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Where Did You End Up? – MD Reader Responses, Part 2

With so many interesting reader responses to our “Where Did You End Up?” article, we present the second installment here. The first group of reader responses was published on August 4, 2005. We still can’t get over the level of effort made by so many readers to tell their motorcycling life story. We also want to apologize to the employers who may be losing a solid day’s work from our readers that can’t stop reading these responses.

  • In response to your question in today’s post, I consider myself a “mature” (but hopefully not “old”!) rider, and have settled for the moment on a BMW R1200GS as the ultimate do-everything bike. I can carve up the twisted roads in the mountains around the Bay Area with the best of the sport bikes, or I can attach the hard luggage and spend four days riding in the Sierras without suffering through the entire event. The bike makes a good commuter since its smooth and powerful, and gives you a great high elevation view over most cars.

    I am 42 years old and have been riding motorcycles since I was 10, including much dirt biking, lots of sport touring, lots of commuting on Bay Area freeways, plenty of race track time on the latest hot sport bike, etc. In the past eight years I have owned three generations of Honda’s VFR, a Honda 600F3, F-4 and F-4i, Honda 929, Honda 954, Suzuki GSXR1000 (2002 and 2005 models), BMW R1100S, R1150GS, and currently have a BMW R1200GS and 2005 Kawasaki ZX-6R.

    I have always been on a quest for the “perfect” bike – one that I’ll ride every day in all types of activities, and will feel that its the best bike for each of those jobs. No single bike fits every category of riding perfectly, but the R1200GS comes pretty close. On the sportbike end of the spectrum, the previous generation VFR hit pretty close to the mark, and I wouldn’t hesitate to buy another one of those if Honda would get rid of the crappy V-Tec engine and put a proper 1000cc V-4 with about 140 hp in it.

    The older I get, the less comfortable I find sportbikes, and while I truly love the performance and exhiliration when I ride one, it ends up sitting in the garage alot more than the Beemer.

    I’m also considering buying one of the new BMW K1200S or R bikes.

    Perhaps more than you wanted to know, but there it is! :-)

  • I had been into riding half of my life. Went from single 2stroke (in Europe) thru triple 2stroke (after 12yrs pause) to ‘big’ 600 four and now I am riding Firestorm. Phenomenal machine to be shure, but not the last one. You will find me probably on one of those reminiscing naked ‘standards’. Oh, those fond memories of 70’s……

  • I’m 48, started riding at 15 on a Honda CB 100. Next was a honda CB 360T, then a Yamaha 750, then another Yamaha 750 Seca. Got married and between work and military career sold the Seca and quit riding after 15 years of riding. 10 years later bought a Suzuki 800 Marauder, totaled it and as soon as I could walk again got a Kawasaki ZRX 1200 R. Have had it for 4 years and Love it!!

  • I might be outside the scope of your “mature motorcyclist” criteria but I thought I’d respond anyway.

    First, a little background. I am 30 years old and started riding about 10 years ago through the MSF program while I was in college. Since then, I have owned about a dozen motorcycles), have become MSF Basic RiderCourse & Experience RiderCourse certified and try to do at a handful of track days/schools each year.

    My current motorcycles are:
    -a commuter/trackday 2000 SV650 on which I have close to 35K miles.
    -a weekend/trackday 2003 749S on which I have about 7K miles.

    I don’t think I would be satisfied with just one motorcycle. In my view, there is no perfect bike as I like to experience a broad spectrum of what motorcycling offers. Finances permitting- or Mega Millions lottery winnings
    permitting- I would like to have at least a few more in the stable. :)

    However, if I had to sell these bikes and end up with just one. I think it would be the Ducati Multistrada 1000S DS. Having test ridden one recently at their “National Multistrada Demo Day”, I was impressed and this would be my definition of a do-it-all motorcycle. Not a barge like a bagger or touring bike, more versatile than a full-faired yogurt cup sportbike and definitely a unique expression of motorcycling.

    As for cruisers… well, ask me again in a decade or two if I end up going there. Not exactly my cup of tea at this stage of my riding “career”.
    Although a Rocket III was amusing in straight lines, for awhile. :)

  • I’ve been riding motorcycles since 1970, I consider myself to be in the “mature” category. I grew up riding a variety of dual sports (there were only two options back then, street bike or dual sport). That led to motocross bikes and a brief racing career (couple years), then back to dual sport. Rode a ’77 Yamaha ET 500 for years. Next came sport bikes. I still own my beloved ’85 Kawasaki GPz 900R Ninja (always fun for a nostalgia ride). My current ride is a sport-touring bike, 2003 Aprilia RST 1000 Futura. I shopped for approximately 5 years to find the ultimate bike for me. I’ve found it with the Futura!

  • So, after starts my 2 wheels life riding thousands of kilometers on Honda trails on travels out of the tharmac (beaches even was
    posible…) from Rio to the north and back, then in the center of the country (off road), bordering the amazon forest, crossing rivers, then IN the amazon rain forest , trails was the right decision for a guy “discovering another way”.
    Then jumping to the tharmac and “normal” life, starting with a 1995 Kawa 9R, then a Fireblade, extreming on a R-1 (of course, was the natural way…) and refining the ride with a Ducati 996… was the way to follow too.
    But riding every day , my XR650L, possible she´s the perfect choise.
    I can do any and everything I want or face.

    But You know, we never happy, and there isen´t perfection… The right choice is:
    A XR 650L every day
    A Ducati for canions and track days
    A KTM Adventure for long , long travels- (like the one you do to celebrates the 50th years.)

  • I am 48 years old and have been riding sinse I was 13. I have had a few bikes in my time, more than most, but not near as many as some. But I guess you never end up being satisfied (or at least not myself) with having just one bike or being at point where you consider yourself at the end of not buying another bike. Owning a 2005 Goldwing and a 2004 crf250x in my opinion covers the best of both worlds. I would like to have a V-strom 650 for quick runs around town or even a little longer ride. But no, for me there will never be just a “Ultimate Bike” just a stopping point till the next bike or until God says it’s time stop riding and that will be when I can’t pick my leg up to put over the seat.

  • I’m 63 now, been riding bikes since I was 14. I’ve had at least 1 of every kind, including a few scooters. I’m never satisfied for long. I presently have a cruiser, a sport tourer and a sportbike. I’m still waiting for my body/brain to tell me when to stop changing bikes.

  • Obviously many of us who regularly ride two up and only have the resources to own one bike, ride GoldWings. If I were not married and didn’t ride two up most of the time, I would probably be on a Valk Tourer. I really prefer a naked standard or one with a windscreen to a full fairing bike like the Wing, but my wife REALLY likes the Wing a lot. We’ve ridden a CX500, GL500, GoldWing standard, and a Nighthawk 750 and now a GoldWing Interstate. Any of the bikes I had previous to the Wing would be fine for me by myself, for riding around and commuting to work, though I really preferred the 1980 Wing standard.

    Again, obviously, some of us like it real smooth and quiet. That mostly limits the choices down to Honda and BMW. I haven’t liked any of the V-twins I’ve been on. Wings, Valks, ST1300 and a couple of Beemers are about the only bikes that I would look at.

  • I am 46 years old and have riding/racing since I was 11. I have owned countless bikes over the years, but in recent years been 4 stroke committed. I currently own a 650R that has been made electric start and has the Baja Design kit on it for the street (easier to get in and out of some trails).

  • I am 50, and my newest bike is an ’02 Triumph Sprint RS, which I think is one of the best “All-Rounders”, except that I would have paid a bit more for a shaft drive, had one been available. I am tending to appreciate more and more the BMW air-cooled 245 bikes, and also the fun of the XT350 for almost “all season” riding (BC, Canada – wet and sometimes pretty chilly, but not frozen all the time). If I were to buy another bike (in the real world) I would look at the Triumph Tiger. New BMWs are out of my price range up here in Canada, and some of the styling stuff is just plain bizarre. I have never been interested in cruisers, currently am rebuilding a DOHC 1972 Honda 450, having finished the BMWs for the moment. I cannot see myself content with just one bike at this time. I wish there was more opportunity to do more than just sit on a bike before buying – I also like wrenching – have spent a bit on tools and equipment, including powder-coating and media-blasting equipment, and just finished converting a
    3/4 horse grinder into a buffer. I have access to machineshop and autoshop equipment.
    If I had unlimited funds, I still wouldn’t really know where to look for a new bike – What I have is just fine with me.

  • Where did I end up?
    Off road: Started on a rm125 now a KLX300R
    Street: started on a KZ400 now a Vulcan Classic 1500E
    Restoring an ’83 CB1100F Supersport.

  • I was on a dual sport ride back in June. I was reflecting on my garage while riding on some nice backroads. At the time I was on my Suzuki DR650. I also have a DL1000 V-Strom. I can’t think of a better combination from off-road to sporting to touring. I have had a VFR, a Falco but never had the sense of Nirvhana that I currently have. I still look and contemplate, but I don’t plan any changes soon. I have had my motorcycle endorsement for 16 years and consider myself ‘mature’ at age 37. Thanks for the great site.

  • At 59 and after dozens of motorcycles including a Suzuki Road race machine, my VStrom is my favorite ride of the several I still own.

    An upright riding position has become much more desirable over the years, and this bike offers versatility for the occasional off road adventure, power and handling to startle the young rocket jockeys in the twisties, and detachable storage for the longer hauls with or without a passenger.

    With a few minor mods (PC3, pipes, Corbin, crash bars, centerstand) it is my favorite of the little collection I have. For real short rides, I take the KTM Duke, which is way more fun than anything, but unsuitable for more than 50 miles or so.

  • I am 45 years old and have ridden since I was 7 years old. I started on a Honda mini-trail 50. I started racing MX when I was 16 and turned pro when I was 19. I also bought my 1st street bike at 19, a RD400 Yamaha Daytona Special. I have had many street bikes since and most have either been sport bikes or standards. My current bike is an 03 Yamaha FZ-1. It is a great all arounder suitable for commuting, touring, and sport riding.

  • Now that I have two kids the full-on literbike is too much. If I have it, I will flog it, and feel too guilty about it afterwards.

    The Buell is light, wheelies fairly well, and works well on track days.
    Plus, when you are stuck in traffic the engine sounds and feels really good, so it is relaxing to ride slowly when you have to.

  • Regarding the question ” Where Did You End Up?” i must say im about to purchase what i think will be my ultimate bike, the BMW R 1200GS. As for the mature rider status, regarding im am only 31 years old, but with 24 years of experience, thanx to my father, who tough me to ride a Honda CT 70 when i was just 7. I think i can say im not going to make a mistake wit the Beemers.

    Had my MX phase,my Enduro phase, recently completed the Sport bike phase… Currently trading my 2004 YZF R1 for a pair of GS for me and my dad , he is 55 years old and currently riding a Honda Transalp XLV 600 and has almost 40 years of riding experience and been through more than 20 bikes ..

    I must say that the GS is perhaps the ultimate bike for us most becouse of the type of terrain we have in the area we live. The GS allows me to go places I can not reach with the R1 and if I want to race a little with my sport bieke friends , i can always be ahead of them in the canyon roads !!! The only thing we wont be able to do with the GS is reach 175mph… but i dont care.. ill be able to go 5000 miles in a week alongside with my dad !!!… for me thats what bike riding is all about.

  • I am on my 23rd sstreet bike in 32 years (I’m 46) and now ride a 2000 Triumph Sprint RS that I have modified with upright tubular handlebars and tall (ST1100) windshield.

    The bike sits very much like a GS/V-Strom/Tiger/FZ1 (THIS MEANS STANDARD) so it sits like a sport tourer but handles like a sport bike. It weighs less than 500 lbs. full of fuel, puts out 95 hp/65 ft.lbs. torque and gets 49+ mpg city and 53+ highway. I have almost 30K on it, half of which is commuting and zero problems.

    I have worked in Japanese franchise stores for over 20 years and had I waited a year would probably have ended up on an FZ1. The Japanese OEM’s are basically ignoring the aging sportbike riders at this time (mostly
    babyboomers) who are still a major force in the industry. The sport touring bikes are mostly too heavy and too hot to serve as everyday bikes and the naked bikes are mostly ugly to look at (few exceptions) and lack integrated accessories and wind protection for distance.

  • Experience :

    I’ve been riding road bikes nearly uninterrupted, for just over 40 years (as-of this last spring). I ride/commute for as much of the year as weather permits. I’d guesstimate that I’ve done in the neighborhood of a 3rd of a million miles in that time. I’m presently riding my 16th and 17th road bike(s). Probably around 2/3rds were “standards” and 1/3rd were “sports”. No cruisers. Some (but much less) dirt biking (enduro/trials) mixed in during that time.

    Present “maturity” (ha, ha, ha, ha, ha) (sorry; couldn’t hold it) :

    I was unable to “happily” confine myself to just one bike, so I presently have a Kaw ZX-10R and a KTM 950 Adventure. I guess if I ABSOLUTELY/POSITIVELY HAD to choose between the two, I’d go with the KTM, but PLEEEEEASE don’t ask me to.

  • Let’s see as a teen I was a professional skateboarder. I road raced in my late twenties, off-road racing in my late thirties to early 40s At 46 I am starting to race motocross. The bike I ended up with? Just ordered a KTM SXf

  • I began riding big sportbikes in the early 80’s. After I sold my 1977 XS 500E, a black beauty with gold pin stripes and slightly cafe racer styling, I had a mild 1981 Yamaha Seca 750. A nice little candy apple red shafty with a “gee whiz” dashboard that was a good ride for me to break into sportbiking with. Next up was a 1983 CB1100F Honda. A hell for strong, super smooth engine in an adequate chassis. Price was right too. I put on Honda’s factory “sport control kit” to raise the pegs and lower the bars and some Koni shocks. I sold it the minute I saw Yamaha’s
    1984 FJ1100. The bike was so cool that even my hardened Suzuki and Honda buddies bought them once they saw mine in the flesh. I took a brief time out from bikes from 1985 to 1991 for the birth of our two daughters but jumped back in with a used, but perfect, 1989 red, white and blue FZR1000 in 1991. That FZR was smooth, fast and super stable at speed. I sold that bike 6 years later to get what may have been the first 1998 R1 in Oklahoma City. I loved that R1, I put on a Penske shock and a Race Tech fork job but it was otherwise stock and it worked beautifully.
    Street or track, the R1 and I spent many happy times together but that bike scared me a little until the day I sold it. It was just wickedly fast. I sold that when, shortly before my 45th birthday, Yamaha announced its FJR 1300 program. I received my silver 2003 model in July
    2002 and love it. With about 22,000 miles and counting, it’s a fine place for an old sportbiker like me to end up. I also have a 2004 WR250F. I learned bikes in the dirt as a teenager and have really enjoyed getting back to my roots with the WR. Staying with motorcycles, dirt and street, has been one of the best decisions of my life, other than marrying my wonderful wife of 25 years. It has truly kept me sane and prevented me going through the dreaded mid-life crisis that seems to strike my friends now and then. It keeps the kid in me alive and provides a great balance to life’s burdens and responsibilities.

  • I was born in 1963 and my parents absolutely forbid motorcycles. A friend had a 50cc dirt bike, which I learned to ride on. His relatively small yard, spotted with a few trees became a playground of experience. There were two of us but only one bike. So, while one of us was running and dodging around trees, the other was riding and trying to run him down! It definitely taught me the coordination and control I use to navigate among the inattentive cage drivers of today. By my late teens I was broke but a professional test jockey. I mean, I could walk into a showroom and BS my way into a test ride on just about anything. The classified ads were also fair game. Everything from GS850 shafties to GPz750 turbos to R90 Beemers, I was getting exposure to a lot of different bikes but only a few miles at a time. My first test ride was on a used, orange KZ650. It was such an eye-opening jump in performance from my friend’s dirt bike. I was instantly hooked.


    I was also a magazine junky. I read as much about the bikes that I could. At first my comprehension of all the technical stuff was low, I just had no mechanical experience up to that point. So, I focused on what I could comprehend. At the time, magazines were flooded with advertisements like Yamaha’s series of “Worlds fastest..” with 105lb test rider Gleason smoke’n every FJ or Seca series through the traps at record levels. I learned all the quarter mile times like it was scripture. I was completely seduced by the heavy stock, high gloss imagery in the advertisements. The final nail in the proverbial coffin came when I saw the cover of a bike magazine. It was a picture of the new GPZ1100 and GS1100ES keeled WFO, side by side, in perfect harmony. The title read, “ When Too Much Is Just Enough”. I would have sold my soul for either bike! Maybe I did.

    My bike choices at first were made on the balance of money and attitude. As time progressed and my income increased, I learned that aptitude is much faster than attitude. I found that you could throw money at a bike all day but still go no faster. Recently, my cheapest endeavor has produced my greatest gain. I paid to have my suspension set up professionally.

    My purchases over the years are as follows: 84 Nighthawk S, 87 FZ600, 87 GSXR750, (married in 92 and temporarily bike-less for economic reasons), 80’s CB900F, 94 ZX-7, 86 VF1000R, 98 ZX-9, 00 R1, 02 R1, 04 Daytona 600, and now both the 03 FZ1 and 04 R1. Of all the bikes I have ridden, I am probably most impressed by the balance of power and handling in the Ducati 999. I suppose I could consider the 999R the ultimate bike. Although it is awe inspiring, I am less moved by the economics of ownership.

    I now believe the ultimate satisfaction in motorcycling is not one bike but the option to enjoy all others as I wish. I don’t cheat on my wife but I am passionate about variety. A new mistress in my two- wheel stable keeps me young at heart. I’m forever lusting. Whether it is an Italian V twin, or a 4 cylinder Japanese liter bike, or a British Speed triple, or the latest super sport 600, I lust for them all! Luckily I ride with about 15 other guys and they all have different tastes in their sport bikes. We will swap rides for a day and frequently get a couple of new bikes in the group every year. Getting old with my friends and carrying on the tradition of motorcycle swapping, that’s what I’ll settle for…

  • FJR1300, no question. I can ride the twistes just as fast as any sane sportbike. I can ride it 500 miles in a day no problem. I commute 110 miles a day on it. And I can run to the store with it.
    My R1, Speed Triple, and Hellcat are all collecting dust! PS- It also does the BEST wheelies!

  • Hi, First, thank you for creating a great motorcycle
    news site. Your site is my first destination in the
    morning.
    I am fifty years old, I’ve been riding since I was ten. I Started on a Bridgestone 90. I presently ride
    a 1997 Honda Blackbird (favorite) and a 2003 Honda ST 1300. A big V-strom is on my list for another bike. I just sold a klr 650, It didn’t have enough “juice” for commuting the freeways around here.

  • I began riding motorcycles in the mid-60’s with Honda 50’s and 90’s, eventually going to a CB350, but then dropping out of the sport from 1977-1997 due to military, family and then career obligations. I got back into riding in 1997 with a Suzuki VX800 standard (now naked) bike which I sold after accumulating 25,000 miles on it, and have owned many others trying to make up for lost time! I now have a 2001 Ducati ST2 with over 20,000 miles, a 1998 Triumph Thunderbird Sport with Speed Triple spec engine and my wife is now riding my 2000 Suzuki SV650.

  • My experience in riding motorcycles is thirty years. I am forty one years old. I started out on a gt80 yamaha. I still ride an have 2 dirt bikes, a Honda CRF 450R (05) and a Honda CRF 450R (02). Also I have a a sport bike.CBR929RR. I occasionally still take a ride thru the canyons. But a since I have to worry about my speed in the street , I prefer to mostly ride motorcross at the tracks. It keeps me in shape and I don’t have to worry about the speed.


    I enjoy your website. I think its very informative.

  • After about 30 years of multi-cylinder Hondas (CB 750, 1100F) I got a BMW R1100RS in 97; I’m now riding a 2002 R1150RS and don’t really expect to ever need to buy another motorcycle. I’m 51, btw.

  • Well after now 18 years of riding and here are the list:

    Yam XT600 Tenere ’83

    Yam XT600 Tenere ’84
    Honda NX650 ’89
    Honda Africa Twin 650 NXR650 ’88
    Honda VFR750 ’88
    Suzuki DR350 ’91
    Kawa KLX650 ’97
    Honda Transalp 600 ’88

    Suzuki DR650SE ’96
    Suzuki Bandit 600S ’98
    Honda ST1100 (3 of them) 1991-1993-1994 ABS
    Suzuki DRZ400E ’00
    Suzuki DRZ400S ’01
    Lambretta LD125 ’57
    Suzuki GT550 ’73
    Kawa KLR250
    Honda Helix CN250

    Honda VFR750 ’92


    I can say that I’ve tried a lot.. All Japanese I agree… where I am now…

    1 – I have the DRZ400S ’01. with 03 suspension and 2 set of wheels – 1 Off-Road and 1 Supermoto, I also have a rear rack for saddle bags. So pretty much this is the “fun” bike that I can setup to pretty much any type of riding.

    2 – A Honda ST1100 94 ABS for commuting 100 miles a day. Not the funiest bike around but gets the job done. If it was for fun I would probably end up with a KTM Adventure.

  • End? There is no end :)

    Right now I’m riding a Kawasaki Concours…

    Previously – in order of ownership:

    – Honda Hawk GT650
    – BMW R100GS (one of my faves)
    – KLR650
    – (hiatus from riding for a few years)
    – KLR650 (cheap way to get back into riding)
    – Kawasaki Concours

    If I could find a cherry R100GS for a good price I’d buy another but for now the Concours’ was cheap, reliable, has a great online community, etc. So far I’m enjoying it tremendously.

    I hope I never find the ultimate bike though – what fun would that be?
    What I DO need to do is talk my wife into letting me have more than one!!!

  • here is my contribution to your question on what the mature rider’s ultimate bike might be.

    The list of the bikes I have gone through the last 20 years is following:

    three early and mid eighties MZ 250 ETZ (1 cyl, 2 stroke), a mid eighties Laverda 500 (2 cyl, 4 stroke), 87 Honda CX650, 85 Yamaha FJ1100, 90 Honda VFR750F, 92 Yamaha FZR1000, 87 Honda Transalp 600 V2, 98 Honda VTR1000F, 2000 Yamaha R1, 2004 Yamaha R1. I have also frequently riden many other bikes.

    I do sport touring and find the Yamaha R1 an exciting companion on long trips. The last trip was a 2.5-day 2000-kilometer through Alberta and South East British Columbia. The R1 is not the most comfortable, practical or the smoothest one around for touring, but the extra rush it offers is something not to be missed. Besides the R1, any other of its competitors like ZX10, CBR1000RR (or CBR929RR, CBR954RR) or GSX-R1000 would make me very happy.

    I also would not complain about owning a Honda XR650R transformed into something like a supermoto.

    As a conclusion, my choice would be a top dog sports bike and top dog dirt bike with a bit of a street bias.

  • Can’t end up with just 1 do-all bike. For me there are 3 bikes and, unfortunately, I sold one & really miss it. For the street I love my ’99 ZRX1100. When I’m able to it is comfortable enough to make short trips on, it’s sporty enough for me – I’ll never ride it at it’s limit and it always puts a smile on my face. Without all the high tech gadetry of today’s sport bikes I can fiddle with the carbs, exhaust & have a good time tweeking this & that. The only other bikes out there that pique my interest are the Yamaha FJ1300 and the KTM Duke 990. I wouldn’t do the FJ justice with it’s touring abilities and the Duke is in the same class as my ZRex, abet much more hoolie!

    My other bike is a 2000 YZ426 which is perfect for me. While the new 450s have more power & definitely have better suspensions, my 426 will do everything I need it to do until I can’t ride it anymore. A WR426 would be handier for woods or trail riding but I ride MX (for fun) mostly.

    The bike I sold & wish I had back was my XL650 dual sport. Not great at anything, but reasonable at everything! Enjoyed the heck riding back roads, logging trails, urban commuting. I think that is where it excells over almost any other bike! You can see over cars, pot holes & curbs don’t matter, you have the acceleration to get out of the way & the brakes to avoid.

  • The question of “ultimate” motorcycle means finding the balance between utility, fun, maintenance and operation costs, and for a woman motorcyclist it includes “good fit.”

    I’m currently riding a BMW R1200C.

  • I ride a 2002 V-Strom 1000 for the street, I rode a 1989 Honda Transalp before that. I may go to DL 650 one day.

    2005 Yamaha WR 250F Off Road

    2003 Suzuki Dr 650 Dual Sport/ Wife’s streetbike

    Honda XR 100 Trainer/pitbike

    I am 42 and have been riding 30 years. I am an MSF instructor. I won the last two Hare scrambles in which I competed in the B class and over 40 class.

    Love your website.

  • Currently 51 years old, started riding in 1970 at the age of 16. Initially, with enduro bikes (’70 yamaha 100, then ’68 yamaha DT-1 250). As long range mobility became more important, progressed through a ’73 yamaha RD350, ’78 suzuki GS750, ’82 suzuki GS1100E, and ’86 honda VF500F, while having a pure dirtbike satisfied off road needs (’73 MX360 & ’80 YZ465G yamahas). After a 4 year break while moving around the country for business, picked up a ’99 yamaha R1. The power and dynamic cababilities of current big sportbikes are absolutely intoxicating. However, at some point as I become more “mature”, I expect to gravitate to something a little less ergonomically extreme. Intellectually, the new BMW 1200 sport standard appeals, but I’ll likely end up with some japanese equivalent based on value for the dollar.

  • I have been riding since I was eighteen. I am now fifty-five. I have gone through every type of motorcycle. I now have a 2001 Suzuki Bandit B6S and a
    2003 Suzuki Burgman 650. Although I enjoy both bikes, I ride the Burgman more. If I only had one, it would be the Burgman. It does everything for me.

  • After numerous Honda Gold Wings, one VFR, one V65 Magna, dirt bikes and ATV’s, I ended up on one fine 2005 BMW K12 LT.

    I may, in the future, compliment it with a BMW R1200GS. For the “dirt bike rider” in me. ;-)

  • An interesting question, but I have to question the supposition that mature riders will arrive at the ultimate machine–meaning a single bike. While some riders may experience many different types of bikes, through ownership, rental or otherwise, and always be looking to find the single bike they best enjoy riding, others who are blessed with the means can enjoy a variety of bikes at one time. This, to me, is bliss.
    At present, I own a 2003 Aprilia Tuono, a 2004 Yamaha FJR 1300 and a
    2005 Kawasaki KLR 650–I love each of them and can’t imagine doing without any of them. Among them, I have just about any riding
    circumstance that I may encounter in Arizona covered. I have also
    owned a 1996 Harley Superglide and a 1999 Buell Cyclone–the less said about them, the better…..

  • I don’t know about ultimate, but the last bike I chose and ride today is the FSC600 Honda scooter ( Silver Wing).

    I started riding motocross back in ’72 when the first Honda Elsinore 250 arrived in my area. I started on a Honda 305 Scrambler and have many off road bikes since. I have had a 175 scrambler, 2 250 Honda 4-stroke singles, an Indian 50 2-stroke road bike ( laugh), a CX-500 Honda road bike and a few others to boot.

    I ended up with the scooter for practical reasons, gas mileage, comfort ( for one or two people), storage, maintenance, price (and it’s fun).I take medium length trips ( up to 500 miles a day) and ride to work everyday, rain,shine, or weather. Had the scooter 2 years, with 31000, miles so far and it’s going strong.

    Love your Mag…it’s simply the best, read it every morning.

  • would hate to say that I have matured enough to find the ‘ultimate’ bike.

    I find that I’m fickle, and immature, and tend to want the new stuff, even though over time I have ‘sometimes’ realized that the motorcycle has less to do with my happiness than the motorcycling itself.

    I usually have a grand time on whatever motorcycle I’m on.
    I’ve ridden a 650 Hawk, BMW1150R, A Buell XB9S, a 900SS Ducati and 860 GT, Triumph Speed Triple, ’86 GSXR750, Yamaha RZ350, Honda CB350F, and a Kawasaki KDX200, and now a KTM520 and an MV Brutale. I raced the 900SS and Triumph.

    I have had some bikes I have not gotten along with, including the Buell, but that may be through lack of expertise in setting up the suspension, more than a inherent flaw.

    The one thing I have noticed is that my willingness to crouch and crane my neck on the street has diminished.
    I’ve ridden a ZX10, an MV F4, a Ducati 916 and an Aprilia Mille; they just do not work for me on the street.

    Other than that, I’m open to anything with nice build quality, a glorious sound, the ability to make me feel as though I’m flying.

    I figure that a motorcycle is like life; enjoy it every day, and do that by magnifying the good, instead of the bad.
    Give me any amount of money, and I will always find more life in a motorcycle in that price point than in a car of the same value.

    I might even try a cruiser one day!

  • For me, a bike has to combine functionality and fun within a budget I can justify (more or less) to the rest of my family. I live in London and commute all year round (except when I cycle). I also find excuses for solo blasts out of town whenever I can, often a 320 mile cross-country round trip to visit my parents. If my joints were in better shape and budget was no issue I’d probably be riding an R1, but after some research I’ve settled on the Yamaha FZS1000 (FZ1 to you) as the best combination of comfort and performance both in and out of town that I can afford. I’ve been riding for 22 years, and have owned several classic British bikes as well as an XS750 triple, FZS600 and now the FZS1000, which I plan to keep for at least 5 or 6 years.

  • First of all, I lied. This isn’t where I ended up, because I’m not dead. It’s where I currently am at age 40, after having ridden for 26 years, and having built a career, family, and two houses.

    I’ve had:

    1976 Yamaha DT 125
    1973 Suzuki RL 250
    1984 Suzuki GS750E
    1982 Honda CR250 with a Mugan big bore kit
    1984 Honda VF1000R
    1991 Suzuki DR650
    1993 Harley Davidson FXLR

    I now have:

    2000 Suzuki DRZ400E

    1994 Honda CB1000

    I will have before I die:

    more dirt bikes

    another big cc dual sport

    Ducati Monster
    Harley with a stereo

    ?
    ?
    ?
    Too many motorcycles, too little time.

  • I ended up where I started –on a 1974 BMW R90! Although my “new” R90 is an “S” rather than the “/6″ I owned when I was 19. In the 20 years in between the R90/6 and R90S, I owned several other Beemers, a Suzuki GT750 “Water Buffalo”, a GT650 Hawk, and an SV650. Next bike? A Honda V5 if they ever make it.

    You have the best bike website on the net. Keep up the good work.

  • Right where I started!
    I’m not a metaphysical kinda guy, but it appears I’ve come full circle. I started riding motorcycles around puberty so motorcycling has always been apart of my personality as an adult, even during periods of time without a bike. I started out on dirt bikes of the mid/late seventies, simple clean, no frills designs.
    When I could ride on the street I was working at a bike shop in San Diego, and got a deal on a Honda CB 125S with a cable actuated front disk brake ( virtually useless, but looked good.). I then went through several Kawasaki UJM/ muscle bikes of the era, was spoiled rotten by a Suzuki Gs 850G with a Pacifico fairing, large flat comfy seat, and shaft drive. For a bit of time I had a Suzuki Katana to satisfy my sporting ambitions, with matching 1 piece leathers, of course!.
    After 8 years without a car, riding bikes every day I got off of 2 wheels for a while. During my self imposed exile I found that I could only go so long without a bike before I went crazy!
    So when the time came to look for a new bike, I agonized for months over what bike I would want to spend so much money on. There are no cheap bikes any more, it’s a real shame that kids don’t have bikes to start out on any more.
    But anyway, I Picked up a ‘2000 Moto Guzzi Jackal. It was reasonably priced, and had the characteristics that I wanted in a bike. No plastic bodywork to repair, enough power to keep me entertained, good handling for it’s size. easy to maintain, reliable so far, with good range, over 200 miles on a tankfull, not to heavy, but not to light either .
    Bottom line It’s a no frills, simple, clean design, just like the bikes I started out on!

  • I started out on Street bikes when I was 16 my first being a 81 Kawaski 440LTD that I bought from a friend for $500 a great bike to learn on, my father hated the day I brought that bike home!! Then a 85 Suzuki GS550ES my first real sport bike. Then I moved on to a 92 VFR 750 and then a 98 Honda VFR 800. Both great bikes for sport riding, track days and touring. I have son who is now six and so a year ago I made a very painfull decision and sold the VFR and bought a Honda CRF 450 and an XR 50 for my son. I spent a year getting thrown around and off learning to dirt ride, what a blast but my friends say I did it all backwards that I should have started on the dirt and then moved to street. I’m now teaching my son to ride which is teaching me what the word patience really means. He is doing great and we have started to ride fire roads together. Having my VFR gone for while has brought back those yearnings again for a street bike, but what bike? I rode a friends 04 CBR 1000RR the other day…what a bike but I would not want to ride over a 100 miles on one!! I guess I’ll just wait for that V-5 1000cc VFR I keep hearing rumors about…..come on Honda DADDY needs a new ride that’s fast, fun and comfortable!!

  • started riding at 13 years of age, riding a 160 Honda, racing 100 Hodakas, getting my first legal street bike at 16 years old a 100 Honda. I went through Honda’s, Kawasaki’s, back to Honda, then at 45 years of age got my first Harley, a 1200 Sportster Custom, brand new 2001. Two years later I got married and sold the HD, bought a brand new ’04 BMW R1200CLC. Over the first year I put over 20K miles on it with my wife enjoying the big comfy back seat.
    This is my bike to keep now. It handles so nice on the highway, great gas mileage, very cool/sexy style, and perfect for the two of us to cruise all over the country.

  • I am 38 years old, been riding since 7 years old. I have raced MX (from minis up to regional Pro), raced Hare Scrambles and the occcaisional Enduro (A class), competed in Observed Trials(novice) and I have held a novice road racing license on two seperate occaisions in my life. I have ridden and owned street bikes of all kinds since I was 14 years old. My latest bike and the one I have absolutely fallen head over heals in love with? My 2002 SV650 Naked model. I bought it new in ’02 with an eye towards building a club roadracer.
    I have put a few $ into it and after the changes it is by far the sweetest thing I have ever ridden. It is convertable from roadracer to street bike (or vice
    versa) in about 30 min. It is equally sweet on the road or the track. For the money it has been the best bang for the buck in my life.
    Some of the Modifications: Ohlins rear shock; Racetech cartridge emulators and very trick Showa fork internals from a friend in Japan; wood craft clip-ons; TCM rear-sets; Yoshimura full RS-3 w/carbon can; etc.
    etc. etc…

  • I began riding in the 60’s on a Suzuki Trail 90, a Honda CB125, and a Triumph 200 Tiger. In 1977 I got my first “real” bike, a Honda CB400F pocket rocket and rode it for 10 years. After a 10 year hiatus from riding, I got a 1997 Suzuki Savage 650. It was fun having all of that torque, but at only 350 lbs. it was frightening to drive on the freeway.

    In 2003, I got a Honda Silverwing, the Big Scooter. It handles passing trucks on the freeway with aplomb and will out accelerate most cagers. It has a big comfy seat with enough room under it for a couple of grocery bags. Given that I’m no spring chicken any more, and it’s a Honda, this could well be my last two-wheeler. Mind you, I’m hardly complaining.

  • On a BMW R1200C Montana. Perhaps not the most powerful cruiser around, but certainly the most unique. It’s well-make, reliable, comfortable, plenty fast, and always turns heads.

  • There is no end. There is only riding more and more bikes. Small ones, big ones, tall ones, short ones, 49cc –> 2300cc, they’re all fun.

  • I’ve been riding for 35 years. I like all types of motorcycling, but dual sporting is my favorite.

    I had a Harley, but I don’t really feel I fit the “lifestyle” of cruiserdome.


    No real place to ride a sport bike.

    My favorite bike is my KTM 950 Adventure S.

  • If there was an ultimate motorcycle we wouldn’t be reading the next issue or visiting the motorcycle shows; we wouldn’t be interested in looking at what’s coming in 20XX. As a mature rider I have found contentment in riding my 1993 Yamaha GTS 1000, with its funny front end and hefty weight. It gets me from point A to point B in style and comfort, just staying slightly ahead of the traffic but like many others motorcyclist on the road I keep looking at next year’s offerings and wondering if that FJR1300, ST1300, K1200R, or naked Busa might offer just a bit more (style, comfort, fun) than ol’ Betsy.

  • After 40 years of riding many makes and types of bikes, I currently own a 1999 Harley Road Glide and a 2005 Triumph Bonneville Black.

  • I believe I fit into your “Mature” audience. My street biking started on a 1989 FZR 600 in 1989 and have owned and ridden many other sport bikes. I currently own a 2002 FZ1 that I had purchased brand new in September of 2002. I have since installed a jet kit, full exhaust and other small things on my FZ1, and I have to say it is THE BEST all around motorcycle ever. Not just because I own one, but I have ridden a lot of other bikes and this one just does it all. I am also an MSF rider coach, and performing the exercises for my students on my bike is very easy and comfortable while doing it.

    If you have yet to ride a Yamaha FZ1, you should if you have the opportunity. They are that good. I am only 34, so I don’t believe I am done buying bikes yet. The new KTM RC8 sport bike that is “supposed” to be out for 2007 looks like my next bike, if they actually make it that is. But the FZ1 will stay with me.

  • smaller and lighter. started with ’95 CB750. then ’96 Triumph Trident 885, then Suzuki GS500e (street and race), then Kawsaki ZR7s, then Yamaha WR400 dual-sport & super-motard, then SV650N. I have the last two and it should remain that way for quite some time. The only serious tempation is the Aprilia RS450 (the full-on sportbike with the new 450
    twin) a couple years after it shows up. A lesser temptation would be a 650cc Triple from Triumph. I despise cruisers, and 90+HP sportbikes make absolutely no sense. Bikes are supposed to be daily transporation.

  • There is no ultimate bike. Sure you can ride some of these all purpose bikes in multiple diciplines, but when it all hashes out they do a poor job compared to the real deal. KTM Adventure, BMW 1200GS or Suzuki V-Strom that was some of your examples. Supposedly these can be taken off road, but compared to a dirt bike or dirt oriented dual sport they are crap. You can attempt to sport ride these bikes as well. They probably do this better than dirt, but compared to the real deal fall far short. Granted they could do much better without the multipurpoe tires but if you change to sticky street tires then it wont work at all in the dirt. The best bet is to buy multiple bikes and use the one that best matches the riding youre doing that day.

  • I started out in 1968 on a red Honda 50cc Mini Trail at the age of 13. After that I rode a few different dual purpose/dirt machines until I got my first street bike in 1973. This was a Honda 350-4. Next was a Yamaha XT250 in 1981. Had that one for a couple of years, then bought
    a left-over 1982 Yamaha Seca 400 in 1986. Had that for 2 weeks until it got stolen sometime during the summer. Later on that year I bought a used 1985 Honda 650 Nighthawk in October of ’86 which I rode until May of 1990. In March 1991 I purchased an H-D Sportster and kept it
    until February 1997. Next up was a 1997 Buell S3T which I enjoyed until March 2004 when I traded it in for a BMW R1150R. The BMW is a great motorcycle, but it’s not my ultimate
    machine. My ultimate machine would be a Moto Guzzi ST motorcycle with the MGS engine.

  • 2003 Kawasaki ZX12R.. Started out on Cushman Eagle, Honda Super 90, GS650G, GS1000L, ZRX1100 and now ride the 12R and I love it! I’m hanging out with a bunch of sportbike riders here in OKC and learning more everytime we ride.. My next choice of bike will be a ZX10R if I ever get tired of my 12..

  • 20 years ago I was really into sport bikes…I had a Honda 500 Interceptor and a 900 Ninja. I sold those years ago, then in 2002 got a Honda VFR800 Interceptor. Beautiful bike, but I also decided to get a Suzuki Bandit 1200 and enjoyed that a LOT more. It just seemed more “genuine”. My next bike will definitely be a similar naked bike…maybe Kawasaki will come out with an ER-10?

    BTW I also used to like mountain bicycles and road racing bicycles, now I ride a touring bike.

    I’m not sure what this all means, but I think as I get older, I am more melancholy and perhaps the bikes reflect that.

  • I”ve had 47 motorcycles over the past 51 years, and the current one is always my favorite. Brands you’ve never heard of were purchased at year’s end or the following year to get the best deal possible — that’s been a continuing thread being a cheapskate sometimes.

    Right now I have the most powerful bike I’ve owned, a 2003 Suzuki Bandit 1200 – the naked version. While I tour extensively and have fitted her with GIVI luggage a windshield and a Suzuki Gel Seat for comfort, I still love the sensation I get when I pass someone quickly. I’ve had the front end airborne a couple of times and quickly set it back down lest I get hurt. Still, I love the acceleration and ability to pass with ease. While I don’t have the eyesight or reaction time to ride really fast the Bandit cruises at 100 MPH easily for a short distance and at 5800 RPM is just over half way to red line!

    Ray, and not getting too old at 66 to enjoy a spirited ride.

  • I have been riding for 30 years, am 40 years old and have owned 45 bikes so far, I cannot get into the new lie down style rockets, for years I wanted to get another street bike, but nothing even appealed to me, finally at a bike show, I sat on every street bike that looked even close to decent. Soon as I sat on the VStrom, I knew I finally found a bike I could live with, I felt immediately comfortable, so my ultimate street bike is my 650 VStrom it has all day comfort, agile etc etc most of all it is FUN…

    My ultimate off road race bike is my well set up Suzuki RM250 ( I am usually a Honda guy, now I have 2 Suzuki’s) it is low maintenance, and has amazing performance.


    What I really want to buy, but no one builds yet….

    A fast, light, low maintenance, reliable, E start, Quiet, dirt bike that is at least 300cc so it willl produce about 40 to 45 HP and have some decent low end torque, sort of a cross between a XR400 and a CRF250X. (it has to weigh 245 lbs or less) The 1st company to build this bike will own the marketplace, all my friends will buy this bike. The current offerings are too small , too high maintenance and too revvy (the 250’s) or, too big heavy and cumbersome (the 450’s) for tight woods racing and serious playriding.

  • At 53, with 30+ years of riding under my belt, I think I fit your description of “mature” rider. My current primary ride is a Suzuki DL1000 V-Strom that I bought new in 2002. So far this bike, or better yet, this type of bike most meets my desired riding style. It provides a good road riding experience and has the ability to do some light off-road use.

    Like many older riders, I come from a background of learning to ride on a small dual purpose motorcycle. In my case it was a 1972 Honda XL250 Enduro. This bike led me to own more dirt worthy dirt bikes like Husqvarnas and Honda XRs.

    Later on, I added street bikes to my stable so I had the best of both worlds. The street bikes were basically the UJM formula, in-line 4s, that were popular in the late 1970s and even now. In 1991, I sold the last dirt-only bike and traded the UJM for a Honda Transalp. The Transalp was my #1 all time favorite ride as it gave me a fairly decent road bike manners coupled to a dirt roads explorer all in one unit. As the Transalp aged and my taste for a little more HP increased, I kept hoping Honda would make a bigger Transalp for the US as they were offering in Europe. Honda chose not to go this way for the US market and kept riders like me waiting on the sidelines for something new.

    I did have a short ownership experience with a Yamaha YZF600R before the V-Strom but found it was not to my long term liking. Fun at first but not comfortable for longer rides. And not much good on dirt roads.!!

    With the introduction of the V-Strom in 2002, Suzuki provided what I was looking for from Honda or any other Japanese manufacturer. A bigger version of a mostly roads /light trail use motorcycle. So far, I have put more miles per year on the V-Strom than any other street motorcycle I have ever owned. If something happened to my Strom, I’d be back in line for another. For me its a perfect fit.

  • I am 51 years old and have been riding/racing since age 15. I’ve competed in Moto-X, ridden Trials bikes and enduros. For street use, I have owned everything from a 6-cylinder Goldwing to a Dyna Low Rider. I have always loved sportbikes though, from my first Yamaha RD 400 back in the 1970’s all the way through to my Gixer 1100, VTR 996, VFR 800 and RC51. In 2001, I thought I’d found the ultimate do-it-all bike when I bought a blue SV 650 naked (the bike, not me). I even sold the RC 51 a few months later. This bike has taken me on several long trips from Florida to the mountains of Georgia and the Carolinas including one 2,800 mile loop through the Virginias, Kentucky, Tenn. and Alabama. Recently, I started looking at Sport Touring bikes thinking I could still have some fun on weekends and also be able to bring the wife along on some overnighters. After sitting on several, I realized these bikes were too big for serious back road playing. Next, I looked at the big trailies and test rode the new BMW GS 1200 with and without the wife on back and was very impressed. Here was a bike that did everything well (though at a price)! I decided it would be my next bike anyway. By chance, I stopped by the local Suzuki Dealership in June and stumbled across a brand new rare leftover blue 2003 SV 1000 naked for $5,900! That’s only $100 more than I paid for the SV 650 four years ago! THIS is the bike I’ve been searching for all along, plus it was affordable. Not only will it smoke the GS, it combines all the best features of the VTR and the RC and then adds comfort and decent fuel economy! I love a simple bike that doesn’t draw attention trying to be a Harley clone or race replica, is capable of doing whatever type riding I’m in the mood for (including track days) and doesn’t demand that I always go fast to have fun! The best part of this story is that the wife loves following along on the little matching color SV 650! Not sure what I’ll be riding when I get older (probably a couple Dualsports), but for the foreseeable future, these two are definitely keepers for real world fun on the street regardless of how much more money one can afford to spend!

  • Having grown up on motorcycles and currently with 19 years of licensed road experience (plus another 8 years pre-license). After many years on sport bikes (ZX-7 and TL1000R) I made the move to a big cruiser (VTX1800). It was a bad move for me as I really enjoy sport riding. A KTM Duke II soon was added along side the VTX, but the VTX only made it a season before being sold off and replaced with a naked Suzuki SV1000 customized to my liking. The Duke then became expendable so it was sold or my latest addition, a ’05 Suzuki V-Strom 1000. The bike that will fulfill a long time dream of an adventure ride to Alaska. So at this point I have ended up with what I currently consider my perfect pair of motorcycles; my SV1000 as my comfortable canyon carver and my DL1000 as my cushy two-up bike for exploring those desolate dirt roads and the bike that will take me to Alaska next summer. Who knows what will follow.

  • I have been riding since I was 13 yoa, 51 now, After many different bikes over the years, bouncing between street, dirt, dual sport, traileys etc, I have found the only bike I want to keep (at least for 5 years now!) which is the bike I currently own. I have a 1999 Honda CBR1100XX Super Blackbird. This is the ultimate sport tourer, as well as fun in the technical stuff (albeit a bit truckish, but fun still. I have put many 700 plus mile days in and felt ready to keep going the nexxt day. The only thing I regret is that I haven’t put more miles on the bike, but my job turns to 6 days a week during the “riding season” in Northern Michigan (I work at a Marina/ Repair Facility) and I have a hard time getting away from the office. All in all, this is the bike for me – fast, it handles, comfortable as a mile-eater etc. Take Care and ride safe

  • As a 40 year old with 22 years of riding experience I suffer from MBS (Multiple Bike Syndrome). As a result, I am probably not qualified to respond to your question regarding the ultimate bike. In my garage for the past few years has resided a fully restored 1973 Moto Guzzi Eldorado… my non-Harley cruiser. The Eldo joined a 1997 Suzuki TL1000S that was purchased new back in 1997. The TL continues to evolve – morphing into various iterations. Rather than move on to a newer sport bike (or sport tourer) I removed the clip-ons, sold off the fairing and mounted up some bars with a superbike bend, fly screen and single SV headlight. A Penske rear shock was added about this same time to help address the awful lump that Suzuki sold as a rear shock. Since then I changed to alloy drag bars and am returning to a frame mounted fairing (’88 GSXR fairing – I missed the protection and stability compared to a fly screen to no screen at all). Hopefully a little trail bike (KDX200) will be added to the garage soon. The plan there will be to hit the trails with my son (TT90) who is getting old enough to go ride.

    While bikes like the new Triumph Sprint, Suzuki V-Strom and various Moto Guzzi’s appeal to my desire to pile miles on sport touring, time and family commitments do not currently provide the time to make that investment worthwhile at this point in my life. Short cruises on the MG and the occasional blast on the TL (combined with the pleasure of modding the TL) meet my needs very well. In summary, no single bike could really meet my needs at this point in life. Maybe later…but I doubt it.

    BTW, the Guzzi turns in very nicely for a cruiser and has good clearance. I can shame most modern cruisers in the twisties despite scary drum brakes and only 850 cc. Kinda makes you wonder about “progress”… although I do have a new wiring harness on it. J

  • I AM AN ARTHRITIC 81 YEAR OLD MALE.

    I have had 32 motorcycles and 30 motorscooters. My first scooter was in 1942. My first motorcycle was a Harley in 1946.

    I had a 1995 1520 cc Gold Wing which got too big for me. I down sized to a 800cc Pacific Coast in 1996. In 1997 I down sized again. Between then and now I have had 9 scooters. Sizes from 49cc to 582cc. My favorite one was the 2003 Suzuki Burgman AN400. However, I sold it because the rear seat was too high for my wife to climb on and off of it. She still likes to ride at 80 years old.

    I like the wild look of the Honda Big Ruckus. Honda made many claims for the Big Ruckus saying it was similar to their Reflex model. I bought it in January of 2005 because it fits me nicely and my wife can climb aboard. However, the Big Ruckus does not live up to Honda’s claim. It does not have the performance claimed. Also, the rear suspension is not adjustable as Honda claims. It is a good town scooter but not so good in the mountains.

  • Still Undecided!

    However, I started with an 82 Virago and then moved onto an 84 Interceptor (restoration project). Next was a 2000 Katana and then a CBR954. Right now I have an 01 VFR and put more miles on it then any other bike I’ve owned. I still feel the need to have a Busa though!!! Ultimately I expect to keep my current VFR (or a newer, larger displacement version – one can hope right?) because it really is a great all round street bike and has me grinning in the twisties and totally comfortable on coast to coast rides!

  • 2005 Gold Wing.

  • I’ve been riding some sort of motorized two wheelers for 45 years. I haven’t settled on one “Ultimate Bike” but two. A BMW K1200RS an a BMW F650 GS Dakar which I just purchased earlier this week. So far they seem like the best of both worlds.

  • Right now my ultimate bike is a 2003 SV 650. This bike fits my price range and it has unlimited hop-up-ability. I’ve set mine set up with a GSXR 1000 shock, Gold Valve forks, Givi Universal windscreen and soft saddlebags.

  • I started in the mid-sixties with what I could afford in the San Francisco bay area. Rode a lot of Japanese bikes in the seventies. The eighties saw my Harley period and the nineties was my Gold Wing period. By 2001, I wanted a two cylinder bike with good handling, luggage, long range and a low maintenance final drive. So I bought a BMW R1100RT and I’m happy with it.

  • Well, hopefully there is still more to come, but I can say, with certainty, that the Ducati Multistrada is the ultimate bike for me. I just returnrd from a 1900 mi trip to Oregon with a group of friends (3 Ducatis, 1 BMW and
    1 Triumph). On one of the days we covered 650 miles. Lots of fast 2-lane roads plus some freeway droning. I’ve had the Multistrada for two years, and can honestly say this is the best (most fun) street bike I have ever owned. I commute on it every day (part freeway, part 2-lane mountain roads) and feel the bike was designed with me in mind. I can’t say enough good things about it.

    I’m a 57 year old mechanical engineer who has been riding since I was a teenager. My other current bikes are a 1998 K1200RS BMW and a 2000 Honda XR650R which I dual-sport kitted. I have owned numerous bikes over the years including: Kawasaki H1 (500cc), Triumph Bonneville, Ducati 860, Honda 750, Honda 550 (both 70’s vintage), BMW R90/6, BMW R100/7, BMWR100S (1977), Kawasaki 350 “Bighorn”, Yamaha IT250. I toured extensively on the BMW’s, and have taken one long trip on a Goldwing 1800. I rented a Harley once on vacation. Once was enough – too many things scraped.

    This brings me back to the Multistrada. Every time I ride it I end up with a smile on my face, and remember why I fell in love with motorcycles in the first place. It’s all about balance!

    p.s. Thanks for the great on-line magazine!

  • 34 yrs of riding, street, roadracing, dirt.
    Owned 37 bikes (Italian and Japanese)
    Approx 9,000 miles per yr.

    Currently
    2004 Yam YZF-R1
    2004 Yam FJR 1300

    and others.

    For days over 150 miles, ride FJR.
    For days under 150 miles, ride R-1

  • As a 53 year old male with 35+ years riding experience, I have ended up with 6 bikes. R1100RS, 929, RC51, DRZ-S, street legal XR400, SV650. Sport touring, track days, dual sport trips, all require having more than one bike.

  • Well, first of all, I don’t know if I’ve “ended up” but I’ve been riding bikes since I was 14 and now having reached 39, having a family and a job that consumes many hours, I think I’m eligible to be considered mature? Me, mature? God forbid. Anyhow, I’ve changed a few bikes and ridden a lot more from friends, cruisers, dual purpose, naked, sport – touring, supersports, you name it. At this time, for me, it all comes down to the fun factor and thrill the bike can offer. I must of course confess that I live in Thessaloniki, Greece, 70 km from Serres race circuit and go there very often for track days, so the “ultimate” bike for me is a supersport and more specifically the Yamaha R1 2004.
    I would like one last remark, to me, in a good sense of course, the only thing “Mature” and “Motorcyclist” have in common is that they both start with the letter “M”.
    “Never to old to rock ‘n’ roll, always to young to die” Jethro Tull.
    Great site Guys, keep up the good work

  • 50 yrs old, have been riding for 32 years, started on a ’72 Honda 350 and at age 18. I’ve really only owned street bikes (12 so far) but have always taken them off road on gravel / dirt roads to find out of the way camping spots. My last few bikes have been sport touring bikes (FJ1100, Concours, ZX11, Daytona 1200) but I’ve had a 900 Ninja too.
    I’d have to say that I’ve ended up as a sport tourer with my heavily modified ’96 Triumph Daytona 1200.
    The engine is pretty much stock but I’ve made a multitude of changes to the ergonomics to make it more comfortable for sport touring. I’ve put 52,000 miles on it so far.

  • I’m 43 years old with perhaps 250,000 motorcycle miles. Don’t think I have found my perfect bike yet. My main focus is commuting. About 75 miles round trip daily. Current ride is an 1999 SV650 naked with about 45k miles on the clock. Trouble is I keep improving the SV, so very few bikes compare favorably. I have done the routine mods like rejet the carbs and upgrade the forks and the shock (Racetech/GSXR).
    Additionally, my bike has heated grips with hand guards, a functional wind screen, a custom seat, and Hepco Becker hardcase luggage. The bike has loads of character, handles like a dream, and pulls extremely hard for what it is. In fact, my buddy who has a 2002 Sprint ST with factory bags is absolutely flabbergasted when the SV essentially pulls dead even with his bike up to 100 mph or so. I have test ridden many bikes lately in the quest for the perfect replacement for my trusty steed. I actually pulled the trigger last year and acquired a used 2001 Aprilia Futura complete with Staintune mufflers. Put about 4000 miles on that tasty piece of machinery before selling it. Fantastic comfort, no equal in terms of wind protection and engine heat management. Just could not click with the bike in the twisties. Had all kinds of high speed stability like a sport bike, but did not steer like one. The SV was just more fun to ride. Other test rides include: Ducati Multistrada S (excellent power and handling, more vibey than the SV, desmo maintenance issues). BWM R1150RS, R1200GS, R1200ST, R1200RT (all very competent motorcycles, something lacking in the engine department… boxer engine is not as pleasing to rev as others). Triumph Tiger (very at home on this one, nice handling, engine eager to rev, very comfy, great sound).
    Suzuki 1000 V-Strom (excellent ergos, very balanced, great power– although the one I rode had F/I issues, very poor wind management).
    Triumph 2005 Sprint ST (probably the top of the list right now, excellent engine, great suspension, ergos okay with bar risers, jury is still out on the pillion heat from the underseat muffler though). The one remaining unknown is the Yamaha FJR 1300 (might be the perfect companion bike to the SV, excellent comfort and performance for the daily commute, handles a pillion with aplomb, low maintenance). But for now, I must say every time I ride the SV, I get an absolute kick out of it and always look forward to the next day’s ride. It is not really showing any signs of wear. Probably still be going strong another six years from now. I guess it really does not get much better than that.

  • From an oldie,(48), riding dirt and street since 10 I have an XR650R honda that I made street legal with a Baja Designs kit. The bike is fun, stone reliable, and a blast to do firelanes ,back roads, or a quick wheelie dowm Main Street.

  • I’ve been riding for 35 years. I have 3 bikes. A Yamaha SRX 600 which will be replaced in 18 months time – the likely replacement a Suzuki SV or DL 650 depending on finances. I also have a Yamaha WR 450 not likely to be replaced for a while. My previous road bike was a Yamaha TRX 850 sportbike which I probably would have kept for quite a few more years unfortunately it was written off in a crash. It was replaced by a Yamaha XJR 1300 which was far more suitable for the road riding I do now. If it is ever replaced it would likely be with a Yamaha MT-01.
    I test rode a Harley Street Rod and realised how much I missed the character of a big twin.

  • 2002 Roadstar.

  • As a young fella I was a hard core sport rider and part-time roadracer. Between the ages of 16 and 23 I had owned an even dozen different sport bikes spanning the rev range from a 1976 CB400F Honda through a 1986 GSXR1100 finally selling the last one (a collectible 1979 GS1000S Suzuki Wes Cooley Replica) to get married and have kids.

    When I turned 37 some six years ago I became smitten by a blue and creme 1999 Yamaha 1600 Roadstar, special ordered a Roadhouse antique looking exhaust and rode it maybe a dozen times total over a four year stretch. I guess I needed something to help me feel “cool” again and a sports bike would have been wasted on an “old guy”.

    Last year I traded the Roadstar for a 2004 R1 Yamaha and had the dealer install a pair of factory GYT-R exhausts. I could not resist the fact that any rider could go buy an AMA Superbike-level of performance right off the showroom floor for half the cost of a new car. I cherish every moment I can spare to enjoy such an unbelievable priviledge and though my business and family take up 98% of my time, the 2% I spend shredding the back tire, wheelying up and down canyon hills and trying to get the speedo above 300 kph (192 mph) on my favorite long empty road is the 2% I need to feel alive, free and “cool” again.

  • I’ve been riding off and on since 1979. First bike was a Kawasaki KZ-550. Bought while in the Army stationed in Wiesbaden Germany. Later in ’86 I upgraded to the GPz-550, rode across the US on that one. Next, the Concours in ’87, wound up with no time to tour so went the ZL-600 Eliminator direction, that was a blast! ’96 I bought a 600 Bandit, then the ’01 1200 naked Bandit. That was my favorite until it was totalled this June 11th, “another motorcyclist failed to negotiate a left turn and, well, anyway I escaped uninjured! I replaced the Bandit with an
    ’03 naked SV-1000. For light touring and commuting duty its perfect for me. I have three kids at home so long distance rides are out of the question for now. I do enjoy the occasional journey to the twities, Mingus Mountain, Yarnell Hill, and Bartlett Lake road. The SV to me is the perfect ride. The review you folks did on the big SV helped me decide, I love it.

  • I’m 56 and still ride every chance I get. I started riding when I was 16 and have done so ever since. My bikes started small (Honda 50) to a bit large and heavy (1973 FLH). I presently have several bikes in my garage, an FZ1, RZ350, 1979 BMW RT, 1974 Commando and the 1973 FLH). What I tend ride most often is either the FZ1 or RZ350, seems I like fast and nimble. The next bike will be another sport bike, probably a Ducati 999 or one of the Japanese rocket bikes.

  • Been riding 50+ years, bought a new Kawasaki Concours in 1987. Ridden them all,
    haven’t found anything to get me off the Concours. Friend of mine just bought a new
    Harley, wouldn’t trade him the air out of my tires for the “Hardley”. to quote
    Yogi Bera, “you don’t hit with your face”. Image isn’t everything. Not sure which you
    buy first, the “Hardley” or the trailer/pickup to haul it on. I presently have an
    fzr 1000 and a new kdx 220 thatI still play in the dirt with.

  • My ultimate bike is a KLR650. Something that will do it all and travel around the world if necessary. I am currently saving up for one now.

  • My choice does not exist as of yet. But it would look like an SV650S with just a smigden more power – not different – just more of the same.

  • Started when I was 18 with an ’81 (?) used Honda CB750 Custom.

    ? Then a new ’83 Suzuki 550 E. Great bike with a 16″ front wheel and bikini fairing, very sharp handling and comfortable.

    ? Next up an ’80 Honda 750 F that I bought for $700 back in ’86. One of my favorites because of the price-per-fun-factor ratio.

    ? Then a brand new Honda XR600. Too big. Sold it for a used XR250 and had a lot more fun in the dirt.

    ? New ’98 VFR800. What a fantastic all-around bike. The analogy I used then was it was like riding a 20ft-long 2×4: lightweight yet stable.

    ? Last new and current ride: ’02 CBR 954. This is like riding a 20ft-long piece of carbon fiber tubing. I’m very satisfied with this bike: comfortable, incredible handling (enough for me, I’ll never be as good as the bike and that is what I want) and looks great in silver/black. I am never disappointed when I hop on the 954 for a ride. It never leaves me wanting for more.

    At 42, I’m torn between getting something else, but there’s always a trade-off when I compare a new bike to the CBR: I don’t want to give up the handling/weight for a cruiser; or the styling for a naked bike (judgement postponed until I see the new FZR); and prices or going up.

    So I’m perfectly happy with “winding up” with the CBR, even if I never get another bike.

  • What a GREAT question!!
    I am responding, but, I’m not sure I have ended, so, my response may not count. I have 40 years riding experience, and, #43, #44, and #45 of the bikes I have owned are in the garage.
    They are 05 custom Warrior, 05 SV650, and 05 Concours (I’m still an addict). I have tried to end up. I had thought that the KLR650 which I sold this year would be my ending bike. I just can’t seem to end.
    I’ll be anxious to see the results of your question.
    still riding 20,000 miles a year

  • I have had nearly 50 different motorcycles since I began riding at age 9. I raced motocross/desert for nearly 30 years and have owned and ridden sport bikes since 1990. My favorite bike is my Honda RC51. I currently own, in addition to my RC51, a 2004 CBR1000RR, a 2003 400EX quad, a 2005 TRX450 quad, 1 XR50, 1CRF50, a 1972 Honda SL125, and a 1979 Honda CR125. The last two are projects that between work and kids I am trying to restore. The RC51 is the favorite of all time!

  • I have raced flat track, hill climbs, Motox, road racing, supermoto, trials, and cross country. Some touring around the US.
    I ended up with a Suzuki TL1000, DRZ400, and Gas Gas 200.

  • I am 32 years old and have been riding since the ripe age of 4. Including all my dirt bikes and street bikes I have owned 19 bikes to date. From motocross to trail bikes to standards to sport bikes and of course a couple dual sports. I have ridden probably at least another 20 bikes on top of that.

    I would have to give my current bike the award as my all time favorite, my trusty XR650L. I really have to say the big XR is my perfect ride. It takes me anywhere my heart desires. I can hit the freeway and go right along with traffic. I can hit a fire road. I can really do anything I want no matter the time, place or weather. That is what I love about it. It never limits me. As long as my butt can endure the seat time I’m happy as a clam. I like being a part of the elements too. I like riding in the rain. I like exploring. The aftermarket parts for this bike are seemingly endless as a lot of them will interchange with the XR600R. So I get to customize my bike however I want and most of the parts are pretty cheap. It is the most fun I have ever had for 5K, you can’t beat it.

    What’s the best part of all? No one seems to categorize me when I ride it. I can talk to everyone from dirt bikers to sport bike guys to Harley riders. That is something I love, breaking down the boundaries of who rides what brand and just talking motorcycles. More bikers need to drop the brand addiction and realize the best part of riding is sharing your ride with another fellow biker. Regardless of what brand or type of bike he rides.

    In conclusion, getting the most fun out of every ride is what matters most to me now. I am too stupid on sport bikes (some things never change), cruisers bore me to tears and the new adventure bikes emerging are either too heavy or just way too expensive. Motocross? I have raised the stock in Advil enough in my racing days. Just give me my dually, a sandwich in my pocket, a water in the other and I’m off on another adventure!

  • The perfect streetbike?

    Doesn’t exist.

    Stop dreaming of a lightweight, powerful race replica that also happens to be versatile, comfortable, practical etc.

    Sure the newest supermotos (KTM 625, DRZ’s, etc.) and ultimate enduros (Adventures, BMW) are initially tempting in that regard and have certainly expanded one’s options.

    But, in the end, they are overweight and diluted with pollution control devices, passenger pegs, batteries, kickstands, blinkers, mirrors, reflectors and other girlie items that destroy performance, styling and – most of all – the complete toy-ness of a given bike.

    Despite past & current ownership of various nifty sportscars, I’ve always favored the motorcycle as the ultimate toy. With that in mind, the race bike – either dirt or road – is the purest expression of such playfulness. No unnecessary parts, appendages, bells or lights. Simple but graceful styling and comprehensive performance.

    Furthermore, riding said toy on a track – racing or practice – allows one to enjoy the toy as intended without the bother of traffic, stop signs, road cops and armadillos.

    Stop dreaming of the impossible. Buy yourself a good MX bike or road racer and leave the blinkers, smog devices & batteries with the family mini-van.

  • I am 50 , have been MSF INSTRUCTOR for 9 yrs. . I currently have a 02 VOYAGER a
    93 YAMAHA TDM , 77 R100RS BMW a HONDA CRF250X , I think I have most of the
    bases covered. You can tell from what I ride there couldn’t be one do it all bike , I have suffered from multiple
    bike syndrome for a long time . I am happy to say I will never be cured.

  • I am 56 years old. I had three bikes when I was younger. The best was a new 1970 Norton Commando 750. After 25 years without a bike, a friend gave me a 78 Yamaha SR500 in need of repairs. I fixed it and rode it a few years. I then moved up to my current 2000 Triumph Sprint RS. I consider it a “grown-up” sport bike.

  • Roughly 30 years of experience. Currently riding a Suzuki 1200 Bandit (a great do-it-all bike) and a Yamaha TTR 250. My belief is there is no “perfect” bike, only perfect for the type of riding you wish to accomplish, that’s why you have to a have a full garage…

  • Hiya, Am 39 and have been riding since I was a kid. Raced motocross when I was younger and discovered road bikes when I was about 22.
    I currently work in a motorcycle shop in New Zealand where we have the franchise for BMW, Ducati, Kawasaki and Triumph. Obviously I get to ride an impressive range of machinery, but for me the ultimate bike would have to be the BMW R1200GS. It hangs with the sport bikes in the twisty stuff, is comfortable enough for long distance touring and is able to tackle the back roads, forestry tracks etc. A good all rounder!
    Maybe if BMW release an adventure model of the 1200 that would be my pick, but for now I would have to say the R1200GS.

  • I have been riding bikes for 30 summers. Never missed one.
    I now ride (and have for 5 summers, including this one) a 2001 Kawasaki KLR 650. I also have a 2004 Kawasaki KLX300R for off road fun.
    I have owned many a street bike which all were a lot of fun but nothing like the KLR. I would have given up biking (and almost did) when I discovered dual sporting. I was not a dirt biker when I was young. No dirt experience prior to ’01.
    Do you think I should see my doctor?

  • We are a group of “mature” riders (read gray hair and lots of miles). We have arrived at the conclusion that the perfect bike is about 4 bikes, minimum 3. Sport touring for distance, sport bike for fast, naked for the rest.

  • I am turning 50 this year and I have been riding motorcycles (mostly dirtikes) all my life. Over the years I have mostly owned hardcore two-stroke motocross bikes such as RM125s. RM250s, KX250, Butacos, CZs, etc. Now that I have “matured” I have found my ultimate bike to be a KDX220. It is a great trailbike and it is comfortable to ride all day. The KDX is easy to ride yet has enough spunk to remind me of the 250 mx bikes. I also really like a wide ratio six speed transmission that allows me to take on all sorts of terrain. I am old but not dead and I have a strong preference for two stokes.

  • Hi; I am far form an expert on the kind of a bike that a person should own.
    I started riding on bikes when I was a kid. My Dad would let me ride on the luggage carrier of his HD 30.50. I think he told me it was half of a 61 overhead. Any way that was in the 30’s. After I got out of the service I had a few different bikes. like a HD 45 CI. It was an army surlace. Then there was an Indian Scout vertical twin,Indian brave single cyclinder. I also had a HD 45KK . It was built to race as the old wr had seen better days. Lets see then a HD KH 55 CI, HD 61 FLHand a HD popper 125 single cylinder two stroke. In there somplace there was an AJS. I had a Penton 125 and traded it for BMW r60. I also had an old BMW r600. It had a kick starter. and an hand gear shift.
    Well after getting into the BMWs I stayed with them. I got a k75 and traded it for a k1100lt.
    And that is the bike I am going to stick with. But I do have a Honda cl 350 and a Honda cx 500 .
    The Bmw is smooth and troule free and that is what an old guy needs.

  • I’m 38 and have been riding since I was a kid. I Ride a Moto Guzzi EV.

  • I grew up in Eastern Europe riding what would hardly qualify as a motorcycle by modern, western standards. Once I made it across the pond it took me a while to convince my wife that not all bikes leak, stink, smoke, leave you stranded, catch on fire, break in half, rust overnight, need annual overhauls and paintjobs. She approved the purchase of one bike, and one only, “so you better choose wisely”. “And I don’t want to ever again be used as a push-starter either” she added. I chose a new ’96 R1100GS. Next were two 1150 GS (one was short-lived, got totaled when rear-ended by a car, with barely 7k miles). Now I’m on a 12 GS .I keep them for 3-4 years (50+k) and trade them in for the next generation. It’s not a perfect bike, it has it’s quirks, but the dealer support in the Seattle area is better than for KTM or Triumph.

  • Regarding your “old fart” survey:

    I started riding on a 250 Dream in 1962. My first new bike was a 305 Superhawk in 1965, and it’s been a parade of many bikes, from Kawasaki triples to BMW tourers, since then. I recently sold my 1984 Interceptor 500, and my 2001 Aprilia Falco, and have kept my 2002 Honda 919 as my current only bike. It’s just about perfect for my urban/suburban riding and commuting.

  • I”m 58 years old and have been riding for around 45 years. I don’t know about the ultimate bike stuff, but I currently have an SV650 and Vstrom 650 as well as a a DRZ 400. These three bikes fill whatever riding mood that I am in! (the fact that I currently have 3 Suzuki’s is only a coincidence.)

  • I started riding when 16 in 1970. I have ridden continuously since then and have owned 40 bikes – UJMs, dual sports, HD choppers (in the early 70’s), Honda and BMW tourers,etc. But never a Japanese cruiser, I never saw one I really liked the looks of and I always wanted better handling than they offered. Today, I own an FZ1 that I consider the closest to an 1970’s idea of a UJM, its part sport bike, commuter, and tourer all rolled into one. My other bikes, a KLR650 and a 650 V-Strom, are comfortable standard seating position adventure tourers, one emphasizes dual sport the other the street .
    Today, I look for some practicality in my bikes. I don’t want them to have too narrow of a focus, to require too much maintenance, or to limit how far I ride because of being uncomfortable. I see beauty in functionality. I do not desire over 1000cc, I don’t use speeds over 100mph, less weight is better, good mpg is a plus, and to easy to wash – no chrome and clean shaft drive makes life easier. No bike has all the features I want so I have picked the ones that come the closest. I live for the day the motorcycle industry builds my perfect bike – but I know it will not happen because its a moving target.

  • I’m 36, riding street bikes since 16. I’ve owned: ’81 Kaw Ltd550, ’85 Kaw ZL900 Eliminator, 86’1000r Ninja, ’86 GSXR 1100, ’93 Kaw KLX650c, ’98 Hon VTR1000, ’98 Ducat M900, ’86 VFR700, and my current ride ’02 Hon 919. The 919 is the closest to ideal. I’ve put 33k miles on it with absolutely no problems, and it will do anything I ask of it! But to tell you the truth, I don’t know if I’ll ever find my “perfect bike”. It’s just too much fun getting to know a new bike, until it is like a good friend that knows your every move! After a while I just need to get to know something new! Maybe that’s why I’m divorced, and currently single!!

  • Goodday I must say top site I check it at least once per day I am nearly 50 33 years riding The biggest difference between young blokes and old is the money . At the moment I have a 05 R1 700 kms.00 XJR 1300 120 HP back wheel 15000 kms and a 98 XTZ 660 100000 kms [all yamahas] So the moral of the story is All bikes are good it how much money you are allowed to spend on them. Keep it up.

  • I bought my first motorcycle – a Suzuki TS-50 when I was 14. I am 49 now and have owned 14 motorcycles. The TS-50 was the closest to anything considered off-road. I never got into off-road riding. Most of my other bikes have been standards. I usually had two bikes, one for long distance and one for errands and to/from work. The largest was a 1984 Yamaha Venture Royale. I am generally a higher than average mileage rider. When 10,000 miles was a lot for a Japanese two-stroke, I put 25,000 on mine before trading it in. When 25,000 miles was a lot, I usually had over 50,000 miles before moving on. My previous last stable inhabitant was/is a 1982 Yamaha Vision XZ-550RJ that I bought new as the commuter bike in 1986.. It was a leftover model, still in the crate. It now has just under 75,000 miles and was in good shape until I left it alone for awhile. It is cleaned up, but not reassembled. It may not get much attention due to the new kid.

    My current ride is a 2004 Suzuki DL-650. This is the most fun bike I have ever lived with for awhile. It is my first chain-dirven bike in about 10 years. I regularly drive it to work (10 miles one way) and took a 2600 mile trip on it last year just after it was broken in. I am planning to take another ~4000 mile trip as soon as work permits. This bike can tour and commute. I have added crash bars, a center stand, and SW-Motech Quick Release mounts for a full set of GIVI luggage. I have the expensive large-capacity trunk, and two cheaper large capacity cases for the sides. With this setup, I leave off the sides and there’s almost no evidence, so I just have the trunk for my briefcase and lunch. I also replaced the stock windshield with a Windstrom Manta. For my upcoming trip, I have ordered cabling and mounting hardware for my Garmin StreetPilot 2610.

    I ride every now and then up to the North Georgia mountains. There is a steady stream of bikers heading north from Atlanta every Saturday and Sunday that isn’t raining. I don’t try to do any racing on the public roads, but I do test the limits allowed by the local Officer Friendly’s when up there. I am faster than average just riding within my skill and comfort zone. I consistently come up behind and hang with riders on far more sophisticated equipment. I also get passed some, but it’s about 65/35 in my favor. Again, I am not racing or trying very hard. The bike probably could not handle trying hard, but for what I am doing, it is great fun. I also have the trunk to carry rain gear, camera, and other stuff I might want during the day.

    This overall package is the most suitable all around bike I have ever imagined actually being available. I commute; I tour; I have fun. I just wish it had shaft drive.

  • I’ve been riding for over 40 years. Like many guys my age(61) I have enough $ now to own more than 1 bike. Currently we have 4(1 is really wife’s)

    I started on a street 250 Yamaha about `62. I rode Yamahas for 20 years, last being a RD350. In the late `60s I amateur road raced in soCal, on my 305,350 Yamahas(in that order).

    In my 40s I became a sport/tourer, starting w/a Moto Guzzi CX100(still have). I’ve been riding various Guzzis for 20 years now, newest 1 being my `04 750 Breva(for solo sport/touring).


    My last 2 purchases have been to get lighter bikes that I can still do most anything I want with on the street. They are a `00 MZ Tour(w/c single) & Breva (air-cooled twin). Both weigh around 400#, a weight I can handle if I get in trouble(holding up).

    The fastest bike I ever owned was a `87 LeMans IV, which I used for sport/touring for a few years. I got rid of it because if the power’s there, I’m going to use it. I had it up to 137 mph WAY too many times. So I sold it before I got caught.

    Now retired, I/we ride a LOT, mostly to Guzzi events all over the country.

    My CX has become a Hack for 2up needs. Surprisingly, it’s more comfortable to ride on straight roads than my regular bikes. But in the corners I get a real upper body workout. But that’s OK, I need the exercise.

  • Age 47, been riding dirt on and off (mostly on) for 34 years. In

    July 1972 I bought my first motorcycle magazine Popular Cycling – and I was hooked into the dream of riding – I still have that original copy. Also I got to see Roger DeCoster and Brad Lackey riding MX in Europe and the hook sank in deeper. Then I saw the movie On Any Sunday and that drove me over the edge to be a rider for life.

    As a kid I bagged groceries for 3 years to save enough to buy my first bike.

    Started trail riding as a kid; skipped dirt riding for a few years while in college. Once out (and employed) I got into hare scrambles \ enduros for 10 years until the wear and tear was getting too much – now loving riding observed trials. There are lots of great age 60 plus riders so I’ve still got some good years ahead. Also really looking forward to where I’ll be when retired – riding adventure bikes to who knows where.

    1972 Honda 50
    1973 Honda CR250 Elsinore
    1980 Kawasaki KZ650
    1985 KTM 250 EXC
    1987 KX500
    1988 KX500
    1988 ATK 406
    1990 ATK 406
    1993 Honda CR250
    1998 Honda XR650L
    1999 KTM 300 EXC
    2002 Beta 250
    2004 Beta 270

  • Well I started on a Suzuki GN 400 back in the early 80s, and I ended up on my current ride, a 2001 Suzuki Bandit 1200S. There have been a total of eleven bikes owned over the preceding years:

    5 were Suzukis
    3 were Yamahas (loved those early 80s Viragos…)
    2 were Kawasakis
    1 was a Honda

    With me, money plays as big a role as preference in dictating what I’ll be riding. When times were flush I could often take my pick, at least of some decent used bikes; when times were not so flush there were long months and sometimes years without a ride at all. Sooner or later, though – and usually in summer – the sound of bikes all around was usually sufficient incentive to juggle around the finances just enough to get back in the game.

    I’ve owned Viragos and Vulcans and they were fine in their own way, but my current Bandit is a revelation: Big power, decent comfort, and cornering clearance that would have left me cursing on my old cruisers. It would be nice to bring some items along, however, so were money no object, I think the Yamaha FJ 1300 would probably be my ultimate ride.

    Someday ;-)

  • I’m certainly mature (age-wise, at least) at 52 having started riding when I was about 10 years old. As family friends owned a Honda shop when I was a kid, that was a natural place to start — a CL-350, followed by a CB-450, and then a 750. With the advent of the Z-1 900, I switched to Kawasakis.

    Since there were no factory sport bikes, we made our own “Cafe Racers” by modifying standard UJMs of the day. I eventually put together a Rickman CR-framed, Yoshimura-built Z-1 liter bike that was a real beast for it’s day, but would be soundly spanked by most of today’s stock sport bikes.

    I eventually tired of suffering the “crouch” and longed for more comfort.

    Also, now married, I needed a two-up machine and bought a 1980 Kaw Z1-R. At some point, my wife and I wanted to do some real touring and I had caught the Harley bug from several friends. We enjoyed several years aboard an Electra Glide Ultra Classic — a great relaxed-pace tourer.

    A few years ago, I bought a ’77 BMW R100S, a bike I loved when they were being built, but couldn’t afford one then. Through association with other Beemer riders, I fell in love with an R1150RT and though that might be the perfect bike for me — a great tourer and still plenty of fun in the twisties. I was happy with the RT until I spent a few hours on a friend’s R1100GS (a bike I originally thought was homely at best). As luck would have it, another friend was selling his GS, so what was I to do?

    While I won’t say it’s my final, ultimate bike, my ’99 GS does everything I want it to do and more. With the addition of an Aeroflow half-fairing/windshield/Aerogards combo, it has weather protection equal to the RT. It’s extremely comfortable and stable with good hard bags for the long haul, and will go quickly enough in the mountains to surprise some riders on much sportier machines. Of course, the old GS is a bit heavy and a little more power could be entertaining. Maybe an R1200GS would be a good idea!

    For off-road fun, a succession of dirt bikes including Maico and Bultaco have culminated on a ’99 Gas Gas EC250 enduro (hey, it was cheap, works better than I do, and besides, I like the unusual stuff!).

  • 99 Honda VFR800
    00 Suzuki DRZ400S
    04 KTM EXC300
    02 KTM SX250

    If I only could have one bike it would be a KTM 950 Adventure or the New KTM 950 Super Motard street bike.

    Thank you for the great web site.

  • Just the usual, I was smitten with the bikes of my time growing up – my first rides were a triple cylinder 350 Kawasaki, and a 250WR Husky. I gave up riding for many years and now own a vintage KZ1300 six cylinder and a BMW K100RS……… to answer your query batman, I’m leaning towards a cruiser, but there sure are many to choose from.

  • In responding to today’s request for a cycling bio on MD, I offer the following: Well at 35 I’m hardly a senior citizen but I do have 30 years of riding experience, numerous motorcycle relationships under my belt, and I think I may have found “the one”. As a kid of course I came into riding on those lovable little Honda 80ccs and then those death-trap 3 wheelers through the back woods in Michigan. Through my teens I had a progression of dual sport motorcycles including a Yamaha 125 and two Suzuki 250s. These were bikes of necessity as they were all I could afford and could handle the rough terrain I needed to cover just to get around the rural woods of my youth. Off to college and into my 20s I went from a Honda Magna to a Suzuki Savage to a V-max as I was trying to figure out what suited my style and my needs. I’m also an idealist however, and was feeling very patriotic and sort of like an authentic American when I finally bought a Harley. It was an ’86 liberty edition FXLR with the statue of liberty painted on the tank and front fender to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the statue going up. It was the first Harley I’d ever ridden and I’ll never forget the freakish amount of torque I felt pulling away on that thing. I thought I’d found the answer on that and roared away hundreds of miles on the Midwestern back roads. After a couple years though I realized that as much I loved touring, it’s not my primary type of riding. Lugging the hog out for my 5-minute commute to work every day just didn’t seem right for either the bike or me. Still, I didn’t have room or money for two bikes. So I went for something totally different and bought a CBR600F3. Finally I no longer represent a human sail/bug catcher and my back finally got some strain relieved in my second favorite position, the crouch. And what handling, what performance. That was 7 years ago and I’ve since moved to So. Cal and have racked up 71,000 miles on it and look to rack up that many more before I retire this ride to get me a new Honda CBR600. No better way to slice through the grid-lock traffic on the interstate out here and the weather is very favorable for the year-round splendor of two wheeling. In fact, if I weren’t a cyclist, I’d probably have moved back to the north woods because getting around out here is too much of a burden on anything but a motorcycle. I can see a day down the road when I have more time when I could get another one of those 1380cc motorcycles, but for my bread and butter the CBRs are the way to go.

  • I’m what I call a re-entry rider. Had dirt bikes and dual sports (then called enduros) as a kid. Left riding for years while rasing a family then when I went back to riding I wanted something with enough power to be fun and ride two up with my wife. I’ve had a Suzuki Bandit 1200S for over 4 years and though I’ve been thinking about it, I can’t find anything I think could replace it yet. It’s good at many types of riding with great power to weight and proven reliability.

  • 44 years old, been riding since I was 14. The bike list goes:

    1974 Suzuki TS125

    1980 Honda XL 250

    1981 Kawasaki GPz 550

    1983 Honda XR 350

    1984 Honda CB700SC

    2000 Kawasaki ZX-6R (still own)

    2005 Honda CBR1000RR (still own)

    Started out really into dirt bikes which was the best learning experience for the latter
    years of sport bikes. Still really enjoy the sport bike side of bikes, although my knees
    can really tell the difference between to Kaw and the new Honda. Would really like
    to add a motard to the current collection.

  • As an older rider I wanted an all-around bike that can do a everything pretty well.
    For me, that’s the 2005 Yamaha FZ-1.
    The bike’s got a 1000cc motor and has 140 HP.
    I put a Yoshimura pipe on it and installed Ivan’s High Performance carb kit for maximum performance out of the pipe.
    The bike is so easy to ride when the RPM’s are below 5000.
    It just purrs around town.
    But when you let ‘er rip and the bike gets over 7000 rpm it takes off like a rocket.
    I’ve had it up to 120 and it felt very stable at that speed, and I think the rpm’s were probably only around 8000. It red lines at 11,500.
    A buddy of mine has one and he told me he had his up to 150 and the bike felt good at that speed.

    As a “naked” the beauty of the bike is the riding position.

    You’re not hunched way down over the gas take reaching for handlebars that put a strain on your shoulders after a one-hour ride.

    I can ride this bike for a 3-hour cruise and not even be stiff afterwards.

    Lastly, the bike handles well in corners.

    All things considered, for performance and style and handling, I think this bike is as good as any other in its class.

    Brad
    Clearwater, Florida
    age: 48
    (been riding bikes since I was 10 years old.)

  • Good morning/afternoon evening… Sorry guys, in Australia.

    Well, I have been riding for 26 years and I am currently 36. Grew up on MX and Enduro which then lent itself to SM racing which I was involved in within the US, Europe and Australia……Have owned 6 Sm bikes and about 3 road bikes which were Triumphs. Left Sm racing to focus on some road bikes and finally decided on the Suzuki GSX1400. Why:

    It is big, old school and looks damn sexy
    Nothing better than crushing a squids spirit in the tight twisties by passing them on the inside of a corner….
    Sometimes on the outside also……

  • 05 FJR1300 – Traded in 02 FZ1, wish I had my FZ1 back

  • I still have other bikes (dual sport and off road) and I love to tour and ride canyons, but for most street situations it has to be my VFR (’94). Good for 2-up also.

  • 2004 BMW R1150RS. I put 41,000 miles on a Honda. It fried a stator 800 miles away from home. I called the Honda Rider’s Club and the idiot on the other end wanted to know why I was so far from my address of record. From now on I only buy bikes from people who understand that I buy them to ride them.

  • Just responding to your question regarding what bike I ride. I ride a Ducati MH900E and am currently awaiting the KTM 990 to be available in the US. I haven’t yet been able to bring myself to buy a cruiser. I’m 40 years old and have been an active street rider for more than 20 years.

  • Almost 40, MFS instructor, now with a 2004 Honda VFR 800 VTEC. All the fun of a sport bike, with a comfortable riding position and hard bags for traveling.

  • What motorcycle did I end up with?

    I started riding late at around 20 years old with a couple of Yamaha dirt bikes and then moved to a 900 Ninja which I liked but it was a little too two stroke-ish with the power delivery for my taste and was prone to run hot in traffic. After that I had a ST1100 which was a good bike for two-up but not the most exciting. Next after a few years off from riding my wife wanted to learn how to ride so we both took the MSF course together and we bought a SV650 great bike but we needed to ride together but neither wanted to be a passenger so I bought a 2001 VFR which was another great bike. The VFR was a little heavy and needed help with the suspenders. The VFR was traded for a Tuono which I still have and hesitate to sell but I found after my wife got a Ducati 999s that I really like a sport bike in the canyons which is over 85% of our riding here in So Cal. I tried a Ducati ST4s, as on paper it looks like the perfect bike and rides quite well but not exactly what I was looking for. I did not go for a sport bike as I was always worried that my lower back would not like a sport bike. Working the core muscles and seeing plenty older than myself on sport bikes has alleviated any of those crunched over fears.

    Finally I have reached Motorcycling Nirvana with a 2005 Yamaha YZF-R1. I am 6’1” and the R1 was the best feeling sport bike out there, has the most room, and I find it quite comfortable. Suspension is excellent and I am using the 999s as a basis for comparison. The R1 has smooth power everywhere like a V-Twin unlike the Ninja of the past. Sport bikes have come a long way and at almost 42 years old I cannot imagine riding anything else for my type of riding. I think the R1 is one of the best looking motorcycles out there. Fit, finish, and attention to detail are as good or better than any other motorcycle out there. Plus, the bike looks great sitting in the garage and gets a lot of looks everywhere including the Ducati club meets

  • I haven’t arrived at the ultimate bike and most likely never will. I’m 36 and have been riding sport bikes since I was 16, and motocross bikes as well. the list is this:
    GS400E,VFR750,GSXR1100,FZR1000,RF900R,TL1000S,YZF750,TL1000S (The first was hit in my one and only time down on a streetbike, head on with a Cadillac).
    I am now awaiting the first real change in 20 years, my new 2004 VN2000. My knees like to relax more now than ever and I need the change badly. Demo rode the bike and LOVED it. The moral of this little story is that there is no “Ultimate Bike”, only the bike that fits your needs right now.

  • In order of consumption;
    66 Hondas 305 Super Hawk,67 Susuki 250 X6 Hustler, 68Honda CL450,71 Kawasaki 750 H2! 67 BSA 650 Lighting,70 Honda 750 this one had many accessories and several paint jobs,78 Yamaha XS750 had a Jacwal Super Wedge Fairing & Bates Super Box(lived on this Bike for several years),Not sure of the year but it was a Husky WR250, 76 Suzuki GT750, Not sure of the year but it was a Honda XL250,71 BMW R75(German import),currently 66 Honda 305 Street Scrambler, currently 93 Honda ST1100 many accessories.Then there is list of ‘sleds & ‘skis. Mature?
    I wanted the new Duck 1000 sport as a final but will instead put money down for a diesel KLR.This would be for DS use. Don’t anticipate updating the ST,not sure if it’ll be retained(touring by bike and accumulating physical limitations,can’t put in 12-16 hr days on a scoot anymore) much into retirement,thinking the DS will be sufficient as it can be taken to the cabin or it could be hauled to a destination and with a box it’ll get groceries and then explore the new area.
    The only HD I would consider has never been built. That would be the Street Rod in a tour package. Never understood ‘cruisers’. What would Yoda have said? Ride or Ride Not! There is no Cruise!.

  • Still searching for that perfect bike at 42 yrs of age. I have almost come full circle though. Previous bikes , Honda 82′ 900F Super Sport, 89′ Harley FXLRC Low Rider Custom, 96′ FLHTC , Harley Electra Glide Classic. Currently own 01′ Harley FLSTC Heritage Softail, & 2000 Suzuki SV 650. Now looking to do some track days on maybe a GSXR 600/750. That will be my next bike to “arrive” on.

  • I have found that there is no “Perfect” or Ultimate bike. However after owning dozens of different types and makes of motorcycles, I have settled on the two I think cover all the bases. For street riding I ride a BMW R1100RT because of its general all around capabilities whether I ride one or two up. For offroad I ride a KTM 450 EXC as I have also found it to be one of the most fun and versitile motorcycles I have ever ridden.

  • I have been riding for 40+ years, and the ultimately perfect bike always changed with me.
    My last bike was a R1200c BMW curser, I bought a Suzuki Burgman 650 scooter just to run around town.
    Six months latter I sold the BMW and two years latter I have never looked back.
    Aside from it does everything I ask local or cross country, it the only “bike” that puts the FUN back in biking.

  • I am probably on my final bike….. a 650 Suzuki Burgman. The ergonmics are most comfortable for my very mature hips, the weather protection is excellent. Especially nice is the lack of engine heat in hot weather that most bikes suffer. I believe that the Burgman’s ergonomics will extend my ability to comfortably ride long distances for many years to come. Left with only the choice of “conventional” motorcycles, I would no longer be riding.
    I began riding in 1960 and have owned over 30 motorcycles ranging from a Harley Hummer and Sportster to Goldwings. I have had a variety of dirt bikes and motocrossed and scrambled for a while in the early 70s on Suzukis and rode Suzuki street bikes ranging from a 500 Titan twin to 3-cylinder two-stroke 550 and 750s. Later I had serveral four cylinder GS Suzukis and have dabbled with restoring Yamaha 650 twins.
    Over the years, we have ridden in every one of the 48 contiguous United States and most of Canada and have done quite a few 1000 mile days.
    The Burgman is reasonably fast, comfortable, tours well and requires virtually no wrenching. This also fits with my heavy schedule as a school superintendent and graduate school professor, allowing me to tinker with it less and ride it more during the limited periods available for me to ride.

  • My “Ultimate Bike” is the BMW R1150R Roadster, I also own a BMC Hooligan Chopper, a ZX-11 Kaw, and a CR500 Honda

  • One bike cannot do it all.. so these each suite a need ;-)
    ZRX / Road King / CRF 450 & of course XR 50!

  • I ended up with a Honda CBR1000RR because I can’t handle the power of a Suzuki 1000, ZX10 or R1.

  • Interesting question. I think that when that time comes (I’m only 44,) I would like a bike with off-road capabilities so that I could explore the wilderness on it with ease. That sort of puts road bikes like my big burgman out of the realm (at this time).

    Who knows? Maybe in 20 years they’ll have comfy, convienient, large-bore, dual-sport, step-thru, tiptronic/ECVT bikes.

    Owner, 2004 Suzuki Burgman 650.

  • I’m 40 years old with 34 years of riding. I started on a Honda trail 70 at 6. Moved to a Suzuki GS400 at 16. Got a GS750 at 19. Totaled it and got another one at 21. Rode and raced an RZ350 starting at 20. Rode and raced a first generation hurricane 600 starting at about 24. Detoured to a DR350s at around 30 ( it wasn’t for me. Currently own an SV650 (standard). I don’t know if I’ve “ended” there, but I like it a lot. If Suzuki built a sport touring version that was as versatile as the Strom, but not quite so stupid looking, that would be just about right. I know, I know, a Ducati ST3 would fit the bill, but I’m too parsimonious for that!

  • I have been riding for over 30 years and after starting on japanese bikes i went to Harleys sportster,Fxrs Lowglide,99 Fxst,I now ride a 2002 Kawasaki Concours,and even though I sometimes miss My Hd you can’t discount what a bargain this bike is for how I ride this bike is a perfect match.

  • After putting 8,000 miles on an early 2003 Suzuki Burgman 650 I got antsy to try the Honda Silver Wing. But after 3600 miles of disappointment I had to return to my best love, the Burgman 650. So when the chance came to make the switch I came back home. Unless you are a seasoned rider of various motorcycles you must take my word there is nothing like it on two wheels. I have owned 20 different bikes from 350cc to 1500cc of all Japanese makes plus Triumph, and at age 72 there still is no thrill like sliding onto the Burgman 650 for my daily midday spin. When I finish riding, I want this bike to be my last two wheel memory. I am not a long range rider but the comfort and performance, reliability, and economy of the Burgman 650 make it the ideal ride for commuting, cruising, or short touring. Even two up I think it would take a Goldwing to beat it, but who needs a convertible on two wheels. If you have never driven a scooter with automatic CVT there may be a little time needed for adjustment, but once adapted you may never lust for a clutch again.

  • Fifty something been riding for thirty plus years, some old 2 stroke dirt bikes, but my in town commuter a 2000 750 Nighthawk, further than in town a BMW 1150 GS.

  • I have been riding for 45 years primarily in the dirt and accumulated a fairly large stable of bikes. My favorites are:

    Trail Bike – a persoanlized TTR-250 Yamaha

    Dual-Sport – Honda Transalp

    Touring – Honda Gold Wing

    I am a 62 year old from Nebraska.

  • Background: I rode/owned nine different motorcycles from 1970 to 1993, at that point giving up motorcycles for bicycle racing for ten years. In 2003 I was in the Monterey, CA. area and saw a few KTM and BMW dualsports which tripped my trigger. I returned to Florida and purchased a BMW F650GS (my first BMW), a perfect bike for this 45 y.o. “mature”
    rider. It does incredibly well on the highway for such an engine configuration, and while it doesn’t accelerate on par with any of the hyperbikes, it can give them fits when the roads tighten up. Having recently moved to the mountains of western Virginia, I am just that much more enthused about the machine: many paved backroads become gravel (and
    worse) without warning and I can carry on without a care (after turning off the ABS, anyway). Forest roads, trails, then back out onto the tarmac. As an old dirt donk, I enjoy the mix.

    I’ve turned into a BMW fan due to this baby Beemer (that isn’t one, according to the purists out there), and there may be a bigger model from Munich in my future, but I reckon this F650Gs will be in my stable for a long time to come.

  • One of my fellow chromeheads put a link to this at chromeheads.org and I am so glad to see stuff like this going on. I am currently 51 years old have a solid job in the occupational health industry and loving life. I started similar threads on some of the motorcycle websites recently, so this is good reading in my book. Thank you for the opportunity to spout off a little. Here is my motorcycle history. It’s hard to say if I have found the ultimate bike yet, but I do believe I have found the ultimate bike manufacturer. Each time I take my R1200C for a ride, I think it is the ultimate bike and then I get on my RT and start to think the same thing, but I digress so on with the history!

    First bike was a 1964 Honda 90 purchased in 1968 to get to and from work on a near-by farm. Two years and approx. 12K miles later moved up to 1968 Honda CB350, wow a real road bike! (total mileage on the 350, 15K) Next came a 1972 Honda CB450 purchased new just prior to graduation from high school, traded the 350 and some cash for it. Five and a half years and 26K later, I bought a 1976 R75/6. This is where the story gets good. A college buddy and I were both riding our 450s together a lot, then one day he pulls up to my apartment on a R75/6 fully dressed with Luftmeister fairing, Krauser bags, the works. I had only seen a few other beemers up close at that time. I had even ridden an R90S at the Honda dealership where I worked right after high school. I asked my buddy, Dan, “why did you buy such a butt-ugly bike?” He just grinned and proceeded to educate me on the history and finer points of BMW motorcycles. I was pretty open minded about the whole thing but still not totally convinced that he was not losing his marbles. It just so happened that he was on his way to visit his parents for the weekend, about a 100 mile ride to Anton, TX. He then offered to let me ride this odd contraption to his folks’ house while he rode my Honda 450. To shorten this part, by the time we got to his parents’ house, I wanted to keep his bike and give him mine. Of course that did not happen, but 3 months later, I had my ’76 R75/6 fully dressed and ready for touring. And I did some touring on that beauty, at least by my standards in 1977. Five years and 50K later I had to sell the R75 to pay some medical bills since I had no insurance.

    Fast forward to November 1999, I had been without a bike for almost 20 years due to financial constraints. My new job was looking pretty secure after 5 years and all of the baby-boomer types I worked with were getting on the Harley kick. I would gig them once in a while about getting a real bike–a BMW. Then one evening while on an overtime shift a co-worker tossed me a BMW brochure that someone had discarded. I began to go through it and completely fell in love with the R1100RT. But alas, the lofty RT seemed entirely too tall for my 27” inseam. So I took a very serious look at the R1200C. Even got to sit on one in Tulsa while on travel for the company just a week later. After the holidays that year, I picked up that brochure again and started thinking about maybe getting another bike, just sort of dreaming from time to time. Then in late January, a very close friend and sailing buddy suddenly died from a ruptured aneurysm in his brain. He was only a few years older than I and probably in as good a physical condition as any 5?+ year old out there. I began to think about that and decided that I would not let life go by any further saying “I wish I had …” you fill in the blanks. By March of 2000 I had made a pretty good deal on a new ’99 BMW R1200C and was off and running to make up for lost time. A year and half later I found out about some ways one could lower an RT so I managed to make a very sweet deal on a used one and now have logged up a little over 48K on the RT. Unfortunately in August of 2004, my future brother-in-law was rear-ended by a HD while on my cruiser–the bike was totaled but no one was injured–miracles do still happen. At the time the ’99 had 72K on the odo. (did I mention those were absolutely trouble-free miles as are the 48K on the RT). I set out almost immediately to replace it–I really loved that cruiser. By October, I had found a suitable replacement, a 2000 model R1200C with only 12K on the clock and bought it. The 2000 had been left out in the harsh weather of the Texas Panhandle for three years, so I had some work to do to get her looking and running the way I wanted. I spent most of the winter customizing the new ride, so now, after 22 modifications, I have put 3900 miles on it. I now have a lifetime total at just over 226K. (~175K on beemers—Thank you Dano for letting me ride your R75 that day back in 1977. I did find him again about two years ago and began corresponding through e-mail. Then after not seeing each other for 25 years, my SO, unbeknownst to me, convinced him to be at my (surprise) 50th b-day party a year ago; we ride together frequently now–just like old times ). That mileage would be considerably higher but I have been unable to ride since a major back surgery in late April, but I’m working out daily to be able to get back in the saddle soon.
    _________________
    cruisin Texas–mostly between the fence rows

    Currently owned bikes

    1985 Honda Rebel 250–red (ours)
    1986 Honda Rebel 450–silver (hers)
    1998 BMW R1100RT–graphite (ours)
    2000 BMW R1200C–blue & bluer (my main ride)

    Always Ride Safe and Smart (RSS)

  • Well, after having ridden for 50 years I guess I would be considered a ‘mature’ rider.

    My current daily rider – I commute to work about 100 miles round trip – is a BMW R1150RT. I find the RT to be the best all-rounder currently available and I could live with it as my only bike. However, I also have a Hinckley Bonneville that has been given a complete make-over so that it very closely resembles the cafe bikes of the late ’50s. And, ahem, I have a KLR650 to explore the many miles of dirt roads and ridable trails of the Southwest.

    What a sad tale of woe – too many bikes and too little time!

    And while I’m here writing…I was a hobby racer of sorts and I was fortunate to have followed King Kenny’s career in person when I lived in Europe. I can’t believe that Yamaha ‘team orders’ didn’t decided the outcome of the USMotoGP. The favored son first and Colin second? That is a lot of serendipity for me to swallow!

  • Hi there,
    I’ve been riding for 36 years and am 55 years old. The total mileage I have put on bikes is probably approaching 700,000. My current bikes are (oldest) an 85 BMW K100RS with a K1100 engine and fuel system with 302,000 miles total, that I’ve owned for 20 years and nothing in that time has been able to displace it. I have a 96 Ducati 900 SS/SP with 82,000 miles on with engine mods and a Sargent seat. Comfortable sportbike. The newest is an 05 BMW R1200ST that I am enjoying quite a lot. I have always been into the performance side of bikes and if I had to ride around on a cruiser at 45 mph like they do around here I would probably quit.

  • 2001 Honda VFR 800 FI Interceptor

  • Why make a “Final decision”? I think it’s better to go with the flow
    and hop on anything that interests you at the time.
    I started at 16 with a Honda 305 Scrambler and for the past 40 years have owned over 150 bikes-from Spanish-British-Italian-German-Swedish-Japanese & American. These have been dirt, dual-sport, and street, with my current bikes being a Triumph Speed Triple and a Yamaha Roadstar cruiser. It’s not that I’m exactly fickle, I’ve found that as I’ve aged, my tastes in food, cars and style of houses have changed as well. This may be due to living in San Francisco where we seem to have constant change and exposure to everything. What I’ve discovered is that most every bike I’ve owned or ridden is different from the others, with it’s own sound, handling & asthetic quality and that fact keeps my curiosity up. I wouldn’t call it a progressive change. I know the switch from dirt bikes to dual sport was neccisitated by the fact you have to drive 50+ miles from the City to get in the dirt. The change from a Ducati sport bike to the Speed Triple happened due to physical changes…my wrists complained about doing handstands on the clip-ons. For a while the BMW GS was the perfect answer because it handled like a sport bike in the curves, could travel at highway speeds with touring bags and could be taken on fire trails. I sold it because it just also happened to be a handful of a balancing act on the San Francisco hills. Since, at 56, I no longer feel the need to set world speed records, and with all the custom bike shows on every tv, I thought I’d see what the cruiser thing was about, hence, the Roadstar. During the past years, I kept going back to “classics”-60’s Triumphs/Nortons/BSAs because they were comfortable-not literally, they just made me feel good riding them and are the only bikes I can actually work on! All said and done though, the determining factors are 1.) only room for two motorcycles in the garage and, 2.) the changing styles and technology make me want to continue the comparisons indefinitely.

  • Thanks for the question. Since I would consider myself a mature rider, being in the my early 50’s (52.5 to be exact) and owning numerous bikes over the years, I think my point at this time I maybe not quite finished. So you want to know where I ended up. Well, anyone that I know who is into motorcycles don’t really end up anywhere and their path to a final point I think is far more interesting than what they end up with.

    First, I have been riding since my 16th year and have never been without a motorcycle since. My range of bikes, which have been numerous and varied, included scooters, enduros, small street, sport touring, sport and also took the plunge and bought an automobile at the tender age of 35. Some consider this late but I commuted and used a motocycle for years as my primary mode of transportation. I would consider myself a little beyond your normal enthusiast because I presently own 6 bikes. But if I had to choose one and only one bike, it would be my 650 Burgman. That bike does everything so extremely well and yield so much pleasure I have to say this is my end point. I purchased a 750 Breva as well and let me be frank, road tests have been great to read about it , but after riding the Burgman this real pretty motorcycle can’t hold it against this fine machine. I like the technology (stepper motor, CVT transmission), the protection and the ease of maintenance.

    However, I did own a bigger bike. The V11 Sport Moto Guzzi was viseral but a pain in the ass, trouble with the electrics and tranny. I found myself riding it faster and faster. These bikes were suppose to be tame as compared to the Japanese stuff but none of the sport bikes interest me. Where are you going to ride something with 180 hp. The Guzzi had 90 and I found myself constantly riding 20-40 km/hr above the posted speed limits. So it was traded in for a small and more management mount (the Breva 750). My end point…smaller and more sensible bikes and even consider if it were a hybrid. DON”T WANT OR NEED THE HORSEPOWER!! Hard to believe isn’t it. Just want the feeling that comes with being by oneself when riding. Don’t need the adrenalin rushes just want the calmness that you experience after a ride. Read what you will into this.

  • 1984-1987———-Honda MB5
    1987-1993———Suzuki 185 2 stroke street bike
    1993-2000———Honda CBR f2
    2000-2005———Yamaha R1
    2005-???———–Yamaha Majesty Scooter. THE BEST SO FAR


    Dirt:
    2003-????———-2002 Yamaha 250F
    2006+——————2007 Yamaha 250F

    Would buy a street legal Supermotard Like the Suzuki DRZ400SM if they were widely available. Great move on Suzuki’s part, and I hope the other MFG see the ‘light’.

  • I dont know if it is the ultimate bike, but after owning hardcore sportbikes for years I just found a deal on a ZRX1200 that I could not pass up. At first I did not care for the look, the blandness of it, but one ride and I realised that it was exactly what I had been looking for. I had been miserable on the R1’s and GSXR’s I had been riding for a while. Those bikes are great if you can ride them hard at all times, but as soon as you try to just run some errands or go for a longer ride at a different pace they become miserable and agonizing. so the El Cheapo, slightly dinged up ZRX1200 in the garage is far and away the best bike for me now, it is a great machine, has a great motor , and is comfortable as a couch

  • I wanted a BMW R115 Roadster really bad, but I could not sit on one in anything but pain as I have an arthritic hip. For some reason, the manufacturers seem to want to place the riders pegs waaay back, so that your feet are scrunched up under or in back of your butt. Look at the older (70’s, 80’s) standard bikes, the riders footpegs were further forward, actually at or in front of the seat, similar to where the pegs are on the Harley Davidson Dyna Glide, in particular the Super Glide Sport. If this model had the smoother 88B engine, I would have bought it no doubt. I finally ended up buying a 2004 Honda VT1100C2 Shadow Sabre, and put on a Rifle Classic L windshield, Mustang Vintage Wide touring seat. No vibration at any cruising speed. My bike is now more comfortable to ride extended distances than it is to drive my automobile. The suspension sucks, it is rough riding, but the riding position is better for me. The better suspension is one reason I wanted the BMW for the ride quality. Do I like the handling of the Sabre? No. These things handle like dump trucks. Clumsy.
    My last motorcycle was a Honda CB750F, and that was one sweet handling bike.
    Oh well, the compromises never end.

  • 1994 Yamaha GTS1000 and a 2003drz400s. I have been riding since 1980. The GTS is unique and fast enough for any riding I would want to do on a public road, any anything else I have looked or test ridden is just not better enough to justify the expense of a new bike that would serve the same purpose of mainly sport touring. I might add a track bike one of these days but won’t replace the GTS. The DRZ is good enough for my off road skills to get me through just about anywhere I would ride trail wise and isn’t bad on the street, and makes an excellent commuter with a givi tail trunk and a small screen that came with me though some “black diamond skilled riders only trails” that I did recently in an off road riding area in the Ozarks recently.

  • I still ride a Suzuki 250 2 Stroke. But just got Big fat KTM 625 SXC for dual sport riding.

  • Firstly, let me get the bum kissing out of the way. I read and enjoy your column everyday.


    My name is Alan, I live in Sydney, Australia.

    Born June 1946, so I’m nearly sixty.

    My parents disliked bikes, so my first bike came when I was 24 (1970). A Suzuki T20 (250cc / 2 stroke road bike)

    Being a plumber a bike was a good choice to ride into the city.

    A couple of my mates had started road racing and it wasn’t long before I was out there with them on my T20.

    It seemed that I had a bit of an aptitude for this and started placing in the lower grades.

    I had a succession of Suzuki’s T250, T500, TR500, GT750 etc.

    By this time (1973) I had my own motorcycle business and started to concentrate on production racing, which was very big in Australia at the time.

    Personal recreation bikes along the way included motocross, trail and trials machines along with road bikes Ducati 750SS, Honda CB1100R.

    I rode for Kawasaki for a while – Z1R, Z650, Z900. Plus a short dabble on a Yamaha TZ250.
    Then for Suzuki GS1000, GSX1100.


    I was fortunate enough to win the 1979 Castrol 6 Hour race, Australia’s biggest race at the time.

    I still keep the winning machine in my lounge room.

    My racing career spanned an interesting time in the sport.

    I had the opportunity to race with the likes of Agostini at Oran Park. I was riding a TR500 factory Suzuki.

    Later on in the Castrol 6 Hour race I raced with Mike Hailwood, a hero of mine for many years.

    Still later, with Wayne Gardner, whom I remain friends with and still do the occasional road blast with.

    I retired from racing in 1982 and rode horses for a while ( that is what my parents wanted me to do all along ).

    15 Years later, I retired from the horses ( the power to weight ratio is all wrong ).

    Bought myself a Suzuki Bandit 1200 ( 1997 ).

    Quickly got over that and went onto a Triumph 955 Sprint ( nice but too slow )
    and then 955 Daytona. At this point started doing track days with my old mate Wayne.


    He had a 954 Fireblade and talked me into buying one.

    Then came a Hayabusa ( you need one of those to ride down to the GP at Philip Island, don’t you ! )

    The 954 ( a stand out bike of the time ) was changed for a GSXR1000 K4 ( picture included ).

    Finally, a new K5, that I feel is the best bike on the planet.

    I have accumulated many friends along the way, we often swap bikes giving me the chance to experience different machines.

    Some of them include – 03/04 R1 … R6 … FJR1300 … ZZ1100 … ZZ600… ZX1200 … ZX10 … 1100RT… K1200 … MV750 … 916 / 996/998 / 999 /748 … Rocket 3 … ’05 Sprint ST … CBR1000 … CBR600 …

    I haven’t ended with the K5, there will be more bikes.


    I am loving the technological advances.

    Coming from bikes of the 70’s I’m like a kid in a candy store.

    Now, aren’t you sorry you asked…………..

  • I have finally found the ideal ride for me. I bought the BMW R1200CLC.
    This bike has all the cornering ability and nimbleness of a touring bike. I thought I wanted the BMW R1150RT because of the power and ease in the turns.
    However, the R1200CLC does this with ease. I had previously ridden a cruiser and really enjoyed the seat position and comfort. Well, the R1200CLC has this as well. It is extremely comfortable on long rides and is a smooth ride. Add those features with the heated seats/grips, electronic cruise control, and a CD player and I have the “Ultimate riding machine”.
    If I could buy any bike, I would buy a BMW R1200CLC.

  • Well after nine bikes and thirty years of riding, I ended up with a 2004 Harley Road Glide. Or should I say presently, with so many choices available it’s just too hard to put an end to it.

  • At 48 years old, on motorcycle number 12, I ended up with a Buell S3T Sport Touring bike. All the comforts of home, with half the weight.

  • I’m certainly getting near the end part at 67. I always like to experience different bikes and over the last ten years I’ve had an R1, 998, Hayabusa, SV650, ZZR1200, and Kawasaki W650. I don’t ride fast but I like bikes that have that certain potential.

    Looking forward I don’t have any urge left for the fast bikes. Lower displacement, light weight, and upright ergonomics are starting to creep on to my spec sheet. The SV650 seem like a bike that can be easily ridden into the golden years. I like the SV so much that I’m going to trade it for a DL 650 which is little more comfortable but retains all the good features of the SV.

  • Not sure i meet your criteria for a “mature” rider… i’ve been riding for 20 years. I’ve rented a wide variety of bikes, including the Aprilia Futura, BMW R1100S, BMW R1150RS, and Honda VFR800. But the only bike i’ve ever owned is the bike i fell in love with as a teenager and bought with the money i’d saved after three summers of working for $4.25 an hour… a 1985 Kawasaki Ninja 600. I bought it new for a bit over $3000, and it’s every bit as fun today as it was then. My riding style and protective gear have changed, but my bike hasn’t. I guess you could say i ended up right where i started!

  • I went from sportbike, in my teen years, to cruiser in my late 30’s, followed by another sportbike, ended up with a dual-sport, (early 40’s)
    Regards Roger p.s. I miss the sportbikes, but, i’m very happy with my KLX400.