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I just started riding this year and so far I've had about 1450 miles on my 2001 GS500. It's a terrific first bike and I could see owning it for a long time. Still, I've been daydreaming about the next bike (i.e., a second bike) and SV is the natural choice. But then I'm wondering, a lot of people say that you can go directly to an SV with zero experience, so since i've started on a GS500 how about skipping the SV and go to something like a FZ1 or ZRX1200R next? If I want to own two bikes at the same time and one of the is a GS, doesn't it make sense to have a bigger performance gap between the two bikes? You don't normally see comparisons between the SV and FZ1/ZRX, I guess because they're not considered to be in the same class. But they're all standards so they're all interesting. Anybody have experience between the SV and either FZ1 or ZRX? How do they compare? And in general, do SV riders consider FZ1 and ZRX to be a "step up"? Other than the cost, and assuming you have the skills to handle the bigger bikes, why would you not choose FZ1/ZRX over the SV? Oh, my weekend fun rides are in the San Francisco Bay Area mountains. I understand the SV is terrific in the twisties. I'm just wondering if FZ1/ZRX are even better.
 

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1450 miles is most definitely NOT enough to warrant an upgrade. If you were to upgrade soon, going up to a liter+ bike would be a very bad idea. While some have started just fine on the SV (myself being one of them), it isn't the most ideal of bikes. What you have is DEFINITELY what I would consider ideal for your first 10,000 miles or so.. You should get to at least 5,000 before you consider moving up to something with more power. It comes down to the fact that you just have NOT ridden a bike long enough to have gained the experience to safely be able to handle the bigger bikes you are looking at.

If you MUST blow money on getting a new bike NOW.. I wouldn't suggest anything more powerful than the SV. My personal advice would be to ride the GS500 for a good year, practice everything you can and read about all of the techniques that you can, and when you get closer to 10,000 miles, start looking for a bigger upgrade (if by that time that is what you still want - it most likely will be ;))

Of course, it is your money and your life, so do whatever you want or whatever makes you happy. I'm just trying to help guide you in whatever ways I can :). I am sure others will pipe in too. ;D
 

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why would you not choose FZ1/ZRX over the SV?
Weight and handling. :) At least that are my reasons. Oh, and that the punch of the SV is really sufficient for the street.
Finally, I like the general optics better and also especially the motor over the bulky I4 motors, but I know that a lot of people disagree here.

Ciao
Jan
 

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While I'm personally chomping at the bit to get an FZ1 I don't think it's a good idea for somebody as new to the sport as you are. Those are extremely powerful bikes and trouble waiting to happen when in the wrong hands. I think you could easily make a case to go to the SV but not either of those.
 

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I personally find the SV to be all the bike I need. You may decide you want a liter or bigger bike, but you probably do not need it.
Barry
 

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If I want to own two bikes at the same time and one of the is a GS, doesn't it make sense to have a bigger performance gap between the two bikes?
I think you are on the right track here but you might want to focus on widening the purpose gap more than the performance gap. Think about how you plan to use two bikes...it would not make sense to have two that are good for basically doing the same thing except that one is more powerful than the other. It might be better to have one bike that is really good for your weekend rides in the twisties and one that is really good for daily commuting or touring or off-roading or boulevard cruising or stunting or track days or trials or whatever your interests are.
 

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All good advice, I personally like daviddowns2000 responce. I was a sportbike for the twisties and around town, and eventually something like a goldwing for riding LONGER distances. For you though, I would say to go with the SV650 for now.
 

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I'll concur with it being a little soon. Waaaaay back when I made a similar jump, going from a '78 Honda Hawk to a GS1000. While I only had Hawk a year and a half, I didn't have a car and so rode the Hawk a lot, probably 15k miles. Even with that under my belt the GS was a lot of bike to deal with, and I'd have been better off with a 650 as an intermediate step.
Really, the logical thing would be to buy an SV and sell the GS, ride the SV for a couple years and then move on if you felt the need.
 

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Ask yourself what the GS doesn't do that you want it to. Then ask what it DOES do that you enjoy. [When I had mine, the answer to the first was bad suspension - easily upgraded. The answer to the second was everything but longer rides over 200 miles.] I would upgrade the suspension and flog that light little beast in the mountains some more using the dough I saved for tires, fuel and track days. (GS is a perfect track day bike.) You'll find the limits of the GS are beyond the law's limits and get some answers from yourself about what you want your second bike to do better. In the meantime, when other riders see you can handle yourself they might let you test ride their scoot. If you're just itching to "look the part" when you get to the parking lot, you may as well blow your dough on whatever your friends think looks cool...
 

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I was sure I was going to buy an FZ1 for about 3 years as my second bike. I rode an '82 GS550L, which is probably sorta comparable to your GS. I lurked on the FZ1 board for years (great board, second only to this gem) and eventually test rode one. That bike is a rocket. I don't remember much about the test ride in terms of handling/brakes/suspenders, but I do remember the "hand of God" feeling when I poured the coal to 'er.

However, when I graduated and got serious about buying for some reason I just gravitated towards the SV. First gen FZ1s could be had for about the same money as a nicer '03 up SV, and insurance was comparable. However, ultimately, it was the do-all appeal of the SV. I test rode the bike and knew I was going to get it. The grunty motor just lends so much personality, and I haven't been disappointed yet, especially since I addressed the shortcomings with cheap mods.

It's a "little bike with a big heart." Sounds kind ghey I know, but it sums it up nicely.
 

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I don't need 100+ horsepower. I know myself too well. SV is plenty for the street.
 

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My wife has a GS500, I have an SV650, and my father has an FZ-1. I have quite a number of miles on all three, and all three are great bikes for their respective purposes. For the first few years, you can't beat the GS500 for gaining the experience. I bought my SV because I had so much more fun on my wife's GS500 than I did on my Katana. It was lighter and more flickable. I wanted something similar with a little bit more kick to it.

The FZ-1 is a wonderful bike. In fact, if I ever get a 2nd bike, the FZ-1 will probably be it. Powerful, fast, and balanced perfectly. Great for touring. But it is heavier and bulkier than the SV making it a bit more work. I will probably never get rid of the SV b/c it's such a perfect balance of everything and caters to 90% of my everyday riding. Each bike has it's own purpose, so as others have said, choose the one you want based on the type of riding you want to do.
 

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Listen to this....

Last weekend I spent the day at a Honda demo day. As for sportbikes I rode a CBR1000RR three times, CBR600RR twice, 919 twice, and a VFR800. These are all fantastic bikes, all of which are faster than the SV and most handle better while I'd love to own one of these magnificent motorcycles, I couldn't find a single thing that I absolutely had to have over my SV.

I suggest you buy an SV650, ride it for a couple thousand miles, then upgrade the suspension, exhaust, and tires. It will feel like a completely different bike... Then I suggest you go to a demo day of sorts and ride as many other motorcycles as you can. While they'll probably be better than the SV in many ways, as an overall package the SV is just about the perfect bike. It has more than enough grunt to quickly get you in trouble around town, it handles pretty dern well in the not-so-straight stuff (after upgrades) and is very easy to ride.
 

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As long as you respect the bike, it will respect you. Throttle control is a word people need to learn. The bike will not magically jump out and go 200mph without the rider telling it to do it.

For the op, see what type of rider you are and what bike fits you as that kind of rider. If you like putt putting around town, get a scooter, if you like touring, get a bike for that purpose. Then test ride the thing. See if you're comfortable riding it, since ultimately you will be spending many hours riding it.
 

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the sv650 is a big step from that gs500 imo, its very quick especially for the city, plenty of power.
+1

I agree, While doing my driving school I tried out a gs500, I had a blast with this bike, After passing my test I picked up my new sv650 and WOW!! what a huge difference. Way more torque and power I found. The power of the SV has not gotten old, however the gs500 felt like it did during my 5 to 6 hours I was with it. I have driven bigger bikes, no fz1 though, and they all felt big and harder to handle. I think the sv will stay with me for quite a while. Perhaps I will never get rid of it.
 

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Get a supermoto


more fun then any bike mentioned above

and you can beat guys on SS bikes all day in the track and mountains
 

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As long as you respect the bike, it will respect you.
I'm very tired of hearing this thrown around. It's not about "respect", it's about how big of a rider mistake will the bike tolerate? The GS500 will tolerate quite a bit, the SV less so. When you start talking about liter bikes, their tolerance for mistakes is very small, and they will bite hard.
 

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I hate heavy bikes ...
 
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