Motorcycle as primary transportation? [Archive] - Glock Talk

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DeadSteam
06-12-2007, 11:04
Hello, I am about to move to Arizona, Phoenix. I have wanted a motorcycle my whole life. Recently My car broke down and it was unrepairable, right now I share a car with my girlfriend(were moving together). I am in the market for a new vehicle and I am strongly considering a motorcycle as my only vehicle. I have never ridden one on the streets, but I have ridden them as dirtbikes since I was a kid. I am basicly wondering if anyone here owns a motorcycle only, and any potential problems that come along with it. along with that I have no idea what I'm looking for in terms of a motorcycle itself so I wonder if yall had any advice for a (potential) first time buyer, hoping to stay on a low budget... no 15K bikes for example..

fnfalman
06-12-2007, 11:15
The Europeans have been using motorcycles as primary mode of transportation for who knows how long. Once upon a time it was like that in the USA too.

If you're going to use a bike as a primary means of travel then get one that has panniers (hard bag/container) available right from the get-go and save you the hassle of fitting aftermarket stuff to it.

If price is a concern then the Suzuki V-Strom is probably ideal: easy sit-up position, V-twin for friendly power curve for round-town riding, factory pannier system.

The problem with motorcycles only are:

1. Limited storage space - you can't go to Cosco and shop for the whole month's worth of grocery.

2. You're open to the elements - since that there's little rain in Phoenix and the winters are mild, that's cool. But summer and fall are brutal. Can you do it? Yes. Will it be fun? Probably not. It sucks especially since that you can't split lane legally and crawling with jammed traffic when the temp is hovering around 120-F isn't fun.

Powder Monkey
06-12-2007, 12:48
Been there. Done that. Spent nearly 10 years with a motorcycle as sole source of transportation, commuting 80 miles per day, 5 days per week on it (in/out of DC). Not having an automobile, it wasn't a pleasant time for me. Many business suits destroyed by sudden downpours. Arthritic fingers, knees, and toes are paying the price for years of winter riding. January – March is when you really find out how much you enjoy full-time riding. Only about two weeks total out of the year I couldn't ride because of ice/snow on the highways. Other than that, I had to be out there. As for hauling stuff, fuggetabouddit.

At least twice per month, some psycho at the wheel of a car who didn't like bikers would try run me off the road. One incident was clearly an attempted, cold-blooded murder (absolutely no doubt about it) just because he thought he could get away with it. Anger/road rage was not a factor.

Commuting on a motorcycle is statistically the most dangerous activity you can engage in. Forget everything you learned dirt riding. I’ve done dirt and street. They’re two entirely separate disciplines. Train up on street riding through a professional course of instruction or pair up with an experienced street rider.

As for choice of bike: big, loud, and agile is the safer way to go in street bikes. If they (cars) have any trouble seeing or hearing you, you're road kill waiting to happen. And don’t be shy about using that bike’s full potential to “be there and gone” before anyone knows there’s been a near-collision. That’s a bike’s principal advantage in street survival.

And…remember there’s only three kinds of street riders: those that have been down, those that are going down, and those that are going down again. Savy?

NotAMonte86
06-12-2007, 22:43
Yup, they've already been mentioned: weather and ability to carry stuff.

As you ride through the hot months, sitting in traffic as both you and the bike overheat. Rain is also terrible. Even if it's a little sprinkle, your clothes will be soaked in minutes.

I've never had any storage compartments on my bikes, because I don't like the look. When I have to carry stuff, I just drop it in my jacket (fast food runs for multiple people, paperwork, etc). If it won't fit in the jacket, I would have to use the car (such as the grocery store). But even if I had saddlebags, that wouldn't help for the big stuff, such as groceries.

What will you do if the bike breaks down, or needs to sit overnight for a valve adjustment (at the dealership or in your garage)? Riding a bike is FUN, but if I was forced to do it daily, it would become a chore and I would most likely start to dislike it (happened to a friend of mine). That would suck if that happened to you.

HollowHead
06-12-2007, 23:04
Between '86 and '94 I lived in lower Manhattan and only owned a bike since I couldn't afford to park a car. Leave early so you have time to clean the bugs off your tie. HH

Rikki
06-13-2007, 06:05
"Forget everything you learned dirt riding. I’ve done dirt and street. They’re two entirely separate disciplines."

I'll politely disagree with that part of your reply,:) I believe dirt riding is an excellent place to start your motorcycle "life".
As to the possibility of just having a bike- I say buy a great bike and a beater car- late nite pizza runs are soooo bad on a bike.

fnfalman
06-13-2007, 10:19
I'll reiterate that for a place like Phoenix, it isn't bad to have a bike year round. No snow, very little rain. The only bad thing is getting stuck in traffic during the summer. But if you were to plan your route right, that may not be much of an issue.

You can buy riding gears that will go over your work outfit, even if you were to wear a suit at work. You can buy riding gears that accomodate summer heat.

NMGlocker
06-13-2007, 12:51
I rode a Kawasaki EX250 for 2 years as my only reliable transportation.
It all depends on your commute. Mine was mild West Texas weather and 40 miles of divided highway with little traffic. The 60+mpg I was getting more than made up for the 10-20 days a year the weather sucked.

freakshow10mm
06-16-2007, 21:07
Buy a nice motorcycle for $5-6K. Buy a beater Honda or Toyota 4cyl car for $1K. Or keep the GF's car and take the bus to work if weather is bad.

I wish I could ride year 'round.

Cryptoboy
06-19-2007, 00:15
Originally posted by Rikki
"Forget everything you learned dirt riding. I’ve done dirt and street. They’re two entirely separate disciplines."

I'll politely disagree with that part of your reply,:) I believe dirt riding is an excellent place to start your motorcycle "life".
As to the possibility of just having a bike- I say buy a great bike and a beater car- late nite pizza runs are soooo bad on a bike.

Excellent place to start - certainly! But it's still a completely type of riding, and you have to relearn how to ride on the street!

I live here in Phoenix, and summers are quite brutal for a daily commute, especially if you have business casual attire. When I wasn't working from home, I would ride in jeans/jacket, and carry my dress pants in my backpack/saddlebag, and swap out my jeans, as well as put on a non-sweaty undershirt! Not the most fun to do, but pretty much required when it's close to 100 degrees by 8am! The commutes aren't too bad, as most of the major interstates/highways have HOV lanes, which motorcycles can use. For the most part that helps you avoid stop and go traffic.

As far as using a motorcycle for your primary mode of transportation, keep in mind that if you're trying to do it to cut costs, it typically evens out, if not costs more to ride a motorcycle daily. Tires are typically replaced around 10k miles (as opposed to 50k miles typically), services are more expensive (although you can do them yourself, depending on the bike.) Gas can be cheaper, and mostly will be, depending on the bike you get of course!

As far as bikes to get, I personally ride a Harley Electra Glide, so I have lots of storage for my laptop, clothes, etc. I wouldn't recommend that for you necessarily though, I'd probably say a used Suzuki SV650 or something similiar (can you put hard bags on those?)