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Old 02-04-2014, 09:14 AM   #16
tkent02
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Quote:
Originally Posted by markjenn View Post
A new Honda CB500 costs about the same (in constant dollars) and is vastly better in every functional way. The good old days weren't that good.

- Mark
Buy a UJM for maybe about $1000, (give or take $800) spend another $1000 getting it in safe reliable condition, then maybe $200 a year for oil changes, tires and such.

Pretty darned inexpensive for a motorcycle.

They are not vastly better. Quite a bit faster, better brakes, some have nicer suspension, some don't. Maybe ABS. Some newer bikes are lighter, but a lot of them are not. The suspension and brakes can be upgraded on the old bikes, quit inexpensively. Newer bikes require less maintenance, but they are not more reliable. (unless you choose not to do the required maintenance)
One day a year is enough to do everything an old bike needs. Maybe twice a year if you ride a lot.
Not much more than what a new bike needs really.

New bikes are fine, I have a few, a KTM, a BMW and a Suzuki. I ride the old ones more often.
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Old 02-04-2014, 09:17 AM   #17
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Originally Posted by k-moe View Post
And they are less apt to be stolen
True, I never even pull the key out of mine when I park it.
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Old 02-04-2014, 03:27 PM   #18
markjenn
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Originally Posted by tkent02 View Post
They are not vastly better. Quite a bit faster, better brakes, some have nicer suspension, some don't. Maybe ABS. Some newer bikes are lighter, but a lot of them are not. The suspension and brakes can be upgraded on the old bikes, quit inexpensively. Newer bikes require less maintenance, but they are not more reliable. (unless you choose not to do the required maintenance)
Look, I'm an old bike fan too (I have a CB750K1 and a CBX), but I don't think anybody riding a CB400F back-to-back with a CB500F wouldn't came away absolutely astounded with how much better the new bike is. It's like night and day.

BTW, I owned two 400Fs too, and it was a great bike to look at and trundle around on now and then, but by today's standards, it was a total POS with miniscule power, a wooden disc brake in front and a hair-trigger drum in back, terrible suspension (especially fork compliance), etc. While it was one of the smoothest bikes of its era, it has the characteristic inline-four buzz and would be considered a relatively vibey bike if sold today.

Old is great and if you like the simplicity and basic nature, go for it - a bike like the CB400F can certainly be an everyday bike or even a touring bike if you want. But it just is not even on the same page in overall functionality.... a CB400F compares to a CB500F about like a 1975 Honda Civic compares to a new one.

- Mark
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Old 02-04-2014, 03:44 PM   #19
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OK, buy a new bike. You have my permission.
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Old 02-04-2014, 03:58 PM   #20
bwringer
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Geez, I didn't know you weren't supposed to load 'em up like mules, go places far away, and ride real fast on old bikes.

For example:

Tennessee/North Carolina (you know where... ):


Iowa. That's Wisconsin over yonder:



Pick a good bike, fix it up right, and you'll be fine. I've flogged the shit out of my GS850 for over 90,000 miles. It's got over 125,000 on it, and I plan to keep it pretty much forever.


Bonus loaded 1991 VX800 somewhere in Wisconsin. I sold this one a few years ago.:


Resting, unloaded, outside a cheap motel in Illinois. Note vintage tourers in the background. This was a GS rally -- buy yourself an old Suzuki and head over to http://www.thegsresources.com/_forum/index.php
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Old 02-04-2014, 04:13 PM   #21
markjenn
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Originally Posted by tkent02 View Post
OK, buy a new bike. You have my permission.
Thanks. But I don't need to buy a new bike; I have several of those too. Each has its place. I'm just countering the notion that old bikes are just as good, or nearly as good, as new ones from a functionality standpoint. As an owner of many examples of each, I think I can speak with some authority that it simply isn't true. But that doesn't mean that you can't do most anything you want with the old one if you're into it. Touring on a 70's or 80's UJM is a blast.

- Mark
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Old 02-04-2014, 04:40 PM   #22
Tim_Tom
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Two summer's ago I rode my 82 Suzuki GS850G from NJ to California and back. The was bike I bought for $1200 and was a brilliant bike. You can tour or anything you like, one isn't any better than another, but the best bike is the one you are sitting on.

A picture from my trip coming down the Pacific coast highway.

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Old 02-04-2014, 07:17 PM   #23
tlub
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Originally Posted by buls4evr View Post
You want to be inspired by what can be done on a UJM? Read "Jupiters Travels", by Simon.............
Except that was done on the antithesis of a UJM, a Triumph. A 500 cc, single carb 'hundred'. Sort of like a Daytona, but the service version with one carb.

But the point is actually well taken. You don't need the latest and greatest. Miles then, for which the old bikes were made (and to me, all UJMs are 'new') are the same 5,280 feet as miles now, and new miles travel just like old miles.
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Old 02-04-2014, 08:31 PM   #24
tkent02
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Originally Posted by markjenn View Post
I'm just countering the notion that old bikes are just as good, or nearly as good, as new ones from a functionality standpoint.
In most ways they are not, but in some ways they are far better. Show me a new bike I can buy and get in shape for a long road trip for under $2000, with a super comfortable long flat seat, that will never blow a cooling hose or puncture a radiator, which will easily last 100,000 miles without a top end rebuild, and one which every possible failure can be understood and fixed by a layman which no exotic tools and I'll buy it. BMW's airheads come close, but they haven't made a flat seat in decades. And they are not $2000 either.
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Old 02-05-2014, 12:39 AM   #25
Short Shins
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I tour on a UJM all the time. It's all I've got
1977 Honda CB750 with A Yamaha SRX600.
On our annual Sad Old Gits Tour. around 1500km in 5 days.
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Old 02-05-2014, 03:50 AM   #26
markk53
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Quote:
Originally Posted by markjenn View Post
A new Honda CB500 costs about the same (in constant dollars) and is vastly better in every functional way. The good old days weren't that good.

- Mark

Maybe not, but I'm betting a lot of us could quite easily do every bit of work - including fork seals and engine rebuilds - on a CB400F over that of the new 500. THAT is what many of us mean by a good basic bike... at least I do. There is also a certain joy in riding a very elemental bike that isn't there with newer stuff. It's like sitting on the bench seat of a 68 Chevy C10 versus being coddled and absorbed into the bucket seat of a current Chevy Silverado. Just something I still love about the feel. Fact is the only thing I didn't and don't like about older bikes is totally curable - suspension.

For the OP I agree, nothing like an 80s UJM. Only thing they need to really do a great job is suspension. A set of good shocks ($300-600) and a Race Tech Gold Valve cartridge emulator or the like and Progresive Suspension fork springs in the forks to have a ride to rival the new stuff, which usually need springs or damping fiddled with too.

There is adventure in riding the basic motorcycle over the modern compartmentalized bikes. A UJM is more touring than a sport bike and more sporting than a touring bike, lighter than many sport tourers and more comfortable than most sport bikes. That is the UJM. My favorite was the Nighthawk S 700. It was better for me than my bare standard 83 Gold Wing and definitely better than any sportbikes I'd ridden. The seat and ride position was virtually perfect.

At this point, I am going totally single cylinder, serious elemental. My Zephyr will be sold. My KLX650 will get 17s for road use, and a KLX250 was added to the garage for more serious real dual sporting. My project/play bike is an SR500 street/tracker. It just suits the way I have become over the past few decades, as I started finding riding secondary roads as much as possible (including dirt/gravel) and not finding any joy in sheer mileage and wide open highway/freeway riding. Only one draw back to dual sports and most singles I know of is the seating for highway use - and that is why I have a pick up and trailer. When there is a drone to a place we want to be I'd rather sit in the cab with a few friends shooting the breeze on the long boring run to the destination. Besides 15 mpg in a truck with four guys is the same as 60 mpg on four bikes with four riders - no energy consumption increase.

In addition I can deal with virtually anything on these bikes. For me the reward isn't in the miles droning down a freeway, it is the ride on the roads that are fun. But if I had to, I know I can add a bit of a pad (ATV cushion) to the seat of the 650 and hit the highway. I also kind of like the elemental kind of character - nothing more than is needed to do the job. Especially with the manual compression release kick start equipped SR500. Pure elemental motorcycle - no "alloying" extras like electric start or counter-balancers.

You see, my dual sport 650 had done everything that all the new stuff had done. I rode it and hung close to sport bikes, packed up some stuff on it and rode some longer distance stuff (nothing major, but it could go touring with some side bags hung on it, no power problem), and it certainly does the around town and general screwing around as good as any current bike... it also goes easily on dirt/gravel too - BONUS! So it does do what the new stuff does in pretty much as good a fashion when you talk general purpose motorcycles. Only thing that would be nice to have would be EFI, but my carb does the job without any more than fiddling with the choke when cold.
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Old 02-05-2014, 04:16 AM   #27
markk53
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rivercreep View Post
...by your perspective.
To me, the old one was better because it was a simple design (no liquid cooling/plumbing to work around or fail) and my old CB400 could handle saddle bags and a larger windshield with minimal expense.
Not so with the new CB as it's headlight design prohibits a large touring screen and its side panels will get damaged if you just throw saddle bags over them, without supports.
To me, the new CB500 is worthless as a practical commuter and if your battery goes dead, it has no kick-starter as back up. (my 78 Hawk had both and I usually used the kick starter as it'd fire up on the first jump, almost every time)

I agree totally with your comments about the 400 - that was what made a UJM a UJM, it could be whatever you decided it would be, even if it changed overnight! Sweet...

As for your comments about the CB500 and no kick start, all I can say is you're wrong.

The 500 is quite practical. A releatively small foot print as motorcycles are, can have bags/box on it or bungee on whatever. Heck, a back pack and it's like commuting on a CB400! Jump on and ride.

As for kick start - I have 30,000 miles on a KLX650 dual sport without any need for kick starting. That IS one area where new stuff is good - electrics. The electrics, like starters and all, got more and more reliable through the 70s and to date. It got to the point where having a kick starter made about as much sense on the bikes as having a hand crank on a car.
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Ever get lost? You know, that good kind of lost - come to a dirt road intersection and you have no idea where you are or which way to turn? I like when that happens!

Mark - klx678
95 KLX650C w/Vulcan piston bigbore, Now an 09 KLX250S, selling my 90 Zephyr 550
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Old 02-05-2014, 04:32 AM   #28
markk53
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Quote:
Originally Posted by markjenn View Post
Thanks. But I don't need to buy a new bike; I have several of those too. Each has its place. I'm just countering the notion that old bikes are just as good, or nearly as good, as new ones from a functionality standpoint. As an owner of many examples of each, I think I can speak with some authority that it simply isn't true. But that doesn't mean that you can't do most anything you want with the old one if you're into it. Touring on a 70's or 80's UJM is a blast.

- Mark

That is totally relative.

My nearly 20 year old 95 KLX650 is still on par with the current lot of Japanese dual sports. My nearly 25 year old in-line 4 with a set of shocks can perform legally on par with the current mid size standards. What is better may not be necessary for functional performance. There is nothing on the market that actually has better stuff than my current 650 for general road and light dual sport use. There is nothing on the market that actually has better function for general road use than my 550. The only reason to go to something newer would be because I wanted something that wasn't provided by my current ride. I will tell you that reason is why I bought a 95 KLX in 97 over say a 90 Honda XR650L, I liked the look of the KLX over the XR. The XR remained virtually unchanged for a few decades, so how would Modern be better? KLR 650 got an overhaul, but it didn't increase function in any real ground breaking way over the first gen that had run for like 30 years! Better is totally relative. Where is a markedly better sport tourer than an ST1100 or the first FJR? In fact is anything really markedly better than a C10 Concours on a day to day general ride?

I open the garage, get the bike out, put my stuff on (including my back pack), turn on the key, pull the choke (which they may not have to), hit the start button, and ride off taking the choke down after a few minutes while I ride. I pull up, put the kick stand down, get off and go do what I need to do. Then repeat to go home. Tell me how much better a 2014 bike can do that for me?... well, other than having to use the choke lever when cold.

Now if I'm going road racing or looking for sheer quickness and speed I'm sure modern is better. If I want full boat touring I'm sure the new Wing and others are far superior. And if I want cruiser, well they were so low tech a 2000 model isn't that much different than the 2014, that's cruisers for ya.

A good running old bike will do, for me, everything that the latest and greatest will. It will get me from here to there without issue. (Much like my 96 truck versus a 14 truck) One thing the new bike cannot do that the older does - give a bit of panache. You pull up on an older bike and riders notice.
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Ever get lost? You know, that good kind of lost - come to a dirt road intersection and you have no idea where you are or which way to turn? I like when that happens!

Mark - klx678
95 KLX650C w/Vulcan piston bigbore, Now an 09 KLX250S, selling my 90 Zephyr 550

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Old 02-05-2014, 04:40 AM   #29
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Shrug.. plenty of Suzuki Bandits 1200 and 600 can be found cheap, plenty reliable and likely to last forever. Classic UJM with reasonably modern suspension, brakes etc. Lots of parts around, maintenance is entirely conventional, upgrades are well understood and specified these days and make a big difference. I probably have $1k in upgrades on it now, some new, some salvage & craigslist.

I take my 1200 anywhere the bike has a reasonable chance of having traction... heck I took my old Volusia cruiser down logging roads until I ran out of ground clearance.


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Old 02-05-2014, 05:06 AM   #30
rivercreep
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Quote:
Originally Posted by markk53 View Post
I agree totally with your comments about the 400 - that was what made a UJM a UJM, it could be whatever you decided it would be, even if it changed overnight! Sweet...

As for your comments about the CB500 and no kick start, all I can say is you're wrong.

The 500 is quite practical. A releatively small foot print as motorcycles are, can have bags/box on it or bungee on whatever. Heck, a back pack and it's like commuting on a CB400! Jump on and ride.

As for kick start - I have 30,000 miles on a KLX650 dual sport without any need for kick starting. That IS one area where new stuff is good - electrics. The electrics, like starters and all, got more and more reliable through the 70s and to date. It got to the point where having a kick starter made about as much sense on the bikes as having a hand crank on a car.

I'd like to see you bump start a modern FI bike (without much of a hill around) that has a completely dead battery.
F.W.I.W. I've had the batteyr on a 98 Dodge Dakota 5 speed and my TU250X go completely dead...and even with a good hill, neither (with no juice to let their brains think) would bump start.
I.M.H.O. a Kick-start with an electrical discharge DEFINITELY has it's place on a modern FI bike.

And I also don't equate a backpack to practical commuting.
I brought home a 20 lb turkey, gallon of milk, bread, and a few other forgotten items on my way home from work with the saddlebags on my TU...something no backpack could handle...and that was in a pouring rain with a large shield keeping me mostly dry for the trip home and to the grocery store.
Like I said, it's a matter of perspective. I'm not saying your wrong (and
I don't understand how you feel you can tell me I'm wrong, when the bike YOU describe, doesn't fit MY needs at all)

I know you can buy all sorts of stuff for the new CB series but, like I mentioned earlier, look at the prices for that stuff! You can't morph any of the CB series for cheap, like I could my TU250X. (I actually like the new CB500X and would consider buying it IF I had the finances for the extra large shield, bags/mounts and rack)

Before this site made it hard for me to post pics, I did post some of my TU on the TU250X thread...look there and you can see what I'm talking about. No fancy hardware was needed for my shield or bags.
I'm holding out for a DR650 powered larger version of it. (unless I want to buy my 4th DR650)

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