Good commuter, under 10k

Discussion in 'The Perfect Line and Other Riding Myths' started by BigCanoe, Jan 10, 2013.

  1. corndog67

    corndog67 Banned

    Joined:
    Jan 24, 2006
    Oddometer:
    1,281
    Location:
    Santa Maria, CA
    With 37 HP. Not enough (in my opinion).

    And if you put a high quality chain and sprocket set, very little maintenance.
    #41
  2. dwoodward

    dwoodward Long timer

    Joined:
    Dec 1, 2005
    Oddometer:
    5,972
    Location:
    Pacific NorthWet, Napa Valley North
    New, cheap, looks fun: Honda CB500X-ABS.

    http://powersports.honda.com/2013/cb500x.aspx
    [​IMG]

    The CB500F is $5999 with ABS, the CBR500R is $500 more; I'd expect this to be in the same ballpark.

    Used, MORE fun, Sexy: Street Triple.

    Huge following: Wee Strom.

    Ride it to work today, Ride it to the other side of the country next week: Used ST13 or FJR. (I just sold an '04 FJR-ABS, 67k miles, $4500)
    #42
  3. ph0rk

    ph0rk Doesn't Care

    Joined:
    Dec 17, 2009
    Oddometer:
    2,315
    Location:
    Nowhere
    plenty of hills in the piedmont, where he is - I am just north of that lake near him.



    in fact, he is probably riding on us1 and 64, exactly the built-up state highway I was thinking of. you can sing along at 75-80 on 64 all day if you want, and still get passed, at least until it devolves back into a windy state road. us1 is pretty similar until South Carolina.

    I was trying not to just come right out and suggest a vstrom, but, well, vstrom.
    #43
  4. Toto

    Toto Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jan 31, 2008
    Oddometer:
    410
    Location:
    Mississauga, Ontario, Canada
    I had a 2008 Wee ABS before I got my CBF1000.
    The only reason I got the CBF was the price for old stock new 2009 was such a good deal.
    Bought it June 2011.
    Really the Wee is an EXCELLENT allrounder!
    Needs a Madstat mount for the windshield..about a hundred bucks and maybe a taller windscreen.
    When I bought the Wee the dealer was kind enough to swap a V1000 seat that is an inch taller as I am tall for free.
    Got a good price on it also.
    The Wee will never win any beauty contest, but it is just a great bike.
    A great ,smooth and surprisingly flexible powerfull motor for a V twin 650.
    There is a reason they have such a following.
    You can find lots of info on the on the Stromtrooper forum.
    Lots of great gals and guys on the forum also.
    Lots of get up and go on the slab also...not a litre bike but much more then just acceptable...even with two up if you stir the shifter a bit....and reliable as can be.:clap
    The Wee is a sweety pie!
    #44
  5. marc11

    marc11 Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Nov 5, 2009
    Oddometer:
    147
    Location:
    New York
    When commuting you need to consider not only MPG but incremental and major maintenance costs as well. Things like insurance costs, oil changes, valve checks and tires will add up quickly and must all be considered. I used to commute on an '08 Versys. It was great, about 50 MPG, decent luggage options, decent running costs, etc. I rode it for about 25,000 miles in just under 2 years before moving on.

    I now commute on a KLR, while not as good as the Versys in the power and spirted sense, it is better as a commuter in many many ways:

    Tires are dirt cheap to buy and change (got spoons) and last forever!
    Oil changes and filters are cheap
    Valve checks are infrequent and take less than an hour to do.
    Low tech means less to break or deal with
    Longer range than a Versys and many other bikes
    Insurance is stupid cheap for full cover, buy a cheap one and full cover is optional.
    Aftermarket new and used is HUGE, making finding things like luggage and suspension bits cheap and easy
    Expect about 50 MPG on a stock bike

    Overall TOC for a KLR is pretty darn cheap, the up front cost is cheap and you can find a used one, fully commuter farkled out far cheaper than many other bikes. If it falls over, little to break and tons of aftermarket protection available. It is also less likely to be stolen than a lot of other bikes...and finally, you can ride it almost anywhere at any time.

    Certainly the Strom and Versys are better bikes, but for a commuter when cost per mile is a consideration, and you consider ALL costs, such as upfront, running and maintenance costs, you would be hard pressed to beat a used KLR.

    As for small thumpers, I tried to commute on my KLX250s with some Wolfman luggage, it was okay, but in the cold I wanted more wind protection and a bit more amps for heated gear, the KLR fit perfectly.
    #45
  6. FinlandThumper

    FinlandThumper Has Cake/Eats it Too Super Moderator

    Joined:
    Jan 30, 2008
    Oddometer:
    8,591
    Location:
    Helsinki
    That Honda is a sharp looking bike! I think it's really cool they dropped in a sorta "urban adventure" bike into their lineup at 500cc. Very cool.
    #46
  7. Jim Moore

    Jim Moore Long timer

    Joined:
    Dec 24, 2001
    Oddometer:
    15,221
    Location:
    Jax, FL
    I'm surprised no one has mentioned a K75. Cheap, reliable, and the best bags ever installed on a motorcycle.
    #47
  8. manfromthestix

    manfromthestix Lost in Space

    Joined:
    Dec 29, 2004
    Oddometer:
    2,344
    Location:
    Lexington, Virginia
    +1 on this! I had a 1994 K75 for years and that was one of the best-riding, most reliable bikes I've ever heard of. I've personally seen them with 400,000 miles on the odometer and a couple years ago there was an article in BMWMOA magazine about a lifetime mileage award - 1,000,000 (one million) miles on that person's K75 and it was still going strong. You can probably find an excellent example of a K75 for under $3000.

    That said, regardless which bike you get, you'll need some kind of fairing/windscreen for sustained highway riding. As stated in some earlier posts, I've owned both the DR650 and KLR650 and they are wonderful bikes in many ways, totally bomb-proof, but they will beat the crap out of you on the highway - there's just no protection from the wind or weather. One issue I had with mine was that they didn't generate enough electricity to run much more than a cell phone charger, so no heated grips, power for electric vest or gloves, etc. Maybe the newer bikes put out more juice, but the ones I had would charge the battery and run the lights, period. And speaking of lights, whichever bike you get, immediately add some good high-intensity driving lights! You are so much more visible with additional lights, and they are really nice for riding in the dark as well. I've never seen a stock bike light that put out enough light all by itself to be safe.

    Good luck with your choice and enjoy the commute! I'm 120 miles round-trip from my office and ride the bike whenever possible. It's a great way to start and end the work day.

    Doug
    #48
  9. hugemoth

    hugemoth Long timer

    Joined:
    Sep 6, 2007
    Oddometer:
    3,099
    Location:
    In the TARDIS
    I would want shaft or belt drive, and the weather protection of a large fairing. A 400cc scooter would probably be ideal but they tend to be expensive.
    #49
  10. duck

    duck Banned

    Joined:
    Mar 19, 2004
    Oddometer:
    10,403
    Location:
    Seattle (Berkeley with rain)
    The OP is from NC. A K75RT (which I think is a good commuter for nasty weather) would fry the thighs in NC summer weather.
    #50
  11. hugemoth

    hugemoth Long timer

    Joined:
    Sep 6, 2007
    Oddometer:
    3,099
    Location:
    In the TARDIS
    Yes, a K75, Honda Pacific Coast, GL500 or 650 are all great commuter bikes.
    #51
  12. manfromthestix

    manfromthestix Lost in Space

    Joined:
    Dec 29, 2004
    Oddometer:
    2,344
    Location:
    Lexington, Virginia
    I never had any heat issues with my K75, but I lived in Wyoming at the time so that may have affected my experience :D.

    [​IMG]

    I loved that bike, gave it to my son for a college graduation gift, he rode it for several years, then sold it to a friend. It's now almost 20 years old, runs like a sewing machine, and still looks brand new with 80,000 miles on it.

    I live in Virginia so understand concerns about heat. I used to have an 1100RT and would stop riding it when it got hot and humid because it provided too much protection. I've got an 1150GS also and it's perfect 95% of the time, only issue I have is when it's cold (below 40 or so) and the wind chill is a bit much for long rides.

    I wouldn't hesitate to buy any modern chain-driven bike, they are as reliable as shafts or belts and much easier maintenance.

    Good luck with your selection!
    #52
  13. Human Ills

    Human Ills Useful Idiom

    Joined:
    Oct 22, 2008
    Oddometer:
    24,048
    Location:
    South (Dog help me) Bay
    The KLR has great ergos for me.
    #53
  14. Toto

    Toto Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jan 31, 2008
    Oddometer:
    410
    Location:
    Mississauga, Ontario, Canada
    Had a 2008 KLR for about a year, great ergos, fun on the back roads, good on gas...however... the worst bike I have ever ridden on the slab by far...marginal brakes, underpowered and scarey handleing.
    If you don't go on the slab during your commute, go for it....if you do...stay away:eek1
    #54
  15. motorat

    motorat TBD

    Joined:
    Oct 9, 2007
    Oddometer:
    939
    Location:
    SW WA
    when my job changed i sold my klr for a vstrom650.
    my commute use to be 20 miles of back roads the klr was great for that but for 30 miles of super slab it was not.
    the vstrom was better and gets better gas mileage.
    #55
  16. ph0rk

    ph0rk Doesn't Care

    Joined:
    Dec 17, 2009
    Oddometer:
    2,315
    Location:
    Nowhere

    We need more input from the OP about his commute - I cruise at 75 mph (GPS indicated) all day on Route 64 in his area, and about 70+ on US-1, same area, with power for passing. I was under the impression that wasn't the KLR's forte. Route 64 in particular is like riding on an interstate for many miles in either direction of Pittsboro (including a nice, shiny new bypass), which is near him.

    Now, if he makes a point of avoiding those two highways all the time, that changes things considerably.
    #56
  17. BigCanoe

    BigCanoe Been here awhile

    Joined:
    May 1, 2005
    Oddometer:
    704
    Location:
    Located in Moncure, NC
    I leave my house (Moncure) and take old US1 (55mph 2 lane) 4 miles and merge onto US1 (70mph 4 lanes). I take US1 all the way to the 40 merge, and merge onto 40 (65mph 4 lanes). I take 40 a few miles and exit off on highway 55 (45mph 4 lanes) and then I take that to work a few miles.
    #57
  18. zippy

    zippy Hinter dem Feld

    Joined:
    Dec 16, 2003
    Oddometer:
    2,328
    Location:
    St Pete
    Yamaha FZ6
    #58
  19. bwalsh

    bwalsh UUU, UUU!!!

    Joined:
    Jan 15, 2009
    Oddometer:
    12,634
    Location:
    Helltown
    Of the original choices, I'd go with the Wee. You're going to use it on weekends too, correct? Comfortable, great fuel mileage, lot's of aftermarket parts, what's not the love?
    I know a few inmates who own them and they love em! I don't think I've heard one bad review or comment...from folks who OWN them. Even folks who don't own them...the only comment from them I've heard is about the way they look.
    Good luck with whatever you decide to purchase! :freaky

    EDIT: BTW, used, fairly low mile units can be had for under $5000. You can buy a LOT of gas or farkles with the other $5000. :deal
    #59
  20. DOGSROOT

    DOGSROOT OUTSIDE

    Joined:
    Jul 31, 2008
    Oddometer:
    842
    Location:
    DOGHOUSE


    FJR.

    BMW 11XX GS


    Both have ABS for those "exciting" stops when you get caught mid-yawn in the rain after a long day's work

    or a long day in the saddle, and something shitty happens.

    Depending whether you want to combine your commuting with occasional SPORT-touring or ADV-touring. :norton

    I like the idea of commuting comfortably, on a bike that you could also go cross-country on.
    .
    .
    .
    #60