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Old 02-01-2013, 07:02 PM   #16
High Country Herb
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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, 07:27 PM   #17
davidji
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Originally Posted by ShawnT316 View Post
What have I missed?
Gas tank range. If your bike won't easily do a full round-trip commute, it's not suited for the job.

If it will do two it will be much more convenient--but harder to find.

1 1/2 commutes per tank might be the best you can hope for in your price range (without aftermarket tank). I expect a DL650 will deliver? I think the old one has 5.5 gallon tank, and if you baby it maybe you can get 55MPG? At least on non-winter gas.

I'd recommend a Versys, but it won't even get you 1 1/2 commutes. It does 2+ for me with it's 5 gallon tank, and I love it. But if I had your commute I'd want more range.
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Old 02-01-2013, 09:25 PM   #18
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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, 09:30 PM   #19
HarryBee
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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 02-01-2013, 09:35 PM   #20
PeterW
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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!
SV/DL. The SV motor is a bit more lively up top, the DL is a better commuter - better off the line and more torque low down. Not that much in it though.

The DL has better weather protection, airflow is really good and pushes a lot of air/water around the rider - I only get soaked waiting at traffic lights . Lower the screen on the DL in summer to get more air on you.

Otherwise, it's 'fit' the DL really suits a slightly taller rider better, or someone who likes/needs a sit-up riding position.

The DL is probably more comfortable, but if you prefer a crouched riding position the SV will work better.

Carrying shit the DL is far better. Though, I'd suggest drawing the line somewhere before a large printer/scanner - my nuts may never recover from that trip.

Pre-2012 should get ~20km/l in stop-start commute traffic, 2012 up 22+.

And whatever your opinions of ABS, it's worth having on a crappy urban commute.

Pete
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Old 02-02-2013, 02:01 AM   #21
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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Old 02-02-2013, 04:38 AM   #22
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Either the SV650 or a DL650 (V-Strom) would fit the bill perfectly. You can get big luggage and pannier racks for both, making them very practical for carrying lots of things, I can easily do my grocery shopping on my V-Strom.

V-Stroms carry a bit of a price premium, but can still be had for $4k if you don't mind some miles and don't insist on getting a newer ABS model. I would say it's quite a bit more comfortable than the SV, much more upright with nice wide bars and tighter turning radius for easier maneuvering.

SV650s you can regularly find for $3k or less, often with VERY nice modifications (GSX-R front ends are VERY popular and completely transform the bike!)
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Old 02-02-2013, 05:32 AM   #23
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I'm not scared of old, or working on a machine, I took vo-tech auto mechanicis my last two years in high school (Top of my class both years) and worked as a big truck mechanic for a few years, do most all my own work now ... I also have in my driveway now an '82 MB 240D (275k mi) which is very reliable car, but does not like much above 60 mph, it is slow, and under powered diesel (no turbo) My F150 is an '89 ... HOWEVER, I don't want to be tinkering on a vehicle everyday just to get back and forth to work five days a week, so it has to be RELIABLE. My old MB I would not hesitate today to drive it cross country ... year and a half ago we took it to ME, but it was a slow trip 30+ mpg ... It's goona be for sale soon.

Most of my commute would be highway riding, only a few miles of "city traffic" ... I would most likely only need to carry my lunch, rarely pick something up that my wife forgot, or ranout of at the store ... I had saddle bags for my KLR, but never used them or the rear cargo bag ...



This is how I rode to work I liked the tank bag,as it would expand and make room for my insulated coveralls I needed in the morning:


I looked into an Honda Insight (pre '06) but you really need to baby them (low speed) to get the really good mpg, and they suffer with the ac on ... and there not cheap to start out with, the other small cars are either worn out (high miles), or only get mid 30's ...

I have heard that a car can be cheaper to run, but what is the current price of up keep on a bike?

Tires, how long do they last now? I remember the back tire on my CBR would only last 800 - 1000 miles! Fronts I could get 2,500 out of ... I do realise that a guy in his mid twenty who liked redlining a bike like that could put a world of hurt on tires, but I had the money, and it was fun, for short runs! I did not like getting all scrunched up, and trying to unfold myself later ... and that was a long time ago!


Are tubless tires better? more expensive? Last longer, or just able to be radials?

How often are oil changes?

A good point brought up about fuel range ... Thanks!
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Old 02-02-2013, 05:47 AM   #24
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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!
You can't throw a stick without hitting a thread that mentions a vstrom here.

the SV650 will have more sporty ergos. Whether or not that's comfortable for 85 miles is on you.

Go to cycle-ergo.com to check knee bend. Google for gearingcommander to check gear ratios, but both have chains so fiddling with it is just a sprocket away. I'm pretty sure the strom has better fuel range.

The naked sv will have zero wind protection, no clue what the faired s model has. The strom can have very, very good wind protection, but budget for a windscreen and madstad bracket at the very least.

I think for the money you'd be able to find a far nicer dl650 than sv - around here at least all the sub $4k sv's are ragged to hell.
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Old 02-02-2013, 06:15 AM   #25
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I just checked Cycle Trader ... out of 40+ Vstroms 650's there was only ONE under $4K ($3799) an '08 w/76K mi ... is that alot of miles?
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Old 02-02-2013, 06:19 AM   #26
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I just checked Cycle Trader ... out of 40+ Vstroms 650's there was only ONE under $4K ($3799) an '08 w/76K mi ... is that alot of miles?
Hard to say - 08 is newish though.

Don't forget to check craigslist.

Sub-4k stroms will probably go quick, so you're not going to find one sitting there waiting for you.
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Old 02-02-2013, 06:37 AM   #27
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Carrying shit the DL is far better. Though, I'd suggest drawing the line somewhere before a large printer/scanner - my nuts may never recover from that trip.
I see you a printer/scanner and raise you a lawnmower :)

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Old 02-02-2013, 06:54 AM   #28
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I just checked Cycle Trader ... out of 40+ Vstroms 650's there was only ONE under $4K ($3799) an '08 w/76K mi ... is that alot of miles?
STOP looking in Cycle Trader for specialty bikes like 'Stroms. Keep an eye on the Flea Market here, and create an account over on Stromtrooper and keep an eye on their For Sale section.

76k is not unheard of, the engines are usually good for 120k, but that price is high. I sold my '04 V-Strom 650 for $1900 when it had 73k miles (It was also pretty beaten up, but very ride-able). I just bought an '08 ABS model for $5,100 with 23k miles and quite a lot of farkles (madstand, Sargent seat, fork brace, rear shock, emulators, crash bars, bash plate, pannier racks, etc)

This time of year, prices for 'Stroms are going to be going up because they're so popular, but you should be able to find an 04-07 model for $4k if you keep your eyes open and jump quickly. Be prepared to do a fly-n-ride.

'08+ will command a little bit of a price premium as they have a number of minor improvements, and if it's an ABS model it will be on average $500-$1000 more.

As for SV650s, I've found them to be less expensive, I got my '03 SV650 for $2500 with 14k miles with a baseball-sized dent in the tank, and it had some major upgrades (GSX-R front end, ZX-10 rear shock, R6 brake calipers, braided brake lines, tons of other little things). I've seen more mint but less farkled ones for $3k all the time over on svrider.com.

Keep in mind that the SV has WAY WAY less wind protection than the V-Strom, and less luggage options (but still some). The SV650-S has clip-ons and rearsets, it's a pretty aggressive race tuck. The SV650-N is much more upright and comfortable, but is naked and has NO wind protection.

tlr - V-Strom is a bit more spendy but if you look in the right places you can do okay for $4k. SV is cheaper but not as good of a daily commuter
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Old 02-02-2013, 06:56 AM   #29
AdrianB1
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It is an amazing world we are living it :) In Europe nobody is commuting 170 miles per day with a petrol-operated vehicle because burning so much gas is both polluting a lot and also very expensive; that means it's either train or relocating.

If you really want to do it then you need to trade comfort for cost. If you want comfort you should go for a big tourer, if you want to get cheap you need a small engine - 250 or 500 cc top. With my Honda CB 500 I got impressive mileage outside of the city (over 500 kilometers from a 19 liter tank, that's over 60 miles per gallon, I think). The trick is to take it easy on the gas and don't push it over 75 mph. Anyway, look for a faired bike as good wind protection is needed. SV650 is an option, I preffer Honda CBF 600 (injection only, the one on carburetors has lower mileage) and Yamaha Fazer 600.

Another option that I would look for: recent generation of Volkswagen car with diesel engine. Believe it or not, you can drive 100 km with just 3-3.5 liters of diesel, that's up to 90 miles per gallon. I did this over long distances of flat land and I raised to 4 liters per 100 km crossing mountains (and the onboard computer reported near-zero consumption on the entire descent).
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Old 02-02-2013, 09:08 AM   #30
Pro_Marinero
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As a former 365-day commuter with an 80-mile round trip I would say hard bags are a must! Storage while away and the ability to carry as much stuff as possible are key.

Some good recommendations here. I would add the Honda PC800. Dirt-simple, reliable and tons of storage. Pretty vanilla riding experience but will work well.
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