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First Bike: VTR250 vs GS500 - Help a Newbie!

Discussion in 'New Riders and Riding Tips' at netrider.net.au started by archangelgt, Aug 15, 2009.

  1. G'day guys,

    First post here, but have been reading for many months in the lead-up to getting my first bike.

    First of all, let me say a big thanks to everyone on here - the information and knowledge I have picked up is fantastic.

    Now, onto business. I've been looking and looking and looking for months, but the bike choices here in QLD are pretty slim. I've narrowed it down to 2 bikes, and I thought I'd get everyone's opinion of which they thought was the better first bike.

    I'd be using the bike to get to work and back, along with heading out on the weekends into the mountains and taking for the occasional coastal trip on the highway.

    1999 VTR250
    Black, 47,000 k's.

    - Looks to be in good nick, although fairly old.
    - Comes with a heap of gear (2 helmets, jacket, windscreen, luggage case, tank bag, disc locks)
    - Brand new tyres are being put on for the buyer.
    - Major service at 40,000k's, oil changed at 46,000k's
    - Nice and zippy for getting to work and the mountian roads
    - Have always wanted one of these.

    - Only 2 months rego left
    - Although fun, could outgrow it in a year or so.
    - Price not negotiable - expensive for an almost 11yr old bike, even a VTR
    - Highway performance questionable?

    2001 Suzuki GS500
    Blue & Silver, 20,000 k's

    - Bigger bike will hopefully keep me entertained for longer
    - Low k's for the year - should last longer
    - Mechanically in good condition
    - Price negotiable (I'd try for $3500) - much better price.
    - 6 months rego left
    - Better for highway riding

    - Model has been known to have rust & cold start issues
    - No gear included
    - Not as good looking

    Fire away guys, what do we reckon? Assuming both are in sound mechanical condition, ss one of these much more obviously the better choice here?

    I'm going to have a look and sit on both of them this weekend, but can't take for a test ride as I've got no idea what the hell i'm doing yet, and my biker mate can't test them until next weekend, but I don't expect either bike to last until then.

  2. I was stuck between these two bikes when beginning as well, both are great bikes. My reason was because I weigh 100kg so I was worried that the vtr would be a snail... not so.

    The first thing to note is that the purchase prices do not tell the whole story!

    The GS500 will be more expensive to insure and to rego than the VTR250 due to it's capacity mainly. So I'd say given one year of usage they will probably cost you roughly the same amount.

    Whether you get bored of a bike would depend on where you ride it mainly. The GS500 would be better if your consistently riding roads 90kmph+ even so the vtr can stil handle them. Likewise I think the vtr would have the upperhand if you're hitting the twisties regularly.

    I ended up choosing the vtr even though it was the more expensive for me because it was a light bike by comparison and extremely forgiving, it has undoubtably been the most perfect learner bike for me.

    I've had my bike about 9 months now and I ride it 2 or 3 times a week and apart from wanting more power I am not bored of it. Absolutly love it to bits.

    My 2 cents
  3. Great thanks for that Jimmyz, much appreciated.

    I'm also 6'2" and 80kgs - not sure if that plays any part in it, but I've heard from people that the Suzuki's can be a bit cramped for taller folk.

    The age and k's of the VTR don't bother you?
  4. I'm also 6"2' and the vtr is fine for my height. I do think the GS500 is pretty accomodating for us taller guys as well.

    For any bike of that kms and age I would get a mechanic to check it over, though they are renowned to be very resilient bikes and I can tell you they are very well put together.
  5. take note the helmets should probably be thrown out, so I'd definately not take those into account. The jackets may or may not fit, but could be handy.

    That said, There is a person you should speak to re the VTR and that would be Nibor, he should be able to give you any info you may need in regards to the VTR, and I can say he certainly is nto a snail.

    The GS500, they look good but aside from that, i can't comment as i have no experience with it.
  6. If you fit on it and it is mechanically sound, buy the VTR.

    If not, but you fit on the GS500, buy that.

    It doesn't really matter too much. It is your first bike, not the only bike you will have. I assume the 2001 GS500 is the naked version, which is better for a learner, since you will drop it at some stage.

    I saw a faired version a couple of days ago, and the GS does look a more substantial bike than the VTR, which is good on faster and longer trips, but the VTR will be more forgiving while you learn. Neither bike will have great suspension, brakes or handling, but the VTR can be muscled around a lot easier.

    If you can't test ride either, sit on them and get someone to hold the bike up, so you can get both feet on the pegs and get a feel for the riding position. Then get someone else to do a test ride for you.

    As per Thera's comment, don't use the old helmets, even if they fit, which is critical. Take them if you want, for use by people you don't like much when you can carry a pillion. Your gear is just as important as the bike, or more so. Allow some budget for good gear that fits you.
  7. Not much wrong with the VTR250's handling (with decent tyres), corner speed could be compared with some much more "sporting" bikes.

    To address the original question, The VTR250 IMO is the more dynamic/nimble bike of the two, the GS is more comfy and will cruise more happily.

    The GS is a good 20kg heavier and has a lazier, although torquey 2v (per cylinder) air cooled twin vs the light comparatively rev happy VTR.
  8. I've been riding my VTR250 for 20,000k's now and I'm perfectly happy with it. I fit it fine enough and it's extremely forgiving. The small but rev happy vtwin can get you away from traffic quick enough and is skinny enough to fit through almost any gap during peak hour.

    $4300 does sound expensive for a vtr with over 40k on it.

    Also, see if you can find out what tyres the bloke intends on fitting. If avoidable, you don't want to end up a fresh learner on slippery dunlop arrowmaxes.

    VTR works extremely well with Dunlop GPRa10's if you don't want much range. ;)

    Good luck with the purchase!
  9. VTRs are awesome. They sound great, handle great (keeps up with bigger bikes, just depends on how crazy you are), and look awesome.

    I see you live in the sunshine coast, which may reduce the amount of bikes that are available to you?
  10. +1 on what Rod wrote.

    I suspect you might fit a little better on a GS500 though. Having had a VTR and a GT250 (looked pretty much the same as a GS500 when one parked next to me - Hyo almost copied the Suzuki), I found I had to bend my legs more to fit on the VTR compared to the GT250. I'm not saying buy a Hyo but am pointing out the size difference which made a difference to me. I'm 6' and around 75 kg (and seem to have long legs for my height). Try them out and see for yourself.

    As for the age of the VTR, back in 2006 I test rode a 2001 model and it had a little under 30,000 km on it. It rode as smoothly as the new VTR I bought (after it had its 1,000 km service). That just goes to show how well they're made. Someone I work with in Brisbane uses his VTR to commute. Its always run well for him. I don't know anyone who has owned a GS500 so can't offer any info on how they found theirs. I suspect they'll also run pretty well.

    Personally, I'd look for the one that would be the cheapest to keep on the road because you'll more than likely move on from whichever bike you choose. One with less km and is newer will also probably be easier to sell.
  11. Ride both, and see what you prefer. The vtr has undertaken gsx'rs in the hills...though put me on the gxr and it might have been a diff story. I'm a little insane.
  12. You really should be buying your own gear, that fits perfectly (and of course, brand new).

    A comfortable bike isnt going to help when/if you take a spill and leave your guts on the road.

    As for the question; both bikes should suit ok because of their styling; they arent head down wrist snappers. Both will cruise, both have bulletproof engines, and both will handle some turns. I agree with DTwo, and as a newbie you might be better on the lighter bike.

    If you take the gear out of the equation which one would you go for?
  13. Thanks for all your help and advice guys.

    I've ended up going with the VTR. I sat on the Suzuki, and the footpegs were too high for my 6'2" frame to be comfortable. It was also a bit heavy (although I'm sure that's because I'm new to bikes, I would have gotten used to it). All said, it was a great bike that I would have been very happy with, and whoever ends up as the new owner has really scored a great machine, it just didn't click with me.

    When I sat on the VTR, it was as if the seat had been specifically sculpted for my arse. It was extremely comfortable, and the pegs were in a much better position. It has an aftermarket exhaust fitted, and when he turned it over and idled it, the purr it made reminded me of an African cat. It was beautiful, and in pefect nick. The thing looked brand new, not 10 years old.

    Someone above mentioned that being on the Sunny Coast gave fairly slim pickings, and that's entirely true, not just for the Sunny Coast but QLD in general - there really aren't any bikes for sale here that are decent.

    I pick it up this weekend - very excited. Thanks again guys!
  14. you will need to post some picks or something dude.

    congrats on the first bike.