EX-500's an outstanding starter bike
I have always recommended this bike as a decent starter bike and just purchased one for my daughter to start on. I had not really ridden one much but just put 300 miles on the '96 that I purchased and I am MORE than satisfied that it was a good move. It's light enough, controls are smooth enough, layout of gauges and switches is nice, low gear is low enough for easy starts from a dead stop, and when you wind it up, it GOES! You won't have to replace it right away from boredom. It's completely adequate for highway use as well. I think you could cruise it at 85 all day without a sweat and has reasonable power reserve for roll on passing and such. At and above 4000 RPM's (where it likes to run anyway) it's reasonably smooth, too. The suspension is O.K. but not the greatest on bumpy corners when you're really pushing it (I already scraped both sides of the lower fairing) but most riders will be a while until that matters, plus it's O.K. if the road is smooth. Seat's comfortable, too. I just had to post this because it's asked so frequently and I was so impressed with one after actually riding it a bit. It really is a NICE starter bike!
BTW, the one I found had only 1,600 miles on it, very clean, cheap insurance, ready to ride anywhere, and I got it for $2,200. To me, that's pretty reasonable for that much fun.
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