Being a typical UK (now Spanish) biker of a certain age, I started my foray into big bike ownership in the early 90's with a Yamaha 350YPVS before moving on to the sportier end of the market. First running a CBR600 then a Fireblade and finally in 2000 a new GSXR750. As is typical with these types of bikes, noisy exhausts, power commanders, small plates and indicators and other accessories seemed mandatory as well as the odd traffic violation.
This is all very well and normal whilst in your 20's and 30's but as I passed the 40-year milestone the thrill of the sports bike started to wane a little, was it me? was I too old? Or was it the back and wrist ache caused by the riding position.
The problems grew over the next year or so, as I rode the bike less it became more uncomfortable, with one being a symptom of the other.
Eventually, a decision had to be made, do I just stop riding motorcycles? Well having owned one for over thirty years this option was obviously rejected. So what are the alternatives, after careful consideration a change to a more suitable bike was the answer, but which one?
Many bikes were considered and rejected for a whole variety of reasons as my requirements evolved, firstly I looked through the new bike options where there now appears to be a whole raft of options for former (older) sports bike fans, such as Aprilia's Tauno, the new S1000R from BMW and Kawasaki's Z1000R to name a few. These, unfortunately, were all discounted on price as a new bike is not on the cards at the moment.
After much more research a decision was made, the bike to buy would be a KTM950SM, it would be more comfortable for the upper body and back due to the more upright riding position (more like my mountain bike), has comfort seat options, is more maneuverable due to the wider bars, has sensible luggage options and would still be capable of giving me the buzz you get from swinging your leg over a quick bike.
Next job would be to sell the Suzuki, this is where it all started to go wrong, how much is mine worth? Where should I advertise it? Must do an oil and filter change and give it a bit of a spring clean before the pictures are done and any potential buyers come round. Cleaning the Suzuki brought back fond memories of journeys past, then on to sorting out all the receipts and paperwork including all the original purchase documents from a long since closed dealers in my hometown of Scarborough. Two years of decisions started to give way to nostalgia.
Ultimately my wife made the decision for me after noticing me rocking gently in a corner surrounded by bike magazines, paperwork and photos.
W. What are you going to use it for?
M. For fun, to ride the twisty mountain roads, maybe some touring and possibly a track day or two.
W. Why do you want to sell the Suzuki?
M. Because it's a bit uncomfortable to ride especially on the twisty mountain roads
W. Does the KTM tick all the boxes, comfort? luggage? The thrill of the ride?
M. Comfort, may need a new seat, will need new luggage, may need noisy pipes.
W. Rather than going through the hassle of selling the Suzuki, then spending an additional €2000-€3000 to get something that will probably need a comfort seat and new luggage, why not spend a bit of money and make the Suzuki work?
It sounds obvious when someone else says it, keep the speed and handling of the Suzuki and add a few items to make it better. So with a quick Google search followed by two days of reading articles and sending emails a plan was hatched.