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Epyon
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« on: April 17, 2020, 02:52:29 pm »

How do you folks go about this?  I have a list of machines that I'd like to get for my touring entertainment but I'm not sure if some just plain shouldn't be on the list at all.  I used to have an FJR and thought that it was perfect for touring and back roads riding (could be better at that but I had no problems enjoying myself on the street), but its heft and girth wasn't optimal for a 29 inch inseam.  I never dropped it or anything but it was more of an annoyance.  

Forever people have ridden much less substantial machines to tour all over the country.  I used to also have a VFR800 and that didn't really seem to me like my first choice to ride to Arizona from Minnesota for example.  But people have ridden VFR's all over the place.  I see folks here touring on Speed Triples and Tuono's too.  I guess those folks are either more hardy than I am or my perception of what I need for tours is not accurate.

Do you all just go ride bikes and see what turns your crank, get it and start adjusting parts that bother you as you ride it more and more?  I would hate to get something then later realize it totally is not sweet for riding distance.  My intended use is to do some longer trips, R2E and do some Iron Butt rides.  I'm in MN and want to go to AZ, CO, and NY.  I also have a standing agreement with a buddy in CA to ride up to Alaska.  I don't care so much about seeing the sites, I want to eat and back roads ride.  I'd like OEM luggage and Cruise control.

My list is as follows.  I'm not looking for bike suggestions at the moment.  I'm sure your Tracer GT is awesome, I just don't want one.
R1200GS/GSA
R1200RS
R1200RT
VFR1200F
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« Reply #1 on: April 17, 2020, 06:53:44 pm »

Based on your motorcycles listed you don't seem to be a "beginner"!

Anyway, you have some really good questions. I am one of the few that can ride long distances and not be the worse for it. In motorcycles I want long range. If I can't go 200 miles without sweating and getting nervous I wonder why! My riding position has to be comfortable enough to go 500 to 800 miles if need be without having to make an appointment at the doctor's office. I need to be able to pack clothes to change into, toiletries, tent, sleeping "blanket", pad, "kitchen" stuff(we usually eat at a restaurant once a day only) and related stuff for camping and keeping warm/dry. Then, if I am on a chain driven bike it has to have a centerstand. And I want power enough to get around Lookie Lous in the mountains. Bingo.

Long range
Riding position
Packing space
Performance
Lack of maintenance/chain back tire accessible.

I really love the FJR with my 30" inseam. But any bike fitting the above will do.                                    Bigok
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« Reply #2 on: April 17, 2020, 08:15:43 pm »


How do you folks go about this?  

Do you all just go ride bikes and see what turns your crank, get it and start adjusting parts that bother you as you ride it more and more?  I would hate to get something then later realize it totally is not sweet for riding distance.


I'm anal -- I get ridiculous amounts of info -- put together spreadsheets, test ride everything -- and figure no matter what I buy, I won't be happy with it straight out the box.  In the end that makes the decision easy -- If you're not looking for or expecting perfection and instead just want good enough to start with.  

So I might end up buying the least comfortable bike if I figure it can be "fixed" for a reasonable price.  My bikes also grow on me -- I never fall in love with it immediately -- I fall in love with the memories as I ride the bike more.    
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« Reply #3 on: April 19, 2020, 08:17:23 pm »

You can do some research and narrow the list down.  And you can ask opinions, but that isn't enough till you actually sit on the bike and ride it down the road.  Long story follows.  If you have anything better to do, and at this time I doubt you do, you can skip all the rest.  Bigsmile

When I started riding again after a 20+ year hiatus, I started on a Kymco scooter.  The new Xciting model was coming out and I thought it would be perfect.  Full fairing, etc.  Seat height was about the same as my Kymco Bet&Win 250.  So I thought all was well...till I sat on it.  Sure the seat height was technically the same as my Bet&Win...but the seat was several inches wider.  I couldn't get my toes to touch the ground.  I've got a 28-29 inch inseam too.  I came away from that experience realizing that all the statistics you can read up on, will take you only so far.

That was at the beginning of my commuting to work riding back in 2006.  I moved up to a Burgman 400 and appreciated a few things about it that carry over onto any long distance riding.  A full fairing is sweet.  It's amazing how tiring it can be to have the wind hitting you all day.  And the rain.  And the wind.  Sure you say you won't ride in the rain...but you'll be caught in it at some point.  The belt drive on the bike was nice too.  I'd come home after a 34 mile commute in the rain, get off the bike and go inside.  No chain to mess with.  And the next morning, I'd take off without any muss or fuss.

I moved to a Honda NT700V (Deauville) after that.  Much bigger bike.  Great for commuting.  Great for touring as well.  Instead of a belt drive, it was a shaftie.  The full fairing was a different design, but it kept the wind, cold and rain off me.  It had built-in storage that was nice.  I thought it would transition nicely for my post-retirement ride.  If you can find a bike that is great for commuting...and great for long 10+ hour day trips...it'll do multi-day commuting just fine.

Then on a nice spring day, I had a dental appointment that finished up in the early afternoon.  My way home, just happened to take me by the local dealer who had two bikes that were on my short list for replacing the NT700V, if that ever came around.  The Yamaha FJ-09 and the BMW F800GT.  Both were under 500 lbs.  Both had engines less than 1000ccs.  I've never quite figured out why I need an engine as large as my VW Beetle had to go down the road on two wheels.

The Yamaha had glowing reviews.  I had permission to take it out for as long as I wanted.  I took it around the block and couldn't wait to get it parked.  I hated it.  So much for what other people can tell you about what bike to get.  Bigsmile  The throttle was snatchy.  It was either on or off, and the engine was very responsive.  So "on" was really on.  And the clutch's friction zone was minuscule.  I had visions of fighting the bike in Seattle's rush hour traffic that was often stop-n-go for sometimes miles.  It would be absolutely horrible.  Could I learn to control it?  Sure...but why?

So I asked to take the BMW F800GT out.  Now the reviews all said things like the vibration in the handlebars would put your hands to sleep.  And the engine heat would give you second degree burns on the inside of your thighs.  I didn't have high expectations for the bike.  But I got on the bike, and immediately felt at home.  The size was perfect for me.  As I took it out on the road, I was amazed.  Vibration?  None!  This bike was smoooooth.  What gives?  I took it towards the freeway and headed up a hill that normally needed a downshift and was pleasantly surprised at the torque and how it didn't need it.  I was liking this bike!  Okay, so where's the vibration?  I'm not feeling it at all.  

I got on the freeway and was moving along at @60 mph in 6th gear and felt no vibration at all.  Okay, let's try downshifting then.  5th gear...nothing.  4th gear...nothing.  3rd gear...I think I might've been feeling something, but nothing to write home about at all.  It was in either 2nd or 1st gear at 60 mph that I felt vibration that was putting my hand to sleep.  But who rides around at 60 mph in 1st or 2nd gear when you have 6 to chose from?  No one.

I then noticed that the bike wasn't getting buffeted by the trucks at all.  My NT700V had excellent wind management, but I knew that I would've been experiencing some minor buffeting on that bike.  There was none on the F800GT.

I rode the bike around for about two and a half hours that afternoon, getting more and more impressed with it.  So much for what other people said about the bike.  It was supposedly underpowered, vibrated like crazy and would scorch your legs.  I found none of that.  

Which is why, you can ask all you want on forums about what bike to get...but it is nothing like actually getting on a bike and forming your own opinion.  If I had paid attention to what other people said, especially the magazine reviewers, I'd never have even looked at the F800GT.


FWIW, I ended up buying a used F800GT and highly advise you to do the same...for whatever bike you get.  Buy used.  Mine had about 2000 miles on it and was owned by a retired cardiologist.  He added about $3000 of accessories to make it suitable for touring.  And then he sold it to me for under the Kelley Blue Book.  If you buy new, you'll pay thousands more and get nothing for it...and then have to add thousands of $$$ in accessories too.

I've taken my F800GT across every state west of the Continental Divide, except New Mexico.  It's also been through Alberta and British Columbia.  I've never wished for another bike in all that time.  On my post-retirement ride, I went with a fellow on a Goldwing.  He complained before I did about the cross winds we hit one day, I didn't.  I thought the winds would've ripped my helmet off my head if I hadn't strapped it on, but the bike did great.  We'd get to the motel at the end of the day, and he'd collapse in bed.  I would drop my bags off and go exploring and hiking.  (We went through Utah's five national parks.)

Maintenance has been minimal.  I've replaced the tires a few times in 51,000 miles.  Brakes, and brake fluid.  The normal stuff.  You're supposed to change the drive belt at 24,000 miles, but I still have the original on and it looks great.  With no chain, I wasn't spending time in motel parking lots cleaning the chain off and lubing it.  Like when I was commuting, I just parked it.

Last part of the story.  I think people who say the bike is underpowered don't realize how good a job the bike does at handling speed.  Shortly after I bought it, I went across the ferry to the Olympic Peninsula to ride up Hurricane Ridge.  I met up with a guy on a Ducati and we decided to stick together for awhile.  We were going through Sequim, a town known for its speed traps.  I saw two LEOs on the right and looked down at my speedometer.  I figured I was doing between 60-65 in a 55 mph zone.  I was doing 90 and had no idea.  Luckily, I think they were probably talking and I didn't earn a performance award.  I rode around with some very fast riders on bikes that put about 150+ hp at the rear wheel last summer.  I had no problems keeping up with them.  All it took was exploring the upper half of the tach.  The bike will do 139 mph per the Michigan State Police.  It's not underpowered.  Wink

Good luck on your research.  I hope this helped.

Chris
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« Reply #4 on: April 19, 2020, 09:50:39 pm »

You have made some good points, Daboo. Epyon will gain from your insight. The only thing I will gripe about is horsepower. Because you have it doesn't mean you need to use it all but need it and not have it is BIG problem. It is nice to cruise around in 5th or 6th gear and be lazy. Wearing your left shoe out like a tap dancer ain't my style.
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« Reply #5 on: April 19, 2020, 11:24:28 pm »


You have made some good points, Daboo. Epyon will gain from your insight. The only thing I will gripe about is horsepower. Because you have it doesn't mean you need to use it all but need it and not have it is BIG problem. It is nice to cruise around in 5th or 6th gear and be lazy. Wearing your left shoe out like a tap dancer ain't my style.

You have a good point.  But at what point is enough, enough?  If 90 hp hp isn't enough, is 160 hp enough?  Or 250 hp?  Or 400 hp?  At some point, the horsepower is only good for the marketing folks --- and for you to explain why you dumped an obscene amount of money on a bike that you can't use it with.  But it makes for bragging rights.

I rode with some riders on Kawasaki C14s from British Columbia last June who pass through Washington and head for the back roads of Central Oregon and Northern California.  Roads with little traffic and no LEOs.  Speed limit?  That was like the "Pirate's Code".  More of a suggestion than at rule.  It took me a bit to get used to them.  Then finally I realized there was no real scenery here to gaze at.  Just forest lined roads.  And with no traffic, I decided to see if I could keep up.

Riding like normal, it wasn't.  But once I got above 5000 rpms, the bike was totally different.  I had no problems keeping up with them.  BTW, these weren't stock C14s.  They had modified them to put out at least 150-160 hp at the rear wheel.

Then I finished up the year riding with some Microsoft riders on Ducati Multistradas.  Again, we were riding on back roads, and these two guys liked to ride fast.  I didn't have any problems keeping up, even those bikes were the kind you're talking about.  Both groups rode faster than I've even seen anyone ride before on open roads.  

But what I learned from riding with both groups is you can have a lot of horsepower and the capability to go faster...but there's a limit to how fast any sane person will ride in either a twisty section of road, or even on a straight road.

And what is probably more important is to have better rideability for day to day riding.

Chris

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« Reply #6 on: April 20, 2020, 06:46:32 am »

I realize that I'm probably the only one on this bigger is better site with this opinion, but I believe that about 50 hp is enough.
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« Reply #7 on: April 20, 2020, 09:16:03 am »

Yamama FJR 1300. Unless you are focused on off road or bar hopping, it is the best multi-tool around.
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« Reply #8 on: April 20, 2020, 01:15:34 pm »


Yamama FJR 1300. Unless you are focused on off road or bar hopping, it is the best multi-tool around.


YES!!!

I miswrote about horsepower. A big engine that is powerful has torque. Easy riding, relaxed cruising, better gas mileage than expected, easy passing is all included. As epyon has written when it comes to "racing" engine size will take a back seat to many other factors. After all, one can only use so much power.

But, again, I'd rather have it and not need it than need it and not have it.                              Bigok



Oh, and my FJR1300 gets 50 mpg. My Bandit 1250 has gotten 56 mpg!!!!!!!!
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« Reply #9 on: April 20, 2020, 04:01:57 pm »


My intended use is to do some longer trips, R2E and do some Iron Butt rides.  I'm in MN and want to go to AZ, CO, and NY.  I also have a standing agreement with a buddy in CA to ride up to Alaska.  I don't care so much about seeing the sites, I want to eat and back roads ride.  I'd like OEM luggage and Cruise control.

It really does sound like you want a Tracer GT, even though you said you don't.  Razz

What about the Moto Guzzi V85TT? It seems to tick most of your boxes, although I don't know how well it works for shorter inseams.

There is also the new BMW F900XR, although it seems to be just a Tracer with less power and a higher price tag.

From the list you provided, it's hard to make a specific recommendation. BMW dealers almost always have demo units, so the best thing would be to test ride each model and see which one you like best.
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« Reply #10 on: April 20, 2020, 08:44:18 pm »

We're lucky to be in an age where there are so few actually LOUSY bikes,    some are better than others,  but the biggest difference is about what makes you feel good.

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« Reply #11 on: April 21, 2020, 08:02:18 am »

Don’t have much to add, but I will reinforce two ideas...

.you’ve got to personally check a bike out, don’t rely on others opinions alone

.buy USED.....you can save THOUSANDS of dollars by doing that.  The ONLY exception is if you really really want a certain bike that is a brand new model and have to have it NOW.


And if you buy it right, and then find out you don’t really like the bike, you have a much better chance of recouping your money with a used bike purchase.  You’ll never get your money back on a new bike.  
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« Reply #12 on: April 23, 2020, 10:22:59 pm »

Well thank you everyone for your input so far.  Here is the update.  I have a good relationship with my local BMW dealership so I was able to take out a 1250RT for a day.  Now I'm not looking to spend 24k on a bike but I wanted to see what the RT was all about.  I did some city roads, a good bit of highway and a twisty road near by.  All in all about 80 miles or so.  It was simply amazing!  Rode like a dream.  I played with all the settings and really like how it just floats down the highway.  It was so good it almost was unsettling which sounds odd I know.  I'm so used to street bikes and I ride a naked it was such a massive change for me.  2 complaints about it besides the bill.  It still a pretty heavy beast so wasn't super to my liking but also expected, Par for the course.  The second thing is the Telelever front end was so vague that I didn't really enjoy it in the twisties.  I'm pretty sure I could get used to it but for 24k I'd have to say I shouldn't have to.  This may have contributed to my unsettled feeling about the bike hehe.  Outside of those two things WOW it was amazing.  I literally told my buddes if you were going to tell me to ride it anywhere, I'd be gone before you finished your sentence.

The following day I swapped for a 1250GSA.  I was pretty interested in this, I thought for sure I would like it a lot and have been planning to get one.  I took the bike on exactly the same route, the weather was largely the same also which helped.  The weather protection was not as good as I was hoping.  No mater what I did with the windscreen the air flow didn't change at all.  The ride was pretty good, not as Cadillac like as the RT.  Not entirely surprising considering what the GS is intended to do.  I did play with the seat in every position which I really appreciated teamed up with the low suspension and low seat.  I had to come home twice to add more layers to what I was wearing and to be honest I didn't even finish the route that I had planned out.  the Bars were too high and It just felt too much like I was riding a naked bike.  Also, the front suspension did the same thing to me as the RT.  I appreciated all the gizmo's on both bikes, especially the Cruise.  

So I have to say I'd not have a GSA or GS.  I just don't think I'm an ADV type bike guy.

This weekend I will have a 1250RS for a day.  I have a soft spot for the sport type bikes.  As I think I said earlier I know that plenty of people ride things like this all the time for distance.  I also feel like the telescopic forks are going to make me happier.  If I can get the thing closer to the RT for wind protection I'll just need to fine tune my gear selection.  Not the end of the world, who doesn't want more better gear?

Tracer GT issues I have are ADV type bike and I think it looks like a fish.  Yamaha's current design language just doesn't do it for me.
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« Reply #13 on: April 24, 2020, 12:10:29 pm »


This weekend I will have a 1250RS for a day.  I have a soft spot for the sport type bikes.  

I'll be interested to hear you comparison of the 1250RS and 1250RT. These are the only two BMWs I would consider buying right now.

I'm not planning to replace my FJ-09 any time soon, but if I had to I would consider these two bikes. I love the light weight of the FJ-09/Tracer, but weather protection is lacking. The type of riding I'm doing these days is more long distance touring. The RT seems like a bike that would work better for me, but the RS is the one I would actually get excited about.
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« Reply #14 on: April 24, 2020, 12:43:45 pm »


The RT seems like a bike that would work better for me, but the RS is the one I would actually get excited about.


This is exactly my problem.  The RT is interesting but the RS is exciting!!!!  I'm not fooling myself into thinking that the wind protection of the RS is going to fold a candle to the RT.  But if I enjoy the bike more that will really set it ahead.  Just need to get some heated gear if that becomes the case.  The unfortunate part being luggage is sold serperate.  I think one could potentially get cases, racks and top case with mount for the cost of the BMW bags alone...
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« Reply #15 on: April 24, 2020, 03:35:04 pm »




This is exactly my problem.  The RT is interesting but the RS is exciting!!!!  I'm not fooling myself into thinking that the wind protection of the RS is going to fold a candle to the RT.  But if I enjoy the bike more that will really set it ahead.  Just need to get some heated gear if that becomes the case.  The unfortunate part being luggage is sold serperate.  I think one could potentially get cases, racks and top case with mount for the cost of the BMW bags alone...

The thing I'd be concerned about is the riding position. According to cycle-ergo.com, for my height and inseam these are the numbers:

2014 R1200RT (should be similar to 2020)
Forward lean - 0
Knee angle - 79
Hip angle - 86

2015 R1200RS (should be similar to 2020)
Forward lean - 15
Knee angle - 76
Hip angle - 73

I also plugged in numbers for the Ninja 1000SX, and they are very similar to the R1200RS. When I test sat a Ninja 1000 I felt it was okay, but definitely sportier and more compact than my FJ-09 which is almost identical to the R1200RT. 20 years ago the sporty lean and crouch was fine, I did some seriously long days on a Triumph TT600. Now I think I'm too old for that as a primary ride.
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« Reply #16 on: April 24, 2020, 09:10:09 pm »




This is exactly my problem.  The RT is interesting but the RS is exciting!!!!  I'm not fooling myself into thinking that the wind protection of the RS is going to fold a candle to the RT.  But if I enjoy the bike more that will really set it ahead.  Just need to get some heated gear if that becomes the case.  The unfortunate part being luggage is sold serperate.  I think one could potentially get cases, racks and top case with mount for the cost of the BMW bags alone...


The OEM bags are expensive. I ordered mine from Europe and even with shipping saved hundreds. Keep in mind that another 19% VAT is removed from the price because you're in the US. These guys were also very responsive to to email questions. Just in case you're interested.

https://www.bmw-motorrad-bohling.com/motorcycle-luggage/r-1250-rs.html
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« Reply #17 on: April 24, 2020, 10:17:48 pm »




The OEM bags are expensive. I ordered mine from Europe and even with shipping saved hundreds. Keep in mind that another 19% VAT is removed from the price because you're in the US. These guys were also very responsive to to email questions. Just in case you're interested.

https://www.bmw-motorrad-bohling.com/motorcycle-luggage/r-1250-rs.html


Great looking out thank you for sharing this!!!
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« Reply #18 on: April 24, 2020, 10:27:17 pm »



The thing I'd be concerned about is the riding position. According to cycle-ergo.com, for my height and inseam these are the numbers:

2014 R1200RT (should be similar to 2020)
Forward lean - 0
Knee angle - 79
Hip angle - 86

2015 R1200RS (should be similar to 2020)
Forward lean - 15
Knee angle - 76
Hip angle - 73

I also plugged in numbers for the Ninja 1000SX, and they are very similar to the R1200RS. When I test sat a Ninja 1000 I felt it was okay, but definitely sportier and more compact than my FJ-09 which is almost identical to the R1200RT. 20 years ago the sporty lean and crouch was fine, I did some seriously long days on a Triumph TT600. Now I think I'm too old for that as a primary ride.


I'm prepared for the seating to be not TOTALLY ideal for me at 5'7" 29-30 inseam on the RS in comparison to the RT.  I'm giving up $4,000 to the RT in touring specialization.  I did the numbers again on the RS and they are pretty close to what you have but the hips and knees are in the 80's for me.  With a helibar dealio in there the forward lean is 11 degrees.  I also usually sit closer to the tank so that is in my favor.  I think that if I find the RS to be TOO much sport bike I may have have to go back to an FJR.  Not then end of the world really, just need to find one that has a better cared for transmission hopefully.  With the records the previous owner of my now gone FJR had I can't believe that anything was wrong with it at all!!!!  I'm lucky still be a pretty limber and bendy bloke, hoping to stay that way.  That is if I can ever get back to the damn gym, stupid Corona PITA.
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Epyon
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Motorcycles: ‘09 Street Triple R, ‘10 S1000RR
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« Reply #19 on: April 27, 2020, 06:26:26 pm »

Alrighty then.  I have done about 100 miles of mixed roads with the RS.  I definitely prefer the telescopic forks to the Paralever front end.  I was way more comfortable in the twisties on it.  Having ridden the same road on all three set ups really highlighted the difference for me.  Of course everyone likes what they like but for me its traditional forks please.  Speaking of suspension, the ride on the RS is certainly more sporty than the RT.  It was great, I did a bunch of riding in both Road and Dynamic mode.  I didn't really feel a huge difference in the modes on the RS.  The differences on were much more apparent on the RT.  With the RS after I tried some of both I just left it in Road and was happy in all situations.  I left the auto leveling in auto mode.

The engine was fantastic.  Lots of good power, differnet vibrations than I'm used to on a triple and an I4.  Not a bad thing just something to get used to.  Quite often I didn't even down shift to second for some turns and just let it rip in third.  No need to down shift on the highway either.  One thing of note about the RT.  The bikes seemed more happy to me in 5th on the highway.  It wasn't bad in 6th but i got the impression it was happier in 5th.  That may go back to the whole different vibes comment.

Ergo's were perfectly acceptable.  I never even thought about my hip and knee angle the whole time.  The longer I rode the bike the more I became accustomed to the upper body position.  At first I thought "Hmm ya know the Helibars would be nice".  Looking at cycle-ergo, for me with the Helibars basically gets me to stock FJR (gen 2) ergos.  On the second day I began to think that maybe I wouldn't even need the Helibars....  Being a Honda guy at heart riding this around made me being to wonder how a VFR1200 would be.  Looking at cycle-ergo again I don't think it would as comfortable.  The seat was fine.  Not sure how good it would be over distance.  I'd think it would work out pretty well.  It wasn't as good as the RT of course but I didn't really expect it to be.

Weather protection.  The bike has the standard screen in the low position (on the mounting bracket for the screen there are two locations to bolt the screen to).  With the screen adjusted to the low position I felt like the airflow was great for me.  The noise was relatively low and my chest was not getting buffeted.  My head didn't get blown around but it was in the wind for sure.  Sliding up to higher position did buffet the head more and it was louder for sure, but not unbearable.  It's hard to explain but there was definitely a difference between the two settings.  Unlike the GSA which I could tell no difference at any position with that screen.

Any other info/opinion requests feel free to ask!!!!!

So where does this leave me?  The RT is THE touring bike, but that Paralever front end doesn't make me happy.  The GSA can do it all but just didn't do it all right for me, I'm not the adv seating position guy and again Paralever...  The RS certainly has the DNA of both machines and it a totally acceptable bike for all occasions, with a bigger nod to normal roads (not highway work).  And here is where my problem beings.  I loved my FJR (just not the weak transmission) it did everything I asked of it and was very comfortable.  My intent is to Sport Tour and do some long trips which will require highway time.  FJR's are so easy to come by for cheap, parts and farkles are all over the place and I know that it's done everything I asked of it in the past.  The few imperfections it has are forgivable with respect to how many positives it has.

I think the FJR may be the total package, for me......
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