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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I've been window shopping and researching for a while now, as I plan to take the MSF course and get my license this spring.

I'm tall & thin - about 6'3", 175lb, 34" inseam. I'm looking for something with a generally upright stance, that won't have my knees sticking out or otherwise banging into things.

I'd pondered a Suzuki GS500 for a first bike. It looks just a tad cramped, but close.

I see a 2000 Suzuki SV650 for sale locally and I'm strongly tempted to buy in advance, if I can arrange for winter storage.

Assuming I fit on it, I think I'd be happy with the SV for a few years, before moving on to something a bit larger and more suited for highway trips, while not being too big for around-town or commuting, ie a DL650 or DL1000 vstrom, or a BMW R1100.

Any flaws with this? Also, what should I check on the bike assuming I get to that point (aside from rust, leaks, and a dry chain)? Should I wait for spring, or will there be less on the used market then?
 

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Either woul be a great first bike for a big guy (tall). Don't expect to keep it more than a year or two. You will want something with more snot very shortly after getting on either, but it safest to start smaller, then decide what you need after riding for a little while.
 

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My brother has a SV650, I loved it until I got my Ninja. :p It's actually a great bike, it has good power so you will need to watch yourself a little. Compared to my '02 ZX-6R it is way more "upright", and the bike as a whole feels a lot lighter and smaller.

How many miles are on it? Was it stored (correctly)? There's probably nothing major that can go wrong, but you might need to invest a little in getting it back to mint. i'm thinking a carb cleaning maybe and any missed or pending scheduled maintenance plus of course any wear-and-tear items that are worn out.

Do you have a mechanic or dealer you trust nearby? Winter is an ideal time to get a bike maintained, and a lot of places will store it for you after they're done too. Once you have a bike picked out, find the forum for it and find out what you should do to store it. (Tires off the cement, Stabil in a full tank of gas, battery on a tender or in the house)

I advise people to start small (very small, I've got a buddy looking at a Ninja 250 top speed of 105mph and he's a pretty big guy, probably 5' 11", 175 lbs) and work your way up.

Also, buy something for the "right reasons"... In my case I wanted a modern sportbike that was comfy enough to want to commute on (good fit, good wind/rain protection), and in my price range... The '02 Ninja was the ideal bike, so good in fact they brought it back (ZZR-600) after the 6R leaned too far to the track / all-out-performance side of the scale for many buyers.

When you are done with the MSF you will be qualified to ride a 200 lb, 250cc motorcycle around a parking lot with no hazards at 20 miles per hour, be patient and live. :thumbup:

hth,

a.s.
 

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if you are shopping SV650 I'd suggest getting a FI one and not carbureted...not that there is anything wrong with carbs but the FI will be more in demand and less hassle down the road. A good choice either way, easy to ride, good power, comfortable, high mod potential (track or touring), should have enough pep to keep you grinning...the GS500 might not.
 

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Sv650 is a terrific wee bike. Owned one for a year and loved it. Longest trip I made was to Zion Canyon and back. 1400 miles in two days each way. Performed admirably.

It's an ideal bike for urban settings. Unlike most inline fours, you have a ton of power available when you're in the "wrong" gear. Makes dodging traffic a breeze and limits the amount of workout your left hand gets.

I had the carbed version. Was fine for me.

It's a stable enough bike to be great for beginners and it's a viscious enough little bugger that you'll have a hard time getting good enough to get bored of it.

Have fun!
 

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I'd rather have the DL than the SV myself, because I'm a road tripper.

A lightly used Kawasaki Concours always seems like a deal to me, with plenty of engine and bags and a fairing, again so I can go way the hell out of town. They aren't too porky either.

I'd bet a DL with hard bags would be better all around than the Kawi though.
 

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The "Odd" one
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I have to ask because I experienced this with a buddy of mine who was about the same build here. Are you familiar with riding? Have you rode dirt bikes or anything? I will even go as far as... Do you know how to ride a bicycle well? Very trivial question but it plays a big part. My buddy went out and bought a 500 cc Honda from back in the early 80s. First time out (in a parking lot) he dumped it over 3 times within 15 minutes. Having a good understanding a what it is like to ride on 2 wheels (bicycle) is very good, cause once you throw in a throttle, clutch, hand brake, foot brake, etc it gets a little more confusing.
If you know these things that will be great. One of the biggest mistakes people make is thinking that the MSF Course teaches you how to ride. It doesnt, it teaches someone who knows how to ride, how to ride safe. If your not familiar with riding, it doesnt matter what size bike you buy.

side note...more bikes are sold in the spring, so you will have a bigger selection. Drawback is more people want to buy during that time, so you may be a little better off negotiating during this time of year.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Yeah. There's a 2000 carb one fs with 21k miles asking $2600, and a FI '03 with 4k miles asking $3700. The '03s look snazzier too.

I was thinking, i don't mind doing a little wrenching, and the lift-away gas tank looks to make maintenance fairly easy, so a carb cleaning isn't a huge deal. This bike would be for secondary transportation, occasional commute, and weekend fun. I'm not looking for sheer power. In fact, just for simplicity and layout, I'm looking almost exclusively at 2-cyl bikes.

Yes, I know the MSF course doesn't mean I can rocket off into the sunset and be a perfect rider. I have some saddle experience (these days, mostly with a friend's borrowed 50cc scooter), so I have some feel for the balance, but it's going to be a while before I'm comfortable on the main roads and even longer before I do any real highway traveling.

Plus, i'll need a lot of pointers on more advanced techniques, esp. wrt to braking bias and cornering, etc.
 

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One of the biggest mistakes people make is thinking that the MSF Course teaches you how to ride. It doesnt, it teaches someone who knows how to ride, how to ride safe. If your not familiar with riding, it doesnt matter what size bike you buy.
Have you ever taken the MSF course? I suspect not, because this is a very bad assessment of what goes on there, at least the courses in my area. The advanced course is certainly like that, but the basic course is absolutely about "how to ride." You will literally be walking the bike around the lot in neutral at first. This kind of advice may make someone think they should just skip it and that is bad...

SV650 is a great starter bike, FI or carbs is fine.

Not a bad idea to pickup a book like "Proficient Motorcycling" either (don't get sucked into "twist of the wrist" type guides until you're very comfortable on the bike). Sounds like you're doing everything right to start a safe and enjoyable relationship with a two-wheeled companion. Have fun!
 

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Have you ever taken the MSF course? I suspect not, because this is a very bad assessment of what goes on there. The advanced course is certainly like that, but the basic course is absolutely about "how to ride." You will literally be walking the bike around the lot in neutral at first. This kind of advice may make someone think they should just skip it and that is bad...
You are very correct that I have not taken the course, but I have observed people taking the course and talked to many people who have. Some of the people I watched take the course were dropping the bikes by the third day just like they were on the first time out. Some people who take the course without any experience at all expect to come out as seasoned riders...and was just trying to make sure that he didnt think that was going to be the case. Keep meaning to take it, but just havent gotten around to it.

I do agree that the course is not a waste and people should not just skip it.
 

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when I took the MSF it was just as Mac described...mount/sit on the bike, push/coast on the bike...slip in 1st on the bike...then 1st gear ovals...1-2-1 gear ovals, figure eights, increasing/decreasing radius turns, emergency stop/skid control, emergency swerve, slalom, offset slalom, counter-steer, counter-balance, passing/signaling, etc. etc.

We had great instructors and it was very worthwhile. If you dumped the bike in any test you failed, end of course....goodbye. I'd say if a person was dropping the bikes routinely then motorcycling probably isn't for them. A couple people dropped the bikes in my class...one let go of the clutch without checking for neutral, and another high-sided during the skid test.

Here's me almost 9 years ago with my "MSF graduation present":



Still enjoying the bike to this day!
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Update: I jumped on a very good deal on an '05 SV650 in the fall. I take the MSF course in a little over 3 weeks. I'm really looking forward to it. Once I get my license and get the paperwork done (insurance/registration/inspection) I will be keeping it local and during low-traffic hours until I get really comfortable with the controls.
The bike is actually a nearly perfect size for me. Slight cons: A slightly low seat, the foot controls vs. my size 12 feet, and a slightly twitchy throttle off idle. No throttle-by-wire lag here! Bonus point: the blue almost matches my ink blue Passat.
 

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THe SV650 fit better then the BMW? A buddy of mine is 6'7", rides a BMW K1200 (I think), said it was the most comfortable of all the bikes he tried.

He rode my bike once and his knees were almost above the tank, loooked funny :lol:

 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
No, I would expect a larger bike would fit me better, and I do lust over the R series 2cyl BMWs (the K1200s are nice too but a bit much). I wouldn't buy one as a first bike, though, and that's where I'm at. Maybe in a few years, if I'm riding often and well enough.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
It's on the road! After waiting some time for my road test waiver, followed by extreme irritation and delays with DMV registration, the deed is done!



I took the first ride on some quiet local streets after work today. I already have my work cut out for me, both with developing instincts and keeping my arms down & loose, and leaning a bit more with the bike.

I really like the fact that the throttle is very predictable and linear (I don't think I've taken it over 5 or 6k). Coming from the GZ250 learner bike, the SV is only mildly more threatening in the low to mid throttle range. It's a much faster response, though, and holy engine braking Batman!
 
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