Debating on an older bike
January 31, 2009 at 4:26 am #2506
Hi all, I have been debating on getting an older (25 yrs old) Nighthawk. It is a 550. I have found an article on the internet saying that it produces 64 hp (gs500 makes 45). I am trying to figure out if this bike is too powerful.
I fit on the bike well, with both feet flat on the ground. It also has highway pegs (something the gs500 does not have). I rode the gs500, it did not really seem “fast” for a motorcycle, but certainly quick enough (seemed about as fast as a Harley Road King). I have next to zero experience, have taken the basic MSF course and ridden for an hour or so afterwards on a few different bikes.
Right now I feel the most uncomfortable on a bike is when I am coming to a stop I put my feet out too early. I am also nervous when turning tightly.
Thanks for any inputJanuary 31, 2009 at 2:59 pm #16180MattParticipant
Power on that bike is fairly manageable. If you are a timid rider, unsure of your abilities, it isn’t the bike for you (at the time it was a moderately large bike meant for people who had progressed up from 170s, 250s, or 350s). Certainly not an impossible bike to learn on, just not as easy as they come.
Look into parts and maintenance. Parts and mechanics who know bikes that old are getting few. Make sure you have a local mechanic who has experience and confidence with bikes that old. I can’t overstate the importance of having a good supply of parts for a bike that old.January 31, 2009 at 4:41 pm #16181SantaCruzRiderParticipant
25 years is getting pretty old for a bike. Regardless of miles, just about every rubber bushing and gasket can start to crack, leak and otherwise cause problems. It’s not completely unmanageable if you can find parts and like to tinker — just something to think about.
That said, I ride a 15-yr-old bike (w 43K miles) and have been lucky to have had no issues. But the bike went virtually unchanged until 2004, so parts shouldn’t be a problem when the need arises. Not sure if that’s true with the 550.
Can’t really weigh in on whether this bike is right for you — but 65hp is alot for this size bike. At the time, that was big-bike hp packed into a 550 package.
You’re not alone on feeling unstable at low speed, stops and tight turns. All bikes become stable at speed and it requires effort to alter that stability (such as forcing a turn at speed). The opposite become true as you come to a stop.January 31, 2009 at 7:27 pm #16186
The fear of not being able to find parts is what is really keeping me from getting that bike. I also found a gs500 which was made in 95. It has been dropped on both sides, but seemed straight. 1200 (honda) vs 1400 for the suzuki. the suzuki has been repainted w/ a flat black. I really think that the suzuki was not taken care of as well as the honda, but at 25 years old something is bound to break, and when it does it will probably be hard to find parts mainly b/c the bike was only made for one/two years.January 31, 2009 at 8:17 pm #16187MattParticipant
Don’t artificially limit yourself to these tow bikes.
They might be the only ones on the market right now, but it is the middle of winter, more will show up as spring fever hits people.
Remember: Never by the first bike you look at. It is surprisingly good advice.February 1, 2009 at 12:30 am #16192SantaCruzRiderParticipant
From the info provided, those prices seem a bit high. You also need to be more specific about the bike that was “dropped”. There’s stoplight and garage drop (usually results in bent/broken turn signals, gashes on mirrors and fairings etc…) and then there is dropped at speed where all kinds of nasty but not always easily detectable stuff happens. The former can be good for dropping price without hurting rideability, the later should be avoided at all cost by anyone lacking serious mechanical and/or bike inspection skills.
Tell us where you are and maybe someone can share some local info.
BTW: I bought my current bike used and the search took about 4 months (my wife claims it was 8 months, but the first half was ‘research’).February 1, 2009 at 7:32 am #16199
I live in San Antonio, I have been looking on craigslist for about 6 months now (although not all too hard for probably 3 months). I really figured prices would be down right now because of the decline in fuel prices/ still too cold for people to really ride. I do not mind doing the work on the bikes as long as after it is “fixed” it would then be reliable. I am unsure of where else to look for a bike in my price range (cheap).
I considered getting one of the ninjas a while back, but really didn’t like the riding position it puts you in.February 1, 2009 at 7:34 pm #16206Jon D.Participant
I was given an ’81 Yamaha XS 400 about a year ago. The bike has been sitting since 1982, so you can imagine the amount of work (and parts that I needed to get) to get it road worthy again. Thus far I have been able to purchase a starter, throttle cable, fuel shut off valve, etc. from EBay. the throttle cable itself was genuine yamaha, and only cost me ten bucks, the starter was twenty. What I am trying to say is that if you are considering an older unit and are willing to invest a little bit of cash vs. buying a higher priced ride, then go for it. You will probably find someone at work or even in the neighborhood that has or knows someone to help you out. Keep in mind you can take the ride to the dealership and have one of their mechanics go over it, or a local shop. Make sure to find a reputable shop nearby, for tune-ups and repairs. Also, take plenty of time to choose and purchase your ride. As experience developes you will desire to trade up, so don’t be picky. 2 wheels, a seat , and a good year of riding, means more than anything at this stage. This is something you do for yourself, not the people in cars and on the sidewalk. Choose wisely and your riding time will be more enjoyable each and every following year. Ride safe and God bless Jon D.
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