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Discussion Starter #1
I am going through making a spreadsheet to give me a good comparison of seven bikes, so far I am looking at: Final Drive, Air or Liquid Cooled, Weight, Colors, Center stand, MPG, Fuel Tank Size, Ground Clearance, and Transmission. Is there anything else I should be considering when comparing similar bikes?
 

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Retired twice: Navy and as a govt contractor
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First thing you need to do is sit on them and see what is comfortable
 

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Save them all!
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Completely agree. The butt-test should be tops. How does the bike feel?
 

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A good first step is to take some biking classes so you can get your feet wet and see what biking is like and an idea of what they can do with you on one.

Then decide what you are going to use the bike for. Dirt biking, commuting, cross-country riding, etc.?

Keep in mind your ability to work on the bike, where you will store it, and whether or not you will also be able to insure it. I don't know your age, but if you are 18 and get a new racing sport bike, you'll probably spend $300./month for insurance.

Then, decide on your budget. It probably won't be your last bike, so don't be afraid to get a used one that already has dings on it, but is cheaper and easier to unload at a low selling price.

Have your financing lined up before approaching the bike you may want. Remember, no seller wants a buyer that says: "I like your bike, and in several months I will probably have enough money set aside to buy it."

Visit a number of dealers and sit on bikes that fit your parameters. Don't automatically think getting one from a dealer is bad since they are in business and you have somewhere to return it if there's a problem. Plus, you will need a dealer for fixing major problems and getting parts. Later on, you may do your own repairs and get parts on-line.

All bikes have some problems, but most of the major brands are fully functional if taken care of. Don't buy one that looks cool, but you suspect has had someone ride the piss out of it.

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Discussion Starter #5
Thanks, I sat on the KLR and while it was taller than I was expecting (and my 110lb body doesn't push it down much) it felt really comfortable. As I was making the list I started to mark bikes off pretty quick. I think my option will be between a KLR or Versys with a possible V-strom, all 650. After I take my BRC hopefully I can test drive some of these.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Thanks Ronk for the tips. My course is set for Aug 21st. I will be mainly commuting with some off roading and the occasionaly road trip. I had insurance quotes on the bikes I was looking at, between $55 and $70 per month.

I highly doubt I will have any ability to work on the bike, I know I don't for cars. Got the storage taken care of.

I will have to buy from a dealer, I never have enough saved up all at once. But I will be buying used so who knows what kind of dealer I will go to, they seem to accept all types as trade ins.
 

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The only things on your list that I would consider is fuel tank volume and mileage. That pair would give me expected riding range which is something I would care about. After that list I would both sit on lots of bikes and take the ones I really like out for a test ride. A bike is all about how you feel riding it. No spreadsheet can tell you that.
 

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What is your inseam? At 110 lbs, I suspect you are not a tall person. You need to be able to flat foot your bike, with both feet on the ground. The Versys has a very tall seat height. Go sit on the bikes you like.
 

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What is your inseam? At 110 lbs, I suspect you are not a tall person. You need to be able to flat foot your bike, with both feet on the ground. The Versys has a very tall seat height. Go sit on the bikes you like.
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Why do you have to be able to flat foot?

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Discussion Starter #10
What is your inseam? At 110 lbs, I suspect you are not a tall person. You need to be able to flat foot your bike, with both feet on the ground. The Versys has a very tall seat height. Go sit on the bikes you like.
I don't know what my inseam is but I am 6 foot tall. I'm a ectomorph body type, tall and super skinny. Have been since I was a teen.

I'm also curious why the flat foot matters? My dad said he can't flat foot on both sides on his Goldwing due to extra air in the shocks and he certainly doesn't have any problems. While I am leaning away from the KLR right now towards a Versys I still felt comfortable with the amount of foot I had on both sides and would like to test drive a KLR.

Thanks everyone for the tips, I trashed the spreadsheet after I figured out I either want a KLR, Versys, or V-Strom. Everything points towards Versys right now but I plan to test drive all three before a final decision.
 

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Why do you have to be able to flat foot?

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While not a hard and fast rule, having both feet firmly planted on the ground is good insurance against a tip-over. For example, you may come to a stop over a pothole, and before you know, over it goes. I, personally, would never consider buying a street bike unless I can flat foot my bike. Some are comfortable with tip-toeing it, or only using one foot at a stop, but to me, it is a tip-over waiting to happen. It just boils down to ones' attitude towards risk.
 

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While not a hard and fast rule, having both feet firmly planted on the ground is good insurance against a tip-over. For example, you may come to a stop over a pothole, and before you know, over it goes. I, personally, would never consider buying a street bike unless I can flat foot my bike. Some are comfortable with tip-toeing it, or only using one foot at a stop, but to me, it is a tip-over waiting to happen. It just boils down to ones' attitude towards risk.
Agree with this!!

-Soupy
 

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First thing you need to do is sit on them and see what is comfortable
^^^^^^^^^^+1
I agree with Critter!
The best way to find a bike that "Feels Right" is to try 'em on!
Sit on different bikes, evaluate how the "Layout" is..i.e. how the controls feel when sitting on the bike etc.
Regards
Ed
 
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