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Old 04-21-2013, 02:22 PM   #1
rystjohn OP
Road Dreamer
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Joined: Mar 2013
Location: Asheville, NC
Oddometer: 79
Educated Newbie Advice, first bike. Help please!

Hey, I'm sure there are thousands of other posts like this, but I can't seem to find a comparison or advice between the two.

Mainly I'm asking financial advice here.

I'm about to order some River Road Scout Textile pants & jacket as well as some kind of hi-viz vest. Also, a hi-viz helmet of sorts. I'm debating now on an AFX FX120 or AFX FX140. Main difference being price and modular capability. Oddly the modular costs less...but I know the whole saying of "if you have a $10 head, purchase a $10 helmet." I'm a mountain biker and road cyclist and always am willing to pay for good protection, but I also have to respect that I have limited funds. The other options I've looked at are the GMAX G11D and the Bell Revolver EVO. Of these, am I at least on a good track? I've been doing as much research as I possibly can, reading reviews, etc, but I'd like to have some interactivity and hear back from other people.

And now the main question:

Some background info: I know I should start off small, and that's exactly what I'm going to do. I'm 25, 5'10" 160lbs and roughly a 34 inseam. I literally today just completed my MSF BRC course and feel much more confident on a bike, but not enough to jump up to a 650 or anything. I want to start small, around 250, and hone my skills, learn more, get more confidence, etc. I'm going to be doing mostly pavement riding, but want the ability to head down a forest road and maybe some bike trails as my skills progress. But for the most part I will be commuting around town and possibly a few short trips (300 miles one way at most) on side-roads and highways. For all purposes, I might also wind up riding this bike for years and years to come, and find that this is the perfect size for me. Another variable is that I'm probably going to be moving West at some point with my lady, and I'm going to want to be able to bring the bike with me in my pickup. I've got a huge pickup, so that's no problem. My budget is around 5K, with about 1K of that going towards safety gear

Option A I'm scouring Craigslist right now here in Asheville and the surrounding areas. I've found a few bikes in the 250cc range, and most are in preferred price range of 3K or less, however I don't know their history and their reliability. I'm new to bikes so I'm not totally sure what to look for and I don't want something that's going to break down when I'm in the middle of nowhere. I've owned waaay too many used cars over the past year or two, and they've all done this to me, so I'm kinda hesitant to buy a used cycle too. I have plenty of experience working on engines (I owned a 1984 VW Vanagon for a long time, you kinda are forced to learn mechanics with those ol' gals) but I don't have experience with bike motors. I plan on learning everything I can, but I don't want to buy a bike that will turn into a "project" bike or something that I'm going to have to sink more and more money into down the line just to keep it running. So the pro here is mainly that I will be spending less up front, but who knows how much down the line.

Option B I've also found a few bikes from local dealers for around the $4,500 mark. I figure I might be able to talk them down to $4K, I hope. My thoughts on this are: they will have a manufacturers warranty, the chances of them having problems (both serious and minor) will be reduced, and they will resell for a better price than an already-used bike. Also, I will support my local dealer economy. Also, I'll have to admit that this will allow me to get a bike SOONER (rather than waiting for the right one to come along on CL) and I'll be able to ride sooner and start developing my skills. The only cons are that I'll be dropping a lot of money now, and when I do eventually drop the bike, it's gonna hurt that it's new and all. Also a lot of the new ones are EFI, and for some reason that scares me. I doubt it'll give me any issues, but I feel like a carburator is easier to tinker with when in the middle of nowhere compared to the EFI electronics and such. But that's just me being paranoid. After all, my 30 year old VW had EFI and it still worked. Barely, but it worked.

Bikes I'm looking at (EDITED 23 April 18:27 EST):

  • Honda CRF250L $4500 <--- This is the one I'm leaning towards most in the new
  • Yamaha XT250
  • Kawasaki KLX 250S
  • Suzuki DR200SE

  • Suzuki DR200SE with 3,200 miles $2500
  • 2005 Yamaha XT 225 with a hitch rack, straps, etc to haul the bike. 6800 miles $2800
  • 2009 Kawasaki Super Sherpa with 336 miles $3,400 <--- This is the one I'm leaning towards most of the used, as of today EDITED 23 April 18:27 EST

Thank you to everyone who reads this massive post and responds with their advice and opinions. You're helping cultivate a new rider who wants to become an educated and safe rider in the community.


rystjohn screwed with this post 04-23-2013 at 03:29 PM
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