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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hey all, I am new to riding and have zero experience. First, while I am excited to ride for the miles savings on my truck and gas savings (daily commute is 80 miles round trip), I am also quite nervous in general and feel a bit intimidated. Of course I am getting mixed reviews from friends on ride on what to get for first bike. The typical being "250 is too small get a 600" or "250 is just fine". I am a bigger guy at 6' 250lbs. I plan to lose another 50lbs by spring though.

I love the look of the R3 and it appears to be reasonably priced for a new bike. But it is too impractical for a first bike? I feel it is safe to assume I will dump my first bike several times as I gain experience. In which case spending $5k seems a bit much. Maybe an older 250 for a couple grand is better? Money isn't that much of an issue really. But still. Maybe I am over thinking it. Also, I am from MN and it gets VERY hot in the summer and we have limited riding season cuase winter sucks. The thought of wearing full gear sounds miserable. No? I have seen people wear everything from full gear to no helmet, shorts and flip flops.. LOL. I suppose it all depends on your personal risk factor.

Anyway, let me know your thoughts. For now, I plan to take the written test in the next couple days. I am also doing an online course and plan to do rider academy in the April.

Thanks!
 

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Because of your size, I would say the R3 is too small for you.
I would recommend you look for a used Ninja 650. You can pick them up fairly cheap, and they are good to learn on.
 

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I once did a track day with a guy around 220 lbs on an R3. Not sure why everyone thinks a 250 or 321 is small for them. I myself weigh 155ish full leather so the bike does not struggle as much as with a bigger guy. A smaller/older 250 would be fine. Get proficient on it and move on if you want to.

As far as gear, dress for the slide, not the ride as they say.

The R3 would make an excellent beginner bike, and even experienced riders njoy it. I am on my 6th bike in 4 years and have gone from a 500 to two 650s, a 600, an R3, and now an R25. I want to really hone my riding on the bike through more track days before considering going back to a bigger bike. Only time I wish I had my older 650 is when I ride two up or when it gets really windy. The lightweight R3 rally gets tossed around in the wind with me on it.

Take the MSF or total control class and see if riding is for you. Then start considering what bike you want, then buy your gear and see how much you have left and narrow your bikes down from there.

Good luck and welcome.
 

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I think cbrpilot was referring to height kojiiro as the bike may be cramped... As far as weight I'm 220 and I don't feel the bike is terribly slow... Although not a rocket either lol
 

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I think cbrpilot was referring to height kojiiro as the bike may be cramped... As far as weight I'm 220 and I don't feel the bike is terribly slow... Although not a rocket either lol
The R3 will have lower pegs than a 600 though, which makes it less cramped. When you start adding things like higher/further back rearsets onto the R3 then it will get cramped, but as far as stock, the low seat height and low pegs of an R3 still feels far less cramped than what a conventional 600 would feel like. As an example, my 09 zx6r felt more cramped than the R3. The R3 and my old 650 feel more alike.
 

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At 250# you'll find the R3 fine in traffic. But since you plan to drop pounds this is an exciting proposition. The more you lose, the quicker your bike gets, and at this power level you will notice 50 pounds. Go for it! :)
 

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The R3 will have lower legs than a 600 though, which makes it less cramped. When you start adding things like higher/further back rearsets onto the R3 then it will get cramped, but as far as stock, the low seat height and low pegs of an R3 still feels far less cramped than what a conventional 600 would feel like. As an example, my 09 zx6r felt more cramped than the R3. The R3 and my old 650 feel more alike.
That's pretty true, but I still think width etc is an issue? Don't really know I'm a short guy lol - but my point was either way I don't find weight to be an issue or like the bike is getting dogged, it has plenty of get up and go. I'm also planning on losing a bit of weight and it'll be nice to have some extra power.

OP I think the R3 is a fine choice even for a heavier rider as long as the bike is comfortable for a tall person, but I've heard some complaints that the R3 feels cramped from taller riders (just things I've heard/seen). Either way coming from someone with a similar weight I can say there's still plenty of fun to have with the bike and it's a blast to ride, it's no 600 but the fun is in the twisties anyway!
 

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That's pretty true, but I still think width etc is an issue? Don't really know I'm a short guy lol - but my point was either way I don't find weight to be an issue or like the bike is getting dogged, it has plenty of get up and go. I'm also planning on losing a bit of weight and it'll be nice to have some extra power.

OP I think the R3 is a fine choice even for a heavier rider as long as the bike is comfortable for a tall person, but I've heard some complaints that the R3 feels cramped from taller riders (just things I've heard/seen). Either way coming from someone with a similar weight I can say there's still plenty of fun to have with the bike and it's a blast to ride, it's no 600 but the fun is in the twisties anyway!
For reference, I am 5'11" with slightly longer than usual legs/arms.

Indeed, the fun is in the twisties. Hitting 140+ mph in the straights gets old quick for some people. On the racetrack, I find the straights pretty boring to be honest.
 

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yea ive been thru bout 10 bikes in last 5-6 years, cbr 600/1000, R1, ducati sf, triumph 675, and then thought i had my perfect bike with tuono v4r.. Turns out I get more excited bout getting better and faster at the track and passing liter bikes on my R3 then i do with any of those other bikes.. Tuono is still king but R3 gets me just as pumped to ride.. its crazy.. also cool to be able to hammer thru the gears on the street and look down and only b doing 80 while u feel ur 150
 

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Racing 250s last season, one of my top competitors was easily 6'3 and 240+ pounds. Great guy to talk to in the paddock, but even better on the track. He raced 250s for the competition and cost, but his size didn't seem to hinder him from finishing in the top 3 nearly every time he hit the track. He was hindered slightly on big straightaways, but he could still hold his own, especially with a draft.
 
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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Thanks guys. I really appreciate all the replies and perspective. I am going to go sit on a few bikes at the dealer today and just feel em out. I think that is a good start. Plus I really should not pull the trigger on anything until I know for sure riding is even for me! Hopefully the MSF course will help determine that. I think it would have to be a pretty awful experience for me not to proceed though as I am stoked to ride overall. Plus the thought of getting a bike just motivates me that much more to continue the weight loss.
 

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Depending on your MSF course you may still feel iffy, don't worry it's normal I wasn't sure about riding until I got some more miles under my belt. I felt like I had a hard time learning to ride on the provided suzuki 250's I had, go look at my long intro thread. I have now realized compared to the R3 the ergonomics are garbage (my preference) for me. The R3 really set riding in for me, if I just based it on the MSF course I'd probably still be iffy haha!

Also don't get discouraged, we had 3 people drop bikes and 1 dropped out after dropping it a few times, he refused to continue (although he was doing decent, he was just too nervous).
 

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Everyone is different. How you will take with riding a motorcycle is entirely up to your own innate skill. Which is to say whether or not you will be dropping a brand new bike or not, no one can say. BUT it wouldn't be a bad idea to start out with a used bike.

I started riding 3 years ago on a 600cc bike as my first, and to this day have never dropped a bike. So yeah. Also I'm 5'6" with not much of an inseam so that will tell you something else too. If you start on a super light weight bike and you are 6 foot tall, you are way ahead of me when it comes to stability at a stop.

Anyway, as someone who owns a liter bike and a 320cc bike, I can tell you, even at your 250lbs weight, the R3 is more than enough on the streets. Anything more truthfully is an excess. I've packed my girlfriend on the back of the R3 (making the on board weight over 250lbs) and I'm still faster than 70% of the cars on the road.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Thanks guys. Checking in.. first, I took the permit test on Friday here in MN and passed with 32/36. it wasn't that hard.. mostly common sense stuff. Sweet! In MN, the permit restrictions are:

1. Helmet required
2. No freeways
3. No nighttime
4. No passengers

I also visited a dealer Saturday and sat on several bikes. Doing so really helped me get even more excited to ride and help ease me a bit about my partial lack of confidence.

The bikes I sat on include: 2016 Ninja 300, 2014 and 2015 CBR500R, 2014 CBR300R, New 1000cc.. forgot the make, and an R3

As expected, the 300s felt the easiest to control underneath me. I wish I could have actually taken them for a short ride. But the 500 felt more solid. The saleman was cool and mentioned the 500 was about 80lbs heavier than the 300. It surprised me how different they felt with an only 80lb difference. I guess that is a significant difference though really for a bike. He of course recommended something larger than the 300. Likely because the next bike up was $2000 more. LOL. He seemed quite sure the 300 would be underwhelming. At least with the CBR and Ninja.

But he wasn't pressuring at all and answered all my questions which I appreciated. He actually didn't have an R3 on the sales floor (plenty of R6s and R1s though) but had one in back that he just sold that he let me sit on. LOVED IT. I felt the most comfortable on the R3 by far. And the pictures do not do it justice. The bike is just sexy in person. Truly, the 300s almost felt too light to me and the 500 a little much making the R3 a great in between. Sitting on the liter bike was pretty entertaining. Wow. Even the way your body is situated is completely different than others. I found it uncomfortable and couldn't imagine myself ever getting to that level. The R3 is where it is at and I am pretty much sold. Eventually getting an R6 after couple years. I will probably look for a low mileage used and save $1000-1500. That will make me feel a little better if I do drop it. But I can say, I felt pretty comfy and confident even just sitting on it. Actually riding is another story of course! Now if spring would get here!

I plan to keep reading here, watching YouTube videos as well as take MSF eCourse. Any other suggestions?

Thanks!
 

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I realize that you ALMOST talked yourself into the R3 but I "feel" that you would be "happier" on the CBR500R IF you can get one. Being heavier it would be MORE 'planted' on the highway, comes with ABS even though the 2017 R3s do ALSO and the mpg is BETTER than the R3 based on www.fuelly.com. From what I have read, the CBR500R is MORE of an 'all-around' bike for the rider. Just my $.02.
 
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The difference between the R3 and another 20 lbs is dramatic when it comes to motorcycles. I specifically mention 20 lbs because an FZ07 has just that much more and you can feel it is much heavier than the R3. Even my wife commented how much more heavy the FZ is when she rides it.

And a note regarding liter bikes, yes supersport ergos are ridiculous (even 600 cc ones) but next time you are out and about, you should sit on a naked liter bike. Huge difference in ergos. Well, I'm not trying to talk you into doing something as crazy as considering a naked 1000 (because a naked liter is much more dangerous for a beginner than a supersport liter due to insane low powerband torque) but just saying for future reference to feel how naked bikes feel since they have more upright postures.
 

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I had a CBR500R, and now I have an R3. They are both the same in terms of performance.
The CBR is slightly larger and heavier. The R3 is narrow and light.
The CBR engine has a lower RPM redline. The R3 feels more "sporty" of the two bikes.
They both look good. I prefer the instrument panel on the R3.
The CBR is good for commuting. If you can, test-ride them both and see which one you prefer.
If you can't get a test-ride, sit on them both, and see which one fits you better.
One bike will speak to you more. That will be the bike you choose. The R3 speaks to me more.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Both the CBR500R and the R3 felt just fine. But I would say I was more comfortable on the R3. With that said I could see myself riding either. Keeping in mind this will be a commuter bike as well and my commute is 30 miles one way which takes about 40min assuming minimal traffic. So that will be a huge factor in my decision. It is tough because I really do think either bike would work. But there is also a $2k premium on the CBR in addition to higher insurance I assume.
 

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My suggestion would be to get the cheapest thing possible that runs reliably, preferably something older and learn to ride for the first couple hundred miles at least. After that time you should feel confident enough about taking a test ride on two newer bikes you're looking at and should be less likely to drop them. You're more likely to make a decision after you can actually ride them back to back and see what you like more for comfort, power, handling, but I know I wouldn't want to do it with minimal experience :(.

That would be the best way you could make the decision! Of course I didn't do it that way either, but I had my mind set on the R3. Looking at a really quick comparison chart it seems the CBR500rr is right around 60lbs heavier (425lbs) with about 50hp 32ft lbs peak. Compared to the R3 at 368lbs with 42hp 21 ft lbs.

Comparison, CBR500rr lands at 8.5lbs per hp, R3 at 8.76lbs per hp as @CBRpilot mentioned almost identical top-end power. You can see the CBR has 50% more torque. Although after factoring weight, the CBR is 13.28lbs / ft lb (not a normal unit, but just for comparison sake) and 17.52lbs / ft lb for the R3. After weight we're talking a 24.2% increase in torque on the CBR lb for lb versus the R3, so yep, more PEAK torque but not gobs.

I will say that the R3 can sometimes get boring on the straights at our weight but any 300 does I'm sure. For everyday commuting the R3 is great and nimble, that nimbleness will require less of your energy and concentration to ride (unless you're talking freeway). Wind sucks on the R3 due to the low weight I can concur there, riding in windy days at highway speeds was fun (sarcasm).... So it's really down to what you're looking for, if you're looking for more fun in the twisties, the R3 with it's lighter weight would be better suited. If all you want is a highway commuter having more torque is always nice and the CBR will be better here (although I don't need to wring out the R3 at all to commute, I can still stay below 7k RPM's commuting normally without being "out of power").

So honestly is the $2k price difference worth the 24% increase in torque and lower redline/increased weight? I always have a huge grin on my face every time I take the bike out, even if I'm not pushing it and I feel in straights it's not a slouch even at a heavier weights.

Sometimes I say "I wish I had a little more power" and I do.... I really wish we had something like the Honda VFR400 (~400lbs ~60hp) in the states that's more of an in-between for more fun in the straights. However being a new rider I really don't "need" more, I feel if I had a ninja 300 or the honda 300r, I'd likely get bored fast and get rid of the bike but the R3 keeps me quite entertained even on highway. Point being is, the sales guy is likely used to riding bikes for him it will ALWAYS be slow, but for a new rider I don't think you'll be terribly underwhelmed (coming from a new rider).
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Good advice. I am not committed to the R3 or any bike at this point. I want to get through the MSF class and make sure riding is even for me before deciding on a bike. At that point, I will test ride a few and see what speaks to me. But R3 seems to be talking my language and appears to meet all the prereqs I have as a new rider in both power and comfort. But again, my commute is long so if that CBR500R feels more comfy it may win out!
 
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