Ask RideApart: East Coast Ride Tips And A Middleweight That Handles Like A 250

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We’re turning reader questions over to RideApart readers. This week: What’s a good bike to buy following a CBR250? And, what are some good road trip destinations in the Mid Atlantic?

Linda asks:

“I have had my Honda CR250 for a year now. I love this bike however it obviously is lacking in passing power. Do you have any recommendations for a bike that handles like the 250 (nimble and agile, light) and is physically smaller? I’m a smaller person (120 pounds) and gravitate to smaller bikes – most things are way too large for me. I also want something that I can throw gear on for longer traveling – no supersports for me please – I want a real world driver that can do it all.

I’m looking at the following:

- Street Triple (non-R)

- Ducati monster 696 or 620

- Honda CBR 500

- KTM 690 Duke (reservations due to upright posture and small travelling range between fill ups)

- Triumph Thruxton – OR Moto Guzzi v7 Stone à these may feel clunky?

- Used SV650

- Used BMW 650

Any opinions or other suggestions are very appreciated. I know this is a lot to ask and I love your reviews.

Thanks very much!”

And Richard wants help making plans for his upcoming visit to Washington DC:

“Love your site and more importantly appreciate your honest reviews of motorbikes – a true rarity these days it seems.

Anyway, I’m an avid motorcyclist from Australia and the proud owner of a 2010 Street Triple.

But enough blabbing on. I’m planning on hiring a bike in the USA and doing a 10 day road trip on the East Coast starting from DC. I understand that you are a predominately west coast based outfit, but I was hoping you may have some gems that are worth checking out. Looking primarily for nice windy tarmac roads.

Thanks in advance for the help.

And proof that I do ride bikes – here’s my wee little triple loaded to the hilt!”

What do you think?

We get a lot of questions here at RideApart. By Instagram, Twitter, Facebook and email. And, while we do a pretty good job of responding to all of them, we figure there’s a greater good that can be achieved by creating a public discussion. So, once a week or so, we’ll collate and publish them and turn it over to our fantastic community for responses. The editors will respond too, right here, where you can all see it. Have a question for us? Email info@rideapart.com“> with “Ask RideApart” in the subject. Try to keep questions relevant and interesting and on topic.

  • http://RideApart.com/ Wes Siler

    Linda: Check out the CB500X. It’s one of the most complete all-rounders we’ve ever tried. Sean and I took it up Angeles Crest on Friday and, riding a V-Strom 650, I actually had a hard time keeping up with him. First time that’s ever happened!

    It’s comfy and capable. A perfect bike for riding around the city during the week, then taking trips on at the weekends. Review shortly.

    • Guy

      Although the CB500 series has a bit more passing power than the CBR250 you have now, it’ll be a very similar experience and still pretty heavy for it’s size. As a former owner of a CBR250R, Suzuki Bandit, Suzuki GSX-R 750, and having test ridden the CB500 series of bikes I’d recommend choosing a used Triumph Street Triple for around the same money.

      Aside from the seat height, which can be daunting for some, the flick-ability, light weight, and narrow profile actually make it quite easy to ride. My girlfriend is 5’2″ 120lbs and handles my taller Street Triple R just fine. A reasonable pannier option is available for the Street Triple too: Bags Connection Blaze Sportbike Saddlebags (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LA8a5s8r-7s&feature=player_detailpage&t=243).

      Don’t be intimidated by the power or the fact that the Street Triple is a naked Daytona, it’s a very intuitive and easy bike to ride.

      • http://www.twitter.com/seanmacdonald sean macdonald

        where exactly are these 6K street triples?

        • Guy

          I bought an 09 Street Triple R for $6500 with Arrow 3-1 and the Saddlebags I mentioned included. Just need to have a good look around.

          • http://www.twitter.com/seanmacdonald sean macdonald

            I’m glad you got a great deal on an awesome bike, but that doesnt meant those deals are readily available (they’re not) and buying used bikes is always a big risk, or maybe I’m the only one who ends up with lemons or bikes that people have burned the clutch out trying to do rev limiter burnouts.

            • Guy

              Totally good points Sean and shopping for used bikes definitely isn’t for everyone.

              On a side note: I absolutely love that you guys are doing these Q&As and engaging your readership. Right on!

        • E Brown

          Chicago – craigslist here has 5 for sale under $7k, with a rather nice 2007 1050SE for $6200. Maybe it’s a Midwest thing…

  • http://RideApart.com/ Wes Siler

    And Richard: I’d head south, down the Appalachian mountains. Skyline Drive/Blue Ridge Parkway is beautiful, but you don’t really want to speed on it. There’s a TON of roads off it though, up and down the mountains, that are simply epic. Watch out for deer and enjoy the local food. Country ham biscuits, sunny side up eggs and red eye gravy is my favorite breakfast in the whole world. You could also discover the differences between NC, SC and Tennessee bbq.

    • Tony

      I’d second a southern route- within that amount of time I’d hit Nashville (downtown), Memphis (Graceland), and Birmingham Alabama to see the fantastic Barber museum and racetrack. From there, Natchez to New Orleans? And BBQ at any place that has smoke coming from the roof.

      Skyline drive is great, but speed limits are low and enforced.

      • MrDefo

        I agree on the Barber museum, there are lots of beautiful bikes there.

      • Clint Keener

        Barber should be a destination for anyone in the US. It will blow your mind.

    • Blixa

      I suggest taking the Blue Ridge Parkway down to the Deals Gap area – do the Dragon, Cherohala Skyway, and all the roads down there in NC and TN are a blast, you can’t go wrong. I did that trip in May and didn’t encounter a lot of traffic, though I hear the Dragon and the BRP can get rather congested in the summer months.

    • appliance5000

      Skyline drive is beautiful but if there’s going to be fog don’t get on it. There’s fog and then there’s fog – it has the latter.

    • Raph

      I let it out along the entire length of the Blue Ridge Parkway, but not the Skyline Drive. Kept it appropriate but it’s by no means restricting – no police, no commercial traffic. It’s the Skyline Drive that is more crowded and has a lower speed limit. Head south on the BRP get down there on the right day and the right season and there’s no reason besides the occasional deer to hold back completely, but that’s everywhere.

      • Raph

        Avoid the Dragons Tail, tourist trap, crazy crowded. Basically, get inland via western Maryland, or Virginia, or take the highway to the beginning of the BRP and head for the inland Carolinas and Tennessee. Heading in and south equals continuously better roads and better conditions.

        • Raph

          and I’m not talking about “Adey on the snake let it out” but I am maintaining you can do better than 45 the entire way, often much better.

          In the entire 500 miles of the BRP heading north from Cherokee I saw one police.

      • HoldenL

        Skyline Drive is like foreplay. You ride it at the beginning of the trip, take it nice and slow, as a warm-up for the main event that is the BRP. (And the BRP’s side roads down south are like kink.)

        I have twice ridden Skyline Drive and BRP beginning in the second week of September. That’s right after school starts, and on the weekdays that time of year, the BRP is almost empty. The weather is nice, and the leaves are still green, so the autumn tourists aren’t on the Parkway yet. If you can, try to hit the Parkway at that time of year.

    • HoldenL

      Toward the southern end of the Blue Ridge Parkway, there are some thrilling side roads. I recommend staying a night or two at the Pisgah Inn, and using that as your base for a couple of days:

      NC 151 (aka the Devil’s Drop) (link is a PDF) is short and very fun. That PDF gives directions for a loop, but you’ll enjoy riding up and down that short stretch of US 151 a few times. It’s only four miles, but you’ll remember those four miles for the rest of your life. More intense, steeper, and less traffic than the Dragon.

      The Cold Mountain Loop, starting from the Blue Ridge Parkway: exit north on US 276, then south on US 215, stay on US 215 as you cross under the Parkway, northeast on US 64, then north on US 276 from the town of Brevard to your original starting point on the Blue Ridge Parkway. Actually, you know what? Do it the other way, clockwise.

      The Charlie’s Creek Road insanity — I did this alone but best to ride with a buddy.

      And then, after you do the Dragon, ride south into North Carolina and do Wayah Road. I prefer the northern route, from US 64 to US 19, but who am I kidding — once you ride it, you’ll turn around double back.

    • Richard King

      Thanks Wes!

  • MrDefo

    Don’t forget the Honda NC700X
    http://rideapart.com/2013/02/rideapart-review-honda-nc700x/

    Linda says she’s “small” but it’s worth swinging a leg over to see if it’s comfortable for her.

    • Mr.Paynter

      It’s a little tall though, but a breeze to handle, I am shorter and only 140 pounds or so.

  • http://www.twitter.com/seanmacdonald sean macdonald

    Linda – my first advice is going to be that you should sit on these to see how they fit you since that is such a concern. A used SV650 is a great option if you want to spend sub 3k. As Wes said, the 500X is absolutely fantastic, but something like the Monster or Street Triple are really great options if you want to feel a little sportier or prefer that aesthetic. I’d stay away from the V7 or Thruxton unless you really have to do the whole cafe thing. As an ex-cafe guy I can tell you the Thruxton is going to feel massively heavy and the V7 is going to feel underpowered.

    Since you mentioned you want to be able to do a little longer range, I would normally recommend the V-Strom 650 but since you mentioned the size thing, I think the 500X is easily your best bet.

    • Mr.Paynter

      The V7 Cafe can be unfarkled and more standardised though, with a lick of paint and some metal bits to replace the plastic bits, and whilst a little underpowered is one of those bikes that will have you SMILING all the time whilst being small and fairly nimble.

      • http://www.twitter.com/seanmacdonald sean macdonald

        I’m glad you (and many people) are happy with this bike. I’ve spent a decent amount of time on it on a number of occasions and always been disappointed.

    • 80-watt Hamster

      You asked about sub-$6k Street Triples; I want to know where all these SV650s under $3000 that people keep talking about are. I seem to have found a floor of $3500 for one that’s not trashed.

      • http://www.twitter.com/seanmacdonald sean macdonald

        found one for a buddy in SF a month ago for 2200 and another one here in LA for another friend for 2600.

        • http://metabomber.com/ Jesse

          I will pay for shipping to Boston.

          • http://www.twitter.com/seanmacdonald sean macdonald

            i found 3 in la between 2500-3500. just search our craigslist. if you find one you like, I’ll go look at it for you.

            • http://metabomber.com/ Jesse

              Enabler. Which is to say, “thank you.”

      • BigHank53

        I picked one up on eBay for $3k with a Penske shock and GSXR front end already installed. It was a guy’s spare track bike in case his Ducati broke. His Ducati never broke, so the SV had all of 6,000 miles on it.

        This was in the off season, mind you.

    • Linda

      Hey hey -
      I ended up with a Street triple. Simply because: I FELL IN LOVE with it (and it met all requirements).
      The Thruxton was way too heavy – you were right. Test rode the CBR500 and thought it was a great bike (VERY cabable) but I like the Street better.

      Thanks to everyone for helping me out!!

  • markbvt

    Richard: There’s lots of great riding in western Maryland, Virginia, and West Virginia. Aim for the squiggly lines on the map. There are a lot of them. And I agree with Wes — work your way south. The Great Smokies area on the North Carolina/Tennessee border is fantastic. Northern Georgia has some excellent riding as well. I’ve done several trips down that way and have written them up in ride reports on ADVrider; they contain maps with detailed routes and lots of photos. Might be useful to you. You can find them all through this link: http://www.swyve.org/stuff/ridereports.html

    If the urge to head north instead strikes you, there’s also a lot of excellent riding to be had in northern Pennsylvania, the Adirondacks region of New York, Vermont, New Hampshire, and Quebec. You’ll find ride reports on those areas too at the link above.

  • Davidabl2

    I’d like to second what Sean says about the SV and to add that the SV’s seat height can be significantly lowered by getting the seat cut down by anybody who has minimal upholstery skills. Quite a bit of seat- height reduction can be achieved. By the way, there’s a thriving SV enthusiasts’ community for tech support etc. Including seat- trimming information :-)

    • roma258

      First gen SV650s (curvies) have significantly lower seat heights than second gen (which share their frame with the SV1000).

      • Davidabl2

        I’d forgotten that fact. I’ve got a first gen, with a stock seat ..and a 29″ inseam. I wouldn’t want the seat ANY higher than it already is.

  • Stuki

    The Ninja 300 handles pretty much exactly like the cbr250, just with 50% more power up top. Givi makes a rack for it as well. For longer trips, a possible downside, just as on the 250, is limited tire selection. I don’t believe there is a single dual compound tire available for either one. The 500s have more normal tires, so everything should be available for them.

    The 300s seem to be popular though, just like the new Honda 500s. A bicycle riding buddy of mine went to look at both on my advice; but ended up getting a new Ninja 636 instead, since the dealer was giving 0% financing and taking several thousands off sticker, vs no dealing at all on the smaller bikes. Heavy dealing on a brand new, redesigned this year supersport with traction control and abs, but no budging at all on “beginner” bikes…… Guess times are changing….

    • Piglet2010

      If someone is talented enough to properly ride a Ninja 636 as a beginner bike, he/she should be looking into a career as a professional racer.

      • Stuki

        It’s not his first bike, although he hasn’t ridden anything at all, aside from bicycles, for the last decade, and not all that much prior to that, either.

        I just found it a bit ironic that now that it finally seems to have dawned on a significant segment of the buying public that smaller, more “sensible” bikes are the way to go unless you can genuinely use the capabilities of a 600, the resulting shift in demand have suddenly removed much of the financial incentive to choose the smaller bike. It used to be “sensible” bikes sat on the dealer floor until they could be had for a song, while journos hailed the 600s as the be-all-end-all for everyone from beginners to track racers to commuters to sport tourers to the vast majority of canyon riders. And now, despite the 600s now having such beginner friendly tech as abs and tc, they’re the ones sitting on the floor with finance incentives and thousands on the tank. Perhaps one of these days, even Ducatis will fall similarly out of favor…..

  • bernhardgrave

    Richard,
    I live in the DC area and would be happy to discuss all your choices for routes over a pint when you are in the area if you please. Always happy to meet and help a fellow vagabond. I also have room and tools
    I have a brace of bikes, and you can find me out on the badweatherbiker website to see my favorite ride and it has a way to contact to me.
    Cheers,

    • Rich

      Thanks, will do once all the pieces fall into place.

  • roma258

    Richard- if you’re starting in DC, I suggest you head west to West Virginia and start making your way South, eventually hooking up with Blue Ridge Parkway and making your way to the Smokeys. Reasons for seeking out West Virginia (over going south through Virginia)- mountains, great road surface, barely any traffic, few if any LEOs (Virginia cops are notorious). Towns to visit- definitely Asheville in North Carolina, Marlinton in West Virginia (stay at the Old Clark Inn- very moto friendly). Good luck, some amazing riding awaits!

  • Ryan Chelberg

    Linda I agree the 500 is going to be an awesome choice for a good all around bike. The price is nice, mpg is great and they can pretty go anywhere you want to go.
    And Richard if you don’t want to go all the way to deals gap head up to Frederick, towards south mountain, from there go up the mountain and over, towards Hagerstown they have some very nice roads up there, you can also aim towards Virginia and west va places like shepards town. Great roads and awesome little places to eat. If u do get to Shepard town find Betty’s down main street they serve an awesome breakfast.

  • Ryan Chelberg

    West Virginia has some truly awesome roads

  • Linda

    This is Linda – thanks for the great feedback! I can easily do 300-400 miles per week in the summer. Lots of freeway commuting then zooming around in the hills for fun. It sounds like I’m on the right track.
    Richard – nice set up!

    • di0genes

      If you are considering a used SV, maybe add used FZ6 to your list as well. Not much different from the CBR size wise but more than enough power, a good value used bike, as they do not hold their resale price like the more ‘cool’ bikes, are less likely to have been owned by a squid, but deliver the same or better performance and handling than the exotics.

  • Blixa

    Yeah 50 is awesome! And one WV route everyone talks about that I’ve been dying to try is 33 to Seneca Rocks, WV from Harrisonburg, VA.

    • roma258

      219 has some great sections, 33 is awesome, 250 is awesome….just so many great roads!!,

      • Will Mederski

        State Route 16 has always been referred to as “Sweet Sixteen” by my dad’s old racing buddies.
        More 1st & 2nd gear stuff.

  • Piglet2010

    Linda – if you can wait until next spring, consider the KTM RC390 – will likely weigh less than the Honda CBR250R and have about 44HP at the crank/38 HP at the rear wheel.

    • http://RideApart.com/ Wes Siler

      It’s extremely, extremely unlikely that that model will ever reach the US. KTM NA has chosen to focus almost exclusively on dirt.

      • Piglet2010

        Well, my KTM dealer is lobbying for both the Duke 390 and RC390 to be imported, as well as keeping the Hus…, er the bike that shall not be mentioned in the line-up.

        • http://RideApart.com/ Wes Siler

          That’s great. But KTM dealers are a rare thing and yours does not reflect the attitude of the mother ship.

          • Piglet2010

            So Husaberg is all dirt, Husqvarna is being moved back to all dirt (and/or “dirt bike with lights” dual-sports), and KTM is focusing on dirt – seems to be something wrong with this picture if KTM wants to keep sales leadership over BMW. Are they trying to compete with Piaggio for excessive in-house competition/duplication, scarcity of dealers, lack of marketing direction, and general disrespect for the customer?

            • Campisi

              Dirt bikes are the only market segment in the U.S.A. that has shown solid and relatively consistent growth in the last few years. Considering how small the U.S. market is in relation to just about every other motorcycle market globally, KTM likely doesn’t want to expend any further effort on us.

              • Piglet2010

                Lower profit per unit, but much higher overall sales for KTM in the sub-250cc SE Asian markets, no doubt, compared to the US.

  • appliance5000

    Hi Linda – a mixed bag of bikes – i have the cb500f – and it’s a sweet ride. Although the bikes you list have different qualities, I see a lot of nakeds; the 500f is a naked. I think it’s the best looking of the cb line and unlike some on the list – it can be had with abs and is 2 – 3 large less than the guzzi and the triumph retro- and is a better bike in many ways. My unbiased 2 cents.

  • Rosenfeld8

    The CB 500 X is the one you’d pick using boring things like common sense and logic. The Street Triple and the Duc are the ones you’d pick with your heart, because they excite you and make you feel really good.

  • runnermatt

    Linda,

    I’ve had my CBR250R for a year and half now and am looking at some of the same options. I’ll provide the list of all I am considering, but my next/2nd bike will likely have to wait till next spring at the earliest. That said, I was at the Honda dealer this past weekend and they had a CB500X, CBR500R, and a NC700X all sitting in line. I sat on all three. I’m 5’8″ about 175 with a 30″ inseam. The CBR500R actually felt like the seat was a little lower than the seat on the CBR250R, maybe it was just me. The CB500X felt a little higher than the CBR250R, but I was still able to flat foot both feet. The NC700X was noticeably taller, but I was able to get my toes down on both feet.

    With that out of the way here is my list of potential next/2nd bikes (keep in mind I would like to do some adventure touring if I can ever find the time). Maybe my list will remind you of a bike you forgot to consider or reinforce one you are considering:

    Triumph Tiger 800 or 800XC, Triumph Scrambler (I like the looks better than the Bonnie), BMW F800GS (See rideapart’s review for +&-’s), BMW G650GS Sertao (great off-road, not good on freeway), KLR650 (A cheap and reliable tractor), Honda NC700X (my most likely choice), Honda CB500X (my second most likely choice), Honda CBR500R (My most likely choice if I trade in the 250, plus a rear rack is available), Ducati Monster 696 (the 20th Anniversary edition is a damn sexy bike), Suzuki V-strom 650 (Expect a better looking redesign within a couple years, similar in ability to NC700X but w/ABS for less than NC’s dual clutch model), Moto Guzzi V7 Special (similar to Triumph Bonnieville, but with unique engine that adds character and beautiful design).

    I know a long list….

    • 200 Fathoms

      A couple of those bike seem too big for someone small—the Triumph Tigers, the BMWs, the V-Strom…

      I’m a 6’2″ Bonneville owner; I sat on all those bikes at the dealership last week, and they felt much bigger to me in comparison to the Bonnie. I found that the Bonnie felt very big after having owned a CBR250R for a year, so surely going straight from the 250R to these adventure bikes would be too big a leap for a small rider.

    • Blixa

      I would not recommend for a smaller woman the F800GS, XC, Sertao or KLR650. I am 5’9″ and would be on my toes on these bikes. I have the predecessor to the Sertao and had to lower it a bit to make it comfortable for me. These tall, top-heavy bikes can fall over very easily if you can’t support them adequately at a stop with your feet.

      Linda – if you are interested in BMWs – at least from my experience, a lot of women ride the F650GS twin and the F700GS. I did an off-road class through a local BMW shop and practically all of the women were riding those two bikes. I think the F800R and the GT are popular among street rider women if that is more your thing. I’m pretty sure BMW has factory-lowered bikes available, which makes them popular with the smaller crowd. I have the F650GS single in the Dakar trim but the normal F650GS (now G650GS) single is also popular among women b/c the height is very accessible. I personally think my Dakar is fine on the highway and is comfortable doing 75 over hundreds of miles, but that’s just my opinion.

    • Linda

      Hi runnermat,
      We have a similar short list. I sat on the CBR500 and it felt a little shorter to me as well, it is certainly heavier than I thought it would be and a “logical” choice. I’ve also sat on the following (I have a 29 inch inseam):
      - NC700 – felt a little tall for me
      - Scambler – felt tall and top heavy for me
      - Thruxton (and V7 racer too) had almost the same riding position as the CBR – The Ducati 696 fits me well as does the Street triple. These are the 2 that really grab at me (super sexy).

      Blixa – I’ll definitey check out the BMWs you mention.. THanks!

      Whatever I get will definitely be outfitted with aftermarket exhausts for weight savings and better sound. I’m looking at buying mine after mid-September (car is paid off then)
      Good luck!

      • runnermatt

        Hi Linda,
        Glad to know I’m not crazy when it comes to the how the seat height felt on the CBR500. I checked the Honda website last night and the 500 is supposed to be 0.4 of and inch higher. The NC700 was a little high for me too, but I think I would get used to it. I usually only put my left foot down anyway, but it would be hard for me to turn around when I park in my basement. I didn’t think about checking how the weight felt and didn’t ask about a test ride. I did check out possible GoPro camera mounting positions. The top of the tank on CBR500 looked like it had a good mounting surface right on top of the tank.

        I can understand waiting till paying off some debt. I’m trying to pay off all my debt.

  • Thisisbenji

    Linda- If you can wait I’d go with the Yamaha FZ-09. I got the chance to sit on it back to back with the new honda CB500F. Myself being a short rider 5’5″, I found the FZ-09 to be more manageable at a stop. The FZ-09 made me feel like I was sitting on my old Ninja 250R. While the CB500F felt a bit larger.

  • 200 Fathoms

    Not sure how important fuel consumption is to you. Like you, I owned a 250R for a year and saw great mileage. My new Bonneville gets an average of 37mpg. Love the bike, but…ugh.

    • Kenneth

      ‘Might want to get it checked; my ’11 Bonnie SE with 16,000 mi has seen a worst-case (all-city) of 38mpg, best-case (all-highway) of 51mpg, and I average 45 – 46mpg.

      • 200 Fathoms

        Lots of Bonneville riders have average fuel consumption in my range—some worse. Do you ride it gently?

        http://www.fuelly.com/motorcycle/triumph/bonneville

        I’ve also made a number of intake and exhaust mods, which doesn’t help.

      • Piglet2010

        I have been getting ~45 mpg on a “green” (less than 1K miles) Bonnie.

  • CruisingTroll

    Linda: Top suggestion here would be one of the CB500s. Something that hasn’t been mentioned yet is are the BMW F800ST and F800R. Used, they may be good candidates.

    Richard: It depends on when you’re going to be here. Fall can be beautiful on the East Coast, if that’s your timing, then you’ll want to catch the season change. For twisty roads, you’ve got the entire Adirondack/Allegheny/Appalachian/Smokey Mountain range.

  • Justin McClintock

    Linda, I don’t know how old you’re willing to go with a bike, but the first gen SV650 is great choice. Also, going back a little further and a little more obscure, but a fantastic choice for somebody with your size and experience would be either a Honda NT650 or a Bandit 400. Both are fantastic bikes.

    • Linda

      I was drooling over the NT650 Hawks but am wary of carbureted engines. Here is one on Craiglist that is gorgeous though.. Little Bandit also sounds great.

      http://portland.craigslist.org/clc/mcy/4015743044.html

      Thanks!

      • http://RideApart.com/ Wes Siler

        I’d avoid those. They really don’t handle terribly well and that motor is a dog.

        You get an awful lot of reliability, handling and performance from the newer bikes on your list.

        • Piglet2010

          Well, the newer 4-valve/cylinder, fuel-injected, 680cc version does an acceptable job of moving 900 pounds of Dullsville, rider, and associated crap. Not fast by super-sport standards, but comparable to a Bonnie.

  • Joe

    I would avoid the used Ducati. It’s similar to having a sick child. You’ll spend all of your time and money on upkeep and repairs. The one summer I owned one, I missed out on most of it due to repairs. Did you consider looking at a Ninja 650, or the naked version ER-6N? I rode one as a commuter for a few months. I really enjoyed it. Plenty of power, while feeling only slightly larger than my Schwinn. Plus, it was super cheap to insure,and they were all over Craigslist for next to nothing. Very reliable, fun easy to ride with enough power to cruze at 75 on the freeway.

  • appliance5000

    Regarding the KTM 690 Duke – to me it’s a truly beautiful bike. If it can fit your needs I’d go for it.

    Some tour on it some say you can’t ride it for more than 30 minutes – I really don’t know, but it’s a lovely piece of styling and engineering. There were a lot of changes to the fueling and top end for the 2012-13 year that supposedly smoothed things out.

    Any comments by owners of the present model regarding touring?

  • FiveG

    I’ve thought it would be fun to combine the Virginia/Maryland/Southern PA roads with a tour of the eastern theater Civil War Battlefields. Manassas, Petersburg, Fredericksburg, Chancellorsville, the Wilderness, Cold Harbor, Antietam and even Gettysburg are pretty close. Haven’t checked the roads, but I suspect there’s some fun ones in the area.

  • FiveG

    And then come inland from the coast. There’s some wonderful curvy roads in New Hampshire, Vermont, western Mass, western Connecticut, and eastern NY.

  • Mr. White

    Linda, my wife absolutely loves my hand-me-down Triumph Bonneville. Low center of gravity, low stand over height, very reliable. Plenty of oomph in the motor. The only complaint from my experience is that it’s not very fun on long hauls on interstate highways. The suspension is worthy of an upgrade as well.

  • Rich

    Thanks, it’s good to here about the alternatives on offer.

  • The Blue Rider

    Linda, I was making the same choice not too long ago – I moved up from a Ninja 250R to a Street Triple, and despite my heavier weight I’m a small, light bike guy. The Triumph is a great fun bike but whether or not it’s good for longer travelling depends on your definition of “throwing gear” on it. If you need hard luggage capability, best look elsewhere, because really there’s only an ugly, ungainly tail rack option to add a Givi V46, and saddlebag options are all soft bags (I skipped the Givi rack, and use a Bags-Connection Blaze system with a Kriega US20). If you are seriously considering the Street Triple, look for an R version; the improved brakes and adjustable front suspension are well worth the small price difference. I’ve since found that I prefer touring amenities over sportiness, and if I ever upgrade I’ll be looking at a Ninja 1000, Tiger 800, or maybe an FZ-1.

    It’s best to find some dealerships, rentals, and friends with these bikes, to try and get some seat time. I fit the Monster 696 like a glove, but I had a very strange feeling of being perched out over the front of the bike, luggage options were virtually nil, and I’m a little wary of Ducati’s mounting the sidestand directly into the engine case.

    You might want to consider some other intermediate-type Japanese 600s, like the Ninja 650 or FZ-6; I know smaller guys who love theirs, graduated to them from 250s, and tour with them happily.