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L's: XVS650 cruiser or "bridge" VTR250

Discussion in 'Bike Reviews, Questions and Suggestions' started by evilkowie, Dec 26, 2008.

  1. Hey guys :D

    I'll be doing my pre learner in the middle of February. Always wanted a bike - felt too 'big' for one though, weighing 125kg. I'm 5'10. I live in Sydney, may move out of Sydney (Parramatta way I think), but travel right in to the CBD every day for work. I don't expect to do above 100km/hr for quite a while.

    I love the look of a cruiser and thats what I really want. I keep reading that its hard to pass your P's on a cruiser - but I know you can hire a bike for the test

    Do you think I should get what I really want (xvs 650 or *maybe* a hyosung gv650) which is 'harder' to learn on or buy a bridge bike and learn on something smaller? My real question is, buy a VTR250 or a XVS650/GV650?

    Naked bikes look _ok_ better than sport bikes I suppose.

    I assume because of my weight I need something with quite a bit of oomph. Thats why I havent looked at the 250cc cruisers.

    Any recommendations guys?

    Budget isnt a problem. I'll finance.

    Oh. And could I potentially one day ride across Australia on a XVS650? I've done that trip in a car a few times :D
  2. I was in the same situation as you about 3 months back and went for the 650 in the end. The main reasons for doing so was because the 650 was the bike I wanted. There were 250s out there that matched the 650 for looks, but I didnt want to open myself to spoiling the riding experience by being frustrated on a 250. You say finances arent a problem then I'd say go the 650 and hire a 250 for the test if you find its going to be hard to pass on the 650. I'm still having trouble with the low speed maneuvring on my 650 after 3 months but its slowly getting there. I should admit I havent really concentrated on practising it much since I find it boring compared to the higher speed cruising.
    Then again you might find you are going to want to upgrade the 650 anyway when you go unrestricted so the benefit of buying it up front is lost and you could of got the 250. Noone can give you a definite answer, its going to depend on your personal preferences in the end. For me the decision was made to maximise my chance of not getting frustrated while on my Ls - so I went the 650. At this point I think I will be keeping the 650 for a while at least when I go unrestricted as I will want more experience before getting onto bigger bikes.
  3. My mate bought a brand new 250 cruiser and lasted 5 months till he traded it in for a 650, not enough power on the tollways and when u need that little bit extra to overtake, also had the shits cause he couldn't keep up with me lol, my advice, go the 650 to avoid disappointment in the long run..
  4. Hi,

    I'm probably biased because I ride one, but what about the gs500 as a bridging bike.

    It can be used to pass the P's test, costs about the same as a VTR and will have the extra torque you might need to keep you interested for a while.

    just my 2 cents.

  5. get what YOU really want.
    no point buying a bike to please others and not be happy with the choice you made.
    you have to ride it - no one else.
    as for cruisers being harder to pass your L's on or to learn on - what a load of rubbish.
  6. I passed my Ls test on a cruiser, an XVS250. The following week I traded up to an XVS650 because the XVS250 is gutless. However the change in bike size was substantial and I don't think I would have passed on the XVS650.

    The Ls testing guy said he was impressed. He said I made it look easy on the cruiser although to be honest I was struggling with parts. Especially the cone weave. The cruiser has a longer wheel base than "normal" bike shapes. Combined with the extra weight and the muddy clutch control, it makes some parts of the test quite difficult. I think it would have been much easier on a CBR250.

    I'm a similar size and weight to you (a little lighter, but not much) and although the 250 is gutless, it was more than enough for highway speeds and getting around town. I wanted more power after riding it for a few months, but when I started the 250 had enough power to scare me silly. I will give you one bit of advice, which you are free to ignore.

    Advice: your first bike should be a 250.

    I had several near death experiences on the 650 because I suddenly had so much more power. It was much easier to get into trouble. I'm probably not the most talented rider but looking back, I'm very amazed I didn't kill myself. Even with the huge weight of the cruiser, the 650 had acceleration that I wasn't ready for. It's easy to make a mistake - drop the clutch too quickly, turn too sharply, brake too late - and suddenly all that weight and power is your worst enemy.

    Now that was all several years ago. I've since moved onto a Suzuki V-Strom 650 (great bike) and I'm no longer interested in the cruisers. The Suzuki has even more power, and less weight, and hauls much faster than the XVS650 ever could. However now with a few years of riding under the belt I feel more in control and I make fewer mistakes, so I feel like I've "earned" the 650.

    Another reason to start with a 250 is because it's very likely you will drop it, so you'll be buying your second bike within a year anyway. There's no need to get your dream-bike as your first bike. Buy a second hand thing that's already been dropped. That way you won't feel bad when you drop it too :) Though to toot my own horn, I never dropped the XVS250, but I dropped the XVS650 twice.

    Strange you should ask. I just rode the Suzuki across Australia (25,000 km in 2 months). You could easily do it on a cruiser because the whole trip is fully paved. However if you want to go anywhere interesting (like some of the National Parks) you will need to ride on dirt. That could be interesting on a cruiser. I wouldn't attempt it on a cruiser. I rode the Gibb on the Suzuki. I didn't fall off, but there were a number of close calls, and I'm praising the bike more than my own skill for the success. Would have been impossible on a cruiser.

    EDIT: but I do agree with davway, get the bike that YOU want. You can certainly pass the test on a 650 cruiser. I'd buy a second hand 250 if I was starting out again, but that's my choice.

    EDIT: and if you do take the XVS650 across Australia, consider a jerry can in your luggage. I got about 250km per tank on the highway. There are places in WA and NT where there's more than 250km between petrol stations.
  7. :D

    Oh boy how things change after time.

    I've sat on a Eliminator, Virago, Aquila 250, Aquila 650, Intruder, and a erm.. Honda cruiser of which name I forget.

    Before I left the house I wanted a VN250 (eliminator) or the GV650.

    I found the Eliminator and both Aquilas felt too heavy - and the tanks were too wide, felt weird Plus the eliminator had a pretty horrible peg position, very uncomfy. Did not like it either. The Honda handlebars felt too close to me or something. It was strange anyway.

    That left the Virago and the Intruder... and the Intruder felt bigger and more comfortable than the Virago

    Right now in WA theres a second hand gv250 for 2800 - I am over here for a month, thinking of buying that and shipping it home.

    Alternately there is a truly truly truly excellent Suzuki dealer called Witch cycles in Rockingham who gave me excellent service, even though I made it clear I was from Sydney. Maybe I'll buy new and ride here for a month and then ship it home. No guarentee I'll find good service in Sydney and I don't have transport to find a dealer over there. Learning to ride over here where there is no traffic will be less stressful...

    I've had a totally awesome day sitting on bikes.

    Oh MAN, the m109 is HUGE I truly had no concept of how big the big cruisers are. Heavy as hell and I felt way too small for it. I thought I wanted to upgrade to it but now I'm not sure :)

    I kinda hope the GV250 is sold as I want the Intruder. I just hope its got enough zip to carry my butt around.
  8. my two bobs worth

    I just got on to my 'non restriction' license thingie..
    For what it's worth, I started on a vtr250, hadnt ridden a bike since I was 16, now at 48, scared the pants off me a couple of times, in fact got blown across 2 lanes on the tulla, so bought a cbr600 (wrong choice for an inexperinced old fart), that lasted about a month, then got my cruiser, fell inlove with it, an xvs650, second day riding it almost killed myself going thru (almost thru the centre) of a round about near home. They dont like to pull up too well I thought, but practise makes well, better riding. I commute on citylink daily, had a couple of close calls, I found it at highway speed it wasnt quick enough to pull (quickly) out of trouble and did not like to pull up in an emergency too!! So now on this lovely teapot, gsx750f, similar weigh to the cruiser, but stops and goes alot better, it makes feel I am a better rider but it is the bike!!
    Buy what YOU want, enjoy yourself but for gods sake, practise till theres no tomorrow cause there may not be if you come nustuck. 4 bikes in about 14months, and still looking lol
  9. Best advice ever. Unless you have been riding without a licence as a kid, there is a very real chance you will drop the bike and it will bring tears to your eyes if it's a new bike or one you have paid real money for.

    I've dropped my Virago while sitting still just because I wasn't used to the weight distribution. Even though it's as old as the hills, it still make me cringe.. would've hated it to be a newie.

    I think the other point about power is that unless you are used to a high powered vehicle you'll find a 250 is more than adequate. Having ridden a Hayabusa, in comparison to the Virago it's a pure death machine. Starting on a 250 is a wise move in my view.
  10. there is also the new Honda VT400 cruiser..

    same physical size as the VT750.. but 400cc and LAMS.. and only $9990 +ORC