advice on 1st bike
October 9, 2008 at 10:43 pm #2233jj79Participant
I’m a total newbie…looking forward to taking the MSF course and getting my license soon. I have no riding experience at all…I’m 29, married, with a 1 year old…so I’m not looking for thrills, and don’t want to get myself killed on some super-sport bike. Just always wanted to ride, and want to finally do something about it…
I’m saving for/deciding on my 1st bike, and hope some of you can give me some advice. I’ve read enough and talked to enough folks to know the basic recommendations (250cc, used bike, etc). I’ve kind of zeroed in on some bikes I’m interested in, and would love to hear your thoughts/advice, especially if you own one of them.
A brief description of what I’m after…I’m interested in a cruiser, and almost all of my riding would be for pleasure, on two lane country roads…top speed would usually be 60 mph or less, but there are lots of twistys & hills. I am approx. 5’11” & 210 lbs…
Here are the bikes I’m curious about:
1) Honda Rebel – have heard great stuff about this bike, but am curious about the 234cc engine…would it be enough for someone my size in hilly terrain?
2) Yamaha Virago 250 – heard good stuff about this one as well…like the idea of the v-twin on this one.
3) Suzuki S40 (or Savage 650) – basically the same size/weight as the other two, but has a 650cc…would that be too much for a total newb? I hear that the 250cc rule really applies to sport bikes more than cruisers…and that weight is more of a factor on a cruiser than engine size, as the power is distributed differently than on a sport bike. I don’t want to exceed my ability though…honest opinion: is this bike too much to learn on?
Thanks in advance for all the info!!
-JJOctober 9, 2008 at 11:35 pm #13639MunchParticipant
The S40 would probly do better IMO. The 250’s though proven to be tough … in a cruiser… and back roads… eh … not here. If you were looking sport style bike I would say go for it. I ride the Vulcan 500… and other then the recent hiccup .. I love the bike… gives ya plenty of get up go in any condition. Wouldn’t go above the 500 or 650 range on cruisers though… you’ll need the lighter weight to learn on especially in the turns and “sudden” stops that a country road can throw at ya.
Yesterday is a memory, tomorrow is a prediction, but today…… is a Bi**hOctober 9, 2008 at 11:35 pm #13640AmorylParticipant
the virago’s on my short list, and has likely the best mileage of the bunch, they’re all going to have pretty bullet proof engines, though a lot of people seem to think the rebel’s a bit too cramped and wimpy. though of course you’ll also get dozens of claims otherwise. I’d reccomend adding the Hyosung GV250 to your list, it’s a bit bigger looking, and so I’ve been led to believe a bit more power out of it’s 250cc than the others (still no speed demon, but then again, none of them will) and looks more like a “real motorcycle” if thats something that worries you at all.
I’ve heard decent enough things about the S40, as for being too much for a beginner…it’s up to you. with cruisers it’s more about weight than power than it is with a sportsbike, but the weight becomes a considerable factor. you’ll likely be doing a lot of slow speed turning and such, and that’s where the weight will kick you in the butt, a 250’ll turn without having to manhandle and muscle it near as much as a heavier bike (not that the S40 is a beast like a touring cruiser or anything) and will be easier to pick up if it drops. though from all I’ve read it’s not going to be a huge jump up.
in the end the best way to tell which bike to get is to sit on em, give em a test ride if you can, find what fits you the best, what looks the best to you, and what you feel is the best made. though they’re all built like tanks, with simple but reliable and time proven components. so best built will be largely subjective and/or how well the bike’s been maintained (if you’re buying used)
good luck, and have fun, and make sure you take the MSF and get quality protective gear. don’t risk that noggin, you’ve got a young’in to take care ofOctober 10, 2008 at 5:10 am #13658DaggerParticipant
Of the bikes you listed I would suggest you look into the Virago… The rebel will be too small for your body size I would think.. As well as the Savage.. Even at 650cc’s it a pretty small bike.. I went with the V-Star 650 and am very happy with it.. Not as heavy as it’s bigger brothers but has a nice look and feel to it.. As was said in another thread.. Get out there and sit on as many bikes as you can.. Have the dealer help hold the bikes so you can get both feet up on the pegs and find one that feels comfortable to you.. If you start to look into the 650’s I’d say check out the Yamaha V-Star and the Honda Shadow… Those would be my two choices for 650’s..
Whatever you chose, just take your time and learn to ride safe and smart..
I just want to make it out of this life alive…October 10, 2008 at 11:17 pm #13708NetReddingParticipant
It seems like you’re doing things backwards. Looking for bikes on Craigslist, I found that a good part of the ones listed are there because there’s either a new baby or one on the way.
My wife rides a Rebel, and I’m on a GZ250. They’re great around town and get fantastic gas mileage (I average now about 72 MPG on the Suzuki, but have had it as high as 85, and my wife gets 94 MPG on the Rebel). I think they’re both great bikes to start with (though now I find myself sometimes wishing I had something larger).
I’m smaller than you, at 5’6″, 160#, and high speeds (60+MPH) and anything up hill is a killer. On level ground, the bikes are working hard at 60, and if you try to go uphill at all, your speed will drop. But riding around town (45 MPH and under), to/from work is fun.
Consider your insurance too. I have State Farm, and they charge you by the size of the engine. My bikes run me $10 each per month, which I more than make up for in gas savings (my pickup gets 20 MPG on a good day).
Take the MSF course! My wife and I rode for a couple of months before taking the class, which helped us prepare for the class. But the class was well worth it. You’ll get a lot more to think about, and hopefully increase your confidence when riding.
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