Despite the fact that I will still be very, very far from the limits of my current motobike, I will most likely sell it and buy another. Here’s the general train of thought I keep looping over.
What I need and what I want have uncomfortably large differences. What I need is determined by what I want to do – namely sport-touring. But what I want … mmm red …
In my opinion, the greatest design ever executed in two-wheeled form. Also high maintenance, expensive parts, only one shop in Manitoba that works on them, way too much bike for me (in fairness that applies to most of these), laughably unsuitable for anything other than track riding or twisty backroad blasting. Touring? that’s where you fly to a trackday in Italy right? Oh, it’s expensive too.
A bit more realistic:
The last generation of the supersport series is a classic design too, all curves and swoops and perfect proportions. The half-faired version looks if anything even better, where the mechanicals are a much more prominent feature of the design:
Of all the bikes listed here this is actually the one most suited to my limited skills. Not too much power, but plenty of torque from the two-valve twin, and excellent handling. In fact it has a bit of a reputation as a bike that will help a rider improve. Maintenance is a lot lower than the 999/749, and it’s simple enough a machine that I could work on it myself. Plus you can get them for pretty cheap, although finding the right one might be a bit of a task as they are not that common (why buy a 70hp bike for $12k when you can get a 110hp Japanese 600 for $9k … or something like that). The only real downside is that they are famously uncomfortable. Bar risers and a good aftermarket seat would help. Enough to cross Canada on? I don’t know …
One of these would cross Canada without anything so uncivilized as breaking a sweat though:
I’ve always liked these. The first generation of the Daytona doesn’t look that great, but the second does and this third generation is classically handsome. The sound of the triple engine is wonderful too. And they’re all-day comfortable in spite of being a very capable sportbike. It’s a big bike though. Similar power and weight to the 999. The biggest problem with it is that the nearest Triumph dealer is in Saskatoon. Still, a contender.
Back to a big thumping V-twin with the advantage of Japanese reliability and easy parts sourcing:
and with the aftermarket fairing lowers:
This bike pushes a lot of the right buttons for me. Almost all of them in fact. Styling is more anime-robot and less classically sculptural than the Ducati Supersports, but it fits and I like it. Otherwise it’s much of a Japanese analogue to those Ducatis. The 650 version is a bit famous as a do-it-all bike that can tour or race or commute or anything else you please (I even saw a guy running supermoto on one!) but oddly this very similar 1000 is usually ignored, despite having more power and higher-spec suspension. Unfortunately the Supersport comparison carries over to the uncomfortable riding position. That can be fixed though.
However here’s one that needs no fixing of any kind:
The last generation of the Interceptor is very highly regarded as a sport tourer, but it remains enough of a sportbike that one well-known school even uses them for their race training. Very comfortable, reliable, sounds great (with aftermarket exhaust), factory hard bags available, some of the best styling out of Japan. Downsides: it’s extremely complex, with a unique VTEC variable valve system which is of course doubled since it’s a V4. No way on earth I’d work on this engine myself. Valve checks and adjustments are very expensive too. Also, fuel mileage is not the best. Still, this one is at the top of the list. Ask me tomorrow though and this order could be completely different!
This is of course all aside the cafe racer project, of which more anon (perhaps).
Oh and on a note of actually doing stuff: today I rode out west with the intention of visiting St. Lupicin, the art gallery and the old brick kiln. I was rather dissappointed though in that as far as I can tell none of the roads there are paved. So I didn’t get there after all. Maybe I should be looking at a dual-sport instead! Also yesterday went to Winnipeg mostly just to go for a ride but also to pick up what’s most likely the last roll of slides I’ll ever shoot. They actually seem to have turned out okay too. So this weekend I’ve put on almost 400km. Not bad for a noob I think!