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post #1 of 12 (permalink) Old 11-29-2001, 08:05 AM Thread Starter
 
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Looking for some basic info

Hey everyone,

I've been doing my research for the past few months now on motorcycling and sport bikes. In september, I attended (and passed!) a motorcycle saftey course.. I'm now in a position where I'm trying to decide what bike to get, and what equipment to go along with it.

I'm currently set on a Ninja 500. I like the look and feel of sportbikes, but don't want to get something absurd to start off with. My question is whether or not the 500 is starting out TOO conservatively, or if I should move up slightly (to a 600). I don't want to go less, but I don't want more than a 600/650. I'm concerned that it will be great to learn on, but that I'll be trading it in the next year and taking a hit on it (financially). So I was considering a 600 or so that I would be able to ride for at least 2 - 3 years, and maybe for a lot longer.

The other question, is if I should by new ... or used. I'm pretty confident that I'm not going to have a lot of trouble (with dropping the bike, etc ...), so I was considering a new model ... though I've still been looking for a decent used model to surface (it hasn't so far).

And finally ... as far as equipment goes, I'm of the mindset that I'd rather spend a lot, and use it for a long time .... then go cheap, and regret it later. Are there any companies that are known for making nice-looking but quality equipment, that I should be looking at specifically?

Thanks for any help,

Bryan
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post #2 of 12 (permalink) Old 11-29-2001, 08:12 AM
elo
 
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Hello, and welcome to SBW.

For starters, check out the thread on this page entitled "did I outgrow my bike?" Maybe that will answer some of your questions. Otherwise, just keep reading in this section, there are at least a half dozen threads answering your question.
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post #3 of 12 (permalink) Old 11-29-2001, 09:53 AM
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I know people that have been riding 500's for a while now, theey are just a blast to ride. The Suzuki SV650 is another good way to go, and there's lots of experienced riders that own these fun machines, they also have good upgrade potential..

As for the new or used...I like the idea of gettin a good used bike for the first one..if ya do drop it, it's not the end of the world, I know if I dropped a new bike...I'd cry..

Equipment, I assume you are refurring to riding gear?

get the best you can afford..think of it this way...if you did crash, what would you want to be wearing.

Helmets...don't skimp, get the best, that fits YOU! I like the Arai Quantum.

Leathers, or at least a leather jacket, and hopefully pants. Several brands to choose from, they must fit SNUG. have a look here for some good deals..www.newenough.com

Boots...once again..get the best you can afford, they don't have to full on race boots, just a good quality boot with good protection. once again, look at the link above.

Back protectors..most people don't regard this item as a must have, except for aggressive street riding, or racing..I do, and for the amount of $$ they cost, they'r well worth it..just mho..

Good Luck..let us know what ya get

Old, Slow, but ...Smooth
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post #4 of 12 (permalink) Old 11-29-2001, 10:05 AM
 
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A Ninja 500 to any 600 sportbike is not a "slight move up". The 500 has around 50 HP while the 600's are around 95-100. There are tons of "beginner bike" threads you can search for, but IMO here's the short list of new bikes: Ninja500, SV 650, Monster 600/750. For used bikes: FZ/FZR400 or 600, Bandit 400/600, CB-1 400, ZX-6 (not 6R).
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post #5 of 12 (permalink) Old 11-29-2001, 10:34 AM
 
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Re: Looking for some basic info

Quote:
Originally posted by L.O.T.R.
I'm currently set on a Ninja 500. I like the look and feel of sportbikes, but don't want to get something absurd to start off with. My question is whether or not the 500 is starting out TOO conservatively, or if I should move up slightly (to a 600).
Just a few things to think about:
1. First, decide exactly what you expect your bike to do? Just going to ride around town/track, or could you see yourself taking trips on it after you get some experience (don't be surprised if you find the latter to be the case, even if you presently think not). They don't have to be long trips, but maybe 3-day, etc.
2. Assess your finances. While probably not a good idea to start out on anything with full bodywork (simple drops can get expensive), I can empathize with wanting a 600 to save on losing money shortly in the future.
3. Don't forget the insurance angle. Before you buy, check the rates on your choices! It may very well make your decision for you.

'Course, you also gotta consider your size/shape when making a choice. There are plenty of good, used bikes out there that will save you big on purchase, insurance, and pain when/if you drop it (and you probably will). Don't automatically give in and 'know' you're going to drop it, but the odds are you'll have a tipover or two before your learning curve starts to flatten out (and you got one helluva learning curve to climb)!

Most importantly? Get one/both of David L. Hough's books! If I were a motorcycle dealer, I'd throw one/both of these in with every bike purchased, 'specially by a newbie (breathing customers are repeat customers)!
Street Strategies : A Survival Guide for Motorcyclists
Proficient Motorcycling : The Ultimate Guide to Riding Well
Amazon has both books for $31.42, and you can read excerpts of the second at their site.

Maybe SportBike World should add some books to their store section? Might not be a bad idea for someone in here to write a nice article for newbies, with a link to it on the front page. There seem to be a lot of 'em coming here for advice!
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post #6 of 12 (permalink) Old 11-29-2001, 11:10 AM
 
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first "sportbike"

I started on a Suzuki GS500. Seemed very sporty to me at the time! Used to be the main competition for the Kawi EX500 in twin racing. Then I moved to an '80's two stroke 350 (guess which one!) and learned what it means to really have to **operate** a motorcycle!
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post #7 of 12 (permalink) Old 11-29-2001, 03:42 PM
 
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LOTR = Lord Of The Rings?

I started out on a 250 - mainly because it's the biggest thing you can ride on your learner's licence here (graduated driver licensing system - GOOD system). It was 4 cylinder DOHC so it wasn't too too slow. However with engines that small I think they have a smaller lifespan (redline 18,000revs).

I now have a 400 and a 600 and find riding each of them a lot of fun, but the smoother power delievery (and the fact that there is more of it) on the 600 means that perhaps I enjoy that ride a little more.

I think that a 500 or 600 is plenty for the beginner rider. Especially since you will drop your first bike, so unfaired is a good option. Any bike is much much faster than a car - it's just a matter of how much faster. You will find that with the smaller bike that you learn to ride the bike rather than being "along for the ride" much sooner on a smaller bike. So I don't think that the 500 is too conservative at all.

Gear: get as much as you can afford
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post #8 of 12 (permalink) Old 11-30-2001, 02:57 AM
 
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I am real new in this so don't read anything I write. But, if you're not going to listen, here's what I think.

What you are purchasing is a quantity of performance qualities, in three areas (acceleration, stopping, handling). It is possible to get a lot, or a little, of each. Different bikes give different combinations.

Ideally, each of the qualities would be there, on demand, when you want them... and would not just "show up" when you don't. The quantity of performance would be deep, but controlable.

For example, I can have acceleration capabilities in a bike that I never tap. That won't hurt me if it doesn't ever just "pop out of the bag" unexpectedly. (It can cost more to buy it, though, but HEY... chicks dig it, right?)

The challenge (if you only want to buy one bike) is to look at your current skill levels and assess what you can handle and then, in your crystal ball and decide what levels you believe you will want, as your skills develop.

What I looked for was a very "friendly" bike, with uh, pretty deep performance... not REALLY DEEP, just pretty deep. To me, that was the Kawasaki ZX-6R.... but not the Yamaha or Suzuki 600's. I, personally, will probably NEVER reach clear to the bottom of the bag on this bike in the three areas of performance.... but who knows?
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post #9 of 12 (permalink) Old 11-30-2001, 03:04 AM
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Reference the latest issue of Sport Rider, there is an excellent article by Kent Kunitsugu (sp?) extolling the benefits of learning to ride on smaller-displacement bikes.
post #10 of 12 (permalink) Old 11-30-2001, 03:15 AM Thread Starter
 
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L.O.T.R. = Love of the Road :-)

As far as equipment goes, are there any companies that are seen as making top-quality gear that I should be doing some research on?

I've been looking at Arai and Shoei helmets .... though I haven't decided on which one, or a model yet. But as far as gear is concerned, I haven't the slightest clue what companies make quality gear, and what ones make crap.

Any suggestions?
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