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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello everyone,
Emanuele from Italy at the keyboard.

A year ago my brother-in-law bought a small motorcycle, and since then I couldn't stop thinking about getting one too. After many months of unguided research, in September I spoke with some friends with 30+ years of experience riding, and they encouraged me and gave some sound advice.

I am now determined to try riding a 125cc (in Europe it is allowed to do so even with the car driving license) and, if that goes well, I will get a motorcycle driving license. Cue to the question every newbie has to face: what ride should I get? In order to narrow down my options, I thought of how I would like to use a motorcycle. My dreams, ordered from the more feasible to the wildest, are

a) driving leisurely in the hills nearby home (always on paved roads, the highest mountain around here is 1700 m)
b) driving to my office from time to time (approx 50 km, mostly on country roads - just about 5 km of highway)
c) driving with my wife (at first on the hills, then if we get confident enough I would like to ride with her to her parent's place, 250 km from home, all of it on a highway)

Taking into account these dreams and other technical details (173cm, 68kg - or 0.000934125 nautical miles and 35.274 ounces, according to Google), I have narrowed down the choice to a few options.

Sense - used Honda CB500X. With some luck I can get an used one for about 4000-5000€ (approx. 4400-5500$). I don't particularly like the design, but my friends ensured me that this bike can get me and my wife anywhere and with relative comfort (i.e. we can travel some hundreds of kms on a highway with relative wind protection).

Sensibility - used Kawasaki W800. Screw money, for 6000€ I can get what aestethically is my dream motorcycle. Kawasaki is also much more reliable than other similar models, and who needs to travel faster than 80 mph anyways? Moreover, the law prevents me to travel at a maximum speed of 70 mph for three years after having obtained my driving license. The drawback of this bike should be the small-to-nonexistent wind protection, so I am afraid this bike is too tiring to ride three hours on a highway.

Little Arabella - brand new Benelli Imperiale (apparently I am not allowed to post a link, so I will wait until you have googled it). Time and again I think of going for the cheapest option and getting either this small bike or the Royal Enfield Classic 500. However, the latter has a reputation of being quirky and sometimes unreliable. The former... it basically has no reputation, being on sale since the beginning of October. Currently there are only a handful of first-impression videos by enthusiast Indian guys singing praise to this bike, but the lack of information is quite unnerving (as you might have guesed, I am an overthinker). This would also be the cheapest option, since the bike costs 4000€ brand new. However, driving to my in-laws becomes almost impossible with this bike (but then who knows if my wife will ever agree to a highway ride without the security of a car?).

What do you think? Did I overlook some great beginner's bike that would help me achieve my dream goals? Or should I go for an even cheaper option, because in a couple of years I will be swapping it for a motorcycle that will fit not my dreams, but the way I will actually ride? I'm looking forward to your comments!

Cheers,
Emanuele
 

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Nothing will ruin your enjoyment of motorcycling faster than a bike that is unreliable. As a beginner, you need something that will always run, and always get you where you are going.
I'd say buy the Honda.
Reliability is their middle name.
And Welcome to the forum!!
 

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Welcome to the forum.

One thing that can take a lot of the pressure off when making a first bike purchase decision is to buy a used bike. If one takes advantage of the best deal on a suitable used bike from a motivated seller, I've always found I've been able to resell the bike later for as much or more than I paid for it. An inexpensive bike, purchased with the idea that it is only temporary, has the additional benefit of reducing your fear. If you don't care about the bike, you can concentrate on preserving your much more valuable skin and bones.

The second hand market might be quite different in Italy than it is here, but here, I can find excellent condition, low mileage 10-15 year old bikes for 35% to 50% of the cost of the equivalent new bike. I can find older bikes, with legal title, and in running condition for as little as $500. If you spend only $1000, it's very difficult to lose more than $1000 on resale. If you spend $7000, well,..... Depreciation on motorcycles is very high, even higher than automobiles. They say -30% just for driving it out of the showroom.

Of course you want to make sure the bike runs reliably, and is legal. In my opinion style and cosmetics should be the least of your concerns for a first bike. They say there are two kinds of bikers, those who have been down, and those who are going down.

Buy low, sell high, ride free.
 

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Welcome to the forum. With friends with 30 years of experience, I would think they would be your best source of advise, because they live there.

There are things that a rider from anywhere in the world can advise a new rider. Reliability has got to be high on the list. Ease of maintanence, and maybe, availability of parts. I'm sure there are other things too.

But a few friends, with their experience, riding the roads you will ride, well, sit down share a capucino, ask your questions and listen to what they advise.

Don't want to discourage you from asking anything here, but don't pass up a good source of information either. Good luck.
 

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WELCOME ABOARD, and...



Normally just a few more posts(count of 3) and the rest of the site
will open to you. This is the sites spambot control. Unfortunately it
is needed today. But you have to make 15 posts before you can post
pictures. Right or wrong it's considered a privilege to be able to post
pictures. Unless you use Tapatalk which somehow gets around
that restriction.

We are friendly site here. Well, most of us:grin:
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 · (Edited)
Thank you for the advices. My takeaway is that reliability comes first (it is interesting that my wife gave me a similar advice, despite her nonexistent knowledge of motorcycles). A curiosity: is Kawasaki that far behind Honda in this regard?

I agree with the whole friends-with-experience idea, but they ride in a very different way than I would (basically they run away every weekend for 5+ hours on the road, and are very keen on winding mountain passes). I respect their preference for "adventure" motorcycles, but I might not really fit that mold.

Nevertheless, it seems like the next stop should be at a Honda dealership for some infos on the CB500X. I am not in a hurry, since this is not the best season to start driving lessons.

Edit. Also, thanks for the very sensible advices on buying a used motorcycle. The cheapest bikes around my area (in the $1000 ballpark) are either 125 or 250 cc. Maybe these could be appropriate stepping stones towards understanding my riding style. But if one considers bigger engines it is almost impossible to find anything under €3000.
 

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Here's a link to the most recent, fairly comprehensive motorcycle reliability study that I am aware of:
https://www.consumerreports.org/cro...-reliability-and-owner-satisfaction/index.htm

You can see that IN GENERAL, Kawasaki is only slightly behind Honda on this study. Far more important than this generalized information, in my opinion, are the reports of problems and issues for the particular model(s) that you are interested in. Brand new models, without a track record, are often looked at with some reservation by conservative buyers.
 

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Your friends, no matter how they ride today, were once beginners, just like you are now. They'll still remember those days I suspect.

I like Kawasaki, and although I don't have one now, I remember riding the, ah,..riding them real hard and not having too much trouble with them. Been riding nearly 50 years and most of my bikes were either Honda's or Kawasaki's. Both are good bikes.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
The survey looks very interesting, thank you for the reference!

As far as beginner's motorcycle are concerned, my friends have different opinions: one favours adventure bikes (hence the Honda), while the other would get a scrambler in the blink of an eye. An example of the agreement between husband and wife ?
 

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I have owned Honda, Harley Davidson, and now I own the Royal Enfield Classic 500 that you listed. I think the Classic 500 is an excellent beginner bike, and that what it gives up in reliability it more than makes up for in ease of repair, in my opinion. I wouldn't recommend it as a beginners bike because, here in the US, they are pretty hard to find cheap on the used market.

If you are thinking of buying new, there are a couple of other offerings from Royal Enfield that might be worth looking at, their Interceptor 650 twin is 45% more powerful than the 500, and they offer the Himalayan, an adventure bike single cylinder. The Himalayan is a 440 or so, and capable of the 70mph you cited. Himalayans retail here in the US for around $4500, while Interceptors are closer to $6000, both with 3 year warranty.

If I was in Italy, I'd be having a wonderful time, looking at the old Laverdas and Gileras, the Ducatis and MV Agustas and Moto Guzzis and Capronis. Lots of wonderful bikes came from Italy.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
@johnnyvee, all these information on Royal Enfield are really useful, thank you.

For a while I considered the Classic 500 as a first bike: in my area there are some used ones with very low mileage at around €3500 (perhaps these are the best bikes to buy low, unless I have overlooked relevant sources of ads). The himalayan is another great suggestion: the dashboard is definitely more informative than the one on the Classic (I would be a bit scared to drive without the fuel gauge).

Perhaps it is also fine to narrow down the choice to two or three models, and then decide based on quality, price and availability of used bikes at the time of the purchase.
 

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I just came back from two weeks in the Apuglia region of Italy. Fairly flat there. I would stay off the highways - 130-140k is normal speed. Back roads would be okay. I would not ride double for at least a year so that you can be comfortable for the change of a passenger. We also drove to the Amalfi coast and I would not recommend riding those mountain roads for a while. Too many crazy bus drivers.

I would go with the Honda for reliability. Welcome to the forum.
 
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Thanks Larry, I am still trying to catch up
 

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Not sure if this will help you at all but I've got a Honda CB500F which is basically the same bike as the CB500X without the windscreen and it's been a great bike so far. It's 13 months old (bought it new) and I haven't had any problems with it after 6,900 miles of riding. It wouldn't be my first choice for long highway rides, however, as it gets a little buzzy after 6,500 RPMs which is about where you're at going 60 MPH in 6th gear. The saddle is also a little uncomfortable on long rides (over 2 hours without stopping). It's also geared pretty short (meaning you have to shift a lot getting up to speed).

All that being said, these are minor complaints for a bike at this price point. The handling is very good and I'm getting 67-70 miles per gallon. And, like I said, it's been very reliable.

I'd recommend sitting on as many bikes as you can. How a bike fits you is really important. If you're not comfortable while riding you won't enjoy yourself no matter what type of bike you're on or how reliable, stylish, or affordable it is. Good luck!
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Thank you very much for your comments and suggestions. So far I have only been able to sit on a handful of motorcycles at some showrooms. So far, the most comfortable bike was the Mash Five Hundred. I was hoping the Benelli Imperiale and the RE Classic would give me similar feelings.
 
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