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need some opinons

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I am very seriously considering picking up a street bike to use as my commuter this summer. I only want to spend about $1000 (+/- a few hundred). I know that I will be doing a lot of traveling, and at that price point I will save at least that much in gas $ vs. driving my Jeep (that's only a slight exaggeration).

I have considerable experience on the street (owned 6-7 sport bikes over the years), and know exactly what to look for in a modern bike. The problem is that I know nothing about older bikes that fit into my price range. My main question is: what should I be looking for? I have two things to consider when buying a bike.

The first is, what engine size should I be looking for. I need something that can go through the mountains (some long, steep hills) and maintain at least 80 mph with 2 people on it (about 300 lbs total). A modern liquid cooled 600 can do that without trying, but what about an older air cooled bike? Or even an older liquid cooled bike for that matter?

The second is, what models should i look for and more importantly, what should I stay far away from? I know that most modern Japanese bikes are a safe bet, but are the older ones pretty bullet proof?

Thanks for any advise!

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Probably not what you want to hear, but..

For $1000 you ain't going to get much of a street bike, no matter what year, or brand/type. Most basket cases go for more than that.

I'd advise waiting until you have more capital to work with.

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A buddy of mine had a Yamaha Maxim 650 (inline 4) from the early 80s that he paid around $600 for. After about $2-300 to get it running right and looking nice, it turned out to be a great bike. Nothing like a modern 600, but it had more than enough power to carry 2 people into the triple digits if necessary.

You might get lucky and find an older KZ750 or 900 in that price range as well. PLENTY of power and quite reliable.

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I live in Arizona, there are TONS of bikes within my budget. I have absolutely no problem buying something that needs a little work as long as the main parts (engine/transmission/frame) are all in good shape. My problem isn't finding a bike within my budget, the problem is sorting through the available bikes.

Thanks for the recommendations so far. I have seen a few KZ's and was wondering about them, sounds like they could be a good buy?

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Cant go wrong with just about any of the cb750's. Bulletproof and parts are everywhere for them:thumbsup:

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I've kicked myself repeatedly for letting a KZ750 get past me. It was $800 and ready to go. You might find something like that ~

JM

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The old KZ's were pretty bad ass for their time. In the first Mad Max, most of the bikes were of the KZ variety (various engine sizes). They are pretty reliable bikes that you can extract a pretty good amount of power from. I wouldn't mind having and old KZ1000 myself someday.

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Any thoughts on a 1982 yamaha seca 550? Is that too small of an engine for what I need? The other thing that I forgot to mention is that I live at 7000 ft elevation, so an engine with barely adequate power near sea level probably wont work too well up here.

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