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Discussion Starter #1
So I am a total newbie and at 42 years old have never ridden before. I am signing up for a rider's course soon and am looking at bikes. I would be using the bike as a daily driver back and forth to work...no long trips cross country or anything. Got small kids so no time for that. For a daily driver bike, in traffic and open highway (55mph), what would be a good bike for me? I'm 5'10 215 pounds. I like the look of the Yamaha V Star 250 or the Suzuki Boulevard S40. Any advice would be greatly appreciated. Thanks in advance.
 

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Nothing in your profile as to your location, so if you live in an area in which the highway traffic is light to moderate and traveling at 55mph is comfortably safe, either of those bikes could do it.
Your ability to accelerate in traffic, carry a little more weight and all around comfort would be better served by looking slightly bigger -- like the V-Star 650.
Being brand new to riding, I think you will find the slightly larger bike a forgiving ride (or so I hear).
I rode V-Star 650 once when I started riding and liked it. In fact, I almost bought it until a prettier bike turned my head.
There are comparable bikes from other manufacturers, e.g.. Honda Shadow.
On the used bike market, neither of these would be much more of an investment over the 250.

Good luck!
 

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I love my s40. I wouldn't say its the best highway bike, but it could handle the highway. VStar 900 is my dream upgrade bike, or the Vulcan, haven't made up my mind.
 

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Welcome to the forum Tarheelboy. I am going to suggest you digest the message in CaptCrash's video but I will go even further. Go to your local multi-brand bike store and walk around checking the bikes for age vs. mileage. How many very old very low mileage bikes do you see? I see tons of them but I ride about 12,000 miles per year every year so a bike with 500 miles per year strikes me as someone who did not enjoy riding at all. There are butt tons of them around here.
Take that training course and then go home and think it through. Did you get a thrill riding the MSF/BRC bikes or not? If not, maybe you should examine how you really feel about riding. Why would you want to add to what I see at my local dealer with people who only liked the idea of riding but not the reality of riding? If you really loved it that is another thing. Go out and sit on every bike in that local dealer and test drive the one or two that really feel right to you and are calling your name.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Awesome video CaptCrash. Made me laugh but I get the point and I totally agree. I was definitely looking to go used. And definitely not planning to buy until after I take the class...for the very reason Oldman47 mentioned. I know my profile is empty, gonna fix that, but we have moderate traffic, good roads. I live in a military town so we have a little more traffic at certain times but its all 2 lane 35 to 55 mph.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
So once the class is behind me and I have fallen in love with riding, the 250 wouldn't be enough bike? The thought is to go with the 650 or 750 size bikes?
 

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Welcome to the Forum.

You will probably ride a 250 during the class. That should tell you if you want a 250 or a larger bike. Also, it may help you decide what style bike you want, a cruiser, standard or sport bike. But the best thing you can do is go to dealers and sit on all styles, brands and sizes. You will find something that just feels right to you.
 

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my daily commuting is all done on surface streets.

If I was gonna go back and get a second bike ... just for commuting ... i would probably get one of the street legal dirt bikes. something around 400 cc. in the city, you want as much mobility as possible. and the dirt bikes let you sit higher, which makes it easier to see around you. PLUS they are very narrow - which in CA makes lane splitting quite a bit easier. I dunno if they can be fitted with a small luggage rack or not - that might be the one issue for those kinds of bikes.

these comments are strictly for street commuting in very busy urban areas. and since you are starting off - my answer is NOT appropriate for what you want to do right now. But at some point when your skills improve, it may be something that you do in the future :)

dT
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Thanks for all the input. Some very good advice. I really like the cruiser style bikes and am leaning towards the v star 650. Of course the class will let me know if riding is in my future.
 

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Do not get discouraged if you have a hard time at class. Learning to ride a bike takes more than just a couple of days of riding in a parking lot. If you fail, take it again!! The figure 8 or the box is the hardest thing to do.
 

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Welcome to the forum!

If there is one thing that l really took to heart from CaptCrash is the idea that this is my first bike, not my last. I was so worried about whether or not this bike would be good down the road that l was completely overlooking the NOW. Granted, l had ridden in the past and was just getting back on the road, so it wasn't quite so critical, but still...l would take the class and then really be focused on what will be a good bike RIGHT NOW.

For starters, lots of people take up motorcycling, and there are a handful of bikes that 80% of all starters buy. Which means that it would be really easy to buy a good clean used 250 and ride it for a few months, then sell it and move up to a 650.

Personally, l think the Suzuki S40 has a huge advantage over the V-Star 650, and that is weight...over 100 pounds lighter. This is huge in a first bike.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Well I looked into the class and unfortunately they only have them here in March and April so that sucks. But...I stopped at a local dealership and looked at their inventory and sat on several used cruisers. I really liked the V Star 250 and the S40. They were both pretty comfortable. I also sat on a Honda Shadow Spirit. It was pretty nice too. I know this is petty but I liked the v twin on the 250. It looked really cool. But the S40 is a larger bike. So now what? How do you choose between cool looks and bigger bike? Price was too close to make a difference.
 

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Personally, I'd go with the S40. But that is just me. I do a lot of highway riding. Good Luck with your choice!
 

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Even though it's a first bike, imagine being out to visit some friends and parking it in their driveway. As you walk away and head towards the porch, which of the two bikes is more likely to make you look back over your shoulder and think, "Heck yeah!" That's the one you buy.
 
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