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How to U-turn on a Motorcycle
The DRZ is an excellent bike to start with as are the other small supermotos an dual sports. The DRZ400SM is a supermoto while the DRZ400S is a dual sport. The only real difference is the wheels and tires that come on the bike. Supermotos use 17″ wheels like sport bikes and are great urban bikes and lots of fun on twisty roads. However the slick tires are not good off-road. Dual sports will use a larger narrower front tire with knobbies on both ends to allow they decent capability on off-road trails while still being street legal with lights and turn signals.
Both are light and very maneuverable. Plus they take a fall very well so you can push your limits further in parking lots and off-road without worrying so much about damaging your bike.
You may be able to find a KLX250SF supermoto in your price range, the WR250X is a little nicer but I don’t see many below $4000. There are many older dual sports that are priced reasonably on the used market. Even larger bikes like the DR650 and KLR650 are reasonable starter bikes for a taller rider. These have less power than most 500 twins and at least the DR is lighter.
First of all most members here are Americans including myself and know almost nothing about the CBR125 as we have never seen one.
I’m 6’2″ 220 pounds and find my EX250 (`06) a great bike to start with. Sufficient power for any kind of highways, light weight and easy to learn handling and power modulation and cheap.
If you fit on the CBR125 then you will not end up on the pavement because its only a 125cc. You just may not feel it has enough power to ride the fast roads. Limit yourself to secondary roads and you will have more fun and learn how to handle the bike faster.
Power and the ability to move you is not a problem with the 250s, especially the Ninja250R. However as mentioned suspension can be a problem. Any small bike will be undersprung for your weight but with heavier bikes the rider is a smaller percentage of the vehicle weight so the effect is less noticable.
However suspension upgrades are possible and probably recommended for any bike.
I’m 220lb and ride a stock Ninja250R. I take up a good bit of the suspension with my weight along but it still handles the rough rural roads and urban potholes without a problem. In fact the soft stock suspension probably handles rough roads better than most street bikes.
Thats a hot bike!!! And one we won’t see in the US
However there are a few 250 supermotos that are excellent fun. Yamaha WR250X, and Kawasaki KLX250SF, also the Sukuzi DRZ400SM. The DRZ has been around a few more years than the WRX and KLX so more are available on the used market. The WR and KLX were introduced for the 2008 model year so more are showing up all the time. These bikes are noticably lighter and handle easier than the sport and standards of similar size. Plus they are reported to be loads of fun
I’m your size (6’2″ 220) and ride an older Ninja 250R.
I think it a great bike, especially for a first bike.
They are very maneuverable, very fuel efficient and have great range. I get about 250miles before reserve on a tank. Few other motorcycles will go as far.
Plus they are fast enough to ride with any traffic, though I think any bike without real fairing will be tiresome about 70mph.
The stock suspension is soft for a large guy but is still useable. Your legs are bent pretty tight but if you look supersports are even tighter and have a much more aggressive riding position. However I have found if you ride lots your legs adapt to the position readily.
Go for it. Worst case you find the bike doesn’t work for you and you have to sell it for about what you paid.
Me I’m having too much fun to consider selling. Adding a second bike is a possibility but I don’t think I will sell.
TR “is” spoiled, but thats a good thing for him
I do/did have the opportunity to learn on dirt. My parents own a farm about 1hr drive away. I’m considering getting a cheap dual-sport or off-road motorcycle just to hone my skills.
In addition due to Cleveland losing so much population and jobs there are a number of abandoned industrial locations that one can ride off road provided you have a plated bike to get there and you ignore the trespassing. Probably not a great place to learn though.
The point about the Ninja 250 is a good one for someone interested in sport bikes. It is compact and light. It definitely allows for more learning moments than a bigger machine.
Just had another learning moment this evening. Pulled off the road into a rural driveway. The drive was very loose, deep gravel. While turning around before stopping my front wheel locked up and slide. If my Ninja 250 was a larger bike it would have been on its side with me likely under it. However I’m a big guy and the Ninja is a small bike so I just put my foot down and pulled it back upright even before it could drop. Still made me wish for a small dual-sport at that moment.
I think being able to switch to reserve on the fly is a necessary skill for riding a bike with petcock. Its quick and easy if you are know wher it is. Plus if a useful skill for when you forget to turn the fuel on before taking off
I regularly run until reserve, but then again my commute is 8 urban miles so finding gas is easy. I get a little over 250miles per tank on my Ninja 250.
I’d say that was over priced, however a working bike in decent shape will seldom drop much below $1000. So if you can find a nice newer used model for under $2000 you will have a nice bike that won’t depreciate much unless you wreck.
I think you will see more people selling low mile bikes for cheaper once it gets cold and they want to clean out the garage to make room for the car. I got my `06 Ninja 250R with 1k miles for $1600 last November. By spring I probably could have sold it for $2k.
Pick a couple models you like, or perhaps a style, and look for good deals. If you get stuck on one model you will likely end up having to buy new and pay nearly twice as much.
The biggest thing on any loose surface (gravel, dirt, bridge grates, grooved pavement, etc.) is to hang loose and mostly let the bike do its thing. The problem is a new rider tends to stiffen up or grab too much brake causing a skid. Stay loose and “go with the flow”.
Same for slick patches in corners (gravel, oil, wet leaves). Leave yourself margin when entering a corner and most of these obstables will just cause you to slide off your line a little before getting traction again. Once you do the bike will correct itself and it will just be a quick puckering experience. If you are on the edge ofcourse then this doesn’t apply.
I still feel very much like a newbie with 3000 miles on my Ninja250R this summer.
I think a cheap small bike is a lot more fun to start with. It makes learning easier and you can challenge yourself alot more than you would consider doing on a heavier more expensive bike. Like exploring down a gravel road, doing a u-turn on a small street, pulling off the road on to a gravel shoulder for a quick break or to that a snap shot, etc.
And as you mentioned if you can get a good bike for under 2 grand then if you want to get a different one later it no big deal.
If a salesman is trying to convince you by telling you you’ll be a sissy or look like a girl then I would completely tune that person out as they have little worth saying.
Maybe you have better finger dexterity than me but there is no way I can work the D rings with gloves on.
A quick system would be nice for those times I’m all suited up and then realize my helmet is still loose.
Otherwise I think I agree with you, so I havn’t not looked at changing it.
What you are looking for is a dual-sport, some times called enduro.
Its not hard to find decent a DR650 or KLR650 for under $3000. A DRZ400 usually run a little more but plenty exist.
Older or smaller bikes may be found for less and are better off road but will struggle with highspeed highways or be uncomfortable. XT225, TW200, DR200se, XT350, DR350, XR400, etc. Searching for dual sport or enduro on craigslist will often turn up a few.
Freeway flows at 90mph??!!!
OK even a Ninja 250 would struggle to keep pace with that.
Ofcourse I would not want to do many miles like that on any naked or sport faired bike. The wind buffeting and noise is really fatiguing at those speeds.
Around here (Cleveland) limits are 60 and speeds are 70-80. I try to stay around 70, which is much more comfortable than 80, and have no problem with traffic. A larger wind screen like Mike’s shields sells would probably help.
If you are a tall guy then the 250cc cruisers will probably be pretty small. Cruisers tend to have more modest power and a lower center of gravity than the other styles so a larger bike like a 650 or 700 is reasonable. However you will likely pay much more for the larger bike.
I like small, cheap and used for a first bike as it is easier to learn on and can be treated as disposable if you decide you want something different. Deciding a new 700 is not the bike for you can be quite costly as is dropping the bike.