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Posted: 1/30/2006 7:08:26 AM EDT
I know when your a newbie you wanna get a used bike that isn't heavy but what's the minimum engine size I should get?
I'm 6'1" and 245lbs. I rode one a long time ago but never actually drove one. Mopeds and scooters don't count.
Link Posted: 1/30/2006 7:27:53 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 1/30/2006 7:28:30 AM EDT by Admiral_Crunch]
What do you mean by "scooters don't count?"

What kind of riding will you be doing? Commuting, pleasure riding in the country, city traffic, Interstate, offroad, more than one of the above?

Do you have a preference as to cruisers, sportbikes, standards, dual-sports, dirtbikes?

Engine size is not a very meaningful statistic for finding out how much power a bike has. Horsepower and torque numbers give a much better picture. A KLR-650 has about 40 horsepower, and a GSXR-600, which has a smaller engine puts out about 100 horsepower.

Sorry to bombard you with questions, but more information will be needed before giving a good recommendation.
Link Posted: 1/30/2006 7:42:23 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 1/30/2006 7:42:53 AM EDT by twonami]
By scooters I mean Vespa scooters
pleasure riding at first and we'll see how that goes.
dual sports? I don't like harleys
Link Posted: 1/30/2006 7:54:10 AM EDT
Look for an MSF course and take it. They'll have some light bikes to ride, and in the meantime you can do your research. Knowing how to ride is going to help you decide on what bike is right for you.

Good Luck, and Ride Safe.
Link Posted: 1/30/2006 8:25:17 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 1/30/2006 12:55:14 PM EDT by Admiral_Crunch]
Just as well. I wouldn't recommend anything made by Harley for a first-time biker. Too big, too heavy, too powerful, too expensive to buy, too expensive to repair after a drop. The closest thing they have to a starter bike is the Sportser 883, which is right on the line as far as acceptability goes, but I wouldn't recommend something as pricy for a first bike. Your budget may vary.

I recommend buying used, buying something that doesn't have a lot of expensive plastic fairings to break in a drop, and keeping it under about 400 lbs dry-weight and under 60 horsepower, and make sure you can put your boots flat on the ground while sitting in the saddle.

If you're interested in dual-sports, keep in mind that most are very tall bikes, and you may not be able to reach the ground if you don't have really long legs. Definitely sit on any models you're interested in and make sure it feels comfortable.

Even a tiny Vespa scooter can provide good experience for two-wheel riding. If you've ridden them before, that experience will help.

If you're not sure where to start, here are some good beginner bikes that a lot of people recommend:

Start off by going to the Honda, Kawasaki, Suzuki, and Yamaha websites and see what their current models are. There are also some recently discontinued models that will work great too.

For dual-sports, the Kawasaki KLR 250 and 650 are well regarded. Also the Suzuki DRZ400. There are others, but that'll get you started. I believe Honda also makes a 650 dual-sport but I forget the model.

Others to look at:

--Kawasaki Ninja 250 & 500, and Vulcan 500.
--Honda Nighthawk 250 (used models in the 400-550 range are around but no longer made). The Nighthawk 750 is more recent, but it may be a bit much for a new rider.
--Suzuki GS500E (pre-'04 model. They added a fairing for 2004 and called it the GS500F). The F is still a good starter bike, but it'll be more expensive to repair after a fall.
--The Suzuki SV650 (not the SV650S) is also recommended by some, but considered a little too powerful by others. It's borderline.
--The Buell Blast is also a favorite of some, but it's a fairly small bike physically, and you might not fit comfortably on it.

Generally anything in the 250-500 cc range is a good choice, or up to 650 in dual-sports and cruisers. With sportbikes, keep it to 500 or below unless it's an older model like the Yamaha Seca II.

The realm of "maxi-scooters" is also growing. Plenty of 250-650cc choices. The Suzuki Burgman, Yamaha Majesty, and Honda Reflex and Silverwing all pack a decent punch. They also have automatic transmissions and tons of cargo space. These tend to be more expensive, bigger, and heavier though. Proceed with caution.

Just stay away from the literbikes and the Hayabusas.


And a BIG +1 on the MSF course or a private course like Harley's Rider's Edge program. Honda also has training centers, as well as some community colleges. You can take the course without ever having ridden a motorcycle before. They will teach you a lot!
Link Posted: 1/30/2006 12:00:56 PM EDT
Engine size isn't the true measure of power. For one, an air cooled engine will have lower power than a water cooled engine given the lower compression ratio. And multiple cylinders means the engine breathes better, making better power at higher RPMs.

There is a 250 cc 4 cylinder Kawasaki that isn't available here for some strange reason...but it develops close to 60 HP at 17,000 RPM. A single cylinder 250 cc air cooled engine will develop around 20 HP.

I have a new Kawasaki EX250 that is plenty fast for a beginner. I swapped out the gearing for highway use but even then, it still will outrun nearly any car to 70 MPH. 1st gear is good for 40 MPH.

Even for someone in yuor weight range, it will still move you fine since they are rated for up to 342 pounds of load. They can be had used for under $2000 in great shape and they tend to keep their value.
Link Posted: 1/30/2006 11:36:34 PM EDT
I am an inch shorter than you, and have about 40lbs on you. I have ridden a Yamaha Virago 250 for 2 years now, and like it alot for in town/pleasure riding, except for the seat. It gets about 65mpg or better.


I can still scare myself on it if I do something stupid. But you can do that no matter the bike, no matter the experience level.
Link Posted: 1/31/2006 2:05:47 AM EDT
My first street bike was an 883 sportster. I didn't know how to ride it when i bought it. At the time i hadn't ridden a bike since I was about 10 yrs old with a honda 50. I took it for a few quick spins around the neighborhood to get the hang of it then took off on a 3 day road trip.

From that point I bought 2 other bikes in the next 7 years and went that 7 years without owning a car. Buy what you think you would ride a few years down the road. Use your head and don't try anything that you can't handle. Learning will come naturally. Watch out for other people. Be safe and have fun.
Link Posted: 1/31/2006 5:22:41 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 1/31/2006 5:25:54 AM EDT by frozenny]
Two:

Do you really want to learn? I have one solid suggestion: Check with your DMV for a Motorcycle Safety Foundation Basic Rider course in your area. Typically a weekend program (Fri nite, sat and sun). No cheap, but you get it back in reduced insurance, the training is great, and you learn the right way.

I'm a tad over 6 foot. Check in at 245-250. We are the same size. When I was learning to ride my wife was also interested. I bought one bike, used, that would fit us both: Suzuki GZ 250. It could have easily been a Honda Rebel 250, or a Yamaha Virago 250.

Truth be told, had my wife not been interested, I would have likely bought a Savage 650. The 250 seemed a tad small, and it is. However, in retrospect, I am glad I had the 250 as a starter. It was VERY reassuring to learn on. At 300 lbs its fly wieght.

When you are learning, riding "at speed" - 15 mph + - is easy. Riding slow, and navigating turns and tight spots, is the real challenge. A small, light bike is great for learning this stuff. I was VERY happy to have the little 250 for these manoveurs... I can ride in tight little circles, navigate parking lots, and take my road test on the nimble little 250. My 800 seems quite a big bigger (it is!) and seems much more ponderous.

If I ingore the speedo, and up shift according to what the noise and vibes tell me, I'll work the whole five speeds, and end up....... at 38 mph! You go through those gears in a hurry! With me on it this little bike is a great in-town sorta commmuter, and happily chugs along at 40-50 mph all day. However its simply too small for highway use. I find it awfully buzzy at 60 mph, and 65-70 seems top end. Its simply not designed as a superhighway bike...

If you buy a 250, you'll 'outgrow' it in 2 months. This is complelety okay!!! Go find a cheap four or five year old 250 class bike, spend $1200 on it like I did. Ride it for a few months, rack up a 1000 miles, then turn it around and sell it for $1100... Its the best $100 you ever spent....

I am currently riding a Suzuki Volusia 800. Nice bike, and I love it. However, I am VERY happy I did not try to learn on it. I made a few little mistakes on the 250, and having a small light bike meant I got away with it. Had I been riding the 800, I would have laid it down for sure...

If you do not want to buy 250 and then upgrade, look long and hard at the Suzuki 650. Quite a bit more muscle (relative to the 250) but still a light wieght at 352 lbs... That low bike wieght is really reassuring at first... My wife will be getting one this Spring... The other 650s (V star for example) are nice, but really too damned heavy for use as a real starter.

I really cannot overstate this: Buying a used 250 class bike as a true starter, spending a few weeks or month on it, learning, and then up upgrading make a LOT of sense. Make your mistakes on the cheap little bike, gain some skills and confidence, and THEN go shopping for a bigger bike.
Link Posted: 1/31/2006 5:33:15 AM EDT
Not all 250 cc class M/Cs are slow...I have only had mine for 2 months and I have had it over 90 MPH indicated, with more in reserve. And it didn't take 5 miles to get to that speed either.
Link Posted: 1/31/2006 5:38:09 AM EDT
I want to ride but my wife is against it. Donorcycles
Link Posted: 1/31/2006 5:48:44 AM EDT
Another strong reccomendation for an MSF Ridercourse. These are updated fairly frequently, btw.

I learned a couple techniques that saved my ass more than once, really. Tremendously useful.

My first bike: BMW R75/6 750cc.
Link Posted: 1/31/2006 6:26:40 AM EDT
Another +1 for the MN Motorcycle Safety course.

Here is the link to their website

Also, go to the M/C show at the Minneapolis Convention Center this weekend. They will be there as well as all of the manufacturers.

Link Posted: 1/31/2006 6:56:22 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 1/31/2006 6:56:43 AM EDT by Admiral_Crunch]

Originally Posted By twonami:
I want to ride but my wife is against it. Donorcycles



Talk about safety gear. Tell her about the MSF course. If you're driving with her and see someone riding in an unsafe manner or without proper gear, make a comment about what an idiot the guy is and why. Impress upon her the fact that you are safety-conscious, and that should help.

It's all about managing risk. If you take a safety course, get the proper license, don't drink and ride, don't ride when you're upset, limit your night riding, wear proper safety gear (full DOT helmet, jacket, pants, gloves, boots), ride sensibly, and keep your eyes open for potential threats while riding, your chances of having a major accident are reduced significantly.

Can it still happen? Sure, it can, but you've lowered the risk a LOT.
Link Posted: 1/31/2006 7:34:04 AM EDT

Originally Posted By Admiral_Crunch:

Originally Posted By twonami:
I want to ride but my wife is against it. Donorcycles



Talk about safety gear. Tell her about the MSF course. If you're driving with her and see someone riding in an unsafe manner or without proper gear, make a comment about what an idiot the guy is and why. Impress upon her the fact that you are safety-conscious, and that should help.

It's all about managing risk. If you take a safety course, get the proper license, don't drink and ride, don't ride when you're upset, limit your night riding, wear proper safety gear (full DOT helmet, jacket, pants, gloves, boots), ride sensibly, and keep your eyes open for potential threats while riding, your chances of having a major accident are reduced significantly.

Can it still happen? Sure, it can, but you've lowered the risk a LOT.


We talk about that all the time but she dosen't want to be a widow.
I need to convince her though, wish me luck.
Link Posted: 2/2/2006 12:45:44 AM EDT
I'm in MN and took the MSF out at Fort Snelling some years ago. The rules were you gotta have a helmet, eye coverage, boots, long legged pants and a long sleeved shirt. Maybe gloves too; I'm not certain. I'd never ridden before I took the class. We rode 250s. Didn't get past first gear for the longest time, and never past second. You gain confidence, and the intructors are good. We had two. Get your permit before the class. At the end of the class you get to take the riding test. If you pass, you get your endorsement. I know a guy who tried to take the test on a Softtail Harley on his own and couldn't do the weavies in the test (weaving in and out of the cones). On that little 250 it's a cinch. Well worth the money and time.

GL
Link Posted: 2/2/2006 5:07:50 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 2/2/2006 5:09:36 AM EDT by Camel]

Originally Posted By Admiral_Crunch:
Just as well. I wouldn't recommend anything made by Harley for a first-time biker. Too big, too heavy, too powerful.....





By not likeing harley do you mean just harley bikes or cruisers in general? If its just harleys, but you don't mind cruisers in general i'd recomend a Yamaha V-Star 650 or 1100. Both are reliable, can be had cheap and are not overly powerful but will still allow you to do any type of riding you want.


Link Posted: 2/2/2006 6:38:21 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 2/2/2006 7:04:38 AM EDT by Admiral_Crunch]

Originally Posted By Camel:
By not likeing harley do you mean just harley bikes or cruisers in general? If its just harleys, but you don't mind cruisers in general i'd recomend a Yamaha V-Star 650 or 1100. Both are reliable, can be had cheap and are not overly powerful but will still allow you to do any type of riding you want.



I don't "not like Harley", but they all have weight and horsepower above what I'd consider good for a beginner. Plus, it's a shame to drop an expensive bike because of a newbie mistake.

The V-Star 650 is a good choice, but the 1100 is too much for a first bike. I'm sure many people have started on them, but I wouldn't recommend it. You'll learn a lot faster on a smaller, lighter bike.
Link Posted: 2/3/2006 1:24:42 AM EDT
+1 on the Motorcycle Safety Course.

I have been riding since 99. My first bike was 82 Honda Nighthawk 450 that I paid $600 for. My advice to all new riders is the Safety Course, GEAR GEAR GEAR, and do not buy a new or expensive bike to start.

There are a lot of people who buy new expensive bikes ride them once or twice and it scares the crap out of them. Then they get rid of it and take hit. Also you want to get something you wont mind putting a ding for a scratch in.

As far as what size to get, that depends on what kind you want. Sport or Cruiser. Sport, any older model 600 is a decent choice. I had a 600 Katana and loved it. Not a lot of power but still enough to get you down the road faster than most cars. The Suzuki SV650 is supposed to be a great bike, that you shouldnt out grow very quickly. I wouldnt listen to anyone who tells you to get a 1000cc sport bike because your too big for a 600. They are trying to get you killed.

I am not a big cruiser guy myself, but my girlfriend has a honda Shadow VLX600. And it is way TOO small for me. (6') I would look at 750cc and up. Eventhough the cruisers have large displacment they do not have the same hp per cc like the sport bikes. My father rides a 05 Kawasaki Vulcan 1600 Classic, real nice bike. But it has less hp than my 03 CBR600RR. My point is that I feel that the bigger cruisers have much more managable power.

One more bit of advice. If you decide to get a sport bike check with your insurace co before buying. I have had insurance co's tell give me some insane quotes ($4500 a year for full coverage).

Good luck and ride safe.

If you interested check out my site, I have tons of pictures of my bike and my fathers.
www.urmom.net

Dusty
Link Posted: 2/3/2006 3:59:05 AM EDT
Start with a 650 or a 750. Go slow around corners and get your confidence up. Watch out for everything. Do not get a large bike for at least a year. Drive smart and stay safe. I recommend a Ducati 650 Monster.
Link Posted: 2/3/2006 7:46:38 AM EDT
get a Kawi Vulcun 800 classic, 66hp V-twin, liquid cooled, 5speed, 40+mpg $6500 brand new with a 1 year warranty and roadside assistance, 580 lbs.
Link Posted: 2/3/2006 7:54:23 AM EDT
Go take some kind of safety course, preferably MSF. 600CC is pretty good for a beginner. I've got a CBR600F4, supposedly kicking out 107HP at the rear wheel (that's what the previous owner told me) and been riding it for 2 years now. I dropped it doing something stupid, but I don't want to go into it. I'm about 5'10" 225+ and it can easily scare the living hell out of me if I want it to. Of course, there's not much more fun than 0-60 in 2.5seconds. It's more about how you ride than what you ride. If you do something stupid with any bike you'll pay for it. If you are careful and mature, and not a dumbass, you COULD ride a Hayabusa, not that I would reccomend that, but you get the idea. MJD
Link Posted: 2/4/2006 3:50:13 AM EDT
+1 on the MSF course. www.msf-usa.org/
If you like sportbikes, take a racing class after the msf course. Even if you never want to race, learning how to deal with "on the ragged edge" situations can and will save your life. There's no such thing as too much rider training. If you like dirtbikes and/or dual sport bikes, there are MX schools that are great as well. I'm glad to hear that you don't want a harley. Not only are they heavy and slow, but they're waaay over priced. Someone above suggested an EX250. While that would get you started, at your height and weight, you'd quickly out grow it. I'd say the least you'd want to use would be an EX500, or maybe a Suzuki SV650. If you want a dual sport, try a Suzuki DR350 or DRZ400, or if you want something that has a lower seat height, find an older used bike. Some of the older 2 stroke dual sport bikes have both decent power and a low seat height. There are lots of other choices though. Good luck finding something you like!
Link Posted: 2/4/2006 3:56:12 AM EDT
Thanks for the advice. If my left hand is strong enough to work the clutch (possible surgery) and I get permission from the wife I'll be riding by summer
Link Posted: 2/4/2006 4:03:14 AM EDT
You should at least take the MSF course. There are certain skills that every male human should have, one of which happens to be the ability to ride a motorcycle.

I took an MSF course and went out that same week and bought the fastest Harley they made at the time (which isn't really saying much). I dropped it a few times in parking lots, but that was due more to nervousness than anything having to do with ability. It only broke from that once and the repairs only cost me a couple hundred dollars.
Link Posted: 2/4/2006 4:41:43 AM EDT
+1 on MSF course, both basic and advanced. It will save your life.
Link Posted: 2/4/2006 4:57:16 AM EDT
4 stroke dual sport. it will get you back on a bike and easy to ride. i have a group of buddies that go out every sunday when its warm and we do 60 or 80 miles on all dirt roads. its great we see deer and turkey and all kinds of game. pluse we see the really beautiful parts of our state that you miss from the paved roads.
dont get me wrong i like my zx12r ninja too, but i really look forward to sundays the most.imho tim
Link Posted: 2/4/2006 2:23:49 PM EDT

Originally Posted By twonami:
Thanks for the advice. If my left hand is strong enough to work the clutch (possible surgery) and I get permission from the wife I'll be riding by summer

Ya, you'll never be riding.
Link Posted: 2/4/2006 2:38:05 PM EDT
Tagged because I only ride Harleys.



_____________________


Link Posted: 2/6/2006 12:45:13 AM EDT

Originally Posted By Admiral_Crunch:


I don't "not like Harley", but they all have weight and horsepower above what I'd consider good for a beginner. Plus, it's a shame to drop an expensive bike because of a newbie mistake.




Uh the EVO and TC powered HD's have the same HP as a Suzuki SV650 (50ish). A 883 is a good beginner bike. Not the greatest, but good. BUell's Blast is perfect. Cheap, resale is good so when you want a new bike, you'll get a good price and gets close to 70mpg. Admrial, I do agree though on dropping an EXPENSIVE bike is a reason not to start on the big twin bikes.

Whats NOT a good 1st bike is anything in teh GSXR (suzuki), YZF (Yamaha), CBR (honda), ZX (Kawasaki), ducati supersports or XB (buell) line of bikes. We have ALOT of that around here. 1st time rider buys a 370lb 180hp STOCK GSXR1000 and proceeds to destroy it and himself within 2 weeks trying to show off to us that have been riding sportbikes for 10+ yrs. Even a "little" 600 is WAY MORE than a new rider can handle. Hell I;ve been riding since 92, about 200K miles so far, road raced since 1999 and I still have kids telling me "I dont know what I'm talking about" when I tell one of their friends who asked ME what a good starting bike would be. As I tell them, I;d rather see somone who is more interested in making motorcycling a lifelong love than some one who buys someting to fit in only to either kill themselves in a month, lose interest within 2 yrs or seriously injures themselves.
Link Posted: 2/6/2006 11:07:54 AM EDT

Originally Posted By Rob940:

Originally Posted By Admiral_Crunch:


I don't "not like Harley", but they all have weight and horsepower above what I'd consider good for a beginner. Plus, it's a shame to drop an expensive bike because of a newbie mistake.




Uh the EVO and TC powered HD's have the same HP as a Suzuki SV650 (50ish). A 883 is a good beginner bike. Not the greatest, but good. BUell's Blast is perfect. Cheap, resale is good so when you want a new bike, you'll get a good price and gets close to 70mpg. Admrial, I do agree though on dropping an EXPENSIVE bike is a reason not to start on the big twin bikes.

Whats NOT a good 1st bike is anything in teh GSXR (suzuki), YZF (Yamaha), CBR (honda), ZX (Kawasaki), ducati supersports or XB (buell) line of bikes. We have ALOT of that around here. 1st time rider buys a 370lb 180hp STOCK GSXR1000 and proceeds to destroy it and himself within 2 weeks trying to show off to us that have been riding sportbikes for 10+ yrs. Even a "little" 600 is WAY MORE than a new rider can handle. Hell I;ve been riding since 92, about 200K miles so far, road raced since 1999 and I still have kids telling me "I dont know what I'm talking about" when I tell one of their friends who asked ME what a good starting bike would be. As I tell them, I;d rather see somone who is more interested in making motorcycling a lifelong love than some one who buys someting to fit in only to either kill themselves in a month, lose interest within 2 yrs or seriously injures themselves.



+1 on that. I couldn't agree more. I've been riding since 1972 and have done some roadracing as well as some motocross and harescrambles over the years. On the subject of teaching newbies... It's easy to forget sometimes that what seems natural for someone with years of experience might not seem natural or even logical to a newbie. I've had the same reactions that you mentioned when I'm trying to help _some_ new riders. Some of them are about half brain dead and just refuse to listen. People like that do not belong on a motorcycle... much less on the ROAD on one.

People learning to ride need to do it on small, inexpensive, light weight bikes that will be more forgiving of mistakes. I know that's not "cool", but it's the truth. A dirtbike is the best way to learn, but if that's out of the question, I definitely wouldn't go with anything bigger/faster than an EX500 or maybe an SV650 if they just have to do it that way. I'd really rather see them start on something like a 1970's Yamaha DT125 or something along those lines though. Nice low seat height, and super cheap. That way when (not if) they drop it, it's no big deal.
Link Posted: 2/6/2006 12:08:21 PM EDT
+87 on the dirt bike/dualsport option.You will learn more in the dirt in one day than a year on pavement. Plus you may be able to covince the wife easier at first with something that can be practised off-road.

Dualsport and dirtbikes are made to be crashed, good for a beginner low speed "tip-over".
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