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Resident of Munchkin Land
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello all. I don't have a license yet. Hell I don't even know how to ride but I've been thinking (& reading) about beginner motorcycles for the past 6 months or so. I am mostly interested in cruisers. The general consensus is to get a motorcycle that isn't too huge or powerful like a 250cc. But I would like to eventually drive on the highway (to get to work). This would be a 19-mile round trip in Suffolk County Long Island.

What is a good cruiser for a new rider that has adequate power for getting up to highway speeds? I was looking into the Honda Shadow but that seems to get lukewarm reviews. Also, I don't know if that would be too much cruiser for Herrick. I'm 37 years old, 5'8" around 165 pounds. And yes I will definitely take an MSF course before anything. Oh and if I pass the course, I don't plan to just jump on the highway right after. I would only go on the highway after being very comfortable on regular roads. I'd like to get a bike that is good for a beginner but doesn't have to be replaced in a year. My budget is around $5000.
 

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As long as you do well on the MSF course and learn to ride in a cautious, sane manor you can start on the 650-800 size of cruiser as well, unlike a 650 sport bike which is a rocket ship a midsize cruiser like that is on the slow side and would not be too much to handle as long as you take it a bit slow and steady until you get used to handling a 500 pound bike. Vulcan, Shadow, Vstar, Boulevard, etc. My stepdaughter learned to ride on an 800 marauder with no problem at all.
You can find these bikes used for well under your budget amount.

Unlike a 250, a bike that size will easily handle the highway riding your trying to work your way up to, I commuted 72 miles each way for a year on a VStar 650, no these bikes wont keep up with a 1700 but any of them will top 90 mph with no problem at all.
 

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Resident of Munchkin Land
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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks Mike. I'm also looking into the Yamaha Bolt R Spec.
 

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Biker
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Hello Herrick,

Ray here from St.Pete . You might want to check a Suzuki M-50 a nice looking cruiser style bike, 805 cc with a
high 5th gear for the hi-way, new they list around 8K but I am sure you could find one in good condition. I
rode one for a 150 miles on the hi-way, and liked it a lot. I think that if you do like it, you will want to keep it
for a while. If it fits you, you like the style of it that is.

Also, after you checked a few bikes, get quotes for insurance. The Harley Wide Glide and Low rider for the same yr
have the 103 cubic inch engine Yet the wide glide costs more to insure so far as theft insurance. That little fuc*() lizard
for Geico seems to be VERY expensive might just as well walk ! Progressive could be do-able.

Good going Herrick, You will enjoy the MSF course, I did, coaches were great, some courses give you the card right
after you pass the practical which is out on the range, others mail it to you.

Anyway, I want to wish you well in getting into biking.
 

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The general consensus is to get a motorcycle that isn't too huge or powerful like a 250cc. But I would like to eventually drive on the highway (to get to work).
No reason you can't do both, start on a 250cc(probably best to go used if you plan to upgrade fairly quickly) while you ramp up your skill set. It's those skills like swerving and panic stops that will save your bacon on the road. It's easier to learn them on a smaller more nimble bike that's more forgiving of the inevitable mistakes that happen. I would say this is particularly true for riders with little to no experience. The M50 is a 600 pound bike, so managing weight can become an issue if you don't have the experience, though some can start on a larger bike.

I think all of this points out that the best course of action would be to take the riders course and get your license. The course will give you a safe place to learn and assess your skills. There's much to learn since you stated you don't know how to ride and a lot of it can only be learned on a bike. Once that's done, try to be honest with yourself, you can get serious about a bike. I had zero experience when I got my license. I was looking at bikes too and those 250cc bikes looked so tiny at the dealership, but after finishing the class, I realized for me they were the right tool for the job.

As for 250cc bikes, mine with 15HP, was happy to get 70-75MPH by the end of the freeway ramp. It didn't have much passing power, but it was happy to hum along at 70MPH. A lot of beginner bikes now are 300cc now and have more power/torque. Good Luck.
 

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Mixed Shadow Reviews???

I have had 2 Shadows (1100 & 750) and put about 140k total on them. The 1100 was awesome and I loved it, but the 750 came along (I wasn't looking at the time), it had a similar acceleration (well, the 1100 would beat almost anything else) and as it was way more comfortable I sold the old and happily rode the new. Both were reliable, easy to do most repairs, and all around I never felt like I was sacrificing anything by going down to the 750, as it still went faster than I wanted to go. And they are easy to find low milage/price.
 

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Resident of Munchkin Land
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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Thanks for the suggestions everyone. I really appreciate your help in this. Unfortunately, there aren't a lot of used cruisers in my area that fit my price range which has gone down to $3000 to $4000. Also, I'm a little apprehensive about the weight of some of these mid-power cruisers and having to immediately take them on a long trip home after buying. I'm going to look into a lighter class of motorcycle for now. And I still need to take the MSF course which I should be starting August 31!
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Another question. If I were to start out on a standard non-cruiser bike (like a Honda CB) but really wanted to ride a cruiser some day, would I have to "start over" and get a lower-powered lighter cruiser?
 

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After 30+ years of not riding (and back then only in the dirt) I picked up a 2006 Shadow 750 for well within your price range....even after I decided I needed a bunch of extra safety gear after I got it. The day I picked it up I rode 80miles including about 10 on the interstate to get it home. Granted the interstate was not busy at that time, otherwise I would have chosen a different route. Was nerve racking and was about 1/2 way home when I realized the helmet that came with the bike was way too small, otherwise I might have taken the longer route. Huge headache for a few days after that.

It's been a few months and now when I take it to work I commute 40+miles each way with 30+ being on an interstate type of highway. At first I felt like it buzzed too much once going over around 60, but now I have no problem with it. I typically cruise at around 75. That said when I can pick my ride I try to keep it to roads that are 60 or less.

I don't know where you've been looking, but most everything I've seen on the Shadows has been positive. The vibrations above 60 or so have been brought up some, but that's it. I was also looking at the Kawasaki Vulcans and the Suzuki Boulevards, but never did test ride one of those.

My son picked up a used Honda CBR300r. As far as pickup and straight line performance mine and his are pretty equal. His of course is much more sporty handling and riding around, but both of these are more than capable to maintain highway speeds. I can see the appeal to the sporty as it is fun, but even he likes that he has access to ride mine when it's mellow cruising time.
 

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As long as you do well on the MSF course and learn to ride in a cautious, sane manor you can start on the 650-800 size of cruiser........
Not for nothin but, just outa curiosity, since you are a big time “Victory” advocate.........how’s it been for you since the collapse of the “Victory” brand?! (Parts/Service)
 

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Not for nothin but, just outa curiosity, since you are a big time “Victory” advocate.........how’s it been for you since the collapse of the “Victory” brand?! (Parts/Service)


The Victory online community is very strong for support and tracking down off parts, and there are some dedicated companies that are still quite involved with Victory bikes, they are far gone. As for service parts...I haven’t needed much but I haven’t had any problems getting the few parts that I need so far, they are readily available online.

Service? I do my own work, but if I did need something done we have a very healthy local Indian/Victory dealer that’s still very much supporting Victory and has no plans to stop.

I plan to keep riding my 4 Vic’s until the wheels fall off, then putting them back on and doing it all over again :)




Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 

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Welcome from rainy Seattle!!!

I think a Honda Shadow 600 would be an excellent starter. They are dependable and it would be a good first bike, you can often find them for less than $3000. And I would start with a used bike, not new. The likelihood of you dropping your first bike in your first year is high. Better to drop a 5 year old bike than a brand new one that still has 59 payments due.

The Yamaha Bolt weighs like 600 pounds wet. IMO, too much bike to start on for most.
 

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What I learned, from owning and driving a bike on the highway, is that you can surround yourself with all the comforts and amenities, and forget how vulnerable you are!

Some of the big Touring bikes, wrap so many gadgets and material around you, that you can lose sight of what “riding” is all about. The relationship of you and the ride itself.

I miss, if anything, being able to opt for the highways, but have gained a renewed sense of the feeling of riding, the experience of riding, the connection between “me” and the environment. Thus the reason I downsized and minimized.
 

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Resident of Munchkin Land
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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Welcome from rainy Seattle!!!

I think a Honda Shadow 600 would be an excellent starter. They are dependable and it would be a good first bike, you can often find them for less than $3000. And I would start with a used bike, not new. The likelihood of you dropping your first bike in your first year is high. Better to drop a 5 year old bike than a brand new one that still has 59 payments due.

The Yamaha Bolt weighs like 600 pounds wet. IMO, too much bike to start on for most.
Unfortunately, I can't find any used Honda Shadows that are close to home. I'm looking into dealerships that can deliver the bike.

What I learned, from owning and driving a bike on the highway, is that you can surround yourself with all the comforts and amenities, and forget how vulnerable you are!

Some of the big Touring bikes, wrap so many gadgets and material around you, that you can lose sight of what “riding” is all about. The relationship of you and the ride itself.

I miss, if anything, being able to opt for the highways, but have gained a renewed sense of the feeling of riding, the experience of riding, the connection between “me” and the environment. Thus the reason I downsized and minimized.
Which bike do you ride, Soupy?
 

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Quote from Soupy1957, "Some of the big Touring bikes, wrap so many gadgets and material around you, that you can lose sight
of what “riding” is all about. The relationship of you and the ride itself". Unquote

I know what ya mean Soupy, On my wide glide I have taken a back pack and gone for a two or three day ride. I didn't need a
stereo on the bike and I had time to enjoy the ride going north on rte. 301 towards Jawjuh. I was not in a hurry and though
being very well aware of what was around me, I was able to think about other things in my life, last twenty years, putting more
time into learning to read sheet music for classical on the piano, like Chopin's etudes and Beethoven's Moonlight sonata.
I already plotted the routes for the ride so I did not need any electronic nav system, it was already on my phone b4 i got the
bike anyways

Now that I had the WG stage 1'd I like it much more, nice an throaty, new chrome and rubber grips. I don't think anyone
ever keeps her stock, nicer to add what you want, like the chrome coil cover and fat orange plug wires, hi-way bars. . .
having a whole bunch of accessories does not do it for me but I like that others are able to get their ride fitted out as they
want it to be. So far as my Sporty, she has a new rear tire coming up and she will be out again. I have gotten soo many gr8
rides on that bike, specially through the back of Plant city into Bradenton, enjoying the scenery, over the Skyway Br.
 

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For my 2 cents, Mike721 list Boulevarded as one of the potential bikes for you. Suzuki has a whole line of Boulevards of which I have knowledge of only the 650. I can not recommend it for a beginner. The rake is to aggressive for a beginner and can make learning needlessly difficult and dangerous.
 

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Haerrick, I am really looking forward to hearing about your experience with the MSF course. That is the best way to start and the best way to continue. A lot of people here will echo the value of the beginner course, and the value of ongoing learning with experienced ricer courses every few years. You are on a distinguished road, and I think you will do just fine.

Welcome to the forum!

As for bikes, I will offer this: Fit.

Que, you say? Fit means when you sit on the bike you feel comfortable, like you are in a place you want to be and you can stay for a nice long time. Fit means that the controls are where you need them and your body is relaxed and your instincts match the bike. If you get a bike that feels right, you are already a long way towards picking out the right bike.

As Mike721 pointed out, displacement is only a number. A 700cc cruiser might be the perfect first bike, while a 400cc sportbike might be way to much and get you hurt. You are about my size, and my first bike was a 500cc, 450 pound upright parallel twin.

Take a look at the Honda Rebel 500. It is a little more than your current, revised budget, but it might be the ticket in the long run.

Keep in mind also that modern motorcycles are awesome. Forums and reviews might zero in on some flaw, but the odds are that the overall quality of a late model bike is so good that the flaws are relatively minor.
 

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Ok, I think a Honda 750 would be a good bike for you to start out on or a Suzuki C50T. I sold a ton of those bikes, to people that would listen to my advise. I sold a ton of Honda Rebels and S40 to people who wouldn't. Heres why? When a new rider gets on a new bike for the first time it is going to feel like a tank. The weight of even some of the small bikes to a new rider can feel overwhelming. That feeling will not last for more than two or three days of you riding the bike. I promise you, you'll learn how to easily get it off the side stand. Youll learn how far you can lean it when moving it around with your feet down before it gets to much weight on one side.
( Example backing up). If you go with anything smaller than a 750, you'll be regretting it on the interstate. Not to say that you can't ride a smaller cc bike on the interstate, but the extra passing power would be nice. I'm only talking about cruisers because Sports Bikes, Adventures, and Motards can go a lot smaller cc and be fine. This would be my main concern for a new rider, can I hold it up without being on my tiptoes? If you can, buy the bike you want the first time. 6 out of 10 Rebel and S40 riders and bikes that size, would be back within 1 to 2 weeks trading for a new bike after I sold it to them.
I went from Sport Bikes to Harleys and even I thought, what have I done on the ride home. It's not even a thought now, you get used to it. Believe me. The shaking of a Harley at idle coming from a GSXR 1000, now that's a different story. Its been years and I'm still getting used to that.
 
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