It’s snowing so thick you can’t see the road. I’m at the end of a semester and in full day-dreaming mode. If I were out bike shopping this week, this is what I’d be aiming to bring back:
The naked: I’m still smitten with the Kawasaki Z1000. An orange one, with a tail tidy to get rid of the only ugly part of this stunning machine (the ugly plastic plate hanger off the back). Some aero crash protectors and I’d be ready to track day with it as well.
The sporty road bike: the jewel-like Honda VFR800 still plucks a heart string. It’s the descendant of one of my first motorbike crushes and would make for a mighty entertaining, sport focused road bike that could still swallow miles if needed. It looks spectacular in white, but it also needs a tail tidy!
The all terrain bike is a tricky piece of work. The temptation is just to go all in on a big adventure bike, but the main purpose for one of those is as a road riding mile-muncher. My off road able bike needs to work on the road and keep up with traffic (something my current 250cc Kawasaki isn’t great at), but its focus should be off tarmac (unlike a big, heavy adventure bike).
A light-weight scrambler would be a the preferred choice aesthetically. Building out my own custom from an existing, off-road focused bike would offer both the scrambler vibe while using light-weight, off-road ready tech.
The Suzuki DR-Z400S makes for a great base. At 144 kilos (317lbs) it’s almost half the weight of BMW’s big queen of adventure bikes, and made by a manufacturer that makes bikes with one quarter the number of manufacturing mistakes. I don’t feel reckless in the decision.
Is a Scrambler DR-Z400S possible? I wouldn’t be the first to try. The DR-Z400SM is a street version of the off-roader, so Suzuki has already done a less off-road focused version. It’s an adaptable bike.
Too bad no one makes a sub 500cc off road focused, light weight Scrambler (instead they market stylish new ones or sell recycled history). Anything north of 200kgs (441lbs) might be surprisingly capable off road, but it’ll still be a misery to pickup and all that weight means you’re going to be breaking suspension all the time.
Suzuki already has the platform on which to build a perfect modern scrambler. C’mon, you’re almost there!
Some people want a $30k bike that can do one thing, I’d happily spend that money on a Kawasaki, Honda and Suzuki that can do just about everything.