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Compiling my test ride/sit on list

Discussion in 'Bike Reviews, Questions and Suggestions' started by NJS, May 8, 2008.

  1. Doing Q-ride early June and will be buying 1st bike soon after. Have not ridden for many a long year and that was on farms. Have no intention of being a hoon.
    So I have started a list of bikes I can potentially see myself on. My daily commute will be a mixture of tar and dirt roads. Budget is around 10000. Please add to the list if I am missing anything or feel free to tell me I am an idiot for any of my choices.

    Scrambler - above budget but if I try it and like it will do everything possible to squeeze the extra out of the treasurer

    er6n - really like the look of this one, but am also thinking it maybe a bit to bike for a first, although have read elsewhere it would be fine

    klr 650 or kle 500 - like them both for the type of riding I will be doing but don't feel as strongly as I do about the 1st 2

    v-strom - lots of people seem to like it, so I'll give it a shot

    sv-650 - something I like the look of but probably not suitable

    vtr-250 - I should have a go at "the" learner bike.

    A couple of other questions, is abs a good idea on a first bike, or is better to learn without it? I have noticed some dealers will trade on a car, is this common?

  2. By the way, I am buying new purely for peace of mind.
  3. if you're buying new, and you're after a naked middleweight, add the following bikes:

    2008 Honda Hornet 600
    Trimph Street Triple

    they will kick arse.
  4. WOW dirt commute, great fun :cool:

    Scrambler - great bike, not that much get up and go, but a really unique sound, has (I think) different crank firing to other twin Trumpy's. If you like the look, it's hard to beat. Price also just dropped, you'd find a second hand one for close to your money.

    er5n - only one of your choices I haven't ridden, but good write up's more comparable to SV650 which I have ridden (well actually a S, thanks Phizog) and highly recommend the Vtwin, but for me, I'd go the Strom for any dirt as it's got the bigger front wheel and more travel suspension. Also a real fun bike to ride, on dirt and tar and be my chioce, except for the buffeting which isn't that costly a fix for a new screen.

    KLE's real cheap at the moment, and unless regulary tackling fire trails, be my choice over the KLR which also gave me buffeting issues. Much smoother, six speed box - both have 21" front wheels, and KLE give you better economy. Only negative is the KLE's small tank.

    VTR's also OK, but why settle for much smaller bike that costs nearly as much.
  5. Ooh, learning with/without ABS, that's a tricky and philosophical question. I learned on a VTR250 without ABS (natch), I now own a Tiger 1050 with ABS...

    The fear with ABS is that a learner-rider might come to rely on it, and never truely learn how their brakes perform. They might not learn threshold braking, or smoothness. These things must be learned. (The same goes for cars with ABS and stability control, IMHO.)

    I can still practice my emergency stops on the Tiger. I still do practice my emergency stops on the Tiger. It's just like practicing on my VTR250 except instead of a wheel lockup I hear tyres chirping and the brake pedal and lever begin to kick back to tell me that I've f***ed up and am now under computer control. So I take mental notes for next time and try not to trigger the system again. I ride as if my Tiger didn't have ABS and pray that I don't ever use it.

    ABS is afterall a safety net to catch you in an emergency situation when the best of human ability just wasn't best enough... With that in mind, I think a rider could learn to brake properly, both for normal situations and for emergency stops, on a bike equipped with ABS, so long as they do not take it for granted.

    And I think during the learning period (and indeed, in the future) ABS could be invaluable should the worst happen - afterall, you may not be proficient in emergency stops and threshold braking yet.

    Now, ABS on bikes can be a bit sketchy on dirt for the most part. It will prevent a lockup, but sometimes a lockup is needed to stop on dirt. (Toecutter could discuss that better than I can). Still, if you're not locking the wheels, ABS should be well-behaved on dirt/gravel. Heh.
  6. you also might want to consider the new Honda CB400
    might be a great first bike.
  7. I just bought ER-6N and after riding 250cc for several years I found the transition very easy and natural. So I think it would be an OK bike for you if you are a returning rider. I mean heck, in the States where they don't have any limits on new riders machines like SV650 and Er-6 are considered a sensible, conservative choice for complete beginners...

    However since you expect to do a fair bit of dirt, I would suggest Versys instead of ER6, and V-Strom instead of SV650. Versys has a RRP of 10,990, so it's still sort of within your budget.
  8. What about motards?

    KTM make some great ones, something like the KTM 690 Supermoto?
  9. If I had more money and larger testicles the street triple. That or the tiger will probably be my second bike.
    KTM is too expensive and while I do love the nakeds some dirt road ability will be crucial, although I saw a local flying through the dirt section on his bandit today. So the CB is out for the same reason that the Bonneville was taken off the list.
    I think it will come down to scrambler, er6n or v-strom, maybe the KLE, but please keep the ideas coming. If it helps, 99% of the trip will be at the 100kmh mark. Plus on the right bike I will take the long way home which means more dirt :grin: .
  10. How long is the dirt bit of the commute? You talking a good quality dirt road or more of a trail?

    If you want to take it on anything other than perfect dirt roads I'd cross off the er6n and sv650.
  11. Pretty good surface, but very dusty. Is the Versys that much more of and allroader compared to the er6? Seemed to be fairly similar. The SV is on the list because I like it and feel I should give it a look. The whole idea of this process is to increase my choices and awareness, so I don't get a few months down the track and go bugger I wish I had tried that.

  12. A little off-topic (but not). Just tried the Tiger's ABS out on an ordinary dirt road. Stops pretty good still, well, as good as stopping on dirt with street tyres gets - If the wheels lock it unsticks them after a moment and resumes regular braking. Skid-unstick-skid-unstick. Not too bad at all.

    Certainly not "OMG MY BRAKES DIDN'T WORK AT ALL", as some people claim ABS bikes do. But I suppose it varies from model to model.
  13. There are situations on dirt - albeit some of the more extreme forms, not just dirt roads - where it's handy/essential to be able to skid the rear. I've certainly heard of people rigging switches on their ABS V-Stroms to disable ABS when required... but it'd void your warranty. I think Spots is right though - you can learn to work around it in the vast majority of situations, and it may well save yer butt in some of the remainder.

    You definitely still need a list, but with what you've described I reckon the V-Strom should be at the top of it and the Versys second (and really only because I'm not a fan of the way the Versys looks - if it floats yer boat, you must promote!)
  14. Yes definitely. More ground clearance, forks and suspension different (bike is taller, esp front if you look at it).
  15. I would say Versys is only a bit more off-road capable than ER-6, which is exactly what you need - as I understand it, you just want to do gravel roads, not trial riding! But thanks to not being too extremely capable off-road, Versys remains a perfectly OK road bike. Compared to V-Strom it is (or at least it feels) lighter and more manageable, This is possibly due to the its weight being all down low, and not having the massive (yet apparently not very effective) fairing that V-Strom has.
  16. What about something like a DRZ400SM? Maybe not your cup of tea from the other bikes you have there.
    Heard nothing but great things about them, and would be suited well to your commute.
  17. I have an er6 as a first big bike. its pretty placid under about 4000rpm then picks up over 5000 :grin: :grin: :grin:
    Keeping it under 4000ish running it in was like riding a 250.
    Its an easy bike to ride.
  18. A bit too trail for my liking. I will engage in a reasonable amount highway travel on top of my commute.