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Author Topic: New Guy Questions  (Read 5660 times)

Will

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New Guy Questions
« on: September 16, 2007, 05:46:53 PM »
Hello to you all.  Please forgive me if I am asking questions in the wrong place.

There is a 2006 Enfield with electric start and military paint for sale locally, and I am considering it.  It has a 500cc motor and about 3,000 miles on it.  I am considering it as a potential daily commuter, and would probably put a good 8,000 to 10,000 miles on it every year.  It would live outside and never get put away, let alone put away wet.  The alternative is something a little less interesting like a DR650.  So here are my questions:

1.  Am I completely nuts in even considering it as a reliable daily commuter?

2.  How will its electrics stand up to being constantly rained on (I live in Seattle)?

3.  How long would it last with constant use?

4.  Is it up to the task of a roughly 10 mile freeway blast every day, including a bit of sitting in traffic on the way home?

I probably will have a lot more questions, but haven't thought of them yet.  Thanks for any information you can give me.  I figure if an Enfield can stand up to life in southern India, it will probably be OK in Seattle with the one issue being high speed (for a Bullet) running on a daily basis.

RagMan

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Re: New Guy Questions
« Reply #1 on: September 16, 2007, 06:25:59 PM »
I know Seattle very well and would not consider a Royal Enfield for freeway riding round there.. The bike is happier going slow, in an unhurried way, being treated well by a mechanically able person, and being looked after - they rust in the rain..  At least mine does.
aka Indiana Bulleteer.
''99 Classic Bullet. '05 Ural Tourist sidecar rig, converted to 2wd. '05 Harley Davidson Sportster.
Jefferson County, WA

Spitting Bull

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Re: New Guy Questions
« Reply #2 on: September 16, 2007, 06:49:39 PM »
I agree with IB - the Bullet won't like any of the conditions you have in mind for it.  At a comfortable speed (for the bike) it will be possibly dangerously slow for the freeway.  They don't like sitting in traffic for too long and making your way in slow-moving stop/start traffic will cause clutch drag in a very short time (measured in minutes and in single figures).  Leaving it out in all weathers will seal its fate.  Just my opinions, mind.

Tom
« Last Edit: September 16, 2007, 06:51:40 PM by Spitting Bull »
One cylinder is enough for anyone.

Will

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Re: New Guy Questions
« Reply #3 on: September 16, 2007, 07:29:59 PM »
This is exactly the kind of information I was looking for.  Thanks!  Would a big barrel/ alloy barrel help with freeway running, or is it just wishful thinking?

RagMan

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Re: New Guy Questions
« Reply #4 on: September 16, 2007, 08:05:31 PM »
There are great differences of opinion on that one. Personally, it is my belief that nothing you can do will make the Enfield into a constant freeway daily use, stay in the rain bike.  The bike is a 1950s design, built in India, where life is a lot different. To have a machine that will survive the uses that you indicate, you need a gas and go type machine, by a major manufacturer.

I would love to be able to convert you to the Royal Enfield life, but you would not be happy, unless you step out of the rat race, and come ride slowly with us.
aka Indiana Bulleteer.
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Jefferson County, WA

luoma

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Re: New Guy Questions
« Reply #5 on: September 16, 2007, 11:53:56 PM »
I could say that an Electra with a bigger front sprocket would easily handle 10 miles on the freeway, but that's not really the point. It sounds like you're looking for a bike purely as a means of transportation. You need an appliance bike that is just that, a means of transportation. We ride bikes like the RE becuase we genuinely love the viceral feel of a big single from yesteryear. Enfields are rugged if you love them, but the kind of neglect and abuse you are describing would bring a tear to m eye.

scoTTy

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Re: New Guy Questions
« Reply #6 on: September 17, 2007, 01:41:34 AM »
i had a 175 Honda in the learly 70's that fulfilled that bill.. but they don't me them anymore..everyonr wants to go fast.. well not everyone nemorE..

 

prof_stack

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Re: New Guy Questions
« Reply #7 on: September 18, 2007, 01:11:56 PM »
If you want a thumper and one that will do freeway miles and be reliable, consider the Buell Blast.  There are a couple on Criagslist in your (our) area right now.  I rode a 2000, the first model year, for 10k miles and rather enjoyed it.  After 2001 they had the kinks worked out.  Doesn't look as nice as an RE, though.  ymmv

RagMan

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Re: New Guy Questions
« Reply #8 on: September 18, 2007, 02:34:41 PM »
The Buell Blast is a nice bike, I bought one when I lived in Port Townsend -the only problem with it really was the size - it is very diminutive, I would get severe cramps riding it..  My 61 inch tall Lady was about the right size for it.
aka Indiana Bulleteer.
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Jefferson County, WA

Eamon

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Re: New Guy Questions
« Reply #9 on: September 18, 2007, 03:05:43 PM »
Just to present an alternate scenario here, is there a decent route for your commute that doesn't involve freeway riding?  The Bullet can handle commuting, just not with sustained freeway speeds.  If you have to cross Lake Washington, then I guess alternate routes are out of the question, but there are a fair amount of options for north/south commuting.

As far as being stored outside, what about simply keeping a ventilated rain cover on the bike?  Sure, rust will be more of an issue than a garaged bike, but not too bad if you cover it regularly and keep it clean.  Yeah, they make 'em in India these days, but they were originally British bikes and the climate there is not dissimilar to Seattle.

Eamon
Eamon in Seattle
2006 Bullet 500 Deluxe
http://www.sterlingloons.com

RagMan

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Re: New Guy Questions
« Reply #10 on: September 18, 2007, 03:40:08 PM »
I kept mine in one of those Costco fabric car shelters, when I lived in Washington - it kept it dry enough. 

Though the RE is a British design, the metal is not British, nor is the paint.  They rust pretty fast.  Mine was outside for two weeks this summer, and started rusting.
aka Indiana Bulleteer.
''99 Classic Bullet. '05 Ural Tourist sidecar rig, converted to 2wd. '05 Harley Davidson Sportster.
Jefferson County, WA

sixtysix

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Re: New Guy Questions
« Reply #11 on: September 18, 2007, 05:42:52 PM »
I too would love a Royal Enfield, but my current bike suits my requirements better, and may be ideal for your commuting style- a 2006 Triumph Bonneville.

TRider

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Re: New Guy Questions
« Reply #12 on: September 18, 2007, 06:17:59 PM »
A used BMW F650 GS or an older ST would make a fine ride, and its good for some types of off roading too.  A 1997 F650ST is a wonderful all around bike and you can find one on the net for around $3500.  These bikes are usually kept in great condition by their owners.   The Florida Orange in color bikes are by far the fastest. 
« Last Edit: September 18, 2007, 07:09:46 PM by TRider »

No. 5

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Re: New Guy Questions
« Reply #13 on: September 20, 2007, 03:50:50 AM »
I agree with TRider. I would add a dual purpose to the list. I think Kawasaki makes the best. Tough bikes that sit high and take a lot of abuse.  They're in that 650 range I think. Unfortunately, the only thing uglier than a sport bike is a dual sport bike. IMO ;)

RagMan

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Re: New Guy Questions
« Reply #14 on: September 20, 2007, 06:25:16 AM »
I hear you on the ugly thing..  I was talking myself into buying a BMW GSA until I saw one close up - that is one ugly bike.. Why don't any of the big companies make a motorcycle shaped like a motorcycle anymore? I have the Bullet, and an Ural that look like they should..
aka Indiana Bulleteer.
''99 Classic Bullet. '05 Ural Tourist sidecar rig, converted to 2wd. '05 Harley Davidson Sportster.
Jefferson County, WA

TRider

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Re: New Guy Questions
« Reply #15 on: September 20, 2007, 12:44:21 PM »
I hear you on the ugly thing..  I was talking myself into buying a BMW GSA until I saw one close up - that is one ugly bike.. Why don't any of the big companies make a motorcycle shaped like a motorcycle anymore? I have the Bullet, and an Ural that look like they should..

F650GS ugly?  No no no, no way no how.  What a difference of opinion.  Agree to disagree is fine with me.  Don't tell me this is not a beautiful bike!!!
Take a look!
Terry
PS:  I agree, the Bullet is the prettiest bike on earth, no contest.  But in the standard Enduro class, I think the 650 BMW ST and GS look the best.  One can travel anywhere on earth with these bikes.   My wife said my ST was so ugly it was beautiful.  Same thing her mama said about me in 1966.
« Last Edit: September 20, 2007, 02:16:07 PM by TRider »

No. 5

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Re: New Guy Questions
« Reply #16 on: September 20, 2007, 12:56:39 PM »
Sorry, that is an ugly bike. I checked. My wife says I'm right. ;)

TRider

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Re: New Guy Questions
« Reply #17 on: September 20, 2007, 01:33:20 PM »
Sorry, that is an ugly bike. I checked. My wife says I'm right. ;)

Ouch!!!  That hurts deep man.

Sam

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Re: New Guy Questions
« Reply #18 on: September 20, 2007, 02:05:40 PM »
Some years ago I commuted regularly on a dual-purpose bike, it was an ideal city bike. Bad pavement, no problem. Parking, no problem. Drop it, so what? And unlike a super-chromulated piece of garage jewelry, nobody steals a Honda XT; they don't even see it. If I were doing that today, I'd look for a Kawasaki KLR 650; that's about the toughest thing around, looks like a motorcycle (mostly), can be had cheap, and is relatively serviceable. Give it a flat-black paint job, and instant Mad Max attitude!

Another great all-'rounder is the previous generation Kawasaki Concours. Based on the Ninja 900 with an overbore and some plastic, they're dirt cheap to buy (you can get a really good one for less than $4000; probably much less), really tough, have the luggage capacity of a pack mule, are a relative snap to service, parts readily available, great user's group at Concours.org (Concours riders are cheapskates and know all the tricks), fast as hell and decent handling, good weather protection, and did I say cheap? Mine had 72,000 miles on it when I sold it. A great bike.

For the vintage look and sort-of experience without the pain, a Kawasaki (why so many from the big K?) W650, if you could find one, would be a stone gas. They feel more like a 60's Triumph than a 60's Triumph. They were extremely unpopular, so when they do surface, they seem to sell for sofa cushion change. Strip off the "Kawasaki" badges and tell everyone it's a restored factory special, with experimental bevel-drive overhead cams.

I think somebody said Sportster; a pre-04 solid-mount Sporty will still cost you a bundle; and contrary to popular belief, won't hold value all that well (those bikes listed in the paper at near new price all have thousands of dollars in accessories. Really. And they aren't selling, which is why they're listed in the paper week after week). A solid mount Sporty is still a pretty good bike, once the necessaries are added (a real seat, free up the breathing), and a lot of people get an 883 for the wife or as a "beginner" bike and end up selling it (relatively) cheap. It'll cost a good bit more, though (whatever you do, don't pay more than $5000, even if the guy throws in his girlfriend), plus which you automatically get membership in the Poseur's Club and will suddenly find yourself craving expensive black leather clothing and skull-motif accessories. In fact, buy my Sporty and I'll throw in expensive black clothing; no skulls, though.
<Insert cryptic saying by obscure author here>

RagMan

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Re: New Guy Questions
« Reply #19 on: September 20, 2007, 02:38:23 PM »
I am sorry, I did not make it clear, I was referring to the BMW R1200GSA - that is the bike I was talking myself into buying, and have now determined is one ugly bike.  I also have the backing of my wife in this determination too..  :) That iddy biddy little 650 is a nice looking bike, but not one I would ever have - BMW bikes are boxers.. :)
aka Indiana Bulleteer.
''99 Classic Bullet. '05 Ural Tourist sidecar rig, converted to 2wd. '05 Harley Davidson Sportster.
Jefferson County, WA

TRider

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Re: New Guy Questions
« Reply #20 on: September 20, 2007, 03:02:41 PM »
[wife in this determination too..  :) That iddy biddy little 650 is a nice looking bike, but not one I would ever have
[/quote]

I have you to know that "iddy biddy little 650" is not a small bike.  Small in CC maybe but not iddy biddy, but maybe iddy biddy compared to a Gold Wing, but certainly not iddy biddy compared to a Bullet.  110mph it will do.  Ha!

jdrouin

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Re: New Guy Questions
« Reply #21 on: September 20, 2007, 04:28:01 PM »
Thanks to Will for this topic.

I've been considering a Bullet Classic or Electra and, after finally taking a trip last weekend to the dealer in Oakdale, NY (very helpful!), am absolutely positive that the Classic is for me.

The only item of concern to me after reading the responses to Will's post is keeping the bike outdoors. I live in a Brooklyn apartment with no garage, so the bike will have to live outside.

I do have access to a garage (out of state) for Winter storage. But are there any covers particularly good at protecting from the elements and rust? Are there any recommended treatments that protect the bike without harming its appearance? Any experiences to share from NYC metro area riders?

If worse comes to worse I'd settle for a used F650 (same dimensions as the R12GS, actually, and fairly comfy for a 6' guy like me), but nothing moves me like the Bullet. Photos don't do it justice.

Thumper

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Re: New Guy Questions
« Reply #22 on: September 20, 2007, 05:46:14 PM »
Thanks to Will for this topic.

I've been considering a Bullet Classic or Electra and, after finally taking a trip last weekend to the dealer in Oakdale, NY (very helpful!), am absolutely positive that the Classic is for me.

The only item of concern to me after reading the responses to Will's post is keeping the bike outdoors. I live in a Brooklyn apartment with no garage, so the bike will have to live outside.

I do have access to a garage (out of state) for Winter storage. But are there any covers particularly good at protecting from the elements and rust? Are there any recommended treatments that protect the bike without harming its appearance? Any experiences to share from NYC metro area riders?

If worse comes to worse I'd settle for a used F650 (same dimensions as the R12GS, actually, and fairly comfy for a 6' guy like me), but nothing moves me like the Bullet. Photos don't do it justice.

I highly recommend the Covercraft XN103. I use two of them during 3 out of 4 seasons. The outer one catches the wear and tear (and UV damage) while the inner one does the final job of protecting the bike. During the winter I throw on my *very* old XN103 as a third outer layer.

The covers fit very well: not so tight you have to fight them, but not so loose that they get caught in the wind.

My experience so far (and several years with Urals) is that they are just as well protected outdoors year-round under this type of system as they would be in a garage or shed that was not climate-controlled.

Matt

Will

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Re: New Guy Questions
« Reply #23 on: September 22, 2007, 02:23:53 AM »
You all are great!  Yes, there is a way to get to work without going on the freeway.  It would be by Aurora Avenue, which those who live in Seattle will know is stop and go.  I have a reverse commute, so I wouldn't be in a really bad overheating situation too often, but traffic around here isn't the best and lane splitting is frowned upon.  Would it be up to the occasional blast down the freeway?

For what its worth, I have thought about a KLR or Suzuki DR of some kind, and my brother has a Moto Guzzi, so that is another possibility.  I have a Commando in pieces, and it would probably be a commuter if I ever get it back together again.  The whole British machinery thing started at a young age and never really went away.  My current track/commuter/everything else bike is a Triumph.

This is going to take some thinking.  I sure don't mind twisting wrenches on a regular basis.  My wife draws the line at bringing machinery in the house to play with, and I wouldn't dare wash parts in the dish washer, but you understand the way of thinking.

dewjantim

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Re: New Guy Questions
« Reply #24 on: September 22, 2007, 01:29:15 PM »
You might want to try a BMW airhead otherwise known as /5,/6,/7, S, and RS series among others. They will last hundreds of thousands of miles with little maintenance, are easy to work on, will run 90-100 mph all day long, and can transverse gravel and dirt roads with no problem. I have one (R80) which has 138000 miles on it. It runs like new, will do 110 mph, and even run on diesel if the gas pump is screwed up ;D. Good used ones can be had for 2500-4000 dollars.......Dew.
If it hurts, you're not dead yet!!!!!

Saltydog

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Re: New Guy Questions
« Reply #25 on: October 01, 2007, 12:30:22 PM »
Hello all, nooby here.

Oh geez, you guys got me worried. I just bought a 2005 Bullet with 3400 miles on it. It's kept in a garage and the type of rides vary. I often ride 40 miles on a highway with speeds of 55 mph. I go through a small town on the way where the speed drops to 25. Do I need to worry?

Also It has a solo seat with springs. I'm not clear on exactly which one it is. I assume it;s the "springer" model but don't know if the other solo seats have springs also. I'm looking for a passenger seat. I see there is a "springer" model which looks ok but I really like the looks of the little pad jobby that sits on the fender. I really don't want to drill holes either. Thoughts, suggestions?

luoma

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Re: New Guy Questions
« Reply #26 on: October 01, 2007, 10:26:11 PM »
The seat is kind of a personal decision. Depends on what you want and how much time will be spent with a passenger. As far as road speeds go, a well broke in 500 should be in it's element at 55mph.

Thumper

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Re: New Guy Questions
« Reply #27 on: October 02, 2007, 11:42:44 AM »
Any seat  that gives you a pain in the butt before you develop the routine jackhammer tingling in your hands has got to be pretty bad.

After 60 miles my hands are tingling like an afternoon with the chainsaw. Pretty much any seat should last that long! (Those are, of course, my version of 60 miles....your results may vary)

Matt



Jerry

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Re: New Guy Questions
« Reply #28 on: October 02, 2007, 01:08:55 PM »
Are tingling hands common after only 60 miles? 

Matt, you should check out getting a new chainsaw if you are having trouble with your hands.  The newer ones have pretty good anti-vibe systems.

                                                                Jerry

Thumper

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Re: New Guy Questions
« Reply #29 on: October 02, 2007, 01:27:21 PM »
Are tingling hands common after only 60 miles? 
                                                                Jerry

I'm very delicate...

luoma

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Re: New Guy Questions
« Reply #30 on: October 02, 2007, 02:53:49 PM »
I had the same problem with the tingling hands Matt. I got rid of the stock hard plastic grips that came with the bike and put on a set of foam grips. Once on, they don't look as cheasy as you'd think, and boy are they comfortable. before putting them on, I was thinking of adding a throttle boss so I could relax the hands a bit, but the foamers take care of that too.