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Old 05-16-2009, 02:23 PM   #1
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Default the_Wife wants me to buy a bike (advice)

the_Wife informed me yesterday that she wants me to buy a motorcycle. I'm pretty sure she's just looking to cash in on the life insurance policy, but I might go with it.

Anyway, a good friend of hers destroyed her ankle, so she's selling one of her two bikes. That's what's triggering this; it's a starter bike she's selling, an old Suzuki, that's not too expensive (cheap enough to not cry too long when I inevitably dump it), and since she's a good friend we know that it's been taken care of and that it's mechanically sound.

Now, I haven't ridden since I was young (probably 12 or 13, and even then it was just small off-road backs). There's lots of twisty back roads in the mountains around here that I'd love to cruise around, so keep that in mind as well.

The other bit... it's an automatic. 1983 Suzuki Suzukimatic.



The price would likely be a few dollars cheap (she's offered to make a good deal if it goes to a friend; not sure what that means).

Anyone know anything about this bike? Too small (I'm 6'2", about 185)? Solid? I know it wouldn't be a "forever" bike, it'd be something to learn how to ride for a couple of years, then to put back on Craigslist. I wasn't planning on buying one for another year until we get the house projects done, BUT... if this looks good, I might go ahead and grab it.

Any advice?

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Old 05-16-2009, 02:59 PM   #2
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For a beginner, I like everything about that bike except the automatic transmission. It has everything I usually recommend: the right price, the right engine size, and the right "begging to be accidentally dropped on the pavement several times" look. However, if you have dreams of upgrading, you really need to learn to use a hand clutch.

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Old 05-16-2009, 03:14 PM   #3
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Gimme that man card!

DUDE, there are millions of bikes out there. This is one that will not give you much riding pleasure, and you and it will be mocked long after you sell it.

Ever notice how there isn't much out there that doesn't have 5 or 6 gears? This was built to be chick bike, so she could go riding with him.

I would be very suspicious of expensive repairs to a low volume bike that is nearly 30 years old-think repair parts. I further suspect a very low price when you want to off it, if you can sell it.

There is a sh!t ton of reliable, medium size engine jap cruisers, that are easy and cheap to fix, but probably will never have to be. Decide on a few examples of a more recent high volume popular model, up around 650-750cc's, with low miles at a reasonable price, and pursue all avenues of finding them. Being a fish striking and at a cheap CL ad on a sparkly, very undesirable bike will not make you happy.

Don't do this to yourself.

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Old 05-16-2009, 03:18 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Yuri_Rage View Post
For a beginner, I like everything about that bike except the automatic transmission. It has everything I usually recommend: the right price, the right engine size, and the right "begging to be accidentally dropped on the pavement several times" look. However, if you have dreams of upgrading, you really need to learn to use a hand clutch.
That's kind of where I'm at. If it wasn't for the auto, I'd be all of this. And I know, there are eight million bikes of this vintage and price range out there. I won't even buy a car with an automatic tranny!

I also do worry that if the tranny goes, the bike's shot; there don't seem to be too many of these in circulation.

EDIT: I'm not "fish striking at a cheap CL ad"; my wife's friend has been talking about selling this for a while, this isn't what I would have gravitated towards had I been actively looking, she just happened to finally decide to get rid of it.
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Old 05-16-2009, 03:27 PM   #5
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Definitely don't want your first experience with a street bike to be some crazy 80's Japanese foray into auto transmissions, LOL! Like Yuri said, it's the perfect size and power level for a beginner, but I would seriously look into getting one with a traditional drive train.

Also, you stated that your only experience was on small dirt bikes when you were a kid. Very similar to me. I rode as a kid, in the woods, and then in the mid 80's I joined the USAF. There was a lot that the base let people place their cars and bikes for sale. I saw this Kawasaki something or other and was taken by it. I asked if I could take it for a ride. I figured, I rode the heck out of those dirt bikes when I was a kid. How hard could it be?

Well, I learned very quickly, almost to my demise, that street bikes handle very differently than dirt bikes. When hammering into a corner on my dirt bike I would get on the brake and turn in the direction of the corner. If you do that when entering a corner on a street bike while at speed, you will go in the opposite direction and off the road!

It's kind of hard to explain, it's more of a feeling. When you are on the bike at speed and going straight, if you push forward with your left arm, essentially rotating the handle bars to the right (CW), the bike and you will lean to the left and go left. Once you get the feel of it, it's quite fun! The harder you push forward with your arm the harder and deeper you get into the corner. We used to play "Kill the Michelin man" when I finally graduated to a Suzuki GSXR-750. The Michelin man figure was stamped into the outside edge of the tire tread, and if you laid the bike over enough you could wear his head off, LOL! There is a turn around in Durham, NH on RT 16 that I could hammer through and cut his head off!

Sorry for the long winded response, but you got my memories flowing. One thing I would highly recommend, if you value your life, is to take a motorcycle rider's safety course. When I was in the Air Force, it was a requirement to drive on base, but they provided it. You will be glad that you did. It will give you confidence and help you stay upright.

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Old 05-16-2009, 03:35 PM   #6
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Sorry for the long winded response, but you got my memories flowing. One thing I would highly recommend, if you value your life, is to take a motorcycle rider's safety course. When I was in the Air Force, it was a requirement to drive on base, but they provided it. You will be glad that you did. It will give you confidence and help you stay upright.
That's always been the deal; safety course and full safety equipment, no riding down the road in shorts and a t-shirt.

Thanks for the thoughts; probably just as well to hold off, the money's flowing out pretty quickly these days anyway.
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Old 05-16-2009, 03:47 PM   #7
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I'll recommend that you take the MSF class first. They will provide you a bike so you can take the class. At the end you'll take the test that will get you your motorcycle endorsement for your DL. If you need one. Plus a discount on your insurance.

I'll third that you need a manual transmission if you are serious about it. Otherwise get a scooter.

My bike recommendations is a ninja 250 that you can get on craigslist for 1500 and sell it in 6 months for 2000. It will do 90+ on the freeway but won't get you in trouble as quick as in other bikes.

Also start shopping for gear before getting the bike. Don't make the mistake many do of spending all the money on the bike and them going cheap on the helmet and protective gear.

If you have any questions shoot me a pm and I'll glad to help.


Edit: Check out this link it has a lot of good info. Doesn't matter if you are a sportbike or cruiser guy.

http://www.georgiasportbike.com/showthread.php?t=1086

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Old 05-16-2009, 10:57 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by johnsma22 View Post
When I was in the Air Force, it was a requirement to drive on base, but they provided it. You will be glad that you did. It will give you confidence and help you stay upright.
I got my first street bike while in the Air Force as well, but they didn't provide the course at my base--it was still a requirement though.

Bird, I'm 6' 2" and my first bike was a Yamaha Seca II. It was a bit small, but my friends RF9 fit me well--it was just a monster and not something I wanted to start on. I think a cruiser would best suit taller folks, but that is of course only my opinion.
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Old 05-16-2009, 11:56 PM   #9
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go big or go home. a hayabusa is a perfect beginners bike.

DISCLAIMER: contrary to the above post a Hayabusa is not a perfect beginners bike and unless you really do want your wife to collect the life insurance, don't get it.

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Old 05-17-2009, 12:16 AM   #10
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Shaft drive bikes in that era were notorious for shaft effect. Accelerate the the rear end jumps up(no big deal), decelerate going into a corner and it feels like the bottom is dropping out and makes you think you are going to be kissing the road. Very unsettling. There is also the power loss. Both shaft drive and automatic trans require more power to operate then chain or belt drive and standard trans. Riding those curvy roads with SWMBO on the back of this underpowered beast would have taken the joy out of the ride. As a single person commuter bike it would suffice but I'm happy for you that you decided to skip this one.

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