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Old 03-21-2015, 09:01 AM   #1
pmc123 OP
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Question suggestions for a bike good for long distance commuting and urban riding?

I am soon facing a 50 mile one-way commute (san francisco to santa clara) in usually heavy traffic. While I'd like to have multiple bikes, it really isn't feasible, so I'm looking for something that works in the city and won't beat me up commuting.

my criteria as:
  • narrow enough for highway lane splitting
  • comfortable enough for a long commute
  • nimble enough for urban riding
  • not too heavy a clutch - I tend to get tendonitis.

The R1200GS comes to mind, though I rented one before and I kinda didn't like it a whole lot. buzzy on the highway, didn't care for the wide bars, kept wacking my shins on the juggs

I bet the R1200RT would be great for commuting, but at 629lbs it seems a bit porky for the city. ditto goldwing, k1200gt[l], big cruisers, etc

I like the idea of gear assist pro on the bmws to save my wrists.

KTM 1290 adventure comes to mind, though I sat on an 1190 once and thought the seat was uncomfortably narrow. I get the impression these are more off-road oriented.

I've looked at the versys at the motorcycle show. didn't ring my bell.

the honda nc700x pops up in my searches. I like the idea of the DCT for traffic, and the good fuel economy, but the entire bike seems a bit weak sauce compared to what I'm used to (currently riding a ducati m900).

any other ideas?

pmc123 screwed with this post 03-25-2015 at 01:23 PM
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Old 03-21-2015, 09:10 AM   #2
Tim_Tom
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What don't you like about the Monster? Seems it would be ideal, 100 miles a day isn't long enough to warrant a big tour bike to me...
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Old 03-21-2015, 09:14 AM   #3
Rob Farmer
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I've recently bought an NC. The standard suspension lets them down big time. budget for at least a quality rear shock and you will be very surprised how competent they are.

Motorway it will sit at 85-90 without any problem and is great in traffic. Theres a video on the site somewhere with an Nc with 120,000 miles on it so they will do the mileage https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i9rnnBBotMI

They have the added benefit of being fairly competent off road so you get a half decent dual sport for your money as well.

I've been out on mine this morning




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Old 03-21-2015, 09:55 AM   #4
DirtyRoadie
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How 'bout a Ducati Monster? Oh that's been mentioned, sorry. If your budget is OK with GS or RT then why not consider a Multistrada, or Hyperstrada?
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Old 03-21-2015, 10:08 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pmc123 View Post

my criteria as:
  • narrow enough for highway lane splitting
  • comfortable enough for a long commute
  • nimble enough for urban riding
  • not too heavy a clutch - I tend to get tendonitis.

NM4?

I commute on a GoldWing so my idea of narrow might be skewed a bit.
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Old 03-21-2015, 10:43 AM   #6
pitbull
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Yeah, I was going to recommend the bike you already have. M900 is the perfect bike for what you do on it, IMO.


Someone mentioned the hyperstrada, which would be my second choice. That or a first generation multi.
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Old 03-21-2015, 11:18 AM   #7
davidji
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pmc123 View Post
I am soon facing a 50 mile one-way commute (san francisco to santa clara)
One thing you didn't comment on is fuel tank range. One thing you may realize quickly is it's way more convenient if you're not filling up every day, or having to pause to refuel at odd locations during your commute. Being able to go 2 round trip commutes + an errand or so on a tank is pretty convenient.

I need a bit over 220 miles minimum range freeway commuting for a bike to be convenient. That number might work well for you too.

I do a similar commute on a 2nd gen Versys 650 and a 1st gen FZ1. Both awesome tools for the job, though I think the 2015 Versys 650 is a big improvement over the 2nd gen, based largely on the increased fuel tank range (larger tank + improved fuel economy).

Freeway commuting the range of the FZ1 is around 240-250+ miles. The best tanks I've done on the Versys 650 were just over 240 miles. I haven't run either dry though.

If I could change one thing about my bikes for commuting it would be getting rid of chain drive.

I haven't found an ideal solution, but if the right used R1200R came on the market I might consider it. I'm considering a Super Tenere or similar and swapping in narrower bars. I still think it might be more of a pig in traffic than I'm used to and that might not be worth the benefit of reliable Yamaha shaft drive.


Quote:
Originally Posted by pmc123 View Post
I've looked at the versys at the motorcycle show. didn't ring my bell.

...

any other ideas?
Get over the looks? Did you look at the new 2015 model? Or at the older version? New one looks better. I didn't buy mine for the looks.

The 2015 Versys is on my list as well.

Quote:
Originally Posted by pmc123 View Post
so I'm looking for something that works in the city and won't beat me up commuting.
If works in the city includes parking it on the street in the city, I really recommend the Versys.

I haven't ridden the CB500X, but that might work too?

Personally I have no desire to get used to the NC700X. If we got the NC750X here in the USA, I might have already bought one.

To me the big touring bikes and cruisers you mention seem like overkill both for the commute and for city use. YMMV.
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Old 03-21-2015, 11:24 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by pitbull View Post
Someone mentioned the hyperstrada, which would be my second choice. That or a first generation multi.
Short range on the 1st, 6k mile valve check intervals on the Multistrada 1000. Neither is good for a bike you're commuting 100 miles/day, 25k miles/year on.
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Old 03-21-2015, 11:39 AM   #9
RxZ
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I have a first generation FZ1 that I bought 2 years ago with low miles for 2500. Parts are plentiful and cheap if you need them. Valve adjustments are at 24,000 mile intervals (with some people well over 100K miles with no adjustments needed). I;m 5'10" and can almost put both feet down, so stability at low speed isn't an issue. 40+ mpg on the hwy with a 5 gallon tank. The bike is very narrow as well.

There are other great options out there, but I have to think this is a good option as well. Especially if cost is a factor, and for a commuter it always is.

Also a good contender, the Ninja 500. They stopped making them in 2009, but Kawasaki made them for almost 30 years almost unchanged in all that time. Parts are plentiful. It gets 50+ mpg on the hwy with a 4+ gallon tank.

Something newer... the Harley Sportster is a good option as well.
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Old 03-21-2015, 12:23 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by Tim_Tom View Post
What don't you like about the Monster? Seems it would be ideal, 100 miles a day isn't long enough to warrant a big tour bike to me...
ridiculously heavy clutch despite me upgrading to a yoyodyne slave unit, riding position isn't quite right. jerky fuelling. Not much in terms of luggage availability. I really don't like riding a long time with a backpack.

I Suppose I could fix the position with new bars.

for some reason, I only get about 25mpg on my ducky.

alway want something new(er). it is an '02

I suppose newer M1100 or whatever they are now might be worth considering.
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Old 03-21-2015, 01:18 PM   #11
Tim_Tom
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Those certainly are valid concerns. If you were to get a new Duc I'd say look at the Multistrada.

If you were to go Japanese an FZ could suit the bill. Certainly a good bike to pile on loads of miles. What about a VStrom 1000? Seems ideal for the conditions and plenty of luggage out there. A top box will still keep you pretty slim.

What about the KTM 990 SMT?
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Old 03-21-2015, 02:17 PM   #12
pitbull
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Originally Posted by davidji View Post
Short range on the 1st, 6k mile valve check intervals on the Multistrada 1000. Neither is good for a bike you're commuting 100 miles/day, 25k miles/year on.

After my first valve check on my 01 m900, I've checked them again twice in the last 100,000 km's. No clearance issues to report.

I agree the gas range on the hyper would be a valid concern.
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Old 03-21-2015, 04:45 PM   #13
Rabon
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For the intend use I would ride a Sportster, OK I expect the normal boo hiss.
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Old 03-21-2015, 05:40 PM   #14
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how about one of the new tiger 800s?
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Old 03-21-2015, 05:54 PM   #15
larryboy
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For the intend use I would ride a Sportster, OK I expect the normal boo hiss.

Valid suggestion, cruisers are great for lane splitting duties...rarely any interference with mirrors and such. The engine is only good for 100,000, but can be rebuilt in a weekend with a full kit.

I'm opposite commute to the bay and rarely have to split with the 'wing, I can do it, but it gets stressful after awhile.
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