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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I've owned a bunch of motorcycles (see here: My Past Motorcycles). I recently sold my Ninja 1000 due to a relocation for work and needing the money to buy a house, but will be looking to buy another bike as soon as I get settled in my new house.

I really liked my Ninja 1000 after I put on a 1" taller Baldwin seat and lowered the pegs about 1". The engine was a beast. I wouldn't mind owning another one, but at just over 500lbs, it was a little heavy. I'm a big guy at 6'5", 260lbs, with a 36" inseam...but I love small, lightweight bikes. I've owned some big heavy pigs, and just never bonded with them. The closest I came was with my FJR, but at over 600lbs, I eventually got to the point that riding a bike that bike while dragging the mufflers was just making me feel uneasy (that was after a suspension upgrade).

So my question is...how comfortable is the FZ-09? I have never owned a bike that my 260lbs didn't crush the seat and suspension, so I always factor in at least $1000 to address those issues. I know I'll be hauling it down to Traxxion Dynamics and getting a Penske shock and some fork work done (possibly more money if I go cartridge emulators). Yes, I know I could buy a more expensive bike, but there isn't a stock suspension that I don't absolutely crush. They all suck for me. Same goes for seats. I'm sitting on the seat pan after the first 2 miles and after I ride the bike a few times, the stock foam is mashed down to nothing. Next thing I'm not concerned with is wind protection. At 6'5", putting anything other than a big barn door windshield is not going to help me. Even on the Goldwing I owned the windshield wasn't tall enough (actually the Wing was one of the most UNCOMFORTABLE bikes I've ever owned). All I end up with is severe helmet buffeting. The bikes that work best for me have a small fly screen or nothing (the Ulysses and Versys I had were perfect). I'm not concerned with wind blast as I avoid interstates and major highways like the plague. I have more fun on the twisty back roads. I typically always change brake lines to braided steel and change pads to HH. Adding 260lbs to any bike makes the brakes work overtime, so I beef them up as a matter of habit. I'd do the same to the FZ.

So, I'm not concerned with the suspension or seat. I know the engine is plenty potent and the bike is light....just like I like 'em. My concern is leg room. I ride in full gear, which means I have on heavy riding pants. My legs are long and if the bend in my legs is too severe then the material from my riding pants gets all bunched up in the bend of my knee and it's not comfortable. I can sit on a bike in the showroom and have it feel fine, but the true test is after you've been riding for 300 or 400 miles. How does she feel?

I enjoy riding the twisties, but I do a lot of long distance riding. I enjoy strapping on a bag and doing what I call "cell phone and debit card" touring. I like a lightweight rig. Just a few toiletries, a change of clothes, a spare faceshield, and some cleaner and rags. That's it. I enjoy starting early at 6am and riding all day until it's dark. In the summer, we're talking about 8:30p-9pm. Sometimes I make it back home, sometimes I find myself in another state and have no idea where I am or how long it will take to get home so I grab a room and get some shut eye.

Any tall, lanky, heavy guys out there who have modded their FZ to accommodate their stature? If so, what mods did you make?
 

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I'm not sure the FZ-09 is the best touring bike for you. You have done your research but there are quite a few obstacles. Certainly any bike can be modded to accommodate most riders.

* Seat
* Front Forks
* Rear Shock
* Small Tank
* Wind Protection (It does make a difference on the chest)


My main gripe would be the small tank size for touring.
 

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Seat upgrade for sure. As you mentioned, suspension all around at your weight. The tank range is short for a tourer, but maybe you will want to stretch your legs every 2 hours anyway, at 6'5".

The 09 would be my last choice for a tourer, due to its nakedness, lack of range etc. It resembles a more street refined motard than anything else, really.

Honestly, the FZ07 would have better range, a smidge lighter, less $$$, and it can certainly keep up with any other bike on the street if the rider can can really ride.

I love my 09, but the ride reviews on the 07 are pretty consistently awesome, and many state that after riding them back to back, the 07 is a much better package all around. I'd consider it if I were you.

Go ride them both.
 

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I use the FZ09 for touring duties regularly- in fact, all my life I have toured on nakeds and find no problems in doing so, in the plains or at 15000+ feet in the Himalayas. It is about what you are used to in the end and I believe the FZ09 is pretty much a UJM to do anything you want it to. The tank range is definitely low (130miles is a good number before you refill) but helps me to stretch my legs during refills which I don't mind. However, I am only about 6' tall with sneakers on and weigh a paltry 145 lbs. With my wife, we barely make your weight! But the stock suspension is just fine for us- I have to dial it in semi-soft so it's cushy for her without being bouncy for me. With a tail case and saddlebags, we probably add another 20-30 lbs and I have never had any issues comfort or handling-wise, without a windscreen, seat upgrade or a ECU flash either.

However, as Fizzer mentions above, look into the FZ07 but since i felt cramped on it, I fear that it could be really really cramped for you- your knees are for sure going to be above the level of your butt!! It sounds to me that your ideal bike would be either the pricier KTM Adventure or BMW GS with all their electronics to adjust suspension/power,traction or the tall, trusty, hardy, semi-naked, dual-sport ADV, old workhorse, called the Kawasaki KLR650! It's cheap, not terribly heavy (432lbs curb weight), it's comfy, it can be fixed easily in the middle of nowhere, great tank range and it's really tall!

edit: Take a look at a little review here pushing it's cause.
 

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OP you have addressed the main issues anyone has had with the fz-09. Suspension and seat. So if you plan to change those anyways, you will have a nice relationship with the fz-09.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Just got back from the dealer. I popped a squat on the FZ-09 and was really surprised. It's very upright and comfortable. I went back to the last bike I had (Ninja 1000) and it felt more cramped (mine had 1" lower pegs), and much heavier. 100lbs makes a difference. I also sat on the FZ-07. Tighter seat to peg ratio and just too small for me. The FZ-09 felt just right. Toss on a seat and I think she'd be plenty comfy.

Let me define my idea of touring. I don't find sitting on a bike, super slabbing it for 400 miles to not be at all fun. In fact, if I were to do that, I have a perfectly good automobile I'd take instead. Motorcycle touring, in my opinion, is not about getting somewhere. It's about the miles between your start and end points. It's the twisty roads, little out of the way cafes and diners, road side attractions, other riders you meet along the way. It's about finding the most isolated road you can find and seeing where it goes. I've "toured" on bikes that had 125-150 mile ranges. My Buell Ulysses was good for about 180. My 1125 CR was good for about 125. Never had an issue touring on them. I find that I'm seldom more than 20 miles from a gas station. That's the advantage of living in the East. If I were in the desert or some isolated parts of the country, the range might bother me, but it's nothing that a 2.5 gallon gas can strapped to the rear seat wouldn't fix (or a fuel cell if you want to get fancy). I am not a big fan of having a big fuel load high up on the bike anyway and on bikes where I've had 5+ gallon tanks, I didn't fill them all the way up. As has been said, being tall, I'm usually ready to get off and stretch every 100 miles or so. My Ninja 1000 would go about 180 before it needed fuel and I was always happy to see that low fuel light come on.

As for wind protection...really nothing on the market is going to give me protection unless it's sporting a huge fairing and giant barn door windshield. I don't have any issues with wind blast. An advantage of being tall and heavy is that the bars on the FZ-09 and other bikes usually require me to lean forward a bit to reach them. This allows me to lean forward into the wind. I don't ride interstate much, and on the back road twisties I rarely ever reach speeds where wind blast is a big concern. I might blast up to 70-80mph on a short straight, but here in Tennessee, we don't have a whole lot of back roads that are straight. I actually find that lack of protection on my legs is the bigger problem for me. Because of my size, and how long my legs are, they typically splay out to the sides and cause the wind to catch them. I end up with very tired thighs at the end of a long ride from having to squeeze the tank. Luckily on the FZ my knees don't stick up above the fuel tank and come close to the bars like they do on some bikes I've owned.

Other bikes I'm researching are the V-Strom 650 & 1000 (1000 is a bit over my budget). I really, really, really don't like the limited tire choice due to a 19" front wheel. I loved my Versys, but it was just a wee bit underpowered, and it's is closely matched to the V-Strom 650, so I may not be completely satisfied with that bike.

I understand that I'm going to have limited comfort on any bike I buy. I've ridden big touring bikes like an HD Ultra Classic and a Goldwing and wasn't comfortable on them. If I'm going to be uncomfortable, I at least want to have a bike with lots of character, soul, and attitude that's fun to ride. I seem to not notice the pain if I'm having fun and Advil and Red Bull can cure a lot of ills. ;)
 

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I have a friend that is your size and he rides and loves his 1000 Vstrom...

I am 230 and 6'1" and my FZ09 is great and I have done several 300+ mile days of twisties and one day of 300+ miles slabbing it home in the rain.

I think it is comfortable and enjoy riding it.

If I were going to take it for a ride of more than about 3 days, I would add a windshield that is removable when I got back from the ride. I am thinking something along the lines of a National Cycle F16 or F15 National Cycle, Inc. | Online Catalog | F-Series? Sport Fairings

I would also add soft saddlebags and a bracket of some sort to keep the bags out of the rear wheel.
 

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Just got back from the dealer. I popped a squat on the FZ-09 and was really surprised. It's very upright and comfortable. I went back to the last bike I had (Ninja 1000) and it felt more cramped (mine had 1" lower pegs), and much heavier. 100lbs makes a difference. I also sat on the FZ-07. Tighter seat to peg ratio and just too small for me. The FZ-09 felt just right. Toss on a seat and I think she'd be plenty comfy.

Let me define my idea of touring. I don't find sitting on a bike, super slabbing it for 400 miles to not be at all fun. In fact, if I were to do that, I have a perfectly good automobile I'd take instead. Motorcycle touring, in my opinion, is not about getting somewhere. It's about the miles between your start and end points. It's the twisty roads, little out of the way cafes and diners, road side attractions, other riders you meet along the way. It's about finding the most isolated road you can find and seeing where it goes. I've "toured" on bikes that had 125-150 mile ranges. My Buell Ulysses was good for about 180. My 1125 CR was good for about 125. Never had an issue touring on them. I find that I'm seldom more than 20 miles from a gas station. That's the advantage of living in the East. If I were in the desert or some isolated parts of the country, the range might bother me, but it's nothing that a 2.5 gallon gas can strapped to the rear seat wouldn't fix (or a fuel cell if you want to get fancy). I am not a big fan of having a big fuel load high up on the bike anyway and on bikes where I've had 5+ gallon tanks, I didn't fill them all the way up. As has been said, being tall, I'm usually ready to get off and stretch every 100 miles or so. My Ninja 1000 would go about 180 before it needed fuel and I was always happy to see that low fuel light come on.

As for wind protection...really nothing on the market is going to give me protection unless it's sporting a huge fairing and giant barn door windshield. I don't have any issues with wind blast. An advantage of being tall and heavy is that the bars on the FZ-09 and other bikes usually require me to lean forward a bit to reach them. This allows me to lean forward into the wind. I don't ride interstate much, and on the back road twisties I rarely ever reach speeds where wind blast is a big concern. I might blast up to 70-80mph on a short straight, but here in Tennessee, we don't have a whole lot of back roads that are straight. I actually find that lack of protection on my legs is the bigger problem for me. Because of my size, and how long my legs are, they typically splay out to the sides and cause the wind to catch them. I end up with very tired thighs at the end of a long ride from having to squeeze the tank. Luckily on the FZ my knees don't stick up above the fuel tank and come close to the bars like they do on some bikes I've owned.

Other bikes I'm researching are the V-Strom 650 & 1000 (1000 is a bit over my budget). I really, really, really don't like the limited tire choice due to a 19" front wheel. I loved my Versys, but it was just a wee bit underpowered, and it's is closely matched to the V-Strom 650, so I may not be completely satisfied with that bike.

I understand that I'm going to have limited comfort on any bike I buy. I've ridden big touring bikes like an HD Ultra Classic and a Goldwing and wasn't comfortable on them. If I'm going to be uncomfortable, I at least want to have a bike with lots of character, soul, and attitude that's fun to ride. I seem to not notice the pain if I'm having fun and Advil and Red Bull can cure a lot of ills. ;)
Well, then don't just keep thinking then. If it fits, it's yours! Suspension and seat can be easily fixed for you and you already got the budget for that.
The Versys and Vstrom are too similar (even if great) and not as powerful as the FZ09. You seem to like to tour like me, so I am sure you will enjoy the bike a lot. I doubt anything comes close in it's class- in performance or price.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
I've had bikes with bags, and I honestly never used them. They sat in my garage and collected dust. I have a seat bag with four built in bungee straps that fits nicely on the rear seat. It' holds all I could ever need unless I'm camping in which case I strap on my Cabella's dry bag. I also typically use a tank bag. I never carry a passenger.

This is how I roll. I rode the bike in this picture about 6 hours to get to N. Georgia, rode in the rain to Deal's Gap (note the rain cover on my bag), then rode back to N. Georgia in the rain. This particular bike went about 125 miles on a tank. I loved it dearly. Lost it in the big Nashville Flood of 2010. I sat and watched as her cylinders filled with water. That's a sickening sound.

 

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I've been riding for about 20 years, and traded a Versys 650 for my mt 09. I'm about 6'4" and 240lbs in gear, give or take.
I reckon an mt 09 would be perfect for what you want. Short fuel range might be a pain in the arse, but I've done Sydney to Phillip Island about 1600ks) in a day on a a 1196cc gsxr 711 streetfighter that had a 180k tank range, with a tent strapped to the back, I love naked bikes, too.
The mt would be awesome for the kind of riding your talking about.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
The mt would be awesome for the kind of riding your talking about.
That's what I suspect. There is something about a small, light motorcycle that's just fun. Even a little Ninja 250 or 300 is an absolute hoot to ride.

It's WAY more fun to ride a slow bike fast than a fast bike slow. When I had my Versys, I never replaced the stock suspension. I was saving up the cash but sold the bike before I replaced the stock units. Funny thing, I actually got used to the stock suspension and found I could ride the bike pretty hard. Just had to plan ahead and pay close attention to any dips or bumps in the road. If not, you'd be tossed out of the seat with your legs flailing, but when your butt landed, you were laughing. :)
 

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The stock Versys suspension is better than the stock mt suspension.
The damping adjustment on the Versys actually adjusted the damping rates, the mt they just seem to be decorative. The rear shock on the Versys is better than the stock mt rear shock.
I adjusted the stock Versys and just left it, not ohlins awesome, but pretty bloody good for what it was.
As a big guy, you will NEED to do suspension on the MT. It just isn't up to the task for a full sized human.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
As a big guy, you will NEED to do suspension on the MT. It just isn't up to the task for a full sized human.
Most suspensions aren't. I remember the shock on my FJR was just awful after it got a few miles on it. So bad I'd drag the mufflers in corners. I went with a Wilbers shock and fork springs. Transformed the bike.
 
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