On July 13, 2005, Dirck asked our readers what the “ultimate” bike was for the experienced, multi-bike owner. We received an unprecedented number of responses from readers that were both thoughtful and diverse. What came through loud and clear, however, was that the love affair we have with our motorcycles is a never ending passion (although in some cases it is a bit of a fickle affair) that seems to grow stronger with time. Here are your responses in part 1 of a two part article. Many thanks to everyone who took the time to respond.
- At 40, after riding for 34 years, I can still stay in shape, ride hard and competitively (enduros and hare scrambles) and be relatively certain a car won’t smash into me!
- From BSA’a, to Nortons, to Harleys(25 years)..I now ride a BMW R1200c…why…no vibration, anti lock brakes..and so depenable I don’t even cary a tool kit….
- 1966 with a new Suzuki X-6 Scrambler
1969 with a new Kawasaki Mach III
1990 with a used Honda NX-250 (riding with my son who ended up not liking riding)
1994 with a used Suzuki VX-800
1996 with a used Honda ST-1100
2005 with a new Ducati Multistrada 1000 s DS
It’s not exactly the big “trailie” that you suggest, but it’s the Duc for the mature gentleman of means
- I’ve owned several dozen bikes in my life…BMW’s and all the Japanese brands. And I’ve ridden them for hundreds of thousands of miles.
I have three bikes now…I use two for touring…my Suzuki DR650 and Suzuki SV650. I ride coast-to-coast on these two bikes. For commuting I ride a Suzuki DR200.
- I have been riding for 2 decades do I qualify?
Well I’ll tell you anyway. I started with a cruiser (well a CSR250 Kawi) then a street single (SR500 Yamaha) next was an FZ750 after that an FZR1000 then it was experimentation time an R1 an XTZ750 and GTS1000 all at the same time. Currently I still have the XTZ750 and GTS1000 they are my fave though I miss the R1 at times. Both are nice bikes but both suffer from the same malady as I do overweight and underpowered but you get really spoiled with an R1. The ultimate bike well hmm… I have to tell you I think you’ve got it all wrong, see if I had the ultimate bike I wouldn’t have any reason to keep trying new things and well whats the fun in that? As I have often heard quoted its not the destination but the journey. Right now I took a test ride on the new Triumph Sprint ST possibly next? Definitely maybe, heh heh heh. Love your website people!
- Currently I have an Aprilia RSV Tuono 1000, when I want to do some serious riding, and a Suzuki WeeStrom (650) when I don’t want to be so serious.
However, the upcoming KTM 950 SuperMoto and rumored Aprilia 550 Tuono-style bike are looking mighty tempting…
- Firstly, I love your website! Please keep it up!
Me: I am 42 yrs of age, married, post graduate degree, income above $150k, 5 children, ages 11-20. I started riding at age 6, 36 years ago. I have ridden coast to coast several times. I have ridden about 300,000 miles on the street. My children and wife ride too.
I roadraced for 5 years in my late 20’s (’87-’92).
I rode dirtbikes and dual sports for a few years in my early 20’s (’83-’85).
I returned to dirtbikes at about age 30 (’92-present) beause my children wanted to ride. BTW, all of my children have ridden and three are very passionate about it.
I have nearly always owned a bike capable of a coast to coast ride.
Bikes I own or have owned (not in order of ownership):
Kawasaki KE100, EX500 (2), KLR600, ZX6, 600 Ninja, S2
Honda XR75(2), XR80, XL100, XR100, XR200, XL250, XL350, XR350, XR600, CR125, CR250, CRF230
Yamaha XJ650 Seca, FZ750, PW50, TTR125, XT350, YZ400F, XT125, IT175, IT200
Suzuki GS500 (2)
BMW R75/5, R75/6, R100RS
Cagiva 650 Alazzura
I currently have 13 motorcycles in my garage:
Kawasaki EX500 (2)
Suzuki GS500 (2)
Yamaha PW50, TTR125, YZ400F
Honda CR125, CR250, CRF230, XR100, XR80
As for my ideal bikes:
Street/tour: R100RS soon to add R1150RT
Street/sport/track: GS500 and EX500
I don’t know if I have “arrived” at the ideal bike but I know I am enjoying the journey.
I know I do not like the seating postion of a cruiser, I do not like the “image” of a Harley, nor do I like the feel of a Harley. Yes, I have ridden Harleys but have never owned one.
I enjoy sportbikes and motorcyle touring.
- I’ve been riding since 1992, starting with sport bikes and switched to a KTM Adventure. I agree that the big “trailies” are arguably the perfect bike – especially if you can’t afford to own a garage full of specialized bikes or take them all with you when you go somewhere. Good trailies can be canyon carvers, dirt machines, tourers, or commuters all in one package.
- I am 48 years old and have been riding since 14 various types of motorcycles. There is no utlimate bike.
Here is what i ended up with (so far)
’04 Honda CRF450R – for a dirt bike with some get up and go
’99 BMW R1100RT – for sport touring, 750 mile days and commuting to work in Oregon weather
’05 Yamaha R1 – for pure fun and excitement (modified with Superbike bars because I am a mature motorcyclist!)
- I’m 43 and have been riding since I was 15. My wife doesn’t think I am mature though.
I stared with offroad bikes and quickly moved to Motocross where I spent 15. I moved to A 1975 KZ900, then a 1973 NORTON Commando, then a 1990 Honda Hawk GT and currently have a 2003 BMW R1150R naked bike. Although I really like my current bike, I am seriously considering a new Yamaha MT-01. In fact, if this model were to have been available two years ago, I would have bought it then.
- Twenty five years ago I was keen on sports bike, converting them with clip ons, revised seats, shocks, steering dampers and exhaust. Now at 44 not much has changed. I still like the fast jap bikes, must have light weight, good brakes and full cornering clearance. Had a Harley for a few months but got rid of it as it was dangerous when pushed. My current bike is an 03 ZX6, great track bike, I am much faster and safer on this in the hills and on the track than any previous hyper sports like my earlier R1.
If I had to go back to the bikes of old, I would stop riding.
- I ended up with a garage full of bikes, but love the FJR1300 for my all around bike. The CBR600 loves the track days, and the dirt bikes, well, they are at home in the dirt. If you’re a “mature” rider, you know you can’t have just one bike.
- Been riding 26 years. 18 bikes so far, including 4 at the moment. Haven’t found the ‘ultimate’ bike yet. Hope I never do.
- I have been riding since 1977.
Most of my bikes have been dirt bikes and dual purpose bikes.
Right now I am riding a Trial bike, it’s great !
- I always liked to own whatever was the fastest bike. My first bike was a brand new 1969 CB750 Honda. Next was a
1979 Honda CBX, then came a 1985 Yamaha FJ 1100, and finally a 1994 Yamaha Vmax. These bikes were all purchased brand new. For the last seven years I have been riding a Harley Electra Glide Classic. I miss the speed of the previous bikes but the comfort level I now experience is something I would never give up.
- In 1992 I returned to motorcycling at age 54 after a 34 year absence. I bought a Honda Hawk NT650 and rode it for eleven years and 75,000 trouble free kilometres (47,000 miles).
I sold that bike and moved up to a Honda 919 which I still have and love.
- I don’t know if I reached the end yet, hope not, anyway…
First big bike was a ’67 Moto Guzzi, about 1968. Since then it’s run the gamut from BSA’s to Suzukis and Hondas. The last few years have been on Kawasaki’s ZRX 1100. I’ve looked at a few others, but this one still satisfies…
- Started riding at age 8 in 1969 on a 5 horse Bronco, got my first “real” bike two years later – a Yamaha JT-60 and have been hooked on Yammies ever since. I’ve now owned 38 of them over the years and have never had a problem with any of them. I also had one Harley, one KTM and one Kawasaki.
For the dirt I’ve usually had YZ’s, IT’s and currently a WR450F. For the street it’s whatever Yamaha’s flagship sportbike is starting with a XS-1100G in 1980, a FJ-1100 in ’85, FZR-1000 in ’88, YZF-1000 in ’95 and am still on my current silver and black ’02 R-1.
Would have picked up a 2005 but didn’t like the gearing. I’m hoping the ’06 will be M-1 based with more street oriented gears and available in the traditional Yellow/Black/White paint scheme (the fingers are crossed) for hitting the twisties up here in Southern PA. I’ll be keeping the ’02 rather than trading in because I think it’s the best looking bike ever made, I’m just wondering how to fit it over the fireplace mantel.
- I’m 40 years old and have been riding legally on the street since I was 17. I’ve had my ’87 FJ1200 for almost 10 years now and over 60K miles. Its a great bike! Comfort for sport touring and reasonable performance for fun in the twisties. I commute to work on it every day and have taken it on trips as long as from Maryland to Nova Scotia as well as riding in the mountains of North Carolina and Tennessee. There are numerous well known mods for the ole FJ, such as R1 front calipers and master cylinder, suspension and lighting upgrades, etc., that are cheap (thanks to ebay) and really added to its utility and fun. Although its not a modern sportbike by any means, it will hold its own with a good rider. Nothing new matched it, until the FJR1300 arrived. That may be my next bike. I also have a ’76 DT250 for local fun.
- I am 45 years old. I’ve had bikes since I was 5. I raced motocross for 15 years, roadraced a little, enduros, too. I have a garage full of dirtbikes, atvs, and am an avid snowmobiler. My kids love the sport also (they have therer own bikes, sleds, etc.). I have had street bikes my whole life also. I have never owned a (cruiser) style bike. Always sport bikes. But, I have mellowed in my OLD age. I now feel I have the ultimate bike. An FJR1300 Yamaha. I love the bike.
- 998 Ducati
- I am 45 years old and have been riding since I was 7, so I guess I qualify as a “mature” rider. I have to say that I like variety too much to really settle for one bike. I generally either change bikes or add a new one (depending on economics at home!) about every two years or so.
If I had to pick my ultimate machine, one that I could live with from now on, it would be the BMW R1200GS. I put more miles on my 1150 GS than any bike I ever owned. That said, I just traded it for an FJR 1300! Sport touring bikes or Adventure bikes are about all I look at anymore.
- ive ended up with 2 street bikes
an 04r1 that ive made faster.
u gotta do that sometimes ( that meaning 150 mph and 14k rpms )
and 2 a duc multistrada…..
cause it takes groceries, luggage, kids and is so comfortable doing it…….
sold the cruiser cause why would i use it?
duc more comfortable, r1 is faster…….
ive come to care less how it looks to others
thanks 4 asking !
- I seem to have settled upon two:
I have a 1999 BMW K1200LT on which I’ve put 85,000 miles to date. I’d have over 100,000 by now but for the 35,000 miles I’ve put on my 2000 Buell M2 Cyclone.
The K1200LT is a full dress, top of the line luxury tourer that has no trouble keeping up with the sport tourers and sport bikes on the twisty roads (and I surprised a couple of GSXR pilots on “The Dragon” about four years ago).
The Buell has a nice comfortable seating position for sitting for hours on end, yet has the kind of handling that simply embarrasses some hard core sportbikes on the backroads. It even makes a decent sport tourer with its tankbag and soft saddlebags.
- In response to your question…”Where did you end up?”…Although I feel young at heart I believe at 40years old and 21 years of riding experience, has put me in the “mature” if not seasoned class of riders.
For the last 12 years I average 35 to 40,000 miles per year on motorcycles. Thats not always easy to do living in the north country of N.H., where if it’s not raining, it’s probably snowing, but since purchasing a dual sport Suzuki DRZ400S and a BMW R1100 GS, soggy and winter travel has the miles racking up even more now. In fact, -17F was the coldest comute to work last year.
As a motorcycle enthusiest, I have a passion for anything on two wheels…any brand..any style..any year. I got my start in 1984 on a Honda CB350. From there the list grew to many different bikes. Although I wish I never got rid of any bikes in the past, heres a small list of the more special rides I had the pleasure of owning.
1965 Triumph T120 Bonneville
1970 Honda CB 750
1972 Kawasaki H2 750 Mach IV
1973 BMW R75/5
1978 Kawasaki Z1-R
1985 Honda Nighthawk 700S
1987 Suzuki GSXR 750
1995 BMW K75S
1998 BMW K12RS
My current bikes …
1959 BMW R69 / 1954 S500 Steib side car
2001 Triumph Bonneville
2002 Kawsaki ZX12R
2002 Suzuki DRZ400S
Bikes on my “wish list”….
1946 Indian Chief
1966 Harley Davidson FLH Electric-Glide
1969 BSA Rocket 3
1970 Norton Commando 750S
1974 Yamaha RD350
1981 Honda CBX
1986 Suzuki RG 500 Gamma
1990 or newer Honda Gold Wing
1994 Ducati 916
1996 Aprilia RS250
2005 MVAgusta F4 Tamburnini
You might notice I did not include any cruisers on my own or want list. I admire those class of bikes, wheather American made or from the Japanese big four, but of all bikes they don’t spark a big hit with me. I just feel that cruisers can and will make a lazy motorcyclist out of most riders……with the kicked back, feet up on the foward controls, hands hanging out wide or up high on apes, slow/heavy steering, soft under sprung suspension, spongy brakes, metal grinding corner clearances, the image of no proper riding gear….it all just turns me off slightly. Still, beautiful bikes in their own and I love to hear and admire them..but not to own and ride.
Thats my story….and thanks MD for a GREAT web site…the place I visit daily.
- 65 years old, 38 years of riding, owned 43 bikes. Current ride of choice: Kawi ZX10R.
- I ended up with two bikes after owning various makes over the last 30 years that I have been riding. I use a 2005 Yamaha FJR1300 for commuting to work and a 1999 Harley Davidson Dyna Superglide for cruising with my wife on the weekends. Both my kids are now riding on GSF 1200S Suzuki Bandits, one a 1997 with 55,000 miles, and the other a 2001 with 20,000 miles, both bought for commuting, and handed down to them when they got old enough. I have also owned various Hondas, Triumphs and Kawasakis. Before I started riding dirt bikes as a teenager in the late sixties, I learned to ride on my father’s Whizzer bike. Not the tall bike frame one with the motor attatched but the small World War Two issue model that was a real motorcycle with belt drive. Not sure what year it was built but it was one cylinder and one speed and would go over 50 miles an hour.
- I might have to reclassify best bike to the bike that has been the most fun bike ever my KTM 625 SXC converted into full supermoto form.I have ridden it in the desert in the trails and now at the track and all I can say is wow this bike puts a big grin on my face every time I ride it and unlike some of the full on sportbikes I have ridden the law seems to wave at me rather than scawl at me.With over 30 years ridding experience under my belt all I can say is when I ride this bike so is ultimate the word mabey not but it certainly it is the funnest bike I have ever owned.
- don’t think there is an “ultimate machine”. In my 49 years I have owned nearly 70 motorcycles, both on and off road. I have had many favorites but none were so special that I wanted to keep them for more than a couple of years. I’m always eager to experience new models with new technology, which is partly why I have had so many motorcycles. If I had to pick one street bike that I’ve owned that could do most everything really well, it would be the GL1800 Goldwing. It is fairly fast, handles great on twisty roads and in town, and it is very capable on long distance rides. In addition, there are a ton of accessories available so the owner can make it some what unique to his/her liking. If your question includes dirtbikes, the best so far has been my CRF450 Honda.
- Well I haven’t ended yet… but since you asked, currently I have 2002 KTM Duke II and a 2002 Yamaha Vino before these I had:
2000 Aprilia Pegaso
2000 Yamaha Roadstar Millenium Edition
- Been riding 41 years. Started with a Honda Superhawk in ’67. Followed by a series of faster Kawi’s H1,H2,Z1 then left. Returned in 84 with an 500 interceptor( sold, to perfect) to a 86 GSXR750 to an 87 GSXR100.. At that point I found I was not good enough at holding on , wrist were getting to sore, a first sign of gizzerism. 84 got into Harley’s big time ahead of the curve. Started with an XR 1000 that had motor build with Branch ,e-cams etc. This went to an 86 FXRS sport which I proceeded to hot rod and change everything to make it better(Koni,progressive,fork work,Ferodo,PM you name it and it did get better ,but still behind a currentSV650) At the same time this was going on I had developed a hobby of restoring old stuff. Started with an old H2,went to a basket XLCR,now am into classic Jap. Just sold a restored Yam XS2, and a 70 Honda 750 single cam.Still have a 72 Honda 750 , 63 cl72 and another XS2 An what did I buy . My current ride project that is awsome is a 96 R100 GS BMW. It only has 1500 miles so it still needs to be broken in. Except for the seat Ht. I’m short this is one hell of a motorcycle.Now before everyone jumps on me understand I work in the M/C ind. and ride all of the latest and greatest. That is one of the reasons a lot of people ask my opinion.on stuff. Of the current crop.SV650 and the new speed triple stand out. Rode a ZX 10 recently for 20 min.,never got over 9000rpm and can’t believe they sell stuff like this.Maybe I’m getting old but I find my body works better or is more a one with twins.Every 4 that I ride I find there is a buzz that wears me out and I don’t me a vibration. And I don’t just mean slow, last summer spent a few days on a Tuono R. What a blast. I also find that I like to see the mechanicals of a M/C, hence all of the sportbikes just look boring to me although I like the Tech features.I know this is long winded and my spell checker is on the blink , but thats what I feel now in my M/c journey.
- After not being without a motorcycle for 41 years now, I’ve ended up realizing that no one bike can do it all. Therefore, I now have a BMW F-650, a Triumph Sprint ST, and a BMW K bike. I’m still looking for the one “perfect” bike that hasn’t yet been built.
- Hi bro i am presently on a softail duece and am looking for my final touring bike will test st1300 again this time with the wife on this saturday she likes the road king i think its too sluggish and no sport i dont expect her to understand the difference as she wont see the technology difference.but i love the electric windshield also i am a daily rider and want more protection i enjoy your keeping me up to date where is the new kawa sport tourer? also im 55yrs old been riding since 1966 and took advanced riders course boy did i learn alot.
- 41 yrs old.
Grew up on dirtbikes, atvs & snowmobiles.
Switched to road bikes as soon as I could get a license (16yrs old).
The list goes something like this:
1970 Honda CM70 (it’s amazing how that thing held together on some of the dirt roads I found)
1975? Harley Davidson SX175 (so what if it was Italian & had knobby tires – it was still a Harley!!!)
1980ish Yamaha IT175 (hey, it was street legal where I was living at the time)
1984 Honda V65 Sabre (cuz it was the fastest production motorcycle made… at the time)
1996 Ducati Elefant (what a bike – a dirtbike with a 904cc v-twin, yahoo!)
1998 Honda Valkyrie Tourer (when my wife started riding along with me)
2003 Ducati ST4s ABS (when my wife got her own Ducati Monster)
2004 BMW K1200GT (comfy, fast, capable & has cool creature comforts & toys… yeah, it’s a bit of a porker, but I’ve added on a couple pounds around my midsection too!)
I’d LOVE to also get a big KTM or the BMW HP2 in addition to the K12GT.
As much as I love road riding, it’s hard to get away from the dirt roots.
Oh, my wife has had two Ducati Monsters.
Her sister has a Ninja.
My Niece has a Ninja 250
and her husband has an F4i & a Roadstar 1600.
My Brother had a Honda 450twin & now an FJR1300.
We’re a diverse bunch, but truly a riding family.
Thanks for the interest.
- If I had unlimited resources (and a very large garage), I would own a ‘Wing for touring, a naked liter bike for holigan riding, a metric cruiser for riding poker runs, and a dirt/trail bike for other occasions.
However, since I have neither, I ride a 2001 ST1100. It suits my needs better than anything else I’ve found.
- I don’t think there is one ultimate bike. I have been riding on the street for over 25 years, and have yet to find an “ultimate” bike. There is no such thing. Find me a bike as comfortable as a Gold Wing, as fast and handles as good as a GSXR1000. That is my ultimate street bike.
Ultimate dirt bike? A bike as comfortable as an XR600, street legal. Yet one that works on a motocross track as well. My street legal CRF450 is close, but not quite ideal.
- As a rider of 38 years, for comfort, power, handling, and long distance reliability, I have a 2005 Honda Goldwing ABS. For short hops and fun with my thunder head buddies, I have a HD Roadking Classic. Still to round things out, I think a Suzuki V-Strom or BMW 1200GS would complete the perfect stable for me.
- I am 36 years old, from Austria, Europe and here is my bike history:
When I was 17 years old, unfortunately my 50cc Vespa passed away with a major explosion (maybe because the exhaust and carburator were in original state, but the engine was beefed up to 136cc). This was the kickoff for a variety of different bikes:
In 1986 I started with a 500cc KTM, less then a year later I decided to add a second cylinder, and bought a 1000cc Yamaha TR1. For additional power i changed to a Honda VF 750c (Magna engine) in 1987, then every few months i went on to the next bike. Within a few years i was having a Goldwing 1000, a second TR1, two Suzuki GSX1100L Powercruisers (stunningly as fast as a VMax at the traffic lights), an early Honda Shadow VT1100C, an 1100 Katana, a GSX1100EF, a Yamaha XS1100 and a few other bikes.
The bike that kept me addicted for the longest time yet was the GSX1100L powercruiser. Built in 1982, this cruiser was so fast there was nobody ever beating me a the traffic lights in six years. I rebuilt this monster in many details and the exhaust was so loud, that i could still hear it roar at 130 mph. I was sorry to give it away after so long time, but my next bike made up for it. The 1500 Valkyrie was the most reliable and perfect thing, and i drove it for four years.
After that, in 2003 i exchanged it for a 1700 Warrior, and I have to say this bike was less than perfect for me. In Europe, topspeed is still an important factor, and after a few thousand Autobahn kilometers I was already looking for a bike that really satisfies my needs for speed.
And here I am: In May 2005 I bought my new bike – The Hayabusa. Too many people sitting on cruisers nowadays, so it is fine to move on to something really fast. The Hayabusa could be the bike that I end up with – at least for some years – because it is the REAL rocket. After almost 20 years of bike riding, and one month on this cannonball I am FAR from mastering the power in it. I don’t even dare to try it out fully, yet. Probably I will need about a year to even get accustomed to it.
Before I bought the Hayabusa, I thought that I have seen it all, more or less. After riding the Katana 1100 (about 120 Horsepower, massively shaking the bum at 140 mph) and the 1986 GSX1100EF (Topspeed over 150mph), after swaying around a Valkyrie I was considering myself an experienced rider. Haha! How could I know before. The Hayabusa is a different league, I was just starting!
- I learned a long time ago that one bike is not enough. I have a cbr600rr for track work, a drz400e for trail riding with my son, a r1200GS for everyday and a couple of bikes to have and keep forever including a mh900e and an r80gs. if I could own only one bike it would probably be the new 950 supermoto from KTM. It seems like the most versatile and still a lot of fun!
- Been through everything but Retro. Now have a GS Adventure and a SV1000s.
There is no perfect bike! The GS is a keeper. I have 30+ years of riding under my butt.
- I’ve been riding for 28years now, started on dirtbikes and enduros. I now have a 2004 Honda CBR1000RR and a 2005 Yamaha FJR1300 for 2 up also have a Honda Foreman 500 4 wheeler. I don’t know if there is one ultimate bike. If you find it let me know.
- I’m 50 years old with a wife and three teenagers. I started out on sportbikes and now ride the BMW K1200S and the BMW GS1200. I’m looking forward to the new FZ1. But I no longer will ride the supersport bikes anymore. Too uncomfortable for me.
- I started riding at age 7 in 1970 on a Honda Z50 mini trail. Took a 17 year hiatus from bikes then re-entered motorcycling in 2000, went thru a bunch of bikes from cruisers to sport bikes. I now have a combination of two bikes that suits all my riding styles. A kawasaki ZX-9R outfitted with heli bars and taller screen for the sportier missions and a 2005 Suzuki 1200S Bandit as a daily ride plus touring. I had a BMW 1150RT that I put 40K miles on……great bike, but cost too much in every time I took it to the dealer for maintenance. So low maintenance has become a big factor with me. I can’t say I’ll never buy another bike, but the 9R and Bandit cover it all for me. Too bad I had to spend so much to figure that out!
- I am 52 & I cruise on a 04 BMW R1150RT, & I race a 03 Kawasaki ZX636r in CMRA
- After 30 years of riding, I ended up with a VFR. Great bike.
- I have a Honda 1980 CBX that is in perfect condition and I like to ride it. It has a feel and look like no other bike. I have been riding for 45 years and have owned at least 50 motorcycles.
- Hey Dude….that´s a difficult question.
If you want to go fast on corners, have emotion with speed, and your skils are not like Rossi, buy a 600.
If you like to travel, confort, buy cruisers…..
If you like to travel, and get some bumpy roads, but want some confort, a big enduro is quite good for that.
But if you dont have any BRAIN, you think you can beat Rossi, and you are prepared for strong emotions, buy a brand new suzuki GSXR 1000. But be prepared!!!!!!!!
- I started riding dirt bikes at the age of 12 in 1973. Got my driver’s license and rode my last dirt-ish bike, a Honda MT125 enduro, everywhere including two-up on interstates. Fortunately Jimmy Carter’s 55mph speed limit kept the tractor-trailers from blowing past me too fast. After a while I moved to road bikes. I never ‘got’ the whole sport bike thing. I like to go fast but comfort, the ability to carry stuff and a passenger have always been important too. Plus I never liked hiding all that pretty engine hardware under acres of fragile plastic. That’s why I’m delighted that naked bikes are back. I recently tried an ST1300 but it was too much like being in a car. I tried a Harley for a day. It was kind of interesting but basically an overpriced, underpowered lump. I’m now riding a Kawasaki KLR650 and rediscovering the joy of going ANYWHERE. The KLR650 is a great compromise, comfortable, do-it-all bike and a ton of fun. For 80% of riding I do the KLR650 is ideal but it is definitely overextended on long highway trips at 80+mph, and when the dirt gets rough and fast and its weight and soft suspension get the better of it. I’d like something that is more capable at the extremes of road and dirt riding but is still street legal, so I’m going to trade one bike for two. My next two bikes will be a VStrom for the road/long distance and for the dirt either a Suzuki DR-Z650S, or maybe a Honda XR650L or ideally a Honda XR650R with a street-legal kit.
- I own a 2005 drz 400SM. I have been riding sport bikes for 20 years. The drz is proof you do not have to be going 150 to have fun.
- I am 47 and still a kid. Mature? maybe. I own a Honda ST1100, 71 R model BMW, 2001 BMW F650 Dakar, Suzuki DRZ400s and a DRZ400E. 95% of all my riding is on the Dakar. Tall, good looking, easy to handle, powerful… And the bike is pretty good too.
- 99 Kawasaki ZRX 1100
A great all around bike! I can commute, tour, drag race and do track days with it. Very reliable and nice to look at. My age is 51 and have been riding 35 years.
- I’m on a 2003 Husqvarna TE610E and own a 1966 BMW R50/2 as well. Probably will sell the BMW bike to buy a cabriolet BMW for my family to enjoy with me. I’ve only been riding for 22 years. 1983 Honda XL650, 1985 Honda V65 Sabre, 1989 Honda CBR1000, 1984 Yamaha IT175, 1986 and 1990 Kawasaki KDX 200, 1993KTM 250 EXC, 1995 Ducati CR944 with BCM motor, 1998 Ducati ST2, 2003 Ducati Monster 800. I live close to a state forest and like fire road riding. I also commute to work through city streets. The Husqvarna does both real well. I would consider another Ducati but I won’t fool around with the tourer or monster. I’d get a 748S or 749S just for a Sunday blast.
- After 36 years of riding I ride
1. 2004Triumph Speed Four
2. 1961 HD Panhead
3. A 2001 Pro Street Buell
4. 1991 CR250
5. 1981 CT70
- I am responding to your question about where did I end up with bikes. I’ve had a bunch of different bikes from Harleys to sport tourers and touring bikes. I am now riding a Suzuki DL1000 and a DL650 as well. I have come to love both these V-Stroms for the reliability, road comfort, and ability to take off road (mild to moderate) when the desire hits me. So, for me the V-Stroms fill the bill.
- 42 years riding, now riding Honda St1300
- Dear Dirck,I am 54 years old and I have been riding for 39 years.
I started on a Honda 160 Dream, then bought a Honda 305 Scrambler, and have owned Honda 350’s, a BSA 650 twin, a Kawasaki 750 3 cyl 2-stroke, Yamaha 650 twin and 750 triple, several BMW K bikes, several CBR600’s, a Suzuki Bandit, two CBR1100XX’s, and through friends I have ridden just about every size and class of sport bike there is, including all sizes of GSX-R’s, Suzuki TLR, Honda STR and VFR, Kawi ZX-9, Yamaha R-6 and R-1, Aprilia Mille R, and I am probably forgetting a bunch of others too numerous to mention. I have also owned and raced various dirt bikes over the years mostly 250 two-strokes. At times I have had four motorcycles in the garage at one time.
We moved to Europe a few years back to be closer to my wife’s family. My new home country of Denmark has a 180% registration tax on vehicles. That is not a typo – one hundred and eighty percent. If you buy a $10,000 bike, you pay another $18,000 to put license plates on it. For that reason I decided to limit myself to one motorcycle, so it had to be an all-arounder. The perfect bike. Do it all. My choice? A 2002 Yamaha FZS1000, known as the FZ-1 in America.
I have two sets of wheels, one set with touring and commute tires, and another set with extreme sport tires (Pilot Power at the moment.) I have removable racks that mount Givi bags. In 30 minutes I can go from track day / weekend get-out-and-get-stupid sport configuration to old man’s long-distance tourer capable of two up with gear. Swap the wheels, mount the bags, tweak the fully adjustable suspension, and go. The only place I cannot go is off-road, but that’s not my interest with a touring bike.
On track days I have proven that the FZ-1 will run with the big boys. Sure, I get passed on the long straights by guys with 25 to 35 more horsepower, but in the corners the FZ-1 is as good as any sport bike.
I have passed many a hot-shit younger guy on a R-1 or GSX-R thou mid-corner on the track. Do not let that tubular frame and upright seating position fool you.
This ain’t no Honda 750K with a hinge in the middle.
Far from it. This is a very capable well-disguised sport bike that just happens to do other things as well.
Many times I have been tempted to walk into a dealer and see what else is there on the market, but every time I come back to the all-around versatility of the FZ-1, and I stop looking. There is no need to look.
The perfect bike is already in my garage.
- Mature? I’m almost 49 but hardly “mature”…. Proof of this is my motorcycle ownership history. All I wanted when I was a kid was a 2 stroke street legal enduro! Forget about baseball, or any other “sport”….I wanted to rip up the trails on a dirtbike! A bunch of guys I hung out with all had either early 70’s Honda SL 350’s or mid 70’s 250 Kawasaki’s…1 guy had an MT-250 Honda Elsinore…low on horsepower but great handling (compared to the Kawasaki). My first bike was a 1974 250 Kawasaki F-11….wasn’t too long before I piped it with a Hooker expansion chamber….let the games begin! The neighbors HATED me & the cops were always on the lookout for me wheelieing through intersections in town. The fearlessness of my late teenage years was fun most of the time. I did have quite a few accidents though…I hit anything/everything… aluminum light poles, parked cars, telephone poles, other dirtbikes..you name it! My world was one big dirttrack… even if it was paved with asphalt! I also raced anything that wanted to… 66 GTO’s, Chevelle’s. 750 Honda’s ….I didn’t care that the bike was a 250 & topped out at 77mph! I’d take almost any vehicle most of the race! Alas…I finally crashed hard & ruptured a kidney…2 week hospital stint & all was well but parental pressure forced me to sell the bike. That was probably about 1978. I rode other people’s bikes on & off…1 guy had a beautiful black Triumph that had a horrendous high speed (90mph?) stability problem…front end shook right out of my hands when you passed about 70mph. Rode the legendary Kawasaki Mach III (500cc) in the mid 70’s… scary bike. So about 15 years ago, I see the rebirth of Triumph & decided I had to have a Thunderbird. I bought one in the early 90s’. Kept it for about 1 year & traded it for a Triumph Trident (faster bike)..I liked both Triumphs but could not find my niche…I wasn’t sure if I wanted to be a sportbike rider or a cruiser. I then traded the Trident for a Honda Shadow Aero..cool, vintage looking bike. Rode with Harley riding friends… Kept that for a while & then had the inevitable momentary lapse of reason…I bought a Honda 600 F-4..full blown sportbike! Looking back..that bike probably had horsepower in the 90-100 range.. not much by today’s standards….but it was a rocket! DAMN! Crack the throttle, wait for the revs to build & poof… you were gone! I had never owned a high power street bike so getting used to it was tough…& I did not like the ergos…I’m a shorter guy so I had to tippy toe the bike & the reach to the bars was uncomfortable. What I wanted was this motor in a more flat track styled bike… but no one made one. I sold the F-4 & decided to go Harley… this was late 90’s & you still had to wait for the bike to come in. I did not have the patience for this & got my money back & bought a BMW R1100 standard. It was nice & I kept it for 1 year. I got a new job that just so happened to be across the street from a new motorcycle dealer…an Indian dealer. One day for lunch..bored..I decided to stop in & get a look at these bikes. They were beautiful….long & low! I remember thinking..”they’re pretty cool, but I would never own one”!… 3 weeks later I was riding my 2000 Indian Chief home! That bike was a lot of trouble for a while until I replaced a lot of parts like the ignition, cam, pipe, shocks, & a bunch more warranty issues. But after that, it was runner & reliable. I rode that bike fully loaded with gear up Mt Washington in New Hampshire. I kept that bike the longest out of all of them. But Indian finally sunk & I was a little uncomfortable keeping the bike since I had to have a list of aftermarket parts or cross reference HD parts to keep up on the maintenance..plus.. there were still new bikes out there I hadn’t yet owned! So I tried to trade the Big Chief but no one wanted it! I couldn’t believe it! I finally found a BMW dealer in the dead of Winter that would do the trade & I got a BMW R1150RT Sport Tourer.. a little high & top heavy, but nice…until I tried a longer ride. The seat sucked… my ass would be sore after 70-100 miles! So much for touring! I did take the bike from NJ to southern West Virginia! Handled well but uncomfortable! Financially, I knew I had to keep the Beemer for at least 2 years… but one night, I followed my friend to the local HD dealer &went into the showroom to kick tires while I waited for him in service..I was looking at used 2003 Electra Glides when the salesguy approached. I told him I was not in the market..my BMW was only 5 months old. He said they were getting a 2004 Electra Glide Standard in later that week. I asked if he would consider a trade & he said yes. So I said if you can get rid of my BMW, I’ll buy the Harley. 2 weeks later I rode away on my new 2004 FLHTi! I still have it & am going to keep it for the foreseeable future. I like the bike but there are others… I’d like to see a V-Rod powered bagger. I also am very interested in the new Kawasaki ER-6… I’d like to have a Ducati ST-3 too! & one of those new BMW dirtbikes! & of course, I’m waiting for the new BMW K1200 Sport Tourer! I like the FZ-6 too. I was looking on Ebay yesterday for a 70’s era Bultaco or Maico dirtbike! I like the new Ducati vintage looking series..make mine the Roadster! Like they say “too many bikes, not enough time”!
- let me bulletize this to save words.
- forget about “one bike does all” (most in this mature category can afford it)
- need one bike with good protection for touring, two-up, cold weather. I have a 2000 BMW RT1100.
- one all-around street bike with a suspension for real world roads, broad power band, and whatever the owner considers cool styling. I have a BMW Rockster
- one bike for track days and the like. Light weight a must. With a bike around 400lbs. and my weight of 150, I can really feel part of the machine. My choice, a heavily modified SV650. I like twins.
Thank for the great web site.
- The older I get the more that I realize there is no one perfect bike.
I currently ride a K1200RS, R1150 GS Adventure (selling to update) F-650 GS my light adventuring bike.
If I had to restrict this group even more. I would have to go with some type of large Adventuring bike. A R1150 GS or better still an R 1200 GS.
- After 20+ years of riding…A Ducati 999. It does everything I want a motorcycle to do, plus is surprisingly comfortable. I plan on keeping it for several years, maybe forever.
- I am currently at age 50, and have my 1992 Honda VFR 750F, that my wife and I both ride….I might end up on a Gold Wing or ST1300, but not yet….By the way, what qualifys as “ending up”??
- My road riding started in 1973 on a brand new 750 Triumph Bonneville. I’d spent several years dirt riding and motocrossing prior to that. It was truly a fun bike to own and ride but also took a lot of maintenance.
My next bike was a 1983 Yamaha Seca 900. Quite a bit more sterile (and faster) than the Triumph, it inspired a lot of confidence.
Next came a 1995 Ducati 900 SS sp, a bike way more capable than I was. Fun to ride but just a little spooky too. I sold it before I found out my limitations on it.
My current ride is a 2003 Honda ST1300 with ABS. This is my “mature” pinnacle. It does what I ask it to do, goes like stink, takes a minimum of maintenance, eats long distances with aplomb and offers a great ride. I hope to have it for many more years/miles. Oh yeah, I have added lots of “farkles” (creature comforts) and don’t know how fast it will go.
- I’m 52 and have been riding over 35 years. I Currently own 3 street bikes. Having one wife for decades is OK, but just one bike? I don’t think so.
For me, the idea of one Holy grail type bike just hasn’t happened.
My Valkyrie Interstate provides a comfortable mount for 2-up touring. The Buell Cyclone gives me a kind of modern classic experience, with it’s big noisy V-twin.
Finally, a bright yellow Triumph Speed Four helps to ease the mid-life crisis. With a dark face shield, even the young ladies notice. Come to think of it, I don’t want to “arrive” at the concept of owning just one bike.
- I have been riding for 15 years and recently settled on the BMWR1100s. I believe it is the perfect combination of touring capability and “sportiness” should the need arise.
- My first bike at 14 (god bless Kansas and their driver’s license program) was a Honda 55 trail. I learned a lot about my siblings from that bike. Also learned respect for other vehicles and think mopeds or the like should be mandatory for teens. Yes Darwin comes to mind.
When I joined the Navy in the late 60s, I bought a 441 BSA Victim. Also an education. Mostly in maintenance on the weekends so it would run for the rest of the week.
In the 70s, while on the GI Bill, I put together a café racer based on an SL350 Honda, a Pacifico half-fairing, Kimball snowflake mag front wheel, CB500 forks and disk brakes and a CB 750 gas tank with knee dimples hammered in and covered with 305 Hawk rubber pads. A lot of the Cycle magazine information of their racing CB350 went into the engine.
Then I found and fell in love with a 74 Moto Guzzi V7 Sport. I rode the bike for 25 years, put 65000 miles on it and got married. Career and marriage got in the way and it sat. 4 years ago, I started to tear it down and got laid off. It is now in the garage in pieces. Somewhere in those years I picked up an SL125 dirt bike for a $100 and rode it for fun out in the fields until I broke a ring.
With the newest job, I bought a 98 ST1100 and do my 28 mile commute in relative bliss. I will rebuild the V7 Sport this winter and get it going again.
As for the final decision, there is no ultimate bike. There are different styles of riding and different requirements for each. Either you get a collection going, or you compromise.
In the meantime, life is fun. I live in interesting times.
- I’ve been riding since 1969 and am pretty content with what I have-
1996 KTM Duke
2002 Aprilia Capo Nord
Don’t know that I’ve reached my ultimate “wound up” point yet. These bikes very much (and very well) cover they kind of riding I like to do. Of all of them, I probably ride the TA the most because most of my local riding is “big trailie” type on badly (or un) paved (but very twisty) back roads (of which there are a surprisingly large amount in the northeast)- very much like sportbike riding, but on a different kind of surface.
I have to admit to being tempted by the KTM 950- haven’t bought one mostly because (based on how I’ve used my pretty heavily modified TransAlp) I figured I’d be crashing off road at higher speeds). Other than that, the other bikes that I could see myself getting within the next 6-12 months are a dedicated track motard and maybe another Ducati.
I wouldn’t be surprised if I ultimately wound up on a Road King somewhere down the road.
- I’m not there yet !!! Never enough motocycles !!!
Honda CRF 250R
KTM 250 EXC
Triumph 1955 T100 Tiger
Yamaha Seca 500 1981
Honda TL-125 1973
- I have been riding street bikes since the late 90’s and continue to commute daily on motorcycle here in upstate New York.
Bikes I have owned include:
198? Suzuki GS450
1978 Honda CB750
1977 Kawasaki KZ400
1985 Suzuki Madura 1200
198? Honda XL 250 (Brazilian transportation for a year)
I am currently riding a 1984 Honda Nighthawk CB700SC that I have had for the last 5 years. I bought it in excellent condition with 14000 miles. It’s a great commuter bike it gets mid 40’s for mileage, has cheap insurance, needs very little maintenance due to shaft drive and hydraulic lifters, cheap tires that last 10,000 miles are a big plus, and the relative ease of finding parts makes it the best value in a bike I have found yet. Throw in the low purchase price and it’s one of the least expensive per mile vehicles I have ever owned.
I typically ride every day that we don’t have snow or excessive sand/salt on the roads, that usually means from April to the beginning of December with possibly a day or two in February and March. I installed heated hand grips and use Tourmaster gear to stay warm on those nice 20-30 degree days we seem to have so many of before the snow falls. Staying warm and dealing with this machines lean jetting in the cold months keeps the daily commute from becoming too mundane.
I would love to buy a new bike, unfortunately there does not seem to be a clear replacement for this machine so I keep riding it. If I were to buy something new I would be leaning toward either a Ducati ST3/ST4, Suzuki VStrom 1000 (its just so damn ugly) or TL 1000R, or maybe a cheap used Monster 800/900. I like the feel of a V-twin but will not settle for a cruiser. Harley should build a naked that can handle with the best of the imported machines, that I might consider.
- Well now to start I’ll tell you that I’m 40 years young. I can’t say that I have “arrived” or that I ended up with the bike of my dreams. But I must say that I’m very close. This year I purchased a new 2005 Yamaha FZ1. I’ve owned Suzuki, Honda and Yamaha street bikes and this bike is by far the best yet. But as we all know, with each passing year comes better bikes. I still like allot of power, speed and sharp handling. I’m sure in time someone will design a bike that I will fall in love with that will make my FZ1 look and feel like a pussy cat. But for now, this is the one !
- I started riding in 1962, and have ridden essentially continuously since then — 43 years on several continents, and several hundred thousand miles.
My current rides are a 1988 Honda HawkGT and a 1994 Honda Pacific Coast.
I’ve had the Hawk for nearly 10 years and the PC for 5. Each has gradually been optimized with suspension upgrades, engine tuning, lighting, and a Corbin seat. Neither of these motorcycles is a road burner, but each is fast enough to get me more speeding tickets than I can afford. Every time I look at alternatives, I think, “Is this enough better to justify the replacement costs — initial investment, maintenance, and insurance?” So far the answer has always been no. A Buell XB9S would make a dandy replacement for the old Hawk, but it’s not *that* much better a motorcycle. Same for a Suzuki VSTROM 650. The new BMW R1200 RT has gotten great reviews, but offers little more comfort and arguably worse luggage capability than the PC. And, the damned thing appears to be engineered in a way that essentially makes owner maintenance impossible.
I’m planning a ride to Alaska next summer, and the PC still looks like the best candidate for the trip. After 43 years of riding, functionality, maintainability, and comfort mean a lot to me. The only way these two bikes will get replaced is if they self-destruct or (more likely) I destroy them. There is a lot out there that is nice to look at; much less that is worth a long-term commitment.
- My fiftheenth bike is a V-Strom and close to being the perfect bike. A bit more power and it would be the ultimate bike. A BMW GS would be fine but it’s too expensive.
When you want to ride in my beautiful province of Quebec, you’ve got to deal with bad roads and sometimes reaaallyyy bad paths. There’s also a lot of nice dirt roads making their way trough parks and reserve that are simply irresitible in fall time. I live around Montreal and work downtown, the Strom is just as fantastic making it’s way in the traffic. It’s a 2003 and I’m approching 30 000 miles ( can’t really ride from Dec. ’till April ).
I’ve travelled around Canadian Maritime Provinces coming back trough Labrador ( where I’ve met Californians that are now my friends) and I’ve been across Yukon and Alaska, down B.C. to Washington State.
The only thing that would make me change is a new model, lighter and more powerfull.
- As one who has ridden almost daily since 1970. At 55 years old I find my F650 Dakar BMW to be the ultimate ride. It is a 2001 and has 41k on the clock. The dual sport with the taller bike so one can see, long travel suspension so you don’t get beat up, and the power of the thumper I find delightful. It will go a hundred plus a little, gets about 65 mpg, and over 10k on tires. I think I will buy another one if this one wears out.
- After 35 years of riding everything: observed trials, enduro, motocross, dual sport, sport bikes, sport tourers, tourers…………is there a perfect bike?
I do know that my KLR 650 is the closest thing parked to the garage door because of its utility and lack of need for attention and polish and it’s ability to go to town or down an easy trail.
But a perfect bike? Are there any bad one’s?
I’ve found it takes six to get the job done (at my advanced age of 45): A GasGas 280 Pro, Honda XR 250, Honda XR600, Kawasaki KLR 650, Suzuki SV650S, and Honda ST1100………..but I can think of a dozen more I’d like to have if I had the room to park them.
On a side note, Peter Egan, in his book Leanings, also addressed this question and I believe he came up with the optimum number as 5 (could have been six). Also, he discusses the true measure of masculinity: How many pistons do you own? (whenever anyone has this brought to their attention, they immediately start counting!)
- I matured to one of each. Except a cruiser. Honda ST1300, Yamha R1, & WR400.
- I have been riding motorcycles for 40 years. More than 700,000 miles, Been involved in the motorcycle industry, tooling designer builder Vetter Fairing 1973-1980,one of five who started Rifle Fairing. I’ve owned lots of bikes.
I have settled on the fabulous naked SV650 because it is just so much fun. The roads you enjoy most are ones that can’t be ridden any faster that 90. Faster than that and they are too straight. An SV650’s power band is perfectly suited for 30 to 90, that’s the sweet spot of it’s power band. The handling is great once a few suspension changes are accomplished. It’s versatility of riding on the street or on dirt roads is unsurpased.
I own two naked SV650s, this seems to be something of a phenonoma. I know of at least 4 people that own multiple SVs.
They seem to be some what addictive. I don’t quite know when you have so many SVs in the garage that you have to admit you have a problem but this is a situation that you might look into.
- I’ve been riding for 35 years. Ridden and owned about anything imaginable.
Owned 40 plus bikes over my lifetime. My Ultimate and favorite machines are 04 Suzuki 1000 Vstrom, 81 Yamaha SR500, 02 KTM 200ECX (soon to be replace by a 450). I enjoy your website everyday, keep up the good work.
- A very interesting and enlightening subject. After owning many different bikes and riding many others of various segments, the BMW GS has become my “final” selection as a motorcyclist. This is due to its nature as the most versatile riding machine design available (IMHO)-and by a wide margin at that. Even considering its relatively high cost, it is an extreme value since it will competently perform the tasks of three or four other distinctly different models of motorcycle.
- I ran across your question on your website and since I have just been thinking about this very thing, I thought I would respond. I live in Ontario, Canada and have been riding since 1973. I have had a variety of bikes starting with a brand new 1973 750 Honda. My current bike is a 1994 ZX9R which I have owned for the second time. That is another story. Nicest bike, 1998 ZX9R. Fast, comfortable, great transmission and great looking. Somebody else wanted it more than me so the stole it out of my garage. My next, hopefully not last my bike, is going to be an FJR. It appears to be the best compromise between sport and touring (from all accounts). My girlfriend likes to ride but the 9 is just too uncomfortable. We would like to do more riding so the FJR will fit the bill. Now, its just paying for it. Good website. Keep up the good work.
- I started riding a Honda 305 Super Hawk and Scrambler. I then went on to a Triumph 500 Trophy. Then I purchased a 1966 BMW R60 which I held onto for thirty years. I also bought a Moto Guzzi 850-T3 which I loved; but sold after five or six years. I didn’t ride for awhile; but still kept the R60 and then got it read to ride again and did for a couple of years. I had too many problems with it and reluctantly sold it and moved to a 883 Sportster. Finally I realized that I wanted to ride longer and with more comfort so I sold the Sporty and went back to a BMW (R1150r), which I now ride. I would have considered a Guzzi; but there are no local dealers here in NH. I will keep the R until I get to old to handle the size, moving around the garage, etc. Then I’ll buy something smaller and lower. Like a Ninja 500 or even a cruiser type bike. So I haven’t reached the end yet and hopefully not for a long time to come; but I hope to ride for a long, long time. As I’ve heard before when asked, the best bike I’ve had is the one I’m currently riding.
- At 42 I have had a motorcycle as long as I can remember. As a kid riding on flood control land on cheap dirt bikes to my first road bike when I was 18.
Over the years I have flipped flopped between sport and cruiser. At one point I owned both a Ducati 996 and a Harley Roadking but I sold my 996 after a few track days, when I caught the sickness to club race. I club raced the past few years on an EX500, a SV650 along with a friends Duc’748. Poverty soon followed and I sold my Harley to pay for racing repair bills and Visa card debt.
Now I have nothing but a stack of wooden plaques and some of the best memories anyone could ever imagine. Including a second place at Daytona in LW Sportsman (Feb 2003). My one motorcycle of choice right now would be a Buell XB9R. It has the sport bike ride with the Harley sound I miss. Fun little bike.
- In response to your question, I am a semi-mature rider, 55 years old with 34 years of riding experience. I currently ride a bagless pumped up Ducati ST4s which I love dearly. It’s riding position is a little less agressive than a normal sports bike and the howl of a screaming V-Twin still gets my blood flowing. Not the “perfect” bike but certainly a consistently fun ride.
- I haven’t settled. I have an Ironhead Sportster (’84), a CB750F (’77) and a Triumph tiger (’01) in the garage at the moment.
The Sportster gets the most short ride mileage.
I’m not doing mush long rides, so the Tiger sits idle a lot.
I just got the Honda, and it needs a little attention, so the votes aren’t all in, yet, but it’s getting some use (more than the Tiger).
I’m 61, been riding for 47 years, and the search goes on. Is the new Kawasaki 650 coming to the US?
- I turn 50 this year and have ridden motorcycles since I was 14. Oklahoma allowed motorcyclists to putt around on low powered bikes at that age. My current ride is a 1993 Honda 750 Nighthawk. It is inexpensive to maintain and a blast for my wife and I to tour around the South Texas coast. I have found that I don’t want to subject my body to any more dirt bikes and I don’t have the time for serious touring. So, with three kids under the age of 15, this mature rider goes for an inexpensive, low-maintenance ride (love those self-adjusting valves).
- I have been riding for about 40 years and have progressed from small bikes up to my current ’85 Vmax and ’03 FZ1 “Bee”. While the FZ1 is a fantastic bike, the one that puts a smile on my face every time I ride it is the Vmax. Even when stuck in traffic, the dragster like idle is entertaining. I may eventually replace the FZ1, an MT-01, when and if, comes to mind, the Vmax is mine for keeps. It just fits me.
- I am 48 years old and had motorcycles when I was 12 , I now have a 1996 cb750 knighthawk , 2003 xr250r , and a 2005 crf250x .
- have been riding motorcycles for over 30 years. I started small with Honda 70 and 100 cc bikes to get around college campus and then moved up to a Honda 360. My next bike was a Yamaha 650 Maxim which I though was perfect with its powerful 65 horsepower inline four and smooth shaft drive. I did not ride for a few years while moving around in the Navy but then got back into biking with a Triumph Legend TT. Not totally satisfied, I moved up to a Triumph Trophy 1200 which is a great motorcycle. From there I began looking at something bigger and more comfortable for two up touring and am currently riding a Yamaha Venture. For me checking out new motorcycles is half the fun of the motorcycle experience. I go to Biketoberfest in Daytona each year and test ride a dozen or so new bikes. I am not sure there is an ultimate bike for me and can see myself owning many more in the years to come. The Venture is a keeper though!
- I’ve owned a Voyager ,2 Goldwings, an St1100 , 2 Bandit 1200’s ( jet kits and slip on ) but now have a combination of all of the above , an FJR 1300 . Fast and comfortable. Does everything well , from twisties to touring. My best so far . But wouldn’t mind having another Goldwing and an FZ 1 to add to the stable.
Fogot to say FJR wins ultimate bike.
- At 42 years of age, 32 of them on motorcycles, I guess you could consider me a “mature” rider. Without going into too great detail, I have gone through all of the phases of motorcycle ownership; off-road, cruiser, touring & sportbike.
So where am I now at this stage of my motorcycle life? I own a YZ250F that I ride on motocross tracks and on single track. I’ll get the new aluminum frame YZ250F when it is available for MX duty and convert my 2001 YZ for off-road use.
I also have a SV650S for street use. I have owned liter-class sportbikes in the past, but for street riding, I prefer the power delivery of the 650 twin. The suspension has been modified to my liking but I have left the engine mostly stock. I guess this is a sign of maturity.
- For the moment; a 2001 Kawasaki W650, somewhat euro tricked out. It’s light, powerful enough for a 56 yr old recommited wheeler and has enough cult and pizzaz so I rarely meet myself coming or going. Doing fast Press related job sprints into NYC, it’s a ’02 Bajaj Legend scooter, with a loud comp pipe. Gives new meaning to lane splitting.
- Wow. I guess, at 48, and having been riding since I was 12, I qualify as a “mature rider”. I don’t ride on the road for long distances very much, just the occasional commute and 2-3 hour jaunts on the weekends. I really prefer 2-3 day dirt riding excursions and lots of Tight Single Track (TST).
I have discovered that I enjoy working on bikes as much as riding them. I look in my garage and realize that I have created a crazy collection of everything I wanted when I was young. Therefore, I have a decrepit collection of old motocrossers, trials bikes, and small street bikes. Some are in great shape, some are awaiting lots of love. I also have a modern dirt bike (KTM 300EXC), large street bke (CBR1000F without bodywork), supermoto (KTM 620RXC with 17″ wheels), and a number of z50’s for my friends to ride around the yard.
How can anyone be satisfied with just one bike? I still want to ride anything and everything that comes out. I am constantly scanning the classifieds for the bikes I had when I was in my 20’s.
I am being forced to put an end to this insanity, though. There is just no more room in the garage (22 bikes in there now!), and I want a Speed Triple!
- I am what I feel is a more mature rider. At 49 years old I have ridden for 37 years and almost 500,000 miles. I started on a dual sport but was bitten by the sportbike bug in 1978 when I bought the Suzuki GS1000E. I have been on sport bikes ever since, the most recent purchase an ’05 GSXR1000. In the last few years I have been looking more and more at bikes like the FZ1 and V-Strom but I just can’t give up the handling and light weight of the sport bikes. Someday I’m sure I will have a more ergonomically friendly bike but I’m sure I’ll still have a hyperbike parked next to it in the garage. Bottom line is at 49 I still don’t know where I’ll eventually land.
I’ve enclosed a photo of my bike from an annual 10 day trip I have been taking with friends for the last 26 years. If you look closely you will notice the AirHawk seat and the plates I made to relocate the pegs which gave the bike a very comfortable riding position. The pegs are still high enough for canyon carving and can be removed for a serious trackday.
- I don’t know if I fit your definition of mature seeing as I do not have decades of riding experience (well, ok, I do, but the majority of that was riding dirtbikes growing up on the farm)….
…Now back to where I ended up. In my early twenties I was enamoured with sportbikes. My first real sportbike after my 1985 XL350R was an 1985 Yamaha FZ750. Wow. I quickly advanced to a brand spanking new 2000 Kawasaki ZX6R. This bike did it all for me. I played boy racer on the local back roads, I took in numerous track days and schools, and I did long distance sport touring. The bike was perfect as far as I was concerned. It did everything I needed it to do.
Then I got married. No, this is not the bad thing, the end of riding as I know it type of thing, but a good thing. My wife was interested in riding, but she could not stand being perched up on the back of the ZX6R for more than 30 minutes at a time. And as we all know, a sportbike is not quite the same with an extra 100 lbs up and behind you.
So at the ripe old age of 26 I needed to figure out what is the next best bike for me. I ended up on the V-Strom. I can’t say enough how good this bike is. It does everything my old bike did and more. It does everything in comfort too. I can do the local twisties on the weekends with my sportbike buddies and when we do the long distance sport tours, I do it in comfort on my big yellow school bus.
Of course I also bought a SV650S which has been set up for track use only.
- I’ve been riding (on the street) for more than 28 years now. I’m sure due in no small part to the fact that I have father that still rides, from my first Honda Hawk I was hooked for life. I’ve owned many different bikes since then (even been a repeat owner of some) and ridden many many more. I’m not sure if it’s a function of my age or maybe it’s just the result of a constant battle with maturity but about two years ago I bought a ZRX1200R and haven’t looked back. There’s probably very little I can say that hasn’t been said in the various motorcycle rags over the years. The bike speaks for itself; classic looks, neutral riding position, confidence inspiring stability, easy handling, long range capable, plenty of torque and plenty of speed (even without the warranty voiding mods). Quite simply, it’s the most fun, all-around bike as I’ve ever ridden… period, without question. And the icing on the cake is the presence of an on-line owners association (www.zrxoa.org) that is absolutely second to none.
- Started my motorcycling experience 40 years ago with a ’66 Honda CT200 (Trail 90) and progressed up to what I ride now, an ’84 Honda Interceptor (since new).
I like some of today’s bikes but many are so narrow focus, too trendy or expensive. I will most likely keep my Interceptor no matter but for when we are out RVing I’ve been actually thinking of buying a Royal Enfield Bullet. Relatively crude and unrefined but there is something about its unpretentiousness. I think it would make for a relaxed, easy going ride while exploring around our destination. Amazingly, I am not at all interested in today’s popular cruisers. Now there’s pretentiousness!
- I got my MC license in the summer of 1972 I now ride a Kawasaki W650
- I’ve been riding for 41 years now. I started on Sears (Puch) mopeds and the first bike I owned was a 1965 Yamaha 80. Over the years I progressed through street, dual purpose and WERA production race bikes that were mostly Yamahas with a few Kawasakis and Hondas thrown in the mix.
Five years ago I bought a used but well kept 1992 TDM850 and I’m stuck on it. For me it’s a keeper with most of the qualities I was looking for in a bike. It has a good engine with some character and real world usable kind of power. The suspension is kind of old tech but has plenty of travel and is nearly BMW smooth. The seat fits me fine and the sit up riding position with the standard tubular bar is perfect for a codger. The looks are “different” but that also suits me as I could care less about being one of the crowd. I have upgraded to R1 front brake calipers which were a bolt on mod and added the Euro running light in the fairing. I have a set of 10.5:1 European model pistons I’ve been saving to put in it but have put it off because it just runs so good with a little over 20K miles on the odometer.
I think I’ll keep it unless Yamaha decides to bring the newer alloy framed, fuel injected TDM900 or maybe a production version of the MT03 concept bike. Until then the TDM is where I’ve ended up.
- As a “mature” rider with over 40 years experience starting with an AllState 250, my first new bike a Suzuki X-6 Hustler, then after VietNam a Honda 750, Kawasaki 900, BMW R90S, Harley Sportster, Kawasaki GPZ1100, Suzuki GS1000G, Honda Turbo 650, Harley FatBoy, Victory Kingpin, and many, many more, I’ve arrived with my ultimate bike – a 2005 Harley-Davidson V-Rod Screamin’ Eagle.
As I’ve gotten older, the lower joints have worn out and, in some cases, been replaced. I can no longer assume the crouch position and have to ride “cruiser” style bikes with forward controls. However, I love power and good handling. In addition, I don’t want a 800 lb. Machine with a car like motor. I want as light a bike as possible.
The SE V-Rod has it all. Great looks (orange & black), great power (Harley’s tuner race kit, Stage I with SE Exhaust), great handling (Avon VenonR tires), and, for me, a comfortable bike to ride. Yes, you’ll get tired after about a 100 miles, but hey, you’ve got to stop for gas anyway. It’s a blast to ride. Keep it in the happy zone from 3000 – 6000 rpm, or hold on for the ride of your life from 6000 – 9000 rpm.
Although I can’t be satisfied with just one bike (the basement is full), the Kingpin is a close second, but the V-Rod is my favorite.
- Fun. They key word I think riders arrive at is FUN after they have been riding a while. Not posing value, not the bling, but what is FUN to actually RIDE. At a MSF course I was teaching earlier this season, two guys rode up to the class. The first on a chromed out GSXR which he parked and then inspected for any dead bugs or dust. The latter arrived on a mechanically tight but grime covered naked Bandit 1200 with a rear tire I would suggest needed immediate replacement, a cheap set of grime covered soft bags over the rear seat, and the riders, in their gear – let’s just say that they matched their bikes. Which one was the more mature rider? Why pig pen of course. He immediately says that why waste a day cleaning when he could be riding? The only guys I have met who really ride and have clean bikes are retired so they don’t count.
I also think that the inpetpretation of FUN TO RIDE depends on your stage in life. I find myself being drawn to smaller and smaller bikes as my years of experience grow. With a litter of kids I don’t get a chance to tour or go on many day long rides, so I need to get quick fun or have a fun commute. I am down from the hypersport bikes and ride a SV650 on the street, and I have one for the track too. The most fun I have is chasing my 5 year old around our property on his CR50F with my TTR125LE. In fact, it is so much fun that I have a feeling that the street SV is headed toward a trade in toward a DRZ650 which I would love to motard. Maybe you guys could ask Suzuki to do the work for me and build a bigger version of ther new 400 Motard for us big boned guys on the other side of the 200lb mark.
As life moves on, I could see myself with a FJR1300 in the stable with some long weekends without kid obligations, and maybe even
a cruiser set up for just running around town. Well, maybe not the cruiser 😉
I think mature riders value the experience of the ride be it dirt, street or track, and the less mature riders value being known as a rider, being seen, being cool, or something else. The bike is the less important than the mindset. So I don’t know where I will eventually end up, but I know I will never stop thinking about that next riding experience, regardless the steed.
- I have been riding for 4 decades… and while I still own 11 motorcycles, the bike I always mount the most is my Honda ST1300. I feel it offers the most versatility!
- Sorry, not a lot of help. 52 yrs. old and own a 02 Bonneville, 01 BMW F650GS, KLR 250, Triumph Sprint Executive, and three bevelhead Ducatis. Ultimate hasn’t been built quite yet. Three cylinder, 750ish, 375 lb., 90 HP, saddelbaged, cast wheel/tubless tire, good looking, adventure touring kind of bike with a comfy seat and some wind protection (but visible engine) should do it. That would rid me of a few bikes.
- I’m 50 and have ridden since the age of twelve. Now on my 50th + motorcycle I have a BMW 1150RT, Ducati Elephant 900 and a CRF250R. But there’s no end in sight,
- A bad crash in Brainerd’s turn one during a race just after my 40th birthday forced me into the “mature motorcyclist” category. My foot will never be strong enough to race, or even ride a sportbike properly again. For the last couple of years I’ve been riding a maxi scooter, which is about all my gimpy foot could handle.
Now I’m shopping for another motorcycle, but it will be a much milder motorcycle than the 600cc Supersport bike I rode on the street until my accident. I’ve narrowed it down to a Suzuki DR650 or DL650, a T100 Bonneville, or a Vegas Eight Ball. The Suzukis might be a problem, since my right foot isn’t strong enough to hold up a bike if I have to stand on the ball of the foot. Since I can flat-foot a Bonneville or an Eight Ball, I have no such problems, but I’m not sure if I’m mentally prepared to go the cruiser/retro route yet. I’m not sure I’m physically able, either. I’m getting a Victory for a magazine test in a few weeks and I’ll find out then. If it proves to be a problem with my foot, I may just get a Ural Tourist, or maybe a 400 Burgman.
- I’ve had a motorcycle license since 1976 and my current and favorite mount is a 2002 Honda RC51.
- After 45 years of great riding bikes and I had them all, I ended up with a Suzuki 650 Burgman, what a great bike (scooter). I still have a large touring motorcycle and a sport bike but it’s the Burger with everything as my ultimate machine.
- I am 34 and consider myself mature after riding motorcycles for at least 25 years. I have owned the requisite sport bikes including a 2001 Yamaha R1 and some nice sport touring mounts such as a FJ1200 and VFR750. I recently sold a 2003 BMW 1150GS Sport for a 2005 BMW 1150GS Adventure that I hope to keep forever; it is comfortable, handles well and is fast enough to keep me pleased……the all around functionality works extremely well for me.
I cringe when I see today’s sport bikes; honestly too much power for the street and a riding position that gets old after 5 minutes. My favorite is when guys ride with their helmet on the helmet lock….or better yet, when they were a lid and their girlfriend goes without.
- Its about tank range! Most bikes go too fast. My KLR 650 is cheap and has aftermarket support for upgrades. I can do all “shop” work at home. How many bike are there that one can change the airfilter without removing the tank? Easy stuff these KLRs are.
- Started riding two wheelers in Pomona, CA in 1945. Cushman to and from High School. Moved to Nebraska. Bought a CZ125, then a Royal Enfield 500 J-2. Started AMA racing. Went to an Ariel Red Hunter. then bought a Triumph G.P. 500 from Johnson Motors in CA. Raced that until I went into the service. Also had a Triumph Thunderbird and an Indian Arrow. Bought a an AJS cast iron single in the service and modified it to race at South Mountain Speedway in Phoenix. Short track.. Discharged, returned to Nebraska and continued to race the AJS. Much modified and perhaps illegal in AMA eyes, but fast. Then to a BSA Gold Star B-34, an assorted small bikes. Just before the Japanese influence owned a Vincent Black Shadow. Then a Maico 254 Scrambler which I competed with regularly. A Harley WRTT 750 racer and a BSA alloy 500 single. Assorted Japanese small bikes, a Bultaco Metralla andf a NSU. Road raced the Maico in Dodge City at the 100 miles National. I was in Sportsman class. 9th place. Moved in airplanes about then, but still had a bike. Became a Kawasaki dealer in 1977. Favorite was a KZ1000 cafe racer. Z1R I believe. Son competed in Motorcross, Yamaha, Kawasaki’s. Moved to California again. Had a HD XLCR cafe racer. Moved back to Kansas City, sold the XLCR (mistake number two after the Vincent). Bought a Suzuki ES 1100 or some such. Sold that, got a Yamaha SR500. Sold that, got a BMW R90-S. (Great Bike). Moved to Maryland, bought a Kawasaki W650 and modified it a bit. Sold that and now have a Kawaski Vulcan EN500 LTD. Don’t laugh, its a great bike, but don’t like the forward pegs (Birthing position) Probably sell it soon Looking for a Honda GB500 now. Might have missed a few, but raced AMA for about 13 years. Sturgis and the like. Am 74 years old and still have a current Flight Instructors license. Served with the NTSB doing aircraft accidents for over 5 years. Crop sprayed, taught aerobatics and all but still nothing like a bike ride. Went to Daytona this year.
- I’m a rider with ten years of experience and four bikes under my belt. I started out with a ten year old beat-up VF1000F Interceptor that seized under me on the second season. My following ride was a five year old YZF 600 in good condition that was stolen from me six months later.
After that I rode a brand new left over ’97 GSX-R 600 in 98 for four years in witch I had a blast (track schools, track days, back roads and week-long trips).
When I realized that I enjoyed going for long trips (witch was a pain on the gixxer) as much as I enjoyed riding the twisties, I decided that I needed something much more confortable but with power and handling caracteristics that would satisfy the left side of my brain.
After little research necessary, I discovered that the Yamaha FZ1 would be the most obvious choice for me. I bought that bike in 2002 and I put close to 20 000 miles on it since and I can assure you this is the best ride I ever had. I tried a lot of other bikes (from all categories) and no other even comes close to what the FZ has to offer.
Of course it’s not the lightest, nimblest, most powerful, most sofisticated nor is it the most confortable bike around, but it offers the best package for the rider who wants a ride for all the occasions, and with a couple of mods, Its a not too bad looking bike either. If you want to do it all, but can afford only ONE bike, the FZ1 can’t be beat!
- Well…after 42 years of riding……
I started with a BMW 500 cc
Then I had a Honda CB 750 (1977)
Then a Honda CB750 (1980)
The a BMW GS1100 (sold because of family issues….)
Then a Suzuki DR350S
Then a Honda XR 250
Then a Honda XR 400 (dual sported)
Then a Kawasaki Vulcan 500
Then a Yamaha V Star 11100 Classic
KLR 650 (modified to Motard)
Suzuki DRZ400E (dualsported) for dirt
A Suzuki SV 650 ( I love it) for the street
When I can afford it
A BMW GS1200 (although the weight is a consideration…)
Conclusion….. I have a tendency to go back to motorcycles that are LIGHT, it seems that every manufacturer thinks that bigger and heavier is better. I think the fun is in a light and flick able bike…. Like the new Kawi twin.
- I guess I’m a “mature rider”, and an older one. I rode my first motorcycle in 1962, and bought my first in 1964, I’m 59.
Last fall, I sold my Ducati 900 SS, and bought a KTM Adventure 950.
The bikes have a lot in common for me. Both have a strong V-twin, make nice “music”, handle very well, as well as possess, for lack of a better word, “it”. “It” seems to be that colorless, tasteless, odorless thing that make me (us?) really enjoy a certain cycle, or a lot of other things, for that matter.
The big difference is COMFORT! While it’s hard to beat the sensation of a Ducati on county back roads, I’m too old to assume the “jockey position” for more than an hour or two. With the KTM Adventure, I’m able to go anywhere, anytime, and all day, with comfort, speed, and handling to boot.
This is not an ad for KTM, but rather the adventure tour type motorcycle. Be it KTM, BMW, Suzuki, Triumph, etc., they all have the “goods” to make a day on the road, a very enjoyable one.
- Started riding in 1964 at age 18. First bike was 1950 Harley 74, chopped, with Ape Hangers. Second Bike was a 1962 XLCH. Wish I still had that one. Since then, one Ducati and the rest Honda, Suzuki,and Kawasaki machines.
Two years ago, I trade in my ZRX 1200 for an Aprilia Tuono. Now, two years and 27,000 mi later, I am still amazed at the joy provided by this machine. For the first year and a half, I thought it was close to perfect. Then I found the Factory Pro ECU chip. Now, It is perfect!
650 pounds and 60 horse power just doesn’t do it the way 400 pounds and 120 HP does.
I really enjoy your web site. Keep up the good work.
- My ultimate bike is being able to afford multiple used bikes, each for a different purpose. After all, you don’t just have one pair of shoes, do you? For less than the cost of an average Honda Civic I have a 2003 Ducati 998S for track, a 1999 Kawasaki ZX9R for street, and a restored 1986 GSXR for fun. The garage is a happy place…..
- I enjoy Motorcycledaily.com and check it out almost everyday. Thanks for keeping us bike nuts on the cutting “edge”. I know, bad attempt at humor. I’m 45 now, just retired from the Navy. Started with minibikes about 30 years ago, my first real motorcycle was a Kawasaki 100 that I bought for $300 back in 1974.
My current bikes are a 2001 Yamaha FZ1 and a 2002 KTM LC4 640 DS. I really love the performance and all day comfort of the FZ1. Great commuter bike and a lot of fun on the weekends. The KTM is used for fire roading and expolring the back country here in Southern California.
I plan to get a Yamaha FJR1300 and perhaps a more dirt worthy bike in the future. Thanks for running this web site. Great work.
- At present am 50 yrs old and have been on bikes for over 30 years now. Previous bikes are Honda 500-four, Kawasaki 900 Z1-B, Honda 750F, Yamaha FZ-1-’02, Yamaha R1-’04 and my present bike, (last one??), a Triumph Rocket 3-’05.
May get into the sport touring thing next, (Yamha FJR or the Triumph ST-1), who knows??
- Well I’m not finished yet but, after 25+ years of “legal” street riding and over a dozen street bikes I ride a 1995 Triumph Trophy 900 and a 2000 DR200se (as a play bike and commuter, my commute is less than 5 miles each way). I am starting to lean towards those big trailies though because of the up right riding position and all round abilities.
- To be frank, as I’ve gotten older, I’m just not as brave as I used to be. So when I found that I just wasn’t taking advantage of the long legs of my Kawasaki Concours sport-tourer, I considered alternatives that would still provide the most enjoyment from riding, even if not at sustained high speeds.
I settled on what is widely regarded as one of the most “fun” bikes, a Suzuki SV650. Light, responsive, plenty powerful for around town or more, I went with the “naked” version for easy-on-the-old-bones ergonomics, and added a windshield for reduced fatique when riding (that Concours had a real barn-door fairing that was easy to like.) The SV really is fun to ride, and I like the generally up-to-date technology. Since it’s a very affordable bike, I don’t have too much tied up financially, so I don’t feel guilty if I don’t pile on the mileage, and of course it has enviable reliability. Looks sharp in “Pearl Lively Yellow”.
- I have owned 5 motorcycles:
Honda 450 “Scrambler”
Penton 125 cc Enduro / Motocrosser
Yamaha YZF600 (presently)
The ultimate bike for me is essentially a sport bike with more upright ergonomics and a half fairing like the Aprilia Tuono and more suspension travel like the Ducati Multistrada. I’m hoping that the Japanese manufacturers will produce something along these lines. They should utilize the light weight, aluminum frames and the premium, adjustable, suspension components used on their sport bikes – not the heavy steel frames and cheaper suspension systems one sees on bikes like the current Honda 919, Kawasaki KZ1000, and Yamaha FZ1. The engine need not be as high strung as the all-out sport bikes – more midrange is good.
I’m keeping my fingers crossed. If it doesn’t happen in another year or two, I’ll probably buy a Tuono.
- Streetbike……….02 Bandit 1200s
Dirtbike…………99 cr250 setup for enduro/trail riding
Both are bulletproof bikes that are comfortable and do everything well. They are both extremely fast even though they don’t have the latest and greatest technology. When the time comes to upgrade, I’ll get a new Bandit 12s and a new cr250. I’m one happy rider.
- I’m a 47 year old rider and I ended up on my trusty 80 Suzuki GS1000G.
I’ve tried cruisers and can’t tolerate the riding position. I prefer a sport bike, but only for 15 minutes or so until my legs cramp. (I’m a competitive weightlifter with legs that go with it.) So for a modern bike I’d go with a standard of some type. I really like the VStrom 650 and if I bought a new bike I suspect I would go that route. Or see what Kawasaki does for competition to the Strom with their 650 twin.
- For the road I’ve got a Valkyrie Interstate and for around town a Yamaha Royal Star.
- I’m fastly approaching 50 and have been riding for 35 yrs. My current bike is a 05 Triumph Tiger. I love the SUV capabilities of bikes like these. Also, for health reasons, I have to have a bike that sets me as straight up as possible. If I could afford a second ride, it would be the 05 BMW K1200LTC. I’ve owned one of these before and love the options and weather protection this bike offers. The reason for the 05 is the hydraulic center stand. My back can’t take lifting these heavy bikes on their center stands anymore.
- Ultimate bike? I have the ultimate street bike for me, a 99 VFR. Capable
of both touring & trackdays. Not the ultimate city bike however as the
engine only stays cool at about 60-80kph Ultimate offroad? Haven’t
found that one yet as I like doing different kinds of offroading. I have
an 02 640 Adventure for long rides and 2up offroading, and an 03 KLX300 for tight woods riding. The KLX will be replaced one day by another euro bike, but its good for now, and I still need a trials bike to fill the only hole left.
- At 58 with many years of riding, I am now very pleased with a 2004 Triumph Tiger. It seems to do a lot of things well and is no problem at all. The dealer in NorthernVirginia, Winchester Motosports, is outstanding.
- Definitely sport bikes but once I got a V-twin… I am not sure I will want anything else…
My track day bike is a TL 1000S (Suzuki) and my road w/ wife bike a VFR (v-4).
- Well, after 35 yrs of riding I still don’t know if I’ve found the ultimate bike but I’m getting close. Here is the progression: 1972 Suzuki GT750, 1977 Honda CB550, 1978 Honda CB750F, 1981 GL1100 Standard (which I still own), 1983 Honda VT750, 2002 Kawasaki Meanstreak (Best cruiser I ever rode), and currently riding a 2005 Honda 919.
All were great bikes but at the age of 53 I may be too young to decide on the ultimate bike for me just yet. The 919 is a hoot to ride and I’ve done some short (250 mile) trips on it. I’m a big roadracing fan and don’t see myself ever owning a touring bike like the GL1800. But that new Triumph Sprint ST looks like an awesome bike and I can see one in my future.
- My first motorcycle was a 1971 Honda CL350 Scrambler and like a lot of riders I’ve ridden and owned a number of bikes. Always looking for that perfect ride, I had Cruisers, a couple of Standards, two Sportbikes, a Naked and Dual purpose.
I’ve always enjoyed whatever I was riding at the time, but for me one bike always fit me and my daily commute better than any other.
It’s a Nighthawk 750. Now I know it doesn’t do anything Great, but it does everything well. From the Low maintenance to the perfect ergos.
This bike has always drawn me back over the others. I would never worry about taking it anywhere, because it will get you there and no one would ever steal it.
- I am a mature rider… I think? I started riding @ 17 and have had 8 bikes and am now 35.
I started with a ’83 Honda CB450
Followed by CBR600, VFR750, GSXR750, Katana 600 (real cheap), GSXR600, SV650S (really love the V power band) and now ride…. a Harley Sportster 883.
- From a kid who grew up in the 70’s and 80’s and saw the Cafe’/Sport evolve in high performance machines with price tags to match. I ended up owning and keeping my 1995 Ducati SS/CR It has been with me longer than any girlfriend or job now that I look back. I am a Sunday morning rider that loves a twisty road and a short stack of blueberry pancakes. Home safe after the ride and tuning in to the next MotoGP race.
- I’m in my 26th year of riding bikes, beginiing with a couple of Kawasaki KLR 250s, 1972 and a 1979, a Suzuki 380, 1973 vintage. Over 25 countries on a ’84 GPz 550, (In Germany the size of the bike is limited by your age). A few more to list thru the ’90s… My current stable includes a 2001 Ninja 250 with 21,000 miles on it, a 2003 BMW R1150R with 39,000 miles, and a 2005 Suzuki V-Strom 650 with 1800 miles. Oh! As for the perfect bike I think that the GS 1200, fully loaded would be my first choice. It’s on my shopping list.
- I haven’t really ended up anywhere yet. I still have a lot of new bikes to discover, and if you haven’t ridden a particular style of motorcycle how can you make a valid judgment on if it is perfect for you.
I have been riding motorcycles since I was 9 years old, and I am currently 43.
My current bike is a Honda Valkaryie tourer. Last year I installed a supercharger which delivers 140 hp on the back wheel, with 125 foot lbs of torque. I like to have performance when I feel the need to pass on two lane roads. Previously I had a V-Max, and I think it missed its performance.
The problem with the V-Max is it has awful handling characteristics.
Right now I think I would like to have the BMW K1200R. It seems more comfortable than a sport, or sport tourer, but it has the performance, and handling characteristics that I want. It also doesn’t weight 800 lbs.
I doubt I am going to do any long trips on a bike so why not have a fun day bike, or short excursion machine.
- Been riding for over 20 years and the place I found myself most happy is on my ’98 Triumph Tiger. It will run in the mountains and doing it comfortably. I also love it for commuting and pillions enjoy the ride more too.
- I am 67 years old and have been riding since 1964, I have owned something like 63 or 65 motorcycles both dirt and street. I think I now have the best combination of bikes for me and I am not looking to replace either one. My street bike is an 02 Suzuki V-Strom DL 1000 and it does everything well and is easy to maintain and a pleasure to ride. My dirt machine is an 05 Honda CRF450X, this has to be the best bike I have ever ridden in the dirt.
- I’m 48, and have been riding since 15 with a ’71 Honda CL 100S, followed by a BSA 250, a 441 Victor, a Norton Commando, BMW 75/5, an R 100S, a K75RT, and finally to TWO bikes, a K1100RS and a Suz RG 500gamma. There is not one ultimate bike for me as I’ve aged – I found that with maturity (and money) I can acquire two vehicles with specific mission envelopes for which each is optimized. The K1100 is transportation, not fun. It’s a two wheeled Buick LeSabre that I ride in all weather short of ice on the roads or air temp below 28F. The RG 500 (so heavily modded only the frame is as delivered from Hammamatsu) is totally mental and while as trustworthy as a tumescent baboon with rabies if not properly utilized, delivers the best rush I can experience on two wheels I can tag and insure on the road. It’s also a bit on in years like I am, yet doesn’t give up to modern machinery (until the turns get bumpy). Night and day, but no compromises either way. I could never do this at 25, that’s for sure…
- Ok, so I’ve only been riding for almost a decade but after last night I can’t help myself. I took up trails riding this spring to sharpen my track skills and I have to say its the most fun I have ever had on 2 wheels. I think I did it upside down, starting off with a triumph cruiser moving through several Japanese sport bikes and winding up with a Ducati supersport currently undergoing track mods and a KDX 200. May be its the best kept secret out there but what’s wrong with this picture. I blast out of work a little early with some bullshit excuse. Load up the KDX and head out to my local trails network at a state forest. I’m the only one there, ride like a banchy for a couple of hours and go home with a big grin on my face. The only thing I could liken it to is skiing at a good mountain close by with no lift lines, no lift ticket fees and no people. As I was driving home I wondered if people who only ride on the street knew what they were missing. I’m 41 with a kid going to college and another one getting ready to and I am having a blast, on of all things, a trail bike.
- I’m about to turn 40 and I’ve been riding since I was 26. When in Italy, I owned 2 Moto Guzzi 350, one BMW 65R, one Honda CBX750. Since in the US, I oweed one Honda CB750, one Honda ST1100, I rented or ridden several others (Goldwing, a Yamaha TDM 850, Yamaha Virago 1100, Vespa 125, Suzuki Bandit 600 etc) and I now found the perfect bike for my syle: a 2005 Honda ST1300 (but I also enjoy riding my little 1983 Yamaha Virago 535).
- I’m 47, been an active motorcyclist for 35 years, and have my ultimate bike – 2005 BMW R1200GS! Thanks for asking.
- I am 47 years old, live in Austin, Texas, and have owned 7 bikes so far in this life (70′ Maico 400, 75′ Norton Commando, ’83 Yamaha 750 Seca, ’84 BMW K100RS, ’98 Honda Superhawk, ’01 Yamaha FZ1, and ’05 Kawasaki Vulcan 2000). I currently have the last 2 on the list in the garage.
I’m not sure I’ve “ended up” just yet. I’ve always tended towards sporting machines, even if we don’t have a excess of tight roads in the immediate vicinity, but I also like cruisers for a laid-back ride and/or road trips. The FZ1 is easily the best bike I’ve owned for all-roundness, but there’s no way it can provide the cruiser experience. I fantasize about life on a dual sport (out to Big Bend, up to Colorado and beyond, any type of road) even though I have trouble finding sufficient time to make good use of what I already have (especially when its 100F every day like this summer ).
Does a perfect bike exist? I don’t think so. All bikes are compromises, and are really good at one, or maybe two types of riding at best. Maybe one and a little bit of another. In any case, I need 6 bikes, a larger garage, and a 3 day work week (same money of course) to live the dream.
- Splitting my time between a KLR650 (50%), VFR800 (25%) and Z1000 (25%). The KLR is what I climb on for groceries, commuting, the occasional cross-country trip and day-to-day errands and travel. The VFR is only used for really long rides (requiring crossing the Mississippi), and the Z is pure flash; a bike to celebrate on, to catch the eyes, to blow out the work-week cobwebs.
I’ve been riding since 1966 and sold my last car about five years ago. During the last 39 years I’ve always had at least one bike around and have owned something like 20 over the years, starting with a Ducati 250 Monza, and including the obligatory Panhead, Bonnevilles, Japanese sportbikes, BMWs and a ratty Hodaka. If I were reduced to one forever, it would be the KLR.
- I have been riding since 1970, and have had two Yamahas, four Hondas, and two BMWs. All were great bikes for my situation. In 1998 I bought a BMW R1200C, have about 43,000 miles on it, and hope to ride it forever. Key factors were reputation, quality, appearance, and ABS brakes.
- Good question. I’m 52 and come from great variaty of different style motorcycles and 40ish years of riding and racing. Being a Honda and BMW dealer ”77 to ’82 you can imagine all the available bikes at hand. I have taken extended touring trips, converted MX bikes to Supermoto, lots of dirt riding, Trials, but roadracing was my passion and still is. Although it’s all street any more. Sport bikes all the way. I currently own a ’05 Ducati 999 and seems to be working. Thanks for asking.
- Having grown up riding dirt bikes I made the move to sport bikes and then did the get marry and have kids. after a ten
year leave I got back into trail riding and have realize how much I still love motorcycling. I am now looking into buying a KTM 950 because for me its the ultimate do anything go
- I’m 45 years old and have been riding/racing since I was 6 years old, so I have 39 years of riding under my belt.
My ultimate “road” bike is my 04 GSXR750, that bike never ceases to amaze me, I rode it to Laguna and it was not as bad as I thought it would be.
I also have an 04 KTM 525 SMR, a 92 TZ250 (WSMC race bike), and an 04 YZ125 for dirt play. All of these bikes keep me occupied and happy!
I just sold my KTM 625 SMC, I just did not have time to ride it.
- What a great question . At 48 years old and after some 60+ motorcycles I’d hate to think I’m done but at this time I think my selection of bikes, for my age is pretty complete, but will be sure to change.
For touring 2004 ST1300 Honda non/ABS
For track days and street 2000 RC51 Honda
For the dirt 2005 WR450 Yamaha
- Funny you mention the KTM 950 Adventure, which is exactly where I ended up. It is all things to a mature all-round biker. Being quite competitive in spirit, this ride fits the bill nicely.
I learned to ride on the dirt, like many who have been riding for years. The KTM is quite dirt worthy, while not focussing on the hard core stuff. It is FAST on the street too. In the right hands, it will leave behind most sport bikes in a tight canyon. The seating position in upright and comfortable for the long haul, and getting older and more financially secure allows for more of such long hauls than earlier days. The WP suspension is VERY adjustable. My wife goes pillion most always, and the pre-load completely compensates.
Our recent trip to Death Valley was a total mix of circumstances:
We rode out hundreds of miles in fairly good comfort (with AirHawks). Took the tight way and dragged boot around many corners. Got to the hotel and took off the 3 piece Give luggage, adjusted the suspension and went dirting all the next day. You gotta love it!
- Well, my first bike was a well beaten on 500 Triumph, which was nothing but a headache for the short year that I owned it. Gave me such a bad taste in my mouth about used that I went out and bought a new ’76 Moto Guzzi 850 T3 (sport tourer), which was a great bike, and I drove for seven years. Sold that to a friend, and got an ’83 Moto Guzzi LeMans (cafe racer), which was very fast, solid, and I rode that for seven years until I finally broke my neck on it racing one night, and took a 15 year hiatus from motorcycling because of lack of confidence in myself to be able to drive like a sane person. Two years ago I bought a Vulcan 800 classic, and rode that for a year, before trading it in on an ’04 BMW R1200C Montauk last September. It is a fabulous machine, ABS, fuel injection, single sided swingarm, tach and clock standard equipment, and gets comments and looks everywhere I go. I’m on pace to put between 7 and 8 thousand miles on it in my first year on the bike.
- Where did I end up? After 40 years of riding, and 50 or so bikes, I’m on a 2004 Husaberg FE650e… but I’m looking at the BMW HP2 or the KTM Super Enduro as my next bike for Adventure riding…
- 2003 BMW R1200CLC. After 15 years riding various bikes. This is the best highway cruiser I’ve ever seen! Hope to ride it for a lot of years.
- Cannot seem to find 1 bike that does it all. 41 year old Male.
years riding: 25
Bikes owned: 8
Presently own: 3
1990 Yamaha FJ1200
2004 Suzuki V-strom 650
- hi kim, after 16 years of riding and 34 different bikes of various brands, i am currently riding an 05′ Suzuki DL650 v-strom. it’s a swiss army bike. everything from 55 mpg, to sportbike capabilities, comfortable seating position, great wind protection, decent off road capability, heck, you can even jump the thing. i think i’ve finally found the one bike that will break my cycle of owning on average 2 bikes per year. i’ve had most everything, from a 73′ CB750 to a 00′ R6, to a 91′ ST1100, and lots of stuff in between. i can’t say enough good things about my DL650. gotta love it. thanks for your time.
- 45 yrs and 28 yrs riding
still haven’t settled
Right now it’s a 04 Hayabusa
- After three Ducati ST’s this 58 year old got tired of the chain maint. and rough ride. I’m now riding a GS1200 and am a happy camper.
- Lets see, where do I begin? I’ve been riding since the late 60’s so I guess this qualifies me as a “mature” rider.
My first bike was a 1968 BSA 441 Victor, it was always a adventure each time I went for a ride. A good ride was when I made it back home without being stranded due to “the prince of darkness” Lucas electrics. From there I moved on to the more reliable Japanese bikes and never looked back.
In addition to the 441, here is a list of the bikes I owned over the past 35 years.
1971 Honda CB350 twin
1971 Honda CB750 four
1972 Honda XL250 single (first production 4 valve motor)
1974 Honda CB550 four
1976 Honda CB400F four
1977 Rickman CR1+1 with modified 812cc Honda four motor (my all time favorite)
1991 Honda Hawk GT-650 twin
1999 Yamaha YZF-R6
2002 Honda CB900F 919 four (my present ride)
As far as the “final decision” for that ultimate bike, I am 63 years old and the quest continues. At some point in time it might be a power cruiser along the lines of a Yamaha Road Star Warrior but for now I still love riding the twisties and the Honda 919 fits the bill perfectly.
- Right now I ride a BMW r1200c, and a Honda intercepter.I enjoy both of these bikes.
- I am 36. I have been riding dirt and street bikes since around age 12. I have ridden and owned different styles and sizes of bikes. I have a 2004 FZ1 that is just about as perfect a bike as I have ever ridden.
- At this point, I have actually ended up about where I started. Of course, I got a late start. I rode a Honda CB350 about 10 miles on a straight road way back in 1969. But my wife said motorcycles were too dangerous.
28 years later, I rode my next bike — a Valkryie! — for about 6 miles on a straight road. Then a friend started letting me ride her Honda Shadow 500. I got my motorcycle endorsement and rode her bike over a 1000 miles, mostly around town and on short trips.
Then the day after my wife moved out, I saw an ad for bike here in our small rural town, went and looked at it, and, even though it wasn’t the cruiser I thought I wanted, I bought it.
It was an ’83 Honda GL-650i Silverwing. I rode it for a bit over a year, put 20,000 miles on it, and sold it for $50 less than I’d paid for it.
Before I sold the baby Wing, I’d been lusting after a BMW R-1100RT. But there was no way to afford one of those. Then one day, I was on my way home from the office and saw a kind-of different-looking BMW parked a couple of blocks from the house. I U-turned and went back to look…at a Kawasaki Concours. Within a month, I had purchased a ’99 and sold the ‘Wing.
I now have 96,000 miles on the Connie, have completed several 1,000 mile days, and have modified it to fit my needs. I’ve added a Russell Day-Long Saddle, a top-box, tank bag, cruise control, and on and on. I’ve changed windshields. It fits me perfectly and if I were to lose this one tomorrow, I’d buy another one the day after.
Even here in eastern Colorado, I ride 340-350 days a year and am comfortable down to temperatures in the mid-teens.
I’d still like to have a BMW (although now, I’d spring for the R-1200RT … IF I could afford it, but the old Connie works just right for me.
- I’m a 47 year old who’s been riding since the hot bike to have was a ‘Taco 22′. I raced novice motocross on everything from a 1970 Honda SL 100 to an open class Honda 500. Then I started riding on the street – sport bikes mostly (original Katana 1000 to CBR 900) but there were two Harleys in the late 1990s. Then it was back to sport bikes – 1987 VFR 750 a couple gray market Honda NSR 250s and RVF 400s, then a 2000 RC51 and a 2001 Ducati 748.
So where’d I end up?
I started doing track days. I’ve ridden on the street maybe 10 times in the past 3 years and don’t miss it at all. Well, there are the social aspects of hanging out at the coffee shop in Point Reyes with my fellow riders…that part I do miss. The cars, road debris and cops I don’t miss at all. And having been to the hospital after a solo crash I greatly appreciate the fact that at all times. there’s professional medical attention at the ready no more than a mile from me.
Bike-wise, I bought a crashed ’03 SV 650S, upgraded the suspension (GSX-R 1000 front end, Ohlins shock) and I haven’t looked back since. For less than $5K, I’ve got a bike that’s going to last me until my ego demands something else. I keep telling myself “This is all you need until you go under 2:10 at Thunderhill”. Then I get passed by someone on a SuperMoto or a BMW with enduro tires and I realize, this is all the bike I’ll likely ever need.
My riding skills have greatly improved and I’m finding there’s a great social environment – virtually no posing and everyone seems willing to do whatever they can whenever anyone needs help – loaning tools, helping fix something – even giving you a part you need.
Give the track a try and you may ‘end up’ somewhere else, too.
Love your site, keep up the great work.
- I started riding in 1968 on a new Montgomery Ward 3 1/2 hp minibike. I was 5 years old. No suspension, no gears, no front brake, foot operated scrub brake on rear tire, but at the time it was great.
Next was a new Suzuki Trail Hopper 50. It had suspension, front and rear brakes, gears, oh yeah.
Then came a new 1976 Kawasaki KD100, the dirt model and my dad had a new 1970 something Harley Davidson 175cc “Dual Sport”. The motor on the HD revved to the moon but that was about the only thing that worked.
1981-1984 I went without a bike. What was I thinking?
Then I tried the 3-wheeler thing so my wife could also ride. 1984?, Yamaha 225. Hated it!
Next was a new 1989 Kawasaki KDX200. I entered my first harescramble in the 200B class and got 3rd. I’ve been racing every year since then.
1990 Switched from KDX200 to KX125 started racing motocross as well as harescrambles.
Wanted a street bike so I bought a new 1991 Kawasaki ZX7. Bike was stock except for a few gadgets to lighten it up. Also bought a new 1991 Yamaha XT 350. Choose the XT over the DR because of price and seat height. Seat height on the XT was about 1.5″ less than the DR. XT was a great “trial” bike. Added SuperTrapp exhaust to reduce the weight and add to the power. Suspension was a big black mark on this bike but the low seat was great on tight trials. At 5’8″ I’m not the tallest person.
1993 traded old KX125 for new one. Had ProCircuit do the suspension and the motor.
1994 bought a house, had to sell the XT and ZX7.
1995 new KDX200 with Fredette Racing suspension and motor. Moved to the expert class in harescrambles. Started getting paid money for top finishes!
2001 bought a barely used 2000 Husky TE410. Loved the motor, hated the weight and the suspension. Raced several harescrambles in the Vet class and then the Senior class. Senior class, ouch.
These are the bikes I’ve owned. I’ve ridden just about everything out there from trials to cruisers. I think if I had the money to buy whatever I wanted my next 2 bikes would be a KTM EXC 450 (try to make it street legal) and some brand of naked bike (Triumph triple, Buell XB9SX, Ducati Monster, etc.) The new off-road 4-strokes are hard to beat and I like the looks of the nakeds. I’m just not a cruiser kind a of guy. Cruisers just seem boring. As far as the new Sport bikes, they’re nice, very nice, but a naked just seems more “practical”.
I’m 42 now and still love to ride any chance I get.
- As I mature it becomes more difficult rather than easier to find the right bike. When I was younger, the tie to a bike I wanted was almost purely emotional, with less consideration for practicality. As I mature, I still want the emotional connection, but it becomes a compromise with practicality – what bike will do everything and be fun in all aspects – commuting, weekend trips, longer trips, 2 hour sport rides, single, 2-up….
I’m still looking for the perfect bike – of course the fact that it is nearly impossible to get a test-ride on any bikes these days makes that task even more daunting. How can you evaluate the performance of a bike based on it’s showroom appearance?
- I have been Riding for thirty five years. My ultimate bike is what I am riding right now- which is a Ducati MultiStrada. But, ask one again in a year or so and I will have a new answer.
- I am a 61 yr old white male and have been riding for 35 yrs. I started on dirt bikes and thought steet riders were sissies. After ten years I discovered steet machines and owned several. I resided in the Rio Grande Valley of Texas where the roads are flat and straight. I stopped riding for several years from 1985 to 1992.
I discovered BMW’s and started riding again on 92 R100GS. I have owed several BMW’s since then and earned a BMW 100,000 mile award. I am a member of the Iron Butt Association and have completed several of their long distance rides.
I rode a Harley for two years in the mid 90’s but did not find it much fun.
At this time I own and ride a 1996 BMW R1100RT, Suzuki DRZ400SM, and a 2002 Yamaha FZ1. I use the Yamaha for sport riding and an occasional trackday. I just got the Suzuki and it is a lot of fun to ride in the Texas Hill country where I now live.