RE: Beginner bikes; Why not Vintage?

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scott s
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RE: Beginner bikes; Why not Vintage?

#1 Unread post by scott s » Sat May 26, 2007 7:23 am

I see there are lots and lots of "what's a good beginner bike" threads here. Many people seem to be financing their first bike. Often that first bike is a 250 that will (possibly) be outgrown rather quickly.
Why not a vintage bike? I, for one, prefer the look and style of the older Japanese bikes over the plastic clad stuff of today. That's just one mans opinion, I know...
But in my search for a bike I found quite a few REALLY nice older CB's, a few KZ's and, what I eventually bought, a Yamaha XS650.
There are quite a few Honda CB's out there in the $1000-3000 range that are well cared for, look great and will hold their resale value.
The XS650 I bought is small enough (physically) to handle as a new rider, large enough (cc's) to not outgrow anytime soon, and has that vintage Japanese/British twin look to it.
I can't speak for all old bikes, but the Hondas and the Yamaha XS's have a HUGE aftermarket and lots of parts are available online.
They also lend themselves to customization.

Now, that said, I'm sure there are THOUSANDS of old, worn out bikes out there that you should stay well away from. But if you do your homework and buy a nice example, what's wrong with a vintage bike? Something not everyone else has and will hold it's value a little better, maybe?

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Veda
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#2 Unread post by Veda » Sat May 26, 2007 7:39 am

Personally, I am not very mechanically inclined and wanted something reliable for my first bike. When the bike acts funny I can pretty much assume it is because I am making a newbie mistake instead of the bike having a problem.
Last edited by Veda on Sat May 26, 2007 7:47 am, edited 1 time in total.

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#3 Unread post by scott s » Sat May 26, 2007 7:44 am

That's understandable. I'm sure that's why lots of people go with a newer bike.
I can turn a wrench. One of the first purchases I make (be it an old car or old bike) is a Chilton/Clymer/Haynes manual. I'm also lucky enough to have a local bike shop that is honest and deals with older bikes of any make and model.
But, an old bike in good repair shouldn't give you any more problems than a newer bike. This is coming from a guy who drives a 37 year old VW daily, so......

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#4 Unread post by IcyHound » Sat May 26, 2007 7:57 am

I am with Veda. I hate car trouble. I don't want to deal with Bike trouble as well. I am not interested in running my vehicles into the ground. I average 35k miles a year at least. My current veh had 100k miles on it a month after it turned three.
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#5 Unread post by dr_bar » Sat May 26, 2007 10:16 am

Actually, a lot of people recommend an older bike as a beginner. At the top of the beginner forum, there is a sticky for the beginners bikers..

http://totalmotorcycle.com/BBS/viewtopic.php?t=100

There is a link, (Included below,) to a great resource on older bikes. Included are mainly those older models that are more reliable, if I'm correct...

For those considering purchasing a Used or older bike, see Total Motorcycle's
"Used Motorcycle Buyer's Guide" http://www.totalmotorcycle.com/buyersguide.htm
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Two wheels move the soul!"

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#6 Unread post by RideYourRide » Sat May 26, 2007 12:18 pm

If you don't mind working on it, definitely do it.
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#7 Unread post by Falkenheld » Sat May 26, 2007 4:47 pm

I'm still using my first bike and it was great to learn on, both road experience and mechanical experience.

I'll be moving up to a 600-750cc bike eventually.
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#8 Unread post by telefunkin » Sat May 26, 2007 8:37 pm

This is my first year riding, and I have an 83 yamaha xs400. I'm happy I went with an old bike. So far I've learned how to do an oil change, change an oil filter, change an air filter, adjust the chain tension, change the front brake pads, adjust the rear brakes, adjust the supension and tomorrow I'll be learning how to clean a carb.

I love learning how to service my bike. If I had bought new the dealership would have been taking care of all the maintenance for at least a year and I can't imagine having 1,2 or 3 years riding experience under my belt without knowing how to do basic maintenance.

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#9 Unread post by flw » Sat May 26, 2007 9:25 pm

Nothing wrong with a older bike as long as its in very good working order and priced well. I assume most people want to become good riders and not good vintage bike mechanics. You want a bike that is not in need of anything at the time of purchase, as finding parts especially rubber hoses, boots/cowling, o-rings, gaskets, tires etc... can be a daunting task on a older bike.

Now if someone does there homework before the buy and see's how popular they were when new and if there still supported by either the OEM or a 3rd party, you can then buy with confidence that parts are easily available. You don't want to be forced into a junk yard hunting dog for parts with most hunts coming up empty.

Exception is if you get a project vintage bike. That breaks all the rules because its for a total different purpose or goal.
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#10 Unread post by noodlenoggin » Sun May 27, 2007 9:01 am

I say absolutely get the old bike. If it's your first, you ARE going to drop it at least once, and you don't want to bung up a shiny, new, financed bike. My first bike was an ancient Honda DP bike, and my first "street bike" was the XS650 (Hi, Scott!) that I still have. Yeah, it's taught me a LOT about maintaining my own bike, but then I had to do that with the Honda before that. Still, it's a competent bike even 12 years and about 80lbs (mine) later.
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