Cheap Thrills - Can you get started in motorcycling for $2,500 or less?

Discussion in 'Some Assembly Required' started by Seavoyage, Apr 9, 2012.

  1. Seavoyage

    Seavoyage Been here awhile

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    The May 2012 issue of American Motorcyclist (AMA) magazine showed up in my mailbox:

    The main article: "Cheap Thrills...AMA members say motorcycles don't have to be expensive to be fun" Can you get started in motorcycling for $2,500 or less? You bet!

    I've been motivated by these threads:
    Building a ADV on a budget
    Minimalist Touring Thread (250cc and under)
    Adventure gear at Walmart

    and of course Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance (the Metaphysics of Quality)



    Rules:
    1. Max budget: $2,500 (who says? ... the AMA)
    2. Must prove it's street legal (highway 70mph) but worthy to ride off pavement.
    3. So technologically simple,, you can do your own maintenance... (this is the key to budget motorcycling...independence from the dealer)
    4. Can get you where SUVs dare not thread...
    Show us your candidates!
    #1
  2. dbarale

    dbarale Squiddly slow

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    That's not even a challenge. You can buy a lot of really good bikes for $2500...
    #2
  3. jdrocks

    jdrocks Gravel Runner

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    true, buy or build, either one. the premise that this concept is the least bit unusual or in any way challenging is way off base to start.

    forget reading the AMA article, start reading ADV, the real world. the bikes you're attempting to define are already in the hands of countless riders.

    the last bike i bought that fit your definition, i made a phone call, handed the guy some cash, loaded it on the trailer, drove away. big deal, call the AMA, it was a momentous occasion.

    ...and what is this thread doing in "some assembly required"?
    #3
  4. pookiebear

    pookiebear Long timer

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    DR350s
    94-99 models with electric start were street legal. (the dr350e was not)
    All should be under $2500
    easily dirtable. easily did 70mph.

    next
    #4
  5. FlySniper

    FlySniper Bleh...

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    Hmmm... I can't recall even owning a bike that cost as much as $2500...:norton
    #5
  6. ikonoklass

    ikonoklass Kountersteering Krew

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    Bought my '99 DR650 two years ago for $1,500. Next.
    #6
  7. bk brkr baker

    bk brkr baker Long timer

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    [​IMG]

    Yep, it's possible.
    Bike, used and old. $750.
    Panniers , used and adapted.
    The rest from the parts pile.
    Total about $1000.
    That leaves enough for some gas ,a tent , helmet , jacket , whatever.
    #7
  8. sailah

    sailah Lampin' it

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    Until I bought a ducati, I had never spent more than $500 on a bike.

    I was a teenager with little money and less brains but boy howdy did I have some adventures.

    Now I can afford what I want, the challenge for me is to recreate the magic of being 16 going on a camping trip to vermont, no money, no place to stay, no gps, no direction, just uninhibited freedom.

    Thats the challenge, not the money. Imho.
    #8
  9. Seavoyage

    Seavoyage Been here awhile

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    We should ignore the AMA constraint and fix thecost at $999 including riding gear... and able to survive an overnight camping trip that includes both legal highway and off-road.

    1990 Suzuki DR250 http://www.advrider.com/forums/showp...ostcount=11271 Inspired by Mondo Enduro

    Purchased for $250, stripped and sold spare parts for $300. Junk title with 1990 DR250S motor in 1994 DR350SE frame. Engine/transmission: OK. Not registered, no title, no DOT electricals (lights, horn, etc.). Did research on VIN and found registered owner of DR350SE frame. Drafted an affidavit "Statement of Facts' on DMV form; and was able to register (dual): License Plate and Off-Highway Vehicle (not so easy in the Peoples Republik of Kalifornication)

    Phase 1: Meet DOT requirements for Highway use: Installed Moose Racing DOT headlight: $70, Acerbis Tail light: $32, LED rear signals: $13, Tusk racing front signals integrated in handguards: $45. Turn signal relay $15; Horn $7; dual sport mirror: $9; Hydraulic Brake switches: $13 x 2. YTX4L-BS Battery: $24 Kenda Trackmaster II DOT tires: $103/set.; OEM switches. Speedometer/Odometer (use GPS)
    Phase 2: Extend range: Acerbis 4.2 Gal tank: $216
    Phase 3: Tune up: Spark plug: $3; Uni-filter; $23; Carburetor jets: $10
    Phase 4: Cosmetics: Polisport front fender: $5 (on sale), Fork Boots: $19 (eBay); Guts Racing seat cover $50

    [​IMG]

    Next

    +1 on the challenge
    #9
  10. hrolf

    hrolf neophyte

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    please. counting *everything* -- bike, gear, MSF class, registration and DMV fees -- under $1500. Good grief.
    #10
  11. amk

    amk Been here awhile

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    I’d rather do RTW trip on a bicycle than on 250cc. That is way more fan and much cheaper. Which happens to be true, there were times when my pedal bike annual mileage was greater than car’s. Anyway, there are many sports that sucks far less money, but far superior in adventure than any motorcycle would ever be. Think about mountaineering, ski mountaineering, etc.
    If you are an adult, do not fool yourself, 250cc is for backyard off-road playing. To go and see places you need something more substantial, it still can be acquired within the budget, but some manufacturing is required rather than bolting on, if you get my drift.
    #11
  12. MODNROD

    MODNROD Decisions, decisions

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    Sorry mate, I disagree.
    When I was 18, I had a 250cc Yamaha YDS7. I loaded the sleeping bag on the back, and a rolled-up tarp holding a pair of jeans and 2 T-shirts, I put the 6 spare spark plugs under the seat, and checked my wallet for the $20 note I had (damn that was a lot of money in 1981!), and off I went.
    That little 250 went for over an hour before I had to change the plugs to get going again! :lol3 It took me all over SW of West Oz, through the bush, down firebreaks, over hill and dale, down highways, everywhere.
    Good times. :freaky
    #12
  13. Seavoyage

    Seavoyage Been here awhile

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    Lois Pryce XT225: http://loisontheloose.com/lois.html

    <IFRAME height=360 src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/BWsdPkNxaA4" frameBorder=0 width=480 allowfullscreen></IFRAME>

    Mondo Enduro:

    <IFRAME height=360 src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/kNVw5or_emQ" frameBorder=0 width=480 allowfullscreen></IFRAME>
    #13
  14. amk

    amk Been here awhile

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    There are always those 18 teens, or quite adult by look who has not grown up, and therefore have not acquired any responsibility, i.e. family, property, children, regular full time job, so they are never in a hurry, they are like indians, do not have time in their life. How long would it take - some moons, how many - some many.
    #14
  15. Yakima

    Yakima DL 650

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    85 Honda Nighthawk CB650SC (not an ADV bike, but oh well) $500 in running order.
    $500 in parts, including new rings, brakes, suspension front and back and tires.
    Another $400 in helmet, armor, boots
    I've been on the road, doing extended trips for two years. Less than $1500.
    The bike is plenty for me, cheap to run and a hoot to ride.
    85 MPH is no problem. Cruising at 75 is a piece of cake.
    Craigslist is your friend. A good bike-specific forum is too.
    #15
  16. Randy

    Randy Long timer

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    Must disagree with you on two items highlighted in red above.

    The first one of course is purely a subjective judgement call and depends on your idea of what defines "adventure"...

    Case in point, http://advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=730691

    If you can read this, as well as his sister thread over on bamarides, along with his other trip reports, and say that he didn't have an adventure, didn't go anywhere or see anything, or that he needed more that 250cc (actually in his case it's 225cc although he did spend a bit of cash upgrading the bike) I'll kiss your ass! :wink:

    And while it could possibly be done cheaper in other ways, I think that in general you'll agree that he was very frugal.

    And regardless, if you have an adventurous spirit I believe you will really enjoy the read, or reads...

    Well documented and written IMO...


    .
    #16
  17. ThomasVolomitz

    ThomasVolomitz New Old Stock

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    Another great and fun thread.
    #17
  18. pookiebear

    pookiebear Long timer

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    #18
  19. DowDuer

    DowDuer !rn00b-aK

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    Isn't there a $500 challenge thread floating around, and those five sons of russian immigrants who rode cross country on $500 bikes?
    #19
  20. Fictitious

    Fictitious Been here awhile

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    Errr... say again? Are you by any chance running this through a translator or something like that?

    I gather that you are saying that young people can afford to go slow because they have fewer responsibilities? Well... I'm not exactly sure how fast you think is necessary to go anywhere, but the top speed of a ninja 250 is around 180 kph; far more then the speed limit pretty much everywhere here in Canada and more then adequate to ride any road worth riding in the US. Hell, in a number of places in the world a 250cc motorcycle is a downright beast.
    #20