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View Full Version : Which touring bike? Honda, Kawasaki, BMW, Other?


LTL BLVD MAN
05-30-2009, 09:34 PM
Okay, so I have a 2005 Suzuki Boulevard C50 that I have rode for 5 years and I love it. But, the wife is not real comfy on it and I need something bigger. I am short (only 5'5") and I like to keep my feet on the ground which is a problem.

I am currently trying to figure out what to buy and any suggestions will be appreciated.

What I am looking at is the Goldwing, the Kawasaki Voyager 1700, and the BMW K 1200. This is the style of bike that I am looking into. I would like to ride some of thiese bikes. If anyone know's of any for sale that I could ride please let me know. Dealers are not to keen on letting you ride with out basically purchasing first and I am not wanting to do that till I am sure what I want.

Any suggestions of other bikes like this that I should look at would be appreciated. As well as advice on this and the issue of being so short and these bikes being fairly tall for me.

I am in Cleburne area, Johnson County, South of Dallas/Fort Worth Area

brown
05-30-2009, 09:38 PM
I ride a HD Road King.

I have a friend of mine that rides a HD Heritage Softail, which appears to be 1.5 - 2" lower in seat height. He is short in stature and it fits him great. Good touring bike.

LTL BLVD MAN
05-30-2009, 10:36 PM
I have checked into the HD Electra Glide a little. I may go to a dealer tomorrow and look at some. Pretty expensive though. Any info on these? Are they as smooth and comfortable as the Goldwing?

bushwhacker
05-30-2009, 10:42 PM
I agree with brown.

At 5'5" the best touring bikes are going to be cruisers.

I would look at the Stratoliner, the Road King or the Road Glide (I like the Road Glide because it has a frame mounted fairing), Maybe even the new Rocket III tourer.

Here is an article -

http://www.motorcyclistonline.com/escape/motorcycles/123_0304_ultimate_touring_cruisers/index.html

JimNtexas
05-30-2009, 11:35 PM
The BMW F800ST and R1200RT all come in optional low frame versions. Pricey, but good for us shorties.

h2000fb
05-30-2009, 11:43 PM
With your height, the Harley Ultra Classic, maybe the Wing. Both will make the wife comfy with enough packing space for a pleasurable trip. Great bike. Lots of miles on a 2001 Ultra and it was great. No fatigue - ever.

The Wing is a little higher. The K1200LT a lot higher.

All three have great protection and comfort for both of you. If she can't get comfy on those, it's just not possible on a bike.

xcaliber
05-31-2009, 10:11 AM
I understand that Al Lamb Honda in Dallas has some Demo Wings that you can ride

Hemibee
05-31-2009, 10:36 AM
Stop in at a Harley dealer or two and ride what ever you want, no strings attached. Most Harley's should do what you want.


Don't try one of the '09 Ultra Classics.......... you will not be able to leave without buying one.

LTL BLVD MAN
05-31-2009, 11:29 AM
Thanks, I believe I will stop at a Harley dealership, I am sure I would love it, just not sure I can part with that much cash and if I stop I probably won't be able to resist! ;-)

Has anyone looked at the new Kawasaki Vulcan 1700 Voyager?

bushwhacker
05-31-2009, 12:00 PM
Thanks, I believe I will stop at a Harley dealership, I am sure I would love it, just not sure I can part with that much cash and if I stop I probably won't be able to resist! ;-)

Has anyone looked at the new Kawasaki Vulcan 1700 Voyager?

You also need to look at a Rocket III Tourer. The seat height is only 28 inches and it is actually about 75 lbs lighter than the Ultra Classic with more power and probably cheaper.

brown
05-31-2009, 12:40 PM
You also need to look at a Rocket III Tourer. The seat height is only 28 inches and it is actually about 75 lbs lighter than the Ultra Classic with more power and probably cheaper.

I've never considered the Rocket III Tourer much of a touring bike, but what a motor.:eek2:

It would do.

Tracker
05-31-2009, 02:06 PM
http://www.sportryderrentals.com/Motorcycles.html
They have 4-5 touring models available for rent. I think it would be worth it to see what really works for you and your wife before dropping the amount of change you're talking about.

That's what I'll do if I ever get the cash. I'd rent each for a weekend for an FJR/ST1300 shootout.

LTL BLVD MAN
05-31-2009, 02:22 PM
Thanks for that website. I did not know that so many bikes were available to rent. I believe maybe I will plan on doing that before I buy!

bushwhacker
05-31-2009, 02:36 PM
I've never considered the Rocket III Tourer much of a touring bike, but what a motor.:eek2:

It would do.

I may be a bit prejudiced.

I had a Valkyrie Tourer (very similiar bikes) that I rode on several 3-4000 mile long distance rides including a route 66 tirp and a trip to the smoky mtns (deals gap, cherohala skyway, etc) and I thought it did great.

kurt
05-31-2009, 02:44 PM
I know where there is a motivated seller of a 2003 Honda Valkarie if you are interested. He's interwebs challenged, so PM me if interested.

h2000fb
05-31-2009, 08:27 PM
Something not touched on. Low Center of Gravity, especially if you are taking on a passenger. The Ultra and Wing I be the winner here I believe.

Wes
06-01-2009, 09:46 AM
I haven't found anyone with a voyager in stock. But seat wise it's the same as the Nomad (which are in stock).

I wouldn't limit your choices to seat height. Any bike can be lowered by a rider in thier own garage or have the seat adjusted. I ride a Concours 14 which is a tall bike. I replaced the seat with one that was narrower and shorter so I could touch flat footed.

DaveC
06-01-2009, 09:51 AM
A Ural!
:mrgreen:

No need to touch your feet down and the wife can stretch out in the side car!

blugu64
06-01-2009, 11:25 AM
Any suggestions of other bikes like this that I should look at would be appreciated. As well as advice on this and the issue of being so short and these bikes being fairly tall for me.

Ninja 250 :trust:

http://dl.getdropbox.com/u/864351/deathvallyninja.jpg

poser
06-01-2009, 01:16 PM
the electra glide feels like a paint mixer at stop lights :lol2: but is uber smooth once you get going. I've riden my dad's several times and everytime I'm surprised how easy and smooth it is to ride at its size.
On paper its easily 150 - 200 lbs heavier than the Suzuki Boulivard C90T I'm riding (also dad's) but it FEELS so much lighter and easier to ride.

Can't say much about the height, other than it could use a little more leg room for me, but I'm 6'3".
And while I've never riden a wing, I've sat on them and they feel cramped to me.
A TWT member that occationally comes by the Katy bike night rides a wing and he's probably shorter than you.

DaveC
06-01-2009, 01:42 PM
A Kymco 500?

http://www.kymcousa.com/showroom/scooters/xciting500ri/XCITING500Ri_ABS.jpg

DualSportTool
06-01-2009, 02:58 PM
HD Road Glide...my .02

atxrider
06-02-2009, 01:43 AM
What I am looking at is the Goldwing, the Kawasaki Voyager 1700, and the BMW K 1200. This is the style of bike that I am looking into. I would like to ride some of thiese bikes. If anyone know's of any for sale that I could ride please let me know. Dealers are not to keen on letting you ride with out basically purchasing first and I am not wanting to do that till I am sure what I want.

I guess I do not understand this statement. You have named three bikes that are used for different purposes.

K1200GT - Sport Touring
Goldwing - Super Luxe Touring with superb passenger comfort.
Kawasaki Voyager - Cruiser

They will all have different seating positions, with the Kawi the most feet forward. The question is...what do you want to do with this bike? Are you touring one or two up most of the time? Do you want something sporty or more laid back?

If you are looking at sport tourers, there are plenty of great ones besides the K-bike. ST1300, fjr, Concours14, all are comparable and less money if that is a concern. Also consider the cost and frequency of maintenance and dealer network. These bikes have alot of power, and handle very well in the twisties. Good all rounders, but not as comfortable for your pillon as a Wing or other full dresser. If you are predominately riding solo...I would take a serious look at this segment.

For two up touring, you cannot beat a wing for comfort. The handling is also really, really good for a bike that size. I have driven my Dad's GL1800 on many occassions and it handles like a big sportbike, surprised the **** out of me.

I have not driven the Voyager, but IMHO I would stay away from a bike just being introduced. They usually need a year or two to work out all the kinks / problems. My father also has a Yamaha Royal Star Venture, and it is a fine full dress tourer with a bullet proof 4 cylinder engine. You may want to give it a look.

My advice is to ride bikes from each of the three segments and note the differences in seating position, handling, etc. I went from cruiser to sport tourer and never looked back, but I tour solo. If my wife ever decides to ride with me...then a wing will be in my garage as well.

Best of luck.

Andrew T
06-02-2009, 06:47 AM
I'm not buying another bike anytime soon, and ride a KLR now - but my servicing dealer sells Hyosung, and I was really impressed with the Avitar 650. I know it's less displacement - but it cranks out 79 horsepower at 9000 rpm, and with a seat height of 26.5", even some midgets should be able to flatfoot it. 485 lbs dry, too. I think the 30th Anniversary edition is pretty cool looking.

Anyway, good luck.

txagfan
06-08-2009, 04:50 PM
I own a cruiser, but have ridden my dad's K1200LT. It is a nice bike and I wouldn't classify it as a "Sport Touring" bike as the above poster did. It is a touring bike certainly in the same class as a Goldwing, Ultra Classic, or Victory Vision for that matter.

That being said, it is a taller feeling bike for me at 6'2" with ~32" inseam. Also, from what I understand the COG is higher on this bike making it even trickier. I can say for a fact the maintenance costs are insane. Don't even bother if you plan to bring the bike to BMW of Dallas, I would rate them a 1 on a scale of 10 as far as being helpful with a high price tag to accompany that quality service :thumbd:

I have not ridden a Goldwing, but I know there are many shorter riders who ride it. Sadly, while I lust for one of these I am a taller guy and have been told I will likely feel cramped.

To me you really need to decide on a sport touring v. touring bike first.

atxrider
06-08-2009, 05:37 PM
Whoops. I guess I should have read a little closer.

K1200LT = Tourer.
K1200GT = Sport Tourer.

I suppose you could label them in the same "class", but trust me, Goldwings (and BMWs for that matter) and Cruisers (Harley Full Baggers, Kawasaki Voyager, Yamaha Ventures) are really different bikes. Just test ride them all on the same day and you will understand.

Txagfan,

You might want to take a look at the 1500 Goldwing. A little heavier, but better suited for taller riders.

slowrider
06-09-2009, 04:06 PM
The cruiser Platform is going to have a lower seat. If you just want to move up in power on a basic cruiser platform like you have now there are tons of choices up to or over 2,000cc. Many, many touring features can be added to those bikes short of full bagger designation. For ultimate comfort in a cruiser platform go for a full bagger like Harley Electra Glide, Yamaha Royal Venture or Kawasaki Voyager. Full bagger non-cruiser options will have a higher seat and include BMW K1200LT and Honda Goldwing. So many options and I'm sure I've left some out. Pick out the bikes that FIT YOU and then decide.

ysr612
06-10-2009, 06:06 AM
Ninja 250 :trust:

http://dl.getdropbox.com/u/864351/deathvallyninja.jpg

I have ridden a ninja 250 back from Wisconsin (two 600 mile days) it is actually a tall bike but quite comfortable for one rider not two.

http://ysr612.smugmug.com/photos/401654789_onwfb-L.jpg

twtex85
06-10-2009, 07:10 AM
If you are wanting a cruiser style touring bike look at the Yamaha Venture or the Yamaha Tour Deluxe. The Tour Deluxe is the same bike minus the Batwing fairing and Trunk. It does have the quick detachable windshield and sissy bar. Looks like a road king but you can completely change the look of the bike by taking off the windshield and sissy bar. Has good weather protection and comes standard with cruise control and hard bags. You can add a rack to the sissy bar and use a T bag for two up touring. I used to have an FJR set up for two up touring and after I got the Royal Star the wife liked the riding position on the Royal Star much better and did preferred it over the FJR. Both the Venture and Royal Star come with a 5 year unlmiited mileage warranty and the V4 engine is pretty much bulletproof. It is the same engine that was in the previous generation V Max. You can pick these up used pretty reasonable too.

DaveC
06-10-2009, 08:00 AM
Price sells! Each bike has it weak points. You have to determine which weak point you can afford or live with. Best value, if you want a touring and your not a knee dragging corner carver but a decent handling is the Kawasaki Voyager XII, The Royal Star (both versions) . I know for a fact that the XII has some quirks, ancient in design but is near bullet proof. Easy to work on when you need to do the maintenance. I have to do my own, I am frugal!:mrgreen:

JimNtexas
06-10-2009, 09:17 AM
I have ridden a ninja 250 back from Wisconsin (two 600 mile days) it is actually a tall bike but quite comfortable for one rider not two.


I did a Saddle Sore 1000 on my Ninja 250. With bar risers and large aftermarket windscreen its not bad for a long trip if you stay out of the mountains.

I'm seriously considering riding my Ninjette from Austin to Oshkosh for the big airshow this July.

blugu64
06-19-2009, 12:45 PM
I did a Saddle Sore 1000 on my Ninja 250. With bar risers and large aftermarket windscreen its not bad for a long trip if you stay out of the mountains.

I'm seriously considering riding my Ninjette from Austin to Oshkosh for the big airshow this July.

I've been wanting to do a saddle sore 1000 on my 250 for a while now, longest day so far has been albuquerque to Dallas, so I think I can handle it. Who do I need to talk to/get in touch with to do this? Canada is only what 1200 miles away? (from dallas)

atxrider
06-19-2009, 02:52 PM
I've been wanting to do a saddle sore 1000 on my 250 for a while now, longest day so far has been albuquerque to Dallas, so I think I can handle it. Who do I need to talk to/get in touch with to do this? Canada is only what 1200 miles away? (from dallas)

You need to take a look at the IBA website:

http://www.ironbutt.com/ridecerts/getdocument.cfm?DocID=1

JimNtexas
06-19-2009, 03:05 PM
You need to take a look at the IBA website:

http://www.ironbutt.com/ridecerts/getdocument.cfm?DocID=1

+1

Also after you review that site you can go to the future members section of the IBA forum to ask any specific questions: http://www.ironbutt.org/forum/default.asp

gunzip
06-24-2009, 06:39 PM
Can't speak to seat height but check out a victory vision. Friend of mine has one and swears it's the best bike he has ever owned. He has had a bunch over the years including several goldwings and harley dressers

nightrider
07-02-2009, 05:31 PM
My choice would be the Kaw Voyager 1700 thay just came out with and would not hesitate to buy one if I were in the market for a new bike.All the reviews I have given it great reviews but good luck finding one.I was at a dealer today and they had one stayed two days and was sold and more than likly no more for the year and they told me that the dealers were only getting two this year........whats up with that.It has everything the Ultra has but at a lower price and sounds like a better ride.

h2000fb
07-03-2009, 09:06 PM
Okay, so I have a 2005 Suzuki Boulevard C50 that I have rode for 5 years and I love it. But, the wife is not real comfy on it and I need something bigger. I am short (only 5'5") and I like to keep my feet on the ground which is a problem......

Any suggestions of other bikes like this that I should look at would be appreciated. As well as advice on this and the issue of being so short and these bikes being fairly tall for me.



So, LTL BLVD MAN... tell us about your new bike adventure!
- What did you ride?
- What did you like about each one for your individual tastes?
- For your purpose/likes, if money not an issue, which best floats your boat?

h2000fb
07-05-2009, 09:53 AM
Did you make a choice yet? If so, what?

pwmac
07-05-2009, 10:19 AM
Wife & I ride a K1200LT. Have since they came out in '99. We love it, but you'd better be a pretty good wrench to own the LT. Dealer service will break you.

We ride with a bunch of Ultra's and we have traded for short periods. Wife & I agree that our LT is more comfortable and sportier, but the Ultras get a lot more attention and are easier to get repairs and parts. They are also better for inseem challanged riders that the LT.

The 1800 wing is a great compromise between the BMW & Harley. Low seat height, easy to find parts & service, gobs of accessories. I suggest you look for a low millage used wing.

Paul

thebeancounter
07-05-2009, 12:00 PM
What I am looking at is the Goldwing, the Kawasaki Voyager 1700, and the BMW K 1200. This is the style of bike that I am looking into.

Hi Aaron,

If I can just add my two cents here...the BMW has the highest seat height of the three and I believe the Voyager will have the lowest seat height with the Wing right in the middle. The Wing also has a fully adjustable rear suspension, which you adjust with a button in the cockpit, so you may be able to flat foot it with the rear most of the way down.

I absolutely loved riding my Wing and once at speed couldn't hardly tell that my wife was on back. A Wing is quite heavy however, as are all of these bikes, for parking lot maneuvers especially if you can't flat foot it so you should find a way to spend some time on a Wing before making a purchase - you can rent them from a lot of the Eagle Rider locations.

I see alot of people recommending the Harleys, but until you've driven one on a long distance ride be careful - you have to really like the noise and vibration to put up with a Harley as a long distance bike. I love their looks and riding around town on a Harley makes me absolutely giddy, but for anything over 2 - 3 hours I rode the GoldWing. I rode from Colorado to Texas last summer 14+ hours straight through - and was very glad I did it on a Wing and not a Harley. Die hard Harley owners will of course readily disagree with me as what you like to ride is a very personal thing and you're the only one who can make that decision.

If you like to go fast through corners, then a cruiser style will severly limit your riding enjoyment. Whenever I would ride the Wing with a group of Harley's or other cruiser styled bikes I would always pass the group to make sure I was in the front before the corners; otherwise it was too slow and monotonous. The Wing was redesigned in 2002 - I owned a 2006 and that monster can really corner once you get the feel for it.

Please be sure and let eveyone know what you settle on. And pics are always great to as we love to celebrate your new purchase with you.

fastbroshi
10-30-2009, 12:07 PM
I know everyone loves Harleys for the chrome and sound. I can appreciate that. But I won't suffer...nevermind I'm not going to waste my breath.
I've got a VFR, very flexible bike. Capable of good amounts of whatever you want to do, be it rail the corners or go on long trips. It's even got an awesome V4 rumble and sounds even better with pipes. Heck mine's even got gear-driven cams for a little aural sex, if you're into that kinda thing.
Typical Honda quality, very little maintenance. Edge to Harley's = long distance comfort for your pillion, availability of every farkle under the sun from the factory. So no CD players, poker tables, tanning beds, etc.
A worthy consideration in my opinion.