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Old 05-09-2013, 08:27 AM   #16
Grainbelt
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First, congratulations on having the foresight to take the MSF class. As they likely told you at the end, you are now qualified to ride around in a parking lot!

I was in your shoes eight or so years ago. There used to be a great little website, beginnerbikes.org or something, chock full of n00bs and some veterans answering questions. They led me to the Suzuki GS500, and it was spot-on. I actually bought it a month before my MSF, and rode around the one-way parkways of S. Minneapolis a bit, which was nice.

Another old saying is that you start motorcycling with a full bucket of luck and an empty bucket of experience, and the key is to fill up the experience bucket before you run out of luck. To that end, you need something that puts you in control - IMO that rules out the savage and other cruisers, due to their lean-back ergonomics. Upright, good view of the road, good response to your inputs, without dumping you on your ass the first time you make a hamfisted stab at the brakes or throttle.

The 650s are great bikes, I bought a Ninja 650R/ER-6F after a year or so on the GS500. I should have kept the 500, but a coworker's son was looking for a first bike and having a hard time finding anything, so I did the neighborly thing and passed it along.

I think the 500 class is great. GS500. EX500. CX500 (my gfs first bike last summer). VT500 Ascot. VF500. The new CB500F. You can pretty much do anything on them, and they are cheap to own, run, and insure. There are some other nice old bikes with slightly larger but similarly tame engines - Yamaha Radian and Seca II are air-cooled 600cc four cylinders that would fit the bill.

Searchtempest.com is your friend. Have cash, as questions here before you go to look at anything, and see if someone local can go with you. There are a lot of simple things to check on a used bike to know if it is a good deal or worth haggling - worn sprockets, old weather-cracked tires, dry-rotted carb diaphrams, etc.

We've all been there and are glad to offer our insights. Yes, they will occasionally be contradictory. That's the internet for ya.
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Old 05-09-2013, 09:12 AM   #17
Randy
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Grainbelt View Post
First, congratulations on having the foresight to take the MSF class. As they likely told you at the end, you are now qualified to ride around in a parking lot!

I was in your shoes eight or so years ago. There used to be a great little website, beginnerbikes.org or something, chock full of n00bs and some veterans answering questions. They led me to the Suzuki GS500, and it was spot-on. I actually bought it a month before my MSF, and rode around the one-way parkways of S. Minneapolis a bit, which was nice.

Another old saying is that you start motorcycling with a full bucket of luck and an empty bucket of experience, and the key is to fill up the experience bucket before you run out of luck. To that end, you need something that puts you in control - IMO that rules out the savage and other cruisers, due to their lean-back ergonomics. Upright, good view of the road, good response to your inputs, without dumping you on your ass the first time you make a hamfisted stab at the brakes or throttle.

The 650s are great bikes, I bought a Ninja 650R/ER-6F after a year or so on the GS500. I should have kept the 500, but a coworker's son was looking for a first bike and having a hard time finding anything, so I did the neighborly thing and passed it along.

I think the 500 class is great. GS500. EX500. CX500 (my gfs first bike last summer). VT500 Ascot. VF500. The new CB500F. You can pretty much do anything on them, and they are cheap to own, run, and insure. There are some other nice old bikes with slightly larger but similarly tame engines - Yamaha Radian and Seca II are air-cooled 600cc four cylinders that would fit the bill.

Searchtempest.com is your friend. Have cash, as questions here before you go to look at anything, and see if someone local can go with you. There are a lot of simple things to check on a used bike to know if it is a good deal or worth haggling - worn sprockets, old weather-cracked tires, dry-rotted carb diaphrams, etc.

We've all been there and are glad to offer our insights. Yes, they will occasionally be contradictory. That's the internet for ya.
All very good advice right there! And I do agree about the cruiser thing too. Not usually the best of brakes, or handling, and the "laid-back" riding position is not the best for control either, although some aren't really all that bad in that regard. I find the bar position and ergonomics pretty good on my 48 since I swapped out the forward controls for mids. IMO though, anything with forward controls is very bad for good control.

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Old 05-09-2013, 09:42 AM   #18
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I wont flame you, but disagree about needing power to be safe.
I have had big fast bikes and little under powered bikes, on both the street and in the dirt, and have always been safe.
I tend to think if you need power to get out of trouble, you are doing it wrong, or riding in the wrong places if you want to be safe.

Its hard to go wrong with a TU250.
Its so easy to ride, even learning the basics is fun and easy.
Used, its under $3000.00, is bullet proof, the owner can do all the work on it with a handfull of tools, it gets 80 mpg, is fuel injected, its smooth and happy to run at whatever speed you can get it up to all day, uses no oil, runs very cool, fits a normal size person, add a rack and its a pack mule.

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v4...n/P1020964.jpg

I have done 50 mile runs on the interstate at 85 mph, the limit here is 65...
Tires are $50.00 each, O ring chain needs little, foam air filter.

No, its not the best choice for all day interstate travel, but it is much more fun on the interstate then a big bike, its like a road race, and much more involving then just droning along.
And it loves holding the throttle wide open, tucking in and running 85+ all day long.

Its way more then enough off the interstate, and its just fantastic for local trips to the store or whatever.
4 miles or 400 miles, I cant wait to get on it and go.

At 80 mpg and a 3+ gallon tank (takes regular gas), its got the range to have a lot of fun for chump change.

Most younger guys will want to trade up eventualy, and if you get used, you can get your money back, but some hold onto the bike for the fun factor.

I went from a 1200 to the TU 3 years ago aand have not had so much fun on a bike since I was 17.




Quote:
Originally Posted by AviatorTroy View Post
I'm sure to be flamed for this, but for the street a 250 is completely impractical and borderline unsafe. It doesn't matter if a Ninja 250 will go 90 if it takes 5 minutes to get there. Torque is what is needed for the street. You always need a reserve bit of "oomph" to bump yourself ahead of a blind merging car, etc. Additionally, why would you want to buy a bike that you will grow comfortable with and then outgrow within a week or so? (I DO however think those Suzuki TU250s are exceedingly cool, altho one does not reside in my garage for the above reasons.) There is a perfect engine size for almost every situation, and its a 650. 650 dual sports are not too big to have fun with within reason off road, and still have enough juice for street riding. 650 street bikes like GSX650, SV, Versys and such are a great balance of adequate power combined with light weight enough to be comfortable for a beginner to handle at parking lot speeds. I still have a '99 SV650 I bought new that was my first "real" modern bike, and many others have come and gone, but it stays. The perfect motorcycle.

The great thing about riding is that whatever floats your boat, you are likely to find around somewhere.
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Old 05-09-2013, 10:27 AM   #19
scooterspirit
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+1 on the TU, it's the best bike to start on. The TU will do everything you want it to, camp, cruise, commute, fun, two up.
The nighthawk and rebel are great choices too and cheaper to find. An inmate toured the states on one and loved it so much, tried a cbr250 and didn't like it at all. I wouldn't recommend anything else besides the 250 class for a beginner. GL
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Old 05-09-2013, 10:33 AM   #20
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Have a look at the Honda NC700x. An automatic and ABS is available if you want it. It is a low horsepower 700 and acts more like a smaller bike.
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Old 05-09-2013, 10:35 AM   #21
Meter Man
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CJ5K View Post
Hi everyone,

I'm wondering what a good engine for a first bike is. I was thinking of getting a Nighthawk 250, but when I took the MSF basic rider course, the instructor recommended 400-600cc, reason being that the 250's would be too slow for taking on the highway, or if you wanted to carry something/someone.

I'm sure this gets asked a lot, and I'm reading all the threads I can find, but I'm not finding quite the right answer, or at least the answer explained in a way that makes sense to me.

If it makes any difference, I'm thinking I want something more along the lines of a cruiser, but I could live with a standard for a while.

Also, am I right in thinking that for my first bike, I should buy something that I'm not going to get heartbroken if it gets dropped or laid down a couple times? Or should just buy the one I want (There's a really nice BMW R75 for sale in my area...) Like I said, I'm sure these kind of questions get asked a lot, so thanks for taking the time to help out new rider.

Stay safe guys,
CJ5k
I've owned a Nighthawk 250 for 10 years. It was my primary motorcycle for quite a few years, but now is the 2nd or 3rd string depending on the year and what is in my garage.


It is a perfectly fine motorcycle and I would not hesitate to buy one, however it is fairly outdated motorwise, brakewise and suspension wise. Very simple, cheap to operate and will cruise at 70 mph unless you are at high elevation or extremely chubby.
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Old 05-09-2013, 11:46 AM   #22
Meter Man
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I'd add that I've done a couple of long tours on my Nighthawk, one that was about 3,000 miles and quite a few 1,000 mile to 1,500 mile trips.
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Old 05-09-2013, 12:09 PM   #23
NJ-Brett
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No one told you you can't do that on a 250?


Quote:
Originally Posted by Meter Man View Post
I'd add that I've done a couple of long tours on my Nighthawk, one that was about 3,000 miles and quite a few 1,000 mile to 1,500 mile trips.
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Old 05-09-2013, 03:42 PM   #24
Tom-Nor
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Dont get blinded by the engine size, more CC dosent need to mean more speed.
A 1000cc can be just as civilized and smooth as a 500cc, its all about how the power is deliverd.
But of course bigger cc usualy means more weight and longer weelbase then a smaller.
A 600RR has a more aggresiv seating position that provokes you more then a BMW R1200GS f.ex. So you have to look at the compleat packed.
And no, i dont think a 1000RR is the best bike to start with.
Use youtube to see if you can find what kind of a bike atracts you.

Take som driving lessons, it will give you so much more out of your driving exerience.
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Old 05-09-2013, 05:39 PM   #25
NJ-Brett
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What about a rocket 3?
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Old 05-09-2013, 07:27 PM   #26
Dismount
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I'll fling my pennies in the ring too. Not with specific bike advice, but just some general thoughts.

It is incredibly liberating to have a mechanically sound and reliable bike that you don't give two shits about while it's flopped over on the ground. And that you can fling accesories on without worrying about doing it pretty.

You'll wind up carrying some shit at some point. It creeps up on you and before you know it you're trucking down the road with a bunch of crap you don't really need.

Another thing that creeps up on you, trip length. Boy riding x sure sounds fun. My point being, figure out whats comfortable. You might wind up riding more than you ever thought you would. 600 miles of your head vibrating like a gong can get more than a bit irritating.

You aint gonna save any money.

Budget for gear. It'll keep you safer/warmer/cooler/dryer and they don't hand it out for free. If you've ever had to peel the briar that somehow got wrapped 4 times around your bare leg off you already know the desire for protection that only pain really brings home.

People are going ask you really really really stupid shit. Maybe even stupider than the bicycle questions. You'll also run into every shade of grey that riders come in.

Happy decision making to you!
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Old 05-09-2013, 07:59 PM   #27
schnutzy
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ill put in another vote for the TU250. I commute on one, in NOVA running up and down the highway. I take it on weekend trips when I can as well. The only time i ever felt unsafe was my own damn fault, not cause i didnt "have enough power"
This bike has no problem running 75mph and still gets great milage doing it
cheap to buy, cheap to own, and very easy to work on.
It is light weight and a blast to ride. very "flickable" but still very stable and does not get blown around all that much.


the beginner bike segment is really coming into its own these days. all the new offerings from honda, the 300 from kawasaki, and the host of other 250s really give you lost of good options.
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Old 05-09-2013, 09:57 PM   #28
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Thanks for the input guys! Right now, I'm leaning away from the cruiser, and thinking of a standard. I've emailed a few guys with Yamaha Maxim 650s, but the Suzuki TU250 sounds really enticing.

It sounds like the TU250 is pretty highway capable, for what its worth, I live on the other side of the water from Seattle, and there's a good chance I'll have to ride it on I5 to get it home, or to go anywhere.

I hear ya'll on the safety gear. When I was 18 I was riding a bicycle and got hit by a car, have titanium in my leg, and know what its like to leave a little skin and blood on the pavement.


What do ya'll think, TU250, or Yamaha Maxim 650? Any thing about either I should know?
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Old 05-09-2013, 10:36 PM   #29
MariusD
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Get the bike that feels right. Stability and comfort are key, and don't worry so much about engine size. There is no magic number or formula. Comfort will inspire confidence and that's probably the most important thing for a new rider. You need to be able to trust your bike!


I will agree with those who say 250 cc bikes are border line unsafe. I have riden several and I never feel comfortable or confident on them. Have a friend with the new ninja 300 and he complains about being thrown around by wind on the highway and when crossing tall bridges. NOT COOL! I think bikes with a bit of weight are better for new riders, they ride smoother, are typically better balanced and are much more pleasant on the highway.

It's up to you bud. Go with whatever feels the best.
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Old 05-09-2013, 11:22 PM   #30
JerryH
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Honda VLX600 Shadow. Best cruiser of that size ever made. Easy to ride in town, freeway capable, and even makes a good tourer with a backrest, rack, saddlebags, and a T-Bag. Bulletproof engine. Was made for 20 years. Second choice for me would be a Kawasaki Vulcan 500. It might be my first choice, but SW Motech makes a centerstand for the VLX.

Nothing much smaller than a Goldwing is good for 2 up riding. It helps to put some seriously heavy duty air shocks on it, but is still uncomfortable and does not handle well with all that weight on it.

While not a sport bike fan, I have owned and ridden an '07 Ninja 250. I bought it new for $3000 OTD. Only mod I made was a 15 tooth front sprocket. No one can tell me that the Ninja 250 is not capable of serious riding. I rode mine at a GPS indicated 75 mph for thousands of miles. It did a lot better than I did. It would easily out run cars down a freeway on ramp. The Ninja 250 is a winner if you want that type of bike. I can no longer deal with the riding position. The Rebel 250 however, is a loser, unless you are like 5'4" with a 28" or less inseam. It is a tiny bike. But it to can be ridden at freeway speeds, I had mine up to a GPS indicated 76 mph, but it was usually less. However unlike many, I have no problem riding on the freeway at 60-65 mph. That's about what my XT225 does, and I haven't had any issues yet. Again these bikes are not good for 2 up riding, they have a realistic weight limit of around 300 pounds total, even if the manual says more. I have found that more bottoms out the rear suspension, and causes handling problems. It also taxes the small engines.


Anyone who thinks the Ninja 250 can't cut it should watch this. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RVxoVEMTXp8

Now if they would just put that engine in a cruiser big enough for a full size adult, with tubeless tires, they'd have a customer.
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