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View Poll Results: Your choice?
Small bike (<400cc) 49 21.49%
Medium (e.g. 400 - 800cc) 154 67.54%
Big (litre class) 25 10.96%
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Old 13th December 2018, 22:02   #196
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Default Re: Big vs Small Touring Bikes

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Originally Posted by neil.jericho View Post
What variables and consequences could possibly be so critical as to dissuade an enthusiast from logically upgrading his motorcycle every few months if he had the money and willingness to do so?
Money and willingness alone can only take you as far as luck lets you unless as already mentioned the intended use is to mall-hop and go for breakfast runs.

Listing variables is not quite possible because they're different for every machine/motorcyclist combo. Hence its not that easy for me to put my thoughts into words as certain things remain completely oblivious to us until we actually venture out to stretch our boundaries, anyways I'll give it one more shot.

The farther you consider moving away from your comfort zone a lot of your own perspectives and preferences come into question, by which I again do not mean that touring on a new motorcycle every week or month would leave you stranded but the potential of that happening is pretty high because to state things simply you would not have built up the much needed familiarity with the machine in question, and by familiarity I simply do not mean knowing how to ride a machine but rather knowing the status of every simple component that could go wrong within the machine and your way around it.

Even within the Kollam chapter we have an enthusiast who used to pick a new motorcycle every year for his annual leave so that he'd be able to do his ritual ride to Nepal and back, everything was fine and well for the first couple of years but on one instance when he decided to ride on a Bajaj Pulsar AS200 one of his control cables snapped when he was somewhere in UK, and he had a tough time getting it fixed by the side of the road as he was not familiar with the motorcycle, plus it happened in the evening.

This really did widen his perspective about motorcycles and long distance touring as he like myself is not a trained mechanic.

So after the ordeal he picked up a machine(Still a performance machine) which he was more accustomed with and keeps it in storage while he's out of the country, fixes it up once he's back and goes out on his ritual ride without a care in the world.

That's just that, now many would argue stating their statistics and capabilities of their machines but the fact remain binary when you have a lower tolerance for mishaps.

So unless you're the kind who has the contacts and backing to go out on an extended ride with a support crew I'd suggest you stick with your machine and treat it with a more personal touch than you would with just about anything else money can buy.

Though I'm one among the very few here that feels this way this notion is not limited to a handful of us, just about everyone whose ventured out knows this feeling in one form or the other.

Big vs Small Touring Bikes-photo_20181213_210929.jpg

Here's a snap of a co-riders brand new Bajaj CT100, he owns several motorcycles including a half liter Bullet UCE and a Bajaj Dominar, and was fine touring on the aforementioned motorcycles but after going on an extended ride his perspective changed and hence he opted for a more simplistic motorcycle, contrary to popular belief money was never the problem, reliability was and again contrary to popular belief reliability is not an attribute purely seen in terms of the machine but one that works in unison with the machine and user.

Because though we both ride motorcycles, our perception of reliability can be totally different as already understood from several posts on this thread.

Just to reiterate, I'm not recommending everyone should scrap their Versys and get a 100 as some would believe, just saying that everyone should be aware of their limitations and be willing to learn as you go along.

Plus the others unlike me are actually interested in meaner machines and have made plans or have already added such machines to their garage, they simply decided to downsize for their convenience and not because of listening to me advertise the benefits of smaller motorcycles.

And with that I leave with the satisfaction that I've poured out everything I know so far, everyone is free to interpret things as they feel fit.

Cheers and Ride Safe,
A.P.

Quote:
Originally Posted by CrAzY dRiVeR View Post
Honest suggestion - You should get into classic bikes restoration and ownership, if possible.
Not into classic motorcycles as such, just love machines. A few generous enthusiasts around do let me part-take or at least observe their restorations and I've witnessed a few Frankenstein builds built from scratch to be as reliable as factory machines, most recently witnessed build being a 223cc CBZ Classic.

Which has inspired me to pursue my own build and I'm already in the process of picking up something more rudimentary to start working on, have asked a few enthusiasts as well, lets hope everything goes well.

In the mean time a Xtreme would be rolling into my hands for a couple of days to make it road worthy again, would have to satisfy my urges with that for the time being.
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Old 13th December 2018, 23:43   #197
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Default Re: Big vs Small Touring Bikes

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Why sir, the all-important opinions of 'true' motorcycle 'enthusiasts' who feel the need to justify their decisions and bike choices by defining what constitutes a 'true' enthusiast for everyone else and by putting down the choices of others!

I know because I used to be one too. Just because I had done a few rides here and there I began to judge. These guys were posers, those guys didn't ride hard enough, these chaps just showed off because they had better and more expensive bikes, etc. etc. Then I realized no one cares. Use the bike you can afford and use it the way you want to. If riding backwards to Khardung La on a Scooty Pep is your thing, great! If parking outside a mall with a Ducati 959 to pull the girls is your thing, hey even better! It's your bike, your thing.
You bring up a very good point indeed, self imposed peer pressure is certainly a big contributing factor to decision making especially while upgrading a motorcycle. Everyone thinks people in my riding group say Ninja 1000 is best for touring, so let me book the N1000 even if I cant get a test ride. When a Ninja 650 might actually be the right bike for my touring requirements and budget instead!

All these larger discussions are pointless if one doesnt actully have the keys to a one's own motorcycle and use it to tour, off road, commute, park in front of CCD and so on! I agree with the highlighted statement of yours 100%.

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Originally Posted by ashwinprakas View Post
The farther you consider moving away from your comfort zone a lot of your own perspectives and preferences come into question, by which I again do not mean that touring on a new motorcycle every week or month would leave you stranded but the potential of that happening is pretty high because to state things simply you would not have built up the much needed familiarity with the machine in question, and by familiarity I simply do not mean knowing how to ride a machine but rather knowing the status of every simple component that could go wrong within the machine and your way around it.
You bring up some excellent perspectives in your detailed explanation. Given the ample risks that one can face on a trip with a new (or newish) bike, the inherent complexity and time (decades even?) involved in learning and memorizing how to pull apart and put back a motorcycle as you have rightly elucidated, I think however you have (inadvertently?) made the case for touring on bicycles or even depending on one's own two feet through walking.
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Old 14th December 2018, 03:06   #198
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Default Re: Big vs Small Touring Bikes

IMO Switching between big bikes frequently doesn't mean the guy is an enthusiast. It means the guy is rich.

The owner is a poser if he/she doesn't use the bike for its intended purpose. I have serious respect for bike owners who buy a tiger/GS/etc and actually go touring on them. And for those who buy a supersport and take it to the track. And for those who buy a Harley/cafe racer and ..... take it to a bike cafe?? I hadn't thought this through.

I'm going to judge such riders.
If they have a problem with 'log kya kahenge' then it's their problem, not mine.
Likewise, the world is free to judge me.

I remember a quote here: "We often buy things we don't need, with money we don't have to impress people we don't like."

Every bike has a personality that clicks with a rider. Even Busa and 14R offer a unique personality. I just don't get it. What kind of a rider hasn't even figured out yet what kind of a rider he is? and what bike/flavor of bike does he like? Eventually, something should click.

Huh! Noobs!

If someone enjoys switching bikes too often and buys motorcycles just because he/she can afford them, then I'm sure that rider hasn't clocked enough miles in the big bike saddle to be talking about touring.

Yes, AP is indeed making it clear that a pedal bike is less susceptible to failure. If that encourages you to take up touring on a pedal bike, then I'll root for you when you go touring. If that happens, then it'd also mean that he got his point across. That you should be ready to deal with a breakdown when you're least expecting it no matter what you ride.

I've dealt with flats at 3-ish am many times. Had a spark plug failure in the pouring rain...twice; once at 12 am. Even on well-lit roads, that are within walking distance from civilization, it never felt like fun. It would've been far scarier had I been with an unfamiliar bike on an unknown turf.

So, regardless of what you ride, if you intend to tour on the bike, it'd be a good idea to at least learn to fix simple stuff yourself.
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Old 14th December 2018, 09:08   #199
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Default Re: Big vs Small Touring Bikes

I have owned a Suzuki Samurai , Avenger , Ninja 650 and currently own a Multistrada 950. I have ridden all the above for a fair distance.

Now to the debate of big touring bike v/s small one. I have to lean towards big touring bikes for the sheer riding comfort they offer.

Firstly I find smaller bikes running at 80% of their capacity on highways at say normal touring speed but the higher capacity bikes are at ease there. Lower capacity bikes are strained.

Secondly on a longer ride if you need to extra luggage I am sure a higher capacity bike would be able to take that extra load easily. I mean a set of fully packed panniers on Avenger v/s set of fully packed panniers on a Ninja650.

Third and most important , comfort of riding is superior in all higher capacity bikes (meant for touring of course so please do not add supersport to the mix). Sheer electronics and riders aids that the expensive bikes offer are level above the small touring bikes. ABS , Riding modes , Traction control, etc . They do come handy believe me. If someone says cruise control in India is useless , trying using that on roads in Gujrat you will thank the manufacturer for putting it in. Seating posture and seat makes one's life easier. I have ridden Pune-Chikmagalur-Pune on the Multistrada over Saturday and Sunday ans was in office on Monday.

In a nutshell ... Big bike rock.
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Old 14th December 2018, 09:44   #200
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Default Re: Big vs Small Touring Bikes

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Originally Posted by MaheshY1 View Post
I've dealt with flats at 3-ish am many times. Had a spark plug failure in the pouring rain...twice; once at 12 am. Even on well-lit roads, that are within walking distance from civilization, it never felt like fun. It would've been far scarier had I been with an unfamiliar bike on an unknown turf.
I know of some fellows who tour alone, I am sure they have their reasons but I recommend having company when prospecting off the beat places.

It is a lot safer to go on bike tours with a convoy and a support truck not matter what the size of the bike is or at least have a few other bikers with you.


Quote:
Originally Posted by vikrantj View Post

Third and most important , comfort of riding is superior in all higher capacity bikes (meant for touring of course so please do not add supersport to the mix). Sheer electronics and riders aids that the expensive bikes offer are level above the small touring bikes. ABS , Riding modes , Traction control, etc . They do come handy believe me. If someone says cruise control in India is useless , trying using that on roads in Gujrat you will thank the manufacturer for putting it in. Seating posture and seat makes one's life easier. I have ridden Pune-Chikmagalur-Pune on the Multistrada over Saturday and Sunday ans was in office on Monday.

In a nutshell ... Big bike rock.
The concept of arriving fresh and fatigue free at your destination even though you have driven many hundred KMS is something many are yet to experience, it would take a while for that to sink in.
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Old 14th December 2018, 16:00   #201
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It is a lot safer to go on bike tours with a convoy and a support truck not matter what the size of the bike is or at least have a few other bikers with you.
Is this true even when one is only going to ride on roads?
If it is, then I guess, AP has a very valid point. I don't have to think twice before picking up my car and racing off to wherever I want to go. I would want it to be the same for my bike as well. Are the big bikes that unreliable in India, that one has to be part of bike clubs and only then he can enjoy tension-free tours.
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Old 14th December 2018, 16:07   #202
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Default Re: Big vs Small Touring Bikes

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Are the big bikes that unreliable in India, that one has to be part of bike clubs and only then he can enjoy tension-free tours.
Its more mental fear we Indians have to do anything at all out of our comfort zone.

You have thousands of folks from other countries doing the road of bones, Mongolia, Iran, India without any kind of support on their FI based 650CC and above bikes. Granted there are probably an equal number of folks doing it in the Honda cub class as well.

The first step is always the most difficult one. Get off your behind (not you per se) and make that first step. We're all smart people and we'll figure out solutions for problems that arise as we come across it as opposed to theorizing on the internet.

PS: There are folks who have crossed 75k on their V's in India.

Last edited by Red Liner : 14th December 2018 at 16:29.
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Old 14th December 2018, 16:30   #203
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Default Re: Big vs Small Touring Bikes

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Is this true even when one is only going to ride on roads?
If it is, then I guess, AP has a very valid point. I don't have to think twice before picking up my car and racing off to wherever I want to go. I would want it to be the same for my bike as well. Are the big bikes that unreliable in India, that one has to be part of bike clubs and only then he can enjoy tension-free tours.
I was talking about traveling to remote \ off the beat places or hard to travel to places where you need company to be on the safe side.

If I try to guess based on where you are, Delhi to CH will be an uneventful trip in comparison to CH to Manali , based on the trip I took back in 2003 /04 i guess.

The same applies to cars as well and remember - you maybe carrying precious cargo in a car - so chances of you putting them into unnecessary hassle is also more if you do not travel in a convoy, best to travel to remote places with company. Of course, there are some among us who are prepared to deal with the worse and would probably even enjoy it.
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Old 14th December 2018, 17:07   #204
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Default Re: Big vs Small Touring Bikes

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Originally Posted by rdst_1 View Post
Is this true even when one is only going to ride on roads?
If it is, then I guess, AP has a very valid point. I don't have to think twice before picking up my car and racing off to wherever I want to go. I would want it to be the same for my bike as well. Are the big bikes that unreliable in India, that one has to be part of bike clubs and only then he can enjoy tension-free tours.
Like the answer to any economic problem, "Eh, Well...It Depends."

Mechanical failure is inevitable, 'when' it does happen depends on the state of tune of the machine, its mechanical complexity, riding style of the user, terrain the motorcycle is being ridden on and everything minute detail in between.

The indisputable fact here is that with a complex machine the chances of recovering from such an instance is strictly binary, it either runs or it doesn't, say like in the event of a fuel pump failure or an electrical short or say even a battery drain.

But when it comes to a simplistic machine you have a better chance of getting out of the situation simply because there is one more alternative, you get to limp out of the situation at hand;

1. Carburetor is shot, you can still ride but only slower.
2. Fuses are blown, you can still ride but only slower.
3. Forget the battery, the whole charging system konks off, you can still ride but only slower.

Etc... Overtime these topics have been debated to death and then some more but remain oblivious to many simple because only a seldom few actually get off their bottoms and have a go at their boundaries.

These are hard facts, now you could factor in 'Luck' and 'Wishful thinking' and believe that a complex machine would do just fine which is the usual norm here, but what seasoned motorcyclists abroad do is that they equip themselves with the knowledge to work on their machines so that they do not end up in compromised situations which is far from what you'd expect from a mall-hopper who would not even be well equipped to handle a nail puncture on a tubeless tire.

The reason someone said it would be better to wander in packs is because it helps especially if you're technically less competent as I've seen in the case of many group rides where a rider on a newer machine would immediately get a panic attack for frivolous reasons, which is good reason enough for him/her to be riding in a pack.

Because in the off chance that Murphy decides to play a number on you when you're touring solo then things would not turn out as fun as you'd seen in the YouTube video posted by large motorcycling communities because a good number of them have support crews and even spare riders who takes turns riding.

Not to say that some motorcycles are more reliable than others but just to point out that without the right technical know-how mostly anything you ride with the exception of a bicycle(Still some wishful thinking here!) would be just as unreliable as the rest.

The below video posted by Deelip would give you a better idea.



Have ridden with a Machismo rider who used to have a piece of wire entangled in his key chain, on inquiring he said that he'd pull off strands from the wire in the event that a fuse blows to diagnose the issue so that he'd be able to fix it due to riding a motorcycle that has a DC CDI(Would not run without current from the battery) and due to his personal preference for riding off-road mostly solo.

So while a good number of us might bash the RE for being unreliable, he simply rides it to terrains where most dare to venture without a care in the world.

Last edited by ashwinprakas : 14th December 2018 at 17:13.
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Old 14th December 2018, 18:58   #205
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I agree with the points made above. I am guessing, people feel they are safer in cars, even when they break down, because they can lock themselves in and much more easily brave the environmental factors. My friend was stranded at Baralacha La because 2 tyres of their car got damaged at the same time and they had to spend the whole night there. I couldn't imagine a biker surviving those conditions unless he had made arrangements for such a situation by carrying a sleeping bag and a tent.

So, it is a mental mindset and one shouldn't just frivolously start such a trip. Preparation seems to be a very important factor, be it solo or group rides/ bike or car rides. But this seems to be the case if you are travelling to remote places. Not 90% of the road trips one can take in India, when you can easily find help or a place to stay within a few kms.

As for the point AP is raising, getting to know your machine is important. However, I doubt people can do a crash course for their particular machine. I know how to coax my Bullet because of the situations it has put me in. I, would however, know nothing about another machine. So, I guess, this is more of a chicken and egg situation. One can try to get to know his machine better for sure, but the valuable lessons, unless you are an automobile emgineer, or spend your weekends with a spanner and socket set, would come only when you find yourself in such a situation.
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Old 14th December 2018, 20:25   #206
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Default Re: Big vs Small Touring Bikes

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I know of some fellows who tour alone, I am sure they have their reasons but I recommend having company when prospecting off the beat places.
Oh, that's just commuting. The only problem I've faced while touring was a slightly loose valve in the rear tire.

Quote:
It is a lot safer to go on bike tours with a convoy and a support truck no matter what the size of the bike is or at least have a few other bikers with you.
Spot on. I've done that too; with RE. I did end up using the help on that ride. The Himalayan and the trails, both were new and too much for me to handle.

In fact, that's the thing I like the most about RE. they have a fantastic ride calendar. And the prices are very reasonable. I don't think they're making money from rides. The rides certainly build a bond and camaraderie among RE riders. That helps retain the customers in the long run.

If you have an RE and haven't experienced the group rides, then you're missing out on a lot of 2-wheel fun.

It's a great way to discover new roads and destinations for you to explore later; maybe even solo.

I'm just hoping Jawa has similar plans.
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Old 14th December 2018, 21:19   #207
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Default Re: Big vs Small Touring Bikes

Confucius says,

You want bike to see places or to be seen at places?
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Old 15th December 2018, 09:20   #208
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Here's an interesting observation and a comparison of a 690 vs a 310 for an around the world trip.

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Old 17th December 2018, 14:59   #209
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Slightly off topic, yesterday we rode back to Bangalore from Ooty and we were simply cursing, not at all even trying and many places we have been observed few guys on "small" jugad bikes were trying to keep up with us, one guy literally red lined his thumper and for few seconds he was able to keep himself ahead at the cost of blocking our way, but soon when road became wide we again started cruising at our usual speed without straining ourselves or the bike. Not sure why even after knowing the fact that they cant keep up with bigger bikes why they still want to test their or their bikes capacity at the cost of their own and others safety.
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Old 17th December 2018, 15:28   #210
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...at the cost of blocking our way...
Not just that. Also at the cost of increasing risk for both himself and others on the road, because of operating his motorcycle at the threshold of it's design limits, which severely affects stability, braking and manoeuvring.

Simplicity, cost etc. aside, this is the biggest problem that I have with small capacity bikes. They tend to be operating at 80-90% of their design limits on respectable highway speeds, vis--vis larger machines that are very comfortably at 40-60% of their limits. Makes a huge difference.
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