I'm shopping around for a small(er) displacement motorcycle for my daily commute. My drive is 7.5 miles one way with a top speed of 45. I'm sure I would take longer trips on it, but this would be the main use.
I have a few bikes in mind. What I want is input on what brands are more reliable and any personal experience with a particular bike. I am also open to suggestions on other bikes, as long as it is not a sports bike or larger than 650cc.
These are the bikes that I am considering:
Kawasaki Eliminator 125
Honda Rebel 250
Yamaha V-Star 250
Suzuki Boulevard S40
I am also looking around at used bikes. If I can find a decently priced used bike that isn't too expensive I would consider it.
Please, do not let this turn into another argument about why used bikes are better then new.
Seems like you know what you want already, just go out there and test ride each on of them..
I have a 9 mile commute, speed up to 55 mph.. my 250cc Chinese scooter has yet to fail me for over 7600 mi. since last year. No shifting, no clutching, twist and go.. best of all, well above 85 mpg and plenty of underseat storage.
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I own a Honda XR650L dual sport. The most I can coax out of it is about 55 mpg. So, I've been thinking about a new bike.
A 250 cc bike would get good mileage, but I detest the styling of smaller bikes, with the exception of the 250 Ninja. 250 cc "cruisers" look ridiculous.
The Ninja is OK looking but I'm not a sport bike rider any more. One broken ankle was enough.
The bike that intrigues me lately is the Buell Blast. It has a ~500 cc motor, and gets ~70 mpg EPA out of the box. And it looks and sounds like a real bike. The only thing holding me back is that it's carbureted. If the bike was injected, it would probably get 80 mpg without hypermiling. I'd hate to buy a Blast this year only to find out that next year it gets FI.
Harley Davidson injects all of its bikes now, and Buell is part of Harley. Why isn't the Blast injected?
Come to think of it, why didnt Kawasaki inject the 250 cc Ninja during last year's remodel? Same goes for the Suzuki S40.
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Looks aren't real high on my list of what I am looking for. If they were, I would get a Harley Nightster 1200. I'm getting a bike because, not matter how "ridiculous" a 250cc cruiser looks, it is more economical than my cavalier.
I was looking at a 250 sports bike, but I can't ride one. I am looking at a cruiser because I can add "ape hangers". Not for looks, but comfort. I have three vertebra that are fused together, so leaning forward is out...
I test rode a 1996 Honda Shadow 600. It had ape hangers and a one up seat. It was actually more comfortable than my car.
After visiting several dealerships, I have ruled out any Suzuki purly due to the fact that I was treated like crap at the dealership.
The Kawasaki 125 is an extremely comfortable bike, but is underpowered, even for me.
The V-Star 250 has plenty of power, but wasn't as comfortable as the Kawasaki.
The Honda Rebel was the "best" bike that I looked at. It was really comfortable, had plenty of power, looks good and well, its a Honda.
All of the bikes that I considered have the same warranty, so it really comes down to personal preference. As of right now, the Honda is my preference. I will still be looking around for a few months before I buy. If anyone knows of a bike that is worth considering, speak up.
I have a 1982 Honda Nighthawk (CB650SC). It's actually a little less than 650cc though. Its the cruiser/street bike style. I only have one gas mileage test on it, but I drove it very very hard ( I wanted to see what it could do) and I still got 40mpg, so it's pretty good on gas. My parents have owned motorcycles for years and Honda has always been a reliable brand. I bet you could find a Nighthawk pretty cheap since some of them are very old.
Since you don't want a sport style.. I'd say it would definately be worth it buying new if you can afford it with an entry level bike. They have little to no depreciation, and you don't have to worry about mechanical issues. Chinese scoots are great, but if you have a problem (which statistically you're more likely to) I hear they're a bear and a half to try to get any warrentee work done to them.
Personally, if I bought a new motorcycle, it would be a Suzuki TU 250. One lunger for good low torque and city manners, and it's an FE bike, plus it looks straight out of the 70's, with very nice classic standard bike styling. Essentially a more upright GZ250, but 250 standards don't look as awkward as 250 cruisers.
Nice. I'd say grab a rebel then. They've got the Honda bike reliability, and they're incredibly well reviewed bikes, even if they're some of the weaker 250's out there (they're actually a 234 cc bike), but for commuting and around town, they do grand from what I hear.
And at $1500 for good, nicely running ones... You could probably keep it for 5 years and still sell it for about the same. A 1 or 2 year old 250 bike has absolutely NO depreciation throughout it's life, so long as it is in good, clean running condition. (I was seeing 20 year old rebels in clean running condition going for 1500 or more, with 15+k on the odo).
If you find a deal there... Grab it. Just make sure you know how to wrench.
How old do you wish to go? The Honda Rebel was based on the Honda CM which was more of a traditional bike than the cruiser style influenced Rebel. I had an 82 CM400 with the six speed (also available with an automatic transmission as the CM400A), top speed of well over 85 mph (the speedo ended there), and better than 70 mpg driven more sanely. It was a little close when riding two up, but solo was not all that bad at all. No storage at all, but a medium sized gym bag lashed to the passenger's seat covered most needs.