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Old 02-28-12, 02:14 PM   #1
pgjackson
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Thoughts on a cheap motorcycle

Gas is now over $4.50 a gallon here in San Diego and my daily commute is 70 miles round trip. Do the math and you can see that I'm spending a small fortune on fuel. I rode a motorcycle (a Yamaha cruiser) for 10 years before moving to California but sold it in 2008 (gas was fairly inexpensive back then and i really wasn't riding very much). I don't know much about sport bikes, but I'm seriously considering getting a small (sub-500cc), cheap (sub $2,000), and most likely older bike just to get to and from work.

Any suggestions? I really don't want a big, fat cruiser again. I know nothing about the sport bike market and was hoping someone could provide some insight on what to look for. Thanks.
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Old 02-28-12, 02:19 PM   #2
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Ninja 250. Not so much a sport bike as a sport-styled-standard. Comfortable (and you can get handlebar risers if you want to sit even more upright or are tall), and perfectly capable on the highway, so long as you're not looking to split lanes at 120 MPH on one wheel.

I just sold mine, and miss it already.
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Old 02-28-12, 02:28 PM   #3
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Ninja 250. Not so much a sport bike as a sport-styled-standard. Comfortable (and you can get handlebar risers if you want to sit even more upright or are tall), and perfectly capable on the highway, so long as you're not looking to split lanes at 120 MPH on one wheel.

I just sold mine, and miss it already.
Now why did you go and do a thing like that??
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Old 02-28-12, 02:31 PM   #4
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Ninja 250. Not so much a sport bike as a sport-styled-standard. Comfortable (and you can get handlebar risers if you want to sit even more upright or are tall), and perfectly capable on the highway, so long as you're not looking to split lanes at 120 MPH on one wheel.

I just sold mine, and miss it already.
I was looking at those but am concerned that it might actually be a little TOO small and get blown all over the road or be too underpowered.

I never lane split.
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Old 02-28-12, 02:35 PM   #5
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What kind of mpg gallon are you wanting?
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Old 02-28-12, 02:38 PM   #6
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I had a 96 Ninja 250 - great bike. I'd definitely recommend. Jet it and put a single muffler full exhaust and you'll get a little more power and not lose much mpg.
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Old 02-28-12, 02:41 PM   #7
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New bike with power to get on highway? Maybe a V strom 650. With bags, under 10K, naked just a tad over 8k
http://www.suzukicycles.com/Product%...gory=dualsport

Did not see your cheap used disclaimer above. Might be able to find a used one, but not under 2k.
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Phobias are for irrational fears. Fear of junk ripping badgers is perfectly rational. Those things are nasty.
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Old 02-28-12, 02:49 PM   #8
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I wonder if you could find a used maxi-scooter for that price.
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Old 02-28-12, 02:55 PM   #9
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Now why did you go and do a thing like that??
I wanted to continue living indoors. #firstworldproblems

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I was looking at those but am concerned that it might actually be a little TOO small and get blown all over the road or be too underpowered.

I never lane split.
There can be a bit of a pucker moment passing or being passed by big trucks on windy days, but I've never ridden anything heavier, so I got used to it.

No problem with power. It'll do 75-80 all day no problem. The revs will be high at that speed, but you can switch out one or both sprockets to drop it down a bit.

No lane splitting here, either. I'm glad it's an option, but I never felt comfortable putting my life into the hands of other drivers not being random and/or stupid.
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Old 02-28-12, 02:59 PM   #10
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I wanted to continue living indoors. #firstworldproblems
Well then, I guess that does it.
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Old 02-28-12, 03:09 PM   #11
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Move closer to work and ride your bike. No motorcycle needed, no insurance, no fuel, no oil changes, and more fun.

But if you must, how bout an older 650 V-Star? I have an '04 Roadstar which I just resumed riding to work yesterday. It's prolly only worth 5 or 6k so a V-Star of that era should be in your price range. The Silverado version has bags and windshield that'd be nice for a long commute and do decent on the hwy. Not a "sport" bike but it'd be a helluva lot easier on your back, and junk.
It's not a big cruiser and isn't in your sub-500 category but its extra snot would be appreciated on the highway.
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Old 02-28-12, 03:29 PM   #12
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Move closer to work and ride your bike. No motorcycle needed, no insurance, no fuel, no oil changes, and more fun.

But if you must, how bout an older 650 V-Star? I have an '04 Roadstar which I just resumed riding to work yesterday. It's prolly only worth 5 or 6k so a V-Star of that era should be in your price range. The Silverado version has bags and windshield that'd be nice for a long commute and do decent on the hwy. Not a "sport" bike but it'd be a helluva lot easier on your back, and junk.
It's not a big cruiser and isn't in your sub-500 category but its extra snot would be appreciated on the highway.
My two previous bikes were a V-Star 650 Classic and an 1100 Custom. Both were fantastic, but I really don't want a big cruiser. Thinking about something smaller, lighter and more nimble. Not really sure it would even be cost effective to get a motorcycle. Just did a comparison and it would take about 2 years to break even on fuel cost based on the cost of buying another vehicle.

I wish I lived closer to work...I would definitely ride my bike in. I even thought about just driving half way, parking in a Walmart parking lot or something and riding the rest...but that would add an hour each way to my commute time.
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Old 02-28-12, 03:33 PM   #13
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SV650's are great all around bikes, but for <$2k you're choices are limited. If you're handy, finding something older (like a BMW airhead, CB750 etc...) would fit the bill after you worked on it.
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Old 02-28-12, 03:47 PM   #14
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My two previous bikes were a V-Star 650 Classic and an 1100 Custom. Both were fantastic, but I really don't want a big cruiser. Thinking about something smaller, lighter and more nimble. Not really sure it would even be cost effective to get a motorcycle. Just did a comparison and it would take about 2 years to break even on fuel cost based on the cost of buying another vehicle.

I wish I lived closer to work...I would definitely ride my bike in. I even thought about just driving half way, parking in a Walmart parking lot or something and riding the rest...but that would add an hour each way to my commute time.
650 is a big cruiser? Ok, different strokes. My R* is ~250 lbs heavier than that 650, but whatever.

Is carpooling a possibility?
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Old 02-28-12, 03:52 PM   #15
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650 is a big cruiser? Ok, different strokes. My R* is ~250 lbs heavier than that 650, but whatever.

Is carpooling a possibility?
Big in the sense that it is fat and wide. Thing is as big as a Fatboy and not much smaller than a R*. If I ever got another big cruiser it would probably be an old R*. Love those bikes.
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Old 02-28-12, 06:20 PM   #16
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You need to hypermile whatever you are driving now. What is it and how many mpgs are you getting now? Automatic?
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Old 02-28-12, 06:28 PM   #17
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I was looking at those but am concerned that it might actually be a little TOO small and get blown all over the road or be too underpowered.

I never lane split.
A worker commutes on a Suzuki Burgman (higher powered scooter) and doesn't have problems on the highway. Then again, it isn't California.
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Old 02-28-12, 06:29 PM   #18
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I commuted 65 miles on a GPZ750......55 mpg.
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Old 02-28-12, 08:03 PM   #19
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Triumph Bonneville? They look awesome.
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Old 02-28-12, 08:50 PM   #20
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Any money you save on fuel will go into tires and maintaince. If you don't lane share there is even less point in getting one.

So if you are getting one for sole reason to save on gas its not worth it.

If you are dead set on getting one, don't get sport bike. They suck for commuting. Get something upright with big ass fairing. Just my 2 cents.
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Old 02-28-12, 09:40 PM   #21
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I have a 1986 Honda Shadow 500. Gets about 65 MPG city/highway average. Paid $1,500 which is about normal. It's comfy and fast enough. Not really a big cruiser, it's cruiser-ish but weighs less than 400 pounds so it's pretty nimble.
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Old 02-28-12, 09:49 PM   #22
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buell xb9s lightning
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Old 02-28-12, 10:13 PM   #23
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Any money you save on fuel will go into tires and maintaince. If you don't lane share there is even less point in getting one.

So if you are getting one for sole reason to save on gas its not worth it.
I figured that out after starting this thread. For about two hours this afternoon I was REALLY thinking about getting a motorcycle. Then I did some math and discovered that it wouldn't be worth it financially in the long run. PLUS, I'd miss out on a lot of cycling since I take my bike to work on the back of my car 2-3 times a week and ride at lunch. Just have to suck it up like everyone else.
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Old 02-28-12, 10:15 PM   #24
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Triumph Bonneville? They look awesome.
Yes! That is on my list. Eventually I will get another motorcycle.
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Old 02-29-12, 08:37 AM   #25
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Sounds like a Ninja 500R to me. I want one too.
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