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Discussion Starter #1
I had a look at a 400 this morning and have to say I'm impressed. I'm looking for a machine that can do some week end touring in BC, Alberta, Washington and Idaho. Some of the places I'm thinking of are over the Coquihalla to the Okanagan, the Kootenays/Revelstoke areas as well as The Sea to Sky/Duffy lake areas
I will be riding solo, but will probably be carrying things like a tent sleeping bag etc. I weigh in at ~190lbs. Will the 400 be able to haul my carcass through some of BC's mountainous terrain with ease?
I'm planning on going across Canada in '07 and will definitely be looking for a 650 prior to that trip but I thought that the 400 may be a good place to start. I'm no stranger to riding and did take a motorcycle safety course at Action Motorcycle School prior to getting license last fall, but this will be my first street bike.


Rubble
 

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Rubble,

I've not taken my 400 thru any real mountains, but the 400 handles steep hills better than my Ford Ranger does. Of course the 650 would have more power, but the 400 hauls my 230 lbs around with no problems.
 

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Rubble said:
I'm planning on going across Canada in '07 and will definitely be looking for a 650 prior to that trip but I thought that the 400 may be a good place to start.
If it fits your frame and your budget, why not start with the 650? The extra 250 cc's are really no big deal.
Remember, YOU control the speed of the bike with your right hand. You should have no more problems with the 650 than you would with the 400 in this area.
While the 650 is a little larger and heavier than the 400, once you're moving there's probably little or no difference in controlling the speed or ease of handling. From my experience with my 650 (never rode a 400), it's about as easy a ride as you can get, if the bike fits you.
Don
 

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Don, I will have to test ride both before I make a final decision. I have no doubt about my ability to handle the 650 and in fact would probably appreciate the extra power. Purchase price, taxes, fuel mileage and insurance costs are all considerations - to a point. If I can save money I will, but not if I am going to be dissatisfied with the performance. I'm just trying to get an overall feel for the 400 as I have heard much about what the 650 can do.
 

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I can not comment on hills -flat country down here- but my 400 loaded with around 300 lbs has gone on the high way at 75 for 150 miles at a time -stop get gas go- and at 75 still had some throttle left.
Yes of course the 650 would do it also,and better.
But what will you be using the scooter for the rest of the time, if your like me running around in town stop & go 70% of the time then the 400 I think is a better choice.
Not only cheaper to buy/own but easer to handle and push around.

Yes do make sure you fit on either one, in the end you have to be happy with what you choose.
But I don't think you need to worry about enough power.
 

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OK Rubble,

I have the 400 and I have placed my sleeping bag and tent underneath the seat. Do whatever you want with the back seat with a travel bag but I used my day pack for the rest of my items. I even stuffed my rain gear in the front compartments. The 400 will not disappoint when it comes to this. I went on a 3 day trip with it and no one was leaving me behind.

Now as for the hills, I think the 400 has more than enough poke. Never left me feeling with a shortage of power. The only complaint I would have is the engine felt real busy at the higher speeds (120 kph) and I tend to like a slower reving engine. I bought the 650 this year and will go to fas away places with this. Portland OR, Calgary AB and BC interior roads will be seeing the likes of me.

To insure this baby with ICBC (I Can Bicycle Cheaper government insrance agency here in BC) if you don't want to give them a penny more than possible is $266/year and then add a $34 licencing fee. It worked out to $300 for a person with a safe driver's record (43% discount). Thats a nice incentive...the 650 will almost be double!! Good luck with your decision.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Timothy, thanks, you bring up a good point about the busy engine at higher speeds. Funny thing too, as I age I find myself driving faster on the highway and I think I would want a little extra in reserve at higher speeds. That being said, I have learned to tune out the sound of my Jetta diesel at high rpm's. I am leaning toward the 650 but as always it comes down to test rides. Thanks for the info on insurance rates, that's pretty darn reasonable, and I do have the 40% discount.

Rub
 

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Rubble,

It's also good to keep in mind that the 400 is significantly lighter and cheaper to run that the 650. That lighter weight translates to a flickability that the 650 doesn't have, as it is essentially an automatic motorbike. The low centre of gravity, and placenment of the engine on the swing arm beneath the passenger seat of the 400 does make it easy to flick about than the 650 at speeds below 60km/h. This makes it especially useful in congested cities, as well as tight winding roads. If these are concerns, go for the 400.
If you will be more hgiher speed riding, you will appreciate the motorcycle frame and engine placement towards the front of the frame, giving stable high-speed cruising, and rock solid cornering from low speeds turns through higher speed sweepers even when taken at it's max of around 190kmh.

You'll know which to get once you've done back to back test rides.

Best to buy what you want from the start though, as riding a 'stop-gap' doesn't feel quite as good as crusing on your pride and joy.
 

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Rubble, rode over 200 miles yesterday with some of it 80-90 mph (indic). Rpm's were in the 8K range. Had a little throttle left at that speed. No buzz, no vibration. I like higher rpm's.

Have also ridden the Blue Ridge Mts. No probs.
 

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Hey Rubble,

So you have a diesel as well (mine a Golf) which seems to tell me you appreciate the economic operation of a vehicle. The 400 does offer lots of pluses in this regard. I have got up to 76 mpg (imperial gallon) and routinely get 62-65 mpg in the city. This is why I initially purchased the 400 and have no regrets as I took the car off the road last year for 6 months. Not only did I save all that insurance money ($150/month for the car) but we had a great summer. My commute was made that much more enjoyable because of the 400.

Maybe you are having the same dilema that I had. I road tested both and since I have a couple of larger bikes, the 400 got the nod. After attending a couple of rallies (BMW) and taking the Moto Guzzi just got me thinking about how nice the trip would have been on the 400 or the 650. I eventually decided to purchase the 650 after my dealership gave me some incentive by discounting a 2005 model if I committed early in the season. I plan to keep the 400 just because of the insurance costs and I love how it handles city traffic. It is a joy to ride. Even though the 650 is heavier , more expensive to insure and purchase if I would have purchased it initially I don't think I would have regretted it and would not have the 400 sititing in my shed. Good luck with getting a dealership let you test ride both...it may not happen.
 

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Timothy,
You do have good taste in engines! I love the economy for sure, but the torque as well. I think they are true 'real world' vehicles.
As far as the dealer test rides, I have two dealers who are more than willing to let me try both if I am serious. Thanks for the info, I was actually going to ask what you were doing with your 400, I thought I might get sweet deal :) Who do you deal with, Orca Bay?
Another fly appeared in the decision ointment today, have read of the new post about the Majesty in the General Discussion area.

Rub a Dub Dub
 

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400 hauling butt

billmeek said:
Rubble,

I've not taken my 400 thru any real mountains, but the 400 handles steep hills better than my Ford Ranger does. Of course the 650 would have more power, but the 400 hauls my 230 lbs around with no problems.

I weigh at least 30 lbs more than Bill we have a few small hills around here that are fairly steep and so far the 400 does great, even riding 2 up it does pretty darn good. :lol:
 

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DonRich90 said:
Rubble said:
I'm planning on going across Canada in '07 and will definitely be looking for a 650 prior to that trip but I thought that the 400 may be a good place to start.
While the 650 is a little larger and heavier than the 400, Don
I would like to diagree with the 650 being a little larger. The overall length of the 400 and the 650 are the same. The seat height is approx. 2 in. differance. The overall width is less than a 1/4 inch differance, so for all practical purposes as to the "size" the 400 and the 650 are the same size. I will agree that the 650 is heavier. I test rode the 650 before I bought the 400 and will say that it was as easy to handle, as easy to ride slow on as the 400, as easy to turn around ect. as the 400 ( for me, but maybe not for the wife or someone smaller) and was a real joy to ride and has Awsome power. It was however a little harder to"push" around than the 400. But keep in mind that the 400 does have alot going for it, in some ways more than the 650 It has "in my opinion" plenty of power, better gas mileage, a lower seat which fits people like me 5ft. 10 in. and shorter better. I also prefer the "anolog" dash to the digital. The day I rode the 650 I didnot have any trouble seeing the digital dash but have noticed that the odometer and the clock on my 400 "which are digital" are sometimes hard to see. :roll:
 

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I run around the mountains here in sunny California. The 400 has no trouble with the hills. I think the best comparison is to a small car. On one of the steeper hills around here the 400 slows down a little and if there is a strong headwind it will go about 60-65 mph tops. Usually it will go much faster than prudent.

Thanx,
Russ
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Thanks Russ, I like that comparison. Yes it may slow a bit on the hills but would make it up them none the less. And in fact maybe we live a little too fast a could stand to slow down a bit every now and then :)


Rubble
 

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I did lots of miles in the old Volkswagen Beetles. Just enough power to get the job done - no more than that. Yes, on long hills you'd be in a lower gear with the gas pedal to the floor. But they always got me where I was going - and in their own way they were fun to drive. Compared to them, the 400 is a powerful machine. But I liked my Beetles. They had character. And with a little imagination... OK - with a LOT of imagination... you could pretend you were driving a Porsche.
 

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The VW bugs were great at climbing hills. Took mine (after pulling the body off it) up hills a lot of 4x4s couldn't go up.
 

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Hi Rubble, I live just across the pond from you here in Nanaimo. I have had my 400 for about 5 months now and am very satisfied with it. I have no problem mountain riding here on the Island, the 400 has more than adequate power for cruising the hills and mountain passes. I did take a spin on a buddies 650, it was a bit more powerful and you would notice the difference between the 400 & 650 going up a 6% + road grade. I found the 650 more stable on the freeway, if I recall correctly the 650 has larger wheels and that may account for better stability at higher speeds. The transmission on the 650 is superior to the 400 transmission.

I have only done two up riding a few times here in town and did not notice any loss of power, I weigh 190 lbs. and my wife weighs 130 lbs. I suspect I would slow down a bit more on hills with two up. I do a fair amount of group riding with guys and have had no problem keeping up with the big bikes on our rides.

I will buy a 650 when they make some major changes, at this point there is no point in spending the extra money to buy a 650 as the 400 meets my needs. I hope that Suzuki makes a 650 or whatever they want to call it, into a mini Gold Wing. My wish list would be an 800cc motor, larger wheels, cruise control, a stereo package, optional side storage, an analog dash, heated grips and a heated seat.

Cheers
 

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Discussion Starter #20
Paul and Bill;
I too have had old VW Beetles and came to love for what they were despite any short comings (character). I took my Beetles places that were unbelieveable and had a ton of fun with them. I also had a rolling loaf of bread (VW van) that was extremely slow but well loved just the same, and I went on some very long trips with it, like so many others.

alburg;
I have seen and read your posts, I sometimes go to Qualicum to visit friends, I do love The Island and have considered moving there, it's just not in the cards at the moment. A 650 would be nice but it may not be practical for me right now. The more I read this forum and see how far people are riding thier 400's I see no problem with one for my purposes. When I finally do get my scoot, I'll be in touch and hopefully we can get together and you can show me some nice scenic roads. When it comes to Nanaimo all I really know is the Island Highway.

Rubble
 
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