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Discussion Starter #1
New member here and would like to say hello to all on here.I hope to be of some use in the future but right now I need some help.

Last summer I crashed my CB1300.At first I was all for giving up then decided I wasnt going to give in.Recently I purchased a 2002 Blackbird in beautiful condition,always fancied one.However last weekend I had my first longish run on it and arrived home dispirited and quite frankly p1ssed off.My confidence was all gone and I had ridden like a wuss.slow speeds, braking on bends crappin myself when the road became rough and the bike skipping.This happens particularly where the top surface has worn away leaving the road smooth underneath.The bike I felt was performing as it should with the sport touring tyres and normal fork geometry but still bloody unnerving for me.

I have resolved to sell the bird but still dont want to give up biking.I used to own a BMW R1150GS which wore Michelin Anakees and that bike was amazing.It would ride over any road surface without a twitch or a murmur.I cant afford another one of those right now but I was wondering if by going back to a trailie to commute to work etc it would help me build confidence.Im also hoping that trail bikes like the GS are just much more road friendly & stable.I have been looking at Transalp,KLE500,maybe even a cheap Africa Twin.I dont want to spend too much as you can understand until I can get my riding in order.

Anyway thanks for reading my first & longish post your thoughts & ideas would be most welcome.
 
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sounds like you don't need any advise and you know what you need. I think a transalp or africa twin would do you really good.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
sounds like you don't need any advise and you know what you need. I think a transalp or africa twin would do you really good.
Thanks Simon but right now I need all the advice I can get.It was a while ago since I had the GS and before the crash where I was a confident & fairly competent rider.Am I right,do trail bikes make better road bikes ?
 

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Pleb
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Glad you've recovered from the accident and the main thing is - you're riding.
I used to have bikes like ZX9s (mark 1) and VFRs then got into trail bikes (SuperTen, Dominator) after a Zephyr 1100 (beautiful but rusted). I was surprised to find I didn't really miss the power apart from having to forego some overtakes I would have previously done. I then went for a XR600 which was a mistake - sexy bike but impractical and a bugger to start when cold.

So I changed that for my first Transalp, a 600. I was comuting into London at the time and found it the perfect bike: smooth, comfy, good balance and steering lock, totally reliable, 50mpg etc.

Then I took it to France, Italy, Switzerland - the Alps which is biking heaven. The TA wont blast down the motorway like a Blackbird, but it'll sit at 90 all day and when you get onto the smaller roads it's perfect - good handling and upright so you can admire the views and get a lungful of that alpine air.

Then I made the mistake of changing to a Bandit 12: didn't get on with the handling and the finish was poor (lovely motor though!).

So here I am back with a TA 650 which I've kept for almost 4 years. It NEVER breaks down and the finish is much better than the B12. I've been back to the Alps & the Pyrenees and had some great times with this bike.

After almost 50k on Transalps all that's gone wrong is 2 speedo cables and 3 bulbs. I can do all servicing myself as they're refreshingly basic - carbs, screw & locknut tappets etc.

I'll be the first to say the TA would be perfect if it had another 20bhp but it's already a lovely torquey motor that will bimble or sit at 90.

In short the TA is PRACTICAL. It's not a 'sexy' bike which you don't want to take out in the rain and the novelty wears off - but they do grow on you and are a superb tool. The big KTM looks lovely but for me they're just too much money like the GS and not as home mechanic friendly - plus I'd be worried it'd get nicked.

I've said it before and I'll say it again: Buying a Transalp is like an arranged marriage to an ugly bird - initially there's no spark but hold on a mo, it turns out she's a bl00dy good cook, is good in bed, low maintenance and looks after the kids while you go down the pub with your mates.

Sounds like you're a candidate for a big trail bike, try some test rides and see which is the one for you.

All the best.
 
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New member here and would like to say hello to all on here.I hope to be of some use in the future but right now I need some help.
Well if you are looking to mainly ride on the road and commuting you could think about getting something that's been supermotoed rather than a traily. I had a rotax engined CCM which was endless fun to ride, at least until some git nicked it.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
I just found the following review (see excerpt below)on the Africa Twin. Have any of you had this experience from the front end or can you do something with tyres or wheel size to combat it if it exists. Do Michelin make the Anakee tyre to fit ?


'How does it cope with A roads, if motorways are out of bounds? Well, not too badly, although you'd never keep up with your mates on their Fireblades, but if your licence is at risk that might be a bonus. The 360W alternator and twin headlights put out some serious light and the suspension is excellent front and rear - plush enough to absorb the ruts and bumps that constitute Kent's crumbling highways with excellent damping. The brakes are powerful enough with plenty of feel. It feels like it could be flung around corners with abandon. But for one problem - the front end is seriously vague. It seems to be down to the Michelin TX66's and a 21 inch front wheel. The Michelin tyres seem to be neither road nor trail oriented and are seriously scary when cold or in the wet - the skinny 90/90-21 up front doesn't inspire much confidence in the dry either! I rode an old BMWR100GS with a similar bulk and 21" front wheel set up quite a few thousand miles in the States. It was nimble and stuck to the road (quite good enough to lose a couple of VFRs in the mountains of California), so I can only think the weight distribution on the BMW is better... it also had Avon Gripsters (which I like) which may have been a factor.'
 
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i've never had any problems but then i run tourances. obviously i ride much easier in the wet anyway. Only time i had a problem like that was on sunday just past and that was because my tyres were really soft!
 

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skeptical old git
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My AT came with TX66s fitted, and they really were vague. I replaced them with Tourances which were a revelation. You can also fit Michelin Anakees or Pirelli Scorpion ST which also seem to be good as road tyres. There's also a pure road tyre fitment (BT45??) from Bridgestone.

Tyres to avoid seem to be Michelin TX66, Bridgestone Trail Wing and Avons Distanzia (you'll find some people who like all of those, that's just my quick summary of the consensus).

There are other favourites for off road use, but I'm assuming you're thinking of road riding.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Thanks all for the helpful advice. I am intending to the use the bike purely for road use so the BT45 or Anakee`s look favourite.Having had first hand experience of the Anakee they are really impressive in the wet or dry so really pleased they are available.Next job is to sell the bird and then I will probably go for an AT.
 

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skeptical old git
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AT's a good bike. It's easy enough to be good for confidence (unless you're really short!) but it's got enough character to keep you interested.

There are problems that crop up with them, but they're not critical (you'll probably become intimate with the choke, but it won't blow up!) and there's people around here who've had every problem you're likely to encounter, know how to fix it in 30 minutes flat, and can tell you where to buy the parts for 35p :D

Shame you're not in Scotland or I'd try and flog you mine! There are usually a few on ebay and Autotrader/MCN usually finds a few.
 

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Hi all
I also found the front end vague on my @ so i've just replaced my trail wings with a set of BT45,s and also dropped the forks 10mm through the yokes to increase the steering angle tremdous improvement with regards to front end feedback. :)
 
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I knocked out about 65,000+ miles on a Blackbird and loved the yoke. I never really had any issues with it on bad roads, and trust me, they can be bad over in the West of Ireland. After taking it to Morocco I decided to hell with riding it rtw, and got me an AT (mind you, I'd always wanted a big trailie). Lo and behold, I found myself barely riding the Blackbird at all any more, so little in fact that after six months I ended up selling it. I sure as hecks miss the speed and the awesome sound of twin Renegade pipes on full chat, but that's about it. The AT is almost ideal for me. Now, if only I can figure out how to fit that blackbird engine....
 

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Just to throw a spanner in the works, have you considered a Varadero. Excellent mile muncher in a big trailie format and they depreciate like hell so a bargain second hand. It the best bike I've owned and racking up the miles is painless and easy with the great riding position.

If you look through the "For Sale/Wanted" section you will find one that McVicar is selling. Go and take one for a test ride if you liked the GS then Vara is well worth a look.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Just to throw a spanner in the works, have you considered a Varadero. Excellent mile muncher in a big trailie format and they depreciate like hell so a bargain second hand. It the best bike I've owned and racking up the miles is painless and easy with the great riding position.

If you look through the "For Sale/Wanted" section you will find one that McVicar is selling. Go and take one for a test ride if you liked the GS then Vara is well worth a look.
Yep
Would definitely go for a vara but my budget wont it allow im afraid.The boss has her eye on some of the cash from the sale of my BB you see.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
If anybody fancies a change from an AT to a Blackbird then get in touch.My BB is a 2002 in Candy Glory Red with 28k and masses of service history 2 prev owners,brand new MOT & 6mths tax.Bike is worth £4k.



 

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:) Welcome Maccap, I think you know what you're after, I wouldn't worry about that vague front that has been mentioned. A lot of people who switch from a sport/sportstourer to a trail bike find the same thing and I thinks it's just perception.
I'd suggest some advanced training as a solution to your confidence problems. About a year ago I had a sudden lack of confidence, especially on bad surfaces, unrelated to anything I'd done. Four hours with an instructor and I was happy again. Actually I was fine after an hour but we just had fun for the other three. He only charged for three!
 

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If anybody fancies a change from an AT to a Blackbird then get in touch.My BB is a 2002 in Candy Glory Red with 28k and masses of service history 2 prev owners,brand new MOT & 6mths tax.Bike is worth £4k.



Welcome, but post this in the for sale / wanted section. Not everyone looks in here!
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Welcome, but post this in the for sale / wanted section. Not everyone looks in here!

Ok Dave will do.

Thanks to all who have taken the time to read & comment on this thread.
I have been thinking again (it hurts) and I think I will try to go for either a Varadero or a Suzi DL1000.This is a personal opinion but the reason for this is because it seems like the Vara and the DL are very much road biased bikes with traily features.I will never use the bike off road so it makes sense to me to go for something like this.
 

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Frodo's Half brother
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Quote:
Tyres to avoid seem to be Michelin TX66, Bridgestone Trail Wing and Avons Distanzia (you'll find some people who like all of those, that's just my quick summary of the consensus).


He he! I run Distanzia's on my AT having run with Bridgestones and TKCs and Conti Escapes too - I think the Avons are great - so it just goes to show that one mans poison...

But have to agree TX66? I've had better tyres on my Grfiter as a kid..

Good luck with your search
 
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