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  1. Thanks harraseeket. Good to hear on both cases. Totally agree that if versys had abs, would be clear decision. No idea why it doesn't here. Nearest other bike here in seating comfort that does is the suzuki v-strom 650, but it definitely doesn't feel quite as comfy and very few around here, hence resale will be harder. Plus, i just dunno - not loving it at all. Slightly wider as well. Getting a lot closer on price to the gt also, so vstrom is a pass for me.
  2. Ongoing thanks to everyone for their points. Part of the big bike licence acquisition process in Malaysia is about 20hrs of training (biometric log in log out) going round an obstacle course on a kawa z650 (with Abs), followed by a test on that obstacle course. You have to get through 6 obstacles when you take one of the three in total tests required for the licence (theory, slow skills obstacles, and road driving) : the obstacle course consists of (1) complete a tight figure of 8 twice, around a double roundabout with a radius of about 6m; (2) drive onto and over a 'bridge' - a raised bit of concrete about 6 inches off the ground and 8 inches wide 10m long taking over 7 seconds to get over it - a lesson in balance and slow speed / clutch control, dragging the back brake, using revs to push the flywheel to keep balance. (3) wiggle through a series of cones, (4) emergency stop - hit About 40-50 km/hr then brake sharp (hello abs), and stop within a set space without stalling. (5) manoeuvre around a series of 90 degree turns within about 1.5 m wide road without putting your foot on the ground, (6) go over a series of 15 concrete bars on the road and not let your wheels move out of the two lines around them (generally easy, but even more so if you stand on the pegs a little). All of it can be done in first gear. Takes about 8 mins to complete it all. I have now logged 15 hrs on this so have done the course about 80+ times and so far never dropped the bike. It's good for giving you first gear riding skills I guess. The forced, repeated practice has definitely developed some strong muscle memory at low speeds manoeuvring. Apart from it being fun, I particularly like the fact that there are 4 different bikes that you practice on, all with quite different amounts of play in the clutch, front braking response, effectiveness of a back brake - so having to adjust to them is good. There is also an 'on the road' course going around traffic lights, roundabouts, intersections - not on a real road, but full of newbies trying to drive their cars round it. About third gear max on this one. To segway back into the point of this thread - do I feel this training prepares me well to take on gt or a versys? Not really, but it will have greatly reduced my chances of dropping the machine at low speeds (though at 187kg for a z650 vs 215 for the bikes I am considering buying, a little more to contend with). Also, the emergency stop routine shows the advantages of abs clearly to me. +1 for the tracer. The z650 is not to my liking comfort wise, so the sports tourer remains a good target. After this though I think I need some more urgent training probably, some track time to get me more comfortable on higher speed cornering than I have done so far. Dirt bike recommendations I can also see the point of. Have read a twist of the wrist II, and Motorcycle Roadcraft now so looking forward to putting those wise words into practice. With my learners licence now in the bag with the theory test passed, alarmingly I can now go out on the road solo so about to complete my purchase.
  3. Many thanks to everyone for all these replies. Very helpful. Frankly I was expecting more people to talk about the lunacy of going for the tracer, so it's useful to get these perspectives. Wish the versys was available here with abs, tc etc. - be an easier decision. Anyway, sounds like I am going to be enjoying either choice.
  4. I think I know what people are going to say to this question, but here goes...... I am 44 yrs old, 6ft 1, and have very little experience on a big bike, though pretty sensible mindset etc., fit / pretty coordinated for whatever that is worth. I have been driving a 135 scooter for about a year, every day - so have the little road sense that brings me (very limited I understand on something that is only about 10 bhp). Completing all the training to pass my test here (Malaysia) for riding big bikes, and then plan on doing all the other safety training I can beyond that immediately, plus practice constantly, carefully, do loads of slow maneuvering exercises - whatever I can do to get my skills up - thoroughly looking forward to it all. Looking to buy my first big bike - will be used for mainly highway/motorway commuting - about 50 km a day round trip, with some longer weekend trips - roads here are pretty good and there are so many bikes on the road that the drivers are pretty aware of them - more so than many countries at least. Having sat on and given a brief test ride on all the obvious contenders [to me] (V-Strom 650, Versys 650, Kawa Z650, MT-07 etc.), by far and away the most comfortable for my height were the GT Tracer 900 and less so, the Kawa Versys 650. Reluctantly, I would accept that the Versys is the more sensible first bike, though where I am living, the Versys does not come with ABS. The GT obviously does (though no panniers ?!). I love the bike and felt more comfortable on the GT than the Versys. Though I am very aware that the GT is very overpowered for a first big bike. Is there anything to be said for going for the GT over the Versys, just because it has ABS, Traction Control and using it in B mode initially, or am I better off going for the non ABS Versys and then trading up in say a year / XXX miles etc? (I accept I will likely drop whatever I have at some point).