My Next Bike?

As you will recall Bladebert and I have been on a couple of trackdays and we have been bitten by the bug. We are both hoping to go to Cadwell again this year with a possible visit to Rockingham too. My ambition is to get down to a 1:50 lap of Cadwell which doesn’t sound that fast considering the lap record is 1:34 but on a 10 year old (nearly) road 600 (OK 636) with me on board I would be more than happy with that.

A 1:50 lap would not be out of place in the fast group but I see my self as more of a permanent intermediate. As I have mentioned before Bladebert and myself have been using GPS smart phones with some fantastic free software called Race Chrono. After looking at the lap times from my last visit to Cadwell my fastest lap was 1:57.3 and if I stitch all my fastest sectors together it comes down to 1:48.9 so theoretically a real world 1:50 lap must be possible for me, whether I can actually attain it is another thing!

Anyway much has been happening in the garage, the TRX has gone, and the lad that picked it up seemed chuffed, so that is good. So I was down to three bikes, the TDR, the ZX6 and the Hayabusa. I put the TDR on Ebay and in a couple of days had about 30 watchers! I was checking on the advert about 3 days after it started and I noticed that the title said something like “1988 Black Yamaha”, well I thought that’s not going to sell that well, I looked into it and and relaised that Ebay had helpfully (Yeah really helpful) relabelled my advert after I had put the numberplate in the details, so much for auto complete!!!

Anyway I pulled the advert and placed it again with the correct title. Eventually there were 170 watchers and the bids crept upto £1070. After it had sold I arranged for the winning bidder to come and fetch it. When he turned up he had brought a friend who had recently bought a TDR. This friend then went through the bike with a fine tooth comb!!! Now I had been very honest on the advert (I’m always too honest and this usually means I get less for my bikes than I really could).

Now the bloody bike took this moment to stop charging, it was working lovely last time I used it (over 6 months ago) so the buyers friend started making disgruntled noises, I offered to knock the £70 off the price so they could get a new regulator/rectifier. I then told him the bikes tale. Basically what had happened was the bike had been cloned at some point and the then owner had contacted the DVLA. The DVLA said that a they knew where this bike was but couldn’t find the cloned one they would re-register the TDR.

The buyer and his friend got really funny about this and I sort of understand but I never thought it was a real problem I just thought it was something they should know. They got quite abrasive and said that I should of put this in the advert, oh well. Then the friend decided that the engine number was dodgy and the bike had definitely been tampered with, at that point they walked! Well I was gutted I had never thought that the bike could be ringed!

Anyway long story short, I put my tale of woe on the TDR Forum saying I was going to break the bike as I couldn’t sell it as a going concern if I thought it was ringed. Anyway a chap off the Forum contacted me and said he would have it as it stood for £1000. He turned up and he was a very nice chap. We talked about bikes for hours , it seemed he had about 9 bikes and had had 4 TDR’s. He really wasn’t worried about the charging issue and he was surprised how good condition my bike was, When he saw the engine number he said that it was the same as all his TDR’s and the numbers quite often were not in line! So the TDR left the garage.

Anyway with the money form the TRX, TDR and a few other things I had sold I had around £3200 for the next bike, but I didn’t a clue which way to jump with it. At this point my none biking friends, which I have a few (It’s biking friends I’m short of I only have Bladbert, sniff, sniff) all say don’t get another bike you don’t need three bikes, but then again people don’t need Ferrari’s or diamond rings but they still want them! I’m lucky that Mrs P (her indoors) is very understanding and doesn’t care what happens in the garage as long as I can afford to go on Holidays with her!

So I have three thoughts, ok four and a half thoughts about the way forward, with the pro’s and con’s. Here are my current thoughts, that could change before I finish typing this…..

1. Replace the ZX with a newer flasher bike that can scratch the Trackday itch and give me jollies on the road. I was looking for a newer bike that has a little better handling and a little better power (to help move my bulk around) I don’t really want to go up to a litre bike so it leaves me with the following options:

  • Honda CBR929 – This is the cheap option but it is a Honda (I’m not a fan) handling will be OK and power will be up but they are all getting a little old now
  • Honda CBR954 – A bit more power than the 929 but still a Honda (you just can’t sneak stuff past me!) a bit newer and handing will be OK, however I think Bladebert is intending to get one of these so I’ll leave it too him
  • Kawasaki ZX9R – A bit old and the handling will be worse than the ZX6, more power and torque though but not to a ridiculous level
  • Suzuki GSXR750 – Looking for a K4 onwards bike so a little more expensive, power and handling will be there but past owners could be animals as GSXR’s seem to attract those sorts. Quite keen on this option but this will limit the fettling options I have in the garage as hopefully for the price very little will need doing to it.
  • Triumph Dayton 675 – Only came out in 2005 so a lot newer and therefore a lot dearer, could just about swing it with all my cash and part exchange the ZX. Not sure if I fit on one, they are larger than a Jap 600 but narrower and they do burn a bit of oil (I really dislike bikes that use oil, don’t know why I just do!) Great handling and a bit more power and torque and it’s British (Cue Land of Hope and Glory playing in the background with lots of flags)

2. I have never had a Ducati (closest to owning one was my Ex-wife bought one (when we were together)) which I ended up running in for her(funny sight No.1 My 6’6” frame folded up to fit on a Ducati Monster 750, yes I could get my knees down on the straight!!!) and I think that I ought to have one, but which one? The obvious option is a 999 or 749 as they are not that popular but they still seem to hold their money. There is also the worry that it will go pop at some point. I’m not too worried about the cam belts as I would fit my own but the Desmo head fills me with dread so I think the garage will forever remain with a Ducati shaped hole in it.

3. A Ducati substitute! As I have sort of talked myself out of a Ducati I thought I could do to some sort of placebo and the only affordable Italian vee twin would be an Aprilia, which I have also never owned. Looking at the Aprilia back catalogue the obvious choices are:

  • SL1000 Falco – The Falco is getting a little long in the tooth, I think that they were still selling them up to about 2007 but I think that they stopped making them in 2005. It’s not a bad bike but the suspension is a step down from the Mille and the power is down a little too
  • RSV1000 Mille – Nice kit, nice bike. I would like to have a 2004 onwards bike with the twin pipes and the central air intake on its nose. These are going for reasonable money and have nice suspension etc, especially if it is the Factory version. However the chance of getting a 2004 one for £3200 is quite slim.
  • Tuono – This sounds like a complete hoot and would replace the TDR for nutter bike quite well and the seating position would suit me as I’m a bit of a galoot! I’m quite keen for a Tuono, its top of the list at the moment. Also there is quite an opportunity for fettling with this bike as they are good as is, but has potential that can be unlocked.

3.5 Is an other Ducati substitiute, the only sensible Italian vee-twin that I can think of is a Moto Morini, but the 1200 Corsaro is a little pricey. Stepping away from the vee-twin idea but keeping Italian there is Benelli TNT and the MV Agusta Brutale, but I think the prices will be beyond me.

4. The final, current idea, is a KTM. I really fancy a Superduke (and I always have) but I could manage with a Supermoto, trouble is the prices are a little high, I haven’t seen one lower than £3500 yet and I always worry about buying the cheapest, I mean why is it so cheap?

So that is my list…….. And I have already done something about it. On Ebay there was a 2005 Aprilia Tuono that I bunged on a bid of £2600 on the off chance I would win, however it eventually got upto £2700 and finished without meeting it’s reserve. I chalked that one up to experience and moved on but the owner contacted me and said I could have it for £2600. The good news is that it sounds like it is really good nick and of course is black (The ZX6 is letting the side down being red) the bad points, it is in Scotland! Oh well as Bladebert said”ROOOAAADDD TRRRIIIPPP!!!!”


About The Author


Ambitious Amateur Mechanic, with a slight (OK not slight) Suzuki bias