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post #1 of 65 (permalink) Old 03-09-2006, 03:20 PM Thread Starter
 
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OTB's First Bike Buyers Guide

Well, the weather is warming up, and the main posts in the beginner's section all sound pretty much the same:

"I've ridden (dirt bikes, a little, none at all, twenty years ago; you pick which applies) and I want to know which bike to buy".

First off, there is no "best" bike to have....almost any bike is better than no bike, in my opinion.

With one exception:

If you stick around here long enough, you'll read threads from people who ask:" I've never ridden, but I REALLY want that 180 hp Suyamawakida 1400cc 220mph Ninjabusa R12ZX. I know you people are all pansies who think I should start on some little 120 hp, 165mph 600 pansie SuperSport bike, but, even though I've never thrown a leg over one, I KNOW I'm a better rider than most of you, and I'm confident I can handle it. What do you think?"

I think you'll either trash the bike or yourself in the first two days, or you'll scare the bujesus out of yourself and end up letting it sit in the garage for two years 'till the carbs are munged up and the tires are flat-spotted and the fork seals start to weep. And I'll end up buying it from you for real cheap and fixing it, like I do 3-4 times a year.

My advice; unless you're made out of money, buy something in the 250-500 area that runs well, but won't break your bank or your heart if you dump it; 'cause the odds are, as a new rider, that you WILL dump it. The specific bike DOESN"T MATTER....it's your LEARNING bike. You're going to LEARN how to ride; you're going to LEARN if you even LIKE this sport or not. Many don't.

Many crash once and get hurt, a little or a lot, and decide that they'd rather hangglide or freeclimb. They maybe don't crash, but they barely avoid being some clown's hood ornament on I95, and decide that an M1 Abrams is more suited to commuting. Even more find out that the freedom of being out in the elements also means being out in the wind, the pouring rain, the sleet, the unexpected 40 degree temperature drop, and want none of it.

So why bite off more than you need to, both money wise, and size wise, until you're certain that this IS for you. Because believe you me, buying the biggest and the baddest right off is going to handicap your riding. How's That, you say?

Modern day high performance steetbikes are like NOTHING you've ever experienced, save driving a Formula One race car, or maybe a 20 year old funny car. I'm NOT kidding; the power to weight ratios are about the same, the sensitivity to rider intputs is about the same, and the ability to create mayhem in the hands of a novice is about the same. Some of the top-of-the-line sportbikes will turn 9's in the quarter mile,with top speeds pushing 200 mph right out of the crate. They are also heavy, top heavy, touchy and handle akwardly at low speeds, like in parking lots, city streets and in the driveway, where you are most likely to dump it.

So, you say, "what should I buy?"

Stick with a 600cc upper limit, and remember that todays cutting edge 600's are almost as fast, but even twitchier and less forgiving than the open class bikes. A better choice is in the 250-500 range- 250 for smaller, lighter riders, 500's and older 600's for larger riders, or those with a little or dirt experience. So how do you pick?

Go to the local dealerships, and sit on a bunch of bikes (leave your money and "signing pen" at home, and tell the saleman you're just looking). Your object is not to pick out your bike today; it's to find out what feels right and fits you. Sit on as many bikes as they'll let you; sit on sportbikes, cruisers, naked bikes and tourers. Find out if you can touch the ground with the bike straight up and down....if you can't, move on to something else. Get a feel for what works for you and what doesn't. If you have to stretch to reach the bars, or lean the bike 10 degrees as each stop, you'll end up working harder at the basics of control, when you should be working on refining your riding.

Now go read the Sunday want ads for used bikes, and pick out a couple of the bikes you think you might be interested in. Call the seller and MAKE AN APPOINTMENT. When the time comes, LEAVE YOUR MONEY AT HOME. Your object is not to buy the bike today, it's to gather more intel. You need to sit on a few more bikes, and get a feel for the market and prices. If you're like me, you'll be tempted to make an offer (I hardly ever met a bike I didn't like). Resist it! Make some notes to yourself after each visit, noting the bike, the price, condition, and the cost of any work that needs to be done.

When you get home, check out the NADA website, and also KBB.com for relative prices on the year, make and model of the bikes you're interested in. These are not written in stone; bikes very GREATLY as to milage, condition, and local market forces, but these will give you some guide. Don't forget to budget money for gear (Helmet, jacket, gloves and boots, minimum) and training.

When you've made your decision to buy, take along a knowledgable rider, if you have such a luxury. They can point out problems with the bike you may have missed.

Good luck, and have fun and we'll see 'ya out there.

Last edited by oldetymebiker; 03-09-2006 at 09:03 PM.
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post #2 of 65 (permalink) Old 03-09-2006, 03:49 PM
 
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MODS can we get this as a sticky?!

110%
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post #3 of 65 (permalink) Old 03-09-2006, 04:01 PM
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Originally Posted by ebbs15
MODS can we get this as a sticky?!

110%
Here, here!! Thats awesome oldtyme!! For little people, I highly reccommend the 250, I have a ninja and i love it!! i still want more power but with my size I can almost keep up with the big boys (till they floor it!) I made it to 104 this weekend and it ROCKED!!! Thats right, on a 250!
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post #4 of 65 (permalink) Old 03-09-2006, 10:15 PM
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Great write up there Old.... now if we can just get some newbies to do it!!




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post #5 of 65 (permalink) Old 03-09-2006, 10:18 PM
 
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wat about a second or third bike?
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post #6 of 65 (permalink) Old 03-09-2006, 11:23 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by oldetymebiker
Well, the weather is warming up, and the main posts in the beginner's section all sound pretty much the same:

"I've ridden (dirt bikes, a little, none at all, twenty years ago; you pick which applies) and I want to know which bike to buy".

First off, there is no "best" bike to have....almost any bike is better than no bike, in my opinion.

With one exception:

If you stick around here long enough, you'll read threads from people who ask:" I've never ridden, but I REALLY want that 180 hp Suyamawakida 1400cc 220mph Ninjabusa R12ZX. I know you people are all pansies who think I should start on some little 120 hp, 165mph 600 pansie SuperSport bike, but, even though I've never thrown a leg over one, I KNOW I'm a better rider than most of you, and I'm confident I can handle it. What do you think?"

I think you'll either trash the bike or yourself in the first two days, or you'll scare the bujesus out of yourself and end up letting it sit in the garage for two years 'till the carbs are munged up and the tires are flat-spotted and the fork seals start to weep. And I'll end up buying it from you for real cheap and fixing it, like I do 3-4 times a year.

My advice; unless you're made out of money, buy something in the 250-500 area that runs well, but won't break your bank or your heart if you dump it; 'cause the odds are, as a new rider, that you WILL dump it. The specific bike DOESN"T MATTER....it's your LEARNING bike. You're going to LEARN how to ride; you're going to LEARN if you even LIKE this sport or not. Many don't.

Many crash once and get hurt, a little or a lot, and decide that they'd rather hangglide or freeclimb. They maybe don't crash, but they barely avoid being some clown's hood ornament on I95, and decide that an M1 Abrams is more suited to commuting. Even more find out that the freedom of being out in the elements also means being out in the wind, the pouring rain, the sleet, the unexpected 40 degree temperature drop, and want none of it.

So why bite off more than you need to, both money wise, and size wise, until you're certain that this IS for you. Because believe you me, buying the biggest and the baddest right off is going to handicap your riding. How's That, you say?

Modern day high performance steetbikes are like NOTHING you've ever experienced, save driving a Formula One race car, or maybe a 20 year old funny car. I'm NOT kidding; the power to weight ratios are about the same, the sensitivity to rider intputs is about the same, and the ability to create mayhem in the hands of a novice is about the same. Some of the top-of-the-line sportbikes will turn 9's in the quarter mile,with top speeds pushing 200 mph right out of the crate. They are also heavy, top heavy, touchy and handle akwardly at low speeds, like in parking lots, city streets and in the driveway, where you are most likely to dump it.

So, you say, "what should I buy?"

Stick with a 600cc upper limit, and remember that todays cutting edge 600's are almost as fast, but even twitchier and less forgiving than the open class bikes. A better choice is in the 250-500 range- 250 for smaller, lighter riders, 500's and older 600's for larger riders, or those with a little or dirt experience. So how do you pick?

Go to the local dealerships, and sit on a bunch of bikes (leave your money and "signing pen" at home, and tell the saleman you're just looking). Your object is not to pick out your bike today; it's to find out what feels right and fits you. Sit on as many bikes as they'll let you; sit on sportbikes, cruisers, naked bikes and tourers. Find out if you can touch the ground with the bike straight up and down....if you can't, move on to something else. Get a feel for what works for you and what doesn't. If you have to stretch to reach the bars, or lean the bike 10 degrees as each stop, you'll end up working harder at the basics of control, when you should be working on refining your riding.

Now go read the Sunday want ads for used bikes, and pick out a couple of the bikes you think you might be interested in. Call the seller and MAKE AN APPOINTMENT. When the time comes, LEAVE YOUR MONEY AT HOME. Your object is not to buy the bike today, it's to gather more intel. You need to sit on a few more bikes, and get a feel for the market and prices. If you're like me, you'll be tempted to make an offer (I hardly ever met a bike I didn't like). Resist it! Make some notes to yourself after each visit, noting the bike, the price, condition, and the cost of any work that needs to be done.

When you get home, check out the NADA website, and also KBB.com for relative prices on the year, make and model of the bikes you're interested in. These are not written in stone; bikes very GREATLY as to milage, condition, and local market forces, but these will give you some guide. Don't forget to budget money for gear (Helmet, jacket, gloves and boots, minimum) and training.

When you've made your decision to buy, take along a knowledgable rider, if you have such a luxury. They can point out problems with the bike you may have missed.

Good luck, and have fun and we'll see 'ya out there.
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post #7 of 65 (permalink) Old 03-10-2006, 09:48 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gas Man
Great write up there Old.... now if we can just get some newbies to do it!!
Gman... you might thing about putting this as a sticky... may help cut down on the "what should I get" question... then again... it's probably just wishfull thinking lol
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post #8 of 65 (permalink) Old 03-10-2006, 09:55 AM
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It really won't cause it doesn't go into what model to get... but it is a good one..




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post #9 of 65 (permalink) Old 03-10-2006, 10:17 AM
 
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Originally Posted by Gas Man
It really won't cause it doesn't go into what model to get... but it is a good one..
I guess your right... but thanks anyways
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post #10 of 65 (permalink) Old 03-10-2006, 06:41 PM
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Should link this Used MC evaluation guide as well...




-Chris
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Was: 2002 Kaw ZX-9R
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is me till the
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post #11 of 65 (permalink) Old 03-10-2006, 08:02 PM
 
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I agree with you and can think of dozens of older bikes that would be great for beginners. But there's a big problem. Most younger buyers have no money saved. The only way they can get a bike is to buy a new one using low-interest credit from the dealer. Most creditors won't loan money for a used bike, or if they do, it is at a very high rate.
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post #12 of 65 (permalink) Old 03-10-2006, 08:53 PM Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by No Worries
I agree with you and can think of dozens of older bikes that would be great for beginners. But there's a big problem. Most younger buyers have no money saved. The only way they can get a bike is to buy a new one using low-interest credit from the dealer. Most creditors won't loan money for a used bike, or if they do, it is at a very high rate.

Perhaps; but the most common overlooked expense (and shame on me for not putting it in the above) is INSURANCE. If you purchase a bike on a conventional loan, you are required to hold full coverage insurance. Depending on the area and the size and type of bike, a 600 supersport bike for a 18-23 yr old new rider can equal 1/2 the purchase price of the bike EACH YEAR. (An aquiantence of mine on another board is paying $3600 per year for full coverage insurance for an R6; major metropolitan city, 22yrs old, new rider, 2 pts on license. ARG!

I'm a fifty-some odd year old and on my older bikes I only carry liability, which runs about $75.00 per year for my area and age.

All I'm saying is to go with the most manageable bike (size wise and money wise) for a first bike. Everybody's situation is different. But the basic premise of starting small and managable and working your way up, whether you buy new or used, is a valid premise. You will be less likely to dump a lighter, more managable bike than a heavy, bulky top heavy bike as you learn to ride, and the added plus of the 250-500cc bikes is that they've been in production a lonnnnng time, and parts are available and cheap. The Kawi EX500, 250 and the Suzuki Gs500 have all been around for 10 years, are still available, and used body panels, turn signals and the like are ALL OVER Ebay.

When you compare the ease of use, decent performance, lower seat heights, and total cost of ownership (and you gotta include insurance and repairs), you'll see I'm right.

I had the opportunity to ride with some friends last fall in West-By-God Virginia, over some right gnarley twisties on the way to Snowshoe. A friend of theirs came along, riding an '05 GS500, with wife and soft saddlebags! I was on a 955i Truimph, the rest on Gixxer 1000's and Sevenfiddies....the guy in the GS smoked some of the big bike boys in the twisties....and that was with momma and luggage on the back.

It ain't the equipment, it's the rider.

JMHE (Just My Humble Experience)
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post #13 of 65 (permalink) Old 03-10-2006, 10:35 PM
 
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Great write up there OTB!
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post #14 of 65 (permalink) Old 03-21-2006, 08:53 PM
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Nice work.......I'm impressed

"Run Your Bike, Not Your Mouth"
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post #15 of 65 (permalink) Old 03-21-2006, 11:04 PM
 
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I'm glad you didn't write this when i was looking for a bike. I'd be riding a 250 right now. Even though i was only looking for a bike for 2 hours.
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post #16 of 65 (permalink) Old 03-21-2006, 11:54 PM
 
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Originally Posted by DLITALIEN
I'm glad you didn't write this when i was looking for a bike. I'd be riding a 250 right now. Even though i was only looking for a bike for 2 hours.
When I bought my SV it was one of the first bike's I looked at. I knew i didn't want a 250 tho.
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post #17 of 65 (permalink) Old 03-21-2006, 11:56 PM
 
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I would've been more impressionable when it came to buying a bike back then (didn't know ****). But I'm glad i got the new R6.
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post #18 of 65 (permalink) Old 03-21-2006, 11:57 PM
 
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Originally Posted by DLITALIEN
I would've been more impressionable when it came to buying a bike back then (didn't know ****). But I'm glad i got the new R6.
well you made a really good choice!!!!
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post #19 of 65 (permalink) Old 03-21-2006, 11:58 PM
 
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Thought you were going to bed.
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post #20 of 65 (permalink) Old 03-21-2006, 11:59 PM
 
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Thought you were going to bed.
I am, but I am trying to see all the new posts before I go to bed....I have a problem with this...every night, and before I go to work in the morning. Ya know I just gotta reply.
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