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Discussion Starter #1
Hi everyone!

I am new to riding and was wondering what everyones thoughts were on a CB700sc as a first bike. I am currently living in the Las Vegas area and am 5'-11" 225lbs. I am fairly strong, do have a little bit of a pooch but - thats what good beer does to you. I am not the most mechanically inclined - but I have a good amount of tools, quite a number of co-workers who are, and am pretty good at figuring out issues.

I have completed the MSF class with no issues and really enjoyed ridding. I know a lot of people and at the class push 250s or at max below a 500cc bike for a new rider, but I am hoping that because it is an 84 and since I am not an overly aggressive rider and do not have a true "need for speed" that this bike isn't that far off from a good starter bike that I can grow into. I just do not want it to be to big/heavy that it impedes my "growth" of become a more seasoned motorcyclist. I should note that once i buy a bike - any bike - I will be spending at least 3-5 weeks just going around neighborhoods and practicing various skills and getting comfortable with the bike before bringing it to the open road.

Anyways, Any advice on if this is a good starter bike or am I biting off more then I can chew?

If it is a good starter bike, keep reading and help me decide which bike to buy!!! :thumbsup:

If not, please let me know why, and what comparable bike you think would be a better fit so I can go back to aimlessly starring at CL waiting for the right bike to come up:smiley_drinkcoffee:.


There are two CB700sc's near me - one of which I am hoping to purchase this weekend upon the forums recommendation. Bike #1 is $1,500 plus an old 46" flat screen that I have laying around that is mostly all original but has a bunch of after market odds and ends as well (I will list them at the bottom of the post). Owner added an interesting paint job onto what I already think is a very sharp paint scheme (Its now all blue.) There are also a bunch of stickers and all that stuff - mostly cosmetic issues. It has 67k miles on it. The other (bike #2) is $2,000 and is all OEM, pretty much "mint" condition, and has original red/black two tone color. This bike has 17,000 miles on it. I have been told that both bikes have good ties, batteries, no mechanical or electrical issues, no leaks, and are ready to rock.

Which would you purchase? Better yet, which should I purchase?!:biggrin: The cheaper bike so I can learn on it, and when I get the cash, restore the paint and some other odds and ends? - also, if i ever drop it, it would be a "cheaper" bike - and when I repaint it, any misfortunes would disappear? Or the Mint condition. More expensive, but might be less of a headache down the road?

Let me know your thoughts and thanks in advance for all of your feedback.

Cheers,
Ders


*Bike #1 comments from CL add*

New bridgestone battlax45 tires
New barnett kevlar racing clutch
New lucas motor oil (changed every 1000 mi.)
New lucas diff. oil
New fork oil
Rebuilt rear suspension
New AGM sealed maintenence free battery
New brake and clutch fluid (DOT4 for more reaction time)
K&N air filter
stainless 4into1 exhaust for equalized back pressure
Gear pos. indicator, shaft drive, fuel guage, hydraulic valves (factory)
no tears in seat
bar end mirror AND heated grips
battery killswitch
adjustable handlebars
Starter just rebuilt!

*Bike #2 comments*
super mint condition bike come check it out selling it because I got a new bike call me
 

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I would recommend something with less horsepower to learn on. I think it's best to start with either a single or a twin cylinder and save the inline four for later on.
 

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First of all, welcome from Seattle.

My first street bike was an '85 Sabre 700, which is essentially the same bike with a bit different body, same motor. It was fast, REALLY fast for a beginner. It didn't roar off the line, but man, if you pulled on the throttle at 30 miles an hour you were doing 60 right now. All of the power was in the midrange. It was nice getting on the freeway, just romp on it and you were up to speed. To be honest, though, it was too much bike for me, and l had a few years of dirt riding under my belt. If you are green, l would say pass on it and get a CB500 instead. Oh, and at that time l wasn't quite as big as l am now, l was probably about 6'3" and 205.

Aside from that, l would also go newer for your first bike. I always suggest a 5-10 year old bike for a starter. It has already appreciated by then, yet you can still find one with reasonably low miles and in good running condition. Older bikes are for guys who love to turn wrenches, at least initially. The last thing you want when you are learning to ride is to be worried about your bike's runability. Just my two cents...l wish you well on your search my friend :)
 

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One problem with buying a bike that has had a lot of "improvements" done on it is that you don't know if they were done correctly. It can be pure misery trying to figure out what a PO has done when you're trying to repair a problem and things aren't done according to factory procedures. Another question is whether or not all torque specs were followed, and do these "improvements" make the bike potentially unsafe?
 

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My wife, and one son, took up riding. I strongly encouraged them to spend their first year of riding (six months, actually, due to climate), on a 440cc bike (1983 Kawasaki, ran perfectly -- this was back around 2009). They agreed, grudgingly, that it was the smart thing to do: stay with a smaller, lightweight, bike, for the first season, before moving up to a larger bike. My wife went to our main bike at the time, a 1979 Honda 750 (mod'ed for touring, two-up; currently, she handles our 1200cc full touring bike, two-up, just as well as she handled the two smaller bikes); our son moved to a 600cc rocket he bought.

I always recommend a first bike below 500cc, to learn on: lightweight, easy to handle/maneuver, enough power for highways (I recommend avoiding Interstate due to higher speeds).

There are plenty of Honda Rebels/Kawaski Ninja's (250cc) around, at lower prices. They are the perfect learning bikes, in my opinion: affordable, low mileage, easy/low-cost maintenance, 250cc engine is good up to highway speeds (55 MPH), easy to re-sell next year.

A 700/750 is a great, all-around bike: small enough to drive around town easily; large enough to tour, even two-up, if desired; usually fast enough to handle Interstate speeds (70 MPH), two-up. Kind of a fence straddler, though: not the best for touring two-up; not a lot of room for two, on long rides. We circled Lake Superior on our '79 Honda, two-up. Never had an issue with the bike, which was heavily loaded, on a 1,935 mile trip, over seven days, four in near-constant rain.

Age of the bike is not an issue, in my mind, as long as they have been properly cared for! Modifications, however, would be. I would choose a mostly original bike, unless the seller could demonstrate they had expertise, and the mod's were made properly -- ask the right questions, walk away if you don't like the answers... There are plenty of bikes out there.

Spend some time on the Internet. Look for reviews on any prospective bike model -- specific to that year. Find out all you can about it, before you hand over the cash. Try to learn what the common failures are for that bike year and model. Visit forums dedicated to that bike, and read all you can. Cheers, with whatever you get!
:coffee:
 

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My first street bike was an '85 Sabre 700, which is essentially the same bike with a bit different body, same motor.
Wrong! The Sabre used the same 700cc V-4 that the Interceptor and Magna did. The CB700 he's talking about is a Nighthawk, it's an inline 4. The Nighthawk (I had an 87 version) was pretty docile up to 7500 rpm, then it took off. The first five gears were really low, I'd get into 4th gear at 2000 rpm at 30 mph. 6th gear is really an overdrive gear. I used this as a commuter one winter. Really a nice bike, easy to handle and manage. No need for valve adjustments. I had to get the clutch plates changed at 36,000 miles. One caveat, it is top-heavy.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
I agree with everyone about the accessories. I will eliminate that bike from the running and concentrate more on the "Mint" bike.

As far as everyone suggestions of starting out on a smaller bike - is a 700s doable, or downright out of the question for a new rider? I really don't want to go though the hassle of getting a 250cc bike, riding it for a while, and then having to go back to scouring the internet to find a good price on a 700s in 6 months to a year (which is the bike that I have wanted for quite some time).

So - is it really NEEDED to drop to a lower CC or it is just easier to learn on? Its challenging because I have a few family members (uncles) as well as a bunch of co-workers saying that a 700 will be fine as long as I take my time - I just want to make sure that they have just not forgotten what its like to be a new rider.

So - doable, or downright out of the question 700cc is just way to much bike.

**mind you, I really don't have any interest in "seeing what she will do". I know my limitations, and I know that it is a "grown up motorcycle". I will treat her with the respect that she deserves and demands. Many nights will be spent in parking lots and neighborhoods going round in circles and figure eights, emergency stopping, stopping in a turn (the proper way), and various other drills that we completed in the MSF BRC. Valid I will be doing this reguardless of what bike I get so I am used to the bike before taking it onto a public road - I just wanted to reiterate that I am not going to get the bike and tear up the road. Not my style.

Thanks again!
ders
 

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I tried the figure 8 with my 700S. She didn't like it, neither did I. I had no problems parking it or any other riding, but that figure 8 thing was a pain. BTW, the 700S was my second bike, my first was a Ducati Monster 696. I have a thing for 700cc bikes.
 

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anything is duable. It just depends on you. I started again on a Vstar 650 twin after I had been off a bike for 25 years. I rode it for 5 months and 5,000 miles. I am retired so I rode every day unless it was raining. I then went to a much bigger bike. I lost about 300 dollars on the deal but only because I spent about 1300 on going through it from top to bottom, replaced all the oils, added bling and whitewalls before I ever rode it.

Here it is and it's replacement is in my signature:

 

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The engine displacement (number of CCs) has less to do with horsepower than the engine configuration does.

A modern 750 CC V-twin will have about 1/2 the horsepower of a vintage 700 CC inline 4.

A modern 600 CC inline 4 will produce about twice as much horsepower as a modern 1200 CC Vtwin.

It's apples and oranges when comparing bikes.

As far as "respecting the power" of a motorcycle, frankly the motorcycle doesn't care how much you respect it. It will do whatever the rider's control input tells it to do, even if it means crashing. A great number of crashes that involve new riders are simple control input mistakes. A more forgiving motorcycle is easier to control and will lessen the odds of something like that happening.

Is it necessary to start on a more forgiving motorcycle? Nope. Some do just fine and others end up road pizza. I would recommend taking a reasonably safe path when riding, especially when first learning.
 

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Is it necessary to start on a more forgiving motorcycle? Nope. Some do just fine and others end up road pizza. I would recommend taking a reasonably safe path when riding, especially when first learning.
:71baldboy:

My wife's first bike ever was a 1000. She rode that for a few years before getting her second bike, which is a 1600. So yes, it's doable.

Of course, she rides like a girl...
 

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Discussion Starter #12 (Edited)
Ok Internet friends - you win, I throw in the towel.

I would like to be in this for the long haul, and if it means going small(er) now to hone the skills and not become "Road Pizza" then thats what I will do. Not to mention I dont want to be riding around on a 900cc bike in 20 years with people staring saying "idiot never really learned how to ride...did he?" Also the cb700s that I had my heart set on has now been sold - so, must be a sign that it is not the right time to get that beautiful, beautiful bike.

So that brings me to my next topic...

If you are all suggesting smaller bikes, which bikes in particular should I be searching CL for...

The things that really drew me to the CB700s other then the sharp looks and cult following of the nighthawk is the shaft drive, the hydraulic valve lifters, and all the other features that made it a "practically maintenance free bike"

Other big pluses was the upright and comfortable seating position, decent MPG, and the bike being a bit of a cruiser/naked/sport/touring bike. I have also heard nothing but good things about older Honda bikes so, that was a +1.

I am hoping you wonderful folks can recommend some bikes that might be up my ally that fit that kind of list. I would really like to one day be able to do some nice long trips and go on some off the beaten path roads, so an adventure bike might be something I should start looking into?

Also I would reallllyyyyyy like to stay under 2000 if thats possible...

So! Anyone got any ideas?

Bueller... Bueller... Bueller....

Cheers,
ders

**I should also note that I am not really into "Sports/Street Bikes" and would really like to attempt to shy away from the Normal 250 suggestions (Ie, Rebel and Ninja). There has got to be something better out there! Right??
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Thanks for the reply jrswanson. I will look into it. Any years in particular you like better then others? I think I like the look of the older "Naked" bikes vs some of the other sportier ones. (Also - what is the actual difference between a naked bike and a sports bike? Just fairings and plastic work? - Gearing as well perhaps?) There are a few in the Phenix and Palm springs area that are in my price range - I will have to do a bit more research on what makes them a great bike though.

Any other suggestions?

A few more bikes I have on the short list are as follows:

76 & 74 CB550
83 & 81 CX650C
72 CB350

^Any of them worth being a good starter bike? To old?
 

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Wrong! The Sabre used the same 700cc V-4 that the Interceptor and Magna did. The CB700 he's talking about is a Nighthawk, it's an inline 4. The Nighthawk (I had an 87 version) was pretty docile up to 7500 rpm, then it took off. The first five gears were really low, I'd get into 4th gear at 2000 rpm at 30 mph. 6th gear is really an overdrive gear. I used this as a commuter one winter. Really a nice bike, easy to handle and manage. No need for valve adjustments. I had to get the clutch plates changed at 36,000 miles. One caveat, it is top-heavy.
Well then, l stand corrected...l always thought they had the same engine. Thanks for setting me straight...learn something new everyday :)
 

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Well then, l stand corrected...l always thought they had the same engine. Thanks for setting me straight...learn something new everyday :)
No problem, I just don't like misinformation going out to newbs. Plus I used to have that model of Nighthawk, kind of wish I still had it :)

Thanks for the reply jrswanson. I will look into it. Any years in particular you like better then others? I think I like the look of the older "Naked" bikes vs some of the other sportier ones. (Also - what is the actual difference between a naked bike and a sports bike? Just fairings and plastic work? - Gearing as well perhaps?) There are a few in the Phenix and Palm springs area that are in my price range - I will have to do a bit more research on what makes them a great bike though.

Any other suggestions?

A few more bikes I have on the short list are as follows:

76 & 74 CB550
83 & 81 CX650C
72 CB350

^Any of them worth being a good starter bike? To old?
The CX bikes are good beginner bikes, but parts are tough to get. In fact, any bike over 20 years old will have the same problem. I'd stick with 95 or newer bikes, unless you are mechanically inclined and like working on old bikes. The GS500 was a naked bike as well as a faired bike. Parts are everywhere.
 

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Well, if you could find a Kawasaki 440/454 LTD, 1983 or newer, they're a fantastic town bike: fast, nimble, agile, shift very fast, 6-speed transmission, and more fun than a human being ought to be allowed... They're also a side-by-side twin, belt driven, smooth, low maintenance, and excellent MPG (50+). They will, however, accelerate very quickly, in town (top speed, one-up, around 65-70 MPH). I usually over-shot my corners because I was too busy snick-snick-snick'ing through the gears, LOL'ing in my full-face helmet -- they're that much fun to ride!

Bikes from the 80's are not too difficult to find parts for. The challenge may be in finding a mechanic willing to work on a carbureted bike from that era! My current ride is a '93 (22 years old now...). I don't have issues finding parts for it (purchased in 2010). I never had issues finding parts for my '79 Honda (owned it from 2006 - 2012), or my '83 Kawasaki 440 (owned from 2007 - 2011), either. It really depends on how popular the bikes were, and still are. YMMV.

With regards to figure-8's in the parking lot... Invest in a copy of, "Ride Like A Pro," DVD. They are geared towards heavy touring bikes, but the techniques they teach (wet-clutch-only slipping while dragging the rear brake to maintain stability, and control, moving slowly, executing locked-steering turns) is applicable to any size bike. The techniques take practice, in a parking lot, to master. They are extremely helpful, and useful -- worth the effort to train yourself. Cheers!
:coffee:

PS:

They will not teach this in the Basic Rider's Course, but they should! Always lead with the rear brake, engaging (NOT stabbing!) it a fraction of a second before applying the front brake: this will eliminate 90+% of the front end dive, when braking. It stabilizes the suspension, and you, during all braking situations, maximizing braking power, and distance. Try it, in a parking lot, on any bike, at any (safe) speed... I dare ya'! ;) [It works, even in emergency stops; just practice at lower speeds, initially, then make it a reflex action -- it could save you in a critical situation.]
 

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Discussion Starter #19
Thanks for the info Slag! Very helpful - I will invest in a copy of "Ride like a Pro" this weekend and go from there! Also I am happy that you recommended the 454 LTD! I was just about to reply with some new finds on Craigslist and a 1985 Kawasaki 454 LTD pop'd up for 1400 along with a few other bikes (I will list all the them below)

Thanks Hawk for the Vegas recommendation on the CM400 by the way! I will be checking that out as well. Did some reading on it and it seems like a pretty stable bike? Between the CM400 and the 454LTD that Slag recommended - which would you guys choose?

Anyways some new bikes found in my price range on CL are as follows:

1985 Kawasaki 454 LTD - 1400 *Recommended by SgtSlag

1980 Honda CM400T - 1000 *Recommended by hawkaholic37

2006 Suzuki GZ250 - 1800 (Not huge on a 250...but, if its what i need then so be it)

1985 Honda Shadow 500 - 1800

1982 Suzuki GN400 - 900

1981 Honda Twinstar 250 - 900


^Any of them decent options? Any that I should stay away from? Other bikes that I should hold out and wait for? I know the GS500 was recommenced by jrswanson1 but none have popped up that I am keen on. A bunch of F (I think) models with the sports fairing and what not. Meh.

Thanks for everyone's input so far!

If anyone has any other good reading or watching materials they think is good for new riders feel free to pass it along!

Cheers,
 

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The Honda CM400T is an automatic. That's the bike Prince road in "Purple Rain." Not a fan, sorry.

One thing I learned the hard way is any bike under $1000 is going to need a LOOOOOOOOOOOOT of work, no matter what the owner says.
 
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