Motorcycles

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Whizmo & Gizmo Bikes

Yamaha FJR1300 Studio Shot from Yamaha's Website

By Whizmo

I'm a certified motorcycle nut and currently own more motorcycles than I like to admit to.  At the moment, my principle street bikes are a 2006 Suzuki DL650 V-Strom, a 2005 Yamaha FJR1300, and a 1999 BMW R1100S.  My other street bikes are semi-collectable Hondas, including a 1990 RC30, a 1979 CBX six-cylinder, and a 1971 Honda CB750K1.  I also ride a 2006 DRZ400S for dual-sporting and light adventure touring.

Gizmo (when he was actively riding) settled on a Honda ST1300 you and also enjoys several Honda scooters.

For larger-size pictures and descriptions of these machines, click on the Gallery tab above.

2005 Yamaha FJR1300

Yamaha introduced this new sport-tourer to the U.S. market with the 2003 model; an additional ABS version following a year later. Designed to compete directly with the Honda ST1300 and the BMW R1150RT/R1200RT, Yamaha's design goal was to produce a comfortable, open-road touring bike while keeping the package relatively compact and light so it would handle like a large sportbike. It is powered by a R1-derived, 1,298cc, liquid-cooled, 16-valve, DOHC, in-line, four-cylinder engine delivering approximately 125 hp to the rear wheel via a shaft drive. Weight is relatively light at about 560 pounds plus fuel. Fuel range with the 6.6 gallon tank is typically well over 250 miles, a huge advantage over the BMW below. Hard bags and an electrically adjustable windshield are standard equipment.

2006 Suzuki DL650 V-Strom

The V-Stroms (there is a 1000cc version available also) are Suzuki's entries into the burgeoning "adventure bike" category, currently dominated by the patriarchal BMW GS series. Adventure bikes are mostly designed for comfortable street touring, but provide just enough dirt capability to handle gravel roads, forest service roads, and other non-pavement roads with more aplomb than a pure street bike. The seating position is upright and comfortable with just enough weather protection to make long all-weather rides feasible. The perfect bike for doing the Alcan, I bought this bike in early 2006 and equipped it for a big Alaskan trip planned for that summer. I ended up having to cancel the trip due to scheduling difficulties, but don't regret buying the bike at all. It's a shockingly all-around competent bike that does everything well and does it for a price that makes it the hands-down best value in motorcycling. For 2007, there is an ABS version to further extend its versatility. If I only owned one bike, it would be either this one or a BMW R1200GS.

1999 BMW R1100S

BMW considers the R1100S to be its sportbike, but it really is more of a sport-touring motorcycle. Powered by an 1100cc opposed-cylinder boxer twin, it is a great day-in, day-out motorcycle for exploring unfamiliar roads and terrain. While generally not as fast as competing Japanese motorcycles, it has plenty of speed and power for most missions, while coddling the pilot with friendly features like hard bags, heated grips, anti-lock brakes, shaft-drive, and a reasonable riding position. Perhaps its best feature is the Telelever front suspension that drastically reduces brake-dive and makes rough-road riding safer and more enjoyable.

2003 Honda ST1300

Since 1991, Honda's ST has been almost legendary among heavyweight sport-touring motorcycles. The 2003 ST1300 ABS, with its potent longitudinally mounted V-4, electronically adjustable windshield and Anti-lock Brakes, continues that legacy. This is a great open-road bike that devours big miles in comfort yet handles far better than any motorcycle this large has a right to. At 648 lbs, it fulfilled Gizmo's wish to be riding something a bit smaller than his former bike, a BMW K1200LT. Fuel range with the huge 7.7 gallon tank is outstanding.

2000 BMW K1200LT

BMW's Gold Wing rival, Gizmo rode this bike during our 2000 through 2002 tours. I think he still regrets selling it.

1999 Kawasaki ZRX1100

This is the bike Gizmo borrowed from me during the 2003 tour. I bought it from W&G reader Allan Gold a year earlier and enjoyed it immensely. I've since sold it. Great bike.

1998 Harley Davidson Road King

Gizmo rode Road Kings during our 1997 and 1999 tours. They're "too much show and not enough go" for my tastes, but they keep getting better. I'd love to take a cruiser tour someday.

1998 Yamaha R1

For our 1999 tour, I found myself without a touring bike in my stable after having sold my 1993 Honda ST1100 the previous year. I almost bought a new bike, but finally decided just to press my R1 into service. The first day was bit of a trial, but over time, I adjusted to doing big miles on a sportbike and actually had a great time, at least as long as the weather wasn't too bad. This bike was a revelation when introduced in 1998 and even today can hold its own with current sportbikes. The fit/finish was incredible - the bike was a jewel.

© 2007 By Whizmo and Gizmo, All Rights Reserved

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