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Hi guys (and gals),

I am a couple weeks away from my MSF course, after which I will be looking for a bike to start riding. I read through a lot of the posts regarding new bikes, and have a couple questions. Apologies for the long post, but I figure the more detail the merrier.

About me: I'm 5'10, 225 pounds (I like to think due to my heavy weight training, but in reality could lose about 25 pounds), and 43 years old. Grew up with quads, so comfortable with clutch, controls, and shifting. I have 3 kids, so no desire in anything squid related, unless it's an appetizer. I anticipate about 30 days of riding in my development (which is 35 MPH speed limit) before I even take the bike on a main road. With 3 kids I can't really afford to get got so all riding will be with proper gear.

My specifc questions:
Carburetion vs FI: Obviously my preference is fuel injected (winters have been getting bad here in NJ), but my question is on recent bikes (e.g. 2003 and newer) is there a lot of choke play involved? Or is the choke automatic, and the engine only needs to warm for a bit? This will determine what kind of bike I would like to get (i.e. the Kawasaki FZ series, older SV bikes, or older cruisers). The only cruiser model I have generally been scoping out is the C50 from Suzuki since many in my price range are fuel injected. My budget is only about $3K, so a majority of used that fall into my price range are carbureted.

Starting on a 650cc or liter bike: Have seen a lot of threads of this, which seems to boil down to "a motorcycle will only go as fast as you want it to, and taking external conditions out of the mix it's the rider that causes the crash, not the bike" including advice from a couple friends who ride liter bikes on track days. The reason I bring this up is bc I have a limited budget, and from time to time see an SV1000 or V-Strom DL1000 (even an occasional CBR929 or 954) fall into my price range (tough to get past when you are value conscious!)
I realize stupidity will end badly on any bike (including one without an engine), but could a rookie start on something like an SV1000 or CBR954RR and actually enjoy the experience? Is the throttle touchy enough that it will ruin the fun, or will moderation make them easy enough to learn on, provided they're shown respect? Similarly I've read that even starting on GSXR600 or CBR600 is fine as long as as you watch it over 8K rpm, the pull is manageable at lower revs.

Again this more budget related as sometimes I will see someone getting rid of a 2004 CBR600 or SV1000 for the same price as a 2006 Ninja 250 (as those are in high demand for rookies). Ideally it would nice to just get a midsize bike (or higher) provided that common sense while riding will make it something I could grow into.

Right now the bikes I am looking at mostly are 650cc to 800cc cruisers, SV650, FZ6, and Versys/V-strom models (although they're rare in my price range).

The bulk of my riding will be recreation only. I might take the bike into work on Fridays (when I don't have to drop or pickup the kids) but otherwise my riding will be on sunny days, and generally leisurely strolls.

Thanks in advance for any input!

Groovy
 

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I would recommend avoiding the 4-cylinders for the first couple years and get a solid amount of experience first.

Jugglers shouldn't start out juggling chain saws no matter how careful they plan to be. Skills should be gained first.
 

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A nice 500 to 650 twin might be your best bet. Definitely look at clean used bikes because they can be turned around a year or two later at almost no net cost. I have about 20 pounds and 25 years on you at around the same height so I do understand what you are facing. Definitely go to a local multi-brand dealer and sit on lots of bikes, new and used. You are likely to find, as I did, that at least half of them have the seat too high for me to be comfortable, especially in traffic. As a weekend pleasure bike that smallish 500 will do everything you want it to do. If you get a liter bike you are likely to get in trouble too quickly as a new rider. After over 45 years I find my 1731cc bike at 900 pounds is a pleasure to ride but the first year it would have scared me to death.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
@Dodsfall, I think I'm with you on the fours. Just read that the FZ6 is actually a (previous gen) R6 engine. Looking at the dash, a little nervous with a 14000RPM redline. The other bikes I am looking at (the cruisers, SV, Vstrom, Versys) are all twins.

@Oldman47 I'm actually leaning towards the naked bikes as that appears to be the most neutral sitting position (not hunched over the bike like a CBR or straight up like a cruiser). I'm actually hoping that they let me try all three kinds of bikes at the MSF class.

The one bike that I think might be perfect is the Kawasaki Vulcan 500. The only concern for me is that model is carbureted only, no FI option.

Any thoughts on carburetion vs fuel injection on 2005+ models? I've read that recent bikes have automatic choke and it's not really noticeable. The only downside of carbed bikes (based on what I've read) is that you have to take them out for a spin periodically in the winter. I'm not very mechanically inclined, which is my apprehension for the carbs.
 

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You can simply add some fuel stabilizer when stored for the winter. A small bottle of Stabil or SeaFoam will do the job. I believe you add about 2 oz per gallon, check the label. Run the engine for a few minutes then park it for the Winter.

A battery tender is a great idea for storage. It will keep the battery topped off until you need it again in the Spring. A decent one can be found for $20-$30 just about anywhere.
 

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Choke me.

Mid to high 30s. Turn gas tap on, full choke, check for neutral, press the start button. Say thank you for starting, open visor a bit because it is fogging, pull the clutch in, find first and take off slowly down the road. After a mile or two move the choke lever about half way, another mile or two and move choke to normal run position.
High 20s. As above, bike may crank a couple more times before firing. Let it run a bit before taking off.
Some choke levers will be attached to the carbs directly, some will have a lever on the left hand bar, and a cable to the carbs.
If the bike is run on a regular basis, the carbs will do a good job, and you do not have a complex electronic control unit to contend with. However ECI units generally work well.
I have bikes with all the systems described above.
The float bowl height should be checked every few years, so twins require less work.

Unkle Crusty*
 
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