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Motorcycles: New Rider / Suggestions?

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Motorcycles: New Rider / Suggestions?

Post by 231 » Sunday, 21 August 2011, 23:40 PM

Hi everyone. I'm hoping you guys with some solid street bike experience would offer up a few suggestions if you would please? Okay, here's the deal...I recently got my motorcycle endorsement and need a few suggestions on bikes that would be decent to learn on. I'm thinking along the lines of the 600-750cc cruiser like the Shadows, Vulcans, V-Star, Harley soft tail, etc. Being a heavier guy (250lbs) and pushing 6' and almost 50 years old, sport bikes don't appeal to me much, but the older Maxium's etc. would be okay. The biggest problem is my budget is fairly small, and honestly I cringe at the thought of dishing out allot of cash for my first bike when I'm not sure my health will allow me to ride much in the first place. I've had several major surgeries that have left me a bit limited in harsh bumpy rides for long. Which is also part of the reason I haven't been offroading in awhile.

That aside, I'd be most grateful for any input on some things to look for on the older bikes, what a reasonable prices might be, and especially any helpful experience on safety things to look for. I cringe also as the thought of dishing out allot of cash just to get an old bike running right, let alone brakes and tires which I'd expect.

I've also noticed that the alcohol in the fuel these days has really played havoc in allot of the older carb'd bikes (and cars). Or is that to be expected as normal wear and tear? Case in point is I blew an opportunity to pick up a nice straight '93 Vulcan 750 for $1000. The only time the guy had to show the bike was at night in the dark, and I didn't feel real comfortable with that, anyway. But that seemed like a great deal to me. It also needed some carb work...thus the questions.

Sorry to give so much info', but I'm sort of stumped on what I should be looking for now? Should I just bite the bullet an pick up a newer Shadow? Or am I wrong to be looking at older bikes.

Thanks for the input guys (and gals)!


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Re: Motorcycles: New Rider / Suggestions?

Post by 352 Smiley » Monday, 22 August 2011, 6:18 AM

i whould go with a harley
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Re: Motorcycles: New Rider / Suggestions?

Post by str8stroke » Monday, 22 August 2011, 6:36 AM

Look up Suzuki Boulevard. Great bike and cheap. Used can be had for cheap used.
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Re: Motorcycles: New Rider / Suggestions?

Post by 626 » Monday, 22 August 2011, 6:39 AM

I think getting a newer bike would be a good idea. Motorcycles dont age like cars. Finding an older bike that is in great shape is rare. That being said, if a motorcycle looks like its in great shape, it probably is. There is just no hiding wear and tear.

The Harley soft tail is not that great of a ride. Its suspension is hidden. It is designed more for looks then ride quality.

The Honda hogs and Yamahogs are cool looking, and much more comfortable. Far less expensive. Still they are not Harleys...
Used bikes are super cheap right now. When the economy gets rough bikes are the first vehicle to go.

You asked for cheap, that tells me Honda. You tell me easy to ride... I say Japanese. You want inexpensive, you are looking for Japanese.

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Re: Motorcycles: New Rider / Suggestions?

Post by drdx » Monday, 22 August 2011, 8:02 AM

I'm a Harley fan myself and rode a fatboy for years, and it is of course in the softail family. They weigh about 600 lbs but you're a big guy. I only weigh 170 and did fine and it was my first bike. Once you're rolling, that weight is hardly felt. The only kicker with a fatboy is that with the solid wheels they do catch wind in a cross wind situation if you ride in a windy area. If in doubt, get a sportster but they smallish for a large framed rider.

Look at an 01 up in a softail. In 2000, they started putting the twin cam motor in that line, but older Evo engines are proven as well. I'd avoid 2000 in particular as that was an early twin cam year and they had bearing issues early in production. They were carbuerated the first couple of years then fuel injected. Then, going newer, I think they got a 6 speed but I may be wrong on that. I wouldn't be afraid of a carb'd one. Mine was, and I put a center slide mikuni 42 on it and it really woke it up. They dyno at like 55hp stock but with an open air cleaner, nice smartly jetted carb, and free flow exhaust will dyno in the 70's and still get great mpg if you commute on it.

Because Harley is kind of the Rolex of bikes there are a lot of low mileage ones on the market. They used to retail for $16K or so but were marked up about 5 grand in major cities due to the demand. Then the market became full, the economy tanked, and last time I looked there were super nice ones out there for half or less than a new one and with just a few thousand miles on them. Often they have had some money spent on them on accessories, which are pricey on a hog. A lot of rich posers buy them, put a few miles on them with their little black vests with the gold letters on then they move right back to the golf course and then their wives make them sell them in the divorce once she finds out he's sleeping with the beer cart girl.

You will pay more for a harley but it will always have value. Sure, they're not the smoothest, the fastest, or necessarily the best engineered machine out there but they are the genuine article. Just as the coil trys to imitate the 102 in performance, a metric cruiser will never be a harley, and they're American all the way.

I'm done now.

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Re: Motorcycles: New Rider / Suggestions?

Post by SweetPee » Monday, 22 August 2011, 8:58 AM

Harley softail!!! Get new, and get exactly what you want the first time. :biggrin: :biggrin:

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Re: Motorcycles: New Rider / Suggestions?

Post by 231 » Monday, 22 August 2011, 10:56 AM

Awesome info' guys...thanks to everyone for taking the time to post. All of it made sense to me. I will stop looking at the older bikes then (unless something really special pops up) and push myself toward something newer. You guys are right, they are affordable. I didn't mention it but I'm going to need to by the missus one too though. Not what I'm getting but probably a Honda Rebel or something to tootle around with and learn as well. So I was trying to keep the cost down some.

And you are right **NON-SPONSOR**, that's what I've seen. Guys who say the bike has been well taken care of it's obvious when it hasn't to me. Then I've seen a couple beauties that I passed on because I just thought they wanted to much for the bikes. In hind sight perhaps I shouldn't have. I really don't expect this to be my first and last bike, but you never know. I might get lucky like SweetPea suggested. LOL!

drdx as usual you and **NON-SPONSOR**'s info' is outstanding! Thanks. My one buddy who has been riding for years suggested I just not worry about carb'd bikes and go right to fuel injected. He suggested a BMW, but of course he's retired and fairly wealthy. It's pretty easy to say that when $20k is like nothing to ya' (like it is him). I think linx had a Shadow until he stepped into his Big Dog? Oh man, just the mere thought of riding a rigid makes my one and only kidney shiver. :confused:

Thanks again guys!

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Re: Motorcycles: New Rider / Suggestions?

Post by linx » Monday, 22 August 2011, 14:10 PM

Hi 231,
My Big Dog is actually a soft tail and rides like a caddy. It's the K9. There's no way I would take a rigid either...I thought about building one at one time but it would just be something to mess around with. I've rode 400 mile days on my K9 and there'd be no way I could do it on a rigid. I like to get out and hit the road. My last bike was a VTX 1300C. It was a good bike and had plenty of power, but it was a drive shaft driven bike. If you've never drove a shaft drive bike, it has it's advantages and disadvantages. The advantage is instant power, to the road, with really nothing there to break...like a belt or chain. The down side is you are stuck with the stock size tire, and when you slow down by downshifting, it will almost throw you over the handlebars.

If you have your M endorsement you can test drive any bike at any shop. I recommend testing them. It's not really what everyone else thinks, but what BEST fits YOU. Whatever "FEELS" the best at the driving position is what you need. I like at least 1000CC for highway riding and would recommend a 6 speed if you're going to driving for long periods of time. Harley's are nice bikes, and respectably keep their resale but the price is sometimes bloated..although I like the Heritage and the new "sporty" style baggers like the Street Glide. All the metrics are good bikes if you are thick skinned and can put up with the Harley guy's busting your chops then they're good bikes. I have test drove a few and if I had to go metric, I kind of like Yamaha Road Star's. Like I said, you're the one that's going to be in the saddle, so you need to find what fits you. For my Big Dog, it feels like I'm sitting "IN" the bike instead of sitting on "TOP" of the bike. Sit on a bunch and you'll know what I'm talking about...for instance the Yamaha Warrior, Kawi Mean Streak, and Harley V-Rod all feel like you are sitting on top of them, which I don't dig.

Let's ride man! I'm ready.
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Re: Motorcycles: New Rider / Suggestions?

Post by jessejamesdallas » Monday, 22 August 2011, 17:56 PM

Just something to consider...You said you have had several surgery's, and you don't know if your health will let ya ride much...Here's something to think about...

Whatever bike you decide to get, you better be able to pick it up, if you lay it down. Bikes are heavy and even tho you may not think you'll ever lay one over, if you do, you need to be able to get it up-righted by yourself.

Last bike I owned was a old 79 Yamaha 1100 Special that I had re-built from the ground up, and although that bike was not as big as a Harley, it was plenty heavy laying on it's side!

-just a FYI....
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Re: Motorcycles: New Rider / Suggestions?

Post by 231 » Monday, 22 August 2011, 21:36 PM

More great info'...thanks guys! JJD, you are right...and I have indeed considered the ability to lift the bike. I'm fairly confident lifting it back up I can do as well as most anyone even with the surgeries I've had. The worst surgery was on my abdomen from side to side under my ribcage and sternum. That has never healed well, and usually when I over do it (as in lifting a bike) I'll probably be paying for it for awhile, but can in fact do it. The surgery really messed up my innards though and rough rides for long periods of time don't mix well with me anymore. But that's a very valid point and one I had already considered...thanks for the reminder.

linx, great info'. I know exactly what you are saying. Although I've not had much experience yet the sitting on them was the first step I was going to try. I actually went by a dealership today to do just that only to find them closed. I guess Mondays aren't good days for them. LOL! But that's interesting the Big Dog actually feels better than the VTX did. They look to me to sit low. I have been eye balling the V-Stars for awhile, along with several others. I can take the hard times the Harley folks wanna' give me because I'm not a biker guy. I've never been after having the biker look...as it's just not me. Like so many others, I just want to ride, that's all. I've always enjoyed the freedom of my Jeep with the top off and have always wanted to ride. And I'd like to try before I get to old and can't...that's all.

I will do what you guys suggest. And yes, I will look into the Harleys also. I've always liked them, but just always cringed at the cost. We get 9 months of mostly rain here, and that just seems like an aweful lot of dough for a fair weather rider like me. LOL!

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Re: Motorcycles: New Rider / Suggestions?

Post by drdx » Wednesday, 24 August 2011, 7:24 AM

I've never laid one down but I do know that lifting one largely depends on the center of gravity and handlebar height matters too. If you've got ape hangers on there, then you have more lift leverage. Seat height makes a huge difference as mentioned. My seat height was 28 inches without me on it. I don't know how tall you are but that was comfortable for me and I have a 32 inseam on jeans. You can lower them but as **NON-SPONSOR** mentioned, they can ride like crap easly and lowering puts you right in the crummy ride category I've found on a softail. Running a fat tire slightly lower in pressure can help a little but it is hard to make up for minimal suspension travel.

Also, possibly on the surgery topic, is whether to get something with forward pegs and controls or running boards. I like the running board/skooter feel myself but some enjoy the stretched out forward look. I guess you could do a highway bar deal for more choice but they look a little grandpa-ish. Cruising at a rally or in heavy traffic, it is comfortable just sitting flat footed and riding, with minimal movement to put your feet down and not looking like you're in a trapeze or something with your big stinky feet sticking out but that's what biking is all about- doing it your own way. I rode, and rent now and then a bike in vegas, and my usual attire is no socks, checkerboard Vans, shorts, and a t-shirt though the leather does come in handy for weather and road rash. I'm a half helmet wearer if I have to wear one but in the rain without a windshield it feels like a BB gun shower at highway speed. I'd get a windshield before I wore a rice rocket full face helmet, but that's just me. I bet linx wears one with the fake pink mohawk on it. I must admit I like those mohawk helmets on rice burners for the younger crowd, especially if it is a girl rider and with a yellow bike it is a toss-up.


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Re: Motorcycles: New Rider / Suggestions?

Post by 626 » Wednesday, 24 August 2011, 13:02 PM

drdx.
Good point on the forward controls. If all you have is forward controls, long rides get very uncomfortable. Especially without a windshield. If you are just putting around town, no big deal. If you are doing any mileage on the highway, more foot peg options give you a chance to move your legs around and avoid fatigue. Floor boards are the ultimate but, some dont like the looks or style. Guess it boils down to the choice between looks and comfort.

I built and rode the snot out of a chopper with a rigid frame and forward controls. Its rough and tough and for younger guys. Looked cool though...

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Re: Motorcycles: New Rider / Suggestions?

Post by 231 » Wednesday, 24 August 2011, 15:56 PM

Well, I'm sure I'll be starting by putting around locally here for awhile. It would be nice though to have something already set up for the longer rides like you guys have mentioned...but at the very least I would like something I can add those things to the bike down the road. I just can't seem to get time to go down and sit on a few bikes (let alone ride one) to see what's going to fit the best. drdx My inseam is about 32" as well...although I'm allot heavier than you are though. Heck even when I played High school football I was over 200lbs. If I were to guess I'd say I'm built somewhat like linx, but a little more manly. :aaargh:

The more I listen to you guys the more I'm leaning toward the newer Vulcan Classic's, V-Star's, Shadow ACE, etc. Although I've always liked Harleys they are just holding too high of a resale value here for me to choke down the price of one...even used. And a couple guys I know who ride said I'm just too big of a guy for a Sportster and will be unhappy with it. I tend to agree with them...so I've pretty much given up on a Harley for awhile. Besides, I have no problem in catching flack from Harley owners. In my mind it's all good...kinda' like radio. It's the love of the hobby whether it's CB or amateur makes no difference to me. I realize not everyone feels that way though.

I'm truly thankful for everyone's input too. I'm now learning some of the specific details on what to look for and consider. Fatigue is a biggy because that's when I'd guess I'm most likely to make mistakes. I'd rather avoid that obviously...LOL.

I'm going to try and get down to a couple of the dealerships by this weekend to sit (and maybe even ride) a couple of bikes I'm interested in. My only fear is money and being closed (sold) on a new bike and ending up with the missus so angry at me I'd wished I'd never gone. :shock:

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Re: Motorcycles: New Rider / Suggestions?

Post by p38 » Monday, 25 February 2013, 16:11 PM

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Re: Motorcycles: New Rider / Suggestions?

Post by Flapjack » Monday, 25 February 2013, 16:48 PM

I'm going to give you the best advice you will ever get! Find out where in your area that the Motorcycle Safety Course is being taught and take it! I had been a rider ever since 1964 until I had a head on crash in 1985. I rode no more until 2004. My present wife saw me lusting after motorcycles and said,"You want to ride again don't you?" Well that led to me purchasing a bike and I took the MSF course. I use to ride with a group of friends way back and learned from them. When I took the MSF I found out why we did the things we did. Never ever sit at a red light with the bike in neutral. A fast way to die.
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Re: Motorcycles: New Rider / Suggestions?

Post by Grinder74 » Tuesday, 26 February 2013, 5:30 AM

Don't overlook a sportster. I have one and it is a great bike, easy to ride and parts are plentiful.

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Re: Motorcycles: New Rider / Suggestions?

Post by 231 » Wednesday, 27 February 2013, 13:57 PM

Flapjack wrote:I'm going to give you the best advice you will ever get! Find out where in your area that the Motorcycle Safety Course is being taught and take it! I had been a rider ever since 1964 until I had a head on crash in 1985. I rode no more until 2004. My present wife saw me lusting after motorcycles and said,"You want to ride again don't you?" Well that led to me purchasing a bike and I took the MSF course. I use to ride with a group of friends way back and learned from them. When I took the MSF I found out why we did the things we did. Never ever sit at a red light with the bike in neutral. A fast way to die.
Yea, did the class passed with flying colors...almost perfect riding score and 95% on the written.

Ended up with a Suzuki VL800 / C50T and Suzuki VL1500 / C90. When I do it, I do it right! LOL The wife will probably end up with the C50, and we'll sell her VT750 Honda Shadow Aero. The C50 is better suited for her riding style anyway.

Thanks for the suggestion on the Sportster, but it's a bit small for me. I did almost buy an '07 Street Glide though...just couldn't get my mind wrapped around dropping that kind of cash on a bike and having to have chain tensioners inspected (at a very minimum) at 15k-30k miles. That was the 96 Twin Cam motor by the way. The bike only had 7k miles on it...but it really bothered me. Looked hard at a new Yamaha Stratoliner 1800cc too...test rode it and love it. Very smooth bike and almost dropped the cash down on it. But when I test rode the C90 with OEM gel seat knew without question it was the bike I was looking for. Handles almost as easily as my 600lb C50 and very low COG. The only thing I don't like is selection of aftermarket goodies for it. The new 2013 C90T is different by the way. It's built on the M90 subframe and M109 motor design. Both very good, but for the money they want for them would probably buy a newer Victory Kingpin or something.

Thanks for the input guys.

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Re: Motorcycles: New Rider / Suggestions?

Post by Grinder74 » Wednesday, 27 February 2013, 18:04 PM

I bought a VL800 new in 2001 when they debuted. Great bike! Put 40,000 miles on it and only changed tires and oil. I ran Pirelli Venom X tires and drug the pegs and exhaust all the time. That is why I have a Sporty now. I should have bought HD instead, holds value, better fuel mileage and a lot of junk to throw at it.

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Re: Motorcycles: New Rider / Suggestions?

Post by fatcat3 » Saturday, 01 March 2014, 9:49 AM

what did you end up getting

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Re: Motorcycles: New Rider / Suggestions?

Post by lemmychatter » Saturday, 01 March 2014, 16:02 PM

I took my test on a 883 sportster and totally blew it. don't be afraid to fail the first time you take a driving motorcycle test. once you go through the course you will get an idea of whats involved. second time I took it I aced it. sportsters are inexpensive new and used ones can be found cheaper yet, but be careful buying used. motorcycles are dangerous enough, you don't need a clapped out bike making things worse. also you might find real fast that brand new ones aren't much more than what most people want for used. they throw on some cheap saddlebags and chinzy chrome and jack the price up way over what its worth. just do your homework. best piece of advice I can give a new rider: Ride like your invisible!!!!!! because to most cars you are! ride like theres a bubble around you and the bubble cant touch anything. use your three positions on the road. car coming at you in the other lane? shift to the far right of the road. car pulling out on your right? shift to the far left (near the middle line). stay in the middle if theres a lot going on both ways. those few seconds can help you if someone pulls out in front of you,,and they will eventually! be safe!!


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