Recommend A Motorcycle!

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NorthBass74
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Recommend A Motorcycle!

Postby NorthBass74 » Sat Aug 29, 2015 4:07 pm

Here's the story: In early 2014 I started a new job as a meter reader (natural gas meters.) Given that it is a contract position, I have to run my own vehicle(s), burn my own gas, etc. (a percentage of those costs can be clawed back at tax time.) I am currently driving a 2000 Suzuki Grande Vitara (6-cylinder, 5-speed manual, 4WD), a compact SUV that, as long as it keeps running, will be my main vehicle for the job...

Lately I have been thinking it might be fun - not to mention more cost-effective - to run a motorcycle during the snow-free part of the year (plus or minus five months.) Problem is, at forty, I have never owned a motorcycle...I am not overly worried about my ability to learn how to drive one; my main concern is in buying a bike that will be (A) suitable for its main purpose (my job) and (B) suitable for my size (5'9"; weight usually between 195 - 200 lbs, but hoping to get down to/stay at 185.)

It is almost September, so it would be a bit silly to actually buy one right now, but assuming I am still doing this job come next spring, I'm thinking it might be a good idea to at least get a few suggestions from people more in the know about bikes than I am. I do have some thoughts to get started:

1. I'm thinking a dual-purpose bike. Some of my routes are out in the sticks and involve gravel roads and/or long gravel driveways - and even regardless of that, I think a cruiser or crotch-rocket style bike would be overkill (and neither of those styles appeals to me as much as dual-purpose anyways.)

2. Would be preferable to have at least a little bit of cargo capacity. I'd need to have water, a bit of food, and a few other odds and ends with me; I guess I could always wear a small backpack, but would prefer not to.

3. Fuel efficiency/power. I don't need (or want) the world's most powerful bike, but it would be great if it had some amount of grunt to it, without sacrificing too much in fuel efficiency...

4. Phone charging capability. I don't always remember to charge my phone at night; no big deal in a car (as long as I have my charger)...having a (charged, functioning) phone is an absolute requirement of the job, so...

5. The bike would have to be able to handle a lot of idling and low-gear driving. On the routes I'd be using the bike on, I'd be pulling in and out of driveways every 30 seconds - 3 minutes, hopping off the bike as it idled (while I read the meter), probably rarely driving higher than third gear, etc. The bike would have to be able to handle this type of driving...

There are for sure Yamaha and Honda dealerships in this town, and I'm pretty sure Kawasakis and Suzukis are sold here too. And of course there is always the used market...

Any thoughts/suggestions would be appreciated!

P.S. I'm aware that there are motorcycle websites that are ALL about motorcycles and that have forums; I just would prefer not to create yet another account on yet another website at this time. Plus, in reading the "show us your ride" thread here in the backstage lounge, it seems that there are plenty of Carvinite motorcycle owners/riders here... :mrgreen:

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re: Recommend A Motorcycle!

Postby Mufasa » Sat Aug 29, 2015 8:37 pm

I have a 2013 Harley Softail, but based on what you're looking for, I might suggest a BMW. They are a good blend of offroad and and street riding and also come with bags depending on the model you choose.

Ask Neal Peart, he rode one for almost 50k miles after his wife died and he rode from Canada into Central America. He still rides the same basic bike today.

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re: Recommend A Motorcycle!

Postby dach » Sat Aug 29, 2015 9:03 pm

Honestly, you might want to consider a trike. They are somewhat easier to ride no kickstand would be needed.

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re: Recommend A Motorcycle!

Postby fatfretty » Sun Aug 30, 2015 3:29 pm

Check out an Elio. I have some friends I ride with that love their Honda NC700X models. I like them for the agility, but I have gotten used to riding a top heavy 99" Valkyrie Interstate, and didn't feel like I was too sure of myself on them.

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Randy
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re: Recommend A Motorcycle!

Postby Randy » Sun Aug 30, 2015 4:29 pm

Sounds to me that the Triumph Bonneville, or Scrambler would fit your needs, be fun to look at (garage appeal), and fun to ride.

The Bonnie has a lower seat height than the Scrambler, but both do well on dirt/gravel roads. Living in Western Washington I get to ride a bunch of those roads and my Bonnie feels good and steady on them.

Storage options are plenty-- I like the TourMaster bags, and have a magnetic tank-bag that holds a lot of stuff and is easy to remove & carry around. Many tank bags have phone/iPod chargers (check out Aerostitch for lots of fun accessories).

Used bikes are inexpensive, and new ones are priced comparatively low.

These bikes are dependable, easy to work on and will last a lifetime ;) you can tour on it (I ride from Seattle Wa to So. Cal every now and then), and commute with it. In a country filled with Harley's, Triumph stand out. I always get people telling me stories about their old Triumphs-- it's a lot of fun :)

Don't worry that your age being an obstacle-- I'm in my later 40's and love the heck out of my bike. Just be sure to take a motorcycle safety course, get a good helmet & jacket meant for riding and you'll have a blast!

Feel free to PM me if you have any questions~

Best of luck!

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re: Recommend A Motorcycle!

Postby NorthBass74 » Sun Aug 30, 2015 7:15 pm

Hey Guys,

Thanks for the responses, much appreciated... 8)

To the first person who replied, funny thing; the only reason I am aware that BMW makes motorcycles is because Mr. Peart rides one! I either read a magazine article about it or was flipping through one of his books (Ghost Rider?) - Anyways, yeah...had no idea until I read about it. I have seen pics of those BMW bikes and frankly, I am kinda leaning towards one of those...but I'll do some research on the bikes others have suggested as well...

Thanks again! :ninja:

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Re: re: Recommend A Motorcycle!

Postby Geddy » Mon Aug 31, 2015 4:08 pm

Randy wrote:Sounds to me that the Triumph Bonneville, or Scrambler would fit your needs, be fun to look at (garage appeal), and fun to ride.

The Bonnie has a lower seat height than the Scrambler, but both do well on dirt/gravel roads. Living in Western Washington I get to ride a bunch of those roads and my Bonnie feels good and steady on them.

Storage options are plenty-- I like the TourMaster bags, and have a magnetic tank-bag that holds a lot of stuff and is easy to remove & carry around. Many tank bags have phone/iPod chargers (check out Aerostitch for lots of fun accessories).

Used bikes are inexpensive, and new ones are priced comparatively low.

These bikes are dependable, easy to work on and will last a lifetime ;) you can tour on it (I ride from Seattle Wa to So. Cal every now and then), and commute with it. In a country filled with Harley's, Triumph stand out. I always get people telling me stories about their old Triumphs-- it's a lot of fun :)

Don't worry that your age being an obstacle-- I'm in my later 40's and love the heck out of my bike. Just be sure to take a motorcycle safety course, get a good helmet & jacket meant for riding and you'll have a blast!

Feel free to PM me if you have any questions~

Best of luck!


I was also thinking of the Scrambler or bonneville; they're classed as city/rual run-abouts. Very easy to learn on and easy handling. I'm a new rider just this year and at the rusty age of 48, I bought a 2008 Yamaha V-Star 1100 Silverado .. i freakin' love it!!! But it's more of a sit in the saddle all day and go for some epic rides kind of a bike. I'm vertically challenged at 5'7" and clock in at 155-160lbs, my bike is around 700lbs. Dual sport bikes also have a good posture for being in the saddle all day, but some of those bikes have seat heights over the 31" level (I'd be needing the 8" step just to mount that baby!). Some are more reasonable in that department. I suggest you go around to a few dealerships and start sitting on a bunch of bikes that they recommend based on your requirements.

Something to note, you do get warm on a bike driving at slower speeds with riding gear on and a water cooled engine would make a significant difference in keeping you cool. On that note, a back pack would act as a toasty piece of insulation, go for the saddle bags.

In any case, it is a lot of fun and there are a lot of great folks out there who also ride, we're a friendly bunch.

Anyone can learn to ride a bike and I would strongly recommend taking the motorcycle course. I did mine in one weekend and it was great!!!

Cheers,
:mrgreen: :mrgreen: :mrgreen:
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Re: re: Recommend A Motorcycle!

Postby arahobob » Mon Aug 31, 2015 4:51 pm

Randy wrote:Sounds to me that the Triumph Bonneville, or Scrambler would fit your needs, be fun to look at (garage appeal), and fun to ride.

The Bonnie has a lower seat height than the Scrambler, but both do well on dirt/gravel roads. Living in Western Washington I get to ride a bunch of those roads and my Bonnie feels good and steady on them.

Storage options are plenty-- I like the TourMaster bags, and have a magnetic tank-bag that holds a lot of stuff and is easy to remove & carry around. Many tank bags have phone/iPod chargers (check out Aerostitch for lots of fun accessories).

Used bikes are inexpensive, and new ones are priced comparatively low.

These bikes are dependable, easy to work on and will last a lifetime ;) you can tour on it (I ride from Seattle Wa to So. Cal every now and then), and commute with it. In a country filled with Harley's, Triumph stand out. I always get people telling me stories about their old Triumphs-- it's a lot of fun :)

Don't worry that your age being an obstacle-- I'm in my later 40's and love the heck out of my bike. Just be sure to take a motorcycle safety course, get a good helmet & jacket meant for riding and you'll have a blast!

Feel free to PM me if you have any questions~

Best of luck!


There's a lot of sweet Triumphs out there - I hadn't thought about getting a new bike in years......LOL!

You guys sure know how to make me want to spend money!!!
:mrgreen:
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Re: re: Recommend A Motorcycle!

Postby Coda » Tue Sep 01, 2015 3:59 am

arahobob wrote:I hadn't thought about getting a new bike in years......LOL!

You guys sure know how to make me want to spend money!!!
:mrgreen:
:laughhard:

Yeah, this thread ain't helping my budget planning either. :laughhard: :drool:
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re: Recommend A Motorcycle!

Postby NorthBass74 » Tue Sep 01, 2015 5:49 am

Someone suggested that it would be smart to go to some dealerships and actually sit on some bikes...that's a good idea, and yeah, one of my primary concerns would be that the bike not be too high (or low) for me.

The same guy suggested that I'd definitely want to look at water-cooled bikes (as opposed to air-cooled I guess?) due to the type of driving I described: lots of being in the lower gears and idling. Yeah, that would be a concern too, the bike overheating and/or causing me to overheat... :|

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re: Recommend A Motorcycle!

Postby truedog » Tue Sep 01, 2015 7:08 am

I think for what you want something like a BMW GS650/700/800 would be good. Relatively lightweight, suited for on/off road use. The downside to any "adventure bike" or dual sport is maybe a bit of a tall seat height. However these bikes tend to be fairly narrow and have a narrow seat so that extra height may not be a huge issue once you master the mount and dismount. I am 5'8" and my Buell had a fairly tall seat height and my only issue was getting enough purchase to back up on slippery or uneven surfaces. My Road King is much lower with a wider seat but is also a lot heavier, and I can still have those same issues.

BMW 700GS....
Image

Or the Suzuki V-Strom 650...
Image

Another option might be he venerable Kawasaki KLR650... though this leans a little more toward off road or trail use....
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re: Recommend A Motorcycle!

Postby Randy » Wed Sep 02, 2015 10:11 am

Some great suggestions here-- all of which would be fun bikes to own! :mrgreen:

Here is another to consider:

Ural Motorcycles

These are like the old WWII BMW sidecars-- prices are reasonable, and man do they look like a blast to ride :o

Be sure to keep us updated on your search ;)

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Re: re: Recommend A Motorcycle!

Postby truedog » Wed Sep 02, 2015 12:24 pm

Randy wrote:Some great suggestions here-- all of which would be fun bikes to own! :mrgreen:

Here is another to consider:

Ural Motorcycles

These are like the old WWII BMW sidecars-- prices are reasonable, and man do they look like a blast to ride :o

Be sure to keep us updated on your search ;)


Those Urals are pretty cool, but I wonder about reliability and parts and warranty support when dealing with a Russian company.
Start by doing what's necessary; then do what's possible; and suddenly you are doing the impossible.



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Re: re: Recommend A Motorcycle!

Postby Mufasa » Wed Sep 02, 2015 1:46 pm

truedog wrote:
Randy wrote:Some great suggestions here-- all of which would be fun bikes to own! :mrgreen:

Here is another to consider:

Ural Motorcycles

These are like the old WWII BMW sidecars-- prices are reasonable, and man do they look like a blast to ride :o

Be sure to keep us updated on your search ;)


Those Urals are pretty cool, but I wonder about reliability and parts and warranty support when dealing with a Russian company.


A lot of Harley dealers source these bikes, so I would think they could also help with parts and repairs. The dealer that services mine usually has a couple of Urals for sale.

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re: Recommend A Motorcycle!

Postby NorthBass74 » Thu Sep 03, 2015 4:46 am

I was out for a bite with co-workers last evening, and one of them - actually our lead hand, and a guy I respect a lot - was talking about when he owned a bike, he 'got sick of swallowing bugs'...I forgot about that aspect of motorcycle riding...I've always wondered how people deal with getting hit in the face by insects, especially at highway speeds. For one thing, it must hurt, and for another, it must be outright dangerous at times, especially if you take a sizable bug right in an eye?

I guess sunglasses would offer some amount of protection, and a helmet with a partial or full visor would be even better?

The same co-worker ended up selling his bike two weeks after he went into a serious 'speed wobble' when a wasp ended up down the back of his jacket and stung him half a dozen times before he manged to pull over and get the jacket off... :think:

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Re: re: Recommend A Motorcycle!

Postby Randy » Thu Sep 03, 2015 10:15 am

NorthBass74 wrote:...I guess sunglasses would offer some amount of protection, and a helmet with a partial or full visor would be even better?

The same co-worker ended up selling his bike two weeks after he went into a serious 'speed wobble' when a wasp ended up down the back of his jacket and stung him half a dozen times before he manged to pull over and get the jacket off... :think:


Brother, the only way I will ever ride is with one of these:

Image

I've been hit in the visor by bugs, rocks, and various other debris. Anything less than a full-face helmet is asking for trouble. A few Harley riding buddies who wanted to be fashionable and dress like "cool guys on TV" and their other buddies at the Harley store... until they get hit in the face by a thrown stone from a logging truck(!) Yet some of them refuse to wear full helmets because they don't want to be teased by their friends.

Of course, you've got to make your own decisions and "ride your own ride."

As for the jacket/wasp adventure... the chances of that happening on a proper fitting, purpose made riding jacket are very, VERY rare. I've been riding motorcycles since 1988 and have never had anything like that happen.

Main point is this; don't let such stories dissuade you from riding motorcycles. Some of my best memories involve bikes, rides, and the people I've met through riding. Be smart, purchase proper riding gear, get the bike YOU want, and most importantly, ride your own ride.

:soapbox:

Now get out there and have some fun! Shopping for your first bike should be enjoyable ;) Just be sure to make wise choices 8)

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Re: re: Recommend A Motorcycle!

Postby truedog » Thu Sep 03, 2015 10:34 am

Randy wrote:As for the jacket/wasp adventure... the chances of that happening on a proper fitting, purpose made riding jacket are very, VERY rare. I've been riding motorcycles since 1988 and have never had anything like that happen.


I had a wasp fly up the sleeve of my t-shirt and start stinging my back. I just reached back and found the little sucker and pitched it, killing it. When we got to our destination My wife couldn't figure out why I immediately untucked my shirt, until she saw the dead wasp fall out.

Stung a little bit, but the key is keeping your composure and just dealing with the issue.
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Re: re: Recommend A Motorcycle!

Postby Randy » Thu Sep 03, 2015 11:14 am

truedog wrote:... but the key is keeping your composure and just dealing with the issue.


Indeed!

Every once in a while a nat will find its way through the air vents on my helmet... that's a bother sometimes, although the fix is easy-- open the visor, turn your head left, then right. Problem solved! :)

In the summer I often ride with my visor cracked a bit. One day a bee got jammed between the opening. I slammed the visor shut, then did the same evac movement described above. Fixed the problem, but part of him was still stuck on my visor. Felt sorry for the little guy... no stings thankfully! :D

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Re: re: Recommend A Motorcycle!

Postby truedog » Thu Sep 03, 2015 1:04 pm

Randy wrote:
truedog wrote:... but the key is keeping your composure and just dealing with the issue.


Indeed!

Every once in a while a nat will find its way through the air vents on my helmet... that's a bother sometimes, although the fix is easy-- open the visor, turn your head left, then right. Problem solved! :)

In the summer I often ride with my visor cracked a bit. One day a bee got jammed between the opening. I slammed the visor shut, then did the same evac movement described above. Fixed the problem, but part of him was still stuck on my visor. Felt sorry for the little guy... no stings thankfully! :D


I usually ride helmetless, though there have been times in my life when I used a full face all the time. I know, I know I would be safer with a helmet but there's something addictive about the wind in your face! And I just feel more aware of my surroundings without a helmet. I love the idea of open face helmets, but they always make me feel like I have a parachute strapped to my head. At speed it feels like they are trying to tear your head off.

I took a ride in the mountains a few weeks ago and a large insect (I don't know if it was a bee, grasshopper or junebug) hit my upper lip and lodged in my nostril. :shock: That will wake you up! After the initial shock I just plucked it out and tossed it away.

On a few occasions I have had small birds fly up and strike me in the shin. They might hurt if they hit you in the face. I have also heard anecdotally about a guy having a duck hit him square in the chest. Yikes!

These things are all minor inconveniences compared to the enjoyment I get out of riding.


Image
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re: Recommend A Motorcycle!

Postby Geddy » Sat Sep 05, 2015 4:27 am

Well I guess I'm a safe guy and I love my kids and always want to be there for them. Like Randy said above, I also ride with a full face helmet all the time. I have a proper riding jacket (with the CE rated elbows, shoulders and back armor. My riding gloves are a gauntlet style that go over my jacket sleves ... I really don't want a wasp going up my sleeve while I'm looking out for other cars crossing the center line while texting! I also have proper riding jeans and boots. I don't need to look like "a biker" or one of the Bro's off of Sons of Anarchy , ehhhhh I\ve already got plenty of cool 8) I do like having the dark tinted visor for my helmet for all the sunny days I usually ride in.

Since your bike will be used for work and at slower speeds, you may want to consider a modular style helmet. It's like a full face helmet, but the entire face of the helmet can be lifted up so talking with people is much easier. you can also get full face helmets with a built in sun visor (an extra tinted, inner visor that you can lower to deal with the bright rays.

I'll leave you with something my riding instructor said, "Dress for the slide, not the ride". I dress for my ride with those words flying high in the sky.

Now to finish my coffee and then head out for a nice ride before the thunder storms set in.

Cheers,
:mrgreen: :mrgreen: :mrgreen:
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