Is an sv650 too much? - Sportbikes.net
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post #1 of 10 (permalink) Old 04-07-2017, 11:57 AM Thread Starter
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Is an sv650 too much?

"Just get the ZX-6R!" they said.... "You'll be fine!" they said...

Then I got to SBN, where it seems that pretty much everyone agrees that is an extremely bad idea. I now realize that I need to follow THAT advice- the advice coming from highly experienced, knowledgable riders. I'm grateful I found these forums to lead me away from that bad idea, because I was about to get a 600. So thank you all for sharing your experiences with newbs like me; a 600 is totally out of the question for me now.

Which leaves me with several choices I'm considering... Ninja250, R3 (but it seems too pricey,) GS500F, sv650(?)... and are there others to consider? A few factors I'm keeping in mind:

I'm 28, 6'1 and my height is in my legs, not in my torso.

I will be using the bike as my primary mode of transportation (I have a car, but I plan on using the bike more)

I have a short commute, only 15 miles (all highway,) but always in heavy rush-hour traffic in a legal-lanesplitting state.

Very high-wind area throughout much of commute

I don't want the bike only for transportation purposes, but also to really joyride it around town, through the twisties and put in a lot of highway time just cruising around exploring the Bay Area. I know I said "cruising" but I'm pretty sure I don't want a cruiser.

I've seen a few people say they think that the sv650 may be too much for new riders... is that the general consensus, or do more of you think it would be fine? If so, how about a GS500F or Ninja250 or something else for my needs?

I've lurked around here long enough to have some ideas based on what I've read, but there's always a lot of back and fourth about which is best in different situations, so I figured I'd ask here about mine.

Thanks!
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post #2 of 10 (permalink) Old 04-07-2017, 12:23 PM
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How much control do you have over your right hand? That's going to be the biggest factor here. An SV650 is a reasonably docile bike if you have good self control. It's got decent torque, which makes it easier to ride than a high strung 600. It's got more power than a 250 or 300. Those have plenty of power for nearly all situations, and can out accelerate most four wheeled vehicles up to a point.

A big issue is how the bike fits your body. If it is too big or too small, then you will find it harder to ride. With long legs, you might be perfectly comfortable on something like a DRZ400 dual sport as well. It would be a bit lighter, and as a thumper, its power is mostly low end grunt, relative to other bikes.

Whatever you do, assume there's a learning curve. Ride on weekends for a while before commuting. Then commute for a while before lane splitting much. Lane splitting is a real time saver, and can be a whole lot of fun. Best to learn to read traffic as a rider before trying it, though.

As a point of comparison, I have been riding a long time and have spent a fair amount of time on the racetrack. My race bike was an SV650, because it was a blast to ride. I don't have it any more, because I don't race or do track days these days. I ride a DRZ400 almost every day during the winter and a Daytona 675 almost every day during the summer. The DRZ is actually more fun at times than the Daytona, and it keeps up just fine under nearly all circumstances. I'm not as tall as you are, but I have fairly long legs, which means the DRZ is no problem, even on the kinds of steep hills that Seattle and the Bay Area both have. Whatever bike you end up with, ride it for a couple years and enjoy it. You will be surprised at how much fun it is to wring every ounce out of a small bike. A more powerful bike has its place, too, but not to start with.

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post #3 of 10 (permalink) Old 04-07-2017, 01:27 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks for the great insight, Gaolee!

Gah, to be honest, when it comes to my right hand? I know I'll just be tempted to go fast if fast is available. So given what you said about the sv650, perhaps you're right- it's too much bike for right now. I wish I could borrow some of these bikes to ride so I could see for myself.

I'm definitely expecting a pretty big learning curve in any case. I'm glad you mentioned dual sports, I had never even thought about that before. I don't know much about them, but it may definitely be something to look into. (Edit: Just checked out the DR-Z400... that is a badass looking bike! And off-road? Never even thought about doing that, but seems like a blast!)

In autos I have spent a long time on the racetrack, and eventually want to hone my skills on a bike there too... when I can afford it, haha. I want to follow a similar process to bikes as I did with learning advanced driving concepts- classroom/track/practicing alone somewhere without nearby traffic haha.

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post #4 of 10 (permalink) Old 04-07-2017, 02:18 PM
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Offroad is a blast. And yeah, a DRZ is a blast all around. If you can find a Motard version, that's a hybrid that's a whole lot of fun, too. Riding in the dirt gives you a way to learn two wheeled traction control in a relatively controlled way, too.

For what its worth, my first road bike was a Honda CB650, back when they were air cooled UJMs. I think it was a '79. It wasn't that quick, but it didn't take long for me to discover the fun of whacking open the throttle good and wide. It was far slower than a new 250, but it still had that red mist potential.

What you will find is that riding a motorcycle will make you a better driver.

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post #5 of 10 (permalink) Old 04-07-2017, 09:23 PM
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You can also go for a 2013-2016 Honda CBR 500R. It will slot right in between a 300, and an SV650 at 47hp/32tq. The '15-16 model looks WAY better, but looks are subjective. If you don't want a fully faired bike, they have the CBR 500F (non fairing AND cheaper!)

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post #6 of 10 (permalink) Old 04-10-2017, 05:11 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks for the info, both of you!

I know that eventually after I get a lot of riding experience, my goal (at least as of right now) is to one day end up on a supersport. If I buy the CBR 500R or even the SV650/Ninja 650R now, how much of a jump would it be up to a 600 in-line 4 down the road? I know the biggest factor would be the bakes/handling. With that in mind, would one bike be easier to move up from than the other, or is it all pretty much the same process for all bikes?
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post #7 of 10 (permalink) Old 04-10-2017, 06:06 PM
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It's a process no matter what. An inline four will have far more top end, but less low end torque unless you go up to a liter bike or even bigger. Then you have more of everything.

It will urge you to wind it out, and it won't tell you how fast it's really going because it's so smooth and comfortable at high speeds. The brakes are more powerful and the handling is sharper. The best way I can put it is that everything is immediate when you are riding a supersport. It happens right now and in a big way. That's good and bad. Until you understand it and can use it, it can bite pretty hard. Even if you understand it, it can bite if you misuse it. But, once you are proficient, you will have far more in reserve than you would with a less capable bike. It's a trade-off. Most important, the quicker and sharper the bike, the more important it is to pay attention to what you are doing and what's going on.

It seems like you are approaching this with the right attitude, so you will be fine. As soon as you lose respect for what might happen, that's when things go wrong.

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post #8 of 10 (permalink) Old 04-10-2017, 06:25 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks for all of your knowledge Gaolee!

I definitely have a big respect for the potential that bikes have; I definitely want to go about it the safest way, and ride a bike that is within my ability. After I take the MSF course, I'll have a better idea if I want to start all the way in the 250 territory, or if I'd be comfortable on a slightly bigger machine.

But yeah, everything I've learned about SS bikes screams extreme caution to me, so I'm certainly not going to be getting one of those for quite some time until I've really mastered a good set of skills on less powerful bikes. I guess I can worry about how the transition from small to SS later down the road. One step at a time for now, I guess!
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post #9 of 10 (permalink) Old 04-20-2017, 11:13 PM
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ninja 300 based on what you said, I put 12K miles on a 250 to learn and now this r6 I have is so balls to the wall its like learning to ride all over again.

Hsssss HSSSSSS!

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post #10 of 10 (permalink) Old 04-21-2017, 09:27 PM
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To give you an idea how immediate an SS bike is, my F4i (which is 14 years old) will do 72mph in 1st gear. It gets more intense from there. My 400 Bandit (I-4/14k redline) does about 28 at redline. I find my 400 to be just buttloads of fun without getting into absolutely stupid speeds. Plus, the little bike gives me a lot more warning that I'm getting close to an edge that I don't want to go over.

The old saying that it's more fun to ride a slow bike fast than a fast bike slow is absolutely true. I wish more new riders would take that to heart.

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