Hello all – from Fresno, CA.
July 21, 2008 at 5:44 am #1596
I recently started gaining a lot of interest in motorcycles (street bikes in particular!), and with the wife’s approval , am starting to gather all the information needed. I initially spoke to friends who ride and and asked them what would be a good first bike to shoot for after taking the MSF course (I’m trying to sign up for that now…I won’t ride without taking that course first).
Since I am 6’3″ and about 220lbs (31 years old) they all told me to start at a 600cc since the 250’s would not be powerful enough for my size and/or I would get bored with it too easy. I immediately started looking at 600cc bikes from all the manufacturers and had decided on shooting for the Honda CBR. Then, I found this site. Needless to say, I was shocked by how mislead I felt by the people who care about me LOL. I would be using this bike for commuting and mostly just fun riding. I really have no interest in going 120+ mph on the freeway, racing people on city streets, or trying to look cool to others.
Since finding this site, I have regained focus on shooting for something in more of the 250cc and 500cc range, the 2008 Ninja 250r, Ninja 650r ( I know, not 500cc), the Suzuki GS500F, and the DR-Z400SM (yes, I know, not a street bike. lol) being my top 4 choices. The downside is (which everybody already knows) the 250r is nowhere to be found so I am unable to sit on it to see if I actually fit. I certainly won’t purchase a bike without being able to see how it “fits” me. The 650r has also been quite difficult to find but should be (hopefully) easier to find than the 250r (the 500r I just can’t come to grips with regarding the dated look). I went down to a dealer in my area and asked them about the 250r’s and their response was “we won’t see any of those for thew next 4 or so months”. When asked about the 2009 models their response was, “Same.” The 250r appears to be a great starter bike and an excellent product, but I am not sure it is worth waiting “4 or so months” for something that may not even appear even in that timeframe. Being from Fresno allows me that special kind of suck that puts me far from San Diego, far from LA, far from Sacramento, relatively far from Modesto, and closer but still somewhat far from Stockton. So….my opportunities to visit these places is limited (Stockton and Modesto wouldn’t be too bad though). My other option is the Suzuki GS500F which I thought looked awesome when I had the chance to see one in person. I have not heard to much on this bike though other than a friend recommending the GS500F and even the DR-Z400SM as good starter bikes. The Ninjas and whatnot seem so popular the GS500F seems overshadowed. I heard the GS500 series has issues with starting in colder climates, but being from Fresno I am not sure if this should be a concern since it’s about 50-60 degrees in the winter and about 100-110+ in the Summer here. The DR-Z400SM looks very “Mad Max-ish” but seems relatively easy to find and the reviews of it have been quite good. I have also seen some people recommend Dual Sports as good starter bikes so I thought this one might be a good option….though I am more of a fan of street style bikes.
If the 250r ends up not being plausible in the anytime-near future, are these other choices decent picks for a rider with no experience whatsoever (besides the MSF course I will have under my belt)? Any pros/cons from the ones I listed? Recommendations? etc..? Right now I am heavily leaning towards the GS500F, but this being an investment I would like to make the best choice and weigh all my options before making a decision.
Btw, GREAT website! It should be required reading for anybody looking to get into this hobby.
Thanks to anybody who helps out.July 21, 2008 at 4:22 pm #7882megaspazParticipant
Hi shane! Welcome.
There’s a few people on this board that ride gs500f bikes. They like it. Ben started on one as well. I don’t think you’d be going wrong if you chose that bike. It’s certainly a much better first time rider bike choice than cbr600rr. Just have fun at the MSF and gear up before riding. Enjoy!
If there’s anything more important than my ego
around, I want it caught and shot now…July 21, 2008 at 4:46 pm #9024
Welcome I am a new rider as well. Bought my first bike a little over a week ago. I bought a used 2000 Suzuki SV650. It is a bike I would STRONGLY advise you to consider. It is possibly the single best beginner bike on the market because it is unintimidating enough for new riders, but has enough sporting potential, power, and aftermarket to keep you happy without needing to upgrade once you get comfortable. One thing you will want to do on your first bike, regardless of what it is, will be to upgrade the rear shock. Motorcycle suspension components in general are made with 180 lb or less men in mind and being over 200 lbs will make the rear end seem somewhat harder to control in corners. Most higher end bikes have adjustable suspension components to allow you to compensate for this but beginner oriented bikes are generally non-adjustable. Stiffen up the rear end with an aftermarket rear shock in whatever bike you buy. My SV has a GSXR600 rear shock Happy riding!July 21, 2008 at 6:35 pm #9052
I have a GS500f and you should have one too. They make you faster, smarter, and better looking.
The SV 650 is a very nice choice too. If I ever tire of my GS I would have one of those.
Edited to say: I have a friend who has ridden sport bikes for twenty years. He’s had it all, from a GS400 back in the day to a TL 1000 that was so raced out you couldn’t leave from a stop without doing a massive wheelie. He’s been without a bike for a couple of years and now he’s riding everything, trying to find a bike that’s just the right mix of sport and comfort. He ended up buying his neighbor’s SV650.July 21, 2008 at 10:52 pm #9062
Thanks for the feedback, everybody. It looks like my MSF date is the end of August which isn’t too far off. I can’t wait to get started.
I have a feeling the GS500F might be my first bike, though there is also a Hyosoung dealership up the street from my house so I may go check out their 250’s as well.
The birds are calling my name, thought Caw.July 21, 2008 at 11:08 pm #9065
You’ll be very happy with the GS. I looked at the Hyosungs too untl my sister told me she’d beat me to within an inch of my life if I bought one. I guess they’re not very well built, hence the cheapness. Which is a shame, because they’re a nice looking bike.July 22, 2008 at 4:27 am #9086
Thanks for the info., Shannon. I have also been checking out the SV650S as well. Some have said it wouldn’t be a bad option for somebody my size….though I am still worried about it having too much power. lol
The birds are calling my name, thought Caw.July 22, 2008 at 4:49 pm #9104
The Hyosung is quite tempting as well. I’ve heard mixed reviews about it, but there is a shop that is located by where I live that sells them. They come with a 2 year warranty and are telling me an OTD price of $3799. The price is attractive, especially from a beginners standpoint. I may swing by their after work to check them out.
The birds are calling my name, thought Caw.July 22, 2008 at 5:51 pm #9108BuddParticipant
From what I have heard, the problems with the Hyosung are with assembly at the dealership. That and it is just cheaply made and looks it up close.
“I am the best I am at what I do, and what I do ain’t nice.”-WolverineJuly 22, 2008 at 5:59 pm #9109
I have no doubts that Hyosung quality will increase as the years go by. They are a (relatively) new company and they won’t be able to stay in business very long if things don’t get better. They are trying to be the Kia/Hyundai of motorcycles and if you recall, Kia and Hyundai products were horrible when those companies were new as well. Now look at their successJuly 22, 2008 at 7:53 pm #9121
My understanding was that although warrantied, the dealerships can’t get parts. So if your Hyosung does break down there’s nothing anyone can do about it.
Find Hyosung owners’ group and find out from the source though. We’ve been bashing the Hyosungs for a long time but so far no one has joined that actually owns one.July 23, 2008 at 2:54 am #9141
I also heard that their customer service is almost non-existent. ACK
So far, out of all the bikes I’ve seen, the GS500F, the 650r, ad the 250r (which I havent bee able to sit on) are the ones I am looking at most. If Hyosung wants my business, I’d like to see some positive remarks regarding their customer service…and so far, I haven’t seen much of that.
Shannon, is there a particular model year of the GS500F series that stands out over the others? I noticed the mirrors seem to be in a different positon on the 2008/2009 model. Have their been any great changes in the past 3 or so years between their bikes I need to look for (or out for)?
The birds are calling my name, thought Caw.July 23, 2008 at 3:17 am #9146
The GS500f has been virtually unchanged for a long, long time. A ’96 will be the same bike as an ’06, except for paint scheme. There is something messed up about the mirrors in the Suzuki website pictures; in reality the bike does NOT appear to have insect – style antennae as they would have you believe.July 23, 2008 at 4:03 am #9152
Hmm, funny you should mention the “insect antennae” look. I saw one the other day at one of our dealerships and it was marked as an 08′. I thought to myself, “We’ll, that can’t be right…the mirrors don’t look like insect antennae.” Sure enough, I was wrong, it was an 08′ and the pics on the Suzuki website due in fact suck. haha
Every time I see the GS500F I like it more and more.
The birds are calling my name, thought Caw.July 23, 2008 at 4:32 pm #9174
The GS500F is kinda new and kinda not. Mechanically, its been the same bike since the 80s. It was originally marketed as a standard and had no fairing. In 2002 or 2003 they redesigned the tailsection to give it a sportier look, but it didn’t get the fairing until 2005 or 2006 I think. It’s still powered by the same engine it always has been though and carries over all the suspension components from back when it was a “standard”. Prior to the fairing it was the GS500E (back when it wasnt commonplace Suzuki would designate all bikes with Electric Start by slapping an E on the end).
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