I was recently contacted by an individual who was looking to buy his first bike.
He had decided to buy an R1 or a GSXR1000 for his first bike and had come to me for advice
I have not included his e-mail to respect his privicy. But you can figure out what was said.
If you are looking to buy a sportbike of any kind, please read this first:
Here is my responce:
I'm glad you are interested in getting a sportbike. But I can tell from you comments that you have never ridden one. Sport bikes are not toys. They are not for everybody, and to ride one correctly and safely takes years and years of training and practice.
Unfortunately in the US any body can get a motorcycle license with little or no training and buy and ride any motorcycle they like. You can thank Harley Davidson and the cruiser mentality for not putting a displacement cap on motorcycle learner licenses. In the rest of the world they have what is called a graduated license. This means that you have to start on a 125cc or 250cc motorcycle and then after a certain amount of experience and training you can move up after passing a series of test. This saves lives and keeps bike and insurance costs down.
I don't know what your back ground is or want your driving or riding experiences are. But I raced cars for several years before I got into bikes. I have driven some extremely fast cars in some very demanding conditions. None of that prepared me for the first time I rode a motorcycle. A motorcycle is inherently unstable (it only has to wheels) and is capable of speeds and acceleration that rival supercars and race cars. I don't care what car you drive, it is not capable of sub-3 second zero to sixty times and is won't flip it self over backwards in the process. R1's, 954's, ZX9r's, Gixxer 1K's, and CBR6's even will.
Modern sportbikes are so fast that it's not funny. ALL OF THEM!!!! 600's, 750,s and liter bikes. 4's, triples's, and twins. It doesn't matter. They are all fast. Some are just a little faster that others and those are A LOT harder to ride. The easier a bike is to ride the more YOU will learn from riding it. SV650's are easy to ride. That's why they are such great beginner bikes. You can find the limits of an SV and that's where you learn to ride. And there is a difference between surviving and riding. You can buy a Gixxer 1K, but you will just be surviving.
You motioned 400's........ I LOVE 400's. They are the most fun you can have on two wheels. They are great. My first bike was a 400. It was an 89 Honda CB-1.( I included a picture) The Cb-1 was a great bike. It was fun, it revved to the moon, it sounded good, it had theses cool gear driven cams, and it handled GREAT! It didn't look good, it didn't go very fast, it sucked on the highway( it tuned 8000rpm @ 70), but it was fun. I could ride the living shit out of it. I could ride it as hard as I could and it took work to make it go fast. I used to ride to work every day like I was at a Grand Prix. You could leave every stop light a pin the first 3 gears to red line and not even break the speed limit. And I embarrassed a whole lot of people on R1's and Gixxers in the twistys who didn't take the time to learn to ride. It was great.
You can't do that on a modern sportbike. They are too fast. The only place where you can ride a modern sportbike that hard is on the track. That's really the only place I ride any more. I still go out on the weekends when the weather is nice every once in a while. But the majority of my riding is at the track.
The other main problem in the equation is the manufactures. They do not import small displacement bikes to the US. None of the big four manufactures import a sport 400, they claim they don't sell in the states. Suzuki makes the Katana and bandit 600's and Kawasaki makes the ZZR600. But all of these bikes are outdated, heavy sport 600's The are not good beginners bikes either. They all have full fairing that are expensive to replace if you drop it and EVERY BODY DROPS THERE FIRST BIKE! This a rule. If you buy some thing naked (or with minimal fairings) then when you drop your bike in the parking lot, it won't cost you $1200.
SV650's are not shitty. My Friend Chris Norman took a third in the last AMA Pro thunder race of 2002 on a basically stock SV650. That's against Buells and Ducatis with twice the displacement. Go to a Club race in your area, see how many people race SV650's. I bet you see more SV's than any other single bike. SV's rock. You may be a fan of inline fours, but V-twins are not shitty either. Do you watch World SuperBike????????? The series has been around since 1989 and a inline four has only one the title twice...........V-twins rule.
If you are serious about getting into bikes, then use your head not your ego. Take the Motorcycle Safety Foundation class http://www.msf-usa.org/
I'm sure they offer it in your area. Find a good group of people to ride with. Guys who will show you how to ride, not pressure you into riding over you head. Take track Schools. You can learn more about bike control on the track (in a controlled environment) , then apply it to the street. Most importantly, buy good gear and wear it. Good gear can save your life. It has saved mine on many occasions. EVERYBODY CRASHES AT SOME POINT, IT'S JUST A MATTER OFWHEN AND HOW BAD. BE PREPARED!
You still may not listen to me. You may still go out and by an R1 or a Gixxer, because you like the way it looks. You may buy it because you think you are billy badass and you can handle anything. You may buy it to impress chicks or some other stupid reason. You may not even be interested in motorcycles. This may be a passing fad for you and you just want something to impress your friends with. That's cool.
But Remember, Someone who can ride a slow bike fast is a lot more impressive than some asshole about to fall off of a fast bike going slow.
I see the same shit every spring. Because I work at a large motorcycle shop I see more of it. As soon as March rolls around a new crop of kids comes in here and buys bikes that are over there head. They wobble around on them in a t-shirt and shorts, trying to pop wheelies and then about June or July they are all gone. They have all wrecked. The bikes are all totaled and they all got hurt. Some them even got Killed. It doesn't have to be that way.
If you have anymore questions, shoot me an e-mail and I will be happy to help.