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Old 01-15-2008, 03:23 PM   #31
seruzawa
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You are looking at a pretty even match here. Insurance might be more of a problem with the GS500F and the EX500 since they have fairings. Depends on the insurance company. Any of those bikes are a good choice. All have good seating positions.

A friend of mine bought the GS500F but she didn't like the handling at 65-75 mph on the interstate. too much buffeting. She traded it for Ninja 650.
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Old 01-15-2008, 03:25 PM   #32
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Give em all a sit, or better yet a test ride, and see what works for you. Reliability shouldn't be an issue for any, and if you can handle the miles, the bikes can too. Anything with a fairing will cost more to insure - and will be more aggravating to drop. Suzuki used to make a naked GS...

For the helmet, there's a good chance you'll have the helmet longer than the bike... Your money's better spent getting the helmet that fits you best with all the features you want (light weight, venting, etc.) and save on the graphics.
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Old 01-15-2008, 07:38 PM   #33
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Default Deciding on a first bike

So here's my predicament:

I'm still in college so money is still a very big issue.

Dimensionally, I'm about average for a guy: 5'11", 200lbs.

There hasn't been much available locally in the ads; Mobile just isn't a very big bike city. Pretty much everything on offer is either 25 years old, isn't much of a savings, too small, or too far away. So I'm probably just going to buy my first bike new.

I can get the Virago 250 for a measely $3,200; it looks good and has good mileage in addition to being extremely light. They're also offering $39/month payments until 2010 (I know there's a catch, but it's nice knowing that I don't have to pay the full $120 payment in case of an emergency).

My father suggests getting something a bit larger, like the V Star Custom (650) because the Virago could turn out to be a bit small. This one is a little heavier, but I can still flatfoot it easily and the ergonomics seem very confidence-inspiring as well for a new rider. However, this one comes at a heavier pricetag at $6200 and I'll have to be making the payments longer and in full for the years I'll be paying it off.

I was also suggested to take the MSF courses before I ever make my purchase, and I hear that they're taught on 500-650cc bikes. I'm worried that if I buy a 250, then ride a 650 for the classes, then go back to the 250, I'll feel that it's inadequeate. Kind of like how I feel like my Mitsubishi Eclipse is too slow after driving a Honda S2000.



So, my questions are:

1. What exactly constitutes "growing out of" a bike? Do they really just lack the performance necessary for routine tasks or is it just an impulsive drive for more power?

2. Would a 250 be suitable for carrying passengers? And by passengers, I'm referring to women in the 21- to 25-year-old range weighing about 90-115lbs.

3. Would riding a 250 after a 650 be like riding a Go-Cart after your first car?

4. Finally, is a 650cc Standard a safe bet for a learner with MSF training? I know that 600+ for a Sports is risky, but I haven't read much on Standards.
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Old 01-15-2008, 07:56 PM   #34
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MSF courses use 250 cc bikes.

Frankly, I'm astonished that you are looking at a Virago 250. You must be folded up like origami on that bike. Even on the 650 VStar you'd be a little cramped, IMHO.

My suggestion is to find a 500 cc standard bike (yes, you'll need to find it used; just keep looking) or a mid-sized dual purpose bike such as the KLR 650. You'd fit on those and they would work well for you.
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Old 01-15-2008, 08:06 PM   #35
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To answer your questions:

1) Once you start riding, you will grow between 1" and 3" for each baffle you remove from the exhaust. Outgrowing the bike will depend on your initial size and the specific geometry of your bike's seat.

2) If your riding a 250, you won't have to worry about carrying a passenger.

3) Personally I like go-karts. That's why I drive an S2000.

4) There is no safe. Seriously. All bikes can be dangerous, and nearly anything street legal is faster than most any car, including my S2000. That said, you're thinking about this right, look for a bike that's well balanced and easy handling (there are many threads suggesting good first bikes). Take the MSF course and learn some basics. And don't carry a passenger for a while.
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Old 01-15-2008, 08:09 PM   #36
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You are a bit big for a 250, but since money is a serious issue I would suggest the Kawasaki Ninja 250 instead. It is the absolute best performing 250 around. A used Ninja500 or Suzuki500 would be better. Maybe you can find one not too far away and go get it in a pickup.

"Growing out" of a bike refers to the practice of using a smaller easier to learn on bike for a few months and then moving to a bike you decide you want more. Some people are very happy with a bike like a Ninja250.

A 250 is going to be marginal for two-up riding since you weigh 200lbs to start with. The manual will give you maximum loading for any bike.

MO tested three 250s a few years back. The bikes are still the same except for the Kawasaki which was improved this year. http://www.motorcycle.com/shoot-outs...out-12930.html

The only "standard" 650s are either the Kawasaki 650s (Ninja or Versys), Suzuki (SV650 or V-strom650) or the Hyosung 650. All are okay for a learner who has a lot of self-discipline. These bikes are universes better than bikes of the past and crank around 70 hp and can kill you in a hurry. Of course, any bike can kill you in a hurry but these modern 650s are faster than just about any car you can buy. The SV650 does 0-60 in about 3.6 seconds which easily shreds 99% of cars.
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Old 01-15-2008, 09:01 PM   #37
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So people don't literally need to upgrade as soon as they understand how to ride? I see the reference used so often that it's hard to tell.

I "grew out of" my 1990 Nissan Sentra when I realized how much more enjoyable a sporty convertible was, but more technically I "grew out of" a basic one-speed bicycle when I realized the purpose of gears.


At any rate, are there any popular bike-auction sites I'm overlooking? I've checked mostly on Ebay, Cycletrader.com, and local classifieds. The best I can find locally is an old 125cc Honda for $900 that looks like it's seen better days.
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Old 01-15-2008, 09:29 PM   #38
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Look for Craigslist in your area, too.
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Old 01-15-2008, 09:37 PM   #39
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nefilim View Post
So people don't literally need to upgrade as soon as they understand how to ride? I see the reference used so often that it's hard to tell.

I "grew out of" my 1990 Nissan Sentra when I realized how much more enjoyable a sporty convertible was, but more technically I "grew out of" a basic one-speed bicycle when I realized the purpose of gears.


At any rate, are there any popular bike-auction sites I'm overlooking? I've checked mostly on Ebay, Cycletrader.com, and local classifieds. The best I can find locally is an old 125cc Honda for $900 that looks like it's seen better days.
Considering your size I'd guess that you won't last long on the 250. Have you sat on one?

Old 125cc Hondas went for about $400 new. Don't fall for these crooks who ask the moon for old junk that there are no parts for any more. People will lie like rugs to sucker the uninitiated.

There are slim picking this time of year. Around March the ads will start picking up again. Be advised that most bike owners will ask ridiculously unreasonable prices for used bikes because of the spike in gas prices. Kelly Blue Book listings are especially bogus. NADA will give you a better idea because that's the book that is used to calculate loan amounts.

You are in for a real experience. Old rat bikes that were crappy and unpopular even when new are often listed as "rare, collector's" bikes and listed for insane sums. Stick with the NADA guide.
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Old 01-15-2008, 10:14 PM   #40
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Looks like I got it mixed up.

This bike for $875 is a '97 Suzuki GN 125, which is as NADA lists. Are these bikes reasonable to learn on or are they just toys for tots?

After reading the literature, I'm leaning towards the Ninja 250R as it sounds like the most "long-term 250" of the available choices. Is there any merit to buying one new under the assumption that I'll be keeping it for a prolonged period (ie. about two years).

I'll be going to law school in 2010, so I'm thinking I may just buy a 250 that's pleasing enough just for a daily commuter and sell it along with my car so that I can pool the money together to buy a car that'll make the trips back and forth from Tuscaloosa.
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