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Good Times, Bad Times

Last post 02-03-2013 04:19 PM by noc. 14 replies.
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  • 02-01-2013 09:03 PM

    • noc
    • Top 500 Contributor
    • Joined on 06-13-2011
    • Sydney
    • Posts 33

    Good Times, Bad Times

    I was going to help my sister and bro-in-law move house last Saturday. Roundabout near Homebush Bay Drive, looking for a chance to merge, thought better of going but fatally (or not fatally, thank the Flying Spaghetti Monster) didn't and... I swore I had my brakes on, so why was I moving forward? Oh, that's why. Turns out BMW stands for Big Motorvehicle Wedgie. So I swore again, only this time loudly, and got off my Vespa GT200 to see what the damage was. None to me, thankfully, but after the driver helped me unwedge my scoot from his bumper bar I kinda died a little inside.

    So cue forward to this afternoon, and the insurance assessor tells me the scoot is pretty much a write-off, given the swing arm is bent and the extensive body damage, and that I can expect Swann Insurance (about whom I have nothing but good to speak of) to contact me next week, having already told me they'll waive the excess based on the BMW pilot's acceptance of responsibility. Oh, and the police report.

    I feel something twist inside me at that point, a voice darkly whispering,"Come over to our dark side. You know you want to." And, well, I think I'm going to. I think I have to. I do not have the power to resist.

    But my new bike probably will.

    So I seek the experience of those others who have been corrupted by an inline four, or v-twin, even though the two bikes I am most interested in are paralell twins (I blame you, Mr Peter Gailey, and thank you, sir!). Bonnie or W800, for me.

    I hope that the last 3 and a bit years and 30-odd-k-ks are enough of a base to take the step. I'd be mighty grateful for any input to two particular notions that intrigue me - which of those two bikes would those who are inclined incline toward, and most importantly, how those who previously inclined made sure that they didn't recline when first throwing their leg over. A bike. Specifically, how did you fare in the clutches of the clutch?

    Any and all answers appreciated. The more the merrier. And make 'em merry. I got taken out by a car and walked away without a scratch, and I get to buy my dream bike, so I'm pretty damned merry, indeed.

    Cheers!

  • 02-02-2013 08:56 AM In reply to

    Re: Good Times, Bad Times

    I don't own either but I've been eyeing both Bonnie and W800 as a potential bike for me for a while now and I'm leaning more towards W800. The reasons are in my mind better quality and reliablity, W800's are rarer on our roads and above all, more comfortable for my body. You really need to test ride them both before making a decision, Bonnie is a very, very small bike when you sit on it.

    There have been some complaints about fuelling on the modern fuel-injected Bonnies, although it doesn't seem to be a problem for all owners. (It wasn't a problem for me when I test rode one). Nobody ever complains about W800 though.

    Neither is a powerhouse, although Bonnie is stronger on paper it is also a bit heavier. Neither is especially well suspended, either.

    Thruxton would outrun W800, but it is even less comfortable than the standard Bonnie thanks to its clip-ons (not as bad as the previous models, but still less comfortable than the standard bars).

    For even more fun times, you could also throw Moto Guzzi V7 into the mix!

    As for your motorcycle-specific concerns I can't really comment since I started riding on motorcycles and only hopped on scooters later. I can say that as I'm riding in the city traffic I never find myself missing changing gears :)

  • 02-02-2013 12:22 PM In reply to

    • noc
    • Top 500 Contributor
    • Joined on 06-13-2011
    • Sydney
    • Posts 33

    Re: Good Times, Bad Times

    Cheers for the feedback. Big Smile

    I am going to miss the scoot, that's a fact, but the more riding I do the more I feel limited by it, hence the decision to upgrade. In a perfect world I'd get a new Vespa and a bike, but $.

    I'm not overly worried about out and out performance. The Thruxton is less practical from what I can see, and I dislike the high pipes on the Scrambler, so they're both out for those reasons. I've read reports that the stock and SE are both a little bit more flickable than the t100 (rake), and a lot cheaper, so it's really down to those, with the intent to simply customise as I go to what suits me. Suspension included. The ergos on the Bonnie seem to be relatively easy to change as well, via risers or a new bar or the Scrambler's seat, so that's another thing I'll be looking in to when it comes to putting down a deposit on something. Either way, it will be a big step up from what the Vespa was capable of, which is enough for me, for now.

    The W800/Bonnie argument is a tough one though. I guess I'm not a fan of the one colour w800 has to offer, but at the same time, it's swaying me toward a Bonnie but not to the extent that I'm convinced it's the right choice. And I do need to test both first as well, as you say.

    SInce this would be my sole non-public form of transport, all Italian bikes are out of the question. I guess it depends on the extent to which a Bonnie can play up relative to the reliable Kwaka, both are readily customisable, one is a Triumph but is built in Thailand these days so any association with British bikeness is no greater than the w800s claim.

    So to anyone who has ridden both, please let me know! One of the things I don't have enough experience to do is really know what to look for in comparing the two and understanding how a test ride will indicate my future experiences.

     

  • 02-02-2013 12:55 PM In reply to

    • petegailey
    • Top 10 Contributor
    • Joined on 03-03-2008
    • Cleared off, up the Mid Nth Coast
    • Posts 7,090

    Re: Good Times, Bad Times

    noc:
    So I seek the experience of those others who have been corrupted by an inline four, or v-twin, even though the two bikes I am most interested in are paralell twins (I blame you, Mr Peter Gailey, and thank you, sir!). Bonnie or W800, for me.
    Its always sad to hear of the demise of a Vespa at the hands of a suburban assult vehicle. Ive had the nudge happen to me too, and one of my biggest dreads is being rear ended by a car when stopped at the lights.

    So to the Dark Side, and BIG questions. There are so many interesting motorcycles out there to try and make a choice from, and some really seriously good bargains too, especially when you get into the 2nd hand market. There's so much choice and there are so few lemons that it ends up becoming quite subjective. Me? I like modern retro. The sort of retro that the modern Vespa encapsulises. Classic style with modern engineering. There is a whole segment of bikes out there that are retro by this definition, like the W800, the Triumph Bonnie, &Thruxton, the Guzzi V7, even the Royal Enfield, from the Honda CB1100 infact all the CB series to the Suzuki TU250 X,  all naked retros that grab my eye. There's probably a whole lot of real retros about that would also tick the boxes.

    I was originally waiting for the W800 to be released when a mate said, why don't you just get a Bonnie? I went down to a Parramatta dealer one day just to sit on a second hand one. I was surprised how low the seat was. As Ferrix pointed out the Bonnie felt quite small very comfortable and non-intimidating. When the sales guy suggested that I start it, the 800cc burst into life with a lovely deep growl and I was sold.  Was back an hour later, got caned with the trade in but I didn't care. The Bonnie fitted me like a glove and I was in love. Id ridden bikes before and the manual gear changing, clutch  and foot rear brake wasn't hard to readjust to.

    A few months later Mitch bought a demo W800 which he also loves and we've toured a lot together.  We've swapped bikes occasionally. The Kawasaki has got some really nice points, felt lighter than the Bonnie, didn't sound quite as macho but is definitely a good bike. Deep down I was glad to get back on the Bonnie though. I prefer my Bonnie, Mitch prefers his w800. (btw I bought an 04, one of the last carbied models assembled in GB.) The mods I've made to the Bonnie? Put on an X ring chain, upgraded the front suspension thanks to Ian, put drop down M bars on which actually turned out to be quite comfortable on long rides and put Avon roadrider tyres on. The Bonnie is a great touring machine. I can ride it all day and with a 19" front wheel you get heaps of gyroscopic stability. Its very easy and stable to ride, has plenty of grunt up hills and when overtaking  and I never feel like its going to topple over on me. I have a thing for the "ton up" look and If it ever got stolen I'd seriously consider replacing it with a Thruxton.....or a Honda CB1100.........or a street triple ?????.

    Saying all that I don't use the Bonnie to go up to buy the milk or even to commute. Compared to a scoot a manual bike is cumbersome in stop start traffic. Im sure I could get used to it but why? Thats why I'd always have a scoot and a bike. Anyway noc, good luck  and happy hunting.

    Daelim NS 125: Mighty 1st scoot from Korea that punched way above its weight. Sold
    Vespa GTS 250: Modern Retro brilliance. I'll ride it til it dies.Traded in on a maxi.
    Suzuki DR650: "That Thing" Excellent Single 650 thumper chook chaser that was too tall. Sold
    Yamaha T Max: Best Maxi out there and serious canyon racer. Sold
    Triumph Bonneville: Modern Retro brilliance with the sweetest parallel twin.
    BMW F800R: The Naked Hun. Great intro into sports bikes.
    Gilera Runner FXR 180: 2 stroke scooter missile from Piaggio.
    Gilera Nexus 500. Sexy like red Italian stilettos.
    Yamaha RZ250RR: Retro Japanese 2 stroke racer.
  • 02-02-2013 01:28 PM In reply to

    Re: Good Times, Bad Times

    noc:
    I dislike the high pipes on the Scrambler, so they're both out for those reasons

    Don't dismiss the Scrambler for that reason alone. I know what you mean about the pipes, they are annoying and in the city riding not all that useful, but if that's the only problem they can easily be swapped for something else, for example short underslung type... Zard I think are one who make those, I'm sure you'd find others. Scrambler did seem the most comfortable of all Bonnies to me when I sat on it.

    All of them really need a custom exhaust to make them sound nice. My favourites are Predators for Triumph and home-grown Staintunes for W800.

    PS. 2013 model Thruxton can be had in a very lovely dark green with gold stripe, looks fantastic. But I've only seen it on youtube clips from overseas so I'm not sure whether we get it in Australia. Maybe not, when it comes to available colours we usually get the scraps nobody else wanted.

  • 02-02-2013 01:56 PM In reply to

    • noc
    • Top 500 Contributor
    • Joined on 06-13-2011
    • Sydney
    • Posts 33

    Re: Good Times, Bad Times

    That's a great reply, and thank you.

    If you absolutely had to say what it is about the Bonnie that you prefer over the w800, would it be simply a case of the Bonnie being a better 'fit' for you, in terms of feel, or are there some more technical elements to it?

    I hear you about the practicality of a scoot vs a bike, but I just cannot afford to run both, so I have to make a choice, and suspect that the inconveniences of a bike in city traffic will be less frustrating than trying to get a Vespa around a corner on the Putty without scraping the sidestand or having the suspension unsettle itself because of a bump mid-corner. Those sorts of things were really beginning to get to me, to the point where I was beginning to 'hang off' just to get some more corner clearance, and I just feel that these are the sorts of things a bike is going to be much better at. I suppose for me the moments I love riding the most are always when I'm out in the country somewhere, and those were when I felt the limitations of my old Vespa most.

  • 02-02-2013 02:03 PM In reply to

    • noc
    • Top 500 Contributor
    • Joined on 06-13-2011
    • Sydney
    • Posts 33

    Re: Good Times, Bad Times

    I hadn't considered that (obviously!). I might need to actually check this more after test rides, do some sums and see what the costings work out to. Other thing with the Scrambler is that the torque curve offers a lot more down low, but at the expense of up top, so far as I know, and because I do want something that has a comfortable buffer left at freeway speeds (the old GT200 definitely did not) I'm mindful of the mid to upper range performance rather than low end. It's not about having a fast ride, as almost anything will be fast at the mid and upper range relative to the Vespa, just one that's competent for what I need it to do and in the style I like (otherwise it's a simple choice, the Street Triple). Much like Pete, and quite possibly yourself form the looks of it, I love my retro styling.

  • 02-02-2013 09:53 PM In reply to

    • INMA
    • Top 50 Contributor
    • Joined on 03-19-2009
    • Posts 836

    Re: Good Times, Bad Times

    It depends on your body size and where you are likely to ride.

    If you are small framed a low mileage Kawasaki ER 5 is a good commuter bike that can do highway miles easily.  The ER 5 has an optional low seat for short riders.

    If you are tall, the KLE 500 is a good commuter bike that can do highway miles easily.

    If you want a bit more get up and go, look for a low mileage Suzuki Bandit 1200 or similar size.  Later Bandits had ABS and its worth paying extra to get the ABS on any bike.

    All the bikes above are naked which keeps the cost down if you have a minor drop.

    If you are planning to do lots of highway trips then getting a bike with Fairings is needed for comfort.

    The Triumpth tripples have a good reputation for easy cruising as long as you don't buy a sports model.

    Another newer bike worth checking out is the Kawasaki ER 6.

    2001 Yamaha Zuma, DR Evo 68 cylinder, Leo Vince TT derestricted, Delorto 17.5 (#98 jet), standard aircleaner, RMS fan, Race CDI, Standard oiler and premix @ 75:1 Shell SX2, Doppler SR3 variator, RMS clutch, RMS R rear shock absorber and Pirelli SL26 tyres.
  • 02-02-2013 09:55 PM In reply to

    Re: Good Times, Bad Times

     Devil UM a New Honda NC700SA combined with a Honda NSC110Dio   will come to about the same price of a Bonnie or W800 me thinks Stick out tongue

    2012 Honda Dio 110

     

    Si ‘Thi’ later
  • 02-02-2013 10:28 PM In reply to

    • petegailey
    • Top 10 Contributor
    • Joined on 03-03-2008
    • Cleared off, up the Mid Nth Coast
    • Posts 7,090

    Re: Good Times, Bad Times

    noc:
    If you absolutely had to say what it is about the Bonnie that you prefer over the w800, would it be simply a case of the Bonnie being a better 'fit' for you, in terms of feel, or are there some more technical elements to it?
    Noc, its really subjective but here's my opinion. Ive always loved the classic Brit bikes. The two dream bikes when I was young were the Norton Comando and the Triumph Bonneville but there was no way I'd ever been able to have one then so I had to wait til I was an old bloke with kids grown up and a new wife, who god bless her, never gave me a hard time about my obsession. By then Norton had become a collectors motorcycle and Triumph had been reborn and and redesigned as a post modern classic. I think the parallel twin that they have built is a real good motor. OK its not the fastest donk but it feels so solid, mine has been ultra reliable, it whistles to me. I love the very sound of it. Even Tony, my BMW boxer loving friend admits its sweet.

    Then there is that retro look that strikes a big chord. It is a classic looking motorcycle. The naked frame and the big round headlight thrills my sense of style.

    Every motorcycle/scooter has flaws (except maybe the street triple) The 04 Bonnie's flaws were in the suspension, When I first got mine it wasnt well balanced, the front wheel didnt feel planted and it understeered when ridden hard. It had a tendency to skip around bumpy corners so I took it to Shock Suspension where Terry Hays jacked up the rear suspension to the highest setting and lowered the yoke on the front forks putting more weight onto the front wheel. this radically improved the geometry and handling of the bike. Later I put racetech linear springs, emulator and heavier fork oil in the front forks. This made the handleing even better. The next mod will be to replace the rear springs. Ive heard that the longer rear shocks for theThruxton are considered an improvement and this makes sense to me as it does a similar geometry fix that the Shock Suspension crew made.

    The other radical improvement was the Norman Hyde M drop bars. Originally my Bonnie had cruiser bars and felt like a Harley wannabe. The drop bars have turned it back to being an English "ton up" motorcycle as the riders weight is more forward. I was originally worried that the forward riding position would be uncomfortable on long riders but this wasn't the case. I can still ride all day without  discomfort and pushing it hard through the tight stuff is now a real joy. IMO its now set up for the Putty Rd.

    Every motorcycle and scooter Ive ever owned has been improved with suspension upgrades.The other important change is a good set of pipes which changes the bike from a sewing machine into a real motorcycle. I scored a set of TOR pea shooters from ebay for $350 which is halfway between stock and the megaphones. It is also recommended to change the air filter and jets.

    The Bonnie came with a piss poor headlight but was improved radically with a Hela insert and a 100+ H4 bulb. I'm very happy with the Avon Roadrider tyres that Im now using and an EBC front floating disc. Ive got about 55,000ks on it now and its still running sweetly. Ive grown to really trust this motorcycle.

    There is some debate about whether the EFI injector models are as good as the earlier carbied hinckleys. The current Bonnies are assembled in Thailand and have lost the 19" spoked wheels and I think that if I was to get another Bonnie I'd  try and score a well kept earlier model rather than the new 2013 model, but that's just me. In the end it was the Bonnies provenance that won me over and I've never wished that I'd got a W800 instead.. As this breakdown is so subjective you really have to check out both your options and let the seat of your pants guide your final decision. What ever you choose Im sure you wont be dissapointed.

     

    Daelim NS 125: Mighty 1st scoot from Korea that punched way above its weight. Sold
    Vespa GTS 250: Modern Retro brilliance. I'll ride it til it dies.Traded in on a maxi.
    Suzuki DR650: "That Thing" Excellent Single 650 thumper chook chaser that was too tall. Sold
    Yamaha T Max: Best Maxi out there and serious canyon racer. Sold
    Triumph Bonneville: Modern Retro brilliance with the sweetest parallel twin.
    BMW F800R: The Naked Hun. Great intro into sports bikes.
    Gilera Runner FXR 180: 2 stroke scooter missile from Piaggio.
    Gilera Nexus 500. Sexy like red Italian stilettos.
    Yamaha RZ250RR: Retro Japanese 2 stroke racer.
  • 02-02-2013 10:46 PM In reply to

    Re: Good Times, Bad Times

    petegailey:
    Every motorcycle/scooter has flaws (except maybe the street triple)

    Street Triple has a flaw too, and a fatal one as far as I'm concerned: it's butt-ugly!

  • 02-03-2013 12:03 AM In reply to

    Re: Good Times, Bad Times

    ferrix:

    petegailey:
    Every motorcycle/scooter has flaws (except maybe the street triple)

    Street Triple has a flaw too, and a fatal one as far as I'm concerned: it's butt-ugly!

     

     Devil LOL does this help the look Stick out tongue

    Si ‘Thi’ later
  • 02-03-2013 12:14 AM In reply to

    Re: Good Times, Bad Times

    couldn't get my feet down on either Indifferent

    Slow Down & Enjoy The Ride
    2012 Kawasaki W800
    Go the Retro
    Looking for another BeeWee :)
  • 02-03-2013 10:38 AM In reply to

    Re: Good Times, Bad Times

    pyrah:
     Devil LOL does this help the look Stick out tongue

    It certainly doesn't hurt but actually it doesn't adress my main problem, which is the lights. What really helps is this:

  • 02-03-2013 04:19 PM In reply to

    • noc
    • Top 500 Contributor
    • Joined on 06-13-2011
    • Sydney
    • Posts 33

    Re: Good Times, Bad Times

    Some great replies there, thank you all (especially you Pyrah lol).

    @INMA - I really like the classics, hence leaning toward the Bonnie/W800, and now the CB1100 as another option. Cheers anyways :)

    @Pyrah - your first pic is something I could see myself getting a lot of mileage out of. I'd expect to want to throw the leg over every chance I could, and I'd definitely expect great performance. The riding position isn't what I'd normally go for, but I'm sure I could soon get used to it, and enjoy it. Oh, and the model was attractive, too. Cool

    @PeteGailey - I'm very grateful to you for taking the time to respond in such detail. Much, much appreciated. I am going to test the w800 first, but depending how I go there I'm beginning to think a pre-EFI Bonnie might be a better bet than the EFI ones. Either way, there is nothing to stop me modifying either bike to suit me, so I think it will be just a case of seeing how each of them 'feel' and taking it from there, and also taking in to account how much each will cost to get to the point where I'm happy with it. Again, very much appreciated.

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