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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Longtime member of the forum here...I don't post much anymore. Forgive me for the thread, I know these "Help me pick a bike" threads aren't super popular, LOL. I've done a bit of research, but I've been out of the scene for about 5 years now and want to be sure I'm not missing something/any good bikes.

I've had two bikes in the past, a Ninja 650 (my first bike), and then a Ninja ZX-6R (since sold). I've done the MSF basic and advanced courses and took my time upgrading from the 650 twin to the super sport. I put about 17k miles on the 650 and about 14k on the Ninja 600 before selling it. So, I'm bikeless now and want to get back into it. But I don't want another Ninja 600.

Why am I telling you all this? Because the bikes I am drawn to the most, for what I want, are...sigh...never thought I would say this...a Hayabusa or the ZX-14. I know...I know...but hear me out. I'm 6'3", 220 lbs and 40 years old. A Ninja 600 is cramped and starts to hurt after about 20 miles. I'm not as young as I once was and I feel it on these smaller super sports. I need more room for my legs and handle bars that aren't so low. I've never been on a ZX-14 or Busa for that many miles, but they feel a bit bigger and have a less aggressive seating position from what I can tell just from sitting on them in a dealer showroom.

Other options are the Concours 14, and the Triumph Tiger 1200, but to be honest, I don't really like the looks of either (I like the Concours 14 more than the Tiger though, but don't know what it would look like without the hard bags). I'm really drawn to sport bikes, not adventure, touring or dual sports. I like some cruisers (the Indian Scout Bobber is sexy as all get out, I like the M109R, Victory Hammer), but concerned I would regret not getting a sport bike. I could see maybe getting a Yamaha FZ1 (the seating position on this looks REALLY nice), but I'm not finding many for sale. Are there later generations of this chassis under a different model name?

What other bikes could allow a 6'3" tall guy some room for his legs to not be so cramped, but still give me the sport bike chassis? I would use this for riding around town, commuting to work, and longer highway jaunts. I really want something with good low end power and a healthy midrange. I don't care about top end or high speeds. Used is preferable and it needs to be under 10k OTD, less is better.
 

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The weight of many new bikes keeps me away. My sport bike is for sale. It weighs 410 dry. My old XS1100 is a bit heavy at 555 pounds. BUT, my Triumph trophy weighs about 470 pounds, and handles very nicely. It is my new sport cruiser, and is great for two up riding. As for speed: If the bike can run 100 comfortably, I think that is enough.
How often will you run 120 or 140. You might just for kicks, but not on a regular basis. And after that, you may be stuck with an uncomfortable bike, and one that is not good for two up.
The four cylinder Yamahas also look like a nice sport touring bike.

UK
 

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One possibility would be a 2018 or older Versys 1000. The 2019 model was a complete restyle, so you might be able to get a deal on a leftover model. Should be comfortable for someone your size.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Yeah, I have no interest in going 140 mph. I already planned to run the ZX-14 or Busa in the "Low Power" modes if I got one of those. I'm sure those modes would still be plenty of power for the street. And yes, weight is a consideration, but only a small one. I've ridden some heavier bikes (cruisers and dual sports) during demo days and found them to be just fine.

I'll look into the Versys 1000's, thank you for the suggestion. Another bike I know the name of, but had forgotten about!
 

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@sirgilbert357 I think the Yamaha FZ1 was replaced with the MT10. I recently road an FZ1 on the track and I liked the bike, but the throttle was horrible.

You should be able to find a number of ZX14r available for under your budget. Model years 2013 or later would be better and something under 15K miles in around 2015-1016 should be available from 8K-9K USD. Replace the factory exhaust with carbon slip-ons and it should top out at about 530-540 pounds curb weight or less. They are smooth, comfortable and reliable. Of course they are fast if you twist the throttle, but you al;ready know all that. I have had two ZX-14's, both 2006 model years and a 2012 ZX14r and have enjoyed them all. Good Luck on your shopping quest.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
@sirgilbert357 I think the Yamaha FZ1 was replaced with the MT10. I recently road an FZ1 on the track and I liked the bike, but the throttle was horrible.

You should be able to find a number of ZX14r available for under your budget. Model years 2013 or later would be better and something under 15K miles in around 2015-1016 should be available from 8K-9K USD. Replace the factory exhaust with carbon slip-ons and it should top out at about 530-540 pounds curb weight or less. They are smooth, comfortable and reliable. Of course they are fast if you twist the throttle, but you al;ready know all that. I have had two ZX-14's, both 2006 model years and a 2012 ZX14r and have enjoyed them all. Good Luck on your shopping quest.
How tall are you, if you don't mind my asking? Is the ZX-14 good for hour long highway rides in your experience?
 

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How tall are you, if you don't mind my asking? Is the ZX-14 good for hour long highway rides in your experience?
I'm just a short guy 5'7"! I'm 73 years old (and 4/5th). So not as tall but have the similar issues on sport bikes. Two weeks ago i road a 2020 ZX6r for a demo ride. Really nice little bike, but the position cramps my old frame. For me, out of the 50 or so bikes I have owned over the years, the ZX14r fits me the best for going fast when I want, carving the canyons and longer distance rides. Everything is really smooth, the throttle, shifting, clutch, brakes, low speed or high speed. I cannot say the same for the Busa, although it is a great bike, the times I road one it just seemed lots on power but crude on handling.
 

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Yamaha FJR 1300. They've been around a while, shouldn't be too hard to find a nice one
They are a nice bike, had one, 2007 model. They are more on the touring side than the sport side, but good suggestion. The later models have 6 gears.
 

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If you are used to chain, then the Busa/ZX14 route makes sense -- but in view of your unlikeliness to max out the speeds, you might reconsider the FJR/Concours14 (or similar); shafties, lots of torque, both substantial bikes with leg-room and once moving feel pretty agile, although not ZX10RR agile. I ended up with a C14 largely since I hadn't had to pull chain maintenance in two decades and didn't want to relearn the drill while touring... Had Nomad and Ultra previously then wanted a bit more so went with a C10 for a bit, great bike, but wanted a bit newer and am thoroughly enjoying the transition to the C14 -- I leave much of the top-end on the table, but the mid-range torque (thanks to a ECU reflash and the VVT) is very addicting... I'm well north of 70, so...
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Thanks for the suggestions guys. I had to rule out the Versys 1000 because...well, its just ugly. LOL. Sorry, this is a bit of a toy, so I get to be a little picky, after all.

The FJR1300 looks nice. I'll research those a bit.

The Yamaha FZ1 is out. I've read it has fueling issues and choppy throttle (it cuts the fuel pump off on decel anywhere north of 4k rpms, so when you get back on the gas, there is literally a half second lag while it rebuilds fuel pressure). It also has a known issue with the magnets in the alternator self destructing and it seems it isn't a matter of if, but when.

I saw a video of a guy who is 81 years old and has ridden tons of bikes and he mentioned having a Hayabusa and that it was hard on his knees, but that he had owned two ZX-14s and two different Concours 14's and they were fine. I think that speaks a bit to how comfortable the ZX-14 might be...kudos to him for being retired and riding a ZX-14 and C14, too (#lifegoals).

I'm tempted to go buy a helmet and pester dealerships for test rides on their used stuff to see what I like best. I have a jacket, gloves, pants and boots still, but I sold my helmet when I sold my last bike, so I kind of can't test ride anything or do any demo days until I rectify that little issue. But, this is also just the research phase and I could be a year away from a purchase, so I'd feel silly buying a helmet at this point...first world problems, eh?
 

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We all have our likes and dislikes. Choosing what bike we want next, with so many choices available, can be difficult. Then after weighing all the pros and cons of acceptable models, and making the decision to get "this" bike, a salesman gets you to take a test ride on one you haven't considered, then "BAM" you want it!

You sign on the line and ride home on your new bike. Ain't bike shopping fun?!!! ?
 

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@sirgilbert357 if you follow your plan, pick up a helmet and start test rising used bikes (very smart BTW), then you are going to join the ranks of us ZX14 owners, as it is the best of all those mentioned here, you'll see!
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
LOL, I like your enthusiasm Eagle Six. The more I research, the more I think the ZX-14 should fit me best. I will say I wish it didn't have as much power (worried about the insurance payment -- I haven't called yet), but it isn't a done deal yet, so we'll see what I end up deciding. I may have to just get liability only...
 

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The Yamaha FZ1 is out. I've read it has fueling issues and choppy throttle (it cuts the fuel pump off on decel anywhere north of 4k rpms, so when you get back on the gas, there is literally a half second lag while it rebuilds fuel pressure)
^ Didn't know that, haven't seen even one on the street in my area.

I still own and ride the older Yamaha FZ1 (carbureted). That model was made from 2001 - 2005 but didn't sell very well so finding a good one on the used market probably ain't happening.
Besides that they are old enough that parts availability will likely be a problem soon, or could already be now.
I call my old FZ1 my "do everything bike". Too bad they don't make them like that anymore because it is THE bike I would buy again and recommend for you in a hart beat. If something happens to mine I'll be in the same boat as you.
Back to the question at hand.
Have you looked at some of Kawasaki's "retro sport" machines like the Z900RS? Looks a lot like the KZ900 of old.
It may (or may not?) be a good fit for you. Sort of a standard with sporting abilities.

S F
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
I wasn't aware of that but I'll be going to a Kawasaki demo ride event next week and I'll be sure to let them know.
LOL, yes, please let them know. I'm sure they will redesign the next model more to my liking.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
^ Didn't know that, haven't seen even one on the street in my area.

I still own and ride the older Yamaha FZ1 (carbureted). That model was made from 2001 - 2005 but didn't sell very well so finding a good one on the used market probably ain't happening.
Besides that they are old enough that parts availability will likely be a problem soon, or could already be now.
I call my old FZ1 my "do everything bike". Too bad they don't make them like that anymore because it is THE bike I would buy again and recommend for you in a hart beat. If something happens to mine I'll be in the same boat as you.
Back to the question at hand.
Have you looked at some of Kawasaki's "retro sport" machines like the Z900RS? Looks a lot like the KZ900 of old.
It may (or may not?) be a good fit for you. Sort of a standard with sporting abilities.

S F
If you ever have to get a newer FZ1 to replace yours, just know there is a way to fix the fueling issue. A reflash of the ECU takes care of it and smooths out the fueling that makes the throttle choppy in the lower revs. But I don't like buying a bike with known quirks and having to fix them in the aftermarket. I don't even know where I would go to get a reflash in my area. The YouTube video I got this information from was from a guy somewhere in Europe doing a "one year with the FZ1" review vid. While he never mentioned the year model of the bike, it was FI and he said the fuel cut was to meet emissions regulations, so its possible the Euro versions of the bike are different than the ones that made it to the USA. I don't know. If I'm not already excited about a bike, I won't keep digging and researching to come to a final conclusion. It looks like a nice enough bike, but it is on the back burner. If things don't work out with the ZX-14 due to insurance, I'll consider researching it more. There's a dealer about an hour away from me that has one for sale actually. It looks pretty nice and it's less than 5k. But, again, I can't test ride it at the moment, so...
 

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I'm sure you know this, but just going to throw it out here. I've done this twice in the past, once when I had Progressive and once when I had Geico. I gathered up information on 3 bikes (it could have been 2 or only 1) which included the VIN (they like VIN's). Called them and advised them I was shopping for a motorcycle and asked for a quote on each. They emailed me the results so I could compare line by line the difference. At the time the insurance cost didn't make a big difference to me, but it was just part of my research looking into a purchase. The information just sat in my account file, they like giving quotes as the percentages are it will lead to them getting a sale. Of course when you are about to purchase you would shop several insurance companies for the best deal on a specific bike, I'm sure.
 
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