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Discussion Starter #1
Hello, looking forward to getting involved with the community here.

I'm new to the scene and am looking to get a bike.
Of course I'm planning on taking a course at West Side Motorcycle Academy first...

I wanted to get your opinion on a couple bikes I'm looking at.

The first is a 1976 BMW R90/6 custom that I came across in Nashville (my brother lives there). Hopefully the picture attaches

Here's the posting:
900cc Air Head beast with straight pipes. Professionally built by Cycle Concepts. R6 Mono Shock Digital All in one gauge for tach & speedometer. You will not find a sleeker, no frills bad boy bike like this around. Lester Mag wheels, with New Bridgestone Spit Fires. New Ballistic Lipo Battery. Runs perfect needs nothing but a rider. $5,300 obo. Title in hand. Cash only.

I'm factoring in shipping costs and have a number in mind.

Any first impressions for a newbie?


10,458 Posts
Lot of $ for a bike with no seat............
Sure does have that "hipster bait" look.

Wonder if they did any of the math for the shock....or even know what math to do

23,302 Posts
Your first bike should be:

1) reliable
2) bone stock
3) easy to work on
4) well maintained
5) safe
6) fit your physical frame
7) fit your comfort level

Now look at this bike you posted and tell me which of these you think it is:

It's ok....I'll wait.....Think hard.....

ok, ready for the answers?:

1) reliable - Ok it is a BMW airhead which I have heard is more reliable than some rocks (not my experience but they sure are durable). However it is also a custom and that means any inherent reliable is now at the whim of the quality of the work done. Which makes this an unknown quantity. So No.

2) bone stock - No. I mean really you saw this coming, right?

3) easy to work on - Again, BMWs are supposed to be able to be fixed roadside with a few hand tools and some of those rocks they are more reliable than. But I see several places where the shop made parts that removed some of the ease of maintenance that a german scientist working in a basement 50 years ago designed into the original airheads. So again it is an unknown quantity and therefore a no

4) well maintained? - Eh. Could go either way but this turns on the history and the quality of the shop. Based on their sales description which mentions NO service history whatsoever I am going to say no.

5) safe - This bike is marginally safe at best. For a newbie you should see skulls and crossbones and tex avery cartoons of animals dying from poision when you look at it. It will throw crap at your face and your ass. it is not safe.

6) fit your physical frame - you don't know because you can't sit on it.

7) fit your comfort level - again you don't know because you have no good frame of reference based on riding a stock bike.

Additionally this bike has the two big douchebag red flags: straight exhaust and flat black paint.

For a newbie this is possibly the worst idea there is. For $3500, you should be able to get a bone stock 1985-86 R80 Monolever. Go buy that if you have to have an airhead bmw. Otherwise keep looking, and try to buy something that is less than 20 years old.

2,087 Posts
my standard reply -below most applies here too (ignore the cruiser comment).

My recommendation - if this is the 1st bike:
Ninja 250.
Seriously. But as you are in LA a dual sport is a serious contender (drz400, dr350 etc., DRZ is the most true dirt bike of the common dual sports - besides KTMs, DR 350 would be a great option if you are not a big guy, BMW 650 or DR650 also if you are bigger). You have tremendous deserts and mountains to discover on a dual sport in LA area.
If not dual sport a ninja 250 or ninja 500 or gs500

do you have any experience? how big are you? how much money are you willing to spend (lose).

If you have very little or no experience I would man up and and accept that you will need smaller and maybe not so cool short term bike. Reasons are listed here:

1. You will learn faster on small bike. Really. Were you to spend 1st 1000-2000 miles on small bike you will be better rider at 5000 miles than if you went straight for a big bike. I use miles instead of months as there are a lot of "riders" who have ridden twice a year for 5 years. Small bike is easier to handle in parking lots, easier to pick up when you drop it, less intimidating generally. Its much better to learn on a bike where you quickly feel like the master. Real learning starts only after that actually.(added now: This Ninja thing will be just a phase, but it will teach you a lot, about riding and your own taste etc. trust me you will have a blast on it. After this phase you are SO MUCH MORE educated to buy a bike of your dreams or one that is a step towards that).

2. Cheap common bikes (ninja 250, rebel 250 or other smaller starter bikes) hold their value great. You can buy a 2500$ ninja 250, put 2000 miles on it and sell it after 10 months and only lose 0-300$ on depreciation. Parts are cheap too should something break.

3. You are likely to drop your bike. If its used older beater its no drama and less $$ to learn the hard way.

4. As a new rider (especially if younger) insurance costs a lot (like a big chunk of the bikes value). When you buy a 2000-3000$ bike you don't need full coverage and adding scratch is not going to ruin its value.

I would consider a more neutral bike (so called standard) as they are good to learn on. Once you have put some miles you are much better educated on what kind of riding you actually enjoy. Maybe more of a tourer is your thing, or you fall in love with having more speed and control, or maybe back roads are calling for dual sporting (gravel road oriented bikes).
Don't let other peoples ideas dictate you into (or away for that matter) any particular style of biking. Get a bike, ride and decide for yourself. (ADDED NOW: ITS ALL FUN - don't worry about looking cool, your smile will add to your charm and ANY bike is cool + in Cali you have canyons, desert camping, sun through the year, lanesplitting allowed...)
But again read my list esp. #1 is true - we have seen the fools with giant Harleys struggling with the weight and being visibly uncomfortable - or the sports bike guy who slams on gas on straight but can't take a corner at all in fear of all the power. (Added now: or the guy who buys vintage bike for the looks but ha no clue of how to wrench/has no time/place and the bike either sits or is a hole to pour money into)

You will learn faster on a small bike. Trust me. Then if you ride quite a bit you might be ready to switch to your dream bike in half a year or maybe even sooner - but do the start right.

Buell Blast, Honda Rebel 250, Ninja 250 , etc. Dual sports are a serious option, they drop well, in CA you have tons of fun places to discover - check to find local buddies to ride with. If you insist on more power honda hawk nt 650 or suzuki sv650, gs500, ninja 500.

You need good gear. Search discussion here but full face helmet is a must. Chicks will not see you smile when you wear it but its better to have a jaw to smile with once you get to the bar. Boots, and gloves are also a must. (not just sturdy random boots - actual riding boots). Pants would be too but they are the least practical of the main gear (at work etc.).
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