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Discussion Starter #1
Hi,
I'm a new rider and just now joined this forum to try to find some answers.

I guess I'm a hipster. I want a vintage looking bike but I also want reliability. I'm trying to go about this the right way and not jump into a trend with everyone else but I can't help but feel like since everyone likes Honda CB's I'm just a part of a scene. I'm looking up on Wikipedia bikes similar to the style I like but it seems the look I'm attracted to was relegated to the early 80's and I want something I can enjoy riding as a first bike, not something thats going to make me feel like I'm in over my head.

I've got about $3000 saved up. What's out there that I'm missing?
 

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Hi,
I'm a new rider and just now joined this forum to try to find some answers.

I guess I'm a hipster. I want a vintage looking bike but I also want reliability. I'm trying to go about this the right way and not jump into a trend with everyone else but I can't help but feel like since everyone likes Honda CB's I'm just a part of a scene. I'm looking up on Wikipedia bikes similar to the style I like but it seems the look I'm attracted to was relegated to the early 80's and I want something I can enjoy riding as a first bike, not something thats going to make me feel like I'm in over my head.

I've got about $3000 saved up. What's out there that I'm missing?
Save your money and go on vacation. If you know nothing of bikes and use wikipedia as a source of information, you're already in a bad position before you even started. You'll always feel in over your head if you've never rode a motorcycle.
 

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Save your money and go on vacation. If you know nothing of bikes and use wikipedia as a source of information, you're already in a bad position before you even started. You'll always feel in over your head if you've never rode a motorcycle.
*ridden

and what a load of wank. Sorry but we should be embracing people into the motorcycling fold, not scorning them. Dude's at least trying to go about things the right way.

Couple of questions. Any pics of the types of bikes you like? What's your riding experience, you say new but how new is new? How old are you? What's your mechanical aptitude?

My feeling from your post is that you're better off looking for something retro rather than something vintage. That's not a bad thing at all because while some of the modified CB's you've seen around might grab your attention, they are for the most part unridable fashion accessories. Check out some of the newer motoguzzi's, royal enfields, triumph bonnevilles etc. I have nfi about the price of bikes in the US but I suspect you're going to want to save up some more dosh before jumping in... not a bad thing at all.

If you rush out and by a hipsterfied CB you will regret it.
 

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Cloaked is wrong and nicebike is right.
Look for something from the early 80's some bikes to look at are the KZ550 or GPZ550, not the L model. Also consider the Yamaha XJ550R or XJ650R Seca model. I think that size may be good as a beginner.

The next step is to look at the early 80's AMA superbikes and take your clues from there. Rebuild your front forks, tune up the engine, make sure you have good chain and sprockets, tires and replace the rear shocks with Progressive Suspension or Hagon. Check your front and rear brakes and replace the front brake lines with stainless braided lines. Replace the handlebars with a Superbike bend. That is more than enough for you to do to start with. Then as you use the bike and put on some miles you will know what it needs next. That is where you can start thinking about clip-ons, rearsets and seats. You can start looking at forks swaps and wheel swaps and better brakes. Then you can look at intake and exhaust and other HP improvements. (Notice how I left that for very last? That is where it should be)

I just took a quick spin through the SFBay craigslist and none of the bikes I prefer are listed. I did see some other stuff for under 2K that are good deals. There are 3 o4 SV650s and several GS500s and an EX500 or two. There is also a GS750E and an SRX250 that are possibles. If you find one of those that suits you, my advice on what to do with it still holds true. Check out the SRX250, I think it is the one I would go with.

https://sfbay.craigslist.org/nby/mcy/4506334912.html

 

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Cloaked is wrong and nicebike is right.
Look for something from the early 80's some bikes to look at are the KZ550 or GPZ550, not the L model. Also consider the Yamaha XJ550R or XJ650R Seca model. I think that size may be good as a beginner.

The next step is to look at the early 80's AMA superbikes and take your clues from there. Rebuild your front forks, tune up the engine, make sure you have good chain and sprockets, tires and replace the rear shocks with Progressive Suspension or Hagon. Check your front and rear brakes and replace the front brake lines with stainless braided lines. Replace the handlebars with a Superbike bend. That is more than enough for you to do to start with. Then as you use the bike and put on some miles you will know what it needs next. That is where you can start thinking about clip-ons, rearsets and seats. You can start looking at forks swaps and wheel swaps and better brakes. Then you can look at intake and exhaust and other HP improvements. (Notice how I left that for very last? That is where it should be)

I just took a quick spin through the SFBay craigslist and none of the bikes I prefer are listed. I did see some other stuff for under 2K that are good deals. There are 3 o4 SV650s and several GS500s and an EX500 or two. There is also a GS750E and an SRX250 that are possibles. If you find one of those that suits you, my advice on what to do with it still holds true. Check out the SRX250, I think it is the one I would go with.

https://sfbay.craigslist.org/nby/mcy/4506334912.html

Im wrong? So you're telling me that wikipedia is a reliable source for information? No. It isnt. He should go to a school and take a class on rider safety and learn how to ride before just buying a bike... Regardless of what type of bike he wants. If he just decided one day that he wants to ride, he should learn proper safety before going onto the street with zero experience.

Safety is #1 and if you dont know how to ride a bike, maintain a used, older bike or even have experience riding... I suggest you save your money, spend it on a good rider school so you can learn safety, then save more money and buy a new bike. The newer bikes wont be as temperamental as the older ones and if you're looking for an older style, buy a new triumph or motoguzzi like nicebike said. Only do that after you've done your homework. Its not a bicycle. When you drop a motorcycle are you sure you can pick it up? What if it falls onto you? Start with a small 250 if you can find one then work your way up when you feel comfortable.
 

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He should go to a school and take a class on rider safety and learn how to ride before just buying a bike... Regardless of what type of bike he wants. If he just decided one day that he wants to ride, he should learn proper safety before going onto the street with zero experience.
Thats a much better way to put it.
 

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Im wrong? So you're telling me that wikipedia is a reliable source for information? No. It isnt. He should go to a school and take a class on rider safety and learn how to ride before just buying a bike... Regardless of what type of bike he wants. If he just decided one day that he wants to ride, he should learn proper safety before going onto the street with zero experience.

Safety is #1 and if you dont know how to ride a bike, maintain a used, older bike or even have experience riding... I suggest you save your money, spend it on a good rider school so you can learn safety, then save more money and buy a new bike. The newer bikes wont be as temperamental as the older ones and if you're looking for an older style, buy a new triumph or motoguzzi like nicebike said. Only do that after you've done your homework. Its not a bicycle. When you drop a motorcycle are you sure you can pick it up? What if it falls onto you? Start with a small 250 if you can find one then work your way up when you feel comfortable.
Yes, you were wrong in your original response to the OP. It was inaccurate and insulting. Furthermore, Wikipedia has been shown to be as accurate as the Encyclopedia Britannica, neither of which is 100% accurate.( And no, I am not going to provide a cite for you, check Google if you want to have proof. Try Googling Ian Jukes, I think that is who I heard it from in a private conversation and I trust his knowledge of the topic, since he is what they call an expert) The advantage Wikipedia has is that you don't have to wait until the next edition to get corrections. Wikipedia can be a very valuable resource, especially for general information about any topic. Even your second post is angry and condescending. I will make the assumption is that the OP is a grown adult and can make good choices if given good input. Getting a riders' school under his belt is good advice. Picking a smaller bike is also good advice. My suggestion of mid-size UJM from the 80's is also good advice. Finally, my suggestion of the SRX250 is excellent advice and what he should do if he knows what is good for him.
 

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Yes, you were wrong in your original response to the OP. It was inaccurate and insulting. Furthermore, Wikipedia has been shown to be as accurate as the Encyclopedia Britannica, neither of which is 100% accurate.( And no, I am not going to provide a cite for you, check Google if you want to have proof. Try Googling Ian Jukes, I think that is who I heard it from in a private conversation and I trust his knowledge of the topic, since he is what they call an expert) The advantage Wikipedia has is that you don't have to wait until the next edition to get corrections. Wikipedia can be a very valuable resource, especially for general information about any topic. Even your second post is angry and condescending. I will make the assumption is that the OP is a grown adult and can make good choices if given good input. Getting a riders' school under his belt is good advice. Picking a smaller bike is also good advice. My suggestion of mid-size UJM from the 80's is also good advice. Finally, my suggestion of the SRX250 is excellent advice and what he should do if he knows what is good for him.
Honestly, You arent given much information through his post. All I got was that he went searching through wikipedia when he got a hard on for motorcycles and decided he wants to buy one with zero experience. He should start with a rider safety class. Generally a good class will have multiple bikes to choose from and it can give him an idea of what he wants and what he thinks is good for him. We cant decide on a bike for him thats not "in over his head." Because all motorcycles would be somewhat in over his head. Buying used will come with problems that you will need to fix. Parts need to be replaced. Adjustments need to be made. Can he do these things on his own? Is he mechanically inclined or have any experience working with motors from... anything (non electronic.)? If not then I highly suggest a newer bike. He can learn on ninja 250 (or any new 250 for that matter.) and resell it later on when he feels like he wants an upgrade and feels comfortable with working on older motorcycles. But rider safety is more important and he should make a choice on what he thinks is safe for him.

Buy your helmet, jacket, pants, boots, gloves and anything else you feel the need for. (knee pads, elbow pads) Dont cheap out on those. Buy good quality gear (which can cost anywhere from $500.00 all the way up to $1,500.00. I spent over $800 on a pair of new alpinestars, pants+shirt, and a helmet alone. Generally you dont need as much safety equipment if you're not racing like I am.) and please invest the rest of your budget into a safety class. Grab the rest of the cash you have and continue to save... save... save... until you think you have enough to pick up a newer (or older if you think you can deal with it.) bike.
 

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That SRX is crying out for a YZ400 engine with an IT lighting coil. Or, an IT400 engine.

KeyIn, an MSF RiderCourse is your first stop. Bike purchase after the course - unless an absolute gem of a bike comes along. You can buy a pretty decent bike for $3K. But as the saying goes, you can have vintage or reliable, but not both. Might I suggest an '84-86 Honda Nighthawk S? Stone-axe reliable and entertaining enough for a first-time rider.

Don't forget, training, gear, and insurance are part of the overall purchase price in addition to the bike and any safety-related repairs that it may need.
 

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Honestly, You arent given much information through his post. All I got was that he went searching through wikipedia when he got a hard on for motorcycles and decided he wants to buy one with zero experience. He should start with a rider safety class. Generally a good class will have multiple bikes to choose from and it can give him an idea of what he wants and what he thinks is good for him. We cant decide on a bike for him thats not "in over his head." Because all motorcycles would be somewhat in over his head. Buying used will come with problems that you will need to fix. Parts need to be replaced. Adjustments need to be made. Can he do these things on his own? Is he mechanically inclined or have any experience working with motors from... anything (non electronic.)? If not then I highly suggest a newer bike. He can learn on ninja 250 (or any new 250 for that matter.) and resell it later on when he feels like he wants an upgrade and feels comfortable with working on older motorcycles. But rider safety is more important and he should make a choice on what he thinks is safe for him.

Buy your helmet, jacket, pants, boots, gloves and anything else you feel the need for. (knee pads, elbow pads) Dont cheap out on those. Buy good quality gear (which can cost anywhere from $500.00 all the way up to $1,500.00. I spent over $800 on a pair of new alpinestars, pants+shirt, and a helmet alone. Generally you dont need as much safety equipment if you're not racing like I am.) and please invest the rest of your budget into a safety class. Grab the rest of the cash you have and continue to save... save... save... until you think you have enough to pick up a newer (or older if you think you can deal with it.) bike.
Okay that was my mistake not giving enough info to start with. I was certified through the MSF course, I've purchased a Shoei rf1200 helmet already, leather jacket and a pair of gloves. I've found a place near me in SF called Piston and Chain full of awesome people who will (and already have) teach me a thing or two about maintenance and go with me on rides to make sure I'm not endangering myself or others on the road. But I need a bike, and how do you learn what you want before you get one? I've been to a few dealers in the area to try out different bikes but so far all they've had in stock is street and touring bikes which are well out of my price range and not to my taste. So I'm looking on Wikipedia to find out what styles and classes of motorcycles there are out there and using that as a guide to make an opinion on something that I admittedly know very little about, which is why I joined this forum to ask people better educated than myself.

Thanks for the advice everybody, i've been looking at the bikes mentioned, that SXR is interesting, I'll have to talk to the owner about it.

And I will always have a hard on for motorcycles.
 

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Okay that was my mistake not giving enough info to start with. I was certified through the MSF course, I've purchased a Shoei rf1200 helmet already, leather jacket and a pair of gloves. I've found a place near me in SF called Piston and Chain full of awesome people who will (and already have) teach me a thing or two about maintenance and go with me on rides to make sure I'm not endangering myself or others on the road. But I need a bike, and how do you learn what you want before you get one? I've been to a few dealers in the area to try out different bikes but so far all they've had in stock is street and touring bikes which are well out of my price range and not to my taste. So I'm looking on Wikipedia to find out what styles and classes of motorcycles there are out there and using that as a guide to make an opinion on something that I admittedly know very little about, which is why I joined this forum to ask people better educated than myself.

Thanks for the advice everybody, i've been looking at the bikes mentioned, that SXR is interesting, I'll have to talk to the owner about it.

And I will always have a hard on for motorcycles.
Thanks for clearing it up. At first you just sounded like a guy that got a hard on and decided to look up on wikipedia with a pocket full of cash to buy one with little research or training.

I still think you are better off buying new. (something 2000 or newer.) Its your first bike and you want something to learn with. Well. Learn on a 250. If you dont mind traveling, you can find some used bikes outside of san francisco and further north or south for a cheaper bike. Then and only then would I suggest getting something older. Its like... muscle cars. People dont just buy their child a 68 camaro thats bone stock and beat up/looking for a resto or just a good home because its a bad starter car. They dont handle well and are death traps if you get in an accident. The only thing I would make sure you do is purchase a something under 400cc's... Even a 250 is somewhat much for a beginner. I started riding when I was 4 on a 50cc running in a pee wee class at my local dirtbike track.
 

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"That SRX is crying out for a YZ400 engine with an IT lighting coil. Or, an IT400 engine." No you don't.

The SRX250 is a great little bike, but the frame or forks are not up to twice the horsepower from a big two stroke motor.

If that SRX runs well, get it. Just ride it like it is, regarding customing it, for at least a year.

If you are over 175 pounds, get a GS500E. Any "L" model bike can go to hell. XJ550 Secas and 1st gen GS550s could be a good start if you are a big dude.

If granny has a trust fund, go get a good, black, naked 1st gen SV650. Don't forget the power of a real haircut and a crisp white shirt on old folks. Be a gentleman.

Forget a cool vintage bike until you really know what you want. That could take three years.

Ride a real bike for a while before you have to deal with a worn out old relic from the seventies with your wallet and your wits.

Danger, is my business.
 

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The SF Craigslist had about 3 sv650s for under 2k. I would get one of those or the SRX. There was also a 700 nighthawk for $1700, I think.
 

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This is the kind of SV650 you should be looking for.

These motors give pretty high miles with very few problems.

***2001 Suzuki SV650 SV 650 RED Clean Title with 26k miles***

The black naked ones are sex on wheels.

If you want a crusty old Honda to look at, as opposed to having a great bike to ride, I'm probably wasting my time with this advice.

I'd say, at this stage, you are wasting your time or money on an old crusty Honda, it is your choice though.

Danger, is my business.
 

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How do you know what bike works for you? Trial and error, you can make a best guess though. I am always swapping bikes around.
You cant go wrong with an enduro for a first bike for reasons stated previously, SV might be a better choice for the road though as it will serve you for its lifetime and wont die with highway use. I would recommend that you own a modern bike to ride and than get yourself a toy vintage ride.
 

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It seems the Kawasiki Zephyrs are as rare as hens teeth these days, but they were basically a reissue of the 1970-80s universal Japanese Motorcycle done by Kawi in the 90s. There seem to be more of the early air cooled ZR750 out there (closest to you is Las Vegas, or San Diego though). They have a monoshock rear, and modern bodywork, but honestly just ditching the fairing and bolting on a big round headlight will have people at the hip bars thinking you did some sort of custom updating of an old KZ750. Its got a basic old school steel plumbing pipe frame under the plastic covers.

2000 kawasaki zr750

Alternately just by a Honda Nighthawk in 250cc if you are short or under 150lbs, or 750cc if you are closer to 6' and 200lbs. They are bullet proof and the 750 makes as much power as you will ever need without making enough to scare you.

1992 Honda Nighthawk 750
 

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Don't encourage the the buying of bad bikes. The Zephyrs and big Nighthawks are a bit horrible.

The air-cooled ZR750 is a good bike with a proven motor.

A SV650 or a GS500E is a far better bike to ride than any you have mentioned.
 
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