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on vacation
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thanks for all the good info! a great read. i was really looking into a ninja 250r but am now considering something a bit larger (500cc range). is there really that much of a step up to a 600 from there? i'll be a first time rider and plan on taking the msf course and getting full gear (a given in my eyes)

minor side question: any good reason you can't/shouldn't wear sneakers while riding? (think vans) for all the courses i see boots?
There's a huge step between the 500's and the supersport 600's. The GS500 cranks out about 40hp at the wheel. The EX500 runs about 50~55hp. A new CBR600RR is running about 95~100hp at the wheel. It's a huge step, but a tolerable one. When stepping up to the bigger bikes, it's an easier thing to look at bikes like the SV650 and ER6N or even the new Suzuki 650F's. Take everything in baby steps...and I really preach that there's no reason to ever step up unless you're exceeding the limits of your current machine. I can't tell you how many people got EX500's thinking they'd ride it until they outgrew it...then never outgrew the bikes.

Don't wear sneakers while riding. Wear something that actually laces around your ankle. If it's a matter of dress code, carry your sneaks in your backpack or something.
 

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Destroyer of Turbos
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Nah my company is laid back, business casual, most people wear jeans year in and out, I prefer my Van's for day to day as they look decent and are comfortable, being an oil/gas co. boots aren't a problem!

I know this is going to sound bad but I have been looking at early model (2001-2003) GSX-R 600s. Just need to try and keep things in perspective.
 

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damn ... got a funny feeling i will live a little longer after reading this thread ... cause me and my friends are planning to get bikes early next year ... in our minds were GSX 1k/ R1/ zx1k ... But after reading all this ... F*CK !!! thx alot for all the info ...

Bad experience back in 2002 - stopped riding after that ... planned to start riding again next year !!

Hugged a pole - Ninja 250 ... not that serious but got a few ugly scars/stitches ... i was lucky only the bike hugged the pole cause i let go of the bike after loosing control and ended up in a big ass ditch ... It was a friends bike !!!

i was wearing a fullface helmet, basketball jersey, shorts and a pair of jordans at that time ... not a pretty picture after the crash (skin ripped open & i saw my own FRESH MEAT on my hips) ... wish i still have the pics ... that wasnt the scariest part though cause i knew i'll live ... the scariest thing about all this was the deep & long scrath mark left on the helmet ... if i wasnt wearing it ... i would have been smokin weed with the devil period ...

lesson learned ...
- start small ... i think it will probably go for an 2nd hand AP RS250 ... then after 2-3years ... prob. a RSV1k ... :p
- wear your gear ... i even wear a helmet when im paddling my bike around the neighborhood now ...
- Bikes are serious shit ... and im not joking when i say i have a friend who talks to himself(slowly recovering), another is on a wheelchair for life & 1 died ...
- When deciding to get a new bike ... i can just say ... stay AWAY from the dealers (asshole got me so excited to buy a GSX1k) ... luckily i read this in SF ... always get advise from other people ...


i regreted getting on that bike when i could have just walked to the store to buy a pack of killing sticks ...
 

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Destroyer of Turbos
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May as well update this with what i ended up with and learned.

I took my MSF course and passed. During the course I rode a GZ250, not a bad little bike but being 6'1" 175lbs it was just too small and uncomfortable. However I really liked the more upright seating position.

I picked up an Olympus multilayer jacket and an EXO700 Scorpion helmet. From there I started checking out bikes. Started with the Ninja 250 (too small for my frame) and a GS500 (better frame/seating position) to see how I liked them. Went to a local dealer and described what I was looking for and he mentioned they got a Ninja 650R (didn't even want to sit on it at first but liked the seating position, fuel injection, but they wanted way too much for it) in on trade recently and if I wanted to check it out. Next looked at the GSX650F (similar to the 650r but alot heavier it seemed and even more expensive than the Ninja!) GSXR600 (just had to look! but quickly realized I didn't like the stretched out posture).

Meanwhile the dealer got realistic on the Ninja 650r pricing (an 08' in Green with 1,985 miles, no signs of being dropped) and ended up picking it up out the door in the mid 3k range. Having ridden it now for a few months I really love it. The saddle is wonderful, seating position just right, the 649cc motor has good torque (can tool around in 6th and just crack open the throttle without downshifting to pass easily) and has been very forgiving for a newbie. The headlights are better than the ones on my Supra (both low and highbeams)! For highway speeds its a little buzzy around 4k rpms (fairings) but is a common problem that is easy to fix.

What I learned:

1. Make sure the bike fits you and what you are going to do with it. I ride 95% of the time in suburban stoplight-to-stoplight and the 650R is great for that. On the highway its not bad but I think I would change out the sprocket if I was going to do more of it.
2. Fuel injection is where its at. Hop on, fire up, idle for a minute or 2 and go without drama.
3. Buy the best gear you can! I cheaped on the gloves because I needed a pair for the course but now I'm looking to get decent ones. I still ride in my sneakers because it's easier to shift (for me) and move around but I have been looking into boots as I think its the right choice.
4. Beware of intersections! I'm usually the last person away from the light as I've seen way too many CARS getting nailed by redlight runners.
5. I'm a wuss because I don't ride under 40*F. Did it once (35*f morning) and then remembered I have a perfectly good car for those temps and when we have precipitation.
6. This is probably the most important - Most people who have been in major motorcycle accidents put themselves there. Speeding, drinking, stunting, screwing around, showing off have been the most common causes I have heard for accidents. They happen even when riding/driving safely but are made worse by doing what I listed above. A co-worker told me about a friend who still isn't right in the head after leaving (angrily) from his girlfriends appt and went into a fire hydrant after laying his bike down.
 

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I am thinking about starting in a 600. Under perfect weather conditions will leaving it in a rain map (mode) smooth the throttle response with less of a surprise?
 

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I am thinking about starting in a 600. Under perfect weather conditions will leaving it in a rain map (mode) smooth the throttle response with less of a surprise?
No. If you're riding a modern supersport 600 there's nothing you can do "smooth the throttle response." They're wild bikes and aren't for beginners. I really don't care how many people tell you differently. They have a lot of power that comes on all at once. The bikes that offer a rain map mode tone it down a bit, but you're still looking at 110hp at the wheels of a 350lb bike. You want perspective? Imagine your Supra having over 1000hp to the ground and a very mild flick of the wrist dumps them all out.

If you're just starting and you're just too damned manly to start on a proper 250~500 class bike, get an SV650 or a 650 Ninja and learn how to ride before you go on to become one of those asshats we like to refer to as "cautionary tales".
 

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ƒ=1/2π(√k/m)
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As an update from where I posted, I've learned so much and now preach the good word makenzie believes in too.
I sold the 636 a little later because I could never get the title for it, therefore I didn't bother trying to make it legal. Sold for what I bought it for, and didn't lose on the deal.

I assembled my own bike after that one. Early 80's GS750E. I rode it for about 2 years before my girlfriend wanted to learn. We took the MSF together and learned a lot of good practical skills.

I bought her an EX250, and she's doing very well.

Invest in good gear. Prepare for the fall, not the ride.
There are 2 types of motorcyclists:
1. The ones who have dropped their bike.
2. The ones who haven't dropped their bike yet.

I can't think of much else to say... I would definitely recommend the MSF. I would definitely recommend a 250 starting. And honestly, that Ninja 250 is so much fun to ride it's nuts. So nimble and easily maneuverable.

 

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SUPRAS FOR LIFE
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I started off with an iron 883... awesome starter bike. Very cool looking as well. :)
 
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