Your ideas on a commuter ...

Discussion in 'The Perfect Line and Other Riding Myths' started by ShawnT316, Feb 1, 2013.

  1. windmill

    windmill Long timer

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    I have been a full time motorcycle commuter most of my adult life.

    The bikes I owned that were primarily used for commuting.
    HD Sportster
    HD FLT
    2 Honda CB750's
    Honda XL250
    Suzuki GS850
    Kawasaki GPZ550
    Yamaha KLX650
    Yamaha V-Star 650 classic
    Ducati E-900

    And for the past 5 years, a Ural patrol.

    Sticking to 2 wheelers, I have to give the nod to the V-Star.

    Not as much protection or carrying capacity as a tour or sport tour bike, but with a wind screen and bags, its still better than average

    Fairly low in the power and speed department, but delivers its power how and where you need it in real world conditions.

    Not as nimble as a dual sport or sportbike, but very easy to ride in stop and go traffic, and other slow, tight conditions.

    The ergos are fairly neutral for a cruiser and quite comfortable for a few hours. .

    I don't really care for cruisers, its a very uninspiring bike to ride recreationally, but they can be had dirt cheap, will take mishaps with little consequence, is unlikely to be stolen, has shaft drive, requires minimal maintenance, and is very reliable

    I haven't ridden it in 5 years, but still have it as backup transportation because it made such a good commuter.
    #21
  2. Two Wheeled 'Tard

    Two Wheeled 'Tard Banned

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    Either the SV650 or a DL650 (V-Strom) would fit the bill perfectly. You can get big luggage and pannier racks for both, making them very practical for carrying lots of things, I can easily do my grocery shopping on my V-Strom.

    V-Stroms carry a bit of a price premium, but can still be had for $4k if you don't mind some miles and don't insist on getting a newer ABS model. I would say it's quite a bit more comfortable than the SV, much more upright with nice wide bars and tighter turning radius for easier maneuvering.

    SV650s you can regularly find for $3k or less, often with VERY nice modifications (GSX-R front ends are VERY popular and completely transform the bike!)
    #22
  3. ShawnT316

    ShawnT316 Been here awhile

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    I'm not scared of old, or working on a machine, I took vo-tech auto mechanicis my last two years in high school (Top of my class both years) and worked as a big truck mechanic for a few years, do most all my own work now ... I also have in my driveway now an '82 MB 240D (275k mi) which is very reliable car, but does not like much above 60 mph, it is slow, and under powered diesel (no turbo) My F150 is an '89 ... HOWEVER, I don't want to be tinkering on a vehicle everyday just to get back and forth to work five days a week, so it has to be RELIABLE. My old MB I would not hesitate today to drive it cross country ... year and a half ago we took it to ME, but it was a slow trip 30+ mpg ... It's goona be for sale soon.

    Most of my commute would be highway riding, only a few miles of "city traffic" ... I would most likely only need to carry my lunch, rarely pick something up that my wife forgot, or ranout of at the store ... I had saddle bags for my KLR, but never used them or the rear cargo bag ...

    [​IMG]

    This is how I rode to work I liked the tank bag,as it would expand and make room for my insulated coveralls I needed in the morning:
    [​IMG]

    I looked into an Honda Insight (pre '06) but you really need to baby them (low speed) to get the really good mpg, and they suffer with the ac on ... and there not cheap to start out with, the other small cars are either worn out (high miles), or only get mid 30's ...

    I have heard that a car can be cheaper to run, but what is the current price of up keep on a bike?

    Tires, how long do they last now? I remember the back tire on my CBR would only last 800 - 1000 miles!:evil Fronts I could get 2,500 out of ... I do realise that a guy in his mid twenty who liked redlining a bike like that could put a world of hurt on tires, but I had the money, and it was fun, for short runs! I did not like getting all scrunched up, and trying to unfold myself later ... and that was a long time ago!


    Are tubless tires better? more expensive? Last longer, or just able to be radials?

    How often are oil changes?

    A good point brought up about fuel range ... Thanks!
    #23
  4. ph0rk

    ph0rk Doesn't Care

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    You can't throw a stick without hitting a thread that mentions a vstrom here.

    the SV650 will have more sporty ergos. Whether or not that's comfortable for 85 miles is on you.

    Go to cycle-ergo.com to check knee bend. Google for gearingcommander to check gear ratios, but both have chains so fiddling with it is just a sprocket away. I'm pretty sure the strom has better fuel range.

    The naked sv will have zero wind protection, no clue what the faired s model has. The strom can have very, very good wind protection, but budget for a windscreen and madstad bracket at the very least.

    I think for the money you'd be able to find a far nicer dl650 than sv - around here at least all the sub $4k sv's are ragged to hell.
    #24
  5. ShawnT316

    ShawnT316 Been here awhile

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    I just checked Cycle Trader ... out of 40+ Vstroms 650's there was only ONE under $4K ($3799) an '08 w/76K mi ... is that alot of miles?
    #25
  6. ph0rk

    ph0rk Doesn't Care

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    Hard to say - 08 is newish though.

    Don't forget to check craigslist.

    Sub-4k stroms will probably go quick, so you're not going to find one sitting there waiting for you.
    #26
  7. Two Wheeled 'Tard

    Two Wheeled 'Tard Banned

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    I see you a printer/scanner and raise you a lawnmower :)

    [​IMG]
    #27
  8. Two Wheeled 'Tard

    Two Wheeled 'Tard Banned

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    STOP looking in Cycle Trader for specialty bikes like 'Stroms. Keep an eye on the Flea Market here, and create an account over on Stromtrooper and keep an eye on their For Sale section.

    76k is not unheard of, the engines are usually good for 120k, but that price is high. I sold my '04 V-Strom 650 for $1900 when it had 73k miles (It was also pretty beaten up, but very ride-able). I just bought an '08 ABS model for $5,100 with 23k miles and quite a lot of farkles (madstand, Sargent seat, fork brace, rear shock, emulators, crash bars, bash plate, pannier racks, etc)

    This time of year, prices for 'Stroms are going to be going up because they're so popular, but you should be able to find an 04-07 model for $4k if you keep your eyes open and jump quickly. Be prepared to do a fly-n-ride.

    '08+ will command a little bit of a price premium as they have a number of minor improvements, and if it's an ABS model it will be on average $500-$1000 more.

    As for SV650s, I've found them to be less expensive, I got my '03 SV650 for $2500 with 14k miles with a baseball-sized dent in the tank, and it had some major upgrades (GSX-R front end, ZX-10 rear shock, R6 brake calipers, braided brake lines, tons of other little things). I've seen more mint but less farkled ones for $3k all the time over on svrider.com.

    Keep in mind that the SV has WAY WAY less wind protection than the V-Strom, and less luggage options (but still some). The SV650-S has clip-ons and rearsets, it's a pretty aggressive race tuck. The SV650-N is much more upright and comfortable, but is naked and has NO wind protection.

    tl:dr - V-Strom is a bit more spendy but if you look in the right places you can do okay for $4k. SV is cheaper but not as good of a daily commuter
    #28
  9. AdrianB1

    AdrianB1 Adventurer

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    It is an amazing world we are living it :) In Europe nobody is commuting 170 miles per day with a petrol-operated vehicle because burning so much gas is both polluting a lot and also very expensive; that means it's either train or relocating.

    If you really want to do it then you need to trade comfort for cost. If you want comfort you should go for a big tourer, if you want to get cheap you need a small engine - 250 or 500 cc top. With my Honda CB 500 I got impressive mileage outside of the city (over 500 kilometers from a 19 liter tank, that's over 60 miles per gallon, I think). The trick is to take it easy on the gas and don't push it over 75 mph. Anyway, look for a faired bike as good wind protection is needed. SV650 is an option, I preffer Honda CBF 600 (injection only, the one on carburetors has lower mileage) and Yamaha Fazer 600.

    Another option that I would look for: recent generation of Volkswagen car with diesel engine. Believe it or not, you can drive 100 km with just 3-3.5 liters of diesel, that's up to 90 miles per gallon. I did this over long distances of flat land and I raised to 4 liters per 100 km crossing mountains (and the onboard computer reported near-zero consumption on the entire descent).
    #29
  10. Pro_Marinero

    Pro_Marinero Carbon Sasquatch

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    As a former 365-day commuter with an 80-mile round trip I would say hard bags are a must! Storage while away and the ability to carry as much stuff as possible are key.

    Some good recommendations here. I would add the Honda PC800. Dirt-simple, reliable and tons of storage. Pretty vanilla riding experience but will work well.
    #30
  11. davidji

    davidji bike curious

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    I commute farther than you and I never take hard bags on the commute anymore. There was a time I did it with a top case. Wouldn't do it with side cases if I could help it.

    I expect the need for storage if any has more to do with the logistics at work and what you do between work and home than with the commute distance.
    #31
  12. Bill 310

    Bill 310 Poser Emeritus

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    My wife commuted on her 650 GS single for a few years cheap to run, good mileage and abs.

    I think that any bike with abs is a good choice

    SV 650

    650 v Strom are the cheapest to run

    a 650 paris dakar or the vstrom will give you the best ergonomics and road view
    #32
  13. davidji

    davidji bike curious

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    His commute is 170 miles round trip. Any bike that won't easily do that on a tank (and there are many) is a inconvenient choice. Commuting isn't like touring and you don't want extra fuel stops. If you can do 2+ commutes it's much more convenient. But hard to find for his distance. 1 1/2 commutes is better than one, and might be doable in his price range. With that range, you can skip the gas station every 3rd day.
    #33
  14. Two Wheeled 'Tard

    Two Wheeled 'Tard Banned

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    V-strom is sounding better and better for him. 5.8 gallon tank I think on them, vs the 4gal on the SV.
    #34
  15. AviatorTroy

    AviatorTroy Long timer

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    I think the SV or DL 650 would be a great choice. The SV is more sporty, but the Strom is more practical, comfortable, better wind protection, luggage available.
    #35
  16. AlanCT

    AlanCT The Byronic Man

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    I have a one way freeway commuting distance of 75 miles. My Concours does well for this. You can pick up excellent, 1st gen Connies easily for $4k or less.

    On the down side, the fairing and windshield can be a curse in hot weather.
    #36
  17. ShawnT316

    ShawnT316 Been here awhile

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    What do you get for mileage with the liter bike?

    Arn't there vents that could be opened? Gets quite warm here in the summer ...
    #37
  18. DAKEZ

    DAKEZ Long timer

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    You should find and buy a Triumph Triple.



    Thank me later.
    #38