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10/20/2017 1:01:18 AM
9/22/2017 12:11:25 AM
Posted: 8/30/2005 3:30:36 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 8/30/2005 3:36:38 AM EDT by metroplex]
My dad recommended I start researching motorcycles in case gas prices get too high. He used to ride a lot when he was younger, and he suggested 80 ccs? for local driving (sub-65 mph roads, lots of stop lights).
Any ideas?

Storage space is a must - for groceries, etc...
I'm not sure on the legalities of having a second passenger ride in one of those secondary units (whatever they're called)

It sounds stupid and not as sleek as a crotch rocket or Harley, but any ideas would be appreciated.

The requirements for the mission profile are as follows:

1). Inexpensive second-hand/used motorcycle, budget is under $1000 but can go slightly higher to get something better if necessary.

2). Extremely good gas mileage

3). High performance not needed, road profile is local driving up to 60 mph for groceries, work, etc...


Now for the legalities:
Do I need to get a motorcycle license, registration, and insure the motorcycle? How much of a hike in my premium am I looking at?

I already have a Snell M-00 full face helmet from my drag racing days (for the car, a helmet was required at some tracks even though NHRA regs call for it on cars FASTER than 14.00) and can buy more safety equipment.

I found that I spend between $2000-$5000 in gas per year depending on price of gasoline. If I can cut that by $1000 a year, a motorcycle would be worth it.

A Honda Civic or sub-40/50 mpg vehicle that costs $10,000 - 20,000 is NOT worth it based on my calculations.
Link Posted: 8/30/2005 3:37:12 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 8/30/2005 3:38:16 AM EDT by shooter220]
You will have a TOUGH time under a grand. If you can find one a Honda Pacific Coast 800 may fit the bill. In the DC area bikes under 2000 are lacking in desirability (older, needing lots of tech help).

shooter

ETA: Yes, you pay all the tangential costs for a bike you do for a car (registration, insurance, taxes). Take a Motorcycle Safety FOundation Course (free in some states) to get your insurance down and to save your life.
Link Posted: 8/30/2005 3:40:50 AM EDT
I'd look into one of the new super-scooters that became popular a few years ago. We're talking a scooter that is hooked up like a Gold-Wing. Easy to ride, PLENTY of power for street riding, and they get great mileage.

If it has to be a street bike, I'd look at a KLR650, SV650, DR350S, DL650, FZ600, Bandit 600, etc. For the kind of riding you will do, it's hard to beat a mid-to-large enduro. They sit up higher than most bike (and all cars) which is nice for seeing over the car ahead of you, and their mileage is better than multi-cylinder machines.

Dave
Link Posted: 8/30/2005 7:04:58 AM EDT
I would look at some late 70's and up. Look for bikes that run great but are not great looking, and have around 30k miles. Most likely will need one or two tires, and maybe a fluid flush. Look for 350cc and up.

My friend got a Honda 360T for $300, he used it for a starter bike and is now on a Yamaha R6. It obviously had some rust on the pipes and rear tail, but nothing that isant acceptable for $300.
Link Posted: 8/30/2005 7:17:05 AM EDT
If you are looking for cheap transportation, and not trying to make a style statement, try a older used 250-500 class bike.

I paid $1250 for my wife's suzuki GZ250. Its a 2001 with 6000 miles on it. Runs great, solid little communter bike, and gets 70 MPG +. Runs happily all day long at 40-50 mph, but I find it a bit small and a bit underpowered for and significant 55mph+ travel.... If its stog and go city commuter traffic the 250 class are just fine. If you have any significant highway travel at 60+, buy a tad larger bike... For what its worth I'm running a Suzuki Volusia 800 and getting 43+ mpg...

Get a decent set of large saddle bags, and you are good to go for light errands and some small grocery shopping...
Link Posted: 8/30/2005 7:17:11 AM EDT
In your price range, about the only thing I can think of would be a Kawasaki EX250. They don't have the storage space, but that could be added. They _do_, however get great gas mileage (~50mpg?). They're not fast by any means, and top speed... if you hold it wide open long enough... is maybe 100mph. If you're looking for something to just run around town, it'd be okay. If you're looking to get on the interstate a lot, I think I'd look for something with more power. But if you get something with more power, it's obviously not gonna get the same gas mileage. Good luck finding something!
Link Posted: 8/30/2005 7:20:27 AM EDT
what about a used suzuki GS500? you could find one of those around a grand I bet.
Link Posted: 8/30/2005 7:44:59 AM EDT
My first bike was a 1982 Yamaha Seca XJ400. The 400cc engine was great on gas -- and it was powerful enough to get over 85mph (that was the highest the speedo would go). I don't think a 80cc bike, even for non-highway use, is a good idea for the street. Sometimes you need a little more power to navigate the streets in a safe manner.

I bought the bike used in 1995 from a college student for $1,100, including a helmet and saddlebags. The bike had 9,000 original miles on it. So it's theoretically within your budget.

The Seca is a sport standard so yes you could carry a passenger. Cargo space ... well, it's not a Gold Wing but you can buy a bungee net and lash your gear to the back of your bike.

Do you have any other safety equipment other than the helmet? I ask because your $1,000 budget will have to account for a good leather/textile jacket, gloves, sturdy boots and (optimally) riding pants.

You can't go to a store at the mall and buy a leather jacket that will hold up for motorcycling safety. The mall jackets are not designed to protect you in a crash. You need a quality jacket from Vanson, Joe Rocket, A*, etc. which will probably run you at least $200, which is 1/5 of your budget. Check out the closeouts at New Enough Cycle Leathers and Motorcycle USA Superstore.

You should also invest in good boots. In some crashes, your ankle may get pinned between the bike and the street. Ergo, you need something that will hold up.


Originally Posted By metroplex:
Do I need to get a motorcycle license, registration, and insure the motorcycle? How much of a hike in my premium am I looking at?



Yes to all three. Insurance will vary, according to your age, area and bike. The bike I mentioned above cost me $300/year to insure (liability + underinsured motorist) in Philadelphia.

Link Posted: 8/30/2005 8:22:35 AM EDT
Find a used Suzuki Savage. The 650cc one lunger has plenty of power for highway cruising (if necessary) and gets excellent gas mileage. There is quite an aftermarket for them also. You can generally find a good one for around $2,000 to $2,500.
Link Posted: 8/30/2005 8:29:32 AM EDT
A Ninja 250 or 500 might fit the bill too.

Take an MSF course as well.
Link Posted: 8/30/2005 8:39:26 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 8/30/2005 8:40:09 AM EDT by mr_camera_man]

Originally Posted By FunYun1983:
I would look at some late 70's and up. Look for bikes that run great but are not great looking, and have around 30k miles. Most likely will need one or two tires, and maybe a fluid flush. Look for 350cc and up.

My friend got a Honda 360T for $300, he used it for a starter bike and is now on a Yamaha R6. It obviously had some rust on the pipes and rear tail, but nothing that isant acceptable for $300.



We have a winner. Check Ebay and Craigslist for old Japanese bikes in your area. My first bike was an '81 Kawasaki KZ440 with fairing. Bought for $400 with 14,000 miles on it, rode for a year and 1200 miles, replaced the starter, and sold for $400.

Now I'm on an '83 KZ750 shaft drive with 11k miles, that I bought earlier this year for $300. Needed a gas tank, coils, front tire, and a paint job. Got it road-ready for about $600 including title and plates.

If you know which end of a wrench to use, this is the way to go. It's also fairly easy to find service info online, either by buying a factory service manual on ebay, or through discussion boards like www.kzrider.com
Link Posted: 8/30/2005 8:41:35 AM EDT
I have had good luck with 80's Honda in the 350-650cc range. You will find insurance to be pleasantly affordable.

Buy one for fun, though. Not for commuting. Especially if you live in MI.

Comparing the cost/benefits of a used bike, and a new car is stupid. Compare a $1500 bike, with a $1500 car, and the car wins. Especially after factoring things in like utility, comfort, safety, etc.

By all means, buy a used bike,but not for the wrong reasons.
Link Posted: 8/30/2005 8:45:56 AM EDT

Originally Posted By frozenny:
If you are looking for cheap transportation, and not trying to make a style statement, try a older used 250-500 class bike.

I paid $1250 for my wife's suzuki GZ250. Its a 2001 with 6000 miles on it. Runs great, solid little communter bike, and gets 70 MPG +. Runs happily all day long at 40-50 mph, but I find it a bit small and a bit underpowered for and significant 55mph+ travel.... If its stog and go city commuter traffic the 250 class are just fine. If you have any significant highway travel at 60+, buy a tad larger bike... For what its worth I'm running a Suzuki Volusia 800 and getting 43+ mpg...

Get a decent set of large saddle bags, and you are good to go for light errands and some small grocery shopping...



Do you have any pics?

My wife is talking about getting one to go to work and back.

BigDozer66
Link Posted: 8/30/2005 8:54:44 AM EDT

Originally Posted By BillofRights:
I have had good luck with 80's Honda in the 350-650cc range. You will find insurance to be pleasantly affordable.

Buy one for fun, though. Not for commuting. Especially if you live in MI.

Comparing the cost/benefits of a used bike, and a new car is stupid. Compare a $1500 bike, with a $1500 car, and the car wins. Especially after factoring things in like utility, comfort, safety, etc.

By all means, buy a used bike,but not for the wrong reasons.



The $1500 bike will most likely have better fuel economy than the $1500 car. MI driving where I live is driving in a straight line for 5-6 miles, make a turn, drive in a straight line for another 7-10 miles.
Link Posted: 8/30/2005 9:09:16 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 8/30/2005 9:15:28 AM EDT by Weiseguy]
+1 on a Pacific Coast if you can find one. 600 cc V twin and "The Trunk". The Trunk rocks. Unfortunately they were mostly owned by daily riders and have alot of miles on them.

Don't get an 80cc motorcycle. That isn't enough power to ride safely on the street, and usually the lack of power is matched by tiny brakes that are OK for one stop, but if you are doing a bunch of stop and go or hills, they will fade out on you.

250 cc minimum if you're a light weight guy. If you're overfed like me, 500 cc is a better minimum.

No matter what you should take the Motorcycle Foundation Training course. If you are a beginner, they provide the bikes (at least around here). Learn how to ride before you get a bike. If you read the statistics, inexperience is the number two thing, next to intoxication, that gets people killed on bikes. Don't skip the training.


ETA: I re-read you mission profile. For a cruising speed of 60 mph you're will need a minimum 500cc motor. A 250 will get there (60mph) but it will have nothing left, you always need something in reserve for passing, hills, etc.
Link Posted: 8/30/2005 9:19:43 AM EDT
If your helmet is more than 5 years old, ditch it. They break down and lose effectiveness. Figure 250 bucks for a decent jacket and another 50 for gloves. Also, motorcycle tires are good for about 5000 miles or so. Figure 250 bucks a set (and then figure in labor). If storage is a requirement, then you will probably want hard bags. Corbin makes luggage that is very nice, but about 600 bucks.

Motorcycles are cheap on fuel and insurance, but the maintenance and additional gear is spendy. Keep that in mind, especially if you are going to use your bike as you only transportation. I did it for 5 years. There are costs that you don't see coming.

Look into MSF courses, and make sure you have health insurance. It won't be you that hurts yourself, it will be someone that doesn't see you and hits you.


GT
Link Posted: 8/30/2005 9:36:33 AM EDT

Originally Posted By Gravity_Tester:

Motorcycles are cheap on fuel and insurance, but the maintenance and additional gear is spendy. Keep that in mind, especially if you are going to use your bike as you only transportation. I did it for 5 years. There are costs that you don't see coming.




That's a damn good point. The reason a lot of ppl. say bikes are cheap is they don't ride them enough to do all the maintainance you would have to do if you rode a bike as your everyday vehicle. Motorcycles are cheap sunday toys, but not near as cheap if you use them 7 days a week...
Link Posted: 8/30/2005 9:39:29 AM EDT
A used Buell Blast is also a likely candidate.
Link Posted: 8/30/2005 9:40:31 AM EDT
wow... thanks for all the great input!

My current ride is a 14 mpg 4-door sedan (Crown Vic). I did the math and it isn't worthwhile for me to upgrade to a gas miser car since the cost savings per year aren't significant enough to offset the cost of the new vehicle within 10 years.
Link Posted: 8/30/2005 10:05:49 AM EDT

Originally Posted By metroplex:
MI driving where I live is driving in a straight line for 5-6 miles, make a turn, drive in a straight line for another 7-10 miles.



Yeah, but don't it get cold in Michigan?

I commuted on my cycle for two years, during grad school. It gets cold here in Philadelphia as well. I rode through the cold but the thing that will (and should) stop you is snow and ice. No motorcycle does well in either. On those days I took public transportation or walked to school.
Link Posted: 8/30/2005 5:25:22 PM EDT

Originally Posted By jthuang:

Originally Posted By metroplex:
MI driving where I live is driving in a straight line for 5-6 miles, make a turn, drive in a straight line for another 7-10 miles.



Yeah, but don't it get cold in Michigan?

I commuted on my cycle for two years, during grad school. It gets cold here in Philadelphia as well. I rode through the cold but the thing that will (and should) stop you is snow and ice. No motorcycle does well in either. On those days I took public transportation or walked to school.



Michigan? Holy shit Batman! you can get heated vests and pants, but they alone will blow your budget. And don't even think you can gut it out. At 50 mph you are gonna be freezing cold and shaking. You will stiffen up on the controls, and can induce a crash. Motorcycles are great, but you can't afford to fuck up, even for a second.

Figure for a year round ride, and your initial set up for gear, you are looking at probably 1500 for the bike, and 2k plus for gear. Granted, the gear will last you a while, but you could buy a used econobox for 3500 bucks. Trying to do motorcycling on the cheap is not a good idea. When you buy your gear, figure what you can afford, and then buy one better. Otherwise you'll end up doing it twice...

GT
Learned the hard way....
Link Posted: 8/30/2005 5:40:58 PM EDT
I picked up a 1984 Honda Aspencade this past April with 35K miles on it and have been enjoying 40MPG all summer long (It was a great summer for a Bike - I am in Grand Rapids, MI). I put a little over 5K miles so far this summer. I paid $3500 for it. Most people don't believe that it's 21 years old, it's dolled up with every add on chrome item they ever sold.

Keep looking around, you might be surprised what you might find. I have been seeing alot of older bikes on the road since gas has gotten so expensive.

I agree on the helemt comment listed above. I had a Snell 86 that I used back then that I used for a few days after I first got the bike this spring. It started falling apart after I started using it, so it was obvious that I needed a new one. HJC makes some very resonably priced helmets. Ebay is a good place to get deals.

If you get a full dressed bike, you can ride in comfort much longer, but rain still sucks. I rode to work on a few 37 degree mornings in the spring and the only thing that got cold was my fingers.

Echap
Link Posted: 8/30/2005 5:49:20 PM EDT

Originally Posted By echap:
I agree on the helemt comment listed above. I had a Snell 86 that I used back then that I used for a few days after I first got the bike this spring. It started falling apart after I started using it, so it was obvious that I needed a new one. HJC makes some very resonably priced helmets. Ebay is a good place to get deals.


Echap



Never buy a used helmet, or one that you cannot be absolutely certain is new. Helmets are single use items. They are sacrificial--they die so that you might live. After about 5 years or so, the liner materials can degrade to the point that they will no longer protect you. Same thing with the shell.

HJC makes an OK helmet, but Arai or Shoei is a better choice. If it fits tighter, it will protect better, be quieter, and last a bit longer. You get what you pay for.

But never buy a used helmet. Used leathers are OK, but a helmet is like underwear. You would never buy underwear that might even possibly be used.
Link Posted: 8/30/2005 5:51:44 PM EDT
Dude, you live in Michigan. You get to ride like 4 months out of the year.
Link Posted: 8/30/2005 5:55:11 PM EDT

Originally Posted By Gravity_Tester:

Originally Posted By echap:
I agree on the helemt comment listed above. I had a Snell 86 that I used back then that I used for a few days after I first got the bike this spring. It started falling apart after I started using it, so it was obvious that I needed a new one. HJC makes some very resonably priced helmets. Ebay is a good place to get deals.


Echap



Never buy a used helmet, or one that you cannot be absolutely certain is new. Helmets are single use items. They are sacrificial--they die so that you might live. After about 5 years or so, the liner materials can degrade to the point that they will no longer protect you. Same thing with the shell.

HJC makes an OK helmet, but Arai or Shoei is a better choice. If it fits tighter, it will protect better, be quieter, and last a bit longer. You get what you pay for.

But never buy a used helmet. Used leathers are OK, but a helmet is like underwear. You would never buy underwear that might even possibly be used.




Ebay has new helmets, I never advocated buying used.
Link Posted: 8/30/2005 6:50:07 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 8/30/2005 6:57:19 PM EDT by Gravity_Tester]

Originally Posted By echap:

Ebay has new helmets, I never advocated buying used.



I just wanted to get the No used helmets point across. Calm down....


GT
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