Just passed DAS test - David L
Just a quick note to say that I took (and passed) my DAS motorcycle test today. T'was lovely weather for it(!); at least I got to try out the waterproofs!

1 minor fault, on balance - I'm too tense when moving away from a standstill, giving a bit of a wobble from time to time.

I'm now licenced to ride any bike, which is a little frightening, now I come to think of it, but I'll probably try and pick up a cheap CB500 or ER5 to try and improve my riding on. (Was looking at more of a tourer; maybe a Deauville, but recently announced redundancy has put paid to that) Cheap 500-600 bike recommendations welcomed, btw.

Anyway, thanks to all those who freely offered advice and encouragement to me on my CBT and Kymco threads, names that come to mind are Tom, Toad, Growler and Bill.

Cheers guys
Just passed DAS test - THe Growler
Well, thanks, I appreciate that. You have now joined the freedom loving road fraternity. You\'ve got the drop on all those cagers lined up and going nowhere. You\'ll be home watching the 6 O\'clock News and cracking open the first cold one of the evening while they\'re still on their mobiles explaining while they\'ll be late for dinner.

Just remember the shiny side stays up and the dirty bits stay down. Your life will never be the same again.

May I and my bro\'s welcome you with the following:



Slow down for the curve in low gear, don\'t trail-brake, you need the front suspension unloaded, hit the apex, throw her down into the bend and open her up. She\'ll do the rest, Feel the adrenalin.

You want a recommendation, I can\'t say better than a good Suzuki Bandit 400. Got all the power you want, you won\'t be able to break it and it has no vices. Where I live it\'s the bike of choice for the rider who knows he has something to learn, doesn\'t want to look like a newbie, but can still feel he\'s got a decent set of wheels under him.

Ride safe. And keep us posted.
Just passed DAS test - Tom Shaw
Well done David. Agree with everything Growler says, though you will be hard pushed to find a 400 Bandit in the UK as they were never officially imported here and only came in on the grey route. 600's are plentiful though, and you should be able to find a decent cheapy with no trouble.
Just passed DAS test - Clanger
Well done David L. I passed my DAS in February and it's been loads of smiles since. I've even rediscovered going for a run just for the fun of it. Even Mrs H, who scarcely acknowledged the existence of motor-bikes before, now asks when we can go for a trip.

Growler, "I will never be the aggressor ..." and "I will not show disrespect ..." LOL

Now follows Hawkeye's guide to buying a first bike;

Read loads of magazines. Find web sites with good forums and chat to the denizens therein, especially at www.gbbikers.co.uk . Re-read mags and draw up a short list based on your imagined wants and needs. Get insurance quote. Lapse into depression because of the cost. Read mags a third time and acknowledge that you are becoming more confused. Go to local bike shops, preferably with a copy of Used Motorcycle Guide in your pocket, and make a nuisance of yourself by asking for suggestions. Do not be offended when bike salesmen ask you politely to come back when you have some idea what you are talking about. Sleep with different bike mag under pillow each night in the vain hope that the knowledge contained therein will somehow filter into your brain. Revise short list and worry that it is becoming longer. Go into local pub and find out that a chap you have known for years is a closet biker. Ask to sit on his machine (later, when sober). Discover bike fits you perfectly. Acknowledge that you won't get it right first time and that you will drop it a few times as you discover e.g. it doesn't handle on gravel. Decide your first bike doesn't have to be perfect, it just has to be a bike. Throw longer short list away. Check insurance again. Grit teeth and curse the insurance industry for the money-grabbing plutocrats they are. Find a bike in Autotrader or similar like the one you have just sat on. Take knowledgeable friend with you. Put deposit on bike if it's not too doggy. Check it's clean through HPI. Return to collect bike in state of blind panic because you haven't ridden alone before and the bike is in a strange part of town. Hand over money wondering if you can get bike out of sight without making an idiot of yourself. CHECK IT'S GOT SOME PETROL IN THE TANK. Do make an idiot of yourself wobbling down the road and stalling at the first junction. Realise you have achieved your dream and start enjoying yourself. Arrive home with monster stupid grin on face and jabber incoherently about enjoying motoring again.

The bike? A Bandit 600.

Just passed DAS test - sean
Now we're motoring.

Kawasaki KLE500 twin trail, ER5, GPZ500, KLR600/650
Suzuki SV650, Bandit, DR350/400/600/650
Yamaha Fazer, Divvi, XT350
Honda Hornet, CB500S (bit boring), CX500 (oldie),Dominator, SLR650 (rorty single)

All very good and you won't wobble as much on a traillie as the riding position's much more upright and easier to balance.

Get insurance quotations BEFORE you buy anything.
Just passed DAS test - THe Growler
........and when you have had enough of all that socially acceptable stuff, get a V-Max he-he.
Just passed DAS test - David L
Thanks for the words of wisdom and congratulations, much appreciated.

I did like the links, Growler, especially the creed - Once I'm on the road, I shall try to abide by it!
Hawkeye, your buyers guide brought more than a smile to my face. Very, very good. I especially like the part where I get to ride away from the seller, wobbling like a good'un.

I cannot put into words just how frustrating it is to now HAVE my licence, but not be out riding!! It's the classic situation of head vs heart. My head says that I'm soon to be redundant, and should be saving, not spending my savings on a bike! My heart says all kinds of crazy things about how not having money won't matter when I have a bike - a shiny new bike!
I know that the right answer is a happy medium of the two.

Thought I'd report back after having had a whole day (!) to digest the information here, have a quick glance on t'internet for bikes/insurance, and even been to look at a couple in the local area. I have also compiled myself a buying guide of the other things I should probably get now that I plan to actually own a bike:

*Leather Jeans (£80) - Just to complete my riding gear; been on order at the local bike shop for a couple of weeks now. I'm an.. erm.. odd size.
*Disc lock (£40)- that ABUS Granit one seems to have good reviews, it's top of my list so far
*Chain + Padlock (£100-150) - Squire seem to make a good, hefty range of these. It's amazing how much they want, though..
*Ground Anchor (£40) - seems to be the going rate for one with 4 bolts, and a decent gauge bridge.
*Leanto Shed (£250 + cost of laying concrete base) - This is mainly to keep the weather off the bike, but hopefully it'll go some way towards improving the security. Also, laying the base and erecting the shed gives me something to do in this large chunk of free time coming my way in a couple of months.
*Insurance (£400+) - I have now experienced the fun of obtaining an insurance quotation - and so far, for a few bikes out of the selection presented here, these directchoice chaps seem to be offering the best value. Just for those who are interested, I'm looking at between about 400 (CB500, ER5) to about 800 (Hornet) quid to insure (TPF+T).
*Bike - I thought I'd share my current (day 2 :) ) shortlist with you:
I enjoyed riding it during my lessons, and heck, even on the test! From reading reviews, this thing seems to be absolutely reliable, and really does seem ideal as a first bike. Problem is that even the old ones seem to be priced high.
Looks very similar to the CB500, although upon inspecting a few today, they'd all suffered quite a bit of damage to the finish and rust around the downpipe/radiator area. Maybe that's just the ones I was looking at, maybe it's a common thing, and I'm being picky, but I hadn't really noticed such bad wear on the CB500. Has the advantage of being a fair bit cheaper than the CB500.
Haven't been to see any of these yet, but similar pricing to the ER5, similar insurance, and also a fair few about at reasonable prices.
Shaft drive draws me to these bikes; I can see this chain thing getting to be a right pain, in time. Advantage; that because they've all been "well used", they're all dirt cheap. Disadvantage: the 650 is expensive to insure, the 600 is really too old now, and they all seem to be down south!
Added to the shortlist on suggestion of the group - it's cheaper than I though, both to buy and insure.
XJ600S Diversion
At Seans suggestion (From a bit of searching, I guess it this is the divvi), it's really cheap to insure (only 20 quid more than the CB500/ER5), and there's a lot in the local area, according to biketrader. There's even a few under a grand, which is great.

Anyway, I've rambled enough for now, I'll let you know how my shortlist looks after about a week of consideration (comments, more suggestions still welcomed, though!), and studying my bank balance to see if I can increase it with the power of my mind.
Thanks again all,
-David L.
Just passed DAS test - Tom Shaw
Couple of points, David.

When I returned to biking six years ago I bought a CB500. Absolutly brilliant, teriffic build quality and great to ride. Forget any comments about it being boring, 125mph top speed is more than enough performance till you get a bit more experience and it handles well without any vices.

FORGET ABOUT A DISC LOCK!!! Many riders have come to grief with one of these. Small and easy to forget, I would not last a week before I rode off with the thing still on and ended up with dented pride and a damaged bank balance. Ask any repair shop, they have all seen it many times over. A good padlock and nice long chain is a much safer bet.
Just passed DAS test - Reggie
Tom, you're right about the disc lock.

I once fitted one to my Triumph Daytona 900, climbed on board, cracked the engine up, thought about how good I must look to everybody, set off, moved about one foot and next thing I knew I was laying on the floor with the bike on top of me!

Picking up all the pieces of broken indicator seemed to take an age, and boy did I feel a right numpty, with passers by coming over to see if I was alright.

I have never again used a disc lock.
Just passed DAS test - THe Growler
I have a US-bought disc lock which has a long yellow ribbon with it saying WARNING! REMOVE DISK LOCK BEFORE OPERATING MOTORCYCLE!
You're supposes to clip it on your mirror so you remember.

But then, as Miss Philippines points out, I need another banner to remind me to put the ribbon on in the first place. She is nothing if not succinct about such things.

I couldn't bear the thought of dropping the clutch and having my hugely expensive Performance Machine Custom 6-pot caliper ruined in a matter of seconds. All too easy to do, big night in the bar with the boys, shooting the bull as you kit up, looking at the girls instead of paying attention, then graunch! your evening ruined.

So, as with Tom et al, avoid the things like the plague. I don't like immobilisers etc because I don't like carving up my bike's electrics to fit some Taiwan thing which may let me down or screw up my CDI or something, so it's the old padlock and chain every time.

Just passed DAS test - doug_523i
If you want to be a bit differnt, how about a BMW F650 Funduro? They are an underated bike that can be found for the same price as a Bandit 600, which is what I'd have recommended for a first-time bike.
Just passed DAS test - David L
Thanks for the advice on the disc lock; duly noted. It's this kind of advice that 100 books don't give you, and you only get from speaking to people who spend their time riding!

I have a further query I hope you can help and offer advice / opinions on:

In my shortlist, I've noticed that the cheaper bikes (the Suzukis and Yamahas) are tending to be air-cooled, not water-cooled.

Now, I get the overall gist of one vs the other, but what I'd like is a bit of advice on the advantages and disadvantages of aircooled vs watercooled. A few questions that spring to mind are:
Do these things overheat in slow speed traffic/left running?
Do they have a shorter expected running life, as I'd imagine they tend to run warmer than a watercooled engine - in fact, what's the expected running life of your "typical" bike engine? (vague, I know!)
Are they prone to problems such as "hotspots" on the rear cylinder(s)?

Thanks for all the feedback so far, it really is appreciated!
Just passed DAS test - THe Growler
I think any of the bikes you mention will give you value for money allied to modest running costs and reasonable longevity.

Don't worry about air-cooled bikes overheating. They thought of that when they made 'em. As an example my Harley has a 45 degree V-twin which is a massive piece of metal crammed in a frame where the rear cylinder of the two is out of the airflow. This is generally regarded as pretty inefficient. Nonetheless I have an oil temp gauge which seldom shows above 230F, well below the breakdown figure for fossil oils, and that would be stop-start traffic in regular tropical 100 F + temps. Oftentimes in the cruise the oil reads below 200F.

I'm not sure what you mean by "hotspots" but can assure you with modern bikes overheating is not an issue, all other things being equal.

Air cooled bikes are lighter and have less to go wrong, no coolant, hoses, pump, radiator, fan, all that. Anyway they look nicer -- once you take all that flash plastic off the race replicas it all looks SOOOOO industrial under there....

Bikes tend not to do the same mileage as cars unless you're a courier or something, so comparisons of longevity may not be valid, but with regular care and maintenance will give you plenty of miles from of course a much lower cost base.

In my club we have 3 Honda 750's, the original 4 cyl from the 70's, one is even a rare automatic transmission. Each has been round the clock with little more than routine maintenance.

Modern electrics are very reliable (but expensive when they go wrong) but you can expect more tire changes (I get about 5-6000 miles out of a rear one). Then again there's only 2 of 'em.

My suggestion would be hook up with your local m/c club. Bikers are usually keen to welcome newcomers and a fund of info to boot. You might even get a few free test rides.
Just passed DAS test - Daedalus
Congratulations on the pass, you will never look back.
Take Growlers words to heart, [Shiny side up].

My blackbird went shiny side down two weeks ago today and my arm will be in plaster for another 4 weeks, thumb broken right at the base. It is making typing etc very hard to do. No reason for the accident that I could see at the time, it washed out on the front wheel at about 45 on the sliproad coming off the M60 on the way to work, a typical low side, possibly spilt diesel. New lid will be 400 beer tokens, my Dainese Jacket was another 400 and the leather jeans 120. That is the best money I have ever spent. I will spend more on the jeans next time wtih better protection for the knees, [very swollen on the right]. Dont let this put you off though, its not IF you fall off its WHEN you fall off, just make sure you have the right gear on, my gloves where the cheapest part of my gear in comparison to the rest, summer ones rather than the winter ones I had on a couple of days before.


PS £2700 damage to the bike.
Just passed DAS test - Tom Shaw
It's not been your year, Bill, has it :-(
Just passed DAS test - Daedalus
Tom, you are right it hasn't. My court case came up on Friday for all those things when I got stopped for speeding. All dropped except the MOT which cost £30 fine and a standard costs charge of £35. In between these two incidents I also had someone come out of a side road into the side of my Mondewoe wiping out the rear offside door and rear quarter and bumber. Still waiting to see if its written off although its drivable.

David sorry this is off topic bit it seemed to be the easiest way to reply to Tom.

Just passed DAS test - David L
Thanks Growler for your thorough explanation and reassurance - aircooled bikes are still on the shortlist! It's got to be said, the Bandit is slowly creeping up in terms of preference. Finding a local club is a great idea; I shall check the local area.

I'll let you all know how the bike hunting goes when I have something of a more defined shortlist. As Hawkeye said, it's a case of going through several lists compiled on various different criteria until you end up with a realistic one.
I'm hoping to have a better idea after the weekend, when I plan to go and look at a few examples of each shortlisted bike to see what prices I'm looking at for a sweet one.

Bill - thanks for the congratulations, in spite of the fact you're having a right old rough time of it lately. Sorry to hear of your accidents - the bike one didn't happen on the M60/M602/M62 junction, perchance? Just wondering, as heading into work a few weeks back it had properly snarled up around there.
Anyway, regardless of the location, I hope you make a speedy recovery! No worries about hijacking the thread, btw - let us know how you get on.


Just passed DAS test - Daedalus

No it was junction 25 clockwise for Bredbury, where I work. The incident you are probably talking about caused me problems in that people who had appointments to see me that day arrived very late. Someone had set themselves alight with paint thinners inside their car around that junction. Still not sure if it was an accident or deliberate.

Just passed DAS test - David L
Well, I've got one:

It's a T reg (1999) Kawasaki GPZ 500S. I can almost hear Growlers thoughts about plastic covered race bikes :) , but thankfully despite it's somewhat sporty looking top fairing, the rest of it is decidely not race bike - it's riding position is nice; a little more comfortable on the arms and wrists than the CB500.

The finish is generally good, compared to other examples I saw, but around the rear shock, it's taken quite a pitting, so a good clean of that will follow when I have the time. I've heard you can get a device that sits between the tyre and the shock (is this a hugger?) to keep most of the dirt off it, so this is probably a good investment.

Seems in really good condition all round; with the exception that the rear pads look to be coming up for replacement, and it seems to have been a victim of short-run-syndrome (spotted as a bit of milky condensation on the oil sight glass) and had been stood for a while (a month or so) as the ex-owner has just got himself a car. Did an oil/filter change at the weekend, and it's been taken for a good few runs, and the oil looks a much more healthy colour now.

Hawkeye, despite the potential nightmares, the purchase went reasonably smoothly - a few stalls/wobbles aside, of course (it needs a bit more throttle than the CB500 to move off smoothly - and I need a bit more balance to move off smoothly!!).

Oil change/air in tyres/checkover completed, I went to Southport (from St Helens) on Sunday to try a bit of riding on some quiet NSL roads. This was certainly an interesting experience, and my confidence in the bike on dry roads is now greatly increased. A lot of other bikers were out on the roads, and they certainly seem a friendly bunch - a nod from almost everyone I passed, and even a wave of thank you when you move over to let the fast guys through.

Cheshire cat syndrome indeed!

Thanks once again to everyone for the advice, if you're ever in the area, do give us a nod :)

Value my car