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LAMS bikes you wouldn't want/need to upgrade

Discussion in 'Bike Reviews, Questions and Suggestions' started by LukeDicko, Dec 26, 2012.

  1. I've had a look through other threads, there are some great ones, but everyone wants slightly different things in a bike. So I'd appreciate thoughts on what I could/should be looking at. And it would be great to hear from you guys/girls that aren't trying to sell me a bike at the same time as providing the advice!

    I've ridden a push bike and a Vespa for a long time, pretty comfortable on 2 wheels, but need to learn to ride a proper bike - with gears! I'm leaning towards a cruiser in the long term - my late Dad had a small Harley and found my love of bikes riding pillion on it, I'd love to ride that, but wouldn't commute on it.

    So for now, I need a LAMS bike to learn on, commute on, and that would go okay in the hills, and like others, would love a bike I don't have to sell again. Not one for the quick sport bikes, but don't think I want to learn on a cruiser. Naked bikes are probably what catch my eye most. I've been looking at the Suzuki GS500, Kawasaki ER-5, Ducati Monster 400 or 600. Any other suggestions?

    Looking forward to anyone's ideas. Thanks
  2. I take it that you would want to commute on whatever, and no longer have the Vespa.

    I suggest that you consider getting a VTR250.

    They are pretty well perfect for commuting, sweet handling and good performance, for a 250.

    Then, when you want to get a bigger bike (off LAMS) you keep the VTR and don't have to consider commuting as part of the parameters for your next, or bigger, bike.

    One thing to avoid like the plague is the Duc Monster 620 LAMS, it is horribly underpowered unless someone has derestricted it secretly.
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  3. or the DR650, lots of work to get the right gear for cornering (compared to anything other than a single) which is what you said you wanted....
  4. Thanks Crazy Cam, that's some great advice. Yep, the Vespa is gone. Would the 250 be enjoyable on a weekend Adelaide hills ride? Or a bit underpowered still? Something 10 years old is around $3000, which is really affordable too.

    There's a 1996 Yamaha XJR400 on bikesales that looks in pretty good nick. Any problems in getting an old bike? Dealers in SA don't have to give any warranty..
  5. Check out the CB400 too. Brilliant all rounder with plenty of poke if you need it.
  6. From what I remember of the roads in the Adelaide Hills, we aren't talking big super fast roads in the first place, and a well ridden VTR250, I reckon, would be a fun thing to have there.

    Yup, they don't come with 100 bhp...... sorry.

    The XJR400, IIRC, would be a grey import. They were, on paper, quite a nice machine, but an elderly one could give you problems.

    Older machines can be pretty good, but you are best to find a reasonably common in Oz model so that you have a chance of getting spare parts stuff easily.

    Might you be interested in an even older bike, like say a Yammie RZ250?
  7. Not personal experience, but a friend of mine who is an experienced rider took a rellie's gs500 out into the hills, including up the southeastern freeway, through the Heysen Tunnels, etc, and back roads. He found it a surprise, in that for a learner bike it handled the hills and freeway fine, much better than the 250s. He felt that it was a learner bike you could happily keep past restrictions.

    At the last Black Dog one day ride I met a guy who was a long, long way past his restrictions (say, several decades) who has a gs500 with panniers who rode everywhere on it. Low cost biking, easy to find parts, etc.

    I find it hard to believe that a 250 will be a keeper unless it is as a second bike.
  8. Well, the long term suggestion that I was making in the first place was to keep a 250 as a commuter bike when a bigger faster bike seems to be required.

    Whether you want to move on to a GSXR thou or a Goldwing or a Harley, not having to use the big beast to commute on gives you more freedom of choice for the next bike.

    Also, and this may come as a surprise to a few of you, quite a number of fairly experienced riders, not limited by licence requirement, still have and ride motorbikes with quite small capacity engines, some well under 250.
  9. CrazyCam, thanks for the heads up on the grey import. Most of the Adelaide Hills roads are tight/windy, so wouldn't necessarily need speed, and hopefully then less chance of getting hit by a car!

    Since I haven't ridden many LAMS bikes, I guess I'm looking for opinions on whether a 250 will be fun enough, or whether a 400/500/600 is a better choice, given it will be my longer term commute but also something I'd like to nip around the hills on - and it's great to hear different opinions minglis, CrazyCam and backmarker. Do the LAMS 600s/650s handle poorly because they're so heavy?

    backmarker, I was leaning towards a GS500, but they're pretty common. But that might be a good thing for parts, running costs etc, and they're a proven reliable bike. CrazyCam, an older bike does interest me - a more unique bit of styling!

    All great info, thanks, keep it coming! ;)
  10. Well, I do the bulk of my commuting and running about on my Across as I find the internal storage very useful. That said, I wouldn't call it a great commuter despite being pretty light and narrow as it needs quite a few revs and is, consequently, a bit buzzy.

    I've had a GS500 and wouldn't hesitate to put that forward in this discussion. Bulletproof, simple, comfortable and a great around-town bike. Wish I'd kept it
  11. As said above i reckon ill keep my CB400 for a long time.
  12. My two bob for what it's worth. I bought a 2010 Ninja 650 when I got my L's in may and it had the better of until recently. After a few weeks riding only when conditions were optimal i took some advice and made a decision to ride every day regardless of the weather. I'm tall and the ride height of the Ninja is a little low for me but it goes like a cut cat. I was too tentative to really enjoy potential of the bike and hat it can do on the the twisties around home for a few months but now feel a little frustrated and look forward to upgrading once I'm off restrictions.
  13. I can't suggest anything cheap (around $3000) as a keeper but if you were looking at new or near new the GSX650 Lams or GS500F are good looking and performing bikes with 3/4 fairings which means the weather and highways are nowhere near as much of a hassle. Might be some GS500Fs out there on the second hand market though.

    My wife has a CBF250 as her learner bike and sad to say although it made it quite easy to pass the test, its a bit of a trial to ride any distance and keep to highway speeds. The VTR is a better 250 than the CBF too if you are thinking along those lines.
  14. What about a Suzuki sv650 lams? Nice looking bikes
  15. Quite a tight/sporty riding position, not so great as a commuter, otherwise a nice bike.
  16. I have a GSX650F and it's great fun on the tight twisty roads as well as being a nice smooth commuter with a comforatble riding position. It's a typical sports tourer and as such is good for a lot of real world riding. It wouldn't compete with a sports bike on the track, but it's not so far off out on a bumpy aussie country road. It certainly doesn't handle poorly and it is one of the heavier LAMS bikes.
  17. GarryH, I wouldn't mind spending good money on a LAMS bike if it was a keeper! It sounds like a 250 wouldn't be much fun on a long highway ride..

    Amazone, great points, but I reckon a Ninja would be too sporty for my personality, nice bike though.

    pwbike, the GSX650F sounds like more my type of bike. Is it a lot more thirsty around town than a smaller bike?

    It's great to see that heaps of you love what you ride! Making my decision-making even harder!!

    How would a CB400 compare to a GS500 or Monster 400/600?
  18. The LAMS GSX650F gets good economy, you short shift and use the torque. You can easily get 300 km from a tank of fuel (19 litres). When I go on group rides I find I need to refuel less than many other bikes (larger and smaller).
  19. I have a CB400 and I don't intend on upgrading anytime soon. CB400 Vs GS500 - heres my findings. CB400 - 53hp, 4 cylinder, fuel injected, liquid cooled, twin discs up front. GS500 - I think around the 53hp mark too, twin cylinder, carby fed, air-cooled, single disc up front. I looked at these, but I'm glad I paid the extra few grand. Its just a more complete bike IMO.
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  20. I recently did 4000km in two weeks on the VTR. It handled it fine but after a couple of hours, the vibration from sitting at 7000-8000rpm starts to get old. The wind buffeting was hard the first couple of times I did long days on the bike but that is less of a worry now (no longer have such sore shoulders and neck after a long ride) so I guess that's just a matter of building up strength and stamina.

    I haven't ridden a GS500 beyond a quick lap of a car park - dealer wouldn't let a complete noob out on a bike when I was shopping for my first bike - but if I had to guess, the extra torque would be nice. Shame the engine sounds a bit like a tractor, compared to the VTR which sounds pretty decent for a 250.