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Just got a motorcycle license - What engine size for a first bike?
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Jneg Offline
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Post: #1
Just got a motorcycle license - What engine size for a first bike?
Title is pretty descriptive of my situation...
Just got my class 2 license, so I passed the road test and I am licensed for 5 years. What engine size is a good for a starter bike for a sport bike? 125? and for a cruiser? 400?

I don't really know anything about bikes except how to ride them. I would prefer something light and agile for going around the city on, if that helps.
04-02-2015 10:01 AM
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IvanDrago Offline
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RE: Just got a motorcycle license - What engine size for a first bike?
A Dodge Tomahawk would be a perfect starter. 8350cc V-10. Maybe add a nitrous kit for a little extra passing power.

[Image: Dodge_Tomahawk.jpg]

Seriously though, it is hard to give a recommendation without knowing your size or what you will be doing with the bike. 125 and 400 would be terrible where I live. Most women around here will run in the 600-800 range on a cruiser and men 800-1500, but I live in a less populated area with a lot of bumpy open roads. If you are just bopping back and forth in town, something smaller might do you just fine.
(This post was last modified: 04-02-2015 10:43 AM by IvanDrago.)
04-02-2015 10:25 AM
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el mechanico Offline
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RE: Just got a motorcycle license - What engine size for a first bike?
Go to the bike shop and sit on some bikes to see what's comfortable then come back and report what you found then we'll go from there.
04-02-2015 10:27 AM
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Jneg Offline
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RE: Just got a motorcycle license - What engine size for a first bike?
(04-02-2015 10:25 AM)IvanDrago Wrote:  Seriously though, it is hard to give a recommendation without knowing your size or what you will be doing with the bike. 125 and 400 would be terrible where I live. Most women around here will run in the 600-800 range on a cruiser and men 800-1500, but I live in a less populated area with a lot of bumpy open roads. If you was just bopping back and forth in town, something smaller might do you just fine.

That looks more high powered than the bat-bike

I'm 6'3 225 lbs, but I've only ridden the 150cc training bike for 2 days, so I have no experience riding other than that, which is why I'm hesitant to go for a big bike right away. Too much power to start off with and I could become a statistic within the week.

I just plan to dart around town and go on scenic jaunts to destress. May or may not try to put a woman on the back of it eventually
04-02-2015 10:30 AM
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philosophical_recovery Offline
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RE: Just got a motorcycle license - What engine size for a first bike?
Modern 250s-400s will take a full grown man and passenger to 95+ mph. Anything else just gets you there faster, for more money, with more features.

04-02-2015 10:32 AM
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IvanDrago Offline
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RE: Just got a motorcycle license - What engine size for a first bike?
(04-02-2015 10:32 AM)philosophical_recovery Wrote:  Modern 250s-400s will take a full grown man and passenger to 95+ mph. Anything else just gets you there faster, for more money, with more features.

A major benefit of larger bikes is the comfort they provide on the highway. My old 650 was fine in town but I felt like I just went 3 rounds with a boxer after riding it for a couple hours on the road.

(04-02-2015 10:30 AM)Jneg Wrote:  I'm 6'3 225 lbs, but I've only ridden the 150cc training bike for 2 days, so I have no experience riding other than that, which is why I'm hesitant to go for a big bike right away. Too much power to start off with and I could become a statistic within the week.

I just plan to dart around town and go on scenic jaunts to destress. May or may not try to put a woman on the back of it eventually

If you are set on getting something that small I would recommend not buying new. You will want to upsize almost immediately. Buy used so you don't waste your $$$ when you find out you want something bigger. Smile
(This post was last modified: 04-02-2015 10:58 AM by IvanDrago.)
04-02-2015 10:50 AM
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kaotic Offline
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RE: Just got a motorcycle license - What engine size for a first bike?
Depends on if you're ridingit locally or if you want something for long bike trips.

Do you have any experience with bikes at all ? Dirtbikes ?

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04-02-2015 10:57 AM
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jamaicabound Offline
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RE: Just got a motorcycle license - What engine size for a first bike?
Alot of people will tell you start off on a 250. I personally think start off on something mid level like a 500 if a sport bike or a 600 to 800 if cruiser. Some people love zipping around on a 250 ninja and feel no need to upgrade but oftentimes 250's are starter bikes and a half a season in or year in and they want to upgrade and now you lose money selling and buying again plus have the hassle of selling.

I started off on a 805cc bike. That's probably bigger than most people would recommend but with a cruiser and a shaft drive like I had an 800 on a cruiser is a whole different ballgame than an 800 or even a 600 on a sportbike. I'm more a cruiser guy though.

I think probably the best bike to buy as far as quality, good starter bike and bang for your buck is the Suzuki SV650 which I think has some up alot on motorcycle threads.

I'd start out with a 600cc, its small enough that its good and friendly to a beginner but big enough you can get at least 2 or 3 years out of it before you feel the need to upgrade to say an 800 or 1200.
04-02-2015 11:04 AM
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Jneg Offline
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RE: Just got a motorcycle license - What engine size for a first bike?
(04-02-2015 10:57 AM)kaotic Wrote:  Depends on if you're ridingit locally or if you want something for long bike trips.

Do you have any experience with bikes at all ? Dirtbikes ?
I have no experience with motorbikes except the two day training course
(04-02-2015 11:04 AM)jamaicabound Wrote:  Alot of people will tell you start off on a 250. I personally think start off on something mid level like a 500 if a sport bike or a 600 to 800 if cruiser. Some people love zipping around on a 250 ninja and feel no need to upgrade but oftentimes 250's are starter bikes and a half a season in or year in and they want to upgrade and now you lose money selling and buying again plus have the hassle of selling.

I started off on a 805cc bike. That's probably bigger than most people would recommend but with a cruiser and a shaft drive like I had an 800 on a cruiser is a whole different ballgame than an 800 or even a 600 on a sportbike. I'm more a cruiser guy though.

I think probably the best bike to buy as far as quality, good starter bike and bang for your buck is the Suzuki SV650 which I think has some up alot on motorcycle threads.

I'd start out with a 600cc, its small enough that its good and friendly to a beginner but big enough you can get at least 2 or 3 years out of it before you feel the need to upgrade to say an 800 or 1200.

So a sport bike thats 250cc is a good size for a starter? I see A LOT of 125cc's advertised for sale on kijiji at reasonable prices but I don't know how they perform speed wise or comfort wise.

There are also a handful of 250cc cruisers. I assume thats good enough for a starter bike? I don't mind starting small and selling it next season. Especailly since insurance rates skyrocket for anything over 650cc on a cruiser
04-02-2015 11:10 AM
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Moto Offline
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RE: Just got a motorcycle license - What engine size for a first bike?
I'd highly recommend riding some dirtbikes, have some minor crashes, and learn some bike-handling skills. Maybe there are dirtbike adventure rental places not too far.

You're a big fellow, but a 250cc will get you around town fine. It really does depend on if you will mostly use it for city commuting or for open road use, or both. You have not provided that yet, perhaps you haven't decided yet.

I'd honestly recommend this for a beginner (and would have plenty of fun on it myself): The Yamaha WR250R with some good street tires on it (if you won't take it in dirt). It's plenty light and nimble.

[Image: 400889]

If I were in the market and had the spare cash, I'd definitely want me a Yamaha FZ-7 (700cc naked sport-bike with more comfortable ergonomics for non-track use)

[Image: fz_07_gris.jpg]
(This post was last modified: 04-02-2015 11:17 AM by Moto.)
04-02-2015 11:16 AM
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MidJack Offline
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RE: Just got a motorcycle license - What engine size for a first bike?
Make sure the ergonomics are right for you. Sit on lots of bikes for comparison. No amount of features or flash will make up for an uncomfortable ride.

Example: I recently wanted to add a Ninja 300 to my garage for commuting and small-displacement fun. It has an ABS option and a slipper clutch, and it looks good for a small bike. Reluctantly, I had to say no because it's too cramped.

In the US, the used bike market is great if you're patient.
04-02-2015 11:32 AM
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philosophical_recovery Offline
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RE: Just got a motorcycle license - What engine size for a first bike?
You can also get a larger bike, but you'll be bad with throttle and clutch control for a while. If the bike has a "wet" or low torque traction control mode to keep you from breaking the rear loose in turns, it can keep a bad throttle input from throwing you into opposing traffic.

A 125cc will not get you on the highway, but that may not be what you need?

It's a huge function of self awareness and maturity. I could probably stay out of trouble on a larger bike but I just don't need it. If I did more riding with a passenger I'd get a larger bike.

04-02-2015 11:35 AM
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RE: Just got a motorcycle license - What engine size for a first bike?
(04-02-2015 11:35 AM)philosophical_recovery Wrote:  A 125cc will not get you on the highway, but that may not be what you need

Wrong. I have ridden 600miles/900km on my 125cc in a day from South Germany to London with a top speed of 90km/h.

I've done about 20k km on that bike without a scratch and it was the best decision I ever made. I know friends that bought a brand new Kawa and crashed it a week later on the twisties.
04-02-2015 05:40 PM
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RE: Just got a motorcycle license - What engine size for a first bike?
It's not just engine size, as some have said. An R6 and a Virago 650 are going to have two completely different profiles. Ditto a Sportster 1200 and a 1300cc Hayabusa. Sport bike, standard, dual sport, cruiser--they all ride differently. What do you want to do? Generally speaking, v-twins are going to be more forgiving than inline fours. And supersports are always going to be more rev happy than cruisers. Get an old Bandit 650 or an EX500 Ninja and beat the hell out of it. (Or whatever fits you well.) The important thing is that you ride. You'll go through many bikes, regardless, if you are serious about this. Experience will teach you what you want for the second one.
(This post was last modified: 04-02-2015 06:30 PM by thirty-six.)
04-02-2015 06:21 PM
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RE: Just got a motorcycle license - What engine size for a first bike?
you will drop your first bike. buy a cheap older one, you wont lose much resell value in a year even with a few scratches.

God'll prolly have me on some real strict shit
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04-02-2015 07:03 PM
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philosophical_recovery Offline
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RE: Just got a motorcycle license - What engine size for a first bike?
(04-02-2015 05:40 PM)Tresdus Wrote:  
(04-02-2015 11:35 AM)philosophical_recovery Wrote:  A 125cc will not get you on the highway, but that may not be what you need

Wrong. I have ridden 600miles/900km on my 125cc in a day from South Germany to London with a top speed of 90km/h.

I've done about 20k km on that bike without a scratch and it was the best decision I ever made. I know friends that bought a brand new Kawa and crashed it a week later on the twisties.

If OP is Canadian, 90km/h isn't even the speed limit. It's more like 110-120km/h. North American highways usually have speed limits 60-75mph, depending on where, and I'm pretty sure a bike that can't even do the speed limit is illegal to take on the road and is a rolling hazard to yourself.

If he stays on surface streets, it may be fine. But, not when traffic is moving quite a bit faster with zero power to accelerate. If I get in a tight spot on my 300, I can kick it down from sixth to fourth and gun it to ~95mph very quickly, faster than most cars. The 125cc would be stuck in whatever bad situation with very limited options.

(This post was last modified: 04-02-2015 08:05 PM by philosophical_recovery.)
04-02-2015 07:56 PM
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Beyond Borders Away
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RE: Just got a motorcycle license - What engine size for a first bike?
You took a training course? Wouldn't it have made more sense to ask the instructor about what to look for in a first bike? They're usually pretty passionate and knowledgeable about riding. Seems a lot more reliable and straightforward than asking an online forum.

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04-02-2015 08:55 PM
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iknowexactly Offline
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RE: Just got a motorcycle license - What engine size for a first bike?
If you haven't take the motorcycle safety foundation course, do it, and MUCH more important than the motorcycle is to get an armored jacket with elbow, shoulder, and spine guards.

You can get mesh ones for summer that aren't really hot.

I went down at only about 30 MPH, my shoulder is chronically achy EVERY DAY and messed up 25 years later , seriously interferes with weight lifting , because I landed right on the point of my shoulder. Something with some decent foam or a hard shell might have completely prevented the injury.

Of course, everyone thinks they won't crash, all their women come.. etc.

Also careful to dress warm enough, you can get hypothermia on a motorcycle at 70 degrees easily. Once your hands are cold and you are distracted it's dangerous.

Of course, you couldn't possibly wear a visibility vest, you'd be uncool. But try it and see how much less frequently cars pull out in front of you, just so you see what you're missing.


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(This post was last modified: 04-02-2015 09:40 PM by iknowexactly.)
04-02-2015 09:38 PM
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Tresdus Offline
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RE: Just got a motorcycle license - What engine size for a first bike?
(04-02-2015 07:56 PM)philosophical_recovery Wrote:  
(04-02-2015 05:40 PM)Tresdus Wrote:  
(04-02-2015 11:35 AM)philosophical_recovery Wrote:  A 125cc will not get you on the highway, but that may not be what you need

Wrong. I have ridden 600miles/900km on my 125cc in a day from South Germany to London with a top speed of 90km/h.

I've done about 20k km on that bike without a scratch and it was the best decision I ever made. I know friends that bought a brand new Kawa and crashed it a week later on the twisties.

If OP is Canadian, 90km/h isn't even the speed limit. It's more like 110-120km/h. North American highways usually have speed limits 60-75mph, depending on where, and I'm pretty sure a bike that can't even do the speed limit is illegal to take on the road and is a rolling hazard to yourself.

If he stays on surface streets, it may be fine. But, not when traffic is moving quite a bit faster with zero power to accelerate. If I get in a tight spot on my 300, I can kick it down from sixth to fourth and gun it to ~95mph very quickly, faster than most cars. The 125cc would be stuck in whatever bad situation with very limited options.

That's not how it works. Your vehicle doesn't need to be able to drive the speed limit. In germany we have no speed limits, people regularily go as fast as 300km/h on the Autobahn and the minimum your vehicle needs to do is 60.
I have done thousands of kilometers on that highway without problems, if you drive safely you won't be in any tight spots.
04-03-2015 08:32 AM
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philosophical_recovery Offline
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RE: Just got a motorcycle license - What engine size for a first bike?
Is OP in Germany? Honest question, his tag says Canada, so I'm confused.

I'd much rather have an overpowered bike, anywhere, and rely on self control. I'd have passing/escape power on demand.
In North America, anyone on an underpowered bike is a sitting duck relying on prayer for all the idiots passing on the right because the passing lanes are full of cellphone users.

(This post was last modified: 04-03-2015 08:53 AM by philosophical_recovery.)
04-03-2015 08:49 AM
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el mechanico Offline
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RE: Just got a motorcycle license - What engine size for a first bike?
(04-03-2015 08:49 AM)philosophical_recovery Wrote:  Is OP in Germany? Honest question, his tag says Canada, so I'm confused.

I'd much rather have an overpowered bike, anywhere, and rely on self control. I'd have passing/escape power on demand.
In North America, anyone on an underpowered bike is a sitting duck relying on prayer for all the idiots passing on the right because the passing lanes are full of cellphone users.
^ This is true. Also once you get used to riding sportbikes you'll feel like you're idling at 100
04-03-2015 09:12 AM
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ASOT Away
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RE: Just got a motorcycle license - What engine size for a first bike?
Engine size isn't really a good guide. A CBR600RR, GSXR600, YZF-R6 or ZX-6R are all around the 600CC mark, but with power outputs over 120 HP and steep power curves, probably aren't a good first bike.

You'll likely have poor throttle control when you start and in a corner you could easily put one of these supersports down in a low side.

Whereas something like a SV650 or MT07/FZ-7 may have a larger engine than the mid range super sports, but with around 70 HP, but still good torque outputs and a much more friendly power curve would be an ideal choice for example, both are still quite sporty and fun in corners and open roads.

OP depending on what style of bike I'd start with something between 250-700 CC whilst specifically steering clear of the super sports and high strung nakeds like Street Triples or Ducatis (all too fast for someone with no experience), and also stearing clear of 125 CC bikes (too slow and even a total beginner will outgrow them within weeks without much carry over in skills to a bigger bike.. or worst case you'll be turned off bikes altogether when a family van overtakes you).

Eg cruiser: 250CC Yamaha Virago or the 650CC Yamaha V-Star, 400CC Honda VT400 etc.. get experience, some advanced training or some sorts and then upgrade to the big cruisers like Harleys, VMax etc..

Something sportier: 250CC/300CC Kawasaki Ninja, or in the 600CC range something like a Suzuki SV650 or Gladius or GSX650F, Yamaha MT07, Kawasaki ER-6N or Ninja 650. Get experience and advanced training then get a supersport or big capacity naked bike.
(This post was last modified: 04-03-2015 09:21 AM by ASOT.)
04-03-2015 09:20 AM
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jamaicabound Offline
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RE: Just got a motorcycle license - What engine size for a first bike?
I always hear people saying that you will drop or crash your first bike, it's inevidable. I started off on an 800cc with no formal instruction and never dropped my bike once unless you count comming to a stop and losing balance and falling over but the fall happenned at a stand still and I was able to catch my bike so no real damage done.

I know everyone gets a bike and is gearing to hit the road but honestly you shouldn't even think about stepping into traffic until riding becomes a reactoin as opposed to a thought process. I'm not saying you have to ride in parking lots for a year but I spent a good couple weeks on backroads, parking lots, office parks getting comfortable with everything before I stepped into traffic. If you have to slam your breaks or swerve if its reaction you probably just saved your life, if you have to think about what your going to do ie let off the clutch, brake, etc your gonna be in an accident. Take your time learning to ride before trying to ride and you should be pretty safe.

Again, I don't see any reason for anyone let alone a new rider to go get a brand new shiny bike, there's just no reason for it. There's so many bikes that people buy, sit in a garage for a year or two and then lose their ass selling may as well pickup a deal on something as well as not be crying if you drop it, although I definatley disagree with the sentiment that everyone will drop their first bike.

You didn't mention if you were leaning towards sportbike or cruiser but one thing I'd recommend DO NOT buy a sportbike unless you try to ride one first. I wanted a sportbike for my first bike and actually went to the dealership to buy one, fortunately they had just sold it but had a good deal on a cruiser so picked that one up and never looked back. I didn't get a chance to ride a sportbike until years later but man did I hate it. partly because I was not used to it but a sportbike with me being shorter typically has a higher seat hieght, some have a really extreme lean and I don't really like the foot peg position on a lot of them, I felt totally out of control and not at all comfortable.

I love my cruiser, hope on sit comfortably kicked back, enjoy a ride. Sportbike don't get me wrong is fun, I'm actually thinking about picking up a cheap 250cc ninja just to tool around town but for any distance riding or even just going for a relaxing cruise to me its not at all comfortable.

the wierd thing about getting into motoryccles is you cant test drive a bike without a license but you oftentimes cant get a license without having a bike so where do you go? lol. Also even if you just got your license alot of dealerships may not let you go for a test ride if they see you just got your license days ago.
(This post was last modified: 04-03-2015 10:06 AM by jamaicabound.)
04-03-2015 10:03 AM
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Bobco Offline
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RE: Just got a motorcycle license - What engine size for a first bike?
Get a used Honda 400cc to 450cc bike like the old cb series. Even though your licensed you know very little about riding, my best advice is to seek out a riding school and take the classes. Always wear your helmet, boots, and leathers. Good luck and welcome to the lifestyle.
04-03-2015 10:16 AM
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el mechanico Offline
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RE: Just got a motorcycle license - What engine size for a first bike?
(04-03-2015 10:16 AM)Bobco Wrote:  Get a used Honda 400cc to 450cc bike like the old cb series. Even though your licensed you know very little about riding, my best advice is to seek out a riding school and take the classes. Always wear your helmet, boots, and leathers. Good luck and welcome to the lifestyle.
CM 450 a CB will be real old and the CB400 is a four cyl (70s) with kinda crappy brakes/ suspension.

Depends on which country the op is in would determine his choices USA is not big on small bikes.
04-03-2015 10:29 AM
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