike.

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  2. If i'm going to buy a new bike the last thing on my mind is wether it has a fuel gauge or not. Firstly i want to know how it feels and handles. Seriously what a waste of space in the instrument cluster. All my bikes have a low fuel warning light and i've never run out. Personelly I think a fuel gauge is a waste of space and have never used on or needed one. If you cant work out the fuel range of your bike after 2 fills then there's something wrong.

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    1. I completely agree. I just expect this info from an instrument panel on a bike that had been designed and built this century.

      But meanwhile this thing provides useless information such as lap timer, gear position indicator and programmable gear lights are available.

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    2. Gear position would be ok as I sometimes ride along the highway in 5th gear as I've forgotten to change up to sixth. I'd probably get better economy if I was in top.

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    3. Never thought about that. The Sporty has only 5 gears, and I am always in search of the 6th anyway.

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  3. I must admit that ABS is the one feature that makes me consider a new bike. It's one of those advancements that seems to be worth the trouble.

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    1. It's a feature that I learned to appreciate in 2010 when I traveled down the highway and got hit by a plywood board. I still believe that ABS helped me keeping my bike upright while I was struggling with the impact.

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  4. Decisions. Decisions. Decisions.

    What a rough time surfing the Internet comparing bikes and features. Have fun. ;)

    You have a good selection there to work through.

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    1. I thoroughly enjoy the shopping part of it, believe me.

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    2. I don't like the shopping part, not at all.

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    3. Keith, I am not a big shopper except if it has something to do with motorcycles or outdoor equipment...

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  5. Countless hours spent in dealerships looking for the perfect bike. Is life great or what? :) Good luck.

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    1. Thanks, believe it's time well spent.

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  6. it is good to struggle with decisions like these.

    After what I just went through with the Bonneville I recommend a test ride or even trying to find a friend with a certain model to let you ride it. Another option is to check out forums that let you lurk such as the Gladius forums, Triumph forums etc. These will fill you in on quirks and issues with different models that you won't hear from a dealer.

    I am still struggling with some of the issues on Max and I am debating about how much $$ to put into it as opposed to putting that money towards something else. Hard to decide after the Bonneville experience.

    I hope it is an easy decision for you and you can sweet talk hubby into increasing it to a two bike rule. Use your wiles and batt your eyes.

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    1. It won't be too hard to postpone the decision. I am also still considering upgrading my Sporty. But I know at one point I want that Street Triple no matter what, it is rather a question of... when.

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  7. Hey Sonja - how ya doin?

    Good luck with all the decision-making. You've done all the analysis but what does your heart tell you?? Whatever your final choice, don't rule out the emotion factor!

    Incidentally, the best I've got from the Triple is a fraction under 300 km per tank and can always rely on better than 260km per tank, no matter how I ride it.

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    1. Hi Geoff, you know what the heart is telling. It is wanting the Street Triple since I rode yours. 250 to 300km distance is also what I found in the forums, which would be fine. But if I consider buying a brand new bike I really would want the ABS option, and wonder if I should wait another year. I am pretty sure it will come.

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    2. It's not beyond the realms of possibility as the Speed Triple has it as an optional extra, so there could well be a flow on. Besides, f you still love the Sportster, what's the hurry? (apart from the I WANT IT NOW syndrome, hehe).

      Rode mine to Whitianga in perfect conditions yesterday :-)

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    3. I want the Sporty to stay, plus I want a Triple... NOW. I guess that is my downfall. The NOW-Sundrome.
      Glad you had a nice ride out. Lucky sun of a gun!

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  8. Such an amazing blog it is. This red bike is looking so stylish and fabulous. I will buy the same bike very soon. Thanks for sharing.

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  9. AnonymousJune 09, 2012

    I rode 6000km over 2 wks on f800r. Back and neck was good on 8 hr day rides (with 160-200 km gas stops). If u are taller than 5'6" then bend in knees with low seat option is not optimal (minor nag). 5000+ rpm vibration by this twin needs getting used to. Brakes are predictable, and gear selector, fuel range, and heated grips were very appreciated. Best balance of features and get up and go with comfort and accesorizing for luggage needs of your list of bikes.

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