My first bike was a 1993 Suzuki Bandit 400.
An olive green one, the second version with the lower RPM Redline. Bought it second hand in May 2005 with around 17.000km.
Loved the styling of the asymmetrical gas tank and the steel trellis frame. Much better looking (and fun to drive) then any of the alternatives I had thought about: Suzuki GS500, Yamaha XT600.
Low budget entry bike (1.500€) but what a fun litle think, top speed was around 180km/h and you had to rev the hell out of those tiny inline cylinders to get any decent power.
Mine had an LOUD aftermarket exhaust from a brand called Speed that made the bike sound like it was doing a million km/h when it was only really doing 100!
Kept it for 2 years and around 15.000km (I think…) and sold it for the same price I’d bought it.
Absolutely no mechanical problems whatsoever and the only modifications I made to it was fitting smaller rear indicators because the gigantic original ones collided with the panniers, and replacing the 150/60 rear tyre for a wider 160/50 (or 55?).
Never toured much on it, the biggest trip was probably around 200km in one day, two up and fully loaded.
The same day I sold the Suzuki, in June 2007, I bought a ’97 Honda CBR 1100XX Super Blackbird with around 50.000km (at least that was what the tachometer said…). I named it “Shakti”
A couple of weeks after buying it I did my first real bike trip, from Lisbon to Picos da Europa (2300km in 3 days with 2 streches of 900 km/day). In the two years I kept it I did about 30.000km, in day to day ride, weekend blasts and touring the South of Spain (Sevilla) and the North of Portugal and Spain.
The Blackbird was all standard, even the exhaust, and although it didn’t give me any mechanical worries it was my most “used up” bike. It didn’t get much love from the previous owners so the exhausts where scrapped, the paintjob wasn’t brilliant and all the fairings were a bit “flimsy”.
The only mods I did to it was fitting a 2nd hand Givi Maxia Top-Case I bought for 50€ (with the rack included). It was my first and only bike with a Top-Case and as much has I hatted the looks, it was impossible to deny the convenience of a storage space on the bike, so I just used the Top-Case everyday. This is the reason I’ve never fitted a Top-Case to the ZZR for Touring purposes, I know I’d just end up using it everyday and hating it. (but being to lazy to remove it and loose practicality).
UPDATE: I first wrote this on my previous blog ZZR1400.WORDPRESS.COM a few years ago…of course in the meanwhile I got a top case for my 2013 trip to the Alps and the bloody thing ended up staying on the bike 75% of the time even it’s as ugly as it is practical!!!
Sold the CBR1100XX in 2009 and bought my 2008 ZZR 1400 and the thing I thought when I first rode the ZZR was: “This is how the CBR should’ve been if Honda had made a new one!”. It’s a bit less comfortable but more powerful, with better suspension, better chassis, better everything!
The 2008 ZZR 1400 “Muni”
Almost all of my story with Muni is on my other blog ZZR1400 Touring but in a nutshell, I can tell you: I bought it with 7.000km, and sold it after 4 years with 52.000km, we toured Portugal, Spain, Andorra, France, Italy, Austria, Switzerland, Slovenia, Croatia, England and Scotland together and I loved every minute of it!
Never skipped a beat and was an absolute delight to own. However having moved from Portugal to the Netherlands recently I left it there and sold it with the intention of buying a “new” tourer with Dutch plates.
2007 KTM 990 Super Duke: “Karen”
This is another bike who’s history is also on my other blog. Having falllen in love with the mental KTM Super Duke since my first test-ride in 2007 I’ve always wanted one! So in 2012 I bought a 2007 bike with 13000km to serve as a fun bike and beginner track bike.
Has it turned out it ended up serving as a lot more than fun bike, when I moved to the Netherlands I had to choose between the ZZR and the KTM and it was the orange bike that was shipped to my new country where for 6 months it was used for everything from doing the odd run to the shops to touring to Germany and Belgium, but the fact is that the exact reasons that made me love the bike in Portugal made me hate it at times in the Netherlands. It’s too nervous, to vibey, to uncomfortable two up, has a very limited luggage carrying capacity and without any decent roads to have fun on it…pretty much pointless.
If I could I would keep it as a sort of track only bike but I don’t have the time or the funds to give it proper use on track.
It’s also on Portuguese plates so I can’t keep driving it on the road here in the Netherlands (and if I change it for Dutch plates I can’t sell it for a year), the option was shipping it back to Portugal and put it up for sale! If I do sell it I’m going to miss it dearly…if no one buys it I’ll just have a lot of fun when I go there on holidays!
List of Mods to my 2007 990 Super Duke:
– KTM Power Parts Front Axle Sliders
– KTM Power Parts Rear Foot Pegs Sliders
– KTM Power Parts Touring Windscreen
– Evotech Upper Frame Sliders
– Rear Stand Bobbins/Sliders
– Polisport Hand Guards
– Oxford Hot Grips Premium Touring
Sold in July 2015.