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First post!

If I were you, I'd start shopping insurance hard. There is a huge variation in rates from company to company. Progressive bills themselves as this big motorcycle insurance company, but every time I've gotten a quote from them it has been literally freaking astronomical. Markel has been pretty cheap for me (http://www.bike-line.com). Good luck!
 

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Purchase the book 'Street Strategies', by David L. Hough, available at Amazon.com, it is relatively-short, has two page chapters, and it will probably save your life. It shows you how to avoid becoming a statistic when riding the street. It begins, where the MSF course leaves off. I will be buying a Ninja 650 R for my girlfried shortly, so I think you made a wise decision. Enjoy!
 

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First bike. Used

>>I know I should really get a used bike.

I know its hard to imagine buying a used bike when you just start out riding, but its the smartest choice you mentioned in your paragraph.

Everyone wants a bike they can be proud to own but for a newbie with no experience your best bet is a cheap ugly bike that you wont feel to bad about dropping it while turning around in a sandy or oily parking spot. Dropping your first bike in the first 1000 miles is common. Most of the time it happens in STUPID situations. You learn not to be stupid and then get a bike that you can treat better than your first bike.

The Ninja 250 used is the best deal in motorcycling. You can find them for 1/2 the price of new and then sell it after 6 months of ownership for the same money if you don't crash it.
 

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Hate to keep beating the dead (buried and decomposed...) horse, but a new bike just isn't necessary. For the price of insurance (I've never heard of a finance deal that doesn't require full coverage) you can outright purchase a very nice used bike. I've been riding 7 years now (not long compared to many here), owned 3 bikes, and none of them were purchased new. I bought my first bike from a dealer, learned to ride on it, then sold it the next spring FOR A PROFIT!!!



People change bikes all the time. You may think that whatever you buy now will last you forever, but you are going to want something new/different in a few years. Truth is, you have no idea what kind of bike you want to ride now since you've never ridden anything before.



I have an SV650 ('01 naked model) and love it. Personally, I like the look of the naked more than the faired and the riding position is not as racy (bars instead of clipons and lower footpegs) This is a cheap bike to buy and own, looks awesome (I've gone riding with friends on Moto Guzzi's, Ducati's, etc. and I kid you not, people have looked at my bike in that crowd and said it's the one they want - I nearly fell over laughing).



You can find one of these relatively inexpensively, and it is not a "starter bike" by any means. Which brings me to the next point. The SV (or 650R for that matter) have more than enough power to flip themselves over as a friend of mine proved when he looped mine in a parking lot learning to ride. No matter what bike you get, or how careful you think you are, you can easily crash. You will not necessarily crash the first year - or ever - but the odds are not in your favor. Get something you like, but can use as a tool to learn on. If it's already a little scratched, all the better.



My first bike was a Yamaha Seca II, a 650 cc aircooled inline 4. It looks very nice (in my opinion), is simple to maintain, not too much power, but handles well. These are pretty easy to find and sell again later if you want. It's not too small so you wont' feel silly on top of it.



Good luck whatever you decide.
 

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I wouldn't narrow my choices to what they have sitting on the floor. Dealers will try to panic you into a decision based on what they already have. Get what YOU want. Call, drive, surf... what ever it takes to get your dream bike.



Take a breath and take a look around... it's still only May.



Good Luck!
 

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Read, and read some more

Go buy Twist of The Wrist 1 and 2.

There is a lot of good info in there about riding bikes and you will want every bit of it to help you ride better.

Take a look around these web sites as well. lot's of good articles on Counter-Steering your motorcycle that at first seem backwards. That's right at speeds higher then the parking lot you steer your motorcycle backwards.

See article at http://www.motorcycle.com/mo/mcnews/safe2.html
 

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You'll get over that fear of the tarmac all too soon, which is what makes riding dangerous. With 50 miles under your belt it will start to wear off.

Many of us started on dirt bikes or dual sports. I understand not liking the looks of them, and you've made up your mind. But sometime in your riding career give them a try, you'll be amazed how much fun it is.

You'll pass the MSF class, if you pay attention and are reasonably confident. There will be others in the class with less confidence and athleticism who will struggle more.

Good luck, ride safe.
 

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If you absolutely must buy new, the 650R is a good choice. While it's got plenty of power (for a newer rider), from what everyone seems to be saying, it's quite friendly and forgiving--even more so than the SV650.



An EX500 (Ninja) or a Suzuki GS500 are always good choices, too. You can get them used and they'll be cheaper to own and insure.



I would never discourage starting on a 250, but I'm one of those people who would restrict its use to around town and slower roads. I just don't think it's suited to fast roads. Sure, it can get up to 80mph, but I wouldn't want to ride it there for too long and it just can't accellerate fast enough to escape the danger on highways.



I must agree that buying used the first time out (in fact, maybe all the time) is probably the better way to go. Like someone already said, check around for insurance quotes. The rates can vary quite significantly.



Oh, and the MSF class is designed for people with little to no riding experienence. It doesn't mean you're certain to pass (after all, what would be the point then?), but it made for people like you. In the meantime, get a head start and read a few good books on riding techniques.
 

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He also wrote "Proficient Motorcycle Riding" and "More proficient Motorcycle Riding" both of which are good reads as well. Sort of compilations from his articles that he wrote but still very good reads if somewhat disjointed.
 

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There were 10 people in my class. One 5' tall very unconfident 18 year old girl dropped out on the first day after being afraid to make the bike move under its own power; they basically kicked her out after continually advising her she must move the bike. Her boyfriend also dropped out because he was pu$$y whipped and couldn't let her leave alone. 7 of the remaining 8 passed, the one woman who failed failed purely because she couldn't physically learn the skills fast enough. You'll pass.
 

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Danger Will Robinson

Uhh, the insurance issue is raising a REAL red flag...

a: Get the Ninja 250. If you are questioning insurance, you can't afford to ride. You shouldn't spend more than $3500, perhaps $3600 Out the Door on a brand new, 2006 Ninja 250.

From the sound of things, money is a real concern, so go cheap. You can sell it in +1 year for $2500 without much effort, or just keep it as a track bike.

b: GET HEALTH INSURANCE. High limit/high deductible is fine, but you MUST have health insurance before you consider riding a motorcycle.

c: CARRY UNINSURED MOTORIST COVERAGE. At least $100k UI medical. Most SERIOUS motorcycle+car accidents are the fault of the car, these are where you have a lot of injuries, and even if the car driver HAS insurance, it may definatly not be enough.
 

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Also, take the MSF course FIRST...

Before you buy the bike, the gear, the *****, take the MSF course first.

Its not that hard (when I took it, the group of 12 was 100% pass. My GF's class was 11/12 pass, and the one that pass really shouldn't have been on a bike).

But you need to understand if you really want to ride a bike, and the MSF course is great for that.
 

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In response to the "Whereas new, Kawi doesn't make you carry anything." comment, I have to say...Don't be Stupid!!! The reason you don't have to carry any insurance is that they are offering you revolving credit rather than a loan. This is basically like giving you a credit card that you can charge the bike to, but the bike is not collateral. The problem: What if you total the bike, or it gets stolen? Now you still owe several thousand dollars on a credit card and can't make an insurance claim. This is the exact reason that banks and credit unions require full coverage insurance. Insurance is expensive, but if you can't afford to pay cash for a new bike, you definitely can't afford to go without full coverage insurance.
 

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"...I know I should really get a used bike, but if I end up having to finance even a little bit of it, I'll have to carry everything as far as insurace goes. Whereas new, Kawi doesn't make you carry anything..."





If you buy the Kawi 650 and then drop it at 5 mph and can't afford to fix it you can sell it to me for dirt cheap!



You'll be screwed but as an uninsured new rider on a faired bike that's inevitable... at least I can get a smokin deal on a nice bike!
 

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You sound like a bright enough fellow, and you're certainly going the extra mile to make a good decision. Problem is: A "good decision" is relative.



Get what you want, for the reason(s) you want it, and be careful. You seem pretty squared away. Enjoy!
 

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In addition to the not-so-mature insurance talk many other aspects of your dilemma scream "I am 20 years old and want to look cool!". I have just had this same conversation with my 21 year old brother. He doesn't want a used GS500 or Ninja500 because they just don't look as cool as the SV650S or ZZR600. He gave me the same pitch about Kawasaki not requiring full coverage insurance and I said the same thing to him...Don't be Stupid!.



If you don't think you will look cool riding around on a used ninja 500, I guarantee you will look like an ass with a brand new uninsured 650R that has just enough damage that you can't afford to fix it sitting in your garage while you are still making payments on it.



Consider insurance rates first and then get what you can afford. You haven't ever even ridden a bike, so how do you know what you want?!!!
 

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I mentioned days ago to call PSIC 1-800-303-5000. The bikes to consider: Used SV, Keep on the Ninja 650r (even if they're out of stock- wait), Ducati 620 monster, and, yes, the Katana. What ever you hear about the Katana remember this. They don't make a bike for 20 years if it sucks. Yes, it's heavy. What bike wasn't back then? Fact is the motor is dead reliable. Air/Oil cooled bikes are fine motors. Remember this- the Katana is the original GSX.
 
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