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Old 11-22-2014, 09:29 AM   #1
BravoTango OP
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Joined: Oct 2014
Location: Rocky Top
Oddometer: 37
I am developing an urge for a roadbike. Tell me everything.

Hey guys I just want to get a sample of opinions. I know this is the internet and everyone has one

I am "a new to the road rider". Grew up around bikes my entire life. Almost 99.9% off road. Setra-Trials-Ahrma. Grew up riding the offroad of east TN with my grandfather, dad, and brother.

I recently at 28yrs old decided to finally get my M license. I wanted to get back into riding with the family. (finally married 5 years and can start to do these things again) Dad runs a dr650, grandpa on a dr300 and my brother and I ride drz400s. I am not sure what kept me from getting it so long but I can honestly say that now I'm 28 I feel like I am mature enough to keep safe and out of trouble. Its probably for the best I waited till now to get it. Having a cool head on the road, staying focused and cautious is something my 16-22 year old self would have struggled with.

Now that I have been on the road though I have been dreaming about exploring this beautiful country.

I have never really had any interest in road riding. Until I spent a few hundred miles on the DR getting around. After riding road on a non-road style bike. I find myself wanting to know what its like to be able to run 200 miles around here exploring some pavement.

So now I have been looking into road bikes.

I have no clue what I want, what to expect, what fits me, my style of riding, they types of riding I want to do.

I have ridden a Suzuki SV650 , it was so long ago it might as well not even count as an experience. Down a street and back.
My dad had a Suzuki GS110 (shaft drive naked bike? I think that is what it was , correct me if not) I rode it around once. Cool story bravotango.

Feel free to share your thoughts, opinions, warnings, and advice.

_ I would like this to be an entry level road bike.

_ 1500-3500 budget

_ I have no clue about riding position, a part of me reasons for a standard position like a sv650, but a part of me wants to learn to ride a real road specific bike (the ktm rc390 has sparked my attention)

_Would you start on a conventional position in a larger cc, or get a small cc road bike) {sv650 vs ninja250}

_I'm squirreling away a road fund. Should be ready for harvest next fall. I just want to start doing my homework.
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Old 11-22-2014, 09:56 AM   #2
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Location: Minnyhappiness
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Suzuki GS500E from '90-'03 Kawasaki EX500 -made thru '09 I think. Both are $1500 all day long.

A used Ninja 650R or ER-6N from '06-'09 will be at the top end of your price range, and offer EFI and better suspension.

I started on a GS500, put 30k miles on a Ninja 650R, and now ride an FZ6. 40hp, 70hp, 100hp.

To be honest, the Ninja 650R motor is the most fun I've had on the street. Easy to add touring accessories if you go that road.

Here's the ' 93 GS500 and '06 Ninja650R

Touring mode

Adventure mode

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Old 11-22-2014, 10:03 AM   #3
Joined: Jan 2013
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Ill add,

Versys 650. I cant say one bad thing about my 2010. I did have to buy a new baldwin seat....thats was the bad thing.

Farkled out with heated grips, crash bars, pegs lowered, highway pegs, taller screen and the givi hard bags it is an excellent touring rig, that will hammer through twisties. Taken me across canada twice, and into the east coast USA without a hiccup. Every time i want to sell it, i shake my head.

The dealer here has a 2012 Versys1000 that has 20kms on it. so new....for 8900 cause of our expensive insurance....with givi bags. I am sooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo tempted. but our insurance here is insane this year. And with me trying to get the wife...a baby. i just cant justify it. but its such a steal...
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Old 11-22-2014, 01:33 PM   #4
bike curious
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Originally Posted by BravoTango View Post
_ I have no clue about riding position, a part of me reasons for a standard position like a sv650, but a part of me wants to learn to ride a real road specific bike (the ktm rc390 has sparked my attention)
The sport bike riding position is track specific, not road specific. Some people love it on the street, and some think it's ill-suited for that purpose.

Unless it were for the track, I'd personally lean towards the Duke 390 over the RC390.
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Old 11-22-2014, 01:34 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by Grainbelt View Post
Suzuki GS500E from '90-'03 Kawasaki EX500 -made thru '09 I think. Both are $1500 all day long.

Well, I'd add that the SV650 is also widely available, stone reliable, wicked fun and has a great aftermarket. But really, any of the above three would whet your wicket for ultracheap.
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Old 11-22-2014, 01:40 PM   #6
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Yeah the GS500 Suzuki is a great bike that just happens to be well suited to a beginner.
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Old 11-22-2014, 03:00 PM   #7
Joined: Oct 2014
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Myself, I would go with something newer than a GS500. They were good little bikes, but the air-cooled engines don't last as long as a modern water-cooled engine (the GS500 started out as a 400cc around 1977) . Since they haven't made the GS500 in over 5 years, and many are purchased by beginners (who often don't maintain them very well) you may have trouble finding one in good shape. Of course, if you do find one in good shape, ignore my opinion.

Although you may be a "beginner" on the street, you clearly know how to operate a motorcycle, so a 650 would probably not be too much for you to handle. Learning how to avoid cages is another matter (motorcycles are less visible than a car).

I would suggest a newer design. Kawasaki made a 500 that was water-cooled, or even the sv/sfv 650/ Ninja 650/ GSX650/ FZ6/ FZ6R. Most of the 650s work well for light touring, and can be had for less than $4,000, if they are more than 5 years old. Although carbs work well when new, EFI seems to age better (no mechanical moving parts = less maintenance/ repairs).

Of course, when buying an older bike, the most important factor is the condition. The model is less important. So, if the best conditioned bike you find is not exactly the model you were looking for, you might want to ask if the other model will do the job as well.
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Old 11-22-2014, 06:18 PM   #8
Joined: Dec 2009
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Dr650, klr650, xr650.

Look into it.

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Old 11-22-2014, 10:39 PM   #9
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I'll second those 650 motors being mellow and smooth if you want them to and very fun and spirited if you want them to. SV standard or Kaw Er6 are fine bikes. Probably more so, those same motors in the V Strom / Versys will likely be closer to the ergos you are used to.

If talking street and maintained forest roads (if you go slow and remember you are not on a dirt bike), any of those bikes will take you anywhere with plenty of motor and lots of fun.
Some ride reports:

Why do I keep thinking I'm gonna wind up in a love / hate relationship with a Guzzi?
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Old 11-23-2014, 01:58 AM   #10
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Could probably find a well-maintained V-Strom in that price range. Bit taller than some of the other bikes mentioned with a more wide-open rider triangle. Might feel like a bit more familiar riding position than a Ninja 650 or SV for ya.

But if you're looking for something that's quite different than what you're used to, you can't go wrong with a Ninja or SV650 either.

Also, if you plan on buying in fall, wait until late fall/early winter if you can. People tend to significantly drop prices before winter. Hell, there's a brand new FZ6r at a local dealer for 5,300 USD right now I was looking at. ~2k off list.
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Retired: 2009 Suzuki SFV650 Gladius, 2012 Honda CBR250R, 2012 Genuine Blur SS220i
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Old 11-23-2014, 02:57 AM   #11
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Another vote for the Ninja 650. Had an 08 as my second bike. Is user friendly but also very fun and comfortable.
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Old 11-23-2014, 04:16 AM   #12
Alexander B
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Coming from naked bikes, you have probably not been exposed to the "buffeting" found on many bikes with a screen. Buffeting can vary from "mild annoyance" to downright dangerous, depending on your size, type of helmet etc, but mainly the bike.

Having a (strong) force of "clean air" from riding a naked or off-road type of bike on highway is one thing, having you head, neck and eardrums beat into submission by a irregular, pulsing, throbbing turbulence is something completely different.

Been there, done that.
IME, forget about "fitting the bike to your needs". If you have a pronounced buffeting issue on a bike, you might never be able to find a setup that works. That includes trying every screen in the market or completely removing the screen, still not getting a good result.

So, test ride - preferably without ear plugs - and try to cover all scenarios you will ride in later; speeds, traffic, passing trucks etc.
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Old 11-23-2014, 08:35 AM   #13
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Joined: Jan 2012
Location: Central fly-over land.
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A lot of good replies, and many good bikes mentioned. But, what is missing is a good evaluation of what type of 200 mile ride you'd like to do, what style of motorcycle takes your breath away, if you want to ride two up, carry camping gear or run as empty as possible, are you looking for the thrill of the ride or the relaxation of the ride, do you think this may be a fun way to get somewhere, or do you have to just go somewhere to get the fun of the ride?

After you do some soul-searching, and can fine tune your desires, the information offered up here will be more meaningful, and you'll likely get more folks who share your style posting thoughts, and that will be good for you.

BTW, as one smart poster said, you know how to control a motorcycle on dirt, but you'll be smart to take time and learn how to ride on the street. It's different in subtle, but critical ways. More front brake, less back. You have traction, use it. Lean. Keep your feet on the pegs. When riding in traffic, think like a bunny rabbit running with bulls - they may not be out to get you, but they really don't care. Keep yourself out of danger zones, always have an out, ride assertive not aggressive. You'll have to spend more effort watching dynamic traffic conditions and less reading the street surface, so keep you eyes up and looking around.

You can handle any size engine you choose due to your prior experience. Get a Gold Wing if you want, just spend a couple days getting used to the new bike and you'll be great.
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Old 11-23-2014, 01:56 PM   #14
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You can't go wrong with SV650. 1st gen. SV650 are likely to be found under $2k easilythese days, they have rock solid reputation, require little maintenance, and have enough HP to make spirited rides fun as your road riding skills improve.
They are cheap to insure, parts are easily available, and forgiving road manner that will probably get you into and out of trouble more than you realize.
I have ridden and owned all sorts of different street bikes, I will always keep a SV650 in my garage.
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Old 11-23-2014, 10:26 PM   #15
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A 100 mile breakfast or a 250 mile lunch trip is no big deal on my SV650.
I have done 400, 600 and 700 mile days on this bike and it doesn't beat me up.

X the DY.

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