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Discussion Starter #1
Hi forester friends
Its been a while but i've been recently looking into motorcycles. I know i will get into the hobby soon.. probably not for a few more years but i would like to ask you guys who might already own a bike to share some of your knowledge.
What are some pros and cons? I know itll suck to have one here in oregon compared to California because of the wet weather here. What about reliability? What companies? How do i go about picking a bike.

I heard and read a lot about starting on a 250cc...so something like a kawasaki ninja 250 might work for me. I would eventually like to see myself on something quick with sharp handling. Maybe a cbr600 or r6 etc etc. Are the bikes over 1000cc like a hayabusa more dedicated for drag racing? I cant imagine those to handle as well as a 600 650cc

And how do you compare all of the different companies. Like italian, japanese, american?

How do you compare ducati, yamaha, honda, aprilia, buell, kawasaki, suzuki, ? I guess those are a few of the top dogs


Sorry for being such a noob about this subject but im very interested in it. I really dont know much at all....all help and comments are appreciated.
Thanks
 

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Sydney Dinner Organiser
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Hi forester friends
Its been a while but i've been recently looking into motorcycles. I know i will get into the hobby soon.. probably not for a few more years but i would like to ask you guys who might already own a bike to share some of your knowledge.
What are some pros and cons?
Pros -
fun, very different from a car
performance per $ is way better than any car
cheap to buy and run (but this is cancelled if its an extra vehicle - its still extra cost for bike+car then just car)

Cons -
rain + cold
lack of capacity for people, luggage
cost of extra gear like helmet, jacket
dangerous

Now I dont want to talk you out of it, but you do need to consider the danger side.
Raw statistics usually point to a bike being about 20 times more likely to have death or serious injury compared to a car.
If ridden carefully its a risk you can manage. And a lot of the risk is not from bad drivers, its from the riders themselves - either running off the road without any help or from collisions with other vehicles from doing dumb stuff.

I heard and read a lot about starting on a 250cc...so something like a kawasaki ninja 250 might work for me.
They are good bikes for a new rider as long as you arent physically huge (ie well over 6 foot or 300lbs)
You can start on something bigger more powerful, but I wouldnt recommend it for most people as its also easier to get into bad habits and rookie mistakes on a more powerful bike can be much easier and much bigger!

I would eventually like to see myself on something quick with sharp handling. Maybe a cbr600 or r6 etc etc. Are the bikes over 1000cc like a hayabusa more dedicated for drag racing? I cant imagine those to handle as well as a 600 650cc
The litre bikes are sports (race) bikes like the 600s.
The bigger ones like the Busa tend to be sports tourers - so a bit less on the handling and more on power and long distance riding. Still handle very well!
But hey - I wouldnt worry about this until you have some miles under your belt (or chain!)

Sorry for being such a noob about this subject but im very interested in it.
Everyone is a noob at some point.

My main advice - only you know how safe a driver you are. If you tend to be a "go fast" type person then a bike can be very appealing, but it can also be a much quicker way to hurt yourself.
If you are a risk taker then it probably wont hurt to wait a few years, get some maturity and more experience on the road. There is nothing wrong with leaving a bike until you are 25 (or older!)
Im saying this because that was me - I was at least smart enough at 20 to know I shouldnt be on a bike and left it for a few years. While Im still generally a hoon Im fairly careful on the bike.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Ahhh great info as always DN...
And i think im a risk taker...Ive been lucky with my forester being a low powered car that has lots of grip....a very easy and forgiving car to drive. It seems like my size dimensions would work out with a 250cc. I know if i have the power I Will use it.

How about more info on the specifics of some brands vs. others? I think i might be a fan of the JDM bikes hahah.

I might be in love with the looks of the R6
http://www.motoinfo.it/immagini/nuovo/YamahaR6_2006-g.jpg


and what do you ride on?

Also whats a good bike forum i can lurk on for a while?
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Oh ya, and how do you test the limits of your bike out? Will you just fall over/crash? I can see it being very dangerous to drive at the limits with a motorcycle
 

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Bikes

I've been riding for just under 40 years since I took my first ride by myself. Riding a Motorcycle is the cheapest therapy you can buy. I love it. I think you're smart to start out with a smaller bike. Take as many riding classes as you can and try to attend a riding school or two if possible. You might consider a Dual-Sport (enduro) bike as your first bike. Yamaha and Kawasaki have just introduced 250 dual sports very recently. This would allow you to get off-road and rain and mud aren't a big an issue on a Dual Sport You could feel pretty comfortable starting out on a Suzuki DRZ400S. Used "DRZ's" in very good condition can be bought for around $3200 and they typically have a lot of cool accessories that you would want to put on your bike anyway. Might as well let someone else pay for them. The DRZ's have been around for a while and have great aftermarket support for accessories. Check this site out: Adventure Rider Motorcycle Forum

Take Care,
David
 

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Very good information. I'm 61 and bought a Kaw 250 (Ninja) in 2002. I started riding in 1980 on a 185 Honda XL and Kaw KZ 650. I rode for maybe 5 years and then stopped bc My kids were 10 and 12. I don't think anyone who has younger children should ride.

Motorcycles are downright dangerous and you will crash..every Motorcyclist does. Thats when many either quit or die. I know of no motorcyclist who hasn't crashed.
 

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Excellent information posted so far! I've been riding for 5 years now, on cruisers, sport bikes, dirt bikes, dual sports and just moved into sport tourers. I love working on the early 80's inline 4 cruisers (maxims, viragos, etc).

#1 most important thing before you even consider buying a bike - TAKE THE MSF BEGINNER COURSE!! Motorcycle Safety Foundation Absolutely critical imo. I've taken it, and have taken their advanced course as well. It will teach you a lot, get you your license and a discount on your insurance. I would recommend starting on a 250-650cc cruiser or dual sport instead of a sport bike. Much more forgiving, easier to get the basics. Cruise craigslist. I wouldn't recommend spending more than $1,000 on your first bike. Doesn't matter what it looks like, cause you're gonna drop it (even just in a parking lot). Ride it for a year atleast, then upgrade! I'm 5'8", 150lbs soaking wet, and started on a '95 kawasaki vulcan 750. Loved it. So you defintely don't have to start on a 250, altho I wouldn't recommend starting on an R6 either.

Be careful. Always wear full gear. Jeans and half helmets are USELESS. Take your time, take the safety course, and always think worse case senario when you're riding (ie, if this guy cut me off right now what would I do?). You're gonna love it. I'm a total addict, my foz rarely sees payment unless it's snowing or raining.
 

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Also as part of your bike shopping, price insurance before you pull the trigger.

MSF is a good thing. Putting aside some money for gear is also a good thing.

Starting on a smaller bike is also good. Get used to riding first and then move up. I'd recommend a used bike since new bike plummet in value quickly.
 

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I live by AGAT. "all gear all the time." Buy the good gear with kevlar and a dot AND snell approved helmet. wear all of it. Buy mesh stuff for the summer so you don't roast so bad. It'll feel weird at first to be wearing all of it, but you'll get used to it and it'll become second nature. I haven't been down on a street bike yet, but I've had close calls and it will happen eventually.
 

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Ol' Timer
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I was in your position one month ago. I decided (much like you) to get myself a Suzuki SV650. Great for sport and around the town riding. Look here for more info...
I found their forum and read their advice... on picking a bike.
I decided I'd be better off with a smaller bike since I know myself and I would definitely get into trouble on the 650.
I looked around for a while and found out the Ninja 250 just underwent a huge transformation into this beautiful machine..
I picked it up yesterday, and I really couldn't be happier. Great handling, easy to learn on, and definitely enough power for me (for now). This bike has huge demand right now and (depending on your area) will have a wait. That just means when you sell it, it will really hold its value.

All I can say is, I can't belive it took me this long to get on a bike.
Take the MSF course, get protective gear (lots), and ride safe. You will not regret it, as long as you keep the Foz :icon_wink: .
 

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Excellent information posted so far! I've been riding for 5 years now, on cruisers, sport bikes, dirt bikes, dual sports and just moved into sport tourers. I love working on the early 80's inline 4 cruisers (maxims, viragos, etc).

#1 most important thing before you even consider buying a bike - TAKE THE MSF BEGINNER COURSE!! Motorcycle Safety Foundation Absolutely critical imo. I've taken it, and have taken their advanced course as well. It will teach you a lot, get you your license and a discount on your insurance. I would recommend starting on a 250-650cc cruiser or dual sport instead of a sport bike. Much more forgiving, easier to get the basics. Cruise craigslist. I wouldn't recommend spending more than $1,000 on your first bike. Doesn't matter what it looks like, cause you're gonna drop it (even just in a parking lot). Ride it for a year atleast, then upgrade! I'm 5'8", 150lbs soaking wet, and started on a '95 kawasaki vulcan 750. Loved it. So you defintely don't have to start on a 250, altho I wouldn't recommend starting on an R6 either.

Be careful. Always wear full gear. Jeans and half helmets are USELESS. Take your time, take the safety course, and always think worse case senario when you're riding (ie, if this guy cut me off right now what would I do?). You're gonna love it. I'm a total addict, my foz rarely sees payment unless it's snowing or raining.


+1111
on start on a used bike ... unless you like seeing road rash on the new bike. It will happen ... either from dropping it or taking a corner toooooo fast.

+1111
on full face helment and full gear ... unless you like road rash on you hands, elbows and legs. That happen after taking a corner tooooo fast.
 

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I'd like to recap some of the better points already cited and add one more.

1) Take a MSF Training Course, where you'll learn the right way to start riding a bike. THe problem with 'learning as you go" is that you may not make it through training. If you've already been thinking about 'exploring the envelope' (it's your nature, we've watched you progress with your Subie :icon_biggrin: ), with the MSF training course behind you, you can safely begin to explore your envelope.

2) Heed the recommendations of moderate engine size. Even though I was over 6' when I got my learners permit (I started on a 50cc Tohatsu Runpet Sport (6.8 Horsepower at 10800 RPM!), it's to your advantage to learn on a bike closer to your weight so that you're not dominated by it's size.

3) My own experience was starting off in the dirt...crashing there is much more forgiving on you, and the bike, than on pavement. The value of balance and muscle memory cannot be underestimated. Learning how to make REALLY tight turns at slow speeds is one of the more difficult skills to learn (stressed in MSF courses).
Then go out on pavement, knowing that the hard surface is much less forgiving.

4) Several recommend dual purpose bikes. After more than forty years of motorcycling, if I were to go down and buy a bike today, it'd be one of the Honda or Kawasaki street/trail bikes (Honda XR650L or the Kawasaki KLR650). Why? Sizing is right for me (ergonomics and engine size both, I'm 6-3 and weigh 200 and plenty...;>), they do REALLY well on USFS fire roads, they are very competent in twisty, curvy, paved country roads, and very forgiving of 'surface discontinuities' (excellent and abundant suspension). Honda used to make a 250/350 XR...L series, and would be good choice for used purchases.

Stalk the MSF courses, keep an eye on the ads in the paper (bound to be some fairweather rider ready to give up on the 'will the rain ever quit' coastal Oregon weather. Looking back on motorcycling, the early years were some of the best!
-Quick
 

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Fantastic recap Quicksilver! If this wasn't a forester forum that post right there would be worthy of a stickie!

My only issue with starting on the dual sports is seat height. If you're 6 foot, no problem. They're too tall for my 5'8" frame to have started on. That being said I currently have an '85 Honda XR350 with a full street legal kit on it sitting in my garage...
 

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A lot of great comments and suggestions. I've been riding for about 33 years. I currently have a Honda Goldwing. If I could give advice it would be to never underestimate.

1.) never underestimate or abuse the power of a motorcycle
2.) never underestimate or abuse the quickness of a motorcycle
3.) NEVER NEVER underestimate what some other driver will do.

The power and agility of a motorcycle can get you into or keep you out of trouble. And understanding that other drivers can and will get you into trouble keeps me alert at all times when I ride whether it's on the interstate or on a country back road.
 

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Fantastic recap Quicksilver! If this wasn't a forester forum that post right there would be worthy of a stickie!

My only issue with starting on the dual sports is seat height. If you're 6 foot, no problem. They're too tall for my 5'8" frame to have started on. That being said I currently have an '85 Honda XR350 with a full street legal kit on it sitting in my garage...
:icon_redface: er ah, uhmm, thanks! :icon_biggrin:
Re seat height, while I'm 6-3, I've only a 31" inseam, and am a little bit challenged by their seat heights...but it's good practice to keep your feet on the pegs! Unless you're a flat-tracker (they throw their cojones over their shoulders when they get on their bikes!), you've no business putting your feet on the ground/pavement until under 3 mph!
Your XR350 (R?) modded for the street sounds like a best of both worlds combination!
-Quick
 

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Don't do wheelies in traffic, that's all I have to say on the subject... 'cause nothing pisses me off more than that. G'luck with your two-wheeled endeavors.
 

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:icon_redface: er ah, uhmm, thanks! :icon_biggrin:
Re seat height, while I'm 6-3, I've only a 31" inseam, and am a little bit challenged by their seat heights...but it's good practice to keep your feet on the pegs! Unless you're a flat-tracker (they throw their cojones over their shoulders when they get on their bikes!), you've no business putting your feet on the ground/pavement until under 3 mph!
Your XR350 (R?) modded for the street sounds like a best of both worlds combination!
-Quick
Yep, I got it for a steal of a deal too. Dealership that had it doesn't do bikes (they actually sell subi's) and had to get rid of their offroad inventory immediately cause they didn't have a "powersports" license. Wiring was all fouled up (still working on getting the brake light to activate, but I've only had it about a week), so they sold it cheap. First dirt outting with it is tomorrow! :Banane17:
 

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Don't do wheelies in traffic, that's all I have to say on the subject... 'cause nothing pisses me off more than that. G'luck with your two-wheeled endeavors.
Pleiad7-
Less frequent but perhaps more dangerous are "stoppies" (coming to a stop on front wheel only)...these are practices that should be done by professionals under controlled conditions (ie, the track).
-Quick
 

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Yep, I got it for a steal of a deal too. Dealership that had it doesn't do bikes (they actually sell subi's) and had to get rid of their offroad inventory immediately cause they didn't have a "powersports" license. Wiring was all fouled up (still working on getting the brake light to activate, but I've only had it about a week), so they sold it cheap. First dirt outting with it is tomorrow! :Banane17:
Anybody along to take photos?
-Quick
 
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