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-   -   Big vs Small Touring Bikes (https://www.team-bhp.com/forum/motorbikes/204117-big-vs-small-touring-bikes-3.html)

ebonho 27th November 2018 07:25

Re: Big vs Small Touring Bikes
 
Once upon a time a Z800 rode 6500 Kms across the country from the west to the east, into the cold snowy mountains of northernmost Sikkim, abutting China.

Along with the Z800 rode a little Duke 390.

Today the Z800 is looking for a new big bike enthusiast.

The old big bike enthusiast having moved on to 40,000+ km on a new Duke 390 of his own.

He claims he can never go back to a big bike.

Cheers, Doc

Red Liner 27th November 2018 07:34

Re: Big vs Small Touring Bikes
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by ebonho (Post 4501966)

He claims he can never go back to a big bike.

Cheers, Doc

Welcome back doc. We missed you around here :D

Z800 for touring is a bit mad.

roy_libran 27th November 2018 08:27

Re: Big vs Small Touring Bikes
 
Solely for touring, I'd lean towards a bigger bike that-
1. Can run more relaxed at decent cruising speeds (and good BHP/Ton),
2. Can carry enough luggage without losing composure,
3. Can carry a pillion as well without losing composure or power,
4. Is more stable, and
5. Offers more wind blast protection

But-
1. Is small enough to handle alone, if need be (push, pull, slide, pick),
2. Gets lesser attention when parked,
3. Is easier to attend to minor issues,
4. Can handle varied road conditions and the occasional trail,
5. And, can deliver a good range (300 km at least)

Somehow, to me, that sweet spot is offered by the 650/750 class bikes, not below, not above. While I'd absolutely love to own and tour on say a ZX14R, it does fail a few of the criteria above. But once and if you get on that bike, distance just becomes a small number to crush...

P.S. - P.O.V. of a 2003 RE TB350 and recently 2018 RC390 owner, and now sitting on the fence for another :D

Red Liner 27th November 2018 14:07

Re: Big vs Small Touring Bikes
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by aargee (Post 4501182)
For most bikers, whether we have money or not, something like below list remains a dream & reality for some...

1. C250R/KTM/Ninja 300 sort of fast bike within the city or ride from this end to other & office as well
2. A Hayabusa for office party/event
3. Access 125 type of scooters for weekend groceries or acting porter while Wife shops
4. SR150 to drop & pickup kids from school
5. S1000RR or FZ1 type of motorcycle for that weekend breakfast rides
6. V650 sort of motorcycle for that solo ride from South to North or NE
7. After few months, one evening in Spring, ride out that RD350 out to a mall where you go to meet some old friends & talk of old times
8. Rx100 to show bikers who come home that I'm part of the clan too

Great list. Applies to every single one of us here.

If you were given the option to choose just ONE from the above for a period of 5 years of every day/all purpose use, which one would it be and why? I understand this applies to you personally, not a problem.

aargee 27th November 2018 14:33

Re: Big vs Small Touring Bikes
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Red Liner (Post 4502230)
If you were given the option to choose just ONE from the above for a period of 5 years of every day/all purpose use, which one would it be and why? I understand this applies to you personally, not a problem.

The one & only middle weight listed above; that's my favorite all time. Like one thread title in here says - One bike to tame them all

Red Liner 27th November 2018 14:41

Re: Big vs Small Touring Bikes
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by aargee (Post 4502242)
The one & only middle weight listed above; that's my favorite all time. Like one thread title in here says - One bike to tame them all

Why did I feel that, it would be the one you would choose.:D

So it does look like the majority of people here look at the mid capacity 650 series as worthy contenders for every day run arounds.

I have been battling these questions myself, hence wanted to trigger a discussion here to get some clarity of my own.

ethanhunt123 27th November 2018 15:27

Re: Big vs Small Touring Bikes
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Red Liner (Post 4502247)
So it does look like the majority of people here look at the mid capacity 650 series as worthy contenders for every day run arounds..

But not everyone. I cannot imagine going down to a sub-150PS machine now - that power/torque is so addictive on the highway when you are in a mood to be a little naughty.

And a big engined touring bikes have a lot of advantages over mid/small ones especially if you dont intend to go offroading - more features, more comfortable, extra power in reserve to pull overtakes and have some fun. Besides bikes like S1000XR/Multi 1260 are only 10% heavier than the likes of V650 - and that weight literally disappears when you are on the move.

ACM 27th November 2018 15:43

Re: Big vs Small Touring Bikes
 
So in the 650 class. As an all rounder. Vulcan 650 or Versys 650 or Interceptor 650?

Vulcan looses in ground clearance and suspension what it gains in stability and ride height.

Versys gains in suspension, but looses in ride height and is on the pricier side of 650s. It also fights the wind more than say a Vulcan due to its height.

Interceptor gains in price, but to me (without riding it) looses it all in tyres and absence of electronics like gear shift indicator, the time etc.

Even in an agreed 650 class there is so much variance. For that matter even the 150-220 segment has a few cruisers and then there are ADVs.

We need a matrix on 3 Axis.

X- Cubic Capacity.
Y- Ride Height (In a way also a cruiser to ADV move) with the street bikes being right in between.
Z- Tyre Width (Just rear is enough).

Now basis each riders own usage, experience and physic there would be a sweet spot and that is assuming price (and FE) is not a factor.

Each individual needs to find that sweet spot in this Approx 3x3x3 Cube and the either select that or what is closest in that persons price (budget band).

Red Liner 27th November 2018 16:24

Re: Big vs Small Touring Bikes
 
As an all purpose ride amongst the three listed above, i would choose a versys or a vstrom (lower seat) and be done with it if my budget is around that mark.

killjoy 27th November 2018 16:24

Re: Big vs Small Touring Bikes
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by ACM (Post 4502289)
So in the 650 class. As an all rounder. Vulcan 650 or Versys 650 or Interceptor 650?

.

Why not the VStrom 650?

Srinidhi 27th November 2018 16:48

Re: Big vs Small Touring Bikes
 
I have zero experience riding a big bike. But, having ridden A duke 390 for around 50K KMS, I can tell you what I miss (being a tourer). I have no qualms about the power that D 390 offers. I have ridden with big bikes on a couple of rides and had no problem keeping up with them. The problem is how you feel after the ride. While I will be stiff and fatigued, the bike bike guys are fine and ready for more.

If you ask me, the ideal bikes which can satisfy both group of riders are the likes of Yamana tenere 700 or KTM 690 enduro/KTM 450 rally etc., I think these bikes provide you best of both world. Decent power on the tap when required and enough features to give you a comfortable ride. Unfortunately, the companies are not looking at bringing any such bikes to India :(

aargee 27th November 2018 17:37

Re: Big vs Small Touring Bikes
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Red Liner (Post 4502247)
Why did I feel that, it would be the one you would choose.:D

Because I'm a practical person & a typical Indian, looking for value in everything we buy

Quote:

Originally Posted by Red Liner (Post 4502247)
So it does look like the majority of people here look at the mid capacity 650 series as worthy contenders for every day run arounds

Have another thought here with a slight exception...
Category A. Age 18 to 22 - Mostly into education; can't afford a ride; mostly with support of Parents, bikes like Dio, Ray & for some privileged KTM & R15

Category B. Age 23 to 28 - Earning, pre marital affairs with KTM, R15 & for some privileged C250R, Ninja 250/300 or even middle weights, provided they were able to afford one between 18-22. So the ones who're starting at this age might most probably buy one from Cat A.

Category C. Age 28-42 - Most of them have moved into cars by this age except few privileged who were able to own one during their 18 to 30 & most importantly they still have courage to still ride one. So the privileged ones opt either for middle or SBKs. The ones who start during this age would opt one from Cat B. Some guys would also give up motorcycling as well.

Category D. Age 42-60 - Almost all would've moved away or some of them returning back (midlife crisis?) would certainly opt for a middle weight for the kind of money they have & move to SBK or stay with 600s. Those who're starting out for first time, KTM to kickstart.

Category E. 60+ - Surprisingly most people at this age, barring very very rare motorcyclists still go with SBK, yet their most preferential motorcycle will be from Cat A to 600s. Very rare to see 60s preferred ride is SBK. They prefer practical over showoffs.

Jaggu 27th November 2018 18:26

Re: Big vs Small Touring Bikes
 
I have owned many bikes starting from Mofa to the Tiger XRX. Something which I have learned is, for a country like India there is no ONE motorcycle that can do duty and that is perfect. So finally I have now settled with a KTM 390 (first gen) and the Tiger XRX.

Till about 3 months back, I was happy commuting on my Tiger XRX FYI. Reason for KTM was very simple, my daily commute was from Indira Nagar to Koramangala, though not open roads, it was manageable since roads were pretty decent and traffic was flowing except for 1-2 spots. Things changed when the new elevated flyover work started and the 1-2 spots became 2-3 kms of sticky traffic! This was putting lot of load on the bike and I was not very happy with the amount of declutching I was putting the bike to.

Then I decided to change job and my commute became Indira Nagar to Brookefields and it can be termed as one of the worst stretches when it comes to traffic flow. There are so many badly designed crossings that keeps the traffic piling up all the while. A bike like Tiger just doesn't like that. Moreover the size of the bike does not allow one to be as nimble, compared to a smaller bike. That is when my friend decided to let go the KTM and I jumped at it!

After 3 months of using both the bikes in city and some minor highway runs - these are my nothings.

KTM is a great city traffic beater. It is super light and nimble and the remapped engine is tons of fun. But most often I ride around in 3-5 gears. There are hardly 2-3 stretches where I can dream of using the 6th gear. Bike does not like to be in top gear below 65-70 kmph. Suspension is good for few kms, beyond that your bum will complain. It has vibes and definitely not refined as the bigger Tiger.

Tiger on the other hand is a sofa on wheels, it is effortless and will pull from low speeds even at higher gears. It needs the space though, can't risk weaving in and out of tight gaps since the overall length and width are restrictive. Radiator fan flows towards the rider and that is surely gonna fry your thigh, esp in summer. On the other hand KTM blows the hot air towards the front at lower speed (18 kmph IIRC), which is a great boon. Both the bikes have easy clutch installed, which reduces effort on the wrist. Honestly the tiger has a lighter clutch after this lol, maybe it has to do something with the routing of cable in the duke.

If you read till here, chances are you would like to pick the duke. But let me tell you the other side of the story, things dramatically change when it comes to longer commutes, ride, touring etc. Tiger is planted, has plenty of reserve power and is like a diesel locomotive that can chug along all day long, without skipping a beat. Ride decently and it would return around 22-25 kmpl effortlessly. I have done 800 kms long stretches, and apart from slight bum ache, the bike is just brilliant. It is vibe free, can take on off tarmac roads in style. Has ample space for a pillion and luggage. Is planted and feels so reassuring.

On the other hand, even a trip from city to Nandi Hills on a Duke would feel tiring after living with a tiger (yes am old at 42 years). Engine would be buzzing and vibrating, suspension would crash over all the rough patches and you have to hold on to you life, if you are taken by surprise by a bad patch of road.

Even in city those odd days I bring the tiger out to office, it will make you fall in love. Trust me I would rather let the duke do the beater job, burn its clutch or get scratched. But it just can't bring the grin on your face, that Tiger does.

What next? The baby BMW is ruled out, thanks to the ridiculous pricing and ownership costs. But I do look forward to replacing the 390 with a KTM 390 adventure, that would be my city commute plus full Offroad thrash around machine. Advanced Offroad, the tiger is not the perfect tool again, just due to its weight and costlier bits.

So that is my take on this big Vs small debate. I don't do ridiculous speeds, my comfort range is still 100-120 kmph, maybe occasional bursts. But I like the 0-100 rush and there 800 cc just crushes the 390 cc. I came from a UK spec Street Triple and the downgrade from that to Tiger itself was a bummer! And no more. So tiger stays and a better commuter which is better equipped for bad roads is what I look forward to. Himalayan with that new twin cylinder engine and 180 kg also would be interesting, but am sure they would make it 200 plus lol. But all of this would not replace the need for the larger Tiger.

What if only one bike can be chosen from the above (including baby GS)? for all round use, what would that be?

No need to guess, it would be the Tiger without a blink. :D

Kosfactor 27th November 2018 18:26

Re: Big vs Small Touring Bikes
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by ACM (Post 4502289)

We need a matrix on 3 Axis.

X- Cubic Capacity.
Y- Ride Height (In a way also a cruiser to ADV move) with the street bikes being right in between.
Z- Tyre Width (Just rear is enough).

I was thinking we should also add wheelbase to this list, but then the difference between a bullet 350 and GT650 is about an inch.

Can we define a big bike with Cubic capacity alone?

BlackPearl 27th November 2018 19:01

Re: Big vs Small Touring Bikes
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Sheel (Post 4501953)
When Iron Butt had started to pick up in India, 2 riders attempted it on an R15 and one on his R1, the R1 finished an hour later.

Experience all genres and pick which suits you.

Were the two riders of the same calibre? If I ride a R1 and you ride a R15 you will definitely reach a lot earlier than me!


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