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  1. #1
    Senior Member pgjackson's Avatar
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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.
    "These are questions for wise men with skinny arms." - Khal Drogo
    2011 Rossetti Vertigo w/ SRAM Rival 16.1lbs

  2. #2
    phony collective progress x136's Avatar
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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.

  3. #3
    derailleurs are overrated bigbenaugust's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by x136 View Post
    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??
    --Ben
    Carrboro Bike Coalition - putting the "bike" in "CARrboro" :)
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  4. #4
    Senior Member pgjackson's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by x136 View Post
    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.
    "These are questions for wise men with skinny arms." - Khal Drogo
    2011 Rossetti Vertigo w/ SRAM Rival 16.1lbs

  5. #5
    Galveston County Texas 10 Wheels's Avatar
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    What kind of mpg gallon are you wanting?
    [SIZE=1][B]What I like about Texas[/B]
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  6. #6
    I don't know. RB1-luvr's Avatar
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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.
    Rast ich so rost ich. (When I rest, I rust)

  7. #7
    You Know!? For Kids! jsharr's Avatar
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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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  8. #8
    BF Risk Manager
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    I wonder if you could find a used maxi-scooter for that price.
    Regards, MillCreek
    Snohomish County, Washington USA

  9. #9
    phony collective progress x136's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bigbenaugust View Post
    Now why did you go and do a thing like that??
    I wanted to continue living indoors. #firstworldproblems

    Quote Originally Posted by pgjackson View Post
    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.

  10. #10
    derailleurs are overrated bigbenaugust's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by x136 View Post
    I wanted to continue living indoors. #firstworldproblems
    Well then, I guess that does it.
    --Ben
    Carrboro Bike Coalition - putting the "bike" in "CARrboro" :)
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  11. #11
    on by skijor's Avatar
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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.

  12. #12
    Senior Member pgjackson's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by skijor View Post
    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.
    "These are questions for wise men with skinny arms." - Khal Drogo
    2011 Rossetti Vertigo w/ SRAM Rival 16.1lbs

  13. #13
    Senior Member no motor?'s Avatar
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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.

  14. #14
    on by skijor's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pgjackson View Post
    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?

  15. #15
    Senior Member pgjackson's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by skijor View Post
    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.
    "These are questions for wise men with skinny arms." - Khal Drogo
    2011 Rossetti Vertigo w/ SRAM Rival 16.1lbs

  16. #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?

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by pgjackson View Post
    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.

  18. #18
    Galveston County Texas 10 Wheels's Avatar
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    I commuted 65 miles on a GPZ750......55 mpg.
    [SIZE=1][B]What I like about Texas[/B]
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PGukLuXzH1E

    Set F1re To The Ra1n ( NY Night Rain Ride)
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  19. #19
    Curmudgeon in Training 20grit's Avatar
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    Triumph Bonneville? They look awesome.

  20. #20
    RacingBear UmneyDurak's Avatar
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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.
    I see hills.... Bring them on!!!
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  21. #21
    Senior Member
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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.

  22. #22
    Pokemon Master Darth_Firebolt's Avatar
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    buell xb9s lightning

  23. #23
    Senior Member pgjackson's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by UmneyDurak View Post
    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.
    "These are questions for wise men with skinny arms." - Khal Drogo
    2011 Rossetti Vertigo w/ SRAM Rival 16.1lbs

  24. #24
    Senior Member pgjackson's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 20grit View Post
    Triumph Bonneville? They look awesome.
    Yes! That is on my list. Eventually I will get another motorcycle.
    "These are questions for wise men with skinny arms." - Khal Drogo
    2011 Rossetti Vertigo w/ SRAM Rival 16.1lbs

  25. #25
    Papaya King waynesworld's Avatar
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    Sounds like a Ninja 500R to me. I want one too.
    Quote Originally Posted by rumrunn6 View Post
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