T Nation

Buying My First Bike

I just got my license (class : E) here in Jersey, so it’s time for me start shopping. There is a dealership up by me on Rt. 17S that sells Suzuki, Kawasaki’s, and Yamahas. All nice, but I admit I’m a novice and am not sure what to look for…

Please help point my compass towards something a newbie should ride.


I was thinking about a bike like this… MSRP is at about 7k, not bad. The salesman said that since it is not a sportbike, insurance is less then a GSX or the like.

Any input?

Depends what you are looking for (I don’t know what a class E license is) but if you are after a crotch rocket…

I’ve always had a thing for Suzuki’s - the big GSXR’s are awesome. I’ve also owned Yamaha and Kawasaki machines and ridden more than I’ve owned.

The R1 is great but probably a bit too much for you to continue your learining on ;-)Definately the case with the likes of the GSXR 1000.

Having said that, don’t fall in to the trap of thinking that a smaller engine equals easier to ride. The Yamaha R6 is a complete mental beast and if not treated with respect will spit you off in the blink of an eye.

How about looking at the Kawasaki Ninja 600 - It’s powerful enough to scare you shitless so you aint going to get bored any time soon, but it’s also IMO easier to handle than the R6.

If there’s a Honda dealer anywhere close, have a look at the CBR600 - That is one great all round bike.

I started out on the R6 (Yamaha), about three years ago. She’s as fast as any beginner would want, and insurance is dirt cheap.

I’ve since sold her and got a V-Max, also a lot of fun, but a different animal from the R6. Insurance was still dirt cheap.

I’d recommend not buying new. Check out cycletrader.com.

The SV rules all ass. That thing is a steal and is incredibly fun to ride. You can’t do better than that when it comes to a beginner bike. Plus there is a huge amount of aftermarket potential for it to shock the shit out of the squids on their Gixxrs and Ninjas.

I have heard good things about the new Kawi Ninja 250’s, they look pretty cool and they’re not insanely powerful, but if you think you can handle something with some more power, the SV would be great, they’ve got power and are a little more upright, so you’re not so leaned over like you would be on a GSXR or CBR or any other rocket. Also, check state farm out for full coverage insurance, they’re the lowest that I’ve found, a lot less than other like progressive and geico and the other ones.

Shop around, take the MSF class if you haven’t already, you’ll learn a shitload. I took it, I had never ridden before, and I feel really comfortable on my GSXR600 after only a few months of riding. Good luck with your choice, shop around, and put up some pics when you decide to take the plunge.

Ink

If you have yet to do so please take a Motorcycle Safety Foundation course before you hit the road. Congrats on the license but be sure to learn how to stay alive on a bike before you sally forth to play in traffic.

I’d recommend strongly against anything with plastic fairings as a first bike. There are only three types of riders: those who’ve dumped a bike; those who will; and liars. Replacing plastic is very very expensive and a simple fall in a parking lot (you’d be amazed how many folks this has happened to) can run into a grand or more in repairs. Best to defer this sort of ride until you’ve had a bit of experience, it will almost certainly save you a ton of money. Don’t get me wrong I’ve owned a number of sport bikes and have quite enjoyed them but they’re poor ideas for beginners.

Personally I’d start on a 600-750 cc cruiser. You can generally dump them all day and do very little damage. There are tons of cheap ones available used just about everywhere. They’re easy to ride and far more forgiving of mistakes than are sport bikes. Spend 6-12 months on something like this, put 10-15k miles on it, then sell it an get whatever you want after you’re acclimated to riding.

Whatever you do have fun and be careful!

[quote]BackForMore wrote:
If you have yet to do so please take a Motorcycle Safety Foundation course before you hit the road. Congrats on the license but be sure to learn how to stay alive on a bike before you sally forth to play in traffic.

Personally I’d start on a 600-750 cc cruiser. You can generally dump them all day and do very little damage. There are tons of cheap ones available used just about everywhere. They’re easy to ride and far more forgiving of mistakes than are sport bikes. Spend 6-12 months on something like this, put 10-15k miles on it, then sell it an get whatever you want after you’re acclimated to riding.
[/quote]

Strongly agree on taking a MSF class and buying used. I spent $3,000 on my first bike (used Kawasaki Vulcan 750 cc), rode it for 2 seasons, and traded it in (got $2,000 on trade in) for another used bike (Harley FXDX 1340cc).

First, don’t listen to guys who tell you that you need to get a 1000 as your first bike. Nearly every guy who told me that when I first started ended up destroying their’s somehow. I started slow with an R6 and kept that for two years. It was great and allowed me tpo work out the kinks as far as riding. In fact, if you can fond one, I would get a USED 600 as your first bike. Chances are great that you will drop it at least once even if it is by accident in the garage.

Leave the 1000’s for experienced riders who know the feel of a bike well.

My current bike is not for beginners. I have no doubt I would have damn near killed myself if I had bought one of these as my first ride. 1000’s today are like small AirForce jets.

[quote]Professor X wrote:
First, don’t listen to guys who tell you that you need to get a 1000 as your first bike. Nearly every guy who told me that when I first started ended up destroying their’s somehow. I started slow with an R6 and kept that for two years. It was great and allowed me to work out the kinks as far as riding. In fact, if you can find one, I would get a USED 600 as your first bike. Chances are great that you will drop it at least once even if it is by accident in the garage.

Leave the 1000’s for experienced riders who know the feel of a bike well.

My current bike is not for beginners. I have no doubt I would have damn near killed myself if I had bought one of these as my first ride. 1000’s today are like small AirForce jets.[/quote]

Yes, yes, yes. Listen to X. Thank you.

To Blue, do a search – we talked about this in depth over a year ago and the answers still hold.

The SV650 is a great beginner’s bike, in fact, and would be an excellent choice. I’d even recommend shying away from a in-line 600 at this point, as with all the in-lines, things happen fast and pretty much all at once. At least power onset in the twins is more gradual and you don’t get that urge to pull wheelies at 9000 (most twins won’t run past 8000 rpm).

Whatever you get, take a class to learn how to ride it. Better yet, go to a track and take a Cali Superbike or Schwantz School or CLASS Motorcycle Schools course and learn how to corner and avoid fixating on the wrong things.

Today’s liter bikes have the power to weight ratio of Formula 1 racecars. You can tweak a gixxer thou or R1 to close to 200 HP easily and just kill yourself faster. Don’t be a squid.

[quote]sdspeedracer wrote:
Don’t be a squid.[/quote]

  • infinity

If I see you decked out in a Dainese race suit with no helmet and and a bandanna, I will punch you in the face.

[quote]analog_kid wrote:
sdspeedracer wrote:
Don’t be a squid.

  • infinity

If I see you decked out in a Dainese race suit with no helmet and and a bandanna, I will punch you in the face.
[/quote]

LOL!!

Don’t forget Board Shorts, Sandals, and a cool set of sunglasses.

Heh, Ive seen that when I lived in Florida… No laws about clothing regulations down there I think…

[quote]BluePfaltz wrote:
I was thinking about a bike like this… MSRP is at about 7k, not bad. The salesman said that since it is not a sportbike, insurance is less then a GSX or the like.

Any input?[/quote]

First off, as said before don’t be a squid (pictured). Second, if I could do it all over again I would’ve found a ninja 500 or fzr (preferably used) as my first bike. The insurance will be even cheaper and you’ll be even less scared to drop it, and you WILL drop it sooner or later. Use the saved money to buy high quality riding gear.

[quote]inkaddict wrote:
I have heard good things about the new Kawi Ninja 250’s, they look pretty cool and they’re not insanely powerful, but if you think you can handle something with some more power, the SV would be great, they’ve got power and are a little more upright, so you’re not so leaned over like you would be on a GSXR or CBR or any other rocket. Also, check state farm out for full coverage insurance, they’re the lowest that I’ve found, a lot less than other like progressive and geico and the other ones.

Shop around, take the MSF class if you haven’t already, you’ll learn a shitload. I took it, I had never ridden before, and I feel really comfortable on my GSXR600 after only a few months of riding. Good luck with your choice, shop around, and put up some pics when you decide to take the plunge.

Ink[/quote]

I too have heard the Ninjas are great beginner bikes, the only problem with them that I heard was that they are easy to stall and the bar tends to lock up on certain traffic conditions; and driving here in Jersey isn’t exactly a cakewalk. Is this true?

ProfX, That’s what some guy tried telling me today at my Gym…

Hes rationale was If you don’t go fast and heavy you’ll never build up the strength to match the stress… I know he wasn’t talking about weights on that one, and I don’t believe everything I hear either.

[quote]Doug Adams wrote:
BluePfaltz wrote:
I was thinking about a bike like this… MSRP is at about 7k, not bad. The salesman said that since it is not a sportbike, insurance is less then a GSX or the like.

Any input?

First off, as said before don’t be a squid (pictured). Second, if I could do it all over again I would’ve found a ninja 500 or fzr (preferably used) as my first bike. The insurance will be even cheaper and you’ll be even less scared to drop it, and you WILL drop it sooner or later. Use the saved money to buy high quality riding gear.

[/quote]

LOL… Those kids are idiots

[quote]BluePfaltz wrote:
inkaddict wrote:
I have heard good things about the new Kawi Ninja 250’s, they look pretty cool and they’re not insanely powerful, but if you think you can handle something with some more power, the SV would be great, they’ve got power and are a little more upright, so you’re not so leaned over like you would be on a GSXR or CBR or any other rocket. Also, check state farm out for full coverage insurance, they’re the lowest that I’ve found, a lot less than other like progressive and geico and the other ones.

Shop around, take the MSF class if you haven’t already, you’ll learn a shitload. I took it, I had never ridden before, and I feel really comfortable on my GSXR600 after only a few months of riding. Good luck with your choice, shop around, and put up some pics when you decide to take the plunge.

Ink

I too have heard the Ninjas are great beginner bikes, the only problem with them that I heard was that they are easy to stall and the bar tends to lock up on certain traffic conditions; and driving here in Jersey isn’t exactly a cakewalk. Is this true?

ProfX, That’s what some guy tried telling me today at my Gym…

Hes rationale was If you don’t go fast and heavy you’ll never build up the strength to match the stress… I know he wasn’t talking about weights on that one, and I don’t believe everything I hear either.
[/quote]

Trust me, a 600 is fast and heavy enough for a new rider. I’m a big guy. I got a 1,000 more out of necessity than because I needed to go faster.

[quote]BluePfaltz wrote:
Doug Adams wrote:
BluePfaltz wrote:
I was thinking about a bike like this… MSRP is at about 7k, not bad. The salesman said that since it is not a sportbike, insurance is less then a GSX or the like.

Any input?

First off, as said before don’t be a squid (pictured). Second, if I could do it all over again I would’ve found a ninja 500 or fzr (preferably used) as my first bike. The insurance will be even cheaper and you’ll be even less scared to drop it, and you WILL drop it sooner or later. Use the saved money to buy high quality riding gear.

LOL… Those kids are idiots[/quote]

It depends on where you live. When I was in Florida, I would be lying if I wrote that I had full gear on all of the time. When you are going to the beach and moving slower, NO ONE has full gear on. There are too many women around and its too hot. I always wear a helmet, but I can definitely see riding shirtless from time to time, especially over there.

I think some people overlook location. Driving down the beach front going 3 miles from your house doesn’t usually require full leathers and riding boots.

It’s the idiots who don’t wear helmets on the freeway that make me shake my head in disbelief. I’ve had way too many rocks hit my helmet to be that stupid, let alone the overall safety issue.

[quote]Professor X wrote:

It’s the idiots who don’t wear helmets on the freeway that make me shake my head in disbelief. I’ve had way too many rocks hit my helmet to be that stupid, let alone the overall safety issue.[/quote]

I’ve got a pic somewhere of a hummingbird I took in the helmet on the track at well over 120. It isn’t pretty. Rocks, sand, rain (another thing altogether), bugs – imagine riding through bees at 60. They seriously hurt. I don’t want to imagine not riding with a helmet.

I’ve also got a sequence of a girl who was riding pillion in a t-shirt on a bike when the genius driving pulled a wheelie and threw her. The skin grafts must have been excruciating.

I’ve also got a bunch of photos of a buddy who tussled with a van full of nuns. We laughed for months despite the fact he spent the majority of two months in the hospital. He was wearing tennis shoes rather than something that would protect his ankles, and the impact ran one foot into the chain. The sprocket stitched him pretty well and he was lucky to keep the foot. But a van of nuns? That begs jokes.

Wear your gear, guys. I know it’s hot and not as cool, but keeping your skin and digits is cooler.

Here in Jersey they are mandatory. As well as Connecticut, and New York, but not Pennsylvania. There are some anal-retentive people who take their helmets off when they cross the PA border…

But no, I would certainly wear a helmet. It seems though in most cases the helmet doesn’t help shit, but I’m going on speculation.