Thoughts from a downsizing rider - Yamaha R3 Forum
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post #1 of 11 Old 01-21-2017, 04:44 AM Thread Starter
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Thoughts from a downsizing rider

Hi all. I originally wrote this post for another forum that I frequent. I thought that I'd copy it here too as it may provide useful information to others...

This is a bit of a thread dredge, but I thought it might be interesting to give a bit of an update since my previous post on this topic. Since that time (last April) I sold my other bikes and have been exclusively using a Yamaha R3.

Prior to this, my ownership history probably resembles a lot of other riders ó I started out in the mid-nineties on a 50cc scooter, and gradually worked my way up to an SV1000S, over several bikes of ever increasing weights and engine capacities. Motorcycles have always been my primary transport, so over time I ended up at a crossroads where the bike that I was riding was great for touring, but not so good for the daily commute, so I ended up with two bikes, one (a CBR250) for commuting and the other (a SV1000S) for touring.

Having two very different bikes was great initially, but over time things changed: due to ever increasing home and work responsibilities I found myself having less and less time to ride the SV1000S, to the point that having two bikes no longer made sense. I still commuted daily, so I needed a good commuter, but I also needed a bike that I could take on the odd weekend blast, plus longer trips, two to three times a year.

Iíd been considering downsizing for a while prior to actually following through with it. However, for a long time, there werenít a lot of options available in that capacity range. In an ideal world, I would have got a VFR400 or similar if they still made them ó I seriously considered several older 4 cylinder 400cc bikes, but I didnít want to deal with the hassles of an older bike being my primary transport. Finally, with the release of the RC390, R3, Ninja 300, and so on, there were at a few newer options available, so I started looking at them.

Prior to taking the plunge, I took my CBR250 down from Auckland to Masterton. I wanted to see whether I could live without the power, torque and general touring prowess of a bigger bike. What I didnít expect was one of the most enjoyable trips that Iíd had in a very long time ó there is something intensely satisfying about riding a small bike hard through the twisties that I just donít get with a bigger bike. Vinegar Hill, and the back roads outside of Turangi were an absolute blast. That said, I did need a bit more poke for overtaking things than the 250cc bike offered.

My mind made up, I started trying out some smaller bikes, and after trying a few of them (Ninja 300, Ninja 400, RC390, CBR500, R3) I finally settled on the Yamaha R3, which I bought last April. Iíve now clocked up 15,000 Kilometres (mostly commuting, with a few longer trips).

As expected, the R3 ticks all the commuter boxes ó it is light, flickable, cheap to run and doesnít chew through consumables. As a tourer, the R3 is surprisingly capable, although a slightly larger fuel tank would be beneficial (it gets around 300km per 14 litre tank). If youíre in the sweet spot in the rev range is also surprisingly quick for a small bike and it handles better than any bike Iíve ever ridden (perhaps with the exception of my brotherís old RS250).

So what is it like to live with a smaller bike and do I miss having a bigger bike? Sure, sometimes it would be nice to have a bit more power, but I donít need a lot more to satisfy my needs. If my R3 put out another ten to twenty horsepower, whilst keeping everything else unchanged, it would without a shadow of doubt be my perfect bike.

Would I recommend owning a smaller bike to others? Well, obviously, that depends on what it is that you enjoy about motorcycling. But in a perfect world, Iíd recommend having both a smaller and a larger capacity bike if the opportunity exists. From my own perspective, as I went through the progression of getting bigger and more capable machines, I lost something that I didnít realise that I had lost ó the thrill of riding a bike hard and relatively close to its limits is intensely satisfying. You just canít ride a bigger bike that way on the road for sustained periods without seriously risking life or licence.

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post #2 of 11 Old 01-21-2017, 06:49 PM
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But in a perfect world, Iíd recommend having both a smaller and a larger capacity bike if the opportunity exists.
Hehehehehe... no argument here!

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post #3 of 11 Old 01-22-2017, 09:53 PM
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I reckon there are about 14 different bikes that I would happily have in my garage.
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post #4 of 11 Old 01-23-2017, 11:36 AM
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I like (almost) everything about my R3 except for the size. I just feel too big on it, and I'm not a big guy (5'11" - 175#)
Being in New England, I have a severe case of Spring Fever and cannot wait to get back on the bike again. In the meantime, I continue to watch YouTube videos of all the other bikes I'd like to own.

I don't miss the more powerful bikes I've ridden but do wish the R3 had a little more grunt. I like getting up to speed without it sounding like I'm riding like a hooligan. I also think I'm leaning toward a more "adult" style during my mid-life crisis.

I really need to stay away from the Triumph dealerships or I may very well end up with a new Thruxton R in my garage.
I don't need it but in my "only live once" mindset, want may very well trump need if I can just figure out ho to pay for it.


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post #5 of 11 Old 01-23-2017, 02:02 PM
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Downsized rider here too. Finally took the r3 for a spin the other day. I'm 5'10" on a good day 230lbs naked all muscle (haha yea right). I bumped up the rear preload to 5, bike is showroom stock on the pilot sports.
I actually was thoroughly impressed with the bike overall. Especially in this price category. For twisty back roads it stayed comfortable and I always had power available.
Sure there's a lot to be changed for track duty, but thanks to our site vendors that's all fixable, even on a budget. I felt too big on the bike too, but dropping the clipons and moving the Rearsets back should fix that.
The suspension performed well at a safe "I have a family that needs me" street speed. Rear pogo'd a bit on big bumps in straights and corners.
Looking forward to the track conversion. Making it even lighter with good suspension is gonna make it really fun on a track.
Like OP said, it really depends on what you want in a bike. I missed out on the riding a small bike fast routine as well. Time for me to take a step back for a while.
R3 wouldn't be good for interstate commuter. Yea it can do it, but a bigger, lower revving bike would be more comfy on a daily basis. R3 for back roads and track? Yep.
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post #6 of 11 Old 01-24-2017, 02:29 AM
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I really need to stay away from the Triumph dealerships or I may very well end up with a new Thruxton R in my garage.
I don't need it but in my "only live once" mindset, want may very well trump need if I can just figure out how to pay for it.
I really liked the new Thruxton R when I first seen it. I got to sit on one at a Triumph dealership I visited on a recent
out-of-town trip. But the pricetag is plenty high enough to keep me away! It is WAY more expensive than what I paid
for my CBR1000RR when I bought it new, and my CBR will eat the Thruxton for lunch.
The Thruxton is not that comfortable, and it has no front fairings ( wind protection ). Unless you pay even MORE for
the "cafe racer front cowl" option. No thanks!
I really like the new 2017 Triumph Street Triple 765 RS model. It looks like a super high-quality machine.
But again, the pricetag will keep me away from it. RUMOR is.... it will have a USA msrp of around $13,000.
It's too expensive for what you get. The new 2017 Yamaha FZ-09 is $9,000. Yes, the Triumph is a nicer bike.
But will it be $4k to $5k nicer? The Triumph will certainly not outrun the FZ-09!
It all boils down to what you want out of a bike, and what you are willing to pay for it. I am just not willing to pay the
prices Triumph are asking for their bikes.

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post #7 of 11 Old 01-24-2017, 07:23 AM
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I really liked the new Thruxton R when I first seen it. I got to sit on one at a Triumph dealership I visited on a recent
out-of-town trip. But the pricetag is plenty high enough to keep me away! It is WAY more expensive than what I paid
for my CBR1000RR when I bought it new, and my CBR will eat the Thruxton for lunch.
The Thruxton is not that comfortable, and it has no front fairings ( wind protection ). Unless you pay even MORE for
the "cafe racer front cowl" option. No thanks!
I really like the new 2017 Triumph Street Triple 765 RS model. It looks like a super high-quality machine.
But again, the pricetag will keep me away from it. RUMOR is.... it will have a USA msrp of around $13,000.
It's too expensive for what you get. The new 2017 Yamaha FZ-09 is $9,000. Yes, the Triumph is a nicer bike.
But will it be $4k to $5k nicer? The Triumph will certainly not outrun the FZ-09!
It all boils down to what you want out of a bike, and what you are willing to pay for it. I am just not willing to pay the
prices Triumph are asking for their bikes.
At $14,500, I completely agree... it's a steep price tag but I like it. I may even like it enough to justify the price. I want to buy something I can obsess over for years to come and the Thruxton hits me in a way that I feel it could be the last bike I ever buy.

There are a lot of bikes that go way faster and handle way better but that's not what I'm after. It's just not at all what I look for in a bike. I want something that stirs emotions and makes me have a hard time sleeping because I'd rather be in the garage staring at it. I know this sounds crazy to some but once you've had this feeling, you look for it over and over again. I had it with an 07 Infiniti and since selling that beast two years ago, I've been looking for my next fix. The Triple, the FZ's, your CBR, etc... nice bikes for sure but they do absolutely nothing for me personally.

A guy I work with rides a 4-5 yr old Suzuki Bandit (1200) and anytime the subject of bikes comes up, he tries to ridicule and belittle me for my decision to buy the R3. I've tried to explain several times the allure of smaller bikes and all the enjoyable benefits they provide but he's of that "screw that, take mine for a ride and you'll see" crowd. He's an irritating fellow already but his constant refusal to understand the other side of bikes really drives me nuts. I'd offer him to take the R3 out for a while if he didn't weigh in at close to 400 lbs. LOL

I bought the R3 for reasons that met my needs. Everyone of my needs has been met except for that "sexy" factor that the Thruxton offered me. Even my wife says something from time to time about how the bike just doesn't seem to suit me. It's just not my personality.

I'd already be on a Thruxton today if not for the price. I wasn't able to justify it last year, since I had taken a 20 year break from bikes and was a little nervous about going back. I considered it for some time before settling on the R3. Again, I like the Yamaha and looking back, I'd buy it again if I was doing it all over again. It gave me what I needed but now that I've spent a year on it, I know it just doesn't fit me in size or lifestyle. I wish I could keep it and have two bikes like you do but I don't have extra room for a second bike and the wife would most likely not approve of two bikes anyway. She barely approves of one.

To me, the Thruxton R is like when you walk into a crowded room and you make eye contact with one person and everyone else disappears. I'm not sure if it's worth 15k to everyone, but I'll continue to count my pennies until I can bring one home.

2016 Matte Gray YZF-R3 Ė YZF-R6 Throttle, Vagabond Frame Sliders & Fender Eliminator, Coffman Exhaust, Norton Motorsports Clutch/Brake Levers, TST Industries Integrated Tail Light & GTR/Halo Flush Mounts, Lightech Rear Turns, Womet-Tech Front Axle Sliders, Bar-End Sliders and Swingarm Spools/Sliders, X-Grip RAM Mount, Hardwired 12v Socket / USB Charger / Batter Tender, Cheapo Chinese Side-Stand Pad & Radiator Guard


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post #8 of 11 Old 01-24-2017, 09:27 AM
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Nice read Paulie. Over the last 45 years of riding and 20 motos, I have finally let go of the lust for more power. When I had multiple bikes in the garage, it was always the lightest and least powerful bike that racked up the most miles. For me, I have learned that I can find more satisfaction in riding what I "need" instead of buying what I "want." Probably my favorite bike of all time was the smallest, a Yamaha 2 stroke 60 cc in 1967. Iīve come full circle now and am on a MT-03.
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post #9 of 11 Old 01-24-2017, 05:21 PM
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To me, the Thruxton R is like when you walk into a crowded room and you make eye contact with one person and everyone else disappears. I'm not sure if it's worth 15k to everyone, but I'll continue to count my pennies until I can bring one home.
It sounds like you have found your bike.

The way you feel about the Thruxton R is the same way I feel about my CBR1000RR.
When I first saw pictures of it back in 2011, I thought it was perfect in every way.
The changes Honda made were all in the right direction. Back then, I never thought I would ever own one.
The rest is history.
I've had the CBR for 3 years now, and I still stare at it all the time. The bike saved my a$$ twice.
Two times, I should have went down, but it stayed on it's wheels. That is testimony to it's amazing handling and design.
I could brag and say I saved it, because I am such an awesome rider. But the truth is.... the bike saved me.

I got the little R3 just for something different, and to keep the miles off the CBR.
I like the R3. It is certainly different than the CBR, but I think they both look great, and they are both very fun to ride
in their own way. The CBR will pull your arms out of the sockets when you twist the throttle, and the R3 is super
light and comfortable.
I could sell my CBR and my R3 and get a new Thruxton R. But I would much rather have the two bikes I have.
They just fit my personality. And I like having two bikes. ( I would like having 5 or 6 bikes, if I could! )
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Paulie.online View Post
Hi all. I originally wrote this post for another forum that I frequent. I thought that I'd copy it here too as it may provide useful information to others...

This is a bit of a thread dredge, but I thought it might be interesting to give a bit of an update since my previous post on this topic. Since that time (last April) I sold my other bikes and have been exclusively using a Yamaha R3.

Prior to this, my ownership history probably resembles a lot of other riders ó I started out in the mid-nineties on a 50cc scooter, and gradually worked my way up to an SV1000S, over several bikes of ever increasing weights and engine capacities. Motorcycles have always been my primary transport, so over time I ended up at a crossroads where the bike that I was riding was great for touring, but not so good for the daily commute, so I ended up with two bikes, one (a CBR250) for commuting and the other (a SV1000S) for touring.

Having two very different bikes was great initially, but over time things changed: due to ever increasing home and work responsibilities I found myself having less and less time to ride the SV1000S, to the point that having two bikes no longer made sense. I still commuted daily, so I needed a good commuter, but I also needed a bike that I could take on the odd weekend blast, plus longer trips, two to three times a year.

Iíd been considering downsizing for a while prior to actually following through with it. However, for a long time, there werenít a lot of options available in that capacity range. In an ideal world, I would have got a VFR400 or similar if they still made them ó I seriously considered several older 4 cylinder 400cc bikes, but I didnít want to deal with the hassles of an older bike being my primary transport. Finally, with the release of the RC390, R3, Ninja 300, and so on, there were at a few newer options available, so I started looking at them.

Prior to taking the plunge, I took my CBR250 down from Auckland to Masterton. I wanted to see whether I could live without the power, torque and general touring prowess of a bigger bike. What I didnít expect was one of the most enjoyable trips that Iíd had in a very long time ó there is something intensely satisfying about riding a small bike hard through the twisties that I just donít get with a bigger bike. Vinegar Hill, and the back roads outside of Turangi were an absolute blast. That said, I did need a bit more poke for overtaking things than the 250cc bike offered.

My mind made up, I started trying out some smaller bikes, and after trying a few of them (Ninja 300, Ninja 400, RC390, CBR500, R3) I finally settled on the Yamaha R3, which I bought last April. Iíve now clocked up 15,000 Kilometres (mostly commuting, with a few longer trips).

As expected, the R3 ticks all the commuter boxes ó it is light, flickable, cheap to run and doesnít chew through consumables. As a tourer, the R3 is surprisingly capable, although a slightly larger fuel tank would be beneficial (it gets around 300km per 14 litre tank). If youíre in the sweet spot in the rev range is also surprisingly quick for a small bike and it handles better than any bike Iíve ever ridden (perhaps with the exception of my brotherís old RS250).

So what is it like to live with a smaller bike and do I miss having a bigger bike? Sure, sometimes it would be nice to have a bit more power, but I donít need a lot more to satisfy my needs. If my R3 put out another ten to twenty horsepower, whilst keeping everything else unchanged, it would without a shadow of doubt be my perfect bike.

Would I recommend owning a smaller bike to others? Well, obviously, that depends on what it is that you enjoy about motorcycling. But in a perfect world, Iíd recommend having both a smaller and a larger capacity bike if the opportunity exists. From my own perspective, as I went through the progression of getting bigger and more capable machines, I lost something that I didnít realise that I had lost ó the thrill of riding a bike hard and relatively close to its limits is intensely satisfying. You just canít ride a bigger bike that way on the road for sustained periods without seriously risking life or licence.

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Nice write up man. 15,000km is a lot of miles! ;-) Us yanks think in miles. I was basically in a similar boat, if you will. I had my car, my motorcycle for fun, and a 150cc scooter for local errands, etc. However, besides being in New York City and paying for a monthly subway metro card, being one of the 50% that owns a car, and having two two-wheeled vehicles, it added up monetarily, but also in other ways-registration fees, insurance, etc. So I sold my scooter, and decided to "downsize" from my 03 CBR600RR to the R3, however, it is not my primary mode of transportation. In my mind, I was basically combining the two. I still had my motorcycle, but something more practical. Do I miss the power? **** yes. Will I go back. I have thought about it, but for now and foreseeable future, the R3 is my main and only bike.

I certainly won't commute to work on it since its a 25 minute subway ride, and it is my weekend leisure vehicle, and also sometime school commuter vehicle, when I do not drive to class.

By the way, I like the long and detailed write up. Often times, people have ADHD on message boards, even when discussing the most passionate and complex subjects; it all becomes simplified and reductive, which can be an iut njustice when discussing important things. Just my 2 cents. A lot of people won't even bother to read long posts, but will take the time to leave some snarky retort, which is rude; it's like move on if you do not want to read it. It's why people can't get into real polemics or debate. Meh, I digress. Starting to get fired up! ;-) Since you're from down under, I was wondering if our yank idioms and slang translate-do you guys say "my 2 cents" for example, meaning "my little bit of input into the conversation." We often don't realize how much idiomatic stuff we use. Anyway....


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