July 12, 2008 at 7:17 pm #1712
I’m totally new to this, never riden a bike in my life, but I’ve wanted too since I was around 16 (23 almost 24 now). I’m going to write the test for my M1 within the next couple of weeks and planning on taking a weekend training course right after at the local college (Algonquin College in Ottawa, Ontario).
I’ve been doing a lot of research over the web and came across this site. Everyone seems great with smart and realistic feedback so I figured I’d sign up and ask some questions as well as share my experiences with learning how to ride.
I was originally looking at the new 08 ninja 250 but since they aren’t available in Canada anymore, and I don’t like the idea of having to upgrade my bike after a year I have started to look at the ninja 650R and the SV650S. I would love the new ZX6R but I think it’s out of my league, something to strive for in the future. I went to Goodtime Centre because I’ve heard quite a few good things about it, and quite frankly they seem like one of the only sales centres around my area, other than powersports. The sales people I spoke with recommended the 650R (possibly because they don’t have new SV650S’s) and said they would not recommend the ZX6R which I respect.
That’s all I’ve got for now, any recommendations would be great!July 13, 2008 at 5:25 pm #8718megaspazParticipant
Welcome! good on the sales dude for not recommending the zx6r… I still think learning on the 250 would serve you better in the long run… I myself, am biased for the sv650 if you really want to go higher up…
If there’s anything more important than my ego
around, I want it caught and shot now…July 14, 2008 at 12:28 am #8726
I wouldn’t mind starting on the 250 but there are none available in Canada anymore. One thing the guy at Goodtime mentioned that makes sense and I am surprised I haven’t seen it mentioned on here is although speed from a larger bike can get you into trouble, it can also get you out of trouble that a smaller bike may not necessarily be able to. That being said I still do understand the premise behind starting with a lower speed bike. Any particular reasons you prefer the Suzuki? Have you tried to 08 kawa 650?July 14, 2008 at 5:50 am #8743megaspazParticipant
Usually because relying on speed to get you out of trouble’s rarely the best option, if ever. If you evaluate your surroundings correctly, most of the time you’ll never have to rely on speed getting you out of trouble. The problem with relying on speed for city riding is that the emergency situations you’ll most likely encounter aren’t good for goosing the throttle. Parked cars pulling out to street in front of you, animals crossing your path, children, etc. aren’t good for speeding out of those situations, especially dealing with animals and children where even swerving’s not an all too appealing option. Trying to figure out and guess what another living thing is going to do when they’re faced with their “oh shit” moment’s a crap shoot at best. Basically, if you’ve got time to evaluate a situation and come up with speed out of the situation, you have time to emergency brake and not have to hope to <insert your deity here> that you’ve chosen the right choice of action.
No, haven’t sat on the kawa 650. I prefer suzuki because I’ve got a case of first bike love… The only other kawa I’ve ridden on was one buddy’s 2007 ninja 250 and another buddy’s 08 ninja 250 (only in a parking lot). Other bikes i’ve ridden were the beat up hunkers at the MSF… While the ninja 250s are nice rides, I still prefer my sv650s over them… most likely due to the “everyone loves their own bikes” syndrome…
If there’s anything more important than my ego
around, I want it caught and shot now…July 14, 2008 at 1:40 pm #8748
I’m also from Ottawa, so I might be able to help.
I would avoid Powersports. I bought my bike there, and when their mechanic screwed up (in truth, the bike they sold me should never have been put on sale, it had seen too much previous damage) they did NOT stand behind their product or work. They told me I had a “paper weight”… a paper weight _they_ sold me. I am not pleased with the experience at all.
We actually have a fair number of dealerships around. Gearhead in the west end, Wheelsport in the east end, and Motorsport World near Powersports and OGTC.
You have a couple of options for bikes smaller than the 650s.
You can buy a used ZZR-250 (what I ride, it is a really good bike in my biased opinion). I think powersports may still have one or two. I know OGTC had a few 07s at huge discounts in May, no idea if they’ve sold them yet or not.
You can buy either a used or a new CBR125. While it looks small sitting beside another bike, it doesn’t look too small under a rider when in motion. And if you don’t plan on riding the queensway or 416, then it is a really good bike. I took my experienced rider’s course with a few guys on them. They loved thier CBR125s, and they could really throw the bikes around.
You can buy a Hyosung 250 from gearhead. Truthfully, I’m not 100% convinced these are stellar bikes. If they were cheaper, then I think they’d be good deals, but right now a Ninja 250 (if you can find one) or a ZZR-250 seem like better deals.
You can also get a Ninja 500. I know OGTC had a couple of 07s recently that they were selling with a steep discount. The Ninja 500 is a really good bike. Faster than the 250s (so perhaps not as great to learn on) but more forgiving than the 650s. Really, the only downside to them is the dated look – which is only apparent when they are sitting still. Moving with a rider on them, they look pretty sharp.
As a final note about the “powering out of a situation”. When I did avoidance in both the “gearing up” Ottawa Safety Council (OSC) course (MSF equivilant) and the experienced rider’s course with them (I highly recommend OCS, great instructors!) we never practiced “speed up to get out of trouble”.
Basically, no matter how fast the bike, it is faster and safer to decelerate one car length than to accelerate one car length (ie fall behind the car instead of jumping ahead of the car). If you are in a situation where you can’t brake safely (and emergency braking is actually pretty rare), you can do an emergency avoidance (which happens much more often on the real road). Emergency avoidance (swerving around an object and straightening out again afterwards) is very fast on a bike, any bike (even a huge cruiser) and is independant of horsepower. If you are in a situation where you are boxed in on both sides and behind, and your only option is to accelerate forward, then you’ve already made so many mistakes you’re pretty boned no matter what you do.
The logic that a faster bike is a safer bike seems to be an excuse to justify a want for a faster bike.
Take careJuly 14, 2008 at 2:08 pm #8753TheAbomb12Participant
In my opinion, The Ninja 650 is a great starter bike– in the same league as the SV650 (In fact I think its more comfortable, and many feel its more forgiving than the Suzuki)
However. AVOID BUYING BRAND NEW. you have a very good chance of dropping your bike, so better to buy used so you don’t have to worry so much about it. Unfortunately there are not very many used Ninja 650s, while the SV650 will have plenty of used bikes on the market.July 14, 2008 at 11:35 pm #8779
If I can get the opportunity to try an SV650 I’ll definitely try one. I see what you guys are saying about the speed, and it makes sense, thanks for the feedback.
Matt, nice to know there are some people from Ottawa here too! Thanks for the advice on Powersports, sorry to hear they ripped you off like that. With regards to courses I phoned today to find out theres a 2 month wait at Algonquin College and OSC is taking booking for mid September so I’m going to book with Algonquin. I really wan’t expecting to have such a long wait to be honest, but they said more and more people are turning to bikes due to gas prices and such. For the shops, Gearhead doesn’t seem to sell Kawa or Suzuki bikes according to their website, Wheelsport and Motor Sports World don’t sell Kawa either, at least new.
As far as buying new, I am very nervous about it. Like you mentioned chances are pretty good at some point you’ll drop your bike, especially your first one. The problem with me buying used is that I am a complete mechanical idiot. I wouldn’t know what to look for at all and after hearing Matt’s story, who knows more about bike than I do, it scares me even more. I wan’t the reliability of a new bike. I do plan on getting fairing sliders to give some protection too.July 14, 2008 at 11:59 pm #8785
I have a serious case of that too. I may wash the paint right off it if I’m not careful!July 15, 2008 at 12:01 am #8786
I dropped my brand new bike. They’re sort of set up to land on the front signal/foot peg. Unless you’re moving when you dump it (which is unlikely, since noob drops seem to happen when you’re almost stopped) you’re not going to do a ton of damage. And just think; then you can make up some story about drag racing a Hayabusa on the Trans Canada!July 15, 2008 at 12:16 pm #8800
Haha, nice Shannon.
“And I would have won if that semi hadn’t been coming at me in my lane. I swerved, but there were children there, with puppies. I *had* to lay down the bike. It was the only right thing to do.”
I wouldn’t worry too much about a newer used bike. The bike I got boned on was a 1984! And I certainly didn’t know a ton about bikes when I made that move.
If you are buying a very-new used bike (sub 5000km), look for any scratches on the fairing, or levers (lever ends get ground down when dropped, but tend not to be replaced unless bent). Ask if they have service records (the only service it should have is the first service at 500-1000km). Soem shops (powersports at least) will do a full “first service” on the bike if you haggle it in. They’ll adjust vavles, check chain tension, change the oil, all that good stuff.
Given how busy this summer has been for motorcycles, I don’t know how many “mint” used bikes are left, but they are sure worth looking for. The good news is the dealerships took in lots of trades this spring.
A nice thing about the CBR125 (I know, I keep harping on about that little bike) is that since it only came out in 2007, and it doesn’t make a great long distance cruiser (though many people have started doing epic trips on them) most of them are in great shape and low mileage.July 15, 2008 at 3:59 pm #8803
I have to disagree on the CBR 125. It may be a great little bike and I love the looks, but you put a reasonably sized adult on it and they look like a Shriner in one of those tiny cars on parade day.July 15, 2008 at 4:11 pm #8805
I was also told by the insurance company that for some reason the CBR125 was classified as a sport bike instead of a sport touring. They agreed it was ridiculous due to the low speed but then again the new 08 ZX6R’s are also now classified as sport touring. Insurance is one of the biggest factors for me looking at the 650r and SV650.July 15, 2008 at 5:25 pm #8813
Shannon: I guess each to their own. But when I see one in a pack of bikes, it simply looks like a small bike, it doesn’t look ridiculious (which after several in the dealership I assumed it would). And it *does* look dead sexy between the legs of a smaller woman… but that is a discussion for a different time – preferably one where my girlfriend won’t read
Insurance is a big deal, and if the bike is somehow classified as a sport bike, my first reaction would be to start shopping around for other insurance companies. In Ontario we have Kingsway, Statefarm (both done through brokers) and Rider’s Plus (which I think is Jevco underneith it all). I’m with rider’s plus since they are $100 less a year than either of the two (but only insure riders 25 or older with safety course – so not much use to you this year).
For insurance purposes, look at the GS500 and Ninja 500, both are, for me at least, $300 less per year than any 650.
I know OGTC had three nice condition GS500s (full fairing, pretty new looking) last month. They certainly seem to be a popular bike with this crowd (although, for some reason I can’t get the image of ShannonG’s pic with a Fez drawn on it out of my head…)July 16, 2008 at 12:33 am #8834JirikiParticipant
hey tango, I am an Ottawa ex-pat (now in California)…
I too had bad experiences with powersports, avoid like the plague…
I bought a new 08 250R (now trying to sell so I can upgrade to 650R)… however, I will have put around 2500 miles (4000km) on it by the time it sells. This was very valuable experience and will help me with the 650R. This is especially true with shifting as you are always changing gears (good practice downshifting)
the only reason I bought it new was because the 08 250 was waaayy better than the 07… also, I had an idea I would end up selling it after 6 months to a year and I (correctly) assumed that demand would still be really high for this bike.
Oh, and I have never dropped it (knock on wood). Dropping your first bike is not a forgone conclusion. The 07 650R is ~390 pounds wet whereas the 250R is closer to 350 I think… even if you are puny, I don’t think a 40 pound weight difference will change the likelihood of dropping the bike (because you aren’t actually lifting all 40 pounds, you only have to lift whatever amount of the center of gravity is not over the wheels, which is obviously angle dependent)
it might be worth making a sticky post somewhere that MSF/RideSafe/OCS courses usually have at least a 2 month wait… I think a lot of people are surprised by that… however, they are well worth the wait
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