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Cheap, naked, funky, ~500c commuter?

Discussion in 'Bike Reviews, Questions and Suggestions' started by bugeater, Sep 30, 2007.

  1. The Blackbird is a big bike for the city. It drinks petrol and is expensive. I love it, but I'm considering the possibility of a second bike for commuting.

    But what? I want it to be reasonably cheap and durable. Relatively narrow (for lane splitting). I don't want it as underpowered as a 250, so about a 500 or 600cc would be about right. I would want it to be unfaired, since fairings just add to the cost, particularly in an accident.

    I do want it to be kind of cool though. I'm thinking cafe racer-like. But what bikes fit this sort of description these days or in the not so distant past?

    Absolute max cost about $5k (second hand of course), but preferably less.

    Any ideas?

  2. you're very vague on the criteria there, so any replies are only going to be personal preference.

    In your situation, I'd get a 600 trailbike.

    Does everything you describe perfectly. Great as urban machines.
  3. Well I didn't think it was too vague. If I was more specific I wouldn't need to ask for help would I? :LOL:

    Naked, not cruiser/harley style, not off-road/trailbike. ie. cafe racer-like.

    Maybe something that might be called "street-fighter" these days (and a term that originated with the original cafe racers). Something in the general space of the ER-5 or Hornet I suppose. Something that looks similar to the "traditional" (think British) motorcycle.
  4. Except for the image that you're after, a motard is perfect. Nearly all crashes result in $0 damage. Great for splitting. Basically everything you mentioned. Commuters in this class include the DRZ400sm, KTM 625/640, Husky 610 etc.
  5. I was thinking about the motards and have looked at a few. I don't find them to be particularly attractive bikes, but they seem very practical.
  6. Awsome city slicer. Get a Honda CB900 Hornet.

    Great for filtering, plus has 120 hp on tap :shock:
  7. Er5, gs500e, er6n, sv650. Or a cbr600 (could streetfighter it if you like), hornet, z750, zzr600, fzr600, etc.
  8. Kawasaki W650....
    But they are as rare as hens teeth in Australia. And probably cost as much.

    Yeah the closest common models to what I'm thinking of are probably the ERs, SVs and Hornets.
  9. Have a look at a Kawasaki Zephyr, there is a 750 and something smaller, a 550 I think,

    I think they would suit your needs
  10. Now we are talking real bikes... :grin: I would love one of these.
  11. +1 to above and only 15kgs heavier than the 600 and very similar size.

    The hoses are great for the escapes :cool:

  12. Yeah, light, light on fuel, electric start and only $8,000....
  13. Sounds like exactly what I've been trying to find (without much like so far :(). Unfortunately most of the options are getting to be fairly old so may actually cost more to run than the Blackbird, especially if you get a dud one. Some of the options I can think of (and have looked at myself) are:


    Bros 400/650
    Revere 650


    Bandit 400

    W650 (unlikely you'd get one under 5k though)

    Problem is a lot of bikes on that list are either 20+ years old or a 20+ year old design. So even though I can understand why you'd want to avoid 250s I wouldn't rule them out entirely as a cheap commuter. After all something like a VTR or especially a 250 Bandit/Hornet would probably be a lot quicker than some of the bikes I listed above - and would probably cost less to run too (simply because they're more common).
  14. Your list pretty much contains all the bikes I've been looking at. Unfortunately few of them seem to be available in any significant quantities. Its a shame they never imported many W650s.

    On the 250 front - I commuted on one for 13 years. So I've kind of had my fill. A little bit more power/torque would also be nice, though admittedly some of those older 500/600s probably have less :grin: But at least they will have more style to compensate. There is also the thrashing a 250 is likely to have suffered from the boy racer that owned it last.....
  15. Repeat after me; Royal Enfield, Royal Enfield......
  16. Yep that's what I've been noticing. And any that do appear in half decent condition tend to sell extremely quick (not to mention all those that have migrated across the border into LAMS territory).
    I think part of the problem lies in the fact that they never sold many new to begin with - given that most Aussie riders consider such bikes as learner or ladies bikes only (as they spend the weekend polishing their GSXR and trying to remove the chicken strips with a sander :LOL:).
    I posted this pic of the CB400SS in another thread - sounds like exactly what you're after, unfortunately stupid Honda don't sell it here (new price is the same as a VTR250). Same goes for Yamaha and their current SR400 :mad:

    Oh and you could also add the Sachs 650 to that list - may still be some demo models around for not much more than 5k (it's a Suzuki engine).
  17. How about a cb400/4? Gutsy enough, naked enough and i hear there are plenty of people that caferacer them.

    If not, i would say the Royal Enfield. Twice as much torque as the 250's but less HP. More pull, but will be geared wider because of the lack of a decent rpm range.
  18. Have you ridden a Royal Enfield? The Bullet does not cruise nicely at 100km/h it rev's too high. My FZR250 kills my brothers Bullet 500 in every way. If you get a Royal Enfield all you will be able to do is put put around. I would not recommend the Royal Enfield as an everyday reliable commuter. Service intervals for the Classic is 3000 kms and the quality of the metals is not so good. The Electra is the Enfield to get but looses the classic looks.

    Get the Royal Enfield if you want a classic bike but be prepared to get your hands dirty when things fail as its 50-60's technology.