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Discussion Starter #1
Long post, fair warning.

Recently began riding, still clearly a novice; 50 yo, 5'11', 200 lbs, pretty athletic.

Recently took the MSF course as my first ever riding experience; my nephew lives in Buffalo, NY, so I've borrowed his 2013 Triumph Speedmaster for the winter (since 5 feet of snow makes for less than awesome riding).

I'm loving the Speedmaster so far (~ 865 cc, ~ 65 hp) - it was a big step up from the little Eliminator in class, but I've adapted, and while again, I realize I'm still quite a novice, I've progressively stepped up my riding experiences, and am feeling more and more comfortable with the bike.

All that to say that while I've got tons to learn, it's not way too much bike for me. When I give him the bike back this spring, I'll be looking to buy something to continue to learn on. I do have a short needs and wants list (Need: ABS, and some sort of faring and windscreen to make highway riding a little less of a wind tunnel than it is on the otherwise really nice Triumph; Want - a little embarrassing, and no kind of deal-breaker, but I'd love a gear indicator - I'm sure that will become less important over time, but right now it seems like it would help, not on the open road, but approaching intersections, so I can focus on traffic).

I realize I can learn and move up, but I would like something I can enjoy for the next year or few; I plan on some commuting, weekend rides, and perhaps eventually some road trips).

Things I'm beginning to consider, but really don't know much about: 2012 BMW F800ST; recent Vstrom 650 or Versys 650; 2012 Honda NT700V, or 2012 Triumph Tiger 800.

Please respond candidly; you can't hurt my feelings (retired Navy, and now impervious to insult). Other suggestions quite welcome, budget up to about 10K$ (but not firm). ABS and some wind protection are must haves though.

Sorry for the lengthy post, and thanks in advance for any help.
 

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Your list of bikes looks very good. Another bike you might consider adding is the Yamaha FJ-09. It just came out for 2015, but you should be able to find one for less than 10k. It has different power modes, so you could leave it in a lower power mode until you gain more experience.

By the way, plug and play gear indicators are probably available for all the bikes you listed that don't already come with one from the factory.
 

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Welcome to the Forum. Sounds like you are able to get some experience to build on what you learned in your BRC.

Since it is winter you should have plenty days that are too nasty to ride but are great for going to dealers and sitting on all kinds of bikes, new, used, any brand or size. Don't just rule something out because you don't think you like the style. That will give you more of an idea what feels good and what doesn't.

Talk to the salespeople and ask questions and listen to their thoughts. Explain to them that you are trying to decide what you want in a bike. That is something we still do in the winter. Gets us out of the house and you never know when we will find something we just can't live without. :D :D
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Thanks to you both; I had looked at the FJ-09, though I am leery of buying new to start out; I suspect in a year or two or three I will have a lot better idea of the things I really want.

I like the idea of different power modes though; anything to make the bike a little more Marine-proof will likely serve me well
 

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The motorcycles you listed are all capable of what you will be using them for. I'd suggest checking them out, and others if you have the time. Get a feel for the seating positions. Find what is comfortable for you and one that appeals to you.
 

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First of all, welcome :)

Even though you are riding your nephew's bike and getting some experience, l would go on the smaller side and buy a bit older used...not old-old, but old enough that the majority of its depreciation has already happened. I had the same though in mind that you do as far as wanting a bike that you won't outgrow...but someone pointed out to me that it is my first bike, not my last bike. If you buy a good starter bike in good condition with fairly low miles, you should be able to turn around and sell it for what you paid, or very close. If you like cruisers, l would suggest a Suzuki Savage or a Boulevard, or maybe a Honda Shadow 600. If you can find a Versys or a V-Strom that is a bit older, then that would also be a good candidate, although my personal ceiling for a first bike was $3000. I bought an SV650, which has the same motor as a V-Strom, and l have been really happy with it.
 

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All the bikes on your list are great for doing what you want. I would say that its going to boil down to your riding style. A few things right off the top would be..

The 2012 BMW F800ST is going to be a bit more of a sporty riding position. A friend of mine traded his Versys in on one and is very happy with his choice. ABS was one of his needs too.

The Vstrom 650 (I ride an 08) Is a great all around bike. People tend see it as a work horse and commonly considered one of the best bang for the buck. I am very happy with mine and the newer ones have a gear indicator and ABS. Stock seat is great. I can do a 300 mile day no prob.

The Versys 650 is a bit more punchy then the Vstrom. I rode my friends 2009 before he traded it. Not as comfy as the Vstrom but it is a bit more nimble. Great bike!

The Honda NT700V I have heard, is a bit gutless. I have never rode one so I cant speak from exp. Where it shines is fuel economy, it red lines at 6500 (I think) so you have to short shift it witch is fine if that's the way you ride.

The Triumph Tiger 800 (No exp with it either) It seems like a great bike. I haven't heard any complaints about it. Heard it has a wide power band, great for on or off road.

So...even tho I don't have exp with all of these I have read and watched many reviews on this one vs that one and that one vs this one and have come to the conclusion that all of these bikes are "close" as far as capable. Its just going to depend on what you like and how you ride. I hope this helps and you get the best one for you.
 

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That V-Strom is a very nice bike. Also take a look at the bike in Critter's post. That Yamaha RSTD is a great bike for solo riding and comes with a 4 cylinder water cooled 1300cc engine, a removable windscreen and a removable backrest. I just loved mine, after over 40 years of riding experience but wanted a bike for riding 2 up. The back seat on the RSTD leaves a lot to be desired for any distance riding so I traded to a large V-twin.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Thanks again for all the insights - I'm definitely pretty set on a used bike, for the reasons outlined above. And I'm convinced that I'd rather err on the side of too little rather than too much bike (a little too dull is a hell of a lot better mistake to make than too much power = dangerous). I really appreciate the input.
 

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Thanks again for all the insights - I'm definitely pretty set on a used bike, for the reasons outlined above. And I'm convinced that I'd rather err on the side of too little rather than too much bike (a little too dull is a hell of a lot better mistake to make than too much power = dangerous). I really appreciate the input.
There is also a saying..."It is more fun to ride a slow bike fast than a fast bike slow." I believe it to be true.
 

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Gear indicator

Do not let the gear indicator be a deal breaker. Most of us never know what gear we are in. Oh okay, maybe the other guys do, but I always forget.
kinda makes a game out of it. 6000 revs is 60 mph in 3rd, I think. And after a while you get the feel of the shifter and the slight change in sound of the gearbox, shifting down. Second is usually the giveaway.
And Hi from an Island in the Salish Sea.

Unkle Crusty*
 

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Gear

It doesn't really matter what gear you are in as long as the engine is happy. If it's lugging, shift down. If it's revving, shift up. That's pretty simple.
You could be my speech writer, and thanks for backing me up.
We used to tell new riders when their fillings started to vibrate, it was time to shift up. Or if they wore glasses like Steve Baker, when their vision was blurred.
I still liked it better when the shifter was on the correct side.

Unkle Crusty*
 

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I thought l was the only one that forgot what gear l was in! Ido a lot of riding on little 30mph (50kph Crusty) city streets and l manage to forget what gear l am in between 2nd and 3rd all the time...but one twist of the throttle tells me quickly :)
 

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I don't know how many times I have tried to shift up one more gear only to find I'm already in 5th. For the rest I normally am in the gear that best matches my speed/RPMs. I pay attention to gears when I down shift to turn into a parking lot or when coming to a stop. After you ride a little you should be able to "feel" it too.
 

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Is your Yamaha a 5-speed MONI? I have heard a lot of people say they wish their bike had a 6th gear...maybe it is just luck of the draw, but l don't think l have ever had a bike that WASN'T a 6-speed. Is it mainly the bigger cruisers that are 5-speeds? And why is it that people want another gear? Do they wind too high?
 

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Yeah Hawk, she's a 5 speed. At 70 mph she turns 5500 RPMs. She doesn't redline until 9500 so she's no where near maxed out but 5500 "sounds" pretty high to me. But it's really not because specs on her say she has 86 hp at 9000 and 45.6 lbs torque at 7500.

I guess I'm just used to the Vision only turning about 3000 riding down the interstate.
 

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Long post, fair warning.

Recently began riding, still clearly a novice; 50 yo, 5'11', 200 lbs, pretty athletic.

Recently took the MSF course as my first ever riding experience; my nephew lives in Buffalo, NY, so I've borrowed his 2013 Triumph Speedmaster for the winter (since 5 feet of snow makes for less than awesome riding).

I'm loving the Speedmaster so far (~ 865 cc, ~ 65 hp) - it was a big step up from the little Eliminator in class, but I've adapted, and while again, I realize I'm still quite a novice, I've progressively stepped up my riding experiences, and am feeling more and more comfortable with the bike.

All that to say that while I've got tons to learn, it's not way too much bike for me. When I give him the bike back this spring, I'll be looking to buy something to continue to learn on. I do have a short needs and wants list (Need: ABS, and some sort of faring and windscreen to make highway riding a little less of a wind tunnel than it is on the otherwise really nice Triumph; Want - a little embarrassing, and no kind of deal-breaker, but I'd love a gear indicator - I'm sure that will become less important over time, but right now it seems like it would help, not on the open road, but approaching intersections, so I can focus on traffic).

I realize I can learn and move up, but I would like something I can enjoy for the next year or few; I plan on some commuting, weekend rides, and perhaps eventually some road trips).

Things I'm beginning to consider, but really don't know much about: 2012 BMW F800ST; recent Vstrom 650 or Versys 650; 2012 Honda NT700V, or 2012 Triumph Tiger 800.

Please respond candidly; you can't hurt my feelings (retired Navy, and now impervious to insult). Other suggestions quite welcome, budget up to about 10K$ (but not firm). ABS and some wind protection are must haves though.

Sorry for the lengthy post, and thanks in advance for any help.
So, you were a taxi service for the Marines? (sorry, couldn't resist)

Now about the bikes. I'm a big fan of Triumph bikes. In fact Im on my fifth one. The Speedmaster is a nice ride and if you really like that riding position I would stick with a cruiser style (sadly Triumph doesn't have a minor step up in the cruiser line) I can speak highly of the 800 and 1200 Tigers. I've ridden both a lot and currently own a 1200. The 800 is really all you need but may not be all you want. (see the thread on whether anyone needs 1000cc's or more) The 800 is an awesome ride, handles like a sport bike but has the long range comfort of a tourer. It handle two up with ease and has the ability to carry large loads for touring. If you're looking to go new, the newest 800's have most if not all of the accoutrements of the 1200 such as cruise, throttle by wire, ABS etc, etc. If you like that seating position (and I really, really do) you won't go wrong with the 800 Tiger.
 
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