Welcome Yellowjacket. You're not that far away from here....I'm in the Knoxville, TN area. There seems to be a wealth of knowledge here and some of the old farts on this forum have been riding for over 40 years. They are crabby, hateful, and full of cynicism, but they know there stuff......
I owned my first when 5 and have had access to or owned one almost ever since (so I'm at 37 years or so). Been without a bike for almost 2 years now and can't stand it anymore. I was once active on the R1 forum and understand the egos and unfounded opinions being peddled as fact...but you can read through most and find a lot of people with patience and willingness to help. I am sure there are plenty here. I hope to get to those.
YJ, have you had a chance to test drive the FZ-09? I highly recommend...just make sure you have about $9K handy when you do.
Got a chance to test drive both the new R1 and FZ on the same day at the AIME in Orlando this October...I found the FZ so much more fun to ride...its still technical, but also a very natural feeling piloting this machine. You wont be missing any get-up-and-go if you are a previous R1 owner. I too came off a few yrs hiatus and bought this bike. The test drive had me asking myself what the heck I have been waiting for?
Good to hear you rode both in one day and like the FZ. My knees hurt after too much straight-line riding on the "One". I am looking for an all around bike and I think this is it. I was looking at the Tuono but like the styling and looks of the FZ much better. May get another Super Sport later, but for now want something fun and comfortable.
I was in the same boat.....knees killing me after some 250-400 mile days in the mountains of TN, N.C., and North GA, and I wanted a more upright riding position with a bike that still has sport bike handling characteristics. My decision was made after seeing the FZ09 and I have absolutely ZERO regrets. I've added the Penske 8983 double clicker and some stiffer springs in the front, so I'm expecting great things......whenever the rain stops and I can get out for a ride on it.