New Rider Looking For Advice
July 6, 2008 at 6:51 pm #1680jk2Participant
Like most everyone on this site I am considering purchasing my first motorcycle, and it is, as many have experienced, an exciting and somewhat scary experience. I have considered many bikes, and like many other have gotten varying opinions. I am 22, I have quite a bit of riding experience on dirt bikes, and atv’s but overall my road experience is limited. I am an extremely level headed and conservative person who isn’t going to take tremendous risk. Initially, I wanted to get a cruiser. Just something to take weekend rides on, and maybe rip around town on a little bit. I have looked at some of them, but I find that I only like some of the more expensive, and more powerful models which probably aren’t great as a first bike. I love the look of the triumph street triple, the ducati 696 etc. Because of your recommendation I have also considered the kawasaki 250r, but I am worried that it won’t be enough for me as I am 6’3″ tall and about 270lbs.
My eventual dream bike is the Harley V-rod, and when I was at my local dealer recently talking to the guy about the Kawasaki he told me that they happened to have a V-Rod which the dealer’s owner had, and got rid of, it has only been broken in and is in absolutely immaculate shape. The price is VERY good on this bike. I would almost never consider getting this bike as my first bike but the price is so good it is tough to avoid. Any thoughts? I have heard that although these bikes have immense power they can be as tame or wild as you want them to be, and that in reality they are a very stable bike with very linear power transfer? I also find the bike to be far more comfortable than any of the other bikes that I have sat on, things just seem to be in the right place. A great deal is not worth my life or my health? I think that I already know that this is a bad idea, but I would like some more information from those of you who know better.
Also even if this isn’t a good first bike would it serve as a good second bike? The deal is so good I have even considered purchasing and just holding onto it for a few years until my riding skills progress?
also anyone insure a bike in MI, seems as though we have kinda weird regulations here?
great site btw it is far better than any of the other comparable sites, and I have really enjoyed it.July 6, 2008 at 10:18 pm #8439AaronMerlotParticipant
I have a GS500f ( V-twin with 500cc) and I use State Farm. I pay about $400 for the year, now my buddy has a R1(inline 4 with 600cc) and pays $127 a month!July 7, 2008 at 3:57 am #8466fotobitsParticipant
…you’ll most likely overwhelm a Ninja 250, and you are right, the V-rod is a poor choice for a beginner. Torque is intoxicating, and intoxicated riders tend to crash
A few bikes to consider:
Ninja 650R. You’ll have to get the fork modified for your weight and upgrade the rear shock, but if the bike fits you’ll enjoy riding it.
BMW FS800 ST. Great bike, and has enough torque to haul you around. If you can afford the V-rod this should be within your budget. You can get one with ABS and traction control if you want. BMWs are usually very cheap to insure.
Ducati 696. I usually would not recommend this bike to a beginner, but at 270 lbs you’ll slow it down enough to not get in over your head. Check with your local dealer’s service department and make sure you’re prepared to pay for the scheduled maintenance before signing on the bottom line.
The Triumph Street Triple is a hooligan bike. Stay away. Having said that, if my wife weren’t on the waiting list for a Ninja 250 I would have bought a Street Triple yesterday. Hooligan bikes are fun, but you need to develop your riding skills before getting one.July 7, 2008 at 12:35 pm #8476MattParticipant
Fotobits, have you ridden a BMW 800?
I have. Trust me when I say, it is NOT a bike to be recommended lightly. It WILL cruiser at the ton mark without the rider even knowing it. You talk about a bike that intoxicates, the bmw is right up there. Also, aroudn here at least, BMWs are just as expensive to insure as anything else. The BMW costs as much or more than a VFR800, and more than any of the 650s.
Also, 270 pounds enough to “slow down” a bike enough to make it manageable?
I’ve got to disagree. An increase of 100 pounds over the “standard” rider is less than a 20% increase in weight. Dropping the power-to-weight by that much still leaves most 500+ cc bikes below the 5 second 0-60 range. These bikes are all (even the lowly ninja 250) designed to accomadate 300+ pound riders.
Now, jk2 here has dirt bike experience, which is invaluable (don’t really think the ATV experience ads anything, but that is me). And a 250 is probably an unneeded stepping stone. Any of the 650 twins are probably a good choice. But I’d stay away from 800cc sport/standard bikes until you are good and comfortable with road riding. And frankly, until you know what you want out of a road bike.
As for the V-rod… yes, it is a bad idea. And while it may sound like a great deal, look into insuring it. I’m willing to bet it isn’t such a good deal once you factor in a few years worth of insurance as a new rider as compared to a 500 or 650. As for seating position, I’m not entirely sure on how teh V-rod sits, but try an SV650 Naked, I *think* it has a similar layout. Remember you and get alternate handlebars to change that aspect of the riding position if the SV650 is close, but not perfect.July 9, 2008 at 3:35 pm #8598jk2Participant
Thanks very much, appreciate all of the advice. I know that the bike would be expensive to insure, but when I looked around it actually was only like 200 more than most of the other bikes I looked at. Oh well, it isn’t gonna be my first bike anyways. Too bad about the Kawasaki, it is such a good looking little bike it just really is little. And the other Kawasakis are just so freaking ugly…oh well. Anyone know if yamaha has any good intro level sport bikes. I know that the R1 and R6 are both way too much but a friend of mine was telling me about a detuned version of the R6 whihc a lot of people he knew started on? Any thoughts?July 11, 2008 at 6:22 am #8675TheAbomb12Participant
get a Ninja 650.
It looks slick, Has plenty of power, yet is very forgiving for new riders. I too had a bit of experience riding motor vehicles before I got the 650– but I really feel its a perfect balance between Power and controlability as a first bike.July 14, 2008 at 4:18 pm #8762ShannonGParticipant
I shall now get on my GS500 soapbox and preach its utter ridabilitly. Because, you know, I have so much experience and stuff.July 22, 2008 at 5:39 pm #9107WeaponZeroParticipant
First off, I would like to say that being an experienced dirtbike/atv rider with some road experience puts you in a good position. You don’t need to limit yourself to the small selection that those of us just starting out have to choose from. You can consider buying the bikes that we would be upgrading to from our first bikes.
Because you apparently want to go the cruiser route, I won’t be recommending any street-legal racebikes such as the R6 or GSXR600 to you (which might still be too much for you anyway despite your experience). Suzuki makes an 800cc “power cruiser” called the Boulevard M50 that is essentially a smaller version of the M109R, their competitor to the Harley V-Rod. It has been on the market for a few years now and can be had used for about $4k if you know where to look. It seems like a nice bike overall but most reviews say that it badly needs upgraded brakes for what it is. The Honda Shadow 750 is likely available in a trim that passes itself off as a smaller “street rod” as well, and those are fine bikes.
You should also consider looking into older Honda Magna 750s. It is a motorcycle Honda made from 1994 to 2001 that essentially combined the VFR750 sportbike engine with a cruiser frame. I do honestly believe that would be the perfect bike for you despite my limited experience as a rider due to what you say about what you want out of a motorcycle and what your past experience is. It is a sad shame they discontinued this bike in 2001, but if you’re willing to shell out money for a used bike that old (which most first time owners end up doing regardless), it would be worth the trouble.
EDIT: Though I myself am a new rider with limited experience, I have been following motorcycling for 10 years now as my father has ridden motorcycles since before I was born. When I speak as though I sound like I know what I’m talking about, I really don’t. I’m having him do the talking for me.
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