ABR’s resident expert of all things two-wheeled answers your questions.
I’ve recently taken early retirement and I’ve downsized the house into a smaller property.
The problem I’m having is mauling my BMW R 1200 GS in and out of the shed in my smaller garden. I know I’m not getting any younger, but it’s becoming such an effort it’s putting me off going for a ride. So, I’ve decided I need to get a smaller, lighter bike, but how much smaller should I go to make enough of a difference?
Well, Lawrence, I’m sure many of us have come across this same issue before! For me, the problem of downsizing the bike for something smaller is that it makes it a bit more difficult to go touring with a pillion and full luggage, especially if we’re planning on being away for longer trips.
Though, saying that, the crop of mid-size bikes on the market today (700-800cc) are very capable. While they may not be as appropriate for two-up touring as a big 1200, if a pillion isn’t a regular feature of your riding, then they’ll do the job well. But, even these bikes can be heavy, especially when full of fuel, so you might be better off looking at an even smaller bike.
At ABR we’ve recently tested a whole host of smaller adventure motorcycles, including the Kawasaki Versys-X 300 and Suzuki V-Strom 250. While these aren’t fire-breathing traffic light drag bikes, they offer adventure bike aesthetics, comfort, and practicality at a lower weight and more manageable size.
The other possibility is that you find the bike that does the job for you and modify it to suit your needs. This doesn’t have to be an adventure bike, there are many capable bikes that will do the job with a few mods. It’s surprising what can be found to turn any bike into a long-distance tourer with some rough road capability.
The other thought that comes to mind is adapting your new home to the bike you have.
There are turntables that fit in your garage or bike shed, this means you can ride in then easily turn the bike around and ride out. There’s much less huffing and puffing dragging it around by yourself if you do it this way!
Before you make your mind up to change, take a few test rides, park up somewhere quiet and see how manageable it is moving the new machine around, you might get some strange looks in a busier area!
Got something to ask Dave?
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