picking 1st bike for the girl

Discussion in 'The Perfect Line and Other Riding Myths' started by steveyak, Jan 6, 2013.

  1. Yamarocket630

    Yamarocket630 Honey Badger

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    My wife started on an EX500 and very quickly "outgrew" it. Power was not a problem, but the generally lousy suspension and wobbly handling didnt fly once she got comfortable riding. The bike was sprung for someone about 73lbs I think. We got her a FZ6R which she loves. Heck I like it a lot too...
    #21
  2. Little Bike

    Little Bike Air/Clutz Sue

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    I would first concentrate on a bike that is light and can be easily flat footed. I started on a Rebel (not suggesting one here), but those bikes take care of a few things that you have to pay more attention to on a taller, heavier bike. I just bought a Vstrom so now I really have to pay attention in slow maneuvers, coming to stops, stuff that I wouldn't want to worry about as much as a new rider. If the Rebel starts to go over it is very easy to push back up, the Vstrom not so much.

    After the rebel I bought a xt250, really fun on a twistie road. I've found it's the rebel version of a dual sport, except no freeways!

    I've never ridden a Ninja 250, but have heard a lot of good things.
    I'm sure she'll have a much better idea of what she wants after taking the MSF course. I pictured myself buying a Sportster until I took the course! Then I did a search on best first bikes on the net afterwards....:rofl:rofl:rofl:rofl
    Good luck in her search for her first, going to ride it for quite awhile, bike!
    #22
  3. BlueLghtning

    BlueLghtning Riding is my passion

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    Actually, I've owned both and am well aware they are 2 cylinder bikes. My 4 cylinder comment was meant towards the 600cc bikes. I put over 30k on an SV650S and my wife owned a Ninja 650R she put 18k on, so yes I've spent lots of time on both. I have also ridden the Street Triple. Fun bike also.

    Yes, the SV650 & Ninja 650 are relatively calm bikes when you compare them to SS600's or other similar sized 4 cylinder bikes, however, a newbie mistake of ham fisting the throttle on a 650 bike can still lead to bad things and let's face it, when you compare them to the Ninja 250/500, GS500, there's still a lot of potential to screw up on them. Can people start on them; sure but I'm always willing to bet, they learn better on a smaller bike, that was my point of my long post.

    You ever seen someone that had no business being on an SV650 or Ninja 650R? I have and it can be scary especially for the hubby/boyfriend watching their significant other struggle or put themselves in danger.

    My biggest issue with threads like this is why take the chance of your significant other failing or getting badly hurt at something you probably want them to succeed at so much. What do you have to gain at starting them on a bike that might be too big? Yes, they might make it and do fine or they might fail, but I don't see the point in taking the risk. If you think starting them on a larger bike just so they don't have to upgrade so soon is worth the risk, maybe they shouldn't be riding? Even if they only spend 3-6 months on a 250, that's that much more time they have under their belt learning the basics and like you said, 250's can usually be picked up cheap, ridden, and sold for the same price if you don't damage them more.

    I absolutely love that my wife and I share a passion to ride and I hope many couples can find that too if both parties want to ride, but do everything you can to help them succeed and the payoff will be priceless!
    #23
  4. steveyak

    steveyak Adventurer

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    what I dont like about the 250 is the light weight and under power. She took all of about 30 seconds to pick up the xr 100. and was pushing after an hour. she is not a weak girl so she would be able to handle a slightly bigger bike physically, and seat height is not an issue her legs are longer than mine, I'm 5'11". Some of you are saying the 250 actually has some power. this kind of discredited your view for me. the bike makes 22hp the xr 100 make 9hp. my 1990 kx125 makes 39hp I have spent a small amount of time on ninja 250 it is painfully slow. and im a little worried she will develop bad habbits with it. Seeing as you can rev the bike to 10,000rpm and drop the clutch and its fine. So while I dont want her to end up on her back with the bike gone if she drops the clutch I also dont want to get used to thinking its ok.
    So to have the opinion that the 250 is the right bike is great, but to say it has any power is just plain ridiculous.
    to everyone else I really appreciate the advice and I'm leaning way toward the ex500 or gs500 good smooth power enough to need to respect it but not enough to scare her.
    #24
  5. der_saeufer

    der_saeufer ?איפה בירה

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    Umm... not trying to be a dick here, but if you have trouble riding an EX250 in traffic, either:

    a) the bike had mechanical issues,
    b) you are 300+ lbs, or
    c) you need more practice in traffic

    The current model EX250 is rated 32hp at the crank (the 80s-90s model allegedly made 37hp), which gives a similar power-to-weight ratio to a KLR650. I've put a fair number of miles on a friend's EX250, and I regularly ride my KLR in Los Angeles freeway traffic. While it wouldn't be my first choice for a long-distance bike, the EX250 has no problem getting out of its own way below 75mph. I'm 6'3", was 230lb at the time, and had no problem riding my friend's Ninjette at 6000' on I-25 (posted 75). You do have to rev the piss out of it, but it has a 14krpm redline FFS. The CBR250 (FI single) makes similar power but needs less revving.

    Carbed 250 singles are another story not addressed here; some of those actually are a little scary at 70... Don't ask me about riding a CBR125 on the highway either. That was... interesting.

    ^ what this guy said. The only thing you stand to lose from starting on a 250 and outgrowing it in 6 months is the time it takes to go shopping again; once they're a couple years old, none of the 250 'sport' bikes or dualsports lose value at all. You stand to gain a better understanding of riding technique from not worrying about the effects of 65hp on your head. Sure, the SV's a lot more forgiving than a GSXR, but it still does 0-60 faster than all but the most exotic of sports cars. That's not something a new rider needs to worry about.

    Plus, after the new rider outgrows her 250, she can still ride it while searching for the perfect second bike rather than having to settle for something she only sat on and/or trusted someone else to check out. Maybe she will want an SV650, but maybe she'll decide she's a cruiser chick or an ADVer and get a Vulcan or a V-Strom. You can't really know what you want in a bike until you actually know how to ride it for yourself. I love KLRs, but that doesn't mean that every new rider I meet will even be able to tolerate one, let alone enjoy it.

    tl;dr: 250s cost almost nothing to own, so get one. Especially now while it's cold.
    #25
  6. DAKEZ

    DAKEZ Long timer

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    I have seen people that were physically too small to ride them... But going by what was posted by the OP that does not seem to apply here.
    #26
  7. Jnich77

    Jnich77 Been here awhile

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    Well, I like her already...lol

    As for the bike.. SV 650 hands down. Its comfortable, affordable, good on gas, insurance is much less than the 250 since its a "street bike" and not a "sport bike". They made a bagillion of them so when she drops it parts are cheap off Ebay. They are not sensitive when it comes to brakes, handling, throttle, or clutch so they make it easier to learn how to ride on the street.


    If you really wanna play it safe, she can get the Ninja 250 and ride it for 6months then move on to the SV or similar bike.

    BTW: I have done track days on a Ninja 250, they are anything but slow, just have to keep them wrapped up and in the right gear. In fact once I am done with school I am getting another one just for a track bike.
    #27
  8. steveyak

    steveyak Adventurer

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    in reply to not being a dick, yes not looking for a pissing match. I can handle traffic pretty well and enjoy my triple at the track. I do except that on the track holding your 250 wide open it may be fun. but when you look in your mirror and see a truck screaming up behind you talking on his cell phone you dont simply roll the throttle and forget it. you have to look for a side exit.I'm not putting them down, it may very well be the right bike.
    But yes if I get on a big and drop 120 hp from what I'm used to it does seem PAINFULLY under powered to me. And yes I am 200 lbs.
    She will be doing some minigp days here. We have a track in nj that also runs mini gp track days fun for kids, beginners, or experience guys who really feel like pushing it 50cc-125cc.

    Ok again thanks for the advice guys, hopefully we can except some differnce in opinions, this is why I asked for some others.
    #28
  9. steveyak

    steveyak Adventurer

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    Good point about ins.
    #29
  10. the_sandman_454

    the_sandman_454 Been here awhile

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    I had an '08 SV 650N as my first bike with no riding experience beforehand. I didn't think it was bad to learn on for a beginner, and since she has some experience already riding a bike, she should have a shorter learning curve than I did. I did hit a deer on it, just 1000mi into ownership. Experience wouldn't have prevented that though.

    I would recommend it as a good bike. I miss mine.
    #30
  11. Tepi

    Tepi Been here awhile

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    I did fine as a ZX6R as my first bike, why should women fare any less with one? ZX6R or 650-Ninja would be good imho. :)
    #31
  12. RxZ

    RxZ Legal Drug Dealer

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    Do you know anyone in Texas that can bring a bike to you? I have what you need.
    #32
  13. Benesesso

    Benesesso Long timer

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    One other factor against the 250/500 bikes. Suppose she's out riding and some squid/pirate/clown/other scuzy starts giving her a hard time. I'd want my daughter on something that can outrun some of the junk out there.

    Time for a refresher!
    10 SIMPLE RULES FOR DATING MY DAUGHTER

    Rule One
    If you pull into my driveway and honk you'd better be delivering a package, because you're sure not picking anything up.

    Rule Two
    You do not touch my daughter in front of me. You may glance at her, so long as you do not peer at anything below her neck. If you cannot keep your eyes or hands off of my daughter's body, I will remove them.

    Rule Three
    I am aware that it is considered fashionable for boys of your age to wear their trousers so loosely that they appear to be falling off their hips. Please don't take this as an insult, but you and all of your friends are complete idiots. Still, I want to be fair and open minded about this issue, so I propose this compromise: You may come to the door with your underwear showing and your pants ten sizes too big, and I will not object. However, in order to ensure that your clothes do not, in fact, come off during the course of your date with my daughter, I will take my electric nail gun and fasten your trousers securely to your waist.

    Rule Four
    I'm sure you've been told that in today's world, sex without utilizing a "barrier method" of some kind can kill you. Let me elaborate, when it comes to sex, I am the barrier, and I WILL kill you.

    Rule Five
    It is usually understood that in order for us to get to know each other, we should talk about sports, politics, and other issues of the day. Please do not do this. The only information I require from you is an indication of when you expect to have my daughter safely back at my house, and the only word I need from you on this subject is "early."

    Rule Six
    I have no doubt you are a popular fellow, with many opportunities to date other girls. This is fine with me as long as it is okay with my daughter. Otherwise, once you have gone out with my little girl, you will continue to date no one but her until she is finished with you. If you make her cry, I will make YOU scream.

    Rule Seven
    As you stand in my front hallway, waiting for my daughter to appear, and more than an hour goes by, do not sigh and fidget. If you want to be on time for the movie, you should not be dating. My daughter is putting on her makeup, a process that can take longer than painting the Golden Gate Bridge. Instead of just standing there, why don't you do something useful, like changing the oil in my car?

    Rule Eight
    The following places are not appropriate for a date with my daughter: Places where there are beds, sofas, or anything softer than a wooden stool. Places where there are no parents, policemen, or nuns within eyesight. Places where there is darkness. Places where there is dancing, holding hands, or happiness. Places where the ambient temperature is warm enough to induce my daughter to wear shorts, tank tops, midriff T-shirts, or anything other than overalls, a sweater, and a goose down parka-zipped up to her throat. Movies with a strong romantic or sexual theme are to be avoided; movies which features chain saws are okay. Hockey games are okay. Old folks homes are better.

    Rule Nine
    Do not lie to me. I may appear to be a potbellied, balding, middle-aged, dim-witted has-been. But on issues relating to my daughter, I am the all-knowing, merciless God of your universe. If I ask you where you are going and with whom, you have one chance to tell me the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth. I have a shotgun, a shovel, and five acres behind the house. Do not trifle with me.

    Rule Ten
    Be afraid. Be very afraid. It takes very little for me to mistake the sound of your car in the driveway for a chopper coming in over a rice paddy near Hanoi. When my Agent Orange starts acting up, the voices in my head frequently tell me to clean the guns as I wait for you to bring my daughter home. As soon as you pull into the driveway you should exit your car with both hands in plain sight. Speak the perimeter password, announce in a clear voice that you have brought my daughter home safely and early, then return to your car - there is no need for you to come inside. The camouflaged face at the window will be mine.
    #33
  14. Jnich77

    Jnich77 Been here awhile

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    Skill will do that, not a faster bike. All a faster bike will do to an inexperienced rider is hurt/kill then at a higher velocity. The last track day I did (its been a few years) I saw a Ninja 250 consistently run faster times than some of the 600cc bikes and a 1000cc bike.

    To go fast on a bike the equation is:

    90% Rider
    5% Bike
    5% Luck
    #34
  15. dwoodward

    dwoodward Long timer

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    My vote: EX500, GS500, Seca II, Bandit 600, SV650 (either version). Decent torque (doesn't have to be flogged) not too much power. Buy it cheap now, and if you take decent care of it and add a few farkles (I always do heated grips and a plug for battery charger / heated gear) you can sell for what you paid for it (or more) in 6-12 months... If she wants to. The Spouse Unit still misses her Seca II.
    #35
  16. BlueLghtning

    BlueLghtning Riding is my passion

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    Serious question, but have you ever been close to someone before learning to ride, especially a female? Yeah, we all hope our ladies become the next amazing rider and some really do, but they have to all start somewhere. Its great she picked up the XR100 so quickly, but its also a tiny bike that is very non-intimidating, and probably one of the reasons she picked it up so quickly and that's the type of enthusiasm you want to keep going as she is learning to ride. It does sound like she's above avg physically and height when you compare to most 5'2"-5'4" ladies that can't even touch on some of the bikes out there, but I just caution you about getting her over her head and worst case you end up with someone totally discouraged about ever riding again.

    You've admitted you have spent all about 25miles on a 250 and you are used to a bike that makes 125hp and are a track rider. Yeah, I'm sure it feels painfully under powered to you in those scenarios, but for its size and weight, it really isn't that slow of a bike. If you really want to discredit us just for that point of view, that's your choice, but we are really trying to help you see all possibilities here. In her case, I'm not going to say the 500's are bad choices either and if that makes you feel better about them being a bit faster, than that's great.

    I also really wouldn't worry about bad habits forming on any learning bike. That's the purpose of a beginner bike is to learn the proper techniques and develop the right muscle memory and not kill yourself in the process. Being able to hamfist a Ninja 250 or 500 and not get yourself in trouble should be seen as a positive thing when learning because its going to happen. I would actually disagree and say that if you drop the clutch at 10k, even on the 250, you'll be on your butt, however I get where you are coming from. It actually takes a second to get a Ninja 250 to rev to 10K in N, so that actually works in the riders favor if they accidentally screw it up a time or two. If someone keeps doing that thinking its okay, they probably shouldn't be riding, but I don't think that's the point.

    I hope what ever bike she chooses it works out for her and you guys enjoy many happy years of riding.
    #36
  17. BlueLghtning

    BlueLghtning Riding is my passion

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    To the OP, I hope you don't mind a bit of a side tangent, but I wanted to share a little short story with you.

    One of the reasons I enjoy Ninja 250's so much was this ride I did with 3 other buddies. One summer we all decided to p/u Ninja 250's to go terrorize larger sportbikes in the mountains that and let me tell you we sure did that summer and loved every minute of it. We made lots of guys that thought they were fast on there 600 or 1000's feel a bit smaller when guys on 250's came flying past them. :lol3

    Anyway, one of our buddies moved away to Arkansas near the Ozarks, so we decided to ride the 2500 mile round trip on our 250's and it was a blast. All 4 of us are over 6' tall with me being the tallest but the 3rd lightest at 230lbs. The biggest guy tipped the scales at over 300lbs and the other two were around 260 & 200 respectively.

    I'm standing next to the Red Ninja. Bigguest guy next to the blue one and smallest guy next to the green one.
    [​IMG]

    Leaving our buddies house to head back home
    [​IMG]

    Let me tell you, we made these things look small
    [​IMG]

    Holding 80mph is no problem on the interstate
    [​IMG]

    Just a few vids

    This is me cruising at 70-80mph in front of the other guys
    <iframe frameborder="0" scrolling="no" width="640" height="480" src="http://api.smugmug.com/services/embed/297957920_2gTkBTQ?width=640&height=480&albumId=4974117&albumKey=SbpxwB"></iframe>

    Sorry about these crappy quality vids, but it was just a Point & Shoot camera mounted on a Ram Mount on the handle bar of a screaming Ninja 250.

    So these next couple vids is me chasing the big guy who was the only one faster than me (ex-racer from Britain). We had the little 250's screaming, but we were having such a blast. If we would have been caught at these speeds, it wouldn't have been pretty. LOL

    So we pass a truck at the 0:50 mark in this one
    <iframe frameborder="0" scrolling="no" width="640" height="480" src="http://api.smugmug.com/services/embed/297971093_3dgLDWr?width=640&height=480&albumId=4974117&albumKey=SbpxwB"></iframe>

    Excuse the hooligan riding, we were having a blast though. :lol3
    <iframe frameborder="0" scrolling="no" width="640" height="480" src="http://api.smugmug.com/services/embed/297975879_fgbPQXR?width=640&height=480&albumId=4974117&albumKey=SbpxwB"></iframe>

    Here's a good example of a Ninja 250 being docile in the very beginning just cruising, then I drop a couple gears and give chase.
    <iframe frameborder="0" scrolling="no" width="640" height="480" src="http://api.smugmug.com/services/embed/297979177_hsgTPwB?width=640&height=480&albumId=4974117&albumKey=SbpxwB"></iframe>

    Anyway, still want of the most stupid fun trips we've had and we all agreed it was a blast because of the little Ninja's and how hard we were riding them. I don't think they are as bad as you are making them out to be, but either way, have fun riding with your wife.
    #37
  18. D R

    D R ----

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    The fact that YOU are here posting the question on what to get HER brings one concern to mind.

    Are you looking because YOU want her to do it or because SHE feels she is ready and is looking for something bigger?

    If it's because of the latter, then there has been plenty of good advise offered.

    If it's because you want her to, the I recommend you don't do it. Too many times novice riders have been hurt by pushing them too far too fast.

    If SHE is ready, then go for it.
    #38
  19. DavidBanner

    DavidBanner Banned

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    that was funny.
    #39
  20. DavidBanner

    DavidBanner Banned

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    if you're on here asking this kind of question, sounds like BOTH of you have a lot to learn about riding/motorcycles. the whole "guy-getting-chick-to-ride-her-own-bike" is one of the more tired motorcycle stories.

    if you don't know the difference between a 100cc bike and a 250, 500 or 650twin...it might be time to take a break from playing teacher to a novice and learn a few things yourself.

    don't mean to come off harsh, but just callin it like i see it.

    a lot of guys on this site have been on every displacement bike and find themselves coming back to a fun little bike. every bike is perfect for its own niche.
    #40