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Dragonsm

A couple of "newbie" motorcycle questions

12 posts in this topic

As some of you saw, in my prior post, I am beginning my search for "the bike" that my wife and I will grace the pavement for afternoon rides and will be a much more economical means of transportation for commuting. (or so I keep telling myself)

Anyway, I am not loyal to any one brand right now and there are plenty of nice bikes out there...both domestic and also metric.

I was hoping that I could pick the brains of a few veteran riders in regards to a few questions that I have come up with.

1) EFI vs. Carb - Benefits of either one? Any reason I should lean one way or the other

2) Belt drive vs. Shaft drive - Again, benefits of either one or why I should look at one over the other.

And the bonus question-

Harleys are amongst the mix....(though not a new one) Any benefits of a 6 speed over the 5 speed trans or is it more or less a mute point. (The carb vs. efi also plays into this too)

I asked these questions to the salesman while looking at a specific bike...and I didn't know if my answers were fair or if he was just dead set on selling me that particular bike. (Shaft and carb)Thanks in advance!

Steve

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I am by no means an expert. I'll just tell you about my experience and opinions.

EFI vs Carb: EFI is the only way to go! Can you still buy ANY car that isn't fuel injected? I'm pretty sure the answer is no. I'm pretty sure that Harley doesn't even make carb bikes anymore either. I'm sure there's a reason for that. With EFI, you turn the key on, let it prime up and it starts right up. At least my 2 EFI bikes always did. You also can tune the bike in seconds via computer (at a mechanic of course). No jets or choke to mess with.

Belt vs Shaft: I have not ridden many shaft bikes. I think they are very good drive systems though. People say that they are very dependable, and I'm sure they are. Belts are what I have the most experience with. I have had good luck with them too. The tecnology in belts today make them stronger and longer lasting than ever.

5 speed vs 6 speed: You will really want the 6 speed if you are going to be doing alot of freeway riding. The 5 speed will start rapping pretty hard when you get up to 70-75mph. I rode to sturgis last year with my brother, and he has the 6 speed. His bike cruises at 80 mph down I-90 like nothing. At 80, mine raps so hard that it almost makes me uncomfortable. That 6th gear is what I like to call "an interstate gear". Depends on where and how you like to ride.

Goog luck with whatever you choose!

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definately go with efi if that is an option for the bike you are looking at,but don't make it a deal breaker, carb's have been around for ever and they are easy and inexpensive to work on , efi you'll need a second mortgage, but i do love my efi no matter the temp outside hit the starter and walk away and get your gear together and let the computer warm up your bike and idle it down automatically once it reaches temp.as for an extra gear i have a vtx 1800 and at 65 mph it seems to be idling down the highway and with two people on you can pass cars all day uphill and never have to downshift.

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Shaft vs. belt- Both are solid drive units if you're looking at something 5 years old or newer. If you're looking at something older than that I'd go shaft, but as stated above on efi, don't let it be a deal breaker.

With a shaft drive you'll "Feel the torque" more than you will with a belt. The down side is with that torque you will be replacing your rear tire a little sooner. Every down shift will take a tad bit of life away from the rubber. Once again, not a make or break deal, just the way it is.

As far as name brand goes, I think you're going to have a difficult time finding a bike made within the last 10 years that isn't decent quality. The bike manufactures have seriously stepped up their game.

For what it's worth, I have an 1100 shadow and I very much like it. She's a little cold blooded though and if it were efi I'd be the happiest guy on the planet.

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All good points. I will add that none of it really matters that much. Dont let any one of those factors be the decision making difference. Like was stated they all make good reliable bikes now a day.

Bikes are for fun and where we live you dont get to use them that much with our season. the best advise I was told years ago that I remember is get the one you like. The goldwing example I call it. one of the most reliable well engineered bikes out there, its a bike thats like your refrigerator, run's for years and years without any problems.. but its not very fun or exciting. great bikes no doubt (or rolling sofa's) a friend of mine absolutely LOVES his but its a little bland for my taste, thats o.k. thats why they make different ones. Get the one you like the looks, color, sound, performance of,, in the particular order of importance you see fit. I have learned this the slow way, would get something for the reliability factor then get bored with it and sell it. Heck even using the "fun" factor as most important I get bored with them and want something else way too soon. They allways get guys like me with the new cooler stuff out there but if I really like what I have its not as hard to keep it a few more years as its "just fine for me"

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If you plan on taking any rides at higher elevations, EFI would be the way to go. I finally made the switch over to bikes after 25 years on ATVs. I only had one ATV with EFI and would never look back to carbs after owning one.

Shaft drive vs. belt drive, like Boilerguy said, isn't really a make or break deal. I've only seen a bike loose a belt once. He was at a stop light in Shakopee and shifted his bike back into gear when the belt broke and fell to the ground. This is only a freak situation. Belts are highly reliable.

On the flip side, some shaft driven machines raise under acceleration. There are a few bikes that stay flat and don't make you feel like you're on a pogo-stick.

Definitely go with a 6-speed tranny if you can. That extra gear makes a world of difference on long stretches of road.

What bike you get really depends on personal preference and how deep your pockets are.

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The goldwing example I call it. one of the most reliable well engineered bikes out there, its a bike thats like your refrigerator, run's for years and years without any problems.. but its not very fun or exciting. great bikes no doubt (or rolling sofa's) a friend of mine absolutely LOVES his but its a little bland for my taste, thats o.k. thats why they make different ones.

I normally drive a Suzuki RF900, which for all intents and purposes, is a crotch rocket.

Early July of this year I rented a Gold Wing for a long weekend and it was a really nice bike. I was very surprised how agile this thing felt once moving and it had really good power.

Judging by the before and after "chicken strips" on the tires, I'm pretty sure I had that particular bike at lean angles it had never seen before, and it handled them quite well. Sure, it's not a crotch rocket that does 0-60 it two seconds, or one that makes every window in town rattle with loud pipes, but the point is a Gold Wing doesn't have to be a boring bike if one chooses not to be a boring driver. smile

I suppose it might not be the best "babe magnet" bike, unless your "babes" are middle aged like mine and tired of sitting on those 4x4 butt pads.

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1. EFI is the way to go. Much more reliable fuel delivery system in my opinion and much smoother through-out the throttle spectrum. My new one has EFI and I love it! Much smoother acceleration!

2. Either belt or shaft. I have had both and have been very happy with each of them. I WILL NOT own another chain drive!

3. I do not have a Harley. I have heard that the 6th gear is great for interstate speeds but not necessarily for anything else as it lugs to much. Like I said I do not own one and that is just what I have heard.

No matter what you get make sure that you are happy with it. Sounds kind of cheesy but I bought the one that I have simply because I like the way it looks. Take care and N Joy the Hunt././Jimbo

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I would recommend a Kawasaki Vulcan they are liquid cooled they have hydralic lifters so no adjusting the valves, and shaft drive means no adjsting the belt or chain, and they do come in EFI so no more cleaning the carb in the spring or rejeting for pipes.

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I have a buddy and he has been riding his whole life and says he will never go with EFI. When and if anything needs to be done on your bike,going over a carb is much cheaper than going through and having your EFI re-mapped. (just a thought to keep in mind) but if you dont plan on adjusting much such as intake, or exhaust then there really shouldnt be a problem.

Shaft driven bikes i have one and seems to slip a little more than a belt or chain but on the flip side everything is contained and i have no exposed moving parts that can catch clothing or anything else

And that 6th gear does nothing but save you gas at speeds above 75-80 mph really not needed, i am guessing its there only to adjust and lower the RPM's while cruising, also lowers the volume on he mufflers so you can hear your tunes if you got em.

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And that 6th gear does nothing but save you gas at speeds above 75-80 mph really not needed, i am guessing its there only to adjust and lower the RPM's while cruising, also lowers the volume on he mufflers so you can hear your tunes if you got em.

It also makes a difference when your motor is spinning at 3K rpm or lower compared to 5K. Less wear adds up over time and increases the useable mileage of your bike.

In the end, nothing will make the bike last longer than regular maintenance. A buddy has a BMW K75 with over 100K miles.

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I also ride a 03 Goldwing. It is by no means boring. It'll smoke alot of bikes out there except your bigger rockets and some modded out bikes. Very comfortable ride for you and passenger. I also have a Victory Vegas 8ball, Suzuki M50, Honda 599. Really like the Vic. Smooth running and very agile bike with good looks to go!! Buy what you like, its your money.

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