Steep Mountain Roads-Highways

Discussion in 'Battle Scooters' started by Tacoma, May 7, 2011.

  1. Tacoma

    Tacoma Been here awhile

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    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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  2. MODNROD

    MODNROD Decisions, decisions

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    My son-in-law (then my sone, then my daughter, and now my bro-in-law......this bike gets around!:rofl) 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.
    #2
  3. Bronco638

    Bronco638 Nobody Home

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    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+.
    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.
    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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  4. lastmanout

    lastmanout Been here awhile

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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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  5. Tacoma

    Tacoma Been here awhile

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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/listing/2009-HONDA-VT750-SHADOW-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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  6. btcn

    btcn Long timer

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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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  7. btcn

    btcn Long timer

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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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  8. JerseyBiker

    JerseyBiker Living the life!

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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!
    :rofl:rofl

    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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  9. Tacoma

    Tacoma Been here awhile

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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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  10. btcn

    btcn Long timer

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    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.
    #10
  11. Tacoma

    Tacoma Been here awhile

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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.
    #11
  12. btcn

    btcn Long timer

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    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!:deal
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  13. Tacoma

    Tacoma Been here awhile

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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!
    #13
  14. MODNROD

    MODNROD Decisions, decisions

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    How big? :rofl

    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).
    #14
  15. Tacoma

    Tacoma Been here awhile

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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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  16. cdwise

    cdwise Long timer

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    Burgman 400 got 54mpg in the Rockies - lots of up and down there. I get closer to 60 on the BV 500. Sports City 250 is ok on I-70 but on the steepest grades can't get much over 55mph but it will hold nearer to 65 if it isn't really twisty and gets 60-64 on the mountain grades and 68 on flat.

    I don't know of anything that will get 100mpg or even close at 65 on twisties. He's showing how little he knows.

    A friend bought a Honda Ruckus to use on days it wasn't pouring down rain or he wouldn't need his truck at work with the idea of saving money on gas. Charlie is one of the few i know who actually did save gas buying a scoot. His view was it would take him 2.2 years to pay it off just in gas and longer between maintenance on his truck. He succeeded in just under 18 months. I doubt we've saved in gas but then if we'd quit buying scoots maybe would have. [​IMG]
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  17. Bar None

    Bar None Candy Ass

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    He will probably ride the Honda once or twice and then put it up for sale this next winter.
    It will be on CL with the ad saying "it ran fine when parked six months ago".:rofl
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  18. btcn

    btcn Long timer

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    Yea I agree. Those big 1600+ cruisers make boat loads of torque, but horsepower is surprisingly limited. The older Shadows make about the same Horspower as a Harley Twin Cam 96. And the Harleys have lots more weight to em.

    Honda designed these engines SO well! They put in decent low end torque for nice low RPM cruising, but it makes max torque at 6,500 RPM therefor lots of HP!

    Yep its funny how an 80s 700-750 Shadow can outperform a lot of big inch cruisers. Top speed is also a the same or higher, most of these huge 1,600-2,000 cc bikes max out at 115-120 MPH. The Shadow will get to 120+ MPH if given time, it takes a long time in OD but it will get there.

    Yea the Shadow WILL perform as well as a big cruiser. Its light enough to where its still fun on a curvy road and sparks aren't flying off the floorboards around every corner, but its still comfortable as hell!

    I also agree on the sound! I LOVE my Shadow's sound even with the stock exhaust! Its quite, but is very deep and low like a big twin.

    IMHO my Shadow sounds as good as a Harley at idle. Never thought I'd say that. A lot of guys say they sound shitty because of the Dual Crank design, but they also have their idle at about 1,300 RPM! Right around 850 RPM they sound beautiful, and uneven! There is a little vibration just like a big twin too!

    And it just sings and purrs right around 3,500 RPM at 75 MPH! BEST bike I've ever owned or ridden!
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  19. Tromper

    Tromper Been here awhile

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    Heck Tacoma, far as enough power, I think the 250 might be a hair stretched but would be fine for the most part.
    The Burgman 400 is used by a fellah 'round here I know of (actually lives in Tacoma:1drink) for all kinds of gallivanting about including bopping around those volcanic bumps we call the Cascades. It'd be more than adequate.
    From personal experience the b650 doesn't even break a sweat two up in the passes around here.
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  20. Tacoma

    Tacoma Been here awhile

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    you're right, but its nice to have that reserve power and you don't want that engine screaming all the time at high throttle just to keep the speed limits, and you may want to go on a long distance ride sometimes, and the bigger engine is more secure for that.
    #20