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40 something newbie trying to decide...

Discussion in 'New Riders and Riding Tips' started by dcm, Jan 18, 2009.

  1. I’m a 40-something would-be bike commuter. I did my Q-Ride almost a year ago and have held an unrestricted “R†license for about the same time. I ride a mountain bike regularly on the road and I got my first trail bike when I was 9 years old so I had no real problems passing the Q-Ride course although I’m well aware that I’m a totally inexperienced road biker. I plan some "quiet time" on back streets & car parks before commuting.

    I’m 6’ 4†and 110 kg – it was obvious within minutes that I was too big for the 250 I started with on Q-Ride and the Q-Ride folks quickly switched me over to a CB600 once they figured I wasn’t going to fall off straight away and the rest of the day was both informative and fun.

    My circumstances changed and I didn’t get the bike despite getting my license but here I am 10 months later trying to figure out an appropriate bike for somebody like me.

    The bike would be used for intermittent commuting - a 12km each-way urban run – it would need to handle the very hilly area I live in and a piece of freeway. I’m not interested in thrill-seeking but I’d need the bike to be fast enough to get me out of trouble but not into it. I’ve been warned to stay away from performance bikes with lots of fibreglass and “V†configuration engines and I’m happy to take that advice.

    I LOVED the CB600 I had on my Q-Ride day, it was quick, sounded great and to my inexperienced hands, handled sweetly and predictably. Scratched and dented as it was, I wanted to take it home with me! The trouble is, there seem to be very few for sale and I didn’t really want to risk a new one as a first bike. The alternative that seemed obvious was a GS500 although I’ve been told a water-cooled in-line four might be a more practical commuter.

    I was wondering what the thoughts of the group might be on my short-list or my rationale. Would a CB600 be too much? Would a GS500 be better? I see that there’s a CB400 now that can include ABS although that would have to be a new bike which will cause me domestic grief.



  2. chuck up a maximum price, gives us a target to aim at.
  3. Awww, when I started, I was thinking POS for $5K, that's slipped back to $7K and if it was near-new or something, I suppose I could go to near $10K and deal with the domestic fall-out somehow...

  4. Sounds like a 2nd hand CB600 would be ideal for you then. Smooth, bulletproof inline 4, good reliable motor and you have experience on it and it has plenty of advocates here.

    I'm a Honda guy though so the others might have something suitable from any of the other manufacturers. A jap inline 4 mid size sounds good for you though.
  5. I did my 'early learning' on Honda CB and CJ models back in the 70's. They are very good to learn on and really forgiving of all/most of the stupid mistakes and errors of judgement I made. And yes, there were lots. :roll:

    Remember there's a fair number of dollars required for the essential accessories as well. :shock:
  6. Go the CB600 if you are comfy with it as they are cheap to buy and reliable. I had a ride of one on the HART advanced rider course in 07 and its a light & nimble mid-size bike. Not 'arf bad at all.

    I'm biased on the vstrom of course but the vstrom is also a great bike and a brilliant commuter / tourer. It does everything very very well - a really great all rounder with heaps of grunt and, its good for taller people so a basketballer height rider such as yourself might find that an appealing bonus. I particularly enjoy the torque available when I open the throttle in a tall gear out on the highway as there's no need to downshift at all ( in fact it just muscles up in any high gear and keeps on pulling hard and smoothly until redline ) ~ one gear for so many speed limits.

    Until I have found the bike of my dreams, I will stick to second hand bikes but I am not sure how you would approach that.
  7. wats wrong with the v twins :(
  8. Any of the larger bikes should suit such as the CB600, GS500 etc.

    I'm a very similar height/weight to you and have a GS500F and it does a great job of commuting and touring. More than fast enough to get you out of trouble and stay ahead from the lights.
  9. Yeah I'm with you. Stick an SV650 on the list. Great all rounder.
  10. Hard to go past the Strom or try ther GSX650F - Sleddog loves his :cool:

    And so the CB600 isn't too small? These have a low seat height, so thought might be cramped for a big fella :?
  11. A DL650 (Wee-Strom) would be a very comfortable bike that would do what you want easily. I haven't looked at many s/h, but I did see one a few weeks ago in the bike shop in Maitland, NSW, about 2yo / 10,000-odd km, for $7K.

    OTOH a 2008 GS500 can be good buying ATM. I just signed up for an ex-demo GS500 K8 with 200-odd km up & 7 months' rego left for $7,250. Add the stamp duty on rego transfer and it's just under $7,500 ride away. At RRP they're about $8,600 on-road in NSW.

    A 2009 CB400 ABS is $11,990 RRP, about $13,200 on-road in NSW. They are a very nice machine though.

    [Edit: You could get a s/h CB400 through the likes of Sumoto in Melbourne... they are a grey importer, most likely there are similar businesses in Queensland. The downside is you pay a fairly hefty price for a 10-20yo bike and I have NFI how easy it is to get parts/service/support. But it works for some.]
  12. CB600, SV650, ER6N, plus all other ones listed here would all do the job....all are upright sitting positions, easy to ride through traffic...imo the less fairing the better, less to break when you drop em, but others like the protection you get from faired styles, test everything you can within your price range, as the motors all work quite differently :)
  13. Don't know if they're still operating but the Import Motorcycle Centre in Slacks Creek used to have a good range of 4-cylinder imports like the XJR400, Bandit 400, etc. which might be worth a look.
    The 400 Bandits shouldn't be too difficult to find parts for since larger pistons is about the only thing that makes them different from the 250 version sold here.
  14. I'm biased because I love mine. But I would go the GS.

    For a commuter I think they are great. I tend to ride sedately (That does not make me a bad person BTW :p ) and I generally get between 20 and 22 k's per litre.

    I looked at the CB400 and it was a bit smaller than the GS. But having said that the CB does have some nice features.

    But the best news is that Team Moto in Virginia is advertising the GS500F for $7902 ride away. Haslle them and I'm sure they would do a little better.

    Anyway all the best whatever you buy.

  15. GSX650F ER6/N-F FZ6 Any of the 600 class (non supersport)
  16. Hey DCM...i been riding now for 2 years nearly and I have a 2003 GS500...actually same model i done my test on...great bike...easy to manouver...real good on petrol and long distance...had my eye also on a CB400 but just looked a bit too "bulky" for me, being only 5`5 lol
  17. Errr who told you that? I'm sure a I4 is alot harder and less forgiving to ride than a v-twin.

    There are plenty of nice touring bikes out there... good luck :)
  18. er6n.
    why ?
    i said.
  19. 'tis done

    Well, I took everybody's advice into account but at the end of the day, I failed to find a suitable CB600. I looked hard at an SV650 & DL650 but they looked like "second" bikes, not "first" ones to me.

    I've paid a deposit on a near-new (200km on the clock) 2008 GS500 - they are (as was pointed out in this thread), extremely good buying right now.

    Thanks to everyone for their advice and I'll let you know how this goes when I get it.