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OT: Another motorcycle question

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  • OT: Another motorcycle question

    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?

    -Christian D. Sokolowski

  • #2
    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


    • #3
      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.



      • #4
        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.

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


        • #5
          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.


          • #6
            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.


            • #7
              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 may be able to approach the mileage of a larger motorcycle with a TDi Golf or a little Tercel or something.


              • #8
                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 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.


                • #9
                  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.

                  -Christian D. Sokolowski


                  • #10
                    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 (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.

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                    Thank you to our families of soldiers, many of whom have given so much more then the rest of us for the Freedom we enjoy.

                    It is true, there is nothing free about freedom, don't be so quick to give it away.


                    • #11

                      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.

                      -Christian D. Sokolowski


                      • #12
                        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

                        David Cofer, Of:
                        Tunnel Hill, North Georgia


                        • #13
                          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.



                          • #14
                            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.



                            • #15
                              It's great that you've got dirt bike least you learned how to ride.

                              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.

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

                              "Accuracy is the sum total of your compensating mistakes."

                              "The thing I hate about an argument is that it always interrupts a discussion." G. K. Chesterton