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bigpoolog

Motorcycles: Help a n00b

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So I've been itching to reduce my carbon footprint around town for a while, and what better way to do that than to drive a vehicle which will likely end up killing me!

I've been eying bikes over the past year, and casually gone to dealers, Harley's 'Test our Metal' gig, and a big show last February. I've sat on quite a few different types, and seem to have found that I'd be most satisfied with something out of the 'cruiser' category. This might change, of course.

My problem is down to figuring out what I should be looking at in this category. I have no real brand loyalty, and just want something that will suit my needs.

I'm 200 pounds, about 6'1. The purpose of the bike would be commuting around town, so forgiving handling for a novice would be paramount. Some muscle would also be nice in case I take it, and somebody special out of town for a weekend on the highway. When it comes to weight, I'm clueless; a lighter bike would be nice, but it seems a lot of the cruisers are hefty anyways. A bag, or case option is needed so I can throw my books and stuff for school and work.

My first issue is displacement. It seems like for someone new, keeping it low would be a smart decision. However, I don't really want to buy something that will be adequate for all of five months. It seems something around 900cc or under would be ideal for me to get years of enjoyment, but once again, I'm green here. Generally, I'm of the mind that it's less to do with size, and it's more to do with how responsibly you handle it. So any ideas or help in this area would be great.

Secondly, anything about brand experience would be helpful. I'm not really partial to any brand, and just want something that fits me, and my budget comfortably. Harley's are nice, but after sitting on the Sporty, I didn't feel that great. I'd love a Dyna, and I felt right at home on one, but that's 1500-some-cubes, and a price just as huge.

The Japanese makes seem to fit my general range better, and I like Suzuki's Boulevard M50 (pre-2010 models). I sat on a C50, and I found it pretty nice, and its engine is 800cc's, liquid cooled, and fuel injected. I have yet to spend a lot of time with Kawasaki, Honda, and Yamaha. I like Kawasaki's Vulcan 900's, and the Yamaha V-Star 950 looks pretty nice, too. I've seen the Honda's, but I just can't dig them for some reason.

I'm also very interested in used bikes, because they're cheaper, and I won't feel as bad if they get dropped or scraped up. Any info about discontinued, or older models that you think might be suitable for me would be appreciated.Hopefully, I'll get a response. :P Normally, I'd join a motorbike forum; I have looked at a couple, and a few other sources but I figure I'll get a good head-start here.

Edited by Captainbooyah
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No need to bother with a Japanese bike unless one tickles your fancy. Between Harley and Victory (Polaris) motorcycles, there are plenty of good options. The Victorys in particular are light and tossable. An Italian bike or a Triumph would be nice also.

If you do gravtitate Japanese, just avoid Honda. Their cruiser motorcycles are soulless. The Kawasaki Vulcans are ok, the Boulevards by Suzuki are nice. I used to like Yamaha cruisers back when it was Virago. Now their Star line is way over the top. Even though they build good bikes.

Try to get something 900cc or bigger, don't shy away at something 1200-1400cc and above just because they seem big, they are not as high strung as the race bikes with the same displacement.

Look at some sport touring bikes too. The Kawasaki COncours, the FJR? Yamaha....some of the Italians. Yamaha VMax is a good muscle bike but might be ahandful for a newbie.

BMW makes good bikes but their riders are even more uppety than the BMW car drivers.

Harley Vrods are sweet as is their XR1200. Any Polaris will be unique and interesting. Avoid Buell, its a sham.

Edited by regfootball
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I know I used to ride a friends Honda 600 Shadow, IIRC. Nice, balanced bike.

I would buy a used Japanese bike until you know what you want and are comfortable with it. If your going to dump a buke, better to dump a 2K bike than a 20K bike.

Derek, the chaplain of our sons boy scout troup is the finance guy at the local Harley dealer, AD Farrow, which has been around since 1911 IIRC.

Anyways, lots of people spend lots of $ on a fancy bike and never ride it because they are uncomfortable with it.

Been thinking I wouldn't mind a 1200 Sportster myself, even though I am a good sized guy. Just like the looks of them. And the Harley V Rod is a work of art IMHO.

Chris

...and yes reg, I love Triumphs also...just not as a first bike!

Chris

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It totally depends on what you want to buy. I have decent knowledge when it comes to the liter class (1000 cc) sport bikes because someday I will hopefully buy one.

There are 6 choices really if you dig down:

  1. Suzuki GSX-1000R
  2. Yamaha YZF-R1
  3. Kawasaki Ninja ZX-10R
  4. Honda CBR1000RR
  5. Aprilia RSV-4
  6. BMW S 1000RR

All are great liter class competitors. All except Suzuki have released brand new 2010 models with Yamaha completely redesigned the R1 after it has been spanked by other Japanese bikes in various comparos. Last year Honda won convincingly in the all Japanese match followed by the Kawasaki and Suzuki and Yamaha carried the tail. The new clutch system from Yamaha is supposed to be good but I have not looked into the technical details.

These bikes are very close in terms of specs, so at the end of the day it will be matter of taste and preference. I rode a BMW 650 growing up along with the Suzuki 250. The engine of the 650 was a gem in sound and refinement and the 250 cc was a 2-stroke beauty and the meanest handling equipment I had then ridden. So I am partial to Suzuki and BMW while will honorarily mention Ninja ZX10R. I would personally buy the BMW and if you have seen previously I even asked PCS for the price of the S1000RR after the bike was officially unveiled.

Aprilia is a great bike. However I heard it can be problematic and is the most expensive of the bunch. Plus parts are a bitch to get.

BMW is the new kid on the block but promises to be a great machine, but is not good looking for many. It is being built by BMW for the sole reason of competing in FIA races and therefore the availability is limited for 2010. BMW's fuel economy - 39 mpg :rolleyes: and power-190 hp seem to be class leading.

While I will stay away from the used bikes for the sole reason, you never know what kind of abuse it has been through, I will definitely look into the outgoing models. There is a shop in Ohio which offers best prices and you may even find 2008's if you are lucky and is a high volume ebay seller. I have seen its facilities and have talked to the owners who seem to be great people.

As for the liter class many say it is too much of a bike. I will partially agree because most of the liter class bikes are track ready for the sole purpose of reducing the racing costs and need a lot of attention while riding. You have to be a good driver with sound head (bike riding requires that regardless). If that is not for you then go for the 600cc. An honorable mention would be the GSX750 CC from Suzuki, which is in between and a great bike. If you respect the bike it will give you back joy like none other. Contrary to the myth of heavy = less handling, the liter bikes far outclass the 600 cc bikes in handling because of superior machinery and dynamics.

As for the non-sport cruiser bikes the only bike I will consider Harley Davidson VRSC Night Rod Special. That thing is a beaut. Great ride and the best fuel economy - 42 mpg. It is not as fast as the liter bikes, but is graceful. Certainly classy and one of the best bikes to come from HD. It is a 1250 cc engine and is a behemoth at about 650 lbs.

I hope it helps.

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^^^:hijacked:, sorry, did not read you interests in cruisers.

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^^^:hijacked:, sorry, did not read you interests in cruisers.

lol! No worries, it's all good info, especially the stuff on the BMW 650, and Suzuki 250. My Dad owns a pair of BMW bikes, and naturally wants me to get one, too. In case I decide to look for something small for a short time frame, I'll check out the Suzuki offering. 8)

No need to bother with a Japanese bike unless one tickles your fancy. Between Harley and Victory (Polaris) motorcycles, there are plenty of good options. The Victorys in particular are light and tossable. An Italian bike or a Triumph would be nice also.

If you do gravtitate Japanese, just avoid Honda. Their cruiser motorcycles are soulless. The Kawasaki Vulcans are ok, the Boulevards by Suzuki are nice. I used to like Yamaha cruisers back when it was Virago. Now their Star line is way over the top. Even though they build good bikes.

Try to get something 900cc or bigger, don't shy away at something 1200-1400cc and above just because they seem big, they are not as high strung as the race bikes with the same displacement.

I'd prefer buying American simply because it keeps dollars on the continent, but build quality is a concern for me. Victory's work is fantastic, but I'm a bit concerned about Harley.

Buying Japanese isn't a huge deal for me, but I do find some of their offerings too overwrought. The Boulevard's by Suzuki seem to strike a nice balance, although some of their models have become ridiculous looking as well.

Look at some sport touring bikes too. The Kawasaki COncours, the FJR? Yamaha....some of the Italians. Yamaha VMax is a good muscle bike but might be ahandful for a newbie.

Harley Vrods are sweet as is their XR1200. Any Polaris will be unique and interesting. Avoid Buell, its a sham.

I've looked at a couple sport-tourers, and it's funny you mention Buell, because in that category, I liked the Buell Ulysses the best. :P

The XR1200 is badass, but there isn't much of a seat for 'her' at the back. It's also pretty pricey my way.

The V-Max is out because of price, and because it's a pretty huge bike. I'd love to own a Victory Vegas, but once again, price is a factor, and the engine is huge.

I know I used to ride a friends Honda 600 Shadow, IIRC. Nice, balanced bike.

I would buy a used Japanese bike until you know what you want and are comfortable with it. If your going to dump a buke, better to dump a 2K bike than a 20K bike.

Anyways, lots of people spend lots of $ on a fancy bike and never ride it because they are uncomfortable with it.

That's my line of thinking too. If I get something that I payed a lot of coin for, I'll be afraid to ride it. Used would be preferable, but I may buy from the dealer. Does Harley, or any other brand have a 'certified pre-owned' thing like auto manufacturers do?

Thanks for the info so far guys!

Edited by Captainbooyah
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It totally depends on what you want to buy. I have decent knowledge when it comes to the liter class (1000 cc) sport bikes because someday I will hopefully buy one.

There are 6 choices really if you dig down:

  1. Suzuki GSX-1000R
  2. Yamaha YZF-R1
  3. Kawasaki Ninja ZX-10R
  4. Honda CBR1000RR
  5. Aprilia RSV-4
  6. BMW S 1000RR

All are great liter class competitors. All except Suzuki have released brand new 2010 models with Yamaha completely redesigned the R1 after it has been spanked by other Japanese bikes in various comparos. Last year Honda won convincingly in the all Japanese match followed by the Kawasaki and Suzuki and Yamaha carried the tail. The new clutch system from Yamaha is supposed to be good but I have not looked into the technical details.

These bikes are very close in terms of specs, so at the end of the day it will be matter of taste and preference. I rode a BMW 650 growing up along with the Suzuki 250. The engine of the 650 was a gem in sound and refinement and the 250 cc was a 2-stroke beauty and the meanest handling equipment I had then ridden. So I am partial to Suzuki and BMW while will honorarily mention Ninja ZX10R. I would personally buy the BMW and if you have seen previously I even asked PCS for the price of the S1000RR after the bike was officially unveiled.

Aprilia is a great bike. However I heard it can be problematic and is the most expensive of the bunch. Plus parts are a bitch to get.

BMW is the new kid on the block but promises to be a great machine, but is not good looking for many. It is being built by BMW for the sole reason of competing in FIA races and therefore the availability is limited for 2010. BMW's fuel economy - 39 mpg :rolleyes: and power-190 hp seem to be class leading.

While I will stay away from the used bikes for the sole reason, you never know what kind of abuse it has been through, I will definitely look into the outgoing models. There is a shop in Ohio which offers best prices and you may even find 2008's if you are lucky and is a high volume ebay seller. I have seen its facilities and have talked to the owners who seem to be great people.

As for the liter class many say it is too much of a bike. I will partially agree because most of the liter class bikes are track ready for the sole purpose of reducing the racing costs and need a lot of attention while riding. You have to be a good driver with sound head (bike riding requires that regardless). If that is not for you then go for the 600cc. An honorable mention would be the GSX750 CC from Suzuki, which is in between and a great bike. If you respect the bike it will give you back joy like none other. Contrary to the myth of heavy = less handling, the liter bikes far outclass the 600 cc bikes in handling because of superior machinery and dynamics.

As for the non-sport cruiser bikes the only bike I will consider Harley Davidson VRSC Night Rod Special. That thing is a beaut. Great ride and the best fuel economy - 42 mpg. It is not as fast as the liter bikes, but is graceful. Certainly classy and one of the best bikes to come from HD. It is a 1250 cc engine and is a behemoth at about 650 lbs.

I hope it helps.

NIGHT ROD ROCKS.

one bike class i have always liked is the muscle bike power cruisers. the V Max, Kawasaki Eliminator (this bike is a great mix of cruiser and bruiser) type bikes. probably the honda magna was the precursor to these. and then there is bikes like the old honda sabre. i will say this, any of the V4 hondas used, the interceptor, magna, sabre, all good bikes. I ALMOST bought a used interceptor for cheap once, wish i had.

My nephew has a 'naked Ninja' 1200. its a defaired version of the ninja 1200 or something. great bike.

I have a buddy who's owned Aprilia and he had great use out of it, i think he has a Ducati now. FWIW, women FLOCK to Ducatis like women flock to money like men flock to internet porn.

i always also thought like a first gen FJ1200 Yamaha would be a great bike. or even like their Fazer or Radian (this dates me obviously). I dug all the Viragos too.

this sucks, all this talk about bikes. I haven't ridden in 20 years. I get bike lust just talking about bikes. Good think i kept my endorsement. Advice, TAKE RIDER SAFETY COURSES!

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