Here’s the latest reader question, along with my reply!
Zane asks: Wondering what you think of the Honda Grom/Monkey? Its been a decade, and tons of new toys are out there, even though the same rules still apply; just wanna know if you have any additional thoughts since then.
My reply: The Grom – for those not hip – is a micro-bike with an air-cooled 124 cc single that stickers for about $3,400 brand new. It has everything a real motorcycle has – including a five speed manual transmission – and so it isn’t a scooter or moped. Not that there’s anything wrong with scooters or mopeds; they just aren’t motorcycles. This thing is – and it costs about the same as a scooter or moped.
I’ve ridden pocket bikes like the Grom and they are too small for a big ape like me – but if you’re not a big ape, they can be great fun for knocking around the neighborhood and can also be used for short-range commuting on secondary roads. Its top speed – about 55 MPH – makes it unsuitable for highway use, obviously. However, the bike is really cheap – and it’s brand new – and it uses practically no gas.
If you want a more capable bike, but haven’t got the funds for a new bike, I’d suggest putting the $3,400 toward a used bike with at least a 250 cc engine, which will give you at least short-trip highway capability; a 250 cc bike can usually reach and maintain 70 MPH or more. It’ll be working hard at that speed – but you can get to that speed. And these bikes usually average 60-plus MPG.
For all-around use, a bike with a 500-650 cc engine is probably just about right. It will have ample power for the highway and two-up riding (you and a passenger). Anything larger/stronger is certainly fun but not really needed.
I’d be looking at dual sports/adventure-touring and standard/naked bikes as these are the most versatile and easiest to live with. Sport bikes are quicker and designed to be ridden more aggressively and are lots of fun, but they can be hard to ride for a whole day and they usually have practically no storage and ridiculous ergos for the passenger.
I really like the Kawasaki Verys and recommend checking it out if you’re looking for a really great – and very fun – all arounder!
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