Originally Posted by corndog67
Check this out North Carolina. I used to commute from Monterey, CA to Santa Clara, CA 4 or 5 days a week, 72 miles one way, for several years. I didn't even own a car for a few of those years. Now, how important is speed when you are commuting? I'm asking this because of some of the choices in your list, the CBR250, and whatnot. I commuted on an SV650, a CBR1000F, and a Triumph 955 Daytona. The SV was cool. But the big bikes, got good gas mileage when cruising at steady state speeds, say 90 or 100 mph. The SV cruised real good about 80 or 90. I'm not sure the police presence where you are located, but there were none at the commute times when I was out there. SoI tended to roll pretty fast.
But one thing I noticed about riding big bores those long distances, was that they were very comfortable, and there was very little stress on the engine. Something to think about, maybe getting a used Z1000 or something of the sort with very low miles, For $5000, you can get all kinds of good stuff.
I used to do 40 miles each way, 95% of it a fast highway (so 80 to 90 MPH), and I agree with many parts of your post. The big bore bikes will be stressed less, and that does translate into less stress on the rider. Wind buffeting, rider position and everything else has to be considered when taking on commutes that long, that often (I did mine every single day of work for well over a year, so no cages even if the weather got so bad that cages were pulled off to the side of the road, or skipped getting on the highway altogether).
But the OP is riding two-lane, so I highly doubt his speeds will be as high as our average speeds were. Now I've done my 80-mile-a-day commute on my DR650 many a time (geared up for the highway), but I'd rather have had two cylinders even if they were the same cc's for all that riding.
Still, since he isn't doing the big speeds of big highways... a big bore bike probably isn't needed.
At the other end - what he's proposing with dual sports - the advantages of a single cylinder being so much lighter in case one drops it on the trails is a moot point for that many road miles.
Something else to consider, OP, is that if you've never done it before, planning to carry your work stuff in a back-pack is a teenager's, or once in a blue-moon commuter's, short-sighted plan for that many miles that often. You are always far better served by having a nice sized rear rack for goods (ideally wide and large enough for a laptop case to be tied down on it, plus groceries when you stop to pick some up), and in keeping your upper torso free. Some guys don't like dual-sports with racks, so it's something to consider.