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Old 01-26-2011, 09:59 AM   #1
zerobounds
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Beginner rider resource

If you're a beginner there are a lot of gaps to fill and you have a huge amount of questions, this post is just intended to answer some of those questions and provide links to sites and such that will help you pick a first bike, understand how to buy one and how to stay alive by avoiding bad habits many riders unknowingly develop.

  • Buying your first bike!
Firstly, you want to read this thread:

http://www.motohouston.com/forums/showthread.php?t=2576

Taking the time to read it would be a good idea. One of the things you need to wrap your head around is that you can easily die or seriously injure yourself on a motorcycle by making a simple mistake so educating yourself on what those mistakes are and how to properly learn to ride is very important. You'll find many riders on this forum that have even 10+ years experience still ride their 250cc motorcycle on the race track or twistie roads and often prefer it over their larger bikes so don't think you'll be out of place riding a 250.

Where do I buy?
There are many places to buy, such as the For Sale section of this forum and other forums but the mainstream places are Dealerships and Craigslist (CL)

Dealerships will 95% of the time be more expensive than buying from a person directly. Dealerships have alot of costs on their end and necessary profits to make for their personnel, so don't expect the deal of the century at one. That is the place, however, to get a brand new motorcycle. They make money by getting Used bikes from auctions on the cheap and reselling them or from trade-ins that customers have when buying a brand new bike. They do not pay out well on trade-ins because they want to make a profit and be able to price the bike on their lot reasonably so it will actually sell.

Craigslist is where you can buy a bike from a person directly, basically bypassing the dealership. They will post an Ad online and you simply respond to it and start communicating with them directly. Beware of scams on craigslist, only deal locally and if at all possible deal by Cash.

Craigslist online.
http://houston.craigslist.org/

Resource for checking the basic market value of any bike.
http://www.kbb.com/motorcycle

Easy access to motorcycle reviews to help in your choice.
http://www.motorcycle.com/

Some more detailed Low-side and High-side wreck info.
http://www.oldguy.us/easy-riding/art...a-crashing.php

Motorcycle Slang Dictionary
http://www.totalmotorcycle.com/dictionary/L.htm



What does that term mean?
A few terms you may not know yet ...
  1. "salvage title"
  2. "clean title in my name"
  3. "laid down" or "dropped"
  4. "needs some TLC"
  5. "been sitting"
  6. "...bent..."
1. A Salvage Title is issued on a vehicle damaged to the extent that the cost of repairing the vehicle exceeds ~ 75% of its pre-damage value. Basically a wrecked bike that has been declared a "total loss". The owner has usually repaired the bike already. Sometimes these are in pretty good shape because the bike was damaged in a small accident like a slide or something but the parts scraped were very expensive parts then the insurance company could just say its a total loss but the bike could be in decent shape just needing a new tank and fairings.

2. A Clean Title or similar verbiage to that means its basically ready to sell, the title should be in the name of the person selling the bike - if not then you need to make sure its not stolen. The same applies to No Title bikes where the owner does not have the title, complications with the title after a purchase can be a real headache.

3. If the bike was "laid down" then they usually had a low-side accident and the bike slid accross the ground. Damage is typically to the fairings and breakaway parts like mirrors and pegs. "Dropped" usually means they fell over at a stop sign and cracked a fairing or something minor.

4. A bike in need of Tender Loving Care could mean anything from sitting in the garage or a while to being poorly maintained or sometimes even damaged fairly bad. These are usually fairly cheap, but need some 'tlc'.

5. If a bike has been sitting it can lead to some standard problems, you may need to drain the old fuel, change the oil and filter, replace the battery, change the brake fluid, clean the carb's if its an older bike, check the tires for age cracks replace them if necessary. If tires are good make sure to inflate them to proper tire pressure because weather can make them go flat. Its not likely you'll have to do all of that but if the bike has "been sitting a while" it could involve all of that.

6. If a seller uses the word "bent" referring to anything other than the brake and clutch lever be wary, bent parts can lead to safety issues and handicap the bike's handling capabilities. Bent parts are typically replaced asap.

Don't forget when you're buying a bike you have to consider..
  1. Price of the bike (2007 CBR clean title - FAST!!11 - laid over, needs rear tire ($3,500))
  2. Cost of title transfer (~$400)
  3. Replacing damaged parts (~$600)
  4. Replacing rear tire (~$250)
  5. Inspection tag (~$15)

So your $3,500 CBR just went to $4,765 because of the necessary title fees and repairs.

The Basic Riders Course MSF certification to get your M License will be $200

New Riding Gear (jackets, boots, armor, helmet, gloves, etc) will also run you $300 - $1,000
......
Now that $3,500 CBR could actually cost you ~$6,000 to get on the road with as a first bike with gear and a legal license. Be aware of the costs other than the motorcycle itself!! After you buy gear and take the MSF you'll run into the Title fees and inspection costs and buying can be much smoother for you.
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Old 01-26-2011, 09:59 AM   #2
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What bike should I get?

Theres plenty of choices for you! We can look at the basics categories, then whats-what in each one, but lets look at some pricing points first.

Obvious concerns are devaluation and costs and when picking a new bike cost is generally a big factor, especially with the high probability that you will make a riding mistake and slide or drop it at a light or something and damage it - significantly reducing the resale value of the bike. So whats the worst scenario?

Comparing the 2010 Ninja 250 with the 2010 CBR600RR as price is concerned..

2010 Ninja 250 NEW MSRP - $3,999
Used Value today - $3,340
Devaluation rate - 20%
Value loss - $659

2010 CBR 600 NEW MSRP - $11,199
Used Value today - $8,500
Devaluation rate - 32%
Value loss - $2,699

The 250cc bike is going to see a much lower value loss because its not worth as much money, so when resale time comes around you're not going to take nearly as much of a hit a year later. You can find these values to any bike you want to compare by searching online the MSRP Price and the KBB Used Value and figuring the difference. Keep this in mind when you're buying a first bike because again, if you break anything (and new riders often do) then the impact is going to be in your wallet, for repairs and resale value.

So now back to the Bike Types and choices, the basic areas are..
  • Sport
  • Street/Standard
  • Cruiser

Sport Class
Sport bikes are here for the fun twisty roads, cornering ability, handling, acceleration, braking, all at a high performance level. The superbike races have the general populacethinking that in order to blast those corners and get the thrill then you will need at least an R1 that peels the pavement out from under you when you twist the throttle. But, surprisingly the majority of that fun handling and thrill of riding a sport bike is actually crammed into a few great 250cc bikes!

http://www.motorcycle.com/specs/sport.html

This Article might be a surprise to you - 250cc races!

The Kawasaki Ninja 250 has been the same bike for about 20 years and was redesigned in 2008 with radical changes to the appearance, rivaling its larger kin in wow-factor.


Kawasaki Ninja 250 : 2007
2007 Kawasaki Ninja 250R
KBB Link to 2007 Kawasaki Ninja 250
Motorcycle.com Review of the 2007 Kawasaki Ninja 250
The 2007 Ninja should be quite a big cheaper than the 2008 for obvious reasons so if you're on a budget you might consider this body style over the newer one and still get a time-proven quality bike that you can safely learn on without the worrying about the hazards of having too much power unknowingly brings to a new rider.


Kawasaki Ninja 250 : 2008
2008 Kawasaki Ninja 250R
KBB Link to 2008 Kawasaki Ninja 250
Motorcycle.com Review of the 2008 Kawasaki Ninja 250
The new body style! Quite a looker and performs excellent! New and experienced riders alike are drawn to this bike, many things have changed as the linked review highlights and is still a really fun motorcycle to ride.


2008 Hyosung GT250R
2008 Hyosung Comet GT250R
http://www.kbb.com/motorcycle/retail/2008/hyosung/gt250r-comet/231597
Motorcycle.com Review
This bike is fairly new to the class, mixed reviews report some unpredictability in it but its very cheap and might be a good choice if you want a decent looking bike that can hold its own in the corners. It will certainly get you on the road learning and keep within your budget.


2006 Suzuki SV650S
2006 Suzuki SV 650S
KBB Link
Motorcycle.com Review
Although this is a 650 it is typically regarded as a decent starter bike, with a V-twin motor it maintains a reliable reputation among a variety of rider skills. This is the Sport version of the SV650, designated by the S on the end.









Street / Standard
Theres an important difference you need to recognize between the Standard bikes and the Sport bikes. The riding position is significantly different from a Sport position, the handlebars usually resemble those of a dirt bike more than a sport bike and the foot pegs are typically farther forward, both aspects of which bring out a more upright riding position. They are more often used for commuting, long touring rides and hellacious corner fun. They generally have balanced powerbands with good mid-range power and are cheaper on the market than the Sport bikes most of the time.

http://www.motorcycle.com/specs/standard.html

Older model SV650N
2006 Suzuki SV 650
KBB Link
Motorcycle.com Review
The "Naked" version of the SV650, a quality motorcycle also enjoyed by new and experienced riders alike, often used as a dedicated 'track bike' to some avid riders. Decently priced and fairly available. Again, this isn't a 250 but this bike is often accepted as a good starter bike.


2006 Buell Blast Base
2006 Buell Blast Base
KBB Link
Motorcycle.com Review
Dirt Cheap. Buell was originally run under Harley Davidson and they dropped their line recently, plummeting the prices into the ground. Besides that it wasn't the most successful bike around either. The Blast is a decent motorcycle, very comfortable and fun to ride. This would be one top choices for the completely budget driven beginner if you can find one.


2006 Hyosung GT 250
2006 Hyosung GT 250
KBB Link
Motorcycle.com Review
Again, same comments as in the Sport range for the Hyosung bikes. They reportedly perform well with minor drawbacks from the mainstreamer bikes.








Cruiser Class
Cruisers, the easy riding torque heavy fun machines. Cruisers are a completely different beast, forward and central controls, higher handlebars and low seats all contribute to a relaxed and laid back riding position. If you're looking for cruisers here are a few starter bikes that you will probably see in the MSF training class to practice on.


http://www.motorcycle.com/specs/cruiser.html

2006 Honda Rebel 250
http://www.motorcycle.com/specs/site...Rebel_Base.jpg
Motorcycle.com Review


2006 Suzuki GZ 250
2006 Suzuki GZ 250
Motorcycle.com Review

2006 Yamaha Virago 250
2005 Yamaha Virago 250
Motorcycle.com Review

2006 Hyosung GV 250
2006 Hyosung GV 250
Motorcycle.com Review


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Old 01-26-2011, 09:59 AM   #3
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more space..
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Old 01-26-2011, 10:00 AM   #4
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Old 01-26-2011, 11:06 AM   #5
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this is good info. I wish there was a way to stop all the "new rider wants a bike" threads cuz the same happens every year, and the same people try to give the same "buy whatever you want I did now I'm a pro" or "buy sensible, you're gonna kill yourself" reactions and it's all lame. no one ever listens, they just do what they wanted in the first place regardless of how much information is there to the contrary.
hence, I could give a rats when they buy stupid and get hurt. can't babysit every stupid person on earth or in houston.
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Old 01-26-2011, 11:55 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sifu-TZ View Post
this is good info. I wish there was a way to stop all the "new rider wants a bike" threads cuz the same happens every year, and the same people try to give the same "buy whatever you want I did now I'm a pro" or "buy sensible, you're gonna kill yourself" reactions and it's all lame. no one ever listens, they just do what they wanted in the first place regardless of how much information is there to the contrary.
hence, I could give a rats when they buy stupid and get hurt. can't babysit every stupid person on earth or in houston.

I agree for the most part.
A few will actually use their heads and take some sound advice, but most are only looking for people to tell them what they want to hear(you'll be fine on a 600, look at me!).
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Old 01-26-2011, 12:12 PM   #7
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really good thread, this should be stickied into WTB or something
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Old 01-26-2011, 03:10 PM   #8
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updated with bike links and info.
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Old 01-26-2011, 03:19 PM   #9
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Excellent info.
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Old 02-09-2011, 03:04 AM   #10
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Stickied!

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Old 02-10-2011, 09:29 AM   #11
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thanks for the info
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Old 03-09-2011, 12:04 AM   #12
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Thumbs up

Smart sticky.

a few more that could be added to the list:
  • Yamaha FZ6
  • Honda Nighthawk 750 (cruiser/SPORT) Seriously, this is a great all around bike. I had one for a while and never thought it would be possible to have fun on a small CC cruiser. One night, I smoke a kid on a 08+R6 on 45S (Between 610N and Downtown); he had no idea what happened to him!
  • SV650/Gladius (yes it's been posted but it is so good that it is worth being reposted)
  • Honda NT650
  • Suzuki DRZ400 SM

If dead set on a 600 the Triumph TT600 should be looked at. I had one as a first bike and have nothing bad to say about her. Not much there under 8k, low center of gravity, easy to modulate brakes, and.. well just a great overall bike that was easy to learn on.

Please remove the BUELL BLAST from the list. I wouldn't want my worst enemy to ever ride that POS.
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Old 03-09-2011, 12:18 AM   #13
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A couple of other good threads:

http://www.motohouston.com/forums/sh...d.php?t=107725


http://www.motohouston.com/forums/sh...d.php?t=115537
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Old 03-09-2011, 12:25 AM   #14
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Man I feel like I should do a write-up or something...

i'm being all non-contributive and .
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Old 06-12-2011, 08:50 PM   #15
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so cool! I would also add NADA.com to check for bike values also
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Old 06-12-2011, 09:22 PM   #16
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seems biased against Honda. their new 250 is out. and the Rebel is an excellent starter bike. EXCELLENT info. I look forward to pointing all the noobs here.
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Old 06-12-2011, 09:33 PM   #17
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This was written before Honda's 250 was available.
Still excellent info.
I'll PM Zerobounds and see if he'd like to add the Honda 250's pic and specs.
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Old 06-13-2011, 09:59 PM   #18
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sorry for the lack of updates, i havent been around much lately. I'll try to get some updates into it soon. I know there are some new things that could be added and changed.
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