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Thread: Newer Than Newb Motorcycle Advice

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    Newer Than Newb Motorcycle Advice

    Hey Guys/Gals,

    I say newer than "newb" because I don't have a motorcycle but I'm seriously considering one. I'd say I'm in the "seriously thinking about it" stage and would like some opinions and advice from veteran riders to 1) confirm I'm making the right decision(s) and 2) to bring up things I may be overlooking or completely unaware of.

    Why do I want a motorcycle?
    The main reason, an alternative/cheaper form of transportation to get to and from work instead of driving my Jeep. I live in the Beaches area and work at 401/Don Mills so my drive to work is a 30 minute drive north on Don Mills Rd. The main purpose would be as a commuter bike within the city with no intention of taking it on the highway and no I don't want a scooter or an electric bike because no man should ride any vehicle that requires you to keep your knees together! Also, I've always wanted one and they seem like fun.

    Riding Experience?
    I rode my friend's 125cc dirt bike when I was about 12 yrs old and I'm now 41 so I basically have no riding experience.

    What kind of bike do I want?
    I definitely want a sport bike. The decision on which bike to get will depend on what fits me best as I'm 5'6 and 155lbs so I want a smaller bike, anything between a 250cc to a max 600cc. I don't like 125cc bikes because they seem too small with their skinny tires, almost like some electric bikes. My buddy just got his M1 a few weeks ago and bought a 2006 Honda Hornet 599, when I sat on it I was on my tip toes and didn't feel 100% comfortable. I've been looking online and I like the Kawasaki Ninja 250's because they're smaller and relatively inexpensive as I've seen 2008-2011's going for anywhere between $3,800 to $4,500 with relatively low kms. I also like that they look just like the bigger versions.

    I was focusing on the 250 Ninjas but then I noticed you can get an older 2003-2005 Suzuki GS500F for around the same price as a newer 250. I like the GS500F even though it's a bigger bike because I could probably keep it longer and not outgrow it as fast as the 250 which I'm told I eventually will. My only concern is seat height and if it would fit me? Are there any bikes other than the 250's that might fit me as I've been keeping my search criteria pretty narrow with the seat height my main criteria. Like I said I'm open to any bikes up to 600cc as long as I feel comfortable. I've been told you can get lowering kits but since this would be my first bike I would rather find one I can ride right away and not have to modify.

    I've emailed my insurance company, State Farm to see how much it would cost to insure a Kawasaki Ninja 250 and I'm waiting to hear back. I assume it will be pretty cheap as one seller said he pays $20/month and $12 to fill the tank. I'm going with a buddy on Monday to Cycle World Superstore to go "sit" on bikes to see which bikes fit me and ask a lot of questions. After that I will think about it some more and decide if a motorcycle is really what I want or just a passing interest before I write the M1. People have told me to just go and get my M1 anyway but I'm the kind of person that will only start something if I'm going to finish it which for me means only writing the M1 after I've made up my mind that I want a bike.

    I checked out Engineer Joe's thread about passing the M1 exit course and Mud Dawg posted some very good information. I would definitely take a riding course and learn as much as I can before hitting the road. As I'm not a crazy young kid with a hard on for speed I'm trying to think about this rationally and make an informed decision as I realize motorcycles are fun but also potentially dangerous if you go into it with the wrong attitude. Any advice or suggestions would be appreciated. I'll definitely be checking out www.gtamotorcycle.com Thanks.

    I just remembered something. How many kms are too many kms for a bike?
    Last edited by TOYJ; 07-21-2012 at 05:41 PM.
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    I can't really be too helpful, but i have been riding bikes for the last 2 years. My first bike was a 50cc moped. it was fun, and got 100mpg's. Now i am riding a 100cc enduro and its awesome. I can easily cruise at 70kms, and am getting 80+ mpg. I would see about maybe a enduro, they are light, nimble, and absorb the horribly rough roads we have in oshawa. I am paying 520 a year for insurance with state farm.
    currently building a toyota. i'm sorry.

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    Quote Originally Posted by TOYJ View Post
    no man should ride any vehicle that requires you to keep your knees together!
    That's sig-worthy!

    Back to your questions...

    You'll want to start on a 250, 400, 500 or 650. 600's are for sport bikes and you don't want to start on one of those. The 650's, although larger, are more new-user friendly (it's what I started on). When looking at a bike, make sure to get insurance quotes. State Farm is good because they'll insure you as long as you've had a G for more than 5 years.

    I started on a Gladius (Suzuki SFV 650). I would look at a Suzuki GS500 or SV650 (naked sport-touring bike which can look kinda bad-ass with mods). There's also the SV650s which has farings. A friend bought a Kawi EN-6R with no complaints.

    The only advice I can really give after 1 full year of riding is to get gear. Boots the cover the ankles, proper gloves and jacket, and if you don't want to wear riding pants, get jeans that'll protect you in a fall (e.g. Kevlar Jeans). I'm all for choice in what you wear on a bike (and I'm glad the government isn't mandating gear outside of a helmet requirement), but you never know when you're going to go down. Gear is a great investment! I laid the bike down once this season and all I have to show for it is a cut by my elbow.

    Next time I'm in the area with my bike, I'll let you know and you can try out the Gladius.

    I'll come back and type up more as I think of things.
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    I wouldn't recommend a 250 ninja at all. My friend has one and out on roads doing 100-110 km he has to almost be fully tucked to stay at a constant speed. He is probably closer to 200 pounds. Although you say you plan on using it as a city commuter.

    I have a cbr 600 and I'm about 5'6 as well also 200 lbs and its about the perfect height for me. I find it a much better balanced bike than his 250. Also the power is there when you need it where as a smaller bike it isn't.

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    ^ like said. One thing to remember that i was told about the 125's and 250's there not very good on the hwy's cause they don't do much more then 120kph. they are pretty much at there max for speed and power which can be alittle scary if you ever need to get around some a-hole that is not paying att. or just changing lanes. and basic hwy driving.
    And also don't forget with an M1 you are not allowed to go on any of the 400 hwy's.
    Last edited by DWG; 07-21-2012 at 07:11 PM.

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    The M1 will only last 60 days, so it's not something to worry about. The 250's should be fine on the highway, well above the 110km/h speed posted above. The 125s can get you to 110km/h, so the 250s shouldn't be a problem.

    When you get your M1/M2, you will have a "hybrid license". Full G but graduated motorcycle. When you are in a car, the G-license restrictions apply (e.g .08 BAC). When you're on the bike, the M-license restrictions apply (e.g. riding time, 0 BAC, etc).

    The argument against having the power of a 600 is the fact that you're new. Like all new riders, you will screw up and when you do, a 250 is more forgiving than a 600.

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    Quote Originally Posted by DWG View Post
    And also don't forget with an M1 you are not allowed to go on any of the 400 hwy's.
    It is worded a little differently when it comes to M1...


    As it is worded for G1 on MTO website

    refrain from driving on Ontario's "400-series" highways or on high speed expressways such as the Queen Elizabeth Way, Don Valley Parkway, Gardiner Expressway, E.C. Row Expressway and the Conestoga Parkway;
    ^ those highways would be included as 'not to be driven on' with an M1, but it is worded differently for an M1 on the MTO website...

    you must not ride on highways with speed limits of more than 80 km/h except highways 11, 17, 61, 69, 71, 101, 102, 144, 655;
    That 80 km/h limit would also exclude you from the Lincoln Alexander Parkway and the Redhill Valley Parkway in Hamilton.


    I am also thinking (could potentially ask SAVE officer to check this), but "highways with speed limits of more than 80 km/h" could ultimately include any road with a limit higher than 80, because a road is consider a "highway" in terms of the Highway Traffic Act...
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    Is a county road a Hwy ??

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    ^ Under the highway traffic act, I believe it falls within the description of a "highway"...I don't know of any county roads that have a limit higher than 80 (might be some over by you), and M1 is allowed on roads with limit of 80 (wording is "more than 80")...as for the back roads with no posted limit, as was stated in a SAVE officer thread, unposted roads have a limit of 80 unless in a built up area then it is 50.


    Hmmm...got me wondering, what would happen in case of M1 rider getting caught speeding over 80...doesn't say they can't drive faster than 80, just says they can't be on roads with limits more than 80...

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    Quote Originally Posted by igotafrigginjeep View Post
    ^ Under the highway traffic act, I believe it falls within the description of a "highway"...I don't know of any county roads that have a limit higher than 80 (might be some over by you), and M1 is allowed on roads with limit of 80 (wording is "more than 80")...as for the back roads with no posted limit, as was stated in a SAVE officer thread, unposted roads have a limit of 80 unless in a built up area then it is 50.


    Hmmm...got me wondering, what would happen in case of M1 rider getting caught speeding over 80...doesn't say they can't drive faster than 80, just says they can't be on roads with limits more than 80...
    County road one Lucknow south is a 90 zone
    Part of Hwy 86 Wingham area is a 90 but a kings hwy I'd guess
    Par line or 31 or whatever is is south east of Benmiller is 90 for a while

    Not many around

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    I appreciate the input so far but I read this thread on www.gtamotorcycle.com and I think the 250 might be better for my purposes of commuting within the city. I appreciate the comments from Taiz and DWG regarding the 250 but since I don't plan on driving it on the highway I don't know if a bigger bike is what I need? The two bikes I'm leaning towards are the Kawasaki Ninja 250 or the Suzuki GS500F as there isn't anything from Yamaha that suits my needs and although I don't have anything against Hondas I didn't find anything that appealed to me in the 250 or 500cc category.

    Like I said a buddy and I are going to go look at bikes on Monday and from the threads on gtamotorcycle.com the reviews about customer service seem to be mixed on Cycle World Superstore. I read good things about GP Bikes in Whitby, Snow City Cycle Marine on Kennedy and Kahuna Powersports on Steeles. Any other recommendations?
    Last edited by TOYJ; 07-22-2012 at 09:16 AM.

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    So long as you are aiming sport bike 250cc make good for commuters. Anything cruiser style they are useless dogs. Look at classics too. It's amazing what an old '80s Honda cm400 can do! Also older bikes deter idiots taking them without asking.

    Quick reference of good cc ranges for starter bikes:
    Sport = 250-500cc
    Sport touring / Enduro = 400 - 650cc
    Cruiser = 600 - 1200cc


    I started on a 250 full fairing ninja (2000). My only dislike was how they caught the wind on open roads and you had no way to fight it. This did not boost any confidence i already lacked as a new rider. A gs500 wouldn't have that issue even a 500 ninja holds its own against a side gust. Both still great for commuting in the city.

    Test sitting is the best way to go. I've been through each type of bike there is and now have a 2008 f650gs twin that I love. Great all purpose, good for the blown back, and it's a 798cc in disguise. Just hard on the wallet unless you cross one priced crazy low like I did.

    My second love is the drz400sm. It's a dirt bike with street tires (aka hooligan). Very nimble and again stopngo friendly but a bit tall when I slap on the dirt wheels (5'8" with a 33" inseam). I had to get it lowered.
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    Good on ya for doing this much research first, and you'll be much happier with your choices down the road. I'll tell you this much now:



    This
    I definitely want a sport bike.
    Doesn't equate very well to this
    The main reason, an alternative/cheaper form of transportation to get to and from work instead of driving my Jeep.

    A fun alternate toy it is, a cheap toy it is not. You'll get way better fuel economy, but if you truly sit down and add up the all the insurance, licensing, tire replacement, safety gear, safety course, upgrades, etc, you'll quickly realize it was cheaper to just drive the Jeep to work those 5 to 7 months out of the year. Riding a bike is a very fun and social hobby, but just like Jeeps, it starts adding up.

    There's good advice in this thread, and hopefully you'll take the warning seriously about quality riding gear. And aside from waiting on State Farm to reply, also check out www.kanetix.ca for insurance quotes. Good luck with your journey, and sorry about your wallet. I started out with an 80s bike for well bellow a $1,000, then soon after it was thousands after thousands in different bikes, better gear, jacks, tools, more expensive tires, and on and on it went. Oh not to mention a really ugly speeding ticket . Fun it was, cheap it was not
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    ^ Mud DAWG is right it's an addiction just like a jeep. And can add up $$ real quick if you don't stick to the reason why you bought for.
    And like said above there are lots of other bikes out there in the 500-to 650 range that are not complete sport bike's, but what i have found is that once you go over 600cc you are put in a different ins. catagorey. ( more $$ )

    I was also to beleive that certain hwy's you are allow to ride ( ei. hwy 69 N ) because there is not any reasonable different routes to take to head up that way.

    I was also under the imperssion that it was the other way around. If you had your full M you can drive as a G1.

    Garb a motorcycle book and read it has all this stuff in there and other good Info. as well.
    And again like said above the M1 exit corse to an M2 is a great idea. I was on my frist bike at 12yrs old and still thats old for some ppl, but over 25 yrs of riding and i learned stuff that i did't realize when i took the corse.
    Last edited by DWG; 07-22-2012 at 12:01 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by DWG View Post
    I was also under the imperssion that it was the other way around. If you had your full M you can drive as a G1.
    to get your m1 you have to write the g1 exam regardless of if you have your g. then they add on motorcycle specific questions.

    M1 is limited to avoid the 400 series highways, no night riding (hours IIRC 2-4am), no alcohol in your system.

    M2 is limited to no alcohol in your system.

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    Quote Originally Posted by MUD DAWG View Post
    Good on ya for doing this much research first, and you'll be much happier with your choices down the road. I'll tell you this much now:



    This Doesn't equate very well to this


    A fun alternate toy it is, a cheap toy it is not. You'll get way better fuel economy, but if you truly sit down and add up the all the insurance, licensing, tire replacement, safety gear, safety course, upgrades, etc, you'll quickly realize it was cheaper to just drive the Jeep to work those 5 to 7 months out of the year. Riding a bike is a very fun and social hobby, but just like Jeeps, it starts adding up.

    There's good advice in this thread, and hopefully you'll take the warning seriously about quality riding gear. And aside from waiting on State Farm to reply, also check out www.kanetix.ca for insurance quotes. Good luck with your journey, and sorry about your wallet. I started out with an 80s bike for well bellow a $1,000, then soon after it was thousands after thousands in different bikes, better gear, jacks, tools, more expensive tires, and on and on it went. Oh not to mention a really ugly speeding ticket . Fun it was, cheap it was not
    Hey Mud Dawg/DWG, with regards to "alternative/cheap form of transportation" I was basing that on what some sellers were saying regarding their insurance rates and price to fill up their bike. As one seller posted $20/month insurance/$12 gas vs. $186/month Jeep insurance/$75 gas. From this perspective it is a lot cheaper than my Jeep each month but I did read and took your comments to heart about buying good quality gear. I definitely understand and have a respect for motorcycles and riding that is why I am doing so much research so I can make an informed decision.

    Lil Loco, thanks for the info the Ninja's catching the wind on open road, not something I even thought about. I saw your post about selling our Super Motard which looks great by the way. My other friend wanted me to get a dirt bike and had I gone that route I definitely would have considered your dirt bike.

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    Quote Originally Posted by EngineerJoe View Post
    The argument against having the power of a 600 is the fact that you're new. Like all new riders, you will screw up and when you do, a 250 is more forgiving than a 600.
    I heard this statement so many times when looking at bikes. Your right in a sense but you can be hurt or die on a 250 just as easy as a 600. Your not going to be 350cc's more hurt on a 600. Bikes are like guns there only dangerous if YOU pull the trigger.

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    Quote Originally Posted by TOYJ View Post
    Hey Mud Dawg/DWG, with regards to "alternative/cheap form of transportation" I was basing that on what some sellers were saying regarding their insurance rates and price to fill up their bike. As one seller posted $20/month insurance/$12 gas vs. $186/month Jeep insurance/$75 gas. From this perspective it is a lot cheaper than my Jeep each month....
    I don't know about $20 a month for insurance, but the gas is possible on a small bike if you only use it to commute a short distance. But don't forget I said you had to consider everything else associated with the bike, and also consider the winter months where the bike just sits.

    If you're one of the rare people that sticks with the small bike for years and years, then yes you'll absolutely save money over the Jeep, and it'll likely be a good chunk of change. If you're like 95% of riders that get hit hard by the bug, then enjoy the ride and have fun.

    Hey I know a guy who's generally very smart with money, and said his Jeep will only have a 4 inch lift, and 33" tires at the very most, anything beyond that is silly and frivolous. Now he has a tube buggy, truck and trailer to tow it, and another vehicle because the Jeep is no longer street legal

    ---------- Post added at 10:50 AM ---------- Previous post was at 10:33 AM ----------

    Quote Originally Posted by tailz View Post
    I heard this statement so many times when looking at bikes. Your right in a sense but you can be hurt or die on a 250 just as easy as a 600. Your not going to be 350cc's more hurt on a 600. Bikes are like guns there only dangerous if YOU pull the trigger.
    Just like you wouldn't recommend a Corvette to a new driver, a fuel tanker to a new trucker, or going with your analogy you wouldn't give a high powered military assault rifle to a cadet. You simply don't want a new rider starting out with a powerful bike. Also don't forget a great rider on a little bike can kick the daylights out of a mediocre rider on a much more powerful bike.

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    Thanks Mud Dawg. I guess cheap wasn't the best way to describe it. "Alternative transportation" and "fun" better describe why I want a bike.

    With regards to Taliz' comment re: the 600 vs. 250, an additional concern I have is the weight of the bike. I'm assuming a 600 is quite a bit heavier and I've also read that 600cc bikes have more sensitive throttle response than a 250. I'd be worried that I get nervous or something and accidentally hit the throttle too hard and dump the bike. Maybe this is an unfounded concern but I guess I'm taking a more conservative approach to riding and hoping that if I like it and stick with it I can upgrade to something bigger later on. I appreciate yours and everyone else's input since I'm a total noob trying to figure things out.

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    Quote Originally Posted by MUD DAWG View Post
    A fun alternate toy it is, a cheap toy it is not. You'll get way better fuel economy, but if you truly sit down and add up the all the insurance, licensing, tire replacement, safety gear, safety course, upgrades, etc, you'll quickly realize it was cheaper to just drive the Jeep to work those 5 to 7 months out of the year. Riding a bike is a very fun and social hobby, but just like Jeeps, it starts adding up.
    I forgot about this. MD couldn't have been more right! There was a thread on GTAMotorcycles about how somebody that got into the sport spent around $15,000 in the first year all inclusive. The bike was less than half of that. Gear, courses, and insurance add up quick!


    Quote Originally Posted by lil loco View Post
    to get your m1 you have to write the g1 exam regardless of if you have your g. then they add on motorcycle specific questions.
    The only exception is if you're written the G1 test in the previous year.

    Quote Originally Posted by lil loco View Post
    M1 is limited to avoid the 400 series highways, no night riding (hours IIRC 2-4am), no alcohol in your system.
    "Night riding" is 1/2 after sunset to 1/2 before sunrise.
    And you're also not allowed to have any passengers with an M1

    ---------- Post added at 03:20 PM ---------- Previous post was at 03:16 PM ----------

    Quote Originally Posted by tailz View Post
    I heard this statement so many times when looking at bikes. Your right in a sense but you can be hurt or die on a 250 just as easy as a 600. Your not going to be 350cc's more hurt on a 600. Bikes are like guns there only dangerous if YOU pull the trigger.
    I never said you can't be hurt or killed, I said that a 250 is more forgiving to your own screw ups (which account for quite the number of motorcycle accidents)

    Quote Originally Posted by MUD DAWG View Post
    Just like you wouldn't recommend a Corvette to a new driver, a fuel tanker to a new trucker, or going with your analogy you wouldn't give a high powered military assault rifle to a cadet. You simply don't want a new rider starting out with a powerful bike. Also don't forget a great rider on a little bike can kick the daylights out of a mediocre rider on a much more powerful bike.
    I thought of a similar analogy (Fox body Mustang w/ 5.0L given to a 16-year-old) and it's true.

    There are videos of guys that know what they're doing on a 250 passing riders on 600's on the track... The 250 is plenty of bike to start out on.
    Last edited by Engineer Joe; 07-22-2012 at 03:23 PM.

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