I've enjoyed climbing the cc ladder slowly, but if your right hand is restrained enough and you find a bargain, don't deny yourself. I'd argue 600/750 might be more fun or usable but understand wanting to scratch that litre itch.
Went to my local Honda showroom today, saw an old NSX and XR650R so consider that a sign. Didn't have much in stock apart from a CRF300L rally which I couldn't sit on as it was sold.
Again, totally agree with Jung's advice but most riders who keep at it end up happy with the 600 supersport class. The modern litre bikes are insane for the road.
It's a really tough one for sure, and a little frustrating to find myself doing that silver bullet search thing when I could be quite satisfied with what I've got. I don't like to be chasing numbers, or saying "I need xxx bhp and this that the other".
I'm waiting on a change of circumstances to get the car driving license sorted, and when that happens I'll have a different kettle of fish to contend with. However that also means that some journeys will be possible on four wheels.
As it stands, the XJ is great, and can successfully survive motorway journeys but it is exhausting. Equally, I had great fun throwing it around the A-roads to/from Cheddar and through the Gorge, but when it came to that car in front, I had to really focus to pick my moments overtaking. It's apparently 60hp, 50hp at the back wheel... I don't need to triple that number. For most situations the XJ is ideal, I'd just like more wind protection and more squirt.
Rationally, if money weren't an issue then a Super Tenere or something would be ideal. Or a GS. Or even a V-Strom. Something big, upright, 2-uppable and long tour worthy, comfortable at speed with power in reserve whilst still being suitable for town duties and traffic.
Emotionally, as soon as I saw the old GPX at my mechanics I was in love.
Realistically I'd like something half-faired, ideally under 100hp, pillion potential but not essential, longer service intervals, not terrifying to ride if it rains
Mile munching comfort, but not a Goldwing
Power to accelerate out of trouble, but not light up the wheel every junction
Not terrible weight/balance (Tigers need not apply)
On the affordable end of fuel economy, but only just
Widowmaker, with 80's styling.
Thanks, I’m favouring swapping the complete engine since the tech said with the noise it’s making it could be more than just an head gasket. Not sure if this is true - it didn’t sound great but I don’t know if a head gasket failure would make it sound so bad but I guess it’s just guesswork till you open it up?
I assume an engine swap (with help) would be doable? I do have torque wrenches, etc
Thanks again for advice
Tough one mate - It might just be a head gasket but it's probable that overheating led to the head gasket failure. It would be very unusual for one to go spontaneously at that age / mileage. If it was severe enough that the pipe is full of water, it can bend rods or do all sorts of nasties. Not good that it's been sat around Coparts for months most likely with coolant in the engine either.
If you've got time and space, whipping the engine out is easy enough. After that, definitely worth paying someone to strip it to check before buying another one. You might be lucky and if not, it's only a couple of hundred to find out.
I had a search like that a few years ago and ended up with an R1150RS. Really enjoyed it before it got lifted. The 1150 engine had some low speed fueling issues that made it a bit less fun to ride at 2k rpm around town but that could be mitigated by adding a cheap bit of electronics to the air sensor.
It's one of the few bikes I've enjoyed pretty equally on A roads and motorways. Easily carries 2 people. Also not that much love for it so prices are reasonable. It's still quite a big bike though, rolling it backwards into parking spaces you need to be cautious.
Original VFR800 might suit you too.
Hmm yea. I think like @jambon , I want to climb the ladder ‘slowly’… I was disciplined going GN125 to DR350 with road use, 6 months later buying the XJ600, and now 6 months later wanting bigger. I had planned to wait until the spring, surviving a winter on the XJ - so unless a deal is thrown at me* then I will spend all winter crying after bigger bikes.
Maybe the 1150 is too big. The VFR800 sounds better. There was also an older RF900 at the mechanics which caught my eye. I can’t believe that I’m being swayed by graphics and styling so much.
Ideally whatever bike needs to weigh similar to the XJ, and take the same amount of shed space. I’m comfortable moving 200kg, so a couple extra wod be tolerable but I don’t have the real estate for something fully faired.
*the white GPX600R is actually gonna be for sale, the mechanic bill alone was £900, so the guy is unlikely to sell for peanuts. Also, defeats the purpose of upgrading and buying newer and more reliable. But oh man, it’s white and boxy-shaped.
If you are thinking of the RF - sit on it or get a test ride. I loved the look of them but my knees couldn’t cope with the cramped position. I’m 6 ft tall maybe someone shorted wouldn’t have any issues.
I always quite fancied a ZZR1400 / 1400GTR, sat on one at The bike show a few years back and was bitterly disappointed.
Similar with the new Africa Twin, seat is so narrow and uncomfortable (maybe fine if you are sit/ standing racing across a desert, but as a tarmac miler, no thanks)
Thanks again, good advice. I'm probably kidding myself thinking its only the head gasket that needs replacing. I might just fit an engine and put it down to a lesson learnt
I find riding a naked bike keeps me honest, although I’m not attempting big miles on it.
165bhp makes 0-100 ridiculous but I hit a higher top speed on my old faired 600.
Yea I don’t feel that I am ready for over 100bhp. It’s just the tradeoff in value that if a good condition reliable litre bike comes up for less than a (super-sport) 600-800, then I’d just have to.
I can appreciate what you’re saying though. The occasions I’m forced to ride them, a steady 80 on the motorway the XJ is tolerable, and it will climb (slowly) to 90-100 when I need to overtake, but on the M4 it’s so windy that I feel exhausted by one junction. Some wind protection more than the little Puig ‘mini’ touring screen would be nice.
But I do appreciate that it will take away so much of the feedback that I’ll be rolling faster easier without knowing it.
*also, it’s only a maybe that the GPX owner will sell it. I’ve yet to meet and talk to him. Maybe he wants collector money for it, or maybe he just wants to enjoy it for himself.
Hmm. The more I think about it, I am set on selling/swapping the XJ.
It took me a while to arrive at a riding position / fairing style that suits the riding I do. Once I got there it has helped guide me on what bikes I might get the best from. I think you need to try a few styles before you know what you want. I'm always looking at bikes I have no real need for just because I love bikes!
Sounds like space would be an issue even with the VFR. Did I mention this :-
or this just down the road from me which I'm actively avoiding going to see :-
Not sure if these are the kind of budget you're looking at though.
Whenever I start looking a bikes on ebay I'm happy I don't have a way to pick them up in my van. I would buy so many bikes.
Definitely above my current budget. Look amazing, but I can’t have nice things.
That may be why I liked the GPX600R so much, it looks to be a little bit more power with a little bit of wind protection, without any massive gain in size over the XJ. It’s also on the lower end of value and desirability.
Bulbous sports tourers are just too big for my storage solution, which really limits my options.
Someone is already asking me for photos and a price for the XJ. I’ll probably regret selling it in some way or other.
This too! I have friends with vans and some owe me favours. Fortunately I’m also incredibly poor!
If money's tight then stick with the bike you know. There is a VFR on the bay that's got 1 bid of £500 at the moment. It's fallen over at some point but looks decent otherwise. Love how the first word in the title is Red, like that's the best feature!
On the subject of how quickly you move up in cc. I think a lot depends on the kind of riding you're doing. If you're suddenly doing a few motorway journeys a week then going from 600 to 1200 is not such a big deal. If it's the same routes and you want a bit more comfort and speed then adding 300cc's and a screen is a reasonable step.
Even an nose cone adds complication to servicing though and insurance, fuel, tyre costs will likely all increase too.
I always preferred the vfr 750 to the 800, we had a few of each at work. The 800s felt smaller to me and I was very picky about my position, ie,used to hate tank bags on the vfrs so never got on with the 800
eBay seems to have some very tidy 750s for not much cash.
Good point, it was the 750's I looked at with awe when I had a 400 Honda.
Then of course it always escalates to this :-
I had a cbr400 aero, it was like the proverbial gorilla on a roller-skate. Great little bike - do you recall Bat motorcycles for jap imports bikes?
Fortunately there are no NR750s on eBay!
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