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Old 09-17-2014, 08:14 PM   #1
ontariorider OP
Joined: Sep 2014
Oddometer: 3
Help picking the next bike


I'm hoping someone can help provide me with some advice/guidance as to the next bike to purchase. I'm a new rider (started last season) and I started on an '03 Suzuki GZ250. I outgrew that one pretty fast and moved to a '96 Kawasaki Vulcan EN500C which I am still riding. I had a bit of a problem with the weight of the Vulcan at first but I was able to overcome that challenge and get used to the bike after a few rides. I liked riding the Vulcan but considering its a bit outdated I'm starting to run into a few issues with it e.g. choke and carburetor needs to be cleaned once again and the gas consumption on it isn't all that good, so I want to upgrade to something newer. I hear fuel injected bikes are much smoother to ride. Also this time around I want to try something different from a cruiser something that is a little bit more fun on twisties but with an upright riding position so not a sports bike.

I'm hoping to have something where I can flat foot or put most of my foot down on the ground at a stop light, I'm 5'6''and weigh about 180lbs with 28.5" inseam. I ride the bike mainly on weekends and after work, run errands and sometimes take it into work if the weather is nice and I don't have to drive my kid to daycare. I did two long 4-5 hour trips this year and plan to do more next season. I mainly ride without a passenger but I would like to have the option of taking a passenger along for a ride (the wife mainly) with out them feeling uncomfortable.

So far I looked at a few options I was wondering if anyone had any inputs on them or can recommend something else. Something that's cheap on insurance as well would be good.
  • Honda NC750 (not sure if I want to purchase a brand new bike though)
  • Yamaha Fz6
  • Honda CB600F (Only found a used '06 model though which I think is carburetor)
  • Suzuki bandit GSF600 (but I think this one is carburetor)
  • Suzuki vstrom 650 (that's a bit tall for me but I know I can get it lowered which might be a bit of a hassle)
  • Suzuki SV650S

Thanks in advance
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Old 09-17-2014, 08:27 PM   #2
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Ninja 300, go read the thread on it. Light, enough power to ride 2 up easily, enough performance to be too fast to really flog it on the street. Plenty of cheap mods to improve stuff as you need it. Looks like a sport bike but a sporty standard in ergos.

I'm 6-01, 200 lbs. 4th gear tops out at 87 MPH actual with a +1 CS sprocket. You can just clear 100 in 5th. Everything in your list is overkill IMO, both in power and weight.
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Old 09-17-2014, 09:52 PM   #3
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Wink choices

the sv is a good bike. there are so many choices. surf craigs list, go to the shops. something will grab your fancy.

personally I would recommend a Hayabusa. once you taste the power, it's hard to go back!
well that's my 2 cents anyway..
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Old 09-18-2014, 02:28 AM   #4
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Just to make myself clear here, I'm NOT talking about the fz6 which is the smaller brother of the FZ1, the sport tourer with the bikini fairing.

I'm talking about the bike called the FZ6R in america, the fully clad bike.

Identification completed... the FZ6R (whatever the call it in Canada, I think it's the same) is a turd with a neutered engine that makes a whole bunch of noise but no real power. It's fine if you just want a mostly competent motorcycle that won't break the speed limit every time you twist the throttle, but the SV650 is superior in pretty much every way.

I've already gotten flamed for bashing this bike before with spec sheets and 0-60 times thrown in my face. I stand by my opinion though, you can't ride a spec sheet. The engine and bike are unexciting when compared with the SV and many other bikes. The only thing I liked about it was how low it was, which made it easier for me to put my foot down and get off the damn thing.

The FZ6 I mentioned I wasn't bashing earlier is a better choice and a bike I have considered buying.

I owned an SV650 for 3 years. It's a bit on the tall side (I have a 31" inseam) and I had issues early in my ownership due to the height of the seat, but once I got used to it it wasn't really a problem unless I had to push it backwards which is where it got annoying. I never invested in a dogbone to lower it, but once I got past the height issue after about a year I never really had problems again. On the bad side, the SV has shit front suspension like most "budget" bikes and the stock seat allows for 4 hours riding at a stretch at the very most, after that it starts to get painful fast. I definately recommend you look into it.

The ninja 300 is a fun little bike, buuuuut.....

I think you would be incredibly well served by the new Honda CB500 series of bikes. It has fuel injection, gets great gas mileage, is fast enough and comes in three different flavors of riding style and position. They're cheap new and you can probably get a used one for a decent discount. Being in canada this is going to be a cheaper option to insure and overall cheaper run than an SV. You will miss out on outstanding brakes (SV has 2 front rotors, CB500 has 1) and some torque. I would definately buy one if I lived in a place where insurance went by displacement, and you have no idea how glad I am that's not the case
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Old 09-18-2014, 05:57 AM   #5
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I think the Strom is the best of the bunch but couldn't go wrong with either. Top heavy though...

Come up with a price you're willing to spend, hunt kijiji and buy the bike you can get the best deal on.

Don't sweat the petty things; Pet the sweaty things !!!
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Old 09-18-2014, 06:28 AM   #6
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V-Strom 650 all day long. Lowering is easy. Unbolt the triple tree and slide the forks up, and add lowering links in the back (straightforward on Stroms). Or, you could use the lower seat (they have those as a factory option).

And don't worry about it being "top heavy". That quality just isn't very noticeable, in my opinion, on the DL650. It's an easy handling bike. Now, the pre-2014 DL1000, which I have, definitely feels top heavy. The 650, and the redesigned 2014 DL1000, both feel like smaller, lighter bikes than mine, even though the weight difference is negligible.
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Old 09-18-2014, 06:30 AM   #7
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For the type of riding you're describing, wanting some moderate passenger capability and needing something high on the fun factor I would have to recommend the SV650S. Get an '03 and up model to get FI and forget about carbs and all that nonsense. The bike is inexpensive second hand and most insurance companies consider it a standard bike so coverage is cheap. Like any bike they are very reliable if maintained, but it also doesn't have any funky maintenance requirements.

Tons of aftermarket support is out there and there are several SV forums that have been around for any technical support. Throw on any aftermarket pipe and it'll sound the business.
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Old 09-18-2014, 06:37 AM   #8
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Just noticed you said you don't want the sportbike lean, but want the handling. Consider the naked SV650 then, it's got handlebars instead of clipons making for an upright position. You could also compromise on the half-faired S-model and get riser clipons for a little less of the more aggressive posture.

I don't think any of the bikes you've listed are overkill. All are fine choices for a second (or third) bike on the street.

Someone did suggest a Hayabusa - now that is absolutely overkill. Power corrupts all though...
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Old 09-18-2014, 07:22 AM   #9
ontariorider OP
Joined: Sep 2014
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Thank you all for all the great comments. Unfortunately insurance in Canada also plays a big role in my decision since it is based off of displacement. Insuring a 650cc bike is about $300 more than a 600cc bike. Don't ask ...... #@$# money grabbers, except for the NC750 that somehow is a lot cheaper than any of them. But I am not able to find the NC700 on kijiji plus I heard bad comments about it.

Honestly I kind of have it narrowed down to SV650S, vStrom 650 and Yamaha fz6s (bikini fairing version) or maybe even a ninja 650. I actually found a lowered vstrom 650 on kijiji (so half the work is done) but the insurance quote on it was around $1600 which is even $200 higher than the SV650.
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Old 09-21-2014, 12:56 PM   #10
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As you can see most folks want you to buy what they bought!

If displacement=much more for insurance AND you're at all interested in new I'll second the recommendation to look at the new Honda CB500 series bikes. Yes, I own one! The X. I paid $5500 for a new leftover 2013 in May. It's now got over 16K miles on it. Great little do it all fun bike! Also it's actually 471cc so that may help insurance even more.

Having said that... Your best bet as a new rider is a small used bike because it hurts your feelings less WHEN you drop it, and you will.

Best of luck in your shopping. If I can be of any help PM me.
"Their logic ties me up and rapes me"
An XX and an X
FL to AK 2014 - 68 days, 15254 miles
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Old 09-21-2014, 01:19 PM   #11
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V-Strom 650 is a do everything, reliable bike, but as has been noted, it is tall, and top heavy. I am taller and heavier than you and found it too much of both.

I second the suggestion to check out the new Honda 500 twins, though I haven't ridden one yet. I like the SV650N, and the Guzzi V7 is light weight and interesting too.

Wifey is bike shopping, and being petite and not very strong, I suggested she start her test-riding with the new Honda 300 and 500. Cheap, should be reliable, and ABS is available, which she wants.
CBF1000 & PCX150, PCX Fuelly
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Old 09-21-2014, 02:44 PM   #12
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Honda has a history of offering bikes in Canada that the US never sees - does the CBF600 exist there? I know the 1000 does. Half-faired like the Bandit 650.

I'd try the FZ6R and the Ninja650 back to back and see which you prefer, as well. Assuming you can find a dealer with a used one they'll let you ride. Similar bikes with very similar power, one has a smooth inline four with 26k mile valve check intervals and the other is a Kawasaki - very engaging but a bit rough.

You could also consider a Triumph Bonneville. Low and easy to ride but not particularly sporting, though it should be more capable in that regard than your cruiser.
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Old 09-21-2014, 09:10 PM   #13
ontariorider OP
Joined: Sep 2014
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The CB500 is actually what got me thinking I need a new bike in the first place lol. I saw it at the bike show and actually convinced a friend of mine to purchase it. Nice little bike for sure he let me test drive it for a bit.

I was thinking since I'm going to get a different bike I might go up in displacement just a bit for ease of passing. I had to pass a truck the other day and my bike just yelled and screamed. It made the pass just fine in the end though.

Because I don't know what style of riding I'm in and to avoid the heart ache when I drop the bike I'm thinking that I should stick to used ones for now. Thankfully this year I haven't dropped my bike (knock on wood) but last year I dropped my 250 a couple of times.

I saw that one of the shops around here has a couple of used CB600s around, I want to go check them out when I get the chance. Also I was really interested in the vstrom when I first got started on this hunt of mine but the height and insurance quote I got kind of scared me away a little. I'm not worried too much about the weight because it is actually a touch lighter than my current bike (on paper anyways). Having said that though the combination of the weight and height might make it a bit troublesome when I have to walk it in and out of my backyard.
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Old 09-21-2014, 09:39 PM   #14
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I'm hoping someone can help provide me with some advice/guidance as to the next bike to purchase. I'm a new rider (started last season) and I started on an '03 Suzuki GZ250. I outgrew that one pretty fast and moved to a '96 Kawasaki Vulcan EN500C which I am still riding. '

I have a problem believing you outgrew anything in one season unless you have other riding experience, like MX or enduro riding. A 96 Vulcan is no rocket, but it should have over 50 HP unless it is out of shape.

The GZ is a pooch, but a Ninja 300 is about/more than twice as powerful, has excellent throttle response and torque too.

What exactly are you missing besides passing power, which I'm guessing is either a beat bike or a lazy left foot.

The new CB300f is a decent little bike too, and should be a great tool to increase your skills, not just the speed you are going when you crash.
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Old 09-22-2014, 06:29 AM   #15
mc caregiver
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Location: Garland, Texas
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didnt read any of the posts.
dont have to.
just buy my bike & you'll be happy
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