Are we experiencing a "practical bike" renaissance?

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Grey Thumper
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Are we experiencing a "practical bike" renaissance?

#1 Unread post by Grey Thumper » Thu Nov 10, 2011 4:04 am

Just thinking of next year's launches and it seems to be the year of the "do-it-all" bike. Versys 1000, revised Wee Strom, Triumph Explorer, the water-cooled BMW GS, and so on. All roughly conforming to the "adventure bike" look (of course, only a tiny percentage of these will actually be used off road). I tend to think of them as standards with really upright riding positions, built-in windshields, and optional hard saddlebags. Use em for canyon carving, commuting, touring, whatever. Anyway, I'm looking forward to all these practical choices coming up.
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Re: Are we experiencing a "practical bike" renaissance?

#2 Unread post by jstark47 » Thu Nov 10, 2011 8:41 am

I gotta say, no, we're not having a practical bike renaissance until I start seeing affordable, attractive small displacement bikes for sale in the US market. Things might be different over there where you are.

How about a 400cc oversquare twin in a lightweight frame with a standard riding position, but not supermoto style? How about a tour-able (i.e. faired) 500cc V4 or I-4 with affordable luggage options and exciting performance? (Note the exciting part, that leaves out the Deauville!! :mrgreen: ) How about a plain old 400cc UJM? Not every small displacement bike needs to be a thumper, fercryinoutloud!

Well, some of these things exist in other markets, but the manufacturers' opinion is that they won't sell here, so they don't bother to homologate them for the US. Since they're not offered for sale here, there's no perception of them in the public mind as desirable objects, so no demand. It's a vicious circle.

Makes me want to look at tiered motorcycle licensing again.....
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Re: Are we experiencing a "practical bike" renaissance?

#3 Unread post by TechTMW » Thu Nov 10, 2011 1:17 pm

Practical and small cc's are covered by a fair amount of scooters in the US market. Granted, they aren't exactly motorcycles. I think that you are also missing the boat on a few great bikes (like the bonneville, sv650, GS500, etc.) Don't get me wrong, I'd love to see the kind of bikes that you mention, but I have a feeling we are going more towards the overgrown scooter w/ a CVT before we go back to something like a CB550 (unfortunately.) Look at the two 500cc standards that we have ... I'd love to see the stats on how those bikes are selling (but too lazy to look it up :D )
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Re: Are we experiencing a "practical bike" renaissance?

#4 Unread post by jstark47 » Thu Nov 10, 2011 2:33 pm

TechTMW wrote:I think that you are also missing the boat on a few great bikes (like the bonneville...........etc.)
I'm not missing the Bonneville, I own one. Bonne's are fairly pricey for what you get, 800+ cc's, and heavy for their size. Great bike, but not the "everyman" bike I'm visualizing here.


TechTMW wrote:Look at the two 500cc standards that we have ... I'd love to see the stats on how those bikes are selling
??? I'm probably brain dead, but I can't think of what two 500cc standards you mean?


(BTW, nice to see you back here on TMW.)
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Re: Are we experiencing a "practical bike" renaissance?

#5 Unread post by sunshine229 » Thu Nov 10, 2011 5:26 pm

Hey Grey Thumper, I kinda have to agree with you that there has been a fair expansion in this part of the market recently it must be getting more popular. I'm sure the show rooms are still full of sportsbikes and cruisers but even have a few of these adventure types kicking around represents at least a small shift. :mrgreen:
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Re: Are we experiencing a "practical bike" renaissance?

#6 Unread post by TechTMW » Thu Nov 10, 2011 9:43 pm

??? I'm probably brain dead, but I can't think of what two 500cc standards you mean?


(BTW, nice to see you back here on TMW.)
Ya i guess i missed that you have a bonnie :) And thx for the welcome back.
dont we still have the gs and ninja 500s? Been outta the usa for 6 years, sorry. But even faired, i'd consider em standards due to riding position.
Not saying i dont agree, mind you - i dont think we are in a practical bike renaissance but i'll expound later. Typing on this phone is friggin annoying.
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Re: Are we experiencing a "practical bike" renaissance?

#7 Unread post by Wrider » Thu Nov 10, 2011 11:39 pm

Nope, both of them have been discontinued. Shame IMO. Most newer riders didn't want them because they didn't look cool, not because they thought they were too small. If either had been redesigned with decent looks they probably would have sold much better.
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Re: Are we experiencing a "practical bike" renaissance?

#8 Unread post by Grey Thumper » Fri Nov 11, 2011 12:02 am

sunshine229 wrote:I'm sure the show rooms are still full of sportsbikes and cruisers but even have a few of these adventure types kicking around represents at least a small shift. :mrgreen:
Yeah, the massive adventure tourers are really more like headliners; they'll be on magazine covers, take up prime space on showroom floors, win Bike Of The Year, etc. Even if most riders won't buy them, it plants a seed in people's (especially new riders) heads that there are other cool kinds of bikes out there aside from "Harleys and Ninjas".
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Re: Are we experiencing a "practical bike" renaissance?

#9 Unread post by sapaul » Fri Nov 11, 2011 3:28 am

Can only really comment from my neck of the woods, but there is a big shift to naked's here
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Re: Are we experiencing a "practical bike" renaissance?

#10 Unread post by TechTMW » Fri Nov 11, 2011 8:00 am

Oh man, no more 500 twins :lol: .

Kinda like the way Ford let the Ranger die. WTF are they thinking? "Let's not improve on our product for 20 years, and then say that the market is dead for our 20 year old product, so we'll stop producing it." great.

I think I was going to say something profound last night, but I usually do feel that way after a few :drunk: :laughing: There is a post on this forum somwhere about the 'decline of the motorcycle' or something similar. Maybe the current trends are happening because the un-practical people (poseurs, squids, etc - i.e. people who see a motorcycle as a status thing or a luxury) are getting out of motorcycling due to the recession. It's easy to replace one statusy time-waster entertainment thingy (m/cycle) with another (an Ipad??)

Is the current trend towards a more practical motorcycle? Maybe - depending on what you think that is. Is it as JSTARK said - a smaller displacement bike in a lighter frame? A bike with an upright riding position where you can potentially take alot of your stuff with you? Something that gets reasonably high MPG's? I've seen a family of four on a vespa scooter in Italy and a goat herder in africa with two goats strapped around his shoulders on some scooter- so there you have it - the perfect practical bike is a scooter, just like I said - and we have plenty of those here.
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Re: Are we experiencing a "practical bike" renaissance?

#11 Unread post by momule » Sun Jul 22, 2012 12:42 am

Due to a completely ruined hip and knee I bought a Suzuki Burgman 650 Exec last year. It is very quick and very comfortable and very practical plus it is VERY QUICK. I know that motorcyclists dislike scooters and I never thought much of them myself but that was because of the misconception that they are 49CC and not worth a damn. My opinion has totally changed. Sure I miss my L+ Suzuki and some Harleys are peices of sculpture, but I'm damn happy with my Burgman. (I agree that the name is dumb as hell).

Before anyone criticizes, test ride a 650 Burgman or a Yamaha T-Max - you'd be impressed.
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Re: Are we experiencing a "practical bike" renaissance?

#12 Unread post by Ninja Geoff » Tue Aug 14, 2012 12:18 am

Cbr1000rr and saddle bags sounds plenty practical to me.
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Re: Are we experiencing a "practical bike" renaissance?

#13 Unread post by BRUMBEAR » Fri Aug 17, 2012 7:11 pm

I hear what Jstark is saying I even ran a thread asking for opinions on what would be the norm now that liter bikes are well over 12K and 600 are ranging any wear from 6 to 11K. In the US market there is IMO a need for a 500 or lower cc standard hear in the 3-5K range they would sell absolutely look at the little 250 resurgence is all you need to do.
The scooters will take a bit of the business but a motorcycle is a better platform for the US.The 440 ltd and gs550 and Honda cb 500 four rocked the house in the days of my youth :D
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Re: Are we experiencing a "practical bike" renaissance?

#14 Unread post by jstark47 » Fri Aug 17, 2012 8:01 pm

I was with a guy last night who just took his MSF and got his endorsement. He picked up (for free!) a 1982 Suzuki GS450T in running condition. Needs just a little work, mostly cosmetic. I sat on it, expecting it to feel clunky and clumsy, but it felt beautifully light and balanced. A small displacement UJM (would have been considered mid-size in the day), what a revolutionary concept!!! [/sarcasm]

So why can't we have bikes like that nowadays? :frusty:
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Re: Are we experiencing a "practical bike" renaissance?

#15 Unread post by HYPERR » Sat Aug 18, 2012 7:24 pm

jstark47 wrote:I was with a guy last night who just took his MSF and got his endorsement. He picked up (for free!) a 1982 Suzuki GS450T in running condition. Needs just a little work, mostly cosmetic. I sat on it, expecting it to feel clunky and clumsy, but it felt beautifully light and balanced. A small displacement UJM (would have been considered mid-size in the day), what a revolutionary concept!!! [/sarcasm]

So why can't we have bikes like that nowadays? :frusty:
Because your fellow Americans never buy them. :? They have them in Japan and Europe.
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Re: Are we experiencing a "practical bike" renaissance?

#16 Unread post by jstark47 » Sat Aug 18, 2012 8:40 pm

HYPERR wrote:
jstark47 wrote:I was with a guy last night who just took his MSF and got his endorsement. He picked up (for free!) a 1982 Suzuki GS450T in running condition. Needs just a little work, mostly cosmetic. I sat on it, expecting it to feel clunky and clumsy, but it felt beautifully light and balanced. A small displacement UJM (would have been considered mid-size in the day), what a revolutionary concept!!! [/sarcasm]

So why can't we have bikes like that nowadays? :frusty:
Because your fellow Americans never buy them. :? They have them in Japan and Europe.
Which is why craigslist is full of low mileage, large displacement garage queens for sale (around here, anyway). They buy those honkin' big bikes, then don't ride them.
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Re: Are we experiencing a "practical bike" renaissance?

#17 Unread post by pchast » Sat Aug 18, 2012 11:38 pm

I'd buy 2 if I could find one.
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Re: Are we experiencing a "practical bike" renaissance?

#18 Unread post by dablade » Mon Aug 20, 2012 6:25 pm

After owning a Honda VTX 1300, I fail to understand the whole large displacement cruiser thing. It was pretty, but it didn't do anything particularly well. I had much more fun on my Kawasaki 550 LTD. I still like big displacement bikes, but I expect them to be rideable. Love the Yamaha FJR 1300 and both of the Honda Goldwings that I have owned. But they are not cheap. I would still like an enduro and an R6 in my stable, but I guess you can't have it all.

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Re: Are we experiencing a "practical bike" renaissance?

#19 Unread post by sapaul » Tue Aug 21, 2012 9:34 am

We had a similar discussion when I bought the R1200R. I already have a GS and many said that the GS was a better bike. In some ways, it is, but is is a large bike that you end up on tippy toes. It can get blown around when loaded with panniers and the front end can get squiggly at high speed or not so perfect roads. The R12R by comparison is much more firmly planted, much more nimble and I can flat foot it. The luggage system is more than adequate and I get much better mileage.

A perfect bike is what you make of it, and thank goodness, how boring it would be if there was only "One Bike" to choose from.
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Re: Are we experiencing a "practical bike" renaissance?

#20 Unread post by dr_bar » Tue Aug 21, 2012 1:31 pm

pchast wrote:I'd buy 2 if I could find one.
But then where would you get the other one from...??? :o)
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