It's hard to explain my passion for standards. There's not the acres of chrome like a cruiser, or the sleek and sexy bodywork on a sportbike to dazzle the eye. The eye candy is nice, no doubt, but a standard goes deeper, touching the essence of riding. There's nothing hiding the mechanicals, it's all out in the open to admire. You can't avoid the machine, you become a part of it. It makes the experiance pure.
Here's my choices so far, along with a short list of their plus and minuses.
Light and agile, with a 400cc engine, this would be a good bike for getting back into the sport, but cross-state cruising might be too much to ask of this little sweetheart.
Honda Hawk GT
Similar to the CB-1, this is another standard from Hoinda, but with a 650cc V-twin powerplant. It has a stronger character, but it's tilted more towards the sportbike side of the equation than most standards, which might limit it.
Kawasaki Zephyr 550
I've owned this motorcycle, being the last bike I owned. It has good power and handling, but it lacks character.
Similar to the Kawasaki Zephyr, it shares it's strengths and weakness, lack of character, but it's a good bike nonetheless.
Suzuki Bandit 400
For a standard, this bike is sexy. It's gotta be red, the blue version just doesn't do it for me. Like the CB-1, it's a 400 cc again, so I'm not sure if it's got what it takes to go cross-country, but damn it looks good!
The largest bike on my list, the big "G" is also the only one with shaft drive, which reduces maintenance. It will definitely go the distance, and that's the problem. It's big. I really appreciate nimbleness, and that does not describe the "G".
Triumph Speed Triple
Slotting neatky between the Honda Hawk and the Suzuki "G", the Speed Triple is almost perfect. It's the right size, has a wonderful engine, but the riding position is aimed squarely at the sporting side. A few mods would probably help this out, like raise handlebars, but I'm not sure how effective that would be.
If you have owned one of these bikes, or have one for sale near Nashville, TN, I'm definitely interested. Leave a somment and let me know what you think.