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Thread: Which lightweight touring bike?

  1. #1
    Kinda new round here cyclone ranger's Avatar
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    Which lightweight touring bike?

    Greetings, just joined and trying to get some input on which bike might fit my needs. Been riding for 45 years now and have owned 29 motorcycles through the years. Currently own an 06 Suzuki C90T, 06 Kawasaki Z1000 and an 09 Triumph Bonneville(the wife's bike, but I have a hard time staying off of it!) Don't know if I'm in the right place to ask, but anyway here goes. I am selling the Suzuki C90T (comfortable for two up touring) but I want something lighter but still comfortable for the wife. Looking at a used BMW 1100/1150 RT/RS and also the Moto Guzzi California Vintage.
    Whichever bike I finally choose must have a rear backrest for her. Trying to stay away from a top case, seems like that would put a lot of weight up high. Main concern is legroom and seat comfort for the wife. I'm 5'7" 32" inseam. Can't be too tall for me either. I'm looking at a RS or RT but the Guzzi really has the classic look.I guess I really want an old school lightweight touring machine that will still be comfortable for two. What are your thoughts on these bikes? Sorry for such a long post. Thanks

  2. #2
    Back to riding again jdgretz's Avatar
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    Re: Which lightweight touring bike?

    Well, being a Guzzi guy...

    The CalVin is an excellent motorcycle. Guzzis are easy to work on and once you have it set up the way you want it will run until you decide to quit riding. You get bit by the Guzzi bug and there is no cure. The biggest downside to owning a Guzzi is the dealer network. If you are near one of the good dealers, and I'm not sure who is good in your area, you are in great shape for anything unusual that happens. The upside is that nothing much really goes wrong with one. They really are stone axe reliable.

    Check over on the two main Guzzi boards, The WildGoose Chase and GuzziTech and post this same question. You'll actually get some good information from folks who own or have owned both bikes.

    I've ridden the 1150RT and came back convinced I bought the right bike for me. The 1150RT is a bit heavier than the Norge, so it's not a light weight bike by any stretch of the imagination unless you are comparing it to Goldwings, Ultra Glides, or Victory Visions.

    I was looking at the R1200RT when I purchased the Norge. The RT BMWs are more akin to the Norge than the CalVin. My wife is also 5'7" and gets a bit of helmet wind buffeting with the stock windshield on the Norge when riding pillion at freeway speeds, but the Norge is probably not what you are looking for anyway, although there are some great deals out there on left over 09s.

    jdg
    2007 Moto Guzzi Norge - the fast, sexy, red one
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  3. #3
    Der Weg ist das Ziel PongoUSA's Avatar
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    Re: Which lightweight touring bike?

    Wouldn't call the RT a lightweight bike, by any means. I think, it's a great bike, very good handling, superior brakes, weather and wind protection is very good. Most people don't like the stock seat, I'm not that unhappy with it, that I have bought a custom seat, though I will do that eventually. It's certainly not the most powerful bike in it's class, but works well for me in the Sierras with 2up and luggage, great torque ! I'm 5'9'', seat in the lowest position, it fit's just right. So with 5'7'' you might be somewhat challenged.

    If you go for the RT, look for the twin spark. The older ones might have an issue with smooth running @ lower rpm's.

    Quote Originally Posted by cyclone ranger View Post
    Greetings, just joined and trying to get some input on which bike might fit my needs. Been riding for 45 years now and have owned 29 motorcycles through the years. Currently own an 06 Suzuki C90T, 06 Kawasaki Z1000 and an 09 Triumph Bonneville(the wife's bike, but I have a hard time staying off of it!) Don't know if I'm in the right place to ask, but anyway here goes. I am selling the Suzuki C90T (comfortable for two up touring) but I want something lighter but still comfortable for the wife. Looking at a used BMW 1100/1150 RT/RS and also the Moto Guzzi California Vintage.
    Whichever bike I finally choose must have a rear backrest for her. Trying to stay away from a top case, seems like that would put a lot of weight up high. Main concern is legroom and seat comfort for the wife. I'm 5'7" 32" inseam. Can't be too tall for me either. I'm looking at a RS or RT but the Guzzi really has the classic look.I guess I really want an old school lightweight touring machine that will still be comfortable for two. What are your thoughts on these bikes? Sorry for such a long post. Thanks
    RIDE SAFE RIDE FUN

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  4. #4
    Live to Ride orbiker's Avatar
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    Re: Which lightweight touring bike?

    One of the Victory cruisers would be a good choose especially with hight impairment.

  5. #5
    The Lost Tourguide kluts's Avatar
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    Re: Which lightweight touring bike?

    It sounds like you're looking at good used machines. The Guzzi CV or the Jackal are superb bikes for shorter inseams and I've never run across a used one in bad shape. (Well, one. It was left outside in San Francisco chained to a tree in the foggiest part of town and used for courier work. It was a sad sight.)

    A friend had a Jackal and regretted selling it. Like Gretz says, Guzzi ownership can grow on you.

    While the BMW RT is a great bike the Guzzi appeals to me in looking at your situation. And you save some weight, get near identical power, surprisingly good handling, and a bike you can work on yourself. They are not hard to work on. Parts? Read the forum like Gretz says and supply yourself with the known failure pieces (of which there are very few).

    And it has "soul." That old tractor motor (that's what it is, folks) is wonderous.
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  6. #6
    Kinda new round here cyclone ranger's Avatar
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    Re: Which lightweight touring bike?

    Just thought I'd say thanks for the input. I am leaning more towards the Moto Guzzi. The style just seems to call me. I like the BMW RT but I was kinda afraid they would be too tall for me. I rode a friends 06 Concours and it seemed kinda top heavy, I think the BMW would be more of the same. I have been looking at older BMW's like mid 70's and 80's R90 and 100's they seem to be more like the Guzzi in style and size. I guess I need to get on a BMW forums and ask questions about them. Thanks again. Happy riding, I will continue to watch and read this forum and when I purchase a replacement for the C90T I'll post pictures.
    "No matter where you go, there you are." as per Buckaroo Banzai.

  7. #7
    Super Member Orson's Avatar
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    2cents Re: Which lightweight touring bike?

    Quote Originally Posted by cyclone ranger View Post
    Greetings, just joined and trying to get some 09 Triumph Bonneville(the wife's bike, but I have a hard time staying off of it!)

    I guess I really want an old school lightweight touring machine that will still be comfortable for two.
    What's wrong with the Triumph?

    Light, fun. Just slap on some soft luggage and a plexiglass windscreen and you're good to go

    another relatively light bike would be the Kawasaki Versys although, it would be debatable whether it would be comfortable for a passenger.
    A good traveler has no fixed plans, and is not intent on arriving. Lao Tzu 600 B.C.

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