First motorcycle help

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    Sep 10, 2013 3:48 PM GMT
    I've always wanted a motorbike and decided to finally make the plunge. I wont be getting one immediately - have to move etc and focus on other things, but I'm starting to look and I was wondering since I know so little, what should I look for? What are common mistakes?

    I'm leaning towards a used Ninja 650. I was told because of my size/weight I shouldn't go for the usual suggested starter 250cc.

    I'm going to take a training course as well which I heard is a pretty good idea. I'll also obviously be getting a good leather jacket, pants, riding boots, gloves, and helmet.

    I'm wondering if anyone in the GTA has any idea of what insurance might be like too? I have a clean driving record but its mostly uninsured time recently as i don't drive except when I rent or use zipcar/car2go and I'm not sure if their insurance counts (although they claim it does).
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    Sep 10, 2013 4:26 PM GMT
    I've been a licensed US motorcyclist since 1966. Please link me the exact model you're considering.

    Most insurance companies list any Ninja model as a high-risk sport bike, the name alone could cost you dearly, especially for a first-time rider. But 650cc is a good displacement, though a sport bike version might still be cramped for your size, putting you into a tight jockey crouch.

    In the US we have the MSF (Motorcycle Safety Foundation). I don't know if anything comparable exists in Canada. You can take an MSF course on one of their loaner bikes, learn how to ride properly, and help decide if this is something you want to do before you buy anything. Plus successful graduation can get you an insurance discount, and in some US States they'll give you a motorcycle license without any further testing. See what Canada offers. The bike dealer should know.
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    Sep 10, 2013 4:33 PM GMT
    Canada does have a similar motorcycle education system. The courses can be pretty expensive (I've seen them for around $800), but are highly recommended, and will result in a reduced insurance premium.

    When you take one of these courses, a bike will be provided for you, in fact, most (if not all) will not even allow you to use your own bike as far as i know.

    Insurance premiums, especially for a 650cc sports bike for a first time rider of your age, will be significant. I have a perfect driving record, and the insurance for a 250cc for the first year of insurance was more than what I pay for my car. That said, after the first year, premiums do drop substantially.


    Also...a 650cc ninja in the gta is going to be an attractive target for theft. I would say that your best best would be to get something well under budget, as most a lot of bikes get stolen...and most first bikes get dropped. I've know a few guys with broken hearts after they dropped their brand new, expensive sports bike...parts and repair are not cheap.

    BUT...if you have the space, time and will, they are fun to work on, and depending on the model, relatively simple.
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    Sep 10, 2013 4:40 PM GMT
    Blue_Maverick saidCanada does have a similar motorcycle education system. The courses can be pretty expensive (I've seen them for around $800), but are highly recommended, and will result in a reduced insurance premium.

    When you take one of these courses, a bike will be provided for you, in fact, most (if not all) will not even allow you to use your own bike as far as i know.

    Insurance premiums, especially for a 650cc sports bike for a first time rider of your age, will be significant. I have a perfect driving record, and the insurance for a 250cc for the first year of insurance was more than what I pay for my car. That said, after the first year, premiums do drop substantially.


    Also...a 650cc ninja in the gta is going to be an attractive target for theft. I would say that your best best would be to get something well under budget, as most a lot of bikes get stolen...and most first bikes get dropped. I've know a few guys with broken hearts after they dropped their brand new, expensive sports bike...parts and repair are not cheap.

    BUT...if you have the space, time and will, they are fun to work on, and depending on the model, relatively simple.


    Really? Even at 35 yo the insurance will be bad? I'm going to try to get some quotes.

    I didn't realize motorbike theft in TO was really bad. But that seems like a risk I'll have to live with.

    I'm definitely going used....about $3000-4000 so it won't be a HUGE investment for a first bike if I drop it etc. (cheaper than my road bike actually LOL)

    @ART, you're probably right about the positioning and I did think about that, but I"m used to riding that way 2 hours a day on my road bike.

    There is a motorcycle safety course I'll be taking for $525
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    Sep 10, 2013 4:45 PM GMT
    525 is a good price!
  • Destinharbor

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    Sep 10, 2013 4:46 PM GMT
    I agree. A 650 is a good size if you want it for just pleasure riding around, as opposed to long distance road trips. But do try out the different seating positions of various bikes. I personally don't like the crouched "jockey" position for anything but a racetrack. Looks good, though.
  • MikeVmax

    Posts: 32

    Sep 10, 2013 8:35 PM GMT
    If the Canadian version is like the MSF course I *highly* recommend it.

    And definitely used for your first bike, and cheap as you can find. You will drop it, probably more than once.

    Go to a motorcycle dealer and sit on a bunch of bikes and see what's comfortable. Don't underestimate how important that is. If you're uncomfortable on what you're riding then you're not able to put your full attention to what is going on around you. Then you get hit by a soccer mom in a suburban not looking before she changes lanes.
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    Sep 10, 2013 9:00 PM GMT
    Totally agree with the advice above. Also, shop around a lot when it comes to insurance: the quotes I got varied crazily (from minimum quote to 5x that).

    Make sure you have a wheel lock in your buy list. They are inexpensive and a pretty good deterrent. If you have to leave your motorcycle in the open overnight, make sure you have a solid chain to lock it up (rear wheel).

    For as much as riding is concerned, make sure you NEVER ride when there is even the faintest chance of rain, at least until you have 1000 miles under your belt.

    Good luck and have lots and lots of fun!
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    Sep 10, 2013 9:17 PM GMT
    Location and bike model are everything with insurance. In 1997 I was buying an Italian cruiser in Fort Lauderdale during a visit. Initially the insurance company mistook it for a sport model by the same maker, and quoted me $3000 USD. I said no, that's almost 1/4 of its entire value, you're wrong.

    I finally worked them down to $695, still a bit high for me. But I wasn't too concerned, because I would be soon riding it back to Seattle where I lived. A month later I filed for an adjustment based on relocation, and the rate for Seattle dropped to $360. A year later I moved to North Dakota and the rate was lowered to $180.

    I have no idea what Toronto motorcycle insurance rates will be. When I lived in US snow belt states some companies offered a special winter rate, if you had your bike in storage. In effect you only paid for full coverage for about 6 months, and the other 6 for reduced coverage that didn't include riding, omitting collision and other road-related items.

    Of course that meant you couldn't take the bike out of the garage or storage unit and ride it until a certain date in Spring. But your rates were much lower. Or some companies will say their standard rates take reduced winter usage into account. But do comparison shop.

    A first-time rider will always pay the highest rate, even at age 35 and having an automobile with a good record. Your rate will drop fairly quickly if you have no tickets or claims for a few years. In addition to MSF certification, I also get a discount for belonging to the American Motorcyclist Assoc. (AMA), and for never had a motorcycle insurance claim or speeding ticket in 47 years of riding.

    I've had my accidents, but never made a claim. And all my serious accidents were during my first 2 years of riding, which follows the national US pattern. Therefore you would be wise to not spend too much on a first bike, either getting used or an inexpensive model.

    And not getting something too fast, regardless of the displacement. A 650cc small cruiser might be a better choice than a Ninja. Learn to ride before you roar.
  • MikeVmax

    Posts: 32

    Sep 10, 2013 9:29 PM GMT
    ART_DECO saidAnd not getting something too fast, regardless of the displacement. A 650cc cruiser might be a better choice than a Ninja. Learn to ride before you roar.


    This is really good advice. Keep in mind it's your first bike, not your only bike ever.
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    Sep 10, 2013 9:37 PM GMT
    MikeVmax said
    ART_DECO saidAnd not getting something too fast, regardless of the displacement. A 650cc small cruiser might be a better choice than a Ninja. Learn to ride before you roar.

    This is really good advice. Keep in mind it's your first bike, not your only bike ever.

    Yep yep yep. My first bike was very small, the next one bigger & faster. My third was a 1200cc Harley-Davidson. Since then I've stayed in the 750-1100 range, a good size for me that I find fast, sporty & manageable. Only once did I have a smaller 650 dual-sport, good for the gravel roads in North Dakota. You choose your bike to your purpose, never your ego.
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    Sep 10, 2013 10:36 PM GMT
    MikeVmax said
    ART_DECO saidAnd not getting something too fast, regardless of the displacement. A 650cc cruiser might be a better choice than a Ninja. Learn to ride before you roar.


    This is really good advice. Keep in mind it's your first bike, not your only bike ever.


    I have no doubt this is good advice but I've wanted a ninja since I can remember. I'll try to moderate myself with sense and I'll definitely try lots of bikes but that ninja mmmm. haha

    Thanks for the tip on the wheel lock too. I'm going to try to make a list of things like that that I must have so I can assess the true $$$ damange.
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    Sep 11, 2013 3:15 AM GMT
    Yeah, it's not necessarily the size of the bike. But the type of bike. A 500cc cruiser will have a different powerband and throttle response than a 500cc sport bike. Also, the frame geometry will be different. The cruiser will have more of an upright position, while on a sport bike, you'll be leaning forward.

    Most people buy a beater as their first bike. Then upgrade to something newer/better after they gain some experience. Ultimately it's up to you.
  • BlackBeltGuy

    Posts: 2609

    Sep 11, 2013 3:23 AM GMT
    MikeVmax said
    ART_DECO saidAnd not getting something too fast, regardless of the displacement. A 650cc cruiser might be a better choice than a Ninja. Learn to ride before you roar.


    This is really good advice. Keep in mind it's your first bike, not your only bike ever.


    agree with both. Go with 650
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    Sep 11, 2013 5:58 AM GMT
    You can expect to pay around $1200- $1500 a year as a beginner with an M1 and M2 license. Maybe even more in Toronto I've been riding continually with no claims for over 30 years, live in small town Ontario and pay just over $800 on my 98 GL 1500 thru TD Insurance. I don't think any of the bike insurance companies offer partial year coverage anymore.. Even when they used to the difference was negligible over a full years worth.

    Personally I never liked ninja bikes. They're ok for around town but forget it on long trips. I want comfort and lotsa power. There's shitloads of good used bikes for sale so don't fall in love with the first one. That being said I started out at 16 on a little Suzuki 150 to a Honda CB350, a Yamaha 650 then my first Goldwing GL1000, then Aspencade GL1200 (my alltime fave still) and now the GL1500

    It's a lot of fun going on rides and trips and there's numerous gay biker groups out there as well. Most of the guys are in their mid 30's on up which is the same with the non-gay bike clubs.. lots of gray hair. I just went on a toy-run this past Sunday, straight club but still fun. Was sort of planning on the big Friday the 13th in Port Dover this Friday but the weather looks like it's going to be shitty and cold so I'll probably pass.

    http://www.pd13.com/