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It may be 100 pounds less than a sporty, but it is taller, which means it won’t be as easy to handle as if it was a cruiser weighing 100 pounds less than a sporty.
Have you ridden a bike yet? Or just have your endorsement? If you’ve taken the MSF, you have an idea how comfortable you are on a bike. The Guzzi will be a lot bigger and heavier than the MSF bikes. If by then end of the class you had no problems leaning the bike in slow speed turns, and the cost of the Guzzi (most notably, insurance and potential repair costs of a dropped bike) is in your budget, go for it. It’ll treat you great.
If by the end of the MSF (or if you haven’t taken it yet) you weren’t very confident handling the bikes at low speed, I’d consider looking for a lighter bike for the first season. A Suzuki naked GS500 certainly has less soul-appeal than the Guzzi, but a few thousand miles on it will set your skills well for the Guzzi or any bike like it.
Not to be too argumentative, but the Ninja 500’s engine is 20 years old, just like the Katana. It has been used on several bikes (ER-5 series in europe, including a dual sport).
Yes, it has coolant that needs to be replaced every two years, but that really isn’t a big deal – cars manage.
The Kat has more complicated fairings, which adds time to the shop labour costs.
And while the valves are screw adjuster (pretty easy to do) there are four sets, versus the Ninja’s pair. The big question is how often do those valves need to be inspected and adjusted?
I can’t say. I can find a maintenance schedule for the ninja on EX-500.com, but I can’t find something similar for the Kat.
But I think the fact that the bike will primarily be a city runabout is really important here. Riding any air cooled engine in traffic is uncomfortable. It can really cook your leg on an already hot day. The Kat’s fairing are supposed to be pretty good at deflecting that heat, but they aren’t perfect. And riding a 480 pound bike in the city is a very different game from riding a 400 pound bike in the city.
I’m not calling the Kat anything but an awesome reliable sport touring rig. I’m just saying don’t discount the Ninja 500 as unproven, unreliable, or maintenance heavy, because it is none of those things.
As an aside, maintenance costs are a really good thing to look into when buying a bike. My ZZR-250 required valve adjustments every 5000kms (once a season for me). This maintenance cost me $300 at the dealership. My new bike, an SV650N, doesn’t need valve adjustments at all. In fact, it’s maintenance schedule is basically just oil changes (which I can do myself in 20 minutes for $45 using synthetic). So, despite the fact that my ZZR-250 would cost me $300 more per season in insurance, the maintenance savings nearly balance that out. I like it when things like that happen
“…Katana is a better bike that’s will last a long long time over the Ninja 500.”
I think you’ll find both are famous for going for pretty much forever. The Ninja 500 is an incredibly reliable water cooled twin. The Katana, is an air cooled four.
The Katana is more expensive to own. It drinks more, insurance is more, and costs more to maintain (4 cylinders vs 2, lots of fairing vs just a little to remove, bigger more expensive tires). It is also famous for its vibes.
At 135 miles, the Ninja is brand new. At 8k the Kat is not much more than broken in.
Both are great bikes.
I think it really should come down to a matter of comfort for you. The Kat is a nicer highway ride, and will “keep up” with the big boys a bit better. If those are your goals, it is the way to go. If you like the lightness and narrowness of your 250, but want some more power, the Ninja is a steal. On public roads with considerations for real world things like road conditions and traffic, it isn’t significantly slower than the Kat, but will feel much lighter (the Kat feels like a big bike, at least to me). If lower running cost or working on the bike yourself are important to you, the Ninja is the better deal.
You’re chosing between a V6 Mustang and a V6 Camero. Both are loads of fun, which you chose only comes down to personal taste – and either way the “real man” on the “real” ride is going point and laugh (at it’ll be entirely to his loss).
When I bought my new bike, and when I sold my old one, I used certified cheques.
For the seller, it is as good as cash (almost) and has a paper trail. For the buyer, it is slightly inconvinent, but again, has a paper trail. Don’t discount those paper trails if you ever get audited.
And of course, none of the security questiosn of carrying aroudn several grand in cash.
No experience with them (not sold in Canada), but the bike has been around a long time in other markets. I think it is a really great little retro bike.
No. But my appropriate use of capital letters, grammar, and spell check have improved dramatically.
Give it a year of solid riding before upping both the difficulty and risk by adding a rider. Trust me, it really does make a big difference.
Secondly, The Honda Rebel is realistically too small (both in space and power) for two up trips of any length. The Honda Shadow 600 has the power, but the reat seat is more of a “small pad” than proper seat. not something I’d put someone on for any length of time. I’d look into other 500-650cc cruisers though. I think the Vulcan has a passenger back-rest option (not sure)… In this case, sit on as many of the bikes as you can (and get the Better Half to do so with you), then ride it by yourself for several thousand miles first.
Well sir, I salute you. Your ass is made of sterner stuff than mine!
1- The sound. It has an aftermarket pipe and power commander. Pass under an overpass and God rumbles in your ears. I prefer the sound of my bike to the Ferrari 308GTS that drives down my street every nice day.
2- Narrowness and ease of turning. Between the wide handlebars and narrow engine, maneuvering the bike is a dream. It does exactly what I want without ever overdoing it.
3- Maintenance. No fairings to remove, no valves to adjust. Only gotta change the oil and adjust the chain.
4- No windscreen. Tilt your head, and you can’t even see the mirrors. Just “flying” down the free way.
Not so great:
1- Seat. Did the aftermarket seat makers pay Suzuki to put that on there, or does Suzuki think my butt is made of right angles? 30 minutes of comfort at most.
2- No center stand. There is no reason for a bike with a side mount muffler not to come with a center stand. I loved my center stand on my ZZR.
3- The sound. Sure it sounds great, but at around town speeds the volume gets to me.
4- No windscreen. Riding 80km/h into 60km/h headwind is a pretty insane thing with zero wind protection. At least on the ZZR I could tuck under the screen, can’t even do that now.
First person to cut up a brand new motorcycle? Hardly. There’s no such thing as a Stock Harley around here. Everyone in my office (engineers or mat techs the lot of them) with a Harley has at one point had it in its constituent parts. If cutting holes in the exhaust was the extend of the rejigging they did, I’d have a lot of bored engineers around me.April 30, 2009 at 2:27 pm in reply to: Been a while, what do you guys think of the Hyosung 650r? #18122
Consider a used SV650S for same or less $.
I haven’t ridden a Hyosung, but general consensus seems to be that it is a fine bike, but suffers from build quality issues. If you get it, make sure you like the dealership you get it from (I suppose that should be said of any brand, but with Hyosung there are fewer dealers, so you can’t just take it to the other dealer across town).
Handling and brakes are “woody” and lack feel.
But I think the biggest strike against a new Hyosung is the low resale value. At least with a Suzy you know you’ll be able to sell it for a fair price when the time comes. That said, maybe you can find a good deal on a used Hyosung.
There are a lot of good bikes in that range right now:
The Hyosung, SV650, Ninja 650R, and the Duc 695/696 are nice narrow bikes. The twin engines make for a slimmer bike, while also cutting down on maintainence costs.
The FZ6R, GSXF-650, (used) Katana 600/750 and Bandit 600/650, are all great bikes as well, but because of the inline four engine have a much wider tank. None of them need to be revved like a true 600 I4s, but they do take more maintainence. They are also all heavy bikes (mostly because all of them have steel perimiter frames (cheap, plush, but heavy) where the twins have AL or trelis steel frames (stiff and light, but expensive to make).
If I were you, I’d keep the Hyosung in mind, but only as a good deal on a used one (unless sitting on it, it just feels like “your bike”).
Personally, I think the FZ6R is a great looking bike. I’m not convinced it is a good bike to start on for several reasons (power, size, but largely cost, both to buy and maintain).
Don’t outright discount the 500s though. The Ninja 500 isn’t terribly cold blooded, and if you find it leans you forward too much, there are risers that’ll bring the bars up and towards you. I’d sit on the 650s&600 to compare with though, because while I find the Ninja 500 is lower than them, it has no more forward lean (just more knee bend).
Also, with the Suzuki GS500, she’s cold blooded to start (gotta idle it for 3 minutes with choke before you can ride, which isn’t anywhere near as much of a hassel as it sounds), but it’ll run just fine in the cold. If your only concern with it is the temperature, I’d give it a second look. See if you can’t find a local board and ask if anyone has personal experience with the GS500 in your environment.
What he said!
The Stock windshield on the ninja is meant for aerodynamics, not comfort. Yuo can get a taller one that will provide better wind protection.
Concerning #3, planning on using your gas to get you out of trouble is not a good choice. No matter the bike, you can always decelerate faster than you can accelerate. If someone looks like they may move into your space, don’t wait for the last second, just stay clear of that space. If you have to react, emergency lane change or braking are far faster than gassing it. If you are in a position where you can’t slow down and you can’t move over – you’ve already made a couple of big mistakes.
I rode my 250 on the freeway for a year without issue.April 24, 2009 at 5:26 pm in reply to: for my first bike.? simplicity? end of the world?! #18010
I’ve got an SV650. It isn’t my first bike. I’m very glad it isn’t my first bike. Steering is just as easy as my 250 was, but the throttle is really sensitive, especially to reductions in throttle. I actually did the “hit a bump, twitch throttle, end up 10mph faster than planned” routine twice this morning…
Great bike, just not great First bike.
There are aftermarket seats and gas tanks that can turn the DRZ-400 into a great dual sport touring rig.
It won’t be great to start off with, but you can buy a used one and upgrade (search sites like advrider.com and you might find used ones that have had the work done already).
As a city bike, any small displacement dual sport or standard bike works really great.