OUT WITH THE "OLD" IN WITH THE "NEW"
Due to my disability I have not been riding as much as I would have liked. The weight of the F800GS (472 lbs wet) was just too much for me. I sold it and started my search for a new lighter dual sport.
My biggest problem with the smaller dual sports was their seat height, lack of power, weight, center of gravity and to be honest STYLE. I had a BMW G650GS (423 lbs wet) ordered with low suspension to allow me to stand flat footed and thought was light enough for me. When the motorcycle finally arrived at the dealership I could in fact throw a leg over it and stand flat footed with no knee bend. While standing over the G650GS, I could not manage to get it up off the lean of the kickstand and balance under my stance, still too heavy and I think overall tall.
After looking at many motorcycles like the Dual Sport Suzuki's, Yamaha's, Kawasaki's, KTM's and many others that were too tall, too heavy and not balanced. I decided to turn my attention to naked sport bikes that I could convert and ride year round.
I previously owed a 2009 Ducati Monster 1100 that I rode until the two of us went sliding through a corner at 45mph and only one of us survived intact. The 1100 Monster had incredible power to weight ratio and really was comfortable to ride long distanced. My first ride on the 1100 was a 400 mile trip through some the curviest roads of southeastern Indiana along the Ohio River. The 1100 was so well balanced that at times I realized I was cornering on one wheel, probably a little more power than I should have given it while turning. In the year and a half I owned it I managed to put over 10,000 miles on it and it was not at all set up for riding in temperatures below 45.
I noticed my local Ducati dealership had a used Monster 696 (407 lbs wet) @ 80hp within my desired price range. After looking at the 696 I decided to look at something with a little more power like the Monster 796 with full
Termignoni exhaust @ 90hp (I have heard that the full Termi exhaust save 15 lbs, I don't know if I believe that or not).
The 796 ABS Monster, at 414 lbs wet does not sound like a big difference but the low center of gravity compared to the G650GS made a HUGE difference for me. Compared to the F800GS the miles per gallon and horse power are about equal, the big saving is the weight difference of 60 lbs. About the only
- I got a good deal on this motorcycle and only need to change a few things. It came with two different tires. The rear tire is the Pirelli Angel ST which has decent ratings for all season use. The front is the Pirelli Diablo which will need to be replaced if I plan on riding it below 45 degrees. I would like the best of both world as to have tires that are sticky and hold high speed corners in the summer and give me excellent traction in the winter.
- Since this is considered a "naked" sport bike there is not much available in the way of luggage capacity. I have always been a big fan of Wolfman luggage and have retro-fitted my Rainier Tank bag to fit the Monster. The rear Wolfman Tail bag I already had will be retro fitted as well. When I need major volume for road trip the medium Rollie bag should just strap on the rear on the motorcycle with no problems.
- The only other thing I will probably change is the color of the tank and seat cowl. It came with the front bikini fairing that I took and replaced with the electronics cover it came with. On the Ducati Monsters they designed it so the colors could be customized. Ducati sells painted covers for around $700 in a kit that contains the 2 tank covers, the seat cowl, bikini fairing and front fender. I don't need or want to spend that amount of money. I will just get the 2 tank covers and the seat cowl painted to a color I like and nobody else has. The front fender is carbon fiber, so it can stay the CF color.
- With this new smaller lighter motorcycle I will be riding every chance I get. I miss the old days when I was putting major mileage on my motorcycles. This may not be the best bike for long trips but I will make it work since most of my riding will be local and short trips down to the curvy roads in southern Indiana. Although my dirt days and river crossings may have temporarily come to an end, I will always find an enjoyable ear to ear grin inspiring road around the obstacle.