Suggestions for a first bike required

As you know, my wee boy got his 125 nicked (*******s!) at the weekend so I reckon now’s the time for him to do his proper test and then get his first ‘proper’ bike. Dates are being investigated as we speak, he’ll probably do his test around here where he knows the roads and with M&D Motorcycles who did his CBT and my stuff. Good blokes, they are.

What I’m looking for are suggestions for what to look for as a sensible first bike.


Reasonable price - not looking for new as mummy’s going to have to foot the bill and we’re already about £500 down on the amount available to spend cos of those toe-rags that nicked his little bike.

Reasonably reliable and simple to fix - he’s not the most mechanically minded and as it’ll be his main form of transport he won’t want it to be off the road all the time.

Cheap to insure - he’s 20, has had his CBT since just before Christmas and will be a new rider so insurance is going to be scary, and being a student he’s not exactly loaded and neither am I.

Cosmetics not important - mainly because I know he didn’t look after the 125, I doubt he’ll be terribly good with the next one either. And a less than beautiful bike will probably be a bit cheaper. So covered in chrome and needing lots of polishing ain’t gonna work for him.

Style - he’s not interested in custom/cruiser so my initial suggestion of getting my Virago restricted and buying a new one myself wouldn’t be the way to go. And he’s over 6’ so height’s not a problem. Probably best not to go for too sporty a riding position either, as I’ve heard it’s a bit more unstable than a slightly more upright position.

Restrictable - he’ll be taking the test on a 125 as he’s not yet 21 so the bike will need to be restrictable and then reasonable to ride once restricted. But from a caring mummy’s point of view I don’t want to go for something dead scary that’ll tempt him to be too ‘naughty’. I’m well aware of the statistics.

Suggestions I’ve had so far are Bandit 600, Fazer 600, CB500 and GS500. Any comments on those or additional suggestions welcome.

Ta muchly folks, looking forward to your views.

I would add the SV 600 to that list as well, the GS I would avoid, but if you want something bullet proof cheap to run and work on, then you can’t go wrong with a CB500 in my opinion.

Cheap to buy cheap to run abundance of spares and bolt ons, very user friendly and as long as you get one that has been looked after they will go on for ever.

I’d second the CB500 vote…or for something more “future” proof, a CB600 Hornet.

Ridden a restricted one, and their ideal as a first big bike.

Getting cheap now too, and really are bomb proof (and drop proof!)

Only sticking point may be insurance?

There is a nice little well looked after ER5 on another forum you are a member of, I would suggest looking at that for a start. Its definately never been thrashed and is well maintained. Should be cheap to ensure, and will get him plenty of experience.

“mainly because I know he didn’t look after the 125, I doubt he’ll be terribly good with the next one either.”

Obviously I don’t know his, or your, circumstances but if he didn’t look after the 1st bike, and you suspect he will not look after the next one, why buy him one? Perhaps it might be better to let him buy it and work towards paying for it. That way he might value it more and tend to look after it.

I see so many kids riding round on scooters, who thash and abuse them and lend them to their mates to bugger about on, and when you stop them you find their parents have paid for the bike AND insured it for them at astronomical cost. It’s because the machine has no “value” to them they treat it that way. If they had to scrimp and save to achieve their goal of owning a bike / scooter they might treat it better.

Just a thought.

By “look after” I meant the almost obsessive washing, polishing, cleaning, sprucing that I see by many bikers. And I’m offering to assist with the financing of it, he’ll definitely have to pay me back for this one! But good point. And he’s going to have to cough for his own insurance, I’m not a money tree!

Try a VFR750. You can pick up an early 90’s one for under £1600 and they are cracking good bikes.

Honda Hornet or if you like something on the sporty side but newbie proof, then CBR 600 F. Probs not that cheap to insure though but depends on how new you get it.

Suzuki SV650, Yamaha Fazer 600, Kawasaki ER-5 or GPZ 550 or Honda CB 500 would also but worth a look.

I’ve bought a 1997 ER-5 for £1500 last year as my first own bike and am very happy with it. Apart from me dropping it a few times…erm…, i didn’t have any problems with it.

I think not being fussy about scratches/little dents helps. And insurance is not too bad either.

Another vote for SV650 - it’s very good restricted as it’s all torque not HP. So definitely get a V Twin over an inline 4 (I guess ER5 would be the alternative)

Can’t see the point of getting a VFR750 if it’s going to be restricted