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Discussion Starter #1
Hey guys, Im another newbie looking for motorcycle suggestions. I am looking at taking a basic rider class when the weather gets a bit better here in Austin. Anyway, I always research everything so until the BRC happens I am looking to read up and research motorcycles.

I have read some of the threads in this section for a few weeks now and I know I want to go with a lower cc to learn on (plus I don't see needing anything bigger anyway), preferably a 250cc. The style of bike that always catches my eye is something like an early 70's Honda CB350. I know its not a 250cc but are there similar bikes I can checkout and read up on thats the same style and that would be a good fit for a beginner? Im just looking to ride for short errand runs, trips to the gym and fun weekend rides.

Anyway, I am 35, about to be 36 and I am 6'2 and 235 pounds. Would these motorcycles even be a good fit for someone my size?

Thanks, I appreciate any and all help.
 

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Welcome to the Forum. Taking the BRC is the best place to start! If you haven't already found them, I recommend you check out CaptCrash's You Tube videos. Here's a link to the 1st bike one.
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC9qZpXVqpbjGINQP_kStToQ
He has several and they will show you a lot of things that you will learn in the BRC...especially "The Box". It's one of fhe hardest thing for many folks to master, especially me, also known as a figure 8.

I too love those older bikes. You should do fine on a CB350 up to a 500. You might also want to check out something like a Kawasaki Vulcan 900. As a tall person you really do need to go and sit on a lot of bikes to find what really fits you. My husband is 6' 5" and he doesn't feel at all comfy on my bike which is a 1985 Yamaha Maxim 700. While I absolutely love the riding position and feel so comfy riding her.

Like I tell any new rider, Have Fun With Your Search!! Go to lots of dealers and sit on lots of bikes, new, used, cruiser, standard, Honda, Yamaha, Victory, Harley and anything else. Talk to the sales people and explain that you are new and trying to figure out which bike(s) feel good to you. Most will give you good, safe advice.

Good Luck to you!!
 

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Going and sitting on a bunch of bikes is a great idea, but I wouldn't get too serious until you take the class. Your perspective may change on what you want after completing the course. Some taller riders look at dual sports because of the higher seat. I took the class a couple years ago and used a Suzuki TU250x in class. That's what I ended up buying. It's got that old school UJM look to it, but with more modern innards. It's a great fit for me, but I'm four inches shorter and 60 pounds lighter.
 
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I rode dirt bikes as a kid so I had a little experience already with bikes. When I started riding on the streets I rode a Virago 250. I am 6'1 and 220 pounds and worked out good for a while. However, I out grew the bike really quick and wanted something bigger. When I knew it was time for a bigger bike I thought of a 750 but decided on a 1100 instead bypassing the 750 not sure how that would work out, but it worked out OK.

I do not think they make the Virago anymore but you can get something similar like the V Star 250 or a Honda Rebel 250. Both are decent bikes. Just keep in mind at your size you will out grow them quickly. :)
 

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I agree with the suggestions above. Another bike you might consider is a naked Honda CB500...the newer model is very retro but will be more dependable than finding a 35 year old bike. In general, unless a guy is great with a wrench, it isn't suggested that he start with an old bike. A lot of guys get a newer bike to start with and then get a project.
 
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There are two CB500's the 1st is here and the 2nd is here.

Both are good bikes. With your size these may be worth considering.

Something to keep in mind, if you can find any of these bikes used that is probably the way to go. Buying new for your 1st bike is usually not the best idea considering you may want to sell it after you outgrow your bike. Furthermore, you can sell it at the same cost or a little less then what you paid for it.
 

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I went new with my first bike just cause I'm not the wrench type. Having a warranty while I learn how to do stuff and knowing it hadn't been dropped or crashed was a a good thing for me, but my bike was fairly inexpensive as new bikes go. I guess the OP will have to decide on that one.
 

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If you like the "CB350" styling then perhaps include the Yamaha SR400 in your list of considerations.

You didn't mention your budget(?) Like has been said, it's highly recommended you start out buying a USED bike to start on. The SR400 is a new model, so finding a used/cheaper one might be tough..

 

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Discussion Starter #9
Wow, thanks everyone for the suggestions and advice. I wasn't expecting so many so quickly.

MONI & Calculon, I really like the idea of going to different dealers and sitting but I will wait until after the class. I already figured I would chat with the instructors on bike suggestions also.

CPulasr, I also rode a dirt bike when I was younger but the was over 20 years ago so I didn't include that info. I've seen some Rebels for sell, it seems like those are common and good starter bikes. I will checkout the V Stars.

Hawk, I understand what you are saying about a newer bike that will require less maintenance. I am a little mechanical and I was planning on taking a motorcycle maintenance class at some point but something more reliable while I learn would be good. What year is the newer naked CB500 that you say is retro?

Nordic, I like the looks of Yamaha SR400 but I don't want to buy new for a first bike. My budget is flexible but I see more value learning on a used less expensive bike and then have the option to sell for what I almost paid for it down the road.
 

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Welcome to the forum. I took the BRC a few years ago and rode a 250 Rebel in the class. I already had a license and was riding a 1300 cc 4 cylinder Yamaha RSTD. I am a bit shorter than you but weigh about the same, yes that means I am rounder. Quite honestly that little Rebel was tons of fun to ride. Being mostly a long distance rider I now own and ride a 1731cc Victory Vision. Any good running bike is a good choice for learning the basics and getting them ingrained so that you spend your time thinking about traffic instead of thinking about how to shift, steer, stop, etc. You might want to watch the CaptCrash video that MONI posted a link to. It bears watching a few times until you really understand what he is getting on about.
 

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The Rebel is a great bike to learn on, but at 6' 2", I fear it will be too cramped for real-world use. It will pull you along just fine, but your knees will likely be bumping the handlebars.

I think it was mentioned above, but I wouldn't recommend starting out on a really old bike unless you are good at motorcycle repair and maintenance. As a new rider, you will probably want to spend more time on the road than working on your motorcycle. The classics are best reserved as a second bike/project motorcycle. There are a lot of people who restore them and it's very rewarding, but most have a newer, more dependable ride as well.

I'll second the mention above about a dual sport motorcycle. There are some excellent models available. The 200-250 class is good for around-town riding and secondary roads, while a 400 or 650 are better suited to longer distances and highway traveling. The downside is that a lot of people aren't tall enough to ride them comfortably. You shouldn't have a problem there.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
The Rebel is a great bike to learn on, but at 6' 2", I fear it will be too cramped for real-world use. It will pull you along just fine, but your knees will likely be bumping the handlebars.

I think it was mentioned above, but I wouldn't recommend starting out on a really old bike unless you are good at motorcycle repair and maintenance. As a new rider, you will probably want to spend more time on the road than working on your motorcycle. The classics are best reserved as a second bike/project motorcycle. There are a lot of people who restore them and it's very rewarding, but most have a newer, more dependable ride as well.

I'll second the mention above about a dual sport motorcycle. There are some excellent models available. The 200-250 class is good for around-town riding and secondary roads, while a 400 or 650 are better suited to longer distances and highway traveling. The downside is that a lot of people aren't tall enough to ride them comfortably. You shouldn't have a problem there.
Great suggestion on the older bike being a secondary bike thats a project restore. My wife will love that!

I will look at dual sports, any you would suggest over others? I will be doing highway riding so a 400 or 650 sounds like the way to go I guess. Wouldn't the 650 be to much for a beginner?
 

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It really depends on the 650. An in line 4 cylinder 650 is going to be a real handful but a twin cylinder 650 would probably be tame enough for a new rider. The twin will also weigh less and be easier to manhandle. It will also likely cost less to buy and to insure.
 

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Wow, thanks everyone for the suggestions and advice. I wasn't expecting so many so quickly.

MONI & Calculon, I really like the idea of going to different dealers and sitting but I will wait until after the class. I already figured I would chat with the instructors on bike suggestions also.

CPulasr, I also rode a dirt bike when I was younger but the was over 20 years ago so I didn't include that info. I've seen some Rebels for sell, it seems like those are common and good starter bikes. I will checkout the V Stars.

Hawk, I understand what you are saying about a newer bike that will require less maintenance. I am a little mechanical and I was planning on taking a motorcycle maintenance class at some point but something more reliable while I learn would be good. What year is the newer naked CB500 that you say is retro?

Nordic, I like the looks of Yamaha SR400 but I don't want to buy new for a first bike. My budget is flexible but I see more value learning on a used less expensive bike and then have the option to sell for what I almost paid for it down the road.
They have made the CB500 a few different times...the one l was thinking of was made in the late 90's until maybe 2003ish? It is sporty but still has the standard CB look.

http://www.bing.com/images/search?q=1998+cb+500&qpvt=1998+cb500&FORM=IGRE#view=detail&id=69C54CE1D583CB86B9DA0F4B51ED2EFC06CCB95F&selectedIndex=19
 

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Wouldn't the 650 be to much for a beginner?
One thing that surprises a lot of people is the fact that motorcycle engine displacement is not very reliable in determining how much power the engine puts out.

For example, a modern 600CC inline 4 engine will produce about 118 horsepower. A modern 650CC dual-sport single cylinder? About 39 horsepower.

I would fully recommend the 650 single as a practical motorcycle to learn on as well as being able to do highway speeds. It has plenty of horsepower and torque to get the job done, but is manageable for most new riders.

Actually, if I had room for a second motorcycle, that's what I would own.
 

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Those classic flat seat bikes are kinda neat as a "tool around town" bike. For a guy that's 6' 2" you'd find that a bit small for a serious highway ride somewhere, not to mention the need to keep up with traffic and avoid as much stress on the long ride as possible.

-soupy
 

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Discussion Starter #19
I wanted to thank everyone on suggesting dual sport bikes, I was never considering them. When I first saw the style I wasn't a big fan but I'm realizing that its more about function (I'm intrigued by trail riding), reliability and fun. Plus the style is growing on me, I particularly like the looks of the KLR650. I have read a lot on the forum and online about the bike and it sounds like a solid starter bike for someone my size to ride through city streets, highway, backroads and some light off-roading.

Now hoping for the weather to get better to take the class and then go sit on some bikes. Thanks again.
 

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I wanted to thank everyone on suggesting dual sport bikes, I was never considering them. When I first saw the style I wasn't a big fan but I'm realizing that its more about function (I'm intrigued by trail riding), reliability and fun. Plus the style is growing on me, I particularly like the looks of the KLR650. I have read a lot on the forum and online about the bike and it sounds like a solid starter bike for someone my size to ride through city streets, highway, backroads and some light off-roading.

Now hoping for the weather to get better to take the class and then go sit on some bikes. Thanks again.
I have heard mixed reviews about the KLR 650. Never ridden one myself, so l can't say for sure. But I have heard nothing but good things about the Suzuki DR400, that it is very good in the dirt, which is the area where most of these bikes suffer. Also, any Honda XR will be a solid bike, as would a Yamaha XT. As far as the actual physical size, they are all fairly tall and similar in stature, so one to the next won't matter much.
 
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