Help me buy my first bike

Discussion in 'Road Warriors' started by the_jest, Dec 18, 2012.

  1. JustKip

    JustKip Long timer

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    No, he isn't...


    But unlliike me, and the detracters of the Bonneville and it's variants, he IS a perfect candidate for a Bonnie. They can be found used and in great condition for $4500-$5500 all day. I think the Guzzi is a little "classier", and it costs more and is harder to find.
    #21
  2. 0ldhippie

    0ldhippie Been here awhile

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    The guzzzy is underpowered and bonnie and is heavy and underpowered IMHO. I would cross the Bonnie off the list and add the street triple. There is also the Aprilia Shiver 750 but I think the monsters are great choices as is the F800r.
    #22
  3. Tim_Tom

    Tim_Tom Been here awhile

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    I would not be so quick to write off all of the Japanese bikes. There is a reason there are so many Japanese bikes here. They are good. And more reliable than the Euro brands. While they may not possess the same chic coolness as a Euro bike, you won't have to take it to the shop because its broken once a month.

    If you are truly concerned about not looking like a doofus of any kind I suggest the Suzuki SV660. The naked model not the faired S. They are completely invisible and you will not be seen as a doofus at all. In fact you will only be seen when you blow past your big GS riding friends on the twisty bits. They are great handling bikes, that aren't fancy and expensive. I suggest spending a season or two on an inexpensive but GOOD bike (unlike your virago 250) before you dive into something completely new and expensive. The SV is a great educational tool as it's simple around town, but has a great motor and you can really learn how to ride well on it. It is favored by new riders and experienced ones, which speaks volumes about the bikes versatility. Plus they sound awesome.

    Pick up a used SV for 2-3 grand and learn with it. No sense if spending 8-10K for a brand new bike that you will inevitably drop at some point. It happens to everyone, and anyone who says they have never dropped a bike is lying, or not riding enough.

    PS: I test rode the F800R and hated it. Felt cheap and the plastic parts almost vibrated off during the demo ride. If you look in the "What bikes weren't as good as you expected" thread the F800 has a whole bunch of nominations...
    #23
  4. High Country Herb

    High Country Herb Adventure Connoiseur

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    I agree about the Guzzi horsepower. Those that say it is under powered likely are comparing it to a 1000 cc sport bike or something, and are disappointed that it wont do power wheelies at 150 mph.

    A Monster would be a fun bike, but the Ducati requires quite frequent maintenance. I love the Street Triple, but that's a big jump from the 250.

    I love my Aprilia Dorsoduro 750, which is almost the same bike as the Aprilia Shiver. The Apes don't have a very long range fuel tank (~120 miles), but maybe that isn't a problem for you. Maintenance intervals are longer than Ducati, yet they have torquey Italian v-twin motors :ear. What would make them nice for a first full size bike, though, is the adjustable throttle mapping. With the push of a button, you can dial back the power to "Rain" mode. I use "Tour" mode, and "Sport" mode makes it a twitchy race bike.

    Definitely go to an international bike show. You will quickly figure out what is comfortable and looks good, while also getting the chance to see bikes you wouldn't necessarily find in showrooms. You've got one coming up in late January:

    http://www.motorcycleshows.com/new-york
    #24
  5. GSAragazzi

    GSAragazzi Long timer

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    I agree with the beauty of the Guzzi but what about an Aprilia?
    A Tuono to be specific. First and 2nd Gens are very affordable and the Rotax engine is amazing. Great sound, power and ease of use. The torque is smooth and forgiving. As far as geometry and ride I think its very well designed plus its very comfortable. Components are high quality like Brembo brakes and Ohlins suspension. Years ago it was hard to own an Aprilia bc parts were hard to get but AF1Racing dot com has changed that, plus there is a new network of dealerhips. I owned a RSV Mille for 32K miles (same engine etc just add fairings and clip ons). Great bike, I regret selling it :deal
    So, not only its a high quality high value bike, its great for weekend get aways and -if you ever interested- FANTASTIC track bike.

    Second Gen
    [​IMG]

    First Gen:
    [​IMG]

    If you go this route check AF1 racing list of mods for the Tuono. Most cost nothing like de restricting etc. Others involve correct sprocket sizes for your style of riding. And yes, there are many farkles for it. :wink:
    #25
  6. Tim_Tom

    Tim_Tom Been here awhile

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    A Tuono would be a whole lot of bike for someone with only a few months of riding!! No doubt that it is a nice enough bike, but for a NEW RIDER?! I don't think its a smart idea.

    He has the right idea already of getting a bike in the 600-800cc range. Anything smaller is not enough, and anything bigger is too much.
    #26
  7. Navin

    Navin Long timer

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    Can't agree there. I've spent time on everything from 155 HP to 7 HP. The least amount I want is around 40. My Ninja 300 had 39 crank HP stock. It'll end up around 43. Stock it has more than enough to be ridden quickly at any speed up to the upper 80 MPH range.

    Gearing and weight along with torque curve play a greater role than displacement.
    #27
  8. the_jest

    the_jest Adventurer

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    Thanks to everyone for a lot of extremely helpful comments. I had glanced at the Street Triple but for some reason didn't pay much attention to it--perhaps I mentally associated Triumph only with the vintage-style bikes and thus rejected the others--but I'll add this to my list. Everyone seems to like this machine a hell of a lot.

    I don't think I have an "aversion" to it, I think I said some pretty nice things about it! But it's not really the bike for me; I'm not that big a guy (5'11") but it's still uncomfortably small, and I'm not that keen on cruisers.

    The Tuono seems like rather too much bike for me right now, and more than I really need to spend. (Regarding pricing--I'm not rich but I am committing to getting myself a bike, so my priority is more to get the bike that I truly want to ride, rather than getting a good used affordable bike that, for whatever reason (and some of these reasons may well be superficial ones) I won't be really psyched about.)

    I'll definitely try to test a Bonnie to see what it's like. And thanks for the motorcycle-show suggestion--the NYC show is next month, so I think I can last that long in order to look at a bunch of things in person.
    #28
  9. GSAragazzi

    GSAragazzi Long timer

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    I hear you, but this is my reasoning behind it. i am only talking about my personal experience and have no idea what kind of person the OP is.
    The Tuono's engine is a very lazy and comfortable engine with tons of torque. It doesnt need to be rev'd up like a Hoover vacuum to move the bike. Only after 5.5K rpm the "real" power kick in. Yet you can cruise at 80mph at about 4.5k rpm.
    The bike is not a featherweight weight wise but its incredibly balanced and low. So the key here is on your right fist. Feed as much as you KNOW you can handle.
    Why would I get a bike a bit beyond my skill? BC I dont want to sell a bike 6 month down the road bc of boredom. Your recommendation on CCs is spot on though. I just like Aprilias and thought to plug them.
    BTW I rather have more power than less. I own a 350 bored to 385 and its NOT fun on the streets around cars. Why? Bc it lacks the power to get me out of danger.
    Anyway, point taken.
    #29
  10. Tim_Tom

    Tim_Tom Been here awhile

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    A new rider will LIKELY not have the skill required to deal with the full grunt of a bike. In my mind you should be comfortable on your bike everywhere, not just when using half the RPM range.

    If you are determined to get a Euro bike, I actually think the Street Triple would be a very good choice. It looks fantastic, has some real power, but like the Aprilia mentioned above, it only offers as much as you give it. A friend of mine bought one last season and he loves it. Although it did have to go to the shop to replace a broken radiator (covered under warranty). It offers a great combination of being easy to ride, yet entertaining to experienced riders. It is a bike you can grow on, and as you become a better rider, it's limits will expand too.

    I don't see how ANYONE could be bored of it in 6 months. For that matter many riders I know decide they need a bigger / better bike well before they have even touched the limits of what their current bike is capable of. That I think is a fault of the riders, not the bikes.

    PS Navin, I agree with you 40hp is about the minimum I could live with. But 70 would be way better. :evil
    #30
  11. JerryH

    JerryH Banned

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    Sorry I missed what you said about not liking cruisers. In that case I would suggest a Suzuki DR650 or Kawasaki KLR650, both of which can be gotten cheap used, and aren't really all that expensive new. The new KLR650 is a lot like the R1200GS, only 1/3 the price. The only other bike I can think of is the Bonneville. It is currently the only full sized standard style bike sold in the U.S. It's a bit on the expensive side, but well worth it if you really like it, and keep it for a while. Unless you really like pain, I would definitely avoid sport bikes. Even quasi sport bikes, Like the 599, 919, FZ1, FZ6, EX500, GS500, Ninja 650, etc. can be very painful on long rides. I would also try to stay away from exotic brands, due to parts and service issues. The Bonneville should be ok in that regard.
    #31
  12. Navin

    Navin Long timer

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    I traded "down" from about 100 HP for a lighter feeling bike, and the Ninjettes have that. The 300 has enough boost to not strain at any pace on the street under 90 MPH. I misread the naked preference the OP listed originally or I'd not have mentioned it at all.


    As to riders getting bored with 40-60 HP bikes, they aren't learning to really ride them. Twisting the grip to burp down a straight isn't "advanced", corner speed and braking are. HP has nothing to do with it. Anything will be a massive upgrade over a 250cc cruiser. I'm a aggressive street rider/ A level off road racer and the 300 is my choice for sport street riding cause they don't build a true ultra light sportbike that can get near my Husaberg sumoto.

    For the OP, I'd be looking at the Kawasaki 650 twin series, ER6-n specifically. Light feeling, naked and its 60ish HP is plenty to get you in trouble. Decent brakes stock, suspension isn't great but can get better, cheap to buy used, cheap to own and a good rider on one can keep up with anyone at street sport speeds. Not Euro but guess what? The Euro riders love them! :lol3
    #32
  13. JustKip

    JustKip Long timer

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    There are those who say the Bonneville is "underpowered", and compared to more performance oriented bikes that may well be true. Pretty much any dedicated sport bike or 600 cc or better will outperform a Bonnie.

    BUT, there's certianally enough power to have fun.

    They don't get rolling till almost the 2 min mark...

    <iframe width="560" height="315" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/etnGo6OOiGs" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>

    Untill you're riding better than this, any more than 60 hp is completely wasted.

    Slow by supersport standars? Of course, but why not a more fair and realistic comparison. The peak power output is between a Sportster 883 and 1200, closer to the 1200. It has twice the power band (rev range) of most V-twin cruisers (including Sporties) and will easily keep up with most cruisers in a drag race. When you get to where the road bends it leaves cruisers for dead. Supersport? No, and it don't pretend to be. Fun bike? Fuck Yes!
    #33
  14. radianrider

    radianrider Adventurer wanna'be

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    Hmmmm...You ought to consider that this is not likely to be your last bike. Your initial thinking makes a LOT of sense. Keep the power manageable and learn to ride a decent-sized bike. Then move up to what these guys are pushing with the next one. You'll have more fun and enjoy the experience a lot more. More fun to ride a slow bike fast than a fast bike slow.

    Speed Triple? Seriously, guys? He is still at the stage where he is walking his bike across the street to a different parking space. The Triple is, by all accounts, a very hot machine capable of lifting the front wheel at nearly any point.

    The Bonnie is a great machine capable of about anything he'll want to do for years. To the OP, how is riding one of the iconic bikes of all time going to make you look like a doofus? Just leave the do-rag at home with the chaps and you'll be fine.:D
    #34
  15. JerryH

    JerryH Banned

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    If your friends mostly ride R1200GSs, I would also consider the Suzuki DL650 and the Kawasaki Versys. Or maybe one of the BMW 650s. I would avoid the Ninja 650 or ER-6N. They are not comfortable bikes, and if you get something uncomfortable, it might turn you off to riding in general, or at the least cost you a lot of money when you have to sell it to get something more comfortable. They may feel fairly comfortable just sitting on them, but after riding 100 miles, and your shoulders, neck, and knees are killing you, you will be wishing for something more comfortable. The reason I first mentioned cruisers before I noticed you didn't want one, is because they are the most comfortable street bikes out there, with the exception of pure touring bikes (my guess is that over 70% of my 500,000 plus miles on motorcycles have been on cruisers) I currently have a Vulcan 750 cruiser and a Goldwing. While they are bigger than you are looking for, bikes like the Concours, ST1300, and FJR1300 are also uncomfortable on long rides. Also keep in mind that bikes like Ducati, Aprilia, and Moto Guzzi are going to cost a lot more for service and parts.
    #35
  16. Tim_Tom

    Tim_Tom Been here awhile

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    JerryH, different bikes are comfortable for different people. While you may think the Ninja 650 is uncomfortable, someone may find it fits them like a glove. Also I'm not sure where your fascination with long range comfort come from, as in his initial posts he mentions rides 50-100 miles. Shorter range joy rides, not going cross country quite yet.

    Also I think some of you have confused the 1050cc SPEED triple with the 675cc STREET triple. The Street triple is a great bike for a new rider. Tame when you want it to be, fast when you need it to be. Very versatile and comfortable for the right type of rider.

    Also have a look at the Aprila Shiver 750. It has all the Euro cooless with honda-esque reliability. Another great and versatile motorcycle.
    #36
  17. Navin

    Navin Long timer

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    I'd pick a standard anything over a cruiser anything every single time for every single ride. Long, short. Wouldn't matter.
    #37
  18. JustKip

    JustKip Long timer

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    +1
    I find some cruisers uncomfortable, particularly the forward control ones.
    #38
  19. the_jest

    the_jest Adventurer

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    Just following up a bit here. I made it to my local Triumph/Ducati dealer and spent a bit of time talking to a few salesmen and straddling a few bikes. It was extremely interesting and I learned a lot, but it was not that helpful in the sense that there was no "A ha!" moment. I didn't take a test ride on anything. Oh, and Rudy Giuliani was there in the store with some friends looking at Ducatis.

    I really, really love the way the Bonnies look. Worse, they had one there in an unusual color scheme that exactly matches my (unusual) personal favorite, so of course I found it stunning and felt like it had been made just for me, which (ahem) colored my reaction to the bike as a whole. The bike did feel larger than I expected, but not unhandleably so. I liked the Thruxtons but I'd probably rather get a stock Bonnie and make some mods in the Thruxton direction, rather than getting an actual Thruxton. (In particular, I liked the Thruxton handlebars, and the bar-end mirrors, and the presence of a tach; I didn't like the footpeg position.)

    I liked the Street Triple quite a bit; it felt light and comfortable. But it is, of course, a totally different machine. On the whole I vastly prefer the Bonnie looks, but as sporty bikes go, the ST is pretty great. The salesmen (one of whom rides a Bonnie) just raved about it. I've read more reviews and it's kind of amazing how much everyone loves this one.

    For some reason I didn't feel that comfortable on the Ducati Monster, even though I like it visually.

    I don't think there's any way I can determine that one or the other is "better" for me--they're for different purposes. I could imagine being happy with either one. I could also imagine second-guessing myself with either one.

    FWIW my GF prefers bikes that look like bikes, and thus doesn't like the ST, but says, "This is for you, get whatever you want." But she'd be happier on the back of a Bonnie.
    #39
  20. JustKip

    JustKip Long timer

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    I'm a big fan of Triumph's triples, but your girl seems to be an important factor in this equation. Her comfort on the back will be important to both of you. Have a look at the pillion position in these two pix and think of where she would rather be, and where you would rather have her.
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    The Street Trip is a fun bike to ride solo in the twisties. For an experienced sport bike rider I would say much more fun. but for an urban setting, and with a passenger, and an inexperienced rider...you're just going to enjoy the Bonnie so much more. It produces quite a bit more torque at lower rpm, so it's easier to pull away from stops, especially with a passenger, and/or on a hill.

    As for the Thruxton's bars and foot control position, they work well together for a sportier ride. The regular Bonnie position will be better for 2-up (and riding in the city for most peeps). Ride it the way it comes for a few months before switching anything
    #40