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Posted: 8/18/2005 2:09:55 PM EDT
I'm looking for reccomendations for a small-engine, street legal bike that I can use to ride to and from work. I live about 12 miles from work, but it takes me over an hour each way because of traffic. Because of this, I burn 20 gallons of gas in a five day work week.

What I'm looking for is an inexpensive bike with a small engine, maybe 125-250cc. I'm looking to buy new or like new, and I'm hoping I can get one for around $2000.

Can anybody steer me in the right direction??
Link Posted: 8/18/2005 2:17:21 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 8/18/2005 2:19:40 PM EDT by HELOBRAVO]
Get at least a 600cc, unless you area midget.
Any jap bike from the 80's on up, if rode regularly and kept up, will suffice.
Bikes that have been sitting usually have a leak here and there (seals get dry), carb, or brake problems, and possibly dry rotted tires.
Ebay is packed with 'em. Research what they're going for and start shopping.
I know if I wanted to spend 2 grand for a commuter I could find several in a few days.
My choice would be a V-65 Magna, which is a big powerful bike (cruiser) and I see 'em frequently for under 2 grand.
(Yes, I ride regularly. I go to work now on a BMW. A1997 R1150)


ETA:This is right up your alley...
Link Posted: 8/18/2005 2:23:58 PM EDT
Link Posted: 8/18/2005 2:25:02 PM EDT
+1 on getting a bigger bike. 125-250 is for women who are starting out. 500cc minimum for a guy.
Link Posted: 8/18/2005 2:30:36 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 8/18/2005 2:31:31 PM EDT by lu380]

Originally Posted By VTwin60:
+1 on getting a bigger bike. 125-250 is for women who are starting out. 500cc minimum for a guy.



But my mother said I'm not allowed to get a dangerous big bike. I'm only 30, you know.

No, seriously, all I need is something that will ride on city streets. Stop and go traffic, nothing over 35 miles per hour. I want to burn less than 5 gallons of gas per week, if possible. That's why I was thinking about a small engine. Keep in mind that I've never even been on a bike before.

All that being said, do I still need 500cc or larger?

BTW, thanks for taking the time to educate me about something I know nothing about.
Link Posted: 8/18/2005 2:33:26 PM EDT
I am thinking along the same lines. Gonna spend more though. I just looked at hybrids but thats not gonna happen see post about gas prices. I was thinking about a honda cbr600. Or something like it.
Link Posted: 8/18/2005 2:34:26 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 8/18/2005 2:42:35 PM EDT by jthuang]
Are you a new rider? If so, take the MSF Basic Rider Course course. It's free in Philadelphia so there's no cost to you. They supply the bike and it's a great way to get your PA class M license!

The Suzuki SV650 gets rave reviews as a good all-around bike.

That said, in your price range, you can buy one of many quality used bikes. The older Yamaha Secas and Viragos are a good choice, as are the Honda Magnas.

If you're new to bikes, what you want is something that has a standard riding position. By standard I mean sitting straight up. Sportbikes will have you laying down and (some) cruisers will have you laying back. Neither is optimal for the beginner. It's easier to learn on a standard IMHO. The good thing about the old Yamaha Seca (a sport standard) and the Virago (a cruiser standard) is that they utilize the standard riding position, are generally reliable and are plentiful in the used market. Neither is in Yamaha's current lineup (well, maybe the Virago 250) but they're out there!

By the way, I don't know where you are in PA but you might want to check out Cycle Forums for more info. Cycle Forums is sponsored by a local PA bike shop called Trick Tape, out of Bristol PA. They don't have a lot of bikes in stock but they are very helpful people and I go to them for a lot of my cycle accessories.
Link Posted: 8/18/2005 2:35:27 PM EDT
Honda Rebel 250?

Ninja 250?

If you are just tooling around in town at 30 mph or less, just get a scooter--something like a Yamaha Riva.

If you want a real motorcycle, then get one.

Link Posted: 8/18/2005 2:35:43 PM EDT
Link Posted: 8/18/2005 2:37:00 PM EDT

Originally Posted By lu380:

Originally Posted By VTwin60:
+1 on getting a bigger bike. 125-250 is for women who are starting out. 500cc minimum for a guy.



But my mother said I'm not allowed to get a dangerous big bike. I'm only 30, you know.

No, seriously, all I need is something that will ride on city streets. Stop and go traffic, nothing over 35 miles per hour. I want to burn less than 5 gallons of gas per week, if possible. That's why I was thinking about a small engine. Keep in mind that I've never even been on a bike before.

All that being said, do I still need 500cc or larger?

BTW, thanks for taking the time to educate me about something I know nothing about.



If thats all you are going to do, just get a scooter. Aprilia makes a scooter that gets 125mpgs while still achieving 60 mph. Yes yes I know what people say about scooters. I don't ride one myself but they are very practical and purposeful, especially used in instances in which you are. The 125-250cc bikes are really really beginner bikes, they have very limited power, not as economical as a scooter, not very practical for owning in the long term, more expensive than a scooter, and they look absolutely ridiculous. Of course YMMV

Here is my bike, a BMW R12GS:


Link Posted: 8/18/2005 2:37:15 PM EDT
Link Posted: 8/18/2005 2:43:44 PM EDT

Originally Posted By jthuang:
Are you a new rider? If so, take the MSF Basic Rider Course course. It's free in Philadelphia so there's no cost to you. They supply the bike and it's a great way to get your PA class M license!

The Suzuki SV650 gets rave reviews as a good all-around bike.

That said, in your price range, you can buy one of many quality used bikes.

By the way, I don't know where you are in PA but you might want to check out Cycle Forums for more info. Cycle Forums is sponsored by a local PA bike shop called Trick Tape, out of Bristol PA. They don't have a lot of bikes in stock but they are very helpful people and I go to them for a lot of my cycle accessories.



Perfect! I'm in Philly.
I'll look into the rider's safety course, thanks for the heads up.

Is the MSRP on Suzuki's website anywhere near the actual cost you would pay at a dealer?
Link Posted: 8/18/2005 2:43:49 PM EDT

Originally Posted By The_Beer_Slayer:

Originally Posted By magnum_99:
Honda Rebel 250?

Ninja 250?

If you are just tooling around in town at 30 mph or less, just get a scooter--something like a Yamaha Riva.

If you want a real motorcycle, then get one.




i had a ninja in the army. DAMN good little bike but DAMN uncomfortable after 20-30 min.




Many a club racer started on the venerable old Ninja 250.
Link Posted: 8/18/2005 2:46:43 PM EDT
Link Posted: 8/18/2005 2:49:50 PM EDT
Link Posted: 8/18/2005 2:57:54 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 8/18/2005 2:59:01 PM EDT by VTwin60]

Originally Posted By lu380:
Perfect! I'm in Philly.
I'll look into the rider's safety course, thanks for the heads up.

Is the MSRP on Suzuki's website anywhere near the actual cost you would pay at a dealer?



SV650's are awesome bikes. They are the perfect introductory sport riding bike as well as a favorite of old hands who have been riding. They have just enough power while retaining all the nimbleness light steering afforded by its vtwin. There is a shit load of aftermarket support as well as track racers who utilize them to the extreme. Great bike. IMHO there isn't a finer bike for the money. As for the MSRP frequently you can find last year models listed below. I've seen brand new models a year old for $4700.00
Link Posted: 8/18/2005 2:59:56 PM EDT
Link Posted: 8/18/2005 3:10:40 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 8/18/2005 3:12:30 PM EDT by Admiral_Crunch]
If you're just going to be doing city riding, a 250 should be plenty unless you're a very heavy person. Don't worry about people who think a 250 isn't a "real" motorcycle. It is. It wasn't all that long ago that 750cc bikes were the big boys and the 250s were considered "intermediate". Keep it under 50 horsepower, and you should be fine. A 500 would be fine as well, and it does offer more room to "grow" into.

How big are you? Height, weight, inseam? That'll help us give better suggestions.

Do you have a preference on bike style? The main groupings are sport, dual-sport, standard, and cruiser.

Most sport bikes lean you pretty far forward, and I don't find them very comfortable, but some folks do. Most may not make the best commuters, due to their riding stance. Some sporty bikes are more upright, like the Ninja 250 and 500, and they both are good choices for beginners, as long as you fit on them well.

Standards are sadly a kind of scarce breed these days. They offer an upright sitting position, which tends to offer a better feel of control and confidence to new riders. I recommend them to new riders.

Dual sports resemble dirt bikes, but they are street legal. They have an upright sitting position and are particularly suited to taller riders. They have a longer suspension travel, and they can soak up potholes and railroad tracks well. They are the jeeps of the bike world. They might be a little less wet-weather friendly depending on the kind of tires they have.

Cruisers give a more laid-back position with the footrests in a more forward position. Very popular, and there are some good choices among them for beginners like the Kawasaki Vulcan 500. Just don't get one that is too heavy, and make sure you can fully turn the bars without hitting your knees. Also make sure yur knees aren't higher than your butt.

Avoid bikes with lots of expensive plastic on the sides that can get damaged in a fall or drop. A "naked" bike with engine guards will be a lot less expensive to experience newbie mistakes on.

Hope that helps!
Link Posted: 8/18/2005 3:22:13 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 8/18/2005 3:27:18 PM EDT by monkeyman]
You might want to consider the fact that you will be spending several thousand dollars, on a motorcycle to save a couple hundred dollars of gasoline. When you add in license and insurance costs, it is not a good idea.

The only way a motorcycle will save you money is if it completely replaces your car as transportation or if you can get one cheap enough to offset what you would spend on gas, licensing and insurance.

Link Posted: 8/18/2005 3:23:56 PM EDT
Link Posted: 8/18/2005 3:26:57 PM EDT
Link Posted: 8/18/2005 3:31:59 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 8/18/2005 3:35:15 PM EDT by MachinegunManiac]
You gotta get at least a 600 for a street bike. Why would you want such a tiny bike unless you're the size of an 11 year old?

If you want o go a decent speed and not struggle like hell up hills a 150 IS NOT the way to go.
A 250 will do for a dirt bike but with streetbikes you'll need a real engine.

My '80 GS750(in excellent shape) cost me 850. But it needed some serious carb work for sitting.

Insurance is extremely cheap on bikes, even I can afford it!

You gotta get a used bike if you're looking for bikes for the economic niche. But you'll save a lot on gas and if it replaces your car, a lot on insurance.

Though my bike was like new, it wasn't an easy find.
Link Posted: 8/18/2005 3:33:54 PM EDT
SV650 is the best choice honestly, I did quite a bit of research on them and just got one today. Kickass bike. Go naked if you're new.
Link Posted: 8/18/2005 3:36:02 PM EDT

Originally Posted By monkeyman:
You might want to consider the fact that you will be spending several thousand dollars, on a motorcycle to save a couple hundred dollars of gasoline. When you add in license and insurance costs, it is not a good idea.

The only way a motorcycle will save you money is if it completely replaces your car as transportation or if you can get one cheap enough to offset what you would spend on gas, licensing and insurance.




I figure that it will save wear and tear on my truck, which I just got finished paying off. If it'll make my truck last another five years, that's five years that I won't be making $400/month car payments.

Besides, I kinda want a bike anyway, and this is a good excuse to get into it. I also cringe at the thought of giving my money to Hugo Chavez, prince Saud (or whatever his name is), etc.... so I want to be a small part of the solution - even if I break even or wind up spending more money than I save.
Link Posted: 8/18/2005 3:36:08 PM EDT

Originally Posted By Top_Secret:
SV650 is the best choice honestly, I did quite a bit of research on them and just got one today. Kickass bike. Go naked if you're new.


Actually when it comes to engines it's the bigger, the better.
Link Posted: 8/18/2005 3:36:09 PM EDT
125 or 250 you'll be riding on the front of some soccer mom's front bumper.

Visibility is a big part of you safety strategy on the road. Check out the Suzuki SV-650's. Good on gas, moderately fun to ride, not too aggressvie looks and reasonably priced new or used.

Def go w/av-twin. Some of the inline 4 rice rockets are just as bad on mileage as a honda civic.
Link Posted: 8/18/2005 3:37:57 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 8/18/2005 3:38:51 PM EDT by MachinegunManiac]

Originally Posted By lu380:

Originally Posted By monkeyman:
You might want to consider the fact that you will be spending several thousand dollars, on a motorcycle to save a couple hundred dollars of gasoline. When you add in license and insurance costs, it is not a good idea.

The only way a motorcycle will save you money is if it completely replaces your car as transportation or if you can get one cheap enough to offset what you would spend on gas, licensing and insurance.




I figure that it will save wear and tear on my truck, which I just got finished paying off. If it'll make my truck last another five years, that's five years that I won't be making $400/month car payments.

Besides, I kinda want a bike anyway, and this is a good excuse to get into it. I also cringe at the thought of giving my money to Hugo Chavez, prince Saud (or whatever his name is), etc.... so I want to be a small part of the solution - even if I break even or wind up spending more money than I save.


5 years!? On a vehicle you made payments on!? What do you do to your vehicles?

I've driven cars older than I am that last longer and are still running.
Link Posted: 8/18/2005 3:42:00 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 8/18/2005 3:42:57 PM EDT by lu380]

Originally Posted By MachinegunManiac:

Originally Posted By lu380:

Originally Posted By monkeyman:
You might want to consider the fact that you will be spending several thousand dollars, on a motorcycle to save a couple hundred dollars of gasoline. When you add in license and insurance costs, it is not a good idea.

The only way a motorcycle will save you money is if it completely replaces your car as transportation or if you can get one cheap enough to offset what you would spend on gas, licensing and insurance.




I figure that it will save wear and tear on my truck, which I just got finished paying off. If it'll make my truck last another five years, that's five years that I won't be making $400/month car payments.

Besides, I kinda want a bike anyway, and this is a good excuse to get into it. I also cringe at the thought of giving my money to Hugo Chavez, prince Saud (or whatever his name is), etc.... so I want to be a small part of the solution - even if I break even or wind up spending more money than I save.


5 years!? On a vehicle you made payments on!? What do you do to your vehicles?

I've driven cars older than I am that last longer.



I'm VERY rough on my truck. I change the oil frequently, but it's beat up pretty bad. I use my truck like a truck - Hauling ladders, bags of concrete, tools, materials, etc... With my new job, I use the truck only to get to and from work, and use the truck only for the occasional side job.
Link Posted: 8/18/2005 3:46:59 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 8/18/2005 3:47:28 PM EDT by migradog]
I'm partial to enduros, so i ride the KLR 650 below. Good mileage and plenty of power.


Honda and Suzuki also make some good enduros. If you want a street bike that doesn't cost an arm and a leg consider the following. Also look for a 500cc or better.

Honda Nighthawk
Suzuki GS
Yamaha Seca II


All will serve you well, within the price you mentioned.
Link Posted: 8/18/2005 3:49:29 PM EDT

Originally Posted By lu380:

Originally Posted By monkeyman:
You might want to consider the fact that you will be spending several thousand dollars, on a motorcycle to save a couple hundred dollars of gasoline. When you add in license and insurance costs, it is not a good idea.

The only way a motorcycle will save you money is if it completely replaces your car as transportation or if you can get one cheap enough to offset what you would spend on gas, licensing and insurance.




I figure that it will save wear and tear on my truck, which I just got finished paying off. If it'll make my truck last another five years, that's five years that I won't be making $400/month car payments.

Besides, I kinda want a bike anyway, and this is a good excuse to get into it. I also cringe at the thought of giving my money to Hugo Chavez, prince Saud (or whatever his name is), etc.... so I want to be a small part of the solution - even if I break even or wind up spending more money than I save.



I think I know what you're looking for. Splitting lanes in stopped traffic and barely using any gas... what you're looking for is a scooter. A little 50-70cc scooter. I ride a Vespa from time to time, and when I go I ride for 6-12 hours, and often cover ridiculous mileage. I'll easily do 100-250 miles in a 12-hour day TOWING A TRAILER and doing 45 or so while doing it. So that's me at 200 pounds plus a 150 pound trailer that's four feet high in the wind @45mph and I STILL get 70 miles per gallon on it.

I know how ghey it is to pull a trailer on a Vespa, plz don't remind me.

Anyway, it's really light and maneuverable so I can zip around in traffic all I want, split lanes and weasel around for pole position at every light, and basically get from A to B with almost no gas used. It's awesome. My personal bike is an 800cc BMW airhead that I love and that gets about 50mpg. But. I can't split lanes quite as well cause its so friggin heavy. I don't get 70mpg, maybe I get 50 (which is still fine w/me), but I DO get to ride the highways. It may not be macho enough for all the grizzled low speed high drag operators w/tactical numchucks and whatnot but I like it for what it is.

I would not recommend a vespa, though. Build quality sucks.

Also, if you REALLY want to kick the sand rats in the balls, get an electric-assisted bicycle for aroun $750 and spend five cents charging it up for a 20 mile ride @20mph... and you won't even work up a sweat.
Link Posted: 8/18/2005 3:52:29 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 8/18/2005 3:59:22 PM EDT by monkeyman]

Originally Posted By lu380:

Originally Posted By monkeyman:
You might want to consider the fact that you will be spending several thousand dollars, on a motorcycle to save a couple hundred dollars of gasoline. When you add in license and insurance costs, it is not a good idea.

The only way a motorcycle will save you money is if it completely replaces your car as transportation or if you can get one cheap enough to offset what you would spend on gas, licensing and insurance.




I figure that it will save wear and tear on my truck, which I just got finished paying off. If it'll make my truck last another five years, that's five years that I won't be making $400/month car payments.

Besides, I kinda want a bike anyway, and this is a good excuse to get into it. I also cringe at the thought of giving my money to Hugo Chavez, prince Saud (or whatever his name is), etc.... so I want to be a small part of the solution - even if I break even or wind up spending more money than I save.



Well hell, if all you're looking for is an excuse to buy a motorcycle you should have said so. By all means buy one to save money on gas. I got six motorcyles and they all save me money In fact you should see how much money they save me.

In fact my wife is always saying "What are you gonna do with all those motorcycles? I can't even get through the garage." I say, "Yeah, but look at all the money we're saving!"
Link Posted: 8/18/2005 3:55:43 PM EDT
LOL, vespas are ghey!
Link Posted: 8/18/2005 3:59:41 PM EDT

Originally Posted By JUSTACOP:
LOL, vespas are ghey!



Definately! They might be practical for what I need, but even a "function over form" guy like me couldn't be seen dead riding one of those things!
Link Posted: 8/18/2005 4:03:40 PM EDT

Originally Posted By JUSTACOP:
LOL, vespas are ghey!



Yes. They are teh ghey. Still fun, though. The Hondas are a million times better.
Link Posted: 8/18/2005 4:11:36 PM EDT
You can buy my 1986 Radian 600. Good bike that I have been learning on. I picked it up last Fall after it had been sitting for a while. i spent the Winter repairing and now it runs really well. I commute on it ~ 3 - 4 days a week (250 miles a week) and I am ready to get something with a fairing for the highway. Lots of good bikes can be found for < 1000 if you can turn a wrench.
Link Posted: 8/18/2005 4:22:23 PM EDT
My BIL started off on a Kawasaki KZ440. Older, smaller bike. If you really want a small bike, go for a Honda Nighthawk.
Link Posted: 8/18/2005 4:25:36 PM EDT
Bikes are only cheap until you crash one
Link Posted: 8/18/2005 5:45:06 PM EDT
I've had a Honda CB750 for a couple years now and use it as a commuter, about 8 miles a day. Love the thing and has plenty of power for general street use

$5500 brand new
Link Posted: 8/18/2005 5:50:46 PM EDT
Link Posted: 8/18/2005 5:53:23 PM EDT
Link Posted: 8/18/2005 5:56:42 PM EDT


Fine Italian craftsmanship, Moto Guzzi.
Link Posted: 8/18/2005 5:59:27 PM EDT
I want a KLR 650 baddddd.....
Link Posted: 8/18/2005 6:03:08 PM EDT
I bought A Kawasaki KLR 250 Six speed liquid Cooled 4 Stroke It will do 90 Mph With my 230 pound Ass on It I paid 700.00 For it It is all you need And it Got 40 Mpg On The Last Fill up Running the Snot Out of it. I use a back pack and i can carry anything i need. plus it is a Great Bug out Vehical. Yoou All think The Vespah looks ghey Look At the Colour Scheme on A 93 Klr 250 It wont get ya laid But it wont break the bank Either.
Link Posted: 8/18/2005 6:06:37 PM EDT
250cc Honda Rebel.
70mpg
top speed 84mph (with my 190lbs)
price only 3k
and I don't have any problems with soccer moms bumpers

Link Posted: 8/18/2005 6:07:53 PM EDT

Originally Posted By migradog:
I'm partial to enduros, so i ride the KLR 650 below. Good mileage and plenty of power.
img.photobucket.com/albums/v330/borderguy/apr2401.jpg

Honda and Suzuki also make some good enduros. If you want a street bike that doesn't cost an arm and a leg consider the following. Also look for a 500cc or better.

Honda Nighthawk
Suzuki GS
Yamaha Seca II


All will serve you well, within the price you mentioned.


Nice enduro. You do any trail riding with it?
Link Posted: 8/18/2005 6:12:48 PM EDT
If you're gonna get a scooter (as opposed to a bike) then look at an Aprilia or Derbi. Six speed transmission, roughly 2500 bucks, with a pipe and aftermarket carb, they'll run about 90-100 mph, and they are 50 cc, which might get you past registration and endorsment from your DMV...
50 CC goodness....screw Vespa..


Helmet, gloves, MSF, boots, caution. These are critical on a bike. Otherwise you die.
Link Posted: 8/18/2005 6:15:59 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 8/18/2005 6:16:30 PM EDT by CZ75_9MM]
I just bought a 80 Honda CM400T and its a real nice little bike. Definitely the smallest I would go. Paid $200 for it and drove it home.
Link Posted: 8/18/2005 7:27:44 PM EDT

Originally Posted By MachinegunManiac:

Originally Posted By migradog:
I'm partial to enduros, so i ride the KLR 650 below. Good mileage and plenty of power.
img.photobucket.com/albums/v330/borderguy/apr2401.jpg

Honda and Suzuki also make some good enduros. If you want a street bike that doesn't cost an arm and a leg consider the following. Also look for a 500cc or better.

Honda Nighthawk
Suzuki GS
Yamaha Seca II


All will serve you well, within the price you mentioned.


Nice enduro. You do any trail riding with it?




Not too much since I moved to WA. When I lived in CA, I worked in Tecate and would often take the back way home to Santee through Laguna Mtn and Julian. There was no shortages of trails up there. My other favorite ride was through Borrego Springs, then Julian etc.
Link Posted: 8/19/2005 1:54:28 AM EDT
Buy a mid-80's on up Honda XL250 or 350. Plenty of power for the city, stone axe simple, you can pay cash which means that what little insurance you do have to pay won't be full coverage if you don't want.

Dave
Link Posted: 8/19/2005 3:07:50 AM EDT

Originally Posted By Upstat:

Originally Posted By JUSTACOP:
LOL, vespas are ghey!



Yes. They are teh ghey. Still fun, though. The Hondas are a million times better.




A guy who shot high power used to ride one of those to the matches..M1A rifle and all!

Lessened the gay factor a bit...
Link Posted: 8/19/2005 3:15:44 AM EDT
you will regret it if you buy a weenie bike, especially if you spend 2K.
hug.gifmark
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