New Rider - Need Bike Guidance/Suggestions/Heckling

Discussion in 'The Perfect Line and Other Riding Myths' started by Weeirish, May 15, 2018.

  1. Bindlestiff

    Bindlestiff Been here awhile

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    I would definitely agree with not spending $7k on your first bike. I'd probably at the most spend like half of that and keep the rest to replace mirrors and plastic and such. You should also definitely hold back a chunk to buy gear.

    I am also about 6' 2" and my first "real" bike was a KLR. Even with my longish legs, it was a tall top-heavy bike and I dropped it an awful lot the first year or so I owned it, which I think contributed to it being not particularly reliable for the next couple of years I rode it. If I had to do it again, I wish I'd started on some sort of 250 dual sport. They're great "learner bikes" but unlike most learner bikes where you want to get rid of them as soon as you build up some basic street skills, you'll never not want to have a small dual sport around for messing around in the woods. (I would definitely lean towards a modern 250 like the CRF250L that actually does have enough power for confident street riding-- that'll probably push your budget up a little more than $1200, but should keep you way under $7k)

    Also with the NC700X mentioned above: my local Honda shop also had a couple of 2014's they just couldn't get rid of, which the dealer said was because nobody who compared the NC700X and the CB500X picked the 700. The 500 is lighter and makes basically the same power. The 500 would probably be a good all arounder starter bike.
    #21
  2. CDRW

    CDRW Been here awhile

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    I'd recommend just getting an old cheap bike that you don't mind thrashing. I did the kind of riding you described in the OP on a 1988 ninja and never had any problems keeping up with the KLRs. I'm pretty sure I was having more fun than them too.
    #22
  3. High Country Herb

    High Country Herb Adventure Connoiseur

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    I agree with Schmokel about not spending $7K on your first bike. You aren't yet sure if you want a dirt worthy street bike, or a tough dual sport for trails.

    My wife has a Suzuki DR350SE, which has electric start. They also made them with kick start. These bikes can be had for about $1500. They have a top speed of about 70 mph with someone your size riding it. It is a fairly tall dual sport, so should fit you fine. My wife got a complete rear cargo rack from MMoto in Ukraine that can hold anything you want. She has Pelican case panniers.

    If you want something a bit more powerful that will last a few more years into your riding career, you might also consider a Honda XRL650. They are taller than the DR650, but not as bulky as a Kawasaki KLR650 (both good choices too, by the way).

    You will not be happy on a Suzuki SV650. Those are cafe racer style, and my knees are all cramped up on them, and I'm only 5'10". Maybe you meant the Suzuki DL650 (aka V-Strom 650). That would be a pretty good choice for a dirt capable street bike.
    #23
  4. CaseyJones

    CaseyJones Ridin' that train

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    Use it and toss it.

    Either a UJM (standard riding position) or dual-sport would be great as a first bike; but I'd stay away from the Mini-Me cruiser 250s like the Rebel or the Virago 250 (which is well-done but laid out for a small Japanese physique). Buy cheap; battered is better. You are going to make mistakes; and a low-price, battered machine makes it easy to laugh it off.

    Then you can move on to something more to your liking. Hope you find it faster than some of us; flailing around with different bikes, can cost.

    Took me many purchases to realize I'm happiest on a 650 "Adventure" machine. Good riding position; okay on rougher riding surfaces. I had bigger-displacement bikes, but I found the drawbacks, weight and fuel use, outweighed the available power which I seldom used anyway.
    #24
  5. Baconologist

    Baconologist Been here awhile

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    Versys
    DR650
    KLR
    CB500x

    Any of the above used and prescratch is your best bet.
    #25
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  6. emmed1

    emmed1 Adventurer

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    DRZ400s
    #26
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  7. CaptCapsize

    CaptCapsize Been here awhile

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    I am 6'1" and started with a used KLX250. at my altitude of 5,000 ft + it really would not go much over 65mph. I rode it for two years then upgraded to a DRZ400. I sold the KLX for a little more than I paid for it, after 13,000 miles.
    The small dual sports are good for a tall guy to ride. You can flat foot the bike. The are easy to pick up and you don't mind dropping it occasionally. A used 250 will get you the experience to upgrade to a bigger or better bike later. Basically my only cost for the first two years was a few farkles, gas, oil and tires.
    #27
  8. TS888

    TS888 Deer dodger

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    I have no advice, but I couldn't pass on an invitation to heckle.

    :ken:finger:spam:up:topes:flip

    Welcome to ADV and riding!

    PS: A $7K budget would have left me $3k to buy a DRZ400 after I bought my GS...
    #28
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  9. TS888

    TS888 Deer dodger

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    Eh, 2103 MY is an "older bike?"

    The Vincent Motorcycle Company went out of business in 1955. A Vincent is an "older bike." Nothing built in the 21st century is an "older bike." OK, except Harleys, but they're still perfecting them. Give 'em another couple decades, they're getting close!

    I lied, I do have advice. Limit the bike budget to $3,000, that is well enough to put you on a very good dual sport. Resist the farkle fairy. Scour the Flea Market here for a good jacket, pants and boots. You can be dressed in armor fit for a king for under $700. Do likewise to get good bags and tools, you should be able to score those for under $500. They will serve you through multiple bikes.

    Then go ride your ass off. Get dirty. Try things that scare you. Wear out a couple back tires in a season. Crash a lot, so you learn not to crash a lot. Break shit and learn to fix it, so you create the freedom to ride where you want.

    And most importantly, ignore advice. You are the architect of your happiness.
    #29
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  10. t-dub

    t-dub Been here awhile

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    If more than 60% pavement, take a look at the V-Strom 650. You can get some nicely set up ones for under 4k. It will be much more comfortable on the pavement than a single. You can take the remaining budget and get a proper dirt/trials bike to work on skills offroad.
    #30
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  11. Weeirish

    Weeirish Adventurer

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    Thanks all for your input, I am getting a pretty good feel for what type of bike to look for now. Linked in with the experience with the bike for sure helps a lot.
    I would be looking at maintained service roads for getting my feet wet (literally) when I get out fishing. Nothing super horrible, maybe some bigger rocks/gravel.
    Completely in agreement for getting a lower end/used bike that I might beat up on and wont feel like total crap for dropping.
    Part of the magic of off roading I feel like for me is having a good time and not worrying about scratching up the bike.

    I see where the DRZ400's and KLR's would appeal. The bike style isn't what I am looking for though, I do appreciate the suggestion however!

    The V-Strom 650 looks like about what I want and all I hopefully would need. Any specific year that's better than others?
    Im just keeping an eye out for a good deal in my area. People talk about these crazy low prices they get bikes at but I haven't found that bike that catches my eye yet. Anything newer than 2010 is 4-5k+ near me.

    Is ABS worth keeping an eye out for or is it kind of a waste of time? Im sure that's a hot button for a topic.
    #31
  12. shinyribs

    shinyribs doesn't care

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    Loved my KLR 650, but it's a bit heavy for a beginner offroad. You could become discouraged really quickly.

    I'd say the NC700 is a great start. If you don't mind giving up a little highway comfort and want better dirt legs, DRZ 400.
    #32
  13. Bindlestiff

    Bindlestiff Been here awhile

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    ABS would be very nice to have as a new rider in a city where you're going to see a lot of traffic and slick pavement. I wouldn't say it's necessarily a must-have if you're mostly going to be a fairweather rider escaping the city as fast as you can, but definitely if you can find a bike that checks all the other boxes and has ABS go for it.
    #33
  14. t-dub

    t-dub Been here awhile

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    I think the ABS would be worth it if you wanted newer than 2010 as the 2011 model had this as an option for the extra safety it can provide. The engines are bulletproof, so if you find an older one that has been taken care of and well farkled, that may be a good option as it will be less painful in adding any new scratches. You can search for DL650 through the years on Google and get an idea of the model year specs.
    #34
  15. Jim Moore

    Jim Moore The Real Deal

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    Here's a tip. Don't spend the whole summer looking for a great deal. You have money? Go buy a bike. Today.
    #35
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  16. exmagnarider

    exmagnarider Adventurer

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    I'd say the 650 Strom would be a great choice to start out, maybe consider a Kawasaki Versys too, they're pretty comparable and would be one more thing to consider to get the best deal. Don't be afraid of an older one as they're pretty darn bullet proof, that'll leave you plenty for a nice gear budget and whatever is left can get you started on a fund for your next bike or a second one. I find that lots of people want to change bikes after a season or two after they put some miles under their belt, either because they want something more (read newer, better, faster, etc.) or just something different. Maybe after riding a bit you'll decide you want something like a DR650 or KLR 650 for offroad work and something more street oriented for the road. Stranger things have happened. Not to mention it's always a good idea to go cheap on your first bike since it'll probably get dropped. Keep us posted on what you get!
    #36
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  17. Bucho

    Bucho DAMNrider

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    I wouldnt overthink this TOO much. You might be best just looking for the best deal on a cheaper (but reliable) bike. Dont worry as much whether its a more street oriented adventure bike or a smaller dualsport.

    You really wont know what you want till you start riding. Pretty much whatever you buy, you will have a great time with. Yes, you have ideas in your head but its not till you actually start doing them you find out what works for you.

    I used to love the “idea” of dualsport/adventure riding. Loading up my bike with camping gear and heading out for grand adventure. Ive found out that most of the time I much prefer a smaller, very offroad capable bike. My main bike is a barely street legal 2T. Its amazing for offroad but sucks for carrying much gear. But thats okay, I prefer to haul the bike in my van and do day trips w/ the van as my home base.
    Some people will think that is totally lame and thats okay.

    Just get a bike and start riding, gets lots of seat time. Figure out what you want/like to do. If you want to sell your bike six months or a year from now, no big deal. You didnt pay much for it. Chances are you wont lose much selling it.
    Go buy something that you feel fits you better. Get lots of seat time and evaluate.


    You will find lots of guys (and gals) have more than one bike.
    #37
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  18. High Country Herb

    High Country Herb Adventure Connoiseur

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    ABS wouldn't be a bad thing up north, with your constantly wet streets. I wouldn't let it limit your purchase though. Just practice panic braking, and when you have an emergency stop your muscle memory will know what to do.

    If possible, get a bike with bags included. The darn things cost a fortune if you can't find a used set. Here are some good leads.


    Here's a V-Strom
    https://seattle.craigslist.org/kit/mcy/d/2005-suzuki-vstrom-650-dl650/6590692446.html

    Oooh, another nice V-Strom for a little more money
    https://seattle.craigslist.org/est/mcy/d/2009-suzuki-strom-650/6584104314.html

    Another Versys with less miles but no bags. It's got a rear rack, though
    https://seattle.craigslist.org/see/mcy/d/2011-kawasaki-versysobo/6590102610.html

    Along the lines of a V-Stom, check out this Kawasaki on the Seattle Craigslist. The Versys has a pretty big following for your type of riding.
    https://seattle.craigslist.org/sno/mcy/d/2009-kawasaki-versys-650/6576058639.html

    There are a bunch in your price range on Seattle Craigslist. I just searched the motorcycle section for "650".
    https://seattle.craigslist.org/search/mca?query=650
    #38
  19. PaulTim2000

    PaulTim2000 Been here awhile

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    80% Road, 70mph+ forget the pure dirt bike or DR/KLR, real pain for longer highway trips. VStrom 650, Versys type of bike ideal for town and gentle off road, big enough to carry luggage, handle well enough for twisty roads. Been around for a few years so available and good spares backup for when (not if) you drop it.
    #39
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  20. kenny robert

    kenny robert Long timer

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    get a very good used 250 dualsport for your first season
    do not skimp on tires right now when learning if you go in the dirt and on trails do mit with fresher knobs
    rounded knobs are ok if skidding around a dirt circle tho but can hurt you off road
    the very best self training and skill learning you can possibly now early on is skidding around in the dirt.just like the motogp champions do
    you cannot learn the best kind of riding skills on a big street bike. period
    many of us,when young-uns, rode or raced dirtbikes it gives huge advantage over a street never dirt rider
    the bigger the bike the tougher it will be to learn skills
    a 250 drz or kawi
    they are still a full sized bike ,do lots of off the seat riding
    with 7000 to spend you can afford to shop around for that really fitting machine but it is 2 early to really setlle on it
    it is astounding the morons these days who would put a beginner on a 750
    fer fs right now you need skills and to learn suspension set up ,how to tune tire air for terrain etc
    with a 250 you will learn to be more comfortable more quickly with stirring up the gearbox amnd using lots of throttle ....
    and of course
    elbows down bad .....elbows up ! good ! look at these guys entering the turn that outside elbow hiked up in the air is absolutely the number one key to front end feel and control
    #40