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Possible upgrades...need advice

Discussion in 'Bike Reviews, Questions and Suggestions' started by Popollo, Apr 17, 2013.

  1. Sorry this got so long...

    I am a couple months away from being able to get off my P's and am thinking about my next bike. I'm happy with my GPX 250 but am about to have my first child and am faced with my next work bonus (if I get it) being my last real chance to upgrade for several years. This makes me want to take advantage of the situation to get something bigger rather than being stuck with the GPX forever. Whatever I get has to last me for a long time.

    I've done lots of research on the web and sat on a few bikes and I seem to keep coming back to 3 very different bikes. I'd like to get new this time so I know the history and because I am going to have it for at least 5 years. I plan to do all the chain maintenance and oil changes myself and only take the bike in for tyre changes and valve maintenance when needed. I commute to and from work each day and that will be 90% of the bike's use. It is normal roads in the morning and motorway on the way home. The rest of the time I will be using the bike to run up to the shops and the occasional long ride if I can manage it.

    The 3 very different bikes I am looking at are:

    Kawasaki Ninja 650
    Suzuki V-Strom 650
    Triumph Bonneville SE / Kawasaki W800

    The last one is actually 2 different bikes but basically the same concept. Does anyone have any real world advice on how well these bikes would suit? They are all around the same price give or take 1k. The Ninja and V-Strom are both perfect on paper while the Bonneville is a whole different thing...a lesson in simplicity. They all use about the same amount of petrol too. Even though the Bonneville doesn't have a windscreen...I've tried to stay away from naked bikes in my choices as I want the bike to be able to last me 5 years and adapt to what I need it for. I've also considered the Vamaha FZ6 and Suzuki SV650S which I may consider but I've discounted them in my mind for now for various reasons.

    So far without riding them it is looking like this:

    Great looks, ABS, windscreen, slim and agile, feel 100% comfortable sitting on it, progressing upgrade from my current parallel twin
    Not as good for pillion, less space for luggage, no centre stand available, possibly a buzzy engine

    -Bonneville / W800
    Retro looks, comfort, no frills, pillion comfort
    No ABS, no windscreen, not as slim for getting around traffic, very basic instrument cluster, W800 has drum brakes and tube tyres

    - V-Strom
    Different look than normal retro/cruiser/sports, pillion comfort, v-twin, more space for luggage, ABS, windscreen, huge petrol tank
    It feels HUGE!, not as slim for getting around traffic, cannot flat foot

    On paper if I am thinking logically...the Ninja and V-Strom are the most bang for buck and the Ninja seems to be the winner in terms of what I will ever really need. The Bonneville/W800 seem more like paying for the look. I want to like the V-Strom but when sitting on it...it seems like a pain to be on such a big bike in terms of backing it out of the garage and getting through traffic on a daily basis. Maybe this is something I would get used to. Any real world comments on these 3 bikes or any further suggestions on bikes I may have missed?
  2. I doubt this is what you want to hear, but I'll tell you anyway.

    There will be other bikes. You life doesn't stop just because there's a bub on the way but kids can be more expensive than you can imagine. Don't for a second think this is your "last chance" for anything, there will be other chances and they will come at the most surprising times. You're starting a whole new stage of your life and you'll do better if you embrace it whole heartedly.

    My opinion, FWIW, is keep the GPX and bank/invest your bonus. It's a great bike for it's size, cheap to maintain, cheap to fix, cheap to run and a good rider on one can embarrass an average rider on a bigger bike in the tight stuff. With proper maintenance they will last for years, too.
    • Agree Agree x 1
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  3. I occasionally think about keeping the gpx too. Maybe I just assume if I don't take advantage of the bonus... I'll lose access to it forever. The upgrade at the end of my p's was planned before the hub was even known about. I just grabbed what was convenient to serve out my l's and l's and it ended up being a quite capable bike despite having to spend a lot on getting the cam guides and tensioner replaced :(.
  4. Lose access to the bonus? Maybe, depending on what you do with it. Like I said though, there WILL be other chances and opportunities.

    I have four kids (youngest is now 15). As a parent I can assure you that the decisions I regret were all from taking too short term a view. This is just my opinion, I don't know anything about the rest of your situation, but I'd suggest keeping the GPX, at least for now, and putting the bonus in a term deposit. You can always get another bike later but if you need the money for bub then it will be there.
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  5. Bub will be here before bonus and off P's anyways so the decision won't be made before I have some perspective.
  6. It's also worth waiting as there are often cash-back deals on new bikes if you do some looking around. Kawasaki Australia have a new one every month and the others probably do as well.
    Get that perspective and settle into it before spending up. Most guys first reaction is panic and feeling they need to assert their carefree nature. Try to breathe through that. Perspective will come, just give it a chance. ;)
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  7. your a very wise man mr angel,. i agree keep the bonus and make money from it, dont rush into buying a new bike in fear that you will never get another.
  8. Don't you be using nasty four letter words with me, Sir! :ROFLMAO:
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  9. #9 xryda, Apr 17, 2013
    Last edited: Apr 17, 2013
    how about financially literate?
  10. I'd spend the money while you can. My personal experience was that once other priorities arrived it was a very long time before I got another chance. I was glad I had set myself up. But keep looking at other models while you can.
  11. The money was earmarked for a new bike when the P's ended before we got pregnant. If not used, it will probably just get earmarked for something else. My wife is not in a hurry to go back to work so I guess I was just wanting to make sure I took advantage of it while it was still on the cards. I suppose I can just whack it on the mortgage and get a promise from my wife that it's there waiting for my use should the moment ever strike me :). I don't know that the other 3 bikes are that much more expansive to maintain are they? regardless of whether I upgrade at the end of my P's or sometime after that...any comments on the 3 bikes just in case? :)
  12. Of the three the 650 Ninja should feel more like "home" than the others given where you've started, but none of them are bad bikes. If you want something different look at the naked bikes, if you want something that's more long distance and soft-road (not "off-road") oriented look at the 'Stromm.
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  13. Will your bonus cover the full cost of the new bike, if so go for it. If not, and you need to borrow money then either don't get rid of the 250 or find something cheaper.

    Make no mistake babies are expensive both in terms of money and time. But, motorcycling with a young family can be done on the cheap, but only if you're prepared to forgo the latest and greatest for something old, ugly but reliable.

    I didn't start riding until about 6 months after our youngest of 2 was born (our eldest was 6). My first 2 bikes were very cheap pieces of shit, but they were MINE. Except for my helmet and boots (RAAF issue GP's) all my other gear came from Cash Converters, St Vinnies or from mates who had excess stuff.

    One thing I strongly recommend is to ignore anyone who tells you "you have a family, it's time to grow up and sell the bike".

    Edit: One thing I forgot. Ride them all (if you can afford them) and buy the one you like the most. If you can't afford them, ride ones you can afford and buy the one you like the most.
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  14. It would cover bike cost in full if I am lucky, definitely with selling the gpx.
  15. Basically, it's up to you.

    Just one more piece of advice from a bloke who has been married for nearly 25 years. When your wife says, "Do what you want" she actually means "You better not do what you want". If she says "If that's what you really want" you best put the money towards something for HER.
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  16. I'm up to 23 this year. Quoted this as it's soooooo true.
    You've been warned! :p
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  17. Haha...I'll have to show that to her...see what kind of response I get :). I'm pretty sure I have consent unless the "do whatever the f*** you want" part comes later on when it becomes more real. Currently only paying $20 every 2 weeks for petrol to get to work and saving $10 a day on parking.
  18. as per above, keep the GPX, when kids come along, you will wear rags whilst your kids wear gold!! Thats the priority full stop. They come first, and in your wifes eyes, you come last [If you're lucky lol]
    seriously, I have been 'drooling' at bargains of late, but 'priorities' get in the way, I started riding at 48!! 53 this weekend and be farked if I give itup, but I AM reasonable, and give n take helps keep the peace in any household, just be sensible and keep the peace, and enjoy :) as a wise one above mentioned, an accomplished rider on a 250 can easily out ride a lesser on a huge machine. [I have been the victim of being passed by a 250, and still be passed, am better, not best tho]
  19. I wouldn't buy new unless your getting a mega deal on your 250 which you can't turn down.

    A 12-24 months old bike with full history, and probably extras fitted which is less money for you to spend, plus a saving on the purchase cost.
  20. Yeah you are probably right about that...which is why she is giving me this one last gift before we go into "lockdown" as it is not budgeted money and we have some spare drawable money on the mortgage already. I'm 39 now so I left riding late as well. She doesn't exactly like the GPX. Just 2 hours ago she said "maybe when you get a new bike it won't smell like petrol anytime you mess with it or clean it". Then on the way home she saw an old pale green GPX come past us and asked if I was still set on the "green one" in the shop. She came and looked at a Ninja and V-Strom on the weekend. She is more concerned of what colour I get and that it doesn't look "too young" for me.

    My only problems with the GPX are the short gearing for following slow traffic and the excessive revs when going 100km/h on the way home. She thinks it feels and sounds cheap and wants me to get something she feels comfortable on. Anyways...just trying to keep up with all the comments on not getting anything. I'm not really concerned with whether I should or should not get something. If it turns out I have her blessing to get one...I probably will and wanted some suggestions on what might work if that day comes. I may not get new either if I can find something nice. Kinda set on a white Ninja 650 at the moment. Some days I think I should just get a more modern 250 but they all seem a bit young looking with lots of plastic. Anything that isn't that way is probably not as good as the GPX so I figure what is the use. Anyways...enough arguing for today :)
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