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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
I am the new "kid" on the block, and just made my first post in the "introductions" section, but it has been suggested to me that I should post my question here, so here goes!

I am planning to order two new V-Star's in the next couple of days; one for me, and one for my 19 year old daughter. She has never ridden before, and it has been decades since I last rode a bike. Last week the two of us made a 1,000 km round trip journey to St. John's, Newfoundland to check out the V-Star 250, (the closest dealership with a 250... it was a 2014, but identical to the new 2015's except the colour) which she immediately fell in love with, and admittedly, so did I! I am 5'8", 168 lbs, and I did not find it to be too small for me at all. (she is 5'4", 135 lbs.) I know folks are often quick to bash the little 250's, but I doubt I would outgrow it any time soon, as we only plan to do short, back-road rides, at speeds under 100 kph. (the limit is 50 to 80 km/hour here) But I just discovered that I can get a new 2015 650 Custom for only $2,000 more than the 2015 250, so I'm kinda sitting on the fence at the moment. I am hoping to talk to people who have had some experience with both of these models, to hear their thoughts. I have permanent spinal issues from a bad fall several years ago, so for me the lighter bike would be easier for me to manage, I think. I wish I had checked out the 650 while I was there. But I worry about its extra weight/bulk over the 250.

If anyone here here has riding experience on both models, I'd love to hear from you!

Thanks,
Glen
 

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Sorry to hear about your injury. I have not owned either the 250 or the 650 but I do ride the 950. There is one very good thing about the V-star I like is the low center of gravity not to mention how low it rides. I'm also 5'8 and have had issues with heavy high center bikes. It may be a long round trip but if you haven't already purchased them I would set up a test ride. I know none of us ever think about laying one over but the lower the center of gravity is the better for me. I hope you and you daughter enjoy riding together... Ride safe
 

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If I was in your position, I wouldn't buy a new anything. The first bike or the first bike after a long period of not riding should be used. Regardless of what you think, both you and your daughter are going to drop them (usually stopped). It hurts to scratch up a new bike. There are tons of cheap good 650s on the market since they have been manufactured since the late 90s and they have changed very little. They will run in top gear from around or just over 30 MPH and they are low and easy to ride. There are also many accessories available for them form a lot of different places.

You should buy used to see if motorcycles are for you and your daughter. The world is full of almost new bikes for sale because people bought new bikes and found out that motorcycles were not for them.

I bought a 09 650 Midnight Special last year for $3,600 with 700 miles on it. It was a holdover that was sold new in 2011. It was like new and had $1,000 worth of accessories on it. When I was shopping, I found a lot of similar good buys.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
If I was in your position, I wouldn't buy a new anything. The first bike or the first bike after a long period of not riding should be used. Regardless of what you think, both you and your daughter are going to drop them (usually stopped). It hurts to scratch up a new bike. There are tons of cheap good 650s on the market since they have been manufactured since the late 90s and they have changed very little. They will run in top gear from around or just over 30 MPH and they are low and easy to ride. There are also many accessories available for them form a lot of different places.

You should buy used to see if motorcycles are for you and your daughter. The world is full of almost new bikes for sale because people bought new bikes and found out that motorcycles were not for them.

I bought a 09 650 Midnight Special last year for $3,600 with 700 miles on it. It was a holdover that was sold new in 2011. It was like new and had $1,000 worth of accessories on it. When I was shopping, I found a lot of similar good buys.
Thank-you to everyone who has been replying to my thread; much appreciated! I am so glad that I discovered this forum. A great bunch of people and a wealth of knowledge here.

I guess I should have mentioned, that although I have not ridden in a long time, I was in fact an avid (hardcore) rider for many, many years. So I already know that I love riding. And I will also say here that I have never in my life dropped a bike, and doubt that I ever will. I have many friends who have never dropped theirs either. If my daughter was to ever drop her bike, it's simply a matter of getting any damage repaired, and move forward. No need to avoid buying new for fear of damaging it, in my humble opinion. I think that if money is not an issue, a brand-spanking-new bike trumps a used one any day of the week!

Glen
 

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Thank-you to everyone who has been replying to my thread; much appreciated! I am so glad that I discovered this forum. A great bunch of people and a wealth of knowledge here.

I guess I should have mentioned, that although I have not ridden in a long time, I was in fact an avid (hardcore) rider for many, many years. So I already know that I love riding. And I will also say here that I have never in my life dropped a bike, and doubt that I ever will. I have many friends who have never dropped theirs either. If my daughter was to ever drop her bike, it's simply a matter of getting any damage repaired, and move forward. No need to avoid buying new for fear of damaging it, in my humble opinion. I think that if money is not an issue, a brand-spanking-new bike trumps a used one any day of the week!

Glen
I have to agree with osbornk.
I too was what I considered to be a "hard-core" rider 30 years ago. I, and many others have found that you loose a lot of skills over a long absence from riding.
Be careful about getting too confident out there.

That being said, I own both.
A '95 250 Virago (Same as a 250 V-star) and an '03 650 (lowered) Custom. Again, I have to agree with osbornk and disagree with the statement, "...a brand-spanking-new bike trumps a used one any day of the week!" Like osbornk, my '03 came with in excess of $1000 worth of the add-ons that I would have put on myself and would have had to pay for if it had come stock. Plus a never-used $100 pair of riding gloves. It was already lowered front and rear, had a new Jardine exhaust system, was newly jetted, a lot of extra chrome, was in new condition, had 1490 miles on it and I took it home for $3000.

The 250 had 2,869 miles on it, was in new condition except for the original tires, had extra chrome, a windshield, bags, stand-offs and helmets, and I took it home for $1500. So, for less than $800 more than I would have paid for a new 250 V-star (before tax, title and delivery fee), I got two beautiful bikes with extremely low mileage in primo condition.

I ride the 250 75% of the time. Don't even consider riding two-up on it except for a spur-of-the-moment or emergency. The 250 is just a lot more nimble. I can really throw the thing around out there. It's a city, commuter and rural bike. It's a breeze in stop and go, navigating around town, and cruising the country roads. You'll find it'll fatigue you on longer interstate jaunts. It drifts around quite a bit at higher speeds in the crosswinds. It's a lot like work to ride the 250 any distance on the interstate on a windy day.

The 650 is the opposite. It's not as nimble around town but it won't tire you out on extra long cruises and on the interstate. It's got just enough power to feel like it belongs on the interstate, but it's still a joy at lower speeds on the country roads. It's got just enough power that you can feel fairly safe riding two-up. I have to qualify that and say that the new jets and aftermarket exhaust boosted the power a bit.

I rode an '85 Honda 250 Special for the first year that I got back into it.
I bought the 650 and was very happy with it but missed the lighter bike for riding to work and back. So, I bought the 250. I continue to find deals on bling for them and I've never looked back. Since one of them had a lot of the extras already on it, I'll never run out of the money I saved by buying used. The way I've dressed the Virago, some people think it's a Sportster at first glance.

I wouldn't hesitate to take the Virago on a rural group ride, but if I'm doing the 4-lane, the 650's coming out.

I think most here, including myself will recommend the 250 for a new rider for a lot of reasons, most of them obvious. If it were me, it would be the 250 for the daughter for the first full season. The downside of that is that most beginners quickly "outgrow" the 250 and go to something bigger, again for a lot of reasons, and again, most of them obvious. I don't think we're saying, "don't buy new." I think it's that we're saying something more like, "Don't buy new until you know exactly what you're going to want for the long term." Get your feet wet on a couple of great deals on beautiful almost-new bikes first. Get the miles in and then decide if you want to get your entire expenditure back to put down on a brand-new one. The one you know you want from the experience you've had with the used one. Hell, you might just keep the used one(s). Believe me, if they're the right ones, they have a tendency to really grow on you.
 

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My thoughts:
While your daughter may be happy on the 250 for a while, you will QUICKLY want more power. Having ridden in the past, the thirst for power easily returns. So, if you purchased two 2015 250's.. Id venture to say youre getting ready to lose your butt on the one you sell next spring for more power. Id check around see if you can find a left over 2014 or even 2013 650 for near the same price.
 

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My thoughts:
While your daughter may be happy on the 250 for a while, you will QUICKLY want more power. Having ridden in the past, the thirst for power easily returns. So, if you purchased two 2015 250's.. Id venture to say youre getting ready to lose your butt on the one you sell next spring for more power. Id check around see if you can find a left over 2014 or even 2013 650 for near the same price.
agreed, good choice on the 650. My 1100 is the first and only bike i have ever owned, let alone ridden and I have been told by many harley rider friends that it is significantly lighter than their bikes. The 650 sounds like it will be perfect for you. I've never regretted my bike choice (brand) and I have never had an issue with it. Good luck and have fun.
 

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Like Ken said, there are a TON of bikes from '09s all the way to '14s with 0, 1, or 2 miles on the clock sitting in dealers' wharehouses all over the land. My local dealer has more than he'd like. I think he might have a new 1100 that's never been ridden. I don't think you'll find too many folks here that will diss on the 650 or the 1100. However it turns out, good hunting.

Honestly, I love my 650 and have way too much sentimentality invested, but if I had to do it over again I'd be looking for an 1100 with the same looks, miles, personality and sound. These guys are right hands down. The 1100 is a better practical all-purpose ride. Especially for 2-up and for keeping up with them thar Harley-birds. Seriously, even with the extra Hp from the pipes and jets, the 650 could use more power. And while we're at it, they both could use a 6th gear.

The 1100 is almost identically the same bike with a bigger engine.
 

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I think that if money is not an issue, a brand-spanking-new bike trumps a used one any day of the week!

Glen
I think what folks are trying to say here is don't spend all that money on a new bike until you know exactly what you want long term. The only way to know that is to ride something for a little while. Buy something used and save money. Once you have enough experience and knowledge then take your money and invest in what you now KNOW you want not what you "think" you want.
 

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I'm not trying to be a hard-ass but, why would a former "hard-core" biker need to be told any of these things?
 

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I suggest you and your daughter spend some father-daughter time in a basic rider's course.

That experience together will be extremely valuable to her skill development and provide a place to regain/refresh some of your skills.

I quit riding nearly 30 years ago and I took the course as a part of getting back to riding. It was money well spent.

As long as you are realistic about the 250s they are great bikes. Some folks like the small and simple bikes, they ARE tons of fun. There are just some things they aren't ideal for. I wouldn't want to ride more than 100 miles on one but that is just my perspective.

Given that you have some question about your ability to manage a heavier bike, I agree that buying used might be a way to start with a small bike and switch to a bigger bike if it works for you. You should get back most of your investment in a used bike. It WILL fall over at some point - as some have said, it is easier to live with a used bike falling over. Don't ask how I know....
 

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Discussion Starter #14 (Edited)
I'm not trying to be a hard-ass but, why would a former "hard-core" biker need to be told any of these things?
I totally "get" why all of the posters are saying what they're saying. Yes, I started this thread with the idea of receiving some feedback from seasoned riders; hopefully from people with experience with both models. In my opening post, I likely should have talked more about my own particular needs/desires for a bike suitable to my specific circumstances, and discuss the (physical) reasons that prevent my choosing a larger bike.

I probably should have went on to say that yes, my daughter and I are indeed both going to take the riding course together at our earliest opportunity, and I maybe even should have talked a bit about how, due to our unique location, (a small remote island in the North Atlantic; a one hour ferry ride off the northeast coast of Newfoundland) Due to our geography, it is not simply a matter of driving around the area looking at used bikes to buy. There are none. I also want to add that, luckily, at my ripe old age I am finally at that point of my life where I no longer have to worry about money. If I purchase a new $4,500 bike and later wished I hadn't, or wished I had bought a larger one, I am not out much. It will not suddenly have zero value.

There are those who believe that I will need to have a bike that comfortably and easily can go way over 100kph, but as I stated earlier, most roads in my area have limits of 50 kph, and in a few cases 80kph. There are no busy highways where I live, no stop lights, no semi trucks to blow me into the ditch, etc. And I may have also mentioned already that I have no desire to go on lengthy road trips, due to my physical condition.

Others may say/think that I don't know what I'm getting myself into regarding a small bike. My daily rider for a long time (and in fact my last bike) was a tiny Kawasaki KH100; (no laughing!) it was very small and I believe it put out something like 10hp. (maybe less) Top speed was perhaps 85kph, and it took ages, and a good tailwind, to get anywhere near that. Point being, I loved that bike and rode it for a long time, never once thinking of trading up to something larger.

Then came the road of life... marriage, kids, bills, etc. And for many years I had put riding on the back burner. Until now. Finally financially worry-free, I now find myself way past the half--century mark, and with permanent spinal issues that prevent me from doing much of anything, yet I am more determined than ever to get back to taking short jaunts on an easily manageable bike on which I am able to actually sit upright, and in relative comfort, without putting a whole lot of strain on my upper spine.

The only thing I want to add is that although I am still leaning toward the V-Star 250, I am going to try to get back down to St. John's (1,000 km round trip) next week to see if I can find a 650 Custom to try on for size. But, call me crazy, I do prefer new over used. If it gets dropped, it gets repaired; not the end of the world. I am already regretting saying that I have never dropped a bike in my life. Likely no shortage of folks thinking that I'm a cocky bas*#@% to believe dropping a bike is beneath me. If it happens, it happens.

Anyway, I really do appreciate each and every comment I've received on this thread. And I look forward to hearing and learning much more from all of you.

Thanks,
Glen
 

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Here's what I've learned in my last 2 years of searching for motorcycles (for me and my wife)
I looked for a bike for myself. Checked out all the dealers, scoured used ads and traveled near and far. I live on the opposite coast from you on Vancouver Island, not as isolated as you, but still an expensive trip to the mainland.

For me, I'm a big guy and knew a 250 wouldn't cut it. I started looking at the 650. I even had a deal in the works for a used one, took a day off, rented a trailer, hopped on the ferry and drove for a couple 100kms only to find the bike was not as advertised and was a huge piece of junk.

I eventually found a great used 1100 that had many upgrades and was well cared for.

Then my wife decided she wanted to learn to ride so the search was on.
I really wanted to get her a 250 even though she was concerned that she'd grow out of it fast.

We looked at a ton of new and used ones and came to the conclusion that around here they sell used for nearly the same price as used.

Many of them are pretty beat on because most people buy them to learn on and then sell the next season. It wasn't uncommon to find one 4 years old that had 4 different owners. (and signs of being dropped)
Unlike the bigger bikes, we never found a 250 that had upgrades that would add value to the bike vs buying new. It seems not many people upgrade a bike that they are only going to keep for 1 season.

After an exhaustive search, we bought her a bigger bike (against my wishes) but she's really settled into it...and it's also big enough for me to ride comfortably :)

If I were to buy a 250, I'd buy new.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
If I were to buy a 250, I'd buy new.
Hi Jaymann,

Thanks for taking the time to comment. From what I have learned over these past few weeks, I completely agree with your statement that a new 250 is not a poor investment, over a used one. Why pay $3,000 or more for someone else's quite possibly abused learner 250 bike, when for a grand more you can get a brand new one, and with a warranty?

But I could possibly be talked into a mint used 650 if I could find one, which is highly unlikely where I live. It's looking like new is our only option.

Thanks again,
Glen
 

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Camper, have a look in the new members forum. This one guy is doing the same as you; coming back to riding after a lenghty break. He settled on a Stratoliner :eek: Think how fast you could go around the island on one of those.

Get the one that your going to have fun on and enjoy the ride.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Well, after a LOT of online research, much family discussion and endless mathematical calculations, we have finally made our decision. (drum roll...)

That's one beautiful new black 2015 V-Star 250 for my daughter, and one gorgeous new 2015 V-Star 650 Custom for me! I don't know how they're doing it, but one dealership is offering the 650 for a very easy-to-take price of just $6,300 CAD. (plus tax/license) I am not one to argue! I still think I would enjoy a 250, but with a difference of only $1,600, I doubt I'll have trouble learning to live with the 650!

These 2015's are not available here yet, so it will be a while before we start having fun. We're looking at an April delivery date.

So now my daughter and I will be spending the fall/winter learning everything we can about both these models, hopefully with the help of seasoned riders like all you fine forum members! As I've said earlier, any and all pointers/tips/mod suggestions, etc. will be most welcomed, and appreciated. Sadly the riding courses are now done for the season, but we'll be taking the class together in April. It's going to be a loooooong winter for us!

Glen
 

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Congratulations! I know you will enjoy those bikes! Ride as much as you can! That's the only way the investment in "toys" will pay you back-- true for motorcycles, boats, atvs, UTVs, campers, snowmobiles etc etc. use them and enjoy them as much as possible!

Some good winter reading would be David Hough's books. Look for Proficient Motorcycling and More Proficient Motorcycling. He dwells on a couple of things more than necessary but all in all the books are good for stimulating your thinking about riding skills. Once you guys take a basic motorcycling skills course and get a few hundred miles under your belt. his booms will mean more to you.

Happy riding! Enjoy the time with your daughter, they get grown and away too soon!
 
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