After 2 years working from home, I returned to working in London 5 days a week in June
During the pandemic I sold my then commuter (which I adored) - a gen 1 GTR1400.
I was riding my VFR1200F for the first 6 weeks while I looked for a new commuter. I bought a TDM900 as I’d had one as a commuter before and enjoyed it thoroughly.
I hate this one. It took me 5 minutes to remember why I got rid after 30k miles of faithful commuting last time around. In order they are; jerky fuelling is unflattering, cable clutches, wind buffetting, weak headlight, chain drive
I love everything about my VFR12. It’s narrow, the headlight is great and running lights on mirrors make you super visible, hydraulic clutch and shaft drive, great aero makes for untiring riding on the dual carriageways, brakes superb, effortless progress.
It is a bit juicy. During the summer holiday commutes with the roads clear I was getting only 33mpg. Fuel prices have come down a bit, but recent prices mean that 16k commuting miles per year at 33mpg is going to cost me more than the comfort justifies.
Thinking about selling both bikes, to replace with one “do it all” bike, and maybe a 660 tenere down the line for that Iceland or Morocco trip I’ve been saying I’ll do for years.
I’d always said if I were to replace the vfr, it would be with a gen2 zzr1400. Much like my old GTR, this is probably going to be not much better on fuel. The old gtr wasn’t perfect; it was wide and now working in Soho, there’s quite a bit of battling through the tight stuff that needs to be done between there and the blackwall tunnel. The most troublesome thing about the gtr was those super effective wingmirrors, which were at a tough height for car wing mirror clearance. Apparently the position of the gen2 GTR wing mirrors is an improvement
While I don’t need 150+hp, I do find it useful. Having a sports touring position and protection, nice visible headlight, and hydraulic clutch are more important to me.
On my way to and from work on Thursday I rode in with a guy on a 2007 K1200GT. A bike I’d never so much considered, BMW stereotypes and prices I guess, it cut a svelte figure in my mirror and had the presence of the bikes I miss commuting on. “Bet it’s crap on fuel” I thought to myself, but checking fuelly suggests ~50mpg is possible which really does make it appealing. Lots of the ones I’ve looked at on fb/ebay have had their ABS removed as apparently this is a common and expensive issue. I’ve not really owned many bikes with ABS anyway, but I am not getting home till midnight most nights and the security policy of ABS against my tired mistakes is a nice to have, despite current TDM not having it
Ideally I’d not spend more than 4k on a motorbike. These days though, that doesn’t get you much. After being rear ended stationary at a crossing last year, the VFR was written off, I bought it back salvage and had it fixed. Because of crazy prices, the difference between fixing it and what I was paid out made the bike free based on what I paid for it originally. Because of this, it does seem ridiculous to me to sell it (and in fact I have had it up for sale overpriced for months and not so much as a message)
Chains I guess are okay if there is a centre stand but I can’t abide by cable clutches anymore → I’ll briefly explain that this is because of that biting point wander cable clutches seem to develop throughout a commute with expansion, and while it’s probably only every couple of months the frequency of adjusting them irks me. They also tend to be heavier than hydraulic ones, and having a non tiring ride in to work has jumped to the top of my priorities.
I used to be a huge fan of adventure bikes, but because of their wind buffetting, vague front wheel feel and brake dive I am more keen on sports tourers these days.
I might not buy a new bike, but it does seem to be all I can think about so I am considering it strongly.
Hopefully that’s enough of a brain dump to distill what I am really after with the next commuter, and I’m sure this is something others have had to think through in the past
Thanks in advance!