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Discussion Starter #1
So it has come down to a handful of choices. I am looking for a bike that l can use to commute (about 25 miles each way, freeway traffic) with, and also take the occasional trip to Eastern Washington to see my parents. This is about a 225 mile drive, including a fairly steep mountain pass. I need dependability, some power (but nothing overwhelming), and great gas mileage. I am a fairly big guy (6'3" and about 240) but not huge. I like the sport bike look, but don't want to sit hunched over the whole time. I am pretty much set on Japanese. I am a decent rider with a lot of experience on quads and dirt bikes, but next to no time on the street in the last 20 years. To give you an idea, my last street bike was a 1985 Honda Sabre 700, and it wasn't that old at the time :)

What l have come up with is the following: Kawasaki EX500, Kawasaki Ninja 650, Suzuki GS500, or Suzuki SV650. I would also be open to other suggestions if there is a bike l haven't thought of. My budget is $2500, and l would like it to be made in the late '90s at the very oldest. Opinions? Suggestions? Does anyone have one of the bikes l suggested? Okay...go!
 

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That's a good list. Have you had a chance to sit on any/all of those bikes to see if they "feel right"?

You may consider adding the Yamaha YZF600R to that list. It may look like a radical bike, but from what I hear it's also quite comfortable, and received great reviews when it was available. It was sold from '94 to '07, so there should be lots used to choose from.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
I have seen a few of those Yamahas Nordicman, and l thought they looked a bit different...maybe l will look at them a little closer.

I am going to look at an SV650 on Friday and possibly an EX500 on Sunday. The problem l am up against is my schedule. I work swings. So far 2 bikes have been sold out from under me because l couldn't go look in the evening. One was a super clean GS500F with only 13k miles on it, and the guy only wanted like $1300 for it. Oh well, there is always another deal.

Also, l am finding it hard to find these bikes that have the stock exhaust on them. My girlfriend has a medical condition, and she cannot be around a really loud bike. I am trying to find a bike that has stock pipes, but l am finding that a lot of people with these smaller bikes put very aggressive exhausts on them. Any idea what it would cost to swap an exhaust out and go back to quiet?
 

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You can often get lucky & find complete original exhaust systems for many sport bikes in online classified ads, being sold by people throwing on a custom system on their bike. Usually they're pretty cheap, cheap enough to be worth the cost of having it shipped if the seller is far away. But then you have to TRUST the seller is honest with you & the pipes are in the condition they are claiming them to be.

Does your girlfriend plan to ride with you often? Be sure the passenger seat is comfortable enough for her. On many sport bikes the passenger seat is more of a token perch than a seat to be taken seriously.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
I went and rode the EX500 today. It was actually way quieter than l expected. Definitely louder than stock, and Trina said that she would hear me coming home for sure, but not so loud that l would need to swap it out.

Aside from the pipe, l liked the bike well enough. It was really easy to ride, and the power was very manageable. Actually, l was surprised it didn't have more power. Which was not a bad thing. I am not looking for a rocket. It handled very nicely and l could see myself on one.

The one thing l didn't like was the kickstand was in front of the shift lever. It didn't get in the way but it was kind of annoying. It just bothered me the possibility of getting tangled up in it. Other than that, all the controls felt comfy and in the right place, l liked the design and everything. When l took my motorcycle safety class l rode a BMW 650 and it was weird all the way around, so this was 100% better.

Tomorrow l am looking at a 2004 Suzuki SV650. It is in immaculate condition with 5000 miles. I have heard great things aboutthe SV's, so l am really excited to see it and ride it around.

To answer your question, NordicMan, Trina does not plan to ride with me, she is not interested, at least at this point. But she has a medical condition that l need to take into consideration, because it is her home too :)
 
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