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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.
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  #1  
Old 10 Sep 2005
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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.
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Old 10 Sep 2005
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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?

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  #3  
Old 10 Sep 2005
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reliability?
I would go fo a Honda Four or a BMW Boxer
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Old 10 Sep 2005
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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?
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Old 11 Sep 2005
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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.
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Old 16 Sep 2005
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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.

Cheers
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  #7  
Old 17 Sep 2005
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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.
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Old 18 Sep 2005
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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.
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  #9  
Old 6 Nov 2005
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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.
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