Wanted: Bike with character

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boyitgobob

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I’m not selling my 14es, I love it, just looking for a character filled bike before my ‘good’ riding days come to an end. Like many here, I started riding around age 14 and have had many bikes over the years, mostly Japanese but some English and Italian in there. Presently have the FJR and a Buell Ulysses. Absolutely loved the Moto Guzzi V11 Sport I had before the Buell but could not take the riding position anymore due to a left turn car that totaled my first FJR and my pelvis. I haven’t warmed up to the Buell’s character yet, but there’s hope I can.
Anyway, I’m looking for suggestions for a bike with character, comfortable riding position, and electric start. Got any ideas?
 
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dcarver

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Stelvio. Just up your alley. And FjRay, RIP, well, his kids still have is highly farkled Stelvio for sale.
 

boyitgobob

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Very good suggestion. Test riding one of those led me to buying a carry over Speed Triple. Always wished I had bought the Tuono, the demo people had that bike setup really well on a real nice ride down thru the local valley park. Wheelies were not discouraged. The Tuono is what I had hoped the Buell motor would be, very similar to the MG. High on the list now. Thanks 😊
 

RossKean

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So, what is a bike with "character"?
I understand that bikes are designed for different "missions" - Adventure, dirt/offroad, track, dragstrip, touring, city commuter, "sport", bar hopping, showing off etc. To me, I don't think that adding "character" beyond the attributes that make the bike more suited to its intended purpose, is something I would want.

The FJR has most of what I need on a daily basis. I am currently looking at an "Adventure" style bike more suited to the "roads less traveled" (as a second bike). I am NOT looking for a bike that is louder, mechanically less reliable, with more chrome, more performance, more accessories etc.
 

CollingsBob

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I have a bike with “character”. It spent the winter in Minneapolis getting some of the character removed, this was achieved by the application of liberal doses of U.S dollars.
When it gets delivered back to me I’ll ride it for a few months, then decide if it still has too much character..if it does, then I will sell it..and buy a bike with less.
 

Bill FJR

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I’m not selling my 14es, I love it, just looking for a character filled bike before my ‘good’ riding days come to an end. Like many here, I started riding around age 14 and have had many bikes over the years, mostly Japanese but some English and Italian in there. Presently have the FJR and a Buell Ulysses. Absolutely loved the Moto Guzzi V11 Sport I had before the Buell but could not take the riding position anymore due to a left turn car that totaled my first FJR and my pelvis. I haven’t warmed up to the Buell’s character yet, but there’s hope I can.
Anyway, I’m looking for suggestions for a bike with character, comfortable riding position, and electric start. Got any ideas?
My KTM Duke 790 seems to meet your criteria. A wonderful motorcycle, excellent ergonomics, fabulous handling, great power, and reasonably priced. And TONS of character with a torquey parallel twin engine that has a 270 degree crankshaft.

The new 890 is getting all the glory these days, but the performance difference between the two is insignificant for most of us and the delivered price difference is large.

I had a ULY back in the day and the 790 is better in every way for street use. Well, except for the seat, which is a bit on the firm side. But I use my KTM for day trips around the Blue Ridge Mountains and take the FJRocket with my Russel seats when I’m going two up and/or on a long trip. A perfect combination of motorcycles!
 

boyitgobob

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So, what is a bike with "character"?
I understand that bikes are designed for different "missions" - Adventure, dirt/offroad, track, dragstrip, touring, city commuter, "sport", bar hopping, showing off etc. To me, I don't think that adding "character" beyond the attributes that make the bike more suited to its intended purpose, is something I would want.

The FJR has most of what I need on a daily basis. I am currently looking at an "Adventure" style bike more suited to the "roads less traveled" (as a second bike). I am NOT looking for a bike that is louder, mechanically less reliable, with more chrome, more performance, more accessories etc.
Good question.

I guess I define character as one or more of these elements:

Looks
Mechanical parts exposure
Body/wheel styling
Paint

Engine Character
Power delivery
Sound
Visceral reaction

Operating experience
Visceral reaction
Maintenance (I do my own, mostly)

Maybe I’m defining character as the emotional relationship I feel with an inanimate object based on the qualities (or lack of) above.

IMO, the FJR has a lot of character, but it’s very refined and different compared to my Ulysses or the V11 sport, or most of the other mc’s I’ve owned.

I’m not looking for a mission defined mc. I’ve owned a few dirt, adv bikes, sport tourers, UJM’s, etc. and will be street riding, mostly locally. I guess it’s intended purpose is the ownership experience, more than any specific purpose.
 

boyitgobob

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Electric start kits are being made for a wide range of vintage motorcycles…


I guess if you have to ask the price you can’t afford it. Would love to have a Norton, need to ask an acquaintance if he still has his stalled restoration project. I know he had the engine rebuilt.
 

Motrhead

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I will second the Stelvio recommendation . I miss that one more than any bike I have owned. A Griso would be good as well. Go 2013 or later for the updated engine.
I don’t mind the Tenere. Maybe not that exciting, but a very competent and comfy bike.
Dean
 

Bounce

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When I was a lad, "character" usually was associated with European sports cars. Character was synonymous with quirky. That was the polite way of saying, "when it runs it's excellent. I wish it ran more frequently." Think MG and Alfa-Romeo.

Would the equivalent be a Duc?
 

SwollenRaccoon

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Old Kawasaki two-stroke triple, Honda V-Four (any Interceptor or VFR), RD350/400, Yamaha or Kawasaki or Honda Turbo. I'm sure I'm forgetting others, like a GS1000/1050/1100E, many GPZs and the like. All have character, and most are relatively cheap, and most are as reliable as an anvil.
 

Motrhead

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A lot of those old bikes aren’t as reliable, fast or good handling as people remember. I tried a bunch of them, and sold all but one. 21st century stuff is so much better!
I have an 08 Ulysses, it’s my third Buell. The other two broke. The idea is great, and they have character, but I know this one is going to let me down eventually. I will probably sell it and my Norge soon and get another Stelvio instead.
I almost bought a Ducati Multistrada 1000...similar performance and feel to the Buell...maybe slightly more reliable, but much more maintenance intensive if that makes sense?
I think an FZ-09 with a pipe would have enough character to keep me interested. They are quite a fun hooligan bike, in the Buell vein.
Dean
 

boyitgobob

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Before I started this thread, I had my heart set on a MG 1000SP. Had to cross it off the list due to ergos.
It’s been about 13 years since I tested a modern (2008 Norge) MG, and I can’t remember how the engine felt, whether it was lumpy like my Sport, or did they smooth it out. I’m assuming the Stelvio would be similar to the Norge.
 

Motrhead

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Before I started this thread, I had my heart set on a MG 1000SP. Had to cross it off the list due to ergos.
It’s been about 13 years since I tested a modern (2008 Norge) MG, and I can’t remember how the engine felt, whether it was lumpy like my Sport, or did they smooth it out. I’m assuming the Stelvio would be similar to the Norge.
The Stelvio engine is pretty smooth, pulls well down lower, but really takes off at 5 K and pulls hard to 8. It thinks it is a sportbike. The 4 valve engine is much stronger than the 2 valve version in the 08 Norge (20 hp more I believe). IMHO the Stelvio has more solid handling than the Norge as well, but it is a bit heavier and is obviously taller. But there is nothing wrong with a Norge, other than it doesn’t do anything different from what an FJR does, and it’s slower...
Dean
 

jblanken64

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My itch for an old (aka, with character) bike was scratched with an '83 BMW R100. It was an RT converted to a CS and I'm probably going end up with something in between. I want to be able to get on either bike and ride without ergos becoming too much of a factor. Is my '08 FJR a "better" bike? Absolutely. But the R100 is fun in a much different sort of way. And it also turns different heads than the FJR. And it's pretty simple mechanically with a large community, which is definitely a plus for me.
 

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