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Multiple Demo Rides Brief Comparisons


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So I've been trying to get to some demo events and ride lots of different bikes.  I recently went to Thunder in the valley and several local demo truck's as well as a bmw dealer.  I'm not super unhappy with the FJ, but came back form a 500 mile trip soar (skyline drive overnight hammock camping trip), and it doesn't work great for me 2 up riding.  Commuting though it is great and for short jaunts I enjoy it, but I feel it limits me some (if only I had cash for 2 or a hundred more bikes). 
Suzuki GSX-S 1000F (I rode the non f too):  This is by far the most fun bike I have ever ridden.  I do really love the sound of the gsxr engine and the pull of this thing is amazing.  If I had a bike for just plane fun, this would be it.  I wish I had a bike for 2 up and longer trips and could have one for around town and hands down I would pick this bike.  The seat and position were quite comfortable for my demo rides, but I bet it might get uncomfortable after may 90 minutes.  There is some jerkiness to the throttle very similar in characteristic to the FJ, except more in the on/off and less on a bump.  I like that they have levels of TC although didn't do anything spirited enough to test it.  It also made me feel quite confident in the curves at higher speeds and has felt the most like the FJ for confidence to me.  All I can say is the sound and the twist of the throttle are extremely grin inducing.  I would have traded in right away if this thing was in the bandit frame and allowed for luggage and a pillion seat my girlfriend would actually sit on.  The wind protection was slightly better than the non f, but it was honestly quite bad and would probably get old quick.  Also no heated grips or really any options available at least yet along with some issues on the forums would make me consider waiting for a second gen if I were really serious about this bike.  
Suzuki Bandit 1250:  This bike was also very fun while the engine characteristics reminded me more of the FJR.  It was very smooth but quite powerfull, however in a much lighter package than the FJR.  I would actually consider this bike except the technology on it seems very outdated to me.  The dash is very plane, no heated grips or usb ports, no adjustable wind screen, hideous exhaust.  I get its a cheaper price bike but for being re-introduced it shouldn't seem like a 10 year old bike + abs.  Maybe I shouldn't be so picky about the modern amenities, but i'm partial to looks and technology (I'm in the field so it tailors to me).  
BMW R1200RS:  I was surprised by the torque in the boxer engine, at least before third gear.  At first the more forward riding position made my wrists feel tired but by the end of the ride I was quite comfortable (although it still felt slightly off).  I apparently without realizing it pop the clutch with the throttle out on the FJ at a certain point apparently but this does not bode well on the RS.  I think I chirped the back tire going into second after releasing the clutch and just about lifted the front off the ground.  It certainly had some pickup but after second while quick, it didn't feel as exciting as the FJ.  I liked the windscreen mechanism better but the stock windscreen did not provide as much protection as my touring I have on the FJ.  I loved the hydraulic clutch and the throttle response on this bike was also very nice and smooth.  The stock seat was more comfortable than my seat concepts foam, but I think I would still start to get fidgity like I do on the FJ seat after 2 1/2 hours.  I had thought the starting price would be 14k, but when I got back and the dealer told me the price was 19k without the panniers or GPS, I knew I certainly did not like the RS that much (at the same price as the FJ sure I'd probably favor it).  Also I was not a fan of the way blipping the throttle caused the entire bike to shift under the roll of the boxer engine.  
Yamaha FJR: I am actually considering moving to this bike.  I rode the 2016 actually today and I don't recall much being different than the 2015 I rode last year as far as riding style.  I was not impressed by the route we took so I don't think I got a great feel for the bike, but remember loving the 2015 on our route last year.  I certainly felt the weight difference even while moving (I think its something like 200lbs).  Having the electronic windscreen that can give me a perfect blast of wind at lower speeds, or block it entirely at highway speeds is one of my favorite features over the FJ (even more so than cruise control which I also really would enjoy having).  While it does have a lot of torque in first and second when pinning it from a stop, the get up and go i'll call it does not compare to the FJ.  It is certainly not flickable like the FJ either.  The seat is amazing compared to the FJ, even though I see people on the FJR forums complain about this.  It would be great for 2 up riding as well especially with being able to adjust for 2 riders in the suspension at a touch of a button.  I couldn't really tell the difference between the suspension being hard soft or standard at all, but this is because wherever it was it felt loads better than the FJ.  Bumps were not harsh and I didn't feel it dive during breaking or the front lift a whole lot under acceleration (I do have my FJ quite stiff).  I also like that the dash gives you a range left although not sure how accurate it is.  The fact that bags and heated grips come stock is another plus (although I have these fitted to the FJ), and no chain maintenance would be great.  I got back on the FJ thinking it really was not quite as fun.  Most of my riding is actually commuting, and I think the FJ fits this purpose better.  However I think the FJR is more of the total package I'm looking for in having the 2 up capability plus long distance ability.  I know I could add a $500 seat and a $1k suspension kit but it still wouldn't be the same but at that point I've sunk about the cost of the FJR trying to make an FJ an FJR.  Still thinking about it, but might hold off, anyone want to buy my FJ?
Indian Scout:  If I were to get a cruiser, this would probably be it.  One of the most comfortable seats i've sat on (they had scattered factory options throughout the fleet so I don't think it was a stock seat), and loads of torque.  This thing was a blast to ride as it felt like riding a sport bike in a cruiser frame.  I would love this in a 2 up with bag configuration for a long distance or 2-up machine while having something either upright or forward for those days I feel like riding that. I also really enjoy the looks of this and the number of factory options mean you could customize it anyway you wanted with Indian parts. This bike would be a great compliment to go with the FJ again if I could get a second bike.  If you haven't ridden any of the indians do yourself a favor and try one out.  I say it is comparable to a v-rod only it is actually comfortable and you could do miles on this thing.  
Indian Dark Horse:  Pretty sure this is the same engine as the Scout but possibly a little more comfortable and I think it had floor boards.  It reminded me of a smaller street glide with a sportier bias.  I could see myself owning one of these.  Although I couldn't really feel out the ride great as the guy in front of me took so long getting his gear on the demo personell didn't see him and took off without us.  He then took off and I followed.  We had ample opportunity to catch the group but he would not move.  I almost passed him but damn the scpheel they give every time about not passing and staggered.  I easily could have caught the group and made them wait up though should have.  So we get to the light and the guy has no idea where to go so I say let me go ahead as I've ridden that route several times and think we can still catch the group.  I can't get the guy to go above 30 and he then stops to let a car out in front of him... had to crawl back to the dealership making sure this guy and the guy behind him didn't get lost. /rant
Indian Scout Sixty:  Maybe a good beginner bike but nothing compared to the scout.  Ergonomics and power seem so far behind the scout but it does look similar.  I think this is Indians answer to the cheapo harley street models.  To compare it to those it is worlds ahead as I road the new one last year at a demo event and I can't remember if it was the 500 or 750 (I thought it was the 750), but it was like riding a mini bike in power and comfort.  I would buy the sixty over a harley, but if your starting out, do yourself a favor and find a used bike, then get a scout.  
Harleys in general:  Could not find one I would buy period.  In my opinion they are so overpriced, but I do admit the dealer network is amazing.  several bikes just make me ask why like the 48, and the streets, these are both extremely uncomfortable and it seems the only reason people would buy would be to say they own a harley or a 'cool' looking bike.  The baggers sure are nice and like riding a lazy boy, but who's going to spend 30k+ on a lazy boy?  The low rider s with the 110 might have been a fun bike, but this is another one I was tied on a free ride to another bad demo rider.  Lady pulls up as we are leaving on a self guided tour and asks if she can tag along as she doesn't know the area (only my second time here too...).  Of course she couldn't even twist the throttle at all. sorry to any Harley fans, I actually ride with a guy on one and he loves it, but not for me.  
Other short Mentions:
DRZ 400: would love the ability to go offroad, but on road this thing felt like an old slug.  I'm not sure why everyone else kept telling me they thought it was so much fun, just couldn't get into it on the road.
vstrom 750: would loved to have been able to ride the 1000.  This thing just felt slow, while better on road than the DRZ, off road ability would be great, but I already take the FJ on gravel and dirt roads.
Super Tenere:  Certainly not the bike for me.  I wanted to like this bike, but in touring mode it felt very doggish, but in sport mode the throttle was so snatchy it almost seemed dangerous.  
Yamaha Stryker:  I just could not get into this bike.  After riding the scout this bike just did not seem fun at all.  I hate to keep giving all these bikes for crap for being slow as I'm not a hooligan rider and don't even ride that fast.  But when I twist a throttle I expect the bike to move, I don't want it to slowly jog up to speed like a car.  
Yamaha R6:  This was my least favorite bike I've ever ridden.  I liked the looks and the sound of the bike sure, but I couldn't get comfortable.  As soon as the ride started I wanted off.  I wanted to try a supersport/crotch rocket, just to be able to say I've actually tried one.  I honestly cannot get the draw for these kinds of bikes.  Maybe its just the newer R6 position is so far forward it was a bad first one to try, but I felt like I was in a frog position the whole time.  I literally could have hopped off the bike into the air.  
Honda and Kawasaki really need to have demo events.  At this point I really couldn't consider any of the bikes in either brand due to this.  I would love to test ride a Africa Twin and a Concourse, maybe even the Versys 1000, but because of this they aren't really on my list of considered bikes right now (I might try to go out of my way for an africa twin demo though).  I plan on going to roar on the shore next weekend which will be the same vendors plus victory.  I'll have to get on some of their bikes, hopefully the electric one.  
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Have you ridden the Conc 14? It's big, powerful and great for two up.
But it's also heavy. No chain to deal with. Handles pretty good for the size of the machine. And I like the way they ride/look etc.
It would be the long distance touring bike I'd buy at the moment.
But for an all around bike? The FJ09 is the best of the bunch I think. It will do it all, but it's not the best at some things. It is however based on a hooligan bike and that reality is never far from being found when ridden. ;)
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True and when I bought it, it did seem just right.  I also wasn't looking for a payment around what the FJR would be.  I haven't even gotten on one as I cannot find any Kawi demos near me.  The dealer I got my bike from actually has a 13 with 9k miles for sale I may ask if I can ride.  
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My final decision came down to the FJ (which I bought) and the Triumph Tiger XRX. In the end I chose the FJ because it was a bit lighter and more sporty and I liked the snarl of the engine. Plus since I was able to buy a 2015 the FJ was significantly less expensive. I really liked the Tiger though and if I was going to do longer trips or needed to carry a passenger I would have picked it over the FJ.
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