Abandoning 4 Wheels in L.A.?

Motorcycle.com Staff
by Motorcycle.com Staff
I'm a new subscriber and prospective rider, asking for suggestions.

How about replacing my car with a motorcycle, in order to spend less money in a year?

Home and job (12-minute street commute by car) are in the San Gabriel Valley. Friends are here, in West L.A. and in the San Fernando Valley.

I'd be a complete beginner to riding. I'd take the MSF course.

I've learned not to ride a bicycle on L.A. streets. Should I own a scooter for short trips and a motorcycle for long ones?

What's the minimum safe motorcycle for round trips between L.A. and Sacramento on I-5?

Thanks for your time.

Scooters are incredibly handy for those short jumps, and the smaller-engined ones can get up to 102 mpg -- see our infamous Scooter Smackdown. You need 250cc to legally ride on LA freeways (if memory serves, that is, and we were actually trying to verify this with the CA DMV last week to no avail) but our opinion is that you need at least a modern 500cc bike if you're going to ride on the 5 where cruising speeds are 80+ and you need to be able to get out of the way. Kawasaki's EX500 comes to mind as a great, cheap starter bike. Zillions of them out there used. If you want a new bike, Suzuki's SV650 is, by far, the prefered inexpensive bike these days.

As it only rains about 10 days total here, just get a rain/riding suit, and you're good to go, altougth, note that with the step-through design, you can ride many scooters in the rain without getting very wet by simply spraying Scotch Gaurd on your leather jacket the night before.

Good luck! --MO

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