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Discussion Starter #1
Hubby plans on buy his first bike in the next few weeks and we've started looking at bikes while he locates a school to take an MSF course. Thus far he's liked sitting on the kawasakis and the Vstars He's also wanting me to get my MSF class and a bike too but I'm a bit hesitant. Any suggestions? Right now the Vulcan 900 and 1100 are his leading favorites. We have had ppl say he really needs a smaller bike than the 900 but he doesn't feel as though a 650 would be a good fit unless he were to adjust the height and other things like peg placement.
 

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I'm not the expert since I started with the 1500 (but many years of dirt biking prior to that). I think if he is riding any distances he will be unhappy with less than a 900 after a short time (based on what I have seen from a couple of my friends).

And welcome to the forum !!! :)
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thanks for the welcome! Hubby's wanting a bike that is versatile for going to work and school, as well as packing up gear for a weekend or more away from home for the 2 of us. I understand it will come down to his MSF class deciding which starter he will get. He complained when looking at bikes recently that the seat on several bikes hurt when sitting on the bikes trying to get a feel for day rides on the bike. He doesn't know if it's something that can be corrected with a different seat style or not.
 

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Good luck with the big decision !! The MSF course is a great way to start.

As for the seats, you will find a lot of threads here with all different opinions of different custom seats. Some love the Mustangs, some have tried them and got rid of them. There a several pads out there, one is the "Airhawk" which we purchased - it is appearing to be a great pain preventer, but we haven't had it on a real long ride yet either so the verdict is still out.

Let us know what you turn out to get, whether it is a Kawi or not :)
 

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The 9 wasn't my first bike, I originally had a VN700. But in terms of comfort (for me and the wife), as well as rideability, the 9 was leagues ahead of that bike. And it's only about 100 lbs heavier than a VN700/VN750, and with its lower center of gravity and better engineering, i found it way easier to ride. I think it'd make a pretty decent first bike for anyone with anything resembling a natural sense of balance.

And I've said it before, and everyone probably thinks I'm crazy, but I think the stock seat is A-okay.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Hubby made a point to say that when sitting on the bikes he didn't feel there wasn't enough padding it was too wide in the groin area and was an uncomfortable pressure that he knew would get worse as he rode a bike. Not knowing much about bikes, and not feeling comfortable about asking a sales guy about the seat he chose to pass on the bikes he saw, wait for me to research and come back with a report. The Vulcan 1100 had mustang seats which was the only used bike that didn't have the stock seats, so he wasn't sure if it was the Mustang seat or just that the Vulcan was built different than the Vstars, Shadows, HD, etc
 

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The 900 is a great bike to start out on. The problem with starting out on small bikes is that you end up spending a lot of money on a succession of gradually larger motorcycles until you find the one you really want. The 900 should be a good one for doing everything you described. After some time, and if you discover you like long distance riding, you may find yourself trading up to, say the 1700 Vulcan, or Nomad, or a good, lightly used late model 1600. For some reason, Kawasaki made the jump from 900 to 1700, without anything in between. They're missing a niche market there.

Or---you may decide to ride your own bike, and you can each ride a 900. They're great motorcycles, with decent power, comfort, handling and fuel efficiency. Congrats and welcome. Oh, and the MSF course is a great thing to do.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
That was kind of our concern...constant upgrade to a bigger bike. I would love to ride, but I'm very hesitant to do so. I lost a dear friend in November while she was riding her bike. Other than not traveling a heavily traveled road there was nothing she could have done to prevent the accident. It's making me rethink the idea of riding solo. Hubby still wants me to take the MSF class and get my license to leave the option open to ride when I'm ready.
 

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Welcome to the forum from MN.

You haven't mentioned anything about the physical size of you or your husband. You can change seating positions of any motorcycle through aftermaket seats, handlebar and riser changes, and lowering kits if need be.

I feel the 900 is not a bad choice for a male as a first bike because it has enough engine to keep a guy happy for quite a while, yet is light an nimble enough to control easily. I'm not so sure about it being good for females to learn on however.

I think the 750 Honda Spirit would probably be a better choice for you.

Both bikes have a low center of gravity, are responsive and dependable, and IMO are asthetically pleasing. Both bikes also have a nice selection of aftermaket accessories (windshield, saddlebag, seat, gearing, etc.)

The best thing you can do is just go around sitting on a bunch of bikes at various dealers and see what fits you best. From there on out, you can change things to personalize it.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Hubby's 5'10" and I'm 5'6".... Yeah, I'm short...I know :p What hubby was originally looking at getting...and may still do was a 1st gen Yamaha Venture (80's model) as his touring bike because they are cheap, there's plenty of tech knowledge out there and still parts and a well kept used one is priced well. We're still looking...Have been for a year now since he announced he wanted bikes! lol
 

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Hubby's 5'10" and I'm 5'6".... Yeah, I'm short...I know :p ...
Same height(s) as my wife and me.

I've made cross-country trips with my 900 and found that to be very competent. You won't NEED to go bigger than that, but i'd caution about going too much under if you plan on making road trips. Especially if you intend to ride 2-up on the trips.

My wife rides a 750 Spirit that i've dropped in the rear 1-1/2". She likes it a lot and that's why i suggested it for you. I found the 750 to be marginal for road trips, but adequate. It will still suffice if you wanted to go on trips too. I've taken it on a road trip through Yellowstone and Sturgis. For around town and short trips, it's ideal.
 

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That was kind of our concern...constant upgrade to a bigger bike. I would love to ride, but I'm very hesitant to do so. I lost a dear friend in November while she was riding her bike. Other than not traveling a heavily traveled road there was nothing she could have done to prevent the accident. It's making me rethink the idea of riding solo. Hubby still wants me to take the MSF class and get my license to leave the option open to ride when I'm ready.
You make a good point there. If you're not sure, or feel too skiddish about riding your own motorcycle, it just may not be for you. But being a passenger just may be fine. I suggest that you go ahead and take the MSF course, though. The reason is, while you're out riding, and something (perish the thought) should happen to him--heart attack, loss of consciousness for any reason, etcl.--you would be able to take over control of the bike and get it pulled over and stopped.

This may sound far fetched, but it's happened, and if you don't know how to ride, even in the most fundamental sense, you could end up dumping the bike when you might not have had to. Yes, you can do it from the back seat by pushing the rider forward, moving the head down, out of the way, and you can lean forward and take the handlebars. Don't worry about what gear you're in, or shifting, either the bike will stall when it stops or you pull in the clutch and shut off the engine. The important thing is that you would be in position to safely get off the road. Then you can get out the cell phone and call for help. Just a thought for your consideration.

And just as a post script, my wife, for years, wanted nothing to do with riding her own bike, and was very content as my passenger. She echoed some of your concerns. She eventually decided she wanted to at least try riding her own bike, took the course and got her own bike. After a couple years, it went from coaxing her out for a ride to her saying, "It's a pretty day out, how come we're not out riding?" That was 12 years ago, and she's owned 9 motorcycles, including a Honda ST1300 and a GL1800 Gold Wing. She also had an accident in which she dumped her bike on the road while trying not to hit the car that stopped suddenly in front of her. The bike washed out and she went down at 10 mph. The bike was hurt, but she wasn't, thanks mainly to the good riding gear she was wearing at the time.
She was spooked for awhile, but I let her decide when and if she wanted to ride again, and she got back on the horse and rode.

Hope this helps with some of your concerns. We can't make riding motorcycles safe, but we can do what we can to make it safer.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Hubby says I'll get over it. I was the same way when I learned to drive. At 26 yrs old I took the plunge and took driving lessons and learned to drive. It was a few mons before I met the hubby that I learned to drive and I was still learning how to use my new found freedom. He's decided he will be buying me a bicycle in the next week or so and taking me out to see how I handle it before further asking me to take the MSF, it just may not be for me, and accepts that, or may be I need to work on other skill sets before taking the class.
 

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At the MSF course, you will both learn on 250cc bikes... however, if you were to buy 250s you would get bored with them after one ride season. The 900 is a very sensible and practical bike b/c it is nimble enough for a novice rider yet powerful and big enough to tour and 2up with no problems. Many advanced riders on this forum stay with the 900 over the large engine bikes by choice!

For yourself, you might consider anything from a 650 up to the 900 or Star 950. Primarily look at total weight of the bike over engine size and sit on the bike and see if you can put both feet flat on the ground while balancing it. Some people will suggest a lowering kit if you can't put both feet flat, but remember that a lowering kit means less ground clearance and smaller lean limits, especially on a cruiser that has floorboards like the 900 or Suzuki Boulevard. Instead of a lowering kit, think about a slimmer seat. Most people do not find stock seats comfortable anyway and end up buying a premium seat.

If you are even considering 2up or medium to long trips... definitely go with the 900lt or a competitor's "light touring" model if you are buying a new bike. The price premium of the lt over the classic is NOTHING compared to what you will spend buying aftermarket windshield, saddlebags and passenger backrest! Otherwise, shop for a gently used 900 that already has these upgrades and let someone else take the initial depreciation hit.

Oh, and either buy a used bike that already has an engine guard or buy one and install it asap... first upgrade that needs to be done! It seems only the large size engine cruisers come standard with engine guards.

I hope you both have a blast!
 

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Do you mind if I chime in? I took the MSC and bought the 900 as my first bike two years ago. I've thought a few times about getting a bigger bike, but keep asking myself why? (it does everything I want and more) I was a little intimidated by the size, after the 250s at the MSC. That only lasted a week or so of easy riding on back roads. Now I'll take my 900 on the interstate, in traffic, back roads...anywhere. As far as you taking the MSC, take it! It has made me such a safer automobile driver! I don't trust mirrors anymore, for instance, and find myself actually turning my head to check my blind spots. I also leave more "safe" space between myself and other cars. As stated previously, a great all around bike. Good luck with your decisions. Enjoy your ride.
 

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Hi, I am 5'6" and I love my 900 Classic LT. It was my first shifter bike. I started out on a 250 Helix scooter and then went to a 650 Burgman scooter(which I still have and ride), both scoots are automatic and no shifting required. So getting on the 900 Kawasaki was a little intimidating learning the shifting but I took it slow, used the friction zone for more control and soon felt very comfortable. The 900 has such a good center of balance and not too heavy to handle but heavy enough that you don't get blown around on the road. I was never comfortable riding behind my husband as I guess I always felt I had no control, even though he knew what he was doing, I was always nervous.:eek: Riding my own makes me much more comfortable and it is such a great feeling to take off out on the open road. There just isn't any other feeling like it. So that is my 2 cents worth and hope you make the right decision for yourself. Good Luck! :)
 

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Hubby's 5'10" and I'm 5'6".... Yeah, I'm short...I know :p What hubby was originally looking at getting...and may still do was a 1st gen Yamaha Venture (80's model) as his touring bike because they are cheap, there's plenty of tech knowledge out there and still parts and a well kept used one is priced well. We're still looking...Have been for a year now since he announced he wanted bikes! lol
My wife is in her 4th year of riding and she also is 5'6". Her bike is a Honda 750 Spirit and she had the seat redone/shaved (Slitherin Seats) down a bit and she can flat foot the bike. Here is her ride:

 

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Discussion Starter #18 (Edited)
Nice bike!...Our roommate addressed the seat issue yesterday after he asked again what hubby was looking for in a bike. Roomie has 2 HDs, a Sportster 883XL and a Softtail Heritage, after dragging ALL of his seats that goes on his 2 bikes out and swapping them to try them on roomie discovered that it wasn't the width of the bike, rather the width of the seat at the front/tip that made the difference. So NOW we are back to the drawing board with the bikes lol Hubby really likes the Vulcan 900, but he really likes the Vstars too and the Honda Shadows are also nice...So I think it will come down to price point with him, which bike can he get for his money and with the accessories he wants. He's looking for a nice used bike...2000 to current.
 

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Decisions, decisions!!! I started out (after 30 years of not riding) on a 650 V- star, great bike for learning or re-learning on. But, after a few months, I wanted something bigger with more power, which led me to the 900 Vulcan. My 2 cents, go with the 900, its an easy bike to ride and very nimble around town! Its also a great bike out on the open road and has enough power for two-up riding! I would also STRONGLY urge you to take the MSF course with the hubby, that way you can get some riding experience and decide if motorsickles are for you!
 

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Discussion Starter #20
I love all the feedback on bikes. Hubby will make his decision on his bike in the next week or so. While y'all have seen my reasoning on why not I'm not sure about riding solo. That isn't the full story. I also have some very mild paralysis on my right side from a birthing injury and while hubby, roomie, and most of our biker buds have assured me they think I am very capable of riding solo. After losing my friend in November, I'm second guessing. Hubby informed me last night while I never was told, he was told that she had laid her bike down a number of times and took risks that had she taken an MSF he thinks could have been prevented. I know she took a motorcycle safety course in Ohio but it wasn't the MSF course.
 
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