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These forums get a lot of questions from new riders or returning riders who want opinions as to what bike would be best. The old hands here give pretty much the same advice every time -- take a training class (the Motorcycle Safety Foundation course is a good choice, and available all over the US), get full protective gear (a full-face helmet, leathers or armored mesh jackets and pants, leather gloves, and boots that cover your ankles), and find a smaller, used bike to learn on.

That said, we're merging all the "new rider" threads into this one. Read it and learn, and if you have any questions after all of this, then fire away! And welcome to motorcycling and MO!

Sachiwilson
MO Moderator

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Hi guys,

my name is Robbie, I'm 16, so i obviously and lacking in experience with motorcycles. But I love anything with two wheels, and am going off to college next year, so I want to buy a motorcycle for commuting. Now I realize that I dont have any experience with motorcycles, other than riding dirt-bikes, and that i need to be careful picking my first bike. I think its safe to say that most of you can sympathize with my hope that i could find a "sport" bike to buy. But I'm thinking that most "sport" bikes i have looked at so far have way to much power for me at this point, not to mention that i have to fund myself seeing how my parients being good parients told me only way i could do it is if i pay for it haha.
So i am just hoping that someone could throw in some good advice as to what bike to buy and what gear to buy. Such as jacket, helmet, etc.. .
Thanks.
 

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This is an easy one. Pick up a Dual Purpose bike like the KX250 or a used Sherpa. Take the MSF safety course. Ride the DP until you are competent. You might just decide to stick with a DP. It's just as stupid to start with a rice rocket on the street is it would be to start with a CR500 on the dirt.

For gear you need a good jacket with armor pads, textile is fine. Ankle high boots, jump boots are good and cheaper than all the stuff labelled "motorcycle". Armored pants are good too, once again textile is fine. And most of all a helmet that fits. Gloves, mx gloves are fine and you already have those.
 

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This is an easy one. Pick up a Dual Purpose bike like the KX250 or a used Sherpa. Take the MSF safety course. Ride the DP until you are competent. You might just decide to stick with a DP. It's just as stupid to start with a rice rocket on the street is it would be to start with a CR500 on the dirt.

For gear you need a good jacket with armor pads, textile is fine. Ankle high boots, jump boots are good and cheaper than all the stuff labelled "motorcycle". Armored pants are good too, once again textile is fine. And most of all a helmet that fits. Gloves, mx gloves are fine and you already have those.
He's right, kid. Stay away from the idea of a sportbike until you're in your twenties (at the very least). The bike suggestion above is a good one, If you have the money another would be the Suzuki DRZ400SM. You should be able to find good used ones for right around $4000. You can get Dual Purpose fun and sticky street tires (welcome to the world of supermoto). Foot out, dirbike feeling, fun on the street. Cheap to insure, cheap to operate, great gas mileage. OR buy an India made Enfield and just go old school on people. I hear the 08 models will be fuel injected. Cost more, but I insure 4 or 5 college guys that own them. Outside of some break-in issues (that were dealer resolved) the guys seem to like them a lot.
 

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Saffaman, the old dudes are right, but then I'm an old guy, too. Do as I did, start with a dual purpose bike. Oh, but you say: "street riding for me, commuting don't-cha-know. Just change your tires - use something like Avon Distanzas...

You need some dirt time to see what bikes feel like when they slide around a bit - MUCH leass risky than learning about the vehicular dynamics on the street. Much less. And fun, too.

Dirt too far away? Still do DP with streetish tires, do the MSF or whatever and again - have fun!!
 

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If you're looking for a sport bike, keep in mind that plastic costs! Insurance costs for any bike with a fairing will be much higher than they are for naked bikes.

That said, you can find some good naked bikes that are reasonably sporting without breaking your budget. Both Kawasaki and Suzuki make 500 cc bikes that might do you well.
 

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You're going to be riding this bike on the street, and possibly on the highway. You can't really go wrong with a dual purpose bike, but I still think a street bike is a better choice. If you have very little money, get a used Ninja 250. If you have a little more, get a used Ninja 500.

And even though you've ridden dirt bikes, take the MSF course, and get some decent gear.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
thanks for the advice guys. Im still trying to figure out what my income is going to be haha. I will have to balence time to work with time I spend in practice and competing, and obviously school work. But I can see why some of you think that a duel purpose bike like the suzuki DRZ400SM would be good for me, b/c in all honesty it does everything i need it to do while still being fun (which of course is important haha). Then I, being a teen ager, still lean in favor in getting a sport bike. So I have been looking into the ninja 250 and 500 but im not sure whether or not it would be a good choice or not. If anyone has any opinion on what they would buy or what might be an apropriate bike for a person in my position im all ears.
 

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My 2c

Robbie,

It is hard to advice you on which bike would be good for you w/o knowing your skill level. Since you mentioned the dirt experience the super moto would be a natural fit.

Most of the advice given by others was really good. The best was to get some training like MSF course and some good gear (helmet jacket etc).
The MSF instructors should be able to pick up no your skill level and give you some advice as what to get for your first street ride.

As far as the advice goes you can't go wrong with Ninja 250 or 500. But if the word Ninja is enough to sent your parents to ICU look at DR400SM or some naked rides. Honda Hawk 650 would be a cool ride (the single sided swingarm adds to the cool factor). The Hawks are rare so it might not be easy to find.

When you go for the MSF class ask your instructors how would they feel about you on something like a Suzuki SV650 or the Kawasaki Versys.
Kawi is new so you'd have to cough up more Yankee Greenbacks for it, but the SV you can find real cheap if you look for it.
 

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is this a good bike possibility?

2007 Hyosung Comet GT250R
yeah, that would work. but again if you didn't take the MSF class try that first. the extra bonus of the class (besides maybe learning something) is that they should have some versatility as far as the bikes used in the class, so maybe you can try a few different ones and see if that would influence you in any way.

hope that helps.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
yeah it helps alot, thanks. I really dont know much abotu this stuff so this is great. ik it may be a stupid question but y do "plastics" make insurance more expensive?
 

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how many miles per gallon do the avg. bike get?
there (unfortunately) is no standard for the fuel efficiency for motorcycles, but the 250cc should be very fuel efficient. Results will vary based on the riding conditions.
Ninja 250 should be getting somewhere around 80 miles per gallon, so for commuting I would strongly suggest getting something along those lines. also you would be able to hook some nice bags to the Ninja 250 (if you are commuting on the bike luggage is a must have).
 

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Ninja 250 should be getting somewhere around 80 miles per gallon, so for commuting I would strongly suggest getting something along those lines. also you would be able to hook some nice bags to the Ninja 250 (if you are commuting on the bike luggage is a must have).
ok, so pretty good gas. i have a honda pilot right now, which is really good for me considering that i have to haul stuff around in my car pretty often, so i could use pilot when i needed to haul big stuff. now how much of an inconvenience is it to wear a backpack when u ride?
 

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It's not much of an inconvenience, but do NOT use a backpack to carry hard objects. If you fall on (say) books or a laptop, it's going to hurt. Carry clothing or the like - soft stuff. For hard objects, get a tank bag or panniers.
 

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80 miles per gallon for a Ninja 250 is a real stretch. 60 or less is much more realistic. But they do much better than most cars.

The Hyosung is a Korean bike. The first problem with buying one of these bikes is that there aren't many dealers. For example, there are six dealers in all of Illinois. The other problem is that the quality of these bikes (as I've read in the reviews) is not as good as other bikes. Thus, it makes more sense to buy a Japanese bike, because dealers are everywhere, and quality is high.

As far as wearing a backpack goes, during my first year of riding I wore a backpack so much of the time that it actually felt weird to ride without it. Hot summer days, though, it makes much more sense to put stuff in soft or hard bags and wear a mesh jacket, no backpack. I also always have a tank bag on the bike, which contains things like my keys, wallet, garage opener, sunglasses and such.
 

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First I would call your insurance agent and find out what rates are going to run on each machine you like. Your age is going to kill you on sport bikes. So once again the dual sport suggestion will be the most economically viable option insurance wise.

As for the backpack I agree about not carrying hard objects, you always have to keep a crash in the back of your mind. Check out Aerostich.com for everything moto related but one suggestion would be a bag like this one;

Hide-away Tail Trunk :: Tail Trunks :: Seat Bags and Tail Bags :: Packing It In :: Aerostich/RiderWearHouse Motorcycle Jackets, Suits, Clothing, & Gear that folds up under your seat till you need it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
ok, thanks guys. i think the jap bike would be a good choice, they seem to have much higher quality as far as cars go too. Well I'll have to see how it plays out. Contact my friends dad who does insurance and ask him haha. So duel sport it will be, possibly haha.
 
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