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rsr911
08-09-2005, 10:56 PM
Been kicking this idea around for a few years but with the price of gas, the fact that I'm moving 10 miles farther from work etc. I'm getting more serious. I'm basically looking for a plain jane bike that would be cheap to operate and insure, probably something in the 500cc range. Also I want used and the cheaper the better. I've got a P-car and a 4x4 for fun, the bike will just be cheap transportation for me. My new round trip to work will be 30 miles, 26 of which is congested highway at rush hour. Any suggestions?

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-Christian D. Sokolowski

dsergison
08-09-2005, 11:19 PM
500cc limits you immensly as it's an odd-ball size and few bikes were made in that size or smaller.

600cc doesn't necessarily mean crotch rocket. (yes you can get a 600cc 140hp missile too.)

but plenty of mid size bikes are not hyper race bikes.

750cc may be a more reasonable upper limit. anythign 750cc or lower is cheaper and lighter than anything above.

other than that, get whatever tickles your fancy, (that doesnt have RR ZX etc.... in the name http://bbs.homeshopmachinist.net//smile.gif

Michael Moore
08-09-2005, 11:52 PM
Look at the GS500 Suzuki. A simple air-cooled twin that has been in production in one form or another for about 20-25 years. Decent handling, brakes, wheel sizes etc.

Since they haven't changed it for so long the prices are pretty reasonable, as one year is about the same as the next.

cheers,
Michael

ibewgypsie
08-10-2005, 12:57 AM
I weigh in close to 300.. I rode around a 400 honda six speed. I could pick it up, turn it around in the drive like a bicycle. I loved it.

I wanted to keep it around to play with. My partner (then) wanted to keep it to train women to ride motorcycles. It sits collecting cobwebs.

It was No toy, it'd do a 100 with me on there and pretty darned quick. I think it got 40+ or so mpg.. it has some cv carbs that meter the fuel to air flow.. I had a harley that got 40-50 mpg, it had a Mikuni 38mm carb.. I put a bendix on that rascal and it got 25, same gearing, same tuning.. them carbs suck, flood a motor right out and wear it out.

In the 70s I was a lil lighter, (50lbs) and I rode around on a rd350 street yamaha. It'd stand straight up at 35mph. Do 100 close to a harleys time, pass harleys in corners(and leave them). It was stone stock. Mileage on it sucked. But I never rode it easy to check.

I don't know if they make a bike like that now, but I'd like to have one, light, fast, fun. cheap.
David

[This message has been edited by ibewgypsie (edited 08-10-2005).]

wato
08-10-2005, 01:18 AM
Not sure about over there but here there are quite afew mid size bikes that make good comuters. Most of the jap manufacturers do a few bikes in the 500-600 range. I used to have an SR500 Yamaha single that was a nice light easy to get on with bike I think they do a 600 single now which would probably be a bit better even. Cheap to run and easy to maintain. My average trip now is about 100miles each way so I got an FJ 1200 Yamaha not a super fast bike but more a sports cruiser. My original excuse was to use it because of the price of fuel only prob is that my car running on lpg is cheaper to run.
But hell it ain't half as much fun.
Cheers.

madman
08-10-2005, 02:20 AM
Im no expert on bikes but ive owned over forty differant ones raced a bit in my younger days actually won our class one year and dinked around. I would suggest for you a kawasaki 650 enduro. It has electric start can go off road if needed(like when a cops trying to get yeah) and gets good mileage. A friend has one with 36000 kilometers on it and he never did any maintenance or anything and its still great. My 1 cents worth.

abn
08-10-2005, 03:08 AM
The Suzuki GS500 or Kawasaki EX500 (now Ninja 500) are about as cheap and simple as you can get...My FZR 600 gets a consistent 45mpg, my GSXR 750 got considerably worse gas mileage...you may be able to approach the mileage of a larger motorcycle with a TDi Golf or a little Tercel or something.

BWS
08-10-2005, 06:01 AM
The suggestions for the Suzuke and kwacker twins are spot-on.Both have been largly unchanged for many years.You ARE going to dump them so get some gear on........skin grafs suck major.But anyways,above bikes have great used prices and parts are not a problem.To really learn the sport or art of M/Cing though I usually recomend a cheap sh*t 100 cc dirtbike for starters.I'm talkin just above mini bikes.You can pick'm up real cheap learn all the basics and quite a few advanced techniques,then turn around and sell bike.WAY cheaper than even a driveway drop on any streetbike.And seein that you're on this forum,you can do a little fix-me-up on said DB and probably make a cpl. hundred.Most of these old DBs just need their fuel systems overhauled and a little beat'n & bangin.Another good "machinist" bike for commuting is an older BMW K75.Probably BMs best all 'round commuter.Nice ones can be had for around 4.getting a cpl hundred k miles on them is fairly routine.Best of luck,BW.

rsr911
08-10-2005, 09:10 AM
Thanks for all the suggestions thus far. I'm not really new to MC'ing although I have never owned a street bike. I've ridden and owned several dirt bikes since I was in my teens. I thought about an enduro for awhile but decided since I have seven acres I'll eventually get a nice 250 two stroke for off road use, probably a YZ since I like the way they ride. My grandfather had a Honda Hawk before he got a Silverwing which he quit riding and sold 5 years ago at age 85. I liked the little Hawk but I'm not sure it has the guts for freeway usage. I'm gonna pick up the Sunday classifieds and see what's out there. Keep the suggestions coming. http://bbs.homeshopmachinist.net//smile.gif

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-Christian D. Sokolowski

Your Old Dog
08-10-2005, 09:27 AM
Chris, if you get 15mpg now, it'll cost you about $400.00 more per 50wk year. (gas @ $2.40)

If that goes to 30mpg it would be half that at $200 per year. That's $8.00 per week/$1.60 per day. I expect you will have to ride it for some 5 years to break even. Is it worth it"

On the other hand, what's it worth to arrive home from work with you teeth packed with bugs? Priceless http://bbs.homeshopmachinist.net//biggrin.gif http://bbs.homeshopmachinist.net//biggrin.gif (it's a great way to decompress) I did'nt read all the above post but will say I was 200 pounder on a cb160 honda and I loved it. Life got much better on the Kawasaki 750 twin! If you ain't huge, I would think a 500 might suit you although on the thruways, more steam is much much better. The 750 is a nice sized bike I think.

ray....

rsr911
08-10-2005, 09:49 AM
Ray,

I've got an '03 Ranger that just flipped 27,000 miles it averages about 17mpg. I'm looking to spend about $1000 on an old bike and I'm a small guy, <160lbs, so I don't need much. I figure what I don't save in gas I'll save in depreciation by driving the Ranger less often. My P-car gets about 25mpg on the highway but commuting in it is rather boring, my plan is to drive it on days that I can take the scenic route home. A cheap bike that gets 30-40mpg would be great and as you said a nice way to decompress.

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-Christian D. Sokolowski

ibewgypsie
08-10-2005, 12:24 PM
Something is wrong with your ranger. I'd start with the cam timing/tuning.

Mine gets better than 25mpg everyday with the 4.0 V6 with the air on.

My 99 4cyl Ranger got 32 when I was working in Atlanta Ga and driving.. it didn't get near that when the air was on.

My 88 CRX got 50 w/no air 35/with.

A harley is usually more expensive than a car in mileage. The newer CV carbs are better, but still not misers.

I'd like a smallish bike too, I looked online last night, don't like the crotch rockets. If I wanted to look like a monkey having sex with a basketball I'd have sex with a basketball...... HA.. yeah.. JMO



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David Cofer, Of:
Tunnel Hill, North Georgia

dp
08-10-2005, 12:49 PM
Aprilia makes a 500cc scooter that is cheap, fast, comfortable, and agile in traffic. And this is no girlie bike. While I prefer my 103" Harley Road King, the commute time is not what it is best at. I'm seriously considering getting one. My wife can have fun with it too.

And you can pack a lot of crap in the storage areas.

The other option I like is the Buel Blast from Harley Davidson - a little bitty 500cc crotch rocket looking single - they're going dirt cheap as they did not catch on. Small, light weight, over built with uber quality components, and a kick in the ass to ride.

dp

Michael Moore
08-10-2005, 01:17 PM
Suzuki has the 650 Burgman super scooter which seems to be getting a pretty good reception. The big scooters seem to run about 15" wheels (not the Vespa sized stuff) and have plenty of power and brake. They make a lot of sense. I've read of people who tour on them and seem quite happy to do so.

cheers,
Michael

DICKEYBIRD
08-10-2005, 01:44 PM
It's great that you've got dirt bike experience....at least you learned how to ride. http://bbs.homeshopmachinist.net//smile.gif

Think long and hard about you and your family when deciding to motorcycle commute on city streets! The odds ain't real good.

We just lost our shop foreman for who knows how long. He lost major skin and tissue on his arse and until the skin grafts and the shattered bones in his hands heal, he can't work, or even sleep.

A worthless, ignorant lump of a stupid driver just pulled right out in front of him, he went down and skidded on his butt & bounced around off of all kinds of things that didn't give an inch. Lucky to be alive, really. His daily lament? "Man, I wished I'd listened to you guys about buying a 'cycle to ride to work. I'll never get on another one on the streets!"

Hate to be so gloomy, but riding daily in & amongst a bunch of dumb-ass drivers that take out their personal problems on everybody on THEIR road doesn't sound like a fun thing. Just my 2 cents worth. http://bbs.homeshopmachinist.net//smile.gif

Oh, one more thing my buddy says is "Why didn't I get disability insurance!"

Stanko
08-10-2005, 03:38 PM
Hi Christian, the world is your oyster. Check out Suzuki DR650 its a trailie but quite refined. GS500's have an envieable reputation for being simple quality bikes.
The Buel Blast mentioned before looked good on paper.
Ive just bought an Aprilia RS50 should get 75 to 80 mpg, but I got it to race not commute so maybe 25-30mpg.
We could buy a bike from suzuki called an FXR150 about 20hp 80 -85 mph they are made in Malaysia pretty cool. 4 valve dohc 150cc wicked.
RZ350?
Mike

rsr911
08-10-2005, 03:42 PM
David

My Ranger is the FX4 Level II which means it comes with 4.10 gears and 31" BFG All Terrains, it's listed as 17 city/19 hwy from the factory. The newer Rangers with the SOHC motors make more power that the old pushrod 4.0's mine's rated at 210hp and 5750 towing capacity, the truck also weighs around 4300# or so. Big tires, short gears, more power and more weight, I'm not surprised the mileage is worse that an older 2wd Ranger.

Anyway back to bikes, I'm not into the scooter thing, I'm thinking like just a cruiser type up to even 750 is fine. I did see a 750 Shadow recently for $1200 but didn't stop to ask.

As for safety, this is a big concern and frankly one of the reasons I've held off for so long. I was looking for an old diesel VW Rabbit for awhile but up here in the rustbelt they are all but gone. The P-car isn't bad on gas but it rev's at about 3K plus on the freeway (which it loves) and my camber settings cause it to wear out tires too quickly for general use.

My ulterior motive for getting a bike is also to have a little fun without getting much more bike than I can handle.

------------------
-Christian D. Sokolowski

zman92020
08-10-2005, 04:05 PM
Do a search for Yamaha Seca 600, mine is a 96 . . comfortable bike, not all bent over like a crotch rocket .air cooled detuned but plenty of power 4000 to 12000 rpms . . 45 mpg . should be able to find a nice one for less than $1500

dsergison
08-10-2005, 05:17 PM
"Buel Blast from Harley Davidson - a little bitty 500cc crotch rocket looking single - they're going dirt cheap as they did not catch on."

did not catch on? crotch rocket? ??????

they are very sucessful selling beginner "standard" style cheap to run bikes. but hardly any harly dealers deal in Buells. they would rather sell sportsters.

wou may freely call them ugly, but not crotch rocket. :P

dsergison
08-10-2005, 05:19 PM
600 or 750 shadow would be great.

topct
08-10-2005, 06:46 PM
I used to buy and sell used motorcycles. It was always a problem to find a standard upright bike in the 400 to 600 range. And street bikes smaller than 400, which would make great commuter bikes, are very hard to find. Around here anyway. The cruiser style bikes seem to be available though. Several sizes to choose from.

We would get magazines from all over the world showing the neatist bikes. But they would not bring them here to the states and rightly so, no market at the time.

Now it's a differant story. With gas going up, more and more people are looking at a motorcycle for an economical alternative. Maybe the situation will change.

That FXR 150 Susuki would be a real kick for someone that wieghed under 160 lbs. or so, but they are being cautious about bringing it to the states. We like the bigger bikes here. And there is the parts thing they have to keep up with when they bring a bike here.

There are some really good ballpark suggestions here that would be a very good bike for what you describe you want to use it for. And a 400 Hawk would have enough putt to get you down the road. But that would be about the smallest motor I would suggest.

But now comes the sad part. Motorcycles and this countries mentality towards taking care of them, has been lacking. I have seen tons of motorcycles fall prey to the lack of care syndrome. They tend to be treated like the family lawn mower and when the season ends it just gets parked. Or the chain hasn't been adjusted since the thing was new. Oil, what's that?. On and on. And if you can work on carbs, oh boy, does that open a door. Hint hint.

You own a P car? Guessing by your screen name you will know that when you go out looking for whatever, keep in mind, condition, condition, condition. There are good used P-cars and there are very bad P-cars. You have seen that. That first look can say a lot. Parts for bikes are considered a luxury item. But you know about that too.

Good luck in your search, and keep em both on the ground. Or not. http://bbs.homeshopmachinist.net//smile.gif

One last thing. There are most definately some no no's out there. I have had my hands on thousands (well, it was a lot anyway) of motorcycles and ridden or dealt with hundreds. And there are the experiences of a lot of people here. If you find something and need a question answered, of course do not hesitate to ask.




------------------
Gene

dp
08-10-2005, 06:59 PM
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by dsergison:
"Buel Blast from Harley Davidson - a little bitty 500cc crotch rocket looking single - they're going dirt cheap as they did not catch on."

did not catch on? crotch rocket? ??????

they are very sucessful selling beginner "standard" style cheap to run bikes. but hardly any harly dealers deal in Buells. they would rather sell sportsters.

wou may freely call them ugly, but not crotch rocket. :P</font>

I didn't call it a crotch rocket - I called it an ittby bitty crotch rocket *looking* bike. There are no 500cc thumper crotch rockets http://bbs.homeshopmachinist.net//smile.gif, but it looks the part. And they didn't sell fer crap. Don't think I've ever seen one on the road, in fact, and I rack up a lot of miles. Still a hell of a fun bike, tho, and cheap.

I recall that when I was a teenager I thought 500cc was a big bike ;-) but that was 45 years ago.

dp

IOWOLF
08-10-2005, 07:09 PM
In 1968 honda Introduced the 750-4, the biggist jap production bike.I was 11 or 12.

3 Phase Lightbulb
08-10-2005, 09:21 PM
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by rsr911:
My new round trip to work will be 30 miles, 26 of which is congested highway at rush hour. Any suggestions?

</font>

A Helicopter would be best.. Avoid the highway traffic all together http://bbs.homeshopmachinist.net//smile.gif

As abn said, the Suzuki GS500E is a great bike. The Kawasaki Ninga 500EX is another great bike. The Kawasaki Ninja 250 is also a really good intro bike (Only $3000 brand new). If you've never ridden, you can learn a lot on a Ninja 250. Stay away from the late model sportbikes until you've got some serious experience as they are really tuned and geared for the track so learning on one is not very efficient and not very beginner friendly.

My Garage is always filled with motorcycles and other things made from motorcycles http://bbs.homeshopmachinist.net//smile.gif ...

http://www.bbssystem.com/bikes.jpg

-Adrian

x39
08-10-2005, 09:47 PM
3 Phase- that go cart is over the top! Can you tell us a little bit about it?

3 Phase Lightbulb
08-10-2005, 09:51 PM
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by x39:
3 Phase- that go cart is over the top! Can you tell us a little bit about it?</font>

I have a webpage here for my PsychoKart:
http://www.psychokart.com

I've just started designing a PsychoBuggy that I'll be starting to build and document in detail very soon.

-Adrian

Michael Moore
08-10-2005, 10:54 PM
"There are no 500cc thumper crotch rockets "

I beg to differ! http://bbs.homeshopmachinist.net//smile.gif

http://www.eurospares.com/graphics/chuckm.jpg

That's my Kenny Roberts' framed TT500 roadracer, with my partner in a Sears Point 4 hour endurance race on board (I never figured out how I could take photos of myself on the bike).

cheers,
Michael

[This message has been edited by Michael Moore (edited 08-10-2005).]

rsr911
08-11-2005, 12:02 AM
Thanks all for the help. I'm going to look this weekend and into the fall to see what's out there. If I'm getting this right just about anything in the 500-750 range that's been well cared for would work. I have to admit I'd love an old rigid tail Triumph chopped to the minimum but that's taking things a little far http://bbs.homeshopmachinist.net//biggrin.gif Right now I'm thinking late 80's early 90's jap bike and I'm willing to pay a little more if I find a bike I really like.

Gene, you're right about the P-car. The first thing we tell prospective buyers on the Pelican board is to get a professional PPI (pre-purchase inspection) done as this can save many headaches down the road. Mine is what most would consider a beater as it was last restored/modified about 17 years ago (it's a '66). I did put an 83 3.0 motor into it though so it really scoots, at 2000 lbs and 200 or so HP it kicks butt on many modern sportscars. That's my toy and I've got a shell in the garage waiting to be transformed into a street/track car so that's where my money goes, the bike has to be transportation only with a little fun every now and then but no modding only repairs as needed. Besides when I want to have fun I find a twisty road with the car and see who can keep up, next year I'll be doing the same but at Mid-Ohio and Nelson Ledges. Which reminds me, having and aircooled Porsche of course I can't settle for anything less than an aircooled bike http://bbs.homeshopmachinist.net//smile.gif

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-Christian D. Sokolowski

[This message has been edited by rsr911 (edited 08-10-2005).]

bob308
08-11-2005, 09:36 AM
if you have never had a bike before you mite want to think about things first 25 miles of congested traffic is not the place to get road experince. and then the bike will set in the garage for about 3-4 months. and when riding season is here do you plan on riding in the rain? just things to think about.

madman
08-11-2005, 12:16 PM
My 1987 deville with 4.1 litre gets an honest 31 miles per gallon on the highway. City is like 14 mpg. Its also big and would run right over a lot of smaller things like vehicles and mo.........

dp
08-11-2005, 02:53 PM
Scooters aren't just for wimps - here's a bad assed biker's tale of a stolen Vespa.

http://www.scooterbbs.com/board/DCForumID11/3011.html

dp

rsr911
08-11-2005, 03:51 PM
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by dp:
Scooters aren't just for wimps - here's a bad assed biker's tale of a stolen Vespa.

http://www.scooterbbs.com/board/DCForumID11/3011.html

dp</font>


more like a lose-assed biker judging from the story! http://bbs.homeshopmachinist.net//smile.gif



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-Christian D. Sokolowski

Evan
08-11-2005, 04:04 PM
You might want to check with your insurance company. Here as soon as you go above 400cc the insurance jumps a lot. That's why my GN400 is actually 398cc.

Carl
08-11-2005, 08:56 PM
500 ninja

http://www.roundyskawasaki.com/pics/kawasaki_pics/2005/ninja/k_05_ex500d_st_1_800.jpg

3 Phase Lightbulb
08-11-2005, 11:00 PM
Here's my wife's 2005 Ninja 250 in our living room waiting for spring to come:

http://www.gnuxtools.com/house/ninja250.jpg

-Adrian

Wirecutter
08-11-2005, 11:15 PM
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by rsr911:

Gene, you're right about the P-car.
</font>

Question from the clueless:

P-car = Porsche???

rsr911
08-11-2005, 11:56 PM
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by Wirecutter:
Question from the clueless:

P-car = Porsche???

</font>


Yes, Porsche. I say P-car because I don't want people to think I'm bragging. The one I'm driving is a 1966 912 converted to a 911 with an '83 motor and '74 IROC/RSR bodywork but without the huge flares. Older Porsches really aren't that expensive but people just assume I'm some rich jerk because I have one. The other car is just an empty shell right now that I'm going to built into a track/street car. It'll be barebones, no interior just seats, cage and harnesses, huge brakes and lightweight everything, like a motorcycle the only radio I'll need will be the sweet sound of aircooled power at 7000 rpms http://bbs.homeshopmachinist.net//wink.gif


------------------
-Christian D. Sokolowski

Carl
08-12-2005, 10:05 PM
P-Car

http://www.gorgesoccer.ca/htdocs/photos/porta_potty.JPG

rsr911
08-13-2005, 03:20 PM
Carl,

You've got it all wrong, that's a P-TRIKE LOL http://bbs.homeshopmachinist.net//biggrin.gif

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-Christian D. Sokolowski

Last Old Dog
08-13-2005, 06:40 PM
I think the 'RSR' in your name coupled with the '911' is a dead give away.