Since i have a driving licence i have been riding mopeds – first 50 cc and then 125 cc – both Peugeout. Riding on two wheels for me is an experience far better than the traditional “go from A to B”.
This summer i decided to go big and buy a real motorcycle – more h.p. and manual transmissions. I can tell you the decision was hard. As i said the motorcycle gives much more pleasure than the car and so the choice which one to buy is much harder. I finally came up with Honda Hornet. I will give you some background on the reasoning:
How many CC, H.P.?
Well that’s a hard one. Your options basically are 250-400cc, 600-700cc and 900cc+. If you have had a moped don’t be afraid to go straight to 600cc+. If this is your first two-wheeler stick to the 250-400cc range. Many people suggest to start with small engines and gradually go big but i find that misleading. As i said, if you have had experience on two wheels, being it moped, don’t be afraid to get on even 1200cc. It is not that scary – at the end of the day it depends how much you push it. I personally had experience on two wheels and decided to go with around the 600cc range. Could have done with 1200cc also but decided that i don’t need that for mainly commuting.
Basic kinds are touring (choppers), street, cruisers, sport bikes and enduro, offroad. It depends what you need the motorcycle for. Touring are the ones where you place your feet forward and hands are relatively high – that is more of a life style motorcycle. Street a.k.a naked bikes (called like that because they lack the front screen) are city bikes that can take you also in the country for short rides. Cruisers are the ones that you will ride across Route 66 without getting too tired. Sport bikes are the super powerful noisy machines that you ride almost laying on top – if you see a killer with a bike in a movie – chances are that the bike is a sport bike:) Enduro is the kind of motorcycle that you can ride both on the road and also in wild terrains, and the off-road is self explanatory. I personally needed mainly a city bike, with the possibility to make 200-300 km rides over the weekends. That’s why i chose a naked bike. I must say that i miss the front screen on the highway – over 120km gets very windy.
Ok, I chose a city bike – what make and model?
I was wandering between – Suzuki Bandit, Honda Hornet, Suzuki GSR, Yamaha Fazer, Suzuki SV, Yamaha XJ6. The bandit is with air cooling and that turned me down. The Fazer is a good bike, but i didn’t like the look (what a missy). XJ6 and GSR are also hot bikes but were a little over budget. So i was in deep thought – Honda Hornet or the Suzuki SV. The SV has more cc (650 vs 600 for the Honda) but less h.p. (70 vs 100 for the Honda). However, the SV has a two cylinder V-stroke engine (that’s where the V in the name comes from) which gives great torque when you take off, while the Honda has a 4 cylinder inline engine which is more quiet in the low rpm but turns in a monster in the 10000+ rpm. I decided to go with the Honda because Honda has better reputation (Honda in the motorcycle world is considered Mercedes in the car world – i don’t know where the stigma comes from), i liked the 4 cylinder inline engine, the model is known as extremely reliable and last but not least it lacks most electronics which i find appealing.
4 months so far riding that bike and i can say that i am very happy with the choice. It is very reliable. It is calm in the 0-70 km/h range so it is perfect for the city – you always know what to expect. It gives you, however, enough torque and speed if you need it – it is 100 h.p., you know (my car only has 77). Only thing that i miss is the front screen when i am on the highway + the fuel indication. It usually consumes around 6 l/100km but if you push it hard, it can get to 10l/100km. Tank is small (around 15l) so beware of running out of gas, especially if you are more dynamic driver. The bike is small enough to get around cars in the traffic jam but big enough to feel comfortable on the highway with a second person behind + luggage. The stand is good, so you don’t get tired after a couple of hours on it.