Top 10 First Big Bikes

Looking for a first big bike or a practical, affordable, yet fun machine? These fit the bill

Posted: 8 June 2010
by Visordown

 1 of 11 

Middleweights provide the perfect motorcycle for newcomers looking for a bit more power than the bikes they learnt on or anybody looking for some practical and affordable two-wheeled fun.

Here is a countdown of the Top 10 Tidy Middleweights

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Hot tips

Wise mods: for practicality’s sake

Heated wraps: They're great but loads of aftermarket ones are badly made, bulky and ruin a bike’s feel at the bars. Oxford Hot Hands are heated wraps which you wire in and wrap round the bars when needed. When not required you can whip them off and stash them in the clock area. They’re cheap too at just £23.99.

Top box: Ok, not the coolest but mighty useful. We reckon Givi Monokey is about the best, taking price into account. Boxes from £119. The Monorack to mount it on costs a slightly salty £78.

Chain oiler: Chain drive isn’t the most practical for every day use. Scottoiler’s the pick of the bunch (£84.99), and work superbly once set up

Customising and tuning

Anything European won’t have quite the reliability of Japanese so main dealer bikes with a full service history are safest.

If you do buy privately, check out the owner. Try and find a monied older gent who’s cosseted his bike.

These bikes stunt easily. Check head bearings for play and wheels for dings. Also check clutches for wear (with a big handful of revs in a high gear).

Loud exhausts are popular but many owners take them off to sell separately and some won’t return the mapping back to standard. Ask what cans or system a bike’s been running on and if the ECU / carburettor jetting has been altered to go with it.

Buying tips

Most of these machines will have only seen gentle road use. But some were campaigned in various race series including Mini Twins so look for the usual suspect signs – bolts drilled for lockwire, chipped rims, mint exhaust and bodywork on a tatty bike, etc. These may be cheap bikes but consumables can still add up. Budget for £100 a tyre if worn and same for the chain and sprocket set. Worn brake discs generally indicate very high miles and they’re £100 each.

The best deals will be had in private sales. Take your time, look the bike over inch-by-inch and trust your instincts. A data check is just £3.95 from mycarcheck.com.

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Discuss this story

no CB500 or Transalp?

Posted: 09/06/2010 at 15:37

No triumphs (only the 3rd biggest selling Manufacturer in the UK 2009-2010, increased market share in all global markets 3 years running) I guess they must be doing something right.

no big trail bikes/enduros/supermotards.Tenere/Transalp/DR/duk/BMW F650-Dakar

No modern classics like Revere/CB500/ER5-6

No R6

No Cruiser/chop/harley-a-likes.

Maybe the article should be re-titled "half naked 600 sports bikes I personally quite like"

 And really you're suggesting Buell and Ducati are ideal first bikes? I'd rather pick something that can cope with British weather and has a sizable dearlership/support network or readliy available spares.


Posted: 09/06/2010 at 23:55

Shame that the picture is of the WRONG BIKE ...

Thats a FZ6 Fazer ... with the detuned R6 injected engine made of Chrome plated jelly with a plastic frame.

Posted: 02/08/2011 at 22:50

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