May 21, 2009 at 12:39 am #2866zachParticipant
Hey everybody. I’m a 21 y/o from Pittsburgh thinking about getting into bikes. Many of my high school buddies have starting riding motorcycles in the past couple years, and I think it could be some fun. I like to think of myself as being pretty level-headed, so if many people are saying starting out on a small bike will make me a better rider in the long term, that sounds fine to me. I have never ridden a motorcycle before. I would be taking a MSF class before getting licensed, and possibly some more advanced classes down the road.
My current dream bike is something along the lines of a Ducati Monster 620 or even a 695 or 696. This is obviously out of the question for me right now because these bikes are expensive to buy, repair, and maintain, as well as pretty powerful.
That said, I would like to start out with some sort of standard bike. I’m not entirely sure what I would be using the bike for yet. It wouldn’t be my primary transportation, as Pittsburgh weather is too nasty most of the year for bike riding. I suppose then it would be more for summer commuting and cruising with my friends. I would be using it on the highway at 65-70 mph for 1-3 hour trips, as well as some in city riding. Looking to spend at most $1500. Also, how much would a good jacket, pants, boots, and helmet combo cost?
Right now I’ve got 3 bikes I’m thinking about:
Honda CB450/Nighthawk 450
Ninjas – I don’t care for the sportbike look. Too flashy for me (although I have seen some pics of Ninjas with some fairing stripped and they don’t look too bad). But, these bikes are very prevalent and (I assume) easy to find parts for. Especially for the 250, since it has only just recently changed styles. I’m considering both the 250 and the 500 because of the highway use which would fit better with the 500.
Honda – I have been searching a lot for standard bikes in that middling area between 250 and 500 ccs. No one sells these in the US anymore, but the mid 80s Hondas seem pretty nice. I like the styling, and the 450 is apparently pretty damn reliable. The downside would then be availability of replacement parts and late in life equipment failure.
Let me know what you guys think.
ZachMay 22, 2009 at 1:30 am #18822SantaCruzRiderParticipant
The Nighthawks are very cool bikes, especially for a guy like me who likes the older styling. But buying an ’80s bike is a commitment to sourcing parts, so be sure that’s part of what you’re looking for.
If you get a Ninja 250 or 500 and ride the crap out of it for a couple years, you’ll have a blast and be all set for that step to the Duc (although you may also find that you don’t care about more cc’s at that point).
As for gear, the cost depends on your patience, willingness to source and flexibility in label.
I have bought name brand gear that is perfectly serviceable for very low prices, including:
— DOT/Snell helmet for $109 (seen it on special for $50)
— Leather gloves with armor – $15 (www.newenough.com_
— Leather armored jacket – $100 (newenough)
— Overpants (not armored) — $15
All this gear is quality and I do not believe that it is in any way a compromise of safety. I think it’s possible to ride safe without spending a bundle, but you should also be careful about cutting corners. You never want to be the guy who loses the use of a hand because you wore Ace Hardware gloves rather than spending $60 on a decent pair of leather gauntlets.May 24, 2009 at 2:40 am #18883KellisanthParticipant
Hello! I’ll be in Pittsburgh this weekend coming up, to visit friends.
If you ever get a chance, look at motorcycle shows * http://www.motorcycleshows.com/ *. Seriously. You can get some pretty good discounts on gear and buckets if you look around. And in many cases, not having to pay sales taxes too (in my case, 10.25% is TOO high – stupid Stroger)
Not only that, you can sit on many bikes and scooters (I should have spent more time there), talk with the various reps and riders for their thoughts/opinions on things.
Also, sometimes there might be some panels, such as gear, bikes and other stuff (there was a few for Women that I listened to – esp for those who are height/inseamed challenged).
The EX500 is a very nice bike to ride to be honest. If I didn’t live in this crazy stop-n-go city (too many stop signs/lights!), it would be more enjoyable!May 26, 2009 at 1:34 am #18934zachParticipant
Thanks for the advice guys. Right now I’m leaning toward the Ninja 250, but my finances aren’t as robust as I had thought, so it may be awhile before I can afford to have a bike as a second vehicle.
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