My wife and I are long-time motorcyclists. We met at the Paonia Rally back in 1992 and our daughter grew up riding in our sidecar rig and more recently behind Mom on solo bikes. So I guess it's no surprise that Faye wants to get a motorcycle license and ride. Both of her parents ride, many of our family friends ride, and it is natural that she would assume that she would also ride. So now we have to decide how to start her off. Part of the decision is easy. She will endure the Basic Riding Course and some training prior to getting her motorcycle endorsement on her license. We also plan to get a family-sized ticket to an off-road riding training session. So now that we are agreed on the training part of the equation we have to figure out what Faye's first motorcycle should be.
Our initial thought was "an older airhead just like we learned to ride on." Something like an older /5 or /6 where she could learn not only riding but also maintenance. So we were leaning toward getting a /6 or /7 (so we would have a front disk brake) in a 750cc or 650cc configuration. We thought a disk brake was an important safety component. And staying with a 650cc or 750cc would keep the power ratio in a manageable zone. But the more we discussed it the more other considerations came to the fore. Is ABS so powerful from a safety perspective that we should not worry as much about the power ratio? So is it better to get a R850R used from someone so we can get ABS and a modern suspension system? Or is it better to get a /7 with less than 75 HP and disk brakes.
Others we have discussed this with have suggested some other manufacturers starter bikes for consideration in the 250cc range with modern braking systems.
Our daughter is 16 years old today. She'll be 17 when she starts riding regularly with us (weekend rides and maybe a rally or two). We are both excited and anxious about Faye engaging in something that has been so central to our lives. Any thoughts or experiences others have about this would be much appreciated.
Is it better to aim for the less powerful older bikes or slant toward a more modern bike with modern safety features. (BTW, we have an F800 ST that she could ride but we are concerned that it may be more power than she should handle right away...) Or maybe she starts with riding our sidecar rig?