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Learner Legal Bikes Choices

Discussion in 'Bike Reviews, Questions and Suggestions' started by melbas, Apr 1, 2008.

  1. Hi guys

    I'm on the lookout for a new/near new learner legal bike

    A few i have in mind

    the Honda VTR250

    I've heard nothing but positive reviews about this bike.
    Is there an 08 model out yet? The dealers i went to only had the 07
    A few concerns i have with this bike are the lack of 6th gear - how high does it rev/have to work at highway speeds? Do you notice it?
    It's a 250. I'm a tall guy (about 190cm) so do look a bit odd on smaller bikes, but i don't mind if it's a decent ride.

    The Suzuki GS500
    Also heard nothing but good things about this bike re it's reliability
    How does it perform compared to the 250's in regards to acceleration, turning circle etc?
    How does it sound?
    Would you outride this just as quickly as a 250 once off your P's?

    Hyosung GT650 (new)
    I've heard they aren't so reliable, but the later models are a bit better?
    Does anyone know the power figures of this when restricted? I can't seem to find it anywhere. How do they compare to a sports 250? What is the turning circle like, can you do the U-turn in the P's test with this bike?
    Can you re-restrict them once de-restricted (say you wanted to sell them as a learner bike again)
    How do they hold value?

  2. Hi there!

    Apparently the VTR250's been discontinued, or will be shortly. The bike had two recent generations:
    1999-2002: The first generation, with a sexy black instrument panel that is a near-identical copy of the Ducati Monster the bike is styled after - including a lack of tachometer. I didn't mind the lack of a tacho overall, though when I first started I'd sometimes forget which gear I was in. No biggie.
    2003-present: 2nd generation with a revised instrument panel that has a chromed-plastic tachometer, revised rear shock IIRC. I think the old style instrument panel's More Awesome, but that's personal taste.

    The bike should be around 7700rpm @ 110kph, which is just below peak torque rpm. It doesn't mind it at all. 7000rpm is where the party is just starting to happen for the VTR's engine, redline isn't for another 4000rpm.

    A sixth gear would be "nice" I suppose, but it's not an issue - and not having a sixth gear saves weight and improves acceleration through reduced rotating inertia. :grin:

    In all, the VTR's "acceptable" for freeway use. Its nakedness means that getting above 130kph takes serious effort and rider comfort suffers at these speeds as with any naked bike, but that didn't stop me from doing a lot of long-range touring on mine. VTR's real playground is the urban environment and <100kph twisties, and that's where it excels. :)

    The VTR's "okay" for legroom for us tall people (6'4 and 34" inseam here). The Hyosung GT250R and (imported) Honda Hornet 250 were more roomy for me, but the VTR was next in line for legroom.

    Best to just visit a bike shop and sit on all of them, wearing your armour, to see what fits you best. Make all the appropriate "vroom" noises with your throat too. I do! :)

    Someone else will have to field your GS500 and Hyosung Q's. :)
  3. Hi fellow Campbelltownian!

    GS500 comes with my highest endorsement - plenty of power (for a learner). The low end torque makes it a very forgiving bike to learn on. Very easy and cheap to maintain being air cooled and 2 valves per cyl.

    The engine is certainly an old and simple design, but that brings with it great reliability as they've had oh let's say 25 years or so to iron out the bugs... :LOL:

    Downside is handling in the factory front end stinks - easily fixed with a set of springs and $100.

    I think mine sounds ok (makes a nice roar in the basement carpark of our building) I've seen / heard a couple with aftermarket 'zorsts and they sound great.

    As far as outriding it after you're off restrictions, you probably won't quite as quickly, but LAMS bikes are LAMS bikes for a reason.

    A mate who sometimes comes out to our C'town coffee meets recently did a 10,000 K tour over 3 weeks on his GS with no dramas. He loves his.

    Resale on the GS will be good too as they are an extremely popular LAMS bike. Resale on a Hyo will be... well.... :-w

    Have I convinced you yet??

    You should come out for a drink sometime see:


  4. Hi Spots :)

    Thanks for the reply

    Hmm don't know how i'd feel without a tacho, i like the way the new ones look a bit more i think. The VTR250 has really been discontinued? What will it be replaced with? The CBR125R? lol

    Well if someone of your height finds it rideable, that answers my question! I sat on one at the shop the other day, it felt quite comfortable.

  5. Hi Fozzy!

    So kind of like the gpx250 in that respect, nothing much has changed then.

    How do you mean it stinks, unresponsive..? Is this still the issue with the later models?

    Haha always great riding through parking garage isn't it. I saw your bike on your profile, looks nice! What have you got sitting on the tank there? Also you have like a touring seat??

    Thanks for the info mate, helping me make my mind up!

    I saw the link Spots posted - anyone know when the CB400's are to become actually available here and what sort of price range? I like the look of them too.
  6. Way way too soft. Dives badly under brakes and bottoms out very easily. Like I said though, it's cheap and easy to get a very effective fix. New ones are much the same I'm told.

    Tank bag on the tank and a tail bag on the seat, what can I say? I just cart too much crap around... :p
  7. Nope, I remember reading somewhere that once they were de-restricted that was it, they cannot be turned back. I forget why, I mean, obviously it would be technically possible so it must be something to do with the paperwork involved.
  8. Don't buy the Hyosung unless you like walking... get the GS they may not be as fast but it will actually get there.
  9. i recently got a 05 gs500, any tips on where to look for a fix/improvement for this flaw?
  10. http://www.sonicsprings.com/catalog/index.php?cPath=31_65&osCsid=af7c5420868853abdc9e2380e577ff32

    These were the ones reccomended to me - 0.85 are probably the go, but the website has a spring rate calculator. Cheap too, will probably take 2 weeks to ship to Aus.

    Easy to change, they come with instructions which go something like this... unbolt the handle bars, jack the bike up so ALL the weight is off the front wheel. Carefully unscrew the fork caps and remove any spacers pull the old spring out with hook of somekind - laugh at how puny it is - and drop the new springs in, check fork oil level and put it all back together. If you're doing a proper job, you would remove the forks all together and drain and change the fork oil and seals too (you can syringe it out while they're on the bike if you have a huge syringe).

    Take advantage of the current exchange rate!
  11. I'm biased toward the Honda, they make a good bike.

    I think it's got to be a bit like love at first site too, some bikes just won't suit you. Go with your gut feel and work with the excellent information given above. Checking out the bike shops may bring you to another option but don't be too impulsive, if you find a different option come home and do some homework before you commit.

    All going well you'll be happy with the decision you make and you'll be out on the road enjoying the freedom in no time.
  12. Yeah i've been researching the above bikes quite a bit.

    I'm not a fan of faired sports bikes, or cruisers. Like the naked look.

    Anyone know much about the 07/08 Hyosungs? Got to be one happy Hyo owner out there, lol
  13. You'll probably also like the easier & cheaper maintenance (less stuff to remove, less time wasted removing stuff) and much much cheaper insurance too. :grin:
  14. Yep that's a good point too!

    I just reckon the naked sports look a lot meaner than faired. Dunno.

    I was also looking at Motard type bikes, as a lot of them come under LAMS, however one thing i noticed was fuel tank capacity (was usually around 10L).. You don't get much range with Motards do you?
  15. Yeah, lil' motard-type bikes with lil' dirtbike fueltanks tend to have fairly limited range. Depending on their displacement and power output they may need more frequent servicing, but that's a question for one of Netrider's resident motard pilots to answer. :)

    (That said, the VTR250's only 13L, 11L + 2L reserve, and it'll do 270-300km before reserve... So 8+2L might not be a total loss depending on fuel efficiency)

    If you like the dirtbike/trailbike look, bigger 'adventure touring' enduro bikes like the Kawasaki KLR650 and BMW F650 (GS, Dakar) get pretty incredible range and can do a bit of light offroading too. Okay, so neither are motards, but if you're looking for long range... ;)

    KLR650's got a range of about 450km to empty (!) thanks to pretty good fuel efficiency and a 22.something litre tank. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kawasaki_KLR650

    The F650GS has a smaller tank (17L) but slightly better fuel efficiency (3.6-4.1L/100km officially). http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/BMW_F650GS

    Both are LAMS legal.
  16. A big plus for the F650 is that you'll find one with ABS. Having said that both the KLR & F650 are excellent handling bikes that commute and tour very well.

    The KLR's advantage is that the KLR650 will be cheaper to buy.
  17. I must admit that I'm tempted by both despite not being on restrictions. If I did get one, I'm siding towards the F650GS Dakar for its nicer road manners, MOAR POWAH and ABS brakes over the KLR's lower cost and arguably (very-slightly) superior offroadiness.

    The Dakar seems about the right height for me, the standard GS I've discovered the fueltank cuts into my thighs when I mock-operated the brake and gear lever.

    Standard GS might be fine for melbas tho', since he's a bit shorter. :)

    Incidentally, the F650 is barely 1.5kW per tonne away from being too powerful for LAMS. :LOL:
  18. Yeah i had been looking at the KLR650 - really like the look of it.

    I think the GS500 would probly be the best learner bike for me though, so many of them - simple bike, cheap parts. Going to test ride one on the weekend
  19. I get 88-100 km's from 8 litres.
    But mines not under LAMS.

    You would probably be looking at a DRZ or KTM640.

    Probably around 100-110 k's.

    EDIT - oh and you'll never look back. :wink: