Welcome to Netrider ... Connecting Riders!

Interested in talking motorbikes with a terrific community of riders?
Signup (it's quick and free) to join the discussions and access the full suite of tools and information that Netrider has to offer.

Advice needed for buying new bike after 20 years!

Discussion in 'General Motorcycling Discussion' started by nzmike, Aug 20, 2011.

  1. Hey all,

    My first post here so be kind please! ;-)

    I'm looking at getting back on to a "big bike" after 20 years of not having anything but scooters and cars and I'd really like to get some advice on types of bikes and models that might suit me as well as any other relevant advice.

    My current ride is a Derbi 250 Rambler scooter that I *love* riding (as it's so much fun and also pretty fast for a scoot) but I really want to migrate back to a "real" bike before the summer... it just feels like the right time.

    My last "big bike" was a 1988 Ninja 600R which I owned (from new) in NZ for a couple of years before heading to the UK to live in 1990. Since then, I've had scooters on and off and in fact the last bike I even rode with gears was about 5 years in ago (a 500cc quad bike in Namibia of all places!).

    Ok, so now I'm older (mid-40's) and I'm (hopefullly) not as mad as I used to be so I decided I don't want to get a supersport as I won't be doing track days and I want a bike I can have fun on but also relax on when on a longer ride. I was thinking about the new GSX-R 600 which is meant to be amazing but having sat on one today and heard/read/seen what it can do I think it's just going to be too extreme for my needs.

    What I *think* I fancy is something in the 600-750cc range though I know there are smaller bikes (CB400 Revo) that might be good for me getting back into "proper" riding after all this time and maybe even bigger ones as well (Z1000 maybe). (BTW, I do have a full NSW bike license so am not restricted to "L" models.)

    I went and looked at bikes today around Sydney and came up with a list of ones which seem pretty cool - gotta admit I've not ridden any of them yet though (didn't have time today or any proper riding gear).

    So, the list, in no particular order is:

    - Kawasaki Z750 - sexy looking beast with (mostly) great reviews
    - Kawasaki 650RL (love the look of it in burnt orange, no idea what it goes like yet)
    - Suzuki Gladius (650 I think, and a bit radical looking which I quite like)
    - Ducati Monster 696 (bit pricey but the idea of riding a Duke is *VERY* tempting!!)
    - Triumph Street Triple 675 - again, looks lovely and had great reviews.
    - Honda CB400 Revo (mainly as it's very well specced, and, erm, the Honda sales rep I talked to simply raved about it!)

    So, from that list, you can see I'd like to get something that will go well (once I get my riding confidence back) but also something I can do long rides on without getting too tired - so not a pure racer and not a pure cruiser. It's really just for weekend rides and some club rallies etc - no commuting etc. I also need something that I can ease back into the "proper" riding scene whilst enjoying it - I don't want to be scared shedless every time I get on it!!

    As for size and fit I'm 168cm (5" 6') and about 85kg so though I'm by no means tiny I'm not a huge bloke either - so I don't want a bike that's too much of a handful (if you know what I mean).

    I know it's difficult for people to recommend bikes to someone else etc but I'd truly appreciate any advice anyone can give on the list above or alternatives (under $15K preferably) and especially things to look out for when test riding the current batch of street bikes or things to think about having not ridden a "big bike" for 20 years plus.

    Many thanks in advance - apologies if this should be in another forum section and sorry it's so damned long!!

  2. In theory all of them fit your requirements. They will fit your size and riding requirements.

    They are all very different bikes in your list though, I have only ridden the z750 which I didn't like, too heavy for the power but I was looking for different requirements to you so don't let that put you off.

    You need to ride them for yourself. The list is too diverse to know which one you would like best really.
  3. Kawasaki 650RL is the learners one. Think you want the Kawasaki 650R. I ride an ER6 which is the same bike without the fairings. Very easy to ride and after 4 years its still a better bike than I am a rider. Street Triple might be the pick of the bunch. I marshall on instructed rides and I've seen newish riders go OK on them. Think the Z750 is too heavy.
    But all modern bikes from the major makers are good.
  4. Best advice is to just go down to a bunch of dealers and ride everything that you like the look of, because of your age im sure you will have no issues getting test rides as its clear your not a tire kicking retarded 20 year old who just wants a free spin on a super bike.

    Avoid the CB400 and 650RL, or any other learner bikes, you will pay a premium for them and you do not need to observe the power restriction so why pay that premium.
  5. Thanks guys, appreciate the feedback and advice.

    Obviously I do need to go and test ride them and will certainly do so but I was thinking of trying to find a "refresher" riding & safety course before doing that - don't think I could relax on a $15.5K Monster if I was nervous about changing gears and braking with a pedal again! Will have to google this but twistngo, if you know of any in Sydney (metro preferably) I'd be keen to hear any details.

    Of all the bikes I sat on the 650RL felt the most comfortable - and probably looked the sexiest (EDIT: after the Monster!). I didn't realise that was the LAMS model though so thanks for the info - I'll try to ride the 650R instead. Bit confused about the difference between the ER-6F and the 650R - are they the same bike or is the latter simply the newer version, renamed? (EDIT: guess one has a fairing and one doesn't but not sure about the differences otherwise)

    Only one thing I'd worry about buying a kwacka - what is the resale like? Are they a brand that lose a lot of value (like Alfa Romeo in the car world for example) or do all bikes plummet in value once they've been ridden off the forecourt, as cars do?
  6. 1. don't buy a LAMs bike.
    2. don't kill yourself first week out.

    A friend is selling her Street Triple. Its an absolute steal for the price she wants. I can put you in touch with her if you want. pm for details.
  7. Oops. I have an ER6N, the naked version. think the 650r is the ER6F renamed.

    Most seem to lose value, so pick something that will last you a while. But the street triple does seem to hold up well looking at the bikesales website.

    HART run good courses. I'm in Melb so not sure about Sydney. Stay Upright have a good rep but I've never done any with them.
  8. 1. Definitely agree - will be much more wary now of what models are LAMs.

    2. Which is exactly why I want to do a refresher course!

    Appreciate the offer but not sure I'll be buying anytime really soon - just starting to look at the options.... but if she's still selling when I'm looking at buying (unlikely I know) I can Pm you then.
  9. Go also have a go on a cbr600rr, I personally think they are a stunning bike and I've heard nothing but good from anyone who's owned one.
  10. Welcome to NR & welcome back to riding.

    When do you plan to get a bike?
  11. welcome to NR, a guy in melb looking for quick sale on a striple $6500! check bikes for sale section..
    I was off bikes for 6 months and just got back am on a hornet900, upright seat, plenty of grunt, not new but only cost $4k!! goes well enough for me, get a bike that suits you!!
  12. ER-6n= Naked 650 twin
    ER-6f = Same as above with a fairing stuck to it (I ride a 2006 ER-6f)
    Ninja 650R = ER-6f renamed. They were used to be a Ninja 650R in the states and ER-6f in Aust and Europe. We have now adoped the Ninja 650 sticker as a marketing strategy, I assume because it clarrifies the engine capacity (many people assumed they were 600's leaving them leaning towards a smaller capacity suzuki they thought was bigger).
    Ninja650RL = Underpowered Learner version. You don't need to worry about it.
    I bought mine in 2006 for $8000 ride away. They seem to be fetching about 6 now. It's a non issue for me though. I might swap it for a brand spanking Shiver sport, but in the realms of reality, mine is definately not for sale. :)
  13. I have a BMW F800ST. Great do anything road bike that was designed with the returning rider in mind.
    3 years on and mine has been totally reliable and service costs (10000 km / 12 month interval) have been very reasonable.
  14. Thanks everyone - I appreciate the input.

    I hadn't considered a BMW as I thought they'd be hideously expensive - and they always looks so damned huge to me... I'm sure they're probably not though so I might add one of those to my test ride list or at least read some reviews and look at prices on the interwebs.

    The Street Triple certainly seems to be a perennial choice with good resale so that bike has moved towards the top of my list.

    As I said above somewhere I'm not looking to buy for a month or two.... want to do a HART course or similar then do plenty of test rides and take it from there... so it may not even be until early summer that I put my hard-earned down.

    When's the best time of the year for the bike promotions and cheaper offers etc - coming into summer or over winter when sales are lower?
  15. I was on a similar situation to you (last "big" bike I owned was back in 1998) and after doing some research, getting the finances together and organizing a test ride I ended up getting the Z750.
    Yes, it's heavy, but the power is smooth and once it's on the read it feel really nimble and I really love the power delivery.
    Thought about twins for a while but decided I'm more of an in-line 4 man so discarded that, triple would have been a choice if it wasn't for the high price tag, so the Zed at $10.5K was my choice and I'm loving it - well, not right now as I had an off thanks to a Sydney taxi driver and now I'm waiting to have it fixed.
    If you like kwakas (looks like you do) and live in Sydney, call the guys at Flywheels to organize a test ride. They were really helpful to me and lent me their Z750 demo for a few hours to test no problems.
    I think they now have an er6n and a Z750 demo bikes. Heck, if money wasn't a problem (it was for me as I could only spend up to $11k) I would give the Z1000 a go!
    Now that I'm going over your OP again, I realize that size may be an issue with the Z750 or Z100 as I'm 178cm and I found it just right but almost too tall for me, so throw a leg over them first to check...
    Oh, and budget for the gear as well if you don't have a full set as that's easily another S1K-$2K for decent stuff.
  16. Good to see someone that has a Z750 as I really like the look of it - maybe not quite as much as the 650R (that burnt orange has me reaching for the tissues!) but I really liked sitting on the '750 and it didn't feel too big (though the proof is in the riding I guess).

    I'm in no way a Kwacka fan-boi - just think they have some of the nicest looking bikes around at the moment in the naked/sports sector... but really not worried about brand - just want the best bike for my situation.

    Thanks for the heads-up re FlyWheels, I will definitely pay them a visit when I start test riding.

    The sales rep I spoke to at the Suzuki dealer (near Lane Cove in Sydney) also recommended I might want to look at an SV650 ABS or even a 2nd hand SV - which I might look at as I do know these are great bikes for someone in my position that wants a nice handling bike that will go well and allow a bit of chucking around (when I'm confident again) without needing to do 200kmh+. A family friend races one (modified obviously) in the NZ Street Stock series and is doing very well - not that that really has anything to do with anything, but he absolutely raves about the engine and the handling of the SV's.

    Good point re budgeting for gear - at the moment I have a cheapish full-face and a shoulder & elbow padded reflective jacket which would be OK for a spill from a scooter at lowish speeds but I would need riding boots, newer gloves (mine are over 20 years old!) and a really good jacket/chest protector (or whatever - more research needed there) as well as bike trousers (leathers I guess) so yes, that's costs I'd probably not really thought about.

    Damn, I'm meant to be working right now (just started a new job and struggling a bit to keep up) but I can't tear myself away from bike research!!! Haven't even ridden a bike yet and already I'm a lost cause!
  17. Nzmike

    I’ve just bought meself a Z750 (9mth old) 2 weeks back, after riding a ’03 SV650N for 3 yrs.

    Like you, I also “returned to biking after a hiatus, but mine was short – 3+ yrs. But prior to that I had only been using scooters for a number of years, after I got rid of my “pocket rockets” (RGV250M, TZR250SP).

    I started, or restarted, off small – Virago 250, but outgrew that in like … 6mths. My next bike was a GS500, great commuter, lasted me all of … 2mths! It was the SV that stayed, and till today I am still somewhat reluctant to put it on the market now that I have my Kawa.

    The SV’s V-twin torque is just so addictive! And it is a very lightweight bike, so very manageable in traffic & city commute.

    Oh, and I shd add, I am your age and height (1” shorter) range too.

    I don’t, or rather can’t, consider sports bikes cos my back won’t take extended periods bent over.

    I looked at BMW and Street Triple, but quickly concluded they were outside my budget, or at least I wasn’t willing to pay the asking $ for what was on offer. Not putting either of thes ebikes down, matter of fact the Trumpy wd be my top choice in moving from the SV, but what they cost new/near-new, was simply outside consideration.

    Don’t be too concerned by seat/ride height – it is a factor, but not a major deterrent. I have a shaved seat for the SV which lowers the ride height a fair bit, and am awaiting delivery of a pair of multi-adjustable lowering links from soupysperformance off fleabay for the Z. All said I don’t like messing with suspension geometry, but figure a 10mm drop can’t be all that much.

    I share NOT4US view on the Z750 – while it is heavy, once you get it going, it is a very enjoyable bike to ride. And once you wind up the revs, it is … ohhh so smooth! Really reminiscent of the RD250LC (pre-YPVS model) when it hits 6000rpm!

    From your wishlist
    - Kawasaki Z750
    - Kawasaki 650RL
    - Suzuki Gladius
    - Ducati Monster 696
    - Triumph Street Triple 675
    - Honda CB400 Revo

    I’d strike the CB400 off straight away. It is simply down on power compared to the others. Besides, it’s not like you’re still on restrictions so why consider a LAMS bike?

    ST675 top, but only if you can afford the big $.

    Everything else is in between, including the Gladius which hasn’t been anywhere as popular as its predecessor, the SV650.

    You mention you want a “nice handling bike thatwill go well and for chucking around”? Methinks you want a SV, not a Z750!

    You want to find out more on the SV, look up svdownunder.com.

  18. Hi there,

    I've just sold my GSX-R750 and bought a Monster 696...Very different but am really enjoying riding the Duke...It's got a low seat height (I'm just under 172cm) and is also very light (161kg) so it's very easy to handle at low speed. The power is much less than my 750 was but I actually find it a lot more fun at real world speeds...So much torque from lower in the rev range and a great friendly bike to ride around town.

    I too had the Street Triple at the top of my list but in the end I found it a tad high for my inseam and (call me whatever you like) I always wanted to experience owning a Ducati. Yes, I could've bought a "real" duke in the form of a 1100 Monster or a 1198 but for my purposes the 696 is doing just fine :) If you're getting back into riding I think the total package would definitely suit you and provide you with plenty of fun and a different kind of riding experience (it just feels different on a duke, especially hearing the characteristic sound of the L twin).

    The Street Triple is a better performing bike in my opinion, but for me the Monster won out due to it's urban friendly nature and the overall experience.

    Anyways, just thought I'd chime in as I know it always helps to hear from those that have been through the decision process...From recent experience, you can easily find a used 696 around the $10k mark it seems.
  19. I did the "Stay Upright" course, intermediate, before I bought another machine. I hadn't ridden in 25 years. It was a "must do."

  20. Thanks for the input again guys - I've not gotten too far further in deciding as been busy all week.

    I'm now starting to think about setting my budget at $10K as from what I can see on Bike Sales there are loads of great bikes for that price - maybe not 2011 models but pretty close (and maybe even a Monster whitenite!). I'll still go and test bikes from dealers though as I may still end up buying a new 650R/Z750 or SV650.

    jibbonpoint, thx for the recommendation for the SU course, I've emailed the NSW office to see what they recommend as I can't see a clear course that would suit me on their website. I'm also looking at the HART courses which look pretty good as you can choose a bigger bike to ride on the course.