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Need some advice. Bike as only transportation.

Discussion in 'Motorcycle Talk' started by Dachacho, Dec 16, 2017.

  1. So the decision has come up whether I get rid of my money pit of a car and buy a bike again. A little background, I work in downtown Seattle and surrounding areas as an electrician and I take the bus usually, about 2 miles from my house to the park and ride. I’ve been itching to get a bike again after a year hiatus. My current car is a mid 90’s bmw and I love it but it is just getting old and it’s always a new little problem. I got offered a good amount by a fellow classmate who wants to buy it and with the money I could buy a brand new fz07 cash. My only worry is that having a bike as my only transportation will be difficult. My girlfriend has a reliable car and offered to take my to the park and ride on very rainy or icy days so I shouldn’t be too worried. I’ve always wanted a bike as my transportation only and I was just wondering what everyone else’s view on it is in the area we live in.
     
    blue caboose likes this.
  2. OK so your GF supports your need to ride, thats Really great. If it was me I would find a more utilitarian approach. Why buy a new sportbike to sit in the rain or get covered in all that winter grime. Consider a used something or other and put the rest down on a used subaru or chevy...
     

  3. Get something used and reliable, and get good winter gear.
     
  4. I've been riding year-around in Seattle since 2006 and have put on about 140K in the process, so I have some idea of what you're getting into. I agree with the other comments. You need to rethink this.

    First, I totally agree to ditch the BMW. That stands for Bring More Wallet. They are not reliable. Their motorcycles aren't much better. Good technology, but they will cost you a lot in maintenance.

    Second, look for a good used bike...and not necessarily a sport bike. Why be the first person to take the depreciation hit of several thousand dollars? If you can afford that kind of wasted money...you wouldn't be asking us our opinion. :D

    When I started commuting down the I-5 corridor, I took a much more utilitarian approach. I bought a Suzuki Burgman 400. Fantastic year-around bike, and especially if that's your only transportation. It has a full fairing, so you get some protection from the cold and rain. Under the seat, is a 62 liter storage area that is perfect for putting your laptop bag in, groceries, the stuff you bought at Costco, etc. The bike gets mid-60s gas mileage. Tires are about $70 a piece and last about 15,000 miles. And yes, it'll get out of its own way. I had mine up to about 95 mph twice in some of my stupider moments.

    In comparison, a FZ07 will give you less gas mileage than a good Honda Civic, you're totally out in the elements, and tires will last you about 6000 miles, if you're lucky...and they'll cost about 4 times as much. If you think you're saving money with the FZ07, you're not. And where will you carry things? On your back? If you're buying a bike without some kind of waterproof side cases and top box, you're buying a toy. Not a piece of transportation.

    Good waterproof gear will cost you. You don't mention what you have now, but the FZ07 normally appeals to the summer only crowd. I have in mind the shorts and t-shirt rider, but I'm sure you are better and smarter than that. If you ride in the 8-9 months of the rainy season we get, you'll be exposing yourself to the best opportunities around to have an accident. You'll want good gear that will keep you dry and warm...but also protect you when you fall with some good elbow, shoulder, hip and knee padding, and even back padding. You're probably looking at around $800-1000. If you think that's expensive, think what the medical bills will be for trying to go cheap, let alone the lost wages.

    I support the idea of riding year-round. But I wouldn't be looking at doing it on a naked bike designed solely for entertainment riding in California. Otherwise, look for an inexpensive used Honda Civic or similar that hasn't been turned into a "rice-burner" and have something that will work better for your commute.

    Whatever you do...ditch the BMW. :D

    Chris
     
  5. Scooter. Easy to park and you won't care about it being out in the weather.
     
  6. As a year round rider of an 2015 FZ07, I feel the need to respond a few things from Daboo's post.

    Great advice assuming you can find a used bike that you can find a used bike that you're happy with that has a clean bill of health. Make sure you know what to look for or bring someone who does. An FZ07 is an affordable choice if you need to go new. That's part of why I picked it. I also had an FZ08 previously which I was happy with. The FZ07 has stood up when I compare the two.

    This has nothing to do with the full fairing and everything to do with buying a scooter. No motorcycle has that kind of carrying capacity under the seat. I used to ride a bike with a full fairing and it did little to block cold and rain. A scooter does offer some protection due to being more behind the fairing. That being said, with proper gear, I get to work dryer than my coworkers who came in via the bus. You'll want to invest in good gear regardless.

    I consistently get 50 MPG with my FZ07. That's better than the 2018 Civic Hybrid. You'll be hard pressed to beat that mileage with most cars and the price point will be north of $15K more. The range on the tires depends on how sticky of tires you get. I am at 7500 miles with plenty of tread left on the stock tires. Replacements on Bikebandit start around $90 per tire and can reasonably cost as much as $250. Tires are the number one increased expense between bikes and cars.

    This obviously depends on how much you need to carry, but it's a good thing to think about. Grocery runs will be tough.
     
  7. My 2 cents is get whatever bike you want. Things such as heated grips, hand guards, and a big/tall wind screen will make or break any bike in the winter. These things will keep the bike comfortable for you most of the year. A set of hard cases and a top box will add the utility you needed.

    I ride 3 seasons in Colorado and those are a must.
     
  8. Oh yeah, get some well rounded all season tires (pun intended). I have ridden on Bridgestone Battlax tires forever in the cold and they do great. The high performance tires will leave you in a ditch.

    My 07 Triumph Sprint ST was a great all year bike.
     
  9. well i lived in seattle for a decade or so with only a motorcycle as my primary transportation. For a great bike with excellent storage capacity , middle volumetric displacement, ease of handling & reliability..i suggest getting a 1989 + honda PC800. U can carry a krapload of stuff on it, excellent breaks, ect ect.. & u can find em relatively cheap (under $3000). But i've always had a backup truck for when using a bike isn't feasible. Always a older ford shortbed (i've got a 1980 f100 flatbed nowadays). Having a bike as primary transpo is completely doable in seattle.. GO FOR IT !!!!