Finally getting around to learning how to ride
January 25, 2010 at 7:47 pm #3668
Hello Everyone. So, I’m looking beginning my motorcycling career.
I have extremely limited experience, only having ridden 10mph on friends street bikes before, but feel as if I can no longer suspend the enjoyment of riding my own bike. I’ll be learning how by taking classes before I even buy a bike, but I’m wondering what people would suggest for my first bike. I don’t like street bikes, because I’m looking for a more casual ride. I’ve gone through a lot of the reviews, and everything says start with a 250cc cruiser. My only concern is that it may be too small for my 6 foot, 200 pound frame. I’m not concerned with fast speed, high horsepower, or impressive size; I just want something that will work well for everyday riding, and the occasional road-trip. My friends who ride sports bikes have all told my to get a 650-800cc bike, but that seems awfully large for a beginner. Like I said, I don’t mind riding a 250cc for a year or two, but I’m afraid that they will just be too small to ride comfortably. Thanks for taking the time to read, and I welcome all of your suggestions and comments. Thanks!January 25, 2010 at 9:09 pm #24208mr.nickParticipant
im also about on the same page as you as far as beginner status. ive been on a 50cc scooter since june but, have been doing some digging.
i went to the international motorcycle show when it was here in seattle and aside from the ninja 250 (since you’d rather not go after a sport bike) i really liked the feel of the V Star 250. it felt really comfortable and manageable. you could try finding a dealer in your area and see how you like it. i wouldnt think your size would be a problem…
at the show, i tried sitting on practically everything, from dirt bikes made for kids to massive harleys that were so heavy, i couldnt even lean it off the kickstand. i was surprised to find that even some of the 500-700cc cruisers felt totally manageable… well, sitting still anyhow. some of it seemed to be how the weight of the bike was distributed and seat height.
and like everyone says here, take the MSF class (which i still have to do). i guess youre planning on it.
i dont have much knowledge in the area of great older bikes to look at, so maybe someone else here has an idea of what you might consider if you dont want to buy new.January 25, 2010 at 9:27 pm #24211eternal05Participant
Don’t get a bigger displacement bike. Their bottom-line of 650cc should be at the very top of the range you consider. As a fellow sportbike rider, you need to take your peers’ advice with a whole shaker’s worth of salt. Even among expert racers, advice varies widely from useful to macho bullshit. (It’s not uncommon for racers to tell me that I just need to “whack open the throttle” coming out of each corner. Even professional racing instructors will tell you that this approach is idiotic.) The most important thing to consider as a beginner is power-to-weight ratio, as well as total weight. You want a smaller power-to-weight ratio, but you also don’t want a heavy bike when you’re just starting. The low-weight requirement rules out a lot of the big cruisers and tourers as good beginner bikes.
Weight is not an issue. Unless you are a small planet (and I really do mean that), just about any motorcycle will carry you without any problem. If you are on the high end of that weight range (which you’re nowhere near), you begin to run into suspension issues, and some smaller bikes will start to struggle, but that’s not an issue for you.
Height may well be an issue for you, though at 6 ft, you might not have the same problems I do at 6’4″. The real issue is your inseam, as your height might not be as much in your legs as you think. If you do have trouble sitting on the usual 250 cruisers (Virago/V-star, Rebel, etc.), I’m sure our fellow member Munch would recommend the now defunct Kawi Vulcan 500. It’s a great starter bike, especially for a bigger guy like you.January 26, 2010 at 3:12 pm #24235CBBaronParticipant
First look at the Ninja 250r, Ninja 500r and GS500F. These have fairings like sport bikes, but they ride like a standard so make good bikes to learn on. These bikes also feel bigger than the 250 cruisers and so fit a big guy better.
I’m 6″2″ and found the 250 cruisers to feel very small. The 500-650 cruisers would probably fit better and are still pretty easy to handle for a first bike.
Also as a taller rider dual-sport and supermoto bikes are a good fit. These bikes have very upright riding positions, are very light and said to be easy to ride. Plus you can drop them with little or no damage. Only downside for most people is high seat heights. At 6′ that shouldn’t be a problem for you.
CraigJanuary 26, 2010 at 7:26 pm #24238MunchParticipant
Well as far as cruisers go Eternal would be correct on my first recommendation. In my area I actually wish I would have kept mine as Kawi had quit making them and they are hard as all get out to find. My youngest daughter wants to start riding soon to. I am 5’10” so the extra 2 inches wouldn’t be much of a bother for you. Depending if that 2 inches is in your upper body or legs. However any forward control adjustments can be had to help. Others on the list would a V-Star 650. Not too much bigger of a bike. If I remember correctly a little more leg room. Honda has a 750 that would also be a good starter.
You have to remember cruisers are built different from street/sport bikes. They are not intended to be the fast and furious, though like any horse, you lay into it and it will go! Most of your power is in the lower end, or rather the beginning of the gear to get the bike going and up to speed. The general styling of a cruiser is to …..well….. cruise. Not much top end needed to do that. Going up to the Honda 750 would be about as far as I personally would recommend as a beginner. I went from my Vulcan 500 to my now Vulcan 900 Classic LT. Let me tell you the first thing I get is “It’s only 400cc more” . That’s a HUGE difference. Equate it to going from lets say a 2.2 Chevy Crapalier….Cavalier…to a 3.8 Chevy Monte Carlo.
When getting one, your first and absolute imperative goal should be slow speed maneuvers. This is with any bike but especially for cruisers. They are longer bikers (for highway stability) and can be like a Cadillac in tight spaces. Meaning they don’t turn on a dime for a rookie. Get used to the dynamics of the bike. Get the video “Ride like a Pro” and Practice. I laugh when ever I see guys/gals near my mechanic shop ride through the mall because they can’t do a u-turn on their bikes. And all types have been through there lemme tell ya.January 27, 2010 at 12:36 am #24244
Thanks guys for all the recommendations for my first bike. I’ve been doing a lot of shopping online, and as of now I’m looking at getting the Suzuki TU250X. The International Motorcycle Show is coming to my area next weekend, so I’m gonna have a sit-see on it there. Has anyone heard anything about this bike? It’s the style I’m looking for, the right size for a beginner, and from online reviews; it will easily fit a 6′ person and reach 80-85 mph. The only problem is that I can’t find one used anywhere, even though it’s not that much new… But still. Thanks again everyone!January 27, 2010 at 3:43 pm #24253CBBaronParticipant
I really like the look of the TU250x and the fuel injection should make for a simpler user experience. However it still felt very small to me when I sat on it. I could ride one but I would have to adjust the handlebars so they did not interfere with my knees. If you have a shorter inseam that probably would not be a problem.
Are you in Ohio? I’m planning on going to the show in Cleveland on Saturday myself.
CraigJanuary 27, 2010 at 7:19 pm #24254JackTradeParticipant
to find as 2009 was their first year.
Great looking bike…glad to see the Japanese firms are starting to offer “retro” bikes. While they shouldn’t build an entire business on it (cough, Harley), they should definitely look at what Triumph has managed to do with having a mix of old and new bikes.January 27, 2010 at 8:58 pm #24255DavidL19Participant
This isn’t my first bike, but I consider it my first real bike. I ride a Suzuki GS500. I am not claiming to be an expert but I was convinced by more experience riders to get this bike for my “first real bike.” It is strong enough for bigger riders approx up to 250 pound riders, but it is quick and pretty safe, not to mention great gas mileage. The 1 big downer is that it takes a long time to warm up if it is below 55-60 degrees. But its not that big of a deal. Ziberzaba, I would highly recommend riding long runs, like on a Saturday. Check out my usual ride. It is the one posted in Chicago on this map. I posted my route on this site because I am an advocate for Allstate, but there are other route maps as well. I know google makes a great one. But check out my route and if you are ever near Chicago give it a go.
David LipskyJanuary 27, 2010 at 9:27 pm #24256
No, I’m in Minneapolis, so we’ll get the show the following weekend. I have a 32″ inseam, so I’m not sure where that leaves me. My biggest debate is whether I want to buy the bike new, or just get another 250 used somewhere. I just really like the look of the bike. I’ll be sitting on a few at the show, so maybe I’ll find something affordable that fits me.January 27, 2010 at 9:28 pm #24257
That would explain my difficulties.January 27, 2010 at 10:10 pm #24258JackTradeParticipant
They’re what, about 4 grand or so, so maybe consider picking one up new?
I know we usually don’t recommend that for a first bike, but you do have some experience, so you’re probably less likely to drop it and cry at the scratches. And you’ll probably be able to off-load it pretty easily should you later decide to upgrade.January 28, 2010 at 12:48 am #24261
What would everyone thing of a 1978 Suzuki 550? Would that be too big? It has the same style as the TU250X but is actually old. Maybe even the 450? But I don’t think that the 550 would be too big for a beginning rider. But I will definitely welcome your thoughts and opinions.January 28, 2010 at 1:06 am #24262SantaCruzRiderParticipant
If you’re looking for a bike to tinker with, a ’78 could be great fun. But if you vision is to spend more time in the saddle, rather than under it, I would stay away from anything even close to that old.February 7, 2010 at 11:36 pm #24443
What would everyone think of a royal enfield. I sat at on one a show today, and have to say it fits perfectly. Every 250 I sat on was just too small, my knees were easily above the tank on every single one. Then I found the G5 Classic. It’s a fuel injected 500cc, perfect height for me, and the classic look I wanted. The best part is; even if I drop it, any replacement parts are cheap and easy to come by. Am I thinking a little too large for a 500 as my first bike. I talked to a couple of the new ridder coaches at the show, and they said it would be a good bike even for a novice rider. But I want to hear what you guys think. Has anyone ever ridden one?
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