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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hey all, new member here. I'm looking for a project bike, and have either decided going cafe style or build a fighter. Since this is a fighter forum, I'll steer this question that way.
I'm sure everyone has their favorites, but what are some of the bikes to avoid? I'm looking to stay in the 600-750 class, but I would consider an EX500 if the price was right.
I've already got a big HD cruiser, but sometimes want to ride something different.
Also, my wife is hinting at learning to ride, so I thought this would be good for that too. Not so much heartache if it gets tipped over, no big repair bills, etc.

thanks!
 

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A ex500 is a great bike if she wants to learn. If you're going bigger 600-750 you can get anything really just make sure the motor is good. Look at your budget then search craigslist in all major cities around a lot of deals will be popping up with riding season coming to end from all the people who crashed bikes or don't want to ride in the cold.

Good luck in your search
 

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I am a motherfucker
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Other than some old Harleys that are great for staining your driveway and looking badass while you're working on them on the side of the road, I can't think of anything in particular to stay away from in terms of reliability. Now, if you're talking parts availability, performance per dollar, or difficult/frequent maintenance... that list grows considerably.

EX500 is a fantastic machine IMHO. It's fast enough not to get run over on the highway, but noob friendly. It's a competant machine that can do just about anything... you won't be power-wheeling out of the turns, or feel incredibly confident dragging knees in the twisties, but it's a still a good bike. Just like all entry level machines, you're compromising suspension and braking, but coming off of a Harley it'll feel quite nimble and is sure to be fun.
 

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I bang metal
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savage 650 is a good choice right now, they are cheap and gaining popularity quickly. They have a steel tube frame so frame mods are easy and parts are everywhere for them.
 

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I am a beginner too. You may want to find bikes with components you are more familiar with. I am used to dirt bikes and single carbs. I bought an old Ninja with four carbs and I had a hell of a time with it. I am now on a fuel injected GSXR and I am much happier with it.

The ninja was a 1987 and if I had to buy stock parts for some reason, new parts were getting hard to find and ebay/ junk yards were a little rough some times. I would caution against bikes that are too old.
 

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Fast ZX-12R
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All of them. Motorcycles are dangerous....:D
 

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SV650s are very popular. They're beginner friendly, but still pack a good punch up top. Parts are readily available, there's tons of mods for this 650 motor (also used in the v-strom and still made now as the gladius), and they're smooth and confident to ride.

The savage 650, now called the boulevard s40 is a 250 sized bike with a big 650 thumper motor that's been around since the 80s with virtually zero changes. So if you want a small, easy to handle bike but with some actual power, it's a decent choice. The trade off is that the motor vibrates the shit out of the bike much past 65-70 or so.

Older Yamahas tend to have electrical problems. I use "older" loosely since Yamaha tends to not change things often....a 2007 Vmax is virtually identical to a 1985 model electrically. While I wouldn't say "stay away" from them, bring a voltmeter to check battery voltage with the bike running on something you're looking at.
 

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Somebody correct me if i'm wrong, but I picked up a 95 zx600e and have heard that third gear has issues. I havent got it road worthy so dont have personal experience. just my 2cents
 

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Somebody correct me if i'm wrong, but I picked up a 95 zx600e and have heard that third gear has issues. I havent got it road worthy so dont have personal experience. just my 2cents


Its generally second and only poor maintenance causes the problem (I.e. People skipping oil changes, only doing oil and not filters etc)
 

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Its generally second and only poor maintenance causes the problem (I.e. People skipping oil changes, only doing oil and not filters etc)
That doesn't help, but 2nd gear issues are usually from rounded off or broken dogs on the gear itself, caused by hard clutchless shifting from 1-2. It manifests as a tendency to pop into neutral under hard acceleration in 2nd. This problem only gets worse in time.
 

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ingamaneer
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I've read about soft valves on some of the Yamaha (I think FZR series) 600's.


Other than that, the big Jap 3 make very forgiving bikes. I'm not real nice to my Hondas, and they always come back for more.
 

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That doesn't help, but 2nd gear issues are usually from rounded off or broken dogs on the gear itself, caused by hard clutchless shifting from 1-2. It manifests as a tendency to pop into neutral under hard acceleration in 2nd. This problem only gets worse in time.

it seems the earlier E's just became a lot more prone to issues with it if the oil wasn't changed regularly as the shift seems to get harder with the clutch being used if the oil isn't good!

Mine is on a replacement engine as I lost the bike on diesel and smashed the main casings, but that motor had second gear problems - didn't disengage fully though, it kicked fucking hard under throttle; enough to throw 15 stone+gear me out of the seat, luckily never lost it like that though
 

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Savage 650 is a good beginner bike as stated but high mileage ones you need to check that cam chain tensioner. Suzuki never fixed that problem, a dude on the savage forums sells a fix for that issue though if you go that route. Other than that I have always been fond of the kawi and Suzuki 500 twins, learned on a ninja 250 damn that was a fun little bike.

I'm in the same situation as far as having a Harley big twin, could care less for another cruiser. Its fun but its only built for one task, wish I still had my R6 for the speed rush.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
I found a CBR 600 F1. The guy said he "rebuilt" the carbs in June, but the bike would only barely run on choke. I bought it, since it did run-sort of. I thought the carbs looked dirty for being freshly rebuilt.
Took the tank and air box off today. Those things hadn't been touched since Bush (the first one) was in office. I did a clean up, not a full rebuild, on the carbs. The jets and passages were clogged, looked like rust.
Got them back on, started it up and it ran pretty well. I can't ride it yet, had surgery on my elbow 3 weeks ago, probably shouldn't even be turning wrenches yet, but I couldn't help myself.
Since I got it running, I started to tear it down a little more today-Let the Journey begin...
 

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fatass needs corndogs
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Best thing I can suggest is to look on ebay at parts before you buy a bike. Yes this is a DIY site but for people learning to build or for those who can't devote tons of time and effort, sometimes Bolton makes sense. Also, if there are bolt on parts, the bike likely was popular enough you can find all factory stuff you need in the longhaul.
 

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ingamaneer
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I found a CBR 600 F1.
Good choice. That was my first sport bike. That thing was hard to kill. Just make sure you keep an eye on your regulator/rectifier.

The only thing that ever kept my bike from running was when I was driving it year round and ended up with about a quart of water in the gas tank from condensation.

Mine had a jet kit and a kerker 4 into 1. It sounded like a beast and made a good amount of power.
 

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I remember reading somewhere on here that some/all carb'd bikes have issues when you take the fairings off. Can't remember exactly. Anyone care to confirm or deny? Ches
 

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ingamaneer
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Any bike with a ram air type system can lose top end with the fairings removed. When I took the plastics off of my old F1 it developed a stutter above (indicated) 130mph. It wasn't really ever an issue. With the stock jetting/exhaust you are likely to see more issues. what some people do is drill a bunch of holes in the (dirty side) of the air filter box. That way it can scavenge more air from around the head, but you may get heat soak in the hot weather.

With my F4i, I kept a portion of the snorkels and attached them to the frame so they wouldn't fly off at high speed. I've only had it up to about 70, but it hasn't shown any issues.
 
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