Never ridden a motorcycle, but would like to.
March 25, 2010 at 12:56 am #3795nicolee.mbParticipant
I’m a female at about 5’3 looking into getting my first bike. I’ve been reading reviews on here and a few other places mostly regarding the GS500F and the Ninja 250. Any other bikes worth looking at for someone of my size and a beginner or any information regarding the two bikes would be awesome. I’m currently studying the book to get my motorcycle license, but will probably not be buying a bike for a good year or so, until I’m done university.
I live in Canada, so I won’t be driving it in the winter. I would like to use it mostly for commuting and sometimes longer trips (Only up to 2-3 hours).
Preferably, I would not like to have to be leaning over while riding, seeing as how I think that would be uncomfortable and the fact that I don’t have the best back. This is probably the greatest concern for me. I love the look of the sport bikes, but I will choose comfort and safety over looks. However, I do not want an old man bike.
Here’s a few of my questions:
Do most beginners crash often? Are parts very expensive? Would you recommend getting a new bike, or buying one used? Would you recommend taking a driving course, even though it’s expensive?
Thank you all for any information you are willing to give me!
NicoleMarch 25, 2010 at 1:37 am #25161owlieParticipant
Welcome to the forum!
First, definitely take a riding course (commonly referred to as an MSF or BRC course). It sounds like you know as much about motorcycles as I did this time last year, and the course will give you very valuable experience before you decide what to buy.
I also found that after taking the course, I was alot more in tune with what I wanted in a bike for comfort in riding. The bike that I had started out looking at ended up at the BOTTOM of my list after the course. Not a bad bike, well recommended for beginners, just not for me.
Do beginners crash often? The common wisdom is that it isn’t if you will crash, rather when. I got it out of the way quickly, but not everyone has the same experience. Mostly you have to decide on your personal risk tolerance, realize that crashing is a distinct possibility and do what you can to reduce the risk of crashing and the risk of injury in case of a crash. The risks can be reduced by taking riding classes, doing practice in parking lots of the skills learned in the riding class, being aware and responsible while riding, and wearing proper safety gear.
Are parts expensive? Depends like everything else. However, instead of worrying about the bike, why don’t you think about yourself? A helmet, gloves, jacket, pants, boots.
And cruisers aren’t old man bikes. They can be sexy young woman bikes too- though I will say that my husband’s coworkers were all disappointed in my choice since it wasn’t a sportbike.
Read around some of the other threads on the forum. We tend to cover a lot of ground and it is usually pretty accessible for the new rider (though I am completely lost with the recent fork seal oil discussions…).
OwlieMarch 25, 2010 at 2:34 pm #25174JackTradeParticipant
You’ll find plenty of support for the Ninja 250 choice here.
Just a note on ergonomics…the Ninja actually has a fairly neutral riding position; you’re not hunched over the bike, but more upright. The Ninja 500 and the Suzuki GS500 have a similar position.
It’s the fairings and plastic cladding that make them all look like the more back-breaking racer replica bikes, but they actually ride more like a traditional standard (you know, the “classic” image of a motorcycle you see on road signs warning you to be careful of open joints)March 25, 2010 at 3:05 pm #25175CBBaronParticipant
+1 on the riding course and Ninja 250.
A riding course like the MSF gives you alot of good information about safety and general skills for riding a motorcycle. Since you are looking long term for buying you have plenty of time to signup for a course.
I don’t think there is an old man’s motorcycle except maybe BMWs and Goldwings but I don’t think anyone will recommend them for beginners.
If you like the sport bike style the Ninja 250 is a good starting bike. It is inexpensive easy to find on the used market and fairly light but still has plenty of power for highways or longer rides if you desire. The Ninja 500 and GS500F are not bad either but more powerful, heavier and more expensive which can make them harder to learn on.
I don’t think you have to crash a motorcycle when learning but many riders do end up with atleast a drop in their first year or two. Thats one reason why many recommend a used bike. Plus you will lose very little if you decide to change bikes in a year or two. However the newer (`08 and newer) Ninja 250r seem to be going for fairly high prices on the used market so a new one would not be a bad purchase if you really like them. The pre-08 models are very reasonably priced and a good value.
Fairings can be expensive to replace but if you are less concerned about looks they can be repaired or removed. Clutch, brake and shift levers are also commonly broken and are inexpensive. More serious accidents will ofcourse cost more in parts and labor.
Also realize that while you may save money on gas most of that savings ends up being eaten up in maintenance and tires. Most motorcycles require more maintenance than autos which can add up if you don’t do your own work. In addition tires cost more and need to be replaced much more often.
With a small bike you are way ahead of the bigger bikes in costs but it probably won’t be a huge savings over an auto in operation.
CraigMarch 26, 2010 at 3:02 am #25199jguarfn28Participant
Don’t take it the wrong way, but as a recent GS500 buyer, I think it is too heavy for most women. The first owner of my bike was a lady and it’s fairing has been glued back together from its off-roading “break-in” period. I don’t know what happened but the guy she sold it to only rode it for a hundred or so miles and now I have it. I have one of the turn signals taped on currently as the cost of replacement is substantial. Go used Ninja 250, they are all over most Craigslists and are lighter than the GSTwin. Good Luck
RICKMarch 26, 2010 at 11:10 am #25203TrialsRiderParticipantMarch 26, 2010 at 8:15 pm #25209paulurmstonParticipant
It’s yours if you want it…. you just got to come to Chile and pick up the pieces…
… there are a LOT of them.
But seriously… the ninja 250 is a perfect bike…. light… lean… agile…
perfect for a beginner… just take a MSF or BRC course!!!!!March 30, 2010 at 1:43 am #25276IxecapadeParticipant
meh- don’t dismiss a bike because she’s a girl- you’d need more information before one can approximate if a bike is too heavy or not.March 30, 2010 at 2:01 am #25277WeaponZeroParticipant
Dont buy any sort of bike with a fairing. You will be doing bodyworkApril 6, 2010 at 5:46 am #25441eternal05Participant
If you’re worried about banging up your fairings for the first few months…take them off! It’s easy, and while it will probably take you 20-30 mins the first time, each time after it’s a 5 minute job. Sure, your bike will look a bit goofy, but it saves you the $800 per side if you do drop the bike.April 10, 2010 at 3:04 pm #2560996xv250Participant
If you’ve never ridden before, I’d recommend the 250. The GS500 is pretty big for your height AND if you are living up north, they are VERY hard to start up in the cold. Before you buy, do your research on the bike a la forums or reviews…I’d recommend buying used, so you don’t have to worry about dropping a brand new bike…I highly recommend learning how to inspect a bike, it can save you a lot of heartache in repairs AND give you negotiating power…I saved $700 by pointing out flaws on the bike I bought..plus if you buy used, you won’t lose that much money reselling it…..smaller bike will save money on gas, insurance, registration, easier to handle, and you can learn to be a better rider quicker…good luck!!
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