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I am having a hard time deciding what bike to purchase. As I’ve mentioned in my into, I grew up riding a dirt bike (Yamaha Big Wheel – which was awesome for riding around forests and climbing sawdust piles at the lumber mill). My first street bike was a 1980 Yamaha XS650. I want to stay around the same size (due in part to the price), but since none of the dealers around here will let me test drive new bikes I just can’t decide which bike I want. My commute is about 52 miles round-trip with about 38 of those miles on the freeway. At first I was looking at the dual purpose Suzuki V-Strom 650, but realistically I’ll probably rarely ride it off-road and if I do it’ll probably be just a few dirt roads here and there. So then I started looking at the Honda CTX 700ND ABS and the Kawasaki Vulcan S ABS. I am definitely getting a bike with ABS. I’ve read reviews and watched YouTube videos, but I really can’t decide. Anyone have experience with these and can help me out.
 

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I'm a bit puzzled as to "why" the Dealers won't let you test drive the bikes they sell. What do you suppose is the reason for this? None of them (all brands available in your area) won't let you?

Considering the commute you will be taking, you will want (at least) some luggage capacity, so that you can bring alternate riding gear and any other supplies (Lunch, etc) with you.

-Soupy
 

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Potential accidents (even in cars or trucks) with a vehicle that I am not familiar with, are why I DON'T like to do "Test Drives."

I figure however, that the Dealerships (for cars, trucks or bikes) have Insurance for just such possibilities, and that they at LEAST ask to see an "M" endorsement on the Driver's License of the person who wants to Test Drive a vehicle.

-Soupy
 

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Some dealers allow test rides, some have demo days where you can ride a similar style demo bike, and many don't allow any test rides at all. It's not a big deal as long as you can sit on the bike you're considering in the showroom.

I've never test ridden any bike before buying it.
 

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But you have also stated you never bought a new bike. Don't know about auto. Do you really want to throw $30k+ to the wind and not test ride/drive? I sure won't. If I ever get that much at one time again that is.:D
 

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I say go for the Vulcan, but I'm bias on it cause that's what Joe had years ago, and that's what started up my love for motorcycles. Vulcan or the VStar is going to be my upgrade bike. Joe said it was the most comfortable bike he ever rode.
 

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But you have also stated you never bought a new bike. Don't know about auto. Do you really want to throw $30k+ to the wind and not test ride/drive? I sure won't. If I ever get that much at one time again that is.:D
I've never test ridden any used bike I bought. :biggrin: And I'll never spend 30k on a motorcycle!

(Although the new Street Glides are sure tempting me. But I've ridden them.)
 

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I am having a hard time deciding what bike to purchase. As I’ve mentioned in my into, I grew up riding a dirt bike (Yamaha Big Wheel – which was awesome for riding around forests and climbing sawdust piles at the lumber mill). My first street bike was a 1980 Yamaha XS650. I want to stay around the same size (due in part to the price), but since none of the dealers around here will let me test drive new bikes I just can’t decide which bike I want. My commute is about 52 miles round-trip with about 38 of those miles on the freeway. At first I was looking at the dual purpose Suzuki V-Strom 650, but realistically I’ll probably rarely ride it off-road and if I do it’ll probably be just a few dirt roads here and there. So then I started looking at the Honda CTX 700ND ABS and the Kawasaki Vulcan S ABS. I am definitely getting a bike with ABS. I’ve read reviews and watched YouTube videos, but I really can’t decide. Anyone have experience with these and can help me out.
I've sat on both, ridden neither, the Honda seems comfortable and has auto trans, the Vulcan can be bought to fit without extra charge......if you should ever want to carry a passenger it will cost you $1000 or better in parts.
 

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I saw this thread first even before starting my own, so this is my first post.

The Shadow line by Honda is the best bang for your buck, especially for a new rider or even for the seasoned rider. The Spirit, RS, Aero and the new blacked-out Phantom all have the same engine. Slight differences include tire size, style of bike, riding position (standard -vs- more forward foot pegs) and handlebar positioning. I like the look of the Spirit but with a skinny 21' front tire, the handling "WILL" be different as well as faster tire wear. The RS, that has a standard seating position, has a much higher seat height than the others but is also chain driven. The CTX700 is much the same with seat height and also has chain. I personally like the Phantom and the Aero but that's just me. I have yet to look into the Vulcan S but looks like a sweet ride. However, you will probably have to buy new to get the adjustments done in order to be included in the price but also remember, finding one used is going to be hard. This is a brand new model for 2015 and also chain drive.

I am doing this bike thing alone, therefore, my opinion and thoughts here on this post is more towards practicality. What I mean is the less work and reliability for me, the better. Shaft drive -vs- chain. Fuel injection -vs- carb, etc, etc. I am also a rubinesque woman with a very disappointing inseam of only 27'. Sitting on the bike, moving it left to right to feel the weight and comfort level is priority along with the mechanics of the bike.

I also want to add that around here, most dealers will not allow test rides unless there is a demo model on-site and mostly that is in a parking lot or a salesman will go along with. You also must have the prestigious "M" on your license, for a permit will not cut it. A dealer with used bikes for sale sometimes will allow a test ride, If on consignment, it is up to the original owner. Now is also the time to do some research on dealers that hare having demo-days or spring open houses. Good luck!
 

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Some dealers allow test rides, some have demo days where you can ride a similar style demo bike, and many don't allow any test rides at all. It's not a big deal as long as you can sit on the bike you're considering in the showroom.

I've never test ridden any bike before buying it.
I am just the opposite Eye. I want to know how a bike feels before I commit mega bucks to buy it. I am happy to drive a used bike to get a feel for a model but why would I want to own one before I find out I don't like the ergonomics of it? Any new bike is going to feel odd to you but why not learn its peculiarities before you make that commitment? When I drive home on a bike I really don't want it to be my first experience with it.
 
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