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Newbie looking for suggestions

Discussion in 'Bike Reviews, Questions and Suggestions' at netrider.net.au started by Kalkadar, Jul 4, 2013.

  1. I am currently going through Q-Ride with the missus and will be shortly buying at least one if not 2 bikes.

    I had pretty much narrowed the choice down to 2nd hand GS500/GS500Fs based on the bikes available locally. But I see a lot of questions about there longer term suitability.

    I have looked at (but not ridden) CB500F (and R/X), Xj6nL, SFV650, ER-6, XVS650 and sundry others. I also have a line on at least 2 x CB400s at around $6,000. My wife would like a smaller (say 250) bike to start with and then "grow" into the larger bike (I would upgrade). After LAMS I am looking at Bonnevilles, CB1100, XJR1300s or possibly the adv tourers.

    Budget isn't the issue, size is. I am 120kg and just over 6 ft while the missus is 5'10" (and a lot lighter).

    We plan to do some touring eventually and are not interested in scratching or track days (hence no sports bikes).

    My question(s) are: -

    • How well would a CB400 handle someone my size (hard to tell on short rides)
    • Would the CB500F be better if looking to keep it for a while (not sure if anyone has had one long)
    • Of the other 650s which in people's experience do women enjoy riding more.

    Thanks in advance and sorry for the length.

  2. I don't know about the LAMS version, but my wife really enjoys her SV650S.
  3. CB400 is a better bike than the GS500, but you pay for the privilege. It goes and stops harder than a GS500, with less vibes. I've only ever ridden one briefly, so I can't talk about ownership experience.

    GS500 is cheaper, simpler and pretty bulletproof, and becomes even cheaper if you can do your own basic maintenance. At 120kg (plus gear?) you will need stiffer springs if you want to do any serious braking without bottoming out the forks, especially downhill. Budget about $100 for some stiffer springs, and some more if you need to pay someone to fit them. Some people upgrade the rear shock too, but it's ridable without doing that.

    As a big rider who has shared a bike with their smaller partner, I'd suggest you get two bikes if you can possibly afford it. You will both be more comfortable on a bike chosen specifically for you, rather than a compromise. It has the added benefit of letting you ride together. My wife can ride my bike when she needs to, but she's a lot more comfortable on her little Ninja. I can ride her Ninja, but it's cramped and doesn't really like going up hills with me aboard.

    Any CB500F you get will be new or close to new, therefore expensive (both to buy and to drop). I personally wouldn't recommend any learner choose their first bike looking too far into the future... in the first year or two you will learn a lot about what sort of riding you enjoy, and hopefully get to sample some other bikes. Then when you get off restrictions you will have a much better idea of what you want, and a much wider array of options to choose from.
  4. The cb500's seems to be a bargain. That would be hard to go past at the moment if you want a lams bike. The cb400 might be better but its so much dearer.

    I think a vtr250 second hand is a nice bike for women. Its lighter and low to teh ground.
  5. Little known fact which has little to do with this, but the VTR250 is taller than a 750 Monster. I know this because my wife had a 750 monster and one of our friends had a VTR250, side by side the VTR was a taller bike.
  6. True. My wife had a VTR 250 and found it pretty awkward: pretty tall and also kind of top heavy. She is a lot more comfortable on her Ninja 250.
  7. Suprised about that, I always see women on them.
  8. We were too. But the VTR is quite a bit lighter and has a far better turning circle.

    I miss my wife's 750 monster. I secretly loved that bike, brought out my inner hoon, the SV650 just doesn't have the same effect.
  9. You can pick up cb500x under 8K 2014
  10. Height of the VTR250 will not be an issue as she is 5'10" great choice for her I would have thought.

    I had an ER6nL and was very happy with it. But I only weigh 70 kg and am 5'8" it may be a bit small for you. Only way to tell really is go and sit on them all and ride hem if you can.
  11. I forgot all about this thread, I suppose I should give an update, possibly even put up some photos in the garage.

    As it turned out the guy I was doing my license through knew someone that was selling a CB400, 2010 years old with only 4500 km for a very reasonable price. I picked that up and have since added a couple of thousand kilometers to it. Extremely happy with it and don't think I could have made a better choice. It is competent, forgiving but still has plenty if you want to work for it. I can't think of many other learners that will comfortably sit on 100km/h+ in the top 4 gears.

    I was shopping for a 250 for the wife and almost going to pull the trigger on either a new CBR250R or a Virago when a low mileage (2500), 2006 VTR250 came up at a reasonable price. My wife has been using it as a commuter and on a few weekend rides with me. I've also been taking it out on weekends and it's another great bike. Pulls hard from low down for a small bike, always willing to rev and the brakes are enough given it's weight. I actually prefer the throttle on the VTR to the CB400 probably due to the EFI snatch at least in first and second (which are low) on the CB400.

    I'd agree that the VTR250 is top heavy and not as nicely balanced as the CB400. The position is also more aggressive. My wife won't believe me that the seat height on the VTR250 is higher than the CB400.

    Only another 5 months until I am back on a full license, I am not sure what I will buy yet. As much as I like the idea of a Blackbird or Ninja 1000 I know, for various reasons, that I won't need a mile burner. Windy days make me wish for a screen or a fairing but otherwise the CB400 is great. I prefer the feel of a V-Twin though (the VTR's fault). At this stage (newer bikes) I am looking at are: -

    • CB650F (and it's faired brother)
    • DL650A Vee Strom
    • MT09/MT07
    • Street Triple R (probably not)
    • Tiger 800 or Tiger 1050
    • KTM 990 SMT (2nd hand)
    • CB900
    • CB1300
    • XJR1300
    • GSX1400
    • Blackbird