Getting your first bike can be a difficult
task. Your decision making process is hindered from the start by your excitement
over owning a two wheeled machine in the first place. So, the question
is simple. Who is going to make the big decision about what kind of bike to purchase? Your brain? Your ego? Your friends? Magazines?
Well, here we are! All these things tend to influence our decisions about
the first bike we purchase. Let’s see if we can find a sensible
compromise to satisfy all of these influences.
Ok, what can you really afford? Think about the fact that most riders move on to their second bike within two years. Think about insurance cost. Most insurance companies hit your
wallet pretty hard if the bike is over 600cc. (Depending on your age, record,
and other factors.) Does the dealer or manufacturer offer any first time buyer
You don’t want the fastest race replica
on the market if you’re driving 50 miles a day in traffic. Think about
how YOU will be using the bike. Sundays in the twisties? Commute to work? Long trips? Riding to the local hang out to look cool for the chicks?
Do’s and Don’ts
read up on the bikes your looking at. Check the web for articles.
Don’t listen to the
squid on the corner with the fur job on his GSXR. He’ll probably
tell you his first bike was a 900rr and he is saving up for the fastest whatever bike so he can slap on NoS and pull 8 second
quarters. (probably full of crap)
Do plan on taking an MSF course
or similar training. This is NOT a small fast car. Or your daddy’s ATV. It works totally different than
any other vehicle.
Don't buy a bike because it's
faster than your friends. Keep your ego in check here. Your life may depend on it.
Do find a clean used bike if you
can. Saves you cash and gets you a bike that has already lost most of its initial
value. (You’ll lose less in a year or two if you upgrade)
Don’t buy a bike that is
very heavy or expensive to fix when you drop it in the driveway. Notice how I
said WHEN not IF here. This new trend in half fared and naked bikes is
working in your favor.
Do get an experienced rider to
help you find your bike and perhaps test ride it.
Don’t believe you need a
ton of horsepower to go fast. The biggest factor on a modern bike is usually
These are a few bikes that come to mind when I think of first
Suzuki SV650 - Read any article about this bike and you’ll notice that people love it. It’s cheap, has little or no body work to break. Handles
great. (you could keep learning on this thing for the rest of your life) They've been out a couple years so there are some good used ones around. People race these things every weekend. They are NOT
Yamaha FZR600 -
This may actually be a little towards the sporty end
of things (not real comfortable) but cheap and reliable. Was the king of the
600s in 92. Yes, they have a full line of plastic parts and such
are fairly cheap for this bike.
Suzuki Katana - More comfy and less sporty but plenty of motor for a beginner. I
see them on the street all the time.
Kawasaki EX500 - Nice starter for you smaller people. (low seat height) Again lots of cheap used ones around. Handles
quite well. Get a black one and pretend your Tom Cruise in Top Gun.
Suzuki Bandit 600 - Little body work to mess up. Upright riding position gives beginners more control. Quite comfortable for longer trips. You’ll see the Suzuki
name a lot on this list. Suzuki has figured out that people need some cheap bikes
to start out on. Honda ? are you listening?
Yamaha YZF 600 - This is a great do all sportbike that can hang with the big boys.
Kind of heavy for smaller folks. Great ergos for taller riders. Nice seat for two up riding (after you have gotten some miles in.)
Used ones are around, but those bikes are hard to part from their owners.
Some have called it the poor mans VFR. Heck, I may like it better.
The Common Denominator
can make the biggest impact on how any of these bikes perform. With some practice,
you may find yourself out riding the local squids on much “faster” machines.
Spend your money on the most effective performance upgrade. YOU!