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Old 01-03-2020, 06:37 PM   #287 (permalink)
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I am a huge fan of small motorbikes, as the saying goes it's more fun to drive a slow vehicle fast/(or to it's potential) than to have to hold back on something faster... I didn't read the whole post, just the first 10 pages or so and the last 5 or so..

There are actually a few really good choices if you're willing to shop around enough, even in the states. I saw no mention of the sym wolf 150cc classic (cb125 honda "clone", made in Taiwan in same factory that made the cb125 for honda). Its air cooled (not necessarily a bad thing-keep it simple & light), 5spd, has the right looks for a motorbike (hard for me to appreciate the sport bike look even as a cbr250r owner). Just a step below the big 3 names in overall build/etc quality. Sym wolf 150 is a very lightweight bike @~230-260lbs wet (haven't ben able to find anything that beats that and I've looked at all the dual sports etc), attractive classic looks or at least can hold it's own compared to anything else that has been mentioned here (be prepared for lots of questions riding it), and can hold ~65mph(actual) and real world 85+ mpg (not trying too hard, but at 220lbs rider I couldn't get a lot better personally if talking highway speeds of 65) ...I wouldn't ride it redlined for hours on end at 65-75, but for 10 miles at a time it has no problem at that (well 65 up hills, maybe 70 if you know how to use momentum -like driving an old vw bus...), and I've taken it on several longer trips 60-65mph for long periods. The 125 Kawasaki cruiser is also an option, (forget the model) often found in motorcycle safety classes and it can go 60 with no problems. Kymco K-Pipe is also an attractive bike, perhaps a step below the wolf 150 capability wise..., and the ~200cc Chinese dual sport is also an interesting option.

If that class of small bikes doesn't suit your needs, the 250 segment is again sparse but with enough used choices.... the most interesting fuel economy wise...cbr250r, ninja 250, and Suzuki tu250x-(tu250 is on the lower end of the spectrum power wise but still adequately interstate capable). All would be appropriate if you (think) you need just a little more speed than the 125-150cc class.

Basically if you're riding style/commute/etc will have the 125cc or 150cc accelerating flat out , all the evidence seems to suggest that 250cc will get better mileage than the 125/150 going flat out. (With current models, some scooters like pcx125 have been more optimized for economy, it seems, but for most of the current options even overseas, in the 125/150- we are still talking 20-40+ year old engine designs). If you don't need to go faster than 50-60, the 125cc is a solid option!

I've dreamed about the cbr125r from Canada a bit as well, and too I would LOVE a small fuel injected 6spd (I would pick a 150 or a 200 if it were me, something that looks like the cg150...), but I looked at the real world WEIGHT and MPG (@ highway speeds) and the Sym 150 beats the Canadian 2008+ cbr125r...

The thing is, a 125 or 150 can get great mpg around town or upto 50mpg, maybe 55mpg, but if we're talking mpg at full throttle, my strong feeling is (at least with the current options) a 250cc will get better mpg in those speeds. Looking at the Vedder fuel economy challenge results, even the old ones, it's hard to argue with that! 175 -250cc seems to be the sweet spot for ~60-65+mph.

I get essentially equal or slightly better mpg on my cbr250r at 65 than the sym wolf 150 on an identical commute at ~65, but significantly better on the wolf 150 at 50-55mph.

I saw the electric motorcycle cityslicker "e-grom clone type" from CSC mentioned, and I too am interested in these, but I'd personally go another route at this time rather than buying from CSC... (I'd buy a used chinese base level one that has a dead battery etc & upgrade).
These are cool bikes! I've ridden one (base level china type) that I believe was 2000w w/ lead batteries. They were sold for as low as $1000 new...they have been around for almost 5 years now, since just after the electric scooters started showing up. I'm personally waiting to find a cheap/used one with a bad battery, and I'll plan to do an upgrade (motor, controller, lithium battery, bms/cell balancer). 96v system around 100aH and 5kw motor(or larger) for these should be just about right. (I don't think there is room on the e-grom for that large of a battery pack without a top/rear box or "saddle bag" batteries, but for my purposes that is what I'd want to shoot for, for adequate range at speed). There are a few interesting discussions of upgrades on these if you search online. Although CSC is established enough to have better than average quality control, they are just selling a china bike. I would look to get it directly from Zongshen or another (identical/similar, "slightly better reputation" than the worst of them) Chinese manufacture directly if buying new. The other thing to mention is there are now "full size" electric motorcycles out there from China, have been for the last ~2 years, similar internals to the grom clone typically sightly higher specs (72-96v, 3kw?)..but "ninja 250 clone" style FULL SIZE bike frame. I haven't seen them showing up used, I don't think they have been sold in very high numbers yet, but my feelers are also out for this type,used/wrecked/dead battery... as a starting point for an upgrade. I'd probably start with a lead pack and then after a year or 2 build my own lithium on this type of project once I was sure the other upgraded components were holding up.
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