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Looking at a first bike: I'm starting as a car enthusiast in the first place. I'm a Mechanical Engineering student so I'm not worried about maintenance or rebuilding anything. I have always loved riding bikes, and now that I have a car and rarely ride for the last year or so, I yearn to ride again.

Criteria: Cheap to buy (I'm thinking sub $4k USD, preferably sub 3), cheap to run, cheap to insure, but something with some poke (not sure about 250cc class). It'd be used to get from my apartment to school (college) 2-4 times a day (on a Formula SAE team so I'm often back and forth). Fuel injected for cold weather, but am not opposed to some older stuff if the price is right either. I love the way naked bikes look and weigh/appear to perform. Something light and tossable sounds like a dream!

My riding (bicycle) background: I feel this has some relevance. For the past 10 years (I'm 19) I've raced or taught BMX both in a park (not as much experience), Trail riding, or dirt track racing. Not regularly competitively (I'm not spending much money or getting sponsored, just practiced hours every day), just getting kids 8-16 started safely and correctly and letting them learn.

I've been looking at used Street Triples, FZ6, KTM Duke, or something in the 300-600cc range (40-80 hp maybe more). Is this too big? Or is it something I can learn my way into. I want a lightweight bike that's tractable and easy to progress with. I don't want a 400+ pound liter bike, and don't want to pay for insurance on it either.

If anyone has any ideas on engine size or what other bikes in that range that I could pick up used in a year or so for $3k or less let me know!

Thanks in advance.
 

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How about a Suzuki SV650? It's got a nice predictable powerband, fuel injection, very little to break if dropped. Not too powerful for a beginner, but still enough power to keep one satisfied indefinitely.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
That seems nearly perfect. Seems like the post 2003 one is the one with FI and better frame etc.
Thanks a lot! Don't know how I missed it
 

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I was just going to suggest that...l just sold one and it was a great bike for what you are talking about. Easy to find in the $3000-$4000. I had the SV650S model, and it was more leaned forward than the naked counterpart.
 

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I like the idea of starting with a 250cc in the classes you can take to learn the RIGHT way to ride, and then moving up to a 500cc for a few years. Dirt Bike riding gives you a good deal of experience that is useful, but adapting to traffic situations, and "road driving" is another animal all together!!

It was always a goal of mine to move to 1000cc or higher at some point, and my choice of a 1450cc bike yesterday was a THRILL!!

I'm glad however, that I moved up to that kind of power, gradually!! Having a good start (instruction) and then having some real "experience" under your belt is a good thing!!

-Soupy
 

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My thoughts... It depends on where you live. As an example, my buddy lives in Indiana. Flat, straight, looooonnggg stretches. I live in Pennsylvania. Many hills, no real straights, and twiiiisssties.

I agree with the sv650 a great all around bike. I'm on my 7th bike at this point in my life. Had cruisers, crotch rockets, just came off a 3 year ownership of a 194hp 2006 hayabusa. I now own a 2015 vulcan s. I have never been happier. Why? because first off I can take the bike out of first gear LOL. Secondly, it feels like I'm flying through the turns at 42mph (another LOL). And most importantly, the ergo fit system allows my lanky 6ft frame to fit.

Another difference is that on the Busa I had the helmet, the jacket with plastic in it, the gloves. I hated to park it anywhere, etc. This bike, polycarbonate glasses and go (not recommended of course, but it's what I do after 25 years of riding, I go stupid :p).

The vulcan s is cheap, quick enough, handles like a dream in the turns, comfortable for up to 2 hour jaunts, and is the most fun I've ever had at legal speeds. Just my two cents. But whatever you get, be careful and have fun :).
 

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As the owner of a 250cc bike with 15HP, I'd say it does everything competently up to about 65MPH, but runs out of gas after. I've it up to 80MPH on a flat stretch of the freeway and it's very stable, there's just not much passing power at that speed. You just got learn to work the gearbox. If I see a big hill or am stuck behind someone doing 55MPH, I can drop into fourth gear to maintain speed or get past the slow driver. I guess you'll have decide whether that fits for you.

As a beginner myself, I find the 250cc to be a good choice for me. It's light(325 pounds) and nimble, easy to maintain and inexpensive. Given that you're 19, I'm thinking anything over 500cc is going to be expensive to insure. I think I pay $65 a year, though am older.

If you want another naked option, the CB300F might be worth a look. It's a Honda, so it should be well built and has twice the HP of my TU250x. You can get a new one within budget, which means you'll have a warranty while things shake out. That was good for me, though I'm not the wrench type.
 

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I am going to weigh in on the side of using a low powered bike at first. It is not as much fun as a bike with more power but it will let you learn to ride before you kill yourself. We all know that there is a huge difference between a 500 cc in-line 4 cylinder and a 500 cc single but we seldom mention it. I would suggest that up to 500 cc of a single cylinder bike is plenty for most riding and will keep you out of serious trouble as a new rider. If you go with a 500 cc multi-cylinder, I suspect you will be in trouble pretty darned quick. Your bicycle riding has probably taught you plenty about balance but has no relevance when it comes to riding with an engine. No matter how confident you feel, you are a total newb at street riding with an engine. Please pick the right bike so we can communicate again in a couple of years. I hate to see people get hurt.
 

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For a first bike my opinion after thinking about it should be more about weight and ease of handling. Too much power is definitely a bad idea but a bike that is too heavy that you can't move it around by duck walking (sitting on the seat and using your feet to push it around) gets old quick. Both of my bikes can be pushed around because neither is too much over five hundred pounds( KTM 990=475, XR1200=560 or so). Both are also around 100HP, not a lot in todays bikes. For a real beginner without experience with HP a 250-300cc would be a good choice to start.
 

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I have bought a ZX14R from Kawasaki as my first bike. I had been able to ride it until I dropped it on the street. That was about a year ago. I did not ride for half the summer this year because I have developed this fear of riding on the highway and in traffic.

In order to conquer that fear I bought a used Yamaha X-250 and get back on the street, So far I am doing good on overcoming that fear of riding in traffic. One of my riding partners have told me that all I needed is more riding experience and a 250CC motorcycle was the best awy to get back in the saddle.
 

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Right you are Sammistad. The smaller bikes are are more forgiving in almost any situation and give you lots of experience to draw on when you decide to move up to a bigger bike. Now how can we get that across to a newb who is sure they can resist the temptation to ride beyond their abilities?
 

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I didn't see it here, but have you taken the MSF course? I think taking the course will also give you a better idea as to the power of the bike you would feel comfortable with. If they use 250cc bikes you might find that isn't as under powered as you think.

Just throwing it out there.
 
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