Harley rider considering trading in for a 1000 or 650
First real post, looking for some feedback from anybody that would like to comment here and provide thoughts, guidance, or just general chatter. I've lurked here for months, and it is time to start posting questions.
Currently have an '08 Harley Ultra Classic. Bike before was a '04 Sportster XL883C. Wife hated it, told me to get the biggest bike Harley makes for her comfort, so that's how the UC ended up in the garage. It is no garage queen though...last year it did 15K miles, year before 12K. This year it is going to Alaska (1-up) in June and will get around 23K for the year I imagine.
Current bike does not do the barhop tour, has road ding pits in the chrome, but is generally well taken care of (both by me and a independent repair shop). I hate paying for repairs, but I also hate wrenching (I prefer to take apart computers and electronics).
I'm mid-40s, 5'10", about 200 pounds, size of 32" inseam and a large shirt or L/XL jacket depending on manufacturer. Standing up a 840 pound machine with 350 pounds of people and another 100 pounds of gear on long camping trips is aggravating a deteriorating medical condition that will only get worse in the coming years. I've taken the ERC ABATE course several times, and can ride with the best of them...but have never felt comfortable with tight u-turns on this bike, so I'll duck walk at times I shouldn't. I live in the country, and can handle it just fine on usual Hoosier gravel roads, even on tight corners.
Anyways, I am considering getting rid of the Ultra Classic later this year. I have reasons listed on my blog that this bike goes with me to Alaska this year. But, two years ago, wife got her own bike (Rebel 250), and I find myself riding to work more often instead of driving...even in the winter months as long as snow/ice isn't on the ground.
What I want is a bike I am more comfortable with that I can keep for the next decade at least and put lots of miles on. Less weight, easier to maneuver, gets decent gas mileage (getting about 40MPG on the UC), and handles the rougher roads better. Still needs to be able to load up with camping gear, take my wife on the pillion, and fun to ride. I go all over the country with my bike, so it needs to be able to handle long days and lots of miles on the asphalt. No boulder riding in the future, but I wouldn't mind exploring some fire roads that I know my Harley will never experience (I know the limitations of my UC).
So, I'm considering both the 650 and the 1000. What I don't like about the Vstrom is the lack of self canceling turn signals and the lack of a cruise control...but both can be worked around I guess. I'm leaning towards the new 1000...I've had bikes in the 600-800 CC range, and I like passing power when it is needed, and from what I read, the 1000 definitely has a lot more upmh in it. Also do not like struggling up mountain passes when going cross country.
So, a few questions, if you read through all my jibber-jabber so far:
1. At 5'10", am I going to be able to flat foot at the stop sign on a stock seat? I am NOT a tiptoes or ball of the feet kind of guy. Haven't had time to hit the closest dealership 40 miles away, but will try to do that soon.
2. Other than putting on a wrist-assister type of plastic helper, is there a way to "install" something electronic for a cruise control? Wrist fatigue is something I experience, and CC is the best feature on my bike right now.
3. I absolutely hate wrenching, and Harley makes it even harder to do things yourself. Is the Vstrom much easier to wrench on, or is everybody here just a mechanic in nature? I see a lot of people posting here that wrench on their own bikes, but I have no idea if it is that easy, or you all have the natural desire and ability to do mechanical wrenching.
4. How comfortable is the passenger pillion? I know it's not a Barcolounger like the Ultra Classic...but is my wife (4'11", 120) going to be comfortable back there for multiple long day rides?
5. The 650 vs 1000 debate is strong in my mind. I'm frugal, so the 650 attracts me. But it seems like it is more geared towards the single rider, which it would be 80% of the time. But that other 20%, the wife is on the back, and she brings four pairs of shoes with her (that's her right...it was our agreement when she allows me to buy a new motorcycle :mrgreen: ) and I'm wondering if I'll be struggling for power. What are your thoughts?
Keeping the UC is not an option unfortunately. We aren't rich by any means, but we get by. However, a new bike requires the trade-in of the old one, so the next bike will need to replace the Harley even with whatever "lacks of" it comes with...just need to figure out what is what before deciding.
Any input you can provide would be most appreciated.
Lighten up, Francis. If you can't take some sarcasm, an Internet forum is the last place you should be.
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