My Two Weeks of Searching and Researching About, and for, Bikes

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Well, I decided to "chronicle" my journey into motorcycles; more specifically the weeks leading up to my purchase and the subsequent week/s after. I will start with the two weeks prior to my purchase which was mid June.

A little background, I was a school teacher and recently transitioned into an admin position and also currently expecting my first child around August. School ended and I initially looked for a minivan as I felt it may be necessary but after a week of searching for a minivan, we decided it was best to wait until we have more children. With that said, I continued my daily search of minivans and even cars on craigslist and other sites and before you know it, I was looking at motorcycles. I had ridden some dirtbikes and 110-125cc motorscooters in Asia and had always wanted to get a bike but did not due to my parents' apprehensiveness toward bikes and the general hazard involved. One day my wife caught me looking at...no, not that, motorcycles and said "Hon, I know you have always wanted one. If you really want one, get one now because once the baby comes all the money will go toward our child." With that, I was on my way.

In 2010, after 9 years without getting on a motorized two wheeler, my brother in law invited me to take his 2006 Yamaha R6 for a spin and I did so around his parking lot. The feeling of freedom and joy all came back but I recall it being a fairly scary moment as well since the R6 was a bit touchy on the throttle, especially for someone like me who had not been on a bike of more than 125ccs for more than 9 years. 4 years later, with the okay from my wife, I wondered if I wanted a nice looking sports bike like my brother in law's R6. I decided to look for bikes around town but not before doing my research.

Research, for me, consisted of reading numerous forums (BBO/GSTWINS/Motorcycle.com/Motorcycle-USA/Sportsbike) regarding the proper starting bike for a newbie or borderline novice. Some posters insisted a 600 sports or supersport was okay as long as the rider respected the bike but the majority insisted starting on a 600 was not the way to go. I read about the dangers of the modern day sports bike, the 100+ HP, 0-60 times that would put 95% of the cars on the road to shame and I researched the motorcycle accident and fatality stats. What I realized was over 50% of the accidents involved alcohol, younger drivers under 30 of the male gender, and SPORTS bike. I also read the pros and cons of sports bikes and in that research, also found so-called sports-touring or touring friendly sports bikes. So I initially kept my options wide open, everything from a 250CC Ninja/CBR to the GS500E/F to even the 600 sports bike like the CBRF4i because it was said that the F4i was more rider friendly and more ergonomically friendly than its cousin, the CBR600RR. I did look at prices for the CBRs along with the Ninjas and R6 along with a few GSX/Katanas.

Over the next week and a half, I went scouring the internet for motorcycles that were anywhere between 3 hours and $2.5-$3.5K although my ideal budget was $3,500 for bike, gear, and MSF Class which I knew was really pushing it if I wanted a decent bike that would last along with decent gear.

The first bike I went to look at a 2001 Honda CBRF4i which I really liked that had 16,000 miles but looked immaculate. The asking price was $3,300. He would not budge any lower than $3,200. I really liked the look of the bike and the position was fairly friendly. Then I went to look at a 2003 SV650 with 20,000 for $3,350 but was not kept very well. From there, I looked at a 2005 GS500F for $3000 and had 6,800 miles. I really liked the bike but it was then I decided I needed a more knowledgeable person to go with me to look at these bikes so I asked my neighbor, who owns a Vulcan and a 2010 Ninja ZX-6R that was purchased brand new, who also happens to be an auto mechanic. He went to look at the 2005 GS500F and right away, he knew it was not the bike for me. He took it for a quick test ride and it confirmed what he thought; it had been neglected severely and there were many things wrong with it including a rusty chain that was covered in gunk, alot of vibration at 4,500RPMs, worn back tire, non-existent rear brakes just to name a few. I was glad I had a guy who knew a thing or two about bikes go with me as I was ready to purchase it for $2,800.

The journey continued and the more research I did, the less necessary a 600cc sportsbike felt to me. I did not have a need for speed, have a great sense of my own mortality, and I had a baby on the way not to mention insurance rates would be higher on a 600cc. I just liked the look of it and for cruising around town, the economy of a sportsbike and seat/handlebar position would not do me many favors so I decided to narrow my options down to the GS500F, SV650S, and Ninja 650r as those looked sporty yet more friendly to ride along with better fuel economy.

As my journey to purchasing a bike was nearing the end, unbeknownst to me, I decided to purchase some gear like a helmet and a textile jacket with armor. I ended up looking at a 2007 GS500F that was owned by a girl whose parents lived in town but she was away at college. She originally posted it for $3,500 and we could not work on the numbers as I wanted $2,800 for it so we left it at that. It was exactly 10 days later that she asked me if I was still interested and I said if the price is right and she said she would do it for $2,800 since she had to go abroad in the fall. With that, my neighbor and I went to her parent's house right away at 8pm and looked at the bike. Mechanically, a fantastic bike except for some cupping/scalloping in the front tire. He took it for a test ride and I knew as soon as he got off that he liked the bike. To play my hand, I said I would think about it for a few minutes with my wife and neighbor before deciding what to do, even though I was ready to hand over the $2,800 and take the bike home then and there. At the last minute, the girl texted me and said she would sell it for $2,500 and the deal was done, $2,500 it was.

After two weeks of searching, I finally got the bike which can be found in the thread "Welcome and Question Between Two Bikes". I ended up spending a total of $3,466 which was just within my IDEAL budget. All went as planned so if there is anything to take away from this blog it's that:

1. Do your research regarding bike displacement
2. Read the pros and cons of the bike you are looking at
3. Then determine what you really plan to do with the bike (ride alone, 2 up, in town, highway, mixture)
4. Research more bikes, keeping your options open
5. Go see the bike but bring along a seasoned friend
6. Test ride if possible
7. Negotiate and haggle as you should be able to get anywhere between 10-20% off (I got just under 30% off the asking price)
8. Don't be afraid to walk away if the price and bike is not right
9. Be patient in your search
10. Buy the bike if it is right...
10.5. Make sure you set aside money for your gear...AND WEAR YOUR GEAR.

Look for the next post to come up soon, it will be my first two weeks riding. Until next time, ride fun and stay safe and ATGATT

Tou aka 2y4life

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