What big touring motorcycle should I buy


I would like to have an upright and comfortable sitting position which I think plays the biggest role in touring. Reliability and wise maintenance and spare parts are the other requirements as I would love to ride the bike rather than being a garage queen.

BHPian Hamza123 recently shared this with other enthusiasts.

I looked to improve my bike, walked around and started researching. I use a 2015 Ninja 650 which I love which is a beautiful bike and very very reliable, but the itch to upgrade finally got over me after using it for 2.5 years and 15,000 miles. I also own a Thunderbird 500 which is my daily pilot.

Usually I ride almost every weekend and sometimes when I have time, even on weekdays. I don’t ride at all high speed and like to stay in the 90-100 km / h range. I would like to have an upright and comfortable sitting position which I think plays the biggest role in touring. Reliability and wise maintenance and spare parts are the other requirements as I would love to ride the bike rather than being a garage queen.

Even my breakfast and my Sunday walks are 200-300 miles because I hate to do anything shorter than that. Not really an off road guy and the maximum I would go is in some B roads and dust trails. My budget is 12 to 13 lakes at most because I would like to avoid financing the motorbike as much as possible.

I have selected the following motorcycles and I would like to know your opinion on this subject.

1.Kawasaki Versys 1000

I loved its size and its presence on the road. I did a very, very short test ride and immediately went home. I didn’t find it too big and bulky and could easily put a foot down. Surprisingly, my wife was very comfortable on the bike instantly (she was not on the ninja at all). A longer test drive is planned. Also hoping that Kawasaki gets the S model which replaced the base model internationally.

2. Kawasaki Ninja 1000

I find the lean angle to be greater than that of the Ninja 650 and I’m not sure if I would be comfortable on it for long periods of time or not. A longer test drive is planned.

3. A used Multistrada 950/1260 / Diavel

Ducatis always made me a little weak in the knees, but I don’t know how reliable or affordable they would be in terms of running costs and spare parts. Another dark horse.

4. A used Tiger 800

Another competitor but I like the Versys 1000 a bit more than that. But I’ll keep looking for one if I get a good deal.

I don’t like Vstrom / Africa twins purely on the basis of how they look.

Any other suggestion would be welcome. The purchase will take place next year so I have some time for the same.

Here is what BHPian neil.jericho had to say about it:

The bike you need is probably the Suzuki V Strom 650 or the Versys 650. Between the two, I would suggest the former. Having said that, you can’t go wrong either.

But, since you’re already used to a Ninja 650, these two bikes may not seem like a suitable upgrade. And since your budget is far enough over what the Suzuki and Kawasaki cost, you’ll definitely want something bigger and better. In this case, the Versys 1000 makes a lot of sense. But, at some level, these aren’t just logical purchases. Since you have the time, test whatever is in your budget. You will never know what is best for you.

In summary,

Head only – VStrom 650. Eyes closed.

Head + Heart – Versys 1000. You already seem to like it and your wife is comfortable on it.

Single Heart – Based on test drives. You never know what is pulling the strings of your heart!

My only suggestion is to keep your finances in place. You never know when a really good second-hand deal might pop up and save you a lot of money. Good hunt.

Here is what BHPian no_fear had to say about it:

For your sanity and to continue to enjoy the weekend rides, I advise against looking at second-hand Ducatis. This is purely my opinion and current experience of owning 4 Ducatis at the moment.

1. I learned this the hard way – insurance companies will say you can get cashless, no cost insurance on Ducati. But you have to pay the repair cost in full in advance, then you have to claim the money from the insurance, which takes between 2 weeks and 1 month. My Hypermotard stopped at the back and the total repair bill is 5.8 lakes. I now have to pay the dealership 5.8 lakes up front and then get the money back from the insurance company. My insurance provider is New India Assurance. When I bought the policy I was told it was cashless, but now New India told me I have to pay up front and then file a claim. Why? Because brands like Ducati, Aprilia have no factory presence in India, so insurance companies use this method. I have no idea the rationale and the logic, but I’m sure SnS_12, who has insurance background, or any other BHPian can shed some light on this issue. Probably the insurance agent is bluffing me, since my policy does not mention anything, but I am too exhausted arguing with the insurance agents.

2. None of the spare parts come directly from Thailand, where Ducati has a factory. They are shipped from Italy. The average delivery time is 2 to 3 months. You have to wait weeks or months to get spare parts for the bike. It becomes a waiting game and it is not fun.

3. Every spare part comes at an exorbitant price. I was quoted Rs 1000 for a small screw for my V4S windshield. According to the Ducati Supplier Management Tool, its 5 euros for the cost, then add shipping, GST, customs, assembly fees and Rs 500 double to Rs 1,000.

4. Average maintenance costs will range from Rs 20k to 30k. The Desmo service, which is required every 24 km, ranges from Rs 40 to 60 km. The tires are at Rs 40k, the brake pads are at Rs 10k … the costs will add up very quickly.

4. Most of the used Ducatis for sale in India are in poor condition. Not terrible, but poor. Due to the high cost of servicing and maintenance, most homeowners ignore the service. This means, annual maintenance, oil change, filter change, fluid change, brake pads, forks… none of the consumables are ever changed by the owners. I watch an average of 1-2 Ducatis per month in Delhi as I help my friends / potential clients find bikes. I also work closely with Ducati dealers and always hear the horror stories.

5. If you want to buy Ducati, buy a new one. Otherwise, your next best option is to use Ducati used service, where the Ducati and Ducati dealers themselves sell used bikes with warranty. This is a safer option if you want to take the route used.

Ducatis are a joy and they definitely stand out, but it takes a serious commitment to own them both temporally and financially. My weekends are completely filled just to maintain my bikes, and it greatly affects my social life. I’m not complaining, as I would gladly choose to spend my free time on my bikes, but if you are looking for a stress-free ride, where you don’t want to invest time in maintenance and working on the bikes all the time, then a Ducati may not be the safest bet.

Here is what Ax BHPian77 had to say about it:

From the list and the requirements you outlined, I think a lightly used Tiger 800 will work best for you. You might even consider the new 850 Tiger Sport, which should be brand new within your budget.

I would say the next option should be Ninja 1000 and maybe the last should be Versys 1000. Honestly, riding a Versys 1000 on even a B road and a few small dust trails can be quite difficult. Please test it under similar conditions before taking a call. It’s a big HEAVY bike, so it’s important to try it out in the harshest conditions you think you’ll encounter while riding.

Since you are happy to go 80-100 km / h, I think it will be quite difficult to use an inline 4-cylinder engine with this driving style. It will really require you to go faster. The Tiger, on the other hand, I personally find just as easy to stay under 100 and just as easy to turn the throttle too.

Triumph has great service in Pune (maybe even the best pan in India) and the ownership experience and cost of a Tiger 800 should definitely be lower than the Kawasaki liter class.

PS: By the way, I think I read recently about a bunch of Versys 1000 (2nd owner, first owner was Kawasaki India or similar) for sale around Wakad, Pune. You might be able to ask around in your Kawasaki groups if you know the seller.

Check out BHPian’s reviews for more ideas and information.


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