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Greetings from San Miguel de Allende, Mexico. I rode my FJR1300 down last September, after retiring from a career in software development. (My wife followed in her VW GTI.)

I've owned more that a dozen motorcycles, but never a Ducati. I think that may be about to change. The FJR is utterly wrong for Mexico. Too heavy and too low. And, since they don't sell the bike here in Mexico, Yamaha techs are not familiar with it. I had to order a new rear tire from the US and have it shipped. And so on. So next week I'll ride it back to Laredo, where I'll sell it to a gent from Maryland, who will bring a truck for it.

I initially thought I'd replace the FJR with a V-Strom 650 -- I owned an early SV650 and loved that little motor -- but either they've grown taller or my legs have gotten shorter. I can't conceive of keeping the bike upright on wet cobblestones. So I started looking further afield.

The big 4 Japanese manufacturers don't offer anything that really appeals to me, except possibly an MT-03, and that would just about rule out all two-up riding. So... what do the European marques have for me?

I've ridden a Monster 797 -- there's a shiny new dealership an hour away in Querétaro -- and liked it a lot. I can flat-foot it, it's absurdly light after getting off the FJR, it's got decent legroom and great engine character. Stiff suspension, though. And I couldn't find neutral after stopping to save my soul.

I've also ridden a BMW F 700 GS. Great ergos, felt a little top-heavy (despite carrying its fuel down low), cushy ride. And totally soulless. Uninspiring. In ways, rather like the Super Ténéré I used to ride: a great tool for high-mileage days but "thrilling" isn't in its vocabulary.

I would also test-ride a Triumph Tiger 800 -- if I could find one. The nearest Triumph dealer is two hours away, and they don't have any. Neither do the other Triumph dealers I called. I can understand that the bikes haven't arrived yet, but I got the sense that Triumph's dealer network in Mexico is in some amount of disarray.

So I'm leaning M797. My only showstopper so far has to do with storage. I like to carry a patch kit, a small compressor, some tools, etc. I could use a tail bag -- until the wife decides to join me. Then I have a problem. I think Shad may sell some sporty-looking soft saddlebags and a fitment kit for the bike, and if so -- problem solved. The only other detail to iron out will be a little more wind protection. So if you have recommendations in that department (or any other) please let me know. I know I'm trying to make a naked bike into a pseudo-sport-tourer, but I promise not to go too far in that direction... just the necessities. :grin2:

Thanks in advance for any advice. I'll let y'all know if/when the purchase is consummated.
Mark
 

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I couldn't find neutral after stopping to save my soul.
Had similar problem with my Apes, but not as bad. Neutral was real hard to get if stopped, but just find it while you roll up to the stop, or sit there and hold the clutch in. Just a small character thing.

I'm sure you can find some kind of luggage for it. I got a SW Motech rack and Givi case for my 1200.

I have also wondered if my bike was getting taller or my legs shorter. The seat height on this thing is great for me, nice and low. >:)
 
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