- This topic has 18 replies, 6 voices, and was last updated 15 years, 8 months ago by Indecisive.
500r, 650r, sv650 blues…. HELP
May 12, 2008 at 5:42 am #1366AnonymousGuest
(Sorry for the long post)
Hey Ben…. I am in love with the 650r. I have never ridden before and am seriously considering it. I have been doing damn near obsessive motorcycle research for a couple of months (sometimes several hours a day). I really love this site and the practical advice it gives – I’ve read countless pages and hours here already. I completely understand the reasoning behind starting smaller and actually learning to ride well, as opposed to always being “afraid” of your bike and never quite learning to be anything but a “blur in a straight line” riding like that friend of yours who hates to turn.
I have to admit that the main reason for a newbie like me who agrees with all that practicality and still wants a sv650 or a 650r as a first bike can only be the looks. Both bikes IMO are gorgeous and blow the ninja 500r out of the dated water. And even though most people generally prefer the look of the sv650 I actually like the 650r just as much (maybe more).
Every review I’ve ever read, whether it is a “professional review” or a “rider review” designate both of these beginner bikes, and I know this has been covered in great detail on this board but I’d like to bing out a few points and ask a few questions.
1) You generally only recommend the sv650 (and only the sv650) to those who are dead set on getting a 600cc bike, or who have dirt biking experience. However, most reviews I have read say that the ninja 650r is actually a little more forgiving than the suzuki sv650. In other words I’ve read that 650r is more “newbie friendly” than the sv650. (e.g. softer suspension, among other things) Check out this very long head to head review for the 06’s (not trying to steer people to other websites, just making a point) http://www.biketestusa.com/Article_Page.aspx?ArticleID=3250&Page=1
I’ve heard some say the 650r is kinda between the 500r and the sv650. I’m wondering why you don’t recommend the ninja 650r more. Watcha think?
2) As far as weight goes (and the idea of buying a lighter bike for the purposes of it being easier to learn to ride properly) the ’08s per the kawasaki website: ninja 650r is only 5 pounds heavier than the 500r.
3) THIS IS REALLY INTERESTING ON A STATISTICAL LEVEL.
Insurance rates don’t lie. If I go to the progressive website and enter all of my standard information for a motorcycle quote, I get the same monthly payment for a ninja 250r as I would for the 500r. HOWEVER, the weird thing is there is no ninja 650r specifically listed in their huge list, so I have to choose “other street sport bike not listed” and manually enter 649cc displacement engine. When I do, I get the exact same monthly payment I do for the 500r and 250r. In fact under “Kawasaki – ’06 – other street sport bike not listed” I can go to almost 800ccs and still get quoted the same rate as the 250r and 500r. HOWEVER, the suzuki sv650 quote was about 50% more than the 250r 500r “649cc other sport” quote. In fact the sv650 was about half way between a 500r quote and a honda CBR600rr quote, which is double the 500r quote. Unless this is a glitch in the progressive website, that must mean for the sake of over-simplicity, that the 250r, 500r and 650r are all just as likely to be crashed or stolen and have about the same $ amount of damage, while the sv650 is…well, you get the idea. Bottom line: If the bikes cost about the same, and the insurance rate for one is higher, you’re more likely to die on it. Can anyone else confirm these numbers? This week I’ll probably call around to speak with actual representatives to confirm if the 650r will really have the same rate as the 500r. If several companies rate it similarly, than I think that says something.
IN FACT, staying on the topic of insurance, another supposed “newbie” bike I was looking at was the Suzuki Katana 600. Some have categorized it as a sport-tourer, others call it the “can-o-tuna” because of it’s lack of get up and go like the ss bikes, and a friend of mine at work flat out called it a “chick’s bike.” However, the Katana 600 is only about $10 more a month for me to insure (above the 500r), much less than the sv650, even though it is a 4 cylinder. It is definitely a heavier bike at about 60 lbs heavier than the 500r or 650r. Does that make it safer or harder to learn on? Sometimes I can’t tell. Any comments on the katana vs the 650r or sv650? (or we could throw in the ninja zzr600 for that matter, which is another sport/tourer/not really a newbie but not quite a beginner/ hard to define low displacement bike).
4) I know the leap from 500cc to 600cc, although not a big one in size is a big deal because of the jump from 2 to 4 cylinders, but it seems the rest of the motorcycle world views almost anything with twin cylinders as a beginner bike regardless of cc displacement or whether or not its a cruiser or sport bike. Do you believe the average person (me 5′ 10″ about 180-185 lbs) with no riding experience, but is dedicated to learning to ride properly, wiling to practice, would not even get on a motorcycle without life and disability insurance (processing that right now), taking the msf course would really be at a disadvantage starting on the 650r as opposed to the 500r. In other words, when you title your article “Why 600ccs is too much” do you really mean “why 4 cylinders is too much” or do you ABSOLUTELY mean “why 600ccs is too much.”?
5) As far as the gs500f vs the ninja 500r goes, I read a very long head to head article that gave the kawasaki the advantage in every single category except one. Guess what that one was. Yup – it was “looks” (sigh). The thing that really did it for me was the fact that according to the service manual, the gs500f could cost as much as 3 times more than the kawasaki for maintenance. Can anyone else confirm the more frequent or expensive maintenance for the gs500, or is it that suzuki’s in general require more frequent/expensive maintenance than kawasaki’s.
6) And lastly, check out this SWEET BIKE: http://honolulu.craigslist.org/oah/mcy/676125268.html
Half of me is saying “please don’t talk me out of it – it’s still a v-twin, and only 150 more cc’s and looks a whole lot better than the 500r” and the other half is saying, well, basically the jist of this website.
– JoshMay 12, 2008 at 8:07 pm #6239ShannonGParticipant
I’m not Ben, but I think just the level of research and time and effort you have put into your selections shows that you’re not the kind of person who’s going to go out and buy a big bike just so you can look cool. I think no matter what you end up with (within reason) you’ve demonstrated an impressive degree of responsiblity. Just my 2cents worth.May 12, 2008 at 9:12 pm #6244acidpopeParticipant
I have the book Complete Idiots Guide to Motorcycles 4th Ed. The description for the sv650s contains the line “In fact, you could almost say that this is the perfect bike for the newer motorcyclist.”. If I’m not mistake the sv650 started as, and still sells as in it’s version without fairings as a standard bike, not a sport. The difference between the two is basically just the fairings, with some minor differences in size (length, width, height, ground clearance, dry weight, wheelbase and seat height). The Ninja 650 is very similar and I think both put out the same hp at around 70-72. I think the difference between the two is minimal. I personally like the look of the Suzuki bikes, and loan willing will more than likely pick up the sv650s. I hear only good things about it’s v-twin. It may be more powerful than the 500, but I think the respect the rider shows the bike is the deciding factor. An idiot can do just as bad on a 500 as with a 650, and a smarter more respectful rider can do just as good on a 650 as they would on a 500.
If you don’t mind waiting the Ninja 500r might get an updated look next year or the year after. Atleast that’s what the owner of a dealership told my brother. It’s a believable prediction, since the new 250r with the sportier fairings are selling like hot cakes.May 21, 2008 at 10:26 pm #6526-JoshGuest
I confirmed with the progressive lady on the phone that it is not an internet or web glitch…
“other street sport bike” up to 750cc or above get’s the EXACT same insurance rate as a 250r, or a 500r, which would include the 650r.
Of course she said for an accurate quote you would need the VIN #. My luck, I would buy the bike and the insurance would be twice what was quoted online.May 21, 2008 at 10:28 pm #6527-JoshGuest
comment above should say 750cc (actually a little above 750) or “BELOW”…not aboveMay 22, 2008 at 12:02 am #6530ShannonGParticipant
I can’t see the Suzuki 500 being expensive to maintain since it is a very basic design that has been around for two decades. Of course, having just bought one that may be wishful thinking on my part!May 22, 2008 at 6:22 pm #6564kirkParticipant
I beg to differ with the insurance price is the same. I have a Suzuki GS500f and I pay $89.00 a year for liability. I was looking to buy a Honda CBR 1000 and the insurance would have almost doubled to 179.00 a year for liability. The lady from Geico said it depends and the size of the bike.May 22, 2008 at 7:08 pm #6566JoshGuest
I realized it was long, but what was clearly said was that the 650r was nowhere in the drop down list progressive insurance had, so I was forced to use “other street sport bike.” There you fill in the cc’s manually and anywhere from 250 to almost 800 gets the same rate. However, if you were to type in a zx-r model (4 cylinder) even at 600cc I’m sure it would be about double the 500r, because it’s a ss. Super sports generally start at double the insurance for the 500r.
Yea GENERALLY the rate’s are by cc’s, but there may be a loophole in progressive’s system. The weird thing progressive had the suzuki sv650 listed and the ninja 650r was not. We all know the 650r is kawasaki’s answer to the sv650, and they are in direct competition with each other. The sv650 was quoted at about 40-50% more than the 500r was quoted, so you would assume that the 650r would get about the same rate. Kinda how the cbr600rr and R6 get quoted at the same rate. BUT, since the 650r was not SPECIFICALLY listed, “other street sport bike” between 250ccs and the upper 700’s ccs get the same rate. Get it?
If Geico had the 650r specifically listed in their quotes, it would probably get a higher insurance rate than the 500r but not as high as the ss 600 bikes. I’m just going to call up the guy who listed the 650r on craigslist and get a freekin’ VIN number. Then I’ll know for sure.
You could view it two ways I guess. On one hand, you could say with progressive it’s cool my 500r/650r is as cheap to insure as a 250r, or you could lament your 250r is as expensive to insure as a 500r/650r. I guess we need comparative quotes from other companies to find out whether the 500r progressive rate is a steal or the 250r progressive rate is expensive.May 22, 2008 at 8:18 pm #6573
Alright I haven’t read all the replies yet, but I have read the original post so that is what I will reply to. Then I will go back and read all the replies and give you my opinion on them if that is required.
1) The reason I don’t recommend the Ninja 650r as much is because I haven’t reviewed it. I’ve heard on these boards and other sources that it is a good beginner bike, but I honestly have not done all the research on it like I have with the sv650. It’s the same sort of thing with the Vulcan 900, i’ve read a couple things that say that it is a pretty darn good beginner bike, but I have not done all the research on it so if people ask me I’ll just recommend the Vulcan 500 instead. Maybe they would both make good beginner bikes, but I KNOW that the vulcan 500 would.
I will try and review the Ninja 650R now that you mention it though. Look for that in the coming weeks.
2) Lighter bikes definitely do make learning easier, so its a plus that the ninja 650r is only 5 lbs heavier.
3) I don’t have time to confirm all your insurance numbers but they seem correct to me. One of the reasons the ninja 650 might not be listed is because from what I see it is not a very popular bike. People have heard about the ninja 500 or the ninja 250 if they want a beginner bike, or if they want something bigger they will go with the ZX6R. I’ve only seen one or two Ninja 650r’s in real life, but sv650’s are the Honda Civics of the motorcycle world, you see em everywhere!
Now, to switch topics to the Suzuki Katana. I’ve heard it makes a pretty good beginner bike but I have not done the research on it, the main reason being because that it is one UGLY motorcycle haha. I honestly think katana’s are the damn ugliest bikes you can buy, that is one of the reasons they will probably be one of the last bikes I review. I mean, they don’t even look good as streetfighters. That’s all my personal preference, but I know that quite a few people agree with me, which is why I’m in no rush to review it.
4) In my article “Why 600 cc’s is too much” I was painting with a broad brush to help the uninformed. If someone goes to google, types in “Beginner motorcycles”, finds my website, and only reads that one article, then they will hopefully shop around for motorcycles that are smaller than 600cc’s. If I was to be completely accurate than the article title would be much too long!!:
“Why an Inline-4 600cc motorcycle is too much power for someone without any experience riding, but if you have dirtbike experience than you could do ok with a V-twin up to 650cc’s like the SV650 or the NInja650R (Oh yeah, and the vulcan 900 also makes a good beginner bike, but you should know it is a lot heavier and more difficult to move at slow speeds) oh yeah and in some situations even a bike like the Inline-Four powered Honda f4i can make an ok beginner bike etc….”
Doesn’t have such a great ring to it.
People seem to be obsessed with pushing things to the edge. For example, you said:
“Do you believe the average person (me 5′ 10” about 180-185 lbs) with no riding experience, but is dedicated to learning to ride properly, wiling to practice, would not even get on a motorcycle without life and disability insurance (processing that right now)….”
If your dedicated to learning to ride properly than just start on a smaller bike like the 250 or 500 like you said! People want to say, “Oh yeah, small motorcycles are good, but i’m responsible and I’d do things right, so a 600cc bike would be ok for me.”
Well maybe it would, or maybe it wouldn’t, but if you are honest about learning to ride properly than why not just go with a bike that you KNOW makes a good beginner bike? The sv650/ninja650/ninja 500/ninja 250 / gs500 etc… all make good beginner bikes, but the bigger they are, the more difficult they will be to handle. I can say with 100% certainty that you will have an easier time learning to ride on a ninja 250 than you would the ninja650, especially if you have not ridden a dirt bike or anything before. That being said, it’s not impossible to learn on a ninja 650, hell I know people personally that have learned to ride on a Yamaha r1, and they aren’t dead (Granted they are slow as hell in the turns, and not very skilled rider in general, but hey riding fast in a straight line is cool too yeah?).
You can learn to ride on any motorcycle, but smaller motorcycles make it easier. Period.
5) Both the ninja 500 and the gs500 are great bikes. I personally started on a gs500, but if I had to do it again I would probably start on a ninja 500 or ninja 250. The GS isn’t a bad bike, but it was more coldhearted (hard to start in the cold) than a ninja 500.
6). See answer #4.
I realize that one of the cool things about motorcycles is they make you look cool. I also realize that a ninja 500 is not going to turn as many heads as a CBR 1000. You need to ask yourself who you are trying to look cool for. Most people can’t tell the difference between a ninja 500 and a GSXR 750. Sure they look different, but most people can’t go “That motorcycle is DEFINITELY 500 cc’s!!!” I’ve heard tons of stories of pedestrians mistaking 250’s for 600’s, 750’s, or even 1000cc bikes.
The people like me who really ride can spot the posers (Squids) right away. They are usually on some japanese 600cc I-4 with brand new dealer plates, a 500 dollar race replica helmet, some shorty gloves, and T-shirt and jeans. They ride with their arms locked out, can’t pick a line (and stick to it) to save their life, and take corners slower than a 56k modem. Real riders don’t think those people are cool, they are pissed because they will most likely crash and raise everyones insurance rates. Not to mention they give good riders a bad name to the general public.
Anyway, this rant is getting too long haha. Hope that answers some of your questions.
~Best Beginner Motorcycles AdminMay 22, 2008 at 8:27 pm #6580
After rereading my reply I think I might have gotten on my soapbox a little bit and come off sort of like an…. ass. I still stand by everything I said, but I could have probably worded it a bit better. I hope no one was offended by my post.
~Best Beginner Motorcycles AdminMay 23, 2008 at 2:22 am #6597JoshGuest
I didn’t think it was soap boxy at all. I was sort of expecting it, but the insurance thing still blows me away a little.
It’s weird when your internal desires are playing chess. (Kinda like that seinfeld episode). The part of me that just wants to “ride” for the thrill of it and freedom knows it’s better to get the 500r and set myself up to be a long term well skilled rider. The poser part doesn’t want a cbr1000, but figures “hey let’s compromise a little safety to look a little cooler.” That’s the real danger. It’s not a drastic compromise, just one that’s possibly just a tad over the line that gets me intro trouble.
We’ll see…even after what has possibly now become somewhere in the neighborhood of 50-100 hours of research I may not even get a motorcycle after all. I am a young married father of 3 who has never ridden before. I’m not even sure I belong here if you know what I mean.May 23, 2008 at 4:43 pm #6613
Well it’s definitely a tough decision to start riding or not, but it is a lot of fun. Like I said, the ninja 650r does make a great beginner bike and it definitely looks cooler than the ninja 500. I think the best thing to do if your still on the fence about whether to ride or not is to take the MSF course, in there they let you ride their 250cc motorcycles and they teach you a lot of great skills. The course itself is over a couple days, so you will be able to decide if you have the riding bug or not.
Motorcycles are dangerous but there are a lot more dangerous things you could do out there. Hope I didn’t scare you away with my ranting
~Best Beginner Motorcycles AdminMay 28, 2008 at 3:23 am #6756AnonymousGuest
Review the 650R already!June 13, 2008 at 2:21 pm #7304senorflashParticipant
Hey man with 3 kids you must have a lot of bills. I see that you wanted a good looking bike that is easy to learn to ride on…well heck…the ninja 250 is cheap on gas, insurance, msrp and has great looks! I know it’s not the fastest bike, but hey…you have to scrimp somewhere.June 13, 2008 at 3:59 pm #7312megaspazParticipant
It’s fast enough. It’ll easily do 90mph without redlining.
If there’s anything more important than my ego
around, I want it caught and shot now…
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