Touring Bikes With Low Maintenance Costs

Discussion in 'Road Warriors' started by MHaz01, Mar 15, 2013.

  1. JerryH

    JerryH Long timer

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    2 up touring bikes (not sport touring) are hard to come by. Only BMW, Honda, and Harley make them. You couldn't give me a BMW of any model unless I could sell it and keep the money. That leaves the Harley and the Goldwing. Both very different, both very low maintenance. Since they are so different, one or the other of them has to suit you. I could not afford a touring Harley, so I bought a used Goldwing. First was an '85 LTD that I had to do a ton of work on, had a nightmare finding and fabricating parts for, but once back together, put almost 30,000 miles on before it started falling apart again. I sold it cheap, and, still not being able to afford a Harley, bought a used Goldwing 1500 with 65,000 miles on it. It would have likely lasted forever (250,000+ miles are not uncommon) maintenance was basically non existent (change the oil and go) but it was 2 much bike for me. I ride solo, and this thing got 35 mpg, and ate a new rear tire in 10,000 miles. I mount and balance my own tires, but that was still expensive and a hassle. Many people run car tires on the rear of 1500 and 1800 Goldwings for that reason. Had I kept it, I would have probably tried that as well. The 1500 Goldwing also has the distinction of being the most comfortable bike I have ever ridden.
    #41
  2. Blakebird

    Blakebird had to get a bike, had to paint it red

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    ah yes....another JerryH response, riddled with mistruths and out and out bogus statements. Your opinions seldom reflect actual fact, whether it be here or the Motus thread :lol3


    Only BMW, Honda, and Harley?
    Maybe you wouldn't own a BMW....but a helluva huge chunk of the riding population do - so what's your point? They are a damn fine machine, and that goes for the slant K or air/oil cooled boxer.


    Victory Vision or Cross Country?
    Kawasaki Vulcan 1700 Voyager?



    #42
  3. JerryH

    JerryH Long timer

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    The Vision, Cross Country and 1700 Voyager, along with several others in that category, are cruisers. I wouldn't think that someone coming from a BMW would want a cruiser. And no, I don't consider the Harley Electra Glide a cruiser. It is pretty much the same thing it was 50 years ago, before cruisers existed. It is a touring bike, and is well set up for use as such.

    I am not a yuppie, and I do not own an Aerostitch Roadcrafter suit, so I am obviously not BMW material. And while a lot of people ride them, they also seem to be constantly complaining about them, like the OP here. I agree the old airheads were likely reliable and easy to maintain, but that went out the window with the new bikes. New BMWs seem to have a lower reliability rating than anything not Chinese. Last but not least, if you own a BMW, and don't do your own maintenance, you have to deal with BMW dealers, who also get way more complaints than any other brand dealer. They demand a premium price for bikes, parts, and service, based on the perceived value of the BMW name, which don't mean what it once did, not by a long way.

    As for Motus, well, WHAT Motus?
    #43
  4. manban9888

    manban9888 Adventurer

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    For bang for your buck and easy to own reliability you really can't beat the big Kawasaki Vulcan bikes suck as the Nomad and the Voyager. The Nomad is set up like a Road King w hard bags, cc, and a windshield. The Voyager is set up like an electra glide w a batwing, and tour pack and hard bags. The Vulcans are much more affordable and more reliable imo. Harley is no easier to work on than a Vulcan and will cost you more to buy and to fix or maintain. It's not even close. The only thing Harley has on them is resale value but you're paying more to begin with and I buy a bike to ride the hell out of it not to sell it.
    #44
  5. riderjohn

    riderjohn Tag Sniper

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    I have a 2005 Yamaha Royal Star Midnight Venture.I love it.It has a 1300cc V-4.It has plenty of power and is very comfortable.I've put 13,000 miles on it in 9 months.This model was introduced in 1999 and is basically unchanged since then.You can find a low mileage older one that has been taken care of and pick it up for 1/3 the cost of a new one.Of course,being an older design means you get carbs instead of fuel injection and a cassette player instead of a CD player.It has all the other touring goodies:cruise,CB,intercom,AM/FM radio with MP3 input,hard bags,trunk,etc.Maintenance has consisted of oil changes,tires and a valve check.I,fortunately,have a friend with a garage and know how that helps me with tire changes and the valve check so that saves me money.The valve check interval is 26,600 miles so that doesn't come up often.It is a great machine and clean used ones are fairly cheap.
    #45
  6. manban9888

    manban9888 Adventurer

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    I agree. I rode a friend's and didn't think a 1300 could have the power this bike had. Could easily ride 2 up all day long and comfortable as hell
    #46
  7. BalancePoint

    BalancePoint Mucker

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    This sums it up perfectly. I'd add that whether it's a Honda ST, Yamaha FJR, or Kawi C14, you'd be very happy if mainly one-up. For two-up most often, I don't think there's an alternative to the Gold Wing.
    #47
  8. Twilight Error

    Twilight Error Going nowhere slowly

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    My ex thinks so highly about the ST11, she has owned three. The first one was destroyed in a crash, the second is her daily ride and the third is a Canadastani import she got an amazing deal on (it'll cost less for the bike, import fees and bits to fix it up than an ST11 with similar miles in good condition would). I understand the ST13 is a bit nicer and has a bit more power, if it eats miles half as well as the 11, you'd be well ahead.
    #48
  9. 2000RSV

    2000RSV Go Fast, Go Long

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    +1 on the Venture. Have 105k miles on mine and needed tires, oil, and gas (and brakes, a clutch, and other maintenance items). There is a very strong owners group in WI with all the special tools (shim kits, carb sync, etc.), garage space, and a willingness to help out. Easy bike to wrench on, bullet proof engine, and comfy for long miles - 1 up or 2 up.
    #49
  10. squirrelnator

    squirrelnator Mystical Adventurer

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    I have put 78,000 miles on my 2005 Honda ST1300 and it has not needed any repair except for the replacement of the thermostat early on. It has not even required a valve adjustment. Just tires, a battery, brake pads and fluid changes. I am still running the original light bulbs for example.

    It is as smooth and tight as the day I got it. Rock solid, fast and never a worry about reliability. It is comfortable solo or with my wife on board. I expect this bike to easily go 150,000 miles without any drama. I repainted it (white) this summer and it truly looks and rides like new.

    I do all of the maintenance myself. The plastic can all be removed for most any service in less than 10 minutes after you have done it once or twice.

    In general, to save money on maintenance on any bike, I suggest to buy a shop manual for your bike a few basic (metric) tools and try some of the simple things yourself. Oil changes, brakes, and even tires are easy enough to do if you take your time. Once you have done those things a few times, fork seals, bearings ect are not too much of a leap.

    Best of luck on choosing your next ride, and maybe the ST1300 is not for you, but I have been very happy with it and encourage you go check it out.
    #50
  11. DOGSROOT

    DOGSROOT OUTSIDE

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    This here's excellent advice!

    In addition, DO NOT go to a dealership; therin lies your problem.

    Find a competent independant; it's cheaper, friendlier, and they will actively help you save $$$.

    Also, you can remove the fairings yourself, and save circa $100 from having a mechanic do it.

    It's folly to pay an expert to do monkeywork.

    Do you dislike the bike, or just the fact that you're using the most expensive maintenance option possible?
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    #51
  12. cycleman2

    cycleman2 Been here awhile

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    I've owned Goldwings ( older models ), BMW R1100R, and currently ride a 08 HD Heritage Softail. There is a story behind the Softail, in that my wife and I tried out a GL1800 and the softail on the same day, one ride after another with the same windy conditions. She liked the Softail better, so that's what we ended up with. We haven't regretted it and it has proven to be a great all around bike. Who would have thought it. Comfortable for 400+ mile days, stable as a rock in high side winds ( common in this part of the country). I've changed the seat, added a batwing fairing, hard bags & a trunk ( for touring ), but the stock windshield & leather bags are also fine, just I wanted to build the softail into a dresser. Looks really good in this style and you'll never see another like it. The bike is very easy to handle and once you've learned its short comings ( poor lean angles ) it is fun to ride. I used this bike on an Advanced Rider Course and learned how to get the most out of the bike in the twisties. Always puts a smile on my face.

    Last year I put 14000 miles on the bike, and I do all the maintenance myself. They are very easy to work on and just required the usual oil changes, lube cables, tires, rear brake pads etc. Both the wing & the BMW where also easy to work on ( for me ) and the BMW was more maintenance intensive than the other 2, with the HD being the easiest as it has hydraulic lifters and maintenance mostly consists of oil changes & tires.

    There are a lot of bikes out there that will fit your requirements and at least in North America the 2 main brands that have good dealer support are the Honda & the Harley. Should you need that. Try out some different types.

    If you can teach or learn to do the bulk of the routine maintenance items on whatever bike your ride, then you are going to be further ahead. In this day and age everybody builds a good product, fine one that fits your needs/wallet and go for it.
    #52
  13. Ponies ate my Bagel

    Ponies ate my Bagel Bisexual Bandit

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    Stealerships suck for maintenance. Find a good local moto mechanic and give him your business. My guy does tires for $15 if you just bring him the wheel, $35 if you just give him the bike. I can go through 3 sets of tires on a bike before it costs what my truck tires cost. Find a good shop, meet with the head mechanic or owner and chat with them for a few minutes. You'll know pretty fast if they're who you want working on your bike. I tried 5 different places before I found my guy, he's the only one I'd trust my bike and my safety to.
    #53
  14. jposttx

    jposttx Been here awhile

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    Bought a used vtx1800 for $6000 with 13,000 miles on it
    It's a cruiser but comfortable as hell and set up now as a touring beast
    Very long legs loads of power and pretty cheap
    Imagine I will easily go 50 k on this - wife loves the comfort
    Almost went with a wing - but this sounds and feels more like riding a bike to me
    Can imagine going wing in 10 years or so though - then I will be able to afford one of those 2014 with 50k on it :lol3
    #54
  15. Chisenhallw

    Chisenhallw Avowed Pussbag

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    No Connie love?
    #55
  16. Zanotti

    Zanotti Been here awhile

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    Were are they going to go? They do not accept any alternative, so I suspect after some grousing , they will all return!
    #56
  17. JerryH

    JerryH Long timer

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    I have seen plans for a watercooled Harley engine. It was so well disguised you had to look really hard to find it. They did a much better job hiding it than most Japanese bikes. But again, why should Harley or any other manufacturer have to use liquid cooling? Something is just not right somewhere. A certain gvt agency needs to go out of business, or everybody will wind up riding electric motorcycles.
    #57
  18. damurph

    damurph Cold Adventurer

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    I have some BMW experience and i do my own maintenance/repairs. If the repair is beyond my capabilities i take the assembly off the bike and bring it to the dealer to save money. Parts are atrociously priced but i swallow the lump as need be.
    Honda made a great touring machine in the 90s. The PC800 and couldn't sell it. Low maintenance, cheap on fuel and good wind weather protection but it made too much sense for the North American market.
    #58
  19. Randn

    Randn n00b

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    I've been around the US several of times starting in Houston Tx, and have nothing but good to say about this bike!! You will want to add a trunk with back rest for 2 up and handle bar risers to take the strain off your elbows but an all around great bike!!
    #59
  20. blue01

    blue01 Been here awhile

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    You're joking, right?

    MHaz01,
    I rode a fair bit with a guy that had an LT1200, me on a GL1800. The bikes are different but still had a lot in common. The Wing would definitely be the easiest switch for you.
    The Wing gets a little less gas mileage but burns regular gas. They have all the usual such as radio, intercom, heated seats and grips on some. The Beemer's a bit faster in the corners but the Wing has the straight line acceleration. For the average rider, that's not a big deal.
    Oil changes are easy, do it right on the centre stand.
    80,000 miles on mine and the only repairs have been blown fork seals, twice. I ride on rough roads.
    Other than that, it's routine maintenance: all fluids changed twice to date, tires every 15,000 miles. $300 for a set of 'Stones. Air filter pulled twice. Now that's a big, time-consuming job!

    The Wing isn't cheap to maintain either, according to my wife, but I have an independent mechanic do all the work on it. He charges about $100 to change the tires, on the bike. It's only been back to the dealer twice, each time for recalls.

    If you can't afford a new one, there's plenty of used ones around.
    Here's a good place to start:
    http://gl1800riders.com/forums/forumdisplay.php?21-GL1800-Classifieds-4-Sale-by-Owner

    Got any questions, let me know.
    #60