Join Date: Nov 2011
Location: NorthCentral Florida
Does your bike fit you?
As an older individual, but a relatively new rider, my recent experience is limited to only two motorcycles. I purchased an 03 Vulcan 500 a few years ago and have been riding it steadily for the past couple years. Thinking back to my teenage years, I rode an old Harley 165 for about a year. I'd always pined for a Triumph, but never actually rode one. So I bought a brand new Triumph America cruiser last year. So far, I've put about 15,000 miles on the Vulcan but only 2,700 on the Triumph. Why? Because the Triumph cruiser just doesn't fit!
The Triumph's bars are too wide & at the wrong angle, the suspension is too harsh, and the seat is terrible and torture after 30 minutes. And the sound of the engine! What in blue blazes was I thinking? None of these stood out in my 10 minute test ride prior to purchase. I just had to have a Triumph!
After riding both bikes for the last year, one thing stands out more than any other. At higher speeds, I have more confidence riding the Vulcan even though it's almost a hundred pounds lighter. When I first purchased the Vulcan, slow speed maneuvers were very difficult, but I felt right at home and comfortable at 80 mph. I felt "in control". Exactly opposite with the Triumph. Slow speed maneuvers are actually easier, but high speeds are downright scary. It tracks well and displays no weird manners, but I don't feel in control, or part of the bike like I do on the Vulcan.
I spent good money correcting the seat and suspension on the Triumph, none on the bars yet, but any correction is a figment of my imagination. Seat's still terrible and the ride too harsh. But more importantly, I don't feel "secure and in control" above 50 or 60. It's up for sale.
The point of all this, at least for you new riders over 50, (you young'uns are not included; you can ride anything and be happy!) the bike you choose can make all the difference in your riding comfort and confidence. I was lucky and stumbled on a bike that fit, and really enjoy riding despite little age related aches and pains.
So if you find yourself riding less & less, it may be you are just on the wrong bike. I suspect that's why there's so many older, low mileage bikes on the market. The bike didn't "fit".
I hope you are as fortunate as I.