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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
DISCLAIMER: I'm not some ignorant kid looking for some hot-ride bike to stunt around on. Yes, I'm 20, which is younger then a lot of you (I'm assuming), and I know a lot of people around my age are coming on and saying 'I want an R1! Yeaahh, boyz!', but rest assured that I 1) Would never buy a bike that big, ever, 2) Wouldn't ride without having fully completed all the courses I can. I'm not afraid of the bike, per se, but I know that I can easily mess up and get seriously hurt. That said...

Alright, I'm looking into buying my first bike in the next year or so (It'll take me that long to get the money and finish all of my training courses). I prefer the look and feel of sport bikes over traditional cruisers (I've messed around, by which I mean riding around a big empty parking lot, with a Ninja 250 and a GZ250 Marauder), but I'm not going to exclude them as a choice.

Anyways, I've got a few questions for you guys:
1) Is there a noticeable difference in handling between sport bikes and cruisers? Is one type easier then the other? When I was tooling around with the two bikes, I found the Ninja a bit nicer on the corners, but the cruiser wasn't *that* much different, and was a bit nicer on the straights for me.

2) Which size of bike would you recommend to start out? Some people I've asked have recommended 250s and others 500s, for a number of reasons. I'm leaning more towards the 500, simply because I'll likely want to upgrade to one eventually, so it saves me the hassle of buying a 250, selling it, and buying a 500. Plus, I'd like to do some distance trips on one (When I graduate, I've been...well, dreaming, honestly-of a road trip back across Canada-I go to school in Windsor, but live in Whitehorse), and I don't think a 250 would fare very well on a trip like that, simply because I'd be running it really high for a long time.

3) Are there any particular brands of safety wear you'd recommend? I'm going to get the full-on set (Going from predominantly large vehicles to a barebones motorcycle, I'm taking all of the protection I can get)

4) As an addition to 2), are there any bikes you'd recommend for that range? I don't have any preference for brands, really. As for price, I'm looking up to $7000, new or used.

Aside from those, any other recommendations? Thoughts, opinions, things I should know? Any help would be much appreciated.
 

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Check out the review of the new Boss Hoss. You'll never grow out of that!

As for gear, a wife beater, doo rag, and some fingerless gloves ought to do the trick. Look out Canada!
 

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The Toad
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I prefer sportbikes to the traditional cruisers too, but I like naked standards, adventure bikes and DPs even better. You might look at some of those for starters. I would always advise against a sportbike for a first bike mainly because the seating position severely restricts your ability to use the mirrors, look over your shoulder, etc and it is the most fatiguing seating position for the vast majority of riders. The best choice for a first bike IMHO is one where you sit comfortably like you would riding a horse. Being relaxed you are more able to observe your surroundings. Plus, sitting up you are more visible.

Once you develop an adequate skill set then sell the starter bike you bought used for what you paid for it and then indulge your fancy. But I suspect you will decide to not go with a bike that is as limited as a sportbike or cruiser once you get experience on more well rounded bikes. The vast majority of riders I know who have 20+ years on bikes spend most of their riding time on other bikes than sportbikes or cruisers.

Those bikes are so yesterday anyhow.
 

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As a new rider, its nice to hear about somebody else with the brains and the foresight to be not make a jacka$$ of himself. About a month ago, a friend of a friend hadn't had his license 12 hours before he bought a 900cc stunter and did 130mph into the back of a Suburban (he was doing a wheelie and didn't notice it). Seven grand is quite a bit for a first bike - you could get a good ninja for under four, but cruisers are usually more expensive. These guys will tell you you'll drop it, so keep that in mind.

There's nothing wrong or with starting out on a 250; they'll poot along at highway speeds like a trooper.

Good luck, dude!
 

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Yesterday I was checking out a couple of VStroms at an Interstate rest stop. The guys who were riding them were raving about their versatility. Both bikes had some nice aftermarket bags and stuff. I believe the price on the 600 version is in range of a $7k budget. They did seem a little tall in the seat height department if that's an issue for you.
 

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I prefer sportbikes to the traditional cruisers too, but I like naked standards, adventure bikes and DPs even better. You might look at some of those for starters. I would always advise against a sportbike for a first bike mainly because the seating position severely restricts your ability to use the mirrors, look over your shoulder, etc and it is the most fatiguing seating position for the vast majority of riders. The best choice for a first bike IMHO is one where you sit comfortably like you would riding a horse. Being relaxed you are more able to observe your surroundings. Plus, sitting up you are more visible.

Those bikes are so yesterday anyhow.
Pony lover!
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Thanks for the more intelligent replies, those of you who posted them.

Anyways, point about the sportbike position. I didn't ride it for that long, but I could easily see it getting uncomfortable on a long ride, which is something I'd like to do some day.

Anyways, so a 250 WILL maintain a decent highway speed? Some people have said that they won't, or that you'd be running it ragged at 120-ish KPH.
 

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The Toad
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A Ninja 250....

Thanks for the more intelligent replies, those of you who posted them.

Anyways, point about the sportbike position. I didn't ride it for that long, but I could easily see it getting uncomfortable on a long ride, which is something I'd like to do some day.

Anyways, so a 250 WILL maintain a decent highway speed? Some people have said that they won't, or that you'd be running it ragged at 120-ish KPH.
.... will go over 100mph. There are people who have put thousands of trouble free miles on them. Anyhow the idea is for a new rider to start with something light and easy to ride because the real challenge is learning to survive amongst all the cars. You shouldn't be all thumbs and have a lot of attention on just trying to ride the bike because it's too heavy or might spit you off if you give it too much throttle. Motorcycle riding is serious business. A load of fun, but still a highly skilled activity. After a few months sell the small bike and get what you want. I've never had one person tell me they were sorry they started on a smaller bike. Not once.
 

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My first bike was a Ninja 250, and the motor does turn a bit fast when you're going highway speeds. The motor can handle that no problem, but I changed the rear sprocket to a 41 tooth (standard is 45) and I like that much better. The Ninja 250 was a great bike to learn on, and I still have it as it's a hoot to ride. That said, there are other bikes that would also be up to the job.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
What would you say about the Suzuki GZ250 Marauder as a starter bike, versus the Ninja 250? I've narrowed my choices down to those two (They fit my price range the best, I like both bikes and they both seem like good bikes).
 

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What would you say about the Suzuki GZ250 Marauder as a starter bike, versus the Ninja 250? I've narrowed my choices down to those two (They fit my price range the best, I like both bikes and they both seem like good bikes).
Then go with the one that will make you walk out into the garage to look at it. They're both good choices.
 

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The Ninja is a standard, with a very slight forward lean. The Marauder is a small cruiser. The Ninja has two cylinders, the Marauder is a single. The Ninja will is quicker and faster than the Marauder, and has a bigger gas tank (if you care about things like how often you have to fill up the tank). It really boils down to whether you're a cruiser kinda guy or a standard/sportbike kinda guy. Get the one you like better. For me, if I had gotten a Marauder, I would have sold it by now. The little Ninja is a keeper even though that's not my only bike. But either is decent enough to learn on, and a much better choice as a first bike than a large and/or fast bike.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Would you consider the Ninja uncomfortable for longer-distance and highway riding? I'm seriously leaning towards the Ninja at the moment, but a lot of people don't like the posture of a sportbike for distance.

Honestly, I can't really call myself one or the other right now, with my lack of experience, but I do like the look of the Ninja a lot more then the Marauder. My one concern is comfort for long distances, and that might be my deciding factor.
 

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If you're thinking of long distance and highway riding, then the Ninja is definitely better than the Marauder. Have you sat on a Ninja 250? There is nowhere as much lean as a sportbike, it really is more like a standard (mostly upright) position. I don't know what your height/weight is, but if you're going to use the bike for distance, then you need to sit on the Ninja 500 as well, and see if that suits you. It has a bit more power than the 250, but is still a good first bike. It also costs a little more, but isn't expensive, and you should be able to find one "pre-owned."
 
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