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Old 09-30-2008, 11:17 AM   #21
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Originally Posted by RotorNutFD3S View Post
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.
Heh, I dunno about that R6 as anything but a learner's bike. My brother has one. Not impressive to me. My GSXR was better in every way a bike could be better.
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Old 09-30-2008, 11:46 AM   #22
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I'd say an older v-twin.

I'm trying HARD to pick up an 89 Honda Hawk GT that has 5200 miles on it...this bike is mint.

Its carb'd but started after sitting for a week without having to jack with the choke at all, first try, started right up and idled awesome for being cold. Gotta love hondas. You can add CBR goodies for cheap and they last forever, enough to get you where you need to go (650 v-twin) but if you are careful and pay attention they wont get you in trouble....
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Old 09-30-2008, 11:54 AM   #23
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Check out a Seca II. Kind of a standard/sportbike, 600cc 4cyl, air cooled and its pretty simple. Its docile enough to learn on, yet its got enough power (~50hp) to keep you entertained for awhile has you gain experience. Its nothing like a modern 600, but there is enough power to get the front wheel up and take you to 130mph when youre ready, at least there was for me, but I was only 100lbs soaking wet when I had mine.

The only "issue" with it is it has a odd size rear tire, its an 18", and there are only 2-3 tires that fit it. I had pirelli sport demons, which had wicked grip when they were warmed up, but in the rain, or in the cold before putting on a few miles, it was a slip 'n slide. kind of like race slicks
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Old 09-30-2008, 12:36 PM   #24
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+1 on the SecaII. Good bike, and last I looked were easy to pick up affordable.
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Old 09-30-2008, 12:55 PM   #25
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It just occurred to me that there is a parallel here. Problems with the Ninja 250:
Too small
Too slow
Revs too high on the highway
Grow out too soon/want a REAL one soon
I'm glad I got a x and didn't get a y, because I assume I wouldn't have liked it (even through I never drove it)
My friends laugh at me

What am I talking about? A Miata of course.

What we like about the Miata:
Small
Light
Cheap
Good resale value
Good gas mileage
Fun as ****
Not horribly slow
Great support community
Feeling of awesomeness when you beat your buddy's x in your y in the technical-twisties

What am I talking about? The Ninja 250 of course.

So yeah, the Ninja 250 is pretty much the Miata of bikes (with the exception of the mod happy engine).



Here's another thing, everyone's so focused on power, but a 600 or literbike is more than just power. If you panic because the SUV just started a left turn in front of you, and you use more than a finger's worth of strength on the brake, expect to have a bad day. Touch those brakes in a turn, goose the throttle by hitting a bump midway through a turn, expect to have a bad day. Beginners do all these things and more.

Ride a bike that won't kick your *** for doing these things. Or get a 600 and 'ride conservatively', 'respect it', and 'don't act like a kid' in other words, learn slower, ride scared. Why grow in to something that doesn't fit when it costs nearly nothing to get something that does?
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Old 09-30-2008, 01:08 PM   #26
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I'd go 500 to 650cc. Find a real clean low mile bike you like 10 years old. I'd rather have a 10 year old well kept bike than a 2 year old thrasher. Should be able to find lots of bikes in the 2500-3000 range. Any Japanese sport bike will do.

FYI. I personally know 3 guys that died this summer on bikes. One was a deer. One a driver that didn't see him. One was completely his fault - too fast in a corner - older experienced guy but a thrill seeker.

Guy's die in cars too but a much higher percentage buy it early on bikes. Kind of like comparing death rates in helicopters to planes. I got scared off bikes after way to many close calls in a short time. None of which were my fault and all of which could have ended me if I hadn't been paying 100% attention.
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Old 09-30-2008, 03:25 PM   #27
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I dunno, the Ninja 250 just doesn't do it for me. By all means, go sit on one for a while. Crouch over it- don't worry, the kickstand will hold your weight. Get your hands and feet in position, and if possible, have a jacket and full-face helmet on while you are doing this. At 6'1" and ~200lb, I felt like an elephant on a unicycle. Which is why I chose the Little Bird as my first ride way back when. Granted, its engine is lethargic by comparison, but the bike is built so that a person larger than a Japanese schoolgirl can sit on it. I had that bike for about two years, and it was fine for puttering around town. And I'll grant you, I'm sure the ZX250 can probably cruise at 80, but I don't think I could deal with the cacophony of that tiny little inline twin ripping away at eleventy-billion RPM the whole time.

But there is one important question that I don't recall seeing answered, and that is: Koto, what style of bike you do want?

I mean, I'm with Ben in that the Magna 750 is a cool bike, but it's... well... it's a cruiser. Relatively speaking, it's big and heavy. If you're looking for something Harley-esque (but reliable) then look no further.

The SecaII is a pretty cool bike as well, a bit odd looking (why the hell didn't we get the Naked version in the US?) but supposedly bulletproof. It's a 4-banger, too (albeit, an 8-valve 4 banger.)

The various Ninjas are, well, they're the Hustler of the sportbike world. Pretty-boys. Big, loud, pretentious, and into rough gay sex. They'll never touch the 'Busa, and they know it, but they still talk a tough line. Although I must admit, the ER-6n version does not offend me nearly as much as the ZX bikes.

Point is, there are way too many different styles for us to be making broad, sweeping recommendations without knowing something bout what you like. Personally, I'd sell my own grandmother into slavery for one night with Katee Sackhoff, but I realize that others have different tastes.

Say you take my advice and buy an SV650, and then decide that you absolutely can't stand the ruggedly handsome good looks or the brutish sound of its oddfire V-twin engine. Well, despite being the best damn motorcycle in the history of mankind, it might not be the right one for you.

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Old 09-30-2008, 04:29 PM   #28
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Joe Perez View Post
And I'll grant you, I'm sure the ZX250 can probably cruise at 80, but I don't think I could deal with the cacophony of that tiny little inline twin ripping away at eleventy-billion RPM the whole time.

Say you take my advice and buy an SV650, and then decide that you absolutely can't stand the ruggedly handsome good looks or the brutish sound of its oddfire V-twin engine. Well, despite being the best damn motorcycle in the history of mankind, it might not be the right one for you.
When I was working on my Ninja or it was down for some reason I would commonly ride my friends wifes 2005 Ninja 250. It'll do 120mph on the freeway, downhill with a tail wind... That bike will also do some of the best standup wheelies I've ever done, none the less... Except it'll only do them at 10mph.

I'm surprised nobody else really mentioned much about the SV, they're great beginner bikes and perfect track bikes. Saw someone mentioned a hawk GT which I've been looking for quite some time now, good luck there. Only thing I don't like about even the SV650R is the half nakedness of it.. They should've left it completely naked..
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Old 09-30-2008, 04:38 PM   #29
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Get an early 90's Katana or Ninja 600. My first street legal bike was a '93 Suzuki Katana 600, and it treated me good. It was dependable and I thought it was pretty quick for a beginner bike. Then I had a '99 Ducati Monster 750, wish I woulda never sold it, cause that bike was so nice and I never had problems with it. I had the Ducati craze, so I sold the Monster and bought a '97 916. I did almost as much **** to that as I did to my Miata. That thing became so undependable, I probably worked on it as much as I rode it. So that headache got pawned off and replaced with my 1978 Triumph Bonneville 750 chop.
I say, stick to a jap bike like a Yamaha R6 if you get something newer...jap bikes are cheap and dependable, you won't go wrong.
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Old 09-30-2008, 04:53 PM   #30
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#25 and #26 are spot-on.

Personally, I had an affinity for 2-strokes so I was running the '85 RZs for a while. With the peaky power band of the small, built, snappy 2-stroke, combined with a bad chassis, no compression-breaking and pin-dick tires, it was a suicide machine.

My point is: it doesn't much matter how powerful your bike is because your safety (as a mature, wise adult) is largely a function of mind/wrist control. It's as far as you turn the throttle. Further, in many cases a more powerful bike is safer than the moped-esque 250s because you can accelerate out of problem situations. That was my experience anyway.

Also, being familiar with your area, I know there are a lot of offroad opportunities so I'd also heavily consider the freedom you'd get from a dual purpose rig.
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Old 09-30-2008, 05:43 PM   #31
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Joe Perez View Post
I dunno, the Ninja 250 just doesn't do it for me. By all means, go sit on one for a while.

Say you take my advice and buy an SV650, and then decide that you absolutely can't stand the ruggedly handsome good looks or the brutish sound of its oddfire V-twin engine. Well, despite being the best damn motorcycle in the history of mankind, it might not be the right one for you.
I agree with a lot of this... The Ninja 250 is probably the best starter bike on the planet, but it's unlivable when you get on the freeway for any considerable distance at 80 MPH.

With that said, a used Ninja 500 is a good value, but a used SV650 is a much better value and will hold more resale value (and some years are fuel injected!) I have 2 Ninja 500's right now, and they feel decent on the highway, but wouldn't hold a candle to the SV650. I also own an SV1000 as well. A lot depends on if you are going to buy new or used. 4 bikes that I think deserve serious consideration for the first time rider are as follows:

1. SV650
2. Ninja 650
3. Ninja 500
4. Ninja 250

If you have a LOT of discipline and a need to commute you can get a used SV1000, these bikes are supercheap to insure (when compared to a GSX-R or R6/R1) and you won't quickly outgrow it... It is however a 110 RWHP machine and is capable of SICK speed. It is also pretty docile below 5000 RPM and fine for learning on. The SV650 is much of the same, but has "only" 70 HP. Any of the baby 500/600/650 cc non-supersport machines have serious power (the 500 Ninja is still a 50 HP bike.) The supersport 600's have more power than the SV1000 in some cases, but are more challenging to ride fast since they need to be flogged pretty well to get to the powerband.

You also should consider insurance. If you are paying cash for a starter bike, then liability insurance will be cheap, but if you are making payments you will pay much more for full coverage. I would shop craigslist carefully for a good deal on a Ninja 500 or SV650. The ninja has the benefit of being cheap to get parts for and low resale value. The SV650 is pretty bulletproof and a great bike with fuel injection on the second generation bikes.

As to the SV650 being the best bike on the planet, it's not quite... it's second to the SV1000. Both SV's are perhaps the most under rated bikes on the planet.

Mark

PS - that dropped 500 that Sam pointed out would be perfect as a starter bike, FWIW.

Last edited by Markp; 09-30-2008 at 05:53 PM.
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Old 09-30-2008, 09:35 PM   #32
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That would be perfect, but it'll probably be gone by the time I'm in the market for sure. Something like it will likely be available, in sha' allah. Right now, I'm in the info gathering phase. I've started the process (read: waiting period) for the safety course and have been asking around and picking biker's brains. I read each and every reply and I thank all of you for the input. Rather than respond to every post, I'll answer the questions you asked:

Joe/Ben: I like sportbikes the most, but I'm pretty sure I don't want to start on a 600. 500 would be plenty, me thinks, for now. On top of being cheaper to buy it will be cheaper to insure a 500, yes? I'm an E4 btw, not sure who said I was a private...

Sam (Navy): That looks like a cool track, but this one is closer and I'm already familiar with it somewhat.

Yes, I have USAA and love it. They now allow honorably discharged SMs to use their services post separation so I'll be dealing with them for a good long time.
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Old 09-30-2008, 10:08 PM   #33
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Something like it will likely be available, in sha' allah.
What kinda devil-talk you be speakin' son?

One thing about used motorcycles in California- they're always around. I woul not get hung up on any one particular deal. Trust me, another will always be around.

Quote:
Joe/Ben: I like sportbikes the most, but I'm pretty sure I don't want to start on a 600. 500 would be plenty, me thinks, for now. On top of being cheaper to buy it will be cheaper to insure a 500, yes?
Most insurance companies (here in the US anyway) do not base liability rates soley on displacement. It is a factor, but just like automobiles, they recognize that certain models seem to be involved in spectacular crashes more frequently than others.

Displacement being equal, a sportbike (Ninja, GSXR, CBR) will tend to have a somewhat higher liability premium than a standard (SV, YZF, 919) which will tend to have a slightly higher premium than a cruiser, which is going to have a higher premium than a touring bike.

Quote:
I'm an E4 btw, not sure who said I was a private...
It was me, and it was PFC. And I wasn't talking about you, I was addressing all the E2's over the years who have managed to scatter themselves all over Palomar Mountain and the highways around MCB Pendleton after buying themselves a brand-new GSXR1300.
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Old 09-30-2008, 11:08 PM   #34
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i don't feel like reading all the above posts, but i vote get a 600cc fuel injected bike, anything less you'll get tired of really fast. just take your time getting to know the throttle REALLY well, a twitch in the wrist can upset your bike in the blink of an eye and land you on your head

try state farm for insurance, i'm pretty sure you have to have a car with them too, but around here they're known for the best rates, i'm paying $150/year full coverage
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Old 10-01-2008, 12:10 AM   #35
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double post fail.
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Old 10-01-2008, 12:10 AM   #36
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What kinda devil-talk you be speakin' son?

...It was me, and it was PFC.
In sha' allah = god willing, said after anything future tense. I'm not a religious man but it's fun to say. Our teachers are impressed when we remember to say it after discussing upcoming events.

You still have much San Diego in you Joe, an E2 is a PFC in the marines only.

Speaking of only, you know the word for "only"? Faqrt. "Winter"? ****'ah
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Old 10-01-2008, 01:35 AM   #37
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read reviews on the ninja 650r. they'll all say that its the perfect beginner's bike. my friend has one and it has the sporty/full faired look, but without the uncomfertable riding position of 'real' sports bikes. plenty fast, plenty torquey for no-shift passes, and he averages 50-65mpg. awesome bike, and the new versys that is based off the 650r is supposedly even better, although as much of a naked bike fan as I am, I don't like the looks of the versys as much as the full faired 650r.
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Old 10-01-2008, 02:29 AM   #38
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Here's one nobody's mentioned. A relatively new Triumph Bonneville. They come in 790 cc or 865 cc versions. I'm not talking about the old, but very cool, relatively delicate and leak prone original Bonnies.

The current models are counter balanced, four valve per cylinder, double overhead valve parallel twins. They're air/oil cooled and so they have a large oil cooler rather than a radiator; there's something wrong about water and ethyl glycol in a motorcycle.

They're seriously overbuilt and I would imagine the motor and tranny are good for well over 100k miles. Cam timing is relatively mild and so they have a relatively wide power band.

Valves are shims over buckets and so valve adjustments are a bit fiddly in comparison to my airhead BMW's, but the adjustments are good for 15k miles or more, sometimes way more, after break-in is completed.

As for riding, and after totaling three BMW's (two in Tucson, one in F airfield), it's not paranoid to think everyone's out to kill you; they definately are and I've got the scars to prove it.

And I wouldn't use a motorcycle for a commuter, though lots of folks do. I use my own remaining four BMW's strictly for ***** and grins, and I avoid traffic at all costs. Think back country rides in the middle of nowhere; not saving gas and time on the way to duty.

Buy a good leather jacket, not a cheap one. Johnson Leathers in San Francisco will make one to order and they're reasonable; about four or five hundred. Langlitz leathers in Portland Oregon will make one for you if you've got lots of spare cash. Last time I bought one, about eight years or so ago, I think it was just over a grand; but they're probably the best available; or at least they were then. But if I need another one I'm going to Johnson's. Please don't by that foreign ****; they're crap. Buy one made to fit and long after you've forgotten how much you spent for it you'll still be enjoying the feel.

The vintage, horizontally opposed air-cooled BMW's (1969-1984), are a great first bike, but finding a good one is a bit of a challenge. On the other hand you can get almost any part shipped to your post within a few days, and the hard stuff might take a week or two. They are absolutely dead nuts simple, nearly bullet proof, super easy to work on, and a hoot to ride. The only bikes I like better than old BMW's, that are still practical to ride and own, are vintagle Moto Guzzi's from the 1970's and early 1980's; but they're even rarer than good BMW's.

If you decide to do something different, and want to look into BMW's, Guzzi's, or Triumph's, I can give you lots more info. Good luck and be careful.
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Old 10-01-2008, 10:26 AM   #39
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Don't forget, fall and ****'ah are the best times to buy used. People will be dumping their bikes like crazy.
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Old 10-02-2008, 03:25 AM   #40
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Have you looked at a 2002 and up Honda F4i 600? They are fuel injected and make around 100 hp. Thats not too fast for a first timer if you are responible with it. These bikes are getting pretty cheap and are all over the place. Parts and plastics are very low priced and can be found everywhere. I had one a year ago and I was very happy with it until the day I sold it. It was my fith bike. Just a thought.
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