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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
About me:
5'9 130lbs.
Passed motorcycle safety course on a 125 eliminator, endorsement in hand, never owned a bike.
Prefer cruisers but really don't care much about style. Sport bikes and standards OK. Looking for good gas mileage, 45mpg+.
Primary use: 5 miles round trip daily urban commute. The city is flat, max speed 45mph. Some weekend fun on back roads in the sierras.
No passengers. Only ride in good weather. Avoid freeways if possible. Never off-road.
Sat on a few bikes. A Honda Shadow VLX600 is about the max weight I'm comfortable with. I can flat foot a vulcan 800 with plenty of room, but it's too heavy.
Semi-competent home mechanic. Work small jobs on my own car, know nothing about carbs but willing to learn.
Also want something that can spend more time on the road than in the shop, and not require expensive repairs.
Tight budget of $2000 but for the bike only. I have all the gear from head to toe, and spare money for insurance.

Suggestions please:
I found some good 2000s rebel 250s and ninja 250s in the area for sale.
There are also some 80s Honda CB and Suzuki GS in running condition for cheap.
Today I came upon this cheap v-star 650 on craigslist for $1800. Cosmetically in good shape. 49k miles. Seller says he learned on it for a year, previous owner rebuilt the engine a few years back.
I live 20 miles away. Is it worth the trip to take a look? Anything to pay close attention to? Which bike would you folks recommend the most for me? Opinions please.

Thanks!
- faya
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
Forgot to mention but can't edit a post.
I'm not looking for speed, acceleration, or good handling. Just good gas mileage for commuting and short half-day trips, since my car gets a horrible 20, and gas is expensive.
Not interested in scooters or dirt bike/adventure/dual sport.... You got it.
 

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Welcome!! :D

I had a Buell Blast and a Honda Rebel simultaneously as my first bikes. I took the MSF on a Rebel back in May and really wanted one after.

Both bikes were awesome commuters. I got 65mpg out of the Blast and the Rebel clocked in the 70s. The Rebel topped out around 75-80mph and I got the Blast to hit 95 (I'm 5'6, 200 lb).

I wouldn't recommend the Blast because while they're fun bikes they're also maintenance hogs. Their gearboxes don't always work right and the exhausts on them will literally shake themselves apart.

The Rebel was fun, however it only took a month before I felt I had outgrown the bike and sold it. You may not experience that, however it is something to consider if you're looking for something to hold onto for a while.

I don't know much about the V-Star so I couldn't say whether having its engine rebuilt or not is bad. As for what to look for on a used bike? Check out this video!

https://youtu.be/VKGZdsIkLog

A Honda CB or a Suzuki GS would make a wonderful starter! However, be aware that some parts may be hard to find. The more powerful models the 850s and above also come in at about 600 pounds.

My 1982 GS850G was my third bike and I think it's going to be one of my forever bikes.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thanks. I see a couple beat-up Buells in the area, but I also heard about the reliability problems, and I'm not a fan of Harley engines in general.

Is the high mileage V-star something to be trusted? Or should I look for something with fewer miles?
 

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You're in a buyer's market right now. Loads of used, clean, low-mile bikes on CL, ebay, etc...

Take your time and find a low mile, clean and older garaged bike...preferably through a mature seller. Any of the top brand bikes with smaller displacements will do. Find a person who keeps receipts on servicing, etc...those guys are out there. And take a look at how they maintain their own home and cars....will give you a hint on how they treated that bike.

As for the "Rebuilt" bike....I say naw...if it needed a motor rebuild, other areas will need attention as well. To get the sweet deals, you need to be first up to bat with money in your pocket. Check the ads daily and be first to see it, or the good deals will vanish quickly. Good luck!
 

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You should be able to find a VStar 650 for under 2K that hasn't had to have the engine rebuilt. They are good bikes and should last a long time. May be a bit heavy for you, but a good riding bike once you get used to the very narrow friction zone or put a cleever clutch lever on it. You should see 45+ without a problem
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
I found this one in your area. Looks like a clean, well-cared for Honda. You might want to check it out. Betcha' he'd take $2K for it.
Guess what... I actually talked to the seller a few days ago. They were pretty firm with the pricing. It was a really clean one for sure. I just don't have enough money.
 

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Wow, $2300 or best offer and won't take $2000? I'm very surprised... what are they holding out for, $2299?

Guess what... I actually talked to the seller a few days ago. They were pretty firm with the pricing. It was a really clean one for sure. I just don't have enough money.
 
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Forgot to mention but can't edit a post.
I'm not looking for speed, acceleration, or good handling. Just good gas mileage for commuting and short half-day trips, since my car gets a horrible 20, and gas is expensive.
Not interested in scooters or dirt bike/adventure/dual sport.... You got it.
20 mpg ain't that bad. There's nothing cheaper about owning a motorcycle. Gas doesn't make up the difference. I ride, because I like to tide. I realized immediately, it's a personal preference, and not a money saver. It's not easier, cheaper, more convenient, safer or anything else to ride.

Sent from my Note3 using crapatalk
 

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Wow, $2300 or best offer and won't take $2000? I'm very surprised... what are they holding out for, $2299?
You read my mind. I'd say he'll go $2K in time. Bikes move slow in the Winter. Buyer should give him another call in a few more weeks.
 

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A Japanese bike from the 80's is a "real" motorcycle...smells like gasoline and hot oil...leaves a spot wherever you park...but always starts and runs great...that's a real bike:)

Most of those bikes have you sitting upright like on a bicycle though; not a cruiser.

Those 80's bikes are simple, built like tanks, no electronics...I feel so lucky to have been an avid rider in that era...truly a golden time for bikes...today's bikes are too complicated. If you want to rich-up the fuel mix on a 2018, you have to buy all kinds of expensive electronics...an 80's bike...just turn the screw...truly the "good old days".

A 550 and lower would get in the 40's for mpg, weigh ~500 or less and tons of YouTube videos to show you how do the repairs yourself with screwdrivers and wrenches.

I went to a local bike rally...this 20 something kid took an 80's Gold Wing, stripped it, and modded it into the COOOLEST home made bobber I've seen in a long time! Bike was $500 and he spent another ~$1000 on this and that...so cool...a friend that was with me offered him $3000 for it...no sale.

This pic isn't his bike, but gives you an idea of what's possible. His bike had knobby tires and he made panels to fill in under the seat; he also had venturi stacks sticking out the sides to feed the carbs...So blown away I forgot to take a picture. That big, multi-cylinder engine with a straight pipe...ah man...pure music.
 

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A Japanese bike from the 80's is a "real" motorcycle...smells like gasoline and hot oil...leaves a spot wherever you park...but always starts and runs great...that's a real bike:)

Most of those bikes have you sitting upright like on a bicycle though; not a cruiser.

Those 80's bikes are simple, built like tanks, no electronics...I feel so lucky to have been an avid rider in that era...truly a golden time for bikes...today's bikes are too complicated. If you want to rich-up the fuel mix on a 2018, you have to buy all kinds of expensive electronics...an 80's bike...just turn the screw...truly the "good old days".

A 550 and lower would get in the 40's for mpg, weigh ~500 or less and tons of YouTube videos to show you how do the repairs yourself with screwdrivers and wrenches.

I went to a local bike rally...this 20 something kid took an 80's Gold Wing, stripped it, and modded it into the COOOLEST home made bobber I've seen in a long time! Bike was $500 and he spent another ~$1000 on this and that...so cool...a friend that was with me offered him $3000 for it...no sale.

This pic isn't his bike, but gives you an idea of what's possible. His bike had knobby tires and he made panels to fill in under the seat; he also had venturi stacks sticking out the sides to feed the carbs...So blown away I forgot to take a picture. That big, multi-cylinder engine with a straight pipe...ah man...pure music.
That IS cool! I'd ride that one proudly! Bet she sounds awesome too.
 

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A Japanese bike from the 80's is a "real" motorcycle...smells like gasoline and hot oil...leaves a spot wherever you park...but always starts and runs great...that's a real bike:)

Most of those bikes have you sitting upright like on a bicycle though; not a cruiser.

Those 80's bikes are simple, built like tanks, no electronics...I feel so lucky to have been an avid rider in that era...truly a golden time for bikes...today's bikes are too complicated. If you want to rich-up the fuel mix on a 2018, you have to buy all kinds of expensive electronics...an 80's bike...just turn the screw...truly the "good old days".
That is why most of my steeds of choice are UJMs from the 70s and 80s. They're rolling art pieces that are hard to kill and will keep rolling even if they're not tuned right.
 
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Those are the same reasons I want one from that era, plus the fact that my first real bike was a used 1978 CB400TII, before that I rode a moped..remember those?

I have some great memories of that bike and I'd love to have one or something similar in my garage. The one I had was awesome, one of the few 400TIIs that had both electric and kickstart, the best of both worldthe starter would works, it would sit around and the battery would die but it would always kick start, then after that the battery would charge and the rest of the day I could be lazy:)

That is why most of my steeds of choice are UJMs from the 70s and 80s. They're rolling art pieces that are hard to kill and will keep rolling even if they're not tuned right.
 
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