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First bike: CBR250 vs VTR250 vs GS500 vs ??

Discussion in 'Bike Reviews, Questions and Suggestions' started by ptb, Apr 24, 2012.

  1. Hey,

    I've been reading this site for a couple of weeks and finally decided to register because I got my learners and I'll begin with the background and million questions :)

    I need advice on a bike to learn on. I wont be riding to work, just for leisure and live in the Yarra Valley so lots of highways, twisties and places to go.

    I've essentially got no experience riding motorbikes and picked up riding fairly well at a 2 day HART course.

    I'm 170cm but have short legs. On the training CBF250's, I just touch the ground on both sides with my toes but not flat footed.

    I need a lot of practice taking off, gears, cornering, roadcraft and studying the awesome So you want to ride a motorbike threads. I don't feel confident going for a ride in traffic just yet and therefore don't really know how to ride/evaluate a bike prior to purchase. I'm mechanically minded, tooled up and experienced, I do all work on my cars except panel beating.

    I've read the the GS500 is a boring but reliable bike. I would like something that can do corners well so is that the wrong choice?

    - I prefer a naked bike in case I lay it down which may rule out the CBR250
    - Budget $3-4k (more if justified)
    - Which bike has the cheaper and easier to get bits for servicing and repairs?

    What's the etiquette for doing a test-ride of a bike you're interested in? None of my mates are into small road bikes to come for an inspection and test with me.

  2. For me it would really be between the GS500 and the little VTR. Try sitting on both, if you like the feel of either, just hunt for the best quality one within your budget.

    I like the VTR, just bought one myself, I use it to save fuel, cruise into town, and it is for my GF to learn to ride on. She loves it. They are a great handling bike, and very easy to learn on.
    I would say the VTR would be better in the corners, but the GS500 can handle just fine if needed.
    As far as parts and servicing goes, parts should be similar prices, as they are both popular bikes with a long production span.
    Servicing I would imagine to be a touch cheaper on the GS, and easier for the home mechanic if you want to tackle it yourself.
  3. For riding position, should I be able to reach both sides with my feet flat on the ground?
  4. GS500 .. newer, more comfy riding position.. and no two wheels are ever boring.. 'cept scooters ridden by suits...

    It would be preferable if both feet touch the ground, much easier to balance, and the GS500 is quite heavy...
  5. How is the GS500 newer?
  6. As above: Gs500 is newer? And a heavy bike?
  7. Well I stand corrected.. Honda has released 2012's.. sneaky dream makers...
    Compared to my gixxer, it sure feels heavier. I remember Cibbys and VTRs to be lighter ... But you could prove me wrong again.

    Come to think of it, would you really want a new LAMS bike...? :-k
  8. GS would be heavier than a VTR, but it is still far from a heavy bike. 173kg vs 139kg (both dry weights.)
  9. If you do a lot of highway then the faired bike CBR250 would help with wind and also 6speed.

    VTR250 can do highway but is only 5speed and in 5th gear the revs are pretty high. You might be able to get away with a screen to help with the wind.

    GS500 bigger engine so should be good on highway and if naked you have the wind thing again.

    Pretty much sit on it and see which one you feel comfortable with.
  10. My learner was a VTR250 and it was a great bike.

    They are quite capable little things and will definitely be a good tool to use during the L phase

    Tablet talkin'
  11. Given the money and compete newbie status I'd have to put my vote on the VTR.
  12. Thanks for all the advice everyone.

    Will be doing some shopping this weekend.



    What's the durability of bikes? Roughly how many KM is too many before they become a bomb?
  13. I've ridden both: the gf has a VTR-250 (for sale), and I served out my LAMs on a GS-500. Both are really good learner bike, but are quite different to ride.

    I got a GS-500 for me simply because I weigh around 110kg and found the VTR-250 a little on small side. If the VTR-250 was just a little bigger with just a little more engine to lug around my fat @rse, I would have probably have gotten one instead. As it was I ended up tweaking the front suspension on the GS-500.

    Things that I liked about the VTR-250:
    Its happy to rev.
    Its changes direction/steers/corners really easily - it feels like it wants to go.
    It feels like a well made bike
    Really nice brakes with good feel (compared to the suzuki)
    Its just a hoot to ride.

    Things I dont like:
    Its really just a little too small for me (5.10 and 110kg), which is why I went the GS-500.

    I'd argue the VTR-250 has kept evolving, at least to a degree whereas the GS-500 hasnt changed in a long time. That doesnt mean there is anything wrong with it - just that suzuki have figured that its a commuter bike, its still selling well, so why mess with it.

    Re the flat footing thing. I can't flat foot my new bike, but I dont really find it to be an issue. That said, it would make it easier when learning.

    My feeling is that durability of bikes is a lot better than people often think. The trouble is there are so many low km bikes around being sold as the owners just didnt have time to ride, so it kinda messes with the averages. My GS-500 had 25,000 on it (I added 15,000 in my year of owner) which was more than the average for a 2008 model. It felt exactly the same at 25,000 as it did at 10,000 - which is probably pretty close to how it felt at 5000 - and probably how it should feel at 50,000 if maintained correctly.

    Hope this helps