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What Bike Next? Episode 2

BikeSocial Road Tester. As one half of Front End Chatter, Britain’s longest-running biking podcast, Simon H admits in same way some people have a face for radio, he has a voice for writing.



What Bike Next - Episode 2 Bob Allen Yamaha BMW KTM_01
What Bike Next - Episode 2 Bob Allen Yamaha BMW KTM_02
What Bike Next - Episode 2 Bob Allen Yamaha BMW KTM_03
What Bike Next - Episode 2 Bob Allen Yamaha BMW KTM_04


Welcome to What Bike Next?, Episode Two! Yes, this is the second in a series of features and videos in which BikeSocial’s Michael Mann and Simon Hargreaves help a BikeSocial Member find their perfect next bike based on their preferences, by selecting three machines we think will hit the spot.

Then the potential buyer spends a day test-riding each of the choices, courtesy of Superbike Factory’s enormous stock of quality used bikes.

But the catch is – we keep what we’ve chosen a secret until the day of the test rides!

And at the end the day, we find out how close we got to choosing the bike of your dreams – or whether we missed the target completely.

Don’t forget – in the next episode, it could be you! If you’re a BikeSocial member then apply by emailing with your riding and bike history, what you’re currently on, and some idea of what bike you fancy next – and you could be chosen to spend a day test-riding three surprise bikes on What Bike Next?

Meanwhile, enjoy the show!


What Bike Next? Episode 2

The second episode in a new series where BikeSocial finds the ideal next bike for a BikeSocial Member – and takes them for a test ride. What did we choose?


Today it’s the turn of Bennetts customer and BikeSocial Member Bob Allen, who contacted us with a plea for help choosing his next bike. Bob, a youthful 61, says:
“Hi! I’ve just watched the first episode of What Bike Next?, and I’d like to take part because I’m in the same boat: I’m at a crossroads where I really don’t know what bike to get next.”

Bob continues: “I had an RTA in July on my 2018 Honda Gold Wing. A car driver did the unbelievable, ‘Sorry mate, I didn’t see you’ – who pulls out on a Goldwing with lights on! Anyway, I had a lucky escape because the bike bore the brunt, but I ruptured my Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL). The Honda was written off and I’m currently riding a hire bike, a brand-new Suzuki GSX-S1000 GT.”



Bob was at a metaphorical crossroads anyway: “That ride on the Wing was actually meant to be my last ride on it, because I wasn’t really using it for the right purpose – it was supposed to be my last bike; a big tourer/keeper. But my partner isn’t riding pillion anymore so I was thinking of changing to something smaller and more convenient. And now, due to my injuries, I need to see if size, weight and seat height will determine what I get next.”

A bit of Bob’s biking background: he’s owned a long list of machines: Yamaha RD200 and 250, Honda 400/4, Suzuki GT380, Honda CX500 (maggot!), 250N Super Dream, original GL1100 Gold Wing, Yamaha 600 Diversion, FJ1200, TDM900, BMW R1200 RT, Triumph Thunderbird, Tiger 1050 Sport, BMW R1200 RS, a K1600GT and the 1800 Wing.

“So a wide spectrum of different styles,” says Bob. “But definitely not sportsbikes… I’m not the right shape. I’m built for comfort not speed!”

So what’s Bob looking for next?

“I’ve mulled over what I really want out of a bike: still some touring ability, albeit solo, some commuting, and of course fun on the back roads at a weekend,” says Bob. “Possibly a more retro look/style,” he continues. “But I still like some wind/weather protection from rather than totally naked.”

“I was initially looking at a Honda NT1100 as a part trade-in on the Wing, but being written off that didn’t come to be. I’ve been thinking about bikes like the Triumph Speed Twin, Triumph T120 Bonneville, Triumph Scrambler 900, Royal Enfield Interceptor 650, Honda NC750S, Honda CBF1000, Honda CB1100, Honda VFR800 Crossrunner, Suzuki V-Strom 650/1050, Ducati Multistrada 950, Kawasaki Versys 1000, or KTM 890 Adventure… although some of those may be too high in the seat. Price-wise, I’m thinking up to £9000, not too old, nor too high mileage.”



So that’s the challenge. What will Simon, Michael, and Andy, Superbike Factory’s sales expert, come up with?



Simon’s choice

“I’m playing it safe, again! I reckon BMW’s R nineT Urban G/S will knock Bob’s socks off – it’s basically the bike he described! So we have: seriously cool retro styling – I think the way the Urban G/S commemorates the first R80 G/S from 1980 – with the red seat, two-tone blue flashes on the Alpine White tank, the single headlamp, the headlamp nacelle, fork gaitors, high front mudguard – it’s all going on and it looks great. To me, having garage good looks is important because the bike is giving you visual and aesthetic value for money even when it’s not moving.

“Then there’s the motor – it’s an engine Bob is already familiar with – he’s owned flat twins before, and an R1200 RT that actually had this same 110bhp unit. The fact he’s owned a few Boxers means he likes this layout.

“And then there’s what the bike actually does – it’s not a tourer but no reason you can’t fit saddle-bags and ride it 500 miles over a weekend, no problem. And I think, seeing as Bob says his big-mile days are behind him, that’s the kind of touring he’s thinking of now. And as for weekend fun? That’s what the Urban G/S was built for!

“This is a 2018 bike with under 3000 miles on it, up at Superbike Factory for £8887 – so it’s the right age, mileage and price, too. Case closed, I think.”



Bob’s reaction

“Oh yes! A Boxer! I’ve actually been looking at them – the styling is good and I love the Boxer engine. Looking forward to riding it – a good start!”



“It’s like riding an old friend – brilliant, nice to be back on one. And this is totally different to anything else I’ve ridden. It was a good ride, and fun – a bit of a hooligan bike, I think. You could turn yourself into a bit of a hooligan on one. When you first unveiled it you said the riding position might be a bit of a reach forward, but it isn’t – and your legs are bent, but not as much as you think they’ll be. You’re sat up and get wind on your chest, but nothing on your helmet, which is surprising. You could easy do a few miles on one of these; it’s comfy. Seat height’s good too – it’s narrow, so both feet flat on the ground. The Urban G/S is a good first choice! Well done!”



Michael’s choice

 “Okay, so I could’ve played it safe with a sports tourer, but I wanted Bob to step out of his comfort zone hence the MT-10. The headline features are of course its R1-derived engine and chassis, with a claimed 158bhp and its aggressive styling too. Yes, the MT-10 is more than capable of going bonkers when provoked, but beneath its wild exterior lurks a remarkably practical machine. A major reason of the MT’s unique look is Yamaha designed it to be an all-rounder. The screen is effective, the seat is comfy and the riding position upright and relaxed. It’s an all-day machine and only really limited in comfort when you up the speed to high motorway pace. And the CP4 crossplane inline four is a beauty, retuned for more low- and mid-range go, and it still has that delightful off-beat sound and feel you get with a crossplane. Not to mention smoothness on a constant throttle. There are few vibes and bags of grunt as soon as you touch the accelerator, while at low speed some riders think it’s a bit too eager on the gas, while other’s love the MT’s spirit and fiery nature.

This bike is a 2016 machine with under 5000 miles for £8687, with an added screen to keep the wind off. So it’s my choice for Bob – fast, fun, but practical too.”



Bob’s reaction

“Wow! I didn’t expect that! I haven’t ridden one of these before. It looks good, low seat height, lots of power, plenty of bells and whistles. I wouldn’t have even looked at it.”



“Very different. Very different – the engine is absolutely incredible. It spins up so quickly, and there’s lots and lots of power there. The riding position is comfortable; despite the seat being a lot wider, you can’t move around as much as the BMW and it feels higher – maybe because it’s wider. But it’s actually quite comfortable – I might have dismissed it, thinking it’d be like a sportsbike. But it’s not at all. Going along, you get a bit more noise in your helmet – but once I’d been on it a while and started to appreciate what it is... yeah, the engine is so crazy! It’s awesome! I didn’t have to change any riding modes!

“It’s so fast you only have to move the throttle a tiny bit and you’re suddenly going much faster than you thought. You look down at the speedo and think, oh, hold on, slow down a bit. But it sounds so good too.

“It’s a bit jerky at low speeds, and the clutch needs adjusting perhaps on this bike because it’s a bit grabby. The BMW feels a bit smoother to operate; this feels a bit more raw.”



Superbike Factory Sales Exec Andy’s choice

Andy says: “The bike I’ve chosen, looking at Bob’s requirements, I think he’s going to love it. It’s got all the tech and a big-torquey parallel twin motor – plus it’s not a style of bike Bob is familiar with, but one I think he’ll enjoy.”



Bob’s reaction

“Okay, it’s a KTM 890 Adventure. That’s quite a canny choice because the reviews I’ve seen of these are pretty good. Again, I’ve been thinking about KTMs but worrying they’re too high. But it seems like a good bike – a good all-rounder because I won’t be going off-road so much. But they say it can do anything, so we’ll have to see!”



“It’s actually quite nice to ride – this is going to be difficult. This seat, even though you’re high up, isn’t intimidating at all. It’s brilliant. It’s actually the comfiest of all of them. The weight is kept lower down and that makes a difference. The screen is great, there’s hardly any wind buffeting – and because you’re higher up you get a better sense of the road. And there’s plenty of electronics; it’s got cruise control. It’s got plenty of power too – plenty on the lanes and a bit more to overtake. But you have to change down and rev it a bit. Once it revs up, it’s great.

“Now I’ve got a big problem of what I really want. This is nice, it would do everything I want it to do.”



Spec Comparison



BMW R nineT Urban G/S

KTM 890 Adventure






5014 miles

2948 miles

917 miles





Average Bennetts insurance premium





998cc x-plane inline four

1170cc flat twin

889cc parallel twin



@ 11,500rpm


@ 7550rpm


@ 8000rpm


82 lb.ft

@ 9000rpm

86 lb.ft

@ 6000rpm

74 lb.ft

@ 6500rpm

Seat Height




Kerb weight





Ride modes, traction control, cornering ABS, cruise control

Ride modes, traction control, cruise, heated grips

Ride modes, traction control, cornering ABS, cruise




Which bike would you choose for Bob? One of the above, or something completely different? Let us know in the comments section on our YouTube channel. And which one do you think he goes for?

If you’re a Bike Social Member and you want us to choose your What Bike Next?, get in touch with your contact details at


With huge thanks to Pirelli for supporting this project