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Discussion Starter #1
I am 51 years old and have zero street time. I'm planning on attending the MTC training soon so I'm thinking about a first bike. I've done a lot of reading and looking which has lead me to strongly consider a used Honda CB500F.

Since safety and learning are my primary concerns I wanted something with an upright position that's fairly light with enough power to practice on the freeway as well as the surface streets. I really want to build my confidence to the point where I feel comfortable and in good control of the motorcycle itself.

My questions:
  1. Is my selection of bike (Honda CB500F) a reasonable choice?
  2. Are their any other bikes that I should be considering?
Maybe one day I'll be roaring down a two lane blacktop on my 1000cc gixxer but for now I just want to get some saddle time and learn as much as I can by doing. Thank you very much for any help you might be able to offer. :)
 

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That’s not a bad bike at all but before you go buy something, wait until you take the class. That’s if they provide bikes.

But I always suggest something in the 250 size and learn to get the absolute maximum out of it before moving up.

Anyone can ride a bike on the freeway. You need to learn how to ride slow in congested parking lot type conditions before going to something in the 500 size. But yes, you can do it and it has been done.

But have also had some admit later that they wish they had started smaller. Choice is yours though. It won’t be our(my) skin and road rash should you give too much throttle, panic and have a mishap. It happens with new riders. Nothing to be ashamed of, it’s part of the learning experience.

Smaller bikes are just more forgiving. And there is a saying that’s true, “it’s more fun to ride a slow bike fast than to ride a fast bike slow “.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
That’s not a bad bike at all but before you go buy something...
Thank you very much for your feedback. Is there a bike(s) you'd suggest that would be the same standard style as the CB500f with less power? There is a CB300f which seems like it would be similar but if there is something that you have a good feeling about I'd love to know. Thank you again!
 

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Welcome to the forum!

I think the CB500f is a great choice. If you take it easy on the throttle and are cautious there's no reason why this bike should be too much.

Another bike to consider would be the Ninja 400.
 

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Sh1t, I was 50, when I bought my first bike.

It was a 2006 Harley Davidson Heritage Softail.

Rode it home the day I bought it. Got my learners permit the day b4.

Been riding since and have 60k on it, and now have 5 vintage Hondas, a CB100.

CB350F, CB750F, CB175, CB350.

Still want a CB550.
 

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My questions:
  1. Is my selection of bike (Honda CB500F) a reasonable choice?
  2. Are their any other bikes that I should be considering?
Maybe one day I'll be roaring down a two lane blacktop on my 1000cc gixxer but for now I just want to get some saddle time and learn as much as I can by doing. Thank you very much for any help you might be able to offer. :)
No worries with your choice! That looks like a great starter bike and, with just under 50 hp, it is powerful enough to run on the highway but small enough to be forgiving of mistakes. Here is a nice overview of the bike - HONDA CB500F (2019-on) Review

FWIW, I'm 51 now, didn't get my license until 3 years ago, and am plenty happy with my 600. No need for a liter bike... yet. 😈
 

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Welcome to th forum and as suggested wait until after your course, who knows you may decide it isn't for you. Go to various dealers and sit on bikes you are interested in. You have to be comfortable in the saddle.
 

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If you want a more upright position bike, the Kawasaki Vulcan 500 might be a better choice. It's not a sport looking bike, but more of a cruiser looking bike. You need to keep in mind if you want something that says you're a sporty fast rider, or something that fits well. Best if you can sit on several different bikes to at least get the "feel" which is most important of all since 95%, or more, of the time, you'll be riding by yourself anyway.

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Discussion Starter #9
I think the CB500f is a great choice. If you take it easy on the throttle and are cautious there's no reason why this bike should be too much.

Another bike to consider would be the Ninja 400.
Leximon thank you very much for your reply. After reading Hogcowboy's post as well as yours (specifically to be easy on the throttle) I'm also going to consider bikes with smaller engines and I will look at the Ninja for sure.

Sh1t, I was 50, when I bought my first bike...
Good on you for the encouragement. Additionally it gives me some additional positive feedback about selecting a Honda. Thanks again!

No worries with your choice!...
Thank you Doc for the feedback on the CR500F. I read the review and I now know a lot more than I did earlier today. :) Very cool of you to give positive encouragement and your post makes me even more anxious to get out there. Most appreciated.

Welcome to th forum and as suggested wait until after your course, who knows you may decide it isn't for you. Go to various dealers and sit on bikes you are interested in. You have to be comfortable in the saddle.
Critter you make an excellent point and I do intend to wait until I've completed the riders course until I make a final decision on a bike. I guess I just like to do research and have some idea of what is drawing my interest. Plus it helps pass the time until my course starts. Thank you sir!

If you want a more upright position bike, the Kawasaki Vulcan 500 might be a better choice. It's not a sport looking bike, but more of a cruiser looking bike. You need to keep in mind if you want something that says you're a sporty fast rider, or something that fits well. Best if you can sit on several different bikes to at least get the "feel" which is most important of all since 95%, or more, of the time, you'll be riding by yourself anyway.
Mr RonK thank you for your reply. What fits well and is easier to control are definitely a priority over how I look. I was under the impression, and I do NOT mind being corrected/educated, that cruisers might not be the best starting bike because of weight and rider position. Basically I've read that they are more difficult to control. Is that you experience? Thanks again for your guidance and encouragement.
 

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Mr RonK thank you for your reply. What fits well and is easier to control are definitely a priority over how I look. I was under the impression, and I do NOT mind being corrected/educated, that cruisers might not be the best starting bike because of weight and rider position. Basically I've read that they are more difficult to control. Is that you experience? Thanks again for your guidance and encouragement.
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Bikes are purposely built. Some style bikes claim to be versatile and will do anything, but it's really a factor of how adaptable the rider is. A good rider can do anything on any bike. Most of us are not that good. Control is a nebulous term. Does that mean with speed, with slow maneuverabilty, with cornering at tight angles, cutting in and out of traffic, carrying a passenger, riding in traffic, stability on the open road, quick throttle response, etc.? The biggest bikes are probably Gold Wings and some large Harleys. Have you ever watched a police academy event around pylons? Tell me a large tour bike isn't maneuvable!

A small standard bike, or small (500cc) cruiser is about as light as you could want on the open road for stability. As to any sports bike that has you in a forward position, if you think you could handle leaning forward on your arms and on the boys for hours at a time, then I envy you. Post #119 shows the bike I used for lane splitting in San Francisco without any trouble. It's a lot bigger than a Vulcan:


I'm saying that any bike can do any type of riding, but you should choose one that fits the way you want to ride and where you want to ride. If you have the basics down well on handling, it doesn't matter what bike you choose.

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There is a CB300f which seems like it would be similar but if there is something that you have a good feeling about I'd love to know.
That's probably not going to be a good highway bike for hours of riding. Commuter most likely okay depending on just how long. But would fall short on anything over an hour. JMO

my main suggestion is wait until you take the test unless you have to supply your own bike. If they supply one then you'll be able to see if riding is even going to work for you. It isn'r for everyone even when they really want to. A good instructor will let you know if they think you'll be okay too.Take your time. Your age is not a factor other than the maturity is there to not want to be a hotshot. But you can buy a used 250, learn to wring it's neck and sell it for the same thing or maybe a tad less than you paid for it. By that time you'll know more about what kind of riding you'll be doing which will in turn tell you what bikes. Sit on as many as possible and test ride them if possible. Looking is fun but can be stressful. So have fun and good luck. Oh, no, I don't have a specific bike. That 500 is not a bad starter. And after the class you should be okay on it.
 

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take this for what its worth.

I'm a 51 years old new rider., and far from being an expert rider. Back on the saddle after 30 yrs of inactivity, in my 20s I used to ride dirt bikes. When I turned 50 I decided to start street riding. I took the MTC training and after successfully passing the course I got my M1 endorsement. As for my first bike, I decided to buy a cruiser because I eventually want to move up to a Harley "Touring", I bought a 650cc in excellent condition. Personally, I did not want to buy a brand new motorcycle as my first bike for obvious reasons. Reminds me when I bought my daughter her first car after she graduated from High School, I bought her a used one.

Just like one of the contributors above indicated, anyone can ride a motorcycle in a straight line until it is time to turn, move in slow traffic, or go to a shopping center. It is about full control of the bike, driving in a straight line at 35MPH or above is NOT considered full control. I have spent quite a bit of time practicing in an empty parking lot, weaving in and out of cones at 8MPH using the clutch, throttle and dragging the rear brake. A full understanding of counter steering and looking ahead of the curve is a must. One of the most single reasons for solo motorcycle crash is new riders run wide in turns. When turning in corners / intersections or in curvy roads you have to look where you want the motorcycle to go. It takes a bit of practice until it becomes second nature. I do not remember exactly what it is, somewhere past 14MPH you have to counter steer, anything under that speed is simple, turn left to go left or turn right to go right. When I first started to practice turns in a parking lot, what made me run wide was that I was looking somewhere else other than where I wanted to motorcycle to go.

Take it slow, speed will come with time.
 

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The Honda CB500F is a nice, sedate bike for a beginner, especially with ABS. It will have enough get up and go so that you won't grow out of it in a month like you would on a 250 or 300.

Ride around and practice on Rural roads if possible, being very careful and you will be just fine.

As my Dad used to say, you can drive a very fast car back and forth to work just fine, if you control your right foot on the gas pedal. Control your right hand on a motorcycle and you can ride a Superbike with little experience.

I have always hated the voiced opinions to start out 'small,' even if you weigh 400 lbs and move up from the 125 to the 250 to the 400 to the 600 to the 750 to the 1,000, to a Superbike, like we all are RICH and can do so. This was the Dealers mindset back in the early 60's when I first started riding and they wanted you to believe it was about safety but after Sooooooo many bikes, I think it was their way to get ya back in every year for the latest greatest 10 HP bike to replace your slow 5 HP bike, ad infinitum:poop:

I also don't like the opinion to: "Buy used since you will crash anyway." DUMB.

Within reason, buy what you want the first time and the CB500 sounds great!

Sam
 

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Discussion Starter #14
I'm saying that any bike can do any type of riding, but you should choose one that fits the way you want to ride and where you want to ride. If you have the basics down well on handling, it doesn't matter what bike you choose.
Haha well I guess that's the point. I don't have the basics down and I'm hoping to pick a good bike on which to learn said basics. Thank you very much RonK for taking the time to help me get through this initial period of noobness. Many thanks.


By that time you'll know more about what kind of riding you'll be doing which will in turn tell you what bikes. Sit on as many as possible and test ride them if possible. Looking is fun but can be stressful. So have fun and good luck. Oh, no, I don't have a specific bike. That 500 is not a bad starter. And after the class you should be okay on it.
I will take these words to heart. Sometimes I can jump too quickly and so I will concentrate and take my time as much as possible. Thank you again hogcowboy for passing along some knowledge to the absolute beginner.


I have spent quite a bit of time practicing in an empty parking lot...
robbyk you put a lot of information into a tight space and I thank you for it. I will definitely be putting in lots of practice time as I really want to feel confident that I can control the bike in standard and emergency situations. Very much appreciated sir. Did you ever get your Harley? :)


The Honda CB500F is a nice, sedate bike for a beginner, especially with ABS. It will have enough get up and go so that you won't grow out of it in a month like you would on a 250 or 300.
Porky (Sam) Very cool of you to spend some time passing on good knowledge and also making me feel a bit more confident about my potential choice of bike. Since I've shared with some folks my interest in the CB500F I've gotten three distinct responses.

1. You should start smaller until you learn more
2. That's a decent choice as far as power/weight/control goes
3. You should get the bike you want in the end and learn how to ride on it

No way I'm going for number three but one and two are still in contention. Your opinion has definitely affected the way in which I'm leaning. Many thanks sir.
 

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I still think having a used bike as a first bike is a good idea. Not necessarily because you're going to drop it sooner or later, but you won't have too much money tied up in it if you decide, after riding for a couple months, it's not really for you.

Making payments for a few years, and paying full coverage insurance, on a bike sitting in the garage just taking up space, because you don't want to ride anymore, and you can't sell because you owe more than it's worth, well, that would suck.

I haven't rode a small bike in a while now, but I have read about them and it seems their performance has improved a great deal over the years. I was always one that said start small, but with the improvements of small bike performance, the idea that they're little and you're less likely to get hurt fades away. Doesn't matter what size the bike is if you get off at 60 MPH, its going to hurt.

At 51 years of age, I doubt you would ride like I did, or anyone else here, did at 16 years of age. Was only two throttle positions back then, idle and wide open. I think you would do well on your choice of a 500 Honda. The physical size of the bike would probably "fit" you better too.

Good luck on whatever you decide to do.
 

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I have had the chance to ride the new Honda 500cc engine in both the CBR500 and the Rebel 500 which I believe is the same engine used in the new CB500 and it’s a great engine that has plenty of power, forgiving on the throttle. The CB500 is a very upright bike which to me gives more control like a dirt bike but isn’t as welcoming on long trips without some sort of back rest. The older CB500‘s will most likely require a but of work on the carbs, chain and sprockets just like any other old bike would but they are also great starters.
 

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Great little bike:)

Sam
Thank you Sir, it is a 650cc with low center of gravity, handles pretty good, nimble in curvy roads. I have to admin that when I first got the bike I was intimidated by the weight. As time progresses its starting to feel light.
 
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