I found something that fits all my needs, and kind of hit me by surprise.
- under $400, cheap enough to not get too upset if it breaks.
- Pocketable enough for motorcycle trips
- durable enough to carry around daily
- pictures better than camera phones
- wide angle
and the answer was... a GoPro
turns out its perfect for me. Sure the image quality of everything you all suggested was better, but as far as the portability and durability of the thing, it is perfect.
Using the single shot picture mode kinda sucks ( probably a good 1-2 seconds after pressing the shutter button will it snap a picture ( 12mp ), but set it on the burst mode ( up to 30fps ) and just select the best one of the group.
Sure there is no manual settings aside from view angle ( wide or normal ) and image size, but it actually preforms quite well for something intended to take vidoes. Still better than most phones, and adds the benifit of video, waterproofing, several mounting options, and all that.
The lack of Screen is one less thing to break, but you can tether your phone and use it as a viewfinder ( though with a good 3-4 second delay )
Thanks for all your suggestions though! Hopefully it will work out.
I have a 15 day return policy on it, but so far i'm loving it. I'll run it through its paces before I decide on keeping it or not.