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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I've been a Harley rider for about 15 years. I've owned 3 of them and still have 2. I like them and I love to ride. I rode over 12K miles last year and my 15 year average is nearly 10K miles/year.

About 8 years ago I took the m/c safety instructor course and have been a certified m/c safety instructor since then, teaching frequently. Through my fellow instructors, the class participants, a friend, and Cycle World magazine I've been exposed to sport bikes. Okay, I'm interested.

I rode a fellow instructor's Hayabusa 2 years ago for about 20 minutes. If you shift those things like a Harley and keep the revs between 2 and 3 grand they are pretty tame. About the same year I also rode a Yamaha FZ-6F for several miles. It was also tame between 2 and 3 grand. I did wind it up to about 4 or 5 grand in 3rd gear and the power (interestingly) kept going.

Is it possible for a 56 year old guy to enjoy the performance and engineering of a sport bike without getting too dangerous or breaking the law too much?

I guess that Yamaha was a 600 or a 650 (?). It pulled my 195 lbs with no problem whatsoever. It was a little small for a 6'1" tall person, but not impossible to ride.

Steve G. in MD
 

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Only one way to find out if you ask me :) Considering your background I'd probably go with something a tad more on the sport-touring side.

Oh and @ 2-3K rpms you've barely scratched the surface. Try getting the bike in the powerband and checkout the difference :)

And lastly - enjoying a sport bike on the street and braking the law go hand in hand. If that concerns you I think you should consider doing a track day. I don't think it's ever too late for that :)

:beer
 

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Absolutely. I'm 43, and I own a 98 Road King (I bought it new) and a 98 Low Rider (I've had it for about 8 or 9 years). Love them both.

But my '08 Hayabusa is one of the finest machines I've ever been on. Everything about the bike is effortless. Effortless acceleration, effortless braking, effortless cornering. It's a real joy to ride. I've got it outfitted with heli bars, and adjustable foot pegs that make it a little less aggressive ergos wise.

I do think, however, the best thing about a sportbike compared to a Hog is, there's no chrome to polish when you wash it. That shit takes forever! :D
 

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Don't forget sporty standards. Speed triple and street triple being highly recommended by many. As for having fun while not breaking the law...

If you haven't already tried one, some of the japanese cruisers can really move too, although you don't get the handling or agility which are the main fun things you can take advantage of without so much risk of getting a ticket.
 

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You're barely scraping the performance of the bike, which is fine :)

I have a Ninja 500 (50 wheel hp) and it's plenty of fun within the speed limits and plenty capable (for me) in the twisties. It takes a conscious effort to speed.

My friend's R6 on the other hand, you pretty much have to make an effort not to speed :D
 

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Two words: Hell yes! If you're a motorcycle enthusiast, you owe it to yourself to try a sportbike for awhile. They are wicked fun, and not all that expensive. Shop around for a 600cc sportbike (R6, CBR600, GSX-R600, or ZX6R) from about 2005 or later. That timeframe will get you about 100 hp, inverted forks, radially mounted brakes, etc. In short super-trick and pretty damn fast.

Actually, terrifyingly fast. Find a straight road, get in second gear at about 9K rpm, roll the throttle smoothly to the stop and run it up to redline. Shift to third and bounce it off the rev limiter. Your first thought will be, "JFC! I can't believe these things are legal!" Your second thought will be, "Hot damn! I gotta do that again!" It's that much fun.
 

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Well, I'm 55 years old, and truthfully I don't think a full-on sport bike is for you. Not that you can't appreciate them, quite the opposite, they are amazing. They are just too uncomfortable for anything but shorter rides (just my opinion, guys, hold the flames). However, as aLive mentioned, the sport-touring segment may offer exactly what you want and in my view they come with a good bit more comfort. Personally I own a Suzuki GSF-1250 Bandit. Lots of low end torque yet it revs decently, and the midrange power is so nice compared to the previous 600 I had that you had to wind the heck out of to get to the power and had to keep it running at 7 grand to have any kind of pull available. Check out the big Bandit (it is probably the "best buy" of the bunch), and also the Triumph Trophy, the Yamaha FJR, and the Kawasaki Concours - all great bikes.

jZ
 
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Well, I'm 55 years old, and truthfully I don't think a full-on sport bike is for you. Not that you can't appreciate them, quite the opposite, they are amazing. They are just too uncomfortable for anything but shorter rides (just my opinion, guys, hold the flames). However, as aLive mentioned, the sport-touring segment may offer exactly what you want and in my view they come with a good bit more comfort. Personally I own a Suzuki GSF-1250 Bandit. Lots of low end torque yet it revs decently, and the midrange power is so nice compared to the previous 600 I had that you had to wind the heck out of to get to the power and had to keep it running at 7 grand to have any kind of pull available. Check out the big Bandit (it is probably the "best buy" of the bunch), and also the Triumph Trophy, the Yamaha FJR, and the Kawasaki Concours - all great bikes.

jZ
don't forget the VFR800.. it's not REAL quick compared to rest but it does go plenty fast and that exhaust..... instant SHA-WING!!!!!!!!!!

and not as cramped as full on SSs - had one and miss it. put 16k a yr on it. never a problem, but dang did it get a throttle workout just to hear that V4. SWAWESOME!!!!!!!!
 

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Depends on the kind of riding you want to do. I'm 63 and 160 lbs and I like a light, powerful, and fine handling bike for the twisty back-roads around here so the Triumph naked 675 STR fits the bill with a slightly more upright seating position. When the roads are rough a sport bike is actually more comfortable at higher speeds cos the seating position takes a lot of weight and stress off the lumbar region, and the rear suspension has more travel than the cruiser bikes. If you are a big guy get the 1050 Speed triple and enjoy some fast twisty back-roads.
 

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I think you have to ask yourself if you have a problem with revving an engine. There is nothing dangerous or illegal about revving an engine past 3k. There are plenty of cruiser riders who have a huge problem with revving engines (for whatever reason, probably mostly habit). If you don't enjoy taking an engine past 3k there isn't much point owning a sport bike.

You have to understand though that on a Harley 3k is halfway to redline, on an R6 it's not even 20% to redline, so in some sense you are revving the Harley harder at 3k then the R6 at 6K. You can exploit any sport bike's power safely on the street, but if you never rev past 3k there isn't much point.

If you can't get past the fact you need to rev an engine, there are a few options of sport bike chassis with a cruiser heart. Harley's VRSCR Street Rod is the best example Harley I can think of. Anything Buell made might appeal to you as well. Yamaha's MT-01 is probably the best candidate but they don't sell it here.
 

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In my experience its quite rare for a cruiser rider to also enjoy performance bikes. The guys who ride air cooled v twins are generally scared to death of something with more power at the rear wheel than decibels at the tailpipe. I have seen riders move from one style of bike to the other, but not usually keep both. You have the sportbike guys who never ever ride their bike to half its potential that eventually discover a Harley suits their style much better, and the cruiser guy who gets bored with just enough power to roll down the road and frustrated by dragging hard parts at 30 mph in a 30 mph bend.

2 completely different riding personalities with very little crossover, IMO. Why do you ride? Is it for the excitement of incredible acceleration and leaning through turns or are you simply content to be on 2 wheels and are more interested in how shiny your bike looks while parked in front of a bar than you are in how well it can perform? Not many cruiser riders have any interest in modern bikes, and vice versa.
 

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I've been a Harley rider for about 15 years. I've owned 3 of them and still have 2. I like them and I love to ride. I rode over 12K miles last year and my 15 year average is nearly 10K miles/year.

About 8 years ago I took the m/c safety instructor course and have been a certified m/c safety instructor since then, teaching frequently. Through my fellow instructors, the class participants, a friend, and Cycle World magazine I've been exposed to sport bikes. Okay, I'm interested.

I rode a fellow instructor's Hayabusa 2 years ago for about 20 minutes. If you shift those things like a Harley and keep the revs between 2 and 3 grand they are pretty tame. About the same year I also rode a Yamaha FZ-6F for several miles. It was also tame between 2 and 3 grand. I did wind it up to about 4 or 5 grand in 3rd gear and the power (interestingly) kept going.

Is it possible for a 56 year old guy to enjoy the performance and engineering of a sport bike without getting too dangerous or breaking the law too much?

I guess that Yamaha was a 600 or a 650 (?). It pulled my 195 lbs with no problem whatsoever. It was a little small for a 6'1" tall person, but not impossible to ride.

Steve G. in MD
Sure you can have fun on a sportbike. I have several people I ride with that have cruisers at the house as well. I average about 12-15k a year on my sportbike.... at first you will not want to take long trips but as you keep getting on the bike and having fun you will also be adjusting to the riding position. I will get comfortable.

O yea and a good track day organization is a MUST. Go to at least 1 track day with an organization that has class time and instructors on the track with you. You will be amazed at how much you will learn in one day.
 

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I've been a Harley rider for about 15 years. I've owned 3 of them and still have 2. I like them and I love to ride. I rode over 12K miles last year and my 15 year average is nearly 10K miles/year.

About 8 years ago I took the m/c safety instructor course and have been a certified m/c safety instructor since then, teaching frequently. Through my fellow instructors, the class participants, a friend, and Cycle World magazine I've been exposed to sport bikes. Okay, I'm interested.

I rode a fellow instructor's Hayabusa 2 years ago for about 20 minutes. If you shift those things like a Harley and keep the revs between 2 and 3 grand they are pretty tame. About the same year I also rode a Yamaha FZ-6F for several miles. It was also tame between 2 and 3 grand. I did wind it up to about 4 or 5 grand in 3rd gear and the power (interestingly) kept going.

Is it possible for a 56 year old guy to enjoy the performance and engineering of a sport bike without getting too dangerous or breaking the law too much?

I guess that Yamaha was a 600 or a 650 (?). It pulled my 195 lbs with no problem whatsoever. It was a little small for a 6'1" tall person, but not impossible to ride.

Steve G. in MD
Yeah the FZ6 is a 600 based on about a three generation old R6 motor. They are still insanely high strung, you won't see what that bike is capable of until you crest 9 grand, and yes they are pretty sporty.

So far as it goes there are a LOT of bikes between a Dyna and a R6, like tons of them.

It really just depends on how big or small you want to go with the bike's physical size and how much motor to go with it.......and your price range of course. I know a number of guys that have 15-20 years on me that ride Bandits, FZ1s Speed Triples, ZRXs ect ect and have Old-Glides:bump in the garage as well.
 
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a hayabusa and fz6 are sport tourers. they should be the 21st century equivalent of early 20th century Harleys, so why not? i'm not trying to be a jerk but you're talking a heavy brick compared to a surgical knife. you'll be more than OK with it since you've ridden for years but stay away from real sport bikes. their seating position is for guys who are of military recruiting age, unless you're just going to a local starbucks or short trips like that.
 

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If you really want to get yourself in trouble get a supermoto. Guaranteed you'll be doing wheelies and jumps in 2 weeks.

Everyone has there style. I've driven everything from tourer, sport, cruisers, dualsport, supermoto, adventure, dirt..... Prob some more on top of that. I now I'm only 26 and don't have near the experience you have but I've enjoyed every motorcycle I've been on. Some favor my riding style more than others, but there all more fun than a car to me.

Sent from Motorcycle.com Free App
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
SteveG again ...

Thanks to all the responses. I think, on average, the information reinforced what I was already thinking ...

3K RPM isn't even getting started in a sportbike's power band,
Yes I'll have to actually rev a sportbike engine up,
Maybe a "full on" sport bike isn't the first step,
Possibly a sport-touring bike.

AutoXer - I have a good friend with a Concours. He just traded in a used one for a new one and loves it. He also has a HD Road King and appreciates that, as well.

USAFgsxr750again - I have ridden a VFR800 for about 45 minutes and it was real nice. That would actually be my first choice if I was looking for a used sportbike.

Ben347LX - I understand your explanation of cruiser riders vs. sportbike riders. There are plenty of examples of both out there that support your postion, but I think I can make the transition.

Dem0nDuck - I've talked to the Yamaha NESBA guys about a track day. They keep their rig near the factory I sometimes work at in Pennsylvania. They know my VFR800 friend pretty well.
 

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You don't have to rev even a sport bike to go though... the cars in front of you are only going to accelerate as fast as they feel like. If you're natural instinct is to short shift... well.. great. Youll get fuel better mileage and your motor will last longer. Half the time I'm short shifting my gutless, high strung, 250 at just above lugging speeds if theres a car in front of me... When you feel like winding the thing out, youll probably default to the natural instinct to rev it until it stops pulling. High revs on the highway take some getting used to, takes a while to convince yourself you aren't tearing it up or wearing it out, but your brain will come around.

I own both ends of the spectrum(and some oddballs). The most agile of bikes, a supermoto... and a big heavy cruiser with poor ground clearance. I never would have bought the cruiser of my own volition (I inherited it) but I do enjoy both bikes... I would also enjoy a pure sport bike. In fact if its got a motor and wheels, I will probably enjoy it.
 

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Once you learn the powerband of the bike, you won't pay as much attention to the actual RPMs in my experience. You'll get a feel for where the power is and keep it there.

My Hayabusa redlines around 11K. Don't know that I've ever really gotten close to it. Most of the time, I'm riding around 4-5K when I do look down at it. On the interstate, it's occasionally less and on the back roads it's occasionally a little more.

I do think you'll find you wind out your Harleys more after you ride a sport bike for a bit. This is not a bad thing, in my opinion.

Unless you're planning on trading in one of your Hogs, I'd say don't go with a full on Sport Touring bike like a Concours. Those things weigh well over 600 pounds. Don't get me wrong, they're fine machines; but if you want to take a long road trip and need cargo space, take your Harley. Buy a sportbike that truly gives you what the Hogs don't. Something light, very agile, and very sporty that you can go out and have a blast on. Then, if you find you prefer more sportbike like ergos to a cruiser, and find yourself wishing you could take the sport bike on that multi day trip instead of your Road Glide, that's the time to look into a long range sport tourer.
 

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I've been a Harley rider for about 15 years. I've owned 3 of them and still have 2. I like them and I love to ride. I rode over 12K miles last year and my 15 year average is nearly 10K miles/year.

About 8 years ago I took the m/c safety instructor course and have been a certified m/c safety instructor since then, teaching frequently. Through my fellow instructors, the class participants, a friend, and Cycle World magazine I've been exposed to sport bikes. Okay, I'm interested.

I rode a fellow instructor's Hayabusa 2 years ago for about 20 minutes. If you shift those things like a Harley and keep the revs between 2 and 3 grand they are pretty tame. About the same year I also rode a Yamaha FZ-6F for several miles. It was also tame between 2 and 3 grand. I did wind it up to about 4 or 5 grand in 3rd gear and the power (interestingly) kept going.

Is it possible for a 56 year old guy to enjoy the performance and engineering of a sport bike without getting too dangerous or breaking the law too much?

I guess that Yamaha was a 600 or a 650 (?). It pulled my 195 lbs with no problem whatsoever. It was a little small for a 6'1" tall person, but not impossible to ride.

Steve G. in MD
Nah, you're too old, just forget about it. :swoon

<-------
 

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SteveG again ...

Thanks to all the responses. I think, on average, the information reinforced what I was already thinking ...

3K RPM isn't even getting started in a sportbike's power band, YEP
Yes I'll have to actually rev a sportbike engine up, only if you want to
Maybe a "full on" sport bike isn't the first step, Agree
Possibly a sport-touring bike. YEP

AutoXer - I have a good friend with a Concours. He just traded in a used one for a new one and loves it. He also has a HD Road King and appreciates that, as well. Excellent choice - actually going to look at one sometime this summer

USAFgsxr750again - I have ridden a VFR800 for about 45 minutes and it was real nice. That would actually be my first choice if I was looking for a used sportbike. it was my first sportbike and I Loved it. would probably still have it if I hadn't bought the Busa while still owning the VFR. Power is VERY addicting!


Dem0nDuck - I've talked to the Yamaha NESBA guys about a track day. They keep their rig near the factory I sometimes work at in Pennsylvania. They know my VFR800 friend pretty well.
Excellent IDEA!!! Good luck on whatever you buy!
 
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