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A good learner bike for a tall guy on a budget

Discussion in 'Bike Reviews, Questions and Suggestions' started by earlobe, Aug 11, 2011.

  1. Hello there! I've done a few searches, but I didn't get too far with that.

    The title pretty much sums up what I'm looking for. I'm about 6'2-3, and about 80kg. I've not had much experience riding, and have never ridden a road bike. I'm going overseas in December, so I just want something inexpensive to keep me going until then. I'm trying not to spend more than $3,000 for the bike, considering I'll have to spend a fair bit on gear and a learner course to go with it.

    The problem is, I've had a look around the internet for most of the bikes that I'm interested in, yet they all appear to be more suited to shorter people! I'll list the ones I've found that I'm interested in, and would love to hear some suggestions.

    Kawasaki GPX250
    Honda VTR250
    Honda CBR250

    The only one that I've sat on is the Kawasaki, it felt fine but I didn't take it for a ride.

    Any advice or suggestions?


    Edit: Now that I've had a bit more of a look around, this thread would probably be more appropriate in the bike reviews, questions and suggestions forum. Would it be possible to get it moved over?
  2. ...Kawasaki ZZR250 too... :wink:
  3. Being a tall guy,
    your choice is not limited by the capability of riding a particular bike,
    as you could easily throw a leg over almost any bike.

    Instead it is more limited by your comfort whilst riding a particular bike.
    The smaller the bike, the more cramped you will feel.

    Either the GPX250 (ZZR250) or VTR250 would be fine to begin with.
    As your ability increases, both bikes will feel smaller and smaller.

    I would not recommend the CBR250 as it is too small for you to begin with.

    Look for a bike with an upright riding position.
    Naked bikes are usually a good option.

    Although this may not appeal to you,
    imho the best option that exists for a learner,
    is a dirtbike with street(ish) tyres.

    Unfortunately many learners can't choose this option due to their height,
    but you certainly wouldn't have that problem.
  4. Thanks for the advice. Does anybody have any experience with the SACHS X Road 250? There's a 2011 model for $4k brand new. It looks bloody good, but I can't find much about the quality.

    Another question, which I didn't think of earlier. Do motorcycle users pay to use Citylink?
  5. I'm 6'4 and 85kg;

    You'll likely find the old CBR250RR to be way way way way way too small. I know I certaily did! I don't know about the brand-new CBR250R, which is a totally different bike to the old CBRs. The *really old* CBR250R maaay be okay for you but it's so long in the tooth now that it might be a reliability liability.

    I learned to ride on a VTR250 and did about 45,000km in 15 months. Ergonomically my only real gripe with it was that the legroom was a little lacking, but then again that's the situation for most of the 250s. Hell, it's the situation for most bikes for people our height.

    The Honda Hornet 250 ("CB250F" naked sportsbike, not to be confused with the "CBF250" which is a cheap commuter bike) is actually a physically quite large 250cc naked bike, probably the most spacious one I've sat on. Unfortunately it's a grey import so insurance companies will rub their greasy paws together at the thought of how much money they can charge you, or simply refuse to insure it at all.

    The Hyosung GT250R is also a physically ginormous 250 with quite a lot of room but they have a dubious history of reliability it would seem, YMMV.

    You're in Victoria so there's no real need to restrict yourself to 250cc bikes; any LAMS bike that meets the power-to-weight ratio limits and is 650cc or smaller is acceptable. :) Some of the 650cc adventure bikes like the BMW F650GS Dakar (the single-cylinder thumper) might be worthwhile, though I stress that for the F650GS it needs to be the Dakar version for someone our height, due to the mock-fueltank shape.

    You might get some amusement out of playing with http://cycle-ergo.com/ to see what bikes might give more legroom/etc, too. :) It's not the be-all-end-all of course, but it can give some indications.

    Citylink - motorcycles use for free
    Eastlink - motorcycles pay a reduced toll
  6. I am 6"3' and I found the ZZR250 a perfect fit. GPX, VTR and CBR250's were all too small (I have ridden all three). Your price range means that you are fishing in the risky bike barrel, I hope you have some bike savvy friends and or know your mechanicals.
  7. 250 Hornet

    you can probably re-sell it for what you paid for it, too
  8. I'd second this.
    Buy a second hand dirtbike and chuck either Dual-purpose or road tyres on it.
    (google motard to get an idea)

    Your downsides would be fuel range and comfort of the seat.
    So you'd need to think about your chances of doing long rides if you look at this as an option.
  9. 660cc's or smaller actually
  10. I quite like the look of the 250 Hornet.

    I'm going to see a VTR250 today.

    My housemate has a GPX250, it doesn't feel too bad but I guess it's hard to really gauge the comfort level without taking it for a decent ride.
  11. I'm about 6'3" and 85kg, but I have long legs (36" inseam) and was in a similar situation as you. I just went to every dealer and sat on all the bikes I could. What works for one person might not work for another.

    I found I was most comfortable on Kawasaki's (klr650, kle500, klx250sf) and Yamaha's (WR250X, XT660R).

    The Suzuki GS500 felt a bit too small, but acceptable, the Hyosung GT250/650 would've been great but was ruled out because the tank edges dug into my knees and made it uncomfortable to sit on. The CB400 felt a lot better than the GS500 if you're looking at that style.

    The Suzuki DR650 and DRZ400SM were ok, but the seating position - too far foward and pressed against the tank - (and seat itself) wasn't as comfortable for me as the Yammy and Kwaks. But this is more of a personal preference rather than a size issue.

    You can also check out this site to give you an idea of what you'll look like on a particular bike, it seems pretty close relative to what I've been on:

  12. I have been riding a Kawasaki KLE500 for 3 years. Although I am 5'6-7 I bought if from a guy who was 6'5. I managed to get used to it but it would be better for a taller guy. Besides, the bike is fast and strong enough for a beginner and has good off road skills too! I recommend KLE500.
  13. +1 for the KLR, DR, XR, XT 650's. Our son was 6'2" but weighed nothing when he got his bike. He sat on a few of the older LAMS road bikes and 250's and he looked very uncomfortable. He ended up with a KLR650. We put 17" rims and road rubber on it, and away he went. He was comfortable, with the added bonus of being a dirt bike stood up to being dropped better than I road bike would've.
  14. Hey, I don't mean to hijack this thread, but where did you get the 17" rims from and how much did they cost?
  15. two things....one...i'm biast...the gpx is comfortable for me at 5'10 and 65-70kgs ...so i don't see much difference for you.....TWO....

    where did i read in a thread the other day...someone mentioning the on-coming of summer and all the "what bike should i get?" threads....who-ever it was ...sir/miss....you were spot on...No offence to OP at all...just...noticed fair few of them all of a sudden
  16. I'm not going to be of much help to you. We got them from a mate in exchange for 2 kids jackets, 1 pair of kids leather pants, 2 pairs of kids boots and a bottle of Jack.
  17. Drz 400 / Dr 650 / Xr600

    Will never let you down, cheap, easy to repair/maintain, you can crash them every day of the week and will never cost you a penny.
  18. Yeah the DRZ is a good bike. I couldn't tell you how the SM performs but I've ridden my E model around the streets a few times and it felt pretty good. I've fallen off it a dozen times, only did cosmetic damage.
  19. + 1 to the KLR
  20. I am 6'3" / 100Kg and went with the Suzuki GSX650F. I tried lots of others first and found almost EVERY 250 felt too small. As soon as I sat on the GSX650 I put down a deposit. I have just gotten rid of it after 3 years. I upgraded to a Triumph Sprint because they dropped $2K overnight. I actually liked the 650F so much I was going to buy the GSX1250F (same bike, larger block).
    I honestly say it was a superb bike for my L's (3 months) P's (12 months) and then one and a half years on full license. It looks great and you cannot tell it a LAMS bike. No one would believe me that I was allowed to legally ride this bike.
    The only downside may be that it is quite heavy on paper, but it never felt heavy to me once moving, even at slow speeds. I never dropped it once.