First bike advice
June 14, 2010 at 4:02 pm #4042
I’ve been reading up on most of the BBM reviews, and I’m basically looking for a first bike. I’ve got no previous experience, except for driving a quad for some 5 minutes.
I’m 6’2 and 160 lbs. I’d prefer to get something sporty looking – I mainly like the look of bikes such as the Aprilia RS 125 and Ninja 250R. I’d prefer not to start off on something too powerful. I’ll primarily use it for commutes to uni and back, I’d expect to be spending about 40 minutes total each day.
I’ll be going to check out motorcycles at the dealer sometime soon, but I’d like to know what I should be looking at.
Advice would be much appreciated!
droes.June 14, 2010 at 4:46 pm #27017MunchParticipant
Not to sound too simplistic…. but your answers are in your question :^)
And welcome!June 14, 2010 at 4:54 pm #27018madjak30Participant
You already have the popular vote on this site…the Ninja 250R, but I would check out the super moto option. I bought a Suzuki GS500 as my first bike, but I find the bend of the knees tiring after an hour or so of riding. I’m 5’11 with an inseam of 33″, so I’m not as tall as you, but our leg length may be similar. It’s not terrible, but there are more comfortable options out there.
The Kawasaki KLX250SF, is a nice 250cc dual sport bike with sport tires, front forks and brakes. This type of bike is light, simple and fuel efficient. The manouver better than any sport bike and are a lot lighter. You sit higher and have wider handle bars, both of which are good for beginners. Around town these bikes are quicker and more fun than a sport bike, but the 250cc supermoto bikes top out around 85mph…the sport bikes will go 15-20mph faster. Yamaha makes a WR250X which is along the same lines, and Honda makes the CRF230M. Suzuki makes one that is a little bigger, and has more power…not crazy, were talking 30Hp compared to the 18-25 on the other bikes. The Suzuki DRZ400SM will give you close to the speed of the small sport bike, 95mph ish, but still have the manouverability of the smaller SM bikes. Plus, these have been on the market for a while so you may be able to find a good deal on a used one.
The other options that would be suggested…the Suzuki GS500, nice bike…it has decent power and is stable and quite economical…a used Ninja 500R, similar to the GS500 with a little more sporty feel to it…some may suggest the Ninja 650R, but it is quite powerful and may not be the best bike to learn on if you have no previous experience…same goes for the SV650/Gladius from Suzuki. Really those last two are only good beginners for someone that has dirt bike experience, or displays a “natural ability”…I’m sure I’ll irritate someone with those comments, but when I started out I thought this will be simple…I had some dirt bike experience (125cc bikes when I was 14), but street bikes have lots more power for accelleration and for braking…the brakes are the part that really surprise you, especially at low speed. They seem to stop immediately.
Anyway, go to the bike shops and sit on all the bikes you can. The most important thing to find out is, what are you going to be comfortable sitting on? I think the sport bikes look cool, but I just don’t seem to fit on them. The “standard” bikes are better for me…and the jury is out on cruisers…I like them, but they feel wierd with your feet out in front of you…maybe when I grow up…lol
Good luck!June 14, 2010 at 5:10 pm #27019
I’ve got a 34′ inseam.
Munch: I’d really like the Ninja 250R, but I’m worried I might be too tall for it. I’ll be going to the shop sometime soon, so I’ll be sure to let you know .
madjak: is the Ninja 650 that much more powerful than the 500? Thanks for the massive reply, lots of info there.June 14, 2010 at 6:55 pm #27016madjak30Participant
The 650R has 70ish Hp, and the 500R has 60ish Hp. It is a big step. My GS500 has 50ish Hp and I find it powerful enough to lug me around and have some fun, and if you look at my picture I’m sure you can tell I don’t weigh 160lbs. I can keep up to my neighbors 1994 Mustang GT when accellerating from a stop, so 50 Hp is enough to begin with. I don’t know about you, but my first car wasn’t that quick, but I thought it was…lol
The 500R/GS500 will do 0-60 in about 5 to 6 seconds (500R-4.5/GS500-6.1)…the 650R/Gladius will do it in under 4 seconds (650R-3.8/Gladius-3.…yup, that much more powerful…and they aren’t really FAST bikes…hyperbikes do it in under 3 seconds…the 250R does it in 7.7 seconds…
Just to compare…
1995 BMW 325i – 7.7 seconds
2003 Nissan Sentra SE-R SpecV – 7.3 seconds
2006 Honda Civic Si – 7.2 seconds
1999 Mustang GT – 5.5 seconds
2005 Mustang GT – 5.1 seconds
2006 Subaru Impreza WRX STi – 4.5 seconds
2005 Corvette C6 – 4.3 seconds
2001 Porsche 911 Turbo – 3.9 seconds
As you can see, a bike will put you into some pretty serious performance company…even with a “beginner bike”.
You really don’t need as big of a bike as you might think to have a lot of fun. You can easily stay ahead of traffic with any street bike. The cars that I listed are thought of as quite fast for their class of car, but most people just look at the cc’s of the bike and make assumptions. Even the 250R has lots of performance.
Choose carefully…June 14, 2010 at 10:13 pm #27021naza2004Participant
I was in the same boat about 1 year ago. I am 5’11” and 210lb and I thought about the 500r and the 650r. I got the 250r because it was much lighter than the 650R not so much difference from the 500R. I think weight of the bike can be just as big of a decision as power. Low speed maneuvering and those first few rides getting used to stopping and starting and getting good balance will be more difficult with a heavier bike. Try this, got to a dealer and sit on a 250/500 and the 650. Hold on to the handle bars and lean the bike side to side and feel the weight on your legs. Now imagine if you come to an emergency stop or on a hill or road with a very extreme crown to it and see how you might feel with a heavier bike or lighter bike.
Now power is another story! I have been riding for 1 year and a coworker allowed me to test ride his 2005 CBR600rr! I say get the lest powerful bike you think you can get away with (with regards to highway riding). I hope this is helpfulJune 15, 2010 at 4:20 am #27033eternal05Participant
My ol’ Ninja 250R was extremely tight for me at first. I’m 6’4″ with a 35-36″ inseam. I bought $140 adjustable footpegs (allowed me to lower the pegs) and all was well.
I would highly recommend looking at the supermoto (e.g., Suzuki DR-Z400sm, Yamaha WR250x, etc.) option as well. You can get lighter, easier to ride, and zippier bikes that will be more comfortable for somebody with your height. If you don’t dig the supermoto look, that’s totally cool and your call, but don’t overlook them otherwise.June 15, 2010 at 4:53 am #27034
Thanks for your experiences everyone! Eternal, I’m not that big on the supermoto look but I’ll check them out – there might be a model for me. If possible, could you share a pic of yourself on the lowered bike? Every pic of the bike I’ve seen so far had short-ish people on it.June 15, 2010 at 2:10 pm #27036CBBaronParticipant
Eternal’s bike is not lowered, his foot pegs are. This adds about an extra inch of leg room.
I’m about your height and inseam and ride an `06 Ninja 250r. It is a lot of fun and a great bike. The `08 and newer 250r has a fairing change that makes it a little harder to fit for long legged folks but its not bad even without the foot peg change. Other than the foot peg to seat distance the Ninja 250r feels like a bigger bike than the other 250 models I have tried but it is still light weight and easy to handle.
Supermotos are usually a little more expensive but I think would make a great choice for a first bike, especially for the long legged. They fit the taller rider better than most bikes, but are very light weight and very resistant to damage if you do drop it. Plus they seem to be the most fun of any beginner friendly bike. Many experienced riders get a DRZ400SM or WR250X for having fun in urban, tight twisties or cart tracks.
CraigAugust 25, 2010 at 4:43 pm #28293
Well, took a trip to the dealers a couple days back. The ninja is unfortunately too small for me. The yamaha R125 does seem to fit me quite well, and having seen it I’m kind of sold on the sportbike look. I am worried the R125 might be lacking in performance, with only an 80-ish top speed.
I’m wondering if a restricted bigger bike might be a decent idea? There’s plenty of GSX-R and YZF-R 600’s around here that have been restricted to 25kw, making them legal to ride on a beginner license.August 25, 2010 at 5:23 pm #28295TrialsRiderParticipant
That’s a sweet bike and you are lucky to be able to get one, Yamaha doesn’t even import R125′ into North America or I’d have one. Given the choice between a super light weight bike that has exceptional performance for it’s displacement, or a much larger/heavier bike that has been crippled to perform like a riding lawn mower, you can guess which one I would choose.August 25, 2010 at 6:16 pm #28298eternal05Participant
The power issue with the GSX-Rs and the R6s (ever so slightly better with the YZF-R600) is secondary to the ergonomic, handling, weight distribution, etc. issues you’ll run into. They’re just not first-timer bikes. Period.
What do you have against a GS500, Ninja 500R, 650R, SV650, etc.? If you’re in a part of the world that makes R125s available, you have even more great low-displacement options than we do here in the US.August 25, 2010 at 6:52 pm #28300Gary856Participant
What country/city are you in? Will you be riding a lot of freeway, or mostly city streets and smaller undivided highways?
I just came back from Spain. While there I thought, damn, if I was living here, with the narrow, twisty, cobble stoned, and congested streets, I’d ride a supermoto or a dual-sport for sure. No place to go fast on a sportbike until you get out of the city. But of coruse, being a tourist I stayed mostly in the old town area. I don’t think a supermoto is an ideal “only bike”, though, if a lot of freeway riding will be involved.
I just sold my 01 GS500 to a student from Denmark who’ll be here (San Jose, California) for the next 6 months. He said that he had an 04 R6 before, but found its power was too much, and it was very diffciult to turn at low speed, so he decided to get an easier-to-ride bike like the GS500.August 25, 2010 at 7:09 pm #28301
I live in Belgium. I’m not sure if I’ll be doing a lot of freeway, that sort of depends on the bike I’ll be getting. There’s two routes of roughly equal length to university, one through the city and the other mostly freeway. I wouldn’t feel comfortable going on the freeway with the 125R (lots of trucks here). The roads are generally pretty decent though.August 25, 2010 at 7:14 pm #28302
If the sportbikes are that difficult to live with, I’ll put those in the fridge for now.
And I don’t really have anything against them, just don’t like the looks, except for the SV 650. I’ll try and stop by a suzuki dealer sometime soon.
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