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{Moved to "Bike suggestions" Forum} Yet another "what beginner's bike" thread

Discussion in 'Bike Reviews, Questions and Suggestions' started by cameronp, Aug 6, 2012.

  1. Hi all,

    I've just got my L plates and, well, I'm sure you know what comes next. I know this subject has been discussed to death but I have a few bikes in mind and a few questions about the process of choosing and buying a bike.

    I've been tossing up between the Honda CB400, Suzuki GS500 and Honda VTR250, in order of decreasing lust and increasing affordability. The VTR250 sounds like it'd be ideal for riding to uni - 4km and no faster than 60 km/h - and is very affordable. But I like the idea of getting a slightly bigger bike for freeway and country riding. (If I'm feeling confident enough by summer, I'd love to take the bike to Tassie for a week!)

    My budget is $4000-7000, including stamp duty, third party insurance, and rego if it expires soon. Ideally on the lower end of that range unless I get something really, really good. I've already purchased a helmet, jacket, gloves and boots.

    I'm a student and will be spending the next 2.5 years completing my Masters degree, so not too much disposable income for a while. Whatever bike I get now, I'm not going to be able to afford an upgrade until after I graduate. i.e. I want this bike to keep me grinning for longer than just the 12 months I'm restricted to riding baby bikes.

    So, specific questions:

    - Any advice for riding home on whatever bike I end up buying? That will almost certainly be my first 'real' ride on the road (beyond a test ride, if sellers will let me??). I only moved to Melbourne a month ago, which unfortunately means that not only will I have to concentrate a lot more on where I'm going than I would where I grew up in Perth, but I also don't have any bike-riding friends here who can help me out by e.g. riding a bike home for me where I can practice on quiet, familiar streets!

    - Will I find a 250cc bike infuriating for e.g. merging and changing lanes on the freeway or overtaking on country roads? How does the performance compare to your average 2L hatchback (Ford Focus / Mazda 3 / etc) at 110 km/h?

    - There's a low-mileage Suzuki GS500 advertised for a very attractive price in Apollo Bay, 200km away; it's enough cheaper than the ones around Melbourne that I'm considering a day trip just to check it out. But riding it home will mean twisty country roads followed by Princes Highway (guessing it'll be full of trucks) and the freeway from Geelong to Melbourne. That might be a bit too hardcore for me, considering that right now I've never ridden faster than 40 km/h. Am I crazy for even considering this, or should I go for it?
  2. Re: Yet another "what beginner's bike" thread

    You might have better luck in the bike reviews forum.
  3. Re: Yet another "what beginner's bike" thread

    Also introduce yourself properly in the welcome forums, there's a good lad :)
  4. Re: Yet another "what beginner's bike" thread

    Ah, whoops! Is there any way I can move it or do I have to wait for a friendly mod to help me out?
  5. Re: Yet another "what beginner's bike" thread

    A friendly mod of this section will be along soon it's been flagged :) Enjoy your stay.
  6. Re: Yet another "what beginner's bike" thread

    The Mods here love Snow White,looks like you havent met sleepy.
  7. Re: Yet another "what beginner's bike" thread

    I have looked at bikes to help a noobie in exchange for a case of beer. Maybe there are alchoholics in Melbourne as well that might do it for you?
  8. 4km to uni...just walk??

    I've had a VTR250 for just over a year already. Its fvcking Great! :D
    I can attest that they are a rock solid bike and mine just refuses to die because they are RELIABLE
    It has a nice low seat height (im 170cm tall and have short legs and I can easily flat foot both sides when stationary),
    approx~7000/10500 rpm at 100 kph in top gear - not too vibey
    Nice small turning circle with a generous steering lock - great at slow speed manouvres and u-turns
    likes to drink 91 RON unleaded (runs better) so cheap on fuel (>91 is a waste of money)
    economical! - I get approx 4L-100kms
    almost instant torque so you wont have to rev the shit out of it to get it to move
    nice comfy seating position wont put excess strain on your wrists
    Nice and narrow - great at filtering
    A good example can be had for approx $4k so it pays to shop around!

    Strong engine
    objectively the best lams bike ( and best looking, especially in yellow hehe)
    sounds great with an aftermarket pipe
    awesome fun on the track

    you will learn good habits and technique faster on a smaller bike.
    My honest opinion: Get a small bike, and learn to ride it.
    • Like Like x 1
  9. Cheers! So I've reassessed my budget and ruled out the CB400, it's far too expensive and fancy for my liking. I'd rather have something simple and cheap. I've heard great things about the VTR250. They look fantastic and the sound the engine makes is heaps better than the GS500. I checked one out today but wasn't too keen on that particular example: no service history and a big scrape along the left-hand side.

    I looked at a GS500 yesterday, though, and I really liked it from a practical perspective: didn't feel as heavy as I was worried it might be, a bit more torque than a 250 so don't have to be always revving the tits off it, bigger fuel tank would be nice for going on roadtrips, price is actually pretty close to the VTR250.

    Unfortunately I didn't get to ride either of them on the road - dealers said their insurance wouldn't cover learner riders.

    So I'm torn between just plonking down my cash and getting the GS500 I looked at, or looking around to find a nice VTR250. I guess the thing is that they're both good bikes so I can't really go wrong either way.

    (As for the 4km to uni - a pushbike would probably be the ideal form of transport there. If it was just for the commute I wouldn't bother getting a motorbike at all. Right now I don't own any kind of motorised transport and it's feeling a bit restricting; getting a bike will be a fun solution to this.)

    • Like Like x 1
  10. Have a look at Clemo's VTR250 in the For Sale section. A nice example.

    If you come to Saturday practice - he might be there with it. PM him if you want to see it, understanding that if he can't come, you might need to visit at home.

    He's put his contact email and phone number on the thread.
  11. That or u can buy mine..... (no thread yet)
  12. It really all comes down to personal preference. I chose the VTR because I knew what I wanted:
    -250cc displacement
    -Water cooled engine
    -light weight
    Then after the test ride I fell in love :angel:

    Try another dealer for a test ride of either bike. I went to PS for a test ride on a hyo GT650s when I was on my learners
  13. If money is going to be tight I'd recommend the GS500 solely for the fact it will be somewhat easier/cheaper to service and maintain yourself. Not that the VTR is particularly tricky to work on, but the GS engine dates back to an era when bikes were designed to be as easy to work on as possible.

    If you're planning on using a mechanic find a good one first, then see which bike they're more comfortable working with - some mechanics lack the special tools required for certain makes.
  14. Be careful of what you wish for. 4km distance to uni might accidentally turn into 20km, especially on warm sunny days :LOL:

    As for riding the bike home, try asking around. I'm sure some of the awesome dudes and dudettes here would be more than happy to shadow you all the way from the dealer to your place.
  15. Clemo, spenaroo - thanks! I'd actually arranged to check out a bike for private sale on Saturday arvo. If that falls through I'll give you guys a bell.

    Sounds like everyone who's owned a VTR250 or GS500 likes it, so I guess it'll just be a matter of what I kind find in good condition for a good price.

    I'm going to the Saturday morning meet-up tomorrow morning so maybe there'll be someone there's who's willing to help me when it comes to riding a bike home.
  16. Another +1 for the VTR250.

    I had one as a learner bike and it taught me lots.....great things
  17. Well, I put a deposit down on a VTR this arvo but not in ideal circumstances. When I was test-riding it I came off and dropped it. I'm completely unhurt - was only doing maybe 10 km/h, pulled into a side street to do a U-turn and go back around again, then realised half way through that the street I was turning onto was one-way, slammed on the brakes mid-corner and fell off.

    Snapped the left wing mirror off and now the bike stalls as soon as you put it into first gear, even if the clutch is all the way in. Checked that the clutch cable was still operating correctly so now it's going to have to be towed to a mechanic :(
  18. This is super embarrassing. Turned out to be because the side stand was down.
  19. You should check if the sidestand switch works, it should cut the engine if the side stand is down.

    Hitting a sidestand at speed is scary resulting in loss of control, you need to make sure it works properly.
  20. The bike won't start with the side stand down as Vertical C said. Were you doing a left=handed u turn?