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Discussion Starter #1
I'm taking my motorcycle safety course next month. I haven't rode a dirt bike or motorcycle before. The bike is mostly gonna be used for street/highway going up a long hill coming home. I'm stuck between getting a 250/300 or 600. Friends all tell me different some started on a 600 others a 300. I'm 6'4 and weigh 280. What type of first bike would you suggest?
 

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I'm sure you'll get some more comments, but it's good you are taking a basic riding course from the Motorcycle Foundation, or some other state certified company. You will learn on a smaller bike which is easier to maneuver around the parking lot you will ride on. It might seem odd, if you haven't ridden before, but going down the road is the easy part of the physical riding and the slow speed stuff is important to learn. Plus you'll learn a lot of the tricks for various phases of the riding experience.

Then, as you have the feel of what a bike is like, go to some dealers and sit on some used bikes to see what feels right. Some bike, probably a naked cruiser, in the range between 600 and 1200cc's should work okay. Remember, this won't be your last bike, just your first.

I'm fairly large, so even though I hadn't ridden for many years, I felt very good on the 1600cc cruiser in my photos. I was going to ride on the road mostly (as opposed to just around town), so it was a good size for me.

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Hello and welcome to the Forum. As Ron says, it is great you are taking a course. They should teach you many of the basics you will need to start riding. After the course you will hopefully have more of an idea what size/kind of bike you want.

Some folks can buy a new bike for their 1st bike and never drop it but chances are you will. If you drop a used bike it won't hurt so much. They are also normally cheaper to insure. Be sure to let your insurance company know you have taken a rider course, most give discounts for that.

Good Luck to you and remember, have fun starting your riding career.
 

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@moni thank you for the response and support. My mind right now is on a ninja 300, only thing is I stay in victorville CA and for work I have to drive down the hill. So my main concerns are comfort and how long the bike will last riding 100 miles a day.
 

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Hopefully some of our members that ride ninjas will chime in with some opinions. Do take some time and go to as many dealers as you can and sit on lots of bikes...new, used, sport, cruiser, etc. Talk to sales people and let them know you will be taking the course and are checking out different bikes to see what you like. Take your time and don't buy the 1st bike you sit on. You will figure it out. :) :)

Since you live in CA I assume you are signed up to take the BRC (Beginning Rider Course). Talk to your coaches. They may also have something to add.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
@moni thank you for the input. Just looking forward to get experienced ridin before I get something to powerful
 

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Welcome Bherbo :)

I am a strong proponent of buying a good running used bike without all the bells and whistles for your first bike.

To be honest, at your size l would take a step up and look at an EX500 or a Suzuki GS500. I test rode an EX500 before l bought my SV650 and it wasn't overly powerful in any way. I looked at the 250's but ultimately decided that my weight (I am 6'3" and 250) would be unnecessary wear and tear on the engine. A 600 sport bike is not a good idea. It is just too much power in a hurry and you can get in trouble in a big hurry.

You should be able to find either of these bikes in good used condition for under $2500. Take good care of it and when you move up in a couple years you should be able to get most of your money back. Buy a much newer bike like a Ninja 300 and in two years you are bound to lose $1500 on it.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
@hawk thank you man, as far as the 600's go I felt like I shouldn't do it. I'm gonna look in the bikes you suggested. I just feel like you should be experienced before a 600 just my opinion. Also I would get the bike off craigslist anything I should look out for. Still don't know everything about motorcycles.
 

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LOL! Feel like we just had this conversation Hawk?

Bherbo, Don't let anyone talk you into a large/fast Supersport. They can get out of control to easily and normally that ends up really bad really quick.

As a new rider let me also suggest you check out CaptCrashIdaho's You Tube videos. I think this one is about your First Bike.

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC9qZpXVqpbjGINQP_kStToQ

He has some wonderful teaching videos. I really wish I had found them (especially on "The Box") before I took my BRC class. I hope they help you too. I frequently go back and watch many of them.
 

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Actually, this one felt like I was talking to a reasonable guy who genuinely wanted answers all along MONI :)

It sounds to me like your interest is mainly in the sportbike area. The hardest part about breaking into sportbikes for taller guys is the actual physical size of the bikes...the little ones that are easy to ride aren't very big. One of the things l really didn't like about the EX500 was that everything on it was small...the foot pegs, shift lever, brake lever...everything seemed to be engineered for a teenager almost. I could have ridden it and been fine, but it definitely didn't feel like it could ever become part of me. I don't know if a GS500 is the same way or not.

An SV650 or a Ninja 650 would probably be okay if you feel really good about riding after you get done with your BRC. They have about 70 hp...not nearly as much as a 600 (because they have a twin cylinder engine rather than a 4) but they are very torquey and do perform. So l am on the fence about suggesting one. If you really do well and feel confident coming out of class, then it would be okay. If you feel shaky and feel like you have a lot of work to do then it is too soon.

Another possibility is to start with a dual-purpose bike. They are great bikes for tall guys to start on, and you can learn a lot on them. They won't give you that sport bike feel, but if you rode one for 6 months it would do wonders for you...then you could definitely get on a 650 sport bike. Those dual purpose bikes hold their value well, too, so you won't lose much on depreciation.

As far as what to look for on Craigslist, that is exactly where l bought my bike. First, l would just look and look for a couple of weeks and get a feel for the ads in your area. I had a list of things l wanted and was not willing to compromise...no need to compromise because there is always another deal, another good deal. I wanted a sport/sport touring bike with under 75 horsepower, good gas mileage, a bright color, low miles, never wrecked, and having had fairly recent maintenance and not in need of big stuff like tires or a carb rebuild, and a ceiling of $3000. I looked and looked until l found it.

Things to look for:

*If someone talks too much about anything, such as a scrape on the side of a bike or the one thing it needs done to it, that is a red flag. Honest sellers just say that it was dropped and has some cosmetic damage, or it needs a new battery. If they go on and on, it means they feel guilty.
*No matter how good a deal it is, if the speedometer/odometer cluster doesn't work, l'm not interested. Lots of people say they just went out. Maybe they did. Or maybe they went out in '09, right after you got laid off and went on a 25,000 miles journey across North America.
*Look for a bike that is being sold by a woman. No offense to the guys out there, but it is my opinion that, in general, women take better care of their toys, aren't as hard on them when they ride, and don't use them as much...hence, less miles, better shape, a better value for whatever year bike it is.
*I avoid ads where the seller is strongly opinionated or comes across with any attitude at all. For instance, l was looking at a truck a few weeks ago and there was an ad that said, "No, it doesn't have air conditioning. No, it doesn't have an extra cab. No, it doesn't have power door locks and windows. Don't waste my time asking stupid questions." That guy is someone l just don't want to deal with, period. If they seem to be missing a few marbles, then l pass.
*I avoid ads where the seller feels the need to copy and paste a bunch of information about the bike, like the specs or product information from the manufacturer. I don't know why, l guess it makes me feel like the seller is trying too hard or something. I would never sell a bike to someone who knew nothing about them; this seller almost seems to be TRYING to find a buyer who is ignorant.

It may seem like l have discarded everyone, but that really isn't the case. There are LOTS of bikes for sale, and tomorrow there will be lots more. You will see some of the same bikes over and over again...there is a reason for that, so take your time and be picky. Look for the guy (or gal) with a good bike that has been well maintained that they want to move so they put a good price on it. The more you look, the easier it will be to spot the good from the bad.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
@moni I appreciate the feedback and appreciate it. @hawk you know exactly what I want. I'm not gonna try to kill myself or anything just practice a lot. Also thank you for the info on Craigslist, don't wanna buy something that doesn't work. Im most likely gonna get a Kawasaki 500. But I want your opinion on the 2000 Kawasaki zx6r ninja?
 

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@moni I appreciate the feedback and appreciate it. @hawk you know exactly what I want. I'm not gonna try to kill myself or anything just practice a lot. Also thank you for the info on Craigslist, don't wanna buy something that doesn't work. Im most likely gonna get a Kawasaki 500. But I want your opinion on the 2000 Kawasaki zx6r ninja?
If I researched the right bike, that thing's got a 112 hp engine! Probably NOT a good starter bike.

You are a large guy, so riding a small 250-300 bike might feel too tight. You really need to go SIT on a few of these bikes to see how you well you fit. Reach forward grab the handlebars & hold that pose for a few minutes. It's a brief amount of time for a really good fit test, but is a good start.

I'd suggest starting with a 'less extreme' posture sport bike, something used/cheap like a Suzuki GS500, that is a bit more comfortable & has a less "hair trigger engine" than something that has an "RR" in it's name ;) Ride it for a year or 2, & then after that you'll be MUCH more aware of what your next 'dream bike' will be. Buy the 2nd bike new, & the 1st bike used :)
 

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You're the one beginner I would steer away from a 300 Ninja, 250 rebel, etc. You simply need a LARGER bike. Not more powerful, but larger, physically.

And that's hard to buy without also getting a much bigger motor, but I'm sure you'll find some 450-650 out there that suits you.

Buying a faster, more powerful bike doesn't make you a better rider, Just the opposite, it probably retards your riding progress. Keep that in mind.
 

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Welcome to the forum Bherbo.
You either do or do not want our advice. MONI posted the link to Capt Crash advice. It is great advice. A nice 3 or 4 year old used bike in the 250cc to 500cc range with no more than 2 cylinders may not impress your friends but it will be lots of fun to ride and learn on.
I rode a 250cc Honda Rebel when I took the MSF course after over 40 years of riding. It was a fun little bike that would be great for around town trips. If I could afford to have 2 active bikes in my stable I would own one. I am no lightweight at 230 pounds but that is one fun little bike. I ride a much heavier (at 850+ lb) and more powerful (over 100 HP) bike today, not because I need all of that power or all of that weight but because I do long distance touring. That is where a heavier bike with all of the goodies on it will shine. For short runs or for a beginner bike, avoid any such monster. It is really nice to be able to just pick up a fallen bike that only weighs in at around 300 lb. and sooner or later you will need to do that. My heavy bike at well over 900 lb. wet can be picked up, I know from experience, but it requires the right technique. I sometimes lay my Victory on its side just to do maintenance work. You want to be able to pick up your bike as easily as Capt Crash does in that video.
 

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at your size, you might want to look into something with a more upright position as others have said.
I know exactly what you mean about trying to find a bike that fits.
I'm 6'4 also but go about 15lbs heavier.
I ve sat on a lot of bikes and decided that rather than trying to find a bike that fit ok but I didn't like it, I'd pick out a bike that I liked and modify it to fit me.
mainly taller handlebars and such... most stock ones hit my knees.
I ended up with a Suzuki gs450, a buddy gave it to me for repairing his virago. If I were to go buy a bike, I'd probably go slightly larger but I couldn't argue with the price. I put a set of Daytona bars on it and relocated the shifter lever and it works ok
 

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Ninja 650 is decent starter for larger people. The 650 is actually about half the power of the 600 (weird I know)
 
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