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Old 09-30-2008, 12:50 AM   #1
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Default Bike owners - advice appreciated

So, I've been toying with getting a bike for a while now, but I have some concerns. Namely, getting run the **** over by some blonde in an Escalade. Now, I'm in the Army, so as far as medical insurance and safety courses go I'm covered. Tomorrow I'll be turning in the paperwork for the basic Motorcycle Safety Course, which I can take for free.

So, once I've taken the course and if I decide that this is for me, I'll be in the market for a bike and some gear. I'm planning on at least a good helmet and some sort of reflective/protective jacket and some good gloves.

So, then I need a bike. I don't want something new for a first bike, for obvious reasons, but I'd like something around maybe 500cc and preferably fuel injected. Something easy on insurance but not so sluggish it can't do 65 on the highway, and something easy to repair and maintain. ...or am I asking too much?

shukran laykum.
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Old 09-30-2008, 01:00 AM   #2
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Originally Posted by kotomile View Post

So, then I need a bike. I don't want something new for a first bike, for obvious reasons, but I'd like something around maybe 500cc and preferably fuel injected. Something easy on insurance but not so sluggish it can't do 65 on the highway, and something easy to repair and maintain. ...or am I asking too much?

shukran laykum.
yes, yes you are.

first, your not going to find a cheap 500 thats not carbed. most/if not all still are. but i would look into a motard, its basically exactly like you described, but has a carb. a couple year old drz400 can be found for 3-4k easily.
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Old 09-30-2008, 01:02 AM   #3
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Insurance does you no good when said blonde in (suburban) side swipes you and doesn't notice till she runs you over. (His name was Jason and his other brother was killed in a similar motorcycle accident two years before) Don't wanna flip your Ninja and get run over by a semi truck (Wayne) a week after you bought it and die, or be going 120 mph and slam into a car that pulls out in front of you (Kyle). I know too many people that died on bikes to ride one. I know, that's lame. Not saying don't ride, but saying be damn sure you are careful and mature enough to handle the responsibility. You gotta pretend you're invisible. Assume NOBODY sees you. Definitely start with a smaller bike.
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Old 09-30-2008, 01:20 AM   #4
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First bike=Kawasaki Ninja 250.

Only reasons not to start on a 2-fiddy:
-You're a big guy (some big guys still ride them though)
-You're a big tool and afraid of what others think of your bike (unlikely since you own a miata)

+1 to acting like no one sees you, because they don't.

Take the safety course, get a good helmet and jacket (at minimum),ride the baby ninja for a season to get your feet wet, upgrade bikes as you see fit.
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Old 09-30-2008, 01:24 AM   #5
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-You're a big tool and afraid of what others think of your bike (unlikely since you own a miata)
He owns a neon too!
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Old 09-30-2008, 01:30 AM   #6
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Indeed, I am impervious to gay jokes by now.
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Old 09-30-2008, 01:36 AM   #7
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Ninja 500 is a good starter bike, I've had mine for 2 years and its been great. Time to upgrade now though, I'm looking for an r6.
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Old 09-30-2008, 01:47 AM   #8
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I've owned and ridden various motorcycles on and off for about the past 10 years. There are a lot of opinions when it comes to the subject of the First Bike.

Some folks will tell you that a 250 is all you need. For me, a CB250 Nighthawk was actually the perfect first bike, however bear in mind that this was in rural northern Florida. The highway wasn't something that you commuted on, it was the thing out on the edge of town that you on when you needed to travel to a distant city. Average speeds: 40-50 mph. So while the 250 was a great in-town commuter, I would not recommend it to someone who will be riding on any major CA roads.

Obviously you don't need a Hayabusa. That pretty much goes without saying. To this day, I've still never gotten up the ***** to get on one and really open 'er up. Still, I saw a fair number of young Marines down at Pendleton get themselves killed or worse starting out on one. Always seemed to happen right after they got back from deployment. (For that matter, why are the dealers writing those damn loans? I know what you E-2s are getting paid, and you ain't shelling out $12k cash for a damn bike.)

The motards... While I do see a lot of 'em zipping around, I was never comfortable riding my friend's KTM450. Yeah, it was uber-light, and I managed to put away the one-lunger prejudice and enjoy the unique powerplant. It just felt a bit twitchy to me for some reason. Too much power, not enough chassis, if you know what I mean. Or maybe it just sat up too high- kinda like cornering on stilts. I had a hard enough time getting a knee down on my street bike, let alone having to watch those bastards do it every single turn while riding the M/C equivalent of a pair of stilts. On the plus side, the front brake was powerful enough to stop the whole damn Earth, which is freaky the first time you get into it while you're running on slicks at the track.

I'm kinda prejudiced in the matter, but I think the Suzuki SV650 is the ultimate commuter bike. They got FI in '03, and a major restyle in '04. The bike has a nice, linear torque curve, a comfortable riding position, and a not-unpleasant sound. It's powerful enough that you can cruise comfortably at 80, but not so insane that it only takes two seconds to get there. And while it's not a featherweight, it is quite light compared to most of the four-bangers, and fairly easy to handle in tight quarters.

Oh, whatever you do, don't listen to Abe on this subject. One of his bikes has a turbo.
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Old 09-30-2008, 01:54 AM   #9
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one thing to remeber, even if your a big guy like me (5'11 and 250) a 600 isnt "too small" i started on a zx9r with that same mentallity and am amazed i didn't crash it, i have a gixxer 600 now and it still has MORE than enough power, will pull the front tire on command with just a flick of the wrist.
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Old 09-30-2008, 01:58 AM   #10
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All good points, though I will say that the Ninja 250 and Nighthawk have quite different motors, and the ninja will wind all the way up just over 100mph and sit there as long as you can stand hearing 14k rpms.

Do not start off with a "real" sportbike, while it can be done, you're only tempting a painful fate.

+1, the SV650 is a brilliant all-around bike for real world riding or even for the track if you set it up right. I also highly recommend doing a track day once you feel comfortable enough, knowing just what your bike is capable of is very helpful in real world situations on the road.
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Old 09-30-2008, 02:35 AM   #11
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I've been looking at bikes recently too. Though I want something more in the vein of dual sport/enduro because of all rural areas near me. I like that badass baja 1000 look too.

Everyone I know always says Ninja 250 or 500 on the sport bike front.
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Old 09-30-2008, 03:16 AM   #12
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Ninja 250. Wait a year and the new one might actually be injected.

Anyway, it's a great bike, will rip faster than nearly any car, easy entry price, easy on insurance, faster than you need to go (at retarded RPMs, granted)

http://www.beginnerbikers.org/

If you can stomach learning, and humbly taking the time to educate yourself before you ride, you can learn a lot there. There are plenty of sissys though.

Read this, that will give you more knowledge than nearly any biker you see on the road, and I'd say a good 15% of what you need to know to survive.

Everyone is actively trying to kill you. All the time.

Really, read up and post scenarios, see if we can give good advice.
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Old 09-30-2008, 03:41 AM   #13
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Excellent posts by all.

I would recommend 250 or 500 for starters, but my first bike was a Yamaha YZF600R. If you have enough respect for the bike, a SV would probably be a good intermediate bike that will satisfy you slightly longer than something smaller.

Just don't be a squid and ride around in a tank top and flip flops!

You do have USAA right?

Chris

EDIT: Pacsafe has an awesome helmet carrier and tankbag.
http://www.pacsafe.com/www/index.php...activity_id=11

Last edited by Miatamaniac92; 09-30-2008 at 03:43 AM. Reason: additional stuff
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Old 09-30-2008, 04:00 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Miatamaniac92 View Post
Excellent posts by all.

I would recommend 250 or 500 for starters, but my first bike was a Yamaha YZF600R. If you have enough respect for the bike, a SV would probably be a good intermediate bike that will satisfy you slightly longer than something smaller.

Just don't be a squid and ride around in a tank top and flip flops!

You do have USAA right?

Chris

EDIT: Pacsafe has an awesome helmet carrier and tankbag.
http://www.pacsafe.com/www/index.php...activity_id=11
All The Gear All The Time: no exceptions!

BTW, buy a used Ninja 250, and ride it for a year, sell it for the same price you paid for it. You can't lose! Don't worry about the 'you'll grow out of it too fast' myth, that's only doled out by bike salesmen, and those that listen to them. Hell you could do track days on a moderately worked 250 for the next ten years and STILL have your *** handed to you (by other 250 riders). If a 250 is too slow, you haven't learned to turn yet. :-)
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Old 09-30-2008, 04:29 AM   #15
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I didn't start with a 250 as a first bike but have ridden the **** out of several. Personally I'm considering buying a 2008 250 Ninja this winter if I can find one cheap enough, and have thoughts of turbocharging it. My days of top speed racing down the highways are long gone and I'm mostly wanting something for commuting to and from work or just farting around the city. The new 250s are more powerful and will accelerate a moderate sized guy onto the highway with relative safety plus they look like a real sport bike now.

Hell I picked up my current crotch rocket for 2000$ back in 2003 with 9000 miles on it, now has 45,000 miles and several upgrades. While it might weigh 430 pounds wet after upgraded carbs, air cleaner, full header and pipe, huge gearing change I'm side by side with a 2005 600RR and a good rider until a corner comes up... But it doesn't do too bad there, and insurance (for me, anyway) is dirt cheap.. 22$/month for full coverage!

Get yourself some quality gear. I don't ride without gauntlet leather gloves, boots, and a 1 piece leather suit because I don't trust textile products. Thats your choice, though. All I can say about the bitch in her SUV, watch your *** and make sure you're aware of everything around you 100% of the time, because nobody else will pay attention / care about you on a bike.
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Old 09-30-2008, 09:03 AM   #16
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My first bike was a Yamaha R6 and I still have it 4 years later. My friends grabbed 250s and 500s and sold them so quick. They hated them!

Your choice.. If you have a little will power buy a 600!
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Old 09-30-2008, 10:19 AM   #17
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^If for your starter bike, you're talking about having it about 6 months and riding it pretty much every day, then upgrading to something faster/more capable... then either the Suzuki or Kawi 500. Also, there is no substitute for learning the bike on a track. No amount of twisty roads will learn you the things you'll learn one day on the track. Every motorcycle rider owes it to himself to get out on the track at least once (preferably early) in his riding career.

This is your bike... plus, he's already dropped it so no constant fear of that. Replace the blinker and epoxy the fairing and put a couple thousand miles on it... then sell it for what you paid and get what you really want.
http://monterey.craigslist.org/mcy/854422152.html

Then do your homework and figure out how you can spend a day here:
http://www.willowspringsraceway.com/home/home.asp
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Old 09-30-2008, 10:36 AM   #18
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What kind of bike do you want? I'd recommend something like a Honda Magna 750. Sport bike motor in a cruiser frame. That was the first bike I ever bought myself back in 00, and I still have it. It's excellent for novices and advanced riders. Because it's a cruiser, and only a 750, insurance is DIRT cheap. That was probably the factor that pushed me towards it. However it's going to be faster than the "mini" sport bikes and most 1300+ CC twins.
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Old 09-30-2008, 10:59 AM   #19
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Like some others, I started out on a YZF R6. Definitely had power, but controllable. Respect the bike, don't get comfortable riding it (as in, acting like it's second-nature to where you stop paying attention), and like everyone else said, act like you're invisible to everyone else (except to the law, they see you, lol). Now that I work for Yamaha, I'm definitely biased as I've gotten to ride all of the various bikes they make.
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Old 09-30-2008, 11:13 AM   #20
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I helped a friend pick up his first bike a few weeks ago. He was planning to regurlarly commute on interstate 30+ miles one way so I steered him away from the 250s. We were looking at GS500 or equivalent but ended up with good deal of 1996 Katana 600.
We had discussions about the speed and power and decided to ride it with arbitrary low reve range, shifting around 6000 in the beginning. The peak torque is at 9500 rpm on this bike and the revs definatedly don't escape there without delibratedly trying.

After a week he was very happy with the choice and said that 250 would have been a mistake without giving any room to grow with the bike or ability to run interstate speeds.

Granted you have to take into account that he is close to 40 years old and has a family to support, so he won't be showing off like 20 year old.

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