What should be my first bike? Need lots of help.

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R121991
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What should be my first bike? Need lots of help.

#1 Unread post by R121991 » Mon Apr 04, 2011 11:59 pm

I'm 19 years old, 130lbs, and i stand around 5'7 on a good day. I have had my license for a year and been riding my dads fat boy harley. Pretty big bike and heavy but i can handle it. I'm looking right now for a bike of my own. I want a sports bike but i'm not sure what to get. I want something I can touch the ground with, reliable, fun, and something I wont "out grow". The reason I say out grow is because I want a 250cc to start out on like an 08-09 maybe 2010 ninja 250 but alot of people are saying i will be bored in a month. But the ninja has some good benefits like gas mileage and its light and smaller. I plan to get used and spend no more than 5 grand. On the other hand, some people say they would still ride a 250 anyday even after owning their 600cc and up. I ride 40 miles to school and back everyday on the interstate. I don't know if this will be a problem for a 250cc or not. So what i'm asking is what's a good starter bike? Should I do a 250? Should I do a 600? Any and all opinions on or off topic are GREATLY appreciated. Thanks!
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Re: What should be my first bike? Need lots of help.

#2 Unread post by Wrider » Tue Apr 05, 2011 1:26 am

First off, welcome!
Secondly, if you can handle the weight of the Fat Boy then you can handle the weight of any sportbike on the market.
The question that comes into play now is power.
To answer your questions...
1. You will never "outgrow" a 250. I'm 6'2, 300 lbs, and have a blast on my sister's Ninja 250.
2. The fuel efficiency on the Ninja 250 is absurdly good, but if you can afford to buy new, check out Honda's new CBR250R. It's fuel injected versus the Ninja's carbs, so it will probably have better fuel efficiency.
3. When you are figuring out costs, remember that bikes go through tires a LOT faster than cars, and remember that at your age insurance is gonna be huge. My sister has a fairly good driving record, is 22, is a female obviously, and pays 111 a month in insurance on her 09 Ninja 250 because it's a sportbike.
4. 40 miles each way on the interstate is not a problem on a 250. My sister had hers up to... how do you say this politically correctly... arrestable speeds, on the Interstate for an hour without a problem, and since the engine is designed to rev up there, it's not a problem for it.
5. A good starter bike after riding a Fat Boy? I'd honestly go check out the following:
1. Ninja 250
2. CBR250R
3. Ninja 500
4. GS500
5. Ninja 650
6. SV650
All of those are great bikes with great fuel efficiency (40+ in town with medium throttle inputs), will handle the interstate with ease, are competent in the twisties, and are very reliable power plants.
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Re: What should be my first bike? Need lots of help.

#3 Unread post by JVRR » Tue Apr 05, 2011 1:49 am

When buying used I think the key is finding the right deal. Also, I would not worry too much about starting lower-power if you have a years experience. I would look in the 500-600 range. Ninja 500 and GS500 are both great options. Try sitting on some at the store if you can, I significantly preferred the fit of the GS500- but it will be different for everyone.

Look into insurance, but it varies heavily by area. I pay $220 a year (24, male, one not-at-fault-accident [bull**** that this effects my rates!], and no multi-policy discount)- I did not get under-insured coverage though). This is in Washington where bike insurance is not required by law, driving prices down. Not sure if any other states are the same way?

Like I said, I would look in the 500cc-600cc range, but if you spot a 250cc you like for a great price, grab it. No reason to spend your full budget, particularly as a student.

But keep in mind I am new! But I started on a GS500, I can see starting on more being trouble, but I can see less being disappointing. I feel I could use an upgrade all ready, the only challenge I think I face (other than as any biker constantly improving my skills) is smooth shifting, but I am confident in my ability to avoid a panic throttle now- but I am also a very safe/responsible guy (not in a holier-than-thou way, but I would trust myself to use the power responsibly... no freeway wheelies for me!). In other words, the GS500 is doing a great job, and I won't grow "bored of it," but I think it will last longer than the 250. That being said, looking at speeds and accelerations, yes there is a noticeable difference, but the numbers I have looked at... I think people greatly exaggerate the 250 vs 500 argument... it's not really twice as fast! What's the top speed difference on a Ninja 250 vs 500? I think it was something like 10-15mph....
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Re: What should be my first bike? Need lots of help.

#4 Unread post by totalmotorcycle » Tue Apr 05, 2011 4:04 am

I started on a 1983 Honda Magna 500cc V4... which looking back was really too much bike for me at the time (would have been a nice 2nd bike though). I rode for a bit but because of the bike's awkwardness and power I really didn't enjoy it and I was turned off from riding after that for a few years till I purchased a 1980 Honda CB400T Hawk.

The CB400T was the perfect bike (parallel twin), I wish I purchased it first rather than a more powerful one as it cost me a few years of not riding.

There is something to be said for a light, quick, smaller cc bike that a liter bike just can't replace. You can go anywhere on it (off roading for example) and it will keep up in the twisties with the bigger bikes*. (*I am always amazed to see riders on a small bike blow past those on big bikes in the twisties... shows it's the rider, not the bike)

People do start out on bike bikes, but it's a shame because they don't know how much fun they are missing in other ways.

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Re: What should be my first bike? Need lots of help.

#5 Unread post by JVRR » Tue Apr 05, 2011 4:12 am

Another thing to keep in mind is the cc's are not the only measure of power. My understanding is there are many 650ccs out there that make great starting bikes, and others that are way too much power. Asking here about specific bike sizes is the best bet, it is how I narrowed my search down.
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Re: What should be my first bike? Need lots of help.

#6 Unread post by R121991 » Tue Apr 05, 2011 10:14 am

Ok guys thanks. My dad has also been telling me that he feels I will grow tired of the 250 in about 3 months. I don't want to make it sound like i'm rushing into the thrill part of the sport; I just don't want to have to go bike shopping for awhile after I get my first bike. So I guess I have decided to look for an 09 ninja 500r. I havn't really looked at honda models or anything so I guess I should do that. If I see a nice deal on a 250 though, I will probably have to take it.
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Re: What should be my first bike? Need lots of help.

#7 Unread post by totalmotorcycle » Tue Apr 05, 2011 10:30 am

JVRR wrote:Another thing to keep in mind is the cc's are not the only measure of power. My understanding is there are many 650ccs out there that make great starting bikes, and others that are way too much power. Asking here about specific bike sizes is the best bet, it is how I narrowed my search down.
Definately agree. A 650cc V-Twin/Parallel Twin/Single makes a much better starter bike than a 650cc Triple/Inline-Four. :D

And yes, definately ask here about specific bike sizes, we love to help out and recommend our favorite bikes too. :revv:

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Re: What should be my first bike? Need lots of help.

#8 Unread post by totalmotorcycle » Tue Apr 05, 2011 10:33 am

R121991 wrote:Ok guys thanks. My dad has also been telling me that he feels I will grow tired of the 250 in about 3 months. I don't want to make it sound like i'm rushing into the thrill part of the sport; I just don't want to have to go bike shopping for awhile after I get my first bike. So I guess I have decided to look for an 09 ninja 500r. I havn't really looked at honda models or anything so I guess I should do that. If I see a nice deal on a 250 though, I will probably have to take it.
I don't think you would outgrow a 250cc in a few months, maybe a year or two though, but I wouldn't worry about that, that is what a 125/250cc bike is for, to outgrow! Outgrowing IS GOOD as it means your skills have grown past 80-100% of the bike's ability. And with a 125/250cc bike they are cheeeeeeeeeeeeeeeap on gas and to insure as well not to mention to buy. I've known a rider to last over 10 years on a 250cc before moving up.

A Ninja 500R is a good choice, it's a parallel twin and is easy to fix and maintain.

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Re: What should be my first bike? Need lots of help.

#9 Unread post by JVRR » Tue Apr 05, 2011 12:18 pm

Something else to keep in mind (lots of things), your riding location will help determine what you want/need. I have been spending a lot of time on freeways, and that is where I feel ready for an upgrade. Back on the twisties I cannot imagine wanting more power than my GS500, but on the freeway there are times I am yearning for more acceleration.

Also, I still highly recommend finding some shops in the area you can sit on some bikes. I cannot stand the fit of the CBR's (again, varies by person), something you won't really know until you sit on it, and something you may not notice in the few minutes you spend while purchasing it from some guy in a parking lot.
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Re: What should be my first bike? Need lots of help.

#10 Unread post by gsJack » Tue Apr 05, 2011 1:50 pm

JVRR wrote:......................I have been spending a lot of time on freeways, and that is where I feel ready for an upgrade. Back on the twisties I cannot imagine wanting more power than my GS500, but on the freeway there are times I am yearning for more acceleration.......................
I use to run the freeways in 5th gear when riding with big twin friends to match their roll-on speeds and don't forget your GS500 will go over 100 mph in 4th gear before redline, nice passing gear. Shifting gears is part of the fun of riding a small bike with the big boys. :wink:

I found 400 mile freeway runs at 75-80 mph indicated to be fun on my GSs.

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Re: What should be my first bike? Need lots of help.

#11 Unread post by Lion_Lady » Tue Apr 05, 2011 3:57 pm

Check out the Suzuki 650 or 650S. Middle range in power, not too twitchy in the throttle/brake response (one thing that often shocks newer riders). Since you've been riding Dad's cruiser, you'll need to make sure you spend plenty of time getting the feel of whatever bike you choose.

The SV has TONS of aftermarket stuff available for customization. Reliable. The 650S has a sportier riding position with clip on bars, the non-S model has a continuous bar. You can probabably pick up a gently used on for not a lot of cash... so if you decide you want something different you won't lose a chunk of money, as you would if you bought new and changed your mind.
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Re: What should be my first bike? Need lots of help.

#12 Unread post by JVRR » Tue Apr 05, 2011 6:42 pm

gsJack wrote:
JVRR wrote:......................I have been spending a lot of time on freeways, and that is where I feel ready for an upgrade. Back on the twisties I cannot imagine wanting more power than my GS500, but on the freeway there are times I am yearning for more acceleration.......................
I use to run the freeways in 5th gear when riding with big twin friends to match their roll-on speeds and don't forget your GS500 will go over 100 mph in 4th gear before redline, nice passing gear. Shifting gears is part of the fun of riding a small bike with the big boys. :wink:

I found 400 mile freeway runs at 75-80 mph indicated to be fun on my GSs.

Image
I mean more as far as acceleration goes. Definitely love the GS, but as long as I do a lot of freeway riding and keep riding a lot, it will not be my only bike. To be fair if I am doing the kind of freeway riding that would make me feel bored with the GS, it would probably be time for a cruiser.

The GS might be plenty in the curves, but I'll still buy that Speed Triple some day :mrgreen:.
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Re: What should be my first bike? Need lots of help.

#13 Unread post by JC Viper » Sat Apr 09, 2011 3:40 am

Ahh, the Speed Triple. The bike most rated as the best Hooligan bike out there 8)
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Re: What should be my first bike? Need lots of help.

#14 Unread post by Marvin » Sun Apr 10, 2011 3:14 am

I agree with Lion Lady about the Suzuki SV650 (S), its a great "do everything" bike, I personally like the Yamaha FZ6 better cause I own one, and the Kawasaki 650 Ninja is also a great alternative.
but,, I understand most new riders want a cruiser bike instead of a sport bike, I LOVE the Kawasaki Vulcan 500 cause its a cruiser bike that uses the exact same engine as the 500 Ninja, and nobody can't go wrong with the Honda 750 Shadow (great bike)
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