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post #1 of 41 (permalink) Old 10-03-2010, 04:02 PM Thread Starter
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Your thoughts on the right starter bike

Hey everyone- Mike from Phoenix AZ here! -Man, I am ready to ge a bike. I am enrolled in the beginner motorcycle training class in a few weeks. I am currently shopping bikes and wanted to seek your opinion on a good choice for my first bike.

I am 6'2, 175 pounds. I have zero motorcycle experience other than farting around my neighborhood on a 150cc scooter. I do not know how to shift, brake, etc.

It is important to me that I buy a first bike that will fit my needs as a beginner. I don't want to get anything too big and be intimidated to ride it, but I don't get a smalle bike and grow out of it too quickly.

Can you please receommend a good bike or a bike that you started on? I am thinking of a Vulcan 800....Is that too big? What are the motorcycle instructors thoughts on this topic?

Thanksfor your help!
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post #2 of 41 (permalink) Old 10-03-2010, 07:16 PM
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I think the Vulcan 800 would be a good bike personally I figure a bike is only as big and fast as you right hand lets it be. I have been riding on the road for around 10yrs and including dirt about 20years now personally the best bike you can get is one you are comfortable on I would go around to dealers and just sit on random bikes and get the feel for them. the one that you sit on and just feel right on would be your best bet. Hope that helped some.
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post #3 of 41 (permalink) Old 10-03-2010, 07:27 PM
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Hello mikeaz,
Toy4xchris makes good points... try out thr 2009 Vulcan 500, thr 800 and 900. I like the 500. Like a pair of shoes try them on for size and feel
Good luck, lets us know what you decide, Dan

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post #4 of 41 (permalink) Old 10-03-2010, 08:17 PM
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Starter bikes

I bought a 900C for my wife and kids to start out on. It has a long wheelbase for a smaller displacement cycle so a lanky fella like yourself wouldn't look out of place. Low center of gravity, low weight (for its class) and easy, easy rideability makes it a good choice. My son (22) started out on it and we have since found him an 04 1500. He is comfortable on both. My V2K is a bit of a stretch for him, but he can handle it on the open road pretty good, so the 900 prepped him well.

I still use the 900 as my daily ride, and though I am not quite as tall as you, I find the 900 fits me well. 6', 275lbs. There are also lots of options for tour additions, seat configurations, and chrome goodies.

If this is going to be the first scoot, I would seriously take a look at the 900s. The 500 would be a bit cramped for you and the 1700s are heavy.
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post #5 of 41 (permalink) Old 10-04-2010, 09:24 AM
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I have zero motorcycle experience other than farting around my neighborhood on a 150cc scooter.
I recommend a smaller bike. I have a good friend who went from a 49cc scooter to a VN1500 and he's scared to death of it and hardly rides it.

Among Japanese bikes, even the smaller engines are bigger bikes. The Honda 750 and the Vulcan 800 are almost the size of a Harley 1200 Sportster weightwise, and I believe have a longer wheelbase. And an 800 is a lot heavier than a scooter-500 pounds dry, about 750 with fluids and you on it. Going into a corner even at 35mph will be radically different than the scooter you've been riding.

I'd stress safety if you've never ridden a real motorcycle. Get a smaller one (500-650 CC max) and ride it for a year or so. You can always sell it and move up when you're ready. It is far superior than getting a bike that's too big for you and beyond your abilities too soon, making you afraid of it and having it sit in the garage all the time.

I realize we're all different, and what works for one guy won't work for another, so what I'm suggesting is a general rule.

As an aside, there was a guy at a Harley dealer here a few years ago who hadn't ridden in 30 years. He bought a brand new Sportster 1200 with the Screaming Eagle stage1 kit installed, and he signed the papers, hopped on, revved the throttle, popped the clutch, took off, went about 50 yards and ran right into the back of a pickup truck, throwing himself over the handlebars and putting himself in the box of the truck. Totaled the bike.

Now THAT would be embarrassing!

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post #6 of 41 (permalink) Old 10-04-2010, 11:04 AM
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MikeAZ, this is a tough decision and very personal. I most of us can do is tell you how it went for us and let you decide if it applies to you.

I was going back to riding after many years (20+) off bikes. My biggest way back then was a CSR305, when 750s were "big" bikes. Today, people talk about under 1000cc as "entry level" bikes... life changes.

When I started looking, I was looking for a 750, thinking this would be "huge" for me. I have always liked Kawis, and soon found they don't have 750, now is 500, 800 or 900... so hummm... I found a 900 for sale locally at a very good price (07, around 1k miles at ~$5K), so went for it.

While it did feel intimidating at first, this only lasted the first week or so. After I took the class and refreshed my feel for the bike, and a few careful miles on the 900, it felt very comfortable. Note that you do the class on 250cc tiny bikes and, well, they are very comfy for the class but far from jumping on your 500cc+ bike on real life traffic.

The 900 custom also was different because you sit with your legs more "forward" vs down like on a classic. So don't think the difference is just cosmetic. Riding position and you getting used to it is important to feel comfortable. The bike does NO feel heavy once you get moving.

Just three years later I go around now on a 1600. For long distance hwy travel is just more comfortable (to me). So think about that also, For city driving I THINK a smaller more nimble bike is better, vs long distance doing 70 on a hwy, where solid and heavy works to your advantage. I hated getting blown over by cars going by, very insecure feeling.

I am 5'9" and about 220 lbs and the 900 custom fit me great. While 900 seems intimidating at first, I found I grew into it right away. It wasn't the size, it was the riding position that took a bit of time, and suddenly, I was more used to it than I realized.

Also, for starters, consider a used bike. You will have much less $$$ tied up and, if you decide to trade up, you won't take so much loss. My brothers and I have bought several bikes in the last few years (we ride together) and have gotten really good deals on low millage like new bikes. You can save up to 30% from dealer price for a bike that barely has 2K miles on it and is basically new.

No matter what you choose, please be very careful and work your way up. Riding groups in your area can be of extreme help setting up practice sessions that you can now do with YOUR bike so you can get a good feel for it. When you get on yours, go back and try those U turns and fig 8s again. You will get a a good feel for it and feel more confident.

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post #7 of 41 (permalink) Old 10-05-2010, 12:51 AM
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I went from a 250cc kymco scooter to a 99vn800b felt great when I sat on it and so I took it for a ride paid cash for it and never looked back. Now I'm the proud owner of the 800 and a 04 1500 fi nomad. I sure do love both of them. Go sit on every bike you can and if they will get them to hold the bike up so you can put both of your feet up and get a good feel for how they fit you while riding. Then go get that coures taken so you can get comfortable with shfting and such ask questions of the instructors. The most important thing to remember after that is buy the bike that feels right and you should be ok. peace out and ride safe.

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post #8 of 41 (permalink) Old 10-08-2010, 07:13 AM
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Originally Posted by mikeaz View Post
Hey everyone- Mike from Phoenix AZ here! -Man, I am ready to ge a bike. I am enrolled in the beginner motorcycle training class in a few weeks. I am currently shopping bikes and wanted to seek your opinion on a good choice for my first bike.

I am 6'2, 175 pounds. I have zero motorcycle experience other than farting around my neighborhood on a 150cc scooter. I do not know how to shift, brake, etc.

It is important to me that I buy a first bike that will fit my needs as a beginner. I don't want to get anything too big and be intimidated to ride it, but I don't get a smalle bike and grow out of it too quickly.

Can you please receommend a good bike or a bike that you started on? I am thinking of a Vulcan 800....Is that too big? What are the motorcycle instructors thoughts on this topic?

Thanksfor your help!
Hi. I rode a Honda Sport 50 when I was in high school in the 1960's. Fast forward to 2008 and I got back into riding. I bought a new Yamaha 650 Classic after looking at a number of bikes. It seemed to fit me best (6-0, 185 lbs, 32 inch inseam) and was a great deal on a past year model. I was reluctant to buy used because I did not know anything about today's cruisers. I looked at the Vulcan 900 and it just seemed to be too big and intimidating. Anything larger was totally out of the question.

I rode the Yamaha for a year and 6,000 miles, a lot of that two-up with my wife, and outgrew it. At the same time, I gained a lot of experience and confidence from those 6000 miles. I moved up to a 2009 Vulcan 1700 and was fine on that bike right away.

My recommendation is to buy a used bike in the 500-650-750 range. Get someone who knows cruisers to help you find one - perhaps a mechanic. Plan on riding it for a year or two until you are quite comfortable not only with riding, but with what you really want and need based on what type of riding that you do. Then go out and get the bike that you will hold on to.

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post #9 of 41 (permalink) Old 10-08-2010, 11:34 AM
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I would also recommend buying used , that way yer not out a whole bunch of $ before ya decide what type and size of bike ya really want! Lotta places will give great deals on used late model bikes so they can make room for the 2011's!
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post #10 of 41 (permalink) Old 10-08-2010, 11:54 AM
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I would suggest a cruiser that's 500cc-700cc. An older shadow, virago, intruder, etc. Whatever bike you get, make sure it is COMFORTABLE. Buy used and expect to drop the bike at least once. Ride it for a year or two then when your skills have improved move to something bigger.

I made the mistake of starting with an 87 BMW K75. It was a pig. Too heavy, too sluggish and too EXPENSIVE to work on. Long rides were a serious pain in the lower back. It sat too high, the list goes on. I found a guy on CL in my area with a virago for sale or trade (he wanted a sport bike). We traded titles and life was good at that point. All the while, telling myself "Self, this is what we should have started with".

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