- This topic has 13 replies, 7 voices, and was last updated 15 years, 9 months ago by Matt.
Buying my first bike, need help!!!
March 10, 2008 at 3:22 am #1220
My name is patrick and I am buying my first motorcycle. I have expierience riding dirt bikes and also have been practicing on a 650cc silver wing scooter alot lately to prepare for a motorcycle riding class.I bought “An idiots guide to motorcycles” and have read it cover to cover twice. I keep reading that I must get a 500cc or less engine or I will almost definately kill myself. My dilemma is financially I must buy somthing that will keep me happy for a few years. Now at first I immediately went for a 600cc sport bike; cbr, gsxr, r6, or ninja……then after sitting on all of those and rolling around on them i liked the gsxr the most without a doubt. But then as i got to thinking I said hey I cant just make a decision based on that so I also looked at a new bike called a gsxf which felt kind of wierd but the salesman said it would be a better fit for a beginner. So I go home and think about it….and while cruising the net and my idiots guide book I came across a company called Buell. I found a bike called a xb9sx lightning city bike. I went to the harley dealership where they sell Buells (I believe that buell is a harley brand) and I absolutely fell in love with the xb9sx, at least as much as i could by just sitting on it and starting it up. It felt light in my legs, and it fit my 6’3 180 llb frame very very well. I sat on a buell blast 500 but it felt cheap and almost as heavy as the xb9sx. I think that the xb9sx is a 984cc vtwin which is way more than 600cc inline but would be easier to handle because of the vtwin design. I am a pretty mature guy and have driven alot of quick cars. I have an understanding of speed and the exponential increase of danger accompanied with it. Is it possible to safely learn with the xb9sx and then grow with it and if not what would be a good alternative?
decisions decisions? Thanks alot for any help you guy can give much appreciatedMarch 10, 2008 at 5:39 pm #5161MattGuest
I’ve got to ask after reading your post: have you actually read these pages?
Have you actually read a review (from someone who has spent a day or two) on a Ninja 250 or 500?
I’m not trying to sound insulting, but you aren’t asking “what bike should I buy” you are asking for validation of your choice to go against the suggestions that you chose something more appropriate for your skill level.
Your comments about being mature and handling fast cars is immaterial to the risk of a fast bike. The issue isn’t that you’ll drive super fast and run into a tree. The issue is that a track oriented bike, like the Gixxer, requires a very subtle control because it does EXACTLY what you tell it to. You have dirt background, and that is good. That means you’ll have clutch and gas control. But there are still a lot of physical skills and reaction you need to train into your muscle memory before you get on a track-oriented bike (ANY and ALL of the japanese 600cc bikes are intended first and foremost for the TRACK. Anyone who tells you differently has not compared their ergonomics to a proper street-sport bike).
These bikes are not forgiving. If you make a mistake, you must have the skills to correct it. Those skills are grown by making that mistake on a bike that is forgiving enough to allow you some leaway when you mess up.
There are street oriented sport bikes out there which are both more comfortable and more forgiving of the learning process without being dull. The Suzuki SV650, Kawasaki Ninja 650, and Ducatti Monster 600/620/695. None of these are bikes that people “out-grow”.
It isn’t often you are going to hear this from me, but the salesman trying to sell you the 650 gixxer was right.
The 650 is a street oriented sport like the ninja 650. Don’t let the “street oriented” bit fool you. It isn’t a full on hard core track bike like the 600 or 750. But it looks the part, and it’ll keep up with 600s on the streets unless your buddies are riding hella-illegal. The reason the seating seems funny is because it is a mostly-upright seating position. This will be _way_ more comfortable for any length of time than the full crouch of a supersport.
My first bike was a 1984 Honda VF500F interceptor. Don’t let the 500cc fool you, it made 70hp and did zero to sixty in under 4 seconds. Its performance would put it right there with the Gixxer 650 and the Ninja 650 today. With a 12500 rpm read line, and torquey V4 motor, it was a rocket. The seating position on it was half-way between a full upright ride (like a Bandit) and a crouched modern supersport. It was hard on the wrists unless I was doing 80kph (50mph).
About the Buell. Buells are love ’em or hate ’em bikes. On of my friends has a Blast, and her husband, after riding hers, went out and bought a blast. After two years he upgraded to one of the 900cc Buells. He still has the Blast because some days he prefers riding it to the bigger Buell (can’t remember what he bought, I think it was a lightning).
Please take a moment to read these links (yes, I know it is on a Ninja 250 site, but read them anyways):
Pretty much every one of your comments it covered in them.
So to answer your questions:
No, I don’t think you can _safely_ learn on a xb9sx. It was designed for people who already had their life-saving skills ingrained. I feel it would be a better bike than a 600cc sport bike though.
Of the bikes the gixxer 650 gets my approval. As does a ninja 650 and an sv 650 (which gives you the torque of a V-twin, and is plenty fast, they are very popular with the track racers around here).
I would however remind you of the new Ninja 250 and the Ninja 500. The 250 in particular is not a bike that will give you great gobs of excitment if you ride “point and shoot”. Slow into the corners and accelerate like hell down the straights. But it will teach you (and allow you) to maintain high speed through the corners. More speed than the 600 point-and-shoot guys will be able to handle if the posting on pashnit and other forums is accurate.
Just so biases are in the open, I bought the Vf500f as my first bike last year. It spent most of its time in the shop. I have since bought a 2003 ZZR250 (Canadian spec ninja 250). I have yet to ride it, so I can’t speak about how fast it is from personal experience. Interestingly enough, I work with a lot of Harley riders and a Ninja 900 owner. All are impressed with my ZZR250 and comment that it is an awesome bike.March 10, 2008 at 6:19 pm #5162BenParticipant
I agree with matt, it looks like you aren’t asking which bike you should get, you are instead asking for validation that you can start on a 600cc bike.
Let me get this part out of the way first: You can start on a 600cc, a 750cc, 1000cc, or even a 1200cc bike, nothing is stopping you. Generally though, riders that start out on a 600cc inline-4 or more tend to be ‘worse’ riders than those that stick to a ninja 250 or 500 for a year or so. They are worse riders because they don’t learn to carry their speed into turns, and when the crash (which ALL motorcyclists do, regardless of the bike) they often crash at greater speeds which will end up totaling the bike or at least cause an expensive trip to the mechanic. The standard advice is to stick to something below 600ccs for your first bike, but like I said, that is just a general rule.
You said the primary reason you want to get a 600 right away is: “My dilemma is financially I must buy somthing that will keep me happy for a few years.
Well I have good news for you! The Ninja 500 as well as the ninja250 all have a really high resale value. I have heard dozens of stories of people buying a ninja 250 used for like $2000 and selling it a year later for the exact same price, or maybe 1-3 hundred less then that. My first bike was a 2002 GS500 which I bought for $1800, but I ended up selling it a year later for $2400, I actually made a profit. Talk about keeping a high resale value
The financial argument just doesn’t work when it comes to first motorcycles. I also find that people who use that argument because they ‘want to stick with a bike for a few years’ end up selling the bike a year or so later because they HAVE to get the new kawasaki/honda/yamaha/ducati that just came out. Again, that is just what I have seen in my experience.
If you are buying new, then I would highly recommend you NOT do that. Buying used is always a much better option and will save you thousands of dollars. http://www.craigslist.com is in every major US city and is the best way to buy motorcycles in my opinion. The other bad thing about brand new bikes as a first bike is you are going to drop them. Usually it will be low speed, or even standstill drops, but you are going to drop them nevertheless. I personally dropped my first bike 3 or 4 times (yay naked gs500! no damage!). If you get the brand new buell then it is going to be that much more painful if/when you drop it.
It is your decision of course. Whatever motorcycle you buy make sure you put at least 500-700 aside for motorcycle riding gear. The pavement doesn’t care if you are on a 250 or a 1000cc bike, it will all feel the same at 70mph.
One more quick thing, if you are dead set on getting a bigger bike, maybe check out the suzuki sv650.
~Best Beginner Motorcycles AdminMarch 10, 2008 at 6:26 pm #5163KickprivateParticipant
And later we will discuss use of the enter key to form paragraphs.
And a message to everyone:
If you think you will outgrow a 500CC bike in a year, you need to think again and just to be sure, you may want to think again!
I ride a EX500 and have just barely started putting my feet in the puddle that is known as sport riding. If I thought I would outgrow this bike in the next 2 years I would sell it right now. Well guess what? I still have it and its not up on craigslist. Pick your bike for your skills, not your bike for your budget.
~Not your average hairless monkey
KickMarch 12, 2008 at 7:20 pm #5178
Sorry i didnt know i was in english class, ok well i guess i should take yalls advice, I think I like the hyosung 250r or perhaps that new ninja youre reviewing…that hyosung head light is pretty neat. Which is the best of the 250’s ? What sold was that I can sell it for near the buying price. thanks for the adviceMarch 12, 2008 at 10:24 pm #5180swedeParticipant
I have no experience of neither bikes, but judging from reputation, I would say that the Ninja is the way to go.
Hyosung is a Chinese brand with not so good reputation while Yamaha is a well renowned brand with much experience and a reputation to live up to.
From what I’ve heard, the finish and quality of the Hyosung bikes isn’t of the sort that’ll put a smile on your face looking at it, unless fixing broken screw-threads and such is one of your major hobbies.
JonathanMarch 13, 2008 at 4:02 am #5183SuperMotoRiderParticipant
I still don’t believe that anyone can “out-grow” their bike, I still think it’s an ego thing. I mean really… when do you ever need to go faster than 80mph commuting? A ninja 250’s top speed is around 80mph… If you race on a track then thats cool, but don’t ruin my life when you injured youreself or worst when you wreck into my or anyone’s car/bike at 100mph trying to show off…
Most people are concern about their weight and height on a low displacement bike, “will they fit okay on a 250cc engine or a 500cc engine?” I’m sure the bike’s suspension has more to do with your comfort than the displacement of the engine.March 13, 2008 at 6:00 am #5185
RIght after you said that i should check on craigs list i found a 2007 suzuki gs500F for $3000 with 1200 miles on it. I met up with the guy and saw it…it looks immaculate. what should i ask him…..is this to good to be true?!?!?!? All ive read tells me that this is one of the best beginner bikes TALK TO ME PEOPLE!!!! BY the way you shouldnt think that just because i want a gsxr 600 mean that i wanna ride a wheelie down the highway doing 120 into your minivan…..im not an idiot im just new at this motorcycle thingMarch 13, 2008 at 6:19 am #5187AaronMerlotParticipant
I love my 2007 Gs500f!!! Just about to get it out of storage.
For the money I don’t think you can get a better bike.
I payed about 5k in september for mine new off the showroom floor.
Let me know if you have any questions and i will help with what I can. I am very new to biking also.March 13, 2008 at 6:25 am #5189SuperMotoRiderParticipant
Once you get cocky enough after riding for awhile, you’re gonna wanna know what your bike is capable of…
You’re gonna be very tempted to see how fast you can go… (you don’t think so now, but…) trust me, you paid for a performance bike and your gonna wanna know how much it can perform… At least 80% of my sportbike buddies has pushed their bikes to their top speed on the interstate, not necessarily doing wheelies. I can tell you now I’m very tempted to push my DRZ to its top speed, previous owner did certain mods to it and said the bike can push 120mph, but I have already wrecked before i bought the bike. So I can look back on my crash and not be tempted to do anything reckless.
I don’t know much of the gs500f, but I rode with a guy that has one. He seems pretty happy with it. Try researching on youtube and the internet articles. Good luck, Be safe.March 13, 2008 at 6:58 am #5191uncle_bernieParticipant
I agree, it’s HARD to resist the temptation, once you get a little comfortable to see what your bike can do. I don’t ride a sportbike, I ride a Suzuki S40 (652cc single cylinder) but it still has quite a bit of power. It’s more forgiving (I *think*, as I’m a fairly new rider) than a sportbike, but can still get you into trouble if you lay too heavily on the throttle.
I keep reading about people thinking that a 500cc sport bike is underpowered and not going to be “enough bike” for them. This excerpt from an article by Chuck Hawkes found here was rather illuminating the first time I read it….
“In the 1960’s and 1970’s, 50cc to 125cc motorcycles were considered “small,” the 150-200cc motorcycles were intermediate, the 250cc to 500cc motorcycles were midsize bikes, and 600cc and larger motorcycles were “big” bikes. Today, a 250cc motorcycle is considered small, and a 600cc motorcycle mid-size. Even a liter bike (1000cc) is no longer considered “big” in a world of 1400-1800cc heavyweight motorcycles. I have read articles in the motorcycle press about the Yamaha V-Star 1100’s, calling them “middleweight” cruisers!”
Now, technology moves on and all and everything is more powerful and faster than it used to be but one constant remains, the amount of trouble you can get into at a given speed on a bike if you crash it. Faster cars have the advantage of better cages and airbags to protect the occupants, on a bike it’s just you and your gear between whatever happens. Basically, everyone should make choices about a first bike that is congruent with their abilities and temperament. If your a novice rider that is apt to go 100 mph then maybe you should make a choice that prohibits your ability to do that. Just buy a bike that fits your skill level and always ride within yourself (as much as you can).
And never forget to think…
~He who laughs last didn’t get the joke…March 13, 2008 at 4:37 pm #5199BenParticipant
Sounds like a pretty solid deal! I would check to see if the guy has any paperwork for any maintenance done on the bike. Also if you can I would have a friend who knows motorcycles go with you to test ride it for you and to ride it back to your house if you decide to buy it. Where do you live?
~Best Beginner Motorcycles AdminMarch 13, 2008 at 5:31 pm #5201
Im going to go talk to the guy again and ask about the paperwork, I live in san antonio texas so i doubt that it isnt fuel injected will make to much of a difference, although ive heard that some owners cant get theyre gs500’s to start even in 50 degree weather?? Should i / can i post some pictures of it on this forum and u guys can tell me what you think…although u probably couldnt tell much except for the external cosmetic type stuff……im really excited i sat on the bike and it felt really nice….any other gs500f owners out there besides aaronMarch 14, 2008 at 1:15 pm #5209MattGuest
Awesome choice for a bike. I’ve never ridden one, but a friends’ bf has one, he loves it. And she enjoys two-up on it (if it isn’t gutless with a passenger, it should be plenty fun for for one-up riding).
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