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Hi All-

This is my first post. I recently got the go-ahead from my wife to purchase my first bike (i've been trying since we first started dating 6 years ago!). Putting new vs. used aside, I am having some trouble deciding what bike to purchase. My circumstance is somewhat unique because I don't know if I will have the opportunity to buy another once we settle down to have kids (approx. 3 years from now).

Anyway, most of my friends with bikes recommend starting with 600-750cc. The issue that I see is that most of them want to buy a liter bike within the first year.

I've always been interested in the 848, but recently the naked style bikes (monster and streetfighter) are appealing to me more and more. The monster and 848 seem like ideal candidates as far as power goes, but the streetfighter seems like it would be way too much for a new rider. Its upsetting because I really like the value proposition of the streetfighter; i.e. best of both worlds.

I guess my primary question would be what is everyones experience for their first bike purchases and secondly, is there a way to restrict the power output of a bigger bike so that I can "grow" into it over the next year or so?

Thanks for the help!
 

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For a first bike, I would REALLY suggest getting a used Japanese bike. Anything 600 or less, and even 600 is pushing it as a first bike, since you can take it to 100 almost in first gear.

Your first bike you WILL drop at some point. Once you ride it for at least a year, then you can sell it and get something with a little more juice if you are still leaning in that direction.

But a Ducati as a first bike is really asking for a boatload of trouble if you ask me.

Take the safety class, take it slow, and get some miles under your belt, then you can always get something with more power later.
 

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Ditto everything the poster before me said. I recommend a used Universal Japanese Motorcycle (UJM) such as the Honda Nighthawk. Until you start riding, you really have no idea which bike best suits your riding style and needs. Ride the learning curve for 2-3 years on a used UJM, then decide what you really want based on your experience.
 

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Welcome Aboard!!! That question has been answered before ,and you might not like the answers you get.
Smart people say UJM for a starter, great advice because there is the inevetable mistake to be made (dropping) and we don't like to see a Ducati get damaged or yourself.
Yeah you grow out of a 650 and want something different ,thats part of it,
A little more info bout your riding experience and you might get someone to say go for the street fighter.
Since it took you 6 years to get the OK from the lady,and you want to keep her around,(Not getting Personal here) you must have a strategy.
Make her understand that you should start out with a SMALL bike then get your DREAM KEEPER bike in a Year or so.
You can Buck the trend and get the DREAM bike right now, and you MIGHT not drop it, Ducatis are VERY EXPENSIVE to Repair after a Mishap...
You want to think of the long haul .sometimes it takes you a few different bikes to get there.
Good luck !
 

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Don't take the above advise as gloom and doom, what am I getting myself into. But, they are right. As you learn the motorcycle ropes, gravity WILL get the best of you a few times. A low speed tip over is almost inevitable, and some damage will result. You may not even be moving. On a brand new Ducati, this would be heartbreaking!

Buying a used UJM (Universal Japanese Motorcycle = Honda, Kawasaki, Suzuki, Yamaha) for your first bike will be much cheaper, and it will give you more $$ for proper gear (also a must!). You will need a good helmet, gloves, and jacket as a bare minimum. Pants would round out a complete kit. Don't cheap on gear, either, as you will regret it down the road. The cheap stuff is not as comfortable, light, and usually doesn't survive the first crash.

Your first couple of seasons of riding will teach you a bundle. You will still be a rookie until you log over a hundred thousand miles ;).

Good luck, and we hope you heed our collective wisdom!
 

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As the guys above say.. a used UJM is a good and logical choice, bt i also understand that your not going to want to start doing motorcycle exchanges back and forth.. I can understand that.

If your heart is set on a Ducati you have to first settle on the kind of bike you want..
Sportsbike: Your talking 848.. Probably one of the best machines Ducati put on the street. Easy to ride, easy to learn, but its a superbike.. You REALLY need to have alittle under your belt before you put your leg over one of these. When they bite back, it hurts.. Your talknig about a bike that will stand 60 in less the 4 seconds and tops out at over 150 mph. The bike is made for the track, not the road. NOT an ideal "one bike only" bike. That said.. You will never want again.. :)

Monster: Now we are talking.. a 620, 695, 696, 750 or s2r (800) are all good bikes. Good for to and from work and they work well on twisties. Not much of a long haul tourer, but around town they are VERY tough to beat. Freeway speeds are OK if you get a the small windshield for it.. I´d look REAL hard at the new 696 or a used S2R, because the smaller machines will lack in power if your gonna have it for a few years. The S4R and S4RS machines have more power then the 848 and shouldn´t be considered unless you have atleast some MC-riding skills.

All that said.. I started out on a -97 748SP as my first bike and kept it up for all of 3 weeks until i dropped it the first time.. The second time was 2 months after that.. But i learned from it and i loved that bike.. I had it for 5 years and would probably still own it if the SPS hadn´t come along when it did.

Bottom line is that the superbikes ARE harder to learn on.. they are not as user friendly as the smaller bikes, which is why everyone is saying "get a UJM". It isn´t to put you down, its experience saying that..
A. Your GOING to drop it.. Its a question of "when" not "if".
B. UJM cost less to own and drop then a duc.

If your willing to chance it anyway, I´d go for a newer Monster OR a nice ST3/Multistrada

//amullo
 

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First Bike

If your brand new to riding motorcycles then the first thing you should do, as others suggested, is to take the MSF course. If after that your still interested, go out and find yourself a used UJM and ride the wheels off of it. (with full protective gear of course). The more miles logged riding properly on a smaller machine the more proficient you will be on a larger displacement bike.

That being said I think the best first bike would be a Kawasaki Ninja 500. They're a great little machine, low seat height, light weight, decent power (about 50HP), it's a parallel twin so the power delivery is different than an inline four (not as blinding), and your insurance rates would be lower too!!
I may sound a little biased and that's because I've raced the 500's for a while and they're a fun little bike. It's a sporty machine for low dough. Lots of bang for your buck and they're a dime a dozen too. There are tons of parts available from race take offs.

And when you grow out of it your wife can have something to ride alongside you and your new Duc!!

Well there's my .02 cents, hope it helps!!
 

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Get an older Yamaha XT 225, plenty of parts and info on the bike (cult like following) its light, designed to be dropped, cheap, and easy to resell. Older 350-600 bikes are quite heavy. Your riding skills will progress much faster on a bike that doesn't intimidate you. You will not have to worry about throttle control and be able to work on riding skills. Imagine learning how to drive for the first time in a Dodge Viper manual trans. Take it out to a grassy field and go nuts, slide it, hard braking etc... When you can put a knee down, get your bike and you can work on throttle control and not everything else. you may want to keep the little bugger because they are a blast to ride on or off road.
 

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all the previous advices are sound and logical.
If you "can" have only one bike, or not sure if you'll be able to get another one (kids, family, etc), I would get a used monster. Used 695's are cheaper, fun, naked (less expensive to fix), and you can grow into it. Anything more than that may be a very steep learning curve.
 

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The 848 I just bought is my 3rd sportbike and 5th motorcycle.

IMO, you should of course take the MST course and if possible all the advanced versions of it after as well.

I feel the reason for a smaller underpowered bike is to learn the dynamics and really get a good feel for doing anything without too much worry. While you can buy an 848 or similar as a first bike, you will never know the limits unless you have no fear of dropping it, hence you should toss around a cheap bike for a few first.
 

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Probably mostly an echo of what people are saying, but take the safety course and find something smaller to learn on.

I do like the idea of a dirtbike/motard as a first bike. You generally have a plastic tank etc so you can't dent it, and minimal bits sticking off the sides.

The DR-Z400SM is a pretty neat bike, I'd say to shoot for ~500cc for a first bike. That way you won't get bored of it quickly and trade up to something bigger/faster before you're 100%
 

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I have been riding for 12 years. My first bike was a used 97' Kawasaki Ninja750. I really didn't know what I was doing. It wasn't a good first bike. It was really heavy.

My Ducati was my third bike. Believe it or not, I now claim a Kawasaki EX250 to be my fourth, adpopted, sort of, bike. I bought it to train my girlfriend. She never really got beyond taking pictures with it and sending them to her poor parents. I have found it refreshing and enjoyable and have since claimed it as my other bike. The EX250 can be ridden throttle wide open, no drama, just a grin on the face.

The 748 is kind of like owning an SR71 Blackbird. It is like no other. The Blackbird basically has a space program behind it. It needs it's own special fuel and ground support. It cannot land just anywhere. A Ducati can feel the same way sometimes. Get one when your really confident with something else.

Keep in mind that superbikes are geared for really high performance. They aren't good to start on because the threshold for the bike communicating rider input error is high. A lower tech bike will reveal to you your mistakes at lower speeds. With an EX250 you don't have to scare the s#%t out of yourself to learn something. Most of us here in Ducati land do a lot of track riding. You will find no better source of wisdom than a very humbling road corse.
 

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Get an older mid-90's Monster or an older(91-98) half faired supersport. You can find clean versions of these bikes for around $3K, there's not a lot of plastic to break if they go down, they don't put out a serious amount of power in stock form, but they've still got the cool Ducati name tied to them.......
 

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The hardest thing you can do is "LISTEN TO OTHER'S EXPERIENCE & APPLY IT TO YOUR SITUATION"....you may not like it & probably won't listen to it, but the above advice (from all) is VERY TRUE....
My 1st bike (1991)- 1987 FZ750...dropped it 2 hrs after buying it & 2 more times within 6 months....You WILL DROP YOUR FIRST BIKE...EVENTUALLY.
EVERYONE THAT RIDES will drop a bike, especially if you are riding it @ the limits of your ability...which is nill, right now.

GET A USED FZR600 or an older CBR600F2...decent beginner bike for avg sized person....IF you buy a Ducati for your 1st bike (Be forewarned)- you're gonna dump it & you're gonna regret buying it....
-It is smart asking those who know, but smarter to LISTEN to what's being said...You're wallet, body, & ego will thank you for it!!

-But what do I know, buy an 1198R.....:eek:
 

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My first bike was a suzuki sv650. I love that bike so much I still own it. Great first bike. My other bike is a hypermotard. the sv is still my favorite. I also have ridden a drz400sm and I liked the sv better.
 

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I would buy a dirtbike and get used to riding in low traction conditions. That definitely makes you a better rider on the street ( some people disagree with that one). Or, get something like an SV650, fairly user friendly, used are pretty cheap (sort of), easy to ride, and go fast enough to stay interesting for more than 10 minutes (like, say, a Ninja 250). I wouldn't get a 600 supersport, for one thing, those things go about 155 mph, way faster than a new rider needs to go. An Enduro (dual sport) bike isn't a bad idea. They can handle hitting the ground without too much damage. The 848, in my opinion is a bad idea. It's a fast as a 600 Supersport, parts are ungodly expensive to replace. Maintenance is about 5 times more expensive than a Japanese bike. I bought a Ducati as bike #37. I knew what I was getting into as far as maintenance and parts costs were. I just jumped in feet first. I think a Ducati as a first bike might turn you off to motorcycles forever.

Find people that know how to ride, to ride with. Not the goobers down at Starbucks talking about the chickenstrips on other peoples tires, you know, they guys that sit there and bounce their bikes off the rev limiter for 30 secs because it makes them look like the stunters. Find real riders that are willing to help you with pointers, not just run off and hide and then come back looking to see where you crashed. Take some classes, riding schools, maybe even a track day after you get comfortable, I know all this stuff gets expensive, but so do ambulance rides.

Gear. I used to belong to a forum where a bunch of dorks attacked me for recommending Arai or Shoei or even Simpson helmets. In my opinion, go watch the races. Buy what the racers wear. These guys put their lives on the line out there and wear what they consider the best. A few are sponsored, but the rest buy their helmets. You won't see discount chinese helmets on the starting line. And I prefer good high quality work boots to the riding boots they sell. Personal preference here. Leather jacket. I wear jeans myself, but a lot of people like full leathers or the armored ballistic nylons.

Good luck. Think about what you are doing. I've found that the biggest hinderance to my riding is my focus. If I'm not focused, I don't ride. Pay attention out there. Sorry, got a bit long winded, didn't want to see you get yourself hurt or discouraged.

Robert
 

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My first bike was a monster 600 (wich my brother rides now), it was a good starter bike imo. Due to low power/weight/height I didn't drop it. (took it all over europe)

You asked about downtuning a 848:
I'm not sure if it's still possible but ducati used to offer the 749 as a 25 kw version, maybe they can do something similiar with the 848? That way you could ride it for one season with the restriction in and then remove it when you feel you're ready. SBK crowd will probably weep for suggesting this though :eek:
Not saying you should do this, just something to consider I suppose.


Couple others mentioned riding with jeans on, personally I don't think it's safe (I still do it though on short trips when I CBA to wear my leathers/armored pants). My advice is to get some pants that will zip to your jacket (so they won't slide up or down if you slide).
Imo good motorcycling boots are better then work shoes, because they offer better ankle protection and more importantly they offer better feel on the pegs/controlls.
 

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I think a 800 MOnster would be cool. Just don't hot dog it, and ride sober.
That is good advice for everyone. In my Motorcycle Safety Class, they showed the statistics for accidents involving motorcycles, and it was something like 75% of all motorcycle accidents involve alcohol consumption by the motorcycle rider.

Scary!

Be sober, and be safe!
 
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