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Brand new to motorbicycling - conveyance purchased


JJ0063
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Hello bikers. 
 

So I’ve spontaneously decided to take my direct access as a 30th birthday present to myself. Theory is next month and I’ll be looking to book my training when the weather improves after Xmas - perhaps March/April time. 
 

Just looking for some advice on first bikes - what bikes to look for, what to avoid etc. 

Ive not been on a two wheeled form of conveyance since I was probably 17 but I’m confident enough on them and have ridden geared bikes from a young age. 
 

Im a complete novice when it comes to bikes - I understand from a quick look online that something like a 600 is the ideal size bike for a new rider. Is it similar to cars where as a new driver you stick to a 1 litre or whatever for the first year then build up when insurance etc drops or if preferred can you just opt for a ‘big’ bike? Reason I ask is there are some lovely looking bikes that are 1000cc or whatever, but I want to be realistic.

 

Budget wise I’ll be looking to spent 2-3k max.  I don’t know what style I like - personally I like anything from an R6 to a Triumph street triple. Mrs is a bit alternative and likes the whole Matt black gothic style/bobber/cafe racer style. 
 

Im going to head to Motorcycle live in December to try and pick up some clothing and a helmet as I’ve worked at the show plenty of times over the years and I know there are bargains to be had.

 

Cheers 

Jordan

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The general motorcycling press would have you think that a 600cc is a good starter bike that you can ride for a year or 2 before trading up to a 1000.

Realistically you would be much better starting on a smaller machine as even a 600cc sportsbike is ridiculously fast.

Something in the 300-500cc range is still faster than almost all cars and much better for getting used to and learning some limits. Most of the big manufacturers do something that looks like the 1000cc halo bike in a variety of engine sizes eg:

CBR1000RR, 150hp and 0-60 in 3ish seconds

CBR600RR, 120hp 0-60 still 3ish seconds

CBR500R, 46hp 0-60 5 seconds

CBR300R, 30hp 0-60 6ish seconds

Having said that my first big bike was a 750cc and the second a 900cc Fireblade so I can hardly talk.

So actually what I mean is get whatever you like, you can always make it go slower by turning the throttle less and if you are talking about brand new they will have traction control and abs and whatnot making it a little harder to fall off. Spending a year or 2 on a smaller bike will certainly help insurance costs though.

Another thing to consider is engine layout, most sportsbikes are inline 4 cylinder which tend to require lots of revs to make the power, V-twins tend to have high torque at low revs so a lot of shove of the line without having to thrash it, having some idea of use and riding style  will help you choose what will work for you.

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Do try to test ride as many as possible, I have found that the sportsbike riding position is not for me, too much weight on the wrists so I need a rest after an hour.

I ride a big moped now but if I was buying a new bike I would get a "supernaked" like the Yamaha MT series, I think they look fantastic and the more upright riding position should be more comfortable and suited to the real world, unless you are planning to spend many hours riding at 80mph+ you don't need a fairing really.

https://www.yamaha-motor.eu/gb/en/products/motorcycles/hyper-naked/mt-07/

Also Kawasaki Z650 looks quite good:

https://www.kawasaki.co.uk/en/products/Supernaked/2022/Z650/overview

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Thanks a lot for the replies, makes a lot of sense. 
 

I get what you’re saying and I think avoiding a huge 1000cc+ bike is certainly a wise move. 
 

I’ll probably avoid a real hardcore sports bike style as I want something comfy and that will take mrs JJ on the back easily sometimes too.

 

Are bikes the same as cars in terms of certain brands tend to have reliability issues and whatnot? I know there are a lot of cheaper Chinese brands in bikes but I’m aiming that question more at the bigger brands. 
 

After a fair bit of scouting round at styles, I really like something like the Yamaha MT07, this is lovely but over budget. I’d have to find an older/higher mile example. 

 

93784018-05F9-44E5-9919-ADD88FD8F7F8.jpeg

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My experience is mostly with the Japanese brands and it's fair to say they cracked making a reliable bike in about 1978, not much to choose between them on that front.

The MT07s are fairly new so the cheapest around would be maybe £3-3.5k? There was an older model the MT-03 with a 660cc single cylinder that would be cheaper.

https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/144079538871?hash=item218bcf4ab7:g:QnIAAOSwVplhVknF

Also look at the Suzuki SV650/Gladius or Kawasaki ER-6N for similar style, both are popular first "big" bike choices and have been around a little longer so might be cheaper second hand, none of these have quite got the looks of the MT-07 though IMO.

https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/133881179033?hash=item1f2bf0ab99:g:OAUAAOSwwZBhRx6H

https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/284478444135?hash=item423c3c9267:g:N-YAAOSwE6lhP0DF

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Three of my mates have downgraded from 1000cc plus bikes and bought Kawasaki Versy's (Versii?)and all rate them highly.

Much better for a novice and you can always detune them by having the A2 restrictor fitted. I had a 600cc Bandit fitted with the kit, which could be removed in minutes(restrictive washers in the exhaust pipes) and could have sold it ten times over for some reason.

 

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3-500cc twin - doesnt matter what make as theyll all go on forever if japanese

pick one that you fit

fast enough - wont break down cheap enuff to buy consumables for

done the big bike thing and inline four thing to death - been ten years on twins now had versys cb500 nc750 - versys was 60 hp the other 2 are a2 licence friendly (ive had full licence 25 years) far faster than cars and all you mostly need unless youre @twosmoke300 :D

can always upgrade later and someone will always buy the smaller bike off you

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I'm going to assume you already have good gear - if you haven't lower your budget for a bike to allow for some decent gear

I spent more on my leathers, helmet and boots than I did on the motorcycle I was riding at the time however 35 years later I still have the same leathers - the helmet is long gone having saved my life and the boots whilst I still have them I really should throw them away as I replaced them 5 years ago

Regarding purchase bear in mine going for something from the 80's will still pack a punch but can be insured a lot cheaper than modern stuff for someone who doesn't have a lot of non claims

My current Fleet

85 GPz600R, 86 GPz1000 RX, 87 RG250 Gamma (350 YPVS heart) and 98 BMW K1200 RS

The only modern bike that really appeals to me is a Triumph Speed Triple but I'd need to get rid of the current ones to afford a decent one and I'm not sure I want to do that

 

 

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10 minutes ago, Bstardchild said:

I'm going to assume you already have good gear - if you haven't lower your budget for a bike to allow for some decent gear

Absolutely agree. I don’t have anything yet but the bike budget is separate. I’m planning on attending MCL at the NEC to try and pick up some decent priced clothing as having spent the last 4 years working it, I have seen some absolute bargains over the years and I obviously want new stuff. Helmet is a given, leathers I could cope with decent used but don’t think I fancy knowing someone else’s sweaty balls have been parked in my slacks for the sake of saving a couple of hundred quid. I’d rather buy a whole two piece leathers, boots gloves and helmet all new knowing I’ve got it and it can stay with me. 

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Just now, JJ0063 said:

Absolutely agree. I don’t have anything yet but the bike budget is separate. I’m planning on attending MCL at the NEC to try and pick up some decent priced clothing as having spent the last 4 years working it, I have seen some absolute bargains over the years and I obviously want new stuff. Helmet is a given, leathers I could cope with decent used but don’t think I fancy knowing someone else’s sweaty balls have been parked in my slacks for the sake of saving a couple of hundred quid. I’d rather buy a whole two piece leathers, boots gloves and helmet all new knowing I’ve got it and it can stay with me. 

I like old bikes (two wheel things not Mrs BC) and I don't like looking like a power ranger (never have) I have a set of two piece leathers (bib and brace and jacket) made by Stein and whilst they aren't the height of fashion - they've been down the road several times but you would never know it

1418010262_copdock2017bul0909.JPG.78727257a8f866b84c6f01605c9f0e95.JPG

Yes I wear a sam browne belt too and I ride with my headlight on dip all the time - it's fucking dangerous out there - assume everyone is trying to kill you and you won't go far wrong

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MT07's are great but physically quite small so something like a Versys 650 or Vstrom 650 would be ideal if you want to take the missus out as they have plenty of room, plus they are a nice upright riding position which helps for visibility and seeing over hedges and walls, you could also get a very nice Fazer600 for your budget or a CBF1000, don't worry about capacity as such as sometimes having a big engine is useful, especially when carrying a pillion, 3-500cc twins will feel gutless with a passenger on board and you'll have to rev them a lot to keep up with traffic which is hardly condusive to a relaxed ride.

Also have a look at NC750's they are a great first bike.

Buy what you like, not what people tell you to buy, as long as you avoid silly cramped sportsbikes with peaky engines you'll be fine.

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Sounds like you are taking the right approach getting the correct gear and everything.

I know the advice is usually to start with a smaller bike but my first proper bike was a R1150RT and I didn't have any issues with the size or weight of it.  I would argue that a more powerful bike is better in some circumstances as you can get out of potential situations quickly.  Depends on your size and insurance costs (I'm fairly tall and fairly old) but a bigger bike has some advantages.

NC750 is a good call, been looking at them recently.

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Same situation I was in about 18 months ago - I decided to get my full test done having ridden 125s on a CBT on and off over the years.  I learned on the riding school's set of very tired and battered late 90s Yamaha Diversions which, to my untrained eye, seem to be very simple bikes and were easy to ride, which I guess was the point.  I now have this, a BMW F650CS "Scarver" which I picked up for £1000 in 2019 and I like it - it's a bit unrefined and it's not quick, but it's been easy to live with, easy to ride for a noob and required no repairs other than routine servicing, tyres and a clutch lever.

1713433940_20190914_122700(1).thumb.jpg.df830788a192cbbbc08cfd60d544689e.jpg

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As a few people have mentioned, one consideration is do you actually fit on your chosen machine?

If you’re 5’ 8” then the world is your lobster. Over 6’ and it starts getting a bit awkward. I’m 6’ 5” and had a Varadero 125 while on ‘L’ plates and then went straight to a Triumph Sprint 1050 - no way was I going to fit on a 675. Most 600-ish machines are a bit too small for me, and so are some 1000s. 

Go down the local bike place and have a sit on what you like. Remember to get your feet on the pegs for a bit and make sure your ankles and knees don’t feel too tight, and your wrists aren’t taking too much weight on the bars - an SV650S that I had last year was a great little bike but every time I rode it my wrists would be sore after about 15 minutes. 

For two-up riding with a bit of comfort in your budget I’d probably be looking initially at a Suzuki 650 V-strom. Same engine as the SV, so plenty of go for a first bike (70-ish bhp I think), more upright but also a much better pillion seat. Not really prone to anything serious in the way of faults, and engine shared with the SV means parts are cheap and easy to get.

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I cant really add anything about the choice of bike that hasnt been said, and its a personal thing anyway.

Dont totally disregard bigger Chinese brand bikes as the quality has certainly improved over the last few years.

Kit though.

Really important to buy decent kit - its saved my skin on more than one occasion. Literally.
I may have metal plates in my arm & arthritis in my knee but Ive still got 100% of tissue surrounding the bones and on my face. Just google degloving injuries if you want to see the mess that can be made by wearing sub par equipment then sliding over tarmac at any speed.

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15 minutes ago, UltraWomble said:

 

Dont totally disregard bigger Chinese brand bikes as the quality has certainly improved over the last few years.

 

I'd have to disagree with this, the build quality may have improved but the resale value hasn't, if you buy something like an MT07 for £3k, put 10k miles on it and look after it it will still be worth £3k, a Chinese no-name bike will be worth about 50p, they make zero sense to buy to me.

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I think some people who own things like litre bikes or Hayabusas do tend to overdo the danger aspect with them. They tend to say things like 'it's a missile', or 'the front wheel comes up in 5th'. I think they think it makes them look more manly (it is invariably blokes who say things like this). 

My experience is that the real difference between a 600cc bike and a 1000cc bike is gearing (most big bikes have much longer gear ratios which I quite like) and often power delivery, my 955 is much torquier than my 600. But both are safe and fairly vice free to ride, neither had any unpleasant tendencies to trip up the unwary newbie even with 150hp on the bigger bike. The only slight issue, especially with things like twins or my triple is a tendency to lock the rear wheel if you drop down the gears too quickly but other than that you can ride safely in any conditions provided you aren't a maniac.  

I think the bike that suits you will depend on what you like to do when riding. I really rather miss my old CBR 600, It went quite well, but had amazingly cornering ability and could achieve impressive lean angles so that even a fat bloke like me could achieve authentically worn knee sliders. I like tootling about on its replacement but it feels nowhere near as stable when leant over. 

It's worth keeping an eye for bikes that are less desirable, I bought a very clean Speed Triple for a song in 2019, it was cheap because it had done 41,000 miles which puts people off. 

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41 minutes ago, warch said:

My experience is that the real difference between a 600cc bike and a 1000cc bike is gearing (most big bikes have much longer gear ratios which I quite like)

That does make a difference.  I had a go on a mate's 600 Bandit years ago and nearly shat myself the first time I wound the throttle open in first - it wasn't hugely powerful but low gearing and relatively little weight meant it took off a lot faster than I'd been expecting.

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12 hours ago, JJ0063 said:

After a fair bit of scouting round at styles, I really like something like the Yamaha MT07, this is lovely but over budget. I’d have to find an older/higher mile example. 

 

93784018-05F9-44E5-9919-ADD88FD8F7F8.jpeg

I think an MT 07 would be a super first bike. I prefer old bikes bought outright for various reasons, but fashionable bikes like MT 07s depreciate glacially so if you can afford the deposit and monthly repayments something like this would be worth most of what you paid for it two or three years down the line. 

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Thanks for all the replies guys, will have a proper read when I finish work.

Did have a very quick look at used leathers this morning and there are some very tempting deals on good condition used stuff.

 

What do we think to something like this? 
 

https://www.facebook.com/marketplace/item/411913267036472/
 

seems a good deal for something that doesn’t look like it’s had much use. If I got something like those with a new helmet, gloves and boots it’d free up a bit more for a bike. 

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12 minutes ago, JJ0063 said:

Thanks for all the replies guys, will have a proper read when I finish work.

Did have a very quick look at used leathers this morning and there are some very tempting deals on good condition used stuff.

 

What do we think to something like this? 
 

https://www.facebook.com/marketplace/item/411913267036472/
 

seems a good deal for something that doesn’t look like it’s had much use. If I got something like those with a new helmet, gloves and boots it’d free up a bit more for a bike. 

They are decent suits but make sure you try anything on before buying as the sizing is all over the place, nothing wrong with lightly used kit.

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20 minutes ago, Jazoli said:

They are decent suits but make sure you try anything on before buying as the sizing is all over the place, nothing wrong with lightly used kit.

Yeah will try it on of course. It’s only 15 mins from me so might go and have a gander.

The Dainese website shows a size 48 should be about right - I’m 5’10 and 13st which seems to be around a size 48

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1 hour ago, wuvvum said:

relatively little weight

This for the beginner all day long. That and centre of gravity. My first was a cb550/4 from 79. Lovely thin tyres relatively low c of g and weight. Really easy to wrestle around especially at slow/ maneuvering speeds. My last before I mislaid my bottle was an 90 zxr750. Heavier, high centre of gravity, just harder to live with unless going quick. @hairnet got it right. A nice 500 twin naked. Plenty quicker than most cars but friendly and easier to operate. Build your confidence on machines like that cos IMHO leaping straight on the scarier stuff scares people off permentantly.

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If youre under 5ft 8" (like me) the other thing you should consider aside from kerb weight is seat height. I had to get a lowered seat made for my first big bike (Kwak ER-5) and my current bike has to run a low ride height so I can (just) reach the floor.

A 500-600cc twin street/naked bike is a great first bike though, anything Japanese. I actually have had multiple twins as theyre just good all-rounders if youre not a hardcore biker.

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2 hours ago, warch said:

I think an MT 07 would be a super first bike. I prefer old bikes bought outright for various reasons, but fashionable bikes like MT 07s depreciate glacially so if you can afford the deposit and monthly repayments something like this would be worth most of what you paid for it two or three years down the line. 

If you put 1500 down you can get a brand new MT07 on PCP for £75 a month for 3 years, granted thats a total of about 5 grand to borrow the thing for 3 years but I probably spend more than £75 a month on fixing my assorted 2 wheeled heaps so you can see why people go for it.

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An unfaired bike makes more sense - you WILL drop your first bike - everybody does - you will not have to worry about broken plastic. It will also encourage maintainence and regular checks - you will not be arsing around with plastic panels.

Sitting on a bike is not as good as a test ride - if your wrists and arse are numb after 20 minutes you need to look elsewhere. I had a GSXR750 - it was like being impaled on railings - it was so bad that long rides were avoided. No good buying something that you don't want to use.

And I echo every other comment already made. As you were.......

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5 hours ago, 83C said:

As a few people have mentioned, one consideration is do you actually fit on your chosen machine?

If you’re 5’ 8” then the world is your lobster. Over 6’ and it starts getting a bit awkward. I’m 6’ 5” and had a Varadero 125 while on ‘L’ plates and then went straight to a Triumph Sprint 1050 - no way was I going to fit on a 675. Most 600-ish machines are a bit too small for me, and so are some 1000s.

I'm 5 ft 13 and I agree - I find it really hard to get comfortable on smaller bikes (regardless of capacity) in fact modern sports bikes are actually really unpleasant to ride hence why I stick with bigger old stuff!!! (Although my GPz600r is actually a little bit small for me - I probably should sell it really - but I never get round to it)

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Suzuki Bandit 600 from 2000 - 2006 cracking bikes, but also very forgiving...and they can also go seriously fast with a few changes...comfy enough to tour on..

 

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This is a good website. Find a bike you are comfortable on and put the bike details in plus your height and inside leg measurement in.

https://cycle-ergo.com/

This then give you the ability to see what other bikes offer you the same hip/knee/forward lean angle.

Don't write off older sportsbikes, as many have tte ergonomics of a more modern tourer.

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  • JJ0063 changed the title to Brand new to motorbicycling - conveyance purchased

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