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Have fun. Ride small.

Amos Malone

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I was wondering where to put this. It's a hot topic these days how smaller cheaper bikes can be beneficial to riders.
  • They're cheaper. It should not be underestimated how long, how far and in how much luxury you can travel on the price difference between BMW GS and Honda SuperCub. Ed March has taken few shots at the big bikes in his time.
  • The bike creates the route. The big bikes tend to stay more on the highways while the small ones go for the slower backroads, giving you numerous opportunities to stop and enjoy the place you're in.
  • Small bike is easier to pick up when you drop it.
  • Small bike uses less fuel, less oil in oil changes.
  • Small bikes have smaller much cheaper tires and many other parts.
  • Small bikes are simpler. No full day in a dealer workshop to replace oilseal on a driveshaft.
  • Small bikes have cheaper insurance.
  • It is much more fun to ride a slow bike fast, than fast bike slow.
My bike history goes roughly from 50cc, 350cc, 500cc, 600cc, +1000cc, 650cc, to my current 2 bikes, 250cc and 150cc. If I'd need to replace 150cc I'd probably go for 125cc.
 
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AwDang

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124, 196, 644, 645, 765
I could sell the 125 & 765 and be happy with the rest.
 

matty

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Adventures and adventure bikes, can mean many different things to a rider.
Distances can be multiples of thousands of miles or a few hundred miles, the same for the Adventure bike , it can be literally anything you own and any size.
If you think back pree Ewan and charley long way round , people were having adventures and visiting some awesome parts of the world on a myriad of different size bikes and bike types / styles.
I am of the opinion that certainly my circle of friends and myself used what we owned and , picked from the little stable of bikes one that fitted in more or less size performance wise with any bike anyone you might be traveling with had.
Never one single time did i ever feel i must have a big BMW GS etc , i just used road or trail bikes.
We traveled two up on 1100/ 1 litre size bikes, but that was more out of nessesaty rather than practicality really.
Once we became affluent enough to be able to buy kit cars , the wife was much more at home utilizing these small super light fast open sports cars and she could even share the driving, which coupled with the luggage carrying advantages and comfort whilst still open to the elements and still with the speed and handling approaching the bikes back then plus in the case of the marlins good off road/ rough track capability.
we just stopped touring together on the bikes .
With a smaller bike you can chew up the miles and go anywhere in the world and not be at any disadvantage to a gs1.2 litre or 1 litre plus KTM etc. i did many european trips and into African continent on a Yamaha RD350 VPVs back in the day and rode with a mate on a BMW R100 quite often, and i never felt i was at any major disadvantage.
I am of the opinion that regardless of any bikes size , and provided you load the bike sensibly and ride to the bikes performance rather than try and match highway speeds and pick your routes take your time appropriately a small bike will go anywhere a big bike will in a practical sense.
Think about it like this, an 80s Yamaha DT80, will cruise at 50 mph all day, its very light simple and strong enough even with its far from modern suspension is off road capable.
You could use many similar bikes ancient and modern in the sub 100cc class . Offerings from the likes of garelli Gilera suzuki kawasaki Cagiva aprilia and many more. and if you want to push the engine size up to 125cc then that opens more fourstrokes into the field. XLs DRs XTs etc.
I Myself feel the small trail bike or perhaps a cruiser up to 125cc would be the best option if your expecting to go accross Africa or similar.
the 150cc Mustang is the go to bike of the mongolian herdsmen and these seem to hold together ok despite their far eastern pedigree so perhaps the chinese bikes might be up to these tasks, and it might be a direction some could chose.
I think the whole small bike ADV thing is very interesting, and althogh at this moment in time i have no hard plans, this may be some thing i chose to do at some point. I have often thought about it and i am sure it would be awesome.
 

Amos Malone

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There is a trend to downsize. Noraly Schoenmaker has been more or less steadily downsizing. RTW Paul has gone from Yamaha 1200 to KTM500 and is now playing with CT125.
Personally, if I was going around the world, planning on following the highways and staying on asphalt I'd really appreciate the long distance mile eating comfort of one of the big bikes.
If I was planning on using the backroads, enjoy the nature and see the pretty places. Maybe risk a fall or two. I'd use a smaller one.
The smaller bikes are sort of more reliable. You rarely break wheel because you're going too fast on too heavy bike. You rarely snap a chain because of all the power you have at your disposal. You might on the other hand break a wheel and snap a chain because they're cheap and weak. At least your small and light bike is easier to push to civilisation. Also uphill when you lack the power. :lol3
You are less likely to get injured and then break your back if your small bike falls.
 

4PawsHacienda

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Discovered sidecar rigs a decade ago and found that they handle the majority of the aging motorcyclist equation for me - stability, cargo capacity, panache. Essential to understand difference between motorcycle and sidecar rig.
Have a CB500X I keep at my cabin along the Blue Ridge Parkway in VA, perfect for the tight roads up there and the light off roading that I enjoy. If I ever seriously consider replacing it I will probably loose some cc's in the process.
Right now toying with the idea of adding either an electric bicycle or a scooter type to the stable. Both cost about the same. The Honda Trail 125 is my leading candidates. Either readily transportable via rack on my truck. Trail 125 actually seems safer to ride due to traffic.

I honestly have to admit the magic is gone as far as larger, faster, fancier motorcycles. My psyche is now screaming enjoy the simple and just ride for the pure pleasure of riding!
 

Amos Malone

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I honestly have to admit the magic is gone as far as larger, faster, fancier motorcycles
I have to say the same thing. The overabundance of cameras and other speed enforcement methods make it financially undesirable to exceed the speed limit just a little bit, even when and where it's perfectly safe to do so. It's also more fun to ride slow bike fast than fast bike slow. Safer too.
 

klaviator

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I don't have anything bad to say about the trail 125 except........good luck finding one! They are in high demand and short supply.
 

klaviator

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I would disagree with that last bit about being safer.
A small bike can go fast enough to get you into trouble, then not have the power to get you back out.
I think that in general smaller bikes are safer but it really depends on where you ride. Trying to mix with high speed traffic without the power to keep up is not the safest thing to do. In general I ride slower on my 150cc scooter than I do on my Versys 650 on the same roads. I general I ride my scooter on slower roads than I do my Versys. I also wear better and more riding gear on my Versys but I do wear gear on both.
 

Amos Malone

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I would disagree with that last bit about being safer.
A small bike can go fast enough to get you into trouble, then not have the power to get you back out.
In my experience more power only gets you into more trouble. I have never used power to get me out of a trouble that the power did not get me into. :p3rry A friend of mine is fond of the "You need power to get out of trouble" statement. I generally put that in the same Escher sentence category as "Loud pipes save lives". We've drunk many beers while having many "discussions" about that.
But what I meant is that although speed itself is not more or less dangerous, sudden unexpected/unwanted deceleration is. Generally a slow bike will give you more time to avoid sudden unexpected/unwanted deceleration and is therefore safer in that way.

I think that in general smaller bikes are safer but it really depends on where you ride. Trying to mix with high speed traffic without the power to keep up is not the safest thing to do. In general I ride slower on my 150cc scooter than I do on my Versys 650 on the same roads. I general I ride my scooter on slower roads than I do my Versys. I also wear better and more riding gear on my Versys but I do wear gear on both.

That is one of the main reasons I've found new enthusiasm for small bikes. Like you I take the slower roads on the small bikes. That makes me enjoy the trip better. I allocate more time for the trip and stop more often at a nice viewpoint to sip coffee from thermos, munch on a sandwich and enjoy the view. I also get more opportunities to detour and explore side roads.
 

klaviator

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In my experience more power only gets you into more trouble. I have never used power to get me out of a trouble that the power did not get me into. :p3rry A friend of mine is fond of the "You need power to get out of trouble" statement. I generally put that in the same Escher sentence category as "Loud pipes save lives". We've drunk many beers while having many "discussions" about that.
But what I meant is that although speed itself is not more or less dangerous, sudden unexpected/unwanted deceleration is. Generally a slow bike will give you more time to avoid sudden unexpected/unwanted deceleration and is therefore safer in that way.



That is one of the main reasons I've found new enthusiasm for small bikes. Like you I take the slower roads on the small bikes. That makes me enjoy the trip better. I allocate more time for the trip and stop more often at a nice viewpoint to sip coffee from thermos, munch on a sandwich and enjoy the view. I also get more opportunities to detour and explore side roads.
I think there is something to the "power can get you out of trouble" idea. Of course it can also get you into trouble. I think that it still mostly depends on the rider. It also depends on where you like to ride. Some places won't be as safe on a small bike but if you ride on roads where the speeds are lower then a small bike will be as safe or safer than a bigger one.

The thing with bigger bikes isn't just more power. They tend to be physically larger and heavier. I have seen plenty of people drop or crash a bike because it was just to much for them. I have seen plenty of people who just had too much bike for their experience level.

Here is one of my favorite stories that illustrates this. This is copy and paste from an old ride report:


I was hanging out at the Crossroads of Time along with the normal large crowd that was always there during the riding season. There were three guys on Hayabusa's there. This was when the Hayabusa had just been introduced to the market. They had come up from Florida to ride those famous 318 curves in 11 miles. People who have tried counting the curves claim that 318 is a bit of an exaggeration but still, it's a curvy road.
Anyway I talked to one of the guys for a bit then the three of them took off to ride the road for their first time. So I hung out for another 5 minutes or so and then decided it was time to ride down to the overlook. I was riding along at a "fun" pace when about halfway to the overlook I caught up to the Hayabusa riders. They were going so slow they were literally wobbling around the curves. It was obvious they had no clue how to ride. I could have passed them on a moped. Well I wasn't on a moped so I zoomed by and continued to the overlook where I stopped and hung out.
Eventually they showed up at the overlook. The rider I had talked to earlier pulled into the parking lot on the right side of the road, stopped, and promptly dropped his bike
muutt.gif

A few of us ran over and picked up his bike. Why did he drop it? He was short and there was a slight slope to the parking area. Mainly he was clueless. So I talked with him for a bit. He was really bummed that he survived all those curves only to drop his bike while parking. I suggested to him that on roads like Deal's Gap and the other twisty roads in the area he might be able to ride better and faster on a smaller, lighter bike. His answer was priceless:
"Where I come from WE NEED THIS KIND OF POWER!"
yelrotflmao.gif
yelrotflmao.gif
yelrotflmao.gif

I bit my lip, refrained from laughing and just walked away.
 

klaviator

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Here's another example of how power can affect safety. You are riding along on a two lane country road and come up behind slower traffic so you decide to pass. You can pass quicker and safer on a more powerful bike so the more powerful bike is safer right?

Maybe, maybe not. On a slower bike you might not have caught up with that traffic in the first place. Or you might have caught up and decided it wasn't safe to pass given your limited power. But if you did decide to pass with that slower bike you will be at more risk because you will be in the lane with potential oncoming traffic for longer.

So again, it's more the rider than the bike.
 

Amos Malone

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There is no debate that you can pass quicker on a more powerful bike. Safer? That depends on the rider.
There are trips where I would rather take a big bike, stay on the big roads, enjoy the power and comfort. But would I enjoy the trip more. That's debatable.
I'm old enough to have learned that it's not a question of who arrives first, but how the ride was. I do not tell people that they need a small bike, just that they can have fun on one. If people still prefer a big bike, I wish them a nice journey.
 

AwDang

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Here's another example of how power can affect safety. You are riding along on a two lane country road and come up behind slower traffic so you decide to pass. You can pass quicker and safer on a more powerful bike so the more powerful bike is safer right?

Maybe, maybe not. On a slower bike you might not have caught up with that traffic in the first place. Or you might have caught up and decided it wasn't safe to pass given your limited power. But if you did decide to pass with that slower bike you will be at more risk because you will be in the lane with potential oncoming traffic for longer.

So again, it's more the rider than the bike.
Downshifting is real
 

Yinzer Moto

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I don't have anything bad to say about the trail 125 except........good luck finding one! They are in high demand and short supply.

If someone is looks, pick up the phone and call. Most shops got a shipment a week ago. I just ordered one two weeks ago and picked it up last week. Another shipment is due at the end of this month. Many dealers are not taking reservation and request that you just call back occasionally. I found a dealer that would take a reservation.
 

Amos Malone

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You can also drive small. I simply do not understand why the Kei car is not more popular in first world countries. Max speed (electrically limited) 87 mph. Weight under a ton. Easily seats 4 adults. You can park it nearly anywhere.
 

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