Friday, May 01, 2009

Bug Out Bikes
I know I know... took me long enough.
Well I've had a couple request for a utility motorcycle post. Apparently folks are thinking two-wheeled transportation may be a good option should the proverbial excrement meet the oscillatory cooling device. Fair enough. But why? And what type of bike would work well?

Well... look... you don't need a Goldwing folks. You may as well ride around in a civic as one of those things. What you want is called a "dual-sport". Its a bike that's very capable. You can ride it offroad or on. In general they are light, quick, and get great gas mileage. They tend to be simple and bullet-proof reliable.
Here are two options to seriously consider:

Kawasaki KLR 250: Simple. Reliable. 100mpg. You don't need cartridge forks and a ultra modern suspension. You need a bike that's good on gravel and good on trails. This is the one. They can be had cheap, and the seat heights are manageable. The bike in not indestructible... but as a matter of practicality... you can treat it like it is.

Honda Ruckus: Its small... its insanely reliable. It gets 100mpg... and its an automatic. You can carry stuff through the muck and mud. You can go places no one else can. You can raise all manner of hell in the Wal-mart parking lot. Just looking at it gives me evil thoughts. The best thing about the Ruckus is the fact that it has a huge support system. Lots of bag options and such... and you absolutely must be able to carry stuff.

Now... all of the jap manufacturers make something comparable to the KLR... so if you want a Yahama or a Suzuki or a Honda... they are out there. You can ramp up the displacement to 650 if you want but you'll be giving up a lot of mileage and you'll be getting a less capable motorcycle in my opinion. You need to think small and light.
These bikes can be had for less than 2000 dollars... probably for something closer to 1500... you'll not find a more useful tool for that amount of money.
And for crying out loud... stay away from chinese shit. The bikes are not reliable and parts are not particularly available. Buy Jap.


Athor Pel said...

I am trying very hard to imagine evil being done with or on the Honda Ruckus in a Wal Mart parking lot. But it just ain't there. I'm not seeing it.

To me it screams, "I'm a scooter. Put on your loafers and let's get some bread and milk at 7-11, maybe an icee too if we got the money for it."

Bill said...

Third world people use the local equivalent of the Ruckus as the sole means of transport for a family of 15 and their thriving chicken business. And the best part about the Ruckus... Heloscan works with it....


trk said...

I think Bill just won 'best comment ever'

Nate said...

Athor... trust me... hooliganisms are always a twist of the throttle away. Think of the chaos a few skate boarders cause... then magnify it by 1000. Bunny hopping up on sidewalks... riding in and out of the automatic doors... playing on the loading docks... then bailing out through a field when the cops show up.

JACIII said...

Battle Scooter!

Clint said...

Heh, heh. First time I read the post, I turned to my wife and said listen to this and then read it aloud to her.

She laughed and said it was a good thing that Nate and I didn't have one of those Honda Ruckuses together at WalMart or we would probably end up in the penitentiary.

I told her that the two wheeled apparatus was the point, and that we would most certainly get away scot-free from our hooliganism...

Nate said...

local cops wouldn't have a prayer clint. Besides... once they saw the AR's in the scabbards they'd give plenty of space.

Clint said...

Well, if I had my cigar in my mouth...

Lets just say that "wide berth" would be in their lexicon....

Luke (alias "Lines With Chrome") said...

Do these bikes do highway speeds?

Nate said...

The KLR definately will do highway speeds... an unmodified ruckus with a 170 pound rider will do about 50. Modified it will do up to 70...but that would be terrifying.

Mutly said...

Don't forget you can also pick up the scoot and carry it.
What Bill said is serious. Folks in other countries use these everywhere. In Panama City in the middle of a rainstorm I saw folks riding scooters and small motor cycles. This was a rainstorm like I have never seen anywhere else on earth. I was walking across the street and the water was to my ankles.

Anonymous said...

I'd go with the KLR 250. You gotta maintain some kind of street cred even in bug out times.


Anonymous said...

On the Ruckus, where does one add the fuel?

This is the first bike I have ever seen that I could picture myself riding on.


trk said...

the Ruckus looks like the scooter from hell.

Nate said...

The gas tank is actually on the floorboard. You ride around with your feet on it.

Clay said...

Y'all talk about investments. I used to have a Honda Trail 70, many years ago. That Ruckus bike might be a cool tool to have parked in your garage.

Nate got me thinking about it.

I'm not sure it'll take the mud a 4-wheeler can, but I'll bet the Ruckus can do better on hard surface.

Nate said...

I doubt seriously it'll handle the mud your 4wheeler will. just not enough tire.

Of course... look up a tw200. You could tackle some real mud on that thing.. and if you want the ultimate mud weapon... google Rokon.

rycamor said...

Two good choices, for sure.

Bill is absolutely right about 3rd-worlders and their family of fifteen. Growing up in Colombia, I saw that sort of thing a lot. The funniest one is when you see a mobile load of hay with two barely visible wheels and a helmet poking through the top.

My favorite as a teenager was the Yamaha 175 dual-purpose, very similar to the KLR250. Great for taking a beating and just small enough that you could lift them over a fence.

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