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Old 12-28-2014, 09:02 AM   #1
Sonic_Reducer OP
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Question New commuter bike, recommendations?

Hi,

Thought I'd throw this one out there, see what kind of responses I'd get.

I commute regularly from Philadelphia - NYC, at least 5-7 times a week. I often stay in NYC for short stints. Naturally, I travel with a small amount of stuff, so panniers are a must. I've done it with an old r100 airhead (underpowered, overheats, not nimble, but otherwise comfy), and a late 90s 1200 bandit (well powered, nimble, bad ergos, short range, overheats). I ride year round, so wind protection rates high for me. Time for a new ride. My funds are limited (<6.5k), but my wrenching skills are good. Looking for a reliable steed that can serve the purpose.

Been looking at the st1100 and 90s Concours, but I'm not convinced this is the right tool for the job. I've considered going smaller (weestrom), but anyone who's drove the nj turnpike knows the terror of being underpowered.

So I leave it to you guys. Suggestions?
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Old 12-28-2014, 09:23 AM   #2
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A little over your budget, but its a new bike. A 2015 650 Versys.

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Old 12-28-2014, 09:26 AM   #3
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the st1100 would be great for you. But dont get the early ones with the weak alternators.

st1300 - great ergos and super reliable.. Bad for hot weather it gets really hot. Same with the st1100 - bought a st1300 for 4500.

nc700x or dl650, cheap and fuel efficient. Not as much wind protection. But have bags and all. ive seen ncs for 4500 and dl650's with high miles for 3500

Honda vfr 1200-4000

honda blackbird 2000-3000

yamaha fz1 - this would make an excellent commuter 1500-2500

bmw r1100rs - you can get them cheap - 2000 to 4000

fjr1300 - you can get them for 4500 now
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Old 12-28-2014, 10:24 AM   #4
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GSX650F, before you scoff...check one out! One of the most underrated bikes ever.
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Old 12-28-2014, 11:22 AM   #5
Grainbelt
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Any middleweight standard with givi bags and a decent windscreen

The FZ6 is an epic midrange solo machine when outfitted with Givi V35 bags and upgraded fork springs. 26k mile valve adjustments, >50mpg, >10k miles on a rear PR3 or similar tire.

GSX650 as mentioned, also a solid choice.

There's really no need to deal with land yacht handling, mpg, and tire wear.
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Old 12-28-2014, 11:50 AM   #6
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Honda deauville 700, could it be something for you?


Quote:
Originally Posted by Sonic_Reducer View Post
Hi,

Thought I'd throw this one out there, see what kind of responses I'd get.

I commute regularly from Philadelphia - NYC, at least 5-7 times a week. I often stay in NYC for short stints. Naturally, I travel with a small amount of stuff, so panniers are a must. I've done it with an old r100 airhead (underpowered, overheats, not nimble, but otherwise comfy), and a late 90s 1200 bandit (well powered, nimble, bad ergos, short range, overheats). I ride year round, so wind protection rates high for me. Time for a new ride. My funds are limited (<6.5k), but my wrenching skills are good. Looking for a reliable steed that can serve the purpose.

Been looking at the st1100 and 90s Concours, but I'm not convinced this is the right tool for the job. I've considered going smaller (weestrom), but anyone who's drove the nj turnpike knows the terror of being underpowered.

So I leave it to you guys. Suggestions?
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Old 12-28-2014, 12:18 PM   #7
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If being underpowered on the turnpike is a concern, then the ST1100 / C10 option works well. A little more for an FJR. Not sure the C14 or ST1300 fit your price range.

In my opinion, anything smaller will give you less protection in the weather which also seems high on your list - or lack desire to run a steady 80-85mph for hours over and over again. A lot of bikes CAN do that and have fun in the mountains, but this mission seems to be about commuting.
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Old 12-28-2014, 01:37 PM   #8
Alexander B
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OP, can you please specify what you mean with "overheat"?
Seizing pistons, blown head gaskets, pushing out coolant, mechanical wear, sticky shifting?
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Old 12-28-2014, 02:32 PM   #9
10/10ths
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Honda...

....Dullville?

Seriously, they are perfect for your need.

Shaft.

Luggage integrated.

Weather protection.

Easy to maintain.

Great fuel economy.

Cheap to buy and own.
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Old 12-28-2014, 02:47 PM   #10
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You mention the WeeStrom... MAY be under powered for Slab use (never been on the NJ Turnpike), but that engine does put out pretty well.

Have you looked at the VeeStrom (1 Liter version)??
Plenty of power there (fun to downshift and wring it out).
Decent wind protection.
In your price range for a used one.

Really... any modern bike in the +/- 1 Liter range will have plenty of power for Super Slab. It's really all about what style you're looking for. (And of course, what bike floats your boat.)
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Old 12-28-2014, 03:15 PM   #11
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I can speak to that....

....I put 25,000 miles on my 2004 DL650 "Wee"-Strom.

The V-Strom 650 can easily handle I-95 speeds.

They are FANTASTIC bikes.

Now, having said that, I traded mine in on a 2011 Suzuki GSX1250FA because I wanted more power, and a lower seat height for my 29 inseam.

You really can't go wrong with a Versys, V-Strom, Deauville, C10, '07-up Bandit, FZ-1, or high mileage first year FJR1300s.
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Old 12-28-2014, 03:29 PM   #12
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I use my ST1100 for slab commuting which it does very well. Great wind protection, very comfortable, shaft drive, great storage and I get high 40s to low 50s mpg. You can put many many miles on them - lots of examples with multiple 100s of thousands of miles. They're available for very reasonable money - hard to beat.

EDIT: Other advantages are the 275 plus mile range and cruising at 80 mph with the engine loafing at around 4k rpm.
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Old 12-28-2014, 04:56 PM   #13
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Alekkas, Grainbelt:

Your differing opinions reflect my own inner conflict.

AlexanderB:

The I-95/NJT corridor is a superslab filled with aggressive drivers. 80-85mph is considered a minimum safe speed. On my r100, i certainly felt physically in command of the lane (the balance and suspension of that bike was so nice), but i rarely had enough engine left to pass, or get out of trouble. The 1200 bandit had the power, but was buzzing like crazy, and with its smaller profile and less than refined handling, i never felt fully grounded at speed during traffic. I always felt like the Bandit needed a 6th gear. Either way, both bikes were in high rpms (6-8k) for 2.5 hours straight. No problem on a fall/winter/spring day, but in the dead of summer, tough on the engine, especially when you come off the highway directly to gridlocked urban traffic. When I subjected the airhead to this kind of abuse, I got high idling rpms, seeping oil from the pushrod seals, and glowing pipes. With the bandit, (oil sump cooling) i got a rough idle, high rpms with even a small amount of throttle, lots of smoke, lots of oil seeping out of the head.

This is the sort of thing I'd like to avoid. And I do by picking routes judiciously, but sometimes its unavoidable. Which is why I'm a little apprehensive about putting a 650cc engine through that kind of abuse.

I'd be interested to hear anyone who has driven the NJT corridor and NYC traffic in the summertime on a midsized bike weigh in on this one.

I'd also like to hear from anyone in the area chime in on how the big V-strom handles in heavy traffic.

All that being said, Grainbelt is right: having a land yacht is a bummer in urban traffic. I really liked the sparky nature of the bandit when negotiating crazy taxi drivers, potholes, delivery trucks, cyclists, aggressive pedestrians, etc.. And although i'm already well acquainted with how smooth the st1100 is at low speed (its my favorite 'big bike' to handle at low speed) my fear is that the st1100 will feel like a water buffalo in that sort of mid-speed, quick reflex sort of hell that is the northeast...

10/10ths, Iranian:

I'm married with children, but I still have some male ego left. If it came down to buying a Pacific Coast or Deauxville, I think I'd just buy a cage. I feel like the st1100 or a dl1000 are both more than adequate concessions to practicality.

Sigh.

Thanks for helping me work through this one, guys.
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Old 12-28-2014, 04:58 PM   #14
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BMW R1150R would be a good choice. Easy DIY maintenance and you could pick up a nice example for well within your budget.
Six speeds and cruises effortlessly around 4k rpm @ 80 mph.
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Old 12-28-2014, 05:01 PM   #15
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I keep hearing horror stories about the BMW oilheads: dramatic final drive failures, sucky mechanics, ridiculous service charges. Its enough to make me a little nervous about buying a nicely farkled r1150rs with, say, 40-50k, which is what seems to be available in that price range.
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