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Thread: What's a Good Starter Bike?

  1. #16
    RideTN RideTN's Avatar
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    something simpleand easy to ride...vstar 650, can be had fairly inexpensively in the used bike market, very reliable....
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    2012 r1200rt

  2. #17
    Registered User miairhead's Avatar
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    One Option

    The Royal Infield has been improved a lot lately and you might find a newer one in your budget.
    Last edited by MIAirhead; 11-16-2012 at 03:11 PM.
    Tom
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  3. #18
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    Excellent Ideas

    Thanks for that story, Paul. Motorcycle Classics Magazine frequently runs stories and pictures from "back in the day" and -not infrequently- they involve young people riding very long distances on 250cc machines (sometimes 2-strokes), and sometimes two-up. Some of us enjoy torque, however.

    I agree with the posters recommending "standard" bikes vs. scooters or cruisers. The ergos are VERY different, and if she starts out on a standard, her transition to the pinnacle of motorcycle nirvana - a well-sorted Airhead - should be easy. The 650cc Versys might also serve, depending on leg length.

    Buy her a copy of Melissa Pierson's book, The Perfect Vehicle, which will stoke the fires of two-wheeled joy.

    Walking Eagle

  4. #19
    Minnesota Nice! braddog's Avatar
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    My youngest daughter went through this. She's been going to motorcycle shows with me since she was 13. She would sit on anything and everything. The 2 bikes that she always wanted were a Buell Blast, mostly because of the colors, and the Kawi Ninja 250. I didn't even push her in that direction.

    I think she was 18 when she went to the MSF course with my wife. My wife took the course on her own Vino 125. I told my daughter to grab whatever bike looked the most like a dirtbike. She took the MSF using a Suzuki DR200. They both passed with flying colors and got their official motorcycle endorsement.

    At the point in time when we were looking for a motorcycle for her, there seemed to be a complete lack of "beginner" bikes for sale anywhere within 500 miles. We ended up with a Suzuki Bandit 600. It was heavy, it seemed to have a rather high COG (to me, anyway), but we got a great deal on a good motorcycle. In retrospect, it was too much for a beginner, at least for her. She rode it for 2 years, then totalled it when she highsided on an offramp when she hit sand, the bike slid and hit the curb and she and the bike went flying. No doubt in my mind that it was her speed and inexperience that caused the wreck. Luckily for her, she only sustained some road rash and bruises.

    So, having lived that, here's what I'm thinking:

    - Something reliable. When she takes off on her own, you want to make sure she gets there and back. You can teach her about maintenance and troubleshooting, but it may be best to not start with a project.

    - Something that fits her. My daughter is 5'11''. She fits almost anything. However make sure that the rider is comfortable starting and stopping and with the riding position.

    - Something in the "mid" power range. I'm thinking something in the 400-500 cc range here. Could be a Burgman, could be a Kawi EX500. These have enough power for the freeway, yet not too much to get too much out of control.

    - Do a rider's training course, whatever's available locally, if you haven't already done so.
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  5. #20
    Unfunded content provider tommcgee's Avatar
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    Good article on starter bikes here: http://www.chuckhawks.com/good_first_motorcycles.htm

    As to my opinion, if she wants a scooter, she should get a scooter. She's the one who has to ride it.

    Buy her an MSF weekend.
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  6. #21
    Registered User lkchris's Avatar
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    I'd try to steer her to the notion that motorcycles are for rides in the mountains or in the country and NOT for commuting. Maybe longish trips to rallies.

    If that works, then a 250 or 400 or something like that is all wrong.

    I have a friend who started (after MSF) on an R1100RT and he's done fine and still has it. He's never owned anything smaller ... unless you count his R50/2.

    Perhaps better a bodywork-free bike for a starter, R65, RxxxR, F800xx, etc.

    If it's commuting for her, there's no advantage to a motorcycle versus a scooter ... but she should wear the same ATGATT.
    Kent Christensen
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  7. #22
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    Boy i couldn't disagree more

    I think that starting out on a mid-sized bike is foolish. It seems to me that there are an awful lot of ex-riders out there that would have stayed in motorcycling if they had started out on something smaller.

    If you go to some of the threads on ADVrider, you will see that there are many people that have gone back to smaller bikes and found the true joy of riding again.

    You don't need a 70hp bike to have a great time.

    Let her chose what she feels most comfortable on....
    Somers, NY

    Just enjoying the ride.......

  8. #23
    Fissah! AKThumper's Avatar
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    May I say something from a woman's perspective?
    I started out on a BMW F650 that was lowered. I am five nine,
    With a 34 inch inseam. I know you are all thinking why a lowered
    Bike?
    Well, for one thing both feet were completely flat on the ground while
    Stopped and that gave me a very good sense of stability. Most of the weight of
    This bike is under you. Women have more lower body strength than upper body
    Strength, and ,y legs did not get tangled in the jugs of an airhead.
    The second most important thing, I took the MSF beginner course.
    And finally, my husband spent countless hours patiently !! And I do mean patiently
    Taking me through various on road situations as an amazing mentor.
    Not many guys would be willing to ride the ALCAN at 45mph (or less, when I first encountered rain, wind, grated bridges......) leading where necessary, and following
    When appropriate. First riding season was just over 6000 miles.....had he not been patient and tough when I needed it I might not be riding today.

    It is more than just finding the right bike to start out. It is having a patient experienced rider willing to stick it out and train the new rider. Think long term benefits!
    By the way I just logged over 21,000 miles this year, and my husband never has to ask for a kitchen pass!
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  9. #24
    sMiling Voni's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by AKThumper View Post
    May I say something from a woman's perspective?
    I started out on a BMW F650 that was lowered. I am five nine,
    With a 34 inch inseam. I know you are all thinking why a lowered
    Bike?
    Well, for one thing both feet were completely flat on the ground while
    Stopped and that gave me a very good sense of stability. Most of the weight of
    This bike is under you. Women have more lower body strength than upper body
    Strength, and ,y legs did not get tangled in the jugs of an airhead.
    The second most important thing, I took the MSF beginner course.
    And finally, my husband spent countless hours patiently !! And I do mean patiently
    Taking me through various on road situations as an amazing mentor.
    Not many guys would be willing to ride the ALCAN at 45mph (or less, when I first encountered rain, wind, grated bridges......) leading where necessary, and following
    When appropriate. First riding season was just over 6000 miles.....had he not been patient and tough when I needed it I might not be riding today.

    It is more than just finding the right bike to start out. It is having a patient experienced rider willing to stick it out and train the new rider. Think long term benefits!
    By the way I just logged over 21,000 miles this year, and my husband never has to ask for a kitchen pass!
    Sounds like my start in riding. Paul, who never had much patience, found scads to coach me just when I needed it. I am eternally greatful to him!

    Voni
    sMiling
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  10. #25
    Mars needs women! 35634's Avatar
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    Interesting, so far we've narrow it down to:

    Honda Rebel (2 good, one bad) Suzuki GS500 (2)
    Kaw Ninja 250 (2)
    Ducati Monster
    Bergman 400
    400cc something
    Suzuki SV650
    Vstar 650
    Royal Enfield
    650 Versys
    Kaw ex500
    r65, RxxxR, F800xx
    F650

    You might be better off going to craigslist, punching in motorcycle under $2000, and buying the prettiest one!
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  11. #26
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    I would listen to what she feels like she needs. Nothing worse than forcing a bike on someone that they don'r feel comfortable with. Start small, and plan on replacing it in a year or two with something bigger.

    What kind of riding will she be doing? If it's just going to visit friends locally, and a few trips to the store, a scooter (any size) is enough. For higher speed areas, say 45 MPH and above, a larger scooter.

  12. #27
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    No SV650

    The SV650 is too fast for a total beginner. If she has some prior experience, maybe she's pretty good on a dirt bike, for example, then maybe ok. If she tends to be a hot rod and has little or no experience that bike is too much. If she has a calm demeanor and takes things slowly then again maybe ok.

    Here's is what I would look at if I were getting somebody into riding:

    Suzuki GS500, 450, 425, 400.
    Kawasaki EX500, 454 LTD, KZ400, GPz305, Ninja 250.
    Honda 500 Ascot single or twin, 500 Shadow, 500 Interceptor, Hawk 450, 400, Nighthawk 450, Interceptor 250, Rebel 250.

    Any of these should be relatively cheap to buy and re-sell for little to no loss if they don't get beat up too bad.

    This is just off the top of my head there's plenty more. Never followed Yamaha past the 2 stroke era but I'm sure they offered the same stuff easily found with some research.

    Even older stuff would work fine but personally I wouldn't buy anything that does not have a disk front brake.

    Any 250 dual sport would do fine as well. Nothing wrong with a scooter either, as long as it has good brakes.

  13. #28
    Cowboyatheart
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    Talking

    FWIW

    I echo that you need to get a bike for her that she is comfortable with. However, having said that, I also believe that a standard Style seating position Motorcycle is much easier to control at slow speeds and higher speeds. I have had many friends trained at courses on cruiser style bikes, they won't even sit on a standard seating bike, and the control of their motorcycle for them is much much harder for them than it needs to be. They won't even they try a different style motorcycle, so they have no idea what they're missing.

    Therefore, my wife who is just learning to ride, and we are looking for new bike for her, I will be guiding her towards a motorcycle that has a standard seating position. If she wants to move to a cruiser in the future that will be here choice, but I want her out on the street with the best opportunity to have the best control of the motorcycle while she gains experience and confidence.

    So there...
    Last edited by nelliott; 11-17-2012 at 09:14 PM. Reason: Clarity
    Neil
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  14. #29
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    Wow...thanks for all the responses. Lots of good advice. You guys are great.

    The current situation...she took an introduction class last night. I don't know if it's an MSF course but it's run by the same folks who do the MSF courses here and is supposed to be for total beginners to see if they want to go further. She loved it and is now planning to take the BRC and get her MC endorsement. She rode a Honda Rebel in the class and liked it...said it fit well and she felt comfortable on it. So I dunno...there are several Rebels on the local Craigslist for what look like reasonable prices. There's also a nice looking 97 F650 Funduro but I don't know anything about them and I think it might be a bit much for a total newbie (but might work for me ). I think I'll let her do the BRC and then we'll start looking in earnest for a bike, or maybe Santa will bring one, who knows?

    So that's where we are now.

    And now her older sister is getting interested. I'd better make more room in the garage...
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  15. #30
    Mars needs women! 35634's Avatar
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    awww, least you could try a Ducati, doesn't this look like fun?
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