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Discussion Starter #1
Hello All,

I learnt to ride a motorcycle back in India 16 years ago. I have considerable riding experience in that country. Recently I got a preowned Vulcan 2007 Classic LT and have been loving it.

Some of my friends are now interested in learning to ride a motorcycle. They have zero riding experience. But they know to drive a stick shift and are very good bicycle riders. I am of the opinion that Vulcan 900 is not a good motorcycle to learn to ride a motorcycle. But you never know!

Did any of you learn to ride a motorcycle straight out of a Vulcan 900?

Thanks and Regards,
Sharada
 

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The VN900 was my 1st bike. I feel like I couldn't have made a better decision. But I HIGHLY recommend, as everyone here will also recommend, is taking the MSF course. It is vital and essential in becoming comfortable and educated in riding a motorcycle. I really think that would be the 1st step in learning to ride a motorcycle.


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Discussion Starter #3
Thank you atineo1982 for the response.

Did you take the MSF course first before learning to ride the motorcycle or did you learn to ride using VN900 and eventually took the MSF course to know more about safety?

In any case, VN900 is a super heavy bike and I am glad that you could learn to ride using that beast! I salute you!
 

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You should take the course first, but you don't have to. I bought my first bike, rode it for a bit and then took the course. I've been ridding for 20 years now, and I can tell you the Basic and Advanced MSF courses are an excellent way to be a better rider, and to be safer in general.

After you get good, look around for a course similar to the Jerry "MotorMan" Palladino Ride like a Pro class: https://www.ridelikeapro.com/rider-classes.

This class is all about slow speed control and maneuvers, and I highly recommend it to anyone. I had the opportunity to take it, and it is a simplified version of the police motorcycle course. Very helpful, and if you pass it you will be light years ahead of most other riders.

Doc
 

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My first bike was (and still is) a VN900 Custom, but I "learned" on the 250cc provided at the MSF course I took ten days prior.

Now, taking into consideration I only spent the better part of 8 hours on the 250cc in class (that also being the only time I'd ever been on a bike period), my first "real" ride outside of the MSF parking lot was a 25 mile trip from the dealership to my home on my 900. This route took me on highways and side streets, in and out of construction zones and really was where I put everything I had learned into practical application.

MY true learning is and will continue to be on my 900 for the foreseeable future. Until (and unless) I upgrade, my 9 and I will grow and learn with each other.

Best of luck with yours and to your friends as well!

Ride safe and ride on!
 

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Thank you atineo1982 for the response.

Did you take the MSF course first before learning to ride the motorcycle or did you learn to ride using VN900 and eventually took the MSF course to know more about safety?

In any case, VN900 is a super heavy bike and I am glad that you could learn to ride using that beast! I salute you!
I took the course 2 years prior to buying my motorcycle. I have yet to take the advanced course


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Sounds like you have some riding experience, but your friends have not. They should take the MSF beginner course. It establishes a good set of riding habits from the beginning. While it is true that you don't have to take the course, it is to a beginner's benefit to do so, if you learn on you own, you won't be able tell if you are doing something wrong. A good instructor can point out mistakes and show you how to do it correctly. That way a beginner can get started out on the right foot.

Can the 900 be a good beginner's bike? That depends on the individual. Are they strong enough to handle the weight? I'll have to say that learning on a smaller-displacement, milder bike sure involves a lot less stress on a new rider, not having to deal with the weight of, say, a Vulcan 900. But if the person is up to it, the 900 can be a very good bike to learn on. The added benefit to it, is it makes a very nice bike for even an experienced rider. I've been riding for 40 years, and I really like my 900LT.
 

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It might be a bit heavy for a smaller learner and it's not very manouverable but the power is clean and steady so is forgiving on the inexperienced. IMO a smaller bike is better but the 900 is not too far out of the field. Where I live the 900 is not allowed for a learner but slightly smaller bikes such as vstar 650 is.
 

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You should take the course first, but you don't have to. I bought my first bike, rode it for a bit and then took the course. I've been ridding for 20 years now, and I can tell you the Basic and Advanced MSF courses are an excellent way to be a better rider, and to be safer in general.

After you get good, look around for a course similar to the Jerry "MotorMan" Palladino Ride like a Pro class: https://www.ridelikeapro.com/rider-classes.

This class is all about slow speed control and maneuvers, and I highly recommend it to anyone. I had the opportunity to take it, and it is a simplified version of the police motorcycle course. Very helpful, and if you pass it you will be light years ahead of most other riders.

Doc
I agree, the course first.
It may be a life-saver :D
 

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I rode dirt bikes as a teenager more than twenty years ago.

My first street bike was the 900. I took the course first and bought the bike after getting my endorsement.

I am not a big guy, so don't take this the wrong way.
The size and strength of the rider is probably the only critical aspect of deciding if the 900 is a good bike for a new rider.
For most people, it will not be a problem.

If you have trouble getting a bike off of the stand or don't feel confident controlling the weight of the bike when stopping; then you will have a hard time focusing on learning.

Scott
 

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learning to ride on a 900

I learned to ride on a 900 Classic. I took the MSF class, which used Buell 500's but prior to that my riding experience was negligible. I think whether or not a 900 is a good bike to learn on depends on the rider's size. I'm over 6 ft. tall so was able to hold the bike up with no problem. There is a lot of good information and feedback at http://www.bestbeginnermotorcycles.com/
 

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I would like to agree with many of the previous posters. The first place to begin is with a course. In Canada it has a different name, but has mostly the same content. I also strongly recommend Ride Like a Pro. I use their exercises, each spring. I also agree that size and strength are big components to whether a 900 is a good learning bike. I was away from riding some 30 years. I learned originally on a 350, which was so poorly balanced compared to the 900. The Vulcan 900 is such a well behaved bike that for me re-learning was easy. Having said that if a new rider were to instinctively grab the front brake at very slow speed while the front wheel is turned, you might go down on a Vulcan 900, where you could "save" the error with a lighter bike. I purchased a 650 V-Star for my wife, for her to learn. She took the course first and then took the bike out. It was not a perfect bike, engine guards had a few scratches already. I covered the guards with pipe insulation to protect them at first and it was a good idea, because we picked up the bike a couple times. Not because she could not hold the bike, she can now. It was because she did not recognize the problem until it as already too late. Lesson is don't learn on a pristine bike, unless you feel really lucky. Have a bike you are reasonably comfortable on and that you can easily lift, push while walking beside it and straddling it. One that is in good mechanical fitness. Learn on that bike knowing that in a couple years you will trade-up to something bigger. Anyway, that would be my advice.
 

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I would like to agree with many of the previous posters. The first place to begin is with a course. In Canada it has a different name, but has mostly the same content. I also strongly recommend Ride Like a Pro. I use their exercises, each spring. I also agree that size and strength are big components to whether a 900 is a good learning bike. I was away from riding some 30 years. I learned originally on a 350, which was so poorly balanced compared to the 900. The Vulcan 900 is such a well behaved bike that for me re-learning was easy. Having said that if a new rider were to instinctively grab the front brake at very slow speed while the front wheel is turned, you might go down on a Vulcan 900, where you could "save" the error with a lighter bike. I purchased a 650 V-Star for my wife, for her to learn. She took the course first and then took the bike out. It was not a perfect bike, engine guards had a few scratches already. I covered the guards with pipe insulation to protect them at first and it was a good idea, because we picked up the bike a couple times. Not because she could not hold the bike, she can now. It was because she did not recognize the problem until it as already too late. Lesson is don't learn on a pristine bike, unless you feel really lucky. Have a bike you are reasonably comfortable on and that you can easily lift, push while walking beside it and straddling it. One that is in good mechanical fitness. Learn on that bike knowing that in a couple years you will trade-up to something bigger. Anyway, that would be my advice.
I also wouldn't recommend starting off with too large (or heavy, or powerful) of a bike.

You wouldn't want to be this guy!


Or this guy!


While these are kinda funny to watch (I don't mean someone getting hurt is funny; showing off or riding a bike without experience is funny in a "why would you do that" kinda way). The reality is that this kind of thing probably happens way more than most will admit, or way more than most are aware of.

Start off by taking the MSF course. Learn good habits on a smaller, manageable bike. Buy a used lighter bike to learn on. Sell said bike. (Older bikes tend to drop to a certain value, and remain there, as long as you don't crash or damage them). So, if you bought a $1500 bike, rode for a year, you could most likely sell it for the same $1500 you paid. If you get a great deal (like I have many times in the past) you can actually make money re-selling those bikes.

After you are comfortable riding, then move on up to something larger. Motorcycles are dangerous if you don't know what you are doing. Also, as a motorcycle rider, it is important to note that other cars on the road are even more dangerous. Learning this and how to manage situations is what the MSF course is all about. It could save your life! I can't find it right now, but I read somewhere that statistics show that most crashes on motorcycles involve new(ish) riders. Most of those either have A) No MSF course training, or B) a bike far too large (heavy or powerful) for them to handle as a new rider. Don't be a statistic! And don't be too proud to learn to ride on an older, less powerful bike.

That is the path I chose, and that is my advice to all new riders.

Matt
 

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I have said it on here multiple times and will say it again. I got an older pre-abused Honda 650 nighthawk for $1,000 with a rattle can paint job and scuffed engine guards, scuffed tail pipes. After I knocked some rust off of the pre-scuffed places and replaced several clutch and brake levers on it from practicing in closed parking lots I sold it to a buddy that wanted to learn to ride for $800.

I kept it in a controlled environment at first and then went from there. But I also learned to ride during my bullet proof teenage years. If I had to do it all over again I would probably take a MSF class first. I would still like to just for the experience.
 

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Will re-inforce as everyone pretty much did the MSF course.

Driver size being everything, inexperience is another in chosing the right "training" bike. Many of the MSF courses offer bikes (all in my neck of the woods anyway) and their bikes were Honda 125. Small bikes. You get to bring your own as well if you wish. My thought was why risk damaging your's if you don't have too...you are learning after all. Size matters as they say!

When riding a bike it's not "if" but "when" you'll have a fall. It happens to the best of us. In conjunction with the MSF course I chose a S40 as my beginner bike. 380 lbs wet, cheap on gas, reliable, there's tons of them out there and re-sell is super easy. It was great for me and the wife. The bike was quite agile and "forgiving". You can easily manouever this puppy. So used the course Honda 125 and did the street thing (own my own) with the S40.

My wife had a hard time with the clutch. I took her to a parking lot and had her practice start stop....the dealer was surprised when I came in looking for a set of brake pads!!!

Once I got my "training" in on the S40 I went up to the VN900. I did my exit on the VN900.

As another option, my wife was feeling wearry about doing the exit course. The clutch thing. In this case we went down to a "scooter" and she got her full "M"...as long as you meet the rules...in my neck of the woods.

Drive safe, start small...
 

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I learned to ride in 1972. I was 25 years old. No dirt bike experience, only one wild ride on the back of a friends Sportster when I was 16. I taught myself to ride on a Jawa 350 2-stroke. Horrible bike. While one can teach oneself to ride, I recommend taking the beginner's course. It's the best way to start out ones riding career. It makes for a safer, more skilful rider.

Here's a story about learning to ride on a big bike. We had some friends, a couple, who decided to learn to ride. I think Stu might have had a little dirt bike experience as a kid. At this point, though, he was in his 50's. They took the MSF course in Anchorage, then immediately flew back east to Maine and picked up a pair of matching white GL1500 Gold Wings. Yup, this, after the short time on the 125's in the course. They ran them around a parking lot a few times then promptly set off to ride them back to Alaska. To their credit, they had no issues or incidents along the way. I suspect that by the time they got back up here, they could be considered experienced riders. She was so short, she had to have her seat heavily modified to get her up to the handlebars properly, and her feet on the ground. This isn't the way I'd recommend going about learning, but it seems that for some, it works. So the idea of using a big bike as a learning bike may not work for some, but it does for others. Again, one would have to evaluate their physical size and strength in determining how big a bike to learn on. Going with an older, cheap bike that already had some dings on it isn't a bad idea, either. Besides, why invest a small fortune on an expensive new motorcycle, only to find that after learning to ride that it wasn't really what you thought it was going to be?
 

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It all depends on the individual. I've seen a 120lb women learn on an R6, took off like a bat out of hell, then come back and say "Meh, that's all it's got?" and I've seen a 210 lb 24 year old guy (that's been riding quads and dirt bikes most of his life) ride about 25 yards and total my boss' (and his EX boss, haha) new Ninja 500. That said, I wouldn't let anyone learn on my 900, haha.
 

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It all depends on the individual. I've seen a 120lb women learn on an R6, took off like a bat out of hell, then come back and say "Meh, that's all it's got?" and I've seen a 210 lb 24 year old guy (that's been riding quads and dirt bikes most of his life) ride about 25 yards and total my boss' (and his EX boss, haha) new Ninja 500. That said, I wouldn't let anyone learn on my 900, haha.
yea, you have to do a personal inventory

I struggled with my 9 at first because all my life I have rode sport bikes. Totally different.

My wife took the class and passed on a beat up ninja 500 but still doesn't like to ride. But a light cheap bike is a great way to learn.

I have ridden harley, honda, kawasaki blah blah... every bike has its good and bad

bottom line get cheap and light to learn... take the class... say it again take the damn class....:mad:

I hate motorcycle stupidity and the class is cheap and easy

my wifes boss decided at age like 50, hmm I want to ride motorcycles.... not ever riding ever ever ever

three crashes later...... reconstructive surgery twice he finally gave up, saying I guess I have bad luck? what you don't have bad luck you have NO TRAINING AND BOUGHT BIKES YOU HAVE NO WAY TO HANDLE.

kinda why I get freaked out by 16 year olds with Gizer 750... as example .... way too much power... every been passed by one at 90 MPH on one wheel... yeah my idiot brothers do that crap.... HATE IT... take it easy man relax

I digress... Lol
 

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Everyone is different. Some can adapt pretty quickly, others will need to take a step at a time.

The only certainty, is that they all will be much better off, and safer, if they take the MSF course.

IMHO, take the course. Then determine the next step.

Remember, that certain used MC purchases can be made, the bike used for awhile, and then sold for about the purchase price.

On my local Craigslist, there are Honda Rebels for $2,000. that I am sure you could sell in June next near with 1,500 more miles on them for that same $$.

(sorry was watch TV and skimming here, missed that CustomRider had some great points, unitl after I typed this..... !
 

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Discussion Starter #20
Thanks for your valuable inputs.

If we need to buy a 150cc to 250cc bikes, what are the bike models / brands I should look for on local CL? I tried searching for "150cc" and only scooters and mopeds show up! :(

Thanks in advance. All your responses are much appreciated!
 
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