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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi everyone. Some of you would remember me as hawkaholic37. I crashed my dream bike a couple years ago and busted myself up pretty good. I pretty much wrote off riding for good. Well, things have changed and I have decided to get a bike again. I plan to just use it for commuting to work and back.

The commute is about 25 minutes through the city. Not generally super heavy traffic, and not downtown, but lots of little side streets. I'm in Seattle and it rains (drizzles) often. The old soul in me loves the idea of getting an old Honda CB350 or something like that, but the practical side of me says I would be better off with a newer bike that is responsive, handles really well, and has excellent brakes.

Things to consider...

1) I am tall (6'3")
2) I want to sit upright, so a standard is my preferred type of bike. A sport look is okay, it doesn't need to look conservative; but the days of leaning way over to ride are behind me. I am not interested in a heavy cruiser style.
3) Dependability is super important to me
4) While it needs to be big enough to haul my butt around, I don't want a big bike. I'm thinking under 700cc. And I am totally on board with the old saying that it is more fun riding a slow bike fast than riding a fast bike slow.
5) Under $7000
6) While it's not a necessity, I like the idea of a single or a twin.


It's been a while since I have ridden so I don't know a lot about what is out there. Today I was looking on Craigslist and saw that a local dealer is selling brand new 2017 KTM Duke 390's for $3999. I read some reviews and it seems to be a well liked machine. Does anyone own one and have an opinion? My first thought was, "It's made in India? I don't know what I think about that." But then I learned that Bajaj owns 49% of the company so they have a vested interest in making a solid product.


I also remember that Honda was making a bike a few years ago that was sport-type bike that got crazy good gas mileage, like 75mpg or something?


Anyone else have suggestions? I would love to know what's out there.
 

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I was going to suggest a Honda Grom, but that's smaller than a standard and may also not fit you as well as you want it to.

The newest generation Honda Rebel seems right up your alley. Not too expensive, easy to ride, not overly powerful, etc.

A lot of my riding friends want a Duke. They do seem pretty popular. Doing some quick and dirty Googling, looks like the two biggest complaints are with front brake feel and a few wheels that had shattered on impact with a pothole. Overall though, they seem extremely well loved.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks for the input! A few years ago when I took my endorsement class they had a Grom. It was really small. I have some minor back issues and don't really want to be all twisted up when I get home.

A Rebel...I hadn't thought of a Rebel. Is that still a 250 or have they gotten a bit bigger?

And lastly...shattered rims from potholes? For reals? Wow, I have never heard of such a thing. I'm off to Googleland...errr, Bing. My wife works for Microsoft and I'm not allowed to Google anymore haha
 

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So is a maxi-scooter out of the question. I've heard a Burgman 650 is surprisingly good for commuting. Here's a 2008 in my area. If I remember correctly you do your own wrenching so almost any older bike in the 650 range should work. I'd seriously consider a scooter if commuting was all I was getting back on 2 wheels for. I'm guessing an electric bike is out of your price range but when it comes to commuting, one would be hard to beat. Again if commuting is all you are getting one for.
 

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Suzuki SV650. Rock solid dependable, plenty of speed and power, 50 MPG (mixed city/highway, you won't get that in city driving around Seattle), in your price range. If you want a bargain, you might be able to find a NOS (2015-2017) model somewhere for not much more than $5000.

One possible downside to the KTM Duke might be parts/accessories/dealer support?

Hi everyone. Some of you would remember me as hawkaholic37. I crashed my dream bike a couple years ago and busted myself up pretty good. I pretty much wrote off riding for good. Well, things have changed and I have decided to get a bike again. I plan to just use it for commuting to work and back.

The commute is about 25 minutes through the city. Not generally super heavy traffic, and not downtown, but lots of little side streets. I'm in Seattle and it rains (drizzles) often. The old soul in me loves the idea of getting an old Honda CB350 or something like that, but the practical side of me says I would be better off with a newer bike that is responsive, handles really well, and has excellent brakes.

Things to consider...

1) I am tall (6'3")
2) I want to sit upright, so a standard is my preferred type of bike. A sport look is okay, it doesn't need to look conservative; but the days of leaning way over to ride are behind me. I am not interested in a heavy cruiser style.
3) Dependability is super important to me
4) While it needs to be big enough to haul my butt around, I don't want a big bike. I'm thinking under 700cc. And I am totally on board with the old saying that it is more fun riding a slow bike fast than riding a fast bike slow.
5) Under $7000
6) While it's not a necessity, I like the idea of a single or a twin.


It's been a while since I have ridden so I don't know a lot about what is out there. Today I was looking on Craigslist and saw that a local dealer is selling brand new 2017 KTM Duke 390's for $3999. I read some reviews and it seems to be a well liked machine. Does anyone own one and have an opinion? My first thought was, "It's made in India? I don't know what I think about that." But then I learned that Bajaj owns 49% of the company so they have a vested interest in making a solid product.


I also remember that Honda was making a bike a few years ago that was sport-type bike that got crazy good gas mileage, like 75mpg or something?


Anyone else have suggestions? I would love to know what's out there.
 

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Moderator - Loves All Motorcycles
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Thanks for the input! A few years ago when I took my endorsement class they had a Grom. It was really small. I have some minor back issues and don't really want to be all twisted up when I get home.

A Rebel...I hadn't thought of a Rebel. Is that still a 250 or have they gotten a bit bigger?

And lastly...shattered rims from potholes? For reals? Wow, I have never heard of such a thing. I'm off to Googleland...errr, Bing. My wife works for Microsoft and I'm not allowed to Google anymore haha
They've ditched the 250s and now they come in either 300 or 500 flavour. That's if you go brand new. Older Rebels did come in higher displacements like 450cc as well, however only for two years.

To correct myself, it appears the wheel cracking/shattering issue doesn't impact Dukes sold in this part of the world. Looks like they used lower quality wheels for their home markets, leading to wheels that cracked if you so much looked at them the wrong way.
 

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I also remember that Honda was making a bike a few years ago that was sport-type bike that got crazy good gas mileage, like 75mpg or something?
I think you're referring to the Honda NC700x with the dual clutch transmission, though I think the MPG was more in the 60s. You might find a new old stock model under budget.

The Honda CB500x might be another good option.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Hogcowboy, nice to see you my old friend!!! I hope all is well down in your neck of the woods.

After thinking about things for a day, I have narrowed some things down a bit. Also, a couple tidbits of info that I should include...

I have been paying $7.25 per day for parking for my truck, working 3 days a week. I won't have to pay to park the bike. This works out to roughly $1000 a year. So I could buy a great bike brand new and it will pay for itself in a few years.

I considered a scooter but the big, comfy ones aren't real popular here, and they appear to be kind of hard to sell.

I did do my own maintenance, but time is more valuable than money for me right now. So I think I will buy new or like new.

I was considering a Duke 390 until I read what Miss Mercedes told me - thank you for the tip. I did some research and found that the broken rim thing was very real, although it was mostly back in India and Asia. What bothered me most is that it appears that the company basically told the customers to stick it. So they get zero of my dollars.

I took to Craigslist and found another dealer that is selling brand new 2017 Yamaha SCR950's for $4999. I took several looks at it...man, that is a neat bike! I love the look, and the price is such that I think I could buy it and not suffer horrible depreciation right out the door like many others. (It has a list price of $8599). So that one is very tempting. BUT...it's more bike than I need and weighs like 550 pounds. The old soul in me would really like to justify it, and if I am being honest, a few years ago I would have succeeded. But it falls short on practicality. The brakes are average at best. It's not what I am looking for, as much as I want it to be. So scratch that.

The next one I thought of is the SCR's little brother, the SR400. I like that look a lot, and I think the kick start is really cool. A blast from the past. I am definitely interested in one. Unfortunately there aren't many here to choose from. I found a new 2015 model at a dealer for $4699 (they list at about $6000) so that is a possibility, but I would prefer to buy as new as possible to retain resale value. Maybe I am overthinking it. There are a couple of used ones in Portland in the $4200 to $4500 range. I will do a more thorough search. If anyone knows anything about them I am all ears.

RJE58 suggested an SV650...thanks for the suggestion. I had one two bikes ago, and there is a lot to like there. In the end it became troublesome, the gears did not shift cleanly and it became very distracting. Granted, it was a 2004, so a lot has changed since then. Maybe they are much better now?

Looking into the SV took me down a whole other path...small sport bikes. TBH, if I was to get a sport bike, I like the idea of a little one if it isn't SO SMALL that I can't ride it. I have read that R3's are okay for tall guys. They also come with ABS these days, and the dealer with the SCR also has new 2017 R3's for $3999. That would be right up there at the top of my list if it had an upright seating position. I'm not really interested in leaning over the whole way like I did with my SV, even though it was still a lot of fun. Other possibilities are a GSX250R, Ninja 400 ABS, and a Versys X300. I suppose I should go sit on them huh? Haha.

I was surprised at the lack of small standards, or standards in general. I guess the world of motorcycles has shifted away from them.

I'm kind of kicking myself now for letting my endorsement go. I bought a gun a few months ago and I had to go change the address on my driver's license in order to do so. They asked if I would like to renew the license through 2020 while I was at it. If you're like me, any chance to avoid the DOL office for the next three years is a win. While I was there they asked if I wanted to renew my endorsement for an extra $45 and I thought about it, but passed. Now it looks like I have classes in my future. Poopy.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Thanks Calculon. I looked online at both and there is a lot to like about both of them. But I sould have stated that my $7000 budget is out the door with tax, and probably gear as well. Trina isn't working right now and I'm not trying to break the bank. So I guess I am really looking at bikes more in the $5000 and below range.
 

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The third gen Rebel I mentioned earlier is definitely a small standard. 300 or 500 and they're pretty well reviewed. :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Yeah, sorry I meant to mention that...I appreciate the suggestion but they just look more like a small Harley to me. Not my cup of tea. I definitely lean more towards the sport bike style. Although I do love the scrambler look. The more I think about it, the more I am thinking of going to look at the SR400 at that dealer.
 

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Have you considered a BMW such as this G 310 R? BMW's are known to be for tall riders and I'm stuck with the commute part of your requirement. This would be a good commute bike and in your dollar range except for the nasty tax and license thing.
 

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Welcome back Scott. Can't help you with a choice of bikes but can welcome you back :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
So it appears that the bike I am most interested in, the Yamaha SR400, is either highly sought after, or a complete piece of ****. I can't find one anywhere, whether it be new or used. I had seen one at a dealer nearby on Thursday, and it is gone now. I'm guessing with the trend of small urban bikes, it is a hot seller. It can't be because of mechanical failure. They have been making the same bike, unchanged save for fuel injection, since 1978.
 

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The dealer near me didn't sell their SR400 for over two years. At $6,000, it seems kind of expensive for what you get and it's kickstart only, but does look nice. You could probably find a TU250x for a lot less and it's close to what the SR will get you.

If you're willing to consider the G310R, the CB300F might be worth a look. It offers fairly similar specs. If you're looking for a deal, the Honda has been selling a while longer. There's a few dealers around here offering them with ABS sub $4,000.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
The dealer near me didn't sell their SR400 for over two years. At $6,000, it seems kind of expensive for what you get and it's kickstart only, but does look nice. You could probably find a TU250x for a lot less and it's close to what the SR will get you.

If you're willing to consider the G310R, the CB300F might be worth a look. It offers fairly similar specs. If you're looking for a deal, the Honda has been selling a while longer. There's a few dealers around here offering them with ABS sub $4,000.
Thanks Calculon, it seems weird to me. At first glance the price tag does seem high, and every review I have read says that same thing...that it's not a lot of bike for the money. That being said, they are really cool looking, simple, and the kickstart is very nostalgic. TBH that is one of the things about it that I love the most!

The more I think about it, the more I think it is the one.


That being said, I found out at work yesterday that I may not lose my parking privileges after all. Or maybe not right away. Several people said they are surprised that I have the rights that I have now, to be able to park my truck in the garage at 10am every day. I will find out next Friday. That is the day they tighten the restrictions. Either my badge will open the gate or it won't If it does, I will stick with driving my truck and start saving for a bike. Almost certainly I will need to make the switch at some point. It would be easier to deal with if I can stack away the money for the bike beforehand though.
 
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