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Old 05-07-2011, 01:38 AM   #1
Tacoma OP
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Steep Mountain Roads-Highways

I live in Central Pennsylvania in the mountains, you need a motorcycle or scooter with enough reserve power to climb these mountain roads and to keep up with the 65 mph speed limit on mountain highways.
Friend stopped by yesterday wanted to look at my scooter, he said he's going broke paying $200 per week in gas in his car driving to work, he was never on a motorcycle or scooter before but he wants to buy one so he can save money on gas, he was at a Yamaha Dealer got a price on a V Star 250 cruiser bike, he wanted my opnion.
I told him the V Star 250 is a good bike, but will it keep up its speed climbing steep mountain roads ??, and will it get good gas mileage when you have to gear it down and scream the engine to climb that mountain?
There is a fine line about gas mileage in a motorcycle or scooter, if the engine is too small and you have to max out the throttle every where you go, then you won't get good gas mileage, but if you get a bigger engine where it doesn't have to work as hard to keep up speed, you get good gas mileage.
He never thought of that and nobody explained that to him except me.
I say a 650 or 950 Yamaha cruiser bike would get around the same gas mileage as the 250 cc.
I suggeted a bike bigger than 500cc and as a new beginner that a sport bike is easiser to ride.
He wanted a Tmax like I own he can get one really cheap, but he's not impressed that it only gets 42-44 mpg and it runs on super unleaded, he wants a bike-scooter that gets 70 to 100 mpg, but like I told him he will NEVER see that high gas mileage when he has to labor the engine climbing steep mountain roads.

Just throwing this out there just to see if you guys agree with me, if I told my friend the right thing or not.

I also told him if you pay $5K for a motorcycle to save money on gas, it will take forever to make up what you saved on gas, the real reason for owning a motorcycle or scooter is for the fun factor.

no,,,, he didn't ask for a test ride on my Tmax, and I didn't want him riding it anyhow, he has no experience.
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Old 05-07-2011, 02:57 AM   #2
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My son-in-law (then my sone, then my daughter, and now my bro-in-law......this bike gets around!) had a XV250 Yammie. Std economy is great, about 25-30 km/L on the highway. Introduce it to the nearest long hill (we're talking long hills, not mountains), and it slowed to 90kph flat out, strong headwinds the same deal. I did "tweak" it a bit to get it up to 140kph, but that's another story........

The best economy I've seen for those speeds and conditions were from 300-500cc twins. They don't labour up hills, throttle in reserve, carry a bit of weight well, and cruising get similar or better economy to 200/250's.

From what I'cve seen on this website of US bikes in the past, Kwak EX500 Ninja is a common option, or any of the Skuzi/Honda 350/400 twins.
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Old 05-07-2011, 03:32 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tacoma
I told him the V Star 250 is a good bike, but will it keep up its speed climbing steep mountain roads ??, and will it get good gas mileage when you have to gear it down and scream the engine to climb that mountain?
There is a fine line about gas mileage in a motorcycle or scooter, if the engine is too small and you have to max out the throttle every where you go, then you won't get good gas mileage, but if you get a bigger engine where it doesn't have to work as hard to keep up speed, you get good gas mileage.
He never thought of that and nobody explained that to him except me.
I say a 650 or 950 Yamaha cruiser bike would get around the same gas mileage as the 250 cc.
I think you're a little off-base here. The V-Star may not be the best choice when it comes to the particular terrain of which you speak but but your premise of "maxing out the throttle" isn't necessarily true. Most engines are tuned to have a "sweet spot" (as it were) where they make good power and are efficient. I have ridden my Reflex (250cc) in slow traffic and on highways. I'm always surprised by the revs the motor turns at highways speeds (7-8K rpm). Yet, the gas mileage per gallon is always 60+.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tacoma
I suggested a bike bigger than 500cc and as a new beginner that a sport bike is easier to ride.
I don't know if I'd recommend anything is more displacement than 500cc. You previously mentioned 650-950 cruisers. I say that's way too much bike for a noob (imo). And, I don't know if sport bikes are any easier to learn on.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tacoma
He wanted a Tmax like I own he can get one really cheap, but he's not impressed that it only gets 42-44 mpg and it runs on super unleaded, he wants a bike-scooter that gets 70 to 100 mpg, but like I told him he will NEVER see that high gas mileage when he has to labor the engine climbing steep mountain roads.
Well, he's never going to find something that gets that type of fuel economy and is capable of climbing those hills @ 65 mph. I have an NX125, it gets 85 mpg but won't top 75 mph (and it would be screaming @ 65 mph). A Yamaha Majesty (400 cc) might work. Also, I think you're wasting your money on super unleaded.
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Old 05-07-2011, 05:23 AM   #4
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I live in western PA and travel often to Frankiln/Oil City Area. I have owned ALOT of bikes (50 cc- 1200cc) and 4 scooters (50cc-600cc). I really try to avoid long hills and fast, heavy trafiic ( Monday morning on-the-way to work drivers) when riding my KLX250 mini-thumper. On the flat it may do 75 MPH (GPS) BUT on the long hills it drops to 55 MPH IF there is no head wind. I Don't ride the interstate for long stretches (20 miles max). Bought a 250 Reflex for my wife and it is a nice 250cc machine. Smoother but still a 250cc. No current production 250cc two wheeler can hold 65 MPH up the long mountain grades of PA while giving 70-100 MPG. My favorite ride now is a Honda Silverwing 600 cc. Very impressed, it can handle the hills.
People looking at scooters to save gas expense do not keep the scooter/cycle for long (in my experience). Wrong mindset. I agree- DO NOT let him ride your Tmax- .
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Old 05-07-2011, 06:31 AM   #5
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Well, he's never going to find something that gets that type of fuel economy and is capable of climbing those hills @ 65 mph. I have an NX125, it gets 85 mpg but won't top 75 mph (and it would be screaming @ 65 mph). A Yamaha Majesty (400 cc) might work. Also, I think you're wasting your money on super unleaded.

Mr Bronco638? My Tmax reguires 91 octane or greater fuel.
Yes, I agree a Majesty or a Burgman 400 would work, but will be at the limit.

Mr. lastmanout, We are on the same page, you understand what I mean, this guy has a extra long commute to work climbing and desending 3 mountains, most of the way on 4 lane highways at 65 mph, but his heart is on a cruiser bike, and on a limited budget under $5K, maybe a Kawasaki 500 Vulcan, it uses the exact same engine as the 500 Ninja, and I seen brand new 750 Honda Shadow's selling for $4995 www.trackntrail.net http://www.cycletrader.com/find/list...SPIRT-97515294

he got a price of $2995 for a new Yamaha 250 V Star and the salesman told him it has the power and speed he needs, but I also noticed he can get a new Honda 250 Rebel for $1995, he wanted my advice and I gave him my answer and he's going to end up buying the 250 cruiser bike cause he just called me this morning wanting me to go with him so I can ride it home for him cause he has no motorcycle permit yet and he can't ride it (he didn't tell me he doesn't know how to ride it) his wife already hates him for wanting to buy one and I will get dragged into it as the person that talked him into it. oh hum!

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Old 05-07-2011, 08:46 AM   #6
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I don't think a V star 250 would easily hold 65 MPH up steep highway mountain climbs. It might, but it would be working real hard to do it.

A 400 cc scooter may work, but really a 600-650 would be more at home with their twin cylinder engines and superior torque.

He has never ridden a motorcycle? Well he's probably not going to be able to start out on something worthy of this commute. He should by a used 250 cc motorcycle.

First go on Craigslist and get a used ok condition Honda Rebel. These are GREAT beginners bikes, 234 cc with decent power and top speed of about 80-85 MPH. Take the safety course, ride around on the Rebel for a few months, but DON'T take that commute on it. Then sell it for about what he paid and get something worthy of this commute.

First of all your right, he will NEVER see over 70 MPG on a bike worthy of this ride, especially during this kind of riding.

After riding the Rebel or whatever beginner's bike, now he has a choice of a wide variety.

I would personally recommend taking a look at Big Twins or V Twins. These engines are the most torquey.

I have an 85 Honda Shadow 700. It has the old 3 valve dual Spark plug motor which is semi supped up stock. Let me tell you, it has PLENTY of power. This bike gets to 85 MPH pretty quick and cruises along at 80 MPH right around 3,800 RPM in Overdrive real nice with a lot in reserve. Drop it down to 5th and it will climb any steep hill at 80 MPH without trouble. The newer Shadow 750s don't make as much power and are heavier though. It gets 50-60 MPG highway and I think one of these would easily handle the commute.

Any 700+ V Twin Motorcycle will work fine.

A Big Twin would be ideal, like a Yamaha Roadstar 1700 for example. These put out monster torque. A bike that would do it without ANY effort would be the Kawasaki Vulcan 2000. 2,053 cc V Twin engine, what more can I say?

If he isn't into Cruisers, any other Liter+ bike would do it as well.
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Old 05-07-2011, 08:48 AM   #7
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Oh I just read your last post after posting my Previous message.

So he bought the V-Star 250?

Well, I don't think its going to have the power he's looking for. BUT its a good beginner's bike. He should have bought used, so that when he drops it he isn't so upset about the paint job and chrome damage.

But at least its not to big and over powerful.
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Old 05-07-2011, 08:53 AM   #8
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Tacoma - determine the next scooter or bike YOU want to own and recommend that to him.

In my experience, folks who buy bike/scoot just to save gas find
1. It doesn't save money 'cause you have to buy and maintain the bike
2. If they aren't in it for the ride, it gets to be a chore to ride.

Once he determines those 2 things, he will want to sell it and YOU can buy it from him cheap! That's why you need to recommend the next scoot YOU want!


Otherwise, I think you were pretty much right on with what you told him about the 250 but I don't think he needs bigger than a 400 or 500cc.
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Old 05-07-2011, 02:16 PM   #9
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update: my friend bought a used 1985 Honda XL600R for $1000, it stuck in his head when I told him he wasn't saving money on gas when he considers the cost of the motorcycle, and he made his wife hate him less by spending much less.
asked what I thought of it, I said its a low gear screamer, torque monster thats not designed for long highway speeds, maybe he can change the chain sprockets , I don't know?
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Old 05-07-2011, 02:27 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by Tacoma View Post
update: my friend bought a used 1985 Honda XL600R for $1000, it stuck in his head when I told him he wasn't saving money on gas when he considers the cost of the motorcycle, and he made his wife hate him less by spending much less.
asked what I thought of it, I said its a low gear screamer, torque monster thats not designed for long highway speeds, maybe he can change the chain sprockets , I don't know?

Hmm, I think your kind of right.

Its a Dual Sport, mostly a Dirt Bike. NOT a highway cruiser, despite it's being 589 cc. Also a big bike to learn on, but much better than a 600 cc street bike with its decent low end torque and not so threatening power.

I think it'll be ok. It is supposed to put out like 40 HP and it is pretty lightweight.

It IS geared for hill climbing, but not at 70 MPH. It has a top speed somewhere around 85-90 MPH, so essentially its no faster than the V-Star 250. But I'm sure it has more torque.

Well see how it turns out. Let us know. It could go either way.
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Old 05-07-2011, 02:31 PM   #11
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I don't think a V star 250 would easily hold 65 MPH up steep highway mountain climbs. It might, but it would be working real hard to do it.

A 400 cc scooter may work, but really a 600-650 would be more at home with their twin cylinder engines and superior torque.

He has never ridden a motorcycle? Well he's probably not going to be able to start out on something worthy of this commute. He should by a used 250 cc motorcycle.

First go on Craigslist and get a used ok condition Honda Rebel. These are GREAT beginners bikes, 234 cc with decent power and top speed of about 80-85 MPH. Take the safety course, ride around on the Rebel for a few months, but DON'T take that commute on it. Then sell it for about what he paid and get something worthy of this commute.

First of all your right, he will NEVER see over 70 MPG on a bike worthy of this ride, especially during this kind of riding.

After riding the Rebel or whatever beginner's bike, now he has a choice of a wide variety.

I would personally recommend taking a look at Big Twins or V Twins. These engines are the most torquey.

I have an 85 Honda Shadow 700. It has the old 3 valve dual Spark plug motor which is semi supped up stock. Let me tell you, it has PLENTY of power. This bike gets to 85 MPH pretty quick and cruises along at 80 MPH right around 3,800 RPM in Overdrive real nice with a lot in reserve. Drop it down to 5th and it will climb any steep hill at 80 MPH without trouble. The newer Shadow 750s don't make as much power and are heavier though. It gets 50-60 MPG highway and I think one of these would easily handle the commute.

Any 700+ V Twin Motorcycle will work fine.

A Big Twin would be ideal, like a Yamaha Roadstar 1700 for example. These put out monster torque. A bike that would do it without ANY effort would be the Kawasaki Vulcan 2000. 2,053 cc V Twin engine, what more can I say?

If he isn't into Cruisers, any other Liter+ bike would do it as well.
I am with you! I agree the Honda 700-750 Shadow is the BEST cruiser bike out there, easy to ride, balanced perfect, s-m-o-o-t-h engine.
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Old 05-07-2011, 02:47 PM   #12
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I am with you! I agree the Honda 700-750 Shadow is the BEST cruiser bike out there, easy to ride, balanced perfect, s-m-o-o-t-h engine.

Definitely! I know its off topic, but I am amazed at just how nice it has been! I bought my 85 Shadow 700 as a project bike for $450 at a bike yard. They thought it would be A LOT of work, and I was ok with that as I wanted a project bike. BUT they told me it had very good compression and even showed me, so I knew I could get it going.

I got it going in just 2 weeks! The issue was the fuel pump had failed, so I replaced it, used KREEM for the tank rust, replaced the lines, made sure it has oil and antifreeze etc, and pressed te button. The instant the Fuel got pumped to the carbs it fired RIGHT up! It ran so effortlessly, especially for after sitting for who knows how many years.

I did a few other basic things like Steel Wool the rust and brakes job, clutch fluid etc, its all sound!


I have been riding it for a while. Its SUCH a nice bike. IMHO its THE best motorcycle I've ever owned. It has the best damn transmission. If I could regear it for free I wouldn't touch a single ratio! Perfect real OD 6th for a smooth effortless 70 MPH at just 3,500 RPM on the highway, and decently accurate speedo measured my GPS.

It is VERY smooth. Yet is sounds like a V-Twin at idle with that kind of uneven sound, when adjusted low enough. Has the cool looks of a Cruiser. But it has the reliability and smoothness of a Japanese bike. I especially love the 80s models, as the new 750s are nice but slower, they only make 45 HP but the old 3 Valve Dual Carb models make 66 HP! And weigh less.

If your friend finds his 600 to not be ideal for the commute, have him take a look at any Honda Shadow!
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Old 05-08-2011, 01:41 AM   #13
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I know a guy that has a 750 Shadow and he rides his BIG wife on the back everywhere he goes, and she's a BIG girl, I mean a really BIG girl, and he keeps the speed limits, she never complains about being uncomfortable, and I LOVE the smooth sound that engine makes.
These guys that own the giant cruisers 1600-1800cc don't understand the Honda Shadow will perform and do the same thing their giant cruiser will do!
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Old 05-08-2011, 02:32 AM   #14
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How big?

The Honda thumper will be OK. My KTM 640 SM toured OK, once I changed the sprockets to drop the revs and keep it cruisy, and I added a small screen to take the wind off my chest (the screen is a MUST for highway).
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Old 05-08-2011, 06:06 AM   #15
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I don't really want involved with my friend and his new motorcycle since his wifey poo started cursing my name and blaming me and making me the trouble maker just because he wanted a bike.
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