Sensible bike in London (for Pillions too)?

One of the major reasons for getting a bike for me while in central London is to carry me and my girlfriend to short social trips and meals, etc. There won’t be so much chance for recreational riding.

As such, what sort of bike is best to make her feel comfortable and safe?

At present, without this criteria, I was thinking along the lines of fast bikes like Hornets or Street Triples and slow bikes like CBF600 or Divvy etc. Because they are all great bikes and have sufficient interest for me when on my own. However, I will probably be commuting mostly on my push bike.

What are these like with pillions and should I consider different types of bikes altogether - a cruiser (lol)?

What are some boring and sensible, cheap (but can hack the winter, so prob no suzuki) bikes I should consider?

I am about to embark on my DAS so I know nothing…


If it’s only for short trips out why not look at a decent sized scoot.

Cheap to run, can get 2 lids under the seat etc.

wont a car be better for shopping trips? i did it on my bike and usally just end up with a stack off beer on my rear seat that gets taller and taller 1 off these days i am gonna hit the top off the fly over when i go under it loool:DWHOOOOOPS SORRY WRONG FOURM SORRY I AM TIRED NOT BEEN TO BED YET!:hehe:

my gf and i have two bikes a cbf600 and a 125 scoot.

i prefer us to go on the cbf because it has more power and you can get away from things quicker.

we used the scoot the other night to go from ealing to east dulwich and it was fine although i did think that with the cbf we would have gotten there quicker.

also with the bike you can have more fun when your on your own :wink:

cant comment on other bikes but the cbf is brilliant for in town -low enough power and wight down low so easy to maneuver.

Also if you have a topbox you can fit a helmet & handbag,ets :wink: in there -the other can go on a little hook under the pillion seat

I also carry a little chain&net to attach second lid to pillion seat if we need to leave loads of things in the topbox e.g second coat,shoes etc when going out

as for pillion confort, the seat is plenty & comfortable, the topbox helps also as gives a sense of security - not falling backwards. A friend of mine has a CBR and she prefers my bike :cool:

a good idea would be to go on test rides with your pillion - but remember to get what **you ** like :smiley:

hope this helps

One obvious thought is indeed a scooter - my biggest reservation about them is that it will teach me less about biking proper, which I’d like to do someday - preferably outside London - because it is automatic.

There’s no shame in starting out on a scooter – it will let you get the feel for biking in London, and you can always move up to a “real” bike later. The main advantage is that when your mind is boggled by assessing traffic situations and the like, you won’t have to get your head 'round shifting gears at the same time.

That said, if you want to carry the girlfriend too, you’d want a bit of grunt to move away from the lights quickly. A CBF600 has 78 hp so it’s hardly a “slow” bike… a 600 hornet isn’t slow, either… it’s really up to you mate. Any naked bike is probably best for the city due to the upright riding position and lack of unwieldy and fragile plastics.

You can also get a “big” scoot, the 500cc - 600cc scoots boast tons of storage and are great for urban warfare from what I hear.

True. Even a 250 scoot will do you 2-up around town. And it didn’t hamper me going to Switzerland and back the last 2 summers either. Up and down the mountain passes and on the motorways and A roads. Won’t go much more than (gps) 70 mph, but a 500cc scoot will top 100mph if you want to go that fast. Happy to accept that I might be a glacially slow learner, but I’ve still got a way to go before my riding skills are better than my scoot’s abilities.

At the end of the day, if you want a geared bike, then you’d better get a geared bike.

But: taking a pillion (it’s easier for a pillion to get on a scoot than on a bike); shopping trips (my scoot does 6 or 7 bags of shopping easily, and then there’s the “curry hook” for extras); storing your gear (room for 2 helmets. Room for all my bike gear, and boots under the seat/in the topbox); etc. It’s what scooters are made for!

But remember, if you get a scooter, then no “proper” biker will ever nod to you :P:D

Scoots are good, but a bigger bike with a topbox does offer as good a comfort and storage, and the gears can help with the extra weight of a pillion.

the CBF is a great bike and the 600 would leave little wanting in the power department, ask anyone that raced in the hornet cup as to whether they are slow bikes or not :slight_smile:

An older bike like the yamaha thundercat or old 97-99 CBR 600F would be good as well and would enable you to ge a handle on sports bikes without havinig an uber sharp one.

Nobody’s mentioned the poor old Bandito;)

With a decent top box, perfect for most jobs:cool:

Yep - Bandit 600 - perfect for this job - cheap - easy to service (and loads of cheap spare parts via breakers) - proper big motorbike size - so room enough for the pillion - unlikely to get nicked. Will hack the winter - just keep the rear calliper bolts and pistons greased and your laughing. :smiley:

A bandit was another thought. I secretely like their hooligan image too.

But why a Bandit and not, for example, a 650 v storm or just a normal sv650? I often struggled to think why Suzuki produce both these bikes.

The V-Strom would be another good choice as would the SV but I dont think it would be as good as the bandit with a pillion

Yeah - SV650/Strom equally as good - any 600 all-rounder will more than do the job - take a look at the Yamaha Fazer 600 as well - the bike has been around for years in various incarnations.

All of the 600’s (Fazer/Strom/SV/Hornet/CBF/Bandit/ER6) are all good, reliable bikes - it all just comes down to budget and personal taste.

The s650 looks a bit gay, compared to Bandit.

One annoying thing, though, is that I love the old bandits big headlight and hate the new look to it.

I would quite like to have ABS - can you get that on a 2007 model or is it just the new version? Ive not been able to find out.

ABS was fitted since 2005 in faired versions of Bandit 650 (GSF650S)

Can you rip fairing off? Half fairing has always been so unatrractive to me.

In my opinion Its not worth the hassle and expense in removing the fairing and finding a mounting for a new set of lights mate - plus you might have to adapt/replace the clocks with ones from the naked 650.

If you hate the fairing that much (i think it looks ok - and will be useful on the motorway) then compromise and get a naked without abs. :wink:

Well I’ve got a Bandit 1250 ABS (the one with the fairing) and love it. Had it since August 07, nearly 20k miles from new, use it mostly for commuting (30 miles per day round trip, Croydon-central London) but it’s also great for weekend touring with pillion and full luggage. Only downsides are the GF gets sore ankles after long journeys so the pillion seat might be a bit cramped for someone her height (5’ 6"), and have had to have the cat. converter changed as original overheated the housing pipe. That was covered by the warranty.

Also it is top-heavy which took a bit of getting used to. A machine control session with Kent Advanced Motorcyclists sorted that one out :wink:

It sounds like deep down you want a proper bike; so don’t get a scooter. You’ll always wish it was a proper bike. Don’t get cruiser, they’re rubbish in the city, and outside of it. Get something like an old NTV or a Deuville, since you’re not going to enjoy riding it anyway… To be honest, it sounds like you should just get a car though. Riding a bike is brilliant if you got a long commute through traffic, or if you enjoy it. But for going to social events and stuff like that to be honest its a pain in the arse; going into the pub with two sets of protective clothing and 2 helmets, and not even a big scooter can hold all this.