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Best LAMS bikes for $5000

Discussion in 'Bike Reviews, Questions and Suggestions' at netrider.net.au started by ResmeN, Dec 4, 2009.

  1. Hi Guys,

    I know this topic has been covered many times but would appreciate some fresh feedback. I just got my l's last weekend and would like to purchase a relatively new 2nd hand bike in the next few weeks.

    Cruisers on the shortlist:

    Kawasaki VN250 Eliminator
    Yamaha XVS250 Vstar
    Suzuki EL250 Intruder

    Arquin Bruiser, Pagsta Cruiser, Hunter Spyder any good?

    Nakeds/Others on the shortlist:

    Kawasaki ER-5
    Honda CB400 (really like it but a bit pricey)
    Yamaha FZ6

    Guys feel free to suggest others.

    Or should I start off on a 250 cruiser (1 of above) and once I feel confident and the savings move up to the CB400 or bigger cruiser?

    The bike will be used for my daily commute to work 10 km each way and weekend use etc.

    I am 188 cm and 95 kg. I really like the laid back look and feel of cruisers as opposed to the leaning forward stance of sports bikes.

    My budget for bike + gear would be around the $6000.00 mark.

    Thanks in advance.
  2. ER5 is junk

    FZ6?? are they lams??

    classy ride. but a little expensive,,will last forever though

    Suzuki GS500.
    been around for years. still a great bike and a low km one can be picked up for under 5k.
    The last one I bought 3 years ago was a 3--3 model with 600km on it for $4500..
  3. Though I'm not a cruiser fellow myself, if you would like one as a learner I'd highly recommend taking advantage of LAMS and getting one of the larger displacement learner cruisers. (I'm pretty sure there's a LAMS 650cc one).

    The whole benefit of LAMS is that the old "So long as it's below 250cc, it's fine" system was great if you were a fan of race replica sportsbikes (~40 horsepower). It wasn't too bad if you liked naked sportsbikes, too (~32-35 horsepower).

    But anyone interested in cruisers had better not be in any kind of a rush to go anywhere. Most of 'em are down around 20hp.

    Better to get one of the 500cc or 650cc cruisers so there's a bit more useful power available. :)
  4. I have a VL 250 Intruder & love it!
    The husband let his NZ licence laps so he had to resit his learners over here and has just bought a new CB400 which he loves...Was a lot of money though cost nearly 3 times what my bike did 8-[

    Not that i know much about bikes..... but the research i did when looking for my 1st cruiser suggested the Pagsta is a chunk of crap.
  5. I acquired my L's in August and nearly followed the "250cc path" until I stopped, counted to 10 and took a week or so to scout around - dealers and internet.

    I'm glad I did because I ended up buying a 400cc bike, LAMS-approved in Victoria but not here in the ACT (but it is now after I applied for recognition).

    The reason I say I'm glad is that within the first few rides on the bike I became accustomed to its power, finding it very comfortable for Canberra's 80 and 100 kph parkways and easily able to cruise at (and slightly over!) the posted limits.

    Conclusion is that this bike will last me longer than if I had bought a 250.

  6. pfft buy the bike you can afford to upgrade when you can. If not the CB400 or SV650 would be my pick. Although the kwaka is an interesting bike and as I havent ridden one cant comment.

    Boy the SV650 is a great little bike.
  7. ResmeN,
    I was just re-reading your post - you have a leaning towards the cruisers.
    Why not consider a second-hand 750cc Virago?
    It's LAMS and yet will cruise beautifully at highway speeds and will last you as long as you want.
  8. are you sure? Dunno bout lams in Vic but in NSW the size restriction is 660cc or less.
  9. Only the restricted version of the SV 650 is LAMS - and those are new and therefore a lot more than your budget. Same with the CB 400: try 3 times what you're looking at spending.

    As said above, there are some nice larger cruisers available now on LAMS (but not 750s... as has been said, the limit is 660cc).
  10. There's a very nice Yamaha 'Dragstar' 650 on Bikesales for $7500, which is a bit more than you want to spend but more the ballpark. The XV535 Virago is also a nice mid-size cruiser option, and there are some of them around below 4 grand.
  11. A 250 cruiser will struggle with your size. Viragos are OK for diminutive women, but will frustrate the hell out of you if you're in a hurry.

    Oh, and stay away from the Chinese. And Korean, no matter how good a LAMS Hyo Aquilla may look...

    Get out and test a few cruisers and nakeds and see what feels right, then narrow the list down to a model or two and do some research, see what's out there for sale and go for the best buy you can find.
  12. I would recommend the GS500 (naked) or GS500F (with fairings) considering your budget.

    I started on a Virago 250, I am 183cm and 105kgs and I was way to big, ended up with a sore back any rides over 25kms. And had bad brakes and slow to accelerate around traffic (getting out of blindspots).

    My GS500F has plently of power (47hp), easy to ride and do your P's test on, and has a rep for being bulletproof (bike has been around for ages).

    Bike 1

    Bike 2
  13. Here in Canberra the XVS (Virago) is LAMS in 250cc, 535cc, 635cc, 750cc and 1100cc versions, from the late 1980's versions all the way through to 2003 for the 750 and through to 1999 for the 1100.

    Either come to Canberra (where an L-plater can travel at posted speeds) or apply to your State's authorities to have the bikes recognised on the grounds that they are so approved in another LAMS area.
    I did it for my bike (Honda CM400A) and had no difficulty at all.

  14. A mate of mine has a Honda Shadow 650 that is LAMs and as a cruiser is pretty cool. Retro looks and very simple design, could be a good one. I think he paid about $5200?
  15. act has crazy lams laws. but theyre dogyness got my 800 lams approved in vic
  16. plonkey

    ER5 noted. Sorry I meant the XJ6 which is LAMS.

    I really like the CB400 especially the colour scheming of the abs version too but I think at this stage is above my price range. With the CB400 when I can afford it do you think it would be a bike you could use for years ie not outgrow the power right away.

    GS500 looks good. Sorry what's a 3--3 model?

    To tell the truth I fell in love with motorcycyling by riding a mates Virago 2 years ago. After doing the l's on the Honda CBF250 and then sitting on a XVS650 on the weekend the bike felt bike and not that comfy. The thing is this will be my first bike and I haven't ever ridden before and am not that good a rider as yet. What scares me is sometimes I see learner or newly licensed riders riding on larger upscale LAMS bikes or smaller licensed bikes and when taking off they wobble and also when stopping they hop with their feet etc and this doesn't instill me with encouragement to go for something bigger.

    Though I went to the local Yamaha dealer and the guy told me your a big guy and are better off getting a XVS650 instead of the XVS250 so you feel more comfortable and have more power but I think it is too big of a jump for me.

    Yeah there is a LAMS one which is the Yamaha XVS650 (like the custom) though at this stage new or near new ones are going for between $8000 - $11000.

    I'm actually starting to take a liking for naked bikes. Arrghh so many choices out there.

    Yes the VL250 is a nice little bike. Is his CB400 the abs one or the standard one? They look very nice but like you said cost a bit too.

    Yeah I also went in to the dealership of Hunter and they even said don't even bother with them as they're not good likewise Pagsta & Arquin.

    What 400cc bike did you end up getting. The thing is I really had liked cruisers and still do but the nakeds are growing on me rapidly and am confused. If I get a cruiser I can only afford near new 250's but if I get a naked I'm sure I can afford something near new above 250.

    Yeah I also went in to one dealership on the weekend and will go to a few more next weekend to get an idea and vibe of the market, bikes, gear etc.

    Very true that the bike will last longer then a 250 and fully agree.
  17. They're not crazy - they're sensible. And that includes the ACT's attitude towards L-platers in general.

    The bikes are approved on the basis of power-to-weight ratio, which is why most (if not all) H-D's are on the list. Heavy bikes, medium power means an acceptable ratio.

    So any bike that is not already approved can have an application made if the p-to-w calculation gives a result that is inside the maximum allowed.
    And the authorities are helpful - or they were for me, anyway.

    We also have a common-sense attitude towards an L-plated rider on the 100kph parkways here.
    Our 100 kph roads are very good - dual carriageway in all cases, good surfaces.
    The approach is that an L-plater is not going to gain experience if he/she is restricted on these roads to 80 kph.
    Doing so just makes them a hazard to others and to themselves.

  18. I cant believe no-one else has mentioned the drz400sm.

    its just about the most fun learner bike (outside the sxv450/550) you can own.

    suits bit tall fellows as its got a high seat, high bars and low pegs and can pop some nice fun wheelies and stoppies
  19. I'm an oldie, so I bought an oldie! :)

    It's a Honda CM400A, 1980 model.
    Never distributed Down Under.
    This one was brought in privately in 1991 from New York - the owner came down to live in Melbourne.
    The bike has 17,000 genuine miles on it and is all-original.

    A rare machine in that it has a 2-speed semi-auto torque-converter box (the 'A' suffix)......effectively a clutchless 2-speed gearbox. (Engine is a parallel twin).
    First can go up to about 60kph and second will take it to over 120 kph. Or you can leave it in 2nd. forever, but at the expense of higher fuel consumption.

    Brilliant in an urban environment and superb on the highway....cruises effortlessly @ 100 and still with grunt to spare for hills. I love it. :)

    However, as they were designed for the American market they are scarce on the ground here.

    The gearbox is bullet-proof - so tough that Honda also popped it onto their 1975 750Four! Now that is one machine I'd like to try.......but no LAMS, unfortunately.

    Hope this helps.
  20. matti-san

    The CB400 is a lovely looking bike. I think it maybe my next bike.

    The SV650 looks the goods but is just a bit above my price range for the time being. Is the seating on the SV650 more or less straight up or is it more leaning forward.

    I would prefer a bike where you are seated more or less upright.