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pdad13 01-31-2006 04:12 PM

Fabulous advice
Seriously, it is. Perfectly crystalized. Not everyone needs to start out on a 250cc. Some are better advised to do so (be honest; you know who you are), but others can probably do well on a bike like the SV or 650R. Wouldn't go too much more than that, though.

I think it's useful to take a personal inventory when making this decision. Did you fall off your bicycle significantly more often than your friends? Did you ever learn to drive a car with a manual transmission? Do you struggle with multiple actions that require coordination? Do you generally take to new and challenging activities?

Do you get spooked easily?

Basically, are you a spaz? There's no shame in it. If so, start small.

imported_g_k 01-31-2006 04:26 PM

Re: Best First Bike: We Need Your Help!
For tall(ish) people only, a used KTM Duke. They're fast enough to keep up with traffic, have lots of steering lock, they're non-intimidating, and they also look cool. The seat height's not a problem for experienced riders - I'm 5'9" and didn't have any problems with the two ('95 and '02) I owned - but might be an issue for a new rider. They also provide a riding position that's great for traffic visibility, and the mirrors are the best I've used. Oil changes are a bit complex, but the LC4 motors have a bulletproof reputation. The 640 enduro models would also be OK, but the tires and brakes on a Duke are much better.

NevadaNez 01-31-2006 04:30 PM

Re: Best First Bike: We Need Your Help!
The 1980s version 550 nighthawk shaftdrive. Dependable. quick, nimble, fuel effecient and fun--a great all around starter bike for just about anyone, any shape, any size....

sliphorn 01-31-2006 04:35 PM

Re: Best First Bike: We Need Your Help!
Buell Blast. Used ones in excellent shape can be had for a song.

HighsideHarry 01-31-2006 04:36 PM

Re: Best First Bike: We Need Your Help!
My first bike was a '60's-era Ducati 250, probably the best-handling bike I've ever ridden. Of course, you had to keep the revs up to avoid frying the ball-bearing lower end, it took all of my 200 lbs. to kick-start the sucker and if I got a headwind on the freeway, I was lucky to break 55.

That said, if I were to do it all over again, I'd still get a 250. You can learn handling skills in no time and if you don't do too much freeway riding they have enough power to get you there and back. But whatever you do, get a jacket, boots and a helmet, and treat everyone out there as if they thought you were a target.

tomk2 01-31-2006 04:43 PM

Re: Best First Bike: We Need Your Help!
My first bike... a Honda Trail 70, circa 5th grade or so

recommended first bike for a full sized newbie.... Suzuki DRZ400S.

It'll do anything, you won't get bored with it and even if you get a honking fast street bike later on you'll never outgrow a good dual sport

NevadaNez 01-31-2006 04:43 PM

Re: Best First Bike: We Need Your Help!
Hey--total klutzzzzes rarely take their nighthawks 78,000 miles and into every state in the nation except Alaska and Hawaii--and all that traveling without a single problem, either!

I got da pics to prove da travels, too--i'd put an old nighthawk up against just about anything available during that period and i'll bet you could pick one up for a song--with hardly any miles on it, either.

By the way, this old fart "Klutz" who started on a Nighthawk now owns and tours on a BMW K1200 LT and i cut my street teeth on a Nighthawk. I'd venture to guess that, if you're like most of America, I have more miles on that nghthawk than you do in your total riding career!

Some "klutz," Eh??? *Wink*

xxces 01-31-2006 04:50 PM

Re: Best First Bike: We Need Your Help!
For an adult ----- no brainer

Suzuki SV650

jjasper 01-31-2006 04:51 PM

Re: Best First Bike: We Need Your Help!
I can tell you what NOT to do from experience. My first bike was a 1998 Triumph Thunderbird Sport. A beautiful bike that stole my heart in a showroom. It was heavy 500+ lbs, big engined (800+ CC engine), had a poor turning radius, was top heavy, and felt massive and cumbersome at slow speeds. But being a new rider it was the looks that sold me on it. I had it for two year before I sold it to get a 2000 SV-650. Wow, it wasn't nearly as pretty but it was much much easier to ride and I got much better at riding (I took a MSF course when I first started riding) much quicker because I wasn't fighting the bike.

After that I have stayed small, my current bike is an even less powerful F650. I say go as small and light for your first bike as possible and maybe stay there the rest of your riding life. Suzuki's DRZ-400SM looks like a great starter bike if you are long legged or the Buell Blast which feels more like a scooter than a motorcycle. If you can find a used F650 for dirt cheap I say definitely get one. They have the gas tank under the seat so the center of gravity is very low so it feels very light and easy to maneuver at low speeds. It has a low seat so even shorter people can flat foot it. There isn't much plastic to worry about and since it is belt drive and had a smooth and deal reliable single cylinder engine from Rotax the maintenance is simple. Otherwise Kawasaki rules the entry level market with their 250's and 500 sport bikes and cruisers. There is the Honda Rebel too although I am not a big fan of the whole feet forward thing for beginners.

pizzamakingmike 01-31-2006 04:56 PM

Re: Best First Bike: We Need Your Help!
Without a doubt a Kawasaki Ninja 250. Small enough to be unimtimidating, yet powerful enough to drive on the freeway, (no matter what some may say) There is excellent community support for the bike ( Because the bike has had very few changes since 1988, used parts can be had on ebay for little money. If that isn't enough, it gets great gas mileage and is easy to work on.

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