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Old 10-27-2015, 11:08 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Thinking about a bike

Just picked up a new job closer to home and once I start I'll have a 4 miles commute to work. With such a short ride I'm thinking about buying a motorcycle to serve daily duty in the warmer months and in good weather. I'm looking for cheap, really fuel efficient and able to survive a 2 mile stretch at highway speeds at 60-70 mph. I like the look of cruisers and old Hondas with the long, flat seat. Other companies have a similar look. What I need are ideas from you guys on what models and engines to look for in my searches. I'd like close to 100mpg with no mods and am guessing that anything 750cc and larger is out of the question, but are 600cc engines too big too? I'm guessing 250cc engines are going to be the best MPG machines but can they propel the bike at 70mph while still sipping fuel? I don't really know all the letters and numbers used to name different bike so if you could please recommend bikes to search craigslist for, I'd appreciate it becuase I don't know what Hondas, Yamaha or Suzukis are dirt bikes, sport bikes or cruising bikes.

On lunch break today I also found "Cleveland cyclewerks" bikes. All bikes are powered by a carb'd 250cc single cylinder OHV engine that supposedly delivers 80mpg and is capable of 70+ mph. Also looks like new ones sell for just over $3,000 and I really like the looks of the 2 soft tails they offer.

Thoughts? Comments? Criticisms?

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Old 10-28-2015, 08:55 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Those "custom" bikes like the Cleveland Cyclewerks type are usually off-shore cycles that are modified by the builder and rebadged. I would recommend staying away from them.

Look at some of the 250cc cycles from the major manufacturers. The most common is a Ninja 250, usually 1990-2007. They are reliable, cheap, and plentiful. There are a few 250 cruisers like the Honda Rebel and the Kawasaki Eliminator, but they aren't as common and some aren't as powerful as the Kawasakis.

Find something that you like on CL, then do some research on it.

If you haven't ridden before, take a MSF or similar basic riding course before you buy anything. A cycle is a lot of fun, but not really a money-saving tool for most people. In addition to the cost of the cycle, you will need a complete set of gear (helmet, jacket, gloves, boots, pants) and insurance. Any used cycle will need new tires if they are more than 5 years old.
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Old 10-28-2015, 07:20 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Thanks for the tips, jkv. I already have a helmet for racing but would need all the other gear for sure and since its been a long time since I've ridden I would definitely take a class before updating my license to include the bike. I really don't want to get a Ninja but if I find one cheap enough I may consider it more seriously. My friend had a Rebel for a long while and had a good experience with it but I'd like something with older looks (this is obviously the "I want it" side of the equation and not the "just want super MPG" side lol). I'm sorting through CL but there are just so many quads and dirt bikes lol.
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Old 10-28-2015, 07:51 PM   #4 (permalink)
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a 250 sports bike will do 85 ... 250 crusers in my experiance are slow..... might do 70..... but it will be absolute full wack...... yamaha did a vstar 400...... dunno if it was sold in the states though... my 650 vstar ill only do maybe 95.... unless you hit a hill.... then it wont but it will cruse at 65 all day and gets alright mpg

or honda shadow 600ish....

if you can live with the slowness the 250 will get better millage obviously....
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Old 10-29-2015, 01:37 AM   #5 (permalink)
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My 75 Honda CB-550f has the look but at 60 mph and no windscreen and that cool flat seat it feels about like you are going to blow off the back. Probably why the front feels floaty at that speed as well. I have not ridden too many bikes so I don't know how much better or worse it could be. Around town or on a twisty road it's a blast. I'm thinking of switching to a similar year goldwing or newer ST1300 for better highway comfort but in reality I don't think I would ride enough to justify it. I work 4 miles from home all city mostly 35 mph speed limits. I haven't been riding much as I got too hot and now that it's cool I have a couple sticking floats... Again. 1975 looks cool but there is something to be said for modern conveniences.

PS, I personally like the Cleveland Cycleworks stuff. I also really wanted a 500cc Royal Enfield but couldn't find a good deal on one. The Suzuki TU250x looks good. As does the Yamaha SR400.

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Old 10-29-2015, 09:23 AM   #6 (permalink)
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My current bike is a 1981 Honda CM400. It is great fun and plenty peppy. It gets me around 60 mpg and my commute is 7 miles that is mainly 45 mph with some lights. Getting 100 mpg would be very difficult without a good amount of modification. So, IMO you really are going to need lots of mods and something smaller than a 400.

If I were looking to replace it with anything I'd really prefer to go electric. However, thats probably cost prohibitive (even diy isn't cheap). So, alternatively I'd probably go with something a bit smaller engine wise with fuel injections. IMO carbs are a big pain.
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Old 10-29-2015, 09:30 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Four miles. Any good off-interstate route? I'd bicycle it. Or use any old moped/scooter; that is the most likely way to get 100 mpg, although the top Vetter mileage contestants can also show the way. Also, as one who goes 50-55 even on 70 mph interstates, I couldn't care less about going 70. They can get used to it or pass.
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Old 10-29-2015, 12:23 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Thanks for the advice and models to keep a look out for, guys. Frank, there are non-interstate routs but they would more than double the commute rendering a peddle bike useless since I am not at all an exercise nut lol.
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Old 10-29-2015, 01:01 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Jersey is fairly flat so a scooter or pedal bike is worth considering. At 60+ years I'm no athlete but I can pedal 10-12 mph without breaking a sweat.
As for scooters a 50cc Yamaha Zuma caught my eye and the Honda PCX 150 is popular. Yamaha V-star comes in 250cc for a cruiser. Honda and Kawasaki have upped their 250cc road bikes to 300cc. The Suzuki TU250 gets good reviews for mpg and comfort. What ever you choose get it from a good local dealer for service and parts. Then streamline it! You can improve comfort, fuel efficiency, and safety with a good shell.
There are websites from all the major companies with vehicle spec. Also there are review sites as well.
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Old 10-29-2015, 04:54 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by spacemanspif View Post
Thanks for the tips, jkv. I already have a helmet for racing but would need all the other gear for sure and since its been a long time since I've ridden I would definitely take a class before updating my license to include the bike. I really don't want to get a Ninja but if I find one cheap enough I may consider it more seriously. My friend had a Rebel for a long while and had a good experience with it but I'd like something with older looks (this is obviously the "I want it" side of the equation and not the "just want super MPG" side lol). I'm sorting through CL but there are just so many quads and dirt bikes lol.
With as short as your commute is, I think I'd focus more on comfort and features than outright economy. Many(most?) 600cc bikes should still be capable of 50+mpg when ridden economically.

I'm not sure what "older looks" means. Does this mean you want a cruiser (i.e. styled like a Harley)?

My recommendation would be to go to a motorcycle dealership that carries multiple brands. Look around at the various bikes and figure out which style you like best. Ask the salesman if you can sit on a few (be honest and let them know you don't plan to buy new) to get an idea of what you like best. Then go scope out CL to find that model of bike and maybe its competitors.

In the last ten years or so, bikes have finally started getting Fuel Injection. I never thought this was a big deal until I got my current bike, a Ninja 650R. The easy cold starts and elimination of carburetor icing has certainly been nice.

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