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What Bike Next? Episode 9

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.




Hello one and all, and a warm welcome to What Bike Next?, the YouTube series in which BikeSocial’s resident used bike enthusiasts Michael Mann and Simon Hargreaves try to find the ideal next used bike for a BikeSocial Member... and take them for a test ride on machines chosen from Superbike Factory’s used bike showrooms. And each week a special guest chooses a mystery bike to test ride as well – and all the choices are kept secret until the day of the test rides!

And after all the riding is done, we find out how close BikeSocial got to identifying the perfect next bike – and remember, next time we could be finding a bike for you too!

If you’re savvy enough to be a BikeSocial Member, why not come on the show by emailing with your riding and bike history, what you’re currently riding, and an idea of what bike you fancy next – and you could be chosen for a day test-riding three surprise bikes with Simon and Michael on a future episode of What Bike Next? It’s a cracking day out with free food and bike riding, so get involved.

And, meanwhile, enjoy the show!


What Bike Next? (Ep 9)

Graham from Stafford is looking to upgrade his Versys 650 but doesn’t know what he wants.



This week, BikeSocial Member Graham Mudd has written in asking for help choosing his What Bike Next? Graham is a 44 year-old Telecoms Engineer from Stafford.

“I’ve been on the road since 1997,” says Graham. “I currently ride a 2012 Kawasaki Versys 650 with 72,000 miles on it. It was custom-painted by me and my son (who was 10 at the time) – but it’s a bit long in the tooth so I think it’s about time I upgraded to something else. But I don’t know what I want – my last bikes have been a Bonneville, a Burgman 650, a Zero DSR – so it’s a real mixed bag.”



Graham says: “I spend most of my time pottering around back roads, so I don’t need anything particularly powerful. My Versys has 72bhp, which has been mostly okay. Torque is more important to me than horsepower. I’m more of a plodder, a gentle-roll-on-the-throttle-in-third-out-of-a-corner guy, rather than barrelling along a straight at 14,000rpm guy!”

“I’m not fussy about engine size,” he says. “But I like the power delivery and simplicity of a twin. Or maybe a triple. I also like a bit of vibration, and nothing too refined!”

As for brands... “I’ve always had a soft spot for Kawasaki, Triumph and Moto Guzzi.”

Graham says comfort is the main aim of the game these days: “...with creaking knees and back, which rules out sportsbikes and possibly even sport tourers. But my last three bikes have been adventure bikes, so I want to try something a bit different; variety is the spice of life! And a bit of weather protection and luggage options are nice – but not deal breakers.”

Graham’s current shopping list options include Kawasaki’s retro aircooled parallel twin W800, Triumph’s Trophy 1200 grand touring triple, BMW’s R1200 RT Boxer tourer, BMW’s C650 big bore scooter, Moto Guzzi’s Norge tourer, a Honda ST1300 Pan European, Triumph’s Bonneville or Suzuki’s Intruder 800 – so it’s a right old mix of retro, tourers, with a super-scoot thrown in for good measure.


Graham says he rides between 5000 to 10,000 miles a year, and has only ever had a bike with ABS – so, in terms of electronics, he’s open to try more options – “...anything else is a bonus. If I’m honest I’m likely to fiddle for a week, find a setting I like and never touch it again.” Like the rest of us then, Graham!

Graham will mostly use his bike for commuting in all weathers, day rides and maybe a couple of tours – “... a decent sized comfy pillion seat is important to coax my wife into riding. And in lieu of panniers, somewhere to strap my 55-litre tail bag!”

And what doesn’t Graham want? “I’m not looking at sportbikes, or even maybe sports tourers. I want something comfortable.

Finally, Graham adds: “I’m a massive fan of loud 1990s colour schemes – but, bearing in mind current relatively conservative tastes, as long as it’s not black (for visibility) or white (looks like a police bike, especially if it’s an R1200 RT) I’m happy with any colour.”

And Graham’s budget?: “About £4500 – depends if I’ve annoyed my wife that day.”

Armed with all that info, the BikeSocial deadly duo of Michael and Simon reckon they have enough to get stuck into Superbike Factory’s stock of used bikes and find something suitable to plug the forthcoming Versys 650-shaped hole in Graham’s garage.

Simon’s choice: Triumph Tiger 1050 Sport

Triumph Tiger 1050 Sport spec:

Year: 2017
Mileage: 19,000
Extras: Givi top box, Motech engine bars, sat nav mount
Price: £5890 (£1390 over budget)



Simon says:

“Oh Graham, what you need in your life is obviously a Triumph Tiger 1050 Sport. This Tiger 1050 Sport. You say you’ve got a soft spot for Triumph, and you’re open to trying a triple? Well, it’s a Triumph triple – 123bhp’s worth of Triumph triple. And it’s the perfect upgrade from your Versys 650. It’s like a Versys 650 plus, without actually being, er, a Versys 1000 – which would be a bit samey-but-bigger if you ask me.

“So you want something comfy – the 1050 Sport is certainly that, with nicely balanced riding position and an adjustable screen. And it’s got a decent pillion set-up too, plus a Givi top box for that essential touring and commuting convenience. This 2017 bike has got 19,000 miles on it – so that’s just under 3000 miles a year – and it comes with traction control, rider modes, cruise control, Motech engine bars and heated grips. The only downside is it’s a bit over your budget. Actually, ‘a bit’ is doing some heavy lifting because it’s over a grand more than you have to spend – but, you know, when you find a bike you HAVE to have, you can always find that bit extra down the back of the sofa or in that shoe box under the bed.

“Come on Graham, you know you want it!”


Michael’s choice: Royal Enfield Interceptor

Royal Enfield Interceptor spec:

Year: 2021
Mileage: 2500
Extras: none
Price: £4490 (£10 under budget)


Michael says:

“This might be a safe bet, given Graham’s liking for a modern classic but he’s not tasted a Royal Enfield before and for the money, I think it offers real value. It ticks so many of Graham’s boxes and I’ll think he’ll gel well with the Interceptor 650.

“The bike was released in 2019 alongside the Continental GT, both of which use the then new 650cc aircooled parallel twin engine – the first Enfield twin cylinder for over 50 years. Under Indian ownership since 1994, I remember the firm’s Chief Exec Siddhartha Lal telling me at the press launch that it’s a company with UK roots, Indian soul and a global approach.

“80% of the engine’s torque is made as low as 2500rpm, so that’s ideal of the type of riding Graham is looking to do. And this particular bike is in great condition; it’s had just one owner and covered less than 2500 miles. It offers simple, easy riding – what’s not to like? Come on Graham, get your chequebook out! There’s no competition here!”


Mystery bike: Kawasaki VN650 Vulcan 650S Café

As chosen by Superbike Factory’s Frank van Huizen


Kawasaki VN650 Vulcan spec:

Year: 2017
Mileage: 9538
Extras: backrest, bag racks
Price: £4691 (£191 over budget)



Simon says:

“Oh my life Franck, what have you gone for here? Look, I know Graham said he says he has a soft spot for Kawasaki, and he’s mentioned he might be interested in something a bit retro, among other styles of bike... but when we said ‘mystery bike’ we meant it’s supposed to be a surprise, not a mystery why you chose it!

“Franck’s choice for Graham is a 2018 Kawasaki VN650 Vulcan S Café with just under 10,000 miles on it, for a slightly over-budget £4691. Yes, a bike named after the Roman god of fire... and a Star Trek planet.

“The Vulcan is basically a cruiser version of the Versys 650 Graham already owns. It’s the same motor – a 180°, 650cc parallel twin – but slightly retuned in the Vulcan, down to a claimed 60bhp from the Versys’ 63-ish bhp.

“The Café is distinct from the standard Vulcan 650 courtesy of some bling: the rim tape, the fly screen, three-tone Pearl Storm Grey paint, pillion seat option – and on this bike, the back rest and a pair of pannier brackets. According to Kawasaki, the Vulcan ‘does not require the rider to conform to some ‘herd mentality’, outdated fashion or lifestyle.’ But, if we’re honest, it probably helps.

So does that sound like Graham? I think not... and sorry Franck, I can’t see him going for the Vulcan. Live long and prosper!




Graham’s initial choices – of grand tourers or retros – has confused Simon and he goes for, basically, a bigger version of Graham’s current bike. But it’s way over budget, so will Graham be tempted by the extra power and performance of the Tiger 1050?

Michael has played it safe and gone for a modern interpretation of a Triumph classic Graham has previously owned – if the Royal Enfield Interceptor could be described as a modern interpretation of the old Bonneville (the lads and lasses at Hinckley might argue with that interpretation!). But it’s under budget, for a pretty much new bike.

Franck from Superbike Factory has gone so far leftfield he’s almost come back to where Graham started, choosing Kawasaki’s Vulcan – not a bad bike, but the same motor as Graham has already used for the last 12 years, in a less practical chassis. Sorry Franck, you drew the short straw with this one my friend!

So what will be Graham’s What Bike Next? Watch the whole show to find out!

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