Touring purchase advice, 250 horror, and more!

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chris7
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Touring purchase advice, 250 horror, and more!

#1 Unread post by chris7 » Sat Oct 01, 2011 6:42 pm

Hey guys I found this site recently when I was looking for some advice. I've been riding for a year or two now, and I'm looking to move up. I've been riding around in a gz250, and to be honest I'm ready to move up.

I want a bike to go on ridiculous cross-country trips on. I'm a skateboarder, so visiting several states and checking out new parks and traveling just seem like the greatest trip to take.

That said, I'm a college student, so price point is definitively a tough one for me. I'm looking at the ballpark of 4-5K. Or lower.

Feel free to correct my thinking at any point if you find fault:

I need a bike that'll get good gas mileage (fuel injected?), require relatively little maintenance (shaft drive?), take me far without complaining; that's to say, put up with empty gas tank run after empty gas tank run without rest (liquid cooled?) [horror story on this at the bottom of this post], and be able to easily ride two-up with a little baggage on a freeway at +80mph for hours at a time (+500ccs?)

Anyway, that's what I need, I'll likely keep my gz for commuting to school and any around-town riding..

I was really looking at some C50s: the fuel injected, shaft drive, liquid cooled, 800cc's sounds like it should do the job.. (right?) :?

I've seen some C50s and M50s in the 3-4K ballpark in my local craigslist.

Anyway, on to my horror story.... Maybe you can help me shed some light and tell me what lessons i should have learned from this experience:

I bought my gz250 from a dealer that, if it wasn't for a close friend saying an acquaintance had landed a good bike at a good price, seemed a little shadier than what I'm comfortable with. I bought the 250, ran it for a few hundred miles, changed the oil and went on a miami->gainesville trip (300-400 miles). the bike got up to gainesville fine, i checked the oil before heading back down and it was full, but halfway down - in the middle of nowhere - on a lonely stretch of road - around midnight - on a sunday - (try saying that one 3 times fast :P ), I suddenly had a huge power loss (as if i was running out of gas?), i pulled over and sure enough, gas was full, oil was empty. Some gaskets showed signs of having leaked oil, though the bike must've burned through a lot of it too. I had been riding 60-70mph for a good 1.5 hrs when this happened. I ended up trekking 16 miles round trip to a gas station to buy a couple quarts of oil. That is, through hot and steamy florida swampland carrying lots and lots of stuff I didn't want to leave behind, with very inadequate footwear. I got back to my bike with blistered feet, but managed to get the engine to turn over. It sounded like crap. Obviously I had done some very serious damage to the engine. I rode around 50mph the rest of the way home, stopping every 15 or 20 minutes to check the oil level and topping it off as needed. Over 15 hours passed between me leaving gainesville and arriving at miami. Not a fun experience.
Ended up paying around 6-700$ in repairs from a reputable dealer for a damaged piston and other engine damage.

I wish I could say that was it, but it's not:

I had to go back up to gainesville to start school, and i ended up forced to take my bike up since I couldn't find another way up. I rode it very gently (50-55mph ALWAYS), and stopped to let the bike cool for 20ish minutes every 45-50 minutes of riding ---- as the mechanic had advised me to----. He'd told me that the bike simply wasn't made to handle that kind of a trip, that 60-70mph was in the wide open throttle ballpark for that bike, and that the tiny oil capacity and air-cooled specs of the bike simply lent the bike to overheat and start using up oil if ran like that for such time.

Well, obviously being super careful wasn't enough, because i pulled over at some point after the bike felt funny, and I was leaking oil out of one of the head gaskets. Oil was maybe halfway to full. I topped it off and it sounded fine, no engine blown repeat or anything, but leaking nonetheless. And this is less than 1000 miles since i spent what accounts to several months worth of ramen noodles to get it fixed. Its still leaking, not too badly. A good friend of mine that knows his way around engines better than I do says that I blew a head gasket but probably didn't do any serious engine damage. He said I probably need to spend about $100 to get the two surfaces of the engine that meet at the gasket machined to be perfectly flat, a new gasket put in, and that should be the end of it.

I don't understand how the couple guys on this forum that have done long road trips with 250s have gotten away without any engine trouble. The kid with the rebel even said he ran it wide open throttle most of the time, and the only reason his engine got blown was because he forgot to close the oil drain or something along those lines.

Am I just unlucky? Should the bike be able to run wide open throttle for hours at a time? Its air cooled, but jeez I'm doing 60 or 70, shouldn't the air cool it down really well? I've heard all these crazy stories about people going across hundreds of miles on 150s... Do they just have to stop every 30 minutes or something? What's the deal? I felt like stopping was necessary only because your body couldn't handle going nonstop, not because the bike couldn't. I always thought once you got an engine to operating temperature and went highway speeds to keep it cool it shouldn't overheat.

Anyway, that's my rant. Let me know what you think, what lessons I should've learned, or any erroneous thought processes. Thanks! Hope to meet some of you guys someday.

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Re: Touring purchase advice, 250 horror, and more!

#2 Unread post by BRUMBEAR » Sat Oct 01, 2011 9:07 pm

I love the cityX Buell 984 basically a 883 sportster motor on roids and the price is right with a belt drive they are maintence free in that area and get near 50mpg pop on some panniers and a tent will travel !!!!!!Image
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Re: Touring purchase advice, 250 horror, and more!

#3 Unread post by blues2cruise » Mon Oct 03, 2011 2:49 pm

There is no way to know how the previous owner treated the bike. It may have been abused prior to you getting it which is why it is causing grief now.

I know that doesn't a help you....sorry...

But...welcome to TMW.
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Re: Touring purchase advice, 250 horror, and more!

#4 Unread post by chris7 » Mon Oct 03, 2011 9:01 pm

blues2cruise wrote:There is no way to know how the previous owner treated the bike. It may have been abused prior to you getting it which is why it is causing grief now.

I know that doesn't a help you....sorry...

But...welcome to TMW.
I guess my biggest question when it comes to that is whether you think my bike oughta be able to handle those kind of trips?

I feel like a reputable mechanic at a big name dealer telling me that my bike isn't capable of it contradicts the story of that kid that went on a thousands-mile long trip on a rebel 250... (and my long standing thought that once you get an engine to operating temp & highway speeds it shouldn't overheat?)

However, the bike did get messed up and all.. so I don't know.. :frusty:

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Re: Touring purchase advice, 250 horror, and more!

#5 Unread post by flw » Mon Oct 03, 2011 11:36 pm

Changing to another of your topicss is the next bike. There are several good 500 cc bikes out there but I'm not aware of any made for long distance with another rider.

Buying any bike you need to have it looked over by someone that is not interested if you buy it or not, even if you have to pay for the eval. Next, in additional to a few rides around town take it on a medium ride to eval it for yourself before you take it on a critical run. Build confidence in the bike and yourself.

There are a number of bikes in the 750 cc plus area that with a few modifications can be a very nice long distance bike. None come stock this way. Add on storage compartments, foot pegs for a place to put your feet out, upgraded seat, backrest depending our your back, windshield, decent rain gear, plan for on the road service in case it breaks down, Spare maps because you never really know, list of dealers/bike shops on your way and a few I forgot to mention.

My number one suggestion is never ride tiried. One a long trip we can be our own worst enemy. So maybe plan a extra day there and back so you have options. A credit card is also a must just as water to drink on the bike.
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Re: Touring purchase advice, 250 horror, and more!

#6 Unread post by blues2cruise » Tue Oct 04, 2011 12:28 am

Is your bike a one cylinder? The Honda Rebel 250 is a 2 cyclinder.
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Re: Touring purchase advice, 250 horror, and more!

#7 Unread post by Wrider » Tue Oct 04, 2011 1:48 am

Yes it's a thumper, which does make a bit more difference.
The rebel is designed to rev more freely than the GZ250. It's also got a higher top speed than it. But it has slower acceleration figures.
Either way wide open for long periods can hurt an engine. I don't think it should have hurt yours though..
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Re: Touring purchase advice, 250 horror, and more!

#8 Unread post by chris7 » Tue Oct 04, 2011 10:13 am

Thank you guys (and lass) for the insight. I'll definitively keep those things in mind.
I didn't know that the rebel was a 2 cyl. I did know that it was maybe 20 ccs less than the gz but I'm sure the fact that it has 2 cyl's trumps that any day.
I guess I'll never be sure what happened... maybe the bike had problems from the start... and the reason i blew a head gasket the second time around is because the mechanics didn't do a good job with the tolerances.... who knows...
flw wrote:There are a number of bikes in the 750 cc plus area that with a few modifications can be a very nice long distance bike. None come stock this way. Add on storage compartments, foot pegs for a place to put your feet out, upgraded seat, backrest depending our your back, windshield, decent rain gear, plan for on the road service in case it breaks down, Spare maps because you never really know, list of dealers/bike shops on your way and a few I forgot to mention.
On this note, what's your opinion on a boulevard c50 for this application? (2 up, long trips, 80mph for hours at a time with minimal stopping)

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Re: Touring purchase advice, 250 horror, and more!

#9 Unread post by Thumper » Tue Oct 04, 2011 11:40 am

chris7 wrote: On this note, what's your opinion on a boulevard c50 for this application? (2 up, long trips, 80mph for hours at a time with minimal stopping)
The Spouse Thingy has one; he'd have no issues with using it for long trips and it'll do 80 all day long. I'm not sure it would be the best choice for 2 up for long trips, though...at least I wouldn't want to be on the back for very long. That pillion pad, even with a backrest, is kinda small. But for a single rider, with the right luggage, it'd be fine for touring.

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Re: Touring purchase advice, 250 horror, and more!

#10 Unread post by chris7 » Tue Oct 04, 2011 3:29 pm

Thumper wrote:
chris7 wrote: On this note, what's your opinion on a boulevard c50 for this application? (2 up, long trips, 80mph for hours at a time with minimal stopping)
The Spouse Thingy has one; he'd have no issues with using it for long trips and it'll do 80 all day long. I'm not sure it would be the best choice for 2 up for long trips, though...at least I wouldn't want to be on the back for very long. That pillion pad, even with a backrest, is kinda small. But for a single rider, with the right luggage, it'd be fine for touring.
"The Spouse Thingy" :lol:
oh man i laughed at that one alot.

mechanically though, it should be okay right? She has plenty of cushion back there so she shouldn't need too much more :lol:
just making sure I'm not going to blow another engine or anything like that...

also, what's a fair price for one nowadays? I'm looking at a couple around my area... saw a 2007 one with 8000 miles that looks alright.

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Re: Touring purchase advice, 250 horror, and more!

#11 Unread post by Wrider » Tue Oct 04, 2011 4:55 pm

No you'll be completely fine with a C50. I used to ride a Volusia (C50 with carbs and pegs) with my 300 lb self and a 120 lb friend around with no problems at all.
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Re: Touring purchase advice, 250 horror, and more!

#12 Unread post by flw » Tue Oct 04, 2011 7:26 pm

The C50/M50 are very good bikes. Plenty of power to do 80 plus all day, plenty of room for you, with add on's will be a nice touring bike, shaft drive (lower maintenance), passenger will do fine as long as the 2 up trips are not long (no touring). the smallish pillion is the problem.

Before any serious distance be sure to have the bike preventitive maintenance done to prevent disaster. Lube shaft, valve clearances checked, air/oil/gas filters changed, new oil/plugs/coolant as a min.

Check brake pads if you like stopping while going down a mountin, before a turn and coming up on traffic. Scraping the brake disks will cost you more than you ever thought.

Same goes for tire tread depth and any cracks in the rubber sidewall or in the tread.

Now you are sure.
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Re: Touring purchase advice, 250 horror, and more!

#13 Unread post by sapaul » Fri Oct 07, 2011 4:51 am

If you can find one, A BMW R850R sounds just like what you would need. I just sold one that had over 100 000 miles on and it was still pulling strong. Mine would cruise at 150-160 KMs all day. Last trip I did was over 4500 kms in 10 days. it just ran and ran and ran. 2 up and luggage no problem. Mine was a 1996 FI model.
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Re: Touring purchase advice, 250 horror, and more!

#14 Unread post by chris7 » Mon Oct 10, 2011 11:15 am

Hey.
Figured I'd let you guys know that I'm the proud new owner of a 2007 c50 boulevard =)

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Re: Touring purchase advice, 250 horror, and more!

#15 Unread post by Johnj » Mon Oct 10, 2011 12:16 pm

We need pictures or it didn't happen.
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Re: Touring purchase advice, 250 horror, and more!

#16 Unread post by chris7 » Tue Oct 11, 2011 10:03 am

Johnj wrote:We need pictures or it didn't happen.
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Re: Touring purchase advice, 250 horror, and more!

#17 Unread post by blues2cruise » Tue Oct 11, 2011 6:53 pm

Chris...verrrry nice indeed.

:happybikeday:
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Re: Touring purchase advice, 250 horror, and more!

#18 Unread post by sapaul » Wed Oct 12, 2011 5:52 am

Congrats, happy bike day
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Re: Touring purchase advice, 250 horror, and more!

#19 Unread post by Brackstone » Tue Dec 20, 2011 11:22 am

Beautiful man :D
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