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Discussion Starter #1
Hey guys,

Just an update. I passed the BRC course - which was great. Rode around on Suzuki 250's which I actually enjoyed. Thought I really wanted a sport bike, but the naked style body and design really got me hooked. :icon_cool:

Found a pretty good deal on a 1982 Suzuki GS450L... maybe its a little too much engine for a beginner, but the owner said he's willing to let me get it looked at by a mechanic/test ride it.

About 23k miles on it... but for something to start, you cant beat the $1k asking price.

Anyone know anything about this bike? If the parts are generally hard to come by? Etc? Owner said he replaced the clutch for safety reasons... which is why I insisted on taking the bike to a mechanic before I hand over the cash.
 

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Suzuki made a lot of these, so there may be some parts available. I would research to see just how available before buying.

It's a great idea to have it checked out in advance. Many potential riders find out too late that the cost to make an old motorcycle road-worthy quickly exceeds the price of a much newer motorcycle in better condition. The price of mechanical work on a motorcycle can be $90-$100 an hour and can add up quickly.

If you won't be doing maintenance yourself, it's best to secure a good mechanic in advance. The large majority of mechanics out there won't touch something that old.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thats not too reassuring!

I'm going to talk to a local bike mechanic today. He's been here for around 30 years or so, and I think its nice to contribute to local business.

Hopefully if I buy a new helmet he wont turn me away outright.

I did find some parts available. Apparently the bike model is a hassle to start up, and stalls even in idle running condition when pulling away from a stop.




If you won't be doing maintenance yourself, it's best to secure a good mechanic in advance. The large majority of mechanics out there won't touch something that old.
 

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I just bought a bike after looking and comparing, researching for 3 or 4 months. I looked at older bikes as well as newer ones. I didn't want too much bike either, but l wanted enough to ride on the freeway.

I found plenty of bikes like the one you are describing. What l found was that, without fail, they all needed something significant, like tires, brakes, or carb work. Nothing huge, like a blown motor, but l found that when l really looked at it, if l bought an old bike l was almost certainly going to be looking at another $500 to make it safe and roadworthy. In most situations, though, it was a combination of a few things that would add up, and l was looking at about $2000 total. Additionally, for a 30 year old bike, you almost always are looking at a bike with many previous owners. You really have no idea how well it has been treated.

So then l started looking at newer bikes. I found lots of bikes that were in the $1300-$1800 range, and were built this decade. Most had some level of body damage, at least a light scrape or a low speed drop. I looked at a couple in this range as well. Most were EX500's, Ninja 250's or GS500's in the 2000-2006
range. Great starter bikes. And there is nothing wrong with buying a bike that someone else dropped, especially when you are new.
Chances are, you will drop it as well. And, like someone pointed out to me a few weeks ago here, it is highly unlikely that you will keep this bike will be a long term ride. It's your first bike, a transition bike if you will. And, another cool thing about the bikes l listed, they are all pretty easy to sell and get most of your money back from.

In the end l decided l wanted something really clean, and looked seriously at 2 bikes. One was a 2002 EX500 that had 13k miles and had never been dropped. They guy wanted $2100 for it and l might have gotten it for a bit less. It was clean and l would have been okay with it. I ended up buying a 2004 SV650 with only 5k miles on it for $3000. It was like showroom, and bright yellow, which l wanted (hi-viz).

In the end, l just decided l wanted a newer bike. I felt like if l had any problems it would be easier finding a mechanic, get parts for, accessories, and all in all, would be less chances of it turning into a big headache. And being fuel injected was a bonus as well.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Well I gave it a test ride, and I have to say I really liked it. Not too much power at all. There have been some modifications done to the bike, but the owner was genuine about all the things he had done. I also like that the bike shows you what gear you're in via a digital display. Not bad for such an old bike. If everything checks out with the mechanic I'm looking at my first ride!
 

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Discussion Starter #7
I hope it works out great for you!
Thanks! I really like sportier bikes. But, weirdly enough I sat on a CBR the other day and just didn't like it. Not sure why... But I'll probably upgrade in the future. I hear it all the time. Don't buy the bike you want. Buy what you need as a beginner.

I mean. A Ducati monster would be nice... Or the new paint jobs in the CBR 300. Wowza.
 

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Have you looked at the EX500 or Ninja 250? Either would be a great starter.

Also, how many bikes have you looked at? The reason l ask is, when l was ready to buy l made a promise to myself to not buy the first bike l looked at. I am really glad l did that. I would have been okay with the first bike l rode, but l love my bike so much more. And l think it is easy to get zoned in on one bike, and that closes a person off from other possibilities. I went through a wide range of possibilities, and some of the bikes l thought about might be a possibility in the future. But for this purchase, l think all of my time and research allowed me to make the best decision.
 

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I think it is also important to put on paper what is important to you, make a list, and then compare that list to the bikes you are looking at. For instance, my list looked like this...

Dependability
Easy to ride, not too big
Good commuter, efficient (mpg)
Bright color
Low cost of maintenance
Upright seating position
Low miles, clean, never wrecked

When l looked at bikes online (mainly on Craigslist) l regularly referred back to my list so l didn't drift very far away. In the end, l was able to check every box except for "upright seating position". That can be modified with handlebar risers, so l really feel like l did well.
 
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