Motorcycles for (re) beginners

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Used purchase

Motorcycles for (re) beginners

Motorcycles for (re) beginners
Voter initiative

Do what politicians only dream of: dare to take off. Avoid what happens too quickly to voters: backing the wrong horse. MOTORRAD gives purchase assistance for newcomers and those returning to work.

Fred Siemer


The situation is serious. As serious as it is typical, because Corinna Ehmann, 22 and a producer at MOTORRAD, wants to invest several thousands in their first bike in the next few weeks. Who is backing the wrong horse, blinded and lulled by arguments from prospectuses or salespeople … A chopper might please, but what kind of one? Or not? All right, Corinna, before you ask all of us holes in the guts, we’ll give you four two-wheeled variations, and you can try them all. A Honda SLR 650, light, inexpensive and simple, represents the enduro class. The ER-5 from Kawasaki gives the normal, and – of course – the immensely popular XVS 650 Drag Star from Yamaha represents everything that falls under a chopper or cruiser. Then add an athlete, and so that we don’t break the price range, the long-serving, but inexpensive Kawa GPX 600 R is once again in the limelight.
Just fitting that your A was opened recently, and not so bad that the weekend trips from three years ago are almost forgotten. You can do it, Corinna. And we have also found an ideal partner for you: Friedrich Lindner, 60 and recently retired, is driving back to the motorcycle after 39 years of abstinence. NSU Maxi was the name of his last stunt, just a few days ago he realized his childhood dream, a BMW. Well maintained, the R 65, and now he wants to know whether this choice was the right one. Driving experience with the rubber cow? 100 or 200 kilometers.
Phew, made it. Out of bustling Stuttgart, up to a traffic training area in the countryside. Ride a few circles without being disturbed. The favorites are ER-5, SLR and Drag Star, but the choice already differs during the next exercise: While Mr. Lindner is visibly comfortable with the Yamaha between the lined up pylons, Corinna scolds like a pipe sparrow. He is happy about the soft engine, which allows low-speed jerking even when he has long had to do magic with the clutch for everyone else. She is annoyed by the stiff steering behavior of the heavy cruiser with its long wheelbase. The SLR is simply better suited to a more courageous driving style, that much is already apparent.
But be careful, Corinna. The GPX, although blessed with a good-natured engine, is different, demands more respect. When the brakes … squeak, the front wheel stops. Just for a moment, went well again. After this shock, the driving behavior of the ER-5 naturally received undivided sympathy. Everything is so easy here. In memory of his BMW, father Lindner even complains that his son Gerhard (test boss at MOTORRAD) could have told him earlier. But he never has time. Before the whole thing leads to a family dispute, the country road calls.
Gentle curves, short intermediate pieces, smooth surface – everything can be done easily in fourth gear. Mr. Lindner is changing again because you can take a nice look at the area on the Yamaha. In other words: Here and now, the characteristics of the engine and chassis fit. Do you never want to drive faster than 80 or 90, Mr. Lindner? The answer is undecided, but for the way home on the expressway he chooses the ER-5.
New day New luck??? Motorway journeys are not necessarily one of the joys of biking life. But belongs to it. At the recommended speed, even Friedrich Lindner doubts the drag star, Corinna developed a strong affection for the GPX due to the nature of the job. Could go much faster. Later she realizes with razor sharpness that enduro riders will probably never be among the fastest in the country. That wind pressure. Enduros are also available in disguise, Corinna, and with a lot more power. The SLR has 39 hp, which is enough for exactly 150 km / h, and if you want more, you should look around at Freewind, Transalp and Co. With their 45 to 50 hp, they create over 160. No, Mr. Lindner, we haven’t known any cruisers in disguise, but a windshield also relieves the wind pressure. However, it sometimes leads to commuting, e.g. in the wake of trucks or in strong winds.
If you trust in a healthy ability to abstract, 100 kilometers should be enough, at least 25 are enough for the testers to award the Yamaha the red autobahn lantern. Mr. Lindner disturbs the sitting position at the sporty GPX, and Corinna is now giving a lecture for the second time about the advantages of a great performance potential. Overtaking. That points more to a certain highway routine as a driver than to cockiness. Both test persons never lose their respect for their new means of transport. Nevertheless, they can really scare old hands: She doesn’t steer properly, Corinna tells the GPX. How’s that? We even find the Kawa pretty handy. Then it turns out that only the instruments firmly anchored in the cladding were irritating. And Mr. Lindner has now identified a serious disadvantage of the ER-5 – mirror booms that are far too short. They kept him so busy on the autobahn that he was reluctant to venture from the right to the left lane. Practiced development aid for Kawasaki.
So, now it’s going to be fun again, now country roads of every order are on the program. Corinna’s urge to move forward is noticeably blossoming, Mr. Lindner enjoys with worthy sovereignty. His right, but it is noticeable that he is enjoying the ER-5 faster and faster. Almost as fast as Corinna on the Honda. She has long since forgotten that a few days ago choppers and cruisers were at the top of the shopping list. This effect is called learning by doing. The fear of the comparatively high installed bench? As if blown away. Instead, the joy of low weight and easy handling breaks with every kilometer of the track. A real moped, says Corinna. As if we hadn’t always said it. And if it weren’t for this constricting seat hollow – it would even cope with the GPX in the long run. The narrow handlebars irritate during sliding maneuvers, but with expert assistance, these quickly reveal themselves to be harmless. Mr. Lindner feels a bit overdressed with the athlete, but as a fan of technology he cannot refrain from cracking the tongue about the engine. That has culture, and whoever is into culture must also consider such arguments when buying.
In any case, he should take a sufficiently long piece of bad asphalt under his wheels during the test drive: It is seldom during the two-day test tour that the two MOTORRAD students learn faster than on the narrow meander in the Welzheimer forest. XVS, SLR, ER-5 and GPX – all four move them back and forth alternately. The athlete can finally show what his wide usable speed range and the tight, but by no means uncomfortable spring elements are good for, making himself popular with proper steering behavior and directional stability. For the first time, the most powerful brakes in this test field are praised. The SLR, also with firm suspension, is convincing. The seating position suits beginners best in tight curves. Great overview – they get really bold. The ER-5 flatters itself with a lot of suspension comfort, the two are still far from registering the comparatively poor damping of the fork. And nobody presumes to talk them into it. Because they’ll figure it out for themselves in three or four years.
Corinna and Mr. Lindner also noticed the trampling rear of the Drag Star, its sensitivity to ruts and unwillingness to turn. The question of who goes home with what is answered – in the middle of the Welzheimer Wald – with SLR and ER-5. And the two experienced escorts argue about the GPX.

Motorcycles – good seating?

The great freedom often goes hand in hand with compulsion: almost every oh-so-comfy-looking chopper or cruiser challenges its rider into a forced posture by means of footrests that are far forward and high handlebars pulled backwards. The doctor understands this to mean anything that contradicts the natural posture, in the case of these bikes primarily the forced incorrect curvature (hollow back) in the transition from the thoracic to the lumbar spine. This leads to increased compression in the intervertebral space, because the vertebrae can no longer stand at a natural distance from one another – a real threat to the intervertebral discs. In addition, every bad posture provokes muscular tension. Lateral movements, such as those that occur when cornering, intensify the symptoms mentioned, and the usually short spring deflection does not exactly contribute to relaxation. Because the often extremely arranged footrests prevent the driver from being able to support his upper body with the leg muscles, the chassis bumps forwarded directly to the spine. And finally: Only true powerhouses can defy the wind pressure for more than an hour that the posture behind the antler handle brings with it from 120/130 km / h. Everyone else also tenses in the upper arm and shoulder area. The surprise tour to great love quickly turns into an ordeal that only skilful massages can alleviate again … But even drivers of super athletes sit quite unhealthily – just folded the other way around than the chopper pilots: While their sitting position is actually only to look into the stars Good looking, it is at most suitable for mine hunting. Above all, the clear kink in the lower lumbar spine and the strong curvature in the cervical area can cause suffering. The sharply angled knees also put a strain on the posterior meniscus parts and the general ligamentous apparatus, and the sometimes extreme depressions in the seat often enough lead to painful discomfort in the scrotal area – also feared by professionals as dead ball syndrome. Travel machines best take ergonomics into account: slightly bent forward Upper body (the spine remains in the physiological S-shape, and the back muscles work most effectively), 90-degree angle between the upper and lower legs (the leg muscles can cushion the upper body) and the hands in an ergonomically relaxed position on the handlebars. Whether someone prefers the narrower and harder seat of an enduro or reaches for a tourer depends on their ability to suffer. From a medical point of view, it doesn’t matter.

Conclusion beginner – “I take my freedom”

“Wait until you get to know Enduros, they are fun,” the experienced test editor Monika Schulz had prophesied to me before I got back to work. I couldn’t even imagine back then. I imagined driving a chopper to be much easier: You sit low, so you can get your legs down on the ground quickly, and chopping looks extremely comfortable? so overall ideal for beginners. Completely wrong: According to our test, it is not the nifty Yamaha Drag Star, but the Honda’s SLR 650 that is the measure of all things. Direct hit, Moni. Apart from that, I can only advise every (re) newcomer: To try it out for yourself is by browsing through beautiful brochures or the well-intentioned advice from old hands. So just go to the dealers and make an appointment for a detailed test drive with different motorcycles. And don’t let the seller teach you what suits you or what is oh so hip in the scene right now. The first personal impression was much more important to me, take this freedom? I myself: sit on it, feel good, experience every kilometer with awake senses, try curves and good and bad roads.

Conclusion returnees – “It’s not about dreams”

If old hands want to help newcomers or returners to the right vehicle, they can really only do everything wrong. Because they have been driving too long: who really knows what horrors pushing alone can cause? What respect causes high weight? That may no longer play a role in your own motorcycle, because the thing runs like Schmidt’s cat or easily tours to the end of the world. But this is not about dream machines. The (almost) newcomers need a device with which they can get through the first few years decently, which leaves as much freedom as possible and demands as little attention as possible. And not in 160 km / h corners on the Nurburgring, but in normal life. A comfortable seat height, easily calculable performance development, good-natured brakes or easy maintenance clearly rank ahead of top performance and technology. Real help is only available if you accompany the newcomers on as many test drives as possible and watch them attentively. Choosing together is easier: what, the mirrors are stupid – we buy accessories. It steers in a weird way – it’s because of the tire. The single cylinder jerks – just go down a gear. It’s so uncomfortable – come on, we’ll adjust the damping better.


AlternativesSLR 650BMW F 650Drawing artist with 34 or 48 HP, high or low seat. Unfortunately 12410 Mark expensiveKawasaki KLE 500Two-cylinder with 34 or 48 HP, good chassis and half fairing. Inexpensive: 10820 MarkMuZ Baghira Saxon high seat with 34 or 50 hp, for sports fans. Cost price: 10240 Mark Suzuki XF 650 Freewind travel partner with 34 or 48 hp, very pleasant engine. Well equipped for 10290 MarkYamaha XT 600 E fun mobile with 34 or 40 HP, quite slow engine, but definitely worth the money: 8990 MarkKawasaki GPX 600RHonda CBR 600 FUltimate Four with 34, 98 or 105 HP, great chassis. A worthwhile investment: 16270 Marks Kawasaki GPZ 500 SHisser Twin with 34, 50 or 60 hp. Almost a bargain because of the good chassis: 9990 MarkSuzuki GSF 600 S BanditFlotter Ganove, half-covered, with 34 or 78 hp from four cylinders. Among friends 11350 MarkSuzuki GSX 600 F Fully switched Oldie but Goldie with 34, 50 or 86 hp. A sporty all-rounder for the 11890 Mark Yamaha TRX 850 showcase twin with 34 and 83 hp and delicious chassis. Whatever: 15690 Mark Kawasaki ER-5 Honda CB 500 model student with water-cooled twin and 34, 50 or 58 hp. Investment: 8960 Mark Kawasaki Zephyr 550 Neoclassical four-wheeler with 34 or 50 hp and show talents. Lots of chrome for 10990 TalerMuZ Skorpion Tour 660Blanker stew with proven Yamaha engine and 34 or 48 hp for 10710 MarkSuzuki GS 500 E Proven and stable saving miracle with 34 or 45 hp. Now even cheaper: 7390 MarkYamaha XJ 600 N soft quad with 34, 50 or 61 hp. Softly padded for lust-friendly 9290 MarkYamaha XVS Drag StarHonda VT 750 C2Weighty cruiser hummingbird with a design that is likely to hit and 46 HP for a meager 13790 Mark Harley-Davidson 883 Standard Small, but original Milwaukee iron with 32 or 49 HP for decent 13950 Mark Kawasaki VN 800 ClassicHighway locator with prestige factor ten and 34, 50 or 55 hp. 15490 Dol …, uh, MarkSuzuki LS 650 SavageSlim minimalist cart with single and 31 hp. Lots of character for only 8990 MarkYamaha XV 535 Virago hand tamer and robust top seller with 34 or 44 hp with image weaknesses. 9990 marks

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