Chosing the bike to take that trip on

Look for the deal, not the bike

The most important thing to concentrate on if you are trying to travel by bike on the cheap is the deal, not the bike. You need to start looking for a deal on a bike, whatever it is. Anyone who would put you on a chinese single is not worth listening to, because they are cheap junk that will break and leave you stranded.

I traveled South America on a 98 Baghira that I bought for $1700. Not because I compiled a list of bikes to travel on and it made it to the top, but because I got it for $1700. Other guys have made the same trip on Honda GL500s, and Suzuki GS500s that they have bought cheap with no miles. You can get great deals on 1992 Suzuki GS500s because they are purple and pink and have white alloy rims. They can be had for less than $1000 and get about 58 miles to the gallon. They have a five gallon tank, and a center stand, are sturdy and reliable as hell, and nobody wants them because they are purple and pink. If you assembled a list of all the color schemes you would like to see in a bike, I imagine purple and pink with extremely effeminate white wheels would be pretty low on your list.

Open your eyes and your mind and ask yourself if a bike you see is up to the task, and then try to buy it as cheap as possible. Save your money for gas and cheap accomodations and travel.

The best states to find used bikes are probably California, Texas, Florida, Ohio and Pennsylvania. Make sure the bike has been registered in that state for at least 2 years, so you don't get a flood bike. One thing in your favor is that scrapes and scratches drive the price down in states where bikes are viewed as recreational vehicles, and beginning riders tend to drop them a few times at low speed while learning how to get around parking lots.

Other cheap possibilities that come to mind for motorcycle touring are the Suzuki bandit 600 and the Yamaha seca 2. Both would make great small tourers. The Kawasaki ZR7s is another bike that can often be had cheap. And you can almost steal Suzuki Katanas these days.

If you are determined to get a small bike, the Kawasaki EX250 is pretty rugged, and capable of high speeds if pushed.

If you could stand a few days of cold riding, the Northeast will have lower used bike prices during the winter, especially before Christmas, as dealers try to dump inventory so they don't have to carry it all winter and owners try to raise money for Christmas.

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