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    Default OT Recommend a commuter motorcycle please

    I want a small, relatively quiet bike for my 16 mile round trip to work. It's mostly back roads, no highways. Something cheap and fairly new/reliable. I would like some cargo capacity for hauling small parts occasionally. I know nothing about bikes. I'd appreciate your suggestions.

    -Roland in NJ

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    A possible option might be an electric bicycle??

    Around $2000 can get you something fairly sturdy, fairly high quality with a range that exceeds your commute. The best of these, in my opinion, provide a pedal assist -- so you get a bit of exercise but can also easily get up any hill or slack off. There are also versions with cargo capacity.

    Pros are reliability, modest cost, nearly silent operation, getting a bit of exercise. Cons are, well, getting a bit of exercise, not being suited for highways, a few minutes longer commute, maybe some ego factor. In your case, no highways -- might be a more enjoyable trip? And a small and cheap motorcycle isn't much of any ego boost IMO over a bicycle you put a bit of effort into.

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    Craigs Risk an old Honda or Yamaha, they pretty much run forever with very little maintenance.

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    In NJ, it's a bad idea. You are obviously not a biker and the weather will very soon discourage two wheel usage.

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    Quote Originally Posted by PeteM View Post
    A possible option might be an electric bicycle??

    Around $2000 can get you something fairly sturdy, fairly high quality with a range that exceeds your commute. The best of these, in my opinion, provide a pedal assist -- so you get a bit of exercise but can also easily get up any hill or slack off. There are also versions with cargo capacity.

    Pros are reliability, modest cost, nearly silent operation, getting a bit of exercise. Cons are, well, getting a bit of exercise, not being suited for highways, a few minutes longer commute, maybe some ego factor. In your case, no highways -- might be a more enjoyable trip? And a small and cheap motorcycle isn't much of any ego boost IMO over a bicycle you put a bit of effort into.
    I built a 1KW fat bike for a little over $2000. Right now, it's geared as low as I can get it, and it still does 20 MPH. Hammer the throttle from a standing start, and it will drive out from in under you. If I swapped sprockets, I could probably get 35 to 40 MPH, but I never really tried.

    The farthest I've gone with it is 14 miles across the grain of some hilly terrain, and running at reduced power to make sure I got home without peddling. That trip took about an hour.

    FYI, in many states, you are limited to 750 Watts and 20 MPH max in order to remain classified as a bicycle.

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    Statistic I was given when taking my bike course was most people have a serious bike accident within the first two years. Take a motorcycle course. It teaches you how to ride properly in control, emergency braking, and defensive driving.
    Crunch the numbers and you likely would be better off getting an older small compact car that is easy on gas. Older car usually means lower insurance premiums.

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    The new Ninja 250 or Yamaha R3 or a Suzuki GS500 can all be had new, or near new for $3K or less. Nice small starter bikes, enough power to hit 70 on an interstate, but not so twitchy as to put you on your rear when you twist the throttle too far. I started on a GS500 about 12 years ago, and it was a perfect starter bike. If you're taller, you could look at a used KLR650 or similar. Definitely don't get an inline 4 for your first bike. Find the MSF course in your area, and take it before you buy a bike, make sure riding really is for you. I had a lady drop out of my course, and it was her SECOND time taking it... She just couldn't get the hang of it.

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    For the last ten years I have been riding an '82 Yamaha Seca 750 with a front fairing (windscreen) and rear luggage. So I can carry the occasional small parts. It has stock exhaust so it is pretty quiet and enough power for a short jaunt on the freeway each way.

    This was a garage find. I paid $300 for it. It took some work to put it on the road. Probably spent another $3-400. But you can get a decent used bike for under $2k.

    I have been in one fairly serious accident when a woman ran a cross street stop sign. Bike was totalled but I bought it back from the insurance company and put it back together and I am still riding it four years later. I guess some people never learn.

    Use good riding gear. It has armored protection in critical points; back, neck, elbows, knees etc (and a helmet of course). If you ever go down you will be very glad for the protection.
    Last edited by Joe Miranda; 04-09-2018 at 12:26 PM. Reason: addition

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    Here's my commuter bike. It's not small or cheap or quiet, but it's a dream on the highways. bike.jpg

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    Quote Originally Posted by steve-l View Post
    In NJ, it's a bad idea. You are obviously not a biker and the weather will very soon discourage two wheel usage.
    You don't know NJ motorists....
    Ride Your Dirt Bike in Snow with Snow Bike Conversion Kits at Tracks USA Lake Lillian, MN (32) 382-6128

    MotoTrax: snow bike kit for biking in snow, mountains and motocross

    https://store.timbersled.com/en-us/install-kits/

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    Are you already a motorcyclist? if yes, how long since you have ridden a bike?
    There are many more questions, but they all boil down to one thing - STAYING ALIVE!

    Posted by a former biker - both on and off road, plus competition, ......who in his early 60's KNOWS he'd not last long on 2 wheels on todays roads.

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    I would buy a KTM 390 Duke... thats what I would buy, but I like riding wheelies

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    I commute on an 04 Kawasaki KLR 650 in the summer. Cheap, reliable, very easy to work on. With panniers you can carry quite a few parts. I put my welding helmet in one, and some tools in the other when I did work off site and didn't have my truck.

    Not exactly a looker of a motorcycle, but very good for utility.

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    Quote Originally Posted by digger doug View Post
    You don't know NJ motorists....
    Well some of us do. First car I ever owned ('52 Ford "Customline", $90, used.) was bought and operated in New Jersey.

    Time has moved on. Population and traffic density have increased. Drivers have gone stoopider, especaily those with cell-phones and ear-buds..

    Hard to find, but most appropriate "bike" for present-day NJ conditions?

    My recommendation is a Ketenrad, AKA "rabbit":

    Kettenkrad – the motorcycle tank


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    Quote Originally Posted by thermite View Post

    Hard to find, but most appropriate "bike" for present-day NJ conditions?

    My recommendation is a Ketenrad, AKA "rabbit":

    Kettenkrad – the motorcycle tank

    What kind of armaments ?

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    I commute on a bmw s1000rr
    Getting a bit dicey these days with moms who dont care and people with non eu licences who dont care and cant drive
    Thing is its 30mins by bike or 90mins by car

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    Roland, didn't catch your age but, riding is a skill set best learned at an early age. Not saying it can't be picked up later in life but the odds of getting hurt, wrecking, or just having mishaps in general go up. Odds are you will have some type of issue, fall over, dropped bike, run out of gas, or just ride around with a turn signal endlessly blinking😁 (obvious newbie). With that said, if you still persist, by all means get those hands on safety and rider courses as others mentioned. Oh, by the way, what feels like decent weather walking around can get quite chilly at 40-60 mph .... say 55f to 65f specifically at night. Yes you can dress for the occasion.

    For dedicated commuting I would recommend a fuel efficient car, I ride for enjoyment, less miles, less chance of a mishap.

    If your determined to ride, I would recommend trying a smaller dirt bike first before buying to get your feet wet so to speak. Less odds of hurting said motorcycle or getting in a bad situation.

    If at this point you still are wanting to buy, sit on as many bikes as possible (without pissing off the owner) to see what feels comfortable. Look at bikes between 250cc to 500cc without breaking the bank on your first one. One or two owner bikes preferred without owner bragging about how fast, quick or tricks it does. Look for that responsible person who took pride and care of their bike. Sport bikes typically tend to catch more abuse. Hope this was somewhat helpful, tons of information on the net, just read all you can.
    Good luck, Hodge

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    Go to a Honda/Yamaha/Suzuki dealer and look around. You can get a feel for what size and type of motorcycle you might want, plus they have trade-ins for sale as well.

    With that being said, riding on today's distracted roads is dangerous business. I rode for 15 years, but haven't been on my motorcycle in a couple of years - it's just too dangerous out there.

    As fun a riding is, it's just not worth dying for, or enduring weeks/months/years of pain and agony recovering from a "cage" (auto) induced crash. Too many other things that are fun, but not nearly as dangerous...golf for example, haha!

    Most riders out there are not nearly as good as they think they are, and that's why so many get caught up in a bad crash sooner or later.

    ToolCat

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    Quote Originally Posted by digger doug View Post
    What kind of armaments ?
    New Jersey? Very complex state, so "it depends". Condom & K-Y dispenser, Wildwood. Gambling chip dip-sensor, Atlantic City. Camera for the bikini-beaches. Oxygen re-breather apparatus, Bayonne & SW. Shotgun for Atlantic County deer, deep fording kit & chainsaw or pontoons otherwise.

    Might even want one of those Rooshin projectile flame-thower grenade launcher hybrids some parts up around Newark.

    I actually had oversight over a passel of W31's. But those were MIM-14 warshots intended to whack rooshin intrusions, not NooYawkha's.

    Back ON topic.

    China runs electric bicycles by the tens and hundreds of MILLIONS. Times past, I was pleased to make a few sheckels investing in one of the battery companies as serve that massive market.

    Similar battery tech to what serves cell-phones, writ larger, but NOT so OTT large as what is needed for a full-sized electric car.

    COSTCO had one on-offer a few years back. ISTR it wasn't all that expensive.

    Donwside? Taiwan or PRC, two-wheelers DOMINATE much of the traffic. Roads, controls, and drivers are all attuned to that, so the safety stats are actually not so bad.

    "Western World"? Amsterdam, NL may be the only even CLOSE-to example of bike, pedestrian, 4-plus wheeler cooperation & sharing. And it surely ain't perfect, even so.

    US problem is even a massive Hogly Davisson that can total a Tee-Bird is considered "invisible" by the oblivious operating armoured-up in no-seeum four-wheelers that don't usually even have half-decent mirrors, let alone operators as care to SCAN them.
    Last edited by thermite; 04-10-2018 at 11:07 AM.

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