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Cheapest Most Reliable Bike?

Discussion in 'Motorcycle Talk' started by cbzdel, Aug 1, 2012.

  1. I know cheap and reliable do not go together. But I want to get back into riding. 5 years ago I bought my first motorcycle, and then sold my SUV and only rode a motorcycle for 4 years, plus the wife had her car. I decided I needed a reliable truck for a new job I got so I sold the bike and used it as a down payment on a new truck, so I have been bikeless for almost a year now. I do not have the cash for a new bike and I do not want to fiance one.. So I have been debating on what I should look into, I am not to pickey, other than I dont want it to be an eyesore..

    I used to own a Yamaha 600 sport bike, but I am not to picky, I am even getting more intersted into cruiser style bikes but I do not know anything about those.. I am not to worried about engine size, but I am 6' tall and 190lbs..

    Also I plus would be a rear seat so that wife can tag along.

    So if I was to say, cant I get anything reliable, decent looking, and street legal in the 1k to 2k range what would you tell me to look at?
  2. Last edited: Aug 1, 2012

  3. My last bike was a 97 Kawasaki Vulcan 800. It was super reliable and easy to work on. I paid just over 2k for it. You should be able to pick up one a few years newer around the same price. The Yamaha V star's are nice reliable bikes too. I believe the 1100's had oil filters that were a pain in the arse to get to, but still good bikes.
  4. That's a bit of a rhetorical question. Any Japanese bike in that price range if well maintained. The CBR F1 would be similar to (I assume) your FZR 600, and they last forever. 60K+ on mine when I sold it, and it had been raced, crashed, etc. I pulled my Kawi out of basically a junk heap and use it everyday with little maintenance needed.

    Beemers not so much.
    Last edited: Aug 1, 2012
  5. 'Sport bike' esque - YZF-600R, SV650, Nighthawk, Ninja 500, . . .

    'Cruiser' esque - V-Star, VS800, VF750C Magna, Vulcan, . . .

    The $1K is a bit low, but for $2K there is better selection.

    Check PNWRiders/Classified.

    There is a VL800 in Central - CHEAP
    (shameless 'bump' for a friend)

    I have a '88 Ninja 500, and a '92 VX800 in that price range
    that I purchased over the past years so deals are out there.
  6. Your best bet is to wait until dec/jan when prices hit rock bottom and won't start climbing until feb/march. This also gives you more time to build up a savings and really opens up the market for you.
  7. Being a cruiser guy myself....

    The suzuki, honda, yahama lines are all good bikes, and cheap.

    If you want to ride 2 up, I would recommend a MINIMUM of 800.

    The boulevard and V-stars have a little more room for passengers.

    I would personally recommend the Yamaha V-star 1100. You can get a GOOD one for 2500-3000 used. it's still got a Carb, but if you ride regularly its not a big deal. The Oil filter is a little more time, and a little messier than a 'normal' bike (You have to remove a couple covers to get to it). But they are excellent bikes, and fairly common. They get around 37-45 mpg (intown/highway)

    I LOVE my Intruder, but its not the greatest for any distance with 2 riders.

    I don't have loads of personal experience on the Honda Shadows (which are cheap) but I've ridden a couple solo and it was a great ride. I don't know how these handle with a passenger.

    Check out craigslist, TONS of them out this time of year.
  8. I bought my 99 nighthawk 6 years ago for $1500 it had 25K on the odometer. I have changed oil, chain, tires brakes etc... bike now has 81K on the odometer. Beside regular maintenance I have done nothing mechanical to the bike. Starts everytime and get 45-50MPG on the highway. Very, Very dependable and cheap. Seen lots of the CB750 Nighthawks for 1500-2000.
  9. Any early 80s UJM that's had its charging system sorted would be great for you if you're looking to stray from sport bikes. GS1000 shaft drive? Heck yes.
    cal_look_zero likes this.
  10. I loved my 82 XJ1100 Maxim fun fun
  11. Dang it. Now I want another UJM!
  12. Every KLR I see on the road looks about 15 years old. Not sure if super reliable, or dated looks. Probably both.
  13. Werd. I'd pass on the Ninja 500, but the others are the bomb. You can still find brand new left over YZF-600's for around 3k. There are three of them on the BI ferry every day....
  14. The 80's Honda V65 Magna's were pretty sweet too. Fast and reliable, and can be had for around 2k.
  15. Because it wasn't nearly as popular in the U.S. as in Europe, the first generation ('03 to '06) Kawasaki Z1000 can be found with low miles pretty darn cheap...I see plenty of 'em for between $3300-4500 with anywhere from 6k to 20K+ miles.

    I just turned over 70,000 on my '03 and it runs like a top. Of all the basic regular maintenance, so far although it's been checked regularly, it's only required 1 valve adjustment in all of those miles. Hell, even the stock battery lasted for EIGHT years (I bought the bike new).

    I don't think you'll find a better bike for the money along with stellar reliability.
    Another guy on the forum who helped us with servicing it & checking the valves rides an '05 and his has nearly 80K on it! Here it is during a stop, riding back from Laguna Seca in 2006:

  16. Goldwing.

    I'm just sayin, there cheap enough and there built like a tank.
  17. Cheap bikes can be found. Try hanging around tatoo parlors. Friend of mine was in one yesterday and if he had cash around could have picked up an old GS1100 rebuild in pieces for $300, and two triumph 750's for $500. I ride an old CB500 I bought 7 years ago for $350 and put $300 into for chain, sprockets, and tires, with only a bit of cleaning up the pionts plate to get spark and some Sea Foam in the tank to clean out the carbs. Still runs reliably after 7 years..althought it is way overdue for some new points! I also just picked up a stripped down KZ100 for $300, gonna chop it but it came with all the removed plastics and fairing, got it home and hooked up abattery and added gas....runs so sweet. So yah...if you don't mind a bit of work, and you keep talking and listening, cheap and reliable bikes are DEFINATELY out there.
    Last edited: Aug 2, 2012
  18. Add the Suzuki GS500 or 500F to that mix. Like the SV, they've been around forever, bulletproof motor, easy to get parts, and even new, they don't cost much more than a new Ninjette.
  19. schwinn :)

    Very cheap, very reliable.
  20. My sister's old Huffy is in the garage. It is mostly pink with some unicorn stickers and rainbow tassels. Has relatively new white tires and has had regular chain maintenance. $10 obo.
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