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WTB Starter bike for new rider

ron203

Southeast Area Director
Member
My son has taken the BRC and needs a starter bike that is reasonable to purchase and (in my opinion) not overpowered. Anybody have or know someone who is trading up or getting out or ? We're in N. GA, northeast of ATL.

Thanks,
Ron
 

ron203

Southeast Area Director
Member
And budget!

btw... Wow Motorcycles in Marietta has a big selection of used, though they want $$$
Looked at WOW. They are turning into a dealer and with the current market, they’re kinda pricey.

I’d like to get something <$2500 or less and maybe <10 years old for parts availability.
 

lrbuck

MR
Member
Ron,

Ninja 300's are getting into the 2-2,500 range. No carbs, 17" tires, 480ish pounds, 4.5 gal. tank, 65 MPG, shim under bucket valves, and a slipper clutch. Just sayin.

Larry
 

ron203

Southeast Area Director
Member
Good idea. Thanks. I’ve been looking at an older Versys 650 but the idiot owner (kid) took the turn signals off it.

Tell Cindy hi for us.
 

Ranger Jim

Guest
Guest
Well, if you're considering something as big as a 650, my Versys 650 ABS could be available. 2014, ~17,000 miles, Givi tip-over bars, V33 (IIRC) panniers, Monster ADV LED aux. lights, Baldwin seat, OEM grip heaters, OEM hand guards, SW Moto centerstand, aux. fuse panel, fenda extenda, Camelon automatic chain oiler. There's probably more. I'm looking at a Royal Enfield Interceptor and need to sell one to buy one.😒 Email me and we can discuss prices.
 

ron203

Southeast Area Director
Member
Thanks, but that’s bigger than my wallet I think. Those Royal Enfields are pretty nice.
 

fastenova

Member
Member
A KLR is a great bike, especially for taller riders. I'm 6'3" and fit quite comfortably on mine with room to spare for my knees. If he wants more room and ground clearance, you can get raising links for under $100. You should be able to find one in the $3k range. They're dead simple to work on, reliable and DEFINITELY not overpowered ;) It's not the smoothest engine in the world, and isn't all that great above 65 MPH, so it's not the best option if you need to ride on the interstate much, they tend to burn a little oil when cruising at higher RPMs.

I'm actually in the middle of doing a "big bore" kit, 2.5mm oversize forged piston that's 150g lighter than stock, which should greatly improve the smoothness and give it a tiny bit more pep, plus eliminate the oil consumption issue. Only doing this because I have to ride about an hour to get to the closest real offroad riding area. Slabs all around me...
 

Merle Lowe

Member
Member
Mine would cruise at 70 with my fat butt on it so it'll work. Pretty buzzy at 7k but a real hoot on backroads. Slower than the Kawasaki and Yamaha offerings but has that funny Honda utilitarian feel; a kind of straightforwardness that encourages you to just go.
 

ursharkfuel

God got one thing wrong: Stupid should be PAINFUL!
Member
I just picked up a 2014 Ninja 300 (EX300) for a buddy who I will be training out here in Cali for $1500. It will need a chain and a pair of sprockets, but I knew that from the original owner prior to buying it. But that bike had no issue pulling my 300 lb large a$$ on the ride across town to take it to his house. It is light and powerful enough for a beginner, but manageable. So don't stray from the 250 - 300 range either. The MSF (I'm a former instructor) uses 250's in their courses for a reason.
 

ron203

Southeast Area Director
Member
I just picked up a 2014 Ninja 300 (EX300) for a buddy who I will be training out here in Cali for $1500. It will need a chain and a pair of sprockets, but I knew that from the original owner prior to buying it. But that bike had no issue pulling my 300 lb large a$$ on the ride across town to take it to his house. It is light and powerful enough for a beginner, but manageable. So don't stray from the 250 - 300 range either. The MSF (I'm a former instructor) uses 250's in their courses for a reason.
Thanks. My beginner is a tall and fairly heavy guy so it’s hard to find something that fits relatively well. Thanks again.
 

Murph

Crotch Rocket
Industry Vendor
That's a pretty good size boy,.. I'd recommend a
"Midweight" ....I'm still stuck in the 80s. I wish I still had my 82 700 Nighthawk...80HP, Shaft drive, hydraulic lifters... .... I've owned both the 250 Ninja and 250 Rebel . the Rebel was for Patty. At 4'11" and 110 lbs it worked well😏 ...I rode the Ninja quiet a bit, but to be fun( for me) I had to ride it "hard". No torque. It truly did prove out the old adage " more fun to ride a slow bike fast then a fast bike slow.". Just got rid of the Ninja last spring.
Newer bikes have a lot going for them, fuel injection, tire sizes....brakes and more HP per CC...

Let us know what you run with

Murph
 

Merle Lowe

Member
Member
Outside the budget unless you get lucky but one of the Honda CB500 series might work as well. My CB500X has a good bit more legroom compared to something like a C-10 so not as cramped as some of the 300 class "sport" bikes.
 

ron203

Southeast Area Director
Member
That's a pretty good size boy,.. I'd recommend a
"Midweight" ....I'm still stuck in the 80s. I wish I still had my 82 700 Nighthawk...80HP, Shaft drive, hydraulic lifters... .... I've owned both the 250 Ninja and 250 Rebel . the Rebel was for Patty. At 4'11" and 110 lbs it worked well😏 ...I rode the Ninja quiet a bit, but to be fun( for me) I had to ride it "hard". No torque. It truly did prove out the old adage " more fun to ride a slow bike fast then a fast bike slow.". Just got rid of the Ninja last spring.
Newer bikes have a lot going for them, fuel injection, tire sizes....brakes and more HP per CC...

Let us know what you run with

Murph
Yep, he ate well growing up. LOL I’m sort of thinking the same way. I went and looked at a 250 and it’s too small for me.

I will .
Thanks.
 

connie_rider

Member
Member
Ron, Honda has been making a 650 street for many years. I think they were introduced in 2014.
They offered the CB-650F/nekked bike style and CBR-650F sport bike style.
Same engine in both. 4 cylinder/fuel injected/ about 80+ HP.

One of them would do what your looking for, and you can pick the style based on how he fits it.
(If you can find one)

Ride safe, Ted
 

ursharkfuel

God got one thing wrong: Stupid should be PAINFUL!
Member
I'm beginning to wonder if this is perception vs. reality when it comes to displacement and rider size. Call me crazy if you like, but here is my rationale for that conclusion.

The primary market for the sub 500cc class of bikes is not for Lilliputians in Oz, it is Europe and Asia where the cost to ride 1 liter and larger bikes is far too expensive for most riders no matter how big or tall. Yes, in portions of Asia the riders tend to be small in stature, but in Europe they are just as big/tall as they are in North America and 250's (and smaller) sell to their "full size" folks just fine. Some of the impressions when it comes to ergonomics seems to imply that the sub 500cc bikes are built for midgets and children which really is not the case. I don't think any manufacturer sets out to build a machine that tiny unless it is a pocket bike or some other ridiculous model like that. The rider room on the training EX 300 we just bought was not dramatically different to my old frame than my Concours 14, the power difference is quite different to be sure. My knees were not touching my chest, nor were my elbows hitting my knees as some would like you to believe. There was a slightly forward lean and my knees were maybe an inch higher toward the tank - but it far from a cramped ride at 5' 10" and 300lb. That's not to say the sport bike riding position is for everyone, I just reject the implication that the difference between a 250 sport bike and a 1400 correlates directly to rider size. That argument would not fly with the pro class 250, 500, and larger riders at most any track in the world - they simply would say you are nuts. In those classes it is more about power and less about rider size to be sure.

So let's be honest and factual, the difference from a 250 to 300 is not arguable, nor is the difference between a 500 and a 650. Applying the same logic, the difference between the 250 and 500 really isn't an enormous chasm either, when it comes to rider size and accommodation. They are all build for an average adult rider from the start with the power on tap in each being the real difference. A big boy is a big boy no matter what adult motorcycle they are on be it a 185 Honda Rebel or HD Road Glide. But I admit the cruiser styles tend to be more stretched out by design and more accommodating to bigger folks. There are those that think a Connie is "cramped" and I think those folks need to get back on their hog and keep smoking their "magic hookah" because they are wrong. I just keep putting my bulk on a sport touring bike for now and ignore their false perceptions......LOL
 

ursharkfuel

God got one thing wrong: Stupid should be PAINFUL!
Member
And by the way, at 6'8" I don't think there is any bike that would not feel cramped, This is an exceptional size in any case that would fall outside the design parameters for any bike large or small displacement - sorry to say. I'm sure that big dude has the same issues finding shoes, pants, shirts, cars and other things. He is a big man, no doubt about it.

Come to think of it. My 2008 KLR 650 was quite tall, but once you put your feet on the pegs it felt like any other bike. Maybe that's a starting point with some accommodation addons - peg and handlebar relocation and so on.
 

ron203

Southeast Area Director
Member
Many valid points, but at 6'4" I've had a lifetime of dealing with average proportioned stuff. My jeans are 40x34" and his Levi's are sized 36x38"? Online only. Clothes, cars, everything, sized on a bell curve. I have a friend who says he's "mannequin sized" (average in all respects) and buys everything on clearance. Big/tall/short stuff, all goes quick.

I've found European and American cars generally fit best for me, Japanese/Asian the worst at least for a long time. Then the Asian mfrs realized that Americans and Europeans were sort of taller than them. I live near the Atlanta Falcons HQ. Guess what's in the player's lot? Pickups, Full Size SUVs, some supercars. I have had a Ford p/u as my ride for 35 years. Very comfy.

The biggest problen is I don't want to spend a ton on size accomodations and then in six months, un-size it. if I can help it. LOL I can find bar risers, peg lowerers, etc. for the 250 class machines. THe Vulcan 650S has a wide ergo adjustment set. It almost fits me right out of the box. I know a lady on here who's 5'1" and rides one of those. I mostly don't want to have him have to deal with working around the bike while he's learning to ride the thing. I sat on a Rebel 250 a week or so ago and the stock bars hit my knees. His legs are 4" longer than mine. It may come to changing the ergos right away. If so, it it what it is. The Ninja family 250/300/400/500 ER-6 (?) are not bad. My C-14 has peg lowering brackets and bar risers and that adds about 3.5" space to the rider position. It started at 32.5" or so tall. The 250 starts at 26.8" LOOOOWWW.....

I had my eye on a Versys 650 and it slipped away. The search continues.

Thanks for all the input guys. It helps me think through it..
 

Bud

Member
Member
My nephew is 6-4 or more. He rides a WR250 Yamaha. First bike I've been on that I couldn't touch the ground on both sides.
 

laker9142

Member
Member
I'm not recommending a KTM,,, BUT I know 2 very large guys that ride the 790/890 adv type bikes and they are quite comfortable. I rode the one and felt like a 9 year old on it.
 

ron203

Southeast Area Director
Member
The new steed has arrived.

2006 Suzuki V-Strom 650

Thanks everyone for your input, now I’ll try to get my son to a rally.
337824F9-B019-49FC-AF28-86D1E33C90BF.jpeg
 

fastenova

Member
Member
That Vstrom is a fantastic motorcycle, very capable on both gravel and tarmac! That one looks real clean. My riding buddy has a 2004 DL650 with 85K miles on it, runs great and can follow my KLR650 most places in the sticks, then when we hit pavement he'll run circles around me :)

One thing to keep an eye on is the fuel filter. OEM filter is inside the fuel tank, not super easy to change. There is a common mod to bypass the OEM filter and use an external, commonly available one. If the bike seems to lack a bit of upper RPM power, and you tend to shift <5-6K RPM because of it, then it is something to investigate as a possible cause! Lots of info online about it.

Congrats to your son (and you too!)
 
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