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Reel Insurance
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Hi all,

I finally got the go ahead from the girlfriend to buy myself a street bike. I have done some riding in the past, but not enough to help make a decision on what type of bike to get. I know i want something around 600-650. My price range is $3k-$6k. This will be my dry weather daily driver at about 30 miles daily. I'm really looking for make/model suggestions. I've heard the words "naked" thrown around, and that they are a bit more comfortable. I'm 6' and 155lbs, if that matters.

I'd really benefit from a good forum to do some reading if you know of one.

Thanks
 

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First, you must decide if you are going to be a cruiser, sport, or touring style rider.

Then that will narrow it down allot.

Here is the local bike forum, skippy is the mod over there

www.PensacolaRiders.com
I went on that forum when we first got down here. Couple of the guys on there were real jerks when they found out I rode a cruiser. Businesses are not allowed to advertise on there as I rudely found out as well. Most of the people there are decent but the rude ones, coupled with the fact that I was jumped on for having my business listed in my signature, made me stop using that forum. I was not even allowed to offer my shop to people having problems. If you want to go on rides with people running triple digits its okay but if your just into cruising its not very welcoming.


To the op, any of the metric 600 sport bikes are good bikes. Just keep in mind that any of them are fast and will pull the front wheel up pretty easy. Ride responsible though and you wont have any problems. Personally I would go with a yamaha R6 or a honda cbr600.
 

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Reel Insurance
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Discussion Starter #5
Thanks for the insight Breeze. Have you found those two bikes to be fairly reliable? My brother also warned me of fork hydraulic failure in used bikes. Is there any way to check for this seal failure? And what is the price to fix something like that?
 

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Look into an SV650, or its big brother the SV1000. The standard 650's (naked=no front fairing) are super affordable and bulletproof. Check out the street fighter style mods and what you can do to an SV, they're sweet bikes and perfect for a beginner and can hang with you as you progress in skillzz.
 

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Thanks for the insight Breeze. Have you found those two bikes to be fairly reliable? My brother also warned me of fork hydraulic failure in used bikes. Is there any way to check for this seal failure? And what is the price to fix something like that?
For the most part any modern sport bike is going to be reliable. That being said, I have had a couple suzuki gsxr's come in with injecter problems. Honda and yamaha is just a personal preference.

Fork seals should not be a big concern unless the bike has been abused. Wheelies and stoppies tend to blow fork seals prematurely. Thats the problem with buying a used sport bike. You really dont know how the rider used it. For us to replace fork seals it runs about 170 parts and labor.

If your looking to buy here in pensacola swing it by the shop before you buy it. I can give it a good look over and give you my opinion on it. Also, Performance Cycle is next to our building and they might give you a good deal on one.
 

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Yea, just about any 600 is going to be the same as the others. I'd go with Honda just b/c I've owned a few and never had issues.
I'd see if you could ride a buddy's before you buy. I've seen some people buy bikes and not ride them b/c they weren't comfortable to them.
I have switched over to dual sports/motards due to comfort and fun-factor.
 

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For the most part any modern sport bike is going to be reliable. That being said, I have had a couple suzuki gsxr's come in with injecter problems. Honda and yamaha is just a personal preference.

Fork seals should not be a big concern unless the bike has been abused. Wheelies and stoppies tend to blow fork seals prematurely. Thats the problem with buying a used sport bike. You really dont know how the rider used it. For us to replace fork seals it runs about 170 parts and labor.

If your looking to buy here in pensacola swing it by the shop before you buy it. I can give it a good look over and give you my opinion on it. Also, Performance Cycle is next to our building and they might give you a good deal on one.
hot damn! my local stealership (halls) quoted me ~$500 for fork seal change so i bought the parts and tools (~$300) and did them myself! now that i have the tools i will only have to spend ~$50 or so on parts next time (and i can make money replacing fork seals for the gixxer squids who blow their fork seals trying to wheelie :) )

fork seals don't last forever but breeze is spot on with his assessment. i blew mine at the track in august....but the vast majority of "riders" around here blow their seals by abusing their bikes.

i used to participate on the pensacolariders forum too (i think i remember seeing your screen name, breeze). wasn't really my cup of tea either. i have been a member of kawiforums.com for years and rarely post anymore because i stay pretty busy but i check it regularly. there's some good info out there. i've got a few years seat time and am happy to help.

i've been riding for 13 years (started young). I did it "right" i think. started small (125cc "standard" style bike at 14 y/o) then progressed to bigger and faster bikes. i went through the hooligan phase and it's behind me now. thankfully, i found the track (real track...not drag strip) a few years ago. i now have [too many] bikes and mostly ride on the track and rarely on the street anymore - partilly to distance myself from the ass clowns that many people associate with sportbikes (like the dbags involved with the range rover incident i'm sure you heard about) and partially for safety reasons. i will be the first to admit that riding bikes on the street is dangerous (i still ride though).

all modern 600/1000 cc supersports (suzuki gsx-r, honda cbr-rr, yami yzf-r, and kawi zx-r) HAUL ASS because they are purpose-built "race" bikes. they are stupid fast and very impractical for street use. they're not comfortable, they don't get great gas mileage (in comparison to other styles of motorcycle), and they are very easy to get yourself in trouble on (both with the cops and physical harm). now that's what i ride but i put them on the track where they belong and where it's much safer (believe it or not) to ride.

there are tons of options out there for more street-oriented sportbikes which i encourage you to seriously consider. i am a suzuki hater (mostly gixxers because of the typical dbag gixxer rider you see in Mobile where I live) but the sv650 is a GREAT bike. it's a 650cc v-twin (as compared to a 600cc inline 4-cyl that modern 600 cc superbikes have). it was my first track bike, actually. i bought a 2005 kawi zx-6r new from the stealership and when i got into track riding several years later i bought an 05(ish) suzuki sv-650s to use as my track bike because i was afraid to wad up my zx-6. it was an EXTREMELY fun bike to ride at the track and i do miss it. it's a very versatile bike, too. good street bike because of it's more relaxed body position, pretty good gas mileage, LOWER INSURANCE RATES, LOWER INITIAL COST, still pretty quick (not as fast as a 600cc supersport, granted), but still a very capable bike. you can buy some aftermarket fairings for it to make it look like a full-fairing sportbike, too. i eventually sold that SV and bought another a couple years later but got too busy, never did anything with it, and sold it. i do miss the bike, though. suzuki stopped making the SV a few years ago (replaced by the gladius which is not quite the same). kawasaki makes a similar bike called the ninja 650 or ninja 650r or something like that. now i am a kawasaki guy through and through (i have 2 ninjas in the garage) but the stars just never properly aligned for me to pick up a ninja 650 but it is very comparable to the SV650 and is still in production. i think kawi started making the ninja 650 in 06. i don't like the looks of the first generation but it has evolved over the years. i don't like halls motorsports and don't like giving them any business but i just saw a killer deal at halls on a new ninja 650 on craigslist (i think it was $5k)

there are plenty of other sport (not supersport) models out there to choose from. most of the rest are inline 4-cyl sporty bikes of varying sizes. i have ridden a couple of them over the years and i hate to say it but i can't help but feel like they are just cheap detuned versions of the supersports. the SV and ninja 650 are purpose-built sport/street bikes and don't have the latest and greatest sexy traction control and other electronics (that 95% of people will never need/use) but they are solid bikes and if i had to choose one bike to do it all, the SV/ninja 650 would be a serious contender. the sv1000 is a good bike too. just more power which you really don't NEED for the street but some people just want it....but now we're getting into a whole different side of the discussion - what you want, what you plan to do with it, and how you are going to ride it.

you need to think about what you're going to do on it. how old are you? if you're young and dumb, i would not even get a 650 v-twin to start off on. there are several bikes out there 500 cc's and smaller that are good starter bikes (kawi makes a sexy ninja 250. their ninja 500 looks old and fugly. honda just came out with some nice looking 500 cc bikes. kawi just came out with a ninja 300 that's pretty sharp too). be honest with yourself. people die on these things every day.


i could go on and on but don't have time to type it all. i might be in pcola this weekend. if i am and you want to meet up and talk about bikes, i'm happy to help. if i can make it over on saturday we can even meet up at a bike shop and throw a leg over a few. send me a PM if you're interested.

and just because i like to see pics of myself doing cool shit, here's my old sv-650s (blue)....and my 2005 zx-6 which i ride on the track nowadays...and because i'm a gixxer hater - here's a pile of gixxer with a split frame due to shitty welds (a well documented problem on gixxers for a 2-3 years)...
 

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Yea, just about any 600 is going to be the same as the others. I'd go with Honda just b/c I've owned a few and never had issues.
I'd see if you could ride a buddy's before you buy. I've seen some people buy bikes and not ride them b/c they weren't comfortable to them.
I have switched over to dual sports/motards due to comfort and fun-factor.
yup. they all haul ass and would be very similar on the street. kawi always makes monster motors. honda makes bulletproof motors. (i have always found the honda seats very hard and uncomfortable). yami makes a good bike too. suzuki makes a good bike but i will never ride (or own) a 2004+ gsxr. people are pretty brand-loyal, i have found. i would ride a honda/yami but have just always been a kawi guy...even if they made some ugly ass bikes for a few years recently :thumbup:
 

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Just to help ease your mind a bit on fork seals. I had a 1980 CX500 that I rode daily for 8 years. I rode that bike hard but I did not abuse it. Put over 100k on that bike and never had a fork seal leak. Some seals will leak even with normal riding but some might not. Not a big deal. Just a wear item. If you abuse the bike they will go faster. I do not warranty fork seals on dirt bikes or sport bikes I know are being used for stunting
 

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Reel Insurance
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Discussion Starter #12
Wow Below Me, thanks for taking the time with that fantastic write up. If i am not fishing this weekend i will shoot you a PM and see if you made it to Pcola. Either way, i'd like to catch you when you are in town and pick your brain.

Breeze, when i find one that i am interested in i will def bring it by the shop to have you take a look. Thanks for all the insight as well.

The SV650 i really like due to it's semi touring style. I like the option of having a couple metal cans on the side for when i'm feeling a little more like a dork. I don't need or want a super bike really. I'm 29 but have two kids and a girlfriend who thinks i have a pretty face. Wouldn't want to mess that up! But seriously, i will look around and try out a few bikes before i buy for sure.

Thanks again everyone for the great info.
 

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Just to help ease your mind a bit on fork seals. I had a 1980 CX500 that I rode daily for 8 years. I rode that bike hard but I did not abuse it. Put over 100k on that bike and never had a fork seal leak. Some seals will leak even with normal riding but some might not. Not a big deal. Just a wear item. If you abuse the bike they will go faster. I do not warranty fork seals on dirt bikes or sport bikes I know are being used for stunting
i don't blame you!

some of those pensacolarider.com forum guys are pretty cool. some are not. i see a few of them at the track from time to time.
 

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Kenton-
Check out D&D Cycles also -they sell new & used bikes. They are a Ducati, Triumph, KTM, Aprilia, MV Augusta & Vespa dealer. They ride & race what they sell and have been in business for at least 25 years here in Pensacola. They are located just down the street (west) of Breeze on Fairfield at Fernwood. Great folks & very knowledgeable about all bikes.
 

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Sport? Hands down a Suzuki DL 650 Vstrom. I've owned one and it was a great bike that required little maintenance.

I've gone through 15-20 bikes in the last 20 years or so and the strom always rates very high.

I am in Maggie Valley riding right now and you see Vsrtroms all over the place.

Don't rule out a used G650GS by BMW, the motors were/are made by Rotax and are bullet proof. I have one now and have abused the heck out of it. You can pick one up used for between 4-6k and it is like the Swiss Army knives of motorcycles.

I've got an R1200RT, Harley and a G650GS in my garage now. If my garage caught fire, I'd be dragging the 650 out, it is that good.

FO





FO
 

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Sport? Hands down a Suzuki DL 650 Vstrom. I've owned one and it was a great bike that required little maintenance.

I've gone through 15-20 bikes in the last 20 years or so and the strom always rates very high.

I am in Maggie Valley riding right now and you see Vsrtroms all over the place.

Don't rule out a used G650GS by BMW, the motors were/are made by Rotax and are bullet proof. I have one now and have abused the heck out of it. You can pick one up used for between 4-6k and it is like the Swiss Army knives of motorcycles.

I've got an R1200RT, Harley and a G650GS in my garage now. If my garage caught fire, I'd be dragging the 650 out, it is that good.

FO

FO
Wow, do you really change bikes every year?
 

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Wow Below Me, thanks for taking the time with that fantastic write up. If i am not fishing this weekend i will shoot you a PM and see if you made it to Pcola. Either way, i'd like to catch you when you are in town and pick your brain.

Breeze, when i find one that i am interested in i will def bring it by the shop to have you take a look. Thanks for all the insight as well.

The SV650 i really like due to it's semi touring style. I like the option of having a couple metal cans on the side for when i'm feeling a little more like a dork. I don't need or want a super bike really. I'm 29 but have two kids and a girlfriend who thinks i have a pretty face. Wouldn't want to mess that up! But seriously, i will look around and try out a few bikes before i buy for sure.

Thanks again everyone for the great info.
no problem man i can talk bikes all day and am happy to help. i'd rather spend some time discussing it with you than read about you in the paper.

you're a little older than i am and have a family and it sounds like you will respect the bike so you will probably do fine one a supersport. people get stupid on them, though, and even those street/sport bikes are plenty fast to kill yourself on. the stock sv650 tops out around 130 mph - faster than you'll ever need to go or legally go on the street.

if you are not just trying to haul ass everywhere, then that opens the door for a bunch more different bikes. for example, the kawi versys won bike of the year by a couple of magazines shortly after it came out. it does not float my boat but if it won BOTY it's gotta be a solid bike.

there are advantages and disadvantages to all styles and sizes of bikes. i don't have much experience with the motards so maybe speedojosh can provide some insight. i rode one for the first time at the track in july and couldn't get comfortable on it after so many years of riding sportbikes but they are becoming extremely popular and get killer gas mileage. most you'll find around here don't have much power (e.g. suzuki drz 400). when you get into the higher end motards (ducati, aprilia, ktm, etc.) you get into some higher performance motards but you also pay a lot more for them.

i check pensacola, mobile, and gulfport craigslist almost daily for motorcycles just to see what's out there. i remember seeing a pretty cheap 04(ish) sv650 in one of those cities recently. i always advise against buying a brand new first bike but that ninja 650 deal halls advertised on craigslist is too ridiculous not to consider.:thumbsup:
 

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Kenton-
Check out D&D Cycles also -they sell new & used bikes. They are a Ducati, Triumph, KTM, Aprilia, MV Augusta & Vespa dealer. They ride & race what they sell and have been in business for at least 25 years here in Pensacola. They are located just down the street (west) of Breeze on Fairfield at Fernwood. Great folks & very knowledgeable about all bikes.
i try to stay away from them...because i want a new triumph daytona 675r...BAD!!!!!!!:mad:(

:D
 

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I was looking at that Daytona they have in the preowned section. Those bikes are crazy sexy.
 
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