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Learner Cruiser ... looking for advice

Discussion in 'Cruisers' started by the_blacke, Jan 10, 2009.

  1. Sorry, it's yet another "Which Bike" thread ... I've had a read over what's already here (which is both informative and contradictory!) so thought I'd see what the cruiser crew have to say about it.

    I'm a heavy guy (5"9, 215 kilos) with _no_ bike experience, but I'm doing the course over the Australia day weekend and I'm planning on getting my first bike for the commute from Eltham into Melbourne. I'm thinking cruiser because a) I like 'em, and b) my gut gets in the way on a sports bike! I'll probably sit on a couple of nakeds, but I've really fallen for cruisers...

    Anyway, for a first bike (that needs to be reliable, it's a bloody long walk home if something goes wrong!) I've come up with the following list:

    Yamaha Virago
    Honda VT250C
    Yamaha XVS652
    Honda VT600C Shadow

    Any thoughts on which of those bikes would be better (or alternatives to consider) for a reliable commuter for a large guy needing a reliable bike without breaking the bank? Oh yeah, with no riding experience!

  2. I have an xvs650.... I found it a great bike to learn on. I was the same as yourself with no experience, so was very nervous. I liked the idea of a cruiser, but was soo parinod about dropping a big heavy thing. It is really not that challenging to ride once you understand the basics and have some balance. I layed it down once at a stop sign, i misjudged the slope of the road, but was able to gentle lay it down, so no damage was done to it, with a minor scratch to the mirror.

    Being a heavy set guy, I would think the virgo, or any 250 may be under powered for you.

    XVS650's, are about 10,500 brand new. Its plenty quick enough, it gets off ok at the lights, but its no triumph Rocket III (now there is an awesome bike! biggere engine then my GFs corolla). fuel isnt too bad, i havent got onto reserve yet, normally get about 270kms for about 12 or so litres, but i do not commute in it. Just casual rides through twisties an stuff.

    I live in an estate so just did laps the day the bike was delivered, 2 hours of doing 20kmh big looping circles, i had confidence that I could ride it without dropping it.

    I would hate to have a virgo at this point as I have a ball on the XVS650 - yeah it doesnt corner fast, but that just means you have more fun working it around the corner. and the look! crusiers simple look awesome.
  3. Sit on the bikes.

    I had my mind 100% made up on a VN250 (kawasaki eliminator) based on stats until I sat on one. I had read that the eliminator and also the aquila 250 had the most powerful engines and I'm quite heavy myself. On the Eliminator I don't like the foot position plus it just felt too heavy. Bikes are heavy! who'd have thought?

    I also didn't like the feel of the aquila 250 - the 650 felt alright, I liked the leg position, but it still felt too heavy.

    I had (have - sortof) my heart set on an Intruder - VL250 LC. Handlebars feel GOOD. I think I have a problem with the leg positioning though. I sat on a harley and liked the foot forward arms in the air feel. Kinda thought that a 250 couldnt give me that feel... until I sat on a V-Star.

    Dammit. its 2.5 grand more brand new but it felt a lot better. I want the V-Star pegs and the intruder handlebars.

    TLDR: Sit on them. They all feel different, though if you gotta get a 650 the GV (aquila) did feel nice. If a little on the heavy side. It has a nice leg cutout for the tank - the eliminator annoyed my thighs.
  4. Also something to think about is that the XVS650 has a shaft drive...so there's no messing about with chain maintenance...

    There has been a lively topic on shaft vs chain...but personally it doesn't make it or break it for me...its whether you like the bike or not...and then you look after it from there...but definitely shafts require little maintenance.

    I weigh 64kg...and I feel that I could use more power...but its certainly enough, so at 200+ kilos yourself, I would definitely stay away from 250 cruisers.

    The xvs weighs in at about 217kg dry, but its well balanced. I've done 280km on main tank and 350 incl reserve, so its not bad commuter and touring/cruising.

    Good luck
  5. Chains might not annoy you when you only ride occasionally, like every weekend.
    Commuting to the city every day meant lubing the chain every week and tightening it every fortnight. I jumped at shaft drive, I'm never going back.
    I hear belts aren't bad either.
  6. You will want a bigger bike so quickly, just go for the 650 straight up and dont waste your time.
  7. I'm riding a Suzuki Intruder VL250 Cruiser. Excellent bike - very happy with all aspects of it.


    ...when I ride with a pillion, together we weigh about 145 kgs and it gets pretty sluggish.

    Normally I would unreservedly recommend this bike to a learner, but considering your weight, you should definitely steer clear of a 250 cruiser.

    The Yamaha V-Star 650 would be an excellent choice me thinks.
  8. I mean this in the most sincere understanding way but, perhaps you should consider a lapband instead of a motorcycle?
  9. I thought upon reading this "that's just rude" so i re-read the OP and 215 kgs? Holy shit. Is this a gland issue? Ignore me if this is just too rude, but I'm quite honestly stunned that someone my height could weigh that much.
  10. I think he meant to write 125kg as he has written on a previous post. Nevertheless, these commments aren't a very warm Netrider welcome for a newbie. Take it easy fellas.
  11. Yes I certainly had some User Finger Trouble in the OP.

    As most have correctly interpreted, weight should have read 125 kg. Write it off as a brain issue rather than a gland one.

    Likewise, I'm looking at the Yamaha XVS650, rather than the 652. One of these days I'll work out what the "preview" button is for.

    Thanks all for info so far - sounds like shaft drive is going to be much simpler to look after so I'm homing in on the Yamaha. Open to other suggestions to consider (I note there's only been passing reference to the hyosung)...
  12. I have just moved from a 250 cruiser to an 800 cruiser.
    Forget the 250's, you will outgrow them too quickly. I was looking for more after a couple of months, and I'm only a mere slip-of-a-lad at 100Kg and 5'15" (not a typo!)

    The 250 was light and great to learn on, but I'm finding the 800 nicer to ride because of the extra weight - I get easier balance underway, better road holding (including over tram lines), and firmer cornering. I can't throw it around as easily as the 250, but thats not important to me.

    Don't rule out chain-drive if it gets you other things you want. Chain-lube comes in spray cans and tensioning is not difficult. Although belt or shaft drive are certainly easier to maintain, its not a deal killer IMHO.

    As for the Hyo's - "passing reference" maybe sufficient to describe them - good for referencing our speed when we pass them as they sit on the side of the road. Reliability seems to be an issue.
  13. Looking at pictures the GV650 is pretty damn nice. Go see one in person and it PALES in comparison to the XVS650 - literally, its not as shiney :D

    It looks plastic. If I wanted plastic I'd get a sports bike of some description - probably a gpx250 :)

    The differences between the xvs650 classic and custom, incase you're curious - I was lucky enough to sit on both

    Footboards instead of pegs
    Thicker front tire
    Full fender at the back
    License plate is lower and the back end looks cooler - subjective I know
    Comes in liquid silver (pictures make this look blue and silver, but its silver in person) and also white
    front forks are uh, thicker, and.. chromier (its an adjective I swear)
    headlight is covered in chrome, doesnt look plastic.
    Full front fender
    Heavier than custom
    Pillion seat is "thicker"

    back Fender is cut off short
    Comes in black with light silver/grey flames (sexy colour!) or blue (didnt see the blue in person).

    Um yeah. I'm a huge fan of the classic. Pretty sure I'll be getting one, even though I'm nervous with the weight - scared about going slow/cornering on it compared to something light. I guess I feel more in control of a smaller bike.

    I'm having trouble trying to get a dealership to.. deal with me.
    10999 for bike
    137 for rego/plates
    473 green slip
    342 stamp duty
    395 dealer delivery.

    a guy from sydney city motorcycles has said he'd match someone elses offer, and theres one of these bikes for sale on the gold coast at teammoto for 9499 for the bike - but its just one and I don't think they'll match it. Just wish I could get someone to play ball in Sydney! I dont want to borrow more than 4 grand! makes me consider a VTR instead.
  14. Travel a little bit further around Sydney and find some more dealers. You should be able to do better than that price wise. Also, see if you can find an 08 model as they should be cheaper than the 09.

    I know that I am in QLD, but I got an 08 VXS custom for $10,500 ride away with 6 months rego, 12 months insurance.
  15. I'm about your weight and I commute daily on a '92 xv 535 (virago). I certainly wouldn't entertain the thought of a 250, I've only had it about 9 months and would like more power at times. That said, it has no trouble getting to, and holding, the speed limits.
  16. Just bought a Suzuki Intruder 250 for my wife to put around. Will see how she goes. Maybe in 12 months time will have to get a bigger one, but as a learner, that should do it.
  17. I have a 250 virago which I commute for a 50km each way (100km round trip) ride every day to get to work. Part of that is on a freeway doing 100kph.

    I weigh about 87kg, 6'1" tall and find that the bike has adequate power for every day riding. While the 250 is no powerhouse, if all you're after is a commuter it's fine. If you're looking for something to power up the freeway or through the hills then you'll want something more.
  18. Thanks everyone for your help! After buzzing around the tarmac on a CB250 for the weekend getting my Ls, I decided to go for a standard bike rather than a cruiser first up, so there's a GS500 with my name on it waiting for all the bits and pieces to arrive.

    Doesn't look as perdy as a cruiser tho :wink:

  19. I had the same issue 6 months ago. I was able to deal a little but not heaps. These bikes were in massive demand due to the LAMS. so the dealers were only getting a few in at a time and they are normally sold, so won't deal to much. I was about to get mine down a bit. But not heaps. But if you get gear too you can normally arrange a decent package. If your not getting gear, it will be tougher. I can't remember my final figures, but i definetly got better then the above. Bike was 10,499. And i think i got alot of the other costs minimised. I think i got about $1800 in gear (ticketed price) and had that and the bike delivered for under $12k, but i will have to go back to and check.

    Bikebiz at parramatta were pretty decent to deal with, a little arrogant, but they got me there. Team Moto were slightly cheaper on the bike, but i didnt like how they were dealing with me and they had no range in gear.