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LAMS bike choice?

Discussion in 'Bike Reviews, Questions and Suggestions' started by Hotchips, Aug 2, 2014.

  1. Hi,

    Noxious - Not trying to hijack - just thought I'd join with my similar Q. I will delete if you so wish.

    First - I imagine there are a million threads like this - but here I go anyway. Sorry if this causes moderators to facepalm. :whistle:

    I am looking for advice on a LAMS bike to get for daily commute and some fun. I have wanted a bike for freakin years but was too young and stupid (where's the party???:hungover:) – then new growing family and house to worry about. Now Mortgage is chugging along and I am finally – and desperately – ready to get onto a bike and learn and commute. I can't wait. LONG overdue.:D

    I'm Brisbane based, 30min drive to work across the south – mainly Johnson Road (into Brown Stains) and 15mins of typical urban 50 zone. When confident I will ride to the Sunny Coast (the dreaded Bruce:eek:) as relatives live near Maroochy. So bike needs to be able to cruise at a good speed as well as urban.

    Mid 40s
    184cm high
    75Kg or so (no scales – average build)
    Motorbike experience – basically nil. (some – but so little, so long ago – not worth mentioning)

    I am constantly made aware of dangers of riding but I am confident I am starting from the right head space. I am naturally defensive and have good spatial/situational awareness. I absolutely appreciate how I need to be 'predictive' on a bike and assume I am invisible at all times and have options. Always options. I also just finished the 'so you want to ride a motorbike' thread.:nailbiting: Great in depth info.

    So – A decent LAMS bike to start off. Budget is LOW:unsure:. I can borrow but really don't want to. Looking around $3k – could go to 4 to 6 with finance – but will avoid unless strongly advised I must for far better options.

    What I want....

    Essentially, SAFE and comfortable. In other words a learners bike that is piss easy, and a bit of fun. Like I say, I might be doing day trips up to the coast if I feel I am progressing well and confident.
    Fuel economy is also a factor.
    I don't want to resell for a few years. Do not expect to be able to anyway (budget) for at least 2 years. So something that I will still be having fun on after a year or two. (thinking $4-5k is more on the cards...):banghead:

    Cruisers appeal to me (without any experience) because they look easy, safe, comfortable.(y) I like the idea of upright instead of hunched over the tank. Low to the ground and cruising just seems like it would work. I know I won't know till I try. I have seen and read many bits n pieces on the webs. Cruisers definitely seem a fit so far – but not sure if my budget will allow a cruiser that is reviewed as really safe and easy (Yamaha XV250 and XVS650 are highly reviewed in some places – but the price! – maybe finance is required – :banghead:) I also am aware there are other choices for more upright - but I am not familiar with the extent of choices.

    So, any and all advice about the motorbikes to check out - or avoid!, info about the licensing process I am about to embark upon, general advice and your own experience is welcome. Even if it is "too late! 40 is the cut off! :ROFLMAO: I see Aldi is having safety gear next week (certified to some standards) For a start I think that would be the go (they comply with standards but are Aldi priced) hopefully they are not shithouse (uncomfortable and ill-fitting).

    I am going into this whole process blind. I do know a rider or two enough that I could hit them up to go for a ride and for advice, but essentially I am on my own. I'll definitely be looking to join some kind of local group once I am off and running.

    I want to have as much fun as I know a bike will give me, but in the most responsible and safe way i can - avoid bad habits and prove those who look at me like I am a walking corpse when I tell them I'm getting a bike WRONG. (spesh shout out to the inlaws)

    Thanks in advance for advice or thoughts. :):):)
  2. Hands down, the best learner bike ever built is the VTR250. Cheaper options that are bloody near as good would be the GPX250 or CB250, both of which you will find in good nick for under $3ooo. If you want something a little larger then the ER-5 or GS500 will be worth a look but they'll cost a bit more. All of these bikes have an upright, comfortable riding position. They are budget friendly and easy to maintain and will keep you entertained on day/weekend trips for a couple of years. :)
    • Like Like x 2
  3. #3 Hotchips, Aug 2, 2014
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 2, 2014
    Awesome - thanks heaps!

    Thanks for that. Will do - and already have been. Was a bit trigger happy as I had posted on whirlpool and read/discovered this place - which is great!

    Cheers bruh. (y)
  4. I cant comment on best or 'safest' bike but the aldi gear is not bad, however after i tried on a bigger named jacket i realised what i was missing. I still wear the kevlar jeans, they are more comfy than normal jeans lol.
  5. Welcome mate. U really need to actually go and ride a few bikes or at least sit on them so u can decide if its a cruiser or upright sports / naked bike u are after. Your thread is a little confusing regarding some things. If u want fuel economy go and get a little 125. It will do 80 on highway and be screaming its tits off. If u want to put a bit more petrol in it but would rather ride a more powerful bike that cruises easier then look at a 650. I loved my gv650 .
  6. I did tend to ramble a bit LOL

    Yeah - I know I need to ride a lot of bikes. Hopefully Bike Dealerships don't mind many hours of test rides on different bikes. Not sure how else I could ride bikes that I don't own.

    Feul economy in that it is not "car like" or thirsty for it's class. I don't want a bike that screams for mercy at 80. I will eventually be riding up the coast (110) once I am of suitable experience/confidence. To be clear, a bike that is easy/great to learn on. Safe, easy, and enough power to keep me happy for a couple of years.
  7. youtube is your friend when it comes to bike reviews then go and test ride until you have found "the one", if you want a biased opinion i would say the kwaka er6nl is the best lams bike.
  8. Ta mate. Have been hitting the tube a lot. That kwaka looks really boss. A bit of a budget stretcher, but I'd definitely love to sit on one and test ride it.
  9. #9 Kalkadar, Aug 3, 2014
    Last edited: Aug 3, 2014
    At your price point I'd say:

    My picks
    • VTR250
      • easily sits on 110, very economical and very easy to commute with. May be a little small at your height (most LAMS bikes will be). Pre 2006 is carburetor fueled and very easy to work on but still has plenty of grunt.
    • GS500/GS500F
      • Nice parallel twin which has enough power to start with. A little more room than the VTR, economical, cheap to service and cheap on tyres to. Plenty of bigger guys learnt on them and loved.
    If you are willing to stretch to the ER6nL/Ninja 650L (they are the same bike) I'd recommend checking them both and the Honda CB500F. I'd recommend a Honda CB(R)500R,F,X is you were planning to keep it if you could spend $7k+ (CB400 fits in here as well, great bike).


    Unless you are going to stay on a cruiser I wouldn't recommend them. They teach bad habits (steering through corners) and tend to be a little under powered.
    • At 184cm don't even consider the XV250/Virago (too small)
    • You will probably find the XVS650 a little tight as well.
    • The Honda VT400 is bigger and don't believe anyone that says the XVS650 is much more powerful. There is about 2 hp and 10kg between them.
    • Size wise the Hyosung GV250 and 650 are the largest LAMS cruisers, well priced and the 650 is the most powerful.
    As a comparison on power the XVS650 has 39hp and weighs 231kg, the VTR has 33hp and weighs 147kg. I know which is more fun.

    General advice
    • Search threads on this and other forums (Australian Street Bikes for example) on learner bikes. This will give you a good idea of options. You will find the CB400 and GS500 mentioned a lot.
    • Don't discount the sport tourer 250/300s like the Ninja 250/300 and CB(R)250/300R/F. They are practical and you might keep one for commuting. Older examples are around the 4k mark now
    • Sit on everything you can. This means getting someone to hold the front so you have both feet on the pegs and can adopt a riding position. Do this with gear on (probably not the helmet though).
    • If you can test ride - often dealers won't let a new rider test new bikes. There are a lot of Ninja300/CB300/CB500 demos around though you might be able to ride on of them.
    • Check out all your options - Duke 200/390, Street Triple LAMS, V-Strom LAMS. They are more expensive but it might be just what you are looking for and they will last you a while.
    • If you are looking to save then be prepared to buy an older bike. Just have someone that knows what to look for go over the bike well.
    My advice, biased though it is, is to forget the cruiser and buy a good naked then ride the tits off it. Personal preference (in order) would be CB400, ER6nL, CB500F and GS500. The ER and CB500 are tied, they are both good bikes with the same power.
    • Like Like x 3
    • Informative Informative x 1
  10. Thats exactly the kind of advice I was after. Appreciate that a great deal mate. Thanks for taking the time. Legend.:notworthy:

  11. best reply ive seen to this sort of question
  12. Great advice here. I would add that if you buy an older bike, read the info on netrider & search YouTube vids about what to look out for e.g. sprocket wear, clutch, steering etc. Also make sure to do a vehicle history check.
    • Informative Informative x 1
  13. For your budget, experience and what you wish to do with a bike, I highly recomend the Kawasaki ER5.
    I learnt on one of these bikes back in 05, easiest bike in the world to get license on, and once I got rid of my L's, I packed it up and went on a 1,700km tour of the Northcoast NSW and loved it. That little 500 just loved being out there and purred along, non-stressed and extremely economical easily pulling 300kms between fill-ups costing less than 15 bucks (back then).
    The bike is very stable packed up for touring, great upright sitting position and is NON- restricted like so many of todays' bikes. That's right 160kph is easy on one of these (i shouldn't be telling you this right)
    Don't be too put off the fact that it has a rear drum brake, let me tell you something, rear brakes are only to be used for stablizing your turns around corners, slow speed u-turns, assisting in general stopping duties but never to be relied on during an emergency but can be used to wash speed off reasonably quick and these drum rears CAN lock up just as readily as a rear disc...it's just that a disc is a more modern set-up but not really that much better in my view.
    Yes the Suzi GS500 is a similar NON-restricted bike but a bit more pricier on the used bike market....but theres nothing wrong with those ER5 Kawasaki and I've always recomended those for a learner.

    Heres one i found for you.

    http://www.bikepoint.com.au/private/SSE-AD-2941806/2003-Kawasaki-ER-5?cr=1&psq:-((((Make=[Kawasaki])&(Model=[ER-5]))&(State=[QLD]))&(((((SiloType=[Brand new bikes available])|(SiloType=[Brand new bikes in stock]))|(SiloType=[Dealer used bikes]))|(SiloType=[Demo & near new bikes]))|(SiloType=[Private used bikes])))&(Service=[Bikesales])&pso=0&pss=Premium

    cheers brumby
    • Informative Informative x 1
  14. Awesome mate - thanks heaps. A bit early yet as I have not yet the funds, but a great example for sure of whats out there. Definitely short listing this for a few demo rides.

    Cheers, (y)
  15. I'd second Kalkadar's list. We bought my wife the VTR250 and I've got the CB400. You might find the VTR250 a little limited in power, as she's now saying that she wishes she had a little more grunt to pass at the top end. It's a great bike though and very popular...I love the CB (and the Singapore Bikes forum is full of others who feel the same). For what it's worth, here's what I like about it:

    1. It can do 80 in 2nd gear but has 6 gears in total, it's one of the more powerful LAMS bikes out there
    2. The build quality is excellent with very few complaints I've ever read
    3. I understand it's very forgiving (I have limited experience myself) to new riders
    4. Excellent brakes
    5. Easily customisable if that's your thing, with lots of online help
    6. It has a few nice design features I am struggling to find on other bikes, small things, but they're nice (proper lockable helmet hook, fuel gauge and the largest under seat storage of any bike I've come across)

    I don't really have anything bad to say, I'm off restrictions and have started looking around but that's only because I wish I'd bought mine with ABS and it seems silly to buy the exact same LAMS bike only for ABS (might as well get something gruntier right?)
    • Informative Informative x 1
  16. I have had to accept the budget I am working with is around $4k tops. So I think a 250 will be the go although I do see the occasional ER5, GS500 and KLE500 around.

    L's now sorted. I'll see how Q-Ride goes and what the instructors advise. Then sit on and test ride as much as possible to shortlist contenders I find suitable.