introduction and a question! - Kawasaki Versys Forum
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post #1 of 35 (permalink) Old 03-30-2009, 11:14 AM Thread Starter
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introduction and a question!

Hi My name is Chi and I'm a newbie to this site and motorcycling at age 44.

I had pretty much decided that I would be buying a Green 09 Versys and putting the lowering kit on it and already have an approved loan in my hand. all I have to do is go find a bike, make a deal and leave a deposit.

My MSF course is roughly 2 months away in late May and I'm totally excited. Last nite I was discussing my excitement with an older friend who told me he has a motorcycle he is willing to give me. It's an 82 Honda CB750K with a huge fairing, luggage rack and tall back rest and only 3900 miles. I know the bike needs to be either restored or freshened (maybe even visually updated). He had some work done to the bike in 2007 to get it registered and on the road after 10 years of storage, and it's sat since 2007.

should I move ahead and buy a versys or hold off? my loan is only good for 60 days.

thanks in advance,

Chi

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post #2 of 35 (permalink) Old 03-30-2009, 12:07 PM
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Chi.

The Honda is not really in the same class as the Versys. It's totally a street bike, and the technology is old.

On the other hand, the Honda is a desirable bike from the standpoint of collector type value. It would be hard for me to turn down the Honda. I would take it and put it back to original and ride it. I am a junkie for old stuff though.

Since you already have the money for the V, I would go ahead and get it, it will be a more fun bike imo.

As long as the fellow who is going to give you the Honda doesn't care, nothing wrong with having two bikes especially when one of them is an oldie but a goodie.

That's what would work for me. Regards August

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2008 Concours
2008 Versys
Restored 69 Honda Trail 90
Whizzer motorbike
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post #3 of 35 (permalink) Old 03-30-2009, 12:29 PM
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IMHO, unless you're a good shadetree mechanic, buy the V....
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post #4 of 35 (permalink) Old 03-30-2009, 01:01 PM
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Buy the V, and just get a good set of frame guards, and you'll be good to go!!

http://www.kawasakiversys.com/forums...t=frame+guards
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post #5 of 35 (permalink) Old 03-30-2009, 01:07 PM
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Absolutely buy the V, especially if you are a new rider. The bike you describe was good in it's day, but it is awkward with the fiarings and might prove more than you wanted.

'09 Versys -Green

TET'68 Survivor
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post #6 of 35 (permalink) Old 03-30-2009, 07:36 PM
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Take the Honda to a shop and find out what it takes to make it run. Carbs, manifolds, tank cleaning, lube, etc (unless you plan to do this yourself) Pick a number that you are willing to put into it to break even when you sell it. Mine is usually $1500.

I am a fan of a beater bike to make all your mistakes on. If is works for your financial equation, get the Honda, strip the extras off and ride the crap out of it for 6 months, dump it, scrape it, etc with minimal insurance, and then buy your Versys. My 2 cents.
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post #7 of 35 (permalink) Old 03-30-2009, 09:23 PM Thread Starter
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I like the idea of having a free bike (low cost after repairs), but the one thing that concerns me is I have no experience riding and would have no idea if the honda was driving correctly or not.

At least with a new and highly recommended bike like the V, I'll have a good baseline from which to bring the honda up to a useable 2nd bike. I'm not sure if I need to worry about trashing the value of a potential classic by doing my own "upgrades" but I would be doing much of the repairs myself.... including carbs, removing the dated fairing, exhaust, changing the seat and painting everything flat black.
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post #8 of 35 (permalink) Old 03-30-2009, 09:34 PM
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Chi, you say your new to motorcycling at 44. Well my friend the statistics are not on your side. Welcome aboard, but be prepared for a bumpy ride. Usually guys your age destroy a $20,000 Harley, its nice to see you aiming your sights a little closer to earth. You are taking full medical on the insurance right?

Buy a nice well abused 250cc Honda Rebel. Ride it for 6 months. Get laughed at by your friends and have cute girls turn the other way as you ride by. keep it out of the ditch and you out of the hospital. At this point if you still want to ride, sell the rebel for roughly what you paid for it (assuming you followed the no ditch rule).

I have had several friends express their interest in riding, only to realize that they didn't have the ability or didn't find the joy in doing it. Modern bikes have lots of power. A mistake at speed is harder to correct. The V is not a true rocket, but it is not a real beginner bike either.

When I first learned it was on an old junker CB750. That damned thing was heavy and I dropped it in parking lots all the time. But you know what? After I picked it up the new scratches just seasoned the old scratches. I moved up to a CB900F. Hit a crack in the pavement that I misread as a seam, and followed it down the highway at 45. Was wearing leather, a helmet and gloves. Bruises, bent handle bar, and scraped down alternator cover was the worst of it. But I did learn.

How do you plan on learning? Whats your plan for when you set the bike down. It may never happen, but its better to plan on it and have it not happen, than not plan.

Lets face it your 44 (I'm 41 so don't take it too personal). You learning something new. If you said you were learning skiing would you head to the blue run the first day, or the bunny hill with the 5 year olds? How does the double diamond look? The five year olds will laugh at you when you fall, but at least you'll be conscious when they do it.

Welcome aboard. I hope you learn to love riding as much as I do.

Steve
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post #9 of 35 (permalink) Old 03-30-2009, 11:33 PM
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Wow, you are in some kind of predicament!

If it was me... I would take the old bike. Sure, the new V would be awesome, but it's good to have something old to beat up and learn on. Something that wont make you cringe to badly when you drop it and scratch the paint. I learned the streets on an 81 honda for 1 year before I went and bought a new bike (which happened to be the V). As far as mechanically, as long as the old Honda is not too out of whack, they are easy to upkeep and maintain. I did all my own work on my 400cc honda, and I am in no way a mechanic. Just got the manual and followed the step by step difrections fr everything. If you are even slightly inclined to using basic tools, I gaurantee you can do this too.
One thing to keep in mind though is that a 750cc is still a big bike, even if it is old. Personally I would want something smaller to learn on, however given the option of free or not, I will always go with a freebie!

If you dont get the V right away, couldnt you reapply for the loan later? I mean if you can qualify now, as long as you keep up on your bills, you shold qualify again in 6 months to a year right?


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post #10 of 35 (permalink) Old 03-31-2009, 10:46 PM
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Chi - welcome to the forum. Here are a couple of thoughts.

There is no such thing as a free bike. Any bike you get for free, usually has a good reason behind it being "free", like requiring a ton of hours and loads of money in unobtainable (or at least not easily obtainable) parts that will make you be on first name basis with all the junkyard/used parts dealers in a 500 mile radius and everybody selling used parts on e-Bay. I have a friend that owns a salvage parts business. If you want to hear him rant, ask him about the guys that come in looking for parts for their "free" bikes. I'm not saying you can't get lucky and have it be only $500 in parts. But realistically, you should plan for $1500 or more if it's not running when you take over ownership. How good a mechanic are you? If the bike has to go to a shop, simply forget about it. It's going to cost you $70/hr of some guy guessing what could be wrong with the bike for hours. It adds up very quickly.

I agree with those that said a beater bike is ideal to start with, but not a big, heavy and non-running beater bike. Ideally, you'll find a cheap Ninja 250/500, Suzuki GS500 or some other relatively lightweight, short, simple to operate and maintain motorcycle that you can really learn to ride on without worrying too much about the financial consequences of dropping it. Once you master the basics of motorcycle riding, you'll be able to ride anything and the experience may give you a better indication of what type of riding you are more drawn to (as opposed to what appeals to you now from looking at pictures and imagining what it might be like).

The Versys is indeed a great bike. It could also make a reasonable learning bike, but I don't think it's the best bike to learn on, even if you are wealthy enough to not care if you trash it making noob mistakes in parking lots.

Gustavo


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post #11 of 35 (permalink) Old 04-01-2009, 07:43 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks Gustavo. These and all the other msgs have been excellent posts bringing to light some things I haven't considered.

I will get the bike towed to my house and assess the situation as soon as possible and make the decision to buy the V and fix the cb750 slowly or hold off on the V and fix and ride the cb750. (converting a touring cb750 to a pseudo cafe racer would be really neat, but likely beyond my abilities at this point)

The last time the cb750 ran was 2 years ago and the 80 yr old owner had it at a shop to get it running. He said the throttle was sticky when he drove it home and it sounds like the carbs need to be cleaned out. He says he's too old and the bike is too heavy for him now. With only 3,900 miles it's relatively new and has been garage kept all these years.

New tires and cleaning the carbs should get it running. I think I have about 45 days left on the loan to decide.

I'm not sure the cb750 is a good beginner bike but the HP is just a bit more than a V. Didn't feel very heavy but I didn't do a side by side comparison between the V and the cb750.

I'm also unsure of any saftey issues with the cb750 and not being an experienced rider makes it hard to know if I'm feeling something I shouldn't. Though I have 10 hours experience riding a honda shadow 600, that was more than 12 years ago.

Layoffs are happening at my wife's work so I want to also hold off on a purchase decision just in case bad news comes our way.

thanks all
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post #12 of 35 (permalink) Old 04-01-2009, 10:21 AM
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Ask your local dealer or shop what the labor will be for a 4-carb overhaul and setup. Don't even think of doing it yourself unless you have done it before and know how. Old four cylinder bikes that have sat around with stale gas in them can be the most frustrating things in the world to get right again. That bike is almost 30 years old, and probably qualifies for historic vehicle license plates. It's only worth about $250 to me, and that would be if I really couldn't do without it.
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post #13 of 35 (permalink) Old 04-01-2009, 10:25 AM
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Cheap advice

If you need the lowering kit to ride the V,
it will probably not be the best bike to
learn on. Don't let horsepower ratings
confuse the issue. The V is light and
will probably out perform the Honda in
every respect. Including safety.

There is some most excellent advice above.
Hopefully you hear what they are saying,
although "converting a touring cb750 to a
pseudo cafe racer" raises some flags.

Trashing a 'free' ($1500) bike would be
preferable to totaling a $7G Versys.
But maybe you'll get lucky...
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post #14 of 35 (permalink) Old 04-01-2009, 12:03 PM
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I the tank is rusted, I would give approach the whole thing with caution. Too expensive to buy or recoat. Will never be worth it.
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post #15 of 35 (permalink) Old 04-01-2009, 12:18 PM
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Not that hard or expensive to line a rusted tank. The Kreem kit is only about 40 bucks. If you follow the directions it works great. I've done 6 or so with no problems.
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post #16 of 35 (permalink) Old 04-01-2009, 12:34 PM
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What I meant by the tank was to consider it an indicator- rusty tank=fix that and new gas lines, carb fix, maybe/probably manifold boots, brake lines, reservior rebuild, tires, bearings, blah, blah, blah- $$$$, and if you are paying somebody to do the work, ouch! At some point you start to wonder if a newer (but not new) unit is more cost effective. Say some 1994 Honda Nighthawk for 2k that hasn't been sitting, it is just old. When bikes sit, they die. I stongly agree with the minimal initial investment that is running well enough to get you down the road for say, 6 months. Make your mistakes on it, then trade up.
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post #17 of 35 (permalink) Old 04-01-2009, 01:51 PM
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Once you buy a motorcycle, you want to get out and ride it. There's no fun factor in having an old bike sit in the garage because it won't start and won't run. It will be no end of aggravation to you.

I'm a big supporter of buying a used bike for your first bike but I think it should be a couple of years old - technically sound and good value. Even if you choose a Versys as your first bike, it's worth it to check the used market first.
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post #18 of 35 (permalink) Old 04-01-2009, 07:11 PM
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I think we should back up a few steps. If you are new to motorcycling, do yourself a big favor and don't get either...yet. Find a {very} cheap small dirt bike, thrash the heck out of it, learn to fall, learn how to handle slides, obstructions, etc, and when you feel comfortable that you can thread between trees, duck branches, go through sand and mud all the while learning throttle, clutch and gear control, forget the Honda and buy the Versys. IMHO......
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post #19 of 35 (permalink) Old 04-01-2009, 09:02 PM
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Redline has a point. I did learn the most in the dirt. A valid point rendered.
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post #20 of 35 (permalink) Old 04-01-2009, 09:51 PM
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+1 on what Redline said.

Started biking with the 1972 Honda CB350. Then went up straight to the BMW R1100gs.

But in between swaped with my brothers bikes:
BMW R100gs PD,Honda cB750,Kawasaki Vulcan, Zephyr, 2 KLR 650 Tengai.
(It'an advantage when you have father + 5 brothers, no sisters that ride).
Every bike has its own character which offers a new prespective.
Variety is the Spice of Life

However if you have had riden before, then for a new Versys.

Thanks.
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