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Looking for first bike

Discussion in 'Bike Reviews, Questions and Suggestions' started by JamesBlack90, Nov 8, 2015.

  1. Hey NRers!

    So, after many, many years of having never touched a bike in my life, I today got my Learners. Yay!

    Leading up to the big day, I had been looking at different bikes, being the CBR250, Accross and GPX250. At the time, I thought Learners were restricted to 250's, however have since learned that's not the case. However, I still wouldn't want anything too powerful, namely because I don't want to kill myself just yet.

    Now, after sitting on a CBR250 all day to do the test, I found my knees practically in my chest, and it was not the most comfortable ride. It should be noted that I am 6'2" and everyone else in my group were on 125s, I got given the 250 because the 125 made me look like I was curled up.

    So, now I'm looking at the following:
    KLR400 (As suggested by my instructor)
    Ninja 300

    I would like some suggestions of not only which bike, but where to purchase as I am also facing this problem.

    Sumoto (in my adept inexperience) looks good, they have a good offer and a range of bikes. (Though I know a free helmet is useless if I can choose it and fit it). However, it seems to be quite notorious on here. There are several posts about the bad quality of bikes and the after-sales care. However, I notice that most of these are pre-2012. There was one, exceptionally longwinded post in 2013 from a sumoto employee, though it's hard to trust that given the opening line was "I work for sumoto". But a search for sumoto from Jan 1 2014 until today turns up only two negative posts. So, I was wondering if anyone had any recent experiences from there?
    I should also point out that my testing facility were advertising Sumoto quite extensively. (Maybe they're in on a deal?)

    Peter Stevens
    As with Sumoto, to my untrained eye it looks good. However I've noticed they tend to be quite pricey. Quite the opposite of Sumoto too, my instructor didn't have too many nice things to say about PS. (I should clarify, my intstructor didn't plug sumoto at all, however the facility had posters everywhere). So it's hard to tell individual opinion from company alignment. However according to my instructor, PS employee only 'salesmen' and not actual riders. Apparently they just try to flog you the most expensive stuff they have instead of taking into account what you actually want/need.

    Private Sales
    I was leaning towards this originally, when I was looking at the 250 range, as I only have about $5k cash to spend on the bike, gear, rego and insurance. Now that I'm looking at the larger bikes, I'm leaning more towards the dealers because I can A) get finance and 8) They come roadworthied (dodgy or not is a whole new discussion). I am slightly reluctant to spend more than $2-$3k on a private-sale bike, only because I am so inexperienced. I would have no clue what to look for when inspecting it, and one would hope that at least in the bike shop they will help you out a bit more.

    Please I am open to any and all suggestions on bike models suitable for me (needs to be tall, also I prefer the look of road bikes/cruisers (with fairings) over the naked look. Imho the Megelli 250R is the sexiest looking thing I've seen that I can ride, but after googling it's insanely terrible, terrible reviews, I'm kind of turned off it).
    Also if anyone has any recent experiences with SM or PS or any other bike shop around the Melbourne Area, or a run down of critical components to inspect if purchasing privately (I guess it should still be inspected when purchasing from a dealership though...)

    Thank you heaps in advance everyone! :)

    • Like Like x 1
  2. Even as a newbie, I wasn't comfortable with dealerships so I bought both my first and second bike privately with RW's. The second bike's RW was a bit dodgy but as I got it for a good price I didn't mind having to spend a little to get it right.

    Not sure about the Ninja 300 if you are 6'2" as I was considering this as a first bike, but opted for a cheap naked instead. At 5'1" I would have just managed the Ninja, so I can imagine that you still might feel a bit cramped on it?

    Go pester the dealerships and sit on as many as possible. My first choice was a XV250 cruiser but I knew the moment I sat on it that cruisers were not going to suit me. I didn't like the riding position at all. Also, as a complete noob, I didn't want too much in the way of fairings just in case it got dropped so I stuck with a naked for my second bike as well when I was ready to upgrade.

    I was in PS the other day looking at the CB400 and staff seemed a bit disinterested. But then again, I'm not serious about upgrading yet anyway so being left alone was fine with me. The gear department upstairs I've always found really good. Same with Mars Leathers next door. Very helpful. On the subject of the CB400, it may also feel a little cramped at your height as I can manage it ok.

    Hoping that other taller riders will be able to steer you towards something that might fit your needs, but good luck and welcome to the which bike to buy dilemma. If you make the right choice it's surreal to learn and gain confidence. So it's important to try as many as possible and get it right.

    Good luck and happy hunting!
    • Like Like x 1
  3. welcome aboard :] congrats on the L's private or dealer either way is good if you go private just remember to have it checked.

    I'd stay away from Sumoto you can search here or other on line to find out why.
  4. Congrats on your License!

    I can't speak to the dealers as I have no experience with any of them. I can definitely say that a ninja 300 won't work for you. It will be much too small, but try sitting on one for fun.

    I ride a CBR500R and am only a few inches shorter than you, it's a very upright position for how sporty it looks. Perhaps when you are in either dealership try sitting on one and getting a feel for the geometry of how you fit on it.
  5. Thanks everyone!

    That's another thing I'm finding with private, in their ads and from my conversations with them over text, so many add $300-$500 to the price to supply a roadworthy. Yes, I know legally if it's registered its the seller's duty to provide, but really what can I do? Also given from my research the RWC costs between $70-$120 to get, the fact they're adding so much leads me to believe that there's something wrong that needs fixing for it to pass.

    How do I "get it checked"? I know RACV will go with you to look at cars, but I had a look on their website and I couldn't find anything about motorbike inspections.

    Maybe I'll go sit on a few in the dealerships this weekend and then start looking to buy privately the models I liked.
  6. U will definitely save $ buying privately. There are heaps of cheap low klm bikes for sale on gumtree. It's probably worth paying a mechanic to check over a potential bike if u don't know much about them. $5k is a good budget for a Lams bike and should get u a bike that's near new
  7. Hi JamesBlack90JamesBlack90 and welcome!

    I put up a bit of info on my experiences with melbourne dealerships a few months ago: Learner friendly dealerships in Melb

    I ended up buying from Raceway Motorcycles in Niddrie. The purchase process was painless and the post sale service has been good too. Did my first 1K service there a few weeks ago and it was reasonably priced, on-time and no hidden charges. Can't ask for much more than that.

    Check out the Benelli bikes. I picked up the BN302 for $6K on the road and it's been great. I'm 5'11" and fit it fine, but the guys at Raceway will let you test ride to see what fits.

    Good luck with the search!

  8. Hey, congrats on your L's, that's awesome stuff.
    As far as bikes go, I'd highly recommend the CB400! They're awesome.

    If you wanna get an idea of what you'd look like on a bike, check out the cycle ergo site: Motorcycle Ergonomics
    It's basically a simulator that lets you see what you'd look like on a bike, and how yo'd end up sitting. It can help with the knees-in-your-chest issue.
  9. Think very carefully before buying something as old as an rvf; great bikes but parts can be a serious issue. Most semi recent multicylinder jap bikes 250cc+ are solid choices.
  10. Thanks everyone for your input, it is greatly, greatly appreciated!

    RockRiffRoger, your post was exceptionally helpful. For the record, I am that learner that doesn't know what a "disc" is - or that two of them would be a bad thing.

    Looking at style and dimensions, I'm starting to like the Benelli BN600S. However my instructor (in fact even the other instructor on that day that wasn't taking my course) said quite matter-of-factory "there's no such thing as a good bike shop, but some are worse than others, especially Raceway Suzuki, don't ever go in there."

    Argh, so many different opinions, reviews, stories. Buying a car was so much easier!
  11. Not too sure what makes you say 2 discs are not as good as one? Any higher end bike will always have 2 front discs.

    I would think a CB400 would be too small. I'm 5'9", and reckon you gotta be under 6' to ride this long distance. Beaut bike otherwise.

    Would look at maybe a CB500X or similar for your size. (Bonus is it has just one front disc)
  12. Do you know anyone who rides and can help you in these early stages?

    Bike mechanics will do a pre-purchase check for a fee. Mad Bikerz in Ferntree Gully is one, I think.

    Buying cars and bikes is similar. Trust your gut when dealing with vendors. Look for scrapes, dodgy repairs, and things that just don't add up.

    An example is a supposedly low Km bike with well worn rubber hand grips and pegs (if they're rubber). If the thing has rolled for 10-20K, there should be some noticable wear and tear. It's also quite easy to c/over a speedo on an older bike, so that's a potential trap as well.

    But, not everyone is out to rip you off. So I recommend a healthy level of paranoia.

    Good luck, mate.
  13. Goona, thanks I'll check it out!
    The disc thing was in reference to RockRiffRogers' post.

    Mick M - thanks for the info! I have a few mates who ride, but they're super newbies like me. Haha.
  14. GS500 are cheap and reliable based on all other similar threads...
    • Agree Agree x 1
  15. JamesBlack90JamesBlack90 more or fewer discs are not good or bad. Just different amount of stopping power. The comment in my learner bike shop post was about a dodgy sales person trying to convince me it was about steering rather than stopping.

    I feel your pain re: the mixed messages. The more you read the more you find conflicting opinions on bikes, shops, gear, technique. In the end you just have to go with your gut and make a call. You learn more from mistakes than wins, so worst case is that you learn a lot early in your riding career. :]
  16. HI there, I am in your same situation, got my Lerner Permit last Sunday and now ready to shop (looking for a CB250 or similar).

    Confused if to go for dealiers or private for the same reason you have + I do not know anybody that could come with me to check the bike I asked RACV but:

    Hi ,
    Unfortunately we do not offer any pre inspection checks for Motorbikes. The only thing I could suggest would possibly be to check the Yellow Pages or Google, Motorbike Inspections. Sorry I could not be of assistance, please feel free to contact me if I can help further. Thank you.
    C. B.
    Administration Officer - Wholesale Vehicle Inspection
    Automotive Services
  17. Hi mate, lots of options, so to narrow it down start at the dealers. Go sit on all the bikes you like and work out which ones are going to be too small (Ninja 300 and CB400 from my experience would be included here). And which ones you don't like for any other reason. That should shorten your list. Next up, test ride those you still like and see what you think. That should narrow down some more. Hopefully you'll come to a point where you'll say "right, this is the bike I want" and this is when you start hunting for best buying option for you. Could be dealer or private, but I wouldn't worry too much about private sale if you are buying a newer model bike with low km and full service history, sold with RWC. Far more difficult for much older bikes whee there has been a longer time for things to go awry. With the savings you will find in private versus dealer, you can hire a mechanic to inspect the bike pre-purchase as well, and probably have spare $ to get a heap of gear or advanced rider training. As for the dealer - well that's a one stop, turnkey solution - easier and with a warranty so there's the peace of mind in that, but you will pay a price for it.

    Personally I've bought both bikes and cars privately and via dealers, but the key point has been knowing what you're looking for up front (bike, price point, km, age) and having the patience to track it down/negotiate it to where you want the price to be/wait for one to pop up on BikeSales or Gumtree.

    Good luck...
    • Like Like x 1
  18. Suzuki GS500 and GSF500 are a good solid bike which have been around a while and there are plenty to choose from. Should be big enough for you. Good luck .
    • Agree Agree x 1

    I originally went into PS with the sole intention of purchasing the GS500 they had, however after I sat on it, it was rather smaller than I was hoping, and was quite cramped.

    The salesman got me on a CB500X and a CBR500, both of which I absolutely loved, the height was good, seating position, comfort.
    But. They were pricey.

    Looking around, I spotted a Ninja 300 (admittedly at the time I didn't know what it was), and it looked roughly the same height and size as the CBs, so I asked if I could try it.

    It felt great. The height was good, seating position was good, it felt just like the CB500! Admittedly the fuel tank was a slightly different shape so my knees sort of sit next to it instead of under it like on the Honda, but the price made it so appealing.

    SO I BOUGHT A NINJA 300! And despite not wanting to necessarily go brand new, I got the bike, Arai fibreglass helmet, alpinestars jacket and boots, RST Kevlar jeans and gloves all for $7k even. To me it seemed like a good deal for everything I got. (Being new it included rego too, which is good and I don't have to worry about rwcs etc).

    Riding it home from the bike shop, despite only being 3km to my house, I forgot almost everything I learnt at my training last week.
    I left my indicator on a couple of times
    I accidentally tooted a few people
    Neutral bombed two or three times
    And I was concentrating so intently on not hitting what was infront of me, I forgot to keep scanning, checking mirrors etc. I was completely oblivious to everything except what was right in front.

    Got home, had some lunch, and decided to head down to a mate's place about 20ks down Nepean Hwy (for those of you in Melbourne).
    Luckily, I had noticed I wasn't paying much attention the first ride, so made an effort to continually check mirrors and scan the road ahead, as well as be consciously aware of my lane positioning.

    It went great! I can't believe I was going 80km on my first day! I'm sure I don't need to describe to you all what it feels like, but it's sensational! Why did I wait this long to try out motorcycles?!!

    Didn't hit anyone, didn't even come close to hitting anyone (for those in other states, Nepean is a 4-lane road), had no issues whatsoever. I know, I know, at some point, someone will cut in front or merge into me. But I'm glad it wasn't on my first ride.

    The only near-catastrophic thing I did was wheely it once, I was revving and it wasn't moving, so I panicked and just released the clutch.
    THAT was a little scary, and at least I must have thoroughly entertained the people in the car behind me.

    but I must ask, do you all find your jeans bunch up behind your knees and becomes quite painful after about 15 minutes? I found this during training too. Any suggestions?
    • Like Like x 1
    • Agree Agree x 1
  20. Wheelie on a ninja 300? Classic, didn't think that was possible