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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
So I've been toying with the idea of picking up a touring bike as a second bike. I recently got my girlfriend into riding pillion and as much as I love the FZ, it's really not a great platform for 2up riding, especially as I'd like to start taking longer trips with her.

So after a bit of searching, I started leaning pretty hard towards a VFR, likely a 2002-ish model VFR800. I'm still a long ways out from being able to afford the bike, so it's mostly dreaming and researching at this point.

However, when I have a free day and I'm a bit bored, I'll pop down to one of the local dealerships and take one of their used bikes out for a test ride. When I swung by a couple days ago, I noticed they had a 2013 VFR1200... so what the hell? Not the same model I'm looking for, but same family and it's still got the V4, might as well go for a spin!

It was definitely not what I was expecting, but that has a lot to do with my riding experience so far. I rode dirt bikes as a kid and the two street bikes I've owned were a 2015 Duke 390 and my FZ-09. I really wasn't anticipating that the seating position in the VFR would be such an aggressive tuck. I had always thought of it as more of a touring bike, so I was expecting something a bit more upright. I spent 30 minutes or so on the VFR and I was definitely feeling it in my wrists. I fully expect part of that is that I just don't have the riding position down, but it was still pretty surprising. My legs were also pretty cramped, which was a bit of a surprise.

The other thing that really hit me was the engine. I'm coming to recognize that I'm a bit spoiled by the FZ. I get that I shouldn't expect the same kind of punch out of a sport tourer, but I was still expecting a 1200cc V4 to have more grunt than that. I should say that the bike had a Delkevic exhaust on it, and while I'm not ragging on Delkevic, it's definitely a budget exhaust. So it's entirely possible the bike never got a tune and didn't have the pull I was expecting because of it.

I had fun riding it, but I was definitely ready to get off at the end of the test ride. I still want to test ride an '02ish VFR800, and there's one at another dealership, so it should be possible. But the experience definitely gave me a lot to think about. Do I buy a VFR and look for different bars and an engine tune to try to address by concerns? Do I want to just double down on touring and start looking at an FJR/Connie? Could I get over how ugly VSTROMs in my price range are and go for an adventure bike? Can I really give up that hooligan punch that the FZ gives me, even if it's just while riding a second bike? Should I just start saving up for a Duke 1290 GT? Hmm..

I will say that I love having the chance to hop on other bikes. I had forgotten how weird the stock FZ bars feel after coming from another bike and going from the VFR back to my FZ was freaking bizarre, even after just 30 minutes. But you know what? Even with the odd bars, it felt so incredibly good to be back on the FZ. I love this bike.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Maybe you should check out the FJ-09 or Tracer GT.

Have fun
I gave the FJ a test ride a while back, mostly because it had a Graves exhaust and I wanted to hear that thing roar haha. I only had 30 minutes with it and the impression I got was that it was just like my FZ, but with a little less grunt. Now that I'm seriously considering a second bike for touring it might really be worth giving it another test ride.

I'm envious of the Tracer GT though. One thing that really stood out to me was how terrible the dash on the FJ was. That shiny new TFT dash on the Tracer GT looks amazing. It's definitely out of my price range though.
 

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If you are serious about touring two up there are plenty of well maintained FJR/Connies for sale.

My wife won't ride with me anymore, even tho I don't fall down as much as I use too. But my long distance bike is a FJR. If you ride one you will buy it.

Ride sane.
 

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I don't know where you're located, or what your budget is, but here's an example of a nice FJR for sale for pretty good price in my area. I had this exact same bike back in 2005, and it was a lot of fun riding around with my wife (then-girlfriend) on the back. We could wheelie the thing, and we would corner it so hard we were scraping the header pipes under the frame! The only reason we sold it was that she got her license and her own bike, and we didn't need a two-up bike anymore. I've always thought of the FJR as a "Gold Wing for hooligans"...

https://tucson.craigslist.org/mcy/d/tucson-2005-yamaha-fjr-1300-abs/6938168049.html
 

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So I've been toying with the idea of picking up a touring bike as a second bike. I recently got my girlfriend into riding pillion and as much as I love the FZ, it's really not a great platform for 2up riding, especially as I'd like to start taking longer trips with her.

So after a bit of searching, I started leaning pretty hard towards a VFR, likely a 2002-ish model VFR800. I'm still a long ways out from being able to afford the bike, so it's mostly dreaming and researching at this point.

However, when I have a free day and I'm a bit bored, I'll pop down to one of the local dealerships and take one of their used bikes out for a test ride. When I swung by a couple days ago, I noticed they had a 2013 VFR1200... so what the hell? Not the same model I'm looking for, but same family and it's still got the V4, might as well go for a spin!

It was definitely not what I was expecting, but that has a lot to do with my riding experience so far. I rode dirt bikes as a kid and the two street bikes I've owned were a 2015 Duke 390 and my FZ-09. I really wasn't anticipating that the seating position in the VFR would be such an aggressive tuck. I had always thought of it as more of a touring bike, so I was expecting something a bit more upright. I spent 30 minutes or so on the VFR and I was definitely feeling it in my wrists. I fully expect part of that is that I just don't have the riding position down, but it was still pretty surprising. My legs were also pretty cramped, which was a bit of a surprise.

The other thing that really hit me was the engine. I'm coming to recognize that I'm a bit spoiled by the FZ. I get that I shouldn't expect the same kind of punch out of a sport tourer, but I was still expecting a 1200cc V4 to have more grunt than that. I should say that the bike had a Delkevic exhaust on it, and while I'm not ragging on Delkevic, it's definitely a budget exhaust. So it's entirely possible the bike never got a tune and didn't have the pull I was expecting because of it.

I had fun riding it, but I was definitely ready to get off at the end of the test ride. I still want to test ride an '02ish VFR800, and there's one at another dealership, so it should be possible. But the experience definitely gave me a lot to think about. Do I buy a VFR and look for different bars and an engine tune to try to address by concerns? Do I want to just double down on touring and start looking at an FJR/Connie? Could I get over how ugly VSTROMs in my price range are and go for an adventure bike? Can I really give up that hooligan punch that the FZ gives me, even if it's just while riding a second bike? Should I just start saving up for a Duke 1290 GT? Hmm..

I will say that I love having the chance to hop on other bikes. I had forgotten how weird the stock FZ bars feel after coming from another bike and going from the VFR back to my FZ was freaking bizarre, even after just 30 minutes. But you know what? Even with the odd bars, it felt so incredibly good to be back on the FZ. I love this bike.
I had an 2016 XSR900 which got totaled when I got hit in a parking lot. I replaced it with a new 2017 FJ 09. Just a standard with no side cases. I took the hand guards off and did K-Tech suspension on both ends and also put on a Delkovic exhaust. I just rented a 2017 FZ 09 a few weeks ago that had a Graves exhaust and was flashed. All 3 bikes are so similar that it's hard to tell them apart. The motors are all identical and the mapping is the same. The FZ 09 is the lightest and with the flash it's a little crisper than the other 2 bikes. All 3 handle so similar that I couldn't tell the difference. The one difference that I can tell is that with the suspension done, you can ride a lot harder, smoother and faster.

The reason I bought the FJ 09 was the same reason you're looking, to be able to have a bike that'll handle myself and my girlfriend once in a while. It does that really well, gives me a larger gas tank and with lightening it up some, it's a quick bike. Having ridden the bike that was flashed, I think that's coming in the future.

I'm glad that I did the suspension rather than spend a grand on an exhaust. It's more expensive but I felt like I got a more ridable bike. The other thing that I question is the value of a $1000 exhaust. I did a LeoVince on my Ducati Scrambler and I don't see superior product quality and I don't think any of these exhausts are going to give you a performance boost that you can feel. I do think that with a flash and the weight lose you'll have a quicker bike. I'm pretty happy with the Delkovic and I can buy 3 for the price of the Graves or other higher priced systems. I'll probably get a lot of dissenting opinions but this is my opinion.
 

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I have had 3 Vfr's ( 1987, 1997 and 2004). They are legendary bikes but nothing exciting line an FZ. Many are for sale on CL at a good price. The 2014 were remodeled from earlier generations. Maybe less forward position and the seat is lower. Try one. As far as bar changes, there is limited changes due to interferance you have with the fairing. Like the FZ they have bucket and shim valves and cost mucho bucks to get done. Most owners simple don't do them and take chances engine will still go 100K and many have passed 50k with no problems.

I would also suggest your girlfriend go with you and sit on some other bikes. You want her to go touring, so make sure it fits her more than you.

You will give up the instant power of the FZ but power is not the only criteria for a good touring bike. Figure out what kind of touring you two would most likely do and then talk to dealers as to what they typically sell for that. It is a buyers market right now on Craig's List with lots of low mileage bikes that are fully setup already. Heavier bikes are more comfortable for sure on the interstates.

The more you look the more you can narrow it down.
 

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The ninja 1000 abs is a very capable touring platform without being overtly heavy like the FJR and Connie are. I believe that's going to be the next direction I'll be going as I sold my FZ9 recently. I've also owned a 14 FJR, 09 Concours, and a 19 TracerGT. All have plus and minuses just like any bike so I'd recommend taking them for an extended ride if you can. The big downside I see with the VFR is in regards to valve checks. I hear it's a very expensive process since they use variable valve timing. Something to consider if the valves end up being out of spec and require work. I personally wouldn't go with the bike for that reason alone.
 

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Food for thought, A friend of mine picked up a 2003 Kawasaki Vulcan fuel injected 1600 V twin shaft drive, hydralic valves and more. It had less than 4k miles. Had windshield, driving lights, sissy bar and hard leather bags. Passenger part of seat is over 4 inches thick. Today that same bike is 1700cc and costs somewhere around 17,000. He paid 2800.00

So imagine, at that price you could keep your FZ and have 2 bikes. Insurance on such a bike is real cheap becuase it is a second bike and not a sport bike. I think my second bike runs me 105.00 more per year. Maintenance of such a bike is also quite low.

Now imagine just how comfortable that bike would be for you and your girlfriend going on long day rides.
 

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I have to say that for a used sport touring bike the FJR is the best bang for the buck. I've had numerous friends with FJR's and many of those were accomplished sport bike guys that like to lean. They loved their FJR's. The only issue being they throw a good bit of heat onto you.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Thank you all for taking the time to respond, sorry for not checking back sooner.

There are some really great suggestions here. I think I'll try to give the FJR a test ride. The Ninja 1000 could be interesting as well, I hadn't considered that bike. I've never actually ridden a cruiser, so maybe it's time I take the plunge as I've definitely seen some slick looking Vulcans.

I'm just going to have to commit to getting out and doing more test rides. I'm sure there's a good fit for a second bike it there, I was just disappointed that the VFR isn't it. I appreciate your suggestions all the same, there's nothing quite like the perspective of someone that's actually lived with the bike.
 

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Thank you all for taking the time to respond, sorry for not checking back sooner.

There are some really great suggestions here. I think I'll try to give the FJR a test ride. The Ninja 1000 could be interesting as well, I hadn't considered that bike. I've never actually ridden a cruiser, so maybe it's time I take the plunge as I've definitely seen some slick looking Vulcans.

I put 35k miles on a 2016 Versys 1000 in 2 years ..its one of the most under rated bikes out there..handles like a sport bike but rides like a touring bike.....do yourself a favor and get a test ride on one....you wont be disappointed
 

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Discussion Starter #14
I put 35k miles on a 2016 Versys 1000 in 2 years ..its one of the most under rated bikes out there..handles like a sport bike but rides like a touring bike.....do yourself a favor and get a test ride on one....you wont be disappointed
You know, I was really tempted by the Versus 650 before I bought my FZ-09. Took it over of the Gen 2s for a test ride and really enjoyed it. I'll give the Versus 1000 a try if I get the opportunity.
 

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A 650 Versus two riding would not please you or your girlfriend. Size does matter when two up riding. The 1000 might be fine. I have not owned one.

If you want a V-4 look for one of these. The V-4 Honda VFR is legendary but has it's Pluses and Minus's. Honda took that motor and reworked the gearing and cams and put it in the Magna 750 model from 1994 to 2003 I think. I owned a 1997 earlier this year just to have cruiser fun but since I had my FZ09 there wasn't much I really needed the Honda for except to have a change up in bikes.

Yes it is a cruiser and yes there are many with bags, windshields and super comfy passenger seats. I removed the rear seat and sissy bar. With 4 pipes and more chrome than a 57 Pontiac grill they do look different. There are plenty around with low low miles and usually between $1500-3k price fully loaded. Look on CL for ones around 1997 to 2000 and all stock except for bags, seats, etc. Take it for a ride. Very reliable and considered a super cruiser because of the V4 engine it performed better than much larger twins. Has a high red line for a cruiser. About 125 top speed and a sound from the V4 is unique.

IMG_0661.JPG
 

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Back in the day, my cop partner bought a VF750, I had a GPz750. So we decided to see which was faster, having cop immunity and all that.
We both topped out at 215 km/h, but when we hit the left hand sweeper at the end of the straight he was using three lanes to try and control that beast.
The GPz was renowned for high speed stability and tracked straight as a die.
I lost a lot of respect for Honda then. I lost the rest when my CB750 patrol bike spat me off in a death wobble.
 

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The GPZ750 was made 1982-85 and was a sport bike not a cruiser. The CB750 patrol was an inline for from about the same erra.
Bikes have come a long ways since the 80's and all manufacturer's make better bikes with each generation. LouG was very lucky surviving a "spat" off.

Some Honda v-4 hisotry; The Honda Vf750f was a sport bike called the interceptor (VFR's were also call interceptors) and the Vf750 was a cruiser called the Magna. Both had the V4 engines. The 82-86 year models or first generation Magna's had some cam probles which Honda ironed out by 1985. Second generation Magna's was 1987-1988 and called the Super Magna. The next generation (Gen 3 like the one in the pictures I posted earlier) was sold 1994-2003 and was a totally new bike with modern frame and engine derived by the new generation interceptor engine .

Granted it is a cruiser, not a sport bike, but only Honda has a v-4 in a low price range right now. There are plenty of them around as quality is very good. They are cheap enough to keep the FZ for riding fast and a 2nd bike for 2 up longer rides in my estimation. Note that a 750 V-twin is not the same power as the V-4.
 
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