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post #1 of 11 (permalink) Old 06-06-2005, 12:30 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: Jun 2005
Posts: 6
Wink Newbie, Looking To Learn...

What's up guys...

I'm new the motorcycle game, preferrably sportbikes no doubt! I'm definitely looking into getting a sportbike, just really need to learn more about them before I buy one. I've been taking looks at some of the various threads and am already learning a little. I be lurking and reading, probably not posting too much, 'cause I don't know too much...

I'm not a big guy, 5' 5" 185 lbs. I think my biggest concern right now is getting a bike to fit me. One that will get my feet on the ground, I'm what we call "Vertically Challenged". Can a bike be lowered to fit me?

Well any help or input you guys have is greatly appreciated. I'm thinking of starting out on a 600cc??


Last edited by SATAYO; 06-06-2005 at 12:33 PM.
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post #2 of 11 (permalink) Old 06-06-2005, 12:48 PM
Join Date: Mar 2004
Posts: 8,798
Hello and welcome!

Being virtically chalanged in a sportbike world is abit difficult. Yes the bikes can be lowered, but it should be done by a shop that knows what they are doing, otherwise your handling will be compromised.
The key to a good first bike is that it should be cheap. you will drop it. within a month, I promise you. a cheap one isnt going to hurt your feelings nearly as much.
Stay away from bike with agressive race geometry, those usually have an R in their name. the starter subject has been discussed to death on this forum, do a search if you want to read the reasons.
My recomended starters are

Most of those bikes can be had cheap, and better yet, sold for about what you bought them for 6 months later.

Vash is offline  
post #3 of 11 (permalink) Old 06-07-2005, 09:18 AM Thread Starter
Join Date: Jun 2005
Posts: 6

Thanx for the welcome...

Also thanx for all the good info to start with. I'm looking at the MSF website to see about taking the course, to get started. Would you happen to know how much the course costs?

I looked at all the bikes you listed in your post, thank you for a starting point. I like Ninjas in general, but not the looks of the EX250 or EX500. I kinda like the looks of the SV650 and the GS500. I saw someone post a pic of their GS500s and it looked different than the GS500. What are the differences in those bikes?

Last, how would a Katana 600 be for a first bike. I've seen those recommended also from time to time and I really like the looks of them.

Eventually, I'd like to end up with a Honda CBR, Suzuki GSX-R or Kawasaki Ninja, all in the 600cc to 750cc range. I name them kinda generic 'cause I'm still leraning about what the "R"s mean.

I'm going to try and take "baby steps"...but it's hard!! Patience is not one my strong points...

Thanx Vash, hope to hear you soon. Anyone else with any input, please feel free, I'm not shy, just short...

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post #4 of 11 (permalink) Old 06-07-2005, 09:31 AM
Join Date: Apr 2005
Posts: 197
MSF is definitely a great way to get into motorcycling, so good move on your part by looking into it. They will teach you how to ride- ride safe, control the bike, manuever around obstacles, etc. Not to mention they provide the bike, helmet and pretty much everything you need. Anyways, although MSF is national, prices for the course vary from state to state and maybe even county. For example, in the great state of NY, I paid almost $300 for MSF! However, I've heard most others in diff parts of the country pay much less. Actually, I think someone mentioned to me that in PA it was free or near free... Anyone else from PA could give better advice on that specifically.

In the meantime, you can check out national site and PA-specific site for more info. hope this helps, and have fun!
TGuns is offline  
post #5 of 11 (permalink) Old 06-07-2005, 09:39 AM
Join Date: Mar 2004
Posts: 8,798
No probs, thats what we are all here for.
I'll agree with you the 250 and 500 ninja are pretty damn ugly. But its only a starter. You dont even have to take baby steps, just one starter bike, 6 mo, or one season of riding. Get about 5k miles under your belt and go get that uber bad ass 600 you want.
There are a great deal of sacrifices that manufacturers have to make in order to get a high performance super sport. There is virtually no stability in those bikes. The steer QUICK, and will fall over at a minor push of a bar. The tank slap when getting on the throttle. They will wheelie with no clutch help. They will lock the rear tire on a downshift, from the engine braking alone. Too sharp a pull at the front brake and the front will wash out on you. A proper pull at the front brake and the bike will stand on the front wheel, from a single finger on the lever. All of these are wonderfull things, as long as you got the expirience to handle your tires locking up, or wiggling, or sliding, or just the bike being on either wheel. Then there is the crashing costs, which I'm getting very familuar with trying to fix a zx10. Plastics will brake from falling off the stand. there is 8-10 pieces at about $100 each if you got a good connection ($300 each from a dealer) Pegs will also brake from falling off the stand, and I've even heard of frame braking. So that brings the point of a starter bike, that you can drop and not hurt your feelings, skin, or wallet too much. Couse you will drop it. we all do.

A katana is a fine starter. out of the entire list my fav bike is the SV650, becouse it is very capable, and will accept suspension parts from the GSXR line. Most track bikes are SV650's for those reasons. The motor has a very wide powerband, its easy to ride and before you ask, yes it will wheelie.
I'm not too familuar with the GS's line but generally if you see a model with no letter after a number and the same model only with an S that ussually mean that the S has a quater fairing, and sometimes clip ons.

Have fun, and stay safe.

Vash is offline  
post #6 of 11 (permalink) Old 06-08-2005, 04:33 AM Thread Starter
Join Date: Jun 2005
Posts: 6
Thanx for the responses guys, much appreciated.

Well, my friend and I went looking at a couple dealers last evening. He is starter like myself, he also has his sights set on a gixxer. We looked at the SV650, I kinda had trouble getting on it at first. We also looked at the GS500E, that bike fit me pretty well, comfortable. Last we looked at a couple Katanas, '93 and '02. Both were comfortable to me, I can really only get one foot truly 'planted on the ground.

I asked the technician there if the Katana could be lowered a little. He recommended against it, 'cause of susspension travel. He then pointed out that a lot of the time one foot would be on my rear brake... so one foot to hold the bike should not be a big deal.

My friend also looked at a gixxer, he replied, "Uncomfortable as heck, compared to the Katanas." He still wants one bad... they are badarse, but not for my first bike...

We also looked at gloves and helmets, which we will need for our MSP course. I know we don't need to have our own helmet, but it make us feel more comfortable. Any input on Helmets and gloves? I found a couple pair of gloves I like (JoeRocket, I believe, not for sure though, am I close?). Also foun a couple helmets (HRJ, I think, smoked flat black color).

Well guys as usual, I need your input and expertise. Any help would be greatly appreciated...


Last edited by SATAYO; 06-08-2005 at 04:50 AM.
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post #7 of 11 (permalink) Old 06-08-2005, 04:47 AM
Join Date: Mar 2004
Posts: 8,798
Not being able to set both feet down is a real pain if you have to move slowly over some gravel, like a washed out drive way. But aside from that its not too big of a deal. I had to tippy toe both my current and my last bike, and for the most part it was ok.

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post #8 of 11 (permalink) Old 06-08-2005, 05:40 AM
Join Date: Mar 2005
Posts: 158
Though my time actually on the seat is extremely limited, I'm probably one of the smallest people you'll find on a sport bike at 4'10" and 95 lbs...

I bought a new EX500, basically the lowest seat height I could find with the exception of the EX250. I ended up taking 2" off the stock seat height and it's lowered about 2" at this point. I can't tell you how it handles compared to stock because I couldn't touch at all with it in its stock form, but I haven't had any problems with it. I had the dealership do the initial lowering, then they showed me how to adjust it so I could tweak it later.

As Vash said, not being able to touch both feet at once is not fun for moving the bike around, especially backwards. I think the biggest workout I get is backing the bike out of my garage and turning it around. I plan on lowering it a bit more, but need to remedy my side stand issue first, it sits almost verticle on the stand...

MSF was great, I learned a ton of stuff (never really ridden before). After class was done I talked to my teacher about maybe taking a private lesson to go over some stuff I had a bit of trouble with and was told to just practice because my biggest obstacle was my size, not my skills and to check back later if I still felt uncomfortable.
crystal is offline  
post #9 of 11 (permalink) Old 06-08-2005, 12:34 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: Jun 2005
Posts: 6
I'm definitely looking forward to taking the riding class. I know I'll learn a lot from it and it should be a great confidence boost.

Wow Crystal, you are tiny... that's not a bad thing though. That's pretty cool that you ride, you don't let it hold you back... that's great Looking for a short guy... HaHa, sorry don't mean to offend...j/k.

I think I'm going to look into getting my helmet and gloves first. Any advice or input from anyone?

Any input on anything that I can learn from is greatly appreciated... looking forward to more responses, please keep coming. I need to learn as much as I can... I think I'm becoming addicted!

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post #10 of 11 (permalink) Old 06-08-2005, 02:33 PM
Join Date: Feb 2005
Posts: 609
As far as helmet, a full face is your best bet for protection. Just keep in mind price doesn't necessarily equal safety, usually higher prices are for "features," like vents, removable liners, graphics, ect. As long as the helmet is at least DOT approved(and SNELL is another safety standard), the helmet should be fine safety-wise.

So the next most important thing with a helmet is fit. You have to try them on, leave them on for a few to see how they feel. Some helmets may put too much pressure on certain areas, each brand/model may feel completely different. You want it to be comfortable when riding.

With gloves, don't skimp and buy the cheapest ones. Get a good quality leather pair, some have additional padding/protection in case of a crash. You should be able to see/feel the quality when looking at them. Make sure you get a riding jacket, pants, and boots too. Even though a lot of people wear them while riding, jeans will tear right the hell apart if you hit pavement! The three main materials for jackets/pants are leather(best protection), textile, then mesh(most ventilation, but least protection). It's up to you how much your skin is worth.

I had a Katana 600 as a second bike. I know of people who started out on them, it's not a terrible choice for a first bike, but they're kind of heavy as far as slow manuevering, so it may take a while to build confidence on it riding slow speeds. You'll find it plenty fast enough, but at least it won't easily wheelie without the clutch, if at all. You'd still be better off with a GS500, or even stepped up with an SV650(it's lighter than the Katana).
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