I have only had my motorcycle license for five months and I am already grinding my teeth, thinking about another bike. Not that I need one of course. The motorcycle I have now (and my first motorcycle) is a 2000 Kawsaki ZR-7. It is a nice bike and I have to say I am really drawn to the streetfighter look. Apart from some minor work that I needed to do on it this fall it runs perfectly and only has about 7,500 miles on it. Now that I have had some time to ride though I am getting a better sense of what type of motorcycling I want to do. The streetfigher is excellent as a commuter bike and for riding on the weekends, but it isn't really something that was designed for longer trips or touring. My butt is certainly hurting pretty bad after a couple of hours just on a saturday ride.
Initially I caught some of the dual sporting bug and even went and test road a BMW F 800 GS earlier this fall. I'm only 5'8" though and that bike was a bit tall for me. I liked it, but I wasn't in love with it and after some more research I found that dual sporting is pretty difficult in the midwest.
So here I am left thinking what I want to do. Do I keep my current bike and take it as an opportunity to learn more about motorocycles? It is carbureted so the possibility of me doing some work on it myself is totally there. As soon as I get into a fuel injected bike that has a computer, you can forget about me doing any tinkering. The Kawi certainly has decent power at ~75 bhp and although it only has a 5 speed gear, I never had a problem with power on it. Possible upgrades include the installation of an H4 relay kit for the front headlight, upgrading the running lights and taillights to LED, upgrading the seat, and getting new tires.
Of course my research has still been going into the purchase of a new motorcycle. My top runners I think right now appear to be the Tiger 800 (not XC) or the BMW F 800 R. Both have the naked look that I like and both have the ability to get some panniers on the side to do some longer riding. There is of course some potential trade offs here for both. The BMW of course is a straight up streetfighter and doesn't offer much more more power (84 bhp) than my current ride. It does offer removal panniers from Givi in which the rack can quick release, making for a clean bike when just cruising around town.
The Tiger 800 on the other hand is a bit bigger with more horsepower. It also can have a clean look without the panniers, but does it lose some of the fun zippy-ness of the streetfighter? I would say 95% of my riding will be weekend rides.
Not sure, but would love to hear thoughts from people if they have them. Then again, I could always buy a new motorcyle and keep the Kawai. Question is what do I go with then. Something big and cruisery? A BMW ST series which got a top ranking for touring this year?