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First Bike - First Ride

Discussion in 'Bike Reviews, Questions and Suggestions' started by Osva, Jun 8, 2015.

  1. Hello Guys,

    I have just joined the forum and spent the public holiday at work (yes they made us do it!) reading through the First Timers forum with all the info and guides for noobs and how to learn to ride and survive. It did make me think a lot more about getting a bike and what is involved with it.

    I still have some general questions. Unfortunately, going to my local bike shop has not answered much. They seem to be selling what needs to be sold and playing mind games. Being in sales myself I don't really buy into it and see through it, so I have come here for some honest opinions.

    The first is I guess some background. I have been around cars since I was a kid. My dad was racing back in the day and I learned to drive on a race track. I know most ins and outs and my way around the car as well as how to drive it. A bike on another note, i know jack about. All my knowledge is out the window and I am a total noob.

    My first concern was new vs used. I think I have set my mind on used, being cheaper and easier option for bumps and drops, which will happen sooner than later.

    Now with a car i know what signs to look for when it is a used one. Some will apply for a bike too. Symmetry, scratches and dents, welding marks and joints and so on. As far as I have read services are done every 6 months (minor) might be able to figure out how to do myself (eventually) and then we have major at 1K kms and every 6k kms. So an obvious choice would be to check if major service is done or not and not buy a bike that is close to needing one? I am not quite sure how to check tyre quality on a used bike and what is good and what is not. If I am looking at a bike from 2011 onwards, how many KMs would be reasonable? I am not looking for a bike as a daily run, more of a fun run on the weekend. Due to my job i do need to be in a car at all other times.

    The next question is about brand and type. I am quite set on the Super Sport look and feel. One of my concerns is the height and size of the bike. I am almost 190cm in height (6ft 2) and that pretty much rules out the ninjas and some of the smaller bikes.

    I am also tossing between 250 vs 500 vs 659. Walking into a Ducatti Dealership and seeing the Ducatti Monster 659 is definitely appealing. The sales person was really keen on getting me on there with the regular comments about buying a bike and not having to upgrade in a year but rather lasting a long time and so on. Which brings me to the next question and narrowing down between Models. They were also talking about these being limited to be LAMS approved and as far as i can understand having a restricted bike is not very fun since it is not originally designed to operate at those power levels.

    Honda CBR250 ABS vs Honda CBR500 ABS and Hyosung GT250R and Hyosung GT650R.

    All the above bikes seem great. Ride height should suit my body height and weight balance should be good for my overall size. I sat on my friends CBR500 and it felt great (unlike my neighbours Ninja 250 that I was standing over with a 15cm gap between my butt and the seat.

    Should a first time rider and I mean I have not ever ridden a bike (I have been on scooters when I was a kid (in europe there arent many laws against scooters (14+ can ride them), but I dont count them as having experience), be on a 500cc+? Physical size between the above models is virtually not existent so I am leaning towards the 250cc range, cheaper and easier to learn on for a beginner?

    Are the many issues with the CBR250 or the GT250? I have read the reviews and both seem to have their pros and cons. I have decided I would like to keep it under $4000 (lower if possible) as I am not sure how much I will ride the bike and it is more for fun rather than a daily run. It does seem that the CBR is a smaller bike and may not be as good fit as the GT. GT is also a cheaper version of the two. In saying that, I have heard Hyosung are not the best at making bikes, but some have it and love it.

    Would there be any other brand suggestions?

    The rego and insurance is very similar to a car and does not seem to have much of a saving (when compared to a car aside from lower fuel costs). Would you guys recommend a full insurance or a third party? I mean if I have a $3000 bike is it worth spending $700 on insurance per year?

    Between the Hyosung and Honda, is one more expensive than the other to service/repair? How often would you need to replace tyres and what costs would that incur?

    Sorry for the million questions. I have another million but I am trying to find out as much info as possible.

    Thank you!
  2. Don't get a hyosung.

    get a cbr300r over the 250r, it has just enough grunt to be great around town and decent enough power to be viable on the highways, the cbr500r even more so. but with the additional cost in mind, I'd probably still go the 300r over the 500r if I had to make the choice again.
  3. Get the hyo, thrash its guts and move on when you get your license.

    Also try the gs500, or even an older cb400
  4. Is there any particular issues with the Hyosung? As far as I can find a hard time re-selling it?

    I am 28 so from what I read I can get my Ps as soon as I can pass the test..but I may need to keep the bike for a year or so until I can upgrade that is even if I do decide that I want to.

    I'd love a cbr300 but it is a brand new range and a little more than I would like to spend..if I am spending 5k+ may aswell go with CBR500, and then we have the issue of power vs skill..=/

    Are Hyosungs bad as a brand because of the problems that they bring?
  5. Hyo's are unreliable from what I've heard. Honda's are bullet proof.

    When I brought my cbr300r, i went to peter stevens to enquire about bikes, a dealer was prepared to sell me a used cbr250r abs for about 5,500. I asked if they had any 300r's in stock, when he searched it up, the computer showed that there was a cbr300r abs in another store for 5000.

    I brought the 300r, 2015 2000km on the odo

    the prices for the 250r and 300r are in most cases the same or very close (in some instances, 250r's are more!).

    I think the cbr500r is around 6-7 grand, and a cbr300r/cbr250r can be had for the 4-5 grand. I think after a month of riding a 250r it'll start to feel too small.

    neither of those bikes will really catch you out power wise, for the first time I rode my bike I felt it was too much power (coming from the cb125e in the learner lessons) but it isn't much to handle now.
  6. This tends to be the case. The Honda CB400 SF or CBR500R in the price range $5K-7K will be a good first bike to spend at least a year (or more) riding both in the city and out on the open road.
  7. Most of the major brands are fine.

    Smaller bikes are generally lighter and so easier to man handle while you are a noob. I mean while pushing around, when stopping starting and generally when you have one of both feet down or when you are picking it up. Once you get a bike moving usually even the most heavy bikes cease to be a problem. Once you have a bit of experience the bigger bikes will have more power and be more flexible in delivering what you need when you need it.

    All bikes will feel cumbersome at first. but you do get used to it. Since you are tall I would be suggesting weight is less likely to be a problem as you will have both feet firmly planted when stationery so I would be going for bigger.

    Ducatis are slightly on the exotic side and that sometimes means higher prices in terms of parts, but the monsters are a great bike which handle fantastic. You are unlikely to be bored with one too soon.

    Plenty of old bikes around with over 50,000 Km on them which are fine so biggish Kms aren't a problem in itself. Regular service records would be some indication that the bike has been looked after but no guarantee that it is good.

    Hyos had a reputation for unreliability when they first came out. Their quality control was not that good. Some people have never had any trouble with them and others never stopped having trouble. However if you do buy a Hyo be prepared to be stirred, particularly if it gives any trouble whatsoever.

    At the end of the day which bike is best for you is a personal choice. Bit like asking people what is their favourite food or which position do they prefer. Everyone will have a different opinion and no-one is wrong.
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  8. Welcome to the club and world of motorcycling, you've just made an addictive, enjoyable and expensive decision you won't regret.

    I'll try to answer your questions.

    New vs used
    I'll set my bias upfront, I've never had a new bike.
    Being a learner you will naturally drop or crash your first bike; maybe at a u-turn, putting it on its centre-stand or just simply having an accident. Bikes have two wheels and they naturally do want to fall over!

    I'd advise buying a pre-dropped bike out of warranty, you will feel less guilty should you put a scratch on it and have a good platform to do all your own maintenance on. You can pick up a great japanese 250 for under $2.5k which will be reliable commuter or bike to practice on before you transition up.

    Used Bikes
    Bring a friend who fixes his/her own bikes, you're focused on much the same things. Has the maintenance been done, condition of chain/sprockets, has it been abused, subframe damage etc.
    For most of the smaller lams bikes the maintenance is periodic as opposed to major/minor and not very expensive should you service it yourself. Your normally dropping the oil/filter every 5k and inspecting brakepads at every service anyway.
    You do want to check the condition of the rotors and condition of the chain and sprocket as they will cost $500 to replace if worn.

    Tyre Quality
    Tread = does it have any
    Age = If its older than 3-4 years, replace it. The rubber becomes harder over time and won't warm up or grip.
    Pick Test = Can you poke a fingernail into the rubber? If not the rubber is to hard for a learner.

    How many KMs would be reasonable?
    If its being serviced regularly its not an issue.
    Readup on each of your bikes you've shortlisted.
    For the smaller 250's the top ends normally need refurbishing after 50k with bearings needing to be replaced around the same time across the bike.
    10-20k is good rough starting point.

    Brand and type/ height and size
    Go around to all the yards and dealers and physically sit on the bikes for 10 minutes each.
    Some will feel better than others, and some you may walk in loving may turn out to have a horrible posture.
    Try sitting on a few of these super-sports to see if they are comfortable, I'd suggest looking at a sports/tourer for a first bike.

    250 vs 500 vs 659
    Japanese plastic is expensive, Italian is even worse.
    A lighter 250 will be more forgiving and cheaper to run, 500 possibly easier to ride having a little more power.
    It all depends on what you want to do, don't think more cc is better...its not and a bad trap.

    I have put ~15k on my zzr250 in the last year going up and down the freeway, so its not like the smaller bikes can't travel outside of the suburb or maintain 120km/h.

    I'd just buy the Ducati poster for $20, its the only bike you will leave the store as a learner that won't end in heartbreak.

    Ultimately buy a bike that fits your size, that you're confident in handling and can afford.
    No point buying a 200kg cruiser and dropping it on the first u-turn.

    Would there be any other brand suggestions?
    Stick to Kawaski, Suzuki, Yamaha, Honda.
    Sit on all the bikes, hassle the reps and price up different parts for each.
    They are simple, reliable, cheap to maintain and glue back together.

    Would you guys recommend a full insurance or a third party?
    Get some quotes, if your bike costs $2500 and your premium will be $1500 with a $2000 excess for comprehensive or $300 for third-party I know what I would take.
    My bikes are only thirdparty and If I drop them, then I accept I will have to fix it or part it out.

    Hyosung and Honda, is one more expensive than the other to service/repair?
    Depends on where you get it serviced.
    Tyres/Oil/Sparkplugs/Labor cost the same and will end out pretty comparable.
    Replacement fairings can be sought for Honda's for $300-400 sprayed and stickered should you choose to throw it down the road.
    Ducati and exotic bikes however will cost a kidney to service or repair.
  9. You don't say how heavy you are but if you are 90kg and above a 250 or below might not be what you are after.

    Honda's are known for their reliability but I have not ever heard too much bad said about Hyosungs. Given that you generally get what you pay for though.

    For your height the Hyosung 250 and 650 are physically bigger bikes.

    $4,000 is going to definitely limit your options though. Forget new! The bike that comes to mind would be second hand GS500 Suzuki.

    I don't know about Sydney but here in Adelaide motorcycle rego is about half a cars.

    With regards to LAMS bikes being restricted and not fun! Ask any MT-07, Street Triple 660 or Monster 659 owner. I am sure they will disagree. Besides, you have no choice but be restricted. There are also many happy Ninja owners. As long as you are on the right bike for you.
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  10. I'm fairly new to riding aswell, and recently went through what you are going through.

    I think your height is going to be a big factor...I am 178cm and found most 250's comfortable enough, without me feeling too cramped.

    I had a look at a GS500...I think size wise it wouldn't be bad for a person of your height. I personally ended up with a KTM Duke 200, and I honestly wouldn't want to be much taller than what I am.

    New vs used....everyone says get used, because you'll more than likely drop it. I personally think if you have that thought in your head, it's more likely to happen. Again, just my opinion.

    I went on more of a budget than a particular bike. As Nicholai_ChevNicholai_Chev said, go to a variety of dealers, sit on a range of bikes and find one that feels comfortable for you.

    I don't know how rego works in other states, but here in SA it is dependant on bike capacity.

    As for insurance, I am with Swann Insurance. I have never ridden bikes, but I have been driving for 16 years. Given that, my KTM is $230 per year, full comp! Again, there may be variations to other states/insurance companies. I can imagine being 19 and having only a year of driving history will put premiums right up there.

    How long are you required to ride LAMS/restricted bike for after you get your P's? In SA, 12 months is it, and then unrestricted licence can be had. For me, i'll live with a 200, and use the time to learn to ride a small bike well, so when I do get my full licence, I will hopefully be more comfortable to ride a bigger, more powerful bike well...that may be something to consider aswell.

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  11. m2c... I'm 6'3" 90kgs and found I was tossing up between the Ninja 650L and the CBR500R. I had never sat on a bike in my life before going for my Ls. The CBR felt comfortable at the same time as being a lot cheaper... I haven't looked back. I'd come from powerful cars that could do 3.5s to 100 and at the end of the day it is all about how much common sense and respect for the power that you possess. I think I would have felt underpowered by now had I have chosen something smaller.
  12. Having made all the same decisions as you recently, I can only tell you the decisions I made.

    I was talked into going for the bigger CBR500 over the 300 and I am not regretting that in anyway at all!

    I ended up buying new, to be honest, the price I paid was similar and in some cases less than a pre-loved model. It seems it may be the time of year for stock clearout sales as well, so you may do even better than I did.

    Buying new, I had the chance to have my bike registered as a single seater (not being able to take a pillion until I upgrade my licence, it makes no difference to me), so the CTP part of the rego was much less. My full comprehensive insurance on my brand new bike (new for new replacement for 2 years), including $2k riding gear cover was just over $400, but I have been with NRMA for a few years, so that probably helped.

    When it comes to how much power you have, as a new rider, you are already restricted to a lams bike and just because your bike has it, doesn't mean you have to use it all. New bike was nursed a bit for the first 500k, but now that I have been riding almost a month, I am very happy with the amount of power that I do have!

    Good luck and just be happy with whatever you do get!!
  13. When I decided to get my license I bought a cheap jap 250. I have never regretted it.The pros, so light, so easy to ride, rego is cheap about $100 but the green is about $300. That little 250 saved my life on a couple of occasions when I did some unintentionally stupid stuff and it kind of delayed for a microsecond - the duke, or a jap sports will not delay. I took about 5 years before I dropped the bike off the stand and I just shrugged shoulders and picked it up, no biggie. Insurance, well I have third party which is pretty cheap. Plus I get to work on the thing myself and learn a lot. To be honest it is just fun to ride.

    The cons. As a learner it was problematic, the idle was all over the place and it would cut out when I stopped. Not good with little experience. It is not good on the highway, which means I haven't been booked but it limited my riding range. It drinks oil and has electrical issues at times. Be aware whether you own a 20 year old jap banger or a Ducati 1098 you will be charged at least $100 per hour labour; you can assume the apprentice will work on the banger which can cause you grief. Also I have had for some time a 'good bike' and the 250 is now the restoration project (it is over 20 years old).

    As for tyres don't stuff around go with a quality product, and replace them as needed. Bad tyres on any bike will hurt you especially a powerful bike.

    If I had to do it all over again I would go a cheap, well balanced, light, underpowered older jap bike. That is me, but what was right for me may not be right for you. If you are going to by new, test ride and test ride. One last bit of advice at some stage probably more than once you are going to take off, lean the bike over on a stupid angle with not enough momentum. I was always glad as a learner that my bike was light enough for me to stamp a big hoof down and get it back to a safe angle so I didn't fall. Good luck with your search and welcome to bike world.
  14. Started 12 months ago on 250cc, got bored within 6 months and moved onto a 500. This bike will probably entertain me for a year or two.
    My personal measure is this: When I'm regularly using 80-100% of the available throttle and /or revs to have some fun, it's time to upgrade.

    More powerful LAMS bikes usually have a broader spread of torque that comes with a bigger capacity engine. This makes the bike more tolerant of poor gear choices for a new rider.

    A lot of newbies fall into thinking "a powerful bike will be hard to control, get me into trouble". The truth is that self-control is the key. No different to cars in that way, really.
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  15. I have a 2006 cbf250 and a 2010 hyosung gt650 and they're both great. The anti hyosung crowd is there and loud but there's little substance do it if you chop out the pre-2010 bikes.

    Small, light bikes are generally a whole lot of fun to ride and very confidence inspiring. As in racing, you learn a hell of a lot from the less capable machines.
  16. My next door neighbour has a GT650R in Black and he absolutely loves it. Has never missed a beat. He shares house with two other guys that have CFMoto 650NK's and although they are OK his seems to polish up that bit better.

    Which reminds me, the CFMoto 650NK is one to consider. They have been around long enough that some of the second hand prices are coming down towards the OP's budget.
  17. Thank you all for your replies!

    I think i am going to have to go back to the drawing board for this one.

    CBR250 is definitely out of question I think. It is a smaller bike than the GT250 and GT650 and when I looked at one it was definitely smaller than expected. I am now reconsidering CBR300R and CBR500R. I heard that ABS model is a must for a new rider and will make life much easier.

    I have had a look just now..a brand new CBR300R ABS will set me back around $6400 ride away. That is just the RRP price at Honda dealer that I got online. Bikesales website is showing a few models at $5500-$6000 with 250km to 2000km.

    On the other hand we have CBR500R. These are 2014-2015 models with 5-10k kms going for $6500-$7000.

    Now the question is do I just go and buy a cheap and potentially nasty Hyosung GT250R EFI for $3000-$4000 leaving me with more money for the gear and other equipment. I even saw some pre-2010 models going for under $2000 but I am a little worried about those ones.

    My biggest concern is that I may ride it once or twice in a week at most, especially the way that Sydneys weather is lately. Meaning that I will have a $6000 unit sitting in the garage not doing much at all.

    2011 Hyosung GT250R EFI - with 12K kms for $2990 and hopefully some negotiations would get it down a bit.

    I guess to sum up all of my ranting, is it better to just go and buy cheap cheap and learn from the mistakes?

    My biggest concern is that I may buy it - sit on it for 6 months, barely use it and end up having to sell it. But then again Hyosungs are harder to sell and they do not hold value. But buying cheap already maybe won't go down much more?

    P.S. I am 190cm tall and weight 95kg..currently trying to go down to my normal weight of 85-90kg so 250cc should be hopefully ok..As much as I do want a higher cc for all the good reasons mentioned by all of you - i dont want to put it on finance.

    Out of interest Third Party Insurance would cost me $420. Comprehensive is $2070. Definitely not worth the comprehensive insurance for a $3000 bike. Green Slip would be $315 with rego probably another $150 (guessing). So I am looking at a $1000 just to get the bike on the road (need to add rego transfer and other bits and pieces), plus around $1000-$1500 for the gear that I need to buy. That really does limit my options for the bike. It is quite funny in a way that my car is costing the exact same amount for rego. Comprehensive is $1500 because it is a turbo but the bike is not much cheaper at all..I always thought that at least the rego is cheaper on a bike :(
  18. Be aware that the hyosungs are quite heavy for the size... I mean I really like the gt650 but it's not as easy to throw around. But here's another factor: how much time will you spend at 100km/hr? I bought the gt650 because I knew I'd be doing some long trips. With that in mind, whenever I'm riding around the city or going somewhere for work or w/e, I take the cbf250. Also, just to colour my opinion a bit, I'm not hugely interested in outright speed anymore. I mean I love enjoying nice twisty roads on the bike and having a good carve - I'm not really fussed about the acceleration. If you want outright speed in your portfolio of "things the bike can do", then that might be another reason to consider something other than the hyosung.

    There are tons of fantastic/fast 250/300's around and almost all of the big 4 manufacturers have really solid learner bikes.

    In your shoes I'd probably go with a 2nd hand 250 or 300 unless you want to do freeway stuff frequently.
  19. Hardly ever. The road I drive on is 80kmh which is for about 1.5-2km and then we have 70kmh and a 50-60kmh zones all the way to work. And that is even if I am going to take it to work maybe once I know how to ride and got some skills under my belt. Otherwise this is just a fun thing for the weekend to have and do.
  20. If you are only going to ride it once or twice a week, it may take you some time (i.e. years) to outgrow it. Money does seem to be a factor for you so I'd go with a cheaper option like a second hand 300 and spend some on some decent gear - Textiles will get you good protection at a lower price and good boots are worth some serious thought. Plenty of comments on forums about how ankles can't be re-built.

    I brought a 150: Yamaha yzf-R15 & I'm 172cm 70kg, based on best option for the $ I had - commute every day, no freeways/100kmh. Little, light bike is absolutely brilliant and dirt cheap to run (2.5 l/100km in the city!) fantastic to learn on. Enough power commuting at sub 80kmh to beat 99% of the traffic away from the lights. No it won't do 100kmh up a serious hill & would probably struggle to do 100km/h into a howling head wind on a flat road. On a freeway you aren't going to nip out and pass someone. Took it out twice on the weekend through the nearby hills & still had a damned good time. Something like a 300 Ninja ABS, which was out of my reach at the time, would wipe out all the negatives of the 150 and probably have done me for years. I’m just off my P’s and dreaming of something in the Ducati line but have stuff all dollars, so maybe I should get the Ducati poster too and track down & nice second hand Ninja 300 with ABS for the time being.
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