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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Everybody else asks this question. My turn.
But first, I will sell the SV1000S Suzuki, and miss him. Noddy the Triumph will replace him. I am looking forward a few years when I would like to ride a bike that is not too heavy. All the old bikes have collector plates. I have to have a vehicle insured at regular rates, to support the collector plate. An under 400cc bike is the cheapest. So the XS400 is it, and does the winter work. The SV does the summer work, but costs a bunch more to insure, and often sits while I am away sailing.

So, I need a 400 or smaller, good handling summer bike, that can do 95 mph or more. Only two fit. A Duke 390 ( 373 cc ) or a Ninja 400 ( 399 cc ) Both make about 44 hp, with a claimed top speed of about 100. Both will handle and stop better than my XS400.

The Duke is made in India, gets rave reviews, but has some reliability issues. The Ninja is popular, and reliable. I am favouring the Duke, but will listen to any comments. the Duke is a single, the Ninja a twin.

UK
 

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If you're wanting something easy to ride, and are willing to have smaller wheels, the Suzuki Burgman 650 comes well recommended. Fast, but easy to handle, according to those that ride them.
 

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Nightfly
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Tough call UK. Unless you're looking for a scooter, which I did not think you were. they both have outstanding features on the new editions. I might go for the Ninja because of reliability issues but the Duke is a cool hombre.

If you have interest in a Burgman Sam could tell you all about them, he love'em.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
I have no interest in a scooter. They will not handle as well as the two I listed. An older Vespa would look good in my shed tho.
The Duke is naked and gnarly, while the Ninja has fairing parts and is an ugly green. Mind you the Duke is orange black and white.

I thought the Burgman was a 650. Do they make a 400?
The new bike has to be under 400 for the cheaper insurance. And my version of light weight is under 325 pounds.

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Nightfly
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You didn't seem like the scooter type UK. I understand they do make a 400 and maybe others as well. I'm with you, just not a scooter type guy. Yeah, the Ninja is an ugly green and orange and black doesn't do much for me either.

A good friend of mine traded his Honda CBX 6 cylinder special edition with saddle bags and bought a 650 Burgman. Said he could take my Sportster. Some lessons are hard learned.. I think you'd like the Duke best...
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
A shop nearby, will be getting a near new trade in soon. 5000 kilometers on it. Experienced lady dirt bike rider, wants to go bigger. Is is a Duke. They also sell Kawasaki.
Should mention, I know a guy with a Duke.

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Nightfly
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Yeah, I believe a Duke will be your choice. 5000K or 3100 miles seems pretty low. Is there a huge difference in insurance rates if you stay under 400cc?
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Yeah, I believe a Duke will be your choice. 5000K or 3100 miles seems pretty low. Is there a huge difference in insurance rates if you stay under 400cc?
Yes. The dopey fools charge more for bigger engines. Under 100, 100 to 400, 400 to 750 I think, 750 and bigger is too much $$. I only insure for liability. The XS400 is $390 per year. I assume a Duke 390 would be the same.
The current three collector bikes cost $260 per year. I also insure my van cage for the winter months. And the sail boat goes to the dock so he can have a heater inside.

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One of those rare beasts I’d always thought I wanted was a G50 Matchless – too big I guess, although I read that it was based on something called a 350 cc AJS 7R (about which I know zero – just saw one). When I was a kid selling papers on the corner I used to save my money for a copy of Cycle World to read about the 50cc Grand Prix races… never saw one, and these days I’d never scrunch my bulbousness down into one, but were a fantasy of mine for many years… that would work, but if it were mine I’d have to use it as a paperweight…
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Re post number 9. I have stated at least twice the bike needs to be 400 or less. And it needs to weigh about 320 pounds.
I have owned an SV650S. Sweet bike, and so is the V Strom. BUT, they do not meet the requirements, quite clearly stated.

Post 10. I started going to the bike races in the fifties. Am quite familiar with the AJS 7R, Matchless. Manz Nortons and many others.
A guy in WA bought a more modern Arter Matchless and raced it in BC and WA. Sweet bike but slow compared to what we were running.
A Google search will lead you to Peter Murphy, the number 1 plate in NZ in the fifties. I have been up close to his 7R and other bikes.

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
The fastest of those old 500 singles was the Manx Norton. Modern technology has got them to 65 horsepower. Mike Hailwood was the first rider to lap the IOM at over 100 mph average, on one in the original set up. The newer bikes can do it much easier. The road surface has also been improved. Mike the Bike did it with a helmet, just a bit smaller than a 3/4 helmet, with goggles and a scarf, and a fly screen.

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I submit the Suzuki DR-Z400SM?
398 cc
322 lbs.
Claimed top speed 114 mph
Handling? Maybe not so much. But you could sure take an awesome fishing trip on it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
I submit the Suzuki DR-Z400SM?
398 cc
322 lbs.
Claimed top speed 114 mph
Handling? Maybe not so much. But you could sure take an awesome fishing trip on it.
I looked at those bikes, and inquired about the top speed. 32 hp will not do 114 mph. 50 hp has a problem going that fast. The bigger 650 Suzuki will not go that fast. Same with the Kawasaki 650 single.
BUT, the other problem with the Suzuki is the seat height. I did not mention it, but I prefer a maximum seat height of about 30 inches, not 3 feet or more as on the Suzuki. When it comes to good handling, a lower seat works much better in the twisties.
Tyre selection is good for the Duke 390, not so good for the 21 inch front on the Suzuki.

Good suggestion, but no go.

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Are you going to be comfortable riding a thumper long distance? If so go for the Duke.
 

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Both have seat heights closer to 31", but certainly less than the dual sport.

The KTM is an impressive package. You can get a lot for your money with the India made machines.

I bet you have also considered the KTM RC390, which is the Duke with some additional bodywork and an even stiffer frame?

The Yamaha YZF-R3 also looks pretty nice. You'd give up some horsepower, but you'd sit a little lower, on the desirable 17" wheels, you'd have that twin cylinder, high revving smoothness under you, and there's that very desirable quality of Yamaha reliability and their extensive service network to gain.

I hope you have at least one close friend who has taken on the job of begging you to go slower. The surest way to achieve that, in my opinion, is to put yourself on a slower bike. I used this argument for years on a sport bike friend of mine, to no avail, and now it's too late. His death was unfortunately motorcycle and high speed related. I'm still riding however, a pokey slow Royal Enfield Classis 500. Ironically, still fast enough to cost me several hundred dollars in speeding camera tickets last year. I might have to buy a Ural !! ? But you have me thinking, perhaps I should experience a modern sport bike.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Are you going to be comfortable riding a thumper long distance? If so go for the Duke.
With the counter balance system, they are more like buzz saws than thumpers. Too the stroke is a lot shorter than the old thumpers.
And at 373 cc there is not as much mass as a 500. A test ride should confirm all this I hope.
Meantime I will grill Pete some more. He has a Duke, and a 500 Manx Norton, plus other bikes. I sat on his Duke to check the fit, and asked about speed and other things.

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Both have seat heights closer to 31", but certainly less than the dual sport.

The KTM is an impressive package. You can get a lot for your money with the India made machines.

I bet you have also considered the KTM RC390, which is the Duke with some additional bodywork and an even stiffer frame?

The Yamaha YZF-R3 also looks pretty nice. You'd give up some horsepower, but you'd sit a little lower, on the desirable 17" wheels, you'd have that twin cylinder, high revving smoothness under you, and there's that very desirable quality of Yamaha reliability and their extensive service network to gain.

I hope you have at least one close friend who has taken on the job of begging you to go slower. The surest way to achieve that, in my opinion, is to put yourself on a slower bike. I used this argument for years on a sport bike friend of mine, to no avail, and now it's too late. His death was unfortunately motorcycle and high speed related. I'm still riding however, a pokey slow Royal Enfield Classis 500. Ironically, still fast enough to cost me several hundred dollars in speeding camera tickets last year. I might have to buy a Ural !! ? But you have me thinking, perhaps I should experience a modern sport bike.
Yes at 31 inches as opposed to 36, works for me. And I will lower the bike.
The RC 390 is more $$ with not enough benefits. The Yamaha does not have enough horsepower.
When I go to the mainland, I travel on the freeway for about 20 miles. Much of the traffic is doing 110 kph, with some pushing 140 which is 90 mph. I want to be comfortable with this. It is often very windy as well. The XS400 does this trip in the winter months. It maxes out at 92 mph with 45 hp when new, and me in an upright position. The ammo gas saddle bags, and a top box also slow it down.
Surprisingly I am a very cautious rider on the public highways. Zero crashes since 1961, should be a reasonable record.
Selling the SV1000S is slowing down. None of the other bikes are comfortable at much over 100, although Noddy nudged 105 the other day following a cage. ( At a safe distance )

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Interesting that you posed your original question in mph. I guess that's for your american virtual friends?

Since I'm a Royal Enfield guy now, I've started talking kph and kpl. Maybe if they knew that motorcycles were the key factor, they would have been more successful when they tried to introduce the metric system here in the US, all those 50 years ago. We still love and use our pounds and feet and quarts.

It does get confusing though, when you mix the units in a single paragraph. Your Triumph is certainly comfy at 62mph, but not at 160kph, and did 170kph following a (pretty fast) car?

And true, swapping the 1000 for a 400 does certainly seem like a very safety minded, and responsible choice.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Noddy, my Triumph Trophy 900, is a US model. The big numbers are in miles per hour. The small numbers in kilometers. Without glasses I can not read the small numbers. But I just checked. 170 kph was how fast a small Honda was going. I will follow a cage going too fast. They make good early warning systems. For a short run the top speed so far has been a Jaguar at 200, and for a long run over a mountain freeway, a Camero doing 180 to 190 steady. On a good sport bike like Bluzu the SV1000S, these are fairly easy numbers. Plus Bluzu goes dead straight beyond 200. My 79 XS1100 Yamaha, and Noddy, do not feel as stable. Anything with a large fairing and front window is going to get some buffeting happening at about 140 kph or 90 and up.

I convert to miles for the mostly US crowd on this site. In my previous life at the track, I exceeded 140 mph a large number of times. But in a straight line, away from solid objects, it is just a number.

UK
 
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