GM Inside News Forum banner
1 - 20 of 25 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
6,484 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hey all,

I am thinking of getting a small (250cc) motorcycle as a commuter. I am moving to Austin, TX to go to graduate school, and while their bus system is nice, I am just really attracted to the idea of simply riding to work - especially with a giant scooter/motorcycle parking lot in front of my building.

If someone wants to convince me to get a scooter, I am open to such discussion, but a bike seems so much more ... grown up .. cooler .. w/e

I looked at some specs on the Honda Rebel and the Suzuki GZ250 and they both seem like nice bikes. However I am COMPLETELY new to the scene, so I have not a hint of clue o anything in this segment-good brands, good values, reliable brands ...

Thanks a lot for any advice.


Igor
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
488 Posts
I highly recommend you check out a Kawasaki Ninja 250. It's a sportier looking and riding bike than the ones you listed and perfect for a beginner.

I was in the same situation as you (brand new to motorcycles, never rode before, etc.) about a month ago, and bought a used Ninja for cheap, around $2K. It's plenty fast for a beginner, handles and looks great, and gets great mileage (have seen estimates between 40-70 mpg). It's also small and lightweight, so not intimidating for a new rider like me. I think it is the best bike to learn on.

Also, welcome to Austin and from a UT grad to a new recruit, Hook'em!! \m/ :)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,181 Posts
I agree with DoomsDave. I almost bought a 250 to learn to ride a few years back and the Ninja 250 was my choice. There's a combo on off road...Kawa TDX or something like that, if your into offroading. I'll try to look it up again.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
6,484 Posts
Discussion Starter · #4 · (Edited)
I actually sort of like the cruiser/laid back bikes. I am not the kind of person that liked being bent over a gas tank ;)

The style of the Rebel or GZ250 is actually my preference.

I will look into the Ninja though - it looks like a nice bike - somehow it seems like a better value than the others - water cooled, etc - for no extra cost.

Igor
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
528 Posts
Don't know about you, but I like to ride my bike on and off road. Drive back and forth to work all week and then take it to the trails on the weekend. You might check out a dual sport bike as well. I learned to ride on a Suzuki DR-Z200 ( what all the motorcyle classes use to teach here ) and it is probably one of the best beginners bikes there is. Now I ride a DR-Z400sm and love it. I still can get over 50 MPG.

I think as long as you stay with the big 4 ( Kawasaki, Suzuki, Yamaha and Honda ) you can't really go wrong with any type of bike you get.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
488 Posts
I actually sort of like the cruiser/laid back bikes. I am not the kind of person that liked being bent over a gas tank ;)
Actually, the riding position for the Ninja is kind of a hybrid. Not as extreme and bent over as sports bike, but not laid back like a cruiser. Basically, right in the middle of the two types. It's an interesting compromise.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,286 Posts
I have considered getting a bike as well. But what I am curious about and only kinda checked out is what is the usual rule for licenses (I live in Michigan). Do you have to get something or is it only recomended, same with classes. Whenever I look the Ninja is kinda what I would consider. Another question with them is how well do they work for a longer distance aka comfort.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
6,484 Posts
Discussion Starter · #8 · (Edited)
Actually, the riding position for the Ninja is kind of a hybrid. Not as extreme and bent over as sports bike, but not laid back like a cruiser. Basically, right in the middle of the two types. It's an interesting compromise.
yeah I saw this picture on the Kawasaki website - it does not look to extreme..



but the boy-racer looks .... :( ... I have a while before I will buy anything - maybe it will grow on me :D

Now my commute (at least the first year) will be just city streets - I want an alternative to the bus should I need to stay late / get in early / get in fast, etc. I have my Mazda, but that requires finding parking / paying for garage, etc - and only gets 20mpg when driven in city-street-traffic. After the first year it might be further, but it is still Austin - 10miles is considered way out there.

Igor
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
528 Posts
I have considered getting a bike as well. But what I am curious about and only kinda checked out is what is the usual rule for licenses (I live in Michigan). Do you have to get something or is it only recomended, same with classes. Whenever I look the Ninja is kinda what I would consider. Another question with them is how well do they work for a longer distance aka comfort.
I think every state is pretty similar. Here in Montana you have to get an endorsement on your license. Meaning you go down to the dmv and take a written and driving test. Anybody can do this at any time. Although they recommend you take the "motorcycle safety class". It is a two day 8-hour long class that takes you from beginning to end. Even if you have never ridden a motorcycle before, they will teach you. It was actually kind of fun. If you do this, you don't have to take the riding test at the dmv and you also get a better insurance rate. Thats about it.

Riding a dual sport for an hour or more and you start to get monkey butt. I don't know about ninja's. Cruiser bikes are a little better comfort wise.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,039 Posts
I think every state is pretty similar. Here in Montana you have to get an endorsement on your license. Meaning you go down to the dmv and take a written and driving test. Anybody can do this at any time. Although they recommend you take the "motorcycle safety class". It is a two day 8-hour long class that takes you from beginning to end. Even if you have never ridden a motorcycle before, they will teach you. It was actually kind of fun. If you do this, you don't have to take the riding test at the dmv and you also get a better insurance rate. Thats about it.

Riding a dual sport for an hour or more and you start to get monkey butt. I don't know about ninja's. Cruiser bikes are a little better comfort wise.
:yup: I got my license this way, there's one local in San Marcos which is just south of Austin. Afterwards I bought a Suzuki Bandit 600S, which has a sport-bike look with an upright riding position.
If you don't mind looking like a ***;) there's mopeds-a-plenty here in Austin. It's popular among the college students and yuppies. Pretty much anywhere you go here in Austin, you'll be stuck in traffic of some sort...so be sure to get something comfortable. My vote is for a cruiser...Rebel 250 possibly.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
359 Posts
Both the Honda Rebel and the Suzuki GZ250 are true beginner bikes. I would actually recommend a Honda Shadow VLX 600 -- not much bigger bike, but a little more power to get you thru beginner into being an intermediate rider. But definitely buy something used, so you won't be as freaked when you drop it -- which you will do. I also recommend the http://msf-usa.org/ -- they will take you from complete Newb to licensed rider in a couple days, but are usually booked up quickly.

My first bike was an 84 Honda Nighthawk 450. It was my primary transportation for 2 years in college in NW Ontario -- used buses during the winter.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,478 Posts
I don't know much about motorcycles, but I know a guy who's been riding for 25+ years, and he said the best bike I could get if I were to start riding would be one w/ a salvage title, and invest the saved money into good leathers because I will lay the bike down. It's all a matter of when, not if.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
7,840 Posts
Both the Honda Rebel and the Suzuki GZ250 are true beginner bikes. I would actually recommend a Honda Shadow VLX 600 -- not much bigger bike, but a little more power to get you thru beginner into being an intermediate rider. But definitely buy something used, so you won't be as freaked when you drop it -- which you will do. I also recommend the http://msf-usa.org/ -- they will take you from complete Newb to licensed rider in a couple days, but are usually booked up quickly.
.
I agree, a 250 while small and light is to small, and you would soon be looking to upgrade. When I started I bought a 500 Shadow only to upgrade in 2 months to a 750 Intruder.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
822 Posts
I have been riding my whole life(got my first bike before I was in kindergarten and my first Street bike @ 16 was a 79 XS1100) and I find it hard to suggest a starter bike without knowing a bit about the person that will be starting out on it.

How old are you and how long have you been driving?
Have you any experiance riding(dirt bike as a kid or something)?
How tall are you and what is your inseam?
How much do you weigh?
Would you be happy with a bike to learn on for a year that you would most likely want to replace after that year or do you want something that you can learn on and still hold an interest in for a few years?
And please don't take this the wrong way, but it is also important to know if you are an idiot because the perfect bike for a sensible person is usually still a poor choice for an idiot. So be honest here, are you the kind of person that will go out and try some stunt you saw on TV?

No offence to the opinions that everyone else has offered, they are all good sound general purpose advice but I personaly feel that anyone picking a bike for "you" without knowing at least ^^that much info^^ about "you" is really just makeing a bit of a guess rather then a solid reccomendation.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,443 Posts
I think you are going to find that the 250 bikes are going to disappoint you in 6 months time. I've been riding since I was a little kid, and I have always found that I get disappointed when I buy something small.

The other thing is, the 250 bikes, either the Rebel or Ninja types look foolish. From 20 feet away they both look the part, but when you get up to them, and ride them, it's easy to see they just...aren't. They look and feel as cheap as they are.

I don't want to be one of those idiots that tell you to go buy a 1000cc bike, but to avoid utter disappointment, I really suggest looking at something at least 500cc or there abouts. It doesn't matter if you go sport bike or cruiser, you will be happier with a little bigger bike.

The Rebel would be...ok...for going to school, but if you have any intention of highway riding, the Rebel simply doesn't have any interest in cooperating. It MIGHT hit 70 MPH, but it will be darn near redline doing it, not to mention buzzing like a beehive in a paint shaker.

I have always had a soft spot for Honda bikes, but frankly there are much better choices than the Rebel.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
9,682 Posts
Just go ahead and get a Suzuki GSX1300R. It's a great beginner's bike.







Seriously though, GMCdriver has a good set of questions. The only other would be what's your style?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,230 Posts
I have been riding my whole life(got my first bike before I was in kindergarten and my first Street bike @ 16 was a 79 XS1100) and I find it hard to suggest a starter bike without knowing a bit about the person that will be starting out on it.

How old are you and how long have you been driving?
Have you any experiance riding(dirt bike as a kid or something)?
How tall are you and what is your inseam?
How much do you weigh?
Would you be happy with a bike to learn on for a year that you would most likely want to replace after that year or do you want something that you can learn on and still hold an interest in for a few years?
And please don't take this the wrong way, but it is also important to know if you are an idiot because the perfect bike for a sensible person is usually still a poor choice for an idiot. So be honest here, are you the kind of person that will go out and try some stunt you saw on TV?

No offence to the opinions that everyone else has offered, they are all good sound general purpose advice but I personaly feel that anyone picking a bike for "you" without knowing at least ^^that much info^^ about "you" is really just makeing a bit of a guess rather then a solid reccomendation.
All true, and good advice. Our experiences are very similar. I won't suggest any particular bike without knowing more, but will say that my next one will be a KLR 650 Kawasaki. Good in town and on the highway, and not afraid of (mild) trail riding. Very reliable, 50+mpg, lots of accessories, and not enough power to get you in trouble unless you really are an idiot. If that's the case, you can kill yourself with 100cc.

The one word of advice that I can give is this. Pretend that you are invisible to the cars on the road. Never, ever, assume that they see you without making eye contact and you should be fine. I've seen far more than my share of inexperienced riders severely injured because they assumed they had the right of way. They did have, but guess who suffered.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
6,484 Posts
Discussion Starter · #19 ·
I have been riding my whole life(got my first bike before I was in kindergarten and my first Street bike @ 16 was a 79 XS1100) and I find it hard to suggest a starter bike without knowing a bit about the person that will be starting out on it.

How old are you and how long have you been driving?
Have you any experiance riding(dirt bike as a kid or something)?
How tall are you and what is your inseam?
How much do you weigh?
Would you be happy with a bike to learn on for a year that you would most likely want to replace after that year or do you want something that you can learn on and still hold an interest in for a few years?
And please don't take this the wrong way, but it is also important to know if you are an idiot because the perfect bike for a sensible person is usually still a poor choice for an idiot. So be honest here, are you the kind of person that will go out and try some stunt you saw on TV?

No offence to the opinions that everyone else has offered, they are all good sound general purpose advice but I personaly feel that anyone picking a bike for "you" without knowing at least ^^that much info^^ about "you" is really just makeing a bit of a guess rather then a solid reccomendation.
1) I am 25, and have been driving for about 6-7 years ( a late starter ;)) I have no riding experience whatsoever - I would take the class.
2) I am 5'11" and weigh just under 200lbs - can't recall my inseam at the moment.
3) I am truly not looking for performance - I am looking for a bicycle on which I do not have to pedal - and a bike just looks nicer than a moped/scooter. I am actually THIS close to just saying "screw it" and aiming for a nice little Vespa - I truly do not have much more power aspiration than that ;) So I am reasonably confident that a small 250 would be just fine, and I really like the small-cruiser-bike looks .

I hope this answers some of your questions - I will be happy to answer more.

Igor
 
1 - 20 of 25 Posts
Top