BBM too conservative, or are the rest Nuts?
July 6, 2008 at 2:49 am #1676
so I’m in the market for my first bike, a cruiser (sorry guys, the sport bikes do nothing whatsoever for me) and so in addition to this fine fine site, I’ve started an account at Beginner Motorcycles.org and just also joined a cruiser forum “Motorcyclecruisers.com” and I’ve noticed a VAST gulf between what the last site considers an “acceptable” first motorcycle and what here and beginner motorcycles.org consider an acceptable first bike. now I know that cruisers generally trade pure speed for torque and weight so usually it’ll take a bit higher CC’s to hit high speeds than it will for a sport bike, but several threads I’ve read over there have dozens of posts claiming that a 650CC cruiser will have trouble going faster than 50, and simply aren’t suitable for highway riding, that you should start out with a bare minimum of 800cc’s and that it wouldn’t be a bad idea to go for 1100, I just read one person reccomended the Yamaha 1300 Royal Star which has 4cylanders, and 100hp! for a first bike? now I know that most will say the 250cc’s aren’t great on the highway, but almost everyone there’s saying even the 700cc’s can’t handle highways, and I’m honestly going WTF? is this some kinda crazy “real men/women have huge bikes” kinda mentality, or are the beginner bike sites being way conservative? for me, I’d be far more comfortable starting out on a 250cc, but could consider maybe a bit higher, but there’s no way in hell I’d want to start out on a 800+cc HD like these guys are saying I should.
what the heck’s going on?July 6, 2008 at 3:06 am #8412
I’ve seen the same talk too. If you do the research you’ll find alot more arguements, against bigger is better, than for. I’m with you on the cruiser thing. I’ve been checking out bikes like the honda rebel, and V-star 250 (formerly the vigaro). Both have a cruiser styling and capable of doing 75 to 80 but past that from what I’ve read and seen is kinda pushing it.
I emailed a dealership by me for a quote, the guy I was dealing with even said the rebel would easily do 80 for most riders and is a great choice for first bike to commute with. Even on the least reputable highway in jersey!July 6, 2008 at 3:34 am #8416
I’ve been riding for three days so please take what I say accordingly. I sat on a few bikes including the Suzuki C50 (800cc), the Yamaha V-Star 1100, the Kawasaki Vulcan 900, and the Vulcan 500. My debate was between getting the Vulcan 500 and getting the Vulcan 900. When I was finally able to find a 500 to sit on, it felt just a bit cramped for me so that was all it took to convince me to get the 900. Maybe something in the 600-750 range would have been fine, maybe the 500 would have been fine, but I am very happy with my choice of the 900. As I said, I am brand new. But the power is not overwhelming and I feel like I can handle it, and I know it’s got a bigger upside. Of course, the price was higher too. So if you’re in the market for a first bike, I think you’ll be thrilled with just about anything but I definitely do not regret going with a bigger bike than I originally thought I would get. Sit on a few and see how the feel. Stand them up and feel how they balance. Best of luck!July 6, 2008 at 4:38 am #8421
Is BBM too conservative…. hmmm… good question.
I know that when it comes to cruisers they are usually V-twin engines which are more forgiving like you said, but they also have more weight and more torque. When people say that a 650 cc will have trouble getting up to 50 they are flat out lying. A 650 motorcycle, cruiser or sportbike, should be able to hit triple digits no problem.
Would bikes like the vulcan 900 be good beginner bikes? Maybe. But why even suggest it when there is a bike like the Vulcan 500 which I know is a great beginner bike.
I think that getting a smaller motorcycle first is more than just avoiding getting a bike with too much power. It is preparing you for the whole enchilada, it is getting you ready to reject the peer pressure. Frankly, if your ego can’t take riding a 500cc bike (which less than 2 decades ago was considered a big bike), then what are you going to do if your friends say, “Motorcycle gear is for pussies.”?
Are you going to stop wearing your jacket, and your pants, and your gloves because you don’t want to look stupid? When I first got my motorcycle gear I thought I looked pretty goofy walking around in the grocery store, but I got over it because I was confident in my decision. If I had lower self confidence I would have rolled over the second one of my friends said my motorcycle pants looked weird.
In the world of motorcycles it is VERY important to just ride your own ride.
That doesn’t mean that I only suggest 500cc motorcycles to help you guys learn lessons about peer pressure, there are tons of videos online of people looping their first bike because it was 600,750,900, 1100+ cc’s (Cruisers and sportbikes). Gaining self confidence is just an added benefit.
Like I’ve said before I have known people who have chosen yamaha R1’s as their first bike and they are still alive today to tell the tale. They aren’t very good riders, and the only way they can go fast is in a straight line, but hey, I guess it’s what they like. I’m just trying to provide some info so those that ‘get it’ can be pointed in the right direction.
~Best Beginner Motorcycles AdminJuly 6, 2008 at 1:11 pm #8428
Well, I’m perhaps the most conservative voice on here, so I’ve got to say “well, I am”. I think the 650s are unnecessarily big for beginners, and I’m vocal about that.
And you know what? I’m pleased to be that way.
I’m a very quick learner when it comes to mental things (I’m usually the geek throwing out the math around here), but when it comes to physical skills, I require a lot of practice. I’m a very strong intermediate freeride mountainbiker and snowboarder. Both skills took me several years of practice. Consequently, I still remember how hard those skills are to learn. I’m a very good instructor for those reasons. Too often instructors, even professional ones, forget just how hard some basic skills are for people with no similar experience. Too often skilled instructors forget their own early mistakes and moments of panic.
And if the guys who are paid to teach you in those times forget what it is like, how good is the advice from joe schmo who has been riding for years on a more powerful bike? To him things like clutch control aren’t just common sense, they are muscle memory. They are so easy *now* that he never needs to think about them. Thus his thought that anyone can do it without issue. But he only got to that stage with experience.
I’m the voice of the guy who hasn’t forgotten the learning experience, the guy who has to work to learn to ride properly and safely. Where other guys talk about speeding tickets and “having to pay to play”, I’m the guy that will probably never get a speeding ticket on a motorcycle. And you know what? I don’t care. Because when I get out there, I’m having a blast. I’m having fun, and I’m enjoying the world around me. And you can’t quantify happiness in cubic centimeters.July 6, 2008 at 5:44 pm #8429
I totally agree with Ben and Matt on all points.
Yes, cruisers don’t accelerate anywhere near as fast as sport bikes and the engine vibrations and low gearing on the “smaller” cruisers (600-750 c.c.) is what makes them uncomfortable going at speeds beyond 60-65 m.p.h. Although they have a low center of gravity, they can also be very heavy compared to a 250 or 500 c.c. bike and that’s a good reason not to choose one as a first bike.
Ride your own ride and stay within your limits. In motorcycling, peer pressure can kill…July 6, 2008 at 6:00 pm #8430
I was reading a Cycle Canada review of the Ninja 250 (a sport bike, but bear with me) and a sentence that stuck with me was “If the speed limit is 100km/h and 150 km/h lands you a fine of $10,000 and the immediate impoundment of your motorcycle, what good is a 250 km/h machine?
Any motorcycle will provide you with two wheeled thrills. I rode a friend’s 125cc pit bike at my sister’s last dirt bike race and had a blast. Be safe, be smart.July 6, 2008 at 10:28 pm #8441
oh I much more agree with this site than the other I mentioned, I was just a bit stunned by the difference. I can easily understand people who say the 250’s are too anemic and I should go for the 600 (or 500 if you can find one) but saying I should, or in one case a 5’4 115lb woman should get a 4cyl 100hp bike for their first one just seemed SO far over the top that I had to wonder. heck there’s another site I’ve looked at who still says that a beginner should pick up a 125cc for a year before moving up to the 250cc. so really like has been said, it’s all whats comfortable, and honestly it’s hard to really know what you’ll be comfortable riding out the gate before you ride it but I prefer to err on the side of caution and take the advice of good people like BBM and BB.org over people who’ve been riding monsters for decades and have forgotten what it’s like for us new riders.
in all honesty there was a bit of sarcasm in my topic, as I already leaned far more twards them being nuts over BBM being too conservative.July 7, 2008 at 2:41 am #8457
I have a beginner ninja 500. zero-to-sixty in 3.76 seconds, max speed is 120mph. Even riding 2-up, it’s plenty fast for a freeway. Honestly… do I really need a faster bike?July 7, 2008 at 3:28 am #8443
I’ve been riding since 1976, when I bought a KZ900. I’m lucky I lived through that. My second bike was a Honda CB400F, and I enjoyed it immensely. I’ve owned dozens of bikes through the years, and have come back to mid-size bikes as my favorites. My wife is on a waiting list for a 2009 Ninja 250. i know you’re into cruisers, but read Gary J’s four-part review of the little Ninja. Small bikes can be a lot more fun than larger bikes, especially on the street. They are easy to handle, easy to insure, and sip gas. A 250cc bike is a perfect starter size.July 7, 2008 at 3:31 am #8460
ive been looking at a few bikes all I would consider to be good for beginners from reviews and such the Vulcan 500 is the 1 Cruiser i was looking at and seems a reasonable split between too powerful/big for a “first” bike and too slow/small..July 7, 2008 at 1:45 pm #8479
I have a Ninja 250 and I am at 8,000 RPMs at 80mph in 6th. considering it redlines at 14,000 RPMs, I would say it has a whole lot left to give. I haven’t tried, really why would I need to go over 80? I may move up, but right now I don’t see why I would need to or want to. Cruiser’s tend to have a bigger is better mentality.
Another thing to consider is gas mileage. That 1,100cc bike is going to eat up a lot of gas.
“I am the best I am at what I do, and what I do ain’t nice.”-WolverineJuly 7, 2008 at 3:05 pm #8490
“is this some kinda crazy “real men/women have huge bikes” kinda mentality…?”
Yes. That’s exactly what it is. I ride my Virago 250 on the freeway all the time at speeds up to 80 mph. Anyone who says a 650 cc cruiser can’t do more then 50 mph is full of it.July 7, 2008 at 6:51 pm #8515
i have the 250R Ninja (08) and I am happy I got the smaller displacement… for me, the steepest learning curve was in the first week or two… I wasn’t shifting very well and was dropping the clutch… i actually put it into first from neutral without pulling in the clutch… that was fun
I am now much more confident with the acceleration/deceleration/balance/shifting and I have a ton of fun in the cali mountain twisties… that being said, I will probably move to a large bike (Ninja 500/SV650S/not litre bike) after 10k miles or so. At that point, I think I will have learned what I need to be safe on a larger bike and will enjoy having the larger tires/brakes and better throttle response on the highways.
oh, and it does go faster than 80, it just screams like a mofo… i try to keep it below 80 because I feel sorry for the bikeJuly 7, 2008 at 7:37 pm #8520
Yeah, mine had the sprocket adjustment done for lower RPM’s, so she doesn’t screem as much. But man does she like to scream.
“I am the best I am at what I do, and what I do ain’t nice.”-Wolverine
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