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Old 07-16-2010, 04:20 PM   #21
NAWOW
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Hey, what a great write-up! It's not often that anyone takes the time for the topic.

My adds to the list would be the Kawi EX500-type bikes (can't remember what the current nomenclature is), and the SV650 range from Suzuki. But I think you gave them honorable mention anyway...

Challenge now is on getting such info into the hands of the real target audience - i.e., those who wouldn't normally be trolling sites like this one!

Well done.

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Old 07-17-2010, 05:20 AM   #22
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You should at least mention that some folks recommend a USED bike for beginners, because let's face it, we all drop our bike while we're learning to ride.

I know the advertisers would rather we don't bring this up, but is this for the readers or the advertisers?
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Old 07-17-2010, 11:17 AM   #23
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Originally Posted by neilgundel View Post
You should at least mention that some folks recommend a USED bike for beginners, because let's face it, we all drop our bike while we're learning to ride.

I know the advertisers would rather we don't bring this up, but is this for the readers or the advertisers?
You (and a few others) make a good point. A used bike is more cost-efficient than a new one for a beginner. But the same can be said for an experienced rider. The problem for us is that there are so many variables with pre-owned bikes, unlike new bikes.
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Old 07-17-2010, 04:07 PM   #24
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Originally Posted by Kenneth_Moore View Post
Would they be different than the best new beginner bikes? You'd still want the same parameters of power, easy handling etc., wouldn't you?
The article would be different, as it'd feature bikes that aren't current models. Overlooked gems of the past like the Honda GB500, Ascot, CB750/Nighthawk, Rebel , Kawasaki EX500/Ninja500, the classic klr650, Suzuki GS500 (naked), Yamaha TDM850 (maybe too big for a beginner), SRX, Seca II, etc.
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Old 07-18-2010, 10:34 AM   #25
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Originally Posted by Overload View Post
The article would be different, as it'd feature bikes that aren't current models. Overlooked gems of the past like the Honda GB500, Ascot, CB750/Nighthawk, Rebel , Kawasaki EX500/Ninja500, the classic klr650, Suzuki GS500 (naked), Yamaha TDM850 (maybe too big for a beginner), SRX, Seca II, etc.
I like this list. I'd also add a Hawk GT and Interceptor 500 to the list. A Honda 599 or CBR600F3 could also work. For cruiser aficionados, the V-Twin Virago 250 is another good starting place.
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Old 07-18-2010, 02:14 PM   #26
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I like this list. I'd also add a Hawk GT and Interceptor 500 to the list. A Honda 599 or CBR600F3 could also work. For cruiser aficionados, the V-Twin Virago 250 is another good starting place.
I'd second the Honda Hawk GT -- totally newb ready, yet worthy of an experienced rider's touch.
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Old 07-18-2010, 04:19 PM   #27
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I quit recommending the Hawk GTs, because there's only a finite number of them, and Newbs are crashing more of them every day.

True, the HawkGT does Crash well - but ancilliary parts (like fuel tanks!) have become impossible to find, unless you can convince Kiyo Watanabe to make another run of Carbon Fibre ones, at about the cost of a good-condition HawkGT each........
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Old 07-19-2010, 08:48 PM   #28
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I can understand why the motorcycle market is in the crapper after seeing the complete lack of decent beginner bikes.

Let's see, 600cc rockets so they will scare the !@#$! out of a new rider (sell that thing!) worse, they will wreck it trying to figure out basic riding and bust up all that plastic as well as themselves.

A beginner usually DROPS the bike! I know I did but it was a dirt bike so not an issue. Take all your "recommendations" and knock them over. There goes the NV700, Yamaha and others to plastic replacement parts.

Gee, people know I used to ride a motorcycle so they ask me. I tell them to find a USED 250cc dual purpose so they can ride it around on trails to get used to the clutch, shifting and brakes on a motorcycle. Drop the bike, kill the engine and have a good time.

For street, get a USED Kawasaki Ninja 250/500 or a Suzuki GS500 and ride it around in parking lots but FIRST! REMOVE the plastic crap so you won't need to replace it when you dump your bike. Yeah, it don't look pretty but what else can you do?

Soooo, are there any low maintenance, belt driven air-cooled twins with hydraulic valve lash adjusters? (Think the Honda 650 Nighthawk type hydraulic valve adjusters) No.

Would it be so !@#$%! hard to put out a 400 to 500cc air cooled, fuel injected twin with automatic valve lash adjusters, a small oil cooler, belt final drive and a 6 speed? Make it look like a TU250, heck... Suzuki can easily build one. Throw a set of case guards on the thing and knock it over in the parking lot.

So to the new rider, it is cruiser fat pig bike or crotch rocket and "real" motorcycles need to go 125 MPH. Oh yeah, since the new rider is not sure he/she will even LIKE motorcycles...why not blow $10K on a heavy and plastic covered Honda NV700 to make sure they lose $4K when they try to sell one with damaged plastic.

My brother has a 250 and 750 and told me this way "You have been out of motorcycling since the 80's so it is best to just stay out. Cell phones, cops, idiot motorcyclists, expensive to buy, expensive to own, absolute rape to fix and if you calculate the total cost of tires, valve adjustments, plastic damage, chain lube, chains, sprockets and the like... a small car makes a lot more sense."

I'm thinking I can dig up a USED TW200 around somewhere although it annoys the hell out of me knowing Yamaha could easily make it a 250 with a 6 speed and upgraded front suspension easily. Guess I'm stuck with the 1980's TW200 technology but it should be a riot in the mud and putting around town.

Cruisers and crotch rockets are toys and toys don't get purchased when the economy goes down. I was hoping the triple wheeled type leaning bikes (Piaggio MP3) might motivate a 500cc twin motorcycle by now. Not a scooter but a real motorcycle that has 3 wheels and leans. Basic 500cc air-cooled fuel injected twin, belt drive, low maintenance with dual 17" front wheels. Something like THAT would be great for beginners, folks that don't like holding up bikes at stop lights and people that love leaning but are worried about the front end washing out.

I don't expect the Japanese to build anything new and innovative for the US/Euro market. Why should they? The market is depressed in those zones so they concentrate on the Asian market (as they should) Odd that the strongest selling bikes the "Big 4" has are smaller ones in India, China and other countries...but they won't bring them here.

Without new riders, motorcycles will become a very minor niche in the marketplace. Now for the Brammo electric to kick some butts. There is something a new rider could handle--Brammo could have a switch on the controller to control torque, top end etc so new riders can concentrate on actual riding.

Sorry for the rant but I never recommend a new bike to a new rider--get a used one that you can knock over, learn on and sell it for almost what you bought it for if you want to move up or leave motorcycling. If they get a dual purpose, they might like off-road trail rides but HATE street riding--at least they have a choice.
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Old 07-19-2010, 08:58 PM   #29
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Heck for some of the 1000cc bikes you should have to have a pilots license!
I'm a pilot and you're right in a sense. Riding a 1L bike, or just about any bike for that matter, is far more dangerous than fly a light aircraft. In a plane you can manage the major risk factors better.

As to the article, very informative and entertaining, bravo! I haven't been following new entry level machines in many years - from the disappearance of the 500-750 UJM to be honest - so I can't really judge the selection vs. alternatives but the bikes described certainly make sense. I loved my Zephyr 750, an excellent starter in its day, though the 1100 would have served better. I was warned off the heavier bike but within a few days I could tell it wouldn't have been an issue. Better to be conservative at first though I agree. It's the taller bikes that can be a real problem for learners, as the author makes very clear.

People are spoilt for choice these days the lucky dogs .....
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Old 07-20-2010, 03:55 AM   #30
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The UJM is not the UJM any more. Problem is, they are coming from Europe and cost significantly more. For the $$ value that UJMs offered back in the 1970's and 80's, one would have to look to Korea or China. Problem is, Chinese quality just isn't there right now like it was back in Japan back in the day.

Here are several examples of similar-styled bikes: Suzuki SV650, Hyosung GT650/250, and the Aprilia Mana (or Shiver), Ducati Monster 696. One could also make the case for the DRZ-400SM from Suzuki -- drop it, pick it up, and keep riding it!
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