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Stupid questions from a stupid person.

Discussion in 'Bike Reviews, Questions and Suggestions' at netrider.net.au started by Cannibal Bob, Mar 4, 2009.

  1. Hi all, please bear with me on this, I'm a complete beginner to bikes and have absolutely no idea what I'm talking about, so if I say stupid things or ask stupid questions don't be surprised.

    Now then; I'm a University student, please don't hold it against me, and every year I say to myself I should get a bike because while there are never any car parks, there are always heaps of bike spots. In fact there is one bike parking area where you only ever see one or two bikes at most. Then there is the fuel consumption and such.

    This year I've decided to bite the bullet and just buy a bike. With rising fuel prices and all the little trips I need to do during the week it just doesn't make sense to always take the car.

    At first it was an easy decision; get the cheapest bike available. Simple. Then as I thought about it and did research things became complicated. Allow me to outline my thought processes.

    I like cars; again please don't hold that against me. I've lately come to terms with the fact that I wont be earning huge amounts of money in my chosen career once I graduate, and that doesn't bother me because I value happiness far above money, but it does pose a problem with my dream to one day own a sports car or track day car. This was further compounded by a recent holiday last month where I went to Eastern Creek and drove a race car; now I'm itching to do that sort of thing again.

    While doing research I noticed performance bikes seem to be far cheaper than performance cars. For example, according to the book I'm reading, which is admittedly about a year out of date, a Yamaha YZF-R1 costs about $18,999. Fair enough, that's about the same price as my Nissan Pulsar cost brand new, although I didn't get it new of course. Looking at a performance car and sticking to the Nissan theme a 350Z would cost about $64,990 and a GT-R $148,800. I don't know if that bike is a fair comparison to those cars but even the most expensive bike in the book, the Ducati 1098R costs $54,995, which while high is still lower than either of the cars.

    So my first dumb question is; is my assumption that a good sport bike is significantly cheaper than a comparatively good sports car correct, and would it be a good option for someone who wants to go to track days but can't afford a powerful car?

    To set up my next question: I've only ever owned Nissan Pulsars so I would like to have a more fun vehicle, even if it's not a super sport bike or car. This goes back to the thing I was saying about buying the cheapest bike; originally I only wanted something like a Yamaha Scorpio or a Honda CBR125R, (cheap) but as I researched them I read that they are a bit underpowered, especially that they struggle up hills. I'm only short but I'm pretty fat, about 105kg, and I live in an area with some pretty big hills so that's something to consider. So then I started to look at more powerful options to get me up hills and cart my fat arse around and maybe have a little (legal) fun, so I started to consider the Cagiva Mito SP525, which at $8,700 is right on the upper limit of my budget.

    The problem is I have no riding experience at all. I've barely even rode a pushbike, I can but it's too much physical exertion for me to want to. Besides, if it doesn't have an engine who cares right? :p

    So my question is; would a Cagiva Mito SP525 be too much for me to handle, and should I therefore buy a Honda CBR125R, I've all but given up on the Scorpio, so I can learn and just deal with the lack of power until I get an unrestricted license? If it helps I'll be getting a loan to buy the bike and I'll probably own it for four or five years, regardless of the one I choose. I'm obviously a learner too, and I'm not a reckless person so I won't be driving like a maniac on the street, which brings me to another point, is the Mito a suitable bike to take to a track day to get the hang of a bike on a track before taking a more powerful bike later, after I get a full license and a full time job? I wouldn't be taking it to the track for at least two or so years BTW.

    Sorry for the long and convoluted post, any help and advice will be appreciated. :)
  2. I suspect that your post is going to draw lots of silly replies by some of the others on here, but I'll try to start this thread off on the right foot.

    Firstly, congratulations on your decision to look into motorbikes and start riding. Many riders here are car enthusiasts too, so it's no sin to like both.

    As for performance equivalence, this is a loaded and hotly debated question, suffice it to say that any of the modern 600cc or 1000cc sports bikes can get around a race-track more quickly than pretty much any car under $150,000 off the show-room floor, or unless the car has had a LOT of money spent on it. Ultimately cars can be made to corner more quickly than bikes, but you've got to spend lots to do so, and keep spending lots on the tyres and maintenance to keep the car in the required trim to do so.

    As for learning to ride though, it's important to choose a reliable bike that isn't going to cost the earth if you do manage to put it down. Despite everyone's best intentions to not crash, riding a bike quickly does take significantly more skill than driving a car, and I'd guess well over 50% of all new riders will crash within their first year. Now by crash I don't mean you're going to die or cripple yourself (although that can happen). Most crashes happen at low speeds and typically involve misjudging surface traction while braking, or misjudging a corner entry and getting scared and braking hard while leaving the road at ~40kph and putting the bike down. It happens to pretty much every learning rider who has ever sought to go a bit quick or have a bit of fun.

    I'd avoid the CBR125R for the reasons you stated. Underpowered for a 105kg rider.

    I'd avoid the Cagiva Mito as well 'cos it's a 2-stroke sports bike, and really isn't the best thing to learn on, and it if you drop it as is quite likely, it WILL cost you a LOT of money to fix it again. Maintenance costs are also fairly regular and somewhat pricey.

    Best thing I can recommend for you, even though you might not think it's all that glamorous, is to buy something like a Honda VTR250. They are light, feature an excellent engine for learning to control a motorbike, will go about as fast as most any 250cc bike will (and certainly reach highly illegal speeds), will accelerate about as quickly as a large capacity 6-cyl sedan (0-100kph in 6.6 secs), are cheap to maintain, and is cheap to repair if you drop it.

    You clearly want to progress to track days and have fun there. This is fine, but you've got to learn to crawl before you can walk, and please consider my advice which is built upon hindsight and experience with hundreds of other riders. Of course it's ultimately your own decision and you'll likely choose with your heart and not your head as I'm trying to impart to you, but in 15-24 months time when you progress to being licensed to ride sports bike you'll be thankful for the time spent and money saved on going with something like a Honda VTR250.

    My 2c.
  3. +1

    I think your 2c is worth more than that Flux.
  4. +1 on the VTR250.
    They are nice comfortable bikes, easy to use and forgiving. I haven't owned one but have been on my friends.
    Naked bikes are cheaper to repair if you drop then then bikes with fairings.

    If you get a VTR250, look at crash knobs, they will stop the bike getting as badly messes up on lower speed drops.

    Take into account insurance when you pricing everything up, shop around prices vary by a ridiculous amount.
  5. GS500 would also be worth a look. Safe and reliable enough for you to get to grips with how to ride, but still capable of being used as a trackbike if you spend a bit of extra cash improving the front suspension (especially if you're only interested in riding for the fun of it, not trying to win races).
  6. Yeah, I was going to agree with the VTR idea, and still think it's a good one, but if NSW has LAMS, then one of the 500s or so might work better torque-wise for a 105 kg guy in a hilly area. Though having said that, I'm 100 kg and loved my Spada, which is the predecessor of the VTR. And the VTR is arguably more sporty in handling than the GS500 (I might get some arguments on that).

    I work at a uni and am smug every day as I ride straight up to my very cheap spot right beside my building, watching the car drivers circle and swear for half an hour to pay for an exorbitant spot half a mile away. ;)
  7. And yeah, I paid $4700 for my bike, and the cheapest car I've ever found that will out-accelerate it 0-100 was $70,000, with most much more.

    You only have to do the comparo you did - R1 vs Pulsar at the same price.
  8. since it's your first bike, and i see you're in NSW, you might want to look at the list of learner approved motorcycles (or LAMS bikes) to see what you can legally ride as a learner

    but +1 for VTR 250
    i rode one as a loan for a day and it had a lot of guts for a little bike, was easy to commute on, and basicly just FUN! :LOL:
  9. On the car comparo it is important to note that although bikes have a massive advantage in acceleration - they need more distance to stop and have a lower maximum corner speed compared with a decent performance car (or even some bog standard European sedans).
    On a track the bike will still usually win. On the road though it does mean it's a lot easier with a bike to end up in the back of a 4wd or running off into the scrub on a corner if you act like many University student drivers.
  10. If your considering a vtr 250 theres a very similair bike available under LAMS thats about 600cc, and can be derestricted.
  11. Last time I checked cars and bikes didnt race one another on the track, so direct comparisons are pretty useless. If you want to cut lap times, build an open wheeler or a superkart.

    The beauty of bikes though, is that it is so much about the rider. The budget minded will have just as much fun on their New Era track bike as the other guy on his latest model steed, and just as likely be doing the same lap times with some enthusiasm.

    But that all comes later.
  12. On top of the vtr (I'm a bit biased) consider second hand gpx250, zzr250. Great bikes, cheap and you can save a bundle doing minor servicing jobs yourself, as there are step by step guides on how to do things like oil changes etc on the net.

    If your wanting something with more torque than a 250
    +1 to a second hand gs500

    But you did say:

    Cannibal Bob wrote:
    This a generous limit. If you want something with a bit more balls

    Another bike to throw into the mix is the cb400 they can be had for less than your stated amount second hand, with next to no km.

    Or if you want to get into track days on your restriction period. You could buy a second hand rvf400 and do a few track days and then turn it into a dedicated track bike later down the track.

    Personally though i say save the money and buy a comprehensive set of protective gear.

    Oh and like you Bob I'm no CEO of Pacific Brands and i like cars. As you have already speculated bikes are the ways to go if you are thinking bang for your buck.

    I have a car and bike and love love them both, but for different reasons. Personally i think cars are more practical. Bikes are a lot more involving and fun on a day to day basis.

    Once you get your first ride you'll learn to love cars less. :)
  13. Thanks for the replies everyone, it's a huge help. I'm not going to worry about the CBR125R now; when I stopped to think about it there are more steep hills in my town than I initially thought, and I was a bit worried about dropping it and damaging the fairings.

    I looked at the VTR250 and it looks like sex on wheels, although I'm a big fan of the naked bike look. The only thing is I had to look up prices on a second hand site as it doesn't seem to be listed on the Honda Australia website. Is it still in production, and is it a smart idea for a learner to buy second hand or should I buy new?

    The Suzuki GS500 is within my price range new, but I wonder if 500cc would be a bit much for me. Then again I suppose if I'm careful I could grow into it, and in two or three years time with the suspension upgrade I could have a neat little intro to track days to prepare me for bigger bikes.

    Of course I'll need to look into insurance for both of them and all that, but thanks for the advice, I can see those two are much more suited to my needs than the Mito SP525 or CBR125R.
  14. It shouldn't be. Being only a single-valve, air-cooled engine it's not really that much more powerful than some 250s. Where it has an advantage is in extra torque (ie not having to shift down a gear for every uphill slope), and better reliability/longevity (since the engine doesn't have to work as hard).
    If you look around on the 'net you'll find plenty of info on race-prepping a GS500. It won't be the fastest thing on the track but I reckon it'd provide a better understanding of how to build and setup a track bike than just buying a 600 supersports off the shelf later.
  15. wow! All this helpful advice on Netrider! Seems to buck the latest trend... :grin:

    I'd heartily recommend a secondhand machine to start off with. As has been said a gazillion times, the chances of a dropping a bike are quite high during the learning stages (all my friends have owned up to it!) and it's easier to shrug it off when it's an older bike rather than something shiny, new and expensive.

    I can't offer too much opinion on the 250 vs 500 debate. I had a zzr250 and loved it. Quick enough, not intimidating and then willing enough to hurry through the twisties when pushed.

    Good luck!
  16. Sorry,

    You should just go straight for a litre bike, then you don't need to upgrade to something bigger and anyone saying different needs to grow balls.

    Now back to helpful stuff.
  17. Welcome to Netrider mate, I was in a VERY similiar situation to you, at uni, got over paying $8 a day for parking and having to look for ages to get a spot, always wanted a bike and only recently had the funds to make it possible. Geez, I even drive a N14 SSS Pulsar! haha

    You have given your self a great budget with which you will be able to get a reliable and clean bike. Just remember you need to factor in gear, rego, insurance etc if you haven't already.

    I found a Kawasaki ZZR 250 that fits my needs perfectly, and is pretty much immaculate, with no suprises etc. It isn't the fastest bike, or the fastest LAMS bike, but it is quick enough to get into trouble with, and I know it hasn't been thrashed like the other CBR 250 RR's I was looking at.

    I definitly think you should check out the GS500... its a very nice bike and will suit your needs well.
  18. good choice on bikes :D

    im gonna suggest an older 250. gpx, zzr, maybe a cbr if you can find a good one, that sort of thing. if you've never ridden before getting something that wont be as much of a biatch if you drop it, but at 105kg, you may want something bigger.

    as such i will also suggest a gs500, or if you want one with fairing, the F. ive heard they are quite good beginner bikes
  19. I could offer you some advice, but I fear there could be some repercussions. Such as the thread being locked due to all the sheep joining in, clamouring for attention. And your feelings being hurt due to the fact that you may not like the well intentioned but harsh realities contained within said advice.
    So I will simply say this -listen to FLUX. He knows shit. Good shit. And can actually ride a bit as well :LOL: :LOL:

    PS Bikes are cool. Learn to ride well, and you will never bother looking at, or comparing them to cars. For fun that is.
  20. Bob,

    I agree with you on the whole value for money front. I'm also a car nut, and could never really justify having an expensive daily driver or a dedicated "toy" car.

    Although I had always wanted a bike, it was not untill i considered the cost of bikes and realised they are chep in comparison to cars. As you have already mentioned you can get a kickass japanese bike for 15 - 20K.

    On the "which bike" issue, the VTR is an excellent bike by all reports but being a bigger bloke I bought a GS500. You will have a ball on either one also don't worry about the 500 being "too much" for a learner they are no harder to handle than the 250's.

    Most importantly though, riding a bike is awesome fun, you don't have to ride dangerously to enjoy it either.

    Good luck with the choice.