View Full Version : Greetings, all. First-time motorcycle buyer here, seeking recommendations
06-19-2007, 07:07 PM
I want to buy a Honda motorcycle, preferably a cruiser. What do you recommend for a first-time rider? I was originally looking at the VTX1300R, but my dad advises me that 1312cc is too much bike for a newbie. He recommends that I don't buy anything much over 500cc. Is this reasonable? I also like the looks of the Shadow Aero, but I've been told it's underpowered. True?
Also, what brands of riding gear are worth getting? What brands should I avoid at all costs?
06-22-2007, 10:51 PM
Three days, eighteen views, no replies... what do I have, cooties? :confused:
06-23-2007, 04:05 AM
Ok I'll reply. Pick up a Honda VLX600 Shadow. 600cc V twin cruiser with enough power that you won't get bored with it anytime and easy to ride. Nice bike that's been around forever and are basically trouble free. Kinda looks like a Softail Harley some.
If ya really want the Aero by all means go for it. I don't see how a 750 would be underpowered unless the folks are comparing it to an 1800. I've ridden 750 Shadows and they seemed to have good power and on par with other 750 V twins. Either the 600 or the 750 will do highway speeds no problem and well passed that and are still fairly mellow for a newbie rider.
Too many people get hung up on having to have the biggest out there that they seem to think the smaller bored bikes won't keep up on a highway. My last bike was an 1100 and my current bike is a 500. The 500 does just as good on the highway as my 1100 did and the only place I notice a difference is on a real long hill I have to downshift down 1 gear if it gets real steep. It'll cruise 70 mph fairly easy just as the 1100 did.
06-24-2007, 02:44 PM
Thanks very much. The Aero was just a thought; almost anything in the 500-750cc range would work, and the VLX 600 looks like a nice bike. Are there any specific brands of riding clothes (helmet, jacket, pants/chaps, gloves) that you'd recommend? Any brands I should stay away from?
06-25-2007, 08:06 AM
My personal opinion, wear a $40 helmet if ya got a $40 head. You don't need to buy the most expensive ones out there just make sure it's DOT approved or Snell. Plan on spendin' around $100+ for a decent full faced helmet. I'm not a fan of open faced ones. While you are at it make sure you can get replacement face shields for it, most you can but some cheapies ya can't. Actually, Wal-Mart sells Bell helmets real reasonable but you can't try them on, the packages are sealed. Other good brands are Shoei, Arai, HJC, KBC, AFX ( that is the brand I have) and a couple others the name escapes me right now. If it feels cheap it probably is cheap. It's your head.
Make sure it fits snug. You should be able to shake your head and the helmet not move too much.
Get some gloves with the knuckles I guess you could call armored with thicker leather over top the fingers. You could also get Mechanix gloves at any Auto Zone that have the armor on them for around $20, they were out of the 2XL the day I went to get a pair so I got just plain gloves.
Jackets, either thick leather or or textile ones with reinforced (thick padding) elbows and shoulders so I'm told. You can also get kevlar reinforced ones. That's what I'm shoppin' for right now myself. I'm riskin' it big time and I shouldn't.
06-26-2007, 10:41 AM
i'm looking at a CBR 600, i think that would be safe for a first bike, i dont have any real experience either so i'm a little concerned. any suggestions for a first bike?????
06-26-2007, 09:28 PM
The CBR would be ok if you are real careful but the insurance will get ya. My Ninja 500 would be a good first sportbike or a Suzuki GS500. My 500 is mellow enough for a beginner but will run hard enough to keep a guy like me interested. I been ridin' a long time and I don't see myself gettin' bored with it. Then again I have fun ridin' my kid's PW80 or a honda 50.
06-27-2007, 01:07 PM
When I got my mc license a year ago, the first thing I did was run out to all the motorcycle shops to check out the new bikes. I was going to finance one at about $8000 before I realized that it might not be such a good idea. After talking to experienced riders, I found they were all saying the same thing, "don't buy a new bike because you'll drop it and get pissed." Lots of people suggested I buy a used bike a few years old that was 500cc-800cc. It took a year but I finally found a 550cc bike for $300. Since I've had the bike I have invested another $300 and the bike is starting to look and ride really good. If I drop this one on the ground, I'll be upset. But not nearly as upset as if I'd payed $8000 for it.
Hope this helps.
VLX600 is a sweet bike.Good choise for a new rider.
07-22-2007, 04:26 AM
It doesn't really matter what cc cruiser you start on because they are all under powered and slow. The only thing is that the more cc you have the heavier bike usually, so don't drop it :). I started riding on the street on a sportster 1200 then went to a cbr 954 and then a cbr 1000. To the guy that wants to get a 600 I say yes if you are careful you can start on that bike. They have wimpy torque (like 50 lbs) but watch out for the top end. It will go 150 and it will hurt you if you don't watch your speed.
09-05-2007, 06:31 PM
The Suzuki intruder 800 or boulevard S-50 would be my recomendation. I know I know this is the honda page but the bikes I mentioned are light and easy to handle. If you know anyone who has the vlx take it for a ride if they will let you. I wasn't too impressed. there was enough motor there but the gear ratios didn't feel right, made it feel like a dog. I don't know your budget but I definatly wouldn't buy a new bike for a first. Like the other Guy was saying if your fumbling around like a fifteen year old on prom night it helps to It helps if shes already seen a couple laps around the block.
09-05-2007, 11:56 PM
You did not really describe yourself? I assume you are young and male?
Besides the choice of which style of bike (cruiser or cafe bike) you need to consider the ergonomics of the bike, the insurance cost, and how you intend to ride (city or highway/road, 1 up or 2 up), and whether you will be a casual weekend warrior or a serious regular/frequent rider.
I thought the reply saying that you'll drop during the learning curve was right on. As a novice rider you will will likely incur some damage and injury ( if only to your ego ), so a smaller less expensive ride to start with is smart. If you are going to be a "casual" or occassional rider the learning /experience curve will be very long, and you may never have the INTUITIVE knowledge and skill that comes from frequent & cumilative riding experience. Riding an MC is different from riding a bicycle or driving a car, something a lot of casual riders just don't understand. Whole different techniques, responsibilities, and skills required just to survive. You have to be far more responsibile and responsive in your driving AND that of other vehicles/drivers. To survive being a MCist you must become highly skilled in handling your ride, anticipating other drivers actions and mitigating their potential "errors" which can seriously injure or kill you. Unfortunately much of the skill must be learned from YOUR riding experience and not from books or courses or other's experience . Although I am a huge supporter of the MSF courses! They will get you off to a good start.
The larger the bike the more you'll pay for insurance regardless if it is new or used or your age. I highly recommend you complete the MSF rider course as it will give you a break on insurance as well as a good beginning foundation for riding. Insurance also is cheaper the more years experience you have as a rider, even for us OLD riders. My wife was 50 when she began riding and got a big break on INS for taking the MSF course and then again when she had 5 yrs experience.
As far as the ergonomics, CC's don't really matter. How well the bike fits you is the important factor. My wife has had a Shadow 1100cc for years, she has always had trouble touching the ground with both feet on it, seat height was to blame. We bought her boots with 2" high soles to mitigate the problem and it was not a completely effective solution. She also had trouble with the handle bar styles on her first two bikes also ( a Virago 750 and a Shadow 1100 Spirit). Those bikes had the narrow 'Harley' Sportster style bars. Between the narrow grip and her short legs she dropped the bikes many times when she came to a stop or tried to make slow speed turn in parking lots etc.. We traded bikes for a Shadow A.C.E. with a wider handle bar and that helped in holding and balancing the bike, but she still struggled with the height problem. She is a real canyon carver when she is moving, but struggled when she came to a stop. Weight was not the factor it was balance, which the wider handle bars helped with. After 6 years with that bike we just traded for a new Honda VTX1300. She can now sit flat footed in regular shoes, and has a wide set of handle bars to better balance the MC. She is far more confident now and wants to hit the road for long road trips again. Its all about control and handling features of any MC.
The 750 Virago had plenty of power, but was not geared for long distance road trips. It had to work to hard to cruise all day long at hiway speeds. I can also tell you that the 1100's she has had were not under powered but they did have a rev limiter that kept them from doing very high speed (over 90-95mph) and were a little slower to accelerate at highway speeds. That being said, we have done a number of road trips of over a thousand miles each and did days and days of touring mountanous roads here in Colorado and back East in Tenn & NC and she had no problem leading my Valkyrie 1500 cc.
I also recommend that you pair yourself with an older more experienced rider and closely observe their driving skills and ask them lots of questions about their riding style, intuition, and techniques. Practice and get experience in handling your ride in a safe place. I like new housing developments that have paved roads, Stop signs, marked pavement, Cross streets, Gravel/sandy spots, etc. Those places allow you to practice under safer controlled environment. You can look the "course" over and create conditions that will allow you to safely learn to handle your MC in various staged situations before have a real world crisis. The same MC performs differently at different speeds ( stopping distances, turning radius, etc.) Knowing what you AND your ride will and can do will save your wallet and perhaps your life.
Some of what I've said may seem like doom & gloom, but I've been a serious biker for 43 years, and love riding. Riding is a great joy in my life, but riding requires greater skills, intelligence, intensity, and concentration than other drivers on the road.
Good luck and safe riding.
09-07-2007, 04:22 PM
I forgot to give my two cents about riding gear. This in my opinion should be purchaced before the bike. Personally I found the HJC full faced helmet with the entire front hinged to be really comfortabe and convenient. any of the major brands are fine. Sturdy boots of any type that are comfortabe. Jeans or heavier, and I trust a good thick leather motorcycle jacket a lot more than those synthetic materials but it needs to fit comfortably so it won't become a distraction. (I bought my leather jacket at the thrift store for $10 and I see that sort of thing there pretty often.) One thing about this that has stuck in my head since I was a kid "DRESS FOR THE SLIDE NOT FOR THE RIDE"
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