My wife and I spent some time this afternoon at Temecula Motorsports sitting on various sport touring bikes, the Kawasaki Concours, Honda ST and the Yamaha FJR.
I wanted her to sit on the backseats of these bikes and tell me which she felt was most comfortable.
The winner for her was the Honda ST.
The footpegs on the ST were lowest, which is important for her because the tighter she has to keep her knees bent, the more painful over the course of riding.
The passenger seat on the ST was also the most cushy between the three, with the Concours coming in second.
The position of the saddlebags on the ST were also best for her because they were lower. This made it easier for her to get on and off the bike. The FJR came in second, while the bags on the Concours were most in the way.
I've read in reviews that the passenger hand rails are the most hardest to reach on the ST. But that didn't seem to be an issue for her.
For me, the ST was easiest to hold steady while she climbed aboard because it has the lowest seat height, allowing me to get more of my feet on the ground.
While never having ridden any of these bikes, I had gravitated towards the Yamaha FJR mostly because I liked the looks of it. But I remembered the nagging my wife gave me while sitting on the back of my Yamaha Road Star, about how the seat was uncomfortable, the high position of the floorboards making her knees hurt. Nothing ruins a day of riding more than an angry woman banging on the top of your helmet.
So it seems I'm now gravitating towards the Honda ST.
I just got some major work done on my Electra Glide Ultra Classic, replacing the entire cam assembly: cam shaft, cam chain, tensioner shoes and arms. They say the tensioner shoes should be replaced around 25,000 miles, but I still had the stockers at 76,000 miles. Well, actually the stockers had all but disintegrated, with the cam chain sliding across the tensioner arms, and the tensioner arms grounded down.
I also replaced a cracked header pipe, replaced a leaky stator plug, and had a leaky seal fixed by the rear shift arm. It cost me a lot of money.
However, it now runs great, and sounds great. Just like a brand new bike. I never realize how bad my bike was running until I got all the shit fixed.
And with 76,000+ miles on it, I really don't know how much longer I'll own it. It'd be nice to put 100,000 miles on it, but then again, that Electra Glide demands a lot of my money in repairs. It's a hog in more ways than just one. I've only had the bike for 3 1/2 years, but I've put a lot of miles on it.
My friend Brian has an Electra Glide Ultra Classic, the same year as mine, 2005. He's going through the same ordeal, which he wrote about on his blog.
The more miles I put on that Electra Glide, the more I'm going to have spend on repairs. It seems every 15,000 miles that seal at the rear shift arm leaks, and it's another several hundred dollars to get it fixed.
All bikes have parts that wear out, but it seems that Harleys have more stuff going wrong with them than other motorcycle brands. It's a gamble, do I keep the bike and hope that oil leaks are all that I have to worry about, or will everything start falling apart the closer I get to 100,000 miles?
So now that this Electra Glide is humming like a song, maybe it's time to sell it, and replace with a different touring bike.
So at lunch today, I explained that to my wife. At first her concern was that whatever touring I bike I bought to replace the Electra Glide needed to have a comfortable seat and leg position. Hence why I took her to Temecula Motorsports today to sit on some different sport tourers.