Experienced motorcycle riders?

Discussion in 'Community Discussion' started by noatonement, Aug 16, 2011.

  1. noatonement macrumors member

    Jul 27, 2011
    Any suggestions on a street-bike for a beginner? I'd be looking to buy used and would want to buy a bike that when i got pretty good at riding, i wouldn't get bored of it, but rather would be able to continue to ride it.
  2. KnightWRX macrumors Pentium


    Jan 28, 2009
    Quebec, Canada
    What kind of riding are you looking to do ? Touring ? Commuting ?

    What kind of stance do you want ? Sitting straight up, crouched on the tank ?

    Sport bike ? custom bike ?

    There really is no such thing as a "beginner" bike. Buy what you want to buy right now and learn on that and get comfortable with that. If it's a CBR900 or a Harley touring bike, then that is what it is and what you should get.
  3. noatonement thread starter macrumors member

    Jul 27, 2011
    Clearly left out some important info :eek:

    Looking into a street bike, mainly for use riding around town and short distances, occasionally a long trip here and there.
  4. Shogun54, Aug 16, 2011
    Last edited: Aug 16, 2011

    Shogun54 macrumors newbie

    Jun 24, 2009
    Kawasaki KLR650

    I've been riding for more years than I care to think about, and owned everything from a Yamaha 80 to BMW K1200LT. My suggestion would be to look at a dual purpose bike, such as the Kawasaki KLR650. The are reasonably plentiful, inexpensive, and can go just about anywhere. I might not want to ride a thousand mile day on one, but if you 'Adventure Tour', charging off on a fire road or trail is a welcome change from the drone of asphalt. These bikes retain value pretty well and remain entertaining and useful for the occasional commute. They get pretty phenomenal mileage compared to the average car, will outrun most other traffic, and will handle surprisingly well even on dual sport tires. They are light, easy to handle in a parking lot, and generally pretty comfortable. The KLR is even well supported on the internet by a highly involved user community. The only real drawback is if you are, ummmm, vertically challenged; the seat height can be a real reach for a short inseam.

    My 2-cents on other types of bikes:

    Sport bikes are the ultimate thrill ride!! Downside is that crashing hurts!! And you will!

    Touring bikes ( Gold Wings, BMW LTs & RTs, most Harley dressers) - all the comforts of home with the wind in your face. Built for the long haul, not the casual run to the market, even though you can get 30 lbs. of rib-eyes in the trunk. High comfort also means generally high maintenance.

    "Standards" - almost as much fun as a sport bike, can carry two in relative comfort for reasonable distances. Not as much cachet as a full-on version of the previous types, but often better at more tasks.

    Exotics ( Ducati, Aprilia, etc.) - Huge fun, Huge cost, somehow seem to require more downtime than riding time!???

    If you do get into this seriously, you will find that it is a disease for a lot of people. Most of the people you meet who are serious motorcyclists own several bikes at a time. You probably will too.

    My last suggestion: Get into a MSF course and learn how to ride the right way. Their instruction is pretty basic, but essential! A bonus is that they often use dual-purpose bikes in their sessions and you can get a handle on what its like for a reasonable cost.
  5. bgd macrumors regular

    Aug 30, 2005
    It can be hard to recommend a specific model, there are plenty out there. A couple of things that might help.

    Get some form of training and when you've been riding for a while get some advanced training. You will be amazed at what you learn. Bikes and cars are very different, just because you can drive a car doesn't mean you can ride a bike without training - I'm assuming you're in the US, most of the rest of the world enforce bike specific training.

    Don't get a bike that is too powerful, it will scare you (if it doesn't hurt you first) and you'll never learn to ride a bike properly if you are scared of it. You can always trade up when you've mastered the basics.

    Wear some form of protective gear, you are bound to crash at some point.

    Get plenty of opinions (ignore non bikers) and then sift through all the different responses and go for something that suits you, there is no single right answer but there there plenty of wrong ones.

    I'm with Shogun54, I personally prefer the adventure tourer type bike. Easy to ride, fun and can go pretty much anywhere. The KLR650 would be a good starter and later you can move up to the bigger BMWs, Yamahas or KTMs if you desire. Alternatively you might change styles completely.

    Whatever you decide, have fun. It is very addictive.
  6. KnightWRX macrumors Pentium


    Jan 28, 2009
    Quebec, Canada
    Still doesn't answer what type of bike you want. "Street bike that can do short and long trip" can be anything from a Honda CB600 :


    To a Harley-Davidson softail :


    Both are quite different rides, different stances, different comfort/performance. So what is it you want really ? For myself, I'm a Harley-Davidson guy, I ride one of the Dyna models, a Street Bob these days. It can do short/city style riding very well with all its lugage removed and it can pack quite a bit of stuff comfortably along with the misses for longer trips. But if you aren't into customs, you won't like that type of bike.

    If you want something in the lines of a Sport Touring bike that's a good all-arounder, BMW has the Urban series of bikes. The F800R or R1200R are both good models to look into. They look naked without luggage but can be upgraded with quick detach type luggage to carry loads of stuff. Some of the best bikes on the market in that segment. Cheaper options can be had from the Japanese manufacturers, the above CB600 or other Hondas being good candidates, or the V-Strom line.

    Hogwash. Get the bike you want to ride and learn on that. You can kill yourself on a 125cc bike just as easily as you can on a monster 2.3L Triumph.

    Just take the above example. The CB600 is the less powerful of the two, yet it's also the one where you're more apt to go crazy and kill yourself with. It's just faster than the much more powerful Harley.

    Engine size/power has nothing to do with a bike's ability to scare you. Riding a bike it and of itself is scary. Adding layers of fears before you even turn the ignition key with pretenses like "Learn on a smaller bike first!" just make it harder for new riders.

    The reason the biker training classes use smaller bikes with smaller engines is 2 fold :

    - Much cheaper to buy. These smaller bikes can be had for peanuts brand new. Price a CB125 from Honda and you'll see. 3k$ brand new.
    - Much lighter than their bigger counterparts, making it more universal (the ladies aren't all capable of handling a full blown Goldwing or BMW K1300GT).
  7. MacHamster68 macrumors 68040


    Sep 17, 2009
    start with something midrange power so anything really in the 500cc class seems to be the sweet spot for beginners , not to powerful but not underpowered the brand does not really matter , best do some test rides on different bikes and decide from there , if you dont feel comfortable with the bike after a half hour drive its not for you , in my opinion the ideal beginer bike is something in the line like the

    Suzuki GS 500F
    or Buell Blast
    or Honda CBF500
  8. iJohnHenry macrumors P6


    Mar 22, 2008
    On tenterhooks
    Not a rider, but I like the engineering features of the Buell.

    Never heard of them. ;)
  9. KnightWRX macrumors Pentium


    Jan 28, 2009
    Quebec, Canada
    Buell is dead.
  10. neko girl macrumors 6502a

    neko girl

    Jan 20, 2011
    Would recommend a Ninja 250:
    .. or Honda's 250cc CBR equivalent.

    I had a beemer as my first moto, so I'm a bit spoiled :)

    Edit: Wouldn't recommend you take these on the freeway unless you know what you're doing.
  11. noatonement thread starter macrumors member

    Jul 27, 2011
    Well i have been riding / racing dirt bikes for probably a good 8 or 9 years now. Decided to transition away from the DBs (sold all but one) and make the investment into a motorcycle. Personally my interests are in sport bikes and super bikes.

    What my real dilemma is, do i get a small bike (such as the new kawasaki ninja 250R) and learn on that, but be bored of it because its a small bike, or does my back-round in dirt bikes helps so much that i start off with a Yamaha R6 or a Kawasaki Ninja 650R, even though its a bigger bike, learn on that but also be able to get a few years out of it until i move to my "semi-dream" bike the R1.
  12. Queen of Spades macrumors 68030

    Queen of Spades

    May 9, 2008
    The Iron Throne
    You can ride a Ninja 250 for awhile without being bored, in my opinion, as it's fun to try and master twistys on it. If you plan to ride, you'll probably ride for the rest of your life. Since it's your life and safety at stake, being patient and working your way up is the smartest thing you can do. Not to be a buzzkill, but bike fatalities are on a sharp rise. Probably in part because bikes are becoming more popular, and people are buying GSXRs and R1s off the bat.

    That said, I think a 650R is also an excellent bike for a novice with some dirt bike experience. Plenty powerful, with a comfortable seating position and sporty looks, but a wrong flick of the wrist won't send you in a 90mph burst. I loved mine, it was a solid bike. Make sure you take a safety course, and good luck.
  13. r6girl Administrator/Editor


    Staff Member

    Sep 6, 2003
    Your dirtbike experience will be very helpful as you transition to the road and definitely puts you past the newbie level on the street, IMHO aside from learning to deal with the rules of the road, cars, and their often-inattentive drivers, of course, while on a motorcycle.

    Given your experience, I think you'd be fine on a 600cc sportbike to start, particularly if it's a bike you expect to keep for several years and want to be happy with it in the long run. I'm a bit partial to the Yamaha R6's myself as you can probably tell by my user name but I've also had a Honda F4.

    I spent a lot of time on the track on my F4 and the R6 and you're never really going to come close to utilizing the full potential of any bike in this class on the street. This is especially true of more powerful bikes like the R1 - these really should be ridden on the track and are overkill on the streets, in my opinion. Unless you want to spend your days doing wheelies and racing Porsches from red lights. ;)
  14. bgd macrumors regular

    Aug 30, 2005
    As I said, you will get a lot of different opinions in the biking community. :)

    I'm with r6girl in thinking 600cc sports bikes are a good place for you to start given your preferences and background. I also like Yamahas :D
  15. Azmontana macrumors regular


    May 27, 2008
    My first bike was a Honda VFR400, great bike but I was just too big for it and found it uncomfortable, moved onto a GSRX 750 and its much better.

    If your quite big like me, get a bike which is bigger. Just remember though the bike will only go as fast as you let it. Your in control not the bike. Remember that and you should be fine.

    Good luck.

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