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Old 10-07-2008, 10:06 AM   #61
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My first bike was a 2002 Honda SuperHawk which is a 996cc twin. It was a good first bike in my opinion, other than it was an expensive Honda.

Personally, if I had it to do over I'd go with a 600cc, 1-2 years old and maybe 5000 miles at most. I think any Suzuki, Yamaha, Kawa or Honda 600 will fit the bill for a first bike, honestly. Experience riders may hate certain aspects of these bikes and tell you they're crap- I say find something comfortable. These bikes are also cheap(er than new by A LOT) but have few enough miles not to have to worry about fork seals or other potentially costly maintenance that happens at the 3-5-year mark or over 10-12.5k miles.

You will want a 600 or larger to go 65 comfortably in the highway in my opinion. I would not worry about 600cc being too much bike for a novice. If you're irresponsible every bike is too much for a novice. Your own right wrist is the biggest factor in whether you can handle a bike. That being said, I'd still stay away from any liter 4cyls or exotic bikes as a novice, there's no point in getting something like that as a first bike.

This is all very opinion oriented advice you'll be getting, there is no sure fire magic formula for a first bike unfortunately. People say SV650 and Ninja 650, which I'd agree with but you see a lot people selling these immediately because they were bored. You also see people like me recommending a 600cc 4cyl even though they will get you killed as fast as anything if you're dumb. Anyway, do a lot of personal research before making a decision.
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Old 10-07-2008, 10:10 AM   #62
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+1 on the SV650 for a starter bike. It is inexpensive, parts are plentiful, there is not a lot of expensive bodywork to replace if (when) you drop it, and it is an easy, forgiving bike to ride. Years 2003+ are fuel injected. You can tell which ones are 2003+ models because the frame has a square tube look rather than a round tube look.

There is a LOT of good SV650 information here

The SV650 has enough power and a very even power delivery. A 600 I4 like a ZX6R, R6, CBR600, GSXR600 is a more focused bike with a peaky power curve and demands more of your attention. Therefore with an SV you can more easily get your head out of the bike and concentrate on what is going on around you. This is very important.

Definitely take the riding schools, good idea. Buy good gear, full protection, head to toe. Snell rated helmet, Sidi armored boots or something like that, leathers with body armor, and good gauntlet-style gloves with armor. In the 15 years I have been riding/racing I've been down three times, including a recent highside, and walked away from all of them with nothing broken. Gear, gear gear! Get good gear! A good friend of mine was hit by a car (not his fault) while riding to work. His bike was totalled. He ended up in the hospital with a concussion but was released the same day. He is fine now, nothing broken, and is back at work only a few days later. He was wearing a helmet, gloves, boots, and leathers. His helmet, a good Snell rated Shoei X-11, definitely saved his life.

Background: I race the SV650 race bike I have in my garage. I also race a ZX636 and have also raced a GSXR1000. I have also owned a CBR600 F2, a ZX-9R, and a DRZ400S dual-sport. The DRZ was fun but I would not want it for highway commuting.
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Old 10-12-2008, 03:57 PM   #63
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Hey, I have some gear laying around if anybody wants it. Its a black Joe Rocket jacket and a mod helmet. My bike was stolen a few months back and I have no use for it ne more. PM me if your interested.
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