Used Honda Motorcycles here
Good selection of Kawasaki's too
We have been approved as a writer here:
Honda Motorcycles- the best engineered bikes on earth.
The industry: The Japanese manufacturers probably are the most dominant force in this industry. Yamaha and Honda motorcycles have been doing this for a very long time. They dominant all the racing circles both amateur and professional. Kawasaki , Suzuki and KTM probably round out the big players in the game. Vintage bikes (1970’s and 80’s) are COMPLETELY absorbed by Honda and Yamaha. The longevity of these old bikes is simply incredible and the fierce loyalty to the brand is formidable. Keep in mind most of these manufacturers carry both dirt and road bikes. Some have carried their engineering expertise into Watercraft, Lawn Mowers and Electric generators. There is the constant threat of the Chinese entering the market and possibly taking the industry by storm. The Chinese threat is simply that, A THREAT only. Can you say; “paper tiger”..given the high level of pounding and precise engineering required has proven to be too much for the Chinese manufacturers to overcome. Quads and three wheelers entered the market in the early 1970’s. Honda found themselves in a heap of trouble when their three wheelers hit the market in the USA. Apparently the US riders were too stupid to keep their legs on the foot pegs while riding aggressively. This resulted in many a leg being “cork screwed” into the rear wheels and causing incredibly serious injuries. In some US states three wheelers have been outlawed but this law is rarely enforced. The arrival of the QUAD solved most of these issues and most Japanese manufacturers followed suit by ONLY building Quads. With the quads the engines became much more powerful and the suspensions much more advanced. In addition, it proved to be much less fatiguing to ride Quads than any other dirt vehicles over long rides. We now have a full circuit of “racing” quads that are both fun and much safer to operate.
Riding: Heck riding any motorcycle is Fun! The interesting aspect of riding motorcycles is the additional “senses” the rider experiences. You can smell the dirt, you can hear the engine, you can smell the fuel, you can feel the wind and the bumps. Compare that to driving a car and you will realize why “riding” becomes somewhat addictive over time. Yamaha summarized this phenomenon in their recent advertising campaign by singing; “I wanna ride, I wanna ride, I wanna ride”. It was a great little jingle about the euphoria of simply hopping on a bike and buzzing around for a while. Riding in the Eugene Springfield area within the state of Oregon is specifically unique due to the lack of population and excellent dirt composition. There is a big difference in road-bike riding and dirt-bike riding. When on the road with a much bigger bike there is the constant threat of CARS everywhere. These CARS have drivers that pay little attention most of the time. When riding a road-bike you must NEVER assume these drivers see you. In addition you are woefully under matched. It does not matter if you are some 275lb dude cruising on your Harley, you are no match for a teenage driver in any vehicle. Most accidents between a motor cycle and an automobile, the driver of the car will inevitably say “it came out of nowhere”, I never saw that bike”. Drive very defensively on our streets and highways. Now let’s talk a bit about dirt-bike riding; typically you are riding in a much safer environment due to the fact the CARS are not present. Dirt-bike riding is also done at slower speeds and crashing is more often but not as severe as a road-bike incident. Most people do not realize the physical exercise involved in riding a dirt-bike as opposed to the road-bike. Basically you are perched on the top of a pissed off donkey for a day in the dirt. Either way riding a dirt-bike or a road-bike is a blast when done safely. Getting started early in life on bikes can also be very important too. Riding motorcycles from a young age can build confidence and resourcefulness for the rest of your life. It’s a lotta fun mastering these pieces of machinery.
Safety: Motorcycle riding is a lot more mental than physical. This is why most safety issues are controlled by the mind. Daydreaming while on these bikes is incredibly dangerous. Even the most seasoned riders will lose focus at times and are forced to live with some very negative results. What happens when the clueless driver in front of you slams on their brakes to visit with a friend in the neighborhood? Well, if you hit them…. YOU LOSE! While riding; trust no one. Remember you are vastly over matched from a weight and speed perspective. Thinking “ahead” is huge on a bike. No panic when you’re leaning too much and the bike starts to wobble. Easy on that front brake! Keep your eyes and head on a swivel. Whether you like it or not you are under constant threat from other vehicles at ALL times. If you are tired or distracted in your personal life, best to take the car. When on a bike consider yourself an animal in the “prey” category. Most states have safety courses you are required to pass in order to obtain a special motorcycle operators permit. In Oregon these courses and classes are quite extensive and sometimes span several days of training. Another area of huge importance is the venerable helmet. Just like in football the advancements in the helmet arena have been incredible. Simply try “walking” into a wall and tell us how you feel. The fact that someone gets on a motorcycle without a helmet on is staggeringly STUPID. It doesn’t matter how short your trip might be. Visors, gloves and the proper riding apparel is critical for protection and confidence while riding. Your head is much more vulnerable than you might think. It doesn’t take much to crack that ol’ mellon you carry around on your shoulders. Very high quality helmets have come way down in price in the past several years so getting a good one should be no problem. The bottom line: no helmet-no riding.
Value Purchase: Probably the smartest moves you can make when getting a bike is to acquire a used one.
If you have cash and are willing to part with it, heading over to the private seller is your best move. Bikes are typically very “underutilized”. In the dirt-bike arena some people get bikes and find out real quick riding out in the elements just isn’t that much fun. These well engineered machines are in great mechanical shape. You can reach back 5/6 years and not lose much horsepower or technology. Just like the automotive industry these bikes drop in value early on very quickly. Typically you get a bike 2 to 4 years old and peel about 40% off the “new” price tag. When purchasing older bikes maybe 6/7 years back, it is important to get a service relationship with the bike. REALLY older large roadbikes are an incredible value at times. Commonly, these older big road bikes are owned by careful calm easy riding people. Once again the miles are incredibly low from the year they were purchased new. Simply put you will be pleasantly shocked at what 5K in cash will get you on a real nice older Honda that will run forever. Another area of value is the “operating costs” of these bikes. Most will get in excess of 50 miles per gallon and insure for peanuts. Regular oil changes and tires are incredibly cheap as opposed to automobiles. The advice here is; pretty much never buy a bran new motorcycle unless you are swimming in money and don’t care at all about the possible resale. But in the end it’s just like riding- YOU’RE ON YOUR OWN…which is fabulous.
How and where to buy: A reputable mechanic/ dealership is probably your best bet but don’t avoid the private seller. Mechanics love the fact you bought this from your uncle because it removes the mechanic from any past issues. Many times the service shop really takes ownership away from you and really wants the bike to stay with you for a long time. The best shops don’t oversell you on maintenance work that can simply wait. Sometimes the shop will share with you the simple fixes you can handle on your own. Honda’s and Yamaha’s are very sturdy and reliable over the long haul. A word of caution here; if you buy from some super aggressive and clueless private seller- get ready for some serious issues down the road. Unlike the car business, it can sometimes be difficult to find the history on a motorcycle. Keep in mind you could always take it to the mechanic before you buy. It is amazing what a professional mechanic see’s that you may miss. Most of these guys have a very quick and eagle eye for issues and many times won’t charge for the peek-a-boo.
Service and Maintenance: Well, getting kinda of tired from writing all this. I’m guessing you might be getting your fill of reading all this too….so I’ll just simply and unceremoniously stop now….Oh, one more thing…RIDE LIKE CRAZY..it is sooooo much fun!