Zero experience Nashville, TN - Kawasaki Versys Forum
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post #1 of 27 (permalink) Old 02-14-2010, 05:33 PM Thread Starter
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Zero experience Nashville, TN

A bit of background. 22 y/o 6'1" 260lb, job + school.

I would like to buy a V right now. Now that's out of the way...
I have never ridden a motorcycle. I have a 250cc Scooter that I'm selling ASAP because it won't help me that much in my new goal of getting to the level of riding a V. From what I've gathered thus far, a new (or even used) V is not something I want to lay down a few times learning to ride.

What should I look into? I love reading and researching a LOT before I do something. Wiser ones, give me a few keywords/phrases to research. Longer replies appreciated!

I sat on a V along with 15 other bikes, and LOVED it... Loved it way more than any cruiser, 600cc superbike, and better than a couple other "standards" if you can even call a V a standard. BTW I don't like SportBike Riding Position.


Thanks!

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post #2 of 27 (permalink) Old 02-14-2010, 06:19 PM
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you might consider taking the motorcycle riders course every state has them. and good luck with your endever
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post #3 of 27 (permalink) Old 02-14-2010, 07:05 PM
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"you might consider taking the motorcycle riders course every state has them"

Absolutly, to be honest, you would be stupid not to take a beginers riding course.

I had ZERO experience as well, after my 3 day class I bought a brand new V and havent looked back.
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post #4 of 27 (permalink) Old 02-14-2010, 07:26 PM
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Iamtwon,

A riding course is essential. Riding a scooter and a V is like apples and oranges.
A MSF course (http://nm.msf-usa.org/msf/ridercourses.aspx?state=TN) will give you confidence on your new bike.

BTW I don't like SportBike Riding Position. (same here).


My V Blog:
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Ride safe,
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post #5 of 27 (permalink) Old 02-14-2010, 08:05 PM
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+10 on the above recommendations...A good companion to the MSF course would be David Hough's book " Proficient Motorcycling". Good luck

If I new what I was doing, I wouldn't still be working
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post #6 of 27 (permalink) Old 02-14-2010, 08:20 PM Thread Starter
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I will certainly take both MSF courses offered in my area. Do you think the MSF course is the best way to understand which type of bike I will need in order to learn the most efficiently (keeping cost and resale value of first bike in mind).

I would love to get on the top 10 beginner motorcycles for a spin, but that seems a bit unlikely. What would be the best alternative to doing so? My local bike shops here in Nashville, TN are a bit limited in their selection.

Big Question I guess is, assuming the V is not the ideal newb first bike, what the heck should I search craigslist for in a 200 mile radius?

Elaboration on sportbikes: I'm extremely intrigued by them, but I feel I'd be deathly afraid of that position. So I guess I wouldn't cross out a Ninja 250 if it were recommended by some V riders (seems to be my style of people here after using the search feature quite extensively.)

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post #7 of 27 (permalink) Old 02-14-2010, 08:40 PM
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In addition to the riding courses, I think you might want to build your way up to 650cc displacement. Consider starting with a starter motorcycle. I owned dirt bikes when I was young, then stayed away from motorcycles for years (raising a family and working on my cars instead) save the occasionally jaunt on my friend's sport bikes. When I decided to try again, I bought a old used (but in good condition) dual sport, an XL350R to be exact. Enough power to keep pace with surface street traffic but very light at about 280 lbs. Plus it was just fun to ride on some of the trails around here, which also helps hone your balance.

I bet you could find something on Craigslist, like a Kawasaki KLR250 or a Yamaha XT225. Or if you specifically want a street bike some have gone with a Rebel to learn as they are very easy to ride and have a low center of gravity. Other ideas are: Ninja 250, Honda Nighhawk 250 or 450. And if you take care of it, you could sell it in a year probably for what you paid.

Good luck.
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post #8 of 27 (permalink) Old 02-14-2010, 08:43 PM Thread Starter
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Excellent!

Thank you. I have something to keep me busy for a while!
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post #9 of 27 (permalink) Old 02-14-2010, 09:11 PM
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At 6'10" and 260#, I don't think the likes of a Yamaha XT225 is gonna fit the bill. And same with the Rebel, my wife has one and I'm only 5"8" and feel very cramped on the thing. While these are great starter bikes I don't think they are gonna work for you.

Talking Dual Sports - maybe Suzuki DRZ 400, very mild mannered and easy to ride. And there are tons around.

But I don't see the V as not being a decent first bike for someone who has taken the MSF course. I think it's very easy to ride and isn't scary fast. Power delivery is smooth and predictable.
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post #10 of 27 (permalink) Old 02-14-2010, 09:11 PM
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Taking the course and reading Hough's book are extremely good ideas. Now, this was my course of action. I am in my 50's and never thought I would ride a cycle. Now I do. I took the course on what would probably be considered a dual sport bike - sat about like the V. (dealer supplied the bikes for the course offered there.) Then I went out and drove two bikes. The first was a used VStrom (1000CC) NICE bike , comfy, and tons of power - at least I thought so. Then drove an 08 V being sold by a v salesman - he wanted the new green one. Liked the V a lot. Not as heavy but a bit taller than the strom. Bought the V. I have laid it down 3 times. All at stop signs. ( Geez I hate potholes that you don't see till you stop and put your foot down!!!!) One was early on and there was a lot of small gravel etc at the stop sign left over from winter. I love riding this bike, and am planning several small trips for the coming summer. Depending on how things go, I may try riding back roads all the way to Florida in the fall. I do wear all the gear all the time.
Driving fast and furious is not an option for me. I want to survive and that is a tough thing to get thru to young adults etc. If you can keep from using too much throttle and take what you learn at a safety course to heart, you will be fine on the V.
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post #11 of 27 (permalink) Old 02-14-2010, 09:32 PM
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One thing I think the others missed is that all the scooters that I am aware of have automatic transmissions. Almost all motorcycles have manual transmissions and that can be very intimidating to a beginner. If you don’t know how to drive a stick shift try to borrow some ones car to learn on. This will give you a big heads up and a lot more confidence.
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post #12 of 27 (permalink) Old 02-14-2010, 09:34 PM
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How about a suzuki gs 500?
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post #13 of 27 (permalink) Old 02-14-2010, 10:11 PM
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Iam, don't discount your experience riding your scooter. Some of your biggest challenges are presented by automobiles. If you can survive those on a scooter you are further ahead than you think. One book I would consider a MUST is David Hough's book PROFICIENT MOTORCYCLING. (the first book, not the one with "more" in the title). It's available on Amazon for $17.00 . It will give you a lifetime of things to think about including bike selection. The Versys is a great first bike for someone your size. This bike is EASY to ride. A tall ten year old could ride it. You may want a change someday but you won't outgrow the V. It's reliable with low maintenance costs.
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post #14 of 27 (permalink) Old 02-15-2010, 09:26 AM
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I think a riding course would be a great idea. I didn't take one, but I would never discourage it as a good idea. As for a starter bike, the right choice can differ from person to person. The V was great for me. I'm 5'10" and am very comfortable on it in it's stock form. I think it depends on your attitude. Me? I was 32, married with 3 kids. The youngest at only 4 months old. I was absolutely, 100% done with the "stupid fast" part of my life. If I had become interested in riding at 22 and gotten myself a bike this size, I probably wouldn't be here today. To me, the fact that you're a 22 year old who's looking at a Versys, instead of a rocket of some sort, says you're a little more mature than I was at 22. You know yourself. If you like to beat the other cars off the line at a red light......The V's not a good starter. If you feel the need to catch up to cars bacause you think you're faster....The V's not a good starter. If you like to drive yourself home after havin a few to drink....You should probably stay away from bikes in general...and cars for that matter. The V can be a good starter, but NOT for everyone.

Sarcasm is a privilege.......not a right.

08 Versys....1st bike and love it!
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post #15 of 27 (permalink) Old 02-15-2010, 09:34 AM
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I definitely don't think the Versys is too much for a beginner as far as power goes. We're talking about a 60hp bike here, with really linear power delivery.

Kids come onto the sportbike forums all the time and announce to everyone they're going to be buying 1000cc sportbikes for their first. Bad idea. You're talking 160hp in a 400lb package.

This is a completely different animal though. An accidental throttle input isn't going to wheelie the bike or slide the rear exiting a corner. And its not like a sportbike where it has a rocket-powered powerband on top. The Versys is a really easy bike to ride.

The biggest issue with the V for a new rider is the height. You may be tall enough to touch the ground, but the center of gravity is still pretty high on it compared to other bikes. Still though, I think you'd be fine. I know shorter people who have to tip-toe on almost any bike they ride anyways.

Just know, statistically, most people are going to drop their first bike (at least a tip-over). Just keep that in mind if you're buying new off the dealer showroom. At least the V doesn't have full fairings or anything that are expensive to replace.

+100 on the MSF course. Its absolutely insane not to take it.

Current: 2008 Ducati 1098, 2009 Kawasaki Versys, 2009 Triumph Street Triple, 2006 Mazda MX-5

Previous: 04 GSXR600, 03 CBR600RR, 00 R6, 08 Ninja 250R, 05 Ninja 250R
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post #16 of 27 (permalink) Old 02-15-2010, 09:43 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by iamtwon View Post
Big Question I guess is, assuming the V is not the ideal newb first bike, what the heck should I search craigslist for in a 200 mile radius?
Great question.

Suzuki SV650 and SV650S - 650cc v-twin, the S-version has the front/headlight fairing and low clip-on handlebars like a sportbike. The non-S version has more upright bars and no fairing. Very cheap to run and maintain, there's a zillion of them out there, parts are cheap. One of the most popular bikes at the track for those reasons.

Suzuki Gladius - Suzuki recently canned the non-S SV650 and replaced it with this. Supposed to be styled more like a Ducati Monster. Still pretty new, so may not be able to find them used so easy.

Kawasaki Ninja 650R or ER-6N - same engine and chassis as the versys, 650cc inline-twin. Still get the upright bars, lower seat height, and possibly more readily available in the used market (especially the ninja)

Suzuki GS500 and GS500F - also pretty cheap on the used market. The F model denotes fairings.

Yamaha FZ6 - still an upright riding position, but its got a higher-strung 600cc inline-4 sportbike engine. Its the down-tuned version of the R6 engine.

Current: 2008 Ducati 1098, 2009 Kawasaki Versys, 2009 Triumph Street Triple, 2006 Mazda MX-5

Previous: 04 GSXR600, 03 CBR600RR, 00 R6, 08 Ninja 250R, 05 Ninja 250R
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post #17 of 27 (permalink) Old 02-15-2010, 10:01 AM
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I haven't being riding long, but I did follow a riders course AND I think it's an absolute must
I even took a second one only a few month after the first one (different approach) and still learned something new

And I will take it again this year becaus I've changed bike ... It gives great confidence

On an other subject, the first bike I bought was a DS bike, and I don't think that it's the best bike to start with (but I haven't lay it down so far)

I would recomended a bike that's very popular in riding school, cheap, a wee bit on the heavy side, but not to far from the ground, simple enough to fix yourself, decent riding position (maybe a bit cramp for a 6'1", but I did my course on one of them and I'm 6'2" and a bit heavier than you are) and you won't mind if you drop it, even if you dropped it ten times, you still will not mind at all

Honda NightHawk 450

Then, when you're going to be more at ease with riding a bike, you can get a brand new bike that you will be less likely to lay down (altough ...)

And as blipco said, you already know how to hang around in traffic (scooter experience) so that already a lot !!!


Anyway
That's my two cent

Ciao and keep us up

LOP
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post #18 of 27 (permalink) Old 02-16-2010, 01:33 AM Thread Starter
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Wow, thanks a lot for all the input. I just found out I'll be getting a nice chunk from the gov't (did my taxes today) so I may be a bit closer to deciding on a bike. I'll probably take it slow and wait on a sweet deal I can't pass up.

It's funny, the above suggestions are some of the bikes that I was pointed to (by the salesman) when I told him how disgusted I was with the peg position on a CBR600RR. It's good to hear

Hopefully I can document my journey with a few Vlogs soon when it quits freakin snowing here in TN.

Thanks again for the suggestions, this is an excellent community!
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post #19 of 27 (permalink) Old 03-04-2010, 04:07 PM Thread Starter
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I've been seeing quite a few 700cc range cruisers for fairly cheap (2 grand range) and quite a few ninja 250's and a ninja 500 that's catching my eye. I want something I can become a better rider on. I love the V, but I can't bring myself to buy it until I feel more comfortable. So this question I would say is....

What should I be spending my 1.5 - 3 Grand on? What do you think about the ninja 500?

http://nashville.craigslist.org/mcy/1628710787.html
http://nashville.craigslist.org/mcy/1625984071.html
http://nashville.craigslist.org/mcy/1624642664.html
http://nashville.craigslist.org/mcy/1611658395.html

This fits my two most important needs at the moment.
Not care if I drop.
and
Not break the bank 3 grand first bike limit.

Let me know your thoughts fellas.
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post #20 of 27 (permalink) Old 03-04-2010, 05:41 PM
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Get an insurance quote from a few different companies for the bikes you are interested in - BEFORE you buy. There is quite a bit of variance between bikes and companies, and the answer you receive from this inquiry may make your final decision for you.

Of course, if you buy a salvage title bike and only get the state required mins, and teh total is pretty cheap, then the above doesn't really apply.

Have fun!
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