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Thinking of Getting a Bike - A Few Questions

Discussion in 'New Riders and Riding Tips' started by Schwer, Jun 24, 2008.

  1. Hi... I'm thinking about getting a bike. I'm 19 and I have my P's for a car, but I think I'd prefer to get a bike for general transportation because it appeals as a cheaper and more fun way to get around - I've never really enjoyed driving my mum's Camry much. The desire to get a bike's always been in the back of my mind, but it wasn't until petrol prices starting rising this high that I got serious about the idea and started doing some research - now I'm quite bitten by the bike bug :).

    I've been reading a lot of the posts on these forums, but I've still got a few questions about using a bike for everyday (or at least a few times a week) use.

    The impression I've got from the internet is that I should "ride for the slide and not for the ride" - which makes a lot of sense, especially for a newbie like me. Thing is, riding gear seems to consist of an entire wardrobe - helmet, jacket, pants, gloves, and boots. I've got no problem looking like a power ranger or a heavy metal guitarist on a bike, but when I get where I'm going, what do I do with all this stuff? Do everyday riders just wear everything over the top of their normal clothes and then do a strip-show when they arrive where they're going, or buy riding gear that blends in, or simply forgo some of it depending on the situation? Is there usually space on a bike to store all your gear if you take it off, or do you have to lug it around with you? I often see riders who just have a jacket, helmet and gloves, then just wear their jeans and normal shoes - is this safe or are they headed towards an expensive skin graft?

    I've also read that as a learner I should go for a used naked bike - I quite like the look of naked bikes so that's fine with me. The new rider's sticky says to set aside about $4000 for a first bike, which seems about par with the bike ads I've looked at. However, from looking at bikepoint and bikesales and so on it seems that bikes from the mid-90s go for around $3000, but their equivalents from a few years ago go for only around $4000 - to me $1000 seems like a small price to pay for a bike that's much newer and (I'm assuming) more reliable as a result. Am I missing something here? Should I stop looking at it as $1000 and instead as 25% of the total price? Also, if I buy from a used dealer, should I expect to be able to find a naked, entry level bike (like a Yamaha Scorpio or Honda CBF250) from the last couple of years for around the $4000 mark, or is my view of the market skewed because I'm only looking at the cheapest ads? Moreover, would it better to go for those, or to go for cheaper, older bikes that'll hold their value in the long-term, so if I want to upgrade I'll be better off?

    Speaking of dealers, the internet says that I should go sit on bikes and see what appeals to me - does anyone know what dealers (around the north of Sydney - I'm in Gordon up on the North Shore) would be good for this? And in terms of bikes, will there be a decent one that I can fit on (I'm about 6'1") that's cheap and good? I keep hearing bikes I'm looking at (like the Honda CB250/CBF250) aren't that good for anyone over 6', but bikes that I'd probably rather avoid - like Hyosung, which seem almost as disastrous as the flame-wars I keep reading over them, and the VTR250, which I really love the look of, but seems a bit expensive when the CB/CBF250 does most of the same things cheaper.

    That's pretty much it - thanks :)

    EDIT: Now I think about it, why not make this thread longer - is getting a naked bike that important? A lot of the classic learner bikes seem to have fairing. Tbh I don't really like the look of the tiny bikes with all the plastic attached, but I wouldn't want to rule out any options based on looks ;).

  2. WOW a 100 questions in there.
    If you don't wear a suit to work ,and can wear jeans .
    Look up icon or draggin jeans ,they do look like normal jeans ,but are made of kevlar...

    Look up GIVI CASES ,you can lock some of your gear up and leave it on the bike ,put helmet on the bike also, or carry it with you.

    $4000 will get you a good bike ,see the sales section here ,someones always selling and up grading and people will know the bike and say if its ok.
    Ride it for 12 months service it ,keep the recipts and sell it here again for $3500.

    Nake or faired ,either way you drop it your up for some cash ,more so maybe for a new fairing .

    All dealers will let you sit on there bikes ,but if they know your looking for a 250cc ,and if you ask to sit on a 1000cc just for fun they might not let you.
  3. welcome :)

    Sling the jacket over the back of a chair, put the gloves in the helmet and the helmet on a desk. If you're in a workplace where you can get away with it, wear Draggin Jeans or similar kevlar-lined long pants. If you have to wear a suit try leaving the suit and shoes at work and changing when you get there.

    The rationale being that when (not if) you drop it you wont take one large and rather expensive to fix plastic panel break/shatter/gouge it a new design.

    Isn't a brand new scorpio $5k onroad or less?

    A lot of riders upgrade ASAP. If you're one of them (or think you will be) that means you'll have the L plate bike for 18 months tops before selling. You could look at a new CB400 (fits your naked requirement and appears to be a great bike but a little expensive for a first bike. Still, if you don't mind spending the $ I doubt you could go wrong) or Hyo 650 (which you can de-restrict after your L's) like I did. Failing that you're into 250cc territory and your best bet will be second hand. I had a ZZR-250 which was awesome. Great bike and not too expensive second hand.
  4. I've always just left my riding gear on. Sure some people might treat you differently when you're dressed in leather, but those people are knobs. If your workplace has a problem with you wearing riding gear then they should provide somewhere for you to change (though you may not want to push this unless you're job is fairly secure).

    Be careful when comparing bikes not to compare very different models. A 3k Spada for example is certainly not the same as say a near-new CBF250 for 4k. Many of the older bikes offer far better build quality and performance than current learner bikes being produced in Indonesia, Brazil, Thailand or Korea (Scorpio, CBF250, CBR125, Hyosung). A decent 2nd hand bike makes a lot more sense than buying new. The VTR is made in Japan which is why it costs so much (that and the fact Hondas are always overpriced), it also offers far better performance that a CB/CBF.

    Only downside to faired bikes is the damage they can sustain in a low speed drop. However if you can find one that has been damaged they are often quite cheap, and with a few minor modifications it can be converted to a naked bike. Certainly one way to get a bargain if you're not too worried about appearances.
  5. I'm in the same position as you, looking still.

    The guys at Sydney City Motorcycles in Lane Cove on Epping Rd have always been pretty nice to me.
    There's Action MC in the city. And Northside Motorcycles on the Pacific Hwy in Artarmon.
  6. I only ever did a strip show after riding in the rain to get the wet weather gear off.

    Mostly I wore leather jacket, draggins and kept the riding boots on. I was carefull buying boots to get ones that were comfy to wear all day and wouldn't stick out like dogs bollocks. No one ever knocked the bike gear. Some even complimented it.

    Bike of choice was the Suzuki GSX250F Across (ok ones from 3K, good ones from 4K). It has a helmet sized internal storage and meant I could go places and not lug around my lid and gloves, etc.
  7. I bought shoes that look like basketball snickers. RJs make a few. Look OK and feel very comfy all day. The only problem was laces. I hated doing/undoing them. My new shoes have clips like ski boots. As for the bike. I would recommend a motard. They look high strung and very cool. A blast in traffic and very manoeuvrable in any situation. They are also cheap to buy, maintain and run. And they're built tough too, since they're just dirt bikes on slicks. They are also pretty gutless so you'd feel comfortable with the power delivery (well, maybe not the 2 stroke ones). The downside is they are not for freeways. Beyond 80kph they are just dangerous. They are also tall and rather top heavy. I dropped mine twice just standing up. But mine was a monster DR650. By the end I was so comfy with it, I could do a Uee standing up. I even refused to hire their bike on my P exam. And did I mention they look cool? ))) :LOL:
  8. wow, what a post (the first one)!

    my thoughts...

    i ride to work every day. i work in an office. i wear my draggin jeans at work and have yet to me given any complaints. that said my office is semi-casual clothing unless there's board meetings, or i have to go meet suppliers/customers, then i wear propper attire and get changed at work.

    footware is taken care of a pair of blue steel work boots, fully laced, steel caps, solid construction, full leather. about $200. i deem these safe enough to ride to work in, others may disagree.

    my jacket is slung over the back of my chair, and my helmet sits on my desk next to me.

    when choosing your bike, yes a naked is a good option for a few reasons. 1) they're usually a bit more roomey than a fully faired 250, 2) they usually only suffer minor cosmetic damage when dropped compared to a fully faired bike, and 3) they're harder to hise serious damage from prior accidents as it's all on display!

    i believe a 2nd hand older 250 is much better built than the new junk (IMO) out there for learners. for $3000-4000 you can pick up a very well looked after 250 with 30,000-40,000km on it, mechanically perfect, and looks good. you'll be able to sell it in 15-18months time for what you payed for it, and then move on.

    i have a Suzuki Bandit 250 (GSF-250), it's done me proud for the last 12 months. Ridden at least 4 days a week, has cost me very minimal to maintain (i think about $400 including tyres!), insurance is cheap, and so is rego. it's a great bike, and i'll sell it for what i payed for it, and someone will probably repeat the process after me, and so on and so forth.... speaking of which, it's for sale unofficially :)

    anyway, i've typed enough, so i'll let others answer more of your questions.
  9. I selected my bike based on looks and reputation.

    My ZZR250 cost me $3.5K and is damage free with 11K on the clock. I had no idea whether it was really going to be the bike for me or not - but figured that I wouldnt really know about ANY bike so after sitting on a few (not many) decided to bite the bullet and get it. I'm 6'2" and was aware that lots of 250's have a reputation for being small - but the ZZR seems to fit me just fine. Furthermore the kwakas were noticably MUCH cheaper than other manufacters of similar aged bikes. (~$5k for a similar aged/mileaged fully-faired 250 Honda)

    My training, gear and insurance costs have brought my total expenditure getting on the road to almost exactly $5K (Although as you're a 19yr old I'm sure you'll have to pay WAAAY more than my $200 for fully comp insurance!)

    Last weekend I got to take my bike out for the first time (previously been on riding school bike Honda CB250, and BMW650) - and I LOVED it! I dont know whether it was the freedom of it being mine, or more comfort from actually having ridden a little more now, but the handling was fantastic. On the school bikes cornering always seemed a little more hard work and I was stalling quite a bit when pulling away. On the Kwaka my pulling away was much smoother and I found myself really enjoying corners (still no doubt at an embarassingly slow learners pace!).

    The way I look at it this $3.5k bike will definately be sellable in the future for almost no depreciation if I dont like it - and if I *do* (and things look good so far) then I've got a bargain.

    My plan is to work in Draggins, have work shoes live under my desk permanently (so I can take boots off when at work) and pile my jacket and helmet on or under my desk.

    People say you WILL drop your first bike - but I refuse to accept that level of negativity. My bike is sufficiently light that I cant see a stationary 'drop' happening - and with appropriate care and attention (particularly on slow u-turn manouvers in the wet etc etc) I'm sure it must be possible to look after a bike!

    Whatever you decide - enjoy it and good luck. :grin:
  10. Thanks everyone :). When I actually hit the post button I realised how long it was and I barely expected anyone to read it :|.

    I didn't realise the Across had that boot, that's quite cool.

    In the next 6 months I'll be at uni, so walking around with kevlar jeans, motorcycle boots and a leather jacket won't really be a problem - there's not much of a dress code :p. Thing is, I'll be moving around, and carrying around a helmet seems like a sure way to leave it somewhere by accident :(. If I get a bike with a normal level of storage, is it likely I'll be able to buy a lockable top case or something to hold it? Someone mentioned cases - do these fit most bikes? I figure it's too big to just put in my backpack.

    Also, after that I'll be spending 6 months doing work experience 9-5 for some kind of IT company, which'll probably want me to wear at least a business shirt and proper pants. So you guys who do the bike-commute to work normally just get changed in the bathroom? It could work I guess.

    I hadn't looked at one before, but the GSF250 is also a very pretty bike... right now I'd be leaning towards the Across because of the magnet-lock-boot thing though.
  11. Heavy or Difficult?

    +1 on the Motard.
  12. Welcome :]

    I have a friend who is hopeless at losing/forgetting things (Like keys in the ignition all day), but I've never known even him to forget a helmet.

    Regarding luggage systems, Givi have a list of bikes that they support, as does Ventura. Bear in mind that not all of these will be large enough to carry a helmet. You could also get a lightweight chain and chain your helmet to your bike. I don't recommend using the built-in helmet lock that comes with some bikes as they are generally easy to break.

    The last place I worked for, an engineering firm, didn't mind that I wore solid black Draggin jeans, but you could also try their Chinos which look more like dress pants. Never tried them myself, so can't vouch for them, but others here probably have.

    Hope to see you on the road some time :]
  13. Motards are cool, but I'm really after a more conventional bike... the only circumstances I can see myself going off-road in are if I take a corner too fast :p.

    Thanks for that Kit :). Givi doesn't seem too encouraging to the 250cc market - I guess chaining the helmet would work but it really doesn't seem too secure... or dry. I guess Givi must have competitors though so I'll have a look around.

    Thanks for all your help everyone, I'm now a lot more eager to get one :D
  14. Dont get a Scorpio, cheap and nasty units. Rode one at the rider test and they look cheap and nasty and, they are.
    Also consider a Suzuki Across, seem to be popular with new riders and what I am looking at.
  15. Thanks :D. That's brilliant, just what I needed.
  16. you don't go off-road on a motard

    when I was thinking of a bike to ride before my full license, I wanted something that looked (and sounded) like a bike, not one of those mopeds. Beside the practicality, bikes (for me) are also about looks and status. I'm sorry, Across might be practical, but it's just about the second most uncool bike after cbr125rr. Chiks just don't dig it :wink:

    you don't get more conventional than a motard. :LOL: It's a cheap and nusty dirt bike on slick tyres
  17. Ok, I've got more to add...

    I used to ride from home to IT job to Tafe to home.

    Black draggins chinos and a business shirt (under leather jacket) was quite acceptable for work. Even wore them to visit customers and most didn't pick me as a rider unless they saw helmet/jacket/bike when i arrived. The chinos are cotton, not synthetic, so the black fades a bit over time with washing, but they still look ok after 12 months.

    I'd carry an A5 ring binder, textbooks, work lunch and Tafe dinner 3 days a week. I also carried lunch to work other days that put peoples sandwiches to shame. Imagine someone on a bike rocking up with a full dinner plate of leftover roast and veggies :D
  18. Are you Italian by any chance?
  19. Nar mate, I'm as Aussie as they come.

    Heres one of my other efforts :LOL: