How to buy without a remorse and without a test ride?

Discussion in 'Road Warriors' started by domingo3, Dec 11, 2013.

  1. domingo3

    domingo3 Been here awhile

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    Hi,

    My Honda 919 just got totaled when an oncoming cager turned left immediately in front of me as I was going straight through a green light. :( Fortunately, I walked away with only bruises.
    I really liked the 919, and was hoping to hold on to it for 10 years or so. I'm not terrible demanding, and it was a great all-rounder.
    The 919 didn't have too much power for me to handle, but I rarely used most of it, except for maybe being lazy and not downshifting to accelerate and pass someone. Since I'm forced onto the market, I was thinking about getting a slightly smaller bike, but I don't want to go too small and be disappointed. 919s are somewhat hard to find, and the CB1000R is a step higher in power and weight that I don't need. Same for FZ09, Z1000. I like the street triple, but it's also expensive.
    Two that I was thinking about were SV650 or the CB500F. I suspect the SV650 would be adequate. CB500F has a good bit less HP and torque, but I don't really know what it feels like to ride the different bikes.
    I don't have many friends that ride, so borrowing someone else's bike isn't really an option. I also don't like the idea of test riding a bike off craigslist if I'm not serious about buying the bike - feel it's rude to waste someone else's time like that.

    I'd appreciate any ideas about how to make a wise decision about this.

    Thanks
    #1
  2. windypoint

    windypoint Been here awhile

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    You may have some local riders that could let you try their bikes. Post where you are located.
    #2
  3. Navin

    Navin Long timer

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    You'll be surprised how little you actually need.

    What altitude, speeds and loads do you usually ride at?
    #3
  4. TrashCan

    TrashCan Scary Jerry

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    I have a SV 650 and have ridden my buddy's 919.

    I wouldn't swap dead even, the SV is lighter and smoother to me.

    I went down on mine in January this year. I liked the bike enough that I replaced all of the body work and kept the bike.
    #4
  5. domingo3

    domingo3 Been here awhile

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    I'm in the SF East Bay. I don't ride for sport, but as a more fun way to get around. I don't "need" more than a 250 cc bike, but would prefer not to feel like I'm on an appliance. The line for everyone is personal, I know.

    I ride local, close to sea level, mostly 1up with a small backpack, with the flow of traffic - nothing extreme, but want to be capable on the highway.

    If I'm reading specs correctly, the new SFV650 is much heavier than previous.
    #5
  6. TiPirate

    TiPirate Adventurer

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    Sounds like GS500 work to me. 375Lb (dry), 50-ish HP and 55mpg.

    [​IMG]
    #6
  7. bogey78

    bogey78 Been here awhile

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    Based on what you've written here is a good list of bikes to look at: SV650, Weestrom, CB500 in various forms, FZ6, Ninja 650, Versys, etc.

    Find out which ones you like the looks of and eliminate the rest. For me anyway, if I don't like the looks of the bike I don't buy it. Then start looking for the best deal. Find a good deal and jump on it quick. That way, if you find you don't like it you can always resell it and buy something else.

    Unless you are really tall, really short, really heavy, or really picky, any and all of these bikes will be fun to ride and fairly maintenance free.

    BTW, congrats on surviving a left turning oblivious driver!
    #7
  8. Navin

    Navin Long timer

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    At the bottom end, the first bike on the ladder that doesn't have to be ridden like a 250 is the Ninja 300. Roughly as capable motor wise as the old Ninja 500/GS500 bikes. Weighs 379 or so. Hits 90 in pretty quick fashion, cruise at a true GPS 85.

    It gets 63 MPG under me with taller than stock gearing, a tune, full exhaust and pod filters when flogged. I'm at about 40 RWHP on it. The F.I. has brought the baby Ninja out of the dark ages. I can't imagine how good the old Ninja 500 would have been with the same upgrades.

    It is far from perfect, and needs some stuff right out of the box. If wheelies between corners isn't on your list of must haves, it pretty much does everything else like anything else. You don't have to scream it to go quickly. 4k RPM has plenty of thrust to move it smartly along.
    #8
  9. Navin

    Navin Long timer

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    [​IMG]
    #9
  10. Speedo66

    Speedo66 Transient

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    Hard to beat an SV650 for handling and just being a great all around bike. I mistakenly bought an SV1000 when they came out, loved the power, but in every other aspect, I missed the 650. I sold the 650 to my son, so I could ride it and lament on a regular basis. :cry

    If it's got one drawback, it would be the seat, not the most comfortable for extended riding. For under $200, everyone raves about Seat Concepts, so maybe the SV with their seat.
    #10
  11. westgl

    westgl Adventurer

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    Do NOT buy a bike without a test ride first.

    Better yet rent the bike that you are thinking about.

    Test ride one on Craigslist

    Or you'll be sorry
    #11
  12. rodhersh

    rodhersh Adventurer

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    Agreed, why would you buy anything without test riding it?
    #12
  13. JerryH

    JerryH Banned

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    What about the Ninja 650?
    #13
  14. DC2wheels

    DC2wheels Castle Anthrax troll

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    I did.......only once. Big mistake.

    Had the bike for only one season- sold it at a loss.

    NEVER again.
    #14
  15. domingo3

    domingo3 Been here awhile

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    Almost all dealers I know of don't let people do test rides like car dealers do. I can kind of understand with the customers who refuse to buy a bike with 50 miles on the odometer and insist on a "new" one.

    I'm not going to jerk someone on Craigslist for a test ride when I'm not serious about buying the bike, and I would hope someone wouldn't do it it me. I just consider it rude.


    Who rents bikes like a SV650 or CB500F? (Seriously, this is not a rhetorical question.)



    Also, I want a "standard" bike. I expressly don't want fairings, and I want an upright seating position vice the forward seating of a sportbike - even if it's not a supersport.
    #15
  16. Navin

    Navin Long timer

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    Kawi ER6n is a honkin nice naked standard, but I guess you plan on a new bike? They stopped bringing that one here. My friend bought one with 125 miles on it for $4000. Light feeling bike, a hot rod compared to the Honda 500 from what I've read.

    One of the leftover Husqvarna-BMW 650s would be a great street bike. One has the cast wheels, Strada? IDK but there are threads on it here and deals to be had.

    http://advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=850525

    KTM Duke 690, it a hoot too. $8999. Naked and upright as they come.
    #16
  17. Crisis management

    Crisis management Latte riders FTW!

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    This is how I buy a bike:

    Drive myself nuts dreaming about the really expensive things I can't afford or even ride to their limits, eventually set a budget and find a short list of bikes I think would suit.

    Read every review I can of them specially "used" reviews and take what information I can from these.

    Locate and look at and sit on each of the bikes still on my list and decide which one I want to buy.
    # This is the really important step, I know when I see a bike in the flesh whether it really speaks to me and I know once I have sat on it whether or not it will be comfortable. All the review reading & info gathering has already told me whether the suspension will need overhauling, the bars changing or whatever.

    Once I know which one to buy I will test ride one to double check it is the right bike, this may be a final conditoin of purchase ie; I will buy this bike for $5,000 as long as I'm happy with the test ride.


    If you are not comfortable / skilled enough to decide on a bike by the research, look at and sit on method then you probably don't really know what you want and need to take a step back and spend hours tire kicking at bike shops as you work your way through it. Alternatively, if it's too hard to decide, pick a safe bet (Honda) buy one and enjoy riding it.


    I can guarantee that (with the exception of a few obvious dogs) any mid sized upright bike is capable of doing anything you want. The rest of it's simply finding what makes you smile.
    #17
  18. JerryH

    JerryH Banned

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    No fairing, standard riding position? What about the CB1100. It's downright gorgeous as well. It feels fairly small, and I'm sure it has a lot less power than the 919. The price is a bit high though. There is also the base model Bonneville for quite a bit less.
    #18
  19. foxtrapper

    foxtrapper Been here awhile

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    If you test rode one and found you really did like it, would you buy it? If yes,then you really are a real and serious prospective buyer, and you really are shopping for a bike.

    Sometimes it doesn't even take a test ride to know a particular model bike just isn't for you. Too tall/short/heavy/wide whatever.

    So go check out bikes you might be interested in. Allow for models you weren't thinking of. Sometimes, it leads to remarkable surprises. For example, I was hunting a klr until I sat on one. Then maybe a pacific coast, and again, no. And then I accidentally rode a big harley. Not at all what I was thinking of(I'd only walked in to check out a helmet), but that was the bike.

    Above all else, have fun shopping!
    #19
  20. Moronic

    Moronic Long timer

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    The thing is, a typical new-bike test ride, or even a test ride of someone's used bike that they are trying to sell - or for that matter, even a test ride where you rent the bike for the weekend - won't tell you all that much.

    Even if you like the bike during the test ride, you could buy it and be frustrated by something that wasn't obvious at first acquaintance.

    And just as likely, you could reject a bike because on the test ride it did something that you didn't want to hassle with fixing or thought couldn't be fixed. Whereas, if you had bought the bike, you might have fixed that irritating thing or got used to it, and then the bike would have been great.

    But I think your underlying question is about wanting to downsize without ending up on what you term an appliance.

    My suggestion for your usage profile would be to try out an air cooled Ducati, most obviously a Monster 796 but there are other options.

    [​IMG]

    Shouldn't be hard to find a dealer who would let you try out a couple.

    But then I am biased. Lots of people seem to like the SVs.
    #20