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I’ve recently acquired a bike after a year and a half of searching. I don’t care for super sports or any newer bikes like those, I prefer classics or cruiser bikes. The bike I bought was a 1973 Cb500 with a 550 build in it. It runs fine but I was wondering if it would be too dangerous or hard to learn on? I have ridden dirt bikes most of my life so I know how to ride a bike but not of a motorcycle type. I’ve only ridden a Ninja 250 and it felt pretty comfortable after a day of getting used to it, almost kind of weak to me. I have some experience but I still want to know, is a 73 Cb550 too big to start on?
 

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My buddy learned to ride on a CB550, back in 1981. I think it's a good choice for a first bike, not too powerful or heavy, but capable enough for the freeway. It's a classic geometry, was popular then and running examples are still relatively plentiful now. The only drawback in my opinion, is extra hassle that 4 cylinders bring, if you have to also learn how to be a mechanic. A '73, even with a later engine, requires more attention than a more recent bike.

I have seen a fair amount of interest in converting these machines into cafe racers. They can be found as barn finds and basket cases relatively cheaply.
 

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Shouldn't be a problem since you have dirt bike riding experience. Street riding is a little different so I'd still suggest the motorcycle training class. Learn the correct way first so you don't have to unlearn bad habits. That's very hard to do. Good luck and...

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You'll probably be fine assuming you have the sense -- and I have no reason to doubt it -- to realize that the 550 is not one of your dirt bikes. Sure, all the controls are in the same locations and work the same, but everything about the bike -- the acceleration, the brakes, the overall handling -- will be different. Take it easy in the beginning. Find an empty parking lot and drill yourself in all the basics -- taking off from a dead stop, rapid stopping, slow-speed maneuvering, etc. Get the feel of the thing, and don't assume you can do the same things on the street bike that you can on the dirt bike. Also -- and this may sound stupid, but will pay off eventually -- get yourself a carpet scrap big enough to lay the bike down on and practice picking it up, because sooner or later you will have to, and lifting a 450-pound bike is a whole lot different from lifting a 250 pound one.
 

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First off, thanks for trying to preserve and ride the classic style of bike. The nice thing about the older bikes is that you won't have to spend half a day taking off all that plastic to fix anything that goes wrong. I'm not much into the new bikes either. But on to your question.

The CB500 will be a great bike for you. The only thing you might notice, is that it's a little top heavy. Nothing serious, but after you've been flinging around dirt bikes, you will notice it. After a few hours of riding, like anything else, you will adapt and never notice it again. Overall, the bike is problem free. Very reliable. Just remember, it's a 47 year old bike, so there might be a few small issues with it.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Thank you all of you guys, I thought it should be a good bike to learn on and also keep for a while, it’s a beautiful bike and I can’t wait for spring. Thank you for all the tips and support!!
 

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The only difference in street and dirt riding is that dirt riding experience will definitely save your life on the street. That CB 500/550 will be a great bike for you. It is heavy and stable. It probably performs on a par with a modern 300/400 cc bike.
 

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You could learn to ride on the street with a Honda CBR1000RR, but it's not what I would tell the average high school kid to get. The 500/550 you have may be perfect for you, but maybe not? Not enough info about you.
 
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