Over the last month I've been riding bikes like a mad thing trying to find just the right balance of bike, cost and comfort. Most of all I'm looking for the grin factor. Here's a rails run of what I've ridden and one impression..
Initially I set out to by a Sports Tourer because I used to own an ST1100 so I rode
BMW RT1200. Nice bike, knees didn't quite fit under the lip in the tank. The sideways thrust when revving was odd but I'm sure I would have got used to it.
Yamaha FJR 1300, nice bike to ride but not enough legroom for my 6'5" frame. GTR1400 same deal but a bit more than the FJR. So I started looking at a broader range.
Triumph 1200 Explorer. Not sure what happened with this bike, I couldn't get off it quick enough. I had trouble with the gears, little wind protection and it had absolutely no grin factor for me. I was really happy to get back on the KLR after riding it.
BMW GS1200. Nice bike, rode a second hand one with low k's for about $20k didn't mind it but grin factor low, still has the weird sideways pull when revving. This bike though convinced me that the Adventure style bike with the high seating position might suit me, although I'd never really considered them as an option.
I rode a Suzuki DL650, nice feel, surprisingly grunty for a little motor but too small for me. I took a couple of DL1000's for a ride, they are great value and I wish I'd liked them more, but again the grin factor was low and I kept hitting my big feet on the road while cornering. I was pretty sad when I dismissed the DL1000 as a choice, it involved resetting the budget.
But, while waiting for a DL1000 to be made ready for me to test I took a quick spin on a second hand Yamaha XT1200Z Super Tenere. I had never seen myself riding one of these, or even had them on the radar. So with the budget reset I went riding on the Kawasaki Versys 1000 and the Honda Crosstourer. Both of these bikes seemed perfect for me, beautiful smooth 4 cylinder engines, not really designed for off road (I remain at this point not interested in going off road on this bike, I've got two others for that).
So now I've ridden the Honda and the Kawasaki twice. I love the Kawasaki, it's a better fit for me ergonomically than the Honda, it's 4k or so cheaper and the motor is a gem! The down side, it's a brand new model and right now there's no luggage available for it in AUS and Kawasaki themselves can't say when it will be here or how much it will cost.
So while I was thinking about which bike I was going to buy, the Honda or the Kwaka, I couldn't get the ride I took on the Super Tenere out of my head.