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 Choice of 'Beginner' motorcycle
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Jim B
Male Senior Member
491 Posts


Newark, Delaware
USA

Honda

CMX250 & CB750
Peer Review: 1

Posted - 12/14/2008 :  10:06 AM   DetailDetail                        Like
Poll Question:
After reading a recent thread on a new rider purchasing a powerful first bike, and getting 'scolded' for buying the 'wrong' bike, I would like to know something:

For those of you who did NOT purchase a small-displacement motorcycle as your FIRST bike, which reason best describes why you made your decision?

(Note, my definition of small-displacement is anything less than 400cc)

Please be honest here.


Results:
Friends/Family influenced me that I would regret getting a small engine size   [8%] 6 votes 
Dealership convinced me that the smaller engine is not a good choice   [0%] 0 votes 
I did not know that I should have started off on a small engine   [11%] 8 votes 
I have too much pride, and don't want to be 'seen' on a bike with a small engine   [0%] 0 votes 
My first bike was my dream bike, I don't want anything else   [18%] 13 votes 
I don't care what anyone says, I gotta have that bike!!!   [1%] 1 votes 
I am a good rider, don't need no wimpy little bike   [3%] 2 votes 
It was the best deal I could get at the time   [17%] 12 votes 
I am afraid of being humiliated by fellow riders for not having something big   [1%] 1 votes 
The smaller bikes were too small for me   [22%] 16 votes 
Other - please state your reason   [18%] 13 votes 
= Guests (39 votes)


Poll Status: Closed  »»   Total Votes: 72 counted  »»   Last Vote: 03/14/2009 11:03 AM 

bridwell52
Male Senior Member
377 Posts


Pensacola, FL
USA

BMW

KGT

Posted - 12/14/2008 :  1:56 PM
I choose wimp because after riding most of my life with several cross country trips, I got out of riding for about 8 years. Bought a Victory 1500 cc as my return bike. I knew how to ride and survive, I just needed a refresher on the basics. After one week of riding it, I took the test to get my M endorsement because you did not use to have one. The guy at the DMV said that's an awful big bike to test on.
Passed with flying colors. Next month took the advanced rider course and breezed it. The rest is history and I'm hooked again.
I will say that a first bike ought to be smaller but still capable of Interstate speed and weekend get aways.

David

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scottrnelson
Advanced Member
6866 Posts
[Mentor]


Pleasanton, CA
USA

KTM

990 Adv, XR650L

Posted - 12/14/2008 :  7:04 PM
Another poll I can't vote in. My first bike was a 100cc Kawasaki and probably had less horsepower than my current push power lawnmower.

Right now I think the best possible first motorcycle is the Honda CRF230M. Street tires so it gets good traction, everything else dirt bike so it's hard to injure if you drop it, better than 50 mpg fuel mileage. I hope Honda sells several boatloads of them.
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ColoRexer
Male Advanced Member
616 Posts
[Mentor]


Castle Rock, CO
USA

Kawasaki

ZX14

Posted - 12/14/2008 :  9:50 PM
The ZRX1100 was my first. I have never gotten into trouble because of the available power. Two reasons come to mind... One, I took an extremely conservative approach to the bike, motivated by fear. Two, the bike came with a non-stock exhaust which, though I would not call it loud, does a really good job of communicating how angry the genie under the valve cover is over 5000 rpm. For that reason, doing something like winding it up to 9K and dropping the clutch as a newbie was unimaginable.

I have had two drops, one in the garage (day one, had no notion of the balance characteristics of a 500 pound bike) and probably day 7, practicing starts on a hill (steep driveway, I let the bike move backwards under me as I slipped the clutch and down it went.) Both of these drops could have happened on a lower displacement bike.

The reasons I did not start with a smaller bike... lust and monetary constraints. I chose the 'dream bike' option on the poll. Also, I had a spare $3300 I could put towards a used bike come as a windfall, I am not ordinarily in that position and did not anticipate being in the position to buy a different bike in a year.

Now, two years and ten thousand miles in (no long trips, mostly 15-30 mile jaunts), I feel like the Rex is an extension of myself. Of course this is all the more reason to be careful, as Han Solo said, "Don't get cocky, kid"
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HeavyMetal
Male Junior Member
94 Posts


Kimberly, Idaho
USA

Honda

Valkyrie

Posted - 12/14/2008 :  9:55 PM
I chose other because I wanted a bike big enough for me and my wife to go long distance if we wanted to. I bought a 1500cc Honda Valkyrie. One caveat though. I rode dirt bikes for a long time. I knew how to ride (or so I thought)! I have since learned that a road bike is a very different animal than a dirt bike. I took the ERC and learned a lot, along with much from this site and Hough's books. So I consider the Valk as my first bike even though I did ride smaller bikes off-road.
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bachman1961
Male Advanced Member
2241 Posts
[Mentor]


colorado springs, co
USA

Honda

CB750 NightHawk

Posted - 12/15/2008 :  12:57 AM
quote:
Originally posted by scottrnelson

Right now I think the best possible first motorcycle is the Honda CRF230M. Street tires so it gets good traction, everything else dirt bike so it's hard to injure if you drop it, better than 50 mpg fuel mileage. I hope Honda sells several boatloads of them.



+1 Scott !

I'd love to have a reason and the extra few bucks to go buy one of these as my 2nd bike now just for the sake of being 'green' (I beleive it's capable of nearly twice the mpg my Honda NH gets).
The first thing I'd do is get a better city tire setup.
Having a lightweight maneuverable bike to get around the city with plenty of juice for moderates speeds is very appealing. I'm sure anyone getting this as a first bike would never get rid of it, although might add to their stable.

~brian

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radan2
Male Advanced Member
1117 Posts
[Mentor]


Jacksonville, NC
USA

Moto Guzzi

2007 Breva V750 ie

Posted - 12/15/2008 :  5:32 AM
My first bike was a 100 cc semi-off-road Suzuki.

I bought it because it was what I could afford at the time.

I had no idea what engine size I should buy as a beginner. I know very few first-time buyers who do know.
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JamesGang
Male Junior Member
30 Posts


Sydney, Cape Breton Island
Canada

Honda

'81 Goldwing

Posted - 12/15/2008 :  6:59 AM
I'm sure all will agree that my first, and only, motorcycle was not a good choice for a total beginner. It is an '81 Goldwing Interstate, 1100 cc engine with a full load of hard bags and options. I would not have chosen this bike except for the reason that it was a gift from my father.

Prior to accepting it, I had no interest in learning to ride. I actually thought of motorcycling as an extremely dangerous activity and a completely unnecessary risk.

Before taking the BRC in June '08, I had found this site and I studied the safety tips for all the information I could absorb. I took the bike to the shop and had the mechanic do a complete inspection of all systems and repair or replace anything that was needed. I made it clear to him that everything was to be in perfect condition and that cost would not be a detriment to achieving my goal.

By the time I began the BRC, I had purchased all the gear needed to be ATGATT, as this site recommends. When I walked into the class room, the instructors where so impressed with my gear, that they had my stand at the front of the class so they could explain to all why each item was so important.

Now it is six month's and 10,000 km's later and I have no regret's. Thanks to this site, and 30 years of cage driving experience, my introduction to motorcycling has been uneventful and great fun. The challenge, skill and concentration required to operate a bike has added a new chapter to my life.

Thanks to all, and especially to Mr. Davis, for your continuing advice and support.

Merry Christmas and a Happy Near Year,
Rick
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Indiana Randy
Moderator
2118 Posts
[Mentor]


Fort Wayne, Indiana
USA

Honda

2000 Magna V4 750

Posted - 12/15/2008 :  8:49 AM
My first bike was a Yamaha 180cc twin cylinder two-stroke. It was plenty fast enough and my only transportation for my high school years. The interstates were under construction.

The Honda 350 was a big bike.

When Honda came out with the 4 cylinder 750 many of us thought perfection had been achieved. There would never be a need for a bigger motorcycle and certainly could never be a better designed and built motorcycle.

The Kawasaki 500 (three cylinder two stroke) was that day's version of sportbike. That bike absolutely screamed.
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bachman1961
Male Advanced Member
2241 Posts
[Mentor]


colorado springs, co
USA

Honda

CB750 NightHawk

Posted - 12/15/2008 :  9:50 AM
quote:
Originally posted by JamesGang


Before taking the BRC in June '08, I had found this site and I studied the safety tips for all the information I could absorb.
By the time I began the BRC, I had purchased all the gear needed to be ATGATT, as this site recommends. When I walked into the class room, the instructors where so impressed with my gear, that they had my stand at the front of the class so they could explain to all why each item was so important.
Thanks to all, and especially to Mr. Davis, for your continuing advice and support.


IMO;
Based on your situation in receiving the bike as a gift, I think you have done a service to many at this site for taking the approach you did entering into safe riding. This story of yours is a great example of the respect you give to safe motorcycling and the attributes of this site.

~brian

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mildhog
Male Junior Member
49 Posts


Chesapeake, VA
USA

Honda

GL500I GL650 GL1100

Posted - 12/15/2008 :  9:52 AM
Friend had a 1982 GL500 Interstate he'd sell me for cheap and I couldn't resist the opportunity to finally get a bike. Fully faired and about 575 lbs. Took the BRC before getting on the beast. No problems.
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kenneth84
Male Junior Member
74 Posts


Fort Worth, TX
USA

Yamaha

R1

Posted - 01/13/2009 :  11:39 AM
I chose other because I was influenced by my Safety course instructor. I was thinking about purchasing a Ninja 250 as a first but he informed me that I would be wanting to sell it after a few months of solid riding. While I was a little scared to jump on a 600, he told me if I am scared of all the power, roll back on the throttle. I ended up with my 2008 Yamaha R6. Ive never regretted my purchase and in fact consider it the best one ever made. Safe riding.
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SkootchNC
Male Advanced Member
1058 Posts
[Mentor]


raleigh, north carolina
USA

Harley-Davidson

road glide

Posted - 01/16/2009 :  1:30 PM
I chose other.
My idiot friends didn't see anything wrong with my first bike purchase. in June 1973, I purchased a 1966 Triumph T120R Bonnieville.

now ANYONE with a lick of sense should have steered me to a nice safe Honda 350. but no... My friends and I were all disgruntled vets, and our judgement would have to improve before it would reach "questionable" status.

The regular motorcycle education began with Jimmy, popping open a beer, pointing out the various controls, and telling me to start kick starting.
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Mark W
Male Standard Member
179 Posts


Minneapolis, Minnesota
USA

Yamaha

V-Star 650 Classic

Peer Review: Blocked

Posted - 01/21/2009 :  11:20 AM
I chose Other as well. From riding a 250 in the BRC I knew that would be too small, but I didn't want to start out on a "big" bike (1000+ cc) either. Perhaps I'll get a bigger bike someday, but I'm quite happy with my V-Star.
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Niebor
Ex-Member

Posted - 01/21/2009 :  1:05 PM
I didn't answer the poll becase my first bike was indeed a small bike, (Honda Trail 90).

However, at the point I would have been considered a re-entry rider, and your poll would been legitimate again, several choices would have been appropriate.

So, it either did'nt apply, or more than one would be appropriate.
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aidanspa
Male Advanced Member
1739 Posts
[Mentor]


Omaha, NE
USA

Harley-Davidson

Road King

Posted - 01/21/2009 :  1:17 PM
I answered "dream bike" because it is, and the stars aligned for me to find a motivated seller (needed money) who was selling his dream bike (original owner) for a great price, and was willing to take payments from me for 6 months, so I didn't need to finance it. Bought all the gear, took BRC, am a firm believer in PLP and a safety attitude.
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Axiom2000
Male Moderator
1761 Posts
[Mentor]


Georgetown, Delaware
USA

BMW

F 800 GT

Posted - 01/21/2009 :  2:49 PM
My first machine was like a 64 Honda Super 90 I think. It was my birthday and my mother made the mistake of asking me what I wanted. Motorcycle I said, boy did that generate a lot of discussion but I won in the end. She drove me to the Honda dealer, Ha, just a guy selling motorcycles out of his garage then. I picked out the one I wanted, he ask me if I could ride it, sure no problems I said (I had no clue). After stalling it 4 times, got it to the end of the drive way and dropped it. Dropped it 3 more times on the way home... Eventually tamed the beast. Back then there was no MSF I don't even think a motorcycle endorsement was required.
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Baggsy
Male Advanced Member
718 Posts
[Mentor]


Ottawa, Ontario
Canada

Suzuki

09 Wee

Posted - 02/15/2009 :  7:12 PM
Can't vote here

I started on an '82 Suzuki 250 cruiser that had been dropped many times before I got it. I expect it will be dropped many more times before it is sent to the junkyard.

I didn't regret starting on that bike at all.


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OlHossCanada
Male Junior Member
50 Posts


Lethbridge, Alberta
Canada

Kawasaki

1991 VN750 (Vulcan)

Posted - 05/12/2009 :  12:08 AM
Well the poll is closed and I can`t vote, but if I could , it would need to be a 2or 3 way split. I grew up in a small rural town in the `60s. I got a learners permit at age 14, which also allowed me to drive a motorcycle up to 100cc. Every farmboy got one to drive until he turned 16, got a DL and dad`s pickup truck to drive. I was the only kid in my class who didn`t have a bike of my own (I was a town kid), but I got a lot of practice riding friends and cousins bikes, out on their farms. I was a big kid even then and could drive dad`s `49 Merc pickup by myself by the time I started school at age 6.

All this is to say that my riding experience is long, but very thin. When I was about 25 or so I borrowed my younger brothers 650 Honda for 3 or 4 weeks to get to work, while fixing my car. Other than that I`d only been on half a dozen bikes for short rides over the next almost 30 years.

I came into some money and finally had the means to get a bike of my own. My next door neighbor was the Canadian Motocross Champion when he was 17. He`s in his 40s now, and is the promotor for the annual February Arena Cross races and the July 1st/4th motocross races at the local clubs track. He rides a 954 Ninja street bike now, besides still riding a little motocross.

I ask him about a first bike and mentioned a 250 Yamaha V-Twin that I had the opportunity to take a short spin on a few weeks earlier. I`m 5' 11" and weighed about #280 at the time. Jerry said "no, you`re a big guy,and will feel like you`ve outgrown it in the first week. Look for a 20 year old Honda Shadow 750. You can pick one up for $2500, ride it for a couple of years; if you drop it, you`re not out a bunch of money, and if you decide you want something bigger , you can sell it for the same price you bought it for."

So that`s what I started hunting for, and last May 16 I found a Kawi, Vulcan 750 for sale on Kijiji, and the guy only lived 3 miles away. I took it for a ride at noon hour, and by 3 o`clock it was registered and insured in my name. It feels comfortable for me to ride, and it has plenty of power, but doesn`t over power me. A bigger frame would be nice for trips longer than going to work or running errands around town. I took the safety course, even though I didn`t have to, because I had grandfathered my motorcycle endorsment when the province made it separate from an auto DL.

I had an accident only 6 weeks after buying the bike. I went wide on an exit ramp, got fixated on the guardrail, instead of looking to the right where I wanted to go, and naturally drove right into the rail. The accident was not the result of going into the corner too fast or being on a bike too big for me. It was the result of letting the bike go wider for a delayed apex corner, and then realizing that I was riding on a four foot wide strip of road that looked like it might be covered with dry dirt, sand or fine gravel, and being afraid to countersteer to lean the bike over for fear of slipping into a lowside spill. If I had stayed on the travelled portion of the lane where the traffic had blown all the dirt and sand off to the side, I would have completed the turn with no problems. As it was, I dragged my leg for 50 feet along the rail, and sailed most of the way over a deep wide ditch. I suffered a severly broken leg, and now, 10 months afterwards, the X-ray shows absolutely no new bone growth. It could have been worse though if I had not been wearing high leather boots and chaps.

I learned from the vn750 website only after my accident that the vn750 is the quickest cruiser in the 1/4 mile, that Kawi makes, except for the Meanstreak. This info was from about 2003.

I should have been continuing to practice emergency stopping and obstacle avoidance every afternoon on my way home from work. There is a new industrial park being built that has new empty roads at 4:30 in the afternoon, that was the perfect place to practice, and I just drove right past, not taking advantage of it.

So for any noobs out there reading this, learn something from my mistakes, because you don`t have time to make them all yourself. Practice emergency stops starting at 18-20 mph, and work up 2 mph at a time, until you can come to a STOP in as short a distance as possible from the speeds you ride at. Practice obstacle avoidance and countersteering until it is second nature and a reflex action.

David Hough, in his great book "Proficient Riding 2" (updated in 2008), describes how he practices still, after more than 40 years of writing about mc safety. Traffic permitting, when changing lanes he "practices" missing the broken white lines, by countersteering and driving between them. Then when he has to avoid junk blown or dropped on the road, his skills are always sharp.

I guess the second half of this post should have been on the accident forum. Sorry about that, I do get wordy at times.
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STEBOU
Male Starting Member
9 Posts


Abbeville, Alabama
USA

Harley-Davidson

Soft Tail Deluxe

Posted - 05/26/2009 :  10:04 AM
First I took a riding course.
Then sat on various bikes at various dealers.
Then test drove the ones that felt comfortable, ie height, weight balance. Then bought what I felt most comfortable riding on.
Knock on wood; no accident in over 30 years now.
Ride to live and live to ride
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markstvn
Male Junior Member
28 Posts


Hampstead, MD
USA

Harley-Davidson

Sporster 883 Custom

Posted - 05/28/2009 :  5:59 AM
My first bike, and only bike is a Harley Sporster 883. I was going to buy a Night Hawk with small engine. Friends convinced me that I would be "bored out of my mind", in two weeks. The Sporster was a little intimidating to me after the trainer bikes at MSF, but it has worked out pretty well. The bike fits me well, and control is no longer an issue. I have spend alot of time working on the fundamentals.
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