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Old 04-01-2010, 07:45 PM   #1
sartorius
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Default SV650S for a new rider? And engine questions.

[Yes, I've read and searched through the sticky thread. Some questions here were raised but not answered there.]

Okay, folks. So I just completed the MSF course last weekend, and it was awesome. I had a Buell Blast, and was completely surprised how much I liked the style. I always thought I'd be a cruiser type, but I think I'd slouch too much, and the Blast encouraged me to sit up straight. Much better for my back.

Anyway, I think I'd want my first bike to be kind of like a standard, maybe a touch sporty. I'd preferably finance the bike, so that's currently steering me away from private sellers. Let me hear it if you think that's just plain stupid. A friend recommended a particular salesman/dealership, and I'm likely to go with them (offered to bring the bike to my apartment, seem to give me the straight scoop from what I can tell, etc.).

I sat on an 08 Ninja 250 and really liked it, but it was on hold and sold the next day. Price was practically MSRP, anyway. Now the options I have are a 09 VStar 250, 07 GZ250, 07 SV650S, and a few cruisers (800-1100 cc or so). I actually like sitting on the SV650S, and with a slight handlebar adjustment would probably like it. I sat on a dual purpose bike and it seemed really uncomfortable.

The SV650/S seems to be recommended to new riders with reservation. From what I gather, it handles really well, but one slip of the throttle and you can have a really bad day. After having been in a minor fender bender this year (first time in my 17 years driving), that's in the back of my head. It seems really nice, but I'm kind of wondering if it'd make a better 2nd bike.

I know this ended up being a crazy long post, but here are the questions:
1. Although the members of this forum practically preach a 250 as a first bike (and I agree), there seems to be some allowance for the SV650. Why? The body seems similar to a Ninja 250, so maybe it's the engine that's so different. Is its engine that different from a Ninja 650's engine or some other really sporty bike that would be considered more dangerous? Is there some V-twin vs. parallel concept that I'm missing? Is it that the V-twin is more "predictable" and that makes it kind of okay?
2. I don't see GS500s for sale, so are there other standards that a first time buyer should look for?
3. Is the idea that if someone takes it really easy on the SV650's throttle, they can get the learning that a 250 cc would offer, but not have to buy another bike when ready to go on the highway regularly? Or would they *still* not be as good as if they simply learned on a 250 cc. If that's the case, I'll probably wait for another Ninja 250 to pop up.

Thanks for reading, and I look forward to any input!
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Old 04-01-2010, 07:54 PM   #2
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The SV 650 is very tractable powerwise, compared to say, a GSXR 600. True, at the mid-60hp level, it's light enough to get away from you (EVERYBODY's seen the youtube vid where an un-anything'd squidboy-in-training smacks the tree. or the one where a semi-experienced squid F-Bombs-up and becomes a flag in the breeze).

It's not really a beginner bike. And brand new? Dude, the SV's been around long-enough that, you can SURELY manage to find one for only a few grand. You're gonna drop it. That stings the pride, the confidence, and the wallet. Not to mention how bad you feel for damaging your "new baby". The sting is salved slightly if the bike's already had its droppin' cherry busted by a previous owner.
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Old 04-01-2010, 09:09 PM   #3
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Airhawk, you should do commentary for sporting events. You crack me up how you word things with the right amount or sarcasm & humor.... it's a gift.
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Old 04-01-2010, 09:32 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by A Star Ride View Post
Airhawk, you should do commentary for sporting events. You crack me up how you word things with the right amount or sarcasm & humor.... it's a gift.
I'm just a Bitter Little Man(tm). Much like a former MO Staffer.

Sometimes, it's not pretend.......
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Old 04-02-2010, 03:42 AM   #5
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Congrats on taking the MSF course! That shows that at least you care about learning.

Many people have bought an SV650 as their first bike and not died. (BTW, I laugh everytime I see that guy crash into the tree.) AirHawk is right, it's not really a beginner bike. Having said that, I learned on a Honda CB700 (about 60hp and 40lb/ft torque), and I did okay. I dropped my bike only once, the classic forgot-to-put-the-kickstand-down trick. I didn't sweat it, because it was a $1000 bike. No bigs.

Best advice: buy a low mile used bike. Ride the tires off of it for a year or two, then go buy the bike of your dreams. Heck! My brother's wife got a two year old Ninja 250 with about 2,000 miles on it for $2000. Not too shabby. (BTW, she "dropped it" probably four times while learning to ride. She's good to go now.)
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Old 04-02-2010, 05:00 AM   #6
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The SV650 is a pretty good choice. It's light, handles well, nice powerbacnd, and you can find tons of used ones.
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Old 04-02-2010, 05:03 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by A Star Ride View Post
Airhawk, you should do commentary for sporting events. You crack me up how you word things with the right amount or sarcasm & humor.... it's a gift.
Funny, but we had a moderator here not too long ago that treated Airhawk like the proverbial 'turd in the punchbowl'. I thought they were going to come to blows at some points, and Airhawk would have had his hands full!!
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Old 04-02-2010, 06:22 AM   #8
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I have an '01 SV650 ("curvey" frame, carbs) now; got it in barely used in '02 and it's my 3rd bike. It is a rather forgiving bike, but is light and torquey. This is a good thing, but also means that it can stand up on it's rear or step out in a corner easier than you might expect based on numbers alone. You can make it into anything you want, from a track day / race bike to a tourer. It can do two-up fairly well, as long as neither of the two are not of the supersized variety. And if you're of the corner straffing persuasion, it can keep up with just about anything as long as the straights aren't long and the rider is capable (I'm not...)

Mine's been down a couple times, once by me (wet tar snakes, front brake, ouch) and once by my friend who was interested in learning. We were in a parking lot, he let out the clutch a little too fast, and nearly looped it - see light and torquey above. Luckily I had him wearing my gear as well as riding my bike so the damage was confined to pride and machine.

It's very reliable, and other than a new starter (and the aforementioned crash repairs), it's needed nothing but tires and brake pads. Also, I think it looks great, and parked next to Guzzis, Ducati's, and anything else still gets attention for some reason - but not with my bags strapped to the seat.

I would say it's a fine first machine, especially if you did the MSF course, but definitely get a used one. There are tons of them available, and I would suggest a naked version unless you're really partial to the small fairing. Besides the lack of plastic to damage, the naked has bars instead of clip-ons, and you can replace the stockers with anything you want to customize the fit. Also, the pegs are a little lower - more of the "standard" position, but still sporting. If you want wind protection later, there are many options for small and large screens as well. Good luck!
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Old 04-02-2010, 06:44 AM   #9
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Thanks for all the responses already! I wrote this half-asleep before I went to bed last night, hoping for some input before I went back to the dealership tonight. I'm glad it apparently made some sense.

I might be able to write more later, after work. As it is, I'll keep it relatively brief and respond to everyone.

My impression is that it's a really nice bike and although I may be fine if I just control that right wrist, that's enough of a concern to steer me away from it. Especially given the mistake in my car earlier this year. And this particular bike is more than I wanted to pay anyway, listed at just over $5000...used. It just seems crazy given that my first idea was <$3000. Heck, <$2000 if I can.

My current wants are still <$3000 (less is more), used, standard-ish seating position so my feet are underneath me, low power so I have less of a chance getting hurt when I do something stupid. I don't care about fairing (might change when I'm eventually on a highway), and actually would probably like a naked standard. I just don't see any such thing, as most nakeds are cruisers.

Does anyone have input on first bikes that match that description? I get the idea I'll be looking at craigslist and motorcyclescan for more options, then have the bike checked out before buying. A used Ninja 250 seems high on the list, but it'd be nice to hear other ideas, too.
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Old 04-02-2010, 08:24 AM   #10
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Stick with the SV-650 (not the "S" variant). There are a lot of them out there.

Keep looking!

Keep an eye out for an older Triumph Thunderbird Sport. Good looking bike, big motor, but very friendly. Should be the right price, too.
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