Welcome to Netrider ... Connecting Riders!

Interested in talking motorbikes with a terrific community of riders?
Signup (it's quick and free) to join the discussions and access the full suite of tools and information that Netrider has to offer.

L Plater looking for help deciding on a LAM

Discussion in 'New Riders and Riding Tips' started by Veldrik, Jan 1, 2011.

  1. Hi guys,
    I'm new, as some of you already know, and looking at buying my first bike.
    I'm also in NSW, and I'm in I guess a slight hurry. Most of the shops around Sydney reopen on the 4th of Jan, and I go back to work on the 10th. I'd like to get paperwork sorted and also get as many hours (within reason) as I can before I return to work, just riding around the local streets during daylight (otherwise, after I return to work, I might only get 2 hours of daylight, non peak hour riding per week to practice).

    As for what I'm looking for: well asthetically I like the styling of most full faring sports bikes, I like the kawasaki green (have since MASK was on TV in the 80's - I've got two of those motorcycle\helicopter toys), and the only naked bike I like are ones that are styled like (or are) Ducatti Monster's (which pretty much means, a ducatti monster, the new vtr250s and the newer sfv50's).
    I'm also a engineer (mechanical, with robotics and software on the side) so I have this thing about older vehicles from private sellers, and just old vehicles in general. Basically I would want a motorcycle in the latest "incarnation" or two of it's development career. Probably unnecessary, but that's just me - it's a safety and reliability thing.
    I don't mind tourers, but as for cruisers, I only like Harley Davidson's, from again, childhood memories and even though I'm on my L's and probably the only LAM from HD is from the early 70's, and the other brand's cruisers are alot better, cheaper and more reliable (and comfortable) I wouldn't get it.
    Body size: about 6" (179cm) and I weigh in at 80kg.
    Riding Experience: 6 hours at Stay Upright Pre-Learner certification (the "are you uncoordinated or not" test - I now have a certificate to show my wife!)
    Also, depending on if the bike is powered enough (something comfy and around 600+ I'd probably keep, 250 I'd probably resell), or when we have kid's and I upgrade to an unsafe family mobile, or a safe family sedan (or if I decide to buy a second hand Lamborghini from the early 80's) I'll be selling the bike off so I wouldn't mind some resale value.
    Also, being on my L's, although I'm not planning on doing it, I'll probably drop it at some stage, whether it be in the garage or on the road. I'd also like something that you guys think someone of my weight, size and experience could possibly handle (eg, although an Aprllia SXV5.5 is a LAM it's probably WAY to powerful for me).
    And the last thing - I'm not that crash hot on dry clutches (so counts out the ducatti)
    I also have a budget :( So that might mean I should avoid bikes with farings due to the replacement/repair costs if I drop it.

    Any of you have any tips between:
    Hyosung GT650R 2010
    Honda VTR250's 2007-2008
    Honda VTR250's 2009-2010
    Kawasaki KLR650 2010
    or any other LAMs that you recommend? (although I love the kawasaki Ninja, because of the colour, and it's called "Ninja", the insurance seems a bit high)

    So basically I'm looking at a few:
    Hyosung GT650R, 2010, odo:3500km, for around $6.5k including insurance (private sale, mates rates - he's upgrading to a 1000cc I think - full license now)
    Honda VTR250, 2008, odo:2000km, looks like around $7.5k including insurance (from dealer, insurance through swans)
    Honda VTR250, 2007, odo:1000km, looks like around $7.5k including insurance (from dealer, insurance through swans)
    Kawasaki KLR650, 2010, odo:0ish (new), possibly $7.5k including insurance

    I'm trying to stay below the 7.5k mark, and definelty below 8k, including insurance.
    I'd like the get the price down more (probably through private sellers) but I apart from the checklist posted on this site, I don't really know how safe it is to buy a second hand motorcycles is, compared to buying second hand cars. All I know is that there is alot less metal protecting me on a bike :)

    Ps - I'll mainly/only be doing road riding (after I get up a heap of hours, and possibly leave the L's and get onto Ps), on 50/60 zones in medium to heavy traffic, and about 1/3 to 1/2 on 80 zones in heavy traffic (if you know it - epping road, during peak hour)

    PPS - If you read this far, thank you for spending so much time!

    PPPS - if you think that anything above is pretty much overkill for a learner, and that as a learner I should just get the cheapest one available with the expectation I'll somehow kill the gearbox, electronics brakes everything, then go ahead and recommend a POS that is also safe I'll take that on board too (I want safe mainly)
  2. Don't forget to look at the GS500 which comes in both naked and faired (GS500F).
    Design's been around for 20 odd years and hasn't changed and pretty much as bullet proof of a bike you can get.
    It's also one of the best bikes to learn to self maintain.
    Oh and your budget has you in the ball park for a new or fairly new one too.

    Honda CB400 is another bike well worth looking at, a bit dearer but has more of the modern motorcycle mods but in Aus doesn't come in a faired version.

    I'm not a big fan of the Hyos.
    They did have some early issues which I believe have been sorted out.

    Anyway, good luck with whatever you choose as there's plenty out there to pick from.
  3. Yup .. What Joe said the GS500 ..

    Mines for sale but in Vic :(
  4. Don't buy such a new bike. While LAMS approved motorcycles hold their value well, newer bikes depreciate dramatically and then level off in value. Check the used bikes for sale once they hit 3-5 years old.

    Remember, you are on your P's for, 2 years, I think? Or 3 now before you get your full license?

    See how the bikes within 10 years of age vary very little in their advertised asking price?

    I am of a similar height and weight. A little taller and heavier.

    250cc motorcycles will not cut it. The suspension is not suited, and often non-adjustable, to heavier, taller riders.

    Don't bother with comprehensive insurance on a learner motorcycle especially if you take my advice on buying a cheaper bike. The excess and premiums are a joke and as a learner/P plater you often are hit with a double excess.

    Do you have gear?

    Take it from me. Just because you are a learner, DO NOT BUY "learner budget" gear. It is a waste of money. I WASTED $700 on shitty RJAYS leathers, $240 on a shit RJAYS helmet with shit foam that compressed to nothing after a few months, and $320 ebay "sports" riding boots that are uncomfortable and squeek like mad.

    Consider buying all your gear, sans helmet <I say so to avoid a ridiculous flame war, ****, buy locally, talk to Motolegion, he will help you> overseas.

    FC-Moto will supply you gear even after cost of shipping at half the cost of Australia. You can get an Alpine stars 2 piece suit for < $500 AUD. Heck get a nice Dainese or Berik suit. I regret not buying my Dainese Leguna suit sooner. Even in 30+ degree weather it is *cool* (I mean it!) when riding. Only hot when walking.

    Back to the bikes.

    + Don't buy new or new-ish
    + Avoid dealers, they are assholes
    + Don't buy gear locally or get sucked into "specials" when you buy gear from a dealer with your bike, they will rip you off
    + Don't buy a repairable write off unless they have photos of the damage prior to repair. You'd be amazed as to what passes as repairable these days. Sometimes its a little scratch on the frame, other times the entire front end is sheared off and only half the bike survived.


    I would copy/paste this 30 times but I'd be sin binned for it. Pure and simple, no discussing it. Selling these bikes is morally criminal and should be illegal.

    e.g. http://www.bikesales.com.au/all-bikes/dealer/details.aspx?R=7996406&__sid=12D23ADB1505&__Qpb=true&Cr=3&__Ns=p_PriceSort_Decimal|0||p_Make_String|0||p_Model_String|0&keywords=&__N=1432%20604%201430%201429%201428%204294967259%204294966993&seot=1&__Nne=15&trecs=53&silo=1400

    These assholes sell 17 year old bikes as 2 year old bikes and get away with it, **** you on warranty and dont do any mechanical checks. Horror story after horror story.


    Suzuki GS500. Awesome bike for the money. They are so damned cheap right now because its summer. People are competing to sell their bike and these things LAST.

    Now they are an old design on the engine and the suspension lacks much adjustment, however, the latter point is the same for most LAMS bikes unless you spend too much money.

    A 5 year old bike < 40,000kms for < $6k is great value, they are great commuters and in the hands of experienced riders their true capability really does show. My friend took one to a superbike school day when his ZX6R was undergoing warranty repairs, he said it was ridden to its limits (he's a good rider) but certainly will teach a learner a lot.

    Also, on faired bikes, don't be scared. Fairings from China are less than $500, but just a pain in the ass to install.

    Please avoid the attraction and glamor of riding a new or newish bike. Just a big waste of money.
    Especially if you crash or drop it, which is very likely in your early years.

    Even after 2 years of riding I consider myself a 'new rider' won't ride a new or newish bike, sticking to a 10 year old 600 that cost me $4k.

    Plenty of 600+CC bikes for you with manageable power for a learner. The RTA really does "nanny" riders into underpowered, manageable bikes, with the exception of the CB400 and Aprilia SXV550 and a few dirtbikes, but yeah, read here;

  5. Hehe, 3 4 people posting, all telling him to get a GS500. It's been around for over 20 years, it's latest incarnation is about 9 years. But even that was just a minor adjustment to the body and seat (more if it's faired). Solid bike, can do a bit of distance on them if you want and are capable of keeping a bit of speed.
  6. Honestly, as a learner, and a new one, id seriously consider a drz400sm as a first bike, they are pretty much bullet proof, forgiving, and it isnt the end of the earth if you drop it... Obviously that only works if you like a motard style bike..

    Consider also that insurance on a motard is usually considerably cheaper then alternatives..

    However, if a sports style bike is what you want, id recommend that you look and if possible test ride as many bikes as possible..

    Also if you look at a late model bike thats lams restricted, check how it is "restricted"
    I know the yamaha Fz6r has a stupidly dangerous setup of restricting throttle movement...

    In all really just find something that you feel comfortable on and enjoy yourself!
  7. And for the love of God, dont get a CBR250RR.

    Theyre mostly >15 y/o, had just as many owners, crashed in as many times, repaired in as many times and overpriced to the sh*t

    If youre looking for a full faring sportsbike thats learner legal, id have to agree with Smokae and get a GS500F
  8. +1 gs500(f)
  9. And mine (GS500F) is 4 sale in the NSW section ;)
  10. +1 for a GS500f, mate had one and they're very good bikes. Reliable as hell and you will save a shit load by doing the maintenance yourself (you're a mech. eng. so it will be a walk in the park).'

    Trust me, when it comes to the valve clearances you'll be glad you bought a 4 valve GS and not a 16 valve 4cyl.... I'm saving up for it soon :|
  11. You sound like me a few years ago, same physical stats and similar mechanical background. I ended up buying an Aprilia RS125 (GP-rep two-stroke, very high strung) as a wreck and rebuilding it. Rode it for a year, rebuilt it again and sold it on. I could hardly recommend that to you but it was a good experience for me.

    I would also recommend a larger bike such as the GS500 or DRZ-400. Both are suited quite well to taller fellows like us, both are bone reliable and both can be had reasonably cheaply secondhand. Both are also easy to maintain at home and reasonably cheap to rego (~$350 CTP, $110 rego, $30 inspection for 22y/o male in country NSW). Full insurance will be prohibitively expensive, but fire/theft is worth it as it'll be less than 200 a year.

    One point about the Hyosungs is that they are physically quite well suited to guys our size. I wouldn't mind one and have heard good things about the post 2007 models but would pick the GS500 over one to be honest. They are also a pain to service. The GS and DRZ are both quite good in that regard.

    I would set aside $600 minimum for gear. This will get you a good helmet, good jacket, and good gloves. Kevlar jeans will add another $150 to $200. My advice is to try as much on in a daya s you can and get the ones that feel best to you. I ended up getting the first jacket (after trying 8!) and 5th helmet I tried, for example, because they both fit me very well and felt comfortable.

    Any more involved technical questions about certain things feel free to ask me via PM or right here on the board.

    Cheers - boingk
  12. GS500's are great bikes if your into the styling,
    CB400's are fantastic and reliable as well (and sexy imo),
    and VTR 250's if you want something slightly cheaper/smaller.

    I have a VTR250, am your height and weight and have had no problems with it, its got heaps of power for a learner (can smoke some bigger bikes at the lights), really really forgiving and fun in the twisties, and I have toured to sydney, all around tassie and the gor with luggage on the back no problems.
    thumbs up for the vtr, holds its value and is really versatile, the only downside is that you will probably want to upgrade to a bigger engine after a year, but on the plus it holds its value really well.

    You can't really go wrong with any of the above. People who own either-or will put in a good word for them which goes to show that they are all great bikes to start out on.

    Stay away from cbr 250's as people have already stated.

    Best of luck with whatever bike you choose, the most important is that you like the way it looks and feels, no world of stats or specs will help otherwise. :)
  13. +1 for the GS500, virtually unchanged since the 1970s because it didn't need to be.

    The Kawasaki GPX is also an old design that's well proven and worth comparing against a VTR, especially since a good GPX can be picked up for a lot less than a VTR. Even the new 250 Ninja is still basically just the same old GPZ250 engine from the early '80s.
  14. interesting jd, I never new that!
  15. Yeah its true, the new Ninja is a big styling makeover. Worked well. Heard they're getting EFI in the next year or two as well to bring them into line with the Hyosungs.

    Also, theres nothing wrong with CBR250R's or RR's. Only thing is that they're bloody tiny for most regular sized people, and a bit insane for guys 6" and over. Having said that, I rode one for a few thousand kay and it was a lot of fun. Sold it due to the size aspect.

    They're reliable little bikes that make peak power around 16k and redline at 18 - those are F1 car specs if you didn't realise haha. Fuel economy is good and they'll hold a nice clip down the freeway thanks to loving revs - I did a trip at 130km/h once, didn't bother it a bit and I also enjoyed it. Returned 4.3L/100km, too.

    Having said all that, they are getting long in the tooth and servicing is a nightmare due to the intricacy of the engine and how it is mounted in the chassis. As before, they are also very physically small and overpriced to buggery.

    I wouldn't particularly recommend a VTR to a guy our size because they are also fairly physically small. A 250 in general (apart from the CBR's) will also not have enough power to comfortably cruise at proper freeway speeds. I'm not advocating speeding here, just being realistic - 80km/h when ever other b@stard is doing 110+ is a] dangerous and b] scary.

    I'm sure you'll find a good bike around that suits you.

    Cheers - boingk
  16. :? I'm basically the same size as the OP and I've not noticed any problems cruising comfortably at highway speeds on a 250 - even with seat, tank and pannier bags fitted. Sure, acceleration from 100kph is a little sluggish so overtaking requires a lot of forward planning, but for a learner there isn't any real need to be overtaking cars doing 100kph anyway (and anything doing 80-90 is easy to get past).

    Size of the bike isn't the critical thing to how comfortable it'll be for long distances, it's more to do with the riding position. Personally I'd much rather do 1000kms in a day on the back of a GPX250 than on something like an R6. Might take longer on the 250, but at least I'd still be able to walk at the end of it.
  17. Yeah not quite sure how you came to the assumption that a vtr 250 can only manage 80ks on the freeway boing :), its an angry little vtwin when you figure out its sweet spots.

    I find the size a little small in the leg department after an 8 hour trip, but as for the speed side of things I had my 80kg frame plus at least 20kg of water and gear on the back and was still able to travel at 110 with more power to wind out if an overtake was needed.

    Mind you up steep mountain it will struggle to maintain that speed unless you drop it down a gear, but for all australia wide legal limits its got no problem at all, plenty left in the burner, and I've had it up to 150 on a private road before I chickened out.

    Still though if your comfortable with it and have the cash to spare I would probably recommend a bigger engine for extra longevity , but its by no means necessary, I've kept up with gs 500's and cb 400's at full clip in the twisties, and i'm quite happy with it for a while yet, what it looses in straight line speed it gets back in manoeuvrability, fuel efficiency etc.
    not too bad off road either lol.

    Love the more upright seating position as well, nice and comfy, but it does depend on the rider.

    :D whatever its a personal thing! :D
  18. +1 gs500 / 500f (parallel twin)
    +1 cb400 (inline four)
    +1 vtr250 (v-twin)

    my missus's vtr has no problems getting my 95kg, 6' frame up a mountain + 20kg gear tied down on the back. recently completed a 600km journey with it and it has power to burn. you may notice the famous v-twin vibration after a couple of hundred kays though.

    the cb400 and gs500 are physically larger bikes, i've only test ridden them both, and can say that they are as easy as the vtr to turn and predict while riding.

    end of the day it's up to you.

    stay away from dealers for your first bike as they are just after the sale, they won't actually take the time to assess what bike will suit you, only what will suit their sales quota...
  19. KLR650: sure... But it looks like poo.
    GT650R: just go as recent as you can to avoid the older hyosung problems. Apart from that, good bike that is easy to derestrict.
    VTR250: typical learner bike. Pretty boring though.
    Ninja 250R: Yuppies Learner bike. For a reason. Best Learner 250 you can buy. Insurance is quite affordable if you go to the right place (mine was $550 for comprehensive).
    Ninja 650RL: Restricted 650 Ninja. Better for a taller rider. More dosh too.
    GSX-600F: Suzuki's restricted 650. Looks like a gixxer, but isn't :D. Higher bars, more of a "touring" position. Harder than the 650R to derestrict. Worth a look though.
    GS500: Good Learner. Very bland though 8-[ . Depending on what kind of engineer you are, that might suit you :D . Oh, and its old.
    CBR250RRRRRR: Weapon. Overpriced. Pain in the ass to fix.

    Best tips I can give you:

    - Go sit on bikes. Sit on as many as you can. Test ride as many bikes as you can. Go with what gives you wood, coz thats what riding is about.

    - Steer away from Swanns :D . Ring up your car insurer and see what they will do it for. Shop around, Swanns and InsureMyRide are two of the more expensive insurance providers.

    - Buy Near New. All new "vehicles" depreciate the most in the first year. Buy one thats a year old. You get: a bike that is almost new. Has had one owner. IS STILL IN WARRANTY (which can be useful). Will cost you 2k less than a new bike.

    250s? Might consider steering away from them. You are a bigger fellow (6'), most 250 are suited to someone in the 5'7" range. Weight won't really be a problem though, most 250s are aimed at people in the 70kg - 80kg range. If you find a 250 that suits your frame (is comfortable to sit on and ride around on), go with it. They'll have enough power to get your through your probationary period. But you'll get bored. I guarentee it.

    Tip on testing the riding position: ask the dealer to put the bike on a race stand so you can sit on it, while its standing still, BEFORE they start their pitch. Get in the riding position and then let him do his spiel. Salespeople love talking and it will give you an excuse to just sit in the riding position for 30mins or more (depending on the salesperson). It will clue you into any major problems you might encounter (sore wrists, back, nuts (don't laugh the FZR-125 killed my balls :D )) Then if you get a test ride, you should find anything else that might be a potential problem.

    Thats all I can think of. If you can find an experienced person near to you, see if they can give you a hand. Most of them are happy to help out us newbs.

  20. I sat on a 250 ninja at sydney city at kogarah while he talked about it for a bit. I'm fairly tall around 6 ft and around 70kg and height or anything like that wasn't a problem and I found it quite comfortable, he stood it up and help the front while he talked for like 10 minutes I think he was expecting me to hop off haha