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Gear is more important to me than the bike. (Edit...Spend the $ for ABS brakes)
Start with the most important part and work toward the parts you can live without.

1) ECE 22.05 full face helmet with nice big eye ports so you can see stuff coming at you from the side.
Watch tinted visors or anything tinted because stuff just disappears sometimes. A 2" strip of black tape up high works better for me.
2) Helite airbag jacket. Stupid expensive but it's #2 because your vital organs are important.
Go for a white helmet and high visibility vest so fewer people turn left in front of you. You will look like a dork-nerd but so what.

View attachment 77976
3) All the other stuff as funds permit.
I would have to agree especially with the ABS in selecting a bike. Its a total game changer in an emergency braking situation or wet pavement.
 

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The KLR and VStrom are fine machines, but since you're not going on the freeway much the first year I don't think they offer anything that a small 250/300cc bike cannot for running around town or hitting the trails. The Vstrom offers as much power as the MT-07 and both carry a larger amount of gas high in the chassis, making them top heavy and requiring more skill to control. I was thinking along the lines of a Kawasaki KLX, Yamaha XT or Honda CRF.
 

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2009 BMW R1200RT-Patrol
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On helmets, DOT is mandatory, but is a mere pencil-whipping exercise for manufactures.... "We promise this is gud". Snell is top drawer, actually doing random testing of production helmets FOR RACE CAR DRIVERS. Not the same as most of us. ECE is for street motorcycle riders, but not as stringent as Snell. I trust both ECE and Snell. I managed to find a helmet with all three. Other gear is nice, but the helmet, in my opinion, is crucial.
 

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2018 Kawasaki NINJA 650 ABS KRT
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While the latest ECE cert seems to be a little better than DOT (and a Snell cert is over and above either of those, so if you see Snell, it will also be DOT and/or ECE), state helmet laws often specify DOT helmets. I actually have a Shark modular that I use for teaching classes and commuting to and from class. It came from Germany (It's the only way I could get a GREEN one!!:D:ROFLMAO:) and is certified ECE. The DVD manual that came with it made a big deal of making it perfectly clear that it doesn't comply with United States' helmet laws. There are no stickers on the helmet for either DOT or ECE (It's not Snell, and not the quality of my Arai, so quite honestly I'm not as confident in its protection as I am my Arai. Fortunately, I ride with it in relatively low risk environments i.e. not in the twisties). Missouri no longer has a helmet requirement for riders age 26 and over, and since it's unlikely to get worn out of state, I shouldn't have a problem. I see that Louisiana doesn't have a DOT helmet specification.

I also looked at the Louisiana motorcycle safety program website and I can infer from it that you'll be using the same curriculum that Missouri has been using, meaning that your classroom content will be in person, assuming you're in an early June class (They'll have to transition by July 1 in order for their coaches to get credit for teaching courses, and probably to keep their testing waivers in effect). Fair warning: You're in Louisiana. In June. It's going to be freaking hot and humid in the parking lot!!!!! 🥵🥵🥵 Wear the lightest weight clothing that you can, such as a long sleeve wicking shirt, or a wicking short-sleeve or tank top under a mesh jacket while you're on the bike. Drink LOTS AND LOTS of water, starting the day before, along with an electrolyte beverage or electrolyte supplements ( I use these Trace Minerals Electrolyte Stamina 300 Tabs - Swanson®). I assume since you're living there, you know how easy it is to get heat exhaustion, but the risk is amplified in a parking lot especially if it's asphalt.
 

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2018 Kawasaki NINJA 650 ABS KRT
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I would have to agree especially with the ABS in selecting a bike. Its a total game changer in an emergency braking situation or wet pavement.
It is indeed, but it's no substitute for being able to execute a proper quick stop. You'll learn how to do them in class at 15mph. Once you get the hang of it, gradually find safe places to practice them at higher speeds. The technique is the same, but the faster you're traveling, the more time and space it takes to stop so it feels a little different. It will also take you multiple presses on the gear shift lever to get down into first gear, rather than just the single shift from second to first that you'll practice in class. You'll also learn how to stop quickly in a curve. Standard ABS is designed for straight line stops only and is what is found on most bikes. More sophisticated systems will help in corners.
Cornering ABS/IMU explained + List of All Motorcycles (2022)
Just make sure you know what you're buying.(y)
 

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2018 Kawasaki NINJA 650 ABS KRT
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Thank you for the great information. I will be taking the class in Louisiana. I haven't been notified to take any online courses at this time. This is where everything gets so confusing. Large, respected YouTubers like FortNine seem to suggest that ECE is a better overall certification...if I interpreted that video correctly. You are saying to go with a Snell certified helmet for the increased impact resistant rating. This is great information to know. So, I should start with somewhat decent protective gear and then possibly get more expensive gear when I am sure that the hobby suits me? I really appreciate your time and input.

Also, I have taken some aforementioned advice to heart and have been searching cycletrader/FB marketplace/classified for possibly a more affordable/less powerful starter bike - around the $3,000-$4,500 range. It's hard right now to find bikes for less that aren't complete beaters.
Looks like you'll need to furnish a helmet for your class. That's the one thing I wouldn't skimp on. While most classes are incident-free or have minor drops and such, students do make mistakes and I've seen some doozies over the years. Having said that, I can pretty safely say that the incidents occurring in my classes involved students wearing DOT (not Snell) helmets, often the inexpensive ones we provide for class. I'm not aware of anyone having any lingering head injury issues beyond maybe a headache or something short term, but it's not my job to follow up later so I don't know. It's all about risk management. If you're reasonably sure that you'll pass the class and go on to enjoy motorcycling for a long time, then buy the dream helmet. If you're not so sure, then a less expensive DOT model (full face or 3/4) will likely suffice for class, given that the prescribed exercise speeds do not exceed 25mph. This is another reason that full street gear is not required in the training environment. If it turns out that motorcycling isn't for you, then you're only out a couple hundred dollars or so on an entry level helmet, plus your course fee.

Bike prices are really screwed up, just like car prices. I've been trolling for a used NINJA 400 as second bike for awhile, specifically a certain 2018 model. You would think that I could find a decent specimen in the $3000-4000 range. But one of the used bike dealers that had one with 12,000+ miles on it (kinda high mileage on a 400), an aftermarket slip-on muffler, and a few scratches, wanted $6200 for it. That's completely insane. I've seen some reasonable deals on FB Marketplace since then, but I've decided to wait until I have cash in hand (a much stronger bargaining chip with my husband..) and hope that prices will continue to come down on a now-five year-old bike. The nice thing about going through a dealer for your first bike, especially if you're not mechanically inclined, is that the fluids will be fresh, the tires will be safe, and you'll have some reasonable assurance that it's roadworthy. If you can find something for $3500-5000, you should be in good shape. (y)
 

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Discussion Starter · #27 ·
While the latest ECE cert seems to be a little better than DOT (and a Snell cert is over and above either of those, so if you see Snell, it will also be DOT and/or ECE), state helmet laws often specify DOT helmets. I actually have a Shark modular that I use for teaching classes and commuting to and from class. It came from Germany (It's the only way I could get a GREEN one!!:D:ROFLMAO:) and is certified ECE. The DVD manual that came with it made a big deal of making it perfectly clear that it doesn't comply with United States' helmet laws. There are no stickers on the helmet for either DOT or ECE (It's not Snell, and not the quality of my Arai, so quite honestly I'm not as confident in its protection as I am my Arai. Fortunately, I ride with it in relatively low risk environments i.e. not in the twisties). Missouri no longer has a helmet requirement for riders age 26 and over, and since it's unlikely to get worn out of state, I shouldn't have a problem. I see that Louisiana doesn't have a DOT helmet specification.

I also looked at the Louisiana motorcycle safety program website and I can infer from it that you'll be using the same curriculum that Missouri has been using, meaning that your classroom content will be in person, assuming you're in an early June class (They'll have to transition by July 1 in order for their coaches to get credit for teaching courses, and probably to keep their testing waivers in effect). Fair warning: You're in Louisiana. In June. It's going to be freaking hot and humid in the parking lot!!!!! 🥵🥵🥵 Wear the lightest weight clothing that you can, such as a long sleeve wicking shirt, or a wicking short-sleeve or tank top under a mesh jacket while you're on the bike. Drink LOTS AND LOTS of water, starting the day before, along with an electrolyte beverage or electrolyte supplements ( I use these Trace Minerals Electrolyte Stamina 300 Tabs - Swanson®). I assume since you're living there, you know how easy it is to get heat exhaustion, but the risk is amplified in a parking lot especially if it's asphalt.
Oh, trust me. I will have plenty of Powerade Zero with me when I do my riding instruction. So, helmet is something on which I should not skimp. Snell rated preferably.

Also, I should go with a slightly smaller engine/bike with ABS if possible since I won't be on the highway much at all. Honestly, I would love something like a used MT-03, but I just don't see many fairly priced used ones in my area. I will keep looking.

Use good, fairly bright and effective protective gear and a white helmet. I was personally leaning toward brighter gear anyway in order to attempt to make myself more visible. Thank you guys for all of your help.

One more question. What do you guys think of modular helmets?
 

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Discussion Starter · #28 ·
Looks like you'll need to furnish a helmet for your class. That's the one thing I wouldn't skimp on. While most classes are incident-free or have minor drops and such, students do make mistakes and I've seen some doozies over the years. Having said that, I can pretty safely say that the incidents occurring in my classes involved students wearing DOT (not Snell) helmets, often the inexpensive ones we provide for class. I'm not aware of anyone having any lingering head injury issues beyond maybe a headache or something short term, but it's not my job to follow up later so I don't know. It's all about risk management. If you're reasonably sure that you'll pass the class and go on to enjoy motorcycling for a long time, then buy the dream helmet. If you're not so sure, then a less expensive DOT model (full face or 3/4) will likely suffice for class, given that the prescribed exercise speeds do not exceed 25mph. This is another reason that full street gear is not required in the training environment. If it turns out that motorcycling isn't for you, then you're only out a couple hundred dollars or so on an entry level helmet, plus your course fee.

Bike prices are really screwed up, just like car prices. I've been trolling for a used NINJA 400 as second bike for awhile, specifically a certain 2018 model. You would think that I could find a decent specimen in the $3000-4000 range. But one of the used bike dealers that had one with 12,000+ miles on it (kinda high mileage on a 400), an aftermarket slip-on muffler, and a few scratches, wanted $6200 for it. That's completely insane. I've seen some reasonable deals on FB Marketplace since then, but I've decided to wait until I have cash in hand (a much stronger bargaining chip with my husband..) and hope that prices will continue to come down on a now-five year-old bike. The nice thing about going through a dealer for your first bike, especially if you're not mechanically inclined, is that the fluids will be fresh, the tires will be safe, and you'll have some reasonable assurance that it's roadworthy. If you can find something for $3500-5000, you should be in good shape. (y)
Yes, we have to furnish a helmet, gloves (not specifically riding gloves), long sleeve shirt, pants, and boots/shoes that go over the ankle.

As far as the pricing, I know exactly what you are talking about. On FB marketplace near me a guy was trying to sell a 2005 CRF 250 that was in OK condition but obviously heavily used for $4,500. Other sellers are attempting to sell very old bikes not even in running condition without a key or title for $1,500-$2,000. It's crazy out there. Hopefully, when I am ready to purchase, things will be a bit more reasonable. At the moment, however, it's not uncommon for me to see a low mileage used bike for sale for $500 OVER MSRP. That's the only reason my first inclination was to buy new, but I think I will just keep looking for a reasonable deal. The only problem I have is I don't really know what I am looking for. I wish a could pay someone more knowledgeable than me like $50-$100 around buying time to go over the bike for me. Then I would be scared of getting robbed though because the person would know I had the money on person to purchase the bike. What makes me even more cautious is that a friend of mine bought a used bike a few years ago not knowing what to look out for and apparently purchased a used bike from a private seller with a bent a-frame. He got ripped off and couldn't even really ride it.
 

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2018 Kawasaki NINJA 650 ABS KRT
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Oh, trust me. I will have plenty of Powerade Zero with me when I do my riding instruction. So, helmet is something on which I should not skimp. Snell rated preferably.

Also, I should go with a slightly smaller engine/bike with ABS if possible since I won't be on the highway much at all. Honestly, I would love something like a used MT-03, but I just don't see many fairly priced used ones in my area. I will keep looking.

Use good, fairly bright and effective protective gear and a white helmet. I was personally leaning toward brighter gear anyway in order to attempt to make myself more visible. Thank you guys for all of your help.

One more question. What do you guys think of modular helmets?
Plenty of time to have fun shopping, given that your course isn't until June.

Modulars are great at the gas station and such. For me, it's a must-have when teaching classes so my students can understand me better on the range. Some companies make Snell modulars, but Arai does not. If they ever do, I'll be the first in line to get one! :D Be sure you try on a helmet before you buy it. Some of us have more round heads, others more oval. Different manufacturers' helmets fit heads differently. The staff at the motorcycle shop will be able to help you make sure a helmet fits your head right.(y)
 

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The Kawasaki Versys 300 or BMW G 310 GS, both of which can had with ABS, might be worth a look. I think they've both been around since like 2017ish, so you might be able to find used options. Check on CycleTrader, where you can search by zip code. The wider you can cast your net the more choices you'll have. Both have enough oomph to get you on the freeway, though that's probably not their forte, and can do some off road if your expectations are kept in check The KTM 390 is probably the best of the mini adventure bikes, but it didn't come out until 2020, so used options won't be as plentiful if at all. When buying a bike with a smaller dealer network like BMW and particularly KTM, make sure there's a dealer in the area cause having to take your bike a long way for service can be a pain.
 

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2018 Kawasaki NINJA 650 ABS KRT
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Yes, we have to furnish a helmet, gloves (not specifically riding gloves), long sleeve shirt, pants, and boots/shoes that go over the ankle.

As far as the pricing, I know exactly what you are talking about. On FB marketplace near me a guy was trying to sell a 2005 CRF 250 that was in OK condition but obviously heavily used for $4,500. Other sellers are attempting to sell very old bikes not even in running condition without a key or title for $1,500-$2,000. It's crazy out there. Hopefully, when I am ready to purchase, things will be a bit more reasonable. At the moment, however, it's not uncommon for me to see a low mileage used bike for sale for $500 OVER MSRP. That's the only reason my first inclination was to buy new, but I think I will just keep looking for a reasonable deal. The only problem I have is I don't really know what I am looking for. I wish a could pay someone more knowledgeable than me like $50-$100 around buying time to go over the bike for me. Then I would be scared of getting robbed though because the person would know I had the money on person to purchase the bike. What makes me even more cautious is that a friend of mine bought a used bike a few years ago not knowing what to look out for and apparently purchased a used bike from a private seller with a bent a-frame. He got ripped off and couldn't even really ride it.
Along those same lines, a deer totaled our Prius shortly before Christmas, 2021. So we had the joy of having to purchase a new car in the post-COVID nonsense world. We got lucky and found a 2022 Corolla Hybrid that we liked that was already built, scheduled to be delivered locally in February, and, miraculously, did not have anyone else's name on it already!!(y)(y) My husband really wanted to drive one before we shelled out the money for it. We got lucky and the dealer had a 2021 rental return there with 18,000 miles on it that was identical except for color. He drove it and really liked it. We could've driven it home that day if we had wanted--for $3000 OVER MSRP.:eek::eek::eek: For $3000, we could make do with my Bug and our truck for a couple months, thank you very much...

It's possible you could find a killer deal on new vs used right now, but as another poster mentioned, you have to factor in all that freight and setup they stick you for. I was ogling a brand new NINJA 400 ABS KRT at my local dealer, but when you factored in all the extra **** plus all the must-have farkles (sportbike word for accessories) I would have to put on it, I was looking at over $8K for a bike that wouldn't get ridden all that much (track, rides where I don't have to haul anything--pretty rare, and a second bike for when the 650 is down for some reason). I need to keep it in the $5K or less range or I won't do it. Insurance is going to be higher on a newer bike, too, because, well, it's new, plus it's likely to have more gizmos that are expensive to fix. The dash on my 2017 NINJA 300 ABS KRT got melted inside somehow (I think the sun bounced off a car and hit my windscreen just wrong in a parking lot) so that the analog tach needle wouldn't sweep (it had a digital speedo). The part alone would have been over $700!! Instead, I spent an hour tearing it out of my bike (Whatever bike you end up with, be sure to invest in a service manual for it), my husband spent an hour at the most working his magic on it to fix it, and I spent another two hours putting it all back together. My point is that those fancy TFT digital color dashes look cool, but I hate to think how expensive it would be to replace one. All that higher tech stuff raises insurance premiums; we've seen that BIG TIME on our new car.😡
 

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Tonne of used bikes on market at good value prices. However you need to know what to look for and inspect. I can take bike from this condition (storage unit auction for $250):


to this in 2-days:

I suggest taking any used bike to good mechanic for pre-purchase inspection.

I just picked up Ninja 400 for my next race-bike for $689 at insurance auction. Completely totalled with trashed bodywork. But frame was straight and all mechanicals work. Engine smooth. Going to remove ABS anyway and install fibreglass track-fairings. So no need to get those on my used bike anyway.

Also looking at 2014 Valkyrie tomorrow. If it's in good condition, I'll offer $8k. Plenty of deals out there, just have to know what to look for and at.
 

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As to buying a brand new bike versus a used one, I think the ideal situation would be to get a used one that's got a few dents or scratches so you won't cry if and when it falls over at low speeds. If you ride it for a year and put several thousand miles on it and you feel confident you won't drop it again, sell it and then get that new bike.

I bought my first real motorcycle for street use in August 2022 for $1000. I got one that had been spray painted black and already had a few dents and scratches on it. I haven't dropped it yet but I did accidentally kick over the detached fuel tank while I was working on the carburetors, and the tennis ball size dent doesn't really bother me much.

I don't plan on restoring the bike to beautiful condition --I just want it to be safe and reliable to ride for a year, after which I intend to sell it and get something nicer, newer, and new enough that parts are readily available, and any and all shops around me will work on it.
(many shops in the Atlanta Georgia area will not work on a motorcycle that is more than 12 to 15 years old.)
 

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Discussion Starter · #34 ·
The Kawasaki Versys 300 or BMW G 310 GS, both of which can had with ABS, might be worth a look. I think they've both been around since like 2017ish, so you might be able to find used options. Check on CycleTrader, where you can search by zip code. The wider you can cast your net the more choices you'll have. Both have enough oomph to get you on the freeway, though that's probably not their forte, and can do some off road if your expectations are kept in check The KTM 390 is probably the best of the mini adventure bikes, but it didn't come out until 2020, so used options won't be as plentiful if at all. When buying a bike with a smaller dealer network like BMW and particularly KTM, make sure there's a dealer in the area cause having to take your bike a long way for service can be a pain.
I actually wouldn't mind a Versys, and I actually really like the BMW 310 GS. I've been trying to broaden my range as you guys suggested. Personally, supersports are not really my thing, but I have recently been looking at adding maybe a used z400 to my list. I think that's about as much power as I want to go with now, after talking with all of you guys. I have heard good things about the KTM adventure and Duke, but, yea, not as many used options available yet.

Along those same lines, a deer totaled our Prius shortly before Christmas, 2021. So we had the joy of having to purchase a new car in the post-COVID nonsense world. We got lucky and found a 2022 Corolla Hybrid that we liked that was already built, scheduled to be delivered locally in February, and, miraculously, did not have anyone else's name on it already!!(y)(y) My husband really wanted to drive one before we shelled out the money for it. We got lucky and the dealer had a 2021 rental return there with 18,000 miles on it that was identical except for color. He drove it and really liked it. We could've driven it home that day if we had wanted--for $3000 OVER MSRP.:eek::eek::eek: For $3000, we could make do with my Bug and our truck for a couple months, thank you very much...
Oh, tell me about it. I had to do some used car shopping a little over a year ago. Luckily, I was able to get a decent 2014 Accord in great condition from a nice old lady for a decent price.

I suggest taking any used bike to good mechanic for pre-purchase inspection.
This is a great idea that really never crossed my mind. I guess I would have to come to an agreement with the seller to do this ahead of time? BTW, I can only hope to have your mechanical skills one day. As of now, my skills are limited to plugging a tire, changing oil, and swapping out an air filter. One step at a time though. I would eventually like to be able to fix some if not most issues with my bike on my own.
 

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Discussion Starter · #35 ·
As to buying a brand new bike versus a used one, I think the ideal situation would be to get a used one that's got a few dents or scratches so you won't cry if and when it falls over at low speeds. If you ride it for a year and put several thousand miles on it and you feel confident you won't drop it again, sell it and then get that new bike.

I bought my first real motorcycle for street use in August 2022 for $1000. I got one that had been spray painted black and already had a few dents and scratches on it. I haven't dropped it yet but I did accidentally kick over the detached fuel tank while I was working on the carburetors, and the tennis ball size dent doesn't really bother me much.

I don't plan on restoring the bike to beautiful condition --I just want it to be safe and reliable to ride for a year, after which I intend to sell it and get something nicer, newer, and new enough that parts are readily available, and any and all shops around me will work on it.
(many shops in the Atlanta Georgia area will not work on a motorcycle that is more than 12 to 15 years old.)
Trust me, I have been looking more and more. I don't know if it is just bad timing or luck, but I thought I would find more deals in the "off season" than I seem to be. It because I'm in Louisiana and basically have summer, summer, slightly colder summer, and summer as the 4 seasons so there is really no "off season". Perhaps when I am done my course and have my gear and am ready for purchase I can ask here for thought on a specific bike.

I just want to thank everyone here that is contributing and trying to help out here. It means a lot that this community is so embracing. This post initially got removed from Reddit /motorcycles because it included questions about a bike recommendation. I feel like that website is losing sight of what it is supposed to be with so many rules/restrictions rather than open discussion. I am really glad that I came here, though.
 

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This is a great idea that really never crossed my mind. I guess I would have to come to an agreement with the seller to do this ahead of time? BTW, I can only hope to have your mechanical skills one day. As of now, my skills are limited to plugging a tire, changing oil, and swapping out an air filter. One step at a time though. I would eventually like to be able to fix some if not most issues with my bike on my own.
Any seller's who's legit would have no problems dropping off bike at mechanic for inspection. You can even tell them it'll help sell their bike if you don't want it. Usual items to look at;

  • engine compression, tells you state of engine innards
  • frame & fork straight
  • tyres
  • brakes, lines and fluid
  • any fluid leaks
  • chain & sprockets

These maintenance items can cost thou$ands if you had to do them immediately. Although changing all fluids when getting bike is good idea.
 
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Discussion Starter · #37 ·
Any seller's who's legit would have no problems dropping off bike at mechanic for inspection. You can even tell them it'll help sell their bike if you don't want it. Usual items to look at;

  • engine compression, tells you state of engine innards
  • frame & fork straight
  • tyres
  • brakes, lines and fluid
  • any fluid leaks
  • chain & sprockets

These maintenance items can cost thou$ands if you had to do them immediately. Although changing all fluids when getting bike is good idea.
Thank you very much. I'm actually going to save this as a checklist in the future. Appreciate this because I really wouldn't know where to start or even what to ask the mechanic.
 

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A note on modular helmets: Some manufactures simply won't go there. The structural integrity is very little different from 3/4 helmets. The face/jaw protection cannot be assured with the flip up designs. I doubt ECE or Snell would approve, but don't know that for certain.
 
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A note on modular helmets: Some manufactures simply won't go there. The structural integrity is very little different from 3/4 helmets. The face/jaw protection cannot be assured with the flip up designs. I doubt ECE or Snell would approve, but don't know that for certain.
From what I've read, Snell will not approve any modular helmet. ECE, on the other hand, will. I wear an ECE-rated modular helmet. ECE rating was on my "must have" list when I went shopping for a new helmet last Autumn.
 

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If you're going to consider the Z400, a fine machines, then the Honda CB300F or BMW G310R might be worth a look too. They offer a more upright searing position, which tends to be more comfortable, but by all means go have a look for yourself to see what works for you.
 
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