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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
I know....an obtuse comparison of two wonderful but very different motorcycles. Let me state my case before you all lean to the side of the Bonny faithful right off the bat. I really need the advice from those that perhaps own both a big sport touring bike and a Bonny. Therein may be my ultimate dilemma because no bike is all things and perhaps the only way to scratch my itch would be to purchase both.

Some brief background... I have been bikeless for the last five months or so having sold my cruiser in anticipation of the economy in Michigan collapsing around the auto industry which it has. I am an engineer and have sought refuge in Indiana in an unrelated industry but still doing what I was born to do...product development. I fit the dem of a guy who appreciates a Bonny for its pure and unpretentious art form...yes I am smitten as all of you are for many reasons that mostly only we understand having owned many motorbikes and coming back to our roots so to speak. I can't sell my home of course in Michigan competing with all the foreclosures and therefore a romantic notion I have in the spring is on clear weekends ride my motorcycle home to visit friends and family...about 340 miles one way. I don't know how many here have looked into big sport touring motorcycles but they have an allure in their own right. Top of my list is the new Connie. The thing is about perfect for me...upright ergos with mid controls...lots of wind protection...ABS....stonking motor...shaft drive for negligible maitenance and that intangible....the bike doesn't look liking a rolling lounger...more like an overgrown sport bike. BTW, it handles like a fat man that can dance as well albeit slow speed handling is a handful as you would expect for a 600 lb behemoth.

If I bought the Bonny...no doubt trips to Michigan wouldn't be as effortless even with windshield and bags. Around town, I would without question enjoy it more including the occasional romp in the countryside because it is so tossable and to me a sensory feast in sight and sound. I have to say, I do love a strong motor however and am leaning toward the Connie as my re-entry in motorcycledom due to the afore mentioned high speed gobble up mile capability of what would be considered a sport bike on steroids. So what say the Bonny collective? Buy the Connie and pick up a Bonny later?...or buy the Bonnie first and worry about visiting friends and family and the house I can't sell down the road? ;)

Thanks for reading in advance for your advice,
George

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ELSNazTcpQg
 

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George, did you say you were seeking refuse in Indiana? :)

I've read some very good reviews of the new Concours. For the type of riding you'll be doing, it should fit the bill nicely. Good luck.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
George, did you say you were seeking refuse in Indiana? :)

I've read some very good reviews of the new Concours. For the type of riding you'll be doing, it should fit the bill nicely. Good luck.
Understanding there is no refuge against this death spiral of an economy we are in...I am trying to seek refuge...or at least trying to avert the disaster of the auto industry that many of my friends are suffering tremendously in....both those with and mostly now without jobs.
Thanks Kevin,
George
 

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Buy the Connie and pick up a Bonny later?...or buy the Bonnie first and worry about visiting friends and family and the house I can't sell down the road? ;)

Thanks for reading in advance for your advice,
George
It appears your plight revolves around friends and family and the comfort in the 680 mile round trip.
I hate to say this, however if you plan on frequent visits, maybe Connie over Bonnie...
:nah:...nah...
Bonnie first senerio...You'll ride it ALL the time and love it! (Might even forget about family and friends). Set up, like you say, with windscreen, bags and seat the Bonnie will make, force you to go visit more often in style!
Plus the satisfaction of taking care of yourself will reflect profoundly on friends and family.
Myself and many others ride our Bonnie's 350 miles a day no problem. No worry about visiting!

My vote... Bonnie first! Connie later...

Good luck to you!
 

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I have a neighbor that has the Concours. I ride with him a bit...two completely different bike. Around town, I'd pick my bike over his. 650 mile trip? The Kawi, hands down.
 

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Go with what's best for what you'll do most often. I'm guessing that's riding in and around your home. You could do the Michigan run on a Bonnie, no question. Who needs 600# of accessories to take a motorcycle trip?

You could, of course, get a Sprint, but it really sounds like you want the Bonnie, and your practical side is fighting your gut.

This is a motorcycle we're talking about. Go with your gut.

The preceding opinion was not paid for by Triumph Motorcycles, nor was it influenced by any Bonnie ownership experience. All rights reserved. Shake well before opening. Always wear protective gloves while peeling carrots. If you experience pain, dizziness, or shortness of breath while riding, pull over and remove the 12mm wrench from your helmet. Unleaded fuel only.
 

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I looked seriously into the C14. It had everything I wanted in a big sport tourer. My wife even gave the green light. But I couldn't get past the price and the infinite possibilities offered by used bikes. Sat on my haunches for awhile, thought of other options, and found a pristine Super Blackbird for much, much less (Thanks Hide). Similar bike, different set of parameters, a little more maintenance due to chain instead of shaft drive, but out on the super slab or on longish trips, the comfort and speed is much appreciated. My suggestion? Find a used FJR or ST1300 or C12 or CBR1100XX, buy whichever twists your wallet, buy it, and then buy the Bonnie. The end result is you'll have both for about the same price.
 

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Bonnie all the way

Unless you plan on two up touring of the entire north of America, the Bonnie will make you happier when all else is in the crapper. Get the Bonnie try a tour.

Or pick-up a used Sprint or Tiger. Save money on gas and have more fun getting there. Nothing wrong with a Connie but I feel shes for the Big touring 1000 mile iron butt crowd of retired folks and the wives. The working man has to be flexible in these hard economic times.
 

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Excuse the length of my reply ... didn't have time to write a short one!

Before plonking down the $$, I'd see if the dealer would let you spend some time on the bike. If not, there is a Beemer dealer here in Ohio not more than 5-6 hours from Indianapolis that has a barely used Concour 1400 that was traded on a new BMW. The owner was apparently overwhelmed by the overall 'bigness' of the Concours. I think the bike is still available, and I'm sure a potential purchaser could ride it for an hour or so, although our current weather would prevent a ride (lots of snow here in NE Ohio, suspect it may be the same further south)

Another post mentioned the FJR1300. A good friend purchased one and is totally enamoured with it. I rode it for a short distance, and was impressed with the fact that the bike wasn't a monster, was comfortable (apparently ... you never know until 2-3 hours into first ride). If buying used, spend some time studying the FJR history ... first ones were supposed to be really hot and blew back hot engine air on the rider. This was fixed in later models, don't remember when.

I personally purchased a nice (new) leftover 2005 ST1300 in Dec of 2006 for $9900, with the intention of it being my touring bike, kept it for a very short time, and sold it. For me personally, it was too much fairing, too much weight up high, too wide a saddle, and was going to require saddle customization, foot peg lowering kit, and some barbacks to make the bike fit me. From a purely machanical standpoint, it was a wonderful bike ... but it wasn't going to work for me.

Bikes are such personal things, I'm not going to make a recommendation, only give you some recent observations. Having said that, I still keep my old R100GS if I'm traveling long distances. It's a cushy old ride.

About your rides home, if it's a once a month or once every two week thing, the Bonneville could be fine. If you like windshields, they're available. A tailbag would carry most of your stuff, and a tankbag would give you additional room for rainsuit, camera, etc.

Here's a pix of my T100 on the left (minimal/no weather protection) and my buddy's set up for touring during a 5000 mile ride. After this ride, I can vouch for the Bonnie's ability to eat up some miles. Obviously, my riding buddy was the more comfortable rider!

http://s115.photobucket.com/albums/...st/?action=view&current=EastofCodyWyoming.jpg

Bob
 

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I test rode a Kawasaki Concours last April when I was also looking at the Rocket III. I also rode a Suzuki B King at that time. I wasn't even considering a Bonneville then. The Concours more closely compares to the Rocket III than a Bonneville but they are very different motorcycles. That being said, for the type of riding you will be doing, the Rocket III would be an excellent choice. I chose a Rocket III last April and I am extremely happy I did so! I've ridden it 6,000 miles now and still enjoy every ride I take on it!
The Kawasaki Concours is a great motorcycle but it doesn't fit into the same category as a Bonneville, at least not as far as I am concerned.
I bought my Bonnie for recreational rides of less than 100 miles. It's been very enjoyable for that purpose but personally, I wouldn't want to be on it for long distance rides where a larger motorcycle is more comfortable. For those rides I prefer my Rocket III or Goldwing. For racing around town or attacking a tight, twisty road you can't beat the Bonneville. It's also a great conversation piece wherever I go. Everybody wants to ask questions about it. IMO it's the most beautiful bike I own.
 

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Scrap both. The Bonnie is a great purist bike and the Connie is a great highway bike but you need something that will do both.

I would choose an 03-04 Sprint ST with hardbags or an 08 ST. The earlier ST's had really great bags and fairings with gobs of power and are great sport tourers with an emphasis of Sport. The 08 has the easiest ergos thanks to different risers and screen of the 05+ crowd. You cant lose with those bikes, trust me. I have owned the 05 which is the sportiest of the bunch and it was a dream bike for all round. I have a Bonnie as well but am looking at another Sprint but in the earlier 03-04 design.
 

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I would go with a Tiger, or Sprint. :) My dad has a Tiger, and it is killer!!! All kinds of travel accessories as well for those bikes. That 1050 3cyl. engine is amazing.

J
 

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Here's a slightly different slant...

You might consider the Kawasaki ZX14 - it's really a great sport-touring bike and it's amaizingly tractable around town for such a large and powerful motorcycle. I just sold mine to buy my new Speed Triple, but I will be getting another one as soon as can I assemble the necessary funds.

I've taken mine on a few 3 and 4 day rides and found it to be very comfortable, having a great seat with very good ergonomics. On one trip I rode home from Presidio, TX (a stone's throw from Mexico) to Forth Worth in a single day. Granted it was a long day but not a bad ride at all and, yes, I could walk unassisted the next day. By the way, I'm 55 so, while I'm not decrepit, I'm not a spring chicken by any means.

There are two unfortunate downsides - insurance and mileage (about 35 MPG). I've ridden the new Connie and the FJR1300 - they're both great motorcycles but I felt more like a passenger than an active participant. To me, this is the problem with almost all sport-touring bikes, though not so much with the Sprint.

Happy hunting.
 

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Discussion Starter #17 (Edited)
The kind of great responses I expected on many levels and why I asked here. Thanks to everybody for your shared experience. There are many guys like myself here in their fifties who never grew up...and your wisdom includes many of the tradeoffs I have considered. It can be distilled down to the simple fact that no one bike is all things and money no object, most of us would own a garage full of bikes including a Ducati :D

The FJR and even Honda ST come up quite a bit and to me, I prefer the Concours but I read one test that put the FRJ in front of the Connie. A motorcycle purchase is largely emotional at the end of the day and the styling and big power of the Kaw connects with me. A Busa is one wicked bike to be sure and indeed the ergos aren't as bad as most sport bikes. Insurance as mentioned and that constant nag to ride faster than I should put that bike on the back burner for me. It is one hell of a bike however. A Rocket has its appeal but I don't want forward controls. Most of us keep coming back to the Bonnie because of its pure form and function.
As to the Sprint and Tiger....I thought the Sprint maybe the sweet spot but I hated the ergos honestly...even the newish '08 model that many say is much more comfortable than the earlier versions. Love the styling of the bike...one of my favorite ST styles...love the motor...wish the Bonnie had that kind of grunt...just hate the riding position. I could pick one up and mount a handlebar on however which a handful do...would be a cost effective option. The Tiger fits my 6'1" frame very well...just don't like riding that high up and can't get beyond the dirt bike look of the Tiger. I don't deny it is a whale of a motorcycle..it most certainly is. Both the Connie and Bonny are much more comfortable to me and I ride racing bicycles long distances for fitness. I don't like to be too bent over while riding a motorcycle holding my torso up with knees pressed on the tank. This is why many prefer the Bonnie to Thruxton and count me amoung them.
Thanks again guys. I may indeed just travel by car to visit friends and my home I can't sell and enjoy a Bonnie in the spring.
Best,
George
 

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2 bikes - always the best solution

One that I've not heard mentioned for you to try is the Bandit 1250S. They now have full matching bags for it and I've read great rider reviews about it. And, it's CHEAP, so maybe you could have both!

Mike
 

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I totally agree with the new Bandit 1250SEA. The mags love it. It looks real nice except the exhuast.....

Gobs of power and way better fuel economy then the Connie.

Please dont think that I dont like that Connie because truthfully, its a friggin beauty bike. Huge power, grat looks and would eat any of the big touring bikes for lunch.
 

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Apples and oranges

I can't really mention the Concourse (sp?) and the Bonny in the same thought. Just TOO different!
I just came off 5 months on a belt drive bike that weighed nearly 300 pounds more than my current T100, and had another cog in the box.
As others have mentioned, for trips of less than 100 miles, and probably at speeds well below the interstate pace, the Bonny serves well.
On the "superslab" at 70+ mph, the heavier bike, running much lower RPM would be my choice.
Yes, in my 45 years of riding on (counting race bikes) 100+ motorcycles of just about every make and style, there was a time when riding two-up from Jackson, Michigan to Toledo, Ohio on a 165cc Harley two-stroke with a rigid rear frame and a 3-speed gearbox was great fun!
Not so much any more. And that's not due to a deteriorated physical condition, having maintained a fitness lifestyle over the years.
Rather, it just comes down to knowing what works well for a particular application.
Many times, my circumstances allowed me to own 2 or 3 bikes at a time, so I could pick the best weapon for the mission.
Having to make one bike do everything requires that dreaded word.... "compromise".
Gas mileage, during this (temporary?) bubble of lower gas prices may not be so much a factor, and the Bonny definitely wins on that account, but given the state of the world and what may soon come to pass here in the good old USA, I'd say to enjoy the lower prices while they are around.
If I could manage another bike right now, I'd probably throw my too-short leg over a Buell XB12XT....a MAJOR hoot!
YMMV!
Bob
 
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