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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello everyone.
I am going to buy a bike in DEC. I will live in Indiana. Probably it is not a very good season to start with motorcycle, but still... I am completely against cars.

Is Yamaha Virago 250 used a good starter bike?
What gear will you suggest to buy to get good protection from "weather conditions"?
Is there anyone from Indiana? =) So that I would be able to ask questions directly to the person who already faced this?

Thanks in advance.
(Don't worry, I've used search)
 

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A Virago 250 is an excellent starter bike. And good luck starting in an Indiana winter... you probably have no idea how cold you'll actually get when you start moving. For gear, the must haves are a full face helmet, gloves, boots, and a jacket. You should look into heated gear too if the Virago 250's electrical system can handle it.

For most people simply bundling up just won't cut it. You'll get tired of putting on and taking off all of your layers twice a day I imagine.

Why are you against cars? They are certainly many many times safer in the winter.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks for the quick answer.
You see my main problem is the money, as I am a student. Cars need to much for maintaince and gas. This is why I do not see a point in buying a used car and spending money into nothing. My friend suggested that it would be cheaper to get into bikes... (he drives a bike for the last 20 years in any weather)

Can you give me any clue on what website to check if the Viragos 250's electrical system can handle heated gear?
Well yes, I suppose I will get tired of putting on and taking off the layers, but probably a simple skiing gear could work well for me. Although I still need an answer from the person that already had tried to ride in such conditions.

I will not ride more that 10 miles a day, so I don't think I will get so much cold anyway.
 

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Buying a motorcycle to save money usually does not work out for most people. Motorcycles aren't cheap, and they require maintenance all the same. Sure, you might spend less on gas, but that's about it.

You go through tires more frequently, still change oil, there's the initial cost of the bike, gear, insurance will probably be higher than a car, etc.. Invariably at some point there will be damage of some sort to the bike, whether your own fault or not, and that's never cheap to fix.

For instance here's some of what I can remember from my brief bike history (Only since August 2009):

1st bike: $3000 + taxes, registration
gear: $500+
stands to do my maintenance: $90
various tools I've needed to buy over the year: $60+
after lowsiding: $200 for repairs and new gear
hit a pot hole: $120 rim repair (3 weeks without bike)
more gear for winter riding: $40
Bike stolen...(2-3 weeks without a bike)
2nd bike: $3500 + taxes, registration
flat tire: $130
frame slider fell off mid-ride: $50

And these are only major things, not to mention oil, filters, rags, cleaning stuff, parking tickets (lol), time etc..

You run into plenty of things to spend money on that you don't think of when you buy one.

On the other hand, I have not had to pay for bus passes, parking lot fees.. and I want to say that I've saved on gas but honestly, while my car gets less MPG than my bike, I don't go on 100 mile joy rides in my car so..

All in all, I've spent way more than I've saved; I think most people do. Not to mention that you literally will not be able to ride all winter on two wheels. I live in the mid west and there are plenty of times when even having four wheels is dangerous enough. Even if the city if very, very good about keeping the roads clean, I've been driving on a clean, salted road that turns into a snowy disaster in minutes.
 

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Like Porange pointed out you will still have the maintenance on the bike and it usually costs more. For example, I do an oil change in my truck for about 20 bucks. I do one on the bike for about 35 to 40 bucks. My bike gets twice the milage that my truck does, but I have to replace tires every 1.5 to 2 years. Any money I could possibly save with my bike I blow in road trips. Living in IA, no way would I depend only on my MC, I am not going to ride in the snow and on ice. If you ride 20 miles a day to and from work or school and no joy riding you will not save much money having a bike instead of a car. Most of the people that save money riding vs driving have 50 to 100 mile commutes. JMO, I'd buy a vehicle but to me MC's are toys and riding is a hobby, not a way of life.
 

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porange said it best, there are a LOT of unexpected expenses associated with owning a motorcycle. A small, used car will be less expensive in the long run.

The guys who ride year round mostly live in the south. It's not easy to do, and you shouldn't assume that just because you think you'd like to ride through winter you'll be physically able to. If you really wanna save money, just take the bus. Otherwise, you'll be sorely disappointed with how much money you won't be saving (and how many times you REALLY wish you'd had a car, like when its 30 degrees and sleeting outside, and you really need to get to class to take that final exam).
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
So far I see that most people advice just to buy a car instead of motorcycle. I am definitely not going to stay in Indiana more than till MAY. My plan is to move to the south somewhere. Moreover the only two places I will need to visit is my University (less than 10 miles) and my friend in Cincinnati, OH (120 miles approximately one way).

hmm... I don't know what to decide. I will be able to get to the University by bus if the weather would be awful...
 

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I'm all for getting a motorcycle, they're great! However, don't go into it thinking you're going to save money. Also, I don't think it's the best idea for a brand new rider to buy a bike and start riding just as Winter sets in. It's dangerous enough as it is, there are many more factors involved in cold-weather riding.
 

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I know you are ... but what am I?
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good luck, whatever you decide. at least you have some winter to be able to do some research.

my dh rode all year for many years (last winter was brutal here) ... but cheaper than bus or bike ... carpool. i actually made money leaving the house when the ladies i rode w/ insisted on me being the designated driver ...
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
I see your point. But unfortunately I don't have money for buying a used car in a good condition. It is much more easier to find a used bike for the same or less amount of money.

Hmm... Bike is hard to drive and dangerous in winter. Car is more expensive. Although there is no economy on maintaince, according to your experience. Anyway, I can not decide. Any other things that I should know about?

I tried to ride a bike at 40F (4C)... it was cold, but not too much.
 

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If you got a scooter (don't know your law limits) and weren't so far from work/school - you may be able to skirt insurance and registration costs, depending on what you buy. Think of the scooter as disposable (no retained asset or value for term).

A lot has to be said for that great "learning curve" - the cost of learning to ride or learning your limits. If you can already drive - the only thing that translates is the road rules ... the rest is like learning how to walk again.

There are a lot of good used bikes out there b/c someone wanted to go on the cheap and jumped in head first instead of testing the water. Winter is probably not the best time of the year (at least north of the Mason/Dixon) to attempt to learn to ride and cold fingers isn't your only enemy.

Maybe try renting a bike for a weekend or two (who knows what the rules and cost is for that) ... it'd at least let you know if the temps you are dealing with and length of ride are doable. Other than that, it's just a guess. If it doesn't work out, selling a bike in the middle of the winter in the north may not be that easy.

Just stuff to consider.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 · (Edited)
Btw, I love the speed of answers on this forum ;)

Yes, I know how to drive. But I had no practice for the last 2 years. Although I don't think it would be so hard to get used to the rules of driving in the US, at least I know for sure that they are a lot easier.

There are a lot of good used bikes out there b/c someone wanted to go on the cheap and jumped in head first instead of testing the water.
Exactly. Even in countries that I lived in - there are a lot of people who bought the bike and... decided to sell it soon after, without riding it.

Winter is probably not the best time of the year (at least north of the Mason/Dixon) to attempt to learn to ride and cold fingers isn't your only enemy.
I really thought that in good gear the wind and cold is not a big problem on average speeds (around 40-60 mph)

Maybe try renting a bike for a weekend or two (who knows what the rules and cost is for that) ... it'd at least let you know if the temps you are dealing with and length of ride are doable.
This is an interesting suggestion. Probably I will be able to do this. But in any case I will be able to wait till MARCH without selling the bike. I mean that it is probably possible to buy it cheaper during the winter time and just wait. Is it?
 

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I see your point. But unfortunately I don't have money for buying a used car in a good condition. It is much more easier to find a used bike for the same or less amount of money.

Hmm... Bike is hard to drive and dangerous in winter. Car is more expensive. Although there is no economy on maintaince, according to your experience. Anyway, I can not decide. Any other things that I should know about?

I tried to ride a bike at 40F (4C)... it was cold, but not too much.
a 50CC scooter will go 30 mph, get 100 miles to the gallon, not require insurance or a motorcycle license and can be got new shipped to your house for $1000 (chinese made) - buy a $100 helmet, dress in layers to stay warm, get some boots and gloves at walmart and a lock and chain and you are good to go.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
a 50CC scooter will go 30 mph, get 100 miles to the gallon, not require insurance or a motorcycle license and can be got new shipped to your house for $1000 (chinese made) - buy a $100 helmet, dress in layers to stay warm, get some boots and gloves at walmart and a lock and chain and you are good to go.
The same applies to used bike. Only difference is the insurance. I have a motorbike driving licence. In that case, I suppose 250cc used bike would be much more better than a scooter.
 

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I have to agree with elader if you are doing this solely to save money then a scooter would be your best bet.
I was in Indy one year in September and was freezing just walking around I don't think you could have paid me to be on a bike.
 

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I got my MC license and a GS500 with the 'save money in the commute argument' when my commute moved to 50 miles a day. I somehow ended up with a Yamaha FJR1300 and top of the line gear in 6 months and 10,000 miles later. How did this happen? The FJ gets 43mph. I could have bought a Prius and gotten better mileage :).
 
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