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{Moved from Riding Tips} Looking for learner bike

Discussion in 'Bike Reviews, Questions and Suggestions' started by Jabba, Feb 4, 2014.

  1. Hi guys. I've been a long time lurker, but have had trouble picking a bike so decided to create an account and ask for advice.

    I'm looking to get a bike to ride to work 60km each way and mostly highway. I'll be on my learners (when i get off my arse and do the test). Budget is $2000 or under. Also I'm 183cm and 95kg.

    The main reason for the bike was to save money on fuel and etag, but after looking at the economy of some of the bikes i had originally though about, they are almost as bad as my car lol!

    Anyway, I am not too fussed on the style or age of the bike, prefer under 500cc for the cheaper reg. Likely targets so far are Honda Spada 250 or Suzuki Bandit GSF250.

    Thanks in advance :)
  2. #2 Leighbus, Feb 4, 2014
    Last edited: Feb 4, 2014
    I love my vtr 250. 300km out of about 12l it's a small bike but it suits me perfectly because I'm short, you may want something bigger if your tall. Also for such a long commute I would reckon a 400 or 500 they will handle the highway a lot better.
  3. wont save on etag anymore:greedy:
  4. If your going 120K a day you'll want a bike with a decent fuel capacity and be able to handle the highway speeds. for $2,000 I don't think you will be able to find much that will work well as a commuter for you. I would wait a bit and save up for something a bit bigger, if you can stretch your budget to $4,000 or even $5,000 you will be much better off.

    Don't forget the cost of gear and servicing.
  5. True, but half is still half

    If I had around $4k what sort of bike would you guys suggest then? I have most of the gear, just need boots and summer weight pants. The money I save in servicing and maintaining a car I can use to do the bike.
  6. depends on what you like mate, most are ok just don't buy something that was cheap and nasty new
  7. Uncle Greg has an economical bike he might do a deal on. It fits most of the suggestions above , big bike . suits a big bloke, not real quick but bloody hell is it cheap on fuel.
  8. #8 Jabba, Feb 4, 2014
    Last edited: Feb 5, 2014
    Honestly have no real preference since it's my learners bike. It just has to be comply for the longish ride and economical. I am totally open to suggestions. I'm quite happy for a bike that'll sit on 110. I'm not going to be racing anyone.

    Uncle Greg what have you got mate?
  9. Honda CB250! The Holden Gemini of the bike world! You just can't kill it!!!

    Economical, forgiving, light, nimble and perfect for the commute!
  10. I also ride 60 km each way every day - on a Spada. She sits at just under 9000 RPM at 100 km/h. That is with me on it, I am (just guessing as I don't have scales) maybe 65 kg, 167 cm tall. The Spada is a short and light bike - that's why it's popular amongst girls - I can imagine you feeling cramped up on it. Since you are heavier, you'd probably be cruising at even higher RPMs than me - not really what most people would call 'relaxing ride'. Being a light bike, you will feel the wind as well. I use just short of 4 L per 100 km, I gues that'd be less than your car. Very reliable bike, starts every time in any weather. Narrow, too, which makes filtering easy.

    To be honest, I think you want a bike with a bigger engine that'd carry you with less effort, and one that is taller so that you won't ruin your knees. The Spada is kinda sportyish, you might want a complete upright sitting position for commuting (especially if you are not used to using your abs).

    That being said, I love my Spada. She's such a fun bike, that I even sold my big upgrade bike (Kawasaki Z750) after half a year of riding it (I was forced to ride the Spada again due to a tyre issue on the Z, I enjoyed the Spada that much that I decided to get rid of the big one). Don't ask me why they started to make boring VTRs instead of Spadas! But you need to chose the bike that fits YOU best.
    • Like Like x 1
  11. The rpm at a particular speed is determined by the gear ratios of the bike, not affected by rider weight at all. I can't comment on the Spada but I had a VTR250 as my first bike - which is very similar in most ways - and found it fine for long distance travel. The seat was comfortable and the engine vibrations well damped, despite the high RPM needed for highway travel. Similar economy to what you reported for commuting and highway travel. I'm 178cm/75kg and found it comfortable and had no problems out accelerating most cars. You should be able to pick up a VTR250 or GPX250 for under $3000, or a Spada for even less. All of them are good, reliable bikes whose owners generally love them.

    My current bike is a DR650 which is bigger and faster and still decent economy (I've been getting around 4.6L/100km). Surprisingly it is less smooth on the open road (supposedly it's good for a big single cylinder but the VTR had much less vibration despite higher revs) but the larger size might be more comfortable for a taller bloke. It might be worth sitting on a DR650 or KLR650 to see if the extra legroom makes a difference for you.
  12. Get yourself a Suzi GS500 or GS500F (naked or faring). Bulletproof, under 4 litres/100km, 5000rpm @100km/h. Sit on one, as I'm 169cm, you would need to see if you are cramped. Always a few on bikesales.
    • Like Like x 2
  13. thanks for the good advice guys. I think I'll probable have to sit on a few of these bikes to get an idea of what is going to be most comfortable. I have a feeling that I'll need a 500cc to keep the thing from rattling apart on the highway with my height and weight. I am guessing the GS500 sports touring type setup is going to be the most comfortable for the longer trips. I haven't come across any cruisers in my price range or CC range, so i suppose that's out.

    I have found a few GS500Fs that are quite a distance away, but they are looking like the best candidate so far. there are so many different bikes. madness!
  14. For your size and constraints I'm another vote for GS500 or maybe ER-5
    • Like Like x 1
  15. +1 for a gs500. That's what I've got so I'm biased as hell, but when I baby it I get 3.3L per hundred. 20L fuel tank so a big range. I filled up today after a few days of decently spirited riding, fit 16L in the tank with 370km on the trip meter. So at least you'd go 3 days without having to fill up with fuel!

    They're mechanically super simple, so if you're at all mechanically inclined, you can service them yourself quite easily. (Currently doing this myself, the learning is great fun!)

    Single worst thing about the entire bike is the front suspension. I'm 178cm/85kg, and the stock front is WOEFUL. I'm definitely looking at replacing the springs with progressive sometime soon.

    Other than that, it's bulletproof. Can't kill the engine (apparently), it's a super easy to learn on bike, very forgiving of mistakes, and you still have a decent amount of grunt to overtake at 100-110. My mates with 250's tell me overtaking on the highway is daunting because of the lack of power. I usually don't even bother with changing down to 5th, just open 6th up more and it purrs past cars.

    And the exhaust has a very nice note to it when it hits power at around 8k rpm ;).
    • Like Like x 1
  16. Probably won't have to worry about wind buffeting doing $1.70, expect it doesn't have that much in it - mind you $1.30 seemed effortless on a windy day once.

  17. $1.70 on either a GS or an ER would take a sufficient tail wind and a nice downward slope I should think :D

    Or a very nice...........loooooooooong...........run-up with a rider flat like a pancake over the tank.
  18. Thread Re-Opened.
    • Like Like x 1

  19. It gets to 170 pretty easily. Unfortunately that's indicated ='(, which is probably closer to 145-50 actual haha. It plateaus VERY very shortly after 165-170 indicated. Hill is good, tailwind not required =P
  20. I've got the GS, love it, cheap to run, good fun.