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Discussion Starter #1
Heres my question, I will be takeing the msf course some time this year if I can lose some of my weight, I am 6'3" 421lbs. ( hope to be around 350) right now but hope to change that. When I get my motorcycle liesence I plan on getting a vulcan 900 custom or 1700 classic but I know that everyone says that new riders should start small but at my size i have a feeling the starter bikes will be really small for me. Now at my size would the 900 be to small power wise to take on long trips without hurting the engine when I get better at riding, and will the 1700 be to much to handle even if I take my time and take it one step at a time. Sorry for the long post
 

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Bro, I'm 6'2" and 355lbs.

I just finished my MSF on a Suzuki 250 and I ride a Vulcan 900 Classic. The only real "issue" I have is it feels a bit short from seat to feet, not a deal breaker just an inch or so. :)

You'll be fine.
 

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In truth, I have not, but I really don't think it'd be additional strain. The bike has zero lag from my body and all the vets I know, who know me and my size, all recommended the V900 - V1700. I knew I wanted the Vulcan Classic, and I haven't had any issue in power.

If you're looking for a POWERHOUSE bike, than you might want to look at the 1700... double the HP/etc. than the 900 and you might feel more comfy with it. But for me, the 900 was a great choice and has plenty of 'scoot'.
 

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I was going to ask -

1) Have you ridden a 900cc series (anything) ever?
2) How much riding have you done... on anything?
 

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The 900 was my first bike, and I'm a big guy too. 6'2" 290. It's a tame first bike, but it has the size of a big bike. The 1700 is not much bigger, it just has a few nicer features (namely; optional cruise control on some models, dual suspension, and lower revs on the highway). Don't let cc's fool you. The 900 and 1700/2000 are all pretty close in physical size when you're sitting on it.

With me and the wife (though she's not very big at all) on it, plus luggage, there is a LOT of weight on that bike, and we do interstate trips all the time, hundreds or even thousands of miles at a time. She can do it! Other bikes can do it better, perhaps, but the 900 can certainly do it well with reasonable comfort and without feeling strained.

If you like to ride on the interstate at 60-75mph, like I do, it'll have no problems. If you like to cruise 80 or 90, you'll be buzzing along at some pretty high RPM's but it'll still do it.

I never like the default CC rules. If I had listened to 'everyone' I would have bought a 250 or a 500 as a first bike, and spent a bunch of extra money trading it in on something else. The 900 was a fantastic choice for a first bike. It was a LITTLE tricky, and I had to go slow. After the MSF (which I took before getting the bike) my ritual was every day, for about an hour or two, I would ride it in a parking lot. My mother and stepdad (also riders) live right next to the local high school so I actually parked my bike at their house, and would ride it across the street to the high school and practice there. About a month of that, I progressed to side streets, up to 55mph streets, until one day I finally rode for about an hour on a 55mph street. For me, the 55mph curvy streets were the most challenging. Even now, some 20,000 miles later, I find 55mph curvy roads more challenging than the interstate.

Practice hard stops in the parking lot, swerving, work up speed- you can do it just fine. Never once dropped it or laid it down; it's heavy, but not too heavy that if you've got decent lower body strength (and at your size, I'm sure you do! Same with me), you can 'catch it' when you goof. Any heavier though, and I might have had a hard time. When you're learning you don't always stop at the right angle or sometimes you'll second guess yourself and put a foot down while leaned over. A 1700 may go down at those points, whereas you can hold a 900 up. My wife can and has ridden my 900 (slow speeds), but we got her on a 750 shadow because it's light enough that SHE could catch it when she was starting.

Good luck! Whatever you choose will be good but I'd lean towards the 9!
 

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I have never listened to the "small bike first" rule. If you get a small bike now, chances are in a year or less, you will want something bigger. A good friend told me before I got my first bike (a CBR 954) "get the bike you WANT. If that bike is a bigger bike, just remember, there are more than 2 positions to the throttle.

Best advice is find the bike that fits you physically and financially. Take some time to learn the bike in low traffic areas, and you will be golden! Good luck and have fun!
 

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I have never listened to the "small bike first" rule. If you get a small bike now, chances are in a year or less, you will want something bigger. A good friend told me before I got my first bike (a CBR 954) "get the bike you WANT. If that bike is a bigger bike, just remember, there are more than 2 positions to the throttle.

Best advice is find the bike that fits you physically and financially. Take some time to learn the bike in low traffic areas, and you will be golden! Good luck and have fun!
There is a bit of a difference betweeen sportbikes and cruisers though.

The biggest concerns with a sportbike, is clutch control (too high of an RPM and too quick of a clutch let off and you'll be standing in the same spot but the bike will be half a mile away!), and of course having the wherwithall to know your limits and not use the power beyond what you can handle (and being realistic ABOUT what you can handle).

With a cruiser, some of those same concerns aren't quite as much, save for big power cruisers like the V2K or some of the crazy V-4 machines. However, WEIGHT is a big concern with a cruiser. New riders on cruisers will often find themselves stopped at an angle or just being 'awkward' with the bike as they get used to it. An experienced rider will avoid those same situations, a new rider might not. They also may not be used to the weight. New riders on big cruisers (and I'm not saying people don't do it, I know lots of folks whose first bike was something like an Ultra Classic Electra Glide), are more apt to drop the bike than on a smaller cruiser, damaging that expensive new bike!

It's all purely individual. A larger guy with a lot of leg strength can handle a lot more than, say, my 5 foot tall wife!

You hit the nail on the head when you said 'fits' though, because FIT is the most important thing. Go check out some Harley riders and see what they think about small displacement rules. They'll scratch their head and say "what's that?". SOME of them MAY have started on a 900 or 1200cc sportster, but aside from that Harley only makes big displacement twins (currently 1600cc and up). LOTS of folks start on those. They find one that fits right, and go! But again! LOTS of them drop them in the first couple months of owning them. So the OP just needs to figure out where he is in that. Maybe sit on the 1700 in a dealer and lean it left and right and see how heavy it feels compared to the 900, and determine which is more ideal. I think you'll find that both the 1700 and the 900 feel about the same aside from the weight. I've ridden the 1700 (Classic and Voyager) and both times I really regarded them as a heavy 900, because they felt pretty much the same fit-wise.

That said, the suspension and amenities of the 1700 sure was nice! However, knowing a couple situations when I was learning where I ALMOST dropped the 900, I WOULD have dropped a 1700, so I'm glad I went the 900 route. The 900 is also a bike folks aren't in a hurry to trade in. It's not that the 1700's aren't nice, it's just that the 900 is a lot more bike than you'd think a 900cc machine would be. I'll hang on to mine for a long time I think.
 

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True about the size of the person... however, since the OP is well over 6 foot and has plenty of mass, I'm sure he can pull even the 2k back to center if need be. I am 5'9" and have had to do so with my 1600 more than once... usually because the wife is on the back and adjusting herself as I come to a stop... Point still being, get the bike you want... I just wouldn't jump on any ole road for my first trip. There are still roads I won't travel on my bike. Not because of the bike, but because of the "cagers"... Seems everyone is on their cell phone these days. No one can stay in their own lane. anyway, just my 2 cents...
 

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True about the size of the person... however, since the OP is well over 6 foot and has plenty of mass, I'm sure he can pull even the 2k back to center if need be. I am 5'9" and have had to do so with my 1600 more than once... usually because the wife is on the back and adjusting herself as I come to a stop... Point still being, get the bike you want... I just wouldn't jump on any ole road for my first trip. There are still roads I won't travel on my bike. Not because of the bike, but because of the "cagers"... Seems everyone is on their cell phone these days. No one can stay in their own lane. anyway, just my 2 cents...
I'm not trying to start a fight, as you seem to know way more than me about this stuff... but I would chaulk a lot of your ability to skill and not simple physics. True-newbie riders don't automatically use their skills and weight to their best advantage as often as veteran riders. If the OP is indeed concerned with the power of a 1700 I would lump them into the conservative category and suggest they go and sit on both bikes and lean them around. A lot of dealers (at least mine) was pretty OK with me even shifting to neutral and rolling the bikes back and forth to get a feel for the weight...

If the 'poundage' of the 1700 worries you now, you might want to look at the lighter bike.
 

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Well, I am 6'1" at 250lbs and here is my experience: I listened to the small-bike rule and got myself a 550cc yamaha vision (sport-touring bike). I loved it but grew very tired of it by 1 year (to the date haha) and bought myself a 1500cc Vulcan Classic. I wish I had saved my money and just went ahead and bought the Vulcan first! If you are planning on taking the msf course, then you will have some know-how on how to ride so you really do not need a small bike, in my opinion. In fact, I found that the 1500cc Vulcan was a lot easier to handle and a lot more comfortable than my sport-tourer. Best advice: get your license and test ride a few bikes and get a feel for it! Good luck on your search!
 

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For the record, I don't think the 900 is anywhere near the same class as late model 500cc bikes or even other 900cc bikes. CC's aren't everything. The bikes physical size is actually longer and roomier than Harley's big touring bikes. It's a big bike with a small motor, basically. Though that small motor is plenty capable.

Not knocking the 1700 either, that's also a fantastic bike. But I think folks can miss out on a great bike if they just 'assume' that because it's a sub litre bike, it must be small. In fact, the 900 is not. The HD guys I ride with can never believe it's a 900cc bike. The bike itself is bigger than most other brands big twins. (In terms of length, reach to the boards/pegs, and reach to the bars). The advantages it has over the bigger bikes is reduced fuel consumption, lightweight, and of course it's much cheaper AND cheaper to insure. Of course, as stated before, it also lacks in the suspension department, it has adequate power, even for two-up loaded-down trailer-in-tow highway cruising, but it's not gonna win any awards. And of course it lacks amenities like electronic cruise control, self-adjusting valves, etc.
 

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I too am a heavier rider at 5'10" and 350 lbs.I ride the 900 and love the bike.Got 27000 on her and still purring.Yeah at higher speeds on the Interstate you will be running a higher rpm but these bikes love to tun there.I rode to South Florida from Virginia last summer.2000 mile round trip by the time I got back.Saddlebags stuffed and a t-bag and extra duffel bag.never had any problems.If the 9 feels comfortable to you then you wont be disappointed!!!!!!!

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I pretty much AM a new rider - 6' 3", 298lbs.

I bought a 150cc scooter for $1000.00 just to see if I would like riding on two wheels at all. Could have found an old motorcycle for $1000 or so as well... or rented something a couple times. I'm extra cautious with money too, so....

I loved riding, so I found a less expensive MSF Course and took that asap. I researched like crazy. I finally came down to a Suzuki Boulevard c50 (805cc bike). The fit was okay, not too intimidating, etc. Right before the course, I found a deal on a 2009 Vulcan 1700 Classic (this was in 2012) brand new still on the dealer's floor.

I asked the MSF Coach about it - 800cc or 1700cc for me. He said 1700 now or you'll be getting one in a year. So, I did as Coach said - got the 1700 Classic on November 22nd, 2012.

It has been GREAT! I didn't feel much different from the scooter - only faster and I didn't take curves as fast. THEN I got back on the scooter - Man it felt small... terrifyingly small. Glad I sold it quick. :)

I've put 4100 something miles on it commuting and joy-riding so far. Might have hit 4200 this morning. I like the 6-speed.

Oh and you WILL drop it. I dropped mine in a parking lot - I was pulling in to a small country store and hit loose, deep gravel while using the front brake. Knew better, just forgot. I won't forget again. Tip for when you lay it down - the floorboards fold up. Just remove the gravel and push it back down. LOL!

I find that riding the motorcycle is a lot like riding a bicycle only without the pedaling. Lot of the same concepts, just more weight and more power and speed.

Tips :
Wear Gloves.
Brush your teeth and Don't burp inside a full face helmet.
Wear above the ankle boots. I lost a boot zipper instead of six inches of skin.
You smell everything - Skunks, Roadkill, Garbage Trucks, Pig Farms...
Wear thick pants or leather chaps - a tiny rock at 70mph stings.
Wear ear plugs - you can hear better. 70mph winds are loud.
You WILL want some kind of highway pegs - floorboard mounted, engine guard mounted, something. I don't have them yet. About 50 miles and I am hating the back shifter for being there and wanting to stretch the legs out a little further than the boards reach.

:peace:
 

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I too am a "larger than average" rider at 6'4" 380. I took the MSF at HD on a Buell 250 (that was a sight!!) and after the training the Instructor suggested that I start looking at 1100+ cc's.

I agree with the other posts that its not so much the engine displacement as much as the fit. I thought I wanted a Suzuki M109 until I went to a show and sat on it. It reminded me of the Buell.

I went to a Kawasaki demo day and rode the LT Classic . It felt comfortable but at highway speeds in 5th gear it was strained. I then jumped on the Vaquero. Nice having that 6th gear but roasted your nuts at traffic lights. Narrowed it down to the Voyager. Enough mule power to carry me on the highway with 6 speeds with all the amenities that I wanted.

That's what suited me. Your experience may be different. But I would start with fit and handling, then price, then engine size.

P.S. As said before, you will drop it eventually. I did the night I brought it home. Tried to ride up a slight grassy slope in my yard and "Down went Frazier!" 895 pounds of bike ain't easy to pick up. You must watch YouTube videos of 100 pound women lifting Harley tourers if you go big. Good luck shopping.


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Tons of great advice on this thread. I bought my first bike ever, a 900 Classic, a year ago before I took the MSF course. I hadn't ridden any bike in 30 yrs and after lots of research, at age 50, I went with the 900 knowing full well that with my personality I would end up wanting something bigger later on. I drove it 4000 miles last year and a month ago went up to a 1700 Classic.

Romans pointed out a lot of accurate things about the two bikes that were true. The 900 is a fantastic, reliable and durable bike and I wish I could have kept it in addition to my new one but Mrs. Blockhead would have freaked on me. That being said I like the 1700 better. It feels more solid at higher speeds, I love the extra power and one thing I haven't seen mentioned here is the braking system, which in my opinion is far better than the 900.

Now I must tell you that even though I would have saved money starting off with the 1700 I'm glad I didn't. The trickiest part of learning to ride is the low speed maneuvering part, not the driving down the road part. The 900 being over 100 lbs. lighter than the 1700 prevented me from dropping it in parking lots etc. because I was able to 'catch' it whereas I know the 1700 would have went down.

My advice to you is to start with the 900 if you have the funds to maybe move up a year or two down the road if you choose to...I'm glad I did.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
I think I just might go with the 1700 because I cant afford to get another bike a year later if I feel I need more then the 900, also I noticed the 1700 has a heel/toe shifter have read that some riders with bigger feet have trouble with hitting the heel shifter on accident so is there kits to switch to a toe shifter with pegs instead of floor boards.
 

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I think I just might go with the 1700 because I cant afford to get another bike a year later if I feel I need more then the 900, also I noticed the 1700 has a heel/toe shifter have read that some riders with bigger feet have trouble with hitting the heel shifter on accident so is there kits to switch to a toe shifter with pegs instead of floor boards.
You'll be happy with the 1700 I'm sure. But, just FYI; the 900 Classic and Classic LT have a heel/toe shifter. Only the custom does not.
 

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A lot of good advice here. Personally, I'd go for the 900. I am relatively new myself. I learned on an old Honda 650 after taking the MSF. It was valuable experience because the Honda was relatively light. From a perspective of maneuvering (slow speed)- lighter is easier. For me, looking at a 1700 wouldnr intimidate me because of power - just weight. Nothing would piss me off more than scratching up a new ride. Regarding your size, a the 900, especially a custom, will be comfortable for you. I say especially a custom because I find to foot control to be even more forward. That said, I would really evaluate your intent- short and long term. Are you really looking at 500 mile trips? If so, maybe the 1700 is for you. Hope this helps. Either way, enjoy the new hobby and congrats on your weight loss.

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...would the 900 be to small power wise to take on long trips without hurting the engine when I get better at riding, and will the 1700 be to much to handle even if I take my time and take it one step at a time.
The 900 would be fine. That said, decide upon the bike you want and then buy one size larger. You will never meet anyone who has regretted doing so.
 
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