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Looking for suggestions - I'll be buying a bike after not having ridden for 30+ years. Owned a Kawasaki 750 LTD over 30 years ago. Rode it everywhere while in the military. The bike will be mainly a commuter bike - most I'll have for luggage is a backpack.

-Want to buy used mainly for budget reasons - $3500 at most
-90% of commute is 70mph toll road
-Not partial to make, but not looking for a cafe racer - I have no illusions of Isle of Man.
-6 feet tall, 200 lbs
-Thinking cruiser or general purpose - I've thought about dual sport as I can see some weekend gravel rides
-Sat on a couple gently used bikes in last few months - one a Virago and the other a Vulcan - both comfortable, but I didn't ride them

Thanks in advance for the input! Safe riding, y'all!
 

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I had a Triumph Bonneville that I loved. You can pick up the 865 cc T100 in your price range I think. Great bike. Good for returning riders, experienced riders. You won't out grow it.

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I ride a 900 Vulcan and really enjoy it. Very comfortable for me(5' 9") and plenty enough torque for the highway. I've seen nice ones in the 2008- 2010 vintage for sale in your price range.

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I have owned both a Virago and a Vulcan both were great bikes. My Virago was a long time ago it was an 82' which was the first year it came out it was a great bike I hated the starter it died twice and always sounded like something was wrong with it but the dealer said that was normal it was a great riding bike for as long as I owned it. I sold it to my father who enjoyed it for several years and gave it back to me I sold it again to a friend who had it for years heck it may still be on the road for all I know.
I had a 90 Vulcan 1500 which I loved very comfortable the only thing I wish it had was a 5th gear! I found myself always trying to up shift into a gear that didn't exist other then that it was a fun bike. Keep in mind these bikes were years ago and most likely changes have been made for the better! I would have to imaging both would be great options these days.
If you want to consider a touring bike I love my current Honda Valkyrie 1500 I do wish I had the money for a newer bike with fuel injection and anti locking brakes but until then I love riding my current bike!
 

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First thank you for your service. You are going to need 800+ cc to ride a 70mph highway. Traffic is going to be going a lot faster than that. I don't know what traffic is like in North Texas but around here you don't want to get on a highway until you have a couple of thousand miles back under your belt.

Make the local dealers your friends and sit on everything they have in the shop finding the bikes that fit you best. Then start shopping for your bike.
 

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I picked up a 03 Victory Classic Cruiser for 3k after a 25+ year break. I too rode in the military, Yamaha and a Kawasaki both 650’s. I took a motorcycle safety course offered by my local Harley dealer for $100 (active/retired military) it helped me get reacquainted with motorcycles again. The Vic rides great no problems, except for a broken clutch cable no issues so far. Victory’s are good running machines but with Victory no longer manufacturied the brand parts might be an issue at some point.
 

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I ride a 900 Vulcan and really enjoy it. Very comfortable for me(5' 9") and plenty enough torque for the highway. I've seen nice ones in the 2008- 2010 vintage for sale in your price range.

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I had one of these as well. Nice bike. I found the seat impossible to live with but an Airhawk pad fixed that. It's a bit high reving on the highway but liveable. Good all around bike.

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I picked up a 03 Victory Classic Cruiser for 3k after a 25+ year break. I too rode in the military, Yamaha and a Kawasaki both 650’s. I took a motorcycle safety course offered by my local Harley dealer for $100 (active/retired military) it helped me get reacquainted with motorcycles again. The Vic rides great no problems, except for a broken clutch cable no issues so far. Victory’s are good running machines but with Victory no longer manufacturied the brand parts might be an issue at some point.
It's amazing how cheap you can pick up Victory's right now and they're really nice machines. Since they're a Polaris company I bet they keep parts going as long as there are buyers for them. The have to by law for 7 years as well.

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I was in a very similar situation as you.....30 years absence and looking for something to commute with when the weathers ok. My commute includes about 30 miles on an interstate type of highway. Traffic is typically moderate, but can build up from time to time.

This past March I picked up a 2006 Honda Shadow Aero 750. I cruise with it at 75mph and it has enough umph to maintain, but it's a happier machine below 60. Had it wide open for a few miles and maxed out around 100. It's a smaller frame, I'm 5'7" and I think my 5'nothing wife would be comfortable on it as well.

Was really interested in the Vulcans, but never did get a chance to ride one.

Some good advice here take the MSF course and get some time under your belt before you get on the highway. I had plenty of time on the dirt and some on the street in my background, but can say that the course was a good choice. And yes thank you for your service.
 

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Welcome from Seattle :)

+1 for the Triumph. I recently bought a Scrambler and I love it. It's easy to ride, very smooth and fun. It has this sort of "I'll see you when I get there" feel to it that I absolutely love. It's not a bike that you want to do 100 on, but 70 or 80 would be very comfy. That being said, I think the Bonneville is probably better for the highway than my Scrambler, as the Scrambler has knobby tires. Bonnevilles are also more abundant and less expensive. My Scrambler was $4800. I was seeing Bonnies in the $3500 range all the time, and from my understanding, they are cheaper in other areas of the country than here.
 

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First thank you for your service. You are going to need 800+ cc to ride a 70mph highway. Traffic is going to be going a lot faster than that. I don't know what traffic is like in North Texas but around here you don't want to get on a highway until you have a couple of thousand miles back under your belt.

Make the local dealers your friends and sit on everything they have in the shop finding the bikes that fit you best. Then start shopping for your bike.
I need to disagree with the sentiment that you need significant displacement, as my '83 Honda CB650 cruised at 110, my '87 Honda Shadow 1100 about the same, my '99 Shadow 750 was happiest at 95, Piaggio MP# 400 single 93 (riding 2 -up!), and my current Suzuki Burgman 650 at 105. All of these did so smoothly with aplomb.
 

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Like you, I started motorcycling again after a too long absence and love it! I have a 1995 Honda ST1100 with 147K on it now. I bought it 21K ago and have taken a couple of long trips on it. It is a great road and highway machine. I paid $1400 for it. There have been a few problems but nothing insurmountable. The one thing that I don't like about it is that it is heavy although it handles exceptionally well and is quite fast. I am 6' and weigh 235. I can flat-foot easily. You can frequently find ST110s and ST1300s in your general price range. It is not an off-road machine.

If you want to do some off-road riding, I agree with the people that recommend the Triumph. It should be a good all around motorcycle. I found the Ducati Scrambler to be a nice size and very comfortable but did not test ride it. Some, like the Honda Africa and larger BMWs would be too tall for me to handle easily around town. The Royal Enfield Himalayan looks interesting. It is a single cylinder about 400 cc but only costs about $4500 new.

Best of luck. Have fun. Ride safe.
 

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Ride a Suzuki Boulevard C50 or C90...nice bikes...the C50 will do Highway easy, the C90 does it with tons of power to spare...my C90 will do 55 in 3rd gear without complaining the least bit; 55 in 4th gear, up hill and it bogs...

Ran across one on Craigslist a while back...2005 for $3500 with 11k miles and 1 owner...sure more deals like that are out there.
 

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How about a Suzuki M-90 a good looking cruiser with a 1462 c.c. engine and weighs in at 723 lbs's
They do have a similar bike M-50 with an 805 c.c. engine and weighs in at 593 pounds curb weight,
maybe as long as it is near a curb? LOL, or maybe it means ready to ride with all fluids and full tank
of gas.
 
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