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Which Bike? Comments and Questions on what is the best bike for YOU, for YOUR trip. Note that we believe that ANY bike will do, so please remember that it's all down to PERSONAL OPINION. Technical Questions for all brands go in their own forum.
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  #1  
Old 31 May 2004
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brand new rider - which bike for tour

I'm a brand new rider.
My plan is too do a 3500 mile round tour in Norway.
I obviously need a bike that a beginner can handle. Also if possible one that I as a new rider will find to be fun. Also importantly, comfortable for long distances (seat, handlebars, windshield and god knows what else), and, not one of the big expensive bikes. I also intend to keep the bike after the trip!

The bikes I look at seem to be honda CB500S, kwak GPZ500S, ZR7-S, and suzuki SV-650-S. I'm buying secondhand with about 18,000 miles on the clock.

Since I'll be going almost immediatly afterwards on my trip, I won't have the opportunity to know what to change (eg. the windshield, seat).
Can somebody give me some advice?
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  #2  
Old 31 May 2004
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SV650 is cheap(ish), light and easy to ride. Still quick and has decent handling for when you get a bit more experience. It'll also take a pillion with ease. Go for one of the rounded versions, pre-2003 I think, which should be cheaper.

Add some soft luggage and a tank bag with a map pocket and you're all set. Avoid wearing a rucksack as it'll tire you out and become a pain in the back.

If you're buying at a dealer try to get the luggage thrown in with a discount. If you're heading on tour straight away buying from a dealer may be better than buying private. If something goes wrong you've a better chance of getting a resolution with a dealer than Joe Public. Also, if you've not much experience of bikes then you're less likely to end up with an abused bike (some might say!).

SV650's tend to hold value (as long as they're in top condition). So if you went for one you'd not have too much trouble trading/selling it for something else if you didn't get on with it. But I reckon (having ridden all of them, and toured France two-up on an SV) for ease of riding and still keeping it interesting when you've a few miles under your belt then the SV won't disappoint you.
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  #3  
Old 2 Jun 2004
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I agree, go with the sv650s out of that group. I have only ridden one a couple of times for short distances, but they are easy to ride, have excellent brakes and for your trip (unless you have some type of chronic back condition or freakishly long legs) an sv should be plenty comfortable(of course that depends on how long you are going to take to cover the 3,000 plus miles).
the sv also has an above average reputation for reliability, but i don't personally know of anyone who has put more than 20,000 miles on one, so be sure to check that out.
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  #4  
Old 7 Jun 2004
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thanks for the advice everyone

by the way, as its my first time buying a bike how can I ensure not to get myself shafted (screwed!) when I buy a bike from a private individual; in the sense that i,ve overpaid for what that particular bike is worth and that its not got a problem with it and to evaluate if additions made to the bike justify a price the guy wants

colin
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  #5  
Old 7 Jun 2004
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all four of those bikes are pretty reliable, the ZR and CB more comfortable than the sportier SV and GPz. the SV is certainly the quickest and best handling, but the ZR7 has the smoothest "cruise" and the better fairing. so your choice really comes down to how you will be riding it.

get yourself down to WHsmiths or another big newsagent and look through the USED BIKE GUIDE, an A5 sized magazine that will tell you a bit about each bike and what to look for/what goes wrong. its also a price guide and i think it gives insurance groups too, but im not sure about that.

any of these bikes would suit you i think. the honda and ZR are bombproof, the GPz is an old design now(watch out for knackered R.shock) but should be cheap, and the SV is a sportsbike with good comfort and "fun" factor. my choice in fact. if you dont get on with the drop bars they do a naked version with wide bars that is a lot comfier, and cheaper.
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  #6  
Old 7 Jun 2004
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Take a knowlegeable person along. If you don't know anybody organise a dealer to inspect the bike for you (you have to pay for the service, of course). If the seller doesn't want to agree on this then don't buy it.

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  #7  
Old 7 Jun 2004
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Additions are worth nothing if they aren't the things you want. If the seller's bolted on an after market can, then it shouldn't increase the cost to you. Since you don't really want a non-standard end can (even if you do, you don't say so...)

Make sure you can get the bike back to legal status with all the original parts supplied with the bike (including number plates, rear reflectors, end-can, etc).

It's a bit hit or miss (though mostly hit) buying privately. I tend to go more on the seller's attitude. Do they know a lot about the bike, are they enthusiastic about it - good points. Do they talk about wheelies, thrashing it, and knee down - bad points (even if it's bravado). How big are the chicken strips?

Check all the paper work before you intimate that you're interested in paying for it. Try to avoid "yes I'll take it, assuming the paper work is ok". Again, comes down to how much you trust the seller. But don't treat paper work as a formality, even dealers 'make mistakes' on service history. Ideally take someone with you to talk to the seller while you check through paper work in a relaxed, non-rushed, manner.

If you've decided on an SV650, then go and see some CB500's to practice you buying technique. Get used to the feeling of wanting the shiney new bike, and still walking away. Also check out a few SV's in dealerships as you'll get longer to poke around one looking for the areas that show signs of wear.

Modern bikes (despite the moaning bike press) do seem to be generally pretty reliable. Yeah you get odd things related to specific bikes, but normally nothing major. If it's had fresh oil regularly then it should be ok. If it doesn't smoke on start up, or while it's ridden then it should also be ok.
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  #8  
Old 14 Jun 2004
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thanks for the advice, everyone
colin
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  #9  
Old 16 Jun 2004
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I've got a zr 7 and a bmw gspd wich i took on several long trip include central america. The beemer is a great bike and I improved it a bit (ohlins shock, diode board, tourateck bags....), but the kawi has this peace of mind I don't get with the beemer in term of reliability... The zr is well equiped with a givi touring screen, heated grips, additional electric plug, I might put hard givi bag (instead of soft) because I'll probably take this bike to central america this year instead of the beemer. Confortable, decent range, easy to ride, worry free.... I got 23000 miles on it runs great. It's a puff cream. The only 2 things it doesn't give, the off road (most of the time) and the caractere of the beemer.
I should cook the 2 bikes together and get a 650 strom suzuk.
Grab the bike you feel the most confident with, they are all good.
pif

[This message has been edited by pif (edited 16 June 2004).]
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