Somewhat new rider….Not sure what to buy
March 19, 2008 at 2:00 pm #1236
Hi everyone. I’m really glad I found this site! In any event, here’s the scoop. I’m a somewhat new rider (I have one riding season under my belt), but that was two years ago. Didn’t ride at all last year. My first bike was a 1982 Honda Silverwing GS500.
I am now looking to buy my next bike, and unlike many of the good folks here, I don’t like sportbikes..At all. The Silverwing was great for me because it had a nice high seat, and I could stretch out a little on it. I’m 6’4″, 280. That makes sport bikes, especially ones that I need to crouch on, a total non-sequiter for me.
I’m wanting to spend between $2000-$2500 on a bike, and prefer either a standard or cruiser style. What types of bikes should I be looking at, and what size? I will be using the bike as a daily communter, and will be on the freeway as much as I will on back roads. I’ve heard horror stories about someone my size trying to ride a 250.
My commute is about 45 miles each way, and I would occasionally be making 200-250 mile round trips with the bike. Any advice would be greatly appreciated!!
GaryMarch 19, 2008 at 5:13 pm #5247MattParticipant
Unfortunately, small touring bikes like the silverwing (The name is now used for a maxi-scooter, but used to be the lightweight GoldWing for those who haven’t seen one) are pretty rare right now.
webBikeWorld ( http://www.webbikeworld.com/motorcycles/kawasaki-versys/ ) has been doing lots of reviews on parts to turn a Versys into a lght weight touring bike. And I think BMW makes a couple of 800s that work well for touring. None of those will be in your price range though.
Going used you are pretty limited. BMWs hold their value for a long time, and the Versys is too new to be that cheap.
Most likely any 600cc UJM (Bandit 600, Honda 599, etc) should work. I don’t know enough about cruisers to make any recommendations there.
Try looking at dual sports though, the KLR650 in particular. It has been aroudn 20 years basically unchanged until last year. It is very reliable, has no problems on the freeways, and has a following who use it as an adventure-touring bike (ala BMW). Several companies make comfortable long distance seats for it, though some people say the stock one is good enough for all day riding.
While the KLR650 produces more power and is more top heavy than your silverwing, it is supposed to be a very friendly bike.
I think a number of people on this forum own KLR650s, maybe one of them could chime in?March 19, 2008 at 11:43 pm #5252
Thanks for the info! Since I saw this I’ve been looking at the KLR650’s. They seem pretty sweet. However there aren’t alot of them out there for sale, and the ones that are seem to be nearly double what I have to spend. I’m going to look at bandits as well though, to see if they might work.
Any other thoughts? Anyone else out there?
GaryMarch 20, 2008 at 2:19 am #5254wishpoolParticipant
Suzuki DR650SE is a great choice as well if you’re considering the KLR. I love mine and it’s been very forgiving to learn on as I’m a beginner rider. In my opinion even more so than the GZ250 I rode in my MSF course.March 20, 2008 at 2:27 am #5255
I’ll take a look at those. Here’s the concern that I have though. I can’t find a KLR OR a DR650 in my price range. Am I smoking some heavy stuff thinking I’ll actually find something in my $2k-2.5k price range?
GaryMarch 20, 2008 at 10:23 am #5256uncle_bernieParticipant
You may have a hard time finding a 600cc+ bike for $2-2.5K but have you tried Cycle Trader? Their advanced search allows you to put in a price range along with other search parameters. By the way, I just bought a Suzuki s40 (652cc single cylinder) for $3200 which I found here in the Houston area through that site. I bought it from a dealer so tax, title, and license kicked the price up about $500 but my bike only had 61 miles on it. The acceleration is really good. Top end is not as good as some other bikes in the 600-650cc range but it can cruise 65-70 on the freeway all day long and it’s top speed is supposed to be around 87-90mph (I haven’t driven it that fast….yet). Check them out.
~He who laughs last didn’t get the joke…March 20, 2008 at 6:37 pm #5257
So, it’s wierd how your conceptions and ideas change….After a few of the tips here, I started researching some of the dual sport bikes out there, and I am now totally infatuated with the idea. I want a KLR or DR….I think.
That being said, any other suggestions for dual sports that might be a good fit for me?
Thanks again everyone! You’ve been a big help!
GaryMarch 21, 2008 at 12:47 am #5258wishpoolParticipant
Dual sports are kind of an odd class of bike as from what I researched before buying mine, the inbetween displacement bikes (400cc) are the ones that are considered the “top of the line” dual sports. They’re the best for off road trips and tend to be slightly higher tech with higher seats and more ground clearance. The 200-250cc’s are great bikes but not real recommended if you do a lot of highway driving. (Like I unfortunately have to do.) They can do 70mph just fine, but they’re so light and lack aerodynamics to feel safe at those speeds for long. Makes winds deadly. I’d be scared as hell on the freeway on one. Also the engines work pretty hard at those speeds. I needed something with slightly more weight and oomph.
And then there’s the 650’s. These guys are the next step up from the 200-250’s if you plan to spend a lot more time on the road rather than on the trails. It sounds like a huge step up but we’re talking single cylinder engines here. A 600cc single is much more tame than a 600cc V-twin, and worlds apart from a 600cc inline four. Much like the S40 mentioned above, the powerbands are very predictable and clutchwork is forgiving. I’ve only had my DR650 for a couple weeks now but I felt instantly more comfortable riding it than the 250 cruiser on my MSF course. The handling is much much better (they’re made to navigate trails), and the upright seating feels good to me. Seems to put you in control. Also it still only comes in at 324 lbs. Featherweight as far as streetbikes go, but heavy for a dually.
Fortunately for you, you’re very tall. You’ll fit on any dual sport just fine. I ended up choosing the DR650 because there’s a factory option to have the suspension lowered almost 2 inches. I’m only 5’9″ so in order to get both my feet to touch the ground flat I had to get it done. At this early stage in my riding skill level I felt I needed it. Now it fits like a glove. My last ditch effort would have been to buy an optional seat from Suzuki which would lower seat height another 1.5 inches. Luckily I didn’t need to shell out the extra cash for it.
I was excited as hell when I got it home. Then put about 20 miles on it in a parking lot the first night. Gotta love those MSF drills. Needless to say, I’m a little biased towards dual sports at the moment. But by and large they are recommended as good beginner bikes by many veterans. Easy to ride. And not that you’d want to, but if you drop them they show little or no damage.
All this being said, when I was shopping I was very tempted at the dealership by the beauty of an S40 similiar to the one mentioned above. Maybe I just have a thing for single cylindersMarch 25, 2008 at 9:16 pm #5298jseah88Participant
I honestly would say that it would be better to go for a cruiser something with at least 600 cc to get you to from on the highway, I have a suzuki vl800 it is my first bike and I love it. It will handle highway cruising i sometimes take it into work and it is a 90 mile round trip for me all highway running 70 mph. With the windshield it does make for nice riding. I havent tried doing a 200 mile trip on it yet though i definately think it can be done.
- You must be logged in to reply to this topic.