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Which Bike? Comments and Questions on what is the best bike for YOU, for YOUR trip. Note that we believe that ANY bike will do, so please remember that it's all down to PERSONAL OPINION. Technical Questions for all brands go in their own forum.
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  #1  
Old 12 Feb 2013
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Talk some sense into me

OK, as some HUBBers might remember, last I settled on riding my 125ccm scooter. It has been a lot of fun and for the most part, I have been a happy rider.

However, there are two things which bugger me.
- the low topspeed (about 100 kmph) which means in Germany I have people tailgating me many times so that I REALLY have to watch my six.
- my chronic lack of play time (I am talking of four to five days in a row)which means I have to spend a lot of time just to get somewhere (again slow speed and not being able to travel on motorways). So a bigger MC seems to be the decision to make.

I thought about it and possible solutions were:
- ship the scooter ahead and ride the way home (or ride in a country and ship the scooter back)
- buy a MC trailer and haul the scooter into the desígnated AO, certainly a safe and comfortable way to get somewhere
- buy a cheap used Honda CB400N, which is reasonably suited to travel longer distances, light and unobtrusive
- buy a cheap Honda CB Sevenfifty which seems to be suited very well for touring, allows riding two-up and has a reputation of being almost bullet proof
- same goes for a Honda CX 500 very close to where I live

The thing is money will be scarce for me this year again, don´t ask me. So I´d rather spend money on trips than on a ride.

This said and done I am willing to spend about 500 to 1000 € on a ride, trailer, whatnot. I made a decision matrix and the CB 400N came out as alternative no. 1. That´s the rational part ... my emotions tell me to buy the most coolest and powerful ride I can get for my money ...

Please help me find my inner peace!!
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  #2  
Old 12 Feb 2013
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I would rule out the trailer, towing that any distance is going to cost you money it sounds like you can't afford. A cheap Japanese middleweight like the 400N would do the job, they have a classic status in the UK and are not so cheap any more neither is the the CX500 but have more character. The CB750 is a good bike but less km for your Euro so I would say the 400N if you can get a good one at the right price.
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  #3  
Old 13 Feb 2013
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I'd go the other way and say get the trailer (assuming you have a decent tow car). You can travel to your chosen area in comfort, have a play when you get there, and waft back with a CD on. Assuming the car isn't a gas guzzler, the cost in fuel wouldn't be all that much greater.

And you get to have a trailer! Very useful for recovering the bike after a local puncture/breakdown without involving expensive garages, and you will find you have lots of friends who want to borrow it.

I know it's not quite in the spirit of the long-distance motorcycle ride, but it's practical. Any bike you get for that kind of money is going to need some upkeep. If you're happy with and trust the scoot, this may be a solution.
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  #4  
Old 13 Feb 2013
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I may be approaching this at a different angle, but..
My trip last year was on a 50cc scooter, so a 125cc would be an upgrade!!!
I managed 2000km in 10 days.
I used mainly lanes and back roads, and avoided main roads and of course motorways..
I was amazed at all the stuff I had missed in previous trips on my "Big bike"

So my suggestion would be, stick with what you got and explore.
Rather than trying to get to a certain destination by a certain time.


Dog

My trip:
http://www.adventurebikerider.com/fo...in-france.html
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  #5  
Old 13 Feb 2013
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Hi Pete
I've done just about all of the options on your list in recent years and in the circumstances you've outlined I'd go for the Honda 400 or something similar. I've just come back from six days on the autobahn on a 125 (Elephant rally) and whilst it was entertaining to do it once I'm not sure I'd want to make a habit of it. Strangely it wasn't the trucks that were frightening, it was the 140mph BMWs that couldn't be bothered to move all the way out of my lane that really scared me.

I don't have a 400N but I do have a 400/4 and that's a great bike for solo travel in the sense that it's still relatively small and economical but just about quick enough (cruise at 70mph) to keep up with the traffic. My next trip will be on the 400. Strangely, the 750 isn't like that. Mine was an old skool single cam 750 which had none of the charm of the 400 and just felt agricultural by comparison. It was just big and heavy - and even heavier once it was loaded.
A CX500 could be a good choice as long as you don't mind the comments and you find one in decent condition. I had the 650 and it was a very relaxed touring bike that didn't wear you out with endless frantic revving.

Every time I taken bikes anywhere distant by trailer I've spent the car part plodding along slowly worrying whether the trailer is secure and not enough time on the bike to compensate. I'm not a great fan of that option. It's ok if you have to take a bike somewhere or the car is loaded up with family etc but for me it's not a best of both worlds option.
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  #6  
Old 13 Feb 2013
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My wifes bike is a CB400T (but I ride it most of the time) and it much better on the autobahn then a 125. When it is nice weather I sometimes ride it to work, a 140 km trip. 120 km/hour on the freeway is no problem.
I rather use this bike instead of my BMW to go to work because it is such a light and narrow bike and that is very usefull when there are traffic jams on the busy freeways around Amsterdam.


The CB400T in Amsterdam

If you look good, you can find them rather cheap because they are not considered real classics yet.
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My travelbike is a yellow BMW R1100GS
My wifes bike, that I use a lot, is a 1978 Honda CB400T
http://jkrijt.home.xs4all.nl/ (my personal homepage with trip reports)
http://www.krijtenburg.nl/HU_BoZ/ (The HU Motorcycle Travellers Community in my area)

Last edited by jkrijt; 13 Feb 2013 at 19:37.
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  #7  
Old 13 Feb 2013
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Just some thoughts

Quote:
Originally Posted by pete3 View Post
OK, as some HUBBers might remember, last I settled on riding my 125ccm scooter. It has been a lot of fun and for the most part, I have been a happy rider.

However, there are two things which bugger me.
- the low topspeed (about 100 kmph) which means in Germany I have people tailgating me many times so that I REALLY have to watch my six.
- my chronic lack of play time (I am talking of four to five days in a row)which means I have to spend a lot of time just to get somewhere (again slow speed and not being able to travel on motorways). So a bigger MC seems to be the decision to make.


The thing is money will be scarce for me this year again, don´t ask me. So I´d rather spend money on trips than on a ride.

!
Pete,
I've enjoyed your earlier posts with their slant on travelling slowly and seeing what is around you, close at hand - it's often been said in here about doing this and getting more enjoyment.
I assume you feel that you are running out of "space" near to hand and, so, need to explore further afield.
You certainly seem to be looking at Honda at present and I wonder why; maybe you have certain, specific bikes on offer?
Regarding them - the CX might be thought of as a classic nowadays, but they are an acquired taste in their styling and were not too favoured when they first came to the market, IIRC; could be a good buy now with not many left on the roads? Shaft drive also, IIRC.

As other posts, the CB400 might gain classic status; the prices for 400/4s here in the UK have certainly risen in recent years.
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  #8  
Old 14 Feb 2013
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So many thoughtful replies

Hi guys,

being in a bit of a rush these days I thought I´d just adress a reply or two before I have to sign out again.

Mark,
yup, the CB400N ticks most boxes! Actually I came to that model because they are still cheap to pick up in these parts. A friend owned one many years ago as his first bike. He told me that even though he owned high powered bikes after the CB400N, he did not get more fun out of them.

BlackDogZulu,
my car is especially geared towards travelling long distances, hauling plenty of luggage and towing trailers. Towing our tent trailer to the Med one tank gave me a range of about 1200 km and I drove between 100 and 130 kmph ... and yes, trailers are incredibly useful. I would feel a tad uneasy about leaving car and trailer without supervision but parking on a campground should do the trick?

StrayDog,
I totally dig your approach to riding, it is just my chronic lack of time. Dunno when I had 10 days for myself to play the last time, must have been more than 20 years. I could explore a lot here in southern Germany, or visit France, Switzerland or Austria. And I certainly will. However things like riding to Hungary, connect to the Eurasian steppe and ride back in 4 to 5 days is not an enjoyable option.

Got to run! I´ll be back ASAP.
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  #9  
Old 14 Feb 2013
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pete3 View Post
StrayDog,
I totally dig your approach to riding,.....
However things like riding to Hungary, connect to the Eurasian steppe and ride back in 4 to 5 days is not an enjoyable option.
Then yes I totally agree with you, ya got to look at more CC's.
Can't comment on the CB400, I've never owned one.
But I have owned a DR350, and done a bit of distance touring on it.
So the Cb400 does look like a good solution at a good price

Dog
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  #10  
Old 16 Feb 2013
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pete3 View Post
BlackDogZulu,
my car is especially geared towards travelling long distances, hauling plenty of luggage and towing trailers. Towing our tent trailer to the Med one tank gave me a range of about 1200 km and I drove between 100 and 130 kmph ... and yes, trailers are incredibly useful. I would feel a tad uneasy about leaving car and trailer without supervision but parking on a campground should do the trick?
My car is also great for long distance, and if I had a sub-250cc bike and a thousand boring miles to cover I would trail it every time. You're riding for fun, after all, and wasting most of your trip time on a motorway is wasting fun time

I don't even own a bike trailer (although thinking of getting one), but I have taken a small luggage trailer all over the UK and have occasionally had to leave it for a few days. Never a problem, as long as:

1. Leave it somewhere where someone will be able to keep an eye on it (hotel, campsite, manned car park, factory?), ask nicely, even offer a small payment if they will look after it for you. I have found hotels will sometimes do this if you have stayed the previous night there and perhaps are returning later.

2. Lock the trailer to the car's towhitch with a very big and obvious chain, and park the car so that the trailer is completely inaccessible, i.e. jam it into a corner with the car on the outside. Lock and secure the car, and if necessary/possible, disable it by removing something vital.

Most things are possible if you ask around.
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  #11  
Old 17 Feb 2013
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Hiya guys,
thank you again for your replies.

backofbeyond,
yup, the CB 400 would be a good ride. I also sent an email to the seller of a GS 500 E, we will see what comes out of that. The CX500 is not an option anymore, my aquaintance backed out. Like you I don´t like cagers who just do not know what they are doing, plenty of them in these parts.

jkrijt,
I love that classic ride of yours! Sweet! Thank you for your encouraging words.

Dave,
first of all I am glad that you enjoy my antics! I´ll be riding my scooter wherever and whenever possible but yes, I want to have the option to travel a greater distance in shorter time. That basically means being able to ride motorways on a safe speed. I have no intention to ride fast, it is about not coming to stops like it happens if you use national roads or country roads.
I am looking at Honda because I know both models and know they can be trusted. The Suzuki GS 500 seems to be a decent option, too, as well as the Honda CB 500.
Maybe I also should look into equipping myself with a decent GPS unit, I sure would cut down my riding time (proper planning required though - and that´s not what I want to do when being out and about).

StrayDog,
there is this CB400 for € 399 in running condition .... if it failed me, I just could remove the license plate and leave it at the roadside with the key sticking .... just thinking loud ...

BlackDogZulu,
thank you for your hints. A bike trailer would be cool, I could haul a second bike ....


I hate it when there are many good solutions to choose from!
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  #12  
Old 21 Feb 2013
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I did it

Pulled the trigger on a Suzuki 500 E ... clean 1994 model with 16000 km on the odometer. The colour is very much nineties though, violet-metallic with pink decoration stripes and white rims. Now where did I leave my eye-bleach?
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  #13  
Old 21 May 2013
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Update

First rides were as if I never ever had ridden a motorcycle. Had to get used to the twin engine and the fact that she likes being ridden at rpms from 4000 up. Handling was cr*p and I wobbled through the twisties like a complete idiot. Thought of selling the bike.

So I changed the stubby sportsbike handlebars to superbike handlebars, including a longer Stahlflex brake line. Bought the kit from Gimbel for € 129.
** LSL * Superbike Lenker Umbau - Kit SUZUKI GS 500-E * | eBay

Just took her for a spin. What a difference! Handling improved by at least a factor of 100. Riding is quite fun now. I think this is the beginning of a great friendship.

At 45 hp the bike has more power than I need, but the extra acceleration sure is fun. As far as protection against the elements is concerned I am definately spoiled by my scooter, though, not to mention how much more agile the scoot is.
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  #14  
Old 21 May 2013
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just in case you didn't see this thread

http://www.horizonsunlimited.com/hub...erlander-66506
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Old 22 May 2013
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Thanks Dave!

I blame it all on Chris ...
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