SV price appears too low - red flags always heighten my "Buyer Beware" consciousness.
Regardless, it sounds like what you realy want, and what would be very appropriate for the type of riding you do, is the SV. You may have to go to an earlier year...maybe '01 if $2500 is your price point, but clean bikes sold by owners with scruples are available.
For what it is worth, mine is a '99 (1st year available), has 25K miles and runs like a top. Taken it touring, track days, etc. So, don't get too hung up on the newest with lowest miles if your budget is limited. Any extra $ spent on suspension upgrades are sure to be rewarding.
I finally heard back from the "seller" and it was the "I'm in the UK/send money order/third party holder scam". Very original. So I mailed of an envelope of cash off to the seller with my name, address, SS number all my banking info
The Seca bike is legit. So any info on it would be great.
The Seca II is a bullet-proof commuter-bike suitable for a 1st timer or re-entry rider. Power is what you make of it... You'll get about 60 HP on a 400lb frame. you won't out-run an SV, or any other modern sport-y bike, but you'll spank most cruisers. If memory serves it will cover the 1/4 in the high 12's/ low 13's. Yamaha put 28mm carbs on the bike for better torque- thus sacrificing high-end breathing.
I rode a Seca II for years and have no regrets. Valve adjustments are every 15,000 miles, it's a sewing-machine simple 2-valve, air cooled engine with low compression- but still gives a 4-cylinder growl when exploring the tachometer.
Of course the SV is a better bike. Its design is about 20 years fresher than the 80's derived design of the Seca. $2500 sounds very suspicious for a SV. It's either a rip-off, stolen, or wadded. Perhaps all three.
If you want a cheap way to ride w/o a lot of investment, go with the SECA II. I serioulsy doubt you will ever have to put a wrench to it and I think it's one of the best starter-bikes ever made.
Let me second the previous opinion on the Seca. I currently ride a 1993 Seca II that I bought in 2001. I have had absolutely no problems with the bike during this time. Just routine maintenance, 15k valve adjustments, etc. It has a very low seat height so if you're pretty tall it may not be the most comfortable bike for you. I'm 6'1" and it's ok for me for about 2 hours. I am a pansy, however...
While it's not a screamer like a modern sportbike it'll run the quarter in about 13 flat and is a blast to beat on since it was so cheap. You can find decent examples on ebay all the time for less than $1000. The motors are known to be bulletproof. Mine's seen the redline many times and still purrs with 22k on it.
My second bike (and first new bike) was a 95 Seca 600. (Before it was a 70's Honda CB400 that barely ran) Had a blast on it. Took many long road trips up and down the east coast, deals gap, etc. and never had any problems.
Lot of people will say it's old tech and low on power, but unless you already ride/own the latest and greatest, you'll never feel like the Seca is wanting.
I used the Seca as a stepping stone, until I got more experienced and comfortable moving up to more hyper performance oriented machines.
But you know what? None of my current bikes give me the thrill and excitement I had on the Seca as I learned what riding was all about.
If you look around there may still be some performance stuff (suspension etc.) for the it, there was a spec race series for the Seca for a short time in the 90's.
Unfortunatly, bikes are a lot like drugs. Once you move onto harder stuff, you can't get the thrill you used to with the cheaper stuff. I wish I could enjoy a $1400 bike! Buy it and enjoy.
I got my SV an 03 with 3000 miles for 2500 but it had a dented tank, and very minor crash damage. I put 300 dollars into it so now it is perfect and I spent 2800 dollars. If you look hard enough and you find a poor newb who has scared himself you can get a great deal.
My first bike was a 92 Seca II. It had already been down before, but it ran great. It taught me a ton about riding, including my first crash. I would 100% recommend the seca to any beginner (seeing that the SV is a scam). The learning curve is much steeper (usually) on a more powerful bike anyway. I ended up buying an SV650 7 months later because I was riding the Seca so hard one of the engine mount bolts sheared, and I never took it off red-line on the tach. I have very fond memories of it.
My 2nd bike was a 92 Seca II. I had it til 97 when I got a Bandit 1200. The Seca was lots of fun, and also reasonable on trips - from San Jose I went to the Grand Canyon, Santa Barbara, Reno. I got a Corbin seat with more padding to help with legroom.
Definitely not super powerful, but light. And the lack of power is sort of fun because you can really ride the heck out of it, something that I can't really do with the Bandit and even less so with a 600cc sportbike.
The Seca build quality was very good, better than the Bandit. But after 9 years it's more related to how the bike was kept than anything else.
The miles are pretty low on this bike that you see, so you should probably check for things like old-fuel-clogged carbs, aged tires (possibly still has the originals, but that's too old), old brake fluid, etc. No coolant to worry about, that's a plus.
An SV is definitely better tech, but also will cost more, and I found them to be a little more cramped than the Seca. I'm 6'2" for reference.
Well whatever you get, it's all about the ride!
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