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Hello From Minnesota

This is a discussion on Hello From Minnesota within the NEW MEMBERS READ HERE! forums, part of the Caferacer.net Forums category; Hello All, I am a 25 yr old from Minnesota that is looking to get his first motorcycle. I am set up to take a ...

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  1. #1
    Junior Member dsc1500's Avatar
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    Hello From Minnesota

    Hello All,

    I am a 25 yr old from Minnesota that is looking to get his first motorcycle. I am set up to take a rider safety course this spring, and then will be looking for my first bike.

    I was wondering if I could get some input on my current plans. I know my interests may align better over at dotheton, but I feel as though the community here is much more safety conscious, so I might get better advice just starting out.

    So I want to get a mid 70's Honda, thinking a cb400 or 550. I would like to pick up a decent runner with a good title. I would go over the bike and work on improving safety, i.e. new tires, brakes/hoses, etc. I would then want to ride this bike for the summer and then start doing more work on it in terms of restoring and modifying over the winter months. The restoration aspect is what really gets me excited about going with an older bike rather than just picking up something like a ninja 250.

    I was wondering if this would be a bad idea for a first bike, or what your thoughts or suggestions might be as to the issues I may run into.

    Thank you for your time.

  2. #2
    Senior Member Joep7's Avatar
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    ninja 250 would be a better first bike. even an older one. You will be spending too much time wrenching and not enough time learning to ride if you only have an old bike in the barn.

  3. #3
    Senior Member bmartin's Avatar
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    The only problem with an older bike is the maintenance aspects of it. Most modern shops will not or do not have the mechanics willing or capable of working on the older bikes. So it you can read a manual (highly recommended getting on for the bike you purchase) and have some mechanical skills and/or family or friends that do - then go for it.
    Bob - Palmyra NY
    2 - 69 CB750, 1 Turbo
    1 - 71 CB750

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  5. #4
    Junior Member dsc1500's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bmartin View Post
    The only problem with an older bike is the maintenance aspects of it. Most modern shops will not or do not have the mechanics willing or capable of working on the older bikes. So it you can read a manual (highly recommended getting on for the bike you purchase) and have some mechanical skills and/or family or friends that do - then go for it.
    I am looking forward to spending the time wrenching on a bike. To me that is half the fun. I am an engineer that worked as a small engine mechanic through college, so I feel capable of doing any work with the help of a manual.

  6. #5
    Senior Member Geeto67's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dsc1500 View Post
    Hello All,

    I am a 25 yr old from Minnesota that is looking to get his first motorcycle. I am set up to take a rider safety course this spring, and then will be looking for my first bike.

    I was wondering if I could get some input on my current plans. I know my interests may align better over at dotheton, but I feel as though the community here is much more safety conscious, so I might get better advice just starting out.

    So I want to get a mid 70's Honda, thinking a cb400 or 550. I would like to pick up a decent runner with a good title. I would go over the bike and work on improving safety, i.e. new tires, brakes/hoses, etc. I would then want to ride this bike for the summer and then start doing more work on it in terms of restoring and modifying over the winter months. The restoration aspect is what really gets me excited about going with an older bike rather than just picking up something like a ninja 250.

    I was wondering if this would be a bad idea for a first bike, or what your thoughts or suggestions might be as to the issues I may run into.

    Thank you for your time.
    Well I don't know what your mechanical ability is, but generally this sounds like a bad idea. Why? It's a 40 year old motorcycle. When you first got your driver's license did you go out and buy a 40+ year old car? probably not. You probably bought something reliable and inexpensive made within the last 20 years. Same with your first bike. The goal of your first bike is basically to train you not to die. The rider course is only the beginning, the rest is OJT (on the job training) that you only get from racking up miles. And in order to do that you need to go buy a motorcycle that is reliable enough for you to do so and isn't going to lay you up for weeks at a time while you fiddle with it. You live in minnesota, so every day of your riding season is valuable to you, don't waste it because you took on too much all at once (riding and learning to service an old motorcycle).

    The other safety issue is, have you ever panic stopped an old car? they don't stop too well do they? old bikes aren't much better. In 1973 a cb350 could outstop anything on the road, now a 20 year old minivan can throw out the anchor faster than you can. You do not yet have your reflexes and skills developed so why not give yourself the advantage of technology with decent brakes and modern tire sizes with bigger contact patches. As you develop your ability to always spot your alternate route should the vehicle in front panic stop and your reflex of grabbing just the right amount of brake in a panic situation, then you can start to challenge yourself with the old junk. This isn;t your fault - the world just changed around these old lumps and they are no longer viable beginner bikes but rather traps that easily get newbies in over their head.

    The nice part about bikes is that they don't take up a lot of space and they don't cost a fortune to operate, so next year once you have put a few thousand miles under your belt, you can buy another motorcycle and play with that without giving up your first bike and the ability to ride.

    As a final note (i'll leave it up to others to talk about gear and shit), what you like now, having no expeirence with the hobby, may not be what you like a year from now. Motorcycling is one of those things where you kinda need to try it all before you decide where you want to be. A lot of these cafe kids jump in balls deep and buy an olf CB and do all the shitty mods, and then end up with a bike that is lousy to ride and they miss the entire point of the hobby - enjoyment of being on a functioning motorcycle as it goes down the road. So rack up a ton of miles, make real life motorcycle friends, ask to try out different types of bikes, and keep an OPEN mind. too may of these "old bike" dipshits have real closed minded views about the hobby and they have to be messing with an old honda to be "authentic" and shit - it's all marketing feed the ego, head, and image garbage. This isn't just transport it is an opportunity for personal growth, so seize it.
    nicebikemate likes this.
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  7. #6
    Senior Member Geeto67's Avatar
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    oh I forgot...old bikes aren't that useful. A cb350 or cb450 is not what I would consider a highway safe bike in this day and age, but a ninja 250 will do 80mph all day long and get there without you having to take a semi truck enima at every on ramp.
    Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try Again. Fail again. Fail better.
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    A tool is just an opportunity with a handle
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  8. #7
    Senior Member nicebikemate's Avatar
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    Bloody well said.

    I'm not really down with bike prices in the US but I imagine the older Honda's are sky rocketting like they are here. For the sort of money you'd need to get a good condition CB 400f/500f you could have bought yourself something that is safer (the brakes on the 400f are atrocious) and won't break down on you.

  9. #8
    Senior Member Tanshanomi's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dsc1500 View Post
    I am looking forward to spending the time wrenching on a bike. To me that is half the fun. I am an engineer that worked as a small engine mechanic through college, so I feel capable of doing any work with the help of a manual.
    Then go buy a newer 250 Ninja or TU250 to put near the garage door and and a project bike to put by your workbench. Preferably something not terribly corroded. Learn to ride on the first, and tinker with the second one in your shop all you want. But a new rider on an old bike is not the ideal situation.

  10. #9
    Senior Member Geeto67's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by nicebikemate View Post
    Bloody well said.

    I'm not really down with bike prices in the US but I imagine the older Honda's are sky rocketting like they are here. For the sort of money you'd need to get a good condition CB 400f/500f you could have bought yourself something that is safer (the brakes on the 400f are atrocious) and won't break down on you.
    Comparativly speaking old hondas are still pretty well cheap. I mean, they used to be dirt cheap and free for a long time (Did I ever tell you about my neighbor who couldn't sell a 1969 K0 for $100 in the early 90's?) and now they are about on par with any running riding late model used motorcycle. The brit stuff is getting out of control with even the 1971-72 triumph and BSA OIF bikes (the ford pintos of the brit bike world) eclipsing new bike prices in some instances (nobody should pay $6K for an unrestored 1971 BSA firebird scrambler). A cb honda is now a $2000-$3000 affair which is what you can buy a 10 year old ex500 for (or a 10+ year old speed triple, or any number of way cooler bikes).

    The problem is they made so many of them and sold so many of them here they will never be rare enough to be worth anything. In the US we call this the Ford Musting principle of classic vehicles. Ford made some rare mustangs: Boss 302, Fast back 390 GT, etc....but they also made several million notch back 6 cylinder and small block powered "secretary's" cars. For a long while "perfectly restored ones" cost no more than a 10 year year old Toyota Tercel. Even now I can still throw a dart and hit a decent condition one for $5K while 60's camaros and firebirds are a $15K-$30K proposition in the same condition. Sure the Boss 302 is almost a 6 figure car now, and it will cost you $30K to get into a MAch 1 mustang, but a 1966 6 cylinder 3 speed auto notch back? it's the cheapest way to get into the collector car hobby ful stop. I think I read somewhere that honda sold 86,000 cb350s (just 350s) during the production run. There are popular american muscle cars with less production numbers (Buick Grand Sport 400s for example). That's not counting the 360s and the 400/450/500/550/650/750s they made at the same time which are considered interchangible to hipster morons. To them an old honda is an old honda.

    What is nice, is that if you are a japanese motorcycle connisuer, plenty of great motorcycles that aren't as "trendy" are still affordable. 8V GS750s (1977-1979) for example are still a bargain considering how much better a bike they are than a SOHC cb750. a GS1000 isn't much more. KZ900/1000 have never been cheap for some reason, those have always been in high demand by somebody. XS650s have been driven up by the chopper crowd but they were dirt for a long time as well and you can stil find the occasional good deal.
    Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try Again. Fail again. Fail better.
    - Samuel Beckett
    A tool is just an opportunity with a handle
    - Kevin Kelly

  11. #10
    Senior Member raven's Avatar
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    Buy a GS500. That 4 valve air cooled twin feels like an old bike motor but you can get a new one.
    Bike:
    Buell X1
    Honda S90 (box of parts)
    Honda CB750C (runs)
    The Others (mostly rolling wounded)

    My collar may be a little frayed, and maybe I need a shoeshine. But nobody\'s got a mortgage on my soul. I own it. Free and clear. -Phil Lovecraft

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