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Buying a Motorcycle

Ziac45Ziac45 Registered User regular
edited March 2009 in Help / Advice Forum
So I have decided that I want to buy a motorcycle this will be my first one and I am looking more for something to ride on the road than anything else. So if anyone has any suggesttions on what types and places I can look for one it would be great. Looking for a used one and I live in western Maryland if that is any help.

Ziac45 on

Posts

  • necroSYSnecroSYS Registered User, ClubPA regular
    edited March 2009
    Do you like sport bikes (think bullet bike) or cruisers (think Harley) more?

    Have you taken a MSF Basic Rider Course?

    Do you have any experience riding other people's bikes?

    Do you have any sort of price range?

    Do you work on your own car? Would you feel comfortable doing your own bike maintenance?

    Also: How much do you weigh (gimme a 50 lb range)?

    necroSYS on
  • chamberlainchamberlain Registered User regular
    edited March 2009
    I asked this same question a few weeks ago and got some good answers.

    http://forums.penny-arcade.com/showthread.php?t=82224&highlight=motorcycle

    chamberlain on
  • Just_Bri_ThanksJust_Bri_Thanks Seething with rage from a handbasket.Registered User, ClubPA regular
    edited March 2009
    Are you strong enough to right your cycle should it fall over?

    How do you feel about things like rain?

    Just_Bri_Thanks on
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  • Ziac45Ziac45 Registered User regular
    edited March 2009
    Pretty average sized guy about 6'0 6'1 near 170-180 pounds. I used to ride a bike around on the farm when I was younger. I would not be comfortable doing my own maintenace, while my family knows a lot about cars we kind of lack on bikes. I am probably leaning more towards the sport bikes than the harley.

    I am completely comfortbable in being able to lift my own bike should it fall over and the rain doesn't bother me. Price range would have to be 4000 or under. I have not taken a basic riding course. Since no one I know currently has a motorcycle m brother having sold his a few years back.

    Ziac45 on
  • necroSYSnecroSYS Registered User, ClubPA regular
    edited March 2009
    Well, sport bikes are out of my area of expertise, so I'll defer to others in this thread as far as make and model, but you should consider going with something sub-1000ccs for your first bike.

    Like the Honda CBR600 would be a good choice in the Honda line. 600ccs may not seem like much, but when the bike only weighs 400 lbs, it's plenty for a first bike.

    I know you're looking at sub-$4000, but if you're not comfortable doing your own maintenance, you may want to consider a new bike, or a newer model (2007-), just to limit the amount of service the bike's going to need.

    Also, I really can't stress enough the importance of an MSF Basic Rider Course.

    necroSYS on
  • Ziac45Ziac45 Registered User regular
    edited March 2009
    So following some of the links in the other thread what do people think of a Ninja 250? It seems like a lot of people think its a great starter bike that will grow with me for bit and its not that bad price wise.

    Ziac45 on
  • VeritasVRVeritasVR Registered User regular
    edited March 2009
    Ziac45 wrote: »
    So following some of the links in the other thread what do people think of a Ninja 250? It seems like a lot of people think its a great starter bike that will grow with me for bit and its not that bad price wise.

    So very much yes.

    Everything you need is there. I actually just got an 05 for 2k, and it's glorious.

    VeritasVR on
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  • Nova_CNova_C I have the need The need for speedRegistered User regular
    edited March 2009
    You should try out a few bikes (Just sitting on them). I found CBRs to be ridiculously uncomfortable, but I'm a big dude, so I tend not to like bikes that put a lot of my weight on my wrists.

    I don't know how good they are performance or maintenance wise, but the Hysung 600 was a very comfortable bike.

    Nova_C on
  • NoquarNoquar Registered User regular
    edited March 2009
    A ninja 250 or 500 would be great. Heck, even a DR200 from Suzuki, or a used SV650 would be great.

    Do not get caught up in CC numbers. A Ninja 500 is a FAR, FAR different beast than a CBR600, ZX-6R, etc.

    I would personally advocate for a Ninja 500, 650, or a SV650 from Suzuki. Heck, even a KLR650 -- a dual sport.

    The ninja 250's are great, but in my own opinion if you are going to be doing a lot of highway/freeway riding I think you will be more comfortable on the 500, and you will not spend as much time buzzing near the top of your rev limiter.

    Keep a few things in mind when buying from a non dealer.

    Is it damaged? If so, ask how it was damaged. Did it just fall? Was it laid down while moving?

    Has it ever been stunted? If so, walk away immediately.
    Has it ever been on a track? If so, see above.

    Have they ever wheelied it? In my opinion, if they say yes, walk away. Popping a wheelie on a 250 or 500 is much harder on a bike than if it was a 600 inline four.

    Does it start right up and idle smoothly?
    Have they done the recommended services? These services are important for the bike, and will extend the lifetime. Not to mention that IMO servicing a bike is much more important; you do not have 3 other wheels to compensate if it hits the fan. Check tire wear, etc, blah blah, eg, on and on. You know the drill for seeing if it is mechanically sound.

    Another good thing to do would be to hit up some dealers and at least sit on a few bikes. You will want to get an idea of what is comfortable. A Ninja 250's and 500's have a more "standard" upright position rather than the down low on your wrists position of most sportbikes.

    Anyhow, good luck! Bikes are a blast, you will be hooked now.

    Noquar on
  • DakalDakal Registered User regular
    edited March 2009
    Things to check for if buying a used Motorcycle:

    Tires: Do they have cracks? are they balding? Does the rubber look old or brittle? Are there any bulges? bulges indicate the bike has been sitting for a while. Cracked tires need to be replaced as they are old and will go flat or burst.

    Gas/Fuel System: Check the gas tank for Rust!!! If the tank has rust the carburators have rust in them and you may have an entire fuel system problem right down to the cylender head. CHECK THE TANK FOR RUST!

    Electrics: Bring a multimeter if the bike is over 15 and might have had previous work on it. If there is a draw of more than 0.1 on the battery when the ignition is off and the bike is sitting, then you'll have a short somewhere and eat batteries.

    Chain and Rear Sprocket should not be too worn. Ask when they replaced the chain. There should be no rust on either.

    Check for signs that the bike has been dropped. Sides of Ferrings, Gas Tank, Mufflers, and handle bars.

    If you are really interested in an older bike and you find some of these issues be prepared to pay to have them fixed, and wait a while for it too. Older bike parts are often harder to track down. I am having problems with finding a capacitor for my FZ750 right now.

    Overall, good luck finding the right bike!

    Dakal on
  • ecco the dolphinecco the dolphin Registered User regular
    edited March 2009
    Obligatory gear post!

    Don't forget to buy gear! In an accident, the gear is the only thing between your soft skin and the harsh ground.

    Helmet, jacket, and gloves are typically considered the minimum.

    I also prefer boots and pants (perhaps slip-on pants) as well, but some people - understandably - find them inconvenient. If you're planning to do some long rides (or if you get caught in the rain a lot), I do recommend them though. Riding in rain can literally chill you to the bone if you get wet wearing normal clothes from the air rushing past you sucking away your body heat.

    If you can, be sure you try them on on a bike before you buy them. If you're at a dealers, ask to sit on a demo bike with the gear to make sure the gear is comfortable and keeps you covered when you're in your riding posture (e.g. a jacket might fit fine when you're upright, but when you're leaning forward on a sports bike, the armour padding on the shoulder might move back and dig into your shoulders, or the sleeves might pull back too far).

    ecco the dolphin on
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  • VeritasVRVeritasVR Registered User regular
    edited March 2009
    Obligatory gear post!

    Don't forget to buy gear! In an accident, the gear is the only thing between your soft skin and the harsh ground.

    Helmet, jacket, and gloves are typically considered the minimum.

    I also prefer boots and pants (perhaps slip-on pants) as well, but some people - understandably - find them inconvenient. If you're planning to do some long rides (or if you get caught in the rain a lot), I do recommend them though. Riding in rain can literally chill you to the bone if you get wet wearing normal clothes from the air rushing past you sucking away your body heat.

    If you can, be sure you try them on on a bike before you buy them. If you're at a dealers, ask to sit on a demo bike with the gear to make sure the gear is comfortable and keeps you covered when you're in your riding posture (e.g. a jacket might fit fine when you're upright, but when you're leaning forward on a sports bike, the armour padding on the shoulder might move back and dig into your shoulders, or the sleeves might pull back too far).

    See bolded. Also, the knee armor in some pants might scoot up your leg. Be prepared to spend at least $600 on good (new) gear. No questions about this one. Sure the bike might be cheap but all the extras add up quick. I have Tourmaster jacket/pants, HJC helmet, Alpinestars boots, and Rev-It gloves. Good stuff. Not high end but I'm protected and comfortable.

    Also, where's that page that tells you exactly what to look for when buying a used bike? That shit was incredibly helpful.

    VeritasVR on
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  • necroSYSnecroSYS Registered User, ClubPA regular
    edited March 2009
    Man, I'm glad I ride cruisers. I don't have to pay $600 to look like some Mighty Morphin Fancy Lad.

    necroSYS on
  • LemmingLemming Registered User regular
    edited March 2009
    If you're sliding down a road at 65 mph, it doesn't matter if you were just on a sport bike or a cruiser, you want protection. You need gear no matter what type of bike you end up getting, because if you fall off your bike, that's all the protection you have. Either get gear or don't get a bike.

    Lemming on
  • Just_Bri_ThanksJust_Bri_Thanks Seething with rage from a handbasket.Registered User, ClubPA regular
    edited March 2009
    Yes on the gear, from someone who has thumped down a road several dozen meters. Helmet helmet helmet helmet.

    It takes nine pounds of pressure per square inch to break most bones. How hard do you think you impact if you get flung off your bike?

    Also, if you ever impact that helmet, replace it even if you don't see damage. That thing is only designed to be impacted ONCE.

    Edit:

    http://www.youtube.com/results?search_type=&search_query=motorcycle+collision&aq=f

    Further edit: I am not trying to persuade you not to buy a bike, but you need to respect the machine and what it can do to you.

    Just_Bri_Thanks on
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  • necroSYSnecroSYS Registered User, ClubPA regular
    edited March 2009
    Lemming wrote: »
    If you're sliding down a road at 65 mph, it doesn't matter if you were just on a sport bike or a cruiser, you want protection. You need gear no matter what type of bike you end up getting, because if you fall off your bike, that's all the protection you have. Either get gear or don't get a bike.

    I laid my bike down at 40 MPH with some boots, khakis, gloves, cotton long-sleeved T-shirt, and helmet on.

    All I ended up with was some road rash.

    I agree that you need coverage, but you don't need to get that head-to-toe gear that I see a lot of people on street bikes wearing.

    As was already mentioned earlier, a helmet, some gloves, a jacket, and some boots are really the main things you need.

    I definitely have to shake my head at the fools on sport bikes in shorts, tanks, and flip-flops.

    necroSYS on
  • Just_Bri_ThanksJust_Bri_Thanks Seething with rage from a handbasket.Registered User, ClubPA regular
    edited March 2009
    necroSYS wrote: »
    I definitely have to shake my head at the fools on sport bikes in shorts, tanks, and flip-flops.

    Whenever I see this I can only pray that they don't take anyone else with them when they die.

    Just_Bri_Thanks on
    ...and when you are done with that; take a folding
    chair to Creation and then suplex the Void.
  • LemmingLemming Registered User regular
    edited March 2009
    So would you rather wear a jacket and pants or get horrible road rash from an accident? Road rash isn't always just a minor thing, if it's bad enough you have to go to the hospital for a long time because your flesh is ripped off your body like a cheese grater. The only thing that stops that from happening if you fall off your bike at a high enough speed is wearing full gear. Please get everything, including a jacket and pants. You can even get stuff that has padding in it, which helps protect you when you get thrown into things.

    Seriously, if you're going 60+ mph, do you really just want to be wearing a t-shirt or some shorts? It's really an awful idea.

    Lemming on
  • necroSYSnecroSYS Registered User, ClubPA regular
    edited March 2009
    necroSYS wrote: »

    I agree that you need coverage, but you don't need to get that head-to-toe gear that I see a lot of people on street bikes wearing.

    As was already mentioned earlier, a helmet, some gloves, a jacket, and some boots are really the main things you need.

    I don't think you need leather pants to ride.

    necroSYS on
  • Just_Bri_ThanksJust_Bri_Thanks Seething with rage from a handbasket.Registered User, ClubPA regular
    edited March 2009
    I wrecked wearing a jacket, jeans and a helmet. I destroyed all three, but suffered only minor abrasions and a strong dose of shock.

    You probably don't need to go crazy with the gear unless you plan to be going at a high rate of speed, but I do recommend full fingered gloves regardless. The skin on your hands is kinda important.

    Edit: Some other safety tips. If you do go down on a street move only as much as you need to to make sure you don't get run over. Do not take your helmet or gear off afterwards, leave that to the medical professionals. Yes, by all means take that ambulance ride and get some X-Rays. That concussion might not hurt until later.

    Just_Bri_Thanks on
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  • Ziac45Ziac45 Registered User regular
    edited March 2009
    I plan on avoiding the higher speeds higher traveled roads around here for awhile so when I start I am gonna get Helmet Jacket, and gloves. So I think I have settled on the Ninja 500 for the bike any tips on where to start looking to find a used one?

    Ziac45 on
  • Just_Bri_ThanksJust_Bri_Thanks Seething with rage from a handbasket.Registered User, ClubPA regular
    edited March 2009
    Local classifieds is a good start. Avoid motorcycle trader magazine, that is a cesspool of scams.

    Just_Bri_Thanks on
    ...and when you are done with that; take a folding
    chair to Creation and then suplex the Void.
  • Rotting MeatRotting Meat Registered User regular
    edited March 2009
    For gear you have the option of leather or synthetic. Arguements for both of course. If you do go synthetic most places carry Joe Rocket (at least here in Canada, I'm not sure in the States) but a comparably priced but higher quality brand is Fieldsheer which has more limited distribution.

    Rotting Meat on
  • VeritasVRVeritasVR Registered User regular
    edited March 2009
    necroSYS wrote: »
    Man, I'm glad I ride cruisers. I don't have to pay $600 to look like some Mighty Morphin Fancy Lad.

    You can get the gear that has the exposed padding and racing-style armor that makes you look like a superhero. Or you can get the same exact gear that has the same armor in a different brand/style that is quite normal looking. I mean, there's these boots and then mine. This jacket and mine. And so forth.

    All Gear All The Time. By the way, those links are to online stores that I've purchased stuff from. My recommendations, of course. I like textile (synthetic) if you're going to be riding in colder areas, because it's usually got removable liner and waterproofy goodness.

    I got my bike off Craigslist. Maybe I got lucky, but the bike was in fantastic condition and the seller was great. I agree with your choice of the Ninja 500 though. There's not a whole lot of different between the 250 and 500.

    VeritasVR on
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  • CycophantCycophant Registered User regular
    edited March 2009
    500 Ninja is a great bike to start on, I'd say. I still ride one, and I've yet to get sick of it. It's got enough power for highways and longer-distance riding, but it's not too much to handle around town for quiet drives, or for beginners.

    They shouldn't be too hard to find; they've been produced for quite a while. I'd suggest buying one that's 1994 or newer, since that was the last model change, and they made quite a few improvements. Every bike since then is the same, other than colour (and fuel tank, if you're in California).

    Also, stop by www.ex-500.com if you want some tips on what to look out for with the bike before buying, and all sorts of great tips and such from other owners.

    Oh and I'll also highly suggest checking NewEnough for gear. It's always been a LOT cheaper than anything I could pick up in person, and other than the issue of getting sizing right (which they have a great return policy for, btw) it's by far the best way to get gear, especially when you're first starting out and aren't sure what you want and how much you want to spend.

    Cycophant on
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  • Ziac45Ziac45 Registered User regular
    edited March 2009
    Alright so I found this bike on Craigslist

    http://washingtondc.craigslist.org/nva/mcy/1069362074.html

    Now just looking at the pictures there appears to be nothing jumping out at me. But Maybe I am missing something and is that a decent price for whats there?

    Also any questions I should ask the guy?

    And one more http://altoona.craigslist.org/mcy/1056105075.html

    Ziac45 on
  • Just_Bri_ThanksJust_Bri_Thanks Seething with rage from a handbasket.Registered User, ClubPA regular
    edited March 2009
    If he is serious about selling and you are serious about buying he should not object to having a mechanic give the bike a once over on your dime.

    Just_Bri_Thanks on
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  • CycophantCycophant Registered User regular
    edited March 2009
    Seems a bit high for the price, but if it's as good condition as the seller says it is, I'd say go for it.

    Use this list to help go over the bike before you buy it, or as mentioned you can get a mechanic to look at it if you're not really knowledgeable/comfortable with all the parts on a bike.

    Cycophant on
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  • necroSYSnecroSYS Registered User, ClubPA regular
    edited March 2009
    I'd definitely ask him about the tires. If it still has the factory tires, you're probably going to be looking at replacing them in the near future if he's put almost 7k miles on the bike.

    edit: on the first bike.

    necroSYS on
  • vintagegamervintagegamer Registered User regular
    edited March 2009
    Ziac45 wrote: »
    So following some of the links in the other thread what do people think of a Ninja 250? It seems like a lot of people think its a great starter bike that will grow with me for bit and its not that bad price wise.


    I think that's a good tip- I would also recommend doing one of the rider courses because they GIVE you a bike to ride on while you get your license, and it helps you to learn really quickly what kind of beginner throttle you can handle and what you can't.

    I've been riding since 1991 and love it. I just had to sell my Hayabusa (sigh) last month, but am very hopeful to get another bike in the not too distant future.

    Keep us posted.

    VG

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  • BarrakkethBarrakketh Registered User regular
    edited March 2009
    Barrakketh on
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  • Just_Bri_ThanksJust_Bri_Thanks Seething with rage from a handbasket.Registered User, ClubPA regular
    edited March 2009
    Yeah, I had that one in mind, but I didn't see it quickly.

    Just_Bri_Thanks on
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  • MarsloMarslo is, the dirty frenchmen MontrealRegistered User regular
    edited March 2009
    Zen_motorcycle.jpg

    read it

    Marslo on
  • FatsFats Corvallis, ORRegistered User regular
    edited March 2009
    While we're posting videos, this is a fine example of what to watch for:

    The vast majority of motorcycle accidents involve another vehicle violating your right of way (2/3rds, according to the HURT report -- and that study was done in the late 70's, before everyone had cell phones). A motorcycle requires more attention to see than people care to spend while they're driving, so you're invisible out there.
    I laid my bike down at 40 MPH with some boots, khakis, gloves, cotton long-sleeved T-shirt, and helmet on.

    All I ended up with was some road rash.

    On the other hand, I hit some gravel at about 15 MPH, landed shoulder first in the stuff, and it shredded a rather thick leather jacket. I'd look like a tiger attack survivor if it wasn't for that thing. I won't go anywhere without a jacket, gloves, boots (your foot bones are incredibly fragile, and prime targets for crushing) and helmet. I don't know if overpants are so important, but they do keep the rain from pooling on your crotch.

    Random fact, solid white helmets are by far the most visible.

    Fats on
  • necroSYSnecroSYS Registered User, ClubPA regular
    edited March 2009
    Yeah, believe me, I'm not holding my accident up as an "average" of any sort. I was retardedly lucky and probably should have at least broken something.

    And I agree 100% with the "jacket, gloves, boots, helmet" assessment.

    necroSYS on
  • Steve BennettSteve Bennett Registered User regular
    edited March 2009
    necroSYS wrote: »
    Man, I'm glad I ride cruisers. I don't have to pay $600 to look like some Mighty Morphin Fancy Lad.

    This post combined with your Brick Top avatar make you, sir, my hero of the day.

    I grew up in a 'biker' family, with 'biker' friends. All we ride are Harleys.

    Leather jacket, leather gloves, jeans, helmets, and boots. That is your equipment.. and you probably already have most of it.

    Knee armor won't save you from breaking your leg, and special racing gloves won't save you from breaking your finger... those are the injuries that will occur in a crash. Wear gear with realistic expectations - that it will minimize road rash... and the gear I mentioned will do just that.

    Note: Data based on accumulated info from family and friends. In more than 5 years of riding, I never had a single accident. My mother broke her leg. My father has broken his finger and dislocated a shoulder. A friend had his wife's leg amputated. Several cases of roadrash among other friends.

    Steve Bennett on
  • BarrakkethBarrakketh Registered User regular
    edited March 2009
    Leather jacket, leather gloves, jeans, helmets, and boots. That is your equipment.. and you probably already have most of it.

    A regular leather jacket won't hold up very well against asphalt (and you should be wearing a separate back protector if your jacket doesn't have one), and jeans are no substitute for leather/textile pants. I also hope none of the people in this thread are dolts that wear helmets with an open face. That's a good way to potentially lose some teeth or get a broken jaw.
    Knee armor won't save you from breaking your leg

    It's not supposed to keep you from breaking your legs. That's why it is called knee armor. There's a reason why you usually find armor in riding gear for your elbows and knees, and that is because if you're flung off your bike (or fall in lots of other sports like skateboarding, actually) they are highly likely to bear the brunt of the impact in a fall, which should not to be confused with falling with your bike if, say, you lock the rear wheel up.

    Barrakketh on
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  • CycophantCycophant Registered User regular
    edited March 2009
    Let's not turn this into yet another Cruiser vs Sportbike arguement. I think we can agree that pretty much every subset of motorcyclists have pretty strange customs and such, and leave it at that.

    But this does raise a point about why I, and I think the OP, would love a bike like the Ninja 500. It's definitely sportbike-like, but because it's got a riding position much more like a standard road bike than a sportsbike, and it's powerband is a lot more even than something like a CBR600, etc., it's a good introduction to the world of motorcycles. Of all the 500 riders I've met, I'd say half are really into sports bikes, and half seem to like riding cruisers on the side as well. It seems to be one of a few bikes that at least try to keep a foot in both camps, as it were. (though because of the fairings and high-revving engine, it does definitely fall more into the sportsbike category obviously).

    Oh, and don't read the Robert Pirsig novel expecting it to really be about motorcycles. It's more of a "life story" that occurs during a motorcycle trip, really. Still a good read...just not what you'd expect from the title.

    Cycophant on
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  • vintagegamervintagegamer Registered User regular
    edited March 2009
    Cycophant wrote: »
    Let's not turn this into yet another Cruiser vs Sportbike arguement. I think we can agree that pretty much every subset of motorcyclists have pretty strange customs and such, and leave it at that.

    I definitely don't want to get anyone riled up regarding that kind of debate, but in my time riding let me just say that I've seen squid riders exist in both categories :lol:

    There is a vid of a guy on a Harley going right off of a mountain road into a treeline, and you simply never see him again. He was trying to pass a van that wasn't going fast enough for him..

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-ZFpIpaFMlc

    vintagegamer on
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