Go Back   Horizons Unlimited - The HUBB > Technical, Bike forums > Which Bike?

Which Bike? Comments and Questions on what is the best bike for YOU, for YOUR trip. Note that we believe that ANY bike will do, so please remember that it's all down to PERSONAL OPINION. Technical Questions for all brands go in their own forum.
Contact Overland Solutions for all your custom modifications and setup for overland travel.


LinkBack Thread Tools Display Modes
Old 10 Sep 2005
Registered Users
New on the HUBB
Join Date: Aug 2005
Location: Shiloh, IL, USA
Posts: 5
Early 80's Quality?

i'm looking to purchase an early 80's bike but i'm not familiar with the guality of these bikes. i'm looking at the Kawasaki KZ, Yamaha XS and Maxim, and Suzuki GS. i like the XS the best but again know nothing of its reliability and such. if anyone can give me anything it would be greatly appreciated. thanks in advance.
Reply With Quote
Old 10 Sep 2005
Steve Pickford's Avatar
Contributing Member
Veteran HUBBer
Join Date: Jul 2003
Location: Oxford, UK
Posts: 1,027
Most of these bikes are 25 years old, possibly nearer 30 in some cases. Aside from model specific issues, you'll find that most will be in need of serious TLC if you want to put some miles on it. In addition, certain Suzuki GS & Kawasaki (K)Z bikes are now lauded as classics or classics to be & decent bikes fetch decent prices. It could be that you can buy these bikes cheap enough but then spend a lot more than the purchase price in making it roadworthy again, especially if you have to pay someone else to do the work.

You also have to worry about spares availability especially re: Yamaha XS as they were not that popular compared to the sportier competition. Personally I'd go for a KZ or GS, Failing that, a slightly later GSX1100 or Lawson replica.

What use do you intend for this bike - main transport, long distance bike or weekend runabout?

My photos: www.possu.smugmug.com
Reply With Quote
Old 10 Sep 2005
Registered Users
HUBB regular
Join Date: Feb 2002
Location: Brasschaat, Belgium
Posts: 48
I would go fo a Honda Four or a BMW Boxer
Reply With Quote
Old 10 Sep 2005
Registered Users
New on the HUBB
Join Date: Aug 2005
Location: Shiloh, IL, USA
Posts: 5
i planned on using it for for just about everything for about a year. Mostly around the city. possibly a couple longer trips within the states nothing outrageous I was looking to spend from 1500 to 2000 dollors on one thats hopfully in good condition. Are there any other later model standard bikes like these i can buy in good condition for that much?
Reply With Quote
Old 11 Sep 2005
Contributing Member
Veteran HUBBer
Join Date: Jun 2003
Location: Danbury CT USA
Posts: 103
Speaking in generalizations, the Japanese motorcycles from the '80s were very well made and very reliable. However, you need to think in terms of overall operating costs, not just initial purchase price. Motorcycle parts are very expensive in comparison with car parts. A bad starter motor, for instance, typically costs $300-400. So a couple of seemingly minor probems could really screw up your budget.

If you find a good low mileage '80s bike that has been garaged and taken care of, great. Otherwise, you may be better off spending $2500-3500 on a good late '90s bike.

Five or six years ago, I bought a mint '94 Yamaha Seca II 600cc with 500 miles on it for $2600. It had originally been purchased as a leftover in '98. The bike has been awesome to ride and completely reliable. I have about 17,000 miles on it and rode it into work today.
Reply With Quote
Old 16 Sep 2005
Registered Users
New on the HUBB
Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: Wiltshire UK
Posts: 2
From experience I would avoid XS yamaha twins and 750 triple. Later XJ fours are fine. Suzuki GS and GSX motors are bullet proof but check out the electrics. I toured NZ on a 1980 Suzuki GSX750 with no problem, including the dirt roads. Do bear in mind the weight of these types of bikes, I think the Suxuki is around 512lb dry. Consequently it makes a big difference if you have brakes and suspension that can do its job properly, so Check em out along with Swing arm and headstocks carefully before buying. With all of these bikes, look out for cams, and cam chain tensioners.
Avoid the early eighties honda V4's, they were not robust motors and had some odd front suspension and 16 inch front wheels which could cause you problems. However, I know pleanty of people who have put very big mileages on the Honda CBX750 which also has a good fairing as standard.

Reply With Quote
Old 17 Sep 2005
Contributing Member
Veteran HUBBer
Join Date: Oct 2002
Location: montana usa
Posts: 523
Go with the old. I personaly like older japanese bikes. I work as a mechanic at a yamaha/honda shop and you wouldn't believe the number of old bikes coming out of the woodwork here in rust free montana. Just today someone called about a CA77 honda. He was surprised that we didn't have parts in stock! This was bike made prior to 1969! This was also the bike I rode to alaska in 1971 on a gravel alaskan highway. My current bike is a 1982 suzuki GS650. It cost me $300.00 and a carb clean and a set of tires. It is ugly but I ride a lot of jeep trails and I rode it to the colorado riders meeting- it was the yellow and black street bike that made it thru the intermediate ride including the water crossing. Feel free to email me with questions about older japanese bikes.
Reply With Quote
Old 18 Sep 2005
seanh's Avatar
Gold Member
Veteran HUBBer
Join Date: May 2004
Location: Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
Posts: 303
I've expounded the virtues of my old R65 here before somewhere, but i'll do it again. I left Australia with 180,000 km on the clock and put another 43,000 hard ones on it across south/central asia and europe with nary a problem aside from minor wear and tear. The engine/gearbox/driveshaft didn't miss a beat. It's not worth much, i had it valued at 1,000 aussie dollars before i left, and it's not so good for offroading, but for a cheap travel bike it's great.
Reply With Quote
Old 6 Nov 2005
Registered Users
New on the HUBB
Join Date: Jun 2005
Location: west midlands uk
Posts: 9
Having riden loads of the old jap 4,s and imported many to the uk the old z,s are great but good thous and 9,s are pricey,they are bullet proof.The gs,s often have charging problems but the motors are again bullet proof cant say to much about yams though the cv carbs can be a pain(pessished and hard diaphrams).Stale American fuel can bugger up the carbs completely and sometimes ultrasonic cleaning is the only answer.Eddy lawson reps are stomping along with gsx1100,gpz fuel injection can be a pain but ok if you know what you are doing with it,or stick carbs on em.Early xs1100 twist frames at the back end ,xs750 and 850 are poo for second gear,and i dont think you can get the gears any more,they do sound good with a 3 into 1 pipe though,hope this helps ,oh yes the handling on all can be enlightening to say the least says he with a 1260,125bhp elr,makes me laugh though.
Reply With Quote

Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 Registered Users and/or Members and 1 guests)
Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are On


HU DVD Summer Special!

Now that summer is here, get On the Road! Take 30% off the Achievable Dream - On the Road! 2-DVD set until August 31 only. Get On the Road! Learn the tips to staying healthy, happy and secure on your motorcycle adventure!

Our veteran travellers share their tips (and great stories) for staying healthy, happy and secure on your motorcycle adventure.

"A fantastic, informative and inspirational DVD."

"It's brilliant - thank you very much!"

Check it out at the HU Store! Remember to use Coupon Code 'ONTHEROAD' on your order when you checkout.

Renedian Adventures

Renedian Adventures

What others say about HU...

"I just wanted to say thanks for doing this and sharing so much with the rest of us." Dave, USA

"Your website is a mecca of valuable information and the DVD series is informative, entertaining, and inspiring! The new look of the website is very impressive, updated and catchy. Thank you so very much!" Jennifer, Canada

"...Great site. Keep up the good work." Murray and Carmen, Australia

"We just finished a 7 month 22,000+ mile scouting trip from Alaska to the bottom of Chile and I can't tell you how many times we referred to your site for help. From how to adjust your valves, to where to stay in the back country of Peru. Horizons Unlimited was a key player in our success. Motorcycle enthusiasts from around the world are in debt to your services." Alaska Riders

contest pic

10th Annual HU Travellers Photo Contest is on now! This is an opportunity for YOU to show us your best photos and win prizes!

NEW! HU 2014 Adventure Travel T-shirts! are now available in several colors! Be the first kid on your block to have them! New lower prices on synths!

HU 2014 T-shirts now in!

Check out the new Gildan Performance cotton-feel t-shirt - 100% poly, feels like soft cotton!

What turns you on to motorcycle travel?

Global Rescue, WORLDwide evacuation services for EVERYONE

Global Rescue is the premier provider of medical, security and evacuation services worldwide and is the only company that will come to you, wherever you are, and evacuate you to your home hospital of choice. Additionally, Global Rescue places no restrictions on country of citizenship - all nationalities are eligible to sign-up!

New to Horizons Unlimited?

New to motorcycle travelling? New to the HU site? Confused? Too many options? It's really very simple - just 4 easy steps!

Horizons Unlimited was founded in 1997 by Grant and Susan Johnson following their journey around the world on a BMW R80 G/S motorcycle.

Susan and Grant Johnson Read more about Grant & Susan's story

Membership - help keep us going!

Horizons Unlimited is not a big multi-national company, just two people who love motorcycle travel and have grown what started as a hobby in 1997 into a full time job (usually 8-10 hours per day and 7 days a week) and a labour of love. To keep it going and a roof over our heads, we run events (22 this year!); we sell inspirational and informative DVDs; we have a few selected advertisers; and we make a small amount from memberships.

You don't have to be a Member to come to an HU meeting, access the website, the HUBB or to receive the e-zine. What you get for your membership contribution is our sincere gratitude, good karma and knowing that you're helping to keep the motorcycle travel dream alive. Contributing Members and Gold Members do get additional features on the HUBB. Here's a list of all the Member benefits on the HUBB.

Books & DVDs


All the best travel books and videos listed and often reviewed on HU's famous Books page. Check it out and get great travel books from all over the world.

Motorcycle Express for shipping and insurance!

Motorcycle Express

MC Air Shipping, (uncrated) USA / Canada / Europe and other areas. Be sure to say "Horizons Unlimited" to get your $25 discount on Shipping!
Insurance - see: For foreigners traveling in US and Canada and for Americans and Canadians traveling in other countries, then mail it to MC Express and get your HU $15 discount!

All times are GMT +1. The time now is 20:28.