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Suggestions: Learner friendly, but not boring

Discussion in 'Bike Reviews, Questions and Suggestions' started by Stormtrooper, Aug 13, 2010.

  1. After some advice from the masses.

    Situation is that my wife has decided to get her bike license as we're moving out of the city into the country for a while to live with the inlaws whilst saving a house deposit and she wants a way to get to work if i pinch the car for the day.

    Not wanting a second car, i figured this is a good idea.

    What i'm trying to work out though is do I get her a small 250 to get around on and keep my bike for me or do I get a bike that we can both use for now and she could keep as her bike down the track (and once we've got the house organised I can go shopping for my own bike :wink:).

    Getting her a bike straight out is appealing in that I get to keep my bike, but I'm not so keen on paying an additional amount of rego and insurance at this point.

    But with that in mind, what sort of bike would i get for us both to ride? I'm not so keen on a lil 250, but I'm not sure how a tentative, new rider would go on something like a CB400 or SV....

    Anyone else been in this predicament? And suggestions?
    (Postie bike has seriously been considered too....)
  2. There's pretty much no such thing as a 250 in North America: everyone starts on unrestricted 650s. So, assuming the height and so on work, any of the larger LAMS bikes should be totally fine for her as a beginner, if she takes it easy. The GSX650F is nice but the heaviest of the bunch by a fair way, so maybe avoid that.
  3. And its restricted, which may cause swearing and general irritation.
  4. The CB400 is a lovely little bike, much nicer than the restricted 650's.

    There are a couple of 650 singles like the G650GS BMW that might suit also.

    250's aren't generally as good, high revving and harder to learn on IMHO.
  5. The naked gs500 really does seem to be the ultimate LAMS bike. Sturdy, light and user friendly. Your wife shouldn't find it all intimidating and you could even do two-up for short distances.

    Not that dear new and they hold their value well.
  6. Good call
  7. I was completely new to riding when I started on my cb400 this year. I test rode a few 250's and in comparison the size of the 400 did bother me at first (sounds silly now, but until you have some control they feel so heavy). But I could also feel the advantages of a bigger bike from very early on, in particular it's stability in the wind. So all in all it was perhaps a clunkier start than a 250, but I'm quite sure now I would have outgrown that already, while the power of the CB400 is still well enough to rock my little world and i think will likely remain so - I doubt I will feel any need to upgrade for the sake of more cc's.

    She's a very well mannered little commuter as well if that's going to be the main purpose.
  8. I am in the same boat as you and don't think any more cc's would be required for day to day commuting and weekend rides.

    The cb400 is a modern yet retro looking bike, has all the gizmos and is a perfect lam.

    I was also a new rider and started off on the cb400 and couldn't be happier. It is so stable in the wind and the stability helps.
  9. VTR250, VTR250, VTR250...
    Thats all I have to say really...
    Enough torque from the v-twin to keep you entertained and master for more then enough time to get the experience ride a bigger bike (it pulls from anywhere), it inspires confidence in new riders and is one of the funnest bikes ride around the twisties.
    Oh, reliable as all hell and sexy to boot, did I mention how much FUN it is to ride?
    But thats just my opinion...Havent met anyone thats had a bad thing to say about them however.
    Cb400 is another great suggestion ;), but if I where in your shoes i'd get a vtr250 for her and keep your bike :biker:
    The amount of fun you would have with the two bikes supports the cost imo, and you won't have the frustration of having to share.
    Being on the open road with someone so close to you is a priceless feeling I have found, and oh so much fun (my girlfriend started riding shortly after me, similar situation).

    Most importantly enjoy whatever you get and whichever course you decide to take, and if you do decide to share I wouldn't be too worried unless you get one of the few rediculously fast lams bikes she should pick it up and be comfortable, despite initial hesitations.
  10. I would have to agree with Freeform above. Learnt on a VTR250 & very easy to ride. Has enough go to start & learn with & won't get you into too much trouble. Handles well & light enough to move around easily. 13 litre tank gives around 270km until reserve (3 litres left) so very efficient also.

    I should mention I'm a bit biased as mine is currently for sale also.

  11. One thing I'd take into account is you're moving into the country and if you're going to do a little more highway riding than city commuting.

    In that case maybe a higher cc bike like the cb400 and gs500 would feel somewhat better with lower revs along the highway. Also this higher cc would be a lot more forgiving in the low end torque than most 250ies should she find herself in a too high gear in certain instances like taking a corner, etc.

    The extra weight of these compared to the 250 would only be thought of for about a few minutes as curls described.

    Apart from cruisers, all LAMS bikes 600cc and over are restricted so I would keep away from them as unrestricting them later is not worth the effort and too much of a hassle IMO.

    Good luck with what ever you choose.
  12. I gotta admit - i do love the VTR250 and its been high on my list of considerations.

    (I had a blue 2005 with megacycle exhaust... it started my love of v-twins!)

    Only issue i can see with it (and forgot to mention this) is that it struggled 2-up with my wife and I onboard.

    The other aspect I'm thinking is the weight thing. I want something for the wife that won't get blown off the road, but not something so heavy she's going to feel intimidated (ie. GSX650f). hence, the CB or SV came to mind.

    I am very tempted by the CB because i think I'll be able to enjoy it as well, and I like the idea of a bike designed to work at its capacity, not neutered like the restricted bikes (although having said that, I took a LAMS Gladius for a spin and it was still plenty of fun - only really noticed the restriction above 7k when i expected it to really start to lift like my old SV).
  13. When I was looking for a bike the vtr250 had mantra status in terms of the recommendations I received from people, and I spent a whole day test riding one. This was the first time I had ridden post my learners test, and while I'm sure it's a great bike, I had the early inkling of it not having quite enough grunt for me even then!

    It may yet be king of the two fiddies, but now that that LAMS market is open I don't think it is necessarily the king of the learner's options anymore. It may not hold it's second-hand value quite as brilliantly as it used to either, as bikes like the CB400 age their way into the used market.

    My 2c anyhoo.
  14. Nope, there are a number of 600cc and over single cylinder bikes that are LAMS approved and are not restricted, most are road/trail or adventure tourer types but not all. The BMW Scarver and the Yamaha SR500, SRX600 and SRZ660 are pure road bikes though.

    Mainly because singles tend to develop more torque down low and less power up high so it's not needed to restrict them.