Reccomendation for mountains?
June 22, 2009 at 3:15 pm #3040
I’m looking for a reccomendation on a beginner bike.
My commute is 1hr (40 miles) each way, which wouldnt be too bad for a 250cc except its lots of mountain riding. My commute takes me over the blue ridge and back each day, so 2/3rds of my ride time is dealing with going up or down mountains.
I weight 160lbs and am 5’5. Can a 250 comfortable handle mountains?
I love the MPG on the 250cc bikes (especially on those motards like the Kawa KLX250SF or Honda CRF230M)..
I’m just thankful that motorbikes have front brakes on the right hand (I’m a long time mountain biker and in Australia front brake is on the right, but not so here in the USA for bicycles aaargh!!)
So my current chain of thought is something like
– motards have great MPG, but would look off cruising on the blue ridge parkway (my backyard) on a lazy sunday afternoon
– 250cc cruisers look sweet, have high mpg but not sure if they can take the mountains
– 500cc vulcan looks sweet, could handle the hills and lazy sunday cruising the BRP but looses MPG…
mmmm… doing a little research, seems there is a market segment hole going from 250cc straight up to 500/650cc cruiser bikes.. does nobody make a 350/400cc cruiser bike for beginners?
are there any good mpg older bikes around in the 350/400cc range? (I know the old yamaha 350 rd gets some baaad MPG).
would it be worth checking out older cm400/cb350/xj400’s? I don’t know how prevalent they are or if they are any good (I’ve been trying to google 350/400cc bikes)June 22, 2009 at 3:32 pm #20018MunchParticipant
The 250’s should be fine up there. Being near the BRP I am sure you know where Deals Gap is…hang out at the tail and watch all the different bikes that show up. I don’ thtink there’s anything that could look out of place around that area.June 22, 2009 at 3:41 pm #20019AParticipant
Personally, I’d feel better on a 500cc or 650cc moto and I weight 150 lb. with all my riding gear on.
Easy enough to switch brake cable (not hoses) on a mt. bike to convert your braking preference, should take no more than few minutes.June 22, 2009 at 3:43 pm #20021DaggerParticipant
Most bikes jump from 250 to the 500-650 range.. The main thing to keep in mind when going with a cruiser is the weight IMHO.. The lighter the better when starting out.. It will get you the confidence to get on any sized cruiser later.. I started out on a Yamaha V-Star 650 Custom. Great bike to learn on.. Light weight as far as cruisers go and handles wonderfully.. AT the time it felt massive to me.. Now after moving up to a 1900cc Roadliner, it feels like I’m on a moped when I take the 650 out. Will probably be giving it to my gf as her first bike once she takes the MSF coarse.June 23, 2009 at 12:49 am #20044SpoolParticipant
I have an old ’81 Honda CM400. It’s been a good bike for me. I’ve put almost 4,000 miles on it without having to fix anything other than putting a new headlight in it. I guess that’s pretty good considering the bike is almost 30 years old. As for power its got plenty of power for solo riding, two up it is taxed a bit however it’s not really big enough to ride two people on it for long especially with me at 230lbs. I live in a pretty hilly area nothing huge though. Almost all of the hills are really curvy as well so it always ends up being the curves limiting the speed not the power of the bike. The one hill that is straight I have no problem maintaining the speed limit of 55 however I do have to shift down to 4th to go that speed. Funny thing is if I run it up to about 75 it will pull the hill at that speed in 5th, just the way the powerband (or lack there of) is.
That being said if you are looking at an older 400cc bike for the gas mileage I honestly think you’ll do better with something like the Vulcan 500. If I baby mine around I can eek out about 57mpg. Usually I am in the 52-53mpg area. Most people I have read about with the Vulcan are getting 55mpg or so and it has a lot more power than my 400 as well as being a bigger more comfortable bike. If you are looking for mileage that is significantly better than that then your only choice is going to be one of the 250’s.
I personally have no experience with 250cc bikes other than riding on in the MSF course. One of my friends does have a Suzuki GZ250 but he says its pushing it pretty hard to maintain the speed limit on the hills around here. I think that the GZ is the least powerful 250 though and the Honda Rebel and Yamaha Virago have a little bit more power.June 23, 2009 at 3:12 am #20046MunchParticipant
you are correct about the mpg on the V500…. that is about how much I got on mine. Rode it everyday for a while mostly highway.June 23, 2009 at 12:04 pm #20057
thanks, thats some good info you give there.June 23, 2009 at 12:06 pm #20058
On a mtn bike you cant really ‘flip’ integrated brake/shifters as then you’d be pushing down to shift up and pulling up to shift down etc. I don’t run integrated, but my current brakes, the hydraulic hose enters the reservoir at the bottom of it, if I flipped it, it would be more to the top than bottom, as well as the reservoir seal now being underneath, I’m not sure how well that would work out (its not a closed system).
freaks my wife out when she goes from her mtn bike to mine, but gives me an excuse not to ride the girly bikeJune 23, 2009 at 1:16 pm #20061AtlAggieParticipant
I’ve put 250 miles on my Vulcan 500 each of the last two Saturdays, mostly riding in the N. Georgia mountains around Helen, Suches, Blue Ridge and Blairsville. The groups I have been riding with were mixed, with some cruisers, some sport tourers, and even some pure sport bikes. The Vulcan had no problem keeping up with everyone except some of the 1 liter sports guys. And I have always gotten at least 54 miles a gallon with every tank of gas.June 23, 2009 at 5:16 pm #20073briderdtParticipant
All you do is swap the brake cables left to right, and vice versa.June 23, 2009 at 7:39 pm #20089
lol you make it sound so easy, yeah you can swap the cables.. if you want to flush the entire hydraulic system and fill it back up with dot5.1.
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