OH, and I just realized - I've seen one of these in Gravette, AR - but couldn't figure-out WTF it was. It's right at the size of the old VTR 250 (another bike that they still sell in the UK and AUS - and should bring to the US and Canada!), but fairings looked quite a bit like an F3 CBR600.
I was scratching my head but good. NOW I realize that it was a previous-generation CBR125 (grey-market).
A 125 is a perfectly-viable motorcycle to turn your kid loose on the street or the track. And I'm not talkin' about the freeway here - I wouldn't want any child of mine anyplace NEAR a freeway without a steel cage around them..........
There's a sort of core idea here that everyone's hitting around, so call this an open letter to the Big Four:
Especially in the US, there is a serious amount of conceptual space that is being neglected. It's time to reconsider the 250-500cc market in a big way.
We've all seen scooters become darlings of the moment again. They're chic, trendy, stylish, fab, etc. They're also about as realistic a long-distance device as a bicycle, especially when it comes to Interstates. So the market for usable, friendly, but real motorcycles as a step up has to exist.
Not too long ago, marketing a 400 sportbike was a losing proposition; there wasn't enough room in the pricing structure to allow for a reasonable differentiation from the next step up. But with 600s living at the $9000 mark, there's plenty of space for something smaller, provided one is comfortable living on a slightly thinner profit margin (in return for customer loyalty and progression).
And let's face it: A big part of the reason that no one likes the smaller bikes is, as has been amply noted above, lots of them are just old. The smaller Kawasakis, the 250 and 500 Ninjas, may be competent - but they're boring. The 250 Nighthawk is, flatly, a miserable excuse for a first bike. We as a market need better low-end products, and if someone is aspiring to reach for a larger crowd, they're going to have to take a good bold step with a serious push involving something less intimidating than the 600s.
So let's see perky 125s and usable 250s, a neo-CB350, an officially sanctioned ZXR400. Let's have the nicest people doing this again. Let's have the good cheer of a ride to work spread around, less fuel usage, more understanding.
oh oh oh.. im on my first bike and its a 125.. ofcourse.. it still doesnt run.. and i've had it for almost three months.. curse this small disconnected island i live on and the relative unavailability of obscure (sundiro roadrunner) parts.
i was getting by without my parts so far by telling myself that it would be ok because it would be ready by my bday and i could take the whole day off work and just push gas through it.. unfortunatly this morning i came to the sad realisation that there is no way in hell it will be ready for riding in 6 days and im screwed..
so plan B.. im gonna get one of those old man aluminum/nylon beach chairs and a case of Old Milwaukee in cans and sit there in the driveway on my bday drinking old mill and throwing empty beer cans at this worthless underacheiving waste of space of a bike while i plot its succession with a sexy little ninja 250 from the next island over.. man i wish we had ANY bike dealership closer then a plane ride away..
ok seriously though.. i've tried to be patient.. i dont think its reasonable to expect me to wait 3 freakin months just "looking" at my first bike will i wait eagerly for my first two wheeled motor assisted ride... well.. second.. my father took me out on his rebel when i was 2...
anyway.. i've gotten that out of my system.. all hail the 125's.. those rotten, lazy, no goo.. sorry.. hehe..
I learned on a 165cc and it was great - in 1954 - in a small town. But a 125cc beginners bike at $3500 is a waste now. First, you can buy a good used EX500 for half that. Second, it's not fast enough to be safe for even brief freeway runs.
Per the article. the bike alone will sell for about $3500 Cdn, and the entire package is $149/mo for three years. That's a total of $5364. Granted, some of that is interest, but $1500 for riding gear ought to be some primo stuff!