This will still be a ways off, but I'd like to start researching now. Hubby and I are just finishing up our second season of riding. I've got just over 3,000 miles under my belt. I'm hoping to take an intermediate or advanced riding course next year to "polish" my skills. I think it is safe to say that we are going to continue riding, and will probably be adding some distance. My Shadow is perfect for what I bought it for and I don't plan on selling it. Day trips are fine on it and it's a great cruiser for "around town". I do start to get uncomfortable after about 100 miles or so.
I want to start looking into more of a touring-type bike that I would be comfortable on for hours at a time. Something I can load for bear and take on weekend trips...maybe even camping. Something that is going to cruise at freeway speeds without thinking about it. My concern is my size. I am only 5'2" and my impression is that these types of bike tend to be taller. I am also hopeful to have something that we could easily take off on dirt roads, in addition to highway.
So where do I start? Any initial recommendations?
Well I'll tell you what
; one of my favorite things to do is go bike petting.... er, I mean bike shopping. I like going to every dealership that will let me in the front door. I'll sit on every bike in there. If you go with hubby, you sit on the bike and then once you stand it up, he holds the front tire between his legs so you can put your feet on the pegs/floorboards and see how it feels I the riding position. Most bikes will pretty much go anywhere you want to go. Sure, a Triumph Tiger will handle soft dirt a little better than a Harley WideGlide, but both do fine on solid dirt roads. Don't let looks and size fool you. You will be able to stand a big 1900cc Star Raider up easier than it's little sister, the 1300cc Stryker. It's just the way they're balanced. For smaller statured riders, I think the Star Bolt is quite nice but I think it wouldn't look or feel right if you added much luggage capability to it. The only dualsport that I'm really familiar with is Kawasaki's KLR. and I'm really not that big of a fan of it. Not a real good dirt bike, yet sluggish as a street bike.
Swing by your local BMW dealership and check out their GS line-up. Check out Triumph also. Plenty of short (er) statured riders handle them with ease.... there's just a technique to learn. Nice thing with both Triumph and BMW dealerships is they both tend to offer test rides. So does Harley and Victory. Japanese dealerships seem to be hit or miss. Personally, I'll be damned if I'll spend a couple of thousand dollars on a bike without riding it for 15 to 20 minutes first, I don't care what name is on the case.
Either way, you get to go bike shopping!!!!!!! I wish you were close and I'd go with you. We'd have to swing by a sporting goods store so I could look at guns and cammo for a couple of hours...... I mean minutes... then go find a small brewery and have a beer and talk about what all we've seen! Enjoy!!