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Original Article:
Three for Five: Budget Bombers

Please discuss the Motorcycle.com article Three for Five: Budget Bombers in our Motorcycle Forums below. Use the reply button to let others know your comments or feedback on the article. Constructive criticism is always appreciated, along with your thoughts and personal opinions on the bikes and products we have tested.
 

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My first real street bike was a Ninja 500. It's a great first bike especially if you're looking at getting into sportbikes. It's tame enough to learn on but still fun to ride for a newbie.
 

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Dr650se

I'm getting back into riding after a 15+ year hiatus. My weapon of choice? The DR650SE. It's very hard to beat a dual-sport on a bang-for-buck level. I'm looking forward to exploring all the roads around here--paved and unpaved!

 

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I've been through Kansas - that don't look nuttin' like the Burnin' wastes of Kansas..............

:D
 

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You just have to look around...plus, we've been getting a lot of rain this year!

Yeah, I'm in Southwest MO - we've been gettin' the same. I've ridden in the rain TWICE already this month - and it's only the 3rd! (and rode in it probably 13-15 times in June)
 

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We looked at the Ninja 500 for my wife, but the reach to the bars was way too long. The ergos really sucked. The Hyosung just doesn't seem ready for prime time, IMHO, so we didn't consider it. Too heavy for my wife anyway. The Suzuki is way too tall. Result: spent $6200 out the door (in SoCal) and got a 2007 Ninja 650r. OK, it ain't $5k, but it's damn close (when u subtract taxes and fees from the $6.2k). GREAT bike. Looks good. Injected. Modern wheels/tires. Great ergos. Fit/finish excellent. A little tall for my 5' wife, but only just. I'm breaking it in for her. I'm just a little cramped (at 6'1"), but I do love the way it handles. I'm impressed! It's a really, really nice bike, and a good choice in near-$5k players.
 

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The Toad
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Good bike

We looked at the Ninja 500 for my wife, but the reach to the bars was way too long. The ergos really sucked. The Hyosung just doesn't seem ready for prime time, IMHO, so we didn't consider it. Too heavy for my wife anyway. The Suzuki is way too tall. Result: spent $6200 out the door (in SoCal) and got a 2007 Ninja 650r. OK, it ain't $5k, but it's damn close (when u subtract taxes and fees from the $6.2k). GREAT bike. Looks good. Injected. Modern wheels/tires. Great ergos. Fit/finish excellent. A little tall for my 5' wife, but only just. I'm breaking it in for her. I'm just a little cramped (at 6'1"), but I do love the way it handles. I'm impressed! It's a really, really nice bike, and a good choice in near-$5k players.
A friend of mine bought a Ninja 650 after the GS500F she bought to learn on developed some tranny problems after about a month. After two years now she's still in love with the Ninja and feels no need to "upgrade". After riding it I agree, more is nice but the 650 Ninja is quite sufficient for any sane level of riding.
 

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A friend of mine bought a Ninja 650 after the GS500F she bought to learn on developed some tranny problems after about a month. After two years now she's still in love with the Ninja and feels no need to "upgrade". After riding it I agree, more is nice but the 650 Ninja is quite sufficient for any sane level of riding.
Seat Height is the ONE reason for not buying a 650 Ninja for my own Wife - lowering it any would require a custom shock (and being as new as it was, it was unlikely to be able to obtain one easily). But, the reach to the bars was killing her for low-speed control on her Ninja 500 (even lowered and with Gen-Mar's).

So, we settled on another Hawk, and had a custom shock built for IT (considerably cheaper than the new Ninja - and it's easier to convince oneself to upgrade suspension on a used bike than a factory-fresh one).

Probably a bit down on power - Hawk's have maybe a 3-4hp deficit on a 500 Ninja (plus the Kawi has an extended rev range), but handling is superb for a 19-year-old motorcycle. And, a Hawk is the PERFECT "starter platform" to express yourself. We never fail to get noticed whenever riding them - most think they're a Ducati or a Buell because it's so obscure.

What the Hawk lacks in modern-day "Go", it more than makes-up in character. Probably one of the few Japanese bikes that have a "Soul".
 

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The Toad
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No need to make excuses for a "lack" of horsepower with me. Some of my best and most fun times have been on bikes 35hp or less. I only need a couple of seconds on the ol' Zrex to remind myself that 100hp is freaking plenty. 60hp is way more than enough to get yourself killed in a big hurry. The horsepower snobs can go hike IMHO.
 

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Besides, I have my FZ6 commuter for an adrenaline rush. Not quite the same as a Liter bike, but plenty enough for where I live. Soon enough, I'll have the engine back from Hord for my Projekt Hawk, an' then I'll see what ~72hp in a 370lb bike feels like..........
 

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The Ninja 650s a little cramped?
You are not making me a happy camper. I sat on as SV650 and SV650s. I felt both where a little tight on leg room. I was hoping the Ninja650 would be better:(
Cramped on a 650? Maybe there are some advantages to being only 5' 7" tall! :lol:
 

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I'm with you Max. I've owned a dozen street bikes. @ 56 I decided to try a dual sport. Went with a DR. Yea the forks are sloppy, thats an easy fix. Did the jet kit, K&N & SuperTrapp. Good for 40+ hp. Lost 15 lbs. with the new exhaust. It's a wheelie monster. Looked @ the KLR but it was heavier and had a radiator. They make a multi-fuel version for the military as well. Both bikes are pretty much "bulletproof" but yhe simplicity of the DR sold me.
 
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