Motorcycle for work?

Discussion in 'The Perfect Line and Other Riding Myths' started by mcpenner, Jun 21, 2021.

  1. Big John Sny

    Big John Sny Long timer

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    I spent a decade or so commuting over 10,000 miles just on my bike and my wife spent about 3 years commuting nearly the same on her bike.
    Personally, even though I was a mechanic and have no problem doing them, got extremely burned out on valve adjustments and chain maintenance.
    This was even more true on stuff like my wife's Kawasaki that has to have the cams pulled to change out shims.
    It always seems to fall when I have no time to do it, and started being a stress.
    #61
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  2. HaveTwo

    HaveTwo Adventurer

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    I have a Ducati ST3 that I put ~20k-30k miles per year on as my only vehicle. Never had a problem with chains, they aren't that hard to deal with but the oil changes and valve adjustments got old fast. I switched to a shaft drive honda VFR that was freaking fantastic for a while, and am now on a DL650, and get ~230 miles per tank before I refuel (lot of cruising at 70-85 mph). Don't do nearly the mileage I used to, so I've not even had to adjust the chain yet. (at 6k right now) But the oil change is dead nuts easy, no plastic or plates to get out of the way. Something like a sport touring bike with shaft drive would have been nice, or even the S10, but cheap won out in my brain. If I really want shaft drive, I've got an old Suzuki from the 70's that has shaft along with many other things that make it higher maintenance. Part of why it's in pieces in the workshop. :doh

    I really wish hydraulic valves were common on bikes.

    Oddly, I'm in the position where I'm way more likely to ride my bike to work, and use my truck on the weekends, than ride on the weekends. But then a good weekend usually means I play with different toys, so I get my riding joys commuting. Not sure I'd look to the VStrom for sandy stuff either. I'm no off-roader, but it's not super fun in soft sand.
    #62
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  3. nevada72

    nevada72 Milwaukeeish

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    I've long distance commuted on bikes for the last 6 years. Not exclusively, but fit it in when practical. Practical? Yup. My commute sometimes involves a ferry crossing and the bike rides way cheaper than the truck. I have used a HD Street Glide, Yamaha FJ09, and now a BMW RT. I have had to detour onto loose gravel roads occasionally and they were all okay. Not great but the percentage of off-pavement overall is very low, making the street bias well worth it. The comfort afforded by the full fairings really helped. The FJ09 didn't have that, so it was a bit more "exposure", much like what the S10 would be.

    The S10 seems like it would be a decent fit, if not my choice (RT works great for me). I would also consider the HD Pan America if dealer network is a primary consideration. I've ridden them and they are great bikes. I'm a BMW guy but if I wanted an "ADV" bike, I would definitely be between the S10, the GS, and the PA.

    On "practical" - commuting by bike isn't overall. Factor weather, prep time, much more frequent service intervals, much faster tire wear......it really doesn't add up. None of which covers the desire to do simply do it. Having done it for a while now, I more often opt for the ease and comfort of the truck. It has simply become more hassle than it's worth.
    #63
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  4. badweatherbiker

    badweatherbiker Long timer

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    chain maintenance burned me out more than anything else at almost 200 miles a day round trip, even when I started working closer to home I was still knocking out almost 100 a day and that was still bad.
    #64
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  5. davidji

    davidji bike curious

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    Don't know if it's in your budget, but a 2020+ Africa Twin Adventure Sport is exactly what you're describing. A 2018+ Africa Twin would work as well. As would any 2016+, but the cruise control wouldn't be included or as easy to add.

    I get 370km range from my 2016. I'd expect similar from the 2018, & a lot more from an ATAS of any year. If 300km is your minimum, more is likely a lot more convenient.

    As far as the work clothes, hard to beat an Aerostich Roadcrafter over your work clothes for commuting.

    As fun as those bikes were (at least from a test ride I did of a later model than the 2006 you mentioned), I wouldn't chose it for that. If I were looking for one, strong preference for one with the 2008 updates.

    You'd need to check local Harley dealers to know the service answers. Belt drive isn't the best choice for your gravel road travel. Whatever the chance of failure, it's higher than chain drive. And you won't get the cruise control you wanted.
    #65
  6. High Country Herb

    High Country Herb Adventure Connoiseur

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    You might also look at the Tenere 700. It feels very nimble. It might be crowded 2-up if you and your wife are large people, though.
    #66
  7. bpw

    bpw Been here awhile

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    Make sure you will be allowed to ride during work hours, I have had a few jobs (in the states) where the workmans comp policies specifically excluded motos and it was in my contract that I wouldn’t ride for work.

    I’m sure things are totally different in Canada as relates to insurance, but it’s worth checking.
    #67
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  8. PeterTrocewicz

    PeterTrocewicz Long timer

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    Yeah, I hear that. When I owned my Honda Magnas there were a couple of times I had to pull all 4 cams out to see what sizes were in there, put it all back, together so I could ride until I could get the needed shims and find the time to do it all again. Chain maintenace to me is nothing, a couple of minutes each week for a wipedown and lube plus 10 minutes a month for adjustment. I do try to time big maintenance jobs so that they get done during Winter downtime. Fortunately I find working on the bike to be enjoyable, part of my R&R.
    #68
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  9. mcpenner

    mcpenner mcpenner

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    I (the OP) am enjoying all the varied discussion. Keep it going if you have something to say...but...to bring it back to my original question:
    - I am not asking about what motorcycle to commute on. My office will be in my house so no commuting. But I will have to travel at least once to as many as 36 job sights every year. Some of those sights are fairly remote. I would like to do this travel on a motorcycle whenever possible because I love motorcycle travel.
    - Of course a car is better, and I will be using a car much of the time. But when I can I will do this travel by bike. The more suited the bike is the more often it will be possible.
    - I don't need advice about how to keep warm or ride long distances or chain maintenance etc. I normally ride 20,000kms or so each year. I know what I'm doing. But up till now my riding has been purely recreational. Priorities change when it matters to get there on time.

    The question is, what motorcycle would you choose to ride to remote work sights with luggage to carry professional clothes computers and maybe a projector and such to teach seminars and give presentations when you get there?

    Anyway, back to the discussion. It's all welcome.
    #69
  10. Tripped1

    Tripped1 Smoove, Smoove like velvet.

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    Big Adventure bike with 90/10 tire and full bags......past that it doesn't really matter.
    #70
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  11. mcpenner

    mcpenner mcpenner

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    Good suggestion. I will check this out.
    #71
  12. mcpenner

    mcpenner mcpenner

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    I know, but I will still have to choose just one. There are so many good options these days!
    #72
  13. Tripped1

    Tripped1 Smoove, Smoove like velvet.

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    Well that is the issue isn't it.

    That is going to vary by maintenance requirements, size/type of luggage available and I would think fuel mileage. That is also where everyone is going to be different, and yeah, its hard to find a bad bike these days, so your options are from a CB500X up to a R1200GSA....and there is no "best".

    The GSA being sort of a no-brainer, with its huge tank, shaft drive and lots of options for carrying crap.
    #73
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  14. Bar None

    Bar None Long timer Supporter

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    Need a drive shaft, hydraulic lifters, air cooled, EFI ride to work bike. Oh, I forgot that I am retired.:lol3:lol3
    #74
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  15. Robotaz

    Robotaz Adrenalin Freak

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    #75
  16. VX Rider

    VX Rider Long timer

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  17. mcpenner

    mcpenner mcpenner

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    I already have this:
    [​IMG]
    This is one of three bikes. In my new job I plan to go back to one bike so I'll need something with the same rough road capability and better passenger accommodations. So any of the larger ADV bikes will probably do. I'm just trying to decide which ones. It's almost impossible to get test drives around here so the experiences of other riders is the best I can do. Given the areas I will be riding in I prefer Japanese tech as there no European dealerships around.
    #77
  18. steingar

    steingar higher life form

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    Thankfully I've never had to drive long distances for work. If I did I'd drive a nice big comfortable car with a kickers sound system. I ride bikes because I want to. If I have to do it for work all that time I'll take the cage.
    #78
  19. SmithSwede

    SmithSwede Been here awhile

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    Personally? Moto Guzzi V7 Stone. I’ve used it for work for years now. Running 25 to 30K miles per year.

    yes, the bike needs to be reasonably reliable, a big gas tank is nice, good saddlebags are nice, as is shaft drive. But if you are going to spend that much time on a bike, make sure you *really like* the bike you are riding. Otherwise, what’s the point—just buy a used Corolla and probably save money anyway.

    Also—if you really like riding a bike that isn’t so great on paper for this mission profile, try it anyway. Maybe it will work for you (within reason). Or you can make it work. For example, I like shaft drive but I can live with a modern O-ring chain on a bike I enjoy riding
    #79
  20. Gone in 60

    Gone in 60 Been here awhile

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    mcpenner, what cruising speeds does that CB500X like? It's one of the bikes I'm sort of looking at as a daily commuter. I'd need to cruise around 75 comfortably on the highway.

    I alternate between my CB1100 and my Bonneville for the daily commute. As the CB1100 parts supply starts to become more bleak and the bike is becoming semi-collectible (Thanks for only sending it to the U.S. for a few years, Honda), I'm looking to relegate the bike to occasional weekend use. With limited space, I'd need something on the compact side that can still wedge in behind my car in the garage and carry a top box easily. A CB500X seems like a good choice.
    #80