Good sport tourer for new rider

Discussion in 'Road Warriors' started by dbk23, Feb 2, 2013.

  1. damasovi

    damasovi Long timer

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    I have to agree with this. When I learned I was mid 20's and had never ridden a motorcycle, so went very small, a 250 cc was TOO big for me in terms of power (or so I tough) so I went 1 lower, a 125 and at the beginning that was all I could handle, why? Even do I was good balance and coordination I was not ready to go above the limit of the bike or mine and at that time 40-50 mph was all I could do and handle. So I rode that thing for 1 year before buying a 650 KLR. The 125 was a great bike to learn to ride and gave confidence in handling, coordination, and only once I was scare of the slow bike (when I went on I-5 for 2 miles) The top speed was around 70 mph and for Mexico it was fine, I went to Tijuana (105 km from here) and took me just over 1hr (with a cruising speed of 90-95 km/hr) sure compare to the KLR it iwas slow and had poor suspension. For for the learning process it prepare me for the bigger, heavier bike.
    Hey it even went to the beach!!

    100- hp as a first bike? I do not know, could be too much if you are not easy with the throttle, for me that would have been an accident on day one, but others might be a lot better

    So does 500's from Honda are catching my eyes! so the OP should consider something in that range! and also he should find a test drive and take the MSF course if possible so he ride some 200-250's and see how he feels and compare it to the test drives of the mid size bikes.

    Damasovi
    #61
  2. JerryH

    JerryH Banned

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    At 50 years old, you might want to seriously consider the riding position. I'm 53, 6' 230, with a 34" inseam, and at age 49, I bought a brand new EX500. I sold it after 3 years, with only 5000 miles on it. The reason? An almost intolerable riding position. The bars are really low and forward. They caused serious pain in my arms, shoulders, and neck (on a lean forward bike you have to bend your neck almost all the way back to see ahead) The pegs were too high and too far back, folding my legs up like pretzels, and cutting off circulation after a short time, and causing painful leg cramps. I almost dropped it a couple of times when I came to a stop, put my feet down, and found that I had lost feeling in my legs. I tried bar risers, they only helped slightly. I bought this bike because I got it new for an unbelievably low price, and it felt ok in the showroom. The pain didn't start until after about 20 miles.

    I also have a 750 cruiser that I have put 77,000 pain free miles on in 10 years. Sadly most non cruiser road bikes have a very painful riding position. It might be fine if you are 20, but it gets really uncomfortable as you get older. The Versys is one of very few road bikes that has a fairly decent riding position. Also pretty much any dual sport that you fit on is fine. Honda and Kawasaki also made 250 sized supermoto bikes (basically dual sport bikes with street tires and wheels) with a fairly comfortable riding position. Also the Suzuki TU250 is a good choice. It has a very comfortable riding position. But if you want a sport type bike, you just pretty much have to deal with the riding position.
    #62
  3. Cos

    Cos Re-Greekified

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    "Sadly most non cruiser road bikes have a very painful riding position"

    Pardon?
    #63
  4. Grainbelt

    Grainbelt marginal adventurer Super Moderator

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    Don't feed the troll, Cos.
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  5. Tim_Tom

    Tim_Tom Been here awhile

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    Think it has more to do with the rider than the bike... What works for JerryH certainly does not work for everyone.

    I know riders in their late 60's who have no issue riding the hell out of their R1's and ZX10R's. Although I feel like those two are exceptions to the rule.

    For a completely new rider, I would stay away from any and all full size sport tourers. They are big and heavy and can easily catch experienced riders off guard. Not to mention very expensive when the weight gets away from you and you damage the fairings and color matched hard bags.

    I would recommend something like the Kawasaki Ninja 650R. It is light and easy to handle, confidence inspiring, has enough motor that you will not be wishing for more, but not so much power that it will easily make checks your riding skills can't cash. They are cheap, reliable, good looking, and very capable.

    Any new rider on a 600+ lb motorcycle with 100+ horsepower is asking for trouble.
    #65
  6. single

    single Been here awhile

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    The thing to keep in mind here is that we are talking about a brand new rider who doesn't even know what it's like to ride a motorcycle down the street to the store, and he is trying to figure out what bike is the best for him to do commuting and light sport touring duties. It's impossible. The first order of business for anyone as a new rider is to get acquainted with what it's like to ride a motorcycle day to day. Once you have that basis of experience, you have the foundations to purchase the bike you really want which will solve all your problems for you.

    Right now, you have no idea what it's like to ride a bike, what position would be most comfortable for you on longer rides, what you want out of a motorcycle power band on your commute, and even if you can put up with the hassles of riding a motorcycle period. Never try to guess what bike is perfect for you as your first bike and put all your eggs ($) in that basket - chances are you WILL guess wrong.

    The great thing about 250s is they are cheap, plentiful on the used market (Kawasaki sells a boat load of 250s), and very easy to sell for almost no depreciation.

    I think the new Honda 500s are awesome bikes - finally a sub 600cc bike for the street in the US - but you are going to spend a boat load of money for them comparatively speaking. Nearly 7 grand out of the door after taxes and fees, zero used examples on the market, and good luck getting any Honda dealer to give you a test ride. They will also literally lose half their value once they roll out of the crate - welcome to the world of motorcycle depreciation. If it wasn't the right bike for you, wow, you just lost thousands of dollars for no reason.

    FZ6R is also a great bike. I'm not knocking the FZ6R at all, it's a highly refined motorcycle with a great power band and refined power train. Perfect commuter bike. Except there are very few used examples around, you'd be paying 2-3x as much as a 250, and it has both feet on the wrong side of the equation here. It's a merely an adequate sport touring bike due to the fact it wasn't really built for that, and it's a bad beginner bike due to the weight.

    Beyond those two examples there are a couple of great options for commuter sport tourers which aren't appropriate for due to the fact you are a new rider. A VFR 800 or Sprint ST are simply way too heavy and too fast, just asking for trouble. Ninja 1000s and BMW K1300S can also do the job very well but way way too fast for a new rider.

    Learn on a 250, save your money, then buy (and actually understand) what you really want. Seriously, there is no downside to this path.
    #66
  7. erda

    erda Been here awhile

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    If you want to do an 'armchair' comparison of size-fit check out http://cycle-ergo.com/ . There definitely is something to be said for starting on a smaller, less expensive bike. Likely you wouldn't lose too much on resale. Kawasaki Ninja 250 or 500, Suzuki GS500, or Honda CBR250 (newer model so more expensive) would all be good choices.

    I've had a long look at the new Honda NC700 series, and I am quite impressed. Again, new so more money, but relatively light and easy to ride.
    #67
  8. JustKip

    JustKip Long timer

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    Good thing for JerryH that you can't get banned for being a dork :norton

    I wonder why, after all these threads, he still thinks his way is the only way? I'm a couple of years older than him and would never consider the bikes he keeps promoting, over and over, for my own personal use. Yet they're "the only comfortable ones"? bla bla bla
    #68
  9. Qaz

    Qaz Been here awhile

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    You got alot of really terrible advice and some good like Single above. But no matter which direction you choose, one day you are going to make a mistake while riding where you will loose some skin or worse. If you have learned to ride really well, you may get out of it without a scratch or you may not. Even after 40+ years of riding everything from a 100cc-1800cc bikes I find that a small, nimble bike is easier to correct a mistake when riding. Yes, i still get into corners too hot or let my mind wander and thing happen fast on a bike. But the lessons I learn on small bikes has served me well and I am still riding and will continue for as long as I can.
    #69
  10. Navin

    Navin Long timer

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    Read thru this, all the benefits of a 250 with the power to weight ratio of a 500-650 base bike.

    http://advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=825961

    I guess the 300 will be the most under estimated bike if after all these pages it wasn't mentioned. BTW, I'm a 35 years rider/racer. This thing is a friggin riot. Mine is set up for sport touring and works great at it. Nothing has this light a feel and this level of power/torque on the market today. It's a cheepo bucket of bargain bin parts, but it can be greatly improved at very little expense.
    #70
  11. WAP

    WAP Weekday Warrior

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    What have you done to it so far? Pics?
    #71
  12. Navin

    Navin Long timer

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    Hit that link, the mods are getting kinda long to list but you could skip to a few simple things to really travel. Minimally, tapered roller steering head bearings, the SW-Motech rack/top box, +1 CS and better brake pads/SS lines.

    Everything else is gravy. The above mods will build you a great base ST bike. It is basically a Ninja 250 that is smoother, has better gear ratios and is on steroids. :evil
    #72
  13. cug

    cug --

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    Dream on (lower values for kg/HP are better):

    Ninja 300: 174kg curb weight, 39HP, 4.46kg/HP
    Suzuki SFV650: 202kg curb weight, ~72HP, 2.8kg/HP

    Now, add a normal sized rider to it, ~85kg:

    Ninja: 6.64kg/HP
    SFV650: 3.99kg/HP

    The Suzuki has a better power to weight ratio with a rider than the Ninja has without a rider.

    Only advantage of the Ninja is that it's cheap. It's one of the better 250cc starter bikes though. Wouldn't want one anyways. I'd rather get a WR250X and actually have some fun, not a halfway standard that looks like a race replica and breaks plastic when it falls over and makes you fold into Origami like patterns if you're a normal sized person ...
    #73
  14. Navin

    Navin Long timer

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    The riding position is quite standard and there will be exceptions in power to weight, but the new Honda 500 at 47 HP isn't one of them. Kinda non issue for anyone really, especially a first time rider, the 300 gets to 87 MPH in 4th gear quite respectfully. I've owned up to 150 HP bikes, and just dumped my 95 HP one, because you can't wring them out anywhere. My point was the 300 has graduated from "scootery" levels of power to "real" motorcycle levels.

    Point out another bike that feels as light on its feet, besides the Ninja 250 or CBR250 that will hit 100 MPH and carry 2 up. My Burg 570 in sumoto trim won't carry a passenger across the state comfortably. :lol3
    #74
  15. cug

    cug --

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    Okay, let's calculate that again:

    CBR500R: 192kg, 47HP: 4.09kg/HP
    Ninja 300: 174kg, 39HP: 4.46kg/HP

    What did you want to say?

    And for me, the weight of a Gladius or SV650 doesn't feel much different from the Ninja 300. That thing has become a heavy fat ass for what it is compared to older 250cc models (before the redesign of the Ninja 250).
    #75
  16. Navin

    Navin Long timer

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    Your right, it sucks. :rofl

    If you can't appreciate the light transition "flickability" and that the HP is the least impressive factor of the engine output, well, have you ridden one? It is a midrange engine. Yeah, shouldn't be but it is. Mine is knocking on 42 RWHP these days so I forget how weak it was stock. :1drink

    I take it back, OP, don't even consider a Ninja 300. Horrible choice for anyone, whether you are a new rider or well seasoned vet. Don't settle for less than 72 HP and 420 lbs. You can't survive without it. :lol3
    #76
  17. cug

    cug --

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    I have ridden one and it was a lot of fun. Although not even close to the WR250X I had at the time which was much more practical for me: nice open seating position, nearly the same power, two sets of wheels (street and dirt), excellent suspension.

    Downside: it's high. And expensive. I paid about the same as for a new Ninja 300, but the WR was a year old and had 700 miles on it.

    From my perspective the Ninja 300 is a great back road screamer, lots of fun with the light weight and an engine you can rev and wring. But I wouldn't want to do any touring on it. The leg position for me is super uncomfortable (34" inseam), lean forward isn't too bad, still too much plastic for a beginner bike in my opinion, but okay, if it's cheap enough.

    I'd always prefer a 500 to 600cc twin over a 250cc for anything that has to do with more relaxed riding or anything that includes longer distance. Not that it can't be done of course, I just plain wouldn't want to. It comes down that not everything that's possible is also a good idea.

    Sure, everybody is different, so the Ninjette might be a good option, if you fit, and if it fits your riding profile and what you expect from a bike.

    I would just not try to argue for one with power-to-weight ratio or sport touring comfort ...
    #77
  18. Navin

    Navin Long timer

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    I'm a huge SM fan, one is always in the garage. Great bikes for their specific task.

    The 300 stock is geared way too short and the power falls flat at around 10,500. Geared +1 CS it isn't tall, just normal. For long distance it can easily pull more gear, and a tune puts the power out right to the soft limiter at 12,500. Then it is a screamer. As delivered it never needs to clear about 8k for keeping way ahead of normal traffic.

    The new engine, IMO, puts it right in the park where the old Ninja 500 was, but it has a wider gear spread by my estimates as I had to drop the EX500 gearing to be acceptable in the role of commuter/back roader/touring bike.

    We had a WRR in the fleet for a year, my 300 would walk it stock and I'm just bumping into the MSRP of a WRR with my many additions. Nice bike but for sport touring?

    Comparing new/used is a lost cause. I wanted a sporty bike, as light feeling as possible, to carry 2 up and luggage. I could have a SV650, but it feels like a tank compared to the 300. I just rode my buddies last week. For a first bike, get the 300 over the 250. It has every feature of the 250 to make it a good first bike + much more useable torque. If it bores you, sell it of make it better. It responds extremely well to simple mods.
    #78
  19. single

    single Been here awhile

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    I would say a Ninja 300 is a terrible choice for a first bike for the same reason a CBR500 would be: way too expensive, no used examples, and you will lose thousands if it turns out to not be the bike that works for you. Being brand new and in demand, dealers will be less willing to waive fees, you'll probably be paying close to full MSRP, and will suffer the full force of depreciation that both things entail. Won't be as much as a CBR500, but it will be damn close.

    If you absolutely must get a brand spankin' new bike with 0 miles on the ODO, go for a left over Ninja 250 or CBR250R. Dealers are more willing to waive the standard fees for left overs, and they can go for thousands under MSRP. If you stay under 4 grand out the door including tax, you can limit your loses to probably about 1000$ or so dollars if/when you decide to change bikes (as opposed to 0$ with just buying a cheap used 250 in the first place).
    #79
  20. Navin

    Navin Long timer

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    My kid has a Ninja 250 in the garage too. If you want to keep it more than a year, go for the 300 unless you really want a 23-27 RWHP and the endless shifting, downshifting and near zero torque. That was my point about the 300, you can lug it and roll on the throttle and it actually accelerates. The 250s need to be in exactly the right gear all the time. You can ride the 300 like a "normal" street bike.

    2 up is torture, as is long up hills. No so with the 300.
    #80