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Suzuki S40 as first motorcycle? (currently have Buddy 125)

 
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bimbom
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PostPosted: Sun Sep 02, 2012 4:35 am    Post subject: Suzuki S40 as first motorcycle? (currently have Buddy 125) Reply with quote

I didn't think it would happen so soon but I already have the "itch". While I love my Buddy 125, and it hasn't let me down, I am feeling my attraction to motorcycles growing.

I'm considering the Suzuki S40, as everything I read about seems to suggest it's a good first bike.

I don't think I can afford to have both, so what I wanted to know would I regret getting rid of the Buddy for city riding? Would the S40 be a pain to drive as a commuter bike? (although I'd be getting it for longer trips). The main reason I want the S40 is to go on longer trips which, on the Buddy, aren't quite as comfortable.

Another thing I have to consider is that I'm often riding 2-up.. I can't tell from pictures, but does anyone who owns this know if it's comfortable for two? I am about 5'9" 140, and my girlfriend is small as well.

I would really like to hear from people who own this bike, if there's anyone who does!
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JohnKiniston
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PostPosted: Sun Sep 02, 2012 5:22 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Only bad thing I have heard about the S40 is the fuel range isn't all that great due to the small tank.
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Drum Pro
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PostPosted: Sun Sep 02, 2012 6:54 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Must stop feeling the need for ptw's.... Must stop typing like hurt superhero....
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neotrotsky
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PostPosted: Sun Sep 02, 2012 7:22 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The S40/Savage is a fantastic little thumper that isn't so little. Mechanically simple, common and quite good at it's intended job, you really can't go wrong. They cruise expressways with ease and are quite stable. In fact, now that the time has come for me to finally decide on a bike for us to get now that the funds are in place, I find myself tempted by another S40 once again. I know the scooter makes the most sense, but there is just something about a single cylinder motorcycle that just feels GREAT. It's a very simple, perhaps unrefined but freshly mechanical ride to it.
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Syd
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PostPosted: Sun Sep 02, 2012 7:29 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I know you're in the theater biz, neo, but do you really like the drama that much? Wink
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bbg.will
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PostPosted: Sun Sep 02, 2012 7:32 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I don't think that it would necessarily be a bad bike, but that it is going to have its limitations, especially if you go two up.

In general, a "good first bikes" usually get outgrown quickly. It may seem like a big step between a 125 Buddy and a 650 cc cruiser, but it really isn't. That motor is not high strung, it'll have enough low end torque to make getting going bearable, but if you get on the freeway, I'd be willing to bet that it feels underpowered and pushed around by winds easily. Especially iif you put someone on the back...

My suggestion would be to not be afraid of a little more engine. A shadow 750, a vulcan 900, or any of the metric cruisers in that engine range would likely be better suited as a bike to both learn on, and to actually want to own past the first few months.

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James Gamblin
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PostPosted: Sun Sep 02, 2012 1:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

S40 is a great little thumper. It would be a great first bike for you and your lady. However, if you want to cruise long distances or long distances @ or over 70mph, it will have it's challenges. A Vstar 650
about another 100/150 lbs of weight BUT has a little more power AND
a whole lot more accessories, options etc.

If you got the change to go new the VStar 950 is an awesome bike.
So is the Kawasaki 900, there seem to be some good deals on
Kawasaki 900 , last year models.
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lovemysan
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PostPosted: Sun Sep 02, 2012 2:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I had a friend tell me. He liked the sportster 883 for around town. He said it was torquey. Loved to be short shifted and the trans had wide ratios. It just doesn't need to be shifted as often. His bike was the biggest Suzuki virago.
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neotrotsky
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PostPosted: Sun Sep 02, 2012 3:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Syd wrote:
I know you're in the theater biz, neo, but do you really like the drama that much? Wink


What? I really liked my Savage. Only sold it to get a car so I wouldn't have to give up the scooter I had at the time (A Stella). Turns out the car was a POS and I should of kept the bike. They're a great bike and really underrated.

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Dooglas
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PostPosted: Sun Sep 02, 2012 3:58 pm    Post subject: Re: Suzuki S40 as first motorcycle? (currently have Buddy 12 Reply with quote

bimbom wrote:
I'm considering the Suzuki S40, as everything I read about seems to suggest it's a good first bike.

I have one and have nothing but good things to say about it. The bike is light weight, smooth running, and easy to ride. It has been very reliable and economical to keep on the road. The S40 is a great bargain - new or used (especially used). The bike is an excellent introduction to the world of motorcycles. Like neotrotsky, I am obviously a fan of the S40 - but, we both came by our opinions honestly Wink .
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Keys
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PostPosted: Sun Sep 02, 2012 5:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Odd that everyone feels a bigger bike is required. It really isn't. I rode a Yamaha RD 250 from San Diego to Denver and back. Twice. At well over the speed limit...granted, the national speed limit in those days was still 55.
Then, a number of years later took a Honda VT 500 from Grand Junction, Co.to San Francisco and back. I wanted some good seafood for lunch.
And again a CB650 from Grand Jct. to Anaheim, CA.and back.
Never really needed more. People are just sissies.

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jrsjr
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PostPosted: Sun Sep 02, 2012 6:03 pm    Post subject: Re: Suzuki S40 as first motorcycle? (currently have Buddy 12 Reply with quote

If you're buying used, take a ride and listen out for a squeaking noise from the rear. When I researched the S40 (I found out I'm way too big for the bike, so didn't buy), there were a few threads out there about that issue with a lot of differing opinions on the cause and the resolution. The S40 uses a belt final drive and there was some discussion about whether the squeak was just the nature of the beast or if it was caused by a misalignment of the rear wheel or some other factor. I wanted to believe it was caused by a misaligned rear wheel, but one guy was very clear about having used an alignment jig to make certain his alignment was perfect and yet still had the problem. A couple folks suggested a lubricant and there was feedback from others of that solution working for them, too. If you give a test ride and don't hear it, then don't worry about, just be aware...

One cool thing about the S40 is that, should you grow into yet a larger bike, you can turn it into your first café racer with a kit from Ryca. Wink

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Dooglas
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PostPosted: Sun Sep 02, 2012 7:48 pm    Post subject: Re: Suzuki S40 as first motorcycle? (currently have Buddy 12 Reply with quote

jrsjr wrote:
One cool thing about the S40 is that, should you grow into yet a larger bike, you can turn it into your first café racer with a kit from Ryca. Wink

And the Ryca kits are certainly another good thing about the S40 Wink. Last year I also saw a beautiful sidecar rig done by DMC that basically turned an S40 into an Enfield sidecar rig with more power and reliability than any Enfield single has ever had. Globe sidecar, Enfield trim, S40 frame and engine - truly beautiful.
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rsrider
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PostPosted: Sun Sep 02, 2012 9:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

http://www.suzukicycles.com/Product%20Lines/Cycles/Products/TU250X/2012/TU250X.aspx

we can't have them in CA but you're in NY...........

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Southerner
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none yet - Got a motorcycle. Does that count?

PostPosted: Mon Sep 03, 2012 7:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I echo most of the comments about the S40. It's been around a long time and has most of the bugs worked out. It's the only Suzuki with a belt drive, which should make it a bit easier to live with, except that I've never thought chains all that much of a burden.

I might add that I tried one out for size and even though I have only a 30" inseam, I was cramped so be sure to make sure it's a good fit for you.
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scootavaran
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PostPosted: Mon Sep 03, 2012 10:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I love mine!
Have had no problems and it makes for a great first motorcycle. Dont let that 650cc scare you, That big single acts like a 250cc bike.
Go two-up on it lots of times and it has never missed a beat.

I hate to admit it, but I feel more confident on that then on my SH150i somtimes. (dont hate me Honda!)

One tiny problem with it. It has no trip or fuel gauges. Confused
No idea why they left it out but they did.
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gbjbany
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PostPosted: Mon Sep 03, 2012 11:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Don't have an s40 but did just get a Honda spirit 750 c2 , I also drive a Burgman 650 and I would take the 650 every time and so would my wife as a passenger when 2 up.

The backseat is much more comfortable and as a scooter you get all the same benefits. only issue with he 650 is may be too high for the driver, it was for my wife and hence the 750 spirit for her. Its much lower

So my main comment is not sure about a s40 for lots of 2 up and so a larger bike might be better suited or a larger scooter
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James Gamblin
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 04, 2012 12:16 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

http://www.mustangseats.com/Category/Wide-Touring

a mustang wide touring seat will do wonders for a passenger. It will take away some of the sleekness of the Spirit, but with a backrest, the wife just may fall asleep back there. Bought my wife a Buddy 150 last Christmas, so we could take shorter rides together. She loves her scooter but would much rather sit behind me on the Vstar 1300...every time we pull into the garage she says, "Man I like that seat!"

That's why I mentioned in one of my posts about "options". Some bikes just don't get much respect. unfortunatly & inappropriately the S40 is one of them. 25+ years of production and there are not alot of accessories available.

By the way, Burgman 650 is a great little scoot. I used to have a 400
and have recently been eyeing the 650.
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JAEGER
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 04, 2012 1:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The Savage (a.k.a. the S40) is a great little city bike -- my better half had one for a few years, and I got to buzz around DC on it a bit. Some thoughts:

1) While it's obviously a larger engine than the Buddy 125, it is not an especially powerful one. At all. I did quite a few mods to hers (pipe, rejet, airbox-ectomy) and while the bike was fun in the city, I would NOT call it a good highway bike, especially 2-up. That said, for buzzing around The City or heading into NJ or Long Island solo it'd probably be plenty.

2) The Savage was first introduced in the 1980s, and Suzuki has done virtually nothing to the bike since then. That could be good or bad, depending on your perspective. The technology is old; a modern 650cc bike would have more bang for your buck. (Even an air-cooled thumper.)

3) Sounds like you're a small guy, which is good for the Savage. I'm closer to 6', and used to joke that the Savage was a 3/4-size bike.

4) The Savage (and motorcycles in general) have basically zero storage. Keep this in mind if you're hauling around a lot of stuff.

Motorcycles are very similar to scooters, but they're still a different critter in terms of performance and function. I've been riding motorcycles for over 10 years, but I just got my first scooter because I'm living in an urban environment with a very short commute (<4 miles). IMHO, scooters are just better for urban environments.

If you're looking for a smaller motorcycle, I'd suggest a Honda VT600 Shadow -- had one of those for years too, and rode it as a courier motorcycle for a while. Much more power, but not intimidating. Has enough power for getting on the highway (e.g., DC Beltway) and for going 2-up. Cheap, reliable, and durable. My wife is 5'3" and could flat-foot the VT600 no problem.

Alternately, you could go with a Ninja 250 or a Honda CBR250R (for which I lust). They're smaller displacement engines, of course, but again they're both highway worthy (moreso than the Savage), they're crazy agile, and they should be adequate for 2-up riding. Don't be fooled, those little engines can haul ass! I personally have gotten a Ninja 250 up north of the ton. Remember, they redline at like 14k!

In short: the Savage is not enough bike to merit trading in the scooter. You'd basically wind up with a scooter that's more stable at higher speeds but doesn't have any storage. It'll have a lot more torque around town, but if you're looking for something to go real distance or carry a passenger, I would not recommend the Savage.

--Jaeger

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Dooglas
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 04, 2012 4:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

My S40 has the custom-fit black leather saddlebags that are available thru Suzuki. Those and a small leather roll-bag provide all the onboard storage I want - and they look great! (IMHO Wink )
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charlie55
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 04, 2012 5:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Dooglas wrote:
My S40 has the custom-fit black leather saddlebags that are available thru Suzuki. Those and a small leather roll-bag provide all the onboard storage I want - and they look great! (IMHO Wink )


Dooglas:

Thought I read something somewhere that you've gotta keep an eye on the Savage's head bolts, and that you need to re-torque them at least once after a certain number of miles. Sound familiar?
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Dooglas
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 04, 2012 5:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

charlie55 wrote:
Thought I read something somewhere that you've gotta keep an eye on the Savage's head bolts, and that you need to re-torque them at least once after a certain number of miles. Sound familiar?

Generally good advice for any bike/vehicle after it has put a few miles on a new engine or R&R'd head. I haven't heard that the S40 is particularly prone to this issue but certainly a good service tip. Actually I've found the S40 to be a very reliable ride requiring a minimum of service generally - certainly compared to any scooter which are typically much more needy in this department. The S40 is also remarkably smooth running for the biggest air-cooled thumper around. (a long time ago I rode an AJS 500 single - it was positively agricultural in comparison Wink )
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bimbom
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 04, 2012 5:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I didn't expect to get so many responses.. thank you for the very useful information. I have my heart pretty set on the S40, although I have taken a look at the Honda Shadow too.

I would love to keep both the scooter and an S40, but I also don't like to own too many things in the first place, especially ones that wouldn't get the use they deserve.

On the other hand I do agree nothing beats the scooter for quick city rides, and I really like the amount of storage available between the seat compartment and the front hook (I've done wonders with that front hook).

I will keep the thread updated if I do go through with the purchase. Thanks again!
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Dooglas
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 04, 2012 6:36 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

An interesting thing to compare when considering a Shadow and an S40 is curb weight. The Shadow Spirit weighs 536 lbs and the Aero weighs 560 lbs. The S40 weighs 381 lbs (less than a BV 350!). MSRP also makes an interesting comparison. MSRP of the Shadow is $8,240. MSRP of the S40 is $5,399. (Don't misunderstand me - the Shadow is a fine bike, just in a different cost and weight class than the S40)
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JAEGER
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 04, 2012 7:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Dooglas wrote:
An interesting thing to compare when considering a Shadow and an S40 is curb weight. The Shadow Spirit weighs 536 lbs and the Aero weighs 560 lbs. The S40 weighs 381 lbs (less than a BV 350!). MSRP also makes an interesting comparison. MSRP of the Shadow is $8,240. MSRP of the S40 is $5,399. (Don't misunderstand me - the Shadow is a fine bike, just in a different cost and weight class than the S40)


Yes, the Shadow is absolutely a larger bike. However, I was suggesting the 600cc, not the 750. The VT600 is listed as being 439lbs -- still heavier than the Savage, but only by about 60lbs.

Then again, now that I'm looking at Honda's website, I see they don't even offer the VT600 any more! Oops. Shocked

Still, a quick Craigslist...

http://longisland.craigslist.org/mcy/3223002775.html
http://jerseyshore.craigslist.org/mcy/3240963523.html
http://newjersey.craigslist.org/mcy/3246290747.html

etc.

Anyway, personal comfort and preference go a long way in selecting a bike, obviously. If you have your heart set on a Savage, go for it! They're a helluva lot of fun, especially ripping around urban environments. It'll have a LOT more torque than the Buddy, that's for sure. You can also have fun tweaking the bike. Here's an old pic of ours:

http://blackjoe.com/phpBB2/album_pic.php?pic_id=639

(I hope that link works.)

Just beware of asking the Savage to do more than she can. For example, I wouldn't dream of riding a Savage up the NJTP or I-95 -- at least not with my fat ass on it. Mr. Green Wink I was very proud that I saw an indicated 85mph on ours, and it felt roughly like I was riding a hand grenade (which was sort've fun, but I think you get my meaning).

--Jaeger

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bimbom
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 04, 2012 7:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Jaeger,

I wouldn't dream of riding on the NJ turnpike on ANYTHING Surprised
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bimbom
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 04, 2012 8:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I may be going to look at the S40 tomorrow. From people who own it/have owned it, any particular things to look out for on a test run?
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JAEGER
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 04, 2012 9:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Savages often suffer from a chronic oil leak from the head -- doesn't seem to hurt anything, but it's also not very fix-able, apparently.

There are two handlebar set-ups -- one with buckhorns, one with drag bars. I strongly suggest the latter... the buckhorns are only usable by a T-Rex.

There's an automatic vacuum thingie on the front left side of the block that adjusts when you start the bike. Make sure that works. Ours didn't at first, and apparently that's a common problem.

Otherwise, good luck!

--Jaeger

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Keys
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PostPosted: Wed Sep 05, 2012 12:26 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

You might look into the Honda NC700x. It is motorcycle size and configuration, available with an automatic and ABS and has scooter-like storage. Also mileage is reputed to be in the 60's range.
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bimbom
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PostPosted: Wed Sep 05, 2012 5:40 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Keys wrote:
You might look into the Honda NC700x. It is motorcycle size and configuration, available with an automatic and ABS and has scooter-like storage. Also mileage is reputed to be in the 60's range.


I have to say this Honda seems like a great value from the specs. Honestly I like everything but the look of it.. I'm not much into the modern look of bikes. It's an auto, or it comes manual too?
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scootavaran
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PostPosted: Wed Sep 05, 2012 6:36 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

bimbom wrote:
Keys wrote:
You might look into the Honda NC700x. It is motorcycle size and configuration, available with an automatic and ABS and has scooter-like storage. Also mileage is reputed to be in the 60's range.


I have to say this Honda seems like a great value from the specs. Honestly I like everything but the look of it.. I'm not much into the modern look of bikes. It's an auto, or it comes manual too?


have you thought about the suzuki Tu250x? great retro looking standard bike.
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Keys
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PostPosted: Wed Sep 05, 2012 11:42 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

bimbom wrote:
Keys wrote:
You might look into the Honda NC700x. It is motorcycle size and configuration, available with an automatic and ABS and has scooter-like storage. Also mileage is reputed to be in the 60's range.


I have to say this Honda seems like a great value from the specs. Honestly I like everything but the look of it.. I'm not much into the modern look of bikes. It's an auto, or it comes manual too?



Comes both ways. The manual is, I think a grand cheaper.

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James Gamblin
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PostPosted: Wed Sep 05, 2012 3:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

manual msrp $6999

automatic msrp $8999
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Dooglas
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PostPosted: Wed Sep 05, 2012 5:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The Honda NT700v with ABS is more interesting to me. But MSRP of $11,199 gives pause. Also interesting is the Integra on the same basic running gear. Unlikely we will see that one in the US though. All these bikes, however, are in a whole different price class than the S40. (might as well talk about Beemers - great bikes but where are you going to get a good used one for $2,500? Wink )
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PostPosted: Wed Sep 05, 2012 11:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I honestly don't know of anyone that has upsized and lived to regret it, although I'm sure those situations are out there.

But particularly when you're talking about upsizing to a small MC, I think you'll find that you'll have more riding options and will still maintain many of the advantages of a small bike.

Of course it's nice to have several options in your stable, but if that's not feasible, I would opt for the S40.

I have a scoot (125), and two MCs, a 750 and 1500. The scoot is great around town and shorter rides, The 750 is a great all around bike, but limited in terms of touring. The 1500 is wonderful for the long rides, but I'm more routinely on the scoot or 750.

Rob

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Stella 2T, Piaggio MP3 500

PostPosted: Fri Sep 07, 2012 11:12 pm    Post subject: It ain't over till it's overdone.... Reply with quote

I knew as soon as I read this thread it would invite a lot of replies so I'll be like everyone else and chime in. There are so many really great bikes available on today's market it's nearly impossible to make a bad choice, at least if you stick with the ones from Japan. Sorry if I offend anyone by that statement but I'm a stickler for reliability at a decent price point.

Let me offer the following to illustrate and I'm not intending this to blow my own horn, just saying it like it is. In 2006 I bought a new Kawasaki 650R Ninja and a week later rode it to Homer, Alaska from my home in OR. In 2009 I rode it to Nova Scotia and this last spring I rode it to Mexico, all without mishap. I changed the oil on schedule and the tires when needed and replaced the air filter. The options I installed were Hot Grips, a Garmin Zumo GPS, and for the ride to Mexico a ScottOiler. I also installed a Big Foot for the side stand and a better windscreen. After the first ride to Alaska I decided to add a set of GIVI hard shell panniers and a top case.

That's a lot of stuff and individual tastes and needs will vary but the bottom line is I haven't had any mechanical issues with it....ever. My point to all of this is I see some very low mileage examples of this bike for sale from time to time and I'd strongly recommend you take a look at one. If you think the Ninja name means riding bent over ala the squid position you'd be dead wrong, the 650R has you sitting bolt upright in a very comfortable position. I guarantee my 72 year old back wouldn't approve of anything else. Besides my advanced years I'm also one of those vertically challenged types, 5' 6" with an inseam a bit less than 30" so I'm fussy about ergonomics.

Here's a couple of links to blogs I kept during rides:

Alaska 2006: http://www.travelblog.org/North-America/blog-79612.html
Nova Scotia 2008: http://larrylarry7575.blogspot.com/
Mexico 2012: http://mexicoonaninja.blogspot.com/

Hope you find something suitable,

LL75 Smile

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bimbom
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Joined: 20 Apr 2012
Posts: 96
Location: nyc
Buddy 125

PostPosted: Mon Sep 10, 2012 4:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

[moved my reply to new thread]

Last edited by bimbom on Mon Sep 10, 2012 5:59 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Rusty Shackleford
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Joined: 28 Jul 2012
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Location: Richmond VA
2012 Buddy 125

PostPosted: Mon Sep 10, 2012 4:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The Suzuki S40 is a great motorcycle, and is perfectly fine as an upgrade from a scooter. I will agree though, that the Honda NC700 is worth considering if you're used to the storage space of a scooter. The engine is also the same as their Integra scooter and gets low 60's mpg fuel economy. I have the CBR250R and will be getting the NC700S when it comes to the states. Right now, We just have the NC700X adventure bike built on the same platform.
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