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Another newbie, with lots and lots of questions...

Discussion in 'New Riders and Riding Tips' started by Spud Gun, Oct 29, 2004.

  1. Hello All,

    This is my very first post here so a big hello to everyone! Great site and forums, I am learning loads. I am a complete newbie in every sense of the word. I am 31, recently arrived on Australia’s shores from Ireland, and I have literally never ridden a motorbike before and I am going to do my L’s in mid December. I am pretty much as green as you get! As I am such a newbie, I am unsure whether this post is a tad premature. Nonetheless I thought I would say hello and ask a few questions, quite a few questions! I hope that you don’t mind helping me with them. I apologise in advance for the length, but I think I cover everything that a newcomer to motorcycling needs to know.

    First and foremost, the bike! I know this is probably the most common type of post for new motorcyclists, and like other newbies that post here, I value your informed, experienced opinions. I am keeping an eye out for a used bike. I am 6’4” tall, and I like the naked, traditional or cruiser style of bike as opposed to the more sporty numbers. My budget is $4000 for a bike (gear excluded). I have seen quite a few bikes that catch my eye, but what would you think is best for me as a learner? Which would be most comfortable for me and for a pillion passenger (if I have one)? Would a 250 be best or should I go a little bigger if I intend to take a pillion passenger? Here is a list of the bikes I like, please add ones that you think I have excluded and should consider, or comment on what’s there:

    Bandit 250
    GZ250 (Marauder 250)
    VL250 (Intruder 250)

    Hornet 250


    XVS250 (V Star 250)
    XV250 (Virago 250)
    Zeal 250

    I have seen some bikes that are 2004 compliant, and from reading the posts here I have learned that compliance is no reflection on a bikes age. I have also seen some posts here regarding certain stores that sell nothing but 2004 compliance bikes, and it has put me off them. Would you recommend a showroom for my first bike or classifieds? As I have not been here that long, where is the best place to go in Sydney for a large selection of bikes?

    Secondly, and a factor that will also affect the type of bike I get is insurance. NRMA do an instant online estimate, but they only provide 3rd party only or Fully Comprehensive insurance. The proverbial feast or famine! I am aware of QBE, but they don’t do instant online quotes. I am interested in 3rd party, fire and theft or fully comprehensive insurance. What other motorbike insurance companies are there that provide such cover? Is NRMA’s online estimate calculator a good point of reference for a ballpark insurance quote?

    Finally, as result of reading posts on this site I intend on buying some gear before I get the bike, and ideally before I go for my L’s. I have seen some huge differences in the prices of helmets. What should I look for in a helmet?

    Ok, there are way more questions than I thought I had. I would appreciate any info on these questions, or on general newbie stuff. Oh, and once again... Hello!
  2. Well I can recommend a bike out of that list. As you're on the tall side go for the Hornet 250, the frame is based on the 600 model so it's a bit bigger than the rest.
  3. Dia duit

    Loooong post, but there are plenty of people who can help you out here with your plethora of questions.

    I am not really familiar with the NSW system but you did mention pillion passenger. In NSW (as with Victoria) the earliest you can carry a pillion passenger is 12 months after you come off your L's. You have to be on your L's for a minimum of 3 months. This gives you a total of 15 months minimum of solo riding.

    With your bike, you can follow the advice of many people in this forum but always keep in mind that what may suit them may not suit you. Everyone has different posture requirements and there is no easy way to work out what suits but trying out different bikes. Being 6'4 will be a little restrictive in what you can choose for size and comfort rather than power.

    Insurance is usually quoted as comprehensive, if you can talk to someone at the company they can easily quote 3rd party based on a comprehensive quote.

    Helmets are a little easier. As long as they carry the Australian Compliance stickers then the main thing you should look for is comfort and visibility. Something with a wide viewing area is essential when you are learning.

    Feel free to add more posts. People are very helpful in this forum!

    adh mor ort!
  4. Hi Spud Gun and welcome to the forums. Your best bet would be to go to a showroom and try/sit on as many bikes as you can to get a feel for the ones you like. Then go look at the 2nd hand dealers in your area.
    Go for the gear first as it can get expensive and you will know where you stand with how much $$$ you have for the bike. Helmets are all aus compliance so they will all do the job well. The only difference you might find is the comfort factor and the wind you will hear. I personally have 3 helmets and they were all at the lower end of the scale so i dont know any different, which suits me.
    Good luck with your L's test in December and make sure you let us know how you went. Oh and once again, welcome to the forums :)
  5. If you're a big lad (like myself), the 250 Eliminator is a nice choice, due to its 6 speed gearbox (I was hunting for one, but couldn't find one in my price range at the time). But follow Flip's advice - sit on EVERYTHING!!! Find something comfy, then make your choice. Get your gear first, don't skimp on it - someone here said:

    "Dress for the fall, not the ride"

    and its damn good advice (not that I'm implying you're going to come off!!!) - in fact I'd deem it the BEST advice I've heard here, and I've had LOTS of GOOD advice from the people here.

    Apart from that, talk to people, get into some group rides (you learn heaps!), and enjoy yourself.

    Otherwise, from another very green newbie - welcome aBoard to the friendliest place in cyberspace!
  6. Dia is muire duit! Thank you for the Irish greeting, and thank you all for your feedback and prompt replies.

    I have been checking this online, and you seem to be correct. That may make the choice of bike easier. I am doing a bike dealer crawl this weekend and popping into various shops to try different bikes. I will then hit the pink pages and look for local 2nd hand dealers. I hope to get a bike jacket this weekend as well.
  7. Heya,

    Welcome a board. When ya get your new bike make sure you buy really good riding gear. :D

    Lisa :twisted:
  8. you're in sydney so you dont have to piss around on wee little 250s to start with. not that they're all bad, but if you can get something with a little more grunt down low, your laughing.

    i'd say the GS500 or CB400 would be the go. there's also a few other 400s that would fit the bill i think. i just got my GF a XJR400 for $2000 and thats a pretty damn tidy bike. the 400s will probably have about the same top speeds as the sports 250s, but a lot more grunt for take off. you wont be in as much of a hurry to upgrade when you're off the restrictions.

    if you do get a 250, i had a 95 bandit and that was awesome. i put a 92 shock on the rear and that raised the back a couple of inches, making it much more comfy for a taller bloke. i'd go that or the hornet, but you wont find a hornet anywhere near as cheap as a bandit.

    with gear, as they say, buy that first. keeping your skin on and grey matter intact is much more important than having a sweet ride. always buy helmets new, and make sure they fit really well. the salespeople at the shop should be able to help you there. different brands have different shapes so you might find the best looking helmet doesn't work for you.

    leather will keep the skin on better than textiles, but textiles are lighter, more comfy and waterproof. i'd suggest getting all leather, but it is a little more restrictive so can make learning a bit more uncomfortable. if you want some cheap leathers, shoot an e-mail to craighutchison@iprimus.com.au he's importing leathers and selling them on e-bay, can save a few bucks there for sure.

    cant help with insurance tho, i've never insured any of my vehicles yet :oops:
  9. oh yeah, best advice as with everything is DONT RUSH THINGS. i know its hard, and i didn't listen to that advice, but i coulda saved quite a few bucks if i had have just taken my time.
  10. 2004 complianced bikes are generally imports that have past their useful life in their country. Some countries have massive disincentives to register old machines on the road so there are importers here to get them at a low cost, modify them to meet Aus standards and on sell them. You can pick up a decent import with low K's but you may pay a few dollars more due to the margin that the dealer needs to make. There are some imports that were never released here which may prove problematic for parts. I got a 91 Across with low K's, complianced in 2003 and it has served me well. There are plenty of spares for this bike as it was released here. Don't necessarily discount freshly complianced bikes. Make sure you are comfortable that it is well maintained (there won't be a service history) and definately straight. 2nd hand is always a bit of a lottery and there will be a heap of horror stories mixed with a number of good stories

    Welcome to Aus btw and good luck with the test
  11. Welcome to the forums spud gun,

    There's not much I can add in terms of what bike to get as I'm on the opposite end of the height scale. I'm not too sure about the showrooms in Sydney either.

    However, if you want gear, there's a great place called Motorcycle Accessories Supermarket http://www.mcas.com.au

    Good luck in finding your bike and gear :)
  12. I'm going to make a comment on the helmet, I have a KBC helmet, they're about $300 and the reason i chose it is because it is snell approved (a sticker on the back of the helmet tells you if it is or not). All helmets are up to Australian standards, snell is just a higher standard than that. It's usually found on the Shoei (expensive helmets)
    try to avoid the really cheap ones, remember you only have one head.
  13. i could be wrong, but i had a feeling that in NSW if your 30 plus , once you get your P's , you can get a large capacity bike
  14. Hi Spud Gun and welcome to the forums.

  15. Hi, welcome, etc. :)

    On bikes, I agree with everyone else. Keep looking until you find one that's comfortable and that you like. Oh, and don't let anyone else (especially sales people) talk you into buying a bike you're not sure about.

    Insurance - I know Swann Insurance do Third Party, Fire and Theft, and also Comprehensive. They're a subsidiary of CGU. Go to www.cgu.com.au for more info on that. Premiums can vary, so it's worth contacting all the different insurance companies and getting quotes.

    I, personally, would never buy a helmet that cost less than $250. Anything above that price is more likely to be comfortable and quiet, and that's worth paying extra for. Your helmet should be real tight when you first try it on, but the padding will compress over time. (They'll probably teach you all that when you go for yer learner's anyway). Try to get one with vents, to allow air to circulate through. Also, you want one where the strap goes through two D loops and back on itself, rather than one that just clips shut (in my opinion).

    Feel free to ask more questions. You'll always find someone at Netrider who's willing to impart their wisdom. ;)

    Well done on deciding to get a bike! All the cool kids have them.

  16. Thanks for all the bike and helmet tips folks! Thats exactly the kind of info I need. I went out and sat on some bikes at the weekend, and I sat on a V-Star 250, CB250 and a bandit 250. My knees sat above the petrol tank on the first 2, and the bandit suited me quite well. Except, the bandit I was on was a 1995 bike, 2004 compliant for $5990!! :shock: That seems excessive to me. I am resigned to the fact that I am too big for 250cc cruisers. So the next bikes I want to try are the Yamaha Zeal and the Honda VTR250.

    Ideally, I think I would like a CB400 or a GS500, but they seem hard to get a hold of at a decent price. I have also resigned myself to the fact that my budget isn't sufficient for what I want.
  17. welcome spud gun, just a word of warning on the insurance, if, like me, you are still only a temporary resident (have sponsorship to stay in oz) then you will find most insurance agencies wont insure your bike, i live in victoria and the only company i could get insurance with is RACV, it may be different in sydney but i would be checking it out as racv are not the cheapest.
  18. I can't tell you what bike you would like. However, I have ridden a Suzuki GS500E and found it met its reputation for reliability. It also has a larger capacity engine that might suit someone your size and would be beneficial if you have another body on board.

    I have three points of advice:

    Firstly, the newer the bike the greater amount of money you will lose in upgrading later.

    Secondly, a simple bike with an uncomplicated engine will give you the opportunity to learn basic maintenance skills: you’re less likely to be dazzled by technology.

    Finally, stay clear of two dealers in Sydney, specifically Action (in the city) and Sydney City Motorcycles.