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Help me choose an economical daily commuter

Discussion in 'Bike Reviews, Questions and Suggestions' started by Kernel Sanders, Mar 9, 2008.

  1. In a nutshell, I'm 36 and having a mid-life crisis. I'm an Accountant and have had a gutful of working in an office. About to sign on as a Mature Aged Electrical Apprentice.

    Problem is that the Electricians are 50km away and I need to take a freeway (peak hour traffic) to get there. Wanting to sell my car and buy a bike (around $20K with Panniers, helmet & Wet Weather Gear) and zoom between cars. Tools are supplied on the job.

    I want a daily commuter that is cheap to service, servicing thats maybe at 10,000km intervals (oil change to be done at home at 5,000km), cheap on tyres. Must have panniers or at least a top box for Wet Weather gear and going to the gym before work. But must still look good and give me the thrill factor without going into the full on race bikes like CBR1000RR, GSXR's etc...

    Once I'm fully qualified, then I can buy a van and tools and work in my area.

    1st choice is a VFR800. However 6,000km servicing and VTEC that is expensive to service gives me gray hairs.

    Other choices are:

    So questions are:

    Whats cheap to service and maintain? Are there any bikes that have 10,000km service intervals?

    I am looking at the right bikes or should I be going more the basic ones like say a GS500?

    Tyres - how long do they last if I'm a sedate rider?

  2. Mate, firstly welcome to netrider.
    The simple truth is that while Motorcycles are cheaper to run, in terms of fuel, they are dearer than cars in most other ways.
    As an Accountant, you should be able to factor in the cost of specialized clothing, Tyres that wear out quicker, Chains and sprockets that wear out every 30-40,00 kms, and the list goes on.
    Bear in mind also, that Motorcycling is more addictive than Heroin, and you will soon see that your wallet will be better preserved, with the sensible purchase of one of those Korean Woo Hoo cars.
    Sorry if I have just broken your heart.
  3. The SV, CB, and FZ1 are all great bikes (I'm not much of a firestorm fan) and will deliver laughs as well as commuting practicality - with an emphasis on laughs. I think you're on the right track. The SV's a twin and gets less gas mileage than the others as a rule, but it's a hoot to ride. I reckon the FZ1 is the pick of that bunch.

    Road-biased tyres will last you 10-20k km if you play nice, but piffle to that. Get good tyres and ride hard, you're here for a good time not a long time.

    Do some test rides and get the one you feel most confident on! :)

    Edit: oh, and Roger is spot on. But the cheapness thing I figure is just something people use to convince their missus it's a sensible idea. Nobody really thinks bikes are cheap do they?
  4. Yeah Loz. Mugs do, or blokes that need to bullshit their missus to get one.
  5. First part makes me want to suggest a Harley :p

    What sort of license do you have?

    Do you need a litre bike to commute on? How about a 600/650 ? Bit cheaper to run.
  6. Unfortunately, thats what the missus will need to hear, 4L / 100km fuel consumption and "cheap as chips" to service.

    Will require Cashie jobs to pay for maintenance and hid it from the handbrake.
  7. Nah mate, I'm not having flashbacks to Wild Hogs :grin:

    Never liked the Harleys, each to their own but they aint for me.

    250 Lic. About to get the unrestricted. Been about 15 years since I've had a regular bike. I'm not concerned about riding a big bike, I'm quite sensible in my driving habits these days.

    Which 600's / 650's do you recommend with out going into the cutting edge such as CBR, GSX etc..?
  8. If you can live with a lower capacity bike, that'll generally be cheaper to run. Check out the ER-6, it's a cracker for a 650 and they're brand new for under 10 grand, less for s/h. Then there's the SV650, Hornet 600S... And all the nakeds, which in Perth would probably be a better call... GS500, Hornet 600, FZ6, etc etc.

    You can probably pick up a good secondhand bike for 5-6k if you go for something older, in which case there's gonna be cash left over for the other stuff. And believe me, you can have buckets of fun on pretty much ANY bike.

    And I don't know of much outside the scooter world that gets 4l/100km, but you tell her what she wants to hear and deal with it afterwards! :)
  9. Righto then, a decent 600 naked bike, something like a Hornet 600, would probably work for you.
  10. I can't believe Loz missed out the DL650. They can be had for $10k or under, maybe even on the road for that, depends on the dealer.
  11. The advantage of something like a DL650 is that they have narrower, cheaper to replace tyres and an upright riding position that suits city riding.

    Optional top box for carrying stuff and ABS is a steal at only about $500.

    It'd be my pick for a $10k bike :)
  12. Yeah DL's a brilliant bike, I'm a big fan - but he said it had to look good, and the Stroms have got faces like ruptured budgies. :)
  13. The Yammy FZ6 and FZ1 have service times which will save money. Minor at 10,000k and major including valves are a whopping 40,000km apart.
  14. If looks are unimportant, get yourself a BMW F800ST.

    At $18,500 ride away with OBC, ABS, Heated grips as standard and Panniers fitted.
    It's got ample power, is fairly smooth, gets 4.5L /100km its first service is around $100 and subsequent services (every 10,000) are around the mid $250 mark.

    So a search, there is a review of one on the site.
  15. 4L per 100 km? My Yamaha FZR250 gets 5.5-6.5L per 100 km so you don't have a hope on a 1000cc monster.
  16. That's because you're running 7000-9000rpm everywhere with
    a huge valve overlap angle, and being a FZR250 it's probably got
    worn over-rich carbs also...

    great fun to ride but there is more to fuel consumption than just
    sheer size of engine

  17. What I'm saying though is, if you think your going to get 4L per 100km on an SV1000 or FZ1 you are dreaming. Has he thought of a 250cc Scooter? I believe it would fit the requirements of being cheap to run, reliable and cheap to service?
  18. Go for a TTR250, VTR250 or something similar. Rego is next to nix, servicing can be done in half a day yourself, tyres are dirt cheap etc. Not to mention insurance and rego being virtually nothing.

    Then again, if you want something bigger, I'm with VIC. BMW's have great service intervals and generally last forever.

    Good on you for becoming a mature age apprentice. In 10 or so years time, cleared of debt and hopefully a little more established, i'd love to be a boilmaker or something like that.
  19. How about a street triple? They're pretty well priced, naked and a nice bike.

    11,990 + On road costs..

    same as the hornet, and much better.
  20. For the accesories you want I would go
    1. Triumph Sprint st
    2. Any old BMW tourer, the F800 is particularly good
    3. Kawasaki GTR1000

    Most modern bike reviews unfortunately neglect to mention service intervals, but I do remember the old XJR1300 being 10'000km's and the Suzuki GSX1400 not much worse. Big engines are the way to go for long mileage.

    I've got a mate who's an apprentice sparky. He has the GSXR750, but he would be unable to do his job without his old hilux, I would seriously consider buying a ute if you're going into a trade.