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Old 02-01-2013, 04:10 PM   #1
ShawnT316 OP
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Question Your ideas on a commuter ...

I am looking to get a bike again ... My curent job is not going to last much longer, and my next job will be in the Tucson area 85 miles away, my F150 4X4 like the gas too much!

SO ... a little history on me ... I started out learning on a friends Honda 100 on/off road when I was 10 or 11, then when I was 14 I bought a Yamaha dual sport (they wern't called that back then) 125cc, rode that on the old logging roads in VT till I bought a '79 Yamaha XS400 when I turned 16,(in 1982) it was my only wheels until I bought a car 1.5 years later, as the first winter was "interesting" I kept the 400 through school, at some time later I sold it, then went a year or so without a bike, then bought a '81 XS Eleven, had that for a few years ... then went a few years without, and bought a Honda CBR 600F Huricane '89 I think (I had actually went into a dealler looking for a used dressed touring bike ... but ... Once I took this Used CBR out and cracked the throttle, I wrote out a check!) I kept it for a few years, but sold it again ... We then moved out to AZ five years ago, and I bought an '06 KLR650 to save gas on a 75 mi commute which was about half gravel roads ... Got laid off, and I just did not like the hassle of gearing up to go to my new job 3 mi away ... and an hour on the interstate with the KLR was uncomfortable for me, blown around by big trucks (which I drive) and wind in generall in March/April! My hands got tingly, butt got sore, even though I had a thin gel pad!

SO ... I'm not new to bikes, but not really much of a "rider" just for the fun of it, they have to have a usefull purpose for me to keep one around.

What I want (not sure one exists)
Is it needs to get 50+ MPG

Be comfortable to ride 1.5 hours

Less than $4,000.00 (I need to save some money for safety gear)

I would prefer 400 - 500 cc but not sure what is available will like runing the interstate every day ... mostly for fuel mileage.

Obviously I need used, I like the looks of the old "standards like my XS 400 & XS Eleven, My CBR was uncomfortable back then after an hour, would be much worse now that I'm 15+ years older (47 yrs old now)

I'm 6'1" and have a 34" inseam and about 190 pounds ...

Our interstated out here are 75 mph, which would be about 60 miles of, then about 20 miles of chip-seal 45-65 mph, and 5 miles or so of city traffic ... it does get windy here in South Eastern AZ, 20-30 mph is not unusual!

I have looked on line, but figured why not ask all of you! Here are a few I have picked out ... that might work, but I REALLY do NOT know about which riding positions being the most comfortable ... I have always hated the obnoxious loud Narly Harly crusiers ... but are the jap quieter cruiser style still comfortable for 1.5 hours??? Which would be more comfortable?

Honda NightHawk 700

Honda NC700X (Is this just a more modern model of the above?)

Kawasawki Vulcan 500 LTD

Kawasawki W650

Suzuki SV650

SuzukiGS500E

Yamaha Virago 535

What have I missed? Are any of the above out of the question for what I want it to do?

I have not actually gone and seen any of these bikes,just looked on line, there seem to be a few online in the price range ...
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Old 02-01-2013, 04:41 PM   #2
GSAragazzi
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Sv 650

Second gen will almost get 55 mpg (depending on you right hand of course) and the range is around 180 miles.
Add to it a taller screen (cee Baileys nd the like), and you should have a great commuter.
The NighHawlk would also be a great option.

Thinking out of the box, how about an Aprilia? The Rotax engine is great, very comfortable and for some reason very inexpensive in the used market.

Mana 850
Or
Tuono 1st Gen (not as great on fuel tho)

Cheers
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Old 02-01-2013, 04:47 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GSAragazzi View Post
Second gen will almost get 55 mpg (depending on you right hand of course) and the range is around 180 miles.
Add to it a taller screen (cee Baileys nd the like), and you should have a great commuter.
The NighHawlk would also be a great option.

Thinking out of the box, how about an Aprilia? The Rotax engine is great, very comfortable and for some reason very inexpensive in the used market.
Shiver 750
Or
Mana 850
Or
Tuono 1st Gen (not as great on fuel tho)

Cheers
Forgot to mention AF1 Racing as a resource for Ape stuff and to find a bike.
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Old 02-01-2013, 04:51 PM   #4
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v-strom 650.
mine gets between 52 and 63 depending on how much of a hurry i am in.
i commute 400 miles a week.
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Old 02-01-2013, 04:56 PM   #5
GSAragazzi
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One more -out of the box- ideas:
Triumph 955i. Perfect for your height (great comfort) and 44 to 55 mpgs reported. Great tourer and bullet proof. I recently saw one for sale in the Dallas area for $3200 and 15k miles or so.
Heres one near you:
http://phoenix.craigslist.org/nph/mcy/3553491145.html
I would offer around $2700 since its not a 955i. Still a great bike barely broken in.

Here's what inmates think:
http://www.advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=344132
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Old 02-01-2013, 05:12 PM   #6
fierostetz
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I've commuted on the following

1. 1992 nighthawk
2. 2008 KLR650
3. 2003 ninja 250

The nighthawk is a FANTASTICALLY reliable bike, no valves to adjust, gets decent mileage.. but I'm the same height as you and stock, it causes some back pain. No wind protection.

The KLR is great, though it's not super happy on the freeway. 16t front sprocket and it got a lot better, but still feels... like it wants to be getting dirty.

The ninja 250 (originally supposed to be wife bike) is actually a lot of fun. I've sustained an indicated 85 for about an hour before and it was fine, despite the high revs. Gets good mileage (not at 85!) and is dirt DIRT cheap to maintain and operate. I swapped out fork springs and installed an ex500 rear shock and it's fantastic. I'd get some lower pegs if I could. I was originally worried it'd have too little power, but it winds up having exactly enough - I can outrun the majority of cars from a dead stop, and I still have passing power on the freeway. Stock seat could use some different/better foam.
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Old 02-01-2013, 05:13 PM   #7
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Also, the ninjette was cheap - got it for 1000 with dirty carbs. Cleaned carbs and I had a 3000 mile bike for a grand.
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Old 02-01-2013, 05:15 PM   #8
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From your list, the Nighthawk hands down.










But a V-Strom 650 would be a great choice.
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Old 02-01-2013, 05:48 PM   #9
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DL650. Power. Efficiency. Reliability. Suspension travel. Smoothness. Spaciousness. Good headlight. Available ABS. Luggage. Windscreen. Aftermarket. Dirt road ability.
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Old 02-01-2013, 05:50 PM   #10
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The SV650 and V-strom 650 (DL) are similar in that they are both v-twins. The SV is a bit sportier, while the V-strom can do some off road. I think one of those two will suit your needs well, and be about as reliable as an anvil.

The Honda Nighthawk is a great bike, but might require some maintenance as the carbs begin to age (leaks, etc.).
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Old 02-01-2013, 06:18 PM   #11
ShawnT316 OP
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Quote:
Originally Posted by High Country Herb View Post
The SV650 and V-strom 650 (DL) are similar in that they are both v-twins. The SV is a bit sportier, while the V-strom can do some off road. I think one of those two will suit your needs well, and be about as reliable as an anvil.

So do they have the same engine?

Same gearing?

Which is more comfortable on the road? Better seat?

Which would have better wind protection? (In the winter I wants LOTS, but summer's not so much, if any!)


I liked my XS Eleven, but I can get a Honda civic for the same mpg, and heat & ac!
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Old 02-01-2013, 08:02 PM   #12
High Country Herb
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ShawnT316 View Post
So do they have the same engine?

Same gearing?

Which is more comfortable on the road? Better seat?

Which would have better wind protection? (In the winter I wants LOTS, but summer's not so much, if any!)


I liked my XS Eleven, but I can get a Honda civic for the same mpg, and heat & ac!
I haven't owned either of the Suzuki's, but a friend of mine had the SV and loved it. I think they are basically the same engine, with different cam, tuning, and gearing. I suspect the V-Strom has better wind protection, which could be seasonably increased with an aftermarket screen extension. You could probably find a used aftermarket seat as well, since they are so abundant.

I have owned a Geo Metro. Mine was a '91 convertible 5 spd that got 41 mpg. It had a radiator not much bigger than a phone book, so I had to run the heater sometimes in the summer. Other than that, it was great car.
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Old 02-01-2013, 10:25 PM   #13
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BMW K75's should also be considered. Famous for bullet proof engines, valves that almost never need adjustment, sewing machine lack of vibration, a comfortable standard riding position, average 50 mpg, and definitely in your price bracket. Don't be afraid of an old one (like late 80's, early 90's) or high mileage if well maintained.

The two real downsides - uncomfortable OEM saddle and final drive failure - have almost certainly been addressed by a previous owner.
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Old 02-01-2013, 10:30 PM   #14
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You might want to think of a first generation Kawasaki Concours. They are plentiful, cheap and run forever if well maintained. You'll also get wind protection and hard bags.

I used to commute in and out of NYC on one - and except for the weight of the bike in slow moving city traffic, it was a great commuter. (It replaced my Honda PC800... also a great commuter in its day)
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Old 02-02-2013, 03:01 AM   #15
windmill
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I have been a full time motorcycle commuter most of my adult life.

The bikes I owned that were primarily used for commuting.
HD Sportster
HD FLT
2 Honda CB750's
Honda XL250
Suzuki GS850
Kawasaki GPZ550
Yamaha KLX650
Yamaha V-Star 650 classic
Ducati E-900

And for the past 5 years, a Ural patrol.

Sticking to 2 wheelers, I have to give the nod to the V-Star.

Not as much protection or carrying capacity as a tour or sport tour bike, but with a wind screen and bags, its still better than average

Fairly low in the power and speed department, but delivers its power how and where you need it in real world conditions.

Not as nimble as a dual sport or sportbike, but very easy to ride in stop and go traffic, and other slow, tight conditions.

The ergos are fairly neutral for a cruiser and quite comfortable for a few hours. .

I don't really care for cruisers, its a very uninspiring bike to ride recreationally, but they can be had dirt cheap, will take mishaps with little consequence, is unlikely to be stolen, has shaft drive, requires minimal maintenance, and is very reliable

I haven't ridden it in 5 years, but still have it as backup transportation because it made such a good commuter.
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