Seeking Suggestions

peterbogAugust 22, 2007

I would like to get a small motorcycle with a kick start. Would like to be able to cruise on a road comfortably at 55 mph, yet still take it off road once in a while. (No hard core off-roading.)

My current bike is a 1100cc Honda Shadow. Hasn't been started in three years simply because the battery is always dead for the once in a while rides I would do.

The bike I wished I had kept was a 1976 Kawasaki 175cc. I could park it for six months, drag it out, kick it a few times and ride off down the road at up to 65 mph or take it for a spin up abandoned logging roads. This is the bike I would like to replace!

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Street legal new bike with a kick start? Not many are made anymore. But, I found one.

Here is a link that might be useful: Royal Enfield Scrambler/Trials

    Bookmark   August 22, 2007 at 10:52PM
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If it were me I'd spend the $30 and get a Battery Tender. They are easy to install...just plug into the wall. I have lots of customers who live up north in the summer and when they come down in the fall the bike starts right up.
I have no attachment to the company. We just sell alot of them.

    Bookmark   August 23, 2007 at 8:55PM
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But that Shadow 1100 isn't going to go very far off road.

    Bookmark   August 23, 2007 at 9:49PM
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Thanks for your input. You are right that Shadow doesn't get off the pavement... But I should get a battery tender for it once I do find time to start riding again.

I looked at the Royal Enfield you suggested. An option I would never have even thought of. I noted there is a dealer about 25 miles away and probably before I buy anything...if my spouse will let me buy anything w/out getting rid of the Shadow....will look at the Enfield. (Hmmm...Maybe I could say the new bike was for her....)

I did a google on kick starters...didn't find much applicable except lots of small Chinese stuff, but when I went to specific manufacturer sites and searched on a kick start found that some have kits that you can put on an electric start. (Honda, Kawasaki, Yamaha)

Also appeared if I wanted something bigger than what I imagined that the Honda ???650L comes with a kick start. (Sorry about that ??? for the prefix, after looking at so many all of the prefixes of CBX, KMT, XYZ, all started running together.

    Bookmark   August 24, 2007 at 8:17AM
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Peter, have you checked out the Yamaha TW200? It's a great on/off road bike. It will do 65mph on the highway and is very capable of tearing up the trails. Google it for reviews. I bought a 2000 last summer for my wife. She lost interest, so if you are near Boston you can check mine out, as its for sale. I think 2000 was the last year they made them with both kickstarts and electric starts.

    Bookmark   September 4, 2007 at 3:36PM
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A number of older Hondas come equipped with both electric start and kick start.

Please give consideration to the type of tire you choose since you intend to do both road and off-road riding. This is more critical than the brand of bike or model. You will have to compromise between mud and highway performance. Full knobbies or blocky tires are good in the dirt, but dangerous on paved surfaces. A knobby tire can slide out from underneath you without warning when you are leaned over in a turn on ashpalt or concrete. The front tire is more critical than the back. If the front sldes out, you go down face first in an instant; You have a greater chance of recovery if the back tire 'hangs" out first.

I witnessed an accident in a park where a young man comming toward me went down and lost some teeth. He was traveling about 30 mph on s dirt bike and at the end of his acceleraing up to speed, when he hit a small hole with a smattering of sand just beyond the hole for only a few inches. The bike bobbled a bit and the front wheel slid on the asphalt. It was a surprise to both of us. This event was so benign that it shouldn't have happened, and it is my belief that it would not have happened with 'street' tires. This was not a toy bike, but one with full sized wheels and frame designed to do serious woods running. The tires were knobbies.

Since you intend to get up to 55 mph on the road, I recommend favoring a road type of tire that has a tread pattern that has subdued blocks with some opening between the blocks and maybe a near solid center ribbing.

If you weigh more than 150 lb, I recommend an engine size of 350 cc or larger. This will be needed to maintain speed on highways against hills and wind. A little larger engine is recommended if most of your riding will be on the road.

    Bookmark   March 3, 2008 at 7:04PM
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