Motorcycle Club » The Yamaha Shop Talk

Undecided Beginner

45 posts from 24 voices
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  1. fadplac2

    Hi everybody I am a new rider and I need some serious help, I will be buying my first bike in a matter of months and can not decide on the 950 or kawi 900 classic. Need some advice and is liquid cooled better than air cooled, By the way I live Maryland.

  2. formerfuss

    I wouldn't think living in Maryland that the summers would be too hot, like in my state of Texas. I have the 950T air cooled, seems to be fine. In Maryland the winters would require antifreeze, and maintenance of the colling system. Just my thoughts.

  3. dveag29

    Hi everybody I am a new rider and I need some serious help, I will be buying my first bike in a matter of months and can not decide on the 950 or kawi 900 classic. Need some advice and is liquid cooled better than air cooled, By the way I live Maryland.
    Since you are a new rider I would suggest a USED bike of any kind for your first 6 months/year. V-Star 650, Honda Shadow 600, Suzuki S40 (I think that's their 600cc single) or even a GS500. Heck I wouldn't rule out some of the 250cc bikes either (Hyosung GT250 or Ninja 250).

    You WILL at some point drop that bike. I'd much rather risk a used bike than a shiny new one I'm still making payments on.


    What part of Texas do you hail from? I just a few minutes south of Houston.

  4. Griker

    I am a new rider as well and recently picked up the Vstar 950. The bike handles beautiful and I find it to be very newbie friendly.

    I don't know much about the Kawi but I wouldn't think liquid cooled wouldn't be a deciding point. We probably have much warmer summers in Oklahoma.

    I have put close to 200 miles on my bike already, half of that in below 40 degrees. I just can't praise her enough!

  5. formerfuss

    Tweak...I am in the North suburb of Dallas in Carrollton, TX. And you do have a point of starting a little smaller until you get use to handling a bike under all conditions. I spilled a few in my earlier years.

  6. MigejCojode

    What the guys have said is correct.

    To add: an aircooled bike is fine unless it's in stop an go traffic, even water cooled bikes don't like stop and go but they have more tolerance for it than an aircooled one.

    A water cooled bike really is no better at operating temp, but an aircooled bike does have more clearance built in because it can get hotter than an aircooled one.

  7. Rop123

    I would suggest starting with a 250, like the Yamaha Virago 250 or even a couple year old V-Star 250. Used ones typically cost a bit less than the 250 Honda's (Rebel) and are, in my opinion nicer since they are v-twin set ups.

    Ride a used 250 for 3 months, have fun, get the feel of riding with cars around, learn good habits and THEN sell it and buy a bike you'll keep for a few yrs., maybe towards the end of the summer when more dealers are cutting deals.


  8. zoudherngomferd

    I wouldn't mind having one of each. You will not make the wrong choice with either one. Both are great bikes. You need to go and spend some time with them and sit on them to see which one fits you better. I think both of the bikes are very comparible. The Vulcan has been out longer (more aftermarket choices.) But you came to a Yamaha forum to ask our opinion. I can't help but to be bias. 950 is my choice. It's what I bought. And I love it.

  9. tyzcarap

    I wouldn't worry about the air/water cooled business. Actually a radiator is just one more thing to break/maintain. Air cooled is fine unless you are stop and go in some serious heat.

    The 950 has composite cylinders which help dissipate the heat. Also keeps friction down so there isn't as much heat to deal with.

    You should start out on a smaller bike until you are in the groove. That is some good advice. If you do get a smaller bike, you will be ready for a bigger one after 6 months or so.

    The 950 handles very well. It isn't intimidating. The seat height is as low as the smaller displacement bikes. Very well balanced. Still, it has some weight (600 pounds) that can be more difficult to manhandle than a smaller bike.

    Go with your gut, and go to an MSF course!!! Be safe

  10. DRSRoamer901

    I was looking at the Vulcan 900. A friend bought one 2 years ago and traded it back for a Kawi Nomad after 2 weeks. He had serious issues with the belt noise on the 900. The dealer could not adjust it to quiet it down. The noise was so high pitched that it hurt.
    I looked at various forums and the noise issue could be easily found so it was not an isolated incident.
    There were also many threads on the odometer being about 8 to 10 percent over whats real. Not a big problem, just a bother.
    I am going to get my first look at the 950 Tourer today. I have not read anything that would turn me away from the Tourer yet. I think water cooled might be better on very hot days but right now it is 15 degrees out so hot days are hard to relate to.
    I bought a 250 Rebel last year to get back into riding after 30 years. I am ready for the bigger bike. I'm excited about looking at the 950 this afternoon.

  11. tyzcarap

    10% off for speedo/odometer is pretty standard across all makes of bikes. Some people get good ones, but I know more people who have bikes that are off by 10% than don't.

  12. VTvinChic

    Honestly, after upgrading from the 650, I can say the 950 is more beginner friendly. It is so well balanced and has a better center of gravity, that I could say that with confidence. Just one note - RESPECT THE THROTTLE, as with any larger displacement bike. It will be more responsive with throttle input than the smaller bikes.
    Take the MSF (if you haven't already), push their 250's around a bit on the course. Really learn the lean angles, push the stopping abilities, etc, and then get on a 950 demo ride. After you take the 950 for a demo ride, take the 650 out. You will notice the 650, while a smaller engine, it is more difficult to navigate and is less forgiving in the clutch. In comparison, the 950 just goes where you think... the 650 took more effort.

    BTW... having a liquid cooled bike is only advantageous if you plan to idle for long periods in very hot weather, or make non-stop cross-desert trips. It is one more piece of mechanical equipment, subject to maintenance and failure.

  13. zoudherngomferd

    I would think that after all these years making bikes, Yamaha would have changed to liquid cooled bikes if they had problems with air cooled bikes overheating. Must not really be a problem. Still making them air cooled. I'd say most places in America you'll be just fine with old faithful air cooled.

  14. tyzcarap

    The only air cooled bikes I've seen have any problems are the Harleys. Sitting in traffic around the Gatlinburg/Pigeon Forge area, stop and go, you see the Harleys smoking and pulling over all the time (during the Summer).

    Don't worry about it. Get the bike you like. Doesn't matter if it is air or liquid cooled.

  15. Yammj

    I agree, go with what you really like, water cooled engine would actually provide even cooling all around as opposed to air cool.

  16. Hacger

    I may well be the only 900 owner who's a forum member here and thought I'd toss in my .02. I hope the other members won't mind. I will not toss in the 'mine is better than your's", simply because I don't think that way. As far as the 900 goes, it's been around for awhile and IMO it's one of the most trouble-free rides out there. It's a large bike...bigger feeling than some of the HD's. Naturally, I spend most of my time on the Kaw forums where there are tons of 900 riders and I can't recall ever seeing a single problem with the radiator/cooling system. Belt squealing has been mentioned. Kawasaki has a tendency to overtighten a lot of things, belt included. I experienced a bit of it at first until I loostened it up a bit. I think the owner who traded after two weeks should have given things a chance to break in a bit more, but he did what he felt necessary. I have added pipes/intake/fuelpak to mine and the extra power is noticeable. I've run two tankfuls through since the additions, and I'm still getting 50mpg, but then I'm not heavy on the throttle, and prefer to cruise at normal hwy speeds. I've sat on the 950, and as soon as my dlr (sells both) gets the demo ride ready I intend to take one out for a test. My first impression is that the 950 feels a bit smaller than the 900. I like the tourer setup on the 950. Those hard bags are sharp. The 900 is a high winding motor. Rev limiter is set at around 7200rpm. At 70mph the rpms are about 4100 which some 900 owners don't like as it becomes slightly buzzy. Others don't let it bother them. There are fixes for that if you're so inclined. If the 950 was available when I bought last year.....I can't say which I would have bought. All I know is that I'm perfectly happy with what I have. Pick what you like and ride. That's the whole idea you know....

  17. retzdarraiter

    black, dont listen to em. get the bike you want and one you will be happy with for a long time. i bought a RAIDER with zippy experience and im fine. just take it slow and easy til ya git it! you will also save $$$ by not wanting to go out and buy the bike of your dreams. you'll already have it. where abouts in md do you live? im in annapolis, RED

  18. roukhriter8

    Dont worry about air/water. Go with the bike that feels right to you. I suggest a beginners MSF course. After that find you an experienced, PATIENT riding buddy. Someone willing to help you along and not push you into doing something your not ready for. As for buying a cheap bike to learn on that's up to you. I think if you find a group to ride with for a while you should be fine. You can fix a bike. Your body is a little different but wrecking a 250 is the same as wrecking a 950.

    See if your dealer will throw in a riders course as part of the deal. Our local Honda dealer will.

  19. dveag29

    Your body is a little different but wrecking a 250 is the same as wrecking a 950.
    Except for the extra $4-5000 to replace it!

    I'm really surprised,though, by the number of people recommending the 950,or even larger, as good starter bikes. This board is the complete opposite of any other I have belonged too (for the other bikes I've owned).

    But, to each his own. I know I'm certainly glad I started out on a small used bike. Especially the first time I dropped it!

  20. retzdarraiter

    just trying encouragement, and saving money! just take it safe and sane!


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