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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Hello all,

I am in the early stages of having a bike shop build a custom bike for me and have several questions related to this venture. I've spent the past 4 months looking at a number of bike styles and have narrowed down the look I like. I'll admit I am pretty clueless so if any of my questions appear ignorant you'll know why. :)

At 6'1 and 175lbs is a 450-650 too small? The bike shop keeps telling me to look at 750 to 1000+. As a new rider with just a 3 day beginner course at the local college under my belt their recommendation honestly scares me a bit. That seems like a lot of power. I'm a 40 year old guy who plans to ride the bike to work (30 min commute) during the warm weather and take short trips (1-2 hours) occasionally. Speed is not my thing but rather style and reliability.

The design of the bike (see similar image below) I'm having built is rather simple looking--to me, at least--as I'm a proponent of the less is more school of thought. However, I want it to be street legal. I have yet to find any information on what a bike must have in order to meet that criteria within IL.

One last item is related to tire sizes. The bike designs I lean toward have front and rear tires which are of the same size. Are there any non cosmetic reasons why this exists? And, if so, what are the pros and cons?

Thanks to all who have time to send me some pointers!



Peace,
- emag
 

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There are others here that can offer you more input , but if speed isnt your thing and your comfortable on a smaller bike, don't let anyone tell you that you need a bigger one.
I am suprised that your having a bike built as your first ride, especially if your into the style above, which you can obtain on the cheap. After some experience on a few different bikes you'd have a better idea of what features are important to you and be better able to design one you'll be happy with.
 

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emag,

Save yourself a bucket of coin, and find a late model Bonneville. Take the fenders off and you'll be real close to the bike pictured.

And you'll fit on the Bonny better, I think.
 

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Aging Cafe` Racer
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Ditto what Pushrod says, you would be foolish to shell out for a custom bike to learn on.
 

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The Toad
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It's just like a bike shop to tell someone that a 450-650 is "too small". A 250 would be better. Trust me. Any modern 400 on up can get you killed really really quickly.
 

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Just visited the site. Pretty spiffy bikes, but I'm guessing they ain't cheap.

Heiwa Bikes

And, I doubt you could get them licensed anywhere other than Japan.
 

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Totally agree!!!

It's just like a bike shop to tell someone that a 450-650 is "too small". A 250 would be better. Trust me. Any modern 400 on up can get you killed really really quickly.
It's probably because that's the only engines they have left for sale.

Listen you can't tell what kind of bike you'll really like until you ride a varity. Listen to what everyone here has said, there's alot of experience in here even if you can afford the wrong bike. Good luck and great looking bike!
 

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That's a great looking bike, and I wish I had enough room in my garage (and wallet) for a bike like that. Stick to your guns, a 450 to 600 twin is just right. It'll scare you silly once in a while, but its so much easier to handle than a 1000cc superbike. Plus the twins look cooler. If you start off with a street legal bike, keep the lights, turn signals, mirror, horn, license plate, and some kind of muffler, I think you'll be fine on the street. We all modify our bikes to one degree or another, it's fairly uncommon for cops to break out the rulers and measure how far out turn signals are, etc. Heck, if it's a pre-1973 (I think) bike, it doesn't even need turn signals. Double check which year turn signals became mandatory.
 

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And the answer is: first buy a used Ninja 500. Or Ninja 650 if you have more money to spend. Ride that a year or two and then get whatever you want (well, not really, but by that time you'll know that yourself).
 

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From an insurance perspective- DONT DO IT! Insurance companies hate insuring ASP bikes. They rate most of them as you would sport bikes. It's hard to get your bike covered and if you wreck it you will surely spend hours *****ing and moaning to the claims adjuster.
The Bonni idea is ideal. There are tons of mods available. Tons of accessories are available ad there are Triumph tuners all over that can hot-rod the motor.
Just say NO to the build.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Thank you for all the insightful comments and suggestions. Seems like a smart choice to look for a similar styled used bike as that will be better to drop than one with brand new paint. I imagine it will also prepare me to truly see what I like and don't like in a bike. I am, however, still interested in comments as they pertain to the following points. Just trying to understand more. :)

  • Is a 450 to small for me (6'1 & 175lbs)? Here's one I found this morning.
  • Why do some bikes have the same tire size? I notice a number of the military bikes do. Is there a reason? What are the pros and cons? And, am I odd for liking them. :)

Peace,
- emag
 

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Displacement alone isn't the issue. A single cylinder might not be able to drag you down the highway, but a twin or triple of I-4 of the same size might.

One of the best bikes, period, is the Suzuki SV-650. Not the 'S' version (hard on the wrists). It has great manners, looks good, a bazillion of them sold, plenty of usable power.

You should be able to find one cheap (not $1200) and be able to sell it in a year or so for about the same money.

Regarding the bike you found - An '83 is quite old, and parts availability may be a problem. I'd wait for an expert to weigh in...
 

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Is a 450 too small for you? No.

I'm assuming that with military bikes, one tire size means easier inventory maintenance. However, front tires are used for turning/handling, and back tires are used for traction.

That bike looks like an okay deal to me; it's got a recent tune-up, new tires and brakes. Parts might be an issue if it breaks down, but you're only risking $1200. If it's reliable and lasts you even just a couple of years, what's not to like?
 

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The Toad
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The military bikes are used as DPs and so they simplify things by using the same fuel as the Humvees and tanks and by using the same agressive tires on both ends.
 
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