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Old 05-12-2013, 04:34 AM   #61
Grainbelt
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I owned a dr650. It is a decent starting point for a motorcycle, but not a great street bike off the showroom floor. Small tank, lean fueling, hard narrow seat, soft springs, weak brakes. The people who wax poetic about them have typically made extensive modifications.

I haven't ridden one, but get the impression the TU actually works well right out of the crate. And it is fuel injected. That's the way I'd go. Plus, they are so different, if you decide you still want a DR, buy one next and keep both.
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Old 05-12-2013, 08:52 AM   #62
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If you don't want a cruiser I would look at the new 500s from Honda. They seem like great starter bikes when I sat on them. I think the TU would be fine but the pegs were a bit cramped for me. YMMV The Honda 700 might also be something to check out. Low reving engine with great economy...they have quite a few fans here do a search.
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Old 05-12-2013, 09:01 AM   #63
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As a new rider I think we may be looking at the right criteria but in the wrong order. I spent a lot of time concentrating on inseam length and a bike height that allowed me to sit in the saddle while flat footed as well as overall weight of the bike.

If you can't handle the height and weight and the overall fit is not comfortable it does not matter if the engine is 250 or 1098 cc. Having said that your engine size and power limits will have a say in whether you can ride on the highway and interstate. You want power left over there, IMO.
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Old 05-12-2013, 10:26 AM   #64
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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.

Jeezus...even the MSF instructors are spouting this bullshit now? This may be true for certain 250s, but not all 250s are created equal. Ninja 250 is the ubiquitous beginner bike. Cheap, plentiful, reliable...will carry youi and anything you care to take along just about anywhere you want it to. Your MSF instructor is also forgetting that there about zero bikes available in the "400-600" category, save for Honda's new 500cc trio of bikes, or a smattering of dual sport bikes or somewhat obscure machines that parts are impossible to find for.

Long story short, unless you are huge or your idea of "highway" is needing to go 85 MPH everywhere, a 250 is FINE. ALso, a beginner should not be carrying a passenger in the first place! It's your first bike, not your last. Go small! Plus, you will learn that small bikes are FUN!

Look at:
Ninja 250 of any vintage...depends on what you want for style
Ninja 300 (these are not cheap, though, and expensive if you drop it)
CBR250
TU250 (I want one of these so bad)
Honda's new 500s (not cheap either) (cbr500, cb500 cb500x, or something like that)
GS500
Dual sports:
DRZ400
KLR650 (big, tall, and pretty heavy though)
WR250
Others in the 250 range -- I'm not up to speed on all the dual sports on the market right now.

Some caveats: UNless you LIKE constantly tinkering on your bikes, don't get anything super old. I know the old Honda CBs look cool, but the reality of living with one might be a pain in the ass for a n00b. It might not...but be fully aware they are 40 year old motorcycles with a lot of issues.
Shy away from inline 4 cylinder motorcycles. Often, but not always, the power curves are not friendly for beginners.
Cruisers need a lot more displacement than non cruisers...the engine designs don't make much horsepower per liter, and they are usually large and heavy. Thus, a 750 cruiser might be ok for a n00b, while a750 anything else might not.
Only you know what your limits and self control are, but be aware, no matter HOW GOOD your self control is, there will come a time when you want to whack that throtlle WFO...I hope for your sake you know what you are doing and are on a machine you can control when that time comes.
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Old 05-13-2013, 08:33 AM   #65
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Add the Ninja 500 to that list, lots of them laying around CHEAP and great parts access, both new and used. A very close riding experience to my modded Ninja 300. Ergos are goofy but it gets it done, cracks 100 MPH easily, carries 2 up well and isn't heavy feeling.

I still can't believe a TU250 is "cruising" anywhere at 85 MPH. My 300 is cranking at 9,000 RPM with taller gearing at that speed. Not a bad first bike but what can it be putting to the wheel? 18-20 HP? That doesn't break into the all around "do anything" category for me. Make that 35 wheel HP and it's another story.
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Old 05-13-2013, 10:32 AM   #66
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No, the TU won't do 85 mph all the time.
It can do 85 mph (actual) on the interstate in traffic that is moving at 80 mph and up (a huge draft is set up), and it is happy to do it, but you are sometimes lucky to get up to 75, add hills and head wind, 65 mph.

So its more a bike you can get down the interstate if you have to, or stick in the slow lane, or have a hoot with in traffic if you dare, but it seems to love trying to go as fast as it can.

It loves full throttle long runs at any rpm, its never unhappy, and a new rider would learn a lot about getting everything out of a bike they can on a TU. You can often push the bike to its limits.

I would enjoy the interstates on a big bike if there was no speed limits and you could go about twice the posted limit, otherwise there are much better places to ride.
And if I was going to ride THOSE places, it would rather do it on a small light bike, not some huge heavy lean limited barge or bike that would be fun at 3x the speed limit.



Quote:
Originally Posted by Navin View Post
Add the Ninja 500 to that list, lots of them laying around CHEAP and great parts access, both new and used. A very close riding experience to my modded Ninja 300. Ergos are goofy but it gets it done, cracks 100 MPH easily, carries 2 up well and isn't heavy feeling.

I still can't believe a TU250 is "cruising" anywhere at 85 MPH. My 300 is cranking at 9,000 RPM with taller gearing at that speed. Not a bad first bike but what can it be putting to the wheel? 18-20 HP? That doesn't break into the all around "do anything" category for me. Make that 35 wheel HP and it's another story.
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Old 05-13-2013, 11:29 AM   #67
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I cruise at 65-67 when there is no traffic, that's about perfect on the cbr250, easy and plenty of power. I run 70-80 sometimes through traffic, I-5, the bike won't do much more than 80 with me and a top box. It's always been plenty enough power and speed for where I go.

But, the highway is not a good place to learn. Cars and bikes react much differently there. Best to stay on surface streets for the first year, as much as possible. So the smaller power is ok, you can still get on for short blasts to get where you're going, you learn to use and respect the limits of your bike. That will be important when you have a bigger bike.
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Old 05-13-2013, 11:59 AM   #68
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Originally Posted by NJ-Brett View Post
No, the TU won't do 85 mph all the time.
It can do 85 mph (actual) on the interstate in traffic that is moving at 80 mph and up (a huge draft is set up), and it is happy to do it, but you are sometimes lucky to get up to 75, add hills and head wind, 65 mph.

So its more a bike you can get down the interstate if you have to, or stick in the slow lane, or have a hoot with in traffic if you dare, but it seems to love trying to go as fast as it can.

It loves full throttle long runs at any rpm, its never unhappy, and a new rider would learn a lot about getting everything out of a bike they can on a TU. You can often push the bike to its limits.

I would enjoy the interstates on a big bike if there was no speed limits and you could go about twice the posted limit, otherwise there are much better places to ride.
And if I was going to ride THOSE places, it would rather do it on a small light bike, not some huge heavy lean limited barge or bike that would be fun at 3x the speed limit.

Yeah, with a big enough hill My Ninja 300 will do 150...

I stand by my recommendation of the 300 if you want to buy new or near new, newb friendly and still be able to cruise at +80 MPH 2 up or otherwise. It is the smallest displacement bike that can break 100 on its own steam (no drafting ) and easily lug a rider + passenger uphill at any legal speed and then some.

You don't need to concede interstate or 2 up power when you buy a first bike just to get an easy to use machine. Bikes under 25 HP are a lot of fun, but they lack, for many, the "do anything" level of power normally associated with street bikes. I like to ride the lower output bikes too, just not every day for every purpose.
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Old 05-13-2013, 12:46 PM   #69
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This thread is bizzare.

I think there are some 300 lbers saying a 250 isnt enough to roll down the street, and 95 lb girls saying its a highway cruiser.

Otherwise, you guys are living in two different worlds. :)

I couldn't imaging not having some serious grunt for commuting, you gotta ride like you are the alpha male of the road, not some gentle teacup praying nobody runs him over.
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Old 05-13-2013, 01:38 PM   #70
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Originally Posted by dom1104 View Post
This thread is bizzare.

I think there are some 300 lbers saying a 250 isnt enough to roll down the street, and 95 lb girls saying its a highway cruiser.

Otherwise, you guys are living in two different worlds. :)

I couldn't imaging not having some serious grunt for commuting, you gotta ride like you are the alpha male of the road, not some gentle teacup praying nobody runs him over.
Thats because no one has defined the riding needs, style, or locations yet. Around my local town and country backroads where I spend my time riding, I'd say that anything 250 and up would be fine. Maybe even a XT225. But, if used for commuting from my home to Atlanta, up I-85 and around I-285, there's no way I could recommend a small bike like that in good conscience. It really does depend on how a bike is going to be used in the real world. For urban interstate commuting I'd probably want some juice... say SV650, Versys, 650R, etc. would be in the right ballpark, IMO

Take that type of heavy traffic moving at fast speeds out of the equation and those needs change dramatically, IMO.

Define your needs first and foremost when trying to select a bike. REAL world needs, not some maybe and wannas... Are you wanting a bike to learn the ropes on the backroads and small town local trips? Do you plan to use it as a learner then move up to something more appropriate to your needs once you figure out exactly what those needs are? No one can recommend a first bike without knowing how it's going to be used and exactly what the owner expects from it.

It really isn't rocket science. Pick a bike that isn't a high strung Ricky Racer supersport, has decent, easily accessable power in the 30 to 100hp range (maybe less if sticking to lower speed backroads primarily, isn't too tall or heavy for you to manage with reasonable confidence, and preferably one that isn't going to kill your soul or bank account if you drop it in the parking lot. Stay away from traffic as much as possible and be safe. Hell, I've been riding for over 30 years now and I still shake my head in wonder every time I see a rider in rush hour Atlanta traffic. But that's just me.

Once you've got a year under your belt, or a few thousand miles at least, you'll have a better idea what you really think you want and/or need a motorcycle to do. There really isn't a "perfect" bike for anyone. If there were there'd only be one bike being built after all...


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Old 05-13-2013, 02:16 PM   #71
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I haven't read this whole thread, but I think I will chime in anyway. When it comes to noobs and bikes, we all like to play matchmaker.

First - buy used. You can pick up some nice bikes for $3000 - $4000, ride them 6 months, and sell them for what you paid, or close to it - as long as you haven't trashed it, kept maintenance records, etc.

I would recommend looking for a used Suzuki SV650. The naked one, not the S. The S has sportier ergos, and you said you were interested in cruisers. The naked bike sets you more upright. You may also want to consider a Yamaha FZ6 or FZ6R, Honda 599, Suzuki DL650. All of these bikes have what it takes to last you a very long time. You will not outgrow them.

If you are set on buying a new bike, and you want a cruiser, you may want to wait until the Honda CTX700 hits the showrooms, which should happen in about a month. It's got cruiser ergos, and a reasonable price. Honda also has the CBF500 which is out now, and the CBX500 should be available sometime this summer.

Since you have some good bicycle experience, I don't think you need to start with a 250.
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Old 05-14-2013, 03:10 PM   #72
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Thats because no one has defined the riding needs, style, or locations yet. Around my local town and country backroads where I spend my time riding, I'd say that anything 250 and up would be fine. Maybe even a XT225. But, if used for commuting from my home to Atlanta, up I-85 and around I-285, there's no way I could recommend a small bike like that in good conscience. It really does depend on how a bike is going to be used in the real world.

I would mostly be riding it for fun, might try the occasional weekend trip (but I doubt it). Around here, we're talking speed limits ranging from 35-55 miles per hour. If anyone has any familiarity with Washington state, I live in the Bremerton/Silverdale area, and would like to ride around here, with the possibility of heading to Belfair, Port Townsend, Shelton, and around Seattle. I'll probably stay off I-5 for the most part, but there may be one or two stretches where I have to take it for a mile or so to get anywhere.


I really like the TU250, but I can't find one for under 3 grand. I think a good deal of the roads that I'd like to ride are posted around 45-55, mostly on the upper end of that range.

Still think something like a tu250 would work? Should I maybe still be looking at the nighthawk 250?

I like the cruiser style as well, but it was suggested that its not great for a begginer... I guess my main concerns are:

-I want the bike light enough that I can learn on it
-I want it fast enough that I can be safe in traffic, and actually get outside of the town I live in.
-Something that's a little pavement friendly
-I'd prefer something that looks more like a motorcycle than a dirt bike, and sport bikes don't really do it for me.

I hope this helps, you guys have been great so far!
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Old 05-14-2013, 03:35 PM   #73
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Originally Posted by CJ5K View Post
I would mostly be riding it for fun, might try the occasional weekend trip (but I doubt it). Around here, we're talking speed limits ranging from 35-55 miles per hour. If anyone has any familiarity with Washington state, I live in the Bremerton/Silverdale area, and would like to ride around here, with the possibility of heading to Belfair, Port Townsend, Shelton, and around Seattle. I'll probably stay off I-5 for the most part, but there may be one or two stretches where I have to take it for a mile or so to get anywhere.


I really like the TU250, but I can't find one for under 3 grand. I think a good deal of the roads that I'd like to ride are posted around 45-55, mostly on the upper end of that range.

Still think something like a tu250 would work? Should I maybe still be looking at the nighthawk 250?

I like the cruiser style as well, but it was suggested that its not great for a begginer... I guess my main concerns are:

-I want the bike light enough that I can learn on it
-I want it fast enough that I can be safe in traffic, and actually get outside of the town I live in.
-Something that's a little pavement friendly
-I'd prefer something that looks more like a motorcycle than a dirt bike, and sport bikes don't really do it for me.

I hope this helps, you guys have been great so far!
The KTM Duke 390. It's pretty much my current bike with a faster engine and in the range of what your instructor suggested.
I'm basing this off my own duke 125

-I want the bike light enough that I can learn on it
It's super light and it's very flickable. You can pick it up easily and I'm no weight lifter. (125 = 127KG 390 = 140KG)
You also mentioned crashing it. I had aluminium hand guards on mine and have thrown it up the road twice and crashed it + broke my leg in a forest at 40MPH... bars were bent and snapped off the rear brake lever, Just started it up and took the two hour ride home.

-I want it fast enough that I can be safe in traffic, and actually get outside of the town I live in.
I've been on a 280 mile trip to Dublin and back on the motorway, dirt roads, city centre and up crappy farmer roads to scenic views so it's more than comfortable enough getting away.
I commute, filter and mess around on it daily.
My 125 will do 83MPH balls to the wall and if you check this out you can see that the 390 accelerates like a damn monster since its so light.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UCz9TF_98Hk

-I'd prefer something that looks more like a motorcycle than a dirt bike, and sport bikes don't really do it for me.
Looks the part personally


Also You are the same height as me and my bike and the 390 have the same seat height. Skip to 3:00 and mute the music if you want lol http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2ZyIc7Owukc you can see me get on easily.
It's not tall at all but still gives you a good view.

bunnyDrug screwed with this post 05-14-2013 at 03:46 PM
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Old 05-14-2013, 06:44 PM   #74
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sounds like you could ride a hd200 or aprilia (good used) scooter in terms of cc.
Lots of good rebels around where you are
http://seattle.craigslist.org/tac/mcy/3798749484.html
http://seattle.craigslist.org/kit/mcy/3788157940.html
http://seattle.craigslist.org/kit/mcd/3799527217.html
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Old 05-14-2013, 08:35 PM   #75
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Thanks Scooter! I'll check those out.

I'm hopefully going to go check out a nighthawk 750 this weekend, and we'll see how that goes...
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