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If you're an older guy at 52 then I must be dead at 70, LOL. I started riding again 2 years ago after a 30 year pause and I have 3 bikes now - 2018 Triumph Bonneville Speedmaster, 2008 Yamaha Royal Star Venture, and a 2010 Kawasaki Vulcan Nomad. I will probably sell the Yamaha because I like the Nomad much more. If I could only have one bike, it would be the Triumph.

My Triumph Bonneville Speedmaster is the same bike as the Bobber but setup for a passenger. The Bobber is probably too small for you with its forward controls. You are 6 inches taller than I am and the Triumph fits me fine but would make you very cramped. I bought the Triumph new but the other suggestions of going with a good used bike is also what I would suggest - especially if you are new to riding.

And I don't agree with "everybody drops their bike" - if you ride smart it should never happen unless you are on the wrong bike for your size or experience. At 70 years old, I can handle my 900 pound Yamaha and slightly lighter Nomad with no problems at all. Just learn to ride at your own pace and don't push your skill level. My 2 cents.
 

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So I’m an older guy (52) who has thought about riding for some time. But it’s always been something. After being “Covid cooped” for the better part of a year, I’m done. I’m getting a bike, and come spring, I’ll take the class again and begin my new adventure.

Of course I did all my internet homework and came up with a plan. I want a Triumph Bobber, but that’s too big for me to start on, so I’ll start with a Kawasaki Z400, and when I’m ready, I’ll upgrade.

View attachment 246535

It’s a “smart“ little bike. Perfect for what I intend to do with it which is mostly inner city commuting, a bit of country roads (60mph) on the weekends, and maybe, but rarely some highway (70+). At $4,500.00, I figure the things I’ll need to do to it to accommodate my 36” inseam, my 6’3” length and my 250lbs of pork will still make this an incredibly affordable way to get into riding and working toward the Bobber.

But when I went to the dealer to order one, I just had to sit on the 650S. It wasn’t set up for tall I don’t think because I was pretty cramped, but ohhhhh... that extra weight. The lower center of gravity. A totally different feel! Like it would be a straight line rocket and a lot more planted than the Z400. A lot more!

View attachment 246536
that’s me on the KVS

I swear I feel as though I’d get in less trouble on the Vulcan simply because it’s just a comfortable straight-line bike. Seemingly. I mean compared to the Zed which is so light I feel I can do bunny hops with it... it just would beg to be driven hard I’m guessing!

Either way, now I’m completely torn. I didn’t order either. And just so you know, I’ve taken the motorcycle class before but it never went anywhere because of well, life. And I have messed around on my wife’s bike (she has rides for as long as I’ve known her). But what says you? Would the CVS be a good commuter bike in town? I mean, the thing is 3K more expensive, but I feel like I maybe could ride it for a few mor years then the Z? And I don’t think I’d look so big on it either lol.

Its crazy, but I just can’t decide. Two totally different bikes. What do you guys think?
I'm a 60-yr-old that has a 2008 Vulcan Nomad 1600 that thinks sport bikes are for kids. My 31-yr-old daughter liked the smaller/lighter Yamaha R3 that's probably more like a crotch rocket than the Z400 that you are looking at, but there's a big difference in how those bikes sit/ride vs. a cruiser, including how your neck position is while riding and if that's comfortable for you. I feel safer on the cruiser since you are less likely to push the bike to test it's acceleration capability since cruisers have less HP and therefore accelerate slower vs. crotch rockets. PLUS - you can carry more with added soft or hard bags (mine came standard with hard bags so it's handy for running to the store for stuff and storing helmet/jacket/etc. when you get to where you are going). ALSO - I hate the stones and wind noise you get without a windshield, and prefer an open face helmet, which I do not use when I'm on my son's V-Rod (he likes the sport-cruiser look better than his sisters R3 or my Nomad). Note that this is his first bike and was initially afraid of the large cruiser, but after taking the training class with a smaller bike and just practicing in a parking lot for a few hours he made a huge improvement in handling and general comfort in operating the larger bike. He's also about your size - so he looks silly on smaller bikes - as you would.
 

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2002 Kawasaki Vulcan 500 LTD
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I am 52 as well, never too old to start.
5’9”. I was 210lb easy, but now ( due to reasons ) I am down to about 165lb
I have absolutely LOVED my 2002 Vulcan 500. I will never get rid of that motorcycle. It was not expensive at all. Never felt cramped on it, it’s easy to maneuver and the bike physically looks like a bigger cruiser ( thanks for that, Kawasaki).
when you buy used you will usually get most of your money back, if and when you sell it to the next beginner.
My second bike I plan on, will be a Triumph; America, Speedmaster or Thunderbird. One of their cruiser lines is what I will be looking at.
my Personal philosophy is don’t buy your second bike first. Go through the growing pains of your first (hopefully used) motorcycle, wear some rubber out for a while, skin some paint, enjoy it all. Then get your second bike. And maybe third ( I do have a friend wanting me have his Harley sportster)
Enjoy the ride
 

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Ok, Just to give you an idea, I have both a Vulcan 2000 and a Vulcan 900. I am 5'5 and dare I say 325 lbs. My hubby is 6'2 and pushing 400 lbs and we can both ride my bikes comfortably at any speed with no problem. I have put highway bars on them so if and when my hubby rides my baby's he can stretch out and be just as comfortable as I am, but These bikes are so versatile, comfortable and long lasting. They are good for experienced riders like myself (over 20 years of riding) and newer riders like my hubby (2 years of intermediate riding). Never shy away from a bike because of the size. Besides, you always want to get the biggest bike you can comfortably handle for safety reasons. You have to know that you have enough "get up n go" to power out of any situation. Best of luck and congrats!!!
 

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Welcome to the forum from North Carolina. As I have written here many times, bikes are like boats. Once you get used to the size of the boar you want a bigger one. You are not of small stature. Get the largest bike you can afford. Take the safety course and then practice what you learned. Find a large parking lot that isn’t used too much. Buy some small orange cones and set up a course. Do not fear or concern yourself with the bike’s heft. You are young and tall enough to handle it. It will become second nature in a couple of months. If you buy a smaller bike, you will want to sell it after one season. So members here will disagree, but look how cramped you are on that KVS in the showroom. Even with the extended seat and controls you will be uncomfortable. You should look at a Vulcan 900 or better yet bigger. Make sure to install an engine guard. Everyone drops their bike at one time or another. Be well.
I agree with all of this. I started off right out of college (1983) on a Yamaha 400 - and after 1 season I was ready for a real bike, at 6-1 the 400 was WAY too small. I got a Honda 900 Custom, then after years with no bike, in 2000 got a Nomad 1500 - loved the look, style, windshield, hard bags, and yes, engine and bag guards that are standard since I was hit at low speed in a parking lot and it went down - no damage. Same thing happened at a corner a year ago with my Nomad 1600 out in the country - someone cut the corner and headed straight for me. I had to swerve over and the bike tipped over onto the guards - no damage. There are a lot of used bikes to save money - go to cycletrader.com.
 

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2020 S abs
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So I’m an older guy (52) who has thought about riding for some time. But it’s always been something. After being “Covid cooped” for the better part of a year, I’m done. I’m getting a bike, and come spring, I’ll take the class again and begin my new adventure.

Of course I did all my internet homework and came up with a plan. I want a Triumph Bobber, but that’s too big for me to start on, so I’ll start with a Kawasaki Z400, and when I’m ready, I’ll upgrade.

View attachment 246535

It’s a “smart“ little bike. Perfect for what I intend to do with it which is mostly inner city commuting, a bit of country roads (60mph) on the weekends, and maybe, but rarely some highway (70+). At $4,500.00, I figure the things I’ll need to do to it to accommodate my 36” inseam, my 6’3” length and my 250lbs of pork will still make this an incredibly affordable way to get into riding and working toward the Bobber.

But when I went to the dealer to order one, I just had to sit on the 650S. It wasn’t set up for tall I don’t think because I was pretty cramped, but ohhhhh... that extra weight. The lower center of gravity. A totally different feel! Like it would be a straight line rocket and a lot more planted than the Z400. A lot more!

View attachment 246536
that’s me on the KVS

I swear I feel as though I’d get in less trouble on the Vulcan simply because it’s just a comfortable straight-line bike. Seemingly. I mean compared to the Zed which is so light I feel I can do bunny hops with it... it just would beg to be driven hard I’m guessing!

Either way, now I’m completely torn. I didn’t order either. And just so you know, I’ve taken the motorcycle class before but it never went anywhere because of well, life. And I have messed around on my wife’s bike (she has rides for as long as I’ve known her). But what says you? Would the CVS be a good commuter bike in town? I mean, the thing is 3K more expensive, but I feel like I maybe could ride it for a few mor years then the Z? And I don’t think I’d look so big on it either lol.

Its crazy, but I just can’t decide. Two totally different bikes. What do you guys think?
Hey Kansas I bought a 2020 Vulcan S and really like it. Was riding 800cc Suzuki M50 boulevard that looked cool but I got really bored with heavy slow bike. Heavy part sux for obvious reasons and gonna piss peeps off when i say this but if you are like me, you just might not like V-twin motors. 883 Harley classic example of bike nobody likes much. Image of the chrome V-twin has faded for me in the favor of higher revs, better gas mileage and much lighter bike. I'm 5'11 with the extended seat and pegs (which get put on for free), the bike is almost a stretch, and my arms and legs are long. I have noticed every normal size rider looks too big on a Vulcan S, or are we just used to riders looking cool on huge bikes? If you find a 1 - 2 yr old one for half price don't buy it! Either something seriously wrong with the bike or its stolen with fake tags. I have about 15 yrs experience working at dealerships and had the common sense to shop for both new and used before I bought a new one with 0% 1st year financing. People love to talk of amazing deals on these mystery used bikes but there is never a real one to go see. Used prices have also gone up because of low production of new ones. 650 is an iconic motor for Kawasaki and truly is same motor with same redline as the Ninja. After adding Delkevic carbon exhaust and BoosterPlug it feels perfect. (Im 59 and ride mostly canyons and PCH)
 

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2016 Vulcan S 650 ABS
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So I’m an older guy (52) who has thought about riding for some time. But it’s always been something. After being “Covid cooped” for the better part of a year, I’m done. I’m getting a bike, and come spring, I’ll take the class again and begin my new adventure.

Of course I did all my internet homework and came up with a plan. I want a Triumph Bobber, but that’s too big for me to start on, so I’ll start with a Kawasaki Z400, and when I’m ready, I’ll upgrade.

View attachment 246535

It’s a “smart“ little bike. Perfect for what I intend to do with it which is mostly inner city commuting, a bit of country roads (60mph) on the weekends, and maybe, but rarely some highway (70+). At $4,500.00, I figure the things I’ll need to do to it to accommodate my 36” inseam, my 6’3” length and my 250lbs of pork will still make this an incredibly affordable way to get into riding and working toward the Bobber.

But when I went to the dealer to order one, I just had to sit on the 650S. It wasn’t set up for tall I don’t think because I was pretty cramped, but ohhhhh... that extra weight. The lower center of gravity. A totally different feel! Like it would be a straight line rocket and a lot more planted than the Z400. A lot more!

View attachment 246536
that’s me on the KVS

I swear I feel as though I’d get in less trouble on the Vulcan simply because it’s just a comfortable straight-line bike. Seemingly. I mean compared to the Zed which is so light I feel I can do bunny hops with it... it just would beg to be driven hard I’m guessing!

Either way, now I’m completely torn. I didn’t order either. And just so you know, I’ve taken the motorcycle class before but it never went anywhere because of well, life. And I have messed around on my wife’s bike (she has rides for as long as I’ve known her). But what says you? Would the CVS be a good commuter bike in town? I mean, the thing is 3K more expensive, but I feel like I maybe could ride it for a few mor years then the Z? And I don’t think I’d look so big on it either lol.

Its crazy, but I just can’t decide. Two totally different bikes. What do you guys think?
Welcome and I think you will enjoy whatever decision you make. I was in a similar position to you but wanted a cruiser for the simple fact they are more comfortable. The 650S was an easy choice as there are plenty of upgrades and it is simple to service yourself.
246577
 

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When I drop my bike it just adds another scratch.
And because its NOT new I dont feel bad!
AND yes you will drop your bike!
Do some reading on this site for instance.
Guess you're the exception Vulcanhead!
When you drop your bike it just adds another scratch? Geezus! How often do you drop your bike?
I doubt I’m the exception. I know lots of people who’ve ridden bikes for years and never dropped them.
Try taking an approved riding course or get a trike?
 

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I know lots of people who’ve ridden bikes for years and never dropped them.
I'm thinking that more people need to practice slow speed maneuvers.

It may seem counterintuitive on the surface, but an argument can be made that those who have dropped ours bikes (and there are many of us) are better riders. Why? We've pushed our skills to the edge and got better because of it. Just my 2 cents though.
 

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I'm thinking that more people need to practice slow speed maneuvers.

It may seem counterintuitive on the surface, but an argument can be made that those who have dropped ours bikes (and there are many of us) are better riders. Why? We've pushed our skills to the edge and got better because of it. Just my 2 cents though.
Lol, ok. A good way to feel about it.
 

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Ride long enough you will go down. It's not always your fault. You can't make your bike decision on what you're willing to drop or on the possibility that you might drop.
Get what you feel comfortable with but realize you will quickly become comfortable enough for a larger bike.
If you're going to buy a sub 400cc bike as a "trainer" with the intent to sell and trade up then buy used. It will cost you less and within a year you can probably resell for what you paid so it won't be a loss.
 

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Bought a 2007 Vulcan 900 about 7 years ago. Had aboout 4000 miles on it. I just love it. It's all stock except for the Mustang seat I added. It is so comfortable, handles great in the curves and nimble enough for city traffic. I don't have to be a weightlifter or tightrope walker at a stop light or yield sign like with a heavy bike or adjusting/oiling a chain with this bikes belt drive. It does not have an abs system, which would be nice but with that being said I love how it handles and rides. I'm 6'2" and 250#'s and with that Mustand brand seat I've ridden for 2 - 3 hours feeling very comfortable with no butt or back aches. Hope you find something you really like. Ride safe.
 

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Back in the day I had my Harley’s in the garage (heritage and a ultra) which both served a purpose the heritage for my local and semi long rides my ultra for cross country trips which I made many and now the best part I wanted something light to put on the back of my Motorhome my son having a 2009 ninja 250 which I rode and thought it would do the job so went right down and bought one and a rack and got it all set up anyway just about every time I would go into the garage I jumped on the little Kawasaki and absolutely loved the bike it really was a great riding bike so buying something small especially depending on what type or riding your planning on you shouldn’t be be scared away sold the Motorhome developed bad hips and sold the bike stupid stupid me miss that bike and now after hip surgery wish I had that bike back oh and my size 6 foot and pushing 300 did I rev the bike I did but it would run
 

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I was in a similar situation (I was considering the z650). My decision came down to reviews... unanimously (online and off) I keep hearing the VS so I bought a 2019 after the msf and have been very happy with it. It’s all personal preference of course but for me it’s the perfect 1st bike to get around town and commute to work. A few upgrades can personalize things a bit. You can also look into a second bike down the line as I’m doing now. I thought about trading it in for all of 10 seconds but it’s been so good all around (mileage, speed, nimble, affordable), no way I can get rid of her now. Good luck!
246661
 

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2020 Kawasaki Vulcan S, 2020 Kawasaki Z900
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Nobody ever wants to get rid of a bike unless it's a huge bag of problems! Still wish I had my first 2 bikes but unfortunately times were tough when I sold them and in the end have two much nicer bikes now. I do miss the little 250 and the razor sharp zx6r though.
 

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I recognize the photo: I bought my 2020 Vulcan S ABS there last summer. I live in Topeka. If you would like to come by and see mine just email me. I have several options on the bike. I take my wife with me and together we weigh about 350 lbs. There is plenty of power to get going and get down the highway. It will do 0-60 in about 4.2 seconds. The KVSs have the ergo fit handlebars, foot pegs and seat and that dealership will change it to extended reach for you for free. (I'm short and they did it for me for the reduced reach.)
 
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