This is a discussion on Mileage and Beginer Bike Questions within the General ZR-7 forums, part of the Kawasaki ZR-7 category; Originally Posted by tennyis I've read the SV does not make a good first bike because of how the power comes on, and that the ...
I was in your exact position about a year and a half ago. After ALOT of online research, I narrowed it down to either the 250 or 500 Ninja. A 500 Ninja came along at the right price ($1000 US) and I bought it. It is a 97 with about 5000 miles and it had been down at low speed, but was already repaired. Just some scratches on exhaust remain. At first (for the first 300 miles or so), the bike seemed super fast, and I thought to myself I would never max out this bike because 80mph is as fast as I need to go.
Fast fwd to today, I am still riding the 500, but I am ready to upgrade. In fact I just bought a ZR7, just need to service the carbs before I can start riding it. I'm 6'0", 215lb and the 500 is a little small, you will find that your knees are bent quite a bit. I scoot back on the seat a bit to make it better, but it's not very comfortable. I routinely run the 500 up to 90mph, and it achieves it surprisingly easily. I haven't ridden the ZR7 yet, so I can't comment on it.
My advice to you considering your size and weight would be to start on nothing less than a 500. Best tip from me, it's not so much about your right hand as it is your left hand. You can have throttle twisted, but with the clutch disengaged you aren't going anywhere. For me, it was all about mastering the feel of the clutch. For the right hand, sit on the bike with engine OFF, and practice ROLLING the throttle on and off.
You will be just fine, just like anything else it's about practice.
This is a good website where you can see what the different bikes' ergos will be for your height: http://cycle-ergo.com/
tennyis, I am 6'4" and used to race an EX500 (Ninja 500) back in 95/96. I was 215lbs back then and it is a cramped little ride for someone that size, I can tell you first hand. The 250 is going to be worse and the power on a 250cc bike for someone 250+lbs is going to be in the Yugo range, I think you will be very frustrated after a while. The power on a 500 Ninja is decent but I see you having comfort issues like I did.
I would not dwell on HP numbers when deciding on a first ride. Remember, those numbers are peek HP at high rpms. There's no law that says you have to be WFO on the throttle and rev to red line every time you get on it. Power delivery starts at the wrist. It's as smooth as you care to be on the throttle. I have found that the ZR-7's power comes on very linearly and predictably.
Lastly, definitely take the beginner motorcycle safety course before getting anything. I know the Motorcycle Safety Foundation has a beginner course that provides the bike for you so you can take the class before you buy anything. I *highly* recommend that. I took it and then 6 months later I took the advanced class (this was back in '91), and my brother took it last month and says it hasn't changed since then. Take the class!
First, you're doing it right be budgeting 25% for gear. Heck, my first couple of bikes cost lessthan the gear I wore while riding them. Second, there's no way to accurately predict the reliability of the certain bike you're looking at, but a well-maintained ZR will last a long time. I've put almost 44,000 miles on my '03 (bought new in '04) and it still doesn't burn a drop of oil between changes (3K intervals).
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What about an older yamaha TDM 850 , they are great bikes and will do anything anywhere whilst having a comfortable riding position. Although its an 850 the engine is smooth and performance wise isnt much difference to the ZR7 but if you wanted to load it up with a pillion and luggage it will pull all day long. As you can guess I used to have one and regretted selling it . I am 6'2" and it fitted me perfectly
Taking the MSF is, in my opinion, the best money you can spend on bike ownership. I had many reason for taking it, but one in particular couldn't be address any other way and that was: "would a bike irritate my carpel tunnel?" Anyway, take the course, it's cheap, fun and very informative.
I completely agree with the majority of the above posts. I took the MSF course which provided 250's to practice on. I am completely new to the motorcycle world and as such, the course was a must for me (in my mind at least). I shopped around for bikes and what it came down to for me, was price, and am I going to want something larger in the future. I have a friend that is on the same track as me with motorcycles but bought a R6 from a family member. Price was right for him, but he's already afraid of the power and the lack of manuverability (a least at low speeds) in comparison to the bikes we rode with MSF. I bought a 2003 zr-7s with 36k. I did so knowing that I would need to continue to maintain it, but that's why I'm getting into bikes. I like tinkering with machines that I can easily modify and take out and test the diference. I personally am 5'-11" and 235 pounds (stocky build ;-). I didn't like the feel of the 250's we rode on, great to get a feel for having two wheels underneath me, but I definately felt cramped. The zr-7 is much more comfortable to me. The power is linear as has been described and it's all about if I want to even feel it or not. I'm still new so I've by no means opened it up to see what it'll really do, but I'm thinking it'll be a long time before I feel like I need something else (if ever). And that's important to me.
All in all, I believe that comfort comes first and you can ease into the power of most bikes you ride. I can't imagine someone of your height and weight feeling comfortable on a bike that size (250cc). And if you're not comfortable then you probably won't ride as much, so, at that point, why have a bike?
Just a newbie's $0.02
The Zr7s is my first bike and after 6000 miles on it i'd say i made the right choice. I've always loved the carburated engine, and with as many years as it has been made, it is near bulletproof. It has been great to learn on, and i know its just my experience in riding, but the bike has performed better and better as i ride. I love its look, and plan on owning it for many years to come. I'm 5'10" and 140 lbs, and it has more power than i could ever "need" but i like the power it has, and the large smooth powerband.
I just got my '02 ZR-7S with 9180 on the odometer. Its my first bike and I love it! I also recommend the MSF course, it is invaluable! I'm 5'10" 180lbs and find the bike to be very comfy even after riding all day.
I had a 2006 SV650 and I still have the 2000 ZR-7. The ZR-7 has better pulling power off the bottom end and midrange upto about 4500RPM. The SV650 smoothes out at about 3500 to 4000RPM. Once you start to gather steam on the SV lookout. The engine revs twice as fast as the ZR-7 above 5000RPM. And nothing sounds like a 90 degree vee-twin with a pipe!
The SV gets about 50+MPG on the freeway. The ZR-7 gets mid to high 40+MPG
Comfort wise the ZR-7 has more room all around. The footpeg ht on the SV will kill ur knees. The suspension on the ZR-7 isn't upto the SV's. their are 100X more parts for the SV. www.SVrider.com
The SV valves are harder to adjust but only need it every 15K
Last edited by Pdarnall; 07-26-11 at 09:24 AM.
'00 ZR-7 - Penske 8983 Shock, Micron Slipon, Holeshot Jet Kit, Corbin Seat, Dunlop RoadSmart, SS Brake Lines, ATV Handlebars, PVC Fork Mod
Hey Tennyis, I'm in Ottawa. I put 85,000km on my ZR7, and the motor was only just starting to use oil on long trips. In that time I had only 1 valve go out of spec. It's as close to a bulletproof motor as you can find, proven as it's been in production in one form or another since 1976. Easy to work on too.
I'm a couple of inches taller than you an not a whole lot lighter, and I found ways to modify the bike to make it comfortable for touring duty. Mine got down into NC and TN many times. Don't buy the 500, the vibes will put your hands to sleep. My brother had one, and I rode it around Southern Ontario for a day. Nice enough bike I suppose, but cramped. I would imagine the GS 500 would be the same. Do not get the 250 ... you'll be ready to move up within a year with that and it's so small you'll look cartoonish on it.
The ZR7/7S is tame enough for a beginner, yet still has enough good qualities to ride for several years after.
Craig Jackman - '03 Suzuki DL1000 V-Strom - "The Vee"
'02 ZR-7S "The Silver Seven" (note - obscure hockey reference) - SOLD MAY 2010
Whatever you do dont believe those that said you cant get hurt on a 250 or a 650/750 does not have enough power to get you in trouble. You can die or get hurt on a bicycle...
2010 Triumph Tiger 1050
2005 Yamaha FJR 1300 ABS Sold
2000 ZR-7 - Sold and still missing it
2001 KLR 650 - Gone but not forgotten
2001 King Quad 300