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Mar 18th 2019, 10:26 AM   #1
  May 2016
  Milwaukie, OR

  2016 ZX-10R; 2017 Z900
Good commuter?

Well, the GS has run its course, I think. Rewinding the stator for the second time, other maintenance due, and I guess I'm ready for a different bike. That is also partly brought on by commuting with a ZX-10R, not ideal! Ha!

What should I get? I was kind of thinking along the lines of a 2017-up Ninja 650 or Z650, maybe a recent Duke 690.

I do need to sell the GS, but am getting there, and it'll be ready for the market in the next couple of weeks.

Definitely, I won't go past $6000. "Less is more," as that supports my track day fund, which will soon be heavily utilized....

I'm not totally opposed to something older, so long as I can do (reasonable) maintenance to keep it reliable. I do the vast majority of my own work. R100S, R90S?

Personal experience with the recommended motorbike model in question is appreciated!

Yes, I know I'm opening a can of worms.....but, I moto-commute year around, and appreciate the input.


Mar 18th 2019, 10:59 AM   #2
 Pavement Tested's Avatar
  Jan 2016

  '08 GSX1300R, '06 GSX-R 750, '16 KTM 690 Duke
The type and distance of commute can dictate the bike most fitting for the task. Can you give us some details of your average trip so we can make a better informed recommendation?
Mar 18th 2019, 11:58 AM   #3
  May 2016
  Milwaukie, OR

  2016 ZX-10R; 2017 Z900
Good question. 20-ish miles roundtrip, on surface streets/roads with a speed limit of 45 mph on most days.

If I work in my lab that day (different location), then an additional 20 miles, but on I-84 and I-205.

Am usually carrying a chrome bag or a top case [or both, most of the time]. What I usually carry each day - shoes so I don't have to clump around in my moto boots, gym clothes, lunch, laptop sometimes, etc.
Mar 18th 2019, 12:22 PM   #4
 Parilla125's Avatar
  Jan 2016

I am pretty impressed with the FZ07 a friend has.
I picked up a 2015 Yamaha TMAX 530 scooter and it has become my main commuter these days. Good rain protection, auto tranni for stop and go and hills. Decent power, storage under the seat, excellent brakes and great comfort. I just broke the VStrom 1000 out of the garage for the first time this year, but I will get back on the scooter when the rain shows up again.
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Mar 18th 2019, 01:34 PM   #5
 Greg's Avatar
  Apr 2016

  L3 GSX-R750, Versys LT
If you're interested in the Kawasaki parallel twin bikes for commuting, I would just go 15'+ Versys. It is a taller seat height if that is a concern, but roomy, better suspension, standard ABS, more fuel range, etc. I'm liking mine after ~1,000 miles

I also see FJ-09's with low miles in this price range, that would get you more engine and basic traction control. Very few reliability concerns as far as I'm aware - cam chain tensioner and a couple smaller items.

Sent via SM-G930P
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Mar 19th 2019, 02:23 PM   #6
 albatrosscafe's Avatar
  Jan 2016

  2015 Yamaha FZ-07
FZ07. 50MPG with moderate riding, short wheelbase, light, cheap, easy to maintain plugs/oil/coolant, bulletproof engine, fantastic sound, SUPER fun. I have more fun on this bike <50mph than I ever did on my CBR600 at 70+mph.

Had it for 30k miles over 3 years. I ride it year round. It gets dirty and I don't care. I have a bunch of cheap mods on it. I don't mind if it gets banged around a bit. It's great.

Only major change needed IMO is suspension if you are heavier. I added a stiffer spring in the rear and new adjustable cartridges in the front. I am 220lbs and bike is setup for someone who is about 160lbs. Made everyday riding and two-up much better.

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Mar 19th 2019, 06:31 PM   #7
  Mar 2019
  No. Sno. Co.

look into the sport touring bikes. they offer better wind protection, have hard bags for storage (most will hold your helmet) and can easily power your heated gear in the winter. Plus much better riding position. With easy riding my ST can get 45+mpg.
Honda STs often can go over 150K with good maint.
the only downside is the dash is a little dim in bright sunlight.
there are other choices too
Mar 19th 2019, 08:06 PM   #8
 paradox206's Avatar
  Jan 2016
  Des Moines

  690 SMC R, XR650R, M1200S, VFR800, & GSXR750
I started with a supermoto for urban commuting, tried a little bit of everything in between for a few years and have come back to a supermoto. I think it's perfect for 45 or less in the city and you can slap a rack on it if you're not traveling light. It's also nice how CHEAP my XR has cost to run for the last year!
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Mar 20th 2019, 06:45 AM   #9
 DGA's Avatar
  Jan 2016

  An Ape and a Husky
I commute on my ZX10.

I'm biased, but I loved my old 2007 Speed Triple for commuting. Durable, easy to fix, and parts are plentiful. Tons of low end torque and plenty of power through the rev range (especially with a Nel's tune) with a comfortable riding position. Not much room for storage, but if you are a backpack type of a commuter, it's not an issue.
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Mar 20th 2019, 09:41 AM   #10
  May 2016
  Milwaukie, OR

  2016 ZX-10R; 2017 Z900
[QUOTE=DGA;54199]I commute on my ZX10.

Honestly, if I had more highway & less stop 'n go, I'd probably be okay on my ZX-10, also. It's sure a lot better at commuting than the ZX-6R I had before it, with which I occasionally rode to work [when the damn GS was broken down, as now....].

I wondered how many Triumph speed/street triple references I was going to get. Just seems like not so many folks have long-term reliability tales to tell on them.

Still lots of good ideas here - thank you! I probably wouldn't have looked (much) at an FZ-07 for a commuter, although reviews have been good overall. At about 145 lbs., I might be able to get away without suspension mods if I went that route.

Supermoto is an interesting idea.....I will likely try to find a 690 Duke to test ride. I think the Husq 701 is probably too new to have options in my price range.

Since my commute is so urban, I don't think I'd go with a larger sport-tourer. That might be a little unwieldy for me as a smaller dude. Certainly good travel machines, though.

As for a scooter, well, that might be fun, but my internal "street cred rating" might have to drop a bit if I'm going to go for one.
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Mar 20th 2019, 09:50 AM   #11
 mgfchapin's Avatar
  Jan 2016
  Bellevue, WA

  Daytona 675R
Originally Posted by Syringe
I wondered how many Triumph speed/street triple references I was going to get. Just seems like not so many folks have long-term reliability tales to tell on them.
I've owned 4 Triumph 675's and they've all been perfectly reliable. Stay ahead of the shitty charging system and it'll never let you down. A Street Triple would make a great commuter, esp the new 765.
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Mar 20th 2019, 10:38 AM   #12
 wrecks's Avatar
  Jan 2016
  In the past.

I commute on street triple. I only have 10K miles on it so I'm not sure I can speak to reliability but so far so good. It is a fun ride and makes commuting a little more bearable.

Originally Posted by mgfchapin
I've owned 4 Triumph 675's and they've all been perfectly reliable. Stay ahead of the shitty charging system and it'll never let you down. A Street Triple would make a great commuter, esp the new 765.
Syringe likes this.
Mar 20th 2019, 12:51 PM   #13
 WarpShatner7's Avatar
  Jan 2016
  NW Oregon

  R1200ST, CB350
Anything based on the Suzuki 650 v-twin -- SV650, V-Strom, Gladius, etc. -- would be a reliable, performant, cheap and easy to maintain commuter. I commuted about 30mi/day on a V-Strom for a couple of years, the handguards and added CalSci windshield and madstad bracket made it fun year-round. Good value, fun and bulletproof.
Mar 20th 2019, 05:17 PM   #14
  Jan 2016

here is a 2018 duke 690 for $5,999

has warranty till 12-9?-19. It was a press bike, so warranty was activated when they put it into service.

I got a new zero mile 2017 instead of it, but it rode OK, clutch seemed a bit weak. But kinda expected when press riders used and abused it for 3,000 miles.
Mar 20th 2019, 11:38 PM   #15
 unicycle's Avatar
  Apr 2016
  Washougal, WA

  Yamaha FJR 1300AE
Had a 12' Street Triple R and loved it! Put over 17K miles on it in the first year I had it. Sold it with over 29K miles. Only issue I had was the rectifier which was replaced under warranty.

I was recently in the market for a commuter bike. My list of wants were:

low maintenance (no 6k valve checks or belt replacements thank you)
good fuel economy
some weather protection (I was taking a beating on my Super Duke in the wind on hwy14)

Ended up with a 08' FZ6. Was inexpensive ($2400), gets decent fuel economy and can go 26K miles between valve checks.
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