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Old 06-29-2006, 02:47 AM   #31
robb_millett
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Default Re: What's the Best Bike for Commuting?

Perhaps. as far as the cost of gear, it isn't realy necessary to spend the thousands on riding suits and gloves suggested here. though those are specifically designed, suitable riding gear that performs satisfactorlily can be had by careful shopping in sporting goods and outdoor clothing stores.



See, some of us simply can't afford $1000 for a riding suit...and $200 gloves? are you kidding?



there are a couple things a rider CAN'T cheap out on - A good helmet, and a good rainsuit - but everything else, if shopped for and chosen carefully, can be had for far less money than the motorcycle-specific clothing.



Here in a state, surrounded by other states, where lane splitting is illegal, the width of a bike is unimportant.
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Old 06-29-2006, 03:07 AM   #32
KLRer
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Default Re: What's the Best Bike for Commuting?

Another important factor in a commuting bike is visibility. Two ways: your ability to see other traffic up the road and your visibility to other traffic, so they dont run into you. Both are best achieved on a bike with a high seat, that would be dual purpose or adventure bikes for the most part.



I think an ideal commuter, if you don't need to go 80 mph, would be a 250 dual purpose, like........help me out here. My favorites the Kawasaki Super Sherpa 250 but its not offered in the U.S. anymore. Maybe the Suzuki 400 SM or 400 SE too. Actually, that might be the very best choice. I'd suggest the KLR 650 but gas mileage isnt as good as the smaller options.



Oh, as to 80 mph, in many areas of the country you're dreaming anyway if you think youre going to do 80 on the way to work. More likely 15.
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Old 06-29-2006, 03:22 AM   #33
bobo69
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Default Re: What's the Best Bike for Commuting?

NINJA 500 cheap reliable and 60-70 mpg good for some weekend riding and enough power to get you out of trouble and not enough to get you into trouble. i love commuting on mine.
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Old 06-29-2006, 03:35 AM   #34
msilverstein
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Default Re: What's the Best Bike for Commuting?

I ride a Kawasaki KLR650 and find it to be nearly ideal for commuting. It is comfortable, inexpensive, reliable, light, agile, has long suspension that soaks up any potholes, has a 250+ mile range on 50+ mpg so I don't have to waste time pumping gas, gives a great view over traffic, laughs at bad weather, has a built in rack, and looks great dirty so I don't have to waste time washing it. This is truly the ultimate commuter bike.
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Old 06-29-2006, 03:42 AM   #35
msilverstein
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Default Re: What's the Best Bike for Commuting?

I frequently ride in the rain and have never gotten even slightly wet. I use waterproof, padded FirstGear HT overpants are on sale at newenough.com for around $120 and slip right over slacks. I bought a $12 rain jacket at Home Depot that I throw over my $100 armored textile jacket when it rains. $169 Oxtar Matrix boots keep my feet dry in any storm and I can even wear them around the office without looking like an alien.
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Old 06-29-2006, 03:52 AM   #36
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Default Re: What's the Best Bike for Commuting?

I ride a Ninja 250 to work and it gets around 70 MPG. Throw on a backpack and you have some storage space .
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Old 06-29-2006, 03:59 AM   #37
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Default Re: What's the Best Bike for Commuting?

The best bike for commuting, IMO, doesn't exist in the US.



Take a look at Europe and you will find a ton of small displacement, wide-handlebar, lower seat height bikes that get excellent mileage. I drool over KTM's Duke II (and its upcoming replacement), the Yamaha MX-03, the MZ Baghira, Aprilia Pegaso, etc. but none of those 'supermotos' seem to make it to the US or show up in such tiny numbers when they do. All of them have real world performance (40-50hp, 40-50 lbs. ft of torque and < 400 lb. weight) and a riding position that will be all day comfortable.



The only bike like this that the US gets was the BMW F650CS, which is now discontinued. Shy of those missing commuters, the best recommendations I can come up with are: Suzuki DL650, BMW F650GS or a big scooter.
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Old 06-29-2006, 04:22 AM   #38
mheyer
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Default Re: What's the Best Bike for Commuting?

While everyone here obviously thinks that there approach is best (hence why they have chosen that route), I think it is best to actually address the question. For starters, a lot of people have posted about grabbing a small bike and "throw on a backpack for storage". The originaly question plainly states that he is looking for space for a laptop and/or briefcase, some clothing alternatives, and room for a bag or two of groceries. Unless this backpack is a backcountry pack, that's not going to cut it.

I think that the reference to MO's latest "It ain't the tool" is a good starting point. The ease of use of the motorcycle, real world driveability, and the such are good points.

Now each of us may lean more towards a sportier or less so seating position, but in general high, rearset pegs, and low clipons aren't great for commuting. I know - I have a 2002 GSX-R 750 that I ride all day, but at the track. And I while I am very used to the bike, it is isn't my preference for riding on the public roads. The power comes on at high rpm's, and the aforementioned seating position is less than great. Plus the storage issue.

The adventure tourers in general make great commuters. Most have engines that are very strong and useable, a nice comfortable seating position, a high seating position for good visibility, wide bars for decent leverage to move the bike around, and most have luggage options. So a Triumph Tiger, BMW GS, Suzuki V-Strom, etc would be great for commuting.

Want a little sportier, go with a Yamaha FJR or Triumph ST with bar risers. Cruisers and large tourers tend to be a lot of weight and less nimble at low speeds, and bigger for tight traffic.

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Old 06-29-2006, 04:35 AM   #39
mastercylinder
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Default Re: What's the Best Bike for Commuting?

I have an F4i (35MPG) and A Honda Civic (40MPG)... guess whats cheaper to commute in?



Some bikes are pricy when you factor in a set of tires at 10,000 km, chain/sprockets at 20,000km etc... compare that to a car.



(I love my bike, but you have to take a look at the whole picture when it comes to costs)
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Old 06-29-2006, 04:51 AM   #40
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Default Re: What's the Best Bike for Commuting?

Except for the tires (they wear out way to quick), I have had really good service out of my 2004 XB12S Buell.



I get 50 MPG even pushing hard 80 - 90 plus and 53 - 55 MPG if I back off even just a little. Heck, I even got 42 MPG at the race track!!



Bike has been very reliable, I can see over traffic, it's very narrow for splitting through traffic, no chain to lube, no valves to adjust.



You might get laughed at once in awhile by the unknowing idiot next to you at a light in their old Vette or Mustang... until the light turns green!



But, other then that, it's been good.



The cheapest bike I ever had to commute on was a 2001 Kawasaki 250 Ninja, the bike seemed to never wear out tires or chains, and I got an easy 70 MPG normally and even 75 to 80 if you took it easy. Just one thing, it's way down on power, especially as you approach 80 MPH. I had it to 105 one time, but that was down hill and all she would do.

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