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Big Bike Suggestions for all Weather Riding in Scotland

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CorriganJ
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PostPosted: 04:24 - 06 Nov 2019    Post subject: Big Bike Suggestions for all Weather Riding in Scotland Reply with quote

I have my A1 and A2 booked in the next month. When I pass (even if it requires a retake) I will be buying my first big bike (only ridden 125s to date). I live in Dundeed and commute 30-45 minutes to work each day. I'm wondering what bike will be safest in Scotland in the winter.

I think I would take the bus if it was clearly icy / snowy out, but I still worry there might be days where it looks fine in the morning, but I hit a patch of black ice on a country road or something. Plus, why buy a bike and not ride it?

I was wondering about an older goldwing. The reason being, I know they are a big heavy bike but they carry the weight low and are supposed to be very stable. They also have big thick tyres which might give more grip? And although they obviously have a large engine it will not be ridden in anger, or like a sports bike, leaning into corners (well, perhaps some summer fun, but not on my daily commute if conditions are bad). It also has full fairings and panniers for my work clothes / stuff.

Does that sound sensible, or dumb as hell? Cheers
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AldridgePrior
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PostPosted: 05:55 - 06 Nov 2019    Post subject: Reply with quote

Just my 2 cents but an older Honda GoldWing , say a 1995 is still a fucking big lump of machinery. A heavy bike with a litre and a half engine and a shitload of torque isn’t ideal as your first ride. If you’re going to drop you’ll likely do it early on and I’m guessing you’ll be learning on something like a 600 bandit or the likes which feel like push bikes in comparison.
There’s tons of neutral handling bikes with a box on the arse you could get experience on before pulling the trigger on a big cruiser or tourer. These will be the safest for you rain or shine in my opinion but the ball is in your court.
Buy wisely, then sell on recouping as much of your cash as you can before upgrading to what you want when you’ve sharpened your riding skills would be my strategy.
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dynax
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PostPosted: 06:28 - 06 Nov 2019    Post subject: Reply with quote

A big heavy bike is asking for trouble in wintery conditions, stick with a lightweight 125 which will be adequate, i myself have picked up a cheap CG 125 to use as a winter hack Thumbs Up
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Teflon-Mike
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PostPosted: 06:31 - 06 Nov 2019    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sorry,. still trying to nationalise 'all weather' and 'Scotland'.. I thought the country only got one season, sort of 'wet'! lol.

Bike. Well, after tests you get ride what you like licence.. so ride what you like, really.

On the topic of tyres, no fatter doesn't mean more grip. Scientifically the force that a tyre can transmit, forwards or backwards side to side is a % of the clamping force, the weight, pushing the tyre against the road. The area in contact doesn't really come into it, a-n-d the area in contact is still proportional to the weight, cos the tyre is pumped up with air to a certain pressure. Eg, is you have a 500lb bike, 250lb on each wheel, and the tyres are pumped up to 25psi the tyre will squash until there is 10 sq inch of rubber in contact with the road. Fit a wider tyre, and that tyre at 25psi will just squash less to get 10 sq in in contact with the road. IF it gives any more grip, it will be because of nice new sticky rubber offering more mju, or co-efficient of friction, or basically giving a bigger % of the clamping force as grip force...

To wit, the answer, for better grip is the bike with the best tyres!!!

And its a Ride What You Like Licence, so RWYL... more pressing issues here like passing the tests rather thsn picking an ideal bike presuming you will.... dont count your chickens.... but almosty any more 'sensible' comuter ish bike will do the job. It doesn't have to be a bohemouth, and what tyres will make more odds than how wide they are.
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defblade
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PostPosted: 06:34 - 06 Nov 2019    Post subject: Reply with quote

Whatever you buy, cover it well in ACF-50 if you want it to get through winter.

If you hit black ice, the size/stability of your bike will make sod all difference, I'm afraid... in fact a small engined, light bike will probably be better all round, certainly easier to pick back up once dropped...zero friction is still zero friction!

Start paying attention to the route you'll be using now and see if it's gritted regularly, where any dips are that ice is more likely to form in, bridges form more ice too, anywhere water often runs across the road... generally start having a close eye to the dangers that will be there and under what conditions you notice them, you'll have a much better idea each day if it's bike or bus.
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Evil Hans
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PostPosted: 06:53 - 06 Nov 2019    Post subject: Re: Big Bike Suggestions for all Weather Riding in Scotland Reply with quote

CorriganJ wrote:
I have my A1 and A2 booked in the next month.


Why bother with both?
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dynax
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PostPosted: 07:17 - 06 Nov 2019    Post subject: Re: Big Bike Suggestions for all Weather Riding in Scotland Reply with quote

Evil Hans wrote:
CorriganJ wrote:
I have my A1 and A2 booked in the next month.


Why bother with both?


I think he means Mod 1 & 2 Thumbs Up
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Sister Sledge
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PostPosted: 07:43 - 06 Nov 2019    Post subject: Reply with quote

Scotland?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xzx08w67Q88
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stinkwheel
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PostPosted: 08:20 - 06 Nov 2019    Post subject: Reply with quote

Get a hack. Doesn't matter what, just don't spend a lot on it The weather and crashing isn't what'll ruin your bike, it's the road salt. Daily commute in a Dundee winter will destroy a bike, by spring you'll be having to rebuild the brakes and the exhaust and forks will be well rusty.

Get something that's old enough to be cheap but not old enough to be "classic". An old 'wing is probably too much the classic side, you'll struggle to get crash spares.

GSX750F? Cheap as chips. Stick some crash bungs and heated grips on, slather it in ACF50 and get out there.

No bike will ride on black ice, if you hit black ice, you're off it.
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kgm
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PostPosted: 10:15 - 06 Nov 2019    Post subject: Reply with quote

For winter I use a CRF250L. It's light and easy to manage in slippery conditions and if it does start to go a prod of a foot will often save it. Also if it does go down they survive well and parts are cheap. I have used an er6 and a vfr800 as well without issue but the CRF definitely makes it easier. If I dropped either of those it would have been expensive.

That said, in 5 years of winter commuting and pleasure riding I haven't had any near misses caused by weather. You can always be unlucky but good observations, sensible riding and knowing when it's daft to ride go a long way. Snow is my limit.

Salt is the other issue. I wouldn't want to run an expensive bike in the winter crud, a little rust is inevitable even if the bike is caked in ACF50.

So my view - anything will work but I'd stay small and light with a good set of tyres like the PR4/5 or roadtec 01 if available.
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Polarbear
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PostPosted: 10:21 - 06 Nov 2019    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have had every model of Goldwing going and while I love them to bits they are not the sort of bike to ride on iffy surfaces or in icy weather.

Why not one of the 600 class adventure bikes to start off with and see how you get on. They are better equipped to take a spill without suffering much damage and will be a damn site easier to pick up than a Wing!
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Bhud
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PostPosted: 13:40 - 06 Nov 2019    Post subject: Reply with quote

A Honda Goldwing would be a bad choice in this situation. You would need a bike you can pick up, which has excellent tyres. In you suspect that there might be black ice on the roads, don't ride. In visible light snow/ice, to add to the other suggestions, a Yamaha Diversion 600 with panniers is cheap and would fit the bill. It weighs in at 187kg and a low-speed drop would only cost an indicator and/or mirror. Just make sure to fit suitable tyres, whichever bike you choose. Any bike you ride through the winter is going to suffer. Keep checking the chain, do frequent maintenance checks all around, and stay on top of any issues.
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chickenstrip
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PostPosted: 13:46 - 06 Nov 2019    Post subject: Reply with quote

I don't think because you live in Scotland you need think in a different way about what bike to get, but Scotland has some #greatbikingroads ( Laughing ), so I'd want something to maximise enjoyment of those. Something fairly fast that handles well. It so happens I have something like that Very Happy
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Undinist
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PostPosted: 17:59 - 06 Nov 2019    Post subject: Reply with quote

Whatever you get, fit crash bungs and bars and shrouds/gaiters for the forks and shocks. Shaft drive will save you time and mess. There are lots of used BMWs which will serve you well.

E.g. this https://ebay.us/OhIvsX Very easy to ride, great for twisty roads, should survive the winter well if you prepare it. 4 grand well spent.

http://i.imgur.com/6s49RWy.jpg
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CorriganJ
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PostPosted: 21:48 - 06 Nov 2019    Post subject: Reply with quote

Polarbear wrote:
I have had every model of Goldwing going and while I love them to bits they are not the sort of bike to ride on iffy surfaces or in icy weather.

Why not one of the 600 class adventure bikes to start off with and see how you get on. They are better equipped to take a spill without suffering much damage and will be a damn site easier to pick up than a Wing!


Cheers. I'm not against an adventure bike. Was also considering a DRZ400. But I figured a DRZ is a tall bike, with weight up top, whereas a Wing carries it's weight lower and would therefore be more stable? This is why i asked, to get the opinion of people like yourself. So thanks.
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pepperami
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PostPosted: 22:06 - 06 Nov 2019    Post subject: Reply with quote

Riding a bike in the cold shitty winter of Scotland, err no!
Buy a car.
When the weather breaks or you get a mild spell , get the bike out Thumbs Up
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CorriganJ
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PostPosted: 23:19 - 06 Nov 2019    Post subject: Reply with quote

Bhud wrote:
If you suspect that there might be black ice on the roads, don't ride.


I mean it's rural Scotland in the winter... Realistic opinion of the forum, should I just get a car instead? I want a bike. I don't mind riding in the rain. I'm not scared of discomfort but is it just too dangerous?
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stinkwheel
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PostPosted: 23:34 - 06 Nov 2019    Post subject: Reply with quote

Only dangerous if you don't ride to the conditions. I had bikes as my only transport for 5 years in Scotland. I have become EPIC frozen but my gear is better now. Although I did once get home to find it was -18C on the outside thermometer on the house!

I even did go out in snow fairly regularly to my lambing job. Heavy, drifting snow. I fell off a fair bit but was never going fast. My old Jawa 350 was great in snow. Once took it over the Glens of Foundland to find a police car across the road, snow gates had been shut all night.

Sometimes you decide not to go out though. I'll state here and now that there are people less capable of driving their car in the snow and ice than many motorcyclists so you're just as likely to get stuck in a car behind a numpty flooring it on the spot on compacted ice as you are to not make it in on your bike.

Biggest danger in Dundee (I used to go to uni in Edinburgh and lived in Aberdeen) was horrible little shites throwing snowballs at you then running off before you could batter them.

Take your 125 through the winter. Buy something nice and shiny while prices are low (pre-spring) and get it up and ready for the summer. 125s have the singular advantage they are easy to pick up when dropped.
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Bhud
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PostPosted: 02:35 - 07 Nov 2019    Post subject: Reply with quote

CorriganJ wrote:
Bhud wrote:
If you suspect that there might be black ice on the roads, don't ride.


I mean it's rural Scotland in the winter... Realistic opinion of the forum, should I just get a car instead? I want a bike. I don't mind riding in the rain. I'm not scared of discomfort but is it just too dangerous?


Just a personal view. I am in the south of England, where we have very different conditions from yours. I have ridden in light snow a few times, and it was exciting enough for me. Not hugely dangerous, as snow makes you cautious anyway. With visible snow, keep the speed down and be ready to give extra long braking distances for drivers pulling out from the left (especially drunks around Christmas and New Years). The issue with black ice is, it's something that might be there after a long sub-zero spell, and, unlike snow or slush, you don't/can't see it until it's upon you (and even then you might not see it). If you see ice, just keep the speed down, keep the bike upright and don't hit the brakes or commit to a turn, and you will be fine. Realistically, consider your proficiency as a rider and the place in which you're riding. Personally, I wouldn't ride if I suspected there was black ice on the road at the time, because although I'm comfortable handling slides out of junctions, on wet manhole covers at roundabouts, on gravelly bends, etc. I wouldn't like to try myself against conditions that present themselves without warning. On the other hand, you could be worrying about nothing. If you're really concerned about it, it won't hurt to consult a riders' association or club, or a MAG branch in your area. The one major accident I had was at a high speed in hot conditions, on a very slippery road surface, with lots of confidence and no visible slippery spots. It's always just a personal judgment call.
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defblade
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PostPosted: 06:44 - 07 Nov 2019    Post subject: Reply with quote

CorriganJ wrote:


I mean it's rural Scotland in the winter... Realistic opinion of the forum, should I just get a car instead? I want a bike. I don't mind riding in the rain. I'm not scared of discomfort but is it just too dangerous?


Being a Welsh biker, that bit I can help you with... the answer is Gore-tex. Gore-tex everything. And especially for the jacket, make sure it's gore-tex on the outside, the ones with textile (or leather) outers and a gore-tex liner just get soaked through on the outside and won't dry out before home time, also the damp will penetrate the gore-tex layer without body heat inside to push it outwards. Then they are heavy, cold and damp even at the start of the ride which is 'orrible.
Trousers don't seem so bad if textile-with-liner, in my experience (and that's usually cheaper Wink ).
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Teflon-Mike
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PostPosted: 08:56 - 07 Nov 2019    Post subject: Reply with quote

OldSkool adages; "There's no such thing as the wrong weather; just the wrong cloths" another "Third class riding beats first class walking'" etc etc etc

I ride for pleasure... I don't find much pleasure in riding in the dark and the muck, putting up with top class plonkers trying to SMIDSY me...

On which basis, 'commuting' is off the menu. Work aint 'fun'; if it was there'd be a turnstyle on the door not a clock in machine, and you'd be paying them to attend rather than t'other wayz about. So why on earth would I expect getting to and from a place of torture to be much 'fun'?

I did commute by bike, but mostly 'cos of perversity, I think. It didn't save any real time, and it certainly didn't save any money, b-u-t, when the kids came along it W-A-S about the only time I did get to ride... anywhere else, like say popping to the DIY shop for a brill bit "Oooh! Hang on a second! Put the bby seats in the car.. WE'LL COME!" and all of a sudden my 99p bag of screws very much risked becoming a £999 shower unit or whatever, but that's another story.

When kids came along, I actually parked up the road bike, and pulled my old trials bike out the shed. The 'savings' not insuring, and taxing or maintaining a road bike, paid for me to compete a full, season, riding a couple of events a month, getting a full days biking for my money, a-n-d it switched attitudes around, so that rather than "Oh! I hoped we could go to IKEA this Sunday..." were blocked out, and those alternate Sundays were 'assumed' mine to go trialzin, the event had been on the Calendar since Christmas.... which is all another story...

B-U-T clear separation between riding to commute, and riding purely for leisure. NOT trying to get one off the back of the other, no need for it to be a mule of a compromise, and I could pick the most comfy and most economical way to work, mostly the car, and save the bike for pure 'fun'.

Pre-Kids, I took the road-bike to work, not as I said to save any money or time, and I certainly didn't get much more pleasure from it, dodging homicidal Brummie Bus Drivers etc, but because I needed to pop in the tyre house for new boots, or something like, and it saved a trip, otherwise, it was a Fiday, half day, and I took the bike 'cos when that claxon sounded, I was on an adventure, usually with the tent and chit strapped to the tail.

Like I said, separation.

Summer vs Winter..... well, there you have another. Over the years biking as a leaisure pursuit has become ever more leisure orientated, and far more bikes get laid up for winter. A lot of that though, I think is as much to do with the shorter hours of day-light t go 'play' in, than the change in weather, but still.

TRIALS... when I started this lark, a lot of folk still talked about 'Winter-Trials' and associated it as a winter sport, like skiing. This is a bit of Historical legacy, from when the factory riders road-raced in the summer, and did trials in the winter, when they couldn't 'race'. Co-incident, trials was also shifting from being 'long-trials' or 'regularity trials' events (nod nod, wink wink) most definitely NOT a test of speed, your honour, them's illegal on the public highway... but sort of competitive green-laning, a loose surface course up hill and down dale, to see if a bike/rider could survive it, to 'pocket trials' on short technical sections, usually in some farmers wood or the like, as the tarmac machine made public roads that much more easily traversed. Winter trials then offered more opportunity from the less clement weather for courses to be more testing. B-U-T the trials calendar runs from January to January all year round, and there are plenty of events in what a lot of road riders would consider the 'closed' season.

On which note, call us mad, but if trying to ride a motorbike where mountain goats fear to tread, isn't daft enough, yeah, try doing it in the rain, ice and snow.. yes SNOW! Makes for some good events does that!

From which experience, a lot of head shaking cometh, and these ideas of a lot of folk of putting the bike away for the winter months, or not going out in the rain, do not compute. IF I can ride up a mucky woody hillside in the snow and ice, what the heck you worried about a bit of hail for, on a road bike, on the road?

But brings us back to that biking for pleasure malarky, JUST because it's possible, does not mean that its 'fun' less fun for every-one....

Does back up the notion, theres no wrong weather, just wrong cloths, a bit... and idea that there's no wrong bike, just the wrong tyres, but still.

It really is your call... B-U-T is you are commuting, then,. to my mind that just aint 'fun', Kamakaze bus drivers or no, so if no fun, why do it? If taking the car is more comfy, or even the train, why not?

If you are looking at bikes mainly for the fun... save them for when it is; be that week-end warrior antics scratching round the local twisties, or heading off for week-end camping adventures, or going that step further, and saving it for track-days, actual road-races, scrambles or trials events.

End of the day, there are many ways to find 'fun' on a motorbike.... B-U-T getting to and from work, HAS to be somewhere close to the bottom, of any-one's list.

On which basis; you have a couple of chances; you pick a bike that is suitable for the non commuting related 'Fun' you expect to have with it; like my picking my VF1000 for weekend tours; and you lice with whatever shortcomings it has in the commuter role, like the VF's rather large appetite for tyres, and not being the cheapest thing to tax and insure or park, or you pick something dedicated to the non computing fun, like a competition trials bike, that would eat tyres faster than the VF I think, as well as give you a rather sore bum, from its not having a practicable seat, if you tried... OR you try and force a compromise some-where in the middle, that is always going to be something of a mule, and niether nor, one way or another.

Which brings us back; its a RIDE WHAT YOU LIKE licence.. so ride what you like!

Public roads are public roads, and weather is weather. Whether YOU want to ride then roads in any particular weather is another, and hugely subjective matter.

As a rule of thumb, I say that IF the busses are running, then you can ride in it..... There are not many days a year on the UK that you 'couldn't ride, safely, a road motorcycle on the road. .. just whether or not you would want to.

Ultimately you are looking to buy a motorbike, not a skidoo, and you are looking at very small degrees of more or less suitable, for ANYTHING, to wit, the weather becomes a very small issue...

I would not buy a Gold-Wing, end of really, its just not my kind of bike, and is so, big and lardy I might as well take the car for all the biking experience one offers. Low centre of gravity of not, its a mack-truck or a motorbike.

An ER5 is roundly criticised for being 'boring', cos its not particularly fast or dynamic, or good looking. Is a good commuter though, and can be pretty cheap to run. Which brings us back to the compromise only YOU can decide if you are prepared to maker, between something more suited to dull as ditch water commuting, or sunny-Sunday leisure riding.. and trying hard NOT to make too big a camel of a compromise in between, or kidding yourself that a ZX6 is a particularly suitable winter bike, cos it has wide tyres, and a low weight, so should be easy enough to pick up when you drop it!

End of the day its YOUR compromise to make, BUT the starting point for an easy to live with every-day all-round bike, WILL be something like you do DAS on, and ER6 or the like, and I suggest, that you use that as your bade line to judge anything else by, and reel in some aspirations and life style fantasies a tad....

There's getting to work... that's one problem; ponder the best way to do that, bike or no bike. Then there's biking for pleasure, and again what sort of biking would you choose to do purely for pleasure; how would you leverage the time/money to do it? And now get out the hammer and make a compromise somewhere in between, and remember there's no such thing as a free lunch, you wont get 'fun' for free on the back of having to get to and from work, so factor that into the pros and cons of the compromise.

As said, the saving not taxing or insuring a big bike as second vehicle, and buying an old banger of a Montego with a tow bar to get me to and from work and haul trial bike to events, WAS all in paid for by the savings not paying overheads to keep the road bike on the road.... which probably shows hoe much I wasted on the road bike, as much ass anything... BUT its your compromise to make, and only YOU can decide if its a worthwhile one....

BUT remember its a Ride What You Like Licence.... and you have to pass the tests to get it yet!
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pepperami
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PostPosted: 09:40 - 07 Nov 2019    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ahh! Teffer’s back to his best Wink Thumbs Up
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ThunderGuts
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PostPosted: 12:59 - 08 Nov 2019    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'd be looking at the following priorities;

- Something that's light enough to be picked up if you drop it
- ABS for the greasy wet roads
- Luggage capacity for a spare warm top or survival bag (if you break down somewhere remote and it's the middle of winter, you don't have a car to shelter inside - survival bags designed for walkers are pretty compact and believe me are very effective)
- Reliable (obvs)
- Decent mudguards and/or hugger in a nod towards protecting against salt spray

Based on all that, if I were you I'd be looking for a light Japanese commuter bike with panniers or top-box.
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Jmoan
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PostPosted: 19:48 - 08 Nov 2019    Post subject: Reply with quote

Here's one for all weather riding. Razz

http://bikeweb.com/files/images/ZeroFrontWeb_5556.jpg
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CorriganJ
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PostPosted: 22:51 - 11 Nov 2019    Post subject: Reply with quote

ThunderGuts wrote:
I'd be looking at the following priorities;

- Something that's light enough to be picked up if you drop it
- ABS for the greasy wet roads
- Luggage capacity for a spare warm top or survival bag (if you break down somewhere remote and it's the middle of winter, you don't have a car to shelter inside - survival bags designed for walkers are pretty compact and believe me are very effective)
- Reliable (obvs)
- Decent mudguards and/or hugger in a nod towards protecting against salt spray

Based on all that, if I were you I'd be looking for a light Japanese commuter bike with panniers or top-box.


How about a DRZ400 with good road tyres?
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