You must have heard it all before: a complete newbie unsure which motorcycle to buy…
August 7, 2008 at 1:54 pm #1854OggiParticipant
Hi there: I am a complete motorcycle novice. Got my license very recently and have not been riding since (so I guess I have only 20 miles or so under my belt ).
I have been reading many of the reviews about bikes for beginners and am still looking for input and advice. Here’s some more info: I am in my mid 40s, 6’2″ and 155lbs. I am not a speed-freak. On the contrary, I am normally cautious. I have no desire to go at 100mph nor do I feel any need to impress anyone. I plan to ride for fun without incurring unnecessary risks (so none of that 650 stuff for me, thank you very much…).
For a long time I had my mind set on the new Ninja 250R, but they seem to be impossible to get anywhere (I live in the Mid-West, but looked all over…). The combination of a light bike, fuel efficiency, small displacement, relatively straight handling position, price, and… well, looks too, made it an obvious choice. But if that means having to wait another year or so before actually riding one…
Then recently I noticed the Vulcan 500LTD. Obviously, a completely different style (I have no pre-set preference for sport over cruiser or vice versa). Seems nice but I am a bit worried about that 500cc.
I will be using the bike mostly for commuting and some fun rides, combining both highways and city riding.
Any thoughts and suggestions would be much appreciated!
Cheers.August 7, 2008 at 2:31 pm #10025BuddParticipant
It shouldn’t be a year on the Ninja. The ’09s should be coming out pretty soon. Go get on a list for an ’09. Although the Vulcan isn’t a bad choice either, but it will be a bit heavier and not as nimble.
“I am the best there is at what I do, and what I do ain’t nice.”-WolverineAugust 7, 2008 at 3:04 pm #10026TheAbomb12Participant
cruisers are not commuting bikes…
if that is really the primary role you want, a Standard or sport standard is the style of bike you need. the Ninja 250 fits the bill perfectly.
If you do get a vulcan– I wouldn’t worry about the 500cc engine… Cruisers are different animals CC wise than sports bikes. Power wise, you should be fine; but it won’t be as nimble– maneuverability is something that you should really have for a commuting bike in order to easily navigate traffic safely.August 7, 2008 at 3:27 pm #10028six-shooterParticipant
I have a Vulcan 500 and would highly recommend it. If you want to go with a cruiser, in my mind, it’s a great bike for a new rider in that it is not so large or heavy that it’s hard to control or learn on, but at the same time, it has plenty of power that you won’t outgrow it as quickly as you would a 250 cruiser. Freeway power is no problem. It also probably has the most comfortable stock seat of any of the smaller cruiser. My wife had no problems riding my Vulcan, and this was after she had only been riding for a week. In fact, she commented how much smoother it was to ride than her 250 cruiser.
If you look at various reviews of the 500, it’s hard to find anything negative about them. I usually get around 55-58 mpg on it. My only concern would be leg room with you being 6’2″ (I’m 5’10”), but I’m not sure that it wouldn’t be a problem on the Ninja either. Just find one at the dealership and sit on it to see what you think. I don’t think you’ll be dissapointed if you go with the Vulcan. Good luck with whatever you choose!August 7, 2008 at 3:38 pm #10029ShannonGParticipant
In think you’re on the right track. Don’t be put off by 500cc bikes; they’re very managable.August 7, 2008 at 3:42 pm #10030six-shooterParticipant
I would disagree somewhat with the comment that a cruiser isn’t a commuter bike. I use my Vulcan 500 every day for commuting 100+ miles (broken up into 4 or 5 smaller trips as I go from site to site) in freeway and city traffic and have no problems manuvering around or accelerating through when needed. Personally, I went with the Vulcan over the Ninja because in my case, I could carry more of my work gear on the vulcan once I mounted my saddlebags and rally pack.
I’m not disagreeing that the ninja (or any small displacement sport bike) isn’t a great commuter bike. And if you’re talking about larger displacement cruisers, I would agree more with your statement, but the 500cc or less cruisers make fine commuting bikes in my opinion.
Just my 2 cents worth (which is probably more than it’s actually worth)August 8, 2008 at 12:38 am #10045MunchParticipant
I have the Vulcan 500LTD. And yes its very much a commuter…. 2 weeks and 300 miles. I turn wrenches all day on automobiles and the idea of being semi hunched over on a sport bike already makes my back cringe. The Vulcan is very comfortable and allows me to situate myself on my long ride to and from work. My only caution on the Vulcan is the “leg room” at OEM may be cramped for you, but there are after market parts from places as scootworks.com that sell forward control relocation. I am in full agreement with six-shooter…. I would not go above 500cc for learning, but everything else is left to personal style and comfort.August 8, 2008 at 4:26 am #10057TheAbomb12Participant
my apologize for my ignorance of the Vulcan 500 as a commuter bike… The Only Cruiser I have ever ridden any distance and a Honda Shadow 1100cc…. definitely NOT a commuter bike. I’m sure smaller cruisers would be easier to commute on.
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