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vspartan5
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   Posted 12/8/2011 7:46 PM (GMT -7)    Quote This PostAlert An Admin About This Post.
Hello all,

I am a college student that is being educated 1000 miles away from where I live. I am looking for a bike that can get me up and down the east coast without too many problems. As with most college students, money isn't something I have a lot of so my two options for now are a 2005 Honda Super Hawk 996, and a 2009 Kawasaki Ninja® 650R. Both were praised for their ergonomics and ability to be ridden all day, I just wanted to see what more experienced riders had to say.

All opinions are appreciated.

Vinnie
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WhiteKnite
Exploring Korea



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   Posted 12/9/2011 5:13 AM (GMT -7)    Quote This PostAlert An Admin About This Post.
What kind of riding experience do you have?


--ROKriders@groups.facebook.com--
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2011 BMW F800ST

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vspartan5
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   Posted 12/9/2011 5:22 AM (GMT -7)    Quote This PostAlert An Admin About This Post.
None. I passed my Motorcycle Safety Course with a perfect score if that makes a difference.
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el SID
merely a man equipped with a bag a seedless grapes



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   Posted 12/9/2011 5:46 AM (GMT -7)    Quote This PostAlert An Admin About This Post.
Vspart. first welcome. A good score does indicate that you have the ability to become a good rider. But becoming that rider rests solely on you.
Interesting choices of equipment. I have a good bud of mine who owns a superhawk. I cant see riding it all day and being comfortable,in its stock form. I found that there is a significant amount of weight placed on your wrists. A change in windscreens would be in order,as well as, a better/more comfortable seat. It does stomp the earth though. And as it sounds like this is your first bike,it really shouldnt be considered. A bit more info is needed about yourself. How old,height,weight,etc. I have heard good things about the 650r,but havent ridden one.


Best bike out is the one Im on,sod the rest lmao
current hacks


1996 honda vfr
2012 tuono rsv4 aprc on order baby.... march 2012
1973 kawasaki h1
1998 suzuki rm 125

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Easy Rider 2
Central Illinois / Central Florida

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   Posted 12/9/2011 7:36 AM (GMT -7)    Quote This PostAlert An Admin About This Post.
vspartan5 said...
I am a college student that is being educated 1000 miles away from where I live.
While I admire your enthusiasm, I think you are getting ahead of yourself.......WAY ahead.
 
If you are thinking about covering that 1000 miles in a single day, that's hard enough to do in a car and impossible for most people on a bike; any bike.
 
The Honda you mentioned is TOO much temptation for a new rider.  The Ninja might be OK but for most people, a "sport" style riding position is NOT good for long distances.  You have an advantage being young........but there is a limit.
 
The standard advice applies: Get a cheap, small used bike of 500 cc's or less, ride it for at least 6 months and then trade up to something more road worthy........IF you still want to.  A surprising number of new riders don't.
 
 
 
 


'06 Suzuki S50 (VS800)
'07 Honda Shadow VLX 600
 

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Casper
The teddy bear of doom,,,



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   Posted 12/9/2011 8:25 AM (GMT -7)    Quote This PostAlert An Admin About This Post.
"Up and down the east coast". 1,ooo miles up from Key West FLA gets you to somewhere around Boston Mass I'd guess. That means you'll be making this run in nasty weather sometimes.

Motorcycle tires are expensive and have the lifespan of a mayfly. 8K miles, maybe 10K.  You will NOT save enough in gas to make up the diff.  Trust me, I've been doing this math for a long time.

I hate to burst your bubble, but if you need to cover those kinds of miles under those kinds of conditions, and do it at lo-cost, the right answer is not a motorcycle. The right answer is a VW diesel Jetta. Cheaper to run, comfortable, more safe.

Nobody does the ironbutt every day.


The world's a funny place,
full of funny people,
doing funny things.

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vspartan5
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   Posted 12/9/2011 9:17 AM (GMT -7)    Quote This PostAlert An Admin About This Post.
Well, I am 5'8'', 185, athletic build. I'm 19 years old, and attend the University of Florida. I guess I am pretty naive thinking that I could do it in one day, that is what I had planned. Do they make tires that are for long distances? And I probably am getting ahead of myself!
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Easy Rider 2
Central Illinois / Central Florida

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   Posted 12/9/2011 9:30 AM (GMT -7)    Quote This PostAlert An Admin About This Post.
vspartan5 said...
 I guess I am pretty naive thinking that I could do it in one day, that is what I had planned.
Even if you could average 70 MPH, which you can't, the 1K trip would take 14 hours.  Tough to do in a cage even.
After about 10 hours on a bike, regardless of how good it rides and how good a shape you are in, it not only becomes unbearably uncomfortable but also UNSAFE.
That's partly because of fatigue and partly because it probably would be dark after about 10 hours.
Then there is bad weather.
 
Re-read my previous post.
I've been riding for about 45 years and have seen a LOT of new riders get in WAY over their head.
Sometimes the result is just disappointment; sometimes it is a LOT WORSE.  skull
 
 
 


'06 Suzuki S50 (VS800)
'07 Honda Shadow VLX 600
 

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martinjmpr
08 Triumph Scrambler



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   Posted 12/9/2011 9:55 AM (GMT -7)    Quote This PostAlert An Admin About This Post.
Casper said...
"Up and down the east coast". 1,ooo miles up from Key West FLA gets you to somewhere around Boston Mass I'd guess. That means you'll be making this run in nasty weather sometimes.

Motorcycle tires are expensive and have the lifespan of a mayfly. 8K miles, maybe 10K.  You will NOT save enough in gas to make up the diff.  Trust me, I've been doing this math for a long time.

I hate to burst your bubble, but if you need to cover those kinds of miles under those kinds of conditions, and do it at lo-cost, the right answer is not a motorcycle. The right answer is a VW diesel Jetta. Cheaper to run, comfortable, more safe.

Nobody does the ironbutt every day.

I have to concur with Casper here.  You will not save money on a motorcycle.  Period.  Not in this country. 
 
There are places in the world where a motorcycle can be a cheap alternative to a car but the USA is not one of them (and in those parts of the world, the biggest motorcycle you will see is a 175cc or 200cc thumper.) 
 
Motorcycles are expensive.  Tires every 7,000 miles at a cost of $150 each, Valve adjustments every 12,000 miles , cost can be anywhere between $200 and $500.  Because motorcycles are luxury items/toys, you can bet that any part or accessory you need will be pricey. 
 
Need a part on Sunday or Monday?  You're SOL, 95% of motorcycle shops are closed on those days.  And if you do happen to get to the MC shop when they're open, chances are good that they won't have the part you need in stock and will have to order it.  Got a flat?  Hope you have towing coverage on your insurance because motorcycles don't have spare tires and you can figure the labor to remove a tire from a motorcycle will be a minimum of $50.  
 
To say nothing of the equipment you'll need (figure about $500 minimum.)  Not only that, even in Florida there are days you can't ride safely, which means you'll have to borrow a car or beg a ride from someone. 
 
For the cost of one of those bikes you can get a decent used car.  Get a Honda, Toyota, Ford Focus, Chevy Prizm, whatever you can find that has low miles and is in decent condition. 
 
Sorry, I know I'm being a downer here but a motorcycle is simply not a practical alternative to a car.  A motorcycle is a toy, a recreational vehicle. 
 
If you can swing the cost of a motorcycle after you have provided for your basic transportation needs, then go for it.  Get a used bike for $1000 and ride the hell out of it.  And when it needs tires and you can't afford to put tires on it, just leave it parked and drive the car until you can afford the tires (or chain, or valve adjustment, or whatever.) 


Martin
 
Englewood, CO (Denver suburb)
 
UJM (Universal Japanese Motorcycle) Fanatic
 
Previous Bikes:  '69 Honda CL450; '74 Honda CB750; '83 Honda 550 Nighthawk; '92 Yamaha Virago 1100; '83 Yamaha Maxim 750; '84 Kawasaki ZN700 LTD; '01 Triumph Thunderbird 900; '82 Kawasaki Spectre 750
 

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GAJ
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   Posted 12/9/2011 12:19 PM (GMT -7)    Quote This PostAlert An Admin About This Post.
As others have said, that run on a motorcycle would not only be tiring but a challenge for a rider with decades of experience; there's some very challenging traffic in that run.

For a brand new rider, the chances of a deadly mistake are far too high.

Buy a cheap economy car...it will certainly get better mileage, and be cheaper to insure/maintain, than a gas hog Superhawk, (one of the worst MPG bikes of recent vintage unlike the Kawasaki).


Selling my one owner '97 TL1000S: www.bayarearidersforum.com/forums/showthread.php?t=372346

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vspartan5
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   Posted 12/9/2011 4:35 PM (GMT -7)    Quote This PostAlert An Admin About This Post.
Thank you all for the feedback, this turned out to be quite a different animal than I had imagined!
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Richard47
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   Posted 12/10/2011 2:32 AM (GMT -7)    Quote This PostAlert An Admin About This Post.

You can save money if you ride a motorcycle, but only if you ride something like a 125cc machine. That's not going to work for a 1000 mile trip.

And, now I think on it, the furthest I've ever ridden in a day is probably a little over 300 miles. I know that riders here have done much more, but that was quite enough for me. And that was in good weather.


Toilet Brush Dog Owner

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jon
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   Posted 12/10/2011 3:29 PM (GMT -7)    Quote This PostAlert An Admin About This Post.
vspartan5 said...
Hello all,

I am a college student that is being educated 1000 miles away from where I live. I am looking for a bike that can get me up and down the east coast without too many problems. As with most college students, money isn't something I have a lot of so my two options for now are a 2005 Honda Super Hawk 996, and a 2009 Kawasaki Ninja® 650R. Both were praised for their ergonomics and ability to be ridden all day, I just wanted to see what more experienced riders had to say.

All opinions are appreciated.

Vinnie


when i did my cross country trip with my girl, she rode a 2006 ninja 650r and had no issues in terms of ergonomics. the 2009 ninja 650r went through a little of design change but the ergo are still pretty close to the 06' ninja.

in terms of cost, her ninja definitely cost less to own than her auto (04' honda civic) despite the fact that the car is given some handicap points for not being in the same class as the bike. i say that because a civic is comparable to ninja 250 or the 500 at most since both are considered compact vehicles of their respected worlds. the ninja 650 is comparable to bigger more powerful car that leans toward the mid-size category.

this is why the ninja cost less overall:
msrp: $6,299 for the ninja 650r vs. $16,199 for the civic
average mpg: 50 for the ninja vs. 33 for the civic
insurance cost: $500 for the ninja vs. $1000 for the civic annually with identical coverage and deductible
maintenance cost: the maintenance cost i've tracked thus far that are apple vs. apple for both vehicles have cost less for the bike except tires.

examples: the bike's oem oil cost about 5 bucks a quart vs. 4 bucks a quart for the car but the bike only needs 2 quart per change vs. 3.5 quart per change for the car, bike wins.

coolant change: bike also wins because it requires less.

battery: wash, both batteries were about $100 each when replaced.

tires: not really an apple vs. apple comparison because the bike's tires are high performance vs. economy tires for the car but here goes anyways.

changed the tires on the bike and car about a year ago: bike cost $320 (parts and labor) out the door for a set of michelin pilot power vs. $400 out the door for the car's perelli's p4 economy tires. the bike's tires cost less but the car's tires can last 4-5 times longer so the car wins overall in tire cost.

bottom line is, if it's an apple vs. apple comparison (compact bike vs. compact car, performance bike vs. performance car, etc.), a bike will win every time in terms of overall ownership cost.

i think a ninja 650r is can do that commute no problem but like many tasks, it depends on the individual.

Post Edited (jon) : 12/10/2011 10:36:08 PM GMT

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vspartan5
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   Posted 12/10/2011 4:41 PM (GMT -7)    Quote This PostAlert An Admin About This Post.
Solid comparison! Thank you for the insight, it really puts things into perspective.
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Casper
The teddy bear of doom,,,



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   Posted 12/10/2011 9:15 PM (GMT -7)    Quote This PostAlert An Admin About This Post.
It's probably not a bad comparison, but he's comparing a brand new bike to a brand new car. Would you ever consider buying a brand new Sixteen THOUSAND dollar economy car? Hell no you wouldn't. So in reality you're comparing a $6K bike to an $8K car. The diff in tire costs WILL pretty much eat up any fuel savings. The car wins for a serious long haul commuter. Any bike small enough to keep the fuel and tire costs down is too small to cover the 1000 miles in any sort of comfort, and there you go.


The world's a funny place,
full of funny people,
doing funny things.

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jon
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   Posted 12/10/2011 10:37 PM (GMT -7)    Quote This PostAlert An Admin About This Post.
new or used, if it's an apple vs. apple comparison, a car would still loose in overall cost. if a ninja 650r is used, a same year car in a comparable class in the auto world should be use in the comparo to make it more apple vs. apple. comparing an economy car to a sportbike is not an accurate comparison even though many sportbikes still come out on top in those cases.

the ninja 650r is no superbike so it can't be compared to say a nissan gt-r but it is comparable to a mustang or camero. the retail value for a used base 2006 mustang v6 is about $12k vs. $3k for a 2006 ninja 650r. therefore a '$6K bike to an $8K car' in a fair comparison is not happening. we can a an 09' mustang vs. an 09' ninja that the op mentioned and the end result would still be the same. insurance cost is also less for a bike when it's an apple vs. apple comparison from what i've seen.

the tire cost advantage for a car is a valid point from what i've seen. while each comparable tire may cost the same or even a bit more for car tires, it does last much longer than bike tires.

most importantly, the pure enjoyment of riding a bike is priceless. no car has been able to touch that priceless factor for me and i've owned and test driven 'fun' fast cars such as a c-5 corvette.
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GeoffG
Instant Classic



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   Posted 12/11/2011 2:14 AM (GMT -7)    Quote This PostAlert An Admin About This Post.
People are making a lot of valid comments. A car is much more versatile than a bike, and more comfortable in poor weather. You can carry stuff, too (and your girlfriend, and her friends ;-) )

However, a bike is more involving, and fun, than a car. If you do decide to go with a bike, of the two you mentioned, I'd recommend the 650R above the Superhawk (especially for a new rider). The 650 is going to get better mileage, and simply be easier to live with.

I will say that, when I was in university, for a couple of years my motorcycle was my only transportation (this was in Vancouver, BC, where it rains a lot in the winter). However, I'd been riding for several years by then (indeed, I worked as a motorcycle instructor during some of my school years), I didn't have to commute further than across town, and I had access to a car that I could borrow if I needed one (and sometimes, you do).
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GAJ
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   Posted 12/11/2011 1:56 PM (GMT -7)    Quote This PostAlert An Admin About This Post.
This is someone with no experience talking about regularly taking 2,000 mile round trips home along the Eastern Seaboard.

I think the young man needs to know that the chances of completing that trip safely in a $6,000 car is very good, (I did it when I was at the University of Miami in Florida many times even though I only had a couple of years driving experience), but the chances of completing it safely on a $6,000 motorcycle are far less, especially for a novice rider.

"Motorcycles are the most dangerous type of motor vehicle to drive. These vehicles are involved in fatal crashes at a rate of 35.0 per 100 million miles of travel, compared with a rate of 1.7 per 100 million miles of travel for passenger cars.:

If you wish to get into motorcycling, taking the MSF, buying a small used bike and riding it locally and in baby steps before becoming somewhat proficient, (perhaps with advanced training and/or a mentor), people do all the time.

But jumping in by buying a relatively powerful bike to go on regular 2,000 mile roundtrips does not sound prudent.

If someone has started their motorcycling career with that kind of game plan I certainly haven't read a testimonial touting it as a good idea.

Wonder why? lol

trafficsafety.org/safety/sharing/motorcycle/motor-facts/motor-injuries-fatalities



Post Edited (GAJ) : 12/11/2011 9:01:15 PM GMT

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jon
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   Posted 12/11/2011 2:38 PM (GMT -7)    Quote This PostAlert An Admin About This Post.
GAJ said...
...
But jumping in by buying a relatively powerful bike to go on regular 2,000 mile roundtrips does not sound prudent.

If someone has started their motorcycling career with that kind of game plan I certainly haven't read a testimonial touting it as a good idea.


if we are shifting from the original point to is it a good idea then regardless of the power output of the bike, it's most likely not a good idea for someone with no experience to ride that kind of distance. even someone with no driving experience doing that trip in a car is not a good idea.

however, if i was going to be doing that kind of a trip and can do it with either mode of transportation, i'll take the bike over the car every time. boredom will probably kill me driving a car in that kind of distance by myself.

in terms of vehicle accident stats, if i was the type that is concerned about those stats, i probably wouldn't ride or drive at all and only use mass transportation such as trains, subways, bart, plane, etc., to travel because the rates of mass transportation are much lower than riding or driving. the funny thing is i know someone that is all into stats so she uses the bus everyday to work instead of driving. nothing wrong with that since not all are built the same.
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GAJ
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   Posted 12/11/2011 3:03 PM (GMT -7)    Quote This PostAlert An Admin About This Post.
Just trying to give the young man with no experience some food for thought.

If it were an experienced rider then I would have focused more on his original question; though I think I answered it.

The Superhawk would be a poor choice for touring due to its lousy range due to its very thirsty engine.

In the end, the decision is up to him.



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Andy VH
Where is the earth shattering kaboom!?



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   Posted 12/12/2011 8:02 AM (GMT -7)    Quote This PostAlert An Admin About This Post.
I agree with almost everything stated here. A bike will not be cheap to run, in the overall viewpoint of total costs, oil changes, general maintenance, tires, insurance, riding gear, etc, etc. If you really plan to ride that much, that often, it means you'll need a lot of good and varied riding gear to support that goal.

I have been riding for 40 years, done numerous 500+ mile days, and so far have only done two back to back 700 mile days on a BMW R100RS, which had a full fairing and saddlebags, a bike made for steady speed riding. I personally know many people who have hit and exceeded the 1000 mile day mark, but it is NO easy tack to achieve, and certainly NOT for any novice. Heck, a 1000 mile day in a car is tiring enough.

Some of the bikes mentioned are very capable bikes and decent bikes to learn and grow on. Many of them are actually very capable of a 1000 mile day, in experienced hands. But like others have said, get a decent used car with great highwya mileage. Maybe consider a decent used standard style bike from the mid 80s to mid 90s age, something from one of the big four Japanese name brands, mid-size, about 500cc, with bias-ply tires (prefer tubeless, much safer). Bikes like a Kawasaki EX500 can be found for less than $1500 and are very tough and reliable, and still fun. If you want to get a bike to learn on and settle your soul (which riding does), then a bike like this can do wonders, buy cheap, cheap to run, learn on and enjoy, and then when the time is right you'll be ready for an upgrade.


Training, the best safety and performance "equipment" you can get!
Get MSF trained, check out: http://www.msf-usa.org
 

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martinjmpr
08 Triumph Scrambler



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   Posted 12/12/2011 8:29 AM (GMT -7)    Quote This PostAlert An Admin About This Post.
Jon, your numbers are off for three reasons:

First, you are comparing a $6k bike to a $16k car. OP is on a budget and only has a fixed amount to spend so he's not shopping for a $16k car. And the reality is that for less than $6k the OP could buy a 5-6 year old car with 40,000 miles on it (still under warranty, unlike the bike) and blow away every one of your other numbers.

Second, while maintenance costs may be a wash between the car and the bike, you also have to look at maintenance intervals: Most modern bikes (except Harleys) require valve adjustments around 12,000 miles. There is not a car on the road (that I am aware of) that needs valve adjustments, ever. And on most cars, the first "major" service is either 30,000 miles or 60,000 miles (and really, the first costly service on modern cars is the timing belt which is usually about 90,000 - 100,000 miles.)

With bikes, again, the first "major" service is either 6,000 miles or 12,000 miles, which means the bike needs a "major service" anywhere from 5 to 10 times as often as the car. Of course, very few motorcycle riders have an issue with this because most motorcycle riders don't put anywhere near the same number of miles on their bikes as they do on their cars. And they don't because of reason number 3:

Third, in terms of cost you are making the assumption that a car is equal to a bike for general transportation. Well, it's not. When it's pouring rain, or freezing cold, or when you've got 5 bags of groceries to haul home from the store, a motorcycle is simply not practical. Not saying it can't be done, but there's a difference between what's possible and what's smart.

Motorcycles don't save money. Motorcycles cost money. If you've already factored in the cost of a motorcycle to your life (as most of us have) then riding the motorcycle can save you a few bucks here and there. But if you were to honestly crunch the numbers and see what it's costing you, you'd find that the motorcycle is not, in the end, a money saver.


Martin
 
Englewood, CO (Denver suburb)
 
UJM (Universal Japanese Motorcycle) Fanatic
 
Previous Bikes:  '69 Honda CL450; '74 Honda CB750; '83 Honda 550 Nighthawk; '92 Yamaha Virago 1100; '83 Yamaha Maxim 750; '84 Kawasaki ZN700 LTD; '01 Triumph Thunderbird 900; '82 Kawasaki Spectre 750
 

Post Edited (martinjmpr) : 12/12/2011 3:32:49 PM GMT

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vspartan5
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   Posted 12/12/2011 10:10 AM (GMT -7)    Quote This PostAlert An Admin About This Post.
Just to clear a few things up, I wouldn't be making this trip regularly. Just for Christmas, Thanksgiving, Spring Break, and for the summer. I now realize that a Superhawk wouldn't suffice fuel-wise, but on the topic of Standard bikes, specifically what kind would be able to make a 1000 mile trip?
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Andy VH
Where is the earth shattering kaboom!?



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   Posted 12/12/2011 10:28 AM (GMT -7)    Quote This PostAlert An Admin About This Post.
Pratically any standard style (some call them "nakeds") bike from 500cc to 750cc could easily make the trip. The 750cc size is a bit more road worthy in that they are heavier, a bit more stable and lower revs at highway speeds. Older Honda 750 Nighthawks are great standard style bikes. Same for the Honda CB series, Suzuki GS series, Kawasaki KZ series, Yamaha FJ. With some careful shopping you can find many great classic standards for less than $2500. There are lots of regulars on this site with personal knowledge of all these bikes, myself included, that can help you with shopping and choices for your plans.

For those long rides, a windshield and some soft saddlebags, with a tank bag, will make a decent older 750cc Japanese standard a great touring mount. Many of us have started our cycle touring careers on exactly that type of bike. Now with the internet, buying cycle gear across the entire country is possible on ebay.com, newenough.com, yellowdevilgear.com and even craigslist. We can help you with those choices too. Good luck!


Training, the best safety and performance "equipment" you can get!
Get MSF trained, check out: http://www.msf-usa.org
 

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Smitty
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   Posted 12/12/2011 11:03 AM (GMT -7)    Quote This PostAlert An Admin About This Post.
We have young people going to our universiies, BUT not one has the idea to travel back & forward in one day.  They parents sometimes will travel out to see them of sometimes they will come home for Xmas or th end of the season relaxed in a Grey Hound Bus.
 
So you aim should be for the INJOYMENT of a few short rides like the rest, on this board, do with a rare tourer once in a while every two or three years.
 
You have no idea that most are WRENCHERS on their bikes, which takes the best of tools & experience.  Now to swing a bike into a m/c shop is almost impossible UNLESS you ask for a given date & time.  At the end of the mechanic working on the bike you would find the cost pr hour being the same as on a car.  Take a m/c constantly to a m/c shop for small bit of service & THAT IS COSTLY or next to a car.


Remember all the others on the road are crazy & out to kill you.

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