First of all i want to say i enjoy reading this thread and appreciate the intelligent posts. This thread was started 6 months after I bought my first bike (m696). I was 24. At the Time it was the clear choice for a new rider with aspirations of riding the renowned brand. Sadly I got tired of that bike and went to a m750. Not before trying a honda, Which was great but I am partial to Italian style. the 750 was ten years older than the 696, and it was better. The 1999 m750 > 2009 m696. So I guess they sort of lost their way. But the story gets deeper. My 750 would have been great forever but it was aging and the speedo/odo broke. What do I do? Repair this old clunker that I love or try something new and top of the line? I sold the 750. The buyer said it broke down on the ride home, sadly. I picked up a 1100s. It's nice and new and pretty. But it handles worse and it's very uncomfortable. You can't win. These bike's are quirky and temperamental. They are not perfect. I am looking forward to the new generation of sbks so I can just ride on the track where they are designed to be used. With lower maint.