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Old 07-27-2014, 11:35 AM   #1
mhayden37 OP
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Commuter for less than $5k?

Hello All,
I am a noob to not only this site, but motorcycles in general. In fact I'm not even a noob yet because I don't own one yet. I am looking for advice as millions before me. I have no experience on a motorcycle but am 37 and have been mountain biking frequently for the past several years.

Here's the scenario:
I am 5'9", 185lbs. I have a 20 mile one way trip to work each day September through June in Wisconsin (so 4-5 of those months it is winter). During summer I am home with my 3 kids. The route to and from work is all country roads. No stoplights, no highways, only farm fields the whole way. The road conditions are mixed: some smooth and others with lots of potholes. I currently have a SUV with 4wd to haul all the kids on days it's needed when weather is not too nice. I drive this SUV every day to work, but am by myself 4 out of 5 days a week. My thought is getting a dual sport to save on mpg (65mpg vs 17 mpg seems like a pretty good improvement). So here are some questions:
1. Is a dual sport a good option? I'd like to go off-road but probably about 3-4 times a year only.
2. Can I get a reliable commuter for less than $5k?
3. What size bike as I am a beginner but have great balance and am a quick learner?
4. What can I expect to pay for insurance? I have a clean driving record and would take a motorcycle safety coarse.
5. What can I really expect for mpg if advertised at 70mpg on some bikes?
6. What other equipment/accessories should I also be getting?
7. How long can a single cylinder bike last?
8. I'm inclined to go new as I expect it would last longer. There are some 0 mile 2013 cbr250 and klx250 for about $4k in my area.


Any help would be greatly appreciated!
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Old 07-27-2014, 11:58 AM   #2
wizz
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wr250r/klx250/crf250l if dual sport is what your after.

cbr250r or new cbr250f for commuter/road bike.
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Old 07-27-2014, 12:04 PM   #3
oughtsix
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I recently got a quote on a CB500F for 5400 out the door. You may have similar luck if you can stretch the budget a tiny bit. I hear the 500 engine is tailor-made for a commuter.
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Old 07-27-2014, 12:09 PM   #4
what broke now
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What are winter temps and road conditions like in WI winter? Riding in winter is not for everyone, traction and visibility can be scarce, making it dangerous and scary. Not much daylight, so you may be in the dark commuting.

By the time you buy gear and clothing, you can easily add 1 - 1.2k $ to the setup. Add heated gear for ~ 500 more +-
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Old 07-27-2014, 12:10 PM   #5
B80
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Get he best condition lowest miles Suzuki GS500E you can find.
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Old 07-27-2014, 12:32 PM   #6
sprouty115
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Quote:
Originally Posted by what broke now View Post
What are winter temps and road conditions like in WI winter? Riding in winter is not for everyone, traction and visibility can be scarce, making it dangerous and scary. Not much daylight, so you may be in the dark commuting.

By the time you buy gear and clothing, you can easily add 1 - 1.2k $ to the setup. Add heated gear for ~ 500 more +-
I'll add to the above: I think a motorcycle specifically for travel during the winter months in Wisconsin is a bad idea for a new rider. It takes a hard-ass disposition a ton of commitment to pile on a ton of layers and climb on a bike when it's cold and shitty out. San Diago? Go for it. Milwaukee? No way. Sorry to be a kill-joy but that's just how it is.
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Old 07-27-2014, 12:37 PM   #7
CatFlap
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I've seen a few of these around and they look like nice little bikes. Maybe someone knows a bit more about them.
Nothing fancy, just a motorcycle. And for point A to point B sometimes thats best.

http://www.suzukicycles.com/Product%...15/TU250X.aspx
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Old 07-27-2014, 01:32 PM   #8
juddspaintballs
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Dare I say it...KLR650! They're dirt cheap used, easy to find, easy to work on, and you won't cry if you throw it in a ditch and cover it with mud for a couple days. They're easy enough to handle for a newbie and you won't outgrow it either.
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Old 07-27-2014, 04:04 PM   #9
JerryH
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Being 5'9'' 185, if you want new, I would suggest a Suzuki DR200. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cYo5pj73igQ

If you want used, a DR200 is still a great option, along with a Yamaha XT225, or a Honda CRF230L. I have owned an XT225 for over 10 years, and have ridden it everywhere, from some pretty rough off road stuff to freeway. All these bikes top out at about 70 mph. They are all lightweight, tough as nails, and get the best gas mileage any bike is going to get. Unlike the big bikes, these are easy to get on and off of, and maneuver. They feel much like a mountain bike. I've never believed in getting more bike than you need. It took 2 KLR650s to convince me that a huge bike just doesn't work well for commuting. They are too big and heavy to be fun off road, and nowhere nearly as comfortable on the road as a full sized street bike.

As for "gear", I have a full face helmet and steel toed 6" work boots. You can spend $1000 on 50 pounds of armor if you want. Whatever you feel comfortable with. If you need a rack to carry stuff, nice racks are available for all three of these bikes.

As for the KLX250 and WR250, I don't consider them as much dual sport bikes as real dirt bikes with lights. I have sit on them, and wouldn't want to ride them on the road. The CRF250 and XT250 are also decent non hardcore bikes, they cost a bit much for simple commuters, they both have fuel injection, which can be good or bad, depending on whether it fails or not. You can get a couple year old XT250 with a carb, but IMO the XT225 is a better bike in every way.

You can expect over 50,000 miles out of any of these bikes. I have 32,000 on my XT225, and a nearly new engine to go in if the current one fails, but it's beginning to look like I'll never need it. Maintenance is super easy. http://advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=178968
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Old 07-27-2014, 04:49 PM   #10
LittleRedToyota
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mhayden37 View Post
So here are some questions:
1. Is a dual sport a good option? I'd like to go off-road but probably about 3-4 times a year only.
yes. dual sports make great commuter bikes and great bikes to learn to ride on they. they are light weight and very maneuverable...which are great qualities for both commuting and learning.

Quote:
2. Can I get a reliable commuter for less than $5k?
yes. you should consider buying a used bike, though. you can get many lightly used dual sports for $5k.

Quote:
3. What size bike as I am a beginner but have great balance and am a quick learner?
a 230 (as in honda CRF230), 250 (as in WR250R/X, KLX250), 350 (as in KTM 350 exc), or 400 (as in DRZ400) would all make great first bikes.

(all those bikes are great on the road. people who say they aren't have most likely never ridden them on the road. they're actually too heavy to be good dirt bikes, but they make great dual sports. i would suggest staying away from heavier bikes like the KLR650, myself.)

Quote:
4. What can I expect to pay for insurance? I have a clean driving record and would take a motorcycle safety coarse.
that depends a lot on your location. expect way cheaper than a car, though.

Quote:
5. What can I really expect for mpg if advertised at 70mpg on some bikes?
real life MPGs depend greatly on your weight, the terrain (flat vs. hilly), how much you like to twist the throttle, etc. again, though, you can realistically expect much better gas mileage than you get out of a car in any case.

Quote:
6. What other equipment/accessories should I also be getting?
at an absolute minimum, a helmet, riding boots, and gloves. i'd also suggest real riding pants and a real riding jacket.

Quote:
7. How long can a single cylinder bike last?
they can last a long, long time if you maintain them well. many 10s of thousands of miles.

Quote:
8. I'm inclined to go new as I expect it would last longer. There are some 0 mile 2013 cbr250 and klx250 for about $4k in my area.
that KLX would probably be a great choice.
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Old 07-27-2014, 05:28 PM   #11
wizz
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JerryH View Post
Being 5'9'' 185, if you want new, I would suggest a Suzuki DR200. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cYo5pj73igQ

If you want used, a DR200 is still a great option, along with a Yamaha XT225, or a Honda CRF230L. I have owned an XT225 for over 10 years, and have ridden it everywhere, from some pretty rough off road stuff to freeway. All these bikes top out at about 70 mph. They are all lightweight, tough as nails, and get the best gas mileage any bike is going to get. Unlike the big bikes, these are easy to get on and off of, and maneuver. They feel much like a mountain bike. I've never believed in getting more bike than you need. It took 2 KLR650s to convince me that a huge bike just doesn't work well for commuting. They are too big and heavy to be fun off road, and nowhere nearly as comfortable on the road as a full sized street bike.

As for "gear", I have a full face helmet and steel toed 6" work boots. You can spend $1000 on 50 pounds of armor if you want. Whatever you feel comfortable with. If you need a rack to carry stuff, nice racks are available for all three of these bikes.

As for the KLX250 and WR250, I don't consider them as much dual sport bikes as real dirt bikes with lights. I have sit on them, and wouldn't want to ride them on the road. The CRF250 and XT250 are also decent non hardcore bikes, they cost a bit much for simple commuters, they both have fuel injection, which can be good or bad, depending on whether it fails or not. You can get a couple year old XT250 with a carb, but IMO the XT225 is a better bike in every way.

You can expect over 50,000 miles out of any of these bikes. I have 32,000 on my XT225, and a nearly new engine to go in if the current one fails, but it's beginning to look like I'll never need it. Maintenance is super easy. http://advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=178968
Sorry, but the klx and wrr are not dirtbikes. They are dual sports more comfortable on dirt roads and back roads than trails. I would wager for a first bike for someone that wants to commute and maybe hit some dirt roads the wrr is the obvious choice. Reasonably priced, reliable, fi, and immensely capable without enough power to get you in real trouble and light enough to pick up while you learn. Its by far the class of the 250 dual sports.
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"An honest tune with a lingering lead has taken me this far"WSP
2006DucatiMultistrada620, 2013 KTM 350 exc-f
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Old 07-28-2014, 01:44 AM   #12
JerryH
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A new WR250 MSRP is $6690, add at least $1500 for OTD price. It has a seat height of 36.6" At 6' with a 34" inseam I would have a problem with that. My XT225 is a perfect fit. I can't recommend any dual sport for long distance riding, the seat begins to feel like a 2x4 after a short time. I still say a DR200 is a perfect beginner bike, and many have used them as minimalist touring bikes. It has a nice friendly 31.9" seat height.
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Old 07-28-2014, 07:16 AM   #13
what broke now
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How about a poll to see how many riders here would commute 20 miles one way twice a day for 4 days out of the 5 day workweek? Three months of this would be in average temps of 10 deg. F or less.
The other six months would be at "warmer" temps.

Then somebody offers you you a deal where for 1k per year [the gas savings] you could ride in your warm, dry, 4wd suv instead of the bike.

To me, until that question is answered, it doesn't matter whether you favor a hayabusa or a rokon to commute on.
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Old 07-28-2014, 07:44 AM   #14
sprouty115
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Quote:
Originally Posted by what broke now View Post
How about a poll to see how many riders here would commute 20 miles one way twice a day for 4 days out of the 5 day workweek? Three months of this would be in average temps of 10 deg. F or less.
The other six months would be at "warmer" temps.

Then somebody offers you you a deal where for 1k per year [the gas savings] you could ride in your warm, dry, 4wd suv instead of the bike.

To me, until that question is answered, it doesn't matter whether you favor a hayabusa or a rokon to commute on.
It seems we may be the only two that actually know where Wisconsin is.

BTW, where is the OP in all of this?
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Old 07-28-2014, 07:49 AM   #15
Auto-X Fil
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wizz View Post
Sorry, but the klx and wrr are not dirtbikes. They are dual sports more comfortable on dirt roads and back roads than trails. I would wager for a first bike for someone that wants to commute and maybe hit some dirt roads the wrr is the obvious choice. Reasonably priced, reliable, fi, and immensely capable without enough power to get you in real trouble and light enough to pick up while you learn. Its by far the class of the 250 dual sports.
Yeah, but at 5'9", with very little interest in hardcore dirt, the CRF seems like a slam-dunk. It does exactly two things better than the WRR:

1) Wallet impact
2) Newbie-friendliness (lower seat, easier engine/clutch)

I agree the WRR is much better in every other aspect, but for this kind of use, I can't see the cost being worth it. Now, a used, lowered WRR in good condition for the right price might make all the difference.
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