Posts Tagged ‘Suzuki M50’

Clearly, the cheapest, and probably best way to start riding is to get on Craigslist and buy a used bike. There isn’t a lot to add to that, but there are a few tips I can give the new-to-riding.

First, patience. I missed a GREAT deal on a 2005 Suzuki M50 because I was at a training even with my National Guard unit. I had lined up to give something like $4200 for the Suzuki. But someone else snapped it up. I was pissed. Well, the following Monday, I headed down to the family farm where I work as a migrant laborer(thanks for the bang-up economy, Mr.Prez…). Before I set off on the tractor, I checked Craigslist, and there I found my Honda. I saw the 2007 Honda Shadow Spirit C2 with 5000 miles listed for $3000 and I called right away. The bike had been listed for about two hours when I made arrangements for a test-ride. My local bike shop had two 2005 Shadow 750DCs on the floor with 7000-15000 miles for $4500, so I feel like I got a pretty good deal. I still haven’t found a comparable bike for less than $3500–but the guy selling mine was set to deploy to Kuwait for a year and wanted to buy a Harley on active duty, but his wife said the Honda had to go before he got a new one; so I got a deal.

If you watch Craigslist, or for that matter, the inventory at your local bike shop, deals come and go every day. Just because you miss one doesn’t mean another one won’t come along soon. The best time to buy is probably late in the riding season when everyone’s looking to trade for a bigger/better ride. The best time to sell is around the first couple of nice days in spring, and folks will pay ridiculous cash just to get out and enjoy the weather.

Second, do your homework. Ride a bunch of different kinds of bikes if at all possible. If you’re like me and have had some previous riding experience, then get a bigger bike right away so you don’t outgrow it as I have done with my 750C2. Also, make sure to ride different types of bikes. You might find, as I did, that a “standard” like the Triumph Bonneville is a better fit than a cruiser or a supersport. Or you might find you like being scared half to death and riding in an uncomfortable position and buy a supersport. You never know!

That’s about it. Go in with as much information as possible, pay cash (going in debt on a bike is dumb. sorry, it just is), and get the bike you want–not the bike your friends want you to get.

 

I’ve been taking a harder look at my beloved little Honda lately. Part of me wants to upgrade next year, and part of me says put short-shots and a stage-1 jet kit on and hope for the best. I’m afraid that if I spend around a thousand dollars on pipes, jetting, and a new seat, I’m still going to be left with an anemic but fun little ride.

The gunfighter seat isn’t suited for two-up, and a Mustang touring seat is about $500, and I have serious doubts about performance with two people and a light load of luggage. Even if I gain 3-5hp with pipes and a jet kit, I will still have power-to-weight issues, as well as underwhelming roll-on power. A brand new Shadow Phantom 750 put down a meager 36hp at the rear wheel in a recent article I linked. I wonder how many horses are in my five-year-old Shadow?

My Little Honda

But part of me is still having an emotional affair with the pretty blue Honda. It handles perfectly in town, and on the big sweepers just outside of town, I can hurl the bike in at well over the posted speed limit. It feels like it should have power to match maneuverability. But it doesn’t. Nor does it have impressive brakes, which also gives me pause when I think about adding a passenger and bags to the mix. And that was a big reason why I wanted a cruiser instead of a rocket (I was positively drooling over a Suzuki SV1000 back in January) was that I could take my wife places on little day trips over the weekend.

There are two ways to go from here: go big, like a Vulcan 1500 or Honda VTX1800, or get a newer middleweight like a Suzuki M50 or Vulcan 900 Custom. I’m leaning toward another middleweight, namely the Vulcan 900 because of the power-to-weight ratio. The Vulcan 900 Custom put down 50hp at the rear wheel, and while far from fast, it has enough guts to haul two plus luggage and still have some roll-on power. The middleweights are more handy around town, but can still complete a highway haul in comfort. The two bigger buses have tons of power, and are made to haul two in relative comfort, but can be pigs in town. It’s a really tough question though because 2000-2008ish bikes of all four types mentioned can be bought for the $5000-$7000 range, which is exactly my budget.

VTX1800