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Old 11-28-2014, 01:51 AM   #1
hippiebrian OP
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motorcycling on the cheap

Reading here in The Perfect Line, if I didn't know better, one would think that motorcycling is a rich man's game. Motorcycling used to be a working class recreation and a cheap way to get around. As far as I am concerned, it still is.

Start with the bike. You don't need the latest and greatest. You know that old Virago or Honda 350 sitting in the back of your uncle's or dad's garage? It's all you need. Make an offer and get it running. No need for a new Beemer with heated everything, gps, etc. etc.

For gear? Listen, people, an 80 dollar Bilt full face helmet will protect your head just as well as an 800 dollar Arai. A 90 dollar Joe Rocket armored jacket is just fine. If you want pants (a good idea that I don't usually follow, I just buy real thick Prison Blues jeans and wear them around, although I have "leather jeans" I wear for any longer rides / touring) so long as they are cordura and have knee armor and some butt/hip armor, good enough. Check craigslist and the flea market here and you could save more money on jackets and pants (but it isn't a good idea to buy a used helmet unless you know it's history). And I don't care, you know those Red Wing high top steel toes you wear to work? If they cover the ankle, they are fine. If you want to splurge, get some motorcycle boots, but those dollars are better spent on gas and practice.

Spend the money on the basic rider's course if you haven't already. That will teach you the skills that you need to practice, and you should practice them regularly. After that, so long as you practice, get some seat time, ride a lot, there is no need, espescially if you don't have the funds, to take advanced courses or do track days. Seriously, 20 bucks in gas and practice are all you need on a regular basis, and you can buy a lot of gas for the 200 bucks you'd spend on a track day or an advanced course. They are both nice if you have the cash, sure, but not necessary to become a good motorcyclist.

As far as touring, there really isn't a need for expensive touring gear. Strap a bag on the back, get some cheap waterproof bags at Wally World or whatever to keep things dry, strap on camping gear and go! A tool kit can be made up with wrenches and things you probably have right now. A couple tubes and tire irons if you have tubed tires, a plug kit if not, and a bicycle pump are good to have. Spring for new cables if you are going for more than a couple days. No need for Touratech or what have you. The less you spend on gear, remember, the more you have for good road food, gas, maybe a hotel or two now and again and good drink while you are out there. Just go and have fun!

I think sometimes we over think this thing we are all obsessed with. I know I have wasted many dollars on things I didn't need or don't use. I have a nice two piece Aerostich suit that I wear when it rains (for commuting only) but hate it on a regular basis because it sucks off the bike. Seriously, it just isn't comfortable and I like to get off the bike and get around. The leather jacket and, like I said, the leather jeans work better for me anyhow. I have bought several pairs of motorcycle boots, and don't wear any of them, most of which I have given away over the years. I wear the Red Wings, which are good enough protection and I don't mind hiking a few miles in them if I come across a nice trail. I have bought motorcycle specific luggage and only really use the one waterproof duffle bag with straps I bought off of Bike Bandit with my backpack strapped on top.

I guess I'm trying to say if you are new don't take everyone here so seriously. Ride a lot. Wear the gear. Have fun. Practice and, no matter what gear or bike you have, get out there and see the country when you have the time! See your back yard. The best part of motorcycling for me over the years has been the things I've seen and places I've been in a two hundred mile radius I never would have bothered going to if I didn't ride.

Don't let them fool you, motorcycling can be fun, inexpensive, safe and still a cheap way to get around!
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Old 11-28-2014, 02:09 AM   #2
motu
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Im with you, it's always been about cheap for me. I ride old worn out bikes no one wants (Airheads are a bargain down here the last few years), buy my gear out of date at yearly sales. I have no need for the latest or fastest bike, no need to look cool in the fashion of the moment. I've never been flush with money, and now I have even less to spend.
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Old 11-28-2014, 02:10 AM   #3
JOHNAKI
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I here ya'. I've got all my camping gear neatly stored in my garage next to my bike. Any given moment that I get the urge to take off, it's a ten minute procedure to take off. Usually, I'm not sure which way I'm going to turn at the end of the driveway.

I just started watching The Long Way. Can't believe the time they took for planning. Interesting and entertaining show, but, if I had to do what they did, I'd give it up -- no fun at all.

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Old 11-28-2014, 02:26 AM   #4
DaLunk
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I like your brand of heresy.
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Old 11-28-2014, 03:14 AM   #5
DudeClone
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as a daily rider i don't understand why some would make it much more expensive than it needs to be. i mean so far in my four years of owning and riding two scooters and one motorcycle it has indeed been dirt cheap, pretty much. bikes almost never see a shop and when they do its not real expensive

gear? a few $200 helmets i picked up for under $100 on closeout and a few $250 riding jackets i picked up for $100, each. i have six pair of riding gloves, a few armor, a few simple leather. i wear Doc Martens, "no slip" leather shoes, Converse "Work" boots, or high top leather sneakers when i ride, and jeans

i don't even consider that "cheap," just good value. i am not ATGATT but if i were i i would still be frugal minded. just the way i am, i suppose

'what do i really need to ride, and be comfortable?' i ask myself that and the answer is i already have it

my biggest expense over the last few years has most likely been fuel. and i am more than happy to pay for that!
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Old 11-28-2014, 03:34 AM   #6
riverflow
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Ya know, I went that way for a little while. I've learned that cheap isn't always better though. I ride all year and am bike only, so it's a little different for me. I don't get to pick when I ride, it's every day no matter what the weather is. Having quality gear and a reliable bike is part of the deal. Now, I still bought it on the flea market here for half price, but it's not a $50 coat.

If you only ride in nice weather, wear what you want, but my recent buy once cry once policy has been worth every penny. Every time I ride I'm happy and comfortable regardless of the weather.

I'm not saying it has to be expensive, but the good things often are. I still save money where I can while getting quality gear.
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Old 11-28-2014, 03:52 AM   #7
Pecha72
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" Listen, people, an 80 dollar Bilt full face helmet will protect your head just as well as an 800 dollar Arai "

That's probably not true. And even if it were true, that fancy Arai will fit most riders heads WAY better, and will be much more comfortable to wear for long days of riding, and lasts longer too.

A friend (a n00b) recently bought his 1st helmet, a cheap Shoei copy, I tried it on as we have the same head size. Can't understand, how he bears to wear it for more than 2 minutes at a time, but he's happy, so just kept my mouth shut.

This is is a subject, where YMMV (a lot!)
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Old 11-28-2014, 03:53 AM   #8
Bill Harris
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It's called Poverty Rider. Been doing it for years.

But I tend to buy quality gear-- it lasts for years instead of maybe a year.

--Bill
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Old 11-28-2014, 03:58 AM   #9
DC2wheels
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I hear what others are saying here but I am in a comfortable mid-zone.

Expensive bike? No

Rusted heap with worn out parts? No

How about a '92 BMW K100RS that I bought 5 years ago for $3500. Very good condition with 30,000 miles. Didn't break the bank, paid cash and this bike will last me for the next 20+ years until I am ready to hang up my helmet. I have confidently done several 1000 mile days, not worrying if the bike will make it.

So that will average out to less than $140/ yr and it doesn't look like I just wrestled a POC out of a junkyard.

My clothing is also mid-range, bought and used for a few years until really worn out.

Do all my own MC maintenance and repairs.

Super cheap? Not quite. But definitely closer to the bottom than the top of the spending range.


I'll let others buy $30,000 K1600GTL bikes and throw lots of $$$ into their service and accessory departments.
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Old 11-28-2014, 04:02 AM   #10
hippiebrian OP
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pecha72 View Post
" Listen, people, an 80 dollar Bilt full face helmet will protect your head just as well as an 800 dollar Arai "

That's probably not true. And even if it were true, that fancy Arai will fit most riders heads WAY better, and will be much more comfortable to wear for long days of riding, and lasts longer too.

A friend (a n00b) recently bought his 1st helmet, a cheap Shoei copy, I tried it on as we have the same head size. Can't understand, how he bears to wear it for more than 2 minutes at a time, but he's happy, so just kept my mouth shut.

This is is a subject, where YMMV (a lot!)
Actually, both will PROTECT your head equally. The Arai will undoubtedly be more comfortable, but many cannot afford an Arai. The cheapest on sale are well north of 400 bucks. Myself, I have a 200 dollar Shoei Multitek. Had the money so I spent it. I usually go with HJC.
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Old 11-28-2014, 04:13 AM   #11
BungiFungi
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I just got into riding and I think I did so pretty cheap on account of going into winter

-All hi-viz Helmet, armored jacket and pants, armored gloves, and back insert protector for $450, only thing I do not have are boots
-late 80s KLR 250 with 3.9k miles for $1000 off craigslist
-New street legal tires for $90 for the two

Small bikes look like more fun, not sure I trust myself on a larger bike

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Old 11-28-2014, 04:47 AM   #12
Pecha72
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" Actually, both will PROTECT your head equally "

Actually I still doubt that is 100% true.

Do your rock bottom cheapest riding gloves provide EXACTLY the same level of protection for your hands, as the heavily armored, mega expensive Alpinestars, that GP riders wear? I doubt it, although I do not claim, that 10x the price would bring 10x more protection. Just more protection (and comfort).
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Old 11-28-2014, 05:16 AM   #13
farqhuar
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pecha72 View Post
" Actually, both will PROTECT your head equally "

Actually I still doubt that is 100% true.
I agree, it is NOT true, but not for the reason you think.

The cheaper helmet provides BETTER protection as it is not designed to meet the newer Snell standard (which specifies less deformation of the helmet shell with consequent greater transfer of impact forces to the wearer's skull and brain).
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Old 11-28-2014, 05:25 AM   #14
Pecha72
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Quote:
Originally Posted by farqhuar View Post
I agree, it is NOT true, but not for the reason you think.

The cheaper helmet provides BETTER protection as it is not designed to meet the newer Snell standard (which specifies less deformation of the helmet shell with consequent greater transfer of impact forces to the wearer's skull and brain).
Now we're clearly entering an area, that I am not an expert on. (And that probably applies to both of us.)

To claim that cheap helmets actually protect better, is kinda funny though. You happen to sell them, or what?
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Pecha72 screwed with this post 11-28-2014 at 05:31 AM
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Old 11-28-2014, 05:33 AM   #15
nskitts
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You didn't even mention a milk crate. Hippie, you blow my mind.
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