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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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Old 3 Mar 2010
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From CA to NY

Hello everyone

I plan on taking a trip from California to New York, and everywhere in between in these coming months. I need some advice in choosing a bike for the trip.

Im about 5'10 160 or so lbs.

I have absolutely no experience riding motorcycles. I minimal experience riding dirt bikes but i dont think that counts.

I have very little money to spend, so the cheaper the better. I plan on taking 3 months (the summer) to do this. I think ill probably be sticking to the highways, but its not set in stone since i want this to be an adventure and will have a very lose schedule of where i am going. I will be packing a tent and do not plan on staying in a hotel ever.

All that being said, I need a bike that will be able to hold a fair amount of cargo, while being able to cruise at highway speeds for a good amount of time. I plan on packing my guitar with me to try and earn a little bit of money along the way.

I was thinking of a KLR 650 as i have read that maintenance is easy, and i can find one for pretty cheap used. I am not sure on this however as i dont know how much trail riding i will do (if any), so maybe there is a better bike for what i want to do.

I have to go to work now so i will come back and post some more criteria for the bike. Any advice is appreciated and i will also be spending my time reading up on some more posts here and other places.

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Old 4 Mar 2010
Mickey D's Avatar
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Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: California
Posts: 514
Hey! Great stuff! First rides are always a learning experience. The KLR is a great bike, cheap, reliable and capable of taking your guitar and a ton of stuff on board.

But since you said off road riding is not a priority, then this opens up a ton of other bikes too. Basically, any street bike can do this ride. But the KLR is well suited to carrying camping gear and stuff as it sits. And by the way, your early dirt riding experience is quite valuable actually, even if it happened when you were very young. The memories are still there.

A Suzuki DR650SE (from 1996 to present are ALL good) dual sport is also very inexpensive and very good travel bike. Simple, cheap to maintain, reliable as a hammer. Needs a better seat. Also look around at older dual sport and standard bikes too. Lots to choose from.

The first thing I would do now is to take a MSF rider training course. You don't need a bike for the course, they provide one. This is a basic riding course that is really fun and can save your butt. Teaches good habits and breaks old ones. Essential. Motorcycle riding is dangerous, be prepared. Learn how to ride and ride well.

Here is a short list of other potential bikes:
Suzuki SV650 (best!)
Suzuki GS500E (almost any year. Older OK)
Suzuki VX800

Kawasaki Ninja 500R
Kawasaki Ninja 600R (older one OK)

Honda Nighthawk 750 (95 up)
Honda CBR600R (older back to mid 90's)

Check Craig's list and be ready with cash to buy. The really good deals will go quickly. The San Fran Bay area is better for buys and numbers of bikes is better than LA area. Lots of good bikes up north and much closer together.
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