AS LONG AS YOU RIDE
Join Date: Mar 2002
Location: Venise-en-Québec, Québec, Canada
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Word of wisdom I tell all my MSF grads and new riders... "It's your FIRST bike.... not your last."
In other words, don't over-think (cc's, carbs, whatever... really doesn't make that much of a difference)
And don't over-buy (cheap bikes don't depreciate... buy cheap, sell cheap.)
Nothing says you have to keep what you buy for more than a few months if you don't like it.
I've read tons of thread/posts on starter bikes. The SV650 is universally not suggested as a starter bike, but it's also not usually excluded as one either.
As I've read many opinions on starting on one, I'd like to see what ya'll think about it. I've come to know that many of you have a lot of experience and I actually trust your guys' opinions more than most. I know the front shocks are usually craptacular (at least when you start pushing the bike). I'm not too concerned about that. There's way too many gravel/sand/debris variables on any road i could 'carve' around here so all turns have to been taken with apprehension. I won't be pushing lean hard in these parts, it's just flat out not safe to do so.
Thing is, I want FI. I live in Wisconsin and work 3rd shift. This means a ton of 7 a.m. starts. I don't want to have to pop full choke for 5 minutes before I can ride. This leaves few options for a starter:
CBR250: Won't buy. Too many say it's weak and I have qualms about thumpers (Duke 390 looks pretty bad-ass though, ain't gonna lie, heh).
Ninja 300: My current top option. Local dealer will give me high 2,000's trade in for my Genuine Blur scooter. (4800 MSRP)
SV650: 2003+ for FI. Have found a TON of them around me for mid 3,000's. Various mileage. These dealer's, however, probably won't give me more than 2-2.5k for my scooter. Plus side is my local dealer is a Suzuki dealer, so servicing will be a non-issue.
So it drops down to a new Ninja 300 or a used SV with FI for now. The new Honda 500's don't really excite me for their price. GW250 looks pretty nice, but I'm not sure it'll handle the freeway properly for what I need (45 Minute Commute. 18 miles or so Freeway).
TL;DR Is the SV650 too much bike for someone who only has 2k miles experience on a scooter and only 10 hours of MSF training on a shifter?
Starting a carbureted bike in the winter is a real killer; even moreso in Wisconsin than New Jersey. I'll give you that. When I had the 250 (old model), it needed to be above 45 degrees for the bike to start.
I think the Ninja 300 is fuel injected. I'd urge you to consider that.
I think your experience on the scooter helps you a bit, but not as much as you'd think. You've probably learned some of the paranoid defensive driving habits required to survive on two wheels, but I'm not sure you've learned throttle control with a 50cc engine or some of the details of taking curves yet.
|When I had the 250 (old model), it needed to be above 45 degrees for the bike to start.|
|Thing is, I want FI. I live in Wisconsin and work 3rd shift. This means a ton of 7 a.m. starts. I don't want to have to pop full choke for 5 minutes before I can ride.|
|Honda CBR500R is a good choice. New for this year.|
If life has taught me one thing well, its "Never Buy ANYTHING new for this year". Not a Ninja300, not a CBR500, nothing. Same is true with cars and electronics. Let some other fool open their wallet to be the R/D guinea pig. Once all the failures, weaknesses and recalls are hammered out, buy the 2nd/3rd gen.
|You should have tended to your carbs(or battery?) alittle better. I've gone round and round for years with the carbs on my late Ninja 500, and my current 93 ZX6E(both with the same Keihin carbs as your 250 I believe). Both bikes were able to start WELL under freezing.|
Its my firm belief that anyone who bitches and moans and under-rates carbs are people that are ignorant in the mechanics of their machine, and in general know nothing about carbs or how to maintain/repair/tune 'em.
|If life has taught me one thing well, its "Never Buy ANYTHING new for this year". Not a Ninja300, not a CBR500, nothing. Same is true with cars and electronics. Let some other fool open their wallet to be the R/D guinea pig. Once all the failures, weaknesses and recalls are hammered out, buy the 2nd/3rd gen.|
As much as I'd like an FI bike, I'm not totally opposed to a Ninja 500 at the right price. In fact, there is one at my local dealer. 2007 Ninja 500. 11k miles. Asking 2900. No marks on the plastics or otherwise that it has been dropped. This would be the smartest choice imo. Asking price is near my trade-in value so wouldn't have much effect on my loan other than another finance charge.
Whatever bike I get, I plan on getting a shop manual and learning a bit. The only issue is, I have no garage. There's no pulling it inside when it's cold. I work on it in the driveway and that's it.
|I've been going back and forth constantly. One week, I'm thinking a used SV would be a good buy. Another, I'm thinking a new 300 under warranty would be perfect. Week after that I'm thinking a Ninja 500 would be nice and the carbs wouldn't be an issue.|
Singram, a 250 struggles to turn over below freezing let alone getting around to worrying about the carbs.
So in other words, what you're really saying is that carbs require a bit of work and specific knowledge that isn't required quite as much of fuel injection. Good, we agree. We just disagree on how much.
We haven't yet mentioned the fact that the carbs are BURIED in the depths of the Ninja 250 (at least the old model) if you ever want to get them out for a total cleaning. This is not working on some '66 Corvette where you can take off the air filter and watch a stream of gasoline get sucked into the engine. This is taking half the bike apart, piece by piece, so you can move the back fender to move the battery box to move the air filter box, so you can get a wrench in there and undo four power-wrenched nuts, so you can get the carbs out to do a deep cleaning. Then carefully put all 30 similar looking screws back on to reassemble the bike. God help you if you messed something up and have to take everything back off. God help you if you lose one of those thirty screws and need to order one (The local dealer probably won't have it in stock; they didn't even have a clutch cable, a commonly used part, when I replaced mine a few years ago.) Or you can have a mechanic do it for you for ~$500+.
For those of us who ride motorcycles but do not LIVE motorcycles, the carbs on the Ninja 250 are a real bitch to deal with. I am guessing that it will be similar for a Ninja 500 and the new Ninja 250, but I could be wrong.
I don't disagree with your overall point. Carbs aren't that complicated and in all honesty I am a mechanically helpless yuppie who can do little more than change a clutch cable and the oil/oil filter and try to figure out where the other fluids go. On a good day, I can drain carb float bowls, replace a burnt out signal bulb, and maybe change the spark plugs if I'm lucky. Carbs are probably the most straightforward mechanical problem on a motorcycle that I can't deal with; they're sure as heck easier than trying to find a short. However, the Ninja 250 makes working on the carbs hell if you need to do a deep clean after 2-3 winters. To get a Ninja 250 through three years of regular use, you will need to learn how to do all of this, and you'll still need to visit the mechanic to change the chain and the rear tires. (I also have them handle the front tires; installing tires scares the heck out of me.)
To get a well-designed fuel injected bike through three years of regular use, it's a bit less work. It requires a lot less thinking. That's thinking and time and weekends that you can apply to your job or to riding or to other fun stuff.
It also looks like the Ninja 500 website agrees with me:
Carburetor Maintenance - EX-500.com
Carb maintenance "dominates the mechanical time you spend on your bike". In other words, want to spend fewer precious weekends cleaning carbs and more weekends riding? Get fuel injection!
You raise a good point here. Should you go with the devil you know or the devil you don't know?
The CBR 250 is about to be in its third model year and it's fuel injected. Maybe that's an option too.
OP, as you can see, owning a motorcycle requires a certain degree of mechanical commitment and on top of that still just as much time spent at the mechanic's shop, mile per mile. Instead of changing the oil every 6,000 miles, which you do yourself at home, you're getting new tires, or getting a new chain, or getting the 6,000 mile service as per the manual.
|There is also some old wive's tale about this special carburetor cleaner fluid you can put in your gas tank that won't damage the Ninja 250's carburetor that will give you a partial but not complete cleaning.|
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