The way I look at it is this. I can buy a like new used Harley or Indian for about $15K, and if i keep it garaged and well maintained 10 years later I will still have a bike that will be able to be sold for a decent amount. With a new Japanese sport bike I'm looking at almost 100% depreciation over 10 years, and have a bike that will not have the same desirability as the American touring & cruising bikes.
Jay, why not drive your brother in laws bike for a while and see if it works for you. Not to buy it, unless you change your mind, but it would be nice to actually ride any bike for a while to see how it affects you as far as discomfort or other issues.
My take on it is a Ninja 250 could get you close to 100 MPG, which would mean you average for two vehicles could approach 50 MPG depending on how much you drive each one.
I am almost 6'1' and about 205 on a good day.
If you want a Harley type bike, consider the Japanese versions like the Yamaha Star, or the Honda and Suzuki versions.
Not trying to change your mind (just like you could not change mine) but from observing the posts on this thread you could get a nice Japanese bike for 1/3 rd of your budget or less.
Not knowing how much you have been on a bike, if its not much I would seriously consider sticking your toe in the pond, then if you decide you really like bikes then take the plunge at 10-15k.
That's a great idea. Your brother in law isn't using it, it's just rotting; might as well give it some use. At the same time, you get to ride for free, and refine your understanding of your own needs, also for free...and there's no commitment at all.
Right now I'm looking, and getting into the next cycle class available. Trying to figure out what I like. The brother in law that has the jap sport bike in the basement lives 200 miles away, and the bike hasn't been ridden in 5 years. I am toying with buying a more classic looking jap bike, but then I'd outgrow it quickly and be looking for another bike within a year. Talking to my friends & family that ride they all agree that because I'm tall I need a bigger bike. I initially wanted a smaller bike to learn on - I really liked the Triumph Bonneville, but everyone seems to agree that with me being 6'4" and 230 pounds, that was not a practical choice.
I'm still open to possibilities, but I constantly end up looking at the big American bikes.
If you will be riding in the city- a small nimble bike will be safest and the least tiring to ride
If you will be riding on the highway- get a larger bike (you would be more likely to keep the bike up if you were to hit a small dog at 55mph than if you were on a small bike).
I am 37, 6'3" and was 220 lbs before the above knee amputation, and I was really comfortable on my little Kawasaki 305 twin cylinder. It was a great city bike (which was my main goal)- but it was way too light to ride on the highway and was pretty unstable around semi's at interstate speeds (wind would knock me around)
Factoring in insurance, registration and gas mileage (58-62mpg), it really was a wash in terms of saving me money over using the car. It was fun though.
I started riding dirt bikes on the family farm from when I was 12. Had several small to medium street bikes in college and I had been driving the 305 Kawasaki for about 4 years (driving 600-800 city miles per year). I would say that I was an advanced rider. That being said, even 25 years of experience didn't prevent my accident. I don't believe I could have done anything differently except what I did (brake hard and swerve)- when a car pulls directly into your path, something bad will likely happen.
I wish you well- and the orange vest will help with safety- but if someone is texting or having an in depth cell phone conversation (distracted/eyes not on the road) bad things do happen. I would love to ride on the street again- but only if everyone else was also driving a motorcycle.
Sometimes I do wonder if a crash bar that stuck out in front of my leg would have saved it. But many are just light gauge tubing and it may have just entrapped and crushed my leg...
Whichever bike you decide on- never ride it without a helmet.
Buy a bike to ride, not to resell. Harley axed Buell, Harley now (always actually) sucks. FUHD. Their resale is tanking due to market flooding now anyway.
Buy something you like or no matter how fast or economical, or pretty it is you won't ride it.
Guzzi's are cool as hell, so is the new Triumph Thunderbird.
Ignorance is lack of knowing; stupidity is false logic
I plan to do a mix of urban & highway driving. i do not plan any extreme city riding like taking it into DC or anything like that. (I'm scared driving on 4 wheels in DC.) Most roads around here are 35 - 50 MPH, are between 4 and 6 lanes, and there's traffic lights every few hundred yards. Whatever I buy needs to be capable of interstate travel. If its a chore to keep on the road @ 70 MPH then I won't be able to meet up with my friends and ride with them. I do realize that I am sacrificing some ease of riding in town, but that's a sacrifice I'm willing to make. Here's a basic list of what I need/want:
* It needs to ride as smoothly and comfortably as possible. Ideally I want a Buick on 2 wheels.
* Needs to be able to carry a passenger.
* Needs fuel injection. I don't want a bike that will be hard to start if I don't ride it for a week.
* Needs to be stable on the highway.
* Needs saddlebags big enough to accommodate my laptop, and/or a rear luggage rack big/sturdy enough to secure my briefcase. My laptop goes everywhere I go. If I can't take the laptop, traveling with the bike (or going to work on it) is a no-go.
* Want: classic styling, chrome, leather, white wall tires. If I like the way it looks, and feel good riding it, I am more likely to ride it and leave a 4 wheeled vehicle at home.
I don't want a bike that will be hard to start if I don't ride it for a week.
Hey, hey, hey, looks like you gonna end up anyhow with a Japanese bike!
My Honda was parked in my garage end October, just took it out last weekend without doing anything (no batterycharger): started like an already warmed up Harley (I believe a Harley has good starting capacities under these conditions?).
Serious: if you want a bike that starts after several weeks/months, buy
- a 4-cylinder or a very small twin (e.g. Ninja250).
Do I need to say I kind a like Honda's? Or is it becoming obvious?
Well, I almost advised you to have a look at the German bikes (I mean BMWs here) too (an 1200GS or any RT/GT model should be big and comfortable enough for your kind, I'm much smaller, the little F650CS is for me ), they've been fuel injected for at least a decade and usually have pretty good FE (compared to other MCs), but they totally lack that classic styling you mentioned
(Anyway, my girlfriend likes your taste at bikes, Ciliegia is hers, it's styled along these lines, only that it's different in size and strenght. A first bike for her, quite good at FE too, and light enough for a beginner with smaller dimensions than yours. It's Korean and starts like a charm when the battery is charged even though it's carbed. Its smaller weight somewhat makes up for its smaller engine, but I wouldn't easily recommend a 250cc for the weight of you and a passenger.)