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Guide to buying your first bike

Discussion in 'Bike Reviews, Questions and Suggestions' at netrider.net.au started by Androo, Feb 5, 2005.

  1. Since there are always plenty of new riders asking about buying a first bike, I'd like to start one informatitive thread for them :)

    Please put your first-bike recommendation here, as well as a short summary of the benefits (or disadvantages) of this particular bike. :D

    • Like Like x 1
  2. I'll start off with my first bike:

    Kawasaki ZZR250 - great learners bike; easy to ride; comfy; kinda sporty; cheap! I got a 91 model for $3300 and sold it for $3000 when I upgraded. Much nicer then a CB250, but not as much performance as the 4-cyl bikes (like the CBR250RR).
  3. I'm a newbie currently looking at bikes to be my first. One thing I was concerned about was knowing what to look for when checking a bike over for problems/damage etc.

    Some things I've picked up so far to look for include:
    • Checking the forks for any oil indicating leaks
      Checking the footpegs as well as underneath to see if excess scraping
      Radiator centred
      Frame chips/scratches
      Steering 'sloppiness'
      ... etc
    It'd be great if other more experienced riders could add to or correct any of this such that us newbie's out there can feel that little more confident that we aren't being sold a lemon. :)
  4. -check for oil leaks
    -check for good chain/sprockets
    -look at the brand and wear pattern of the tyres so you know how the previous owner used the bike
    -check out other similar bikes so you know how it should run/sound/handle/etc

    -dont buy the first and only bike you look at :p
  5. The best 1st bike has to be the VTR 250... all round the vtr is good. Stay well away from CBR250 'r' its hard to get parts because thay are imports. CBR250RR are the only model that came to OZ,, ZZR250 are S#it if you drop a fully fairing bike you are up for big money...

    Hope this can help COOKER793
  6. My only comment on the VTR250 (my wife has had one for a few months) is that from a learner perspective it does have the issue that all V-Twins have and that is fairly strong engine breaking which can be a bit daunting at times...But other than that yeah, as a learner bike it is good; lightweight, low seat height, no fairing (get some Oggy Knobs though), nice seating position, friendly HP curve....

    I wouldn't say it'd be a bike you would keep longer than required though - as my wife now says "this thing is gutless" (but most 4 stroke 250's are!).

  7. Yeah ive found that with my vtr250 the rear tire will slip out with engine breaking ever so often, due to my early learning phases getting better. But shes starts ever time,easy to clean, enough guts, sounds like a gun (till i heard my mates cbr600rr anyways), cheaper insurance, which basically sold it to me. But any bike you buy your gonna love til you try something better, lol. But the vtr250 definenately has my approval. Go the twin

  8. I managed to find a good 1996 Aussie Import CBR250RR for $5000... absolute bargain. I find it's a good bike to learn on, nice and steardy to ride and enough get up and go to power away from most dangerous situations that may arrise. Though not too powerful that it could buck you off if you pull on the throttle too hard.

    I come from a background of dirt bikes and moving onto the CBR as my first road bike on my L's is definitely a good starter.
  9. I also grabbed myself a CBR250RR '92 for close to the $5k mark and I am very happy with it too.

    I had a ZZR 250, bought it new in 2000 and it was ok... safe.. ran well.. but it had no guts at all, i found myself in tricky situations I couldn't be agile enough speedwise, I didn't like it and sold it in 2001.

    Recommendations for first bike, to avoid some "life lessons" so to speak:

    Check sprockets and chain for wear, you can tell there is a worn chain by:

    Sprockets stretched (not smooth curve, but elongated).

    Check for droppage, scraped / damaged brake / clutch levers, obviously scraped fairings with cracks, always feel aftermarket stickers to see if they are covering up damage.

    Check for aftermarket options, if there is aftermarket hand grips, levers, seat, lights, mirrors, check in the immediate area for signs of damage that they have replaced with aftermarket options.

    Check inside of fuel tank for rust / sediment.

    Check that it revs all the way round, especially with the CBR250 imports they can be sitting in a yard waiting to be shipped over for months. And the crappy fuel over there starts to leave a coating of crap over the heads and so the performance suffers greatly.

    Check the forks and other parts of the body aren't twisted from a hard drop, you can spot this by kneeling behind the bike and looking straight down it.

    Stand in front of the bike and check if there is movement in the steering column, grab the handgrips and pull forward and back, if it is loose, 1) it's not good, 2) It can be that they loosened it to cover up other damage to the steering column.

    Check for grease above the fork seals, if there is a bit they are weeping and need to be fixed up. (Wipe the forks down and then depress suspension, let it up to see if it weeps).

    Always ring vicroads and do a bike security check, with the engine number, vin number, rego etc you can find out if it's got finance on it, ever been written off etc.

    Bring a mate with you to help check it out, they help you maintain and clear perspective. (They stop you humping the bike basically and take a step back to really look at it - use this method when out clubbing too).

    If you can bring a tool to measure the rotors / front discs it is helpful, find out what they should be for that type of bike, what the safety range is because you may need to get them replaced and it's a roadworthy issue.

    Check the ignition and fuel / boot keys, if they are different it's a good chance the bike has been rebuilt after an accident.

    Check that the ignition hasn't been forced, check for cracks in the casing etc, check that steering lock works. (Mine doesn't, doh!)

    That's all I can think of for now, I just got my bike and I didn't check all these things but I was lucky.
  10. I must say the Black VTR250 has one me, everyone thinks it's a bigger bike than it actually is. But price is something to consider because I know the GPS250 is now only $5990 vrs $7990 for the VTR.
  11. Get an old 80's bike for under $2K (CB250, SR250, GSX250, Z250) ride around for fiew months while you are on your L's and than upgrade to a stronger 250 like CBR250RR, ZX2, Zeal, or any other 4 stroke 4 cilinder bike... at least that is my advice...
  12. A Kawazaki GPX250.
    Im 6"1 and find it comfortable to ride. Brought in buy Kawa so plenty of parts. Found proformance is fine and looking at the specs compared with Reco Imported ZX2s(with dodgy speedos on them) its not far behind.The GPX250 is twin cam, 40hp and is only 5hp lesser than ZX2s. GPX gets its full tourque (which is the same as ZX2s), about 1,500rvs earlier than the ZX2. Same with the peak Hp (think gets it 1,000rpm earlier) than ZX2. But the GPX is a bit smaller and a few kilos lighter.
    Can pick up a 2000 model for only $3,200 to $3,900 with around 17k to 20k on the clock in excellant condition.
    In vic you will pay a higher bracket, cos of our restrictions.
    Market value through my insurance is $3,900 (VIC)

  13. Most important thing is to look around, spend some time. Go around to the bike dealers (Elizabeth St / Ringwood) and have a sit on a few bikes, check out prices, look for features you like.... THEN hit the newspapers/internet!

    Have a budget set. Do not waste your money on an exoctic, fancy, near-new 250 unless your have a REAL passion and deep pocket (it's not just the purchase price - consider insurance - consider if you do drop it the loss in market value!)

    I would never spend more than $4000.... and never have on my 250's.

    When looking take a mate that knows bikes. If not and you really like one (but unsure after reading the excellent guide in the above post) take it to a bike mechanic for an appaisal (hell you do it for cars, why not a bike??)

    START IT COLD! And old trick is for someone to make an appointment, then you warm up the bike one hour beforehand so it will start for them the first time. This also reduces the amount of smoke it blows!

    There are also some nasty additives some bastards use to stop smoke / oil leaks / clean up radiator fluid when selling a bike - if you only go for a newsih bike with low k's you will reduce the chance of being ripped off!

    Across - an old stalwart - good value and easy to handle. Keeps value well. Has somewhere to put the KFC on the way home!

    XV250 - cruiser if that takes your fancy. Purchased by older newbies that are considering a real cruiser! Keeps their value well if kept well.

    NSR150 - 2 stroke smoke-blower. Loves to be revved and very nimble. Not a long distance bike though and need major servicing every 5 to 7000k's (being a 2 stroke this is pretty easy).

    CBR250 - nice sportster, fast for a 250 and good for learning twisties. If you are with a group of learners SOMEONE will have a CBR!
  14. i'm looking to get a gs500f 06 mod for $9000 on road no acc. could i get it much cheaper, i'm paying cash it will be my first bike so im not realy in the know
  15. ZZR250. Awesome allround learners bike. Comfy as, and im 6'1". Easy to ride, i got really cheap insurance, $250 full comp. And i paid $5,000, looked after it, and sold it for $5,000.
  16. cbr 250rr great bike, good fun! :grin:

    I bought a 92 model imported in '02' with 20,000km, paid $6100 it was blue and white looked great went quick. I did my p's test on it rode it everyday it never missed a beat. Flogged it to redline most rides. It seemed to run the best on vortex. I never ever had a problem with it. had it serviced once(about $200) and sold it for $5900 after 6 mths.

    Great fun!!!!
  17. king for a first bike.....

    me and my friend are looking to get our first bikes really soon. He wants to get the hyosung GT250R and im looking to either get the same thing or the Aquila 250 which is more of a cruising bike. Which one would u recomend for your first bike? i like the look of the cruiser!!! are they still good? do they go fast?
  18. My first bike... RGF250.. Two stroke fun. Its light, nimble, good brakes and goes pretty decently. Ive ridden two stroke motocrossers for years so Im used to the power delivery. Only negative is the oil injection is busted. For a twenty year old bike though. she goes alright..