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Honda VTR250 v's CB400 ABS as first bike?

Discussion in 'Bike Reviews, Questions and Suggestions' started by Jem, Sep 22, 2011.

  1. Hi all,

    Firstly apologies if I have put this in the wrong place but it seemed the best fit, Moderators please feel free to move if I got it wrong. I have done quite a lot of reading and searching of treads and while there is good info on each bike individually I could not find anything that specifically answered what I was looking for.

    So with that qualification here goes –

    Honda VTR250 v’s CB400 ABS as first bike to learn on? Interested in your opinion and why.

    Some things to take into account with your answer.
    1. I am in my 40’s so will only have the bike for the 15-16 months till I get my full licence and then will upgrade to something else
    2. Will be buying either one new – That’s just how I am
    3. 5 foot 8 tall and about 75kgs in ATG soaking wet
    4. Bike will be used to commute to and from work; Nunawading to Wantirna in Melbourne 13 k’s each way – will probably use Eastlink so side wind may be an issue
    5. Yes thought about Monster 659 with heart and small brain but big brain says wait the 15 months; as you get older you understand just how fast time goes
    6. Like the look of naked bikes and from my reading I am bound to drop it at some stage even if it is at the Servo looking at what I would not be able to deal with if I did catch it......

    Looking forward to your comments and if there is anything else you would like to add please do.

    Cheers Jeremy
  2. Both awesome bikes, you will be happy with either based on your info and get reasonable re-sale.

    I would go the CB400 on looks, power, technology.
  3. I wanted a CB400 but couldn't afford a good one so went with the VTR.
  4. for such a short time, the VTR will be cheaper for one... and good to learn on. Save the rest of the money for an upgrade of your choice when you're off your Ps. You are more than likely to drop your first bike at some point. Some people don't but why take the risk when learning.
  5. If its only 15 months go the VTR, dont waste money on a CB400, CB400 is good for people with 3 year lams restrictions such as us up in NSW.

    As for dropping your bike, dont listen to everyone, i have never dropped mine, and i have come very close and been able to catch it easily. With a VTR i doubt you will drop it and if you do it probably wont do any damage.
  6. I commute on my CB400 and find it perfect. Had a ride on VTR and it was also nice but found the tech, smoothness and extra grunt more suitable to my needs. Ridden eastlink quite a few times and those cross winds can be a little tricky but don't think there is much in from a weight, seat height point of view.

    Have a sit on them, if no big preference from a comfort point of view get the CB400 if you can justify the extra $$$. I did the same comparison and came out with the 400 because I thought the extra money was worth it.
  7. CB400 if price is not an issue n it will suit u better with ur height.
    It works better on Hway as well when u try to overtake cagers, I got 2009 model snd hand 3 mths in now still loving it, I think VTR is good but I think if u get it u will out grow it very quickly cos I am already wanna to upgrade even though most reviews say CB have some poke under the wheels but there will be time when u wish u have more lol...
  8. CB400.

    Why? You may not upgrade. Im in my forties as well (5ft 8, 85kg ATG) and the first bike I test rode once I got my "R" class licence was the CB400. Yes, it's good enough for somebody with their full licence to consider. No I didn't buy one, if you have a full licence the CB400 has a lot of competition.

    It is way more capable than you would expect. I suggest you test ride them both back to back. Shouldn't be a problem from the same dealership. Ride the VTR first. I suspect the CB400 will surprise you with it's smoothness, handling and power. Good chance that after 15 months, you may not bother upgrading your licence and stick with the CB400. I love the look of the CB400 and I suspect your 40 year old eyes do to!
  9. As said, the cb400 isn't a 15-16 month thing, the vtr250 is. If you are looking at something for just that period, then go the vtr250.

    No huge deal - Strongly recommend comprehensive insurance then and checking out the premium price.

    [quote[]3. 5 foot 8 tall and about 75kgs in ATG soaking wet[/quote]

    Either bike will suit. I found I was too tall for the vtr250 at 189cm.

    Once again, either can do it, but the cb400 is a bit heavier and significantly more pull at 100. Will do 100-150 just fine. Probably a better freeway bike, but for those distances, doesn't matter

    If you are set on upgrading after 15 months, then really consider the depreciation cost on the bike, as part of the overall cost.

    Which is why if you are buying new, I would recommend the 250. Mixed with an intent to sell in 15 months.

    Now it gets more complex than that though. I have the cb400 with ABS and it is fantastic, but I am in no rush to sell this bike and absolutely no intention. The ABS is useful, especially in the wet if I stuff up. It has kicked in a couple of times and been of much use to me. It isn't a replacement for training, just an additional system for when I stuff up.

    I do a lot of longer rides - 200km+ so the cb400 is more suited there. For around town, it is nice, but if you can fit on a 250, it shouldn't be an issue.

    It is up to you, but I wouldn't want to buy a cb400 to just sell in 15 months personally. But you can always try it, and you might decide it is worth it - or after a while you might decided to hang onto it until you havea few years experience and can really move to the bike that would challenge you. That is my aim. I have a few years of learning on the cb400 to go yet.

    No one can make the decision for you. IMO there is a strong case for the VTR250. But if you are prepared to hang on to it for a few years, there isa strong case for a cb400. cb400 isn't worth it for just 12 months IMO as you pay for the depreciation immediately. After 2-3 years, that initial value drop has disappeared though and you will still get a decent price for it.

    Note, I also live near CBD and on road hazards such as oil, sand etc are pretty common and there is a bit to deal with sometimes in my attention being dragged elsewhere. Hence I decided the ABS was worth the extra.
  10. Hi Adprom and Audible,
    Thanks for the great answers, exactly the sort of thing I was looking for especially the bit about hanging onto it a bit longer rather than just upgrading because I could.... Have to admit the ABS part is drawing me towards the CB400.
    Cheers Jeremy
  11. After locking my front wheel and going down I can see the benefit of ABS. If you buy the CB400 you dont HAVE to upgrade, they're pretty capable bikes. Since you're in your forties you might not want to pull $1.50 in first gear the second you're off your restrictions either.. The VTR250 is the better option if you have something else in mind after restrictions though.
  12. ABS is a contentious issue in some parts of the MC world (many a debate here on it if you want to read).

    My personal thoughts are that it works for me, and given the choice I prefer having it.
  13. ^^ Absolutely, if I had it maybe I wouldn't have crashed... But I wouldn't have if I had braked properly either! However, in surprise situations panic instincts can take over.. That's what ABS is for and IMO I'd take it on the next bike I buy. Worth the thousand or so PROVIDED it's a good system. From what I've heard the Honda system is particularly good on the CBR1000RR, but I doubt that's the same system used on the 400.
  14. Thanks toadcat, yes you are right I have no desire to pull $1.50 in first the second I get of my restrictions a bit long in the tooth to need to do those things anymore.
  15. Thanks for all the great thoughts everyone; has certainly made me focus a bit more on the issue and if I need to upgarde just because I can, might be a much better idea to just concentrate on learning how to ride first and worrying about if I do want to upgrade later on....

    Now the next big issue how do I convince 4 year old daughter that while Pink might be her favourite colour in the Whole Wide World it is probably not the colour Daddy wants for his first bike?
  16. Just buy some hello kitty stickers to put all over it, surely that would convince your daughter ;)

    Not saying it would do anything for your street cred but hey, we all make sacrifices hehe :D
  17. Cb400 wins I think. If you can justify the extra dough. Maybe consider buying a 2 year old to dodge the depreciation. Then when you sell, if you sell, you can have decent resale value. Just go check out bikesales to see how much these actually still go for. You'll be surprised.

    And if you get s pink one, it will be a one of a kind. So adds to it's collectability. Rarity. Do it!!

  18. ^^^ This. Unless you have money to burn, I think you should seriously consider going second hand for your first bike. They fall in value quite dramatically as soon as you ride out of the showroom door, then more gradually from there... The initial hit is probably fine if it's a bike you're totally in love with, and want to marry, and stay with for the rest of your life, but remember, there's nothing wrong with taking some time to play the field before settling down :)

    There are other reasons too. For example, it won't worry you so much if (when?) you drop it. It'll leave you more $$$ to spend on gear (don't forget the gear!) and re-spraying it in pink. You won't need to worry about run-in periods or expensive services at the dealer to keep the warranty valid .. the list goes on :)
  19. It is. I ended up buying the ER-6n which comes with ABS standard and if anything I held it as a negative for the bike and nearly went for the Faz8 instead because of the ABS. Another thing about ABS is that it makes insurance cheaper. For my details, XJ6 = $540 pa to insure, ER-6n = $308 pa. Both bikes are similar capacity and value so all I can put the insurance premium difference to is the ABS on the ER-6n and not the XJ 6.

    But after just getting thru winter on the ER-6n, I have to say that having ABS is the ultimate training tool.
    I developed my braking skills without ABS. But you never know where the limit is of what you can do with the brakes in the wet for example. Your always worried that if you push too far, you'll lock the front and potentially crash.
    With ABS you can. You can practice and apply the brakes harder and harder untill you do feel the abs kick in and then you know where the limit is.
    I never would have pushed the brakes that far without the ABS being there so it has helped my skills with braking.

    In real life I have yet to actually need the ABS. only time I have used it is in practice. I'd like to think it's because the ABS helped teach myself to use the brakes better rather than them actually being there.
  20. I have the CB400 and a mate the VTR250.

    I am 100kg and 6'3 and he's about 70 and a bit shorter.

    I can ride past him like he's stood still! There's a huge power difference.

    If you have no worries with the money - grab the CB you won't be disappointed!