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Discussion Starter #1
I am a rookie and signed up for a rider training course. My plan is to buy a bike this winter and be ready to go when the snow melts. Summer is short enough, I don't want to waste a minute of it. I live in a rural/remote area and I don't plan to wheel and deal buying a smaller bike and then upgrading to a larger bike, if I can avoid it. This is a terrible place to be looking for used bikes.

I am well aware that I will need to put a ton of miles on the bike before I will be able to ride with a passenger. My wife and I are really looking forward to getting out on the road together though. I am actually shocked how excited my wife is about it. She says she lived in the back of a bike in high school and we have been married over 25 years. Is that a mid life crisis?

I am 235 lbs, I don't know what my wife weighs (I suspect 200ish), but between the two of us, we are a load. How big a factor is that on the machine I choose? I read a poster on this forum saying hs Shadown 750 had a 375 lb weight limit.

My plan was to go mid weight cruiser, I like the V Star 950 and The Vulcan 900. Am I buying a large enough machine. I have read some argue the V Star 1300 is just as easy to drive as the 950?? But what do I know?

I am open to advice. 90% of our riding will be highway cruising

Thanks in advance.
 

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Welcome to the forum from Seattle :)

I think there are a lot of variables to consider here. By "rookie" do you mean that you have never ridden a motorcycle before? Or maybe you have been riding in the dirt forever and just never ridden in the street?

Quite honestly, I think that if you are completely new to motorcycles, then you really should buy a reasonable size bike and really learn to ride before you ever consider putting a passenger on board. A good bike to start on if you like the cruiser style is a Suzuki Boulevard S40. It is a 650 but only weighs about 400 pounds and isn't too powerful. Give yourself a year or two on it, then you will be capable of riding whatever bike you want.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Welcome to the forum from Seattle :)

I think there are a lot of variables to consider here. By "rookie" do you mean that you have never ridden a motorcycle before? Or maybe you have been riding in the dirt forever and just never ridden in the street?

Quite honestly, I think that if you are completely new to motorcycles, then you really should buy a reasonable size bike and really learn to ride before you ever consider putting a passenger on board. A good bike to start on if you like the cruiser style is a Suzuki Boulevard S40. It is a 650 but only weighs about 400 pounds and isn't too powerful. Give yourself a year or two on it, then you will be capable of riding whatever bike you want.
By rookie, I do mean completely new.
 

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The first thing l would do is go take a BRC course. You will learn a ton, especially if you ask questions. If you are lucky you will have a variety of bikes to choose from in the class...pick the biggest bike available. (In my class they had a bunch of 250's and a few 650 BMW's. After riding that bike in the class for a couple of days you will have a much better idea of what you are suggesting for yourself. You fisrt need to find out if riding is really for you, or if you are just romanticizing the IDEA of riding.
 

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I really like that Vulcan 900. They are a nice ride. Honestly, if you take the BRC you would probably do fine on that. It has a lower seat height and is pretty well balanced. At one time I considered getting one myself.

I also have a female friend and a brother-in-law that started out on the 1300. It is a heavy bike for a starter, but it can be done. I would not go any larger than that if you've never ridden.

Just remember to have fun with the search. Go to as many dealers as you can and sit on lots of different brands and sizes, new and used. Take your wife with you and both of you sit on them. You may find something you really like and when she gets on you may feel very crowded. Been there, done that and if you're riding long distance or in high heat it's not fun. Good Luck with your search.
 

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I just started riding this summer myself, my own mid-life crisis going on. I've got approximately 1700 miles under my belt now (2300 on bike, but I occasionally let other half ride) on my S40. I'm just now starting to get comfortable with my riding skills. It's taken me time to get used to speeds above 50-55, highway riding has never appealed to me on a bike. Can't stand it in a cage so I probably wouldn't enjoy on a bike. I'm in no way ready to take on a passenger myself yet. It's really hard to explain to people, but it is a much different ride with a passenger. Get used to the bike yourself before proceeding. You may pick it up quicker than me, or you may need more time. And that's perfectly okay, I say learn at your own pace. You do have an advantage of having someone who knows how to be a passenger on a bike. There are some that don't go with the flow and can upset the rider's balance.

The S40 is a great bike, it's what I own. But it does have a weight limitation being a smaller sized bike so I'm not sure if your combined weight may be more than the weight capacity. Overloading will wear out the pulleys and splines causing damage to bike. But the Vulcan will be able to handle it and it is a very good bike as well.

Hey, and you may find out your wife will want to learn too, so sit her in the rider seat and see if she likes it too....
 

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Zippy is right. She may want to ride her own so it might not be a problem to start out on a smaller bike that she will take over in the future. A lot of gals end up wanting their own bike. :D :D
 

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Discussion Starter #10
I just started riding this summer myself, my own mid-life crisis going on. I've got approximately 1700 miles under my belt now (2300 on bike, but I occasionally let other half ride) on my S40. I'm just now starting to get comfortable with my riding skills. It's taken me time to get used to speeds above 50-55, highway riding has never appealed to me on a bike. Can't stand it in a cage so I probably wouldn't enjoy on a bike. I'm in no way ready to take on a passenger myself yet. It's really hard to explain to people, but it is a much different ride with a passenger. Get used to the bike yourself before proceeding. You may pick it up quicker than me, or you may need more time. And that's perfectly okay, I say learn at your own pace. You do have an advantage of having someone who knows how to be a passenger on a bike. There are some that don't go with the flow and can upset the rider's balance.

The S40 is a great bike, it's what I own. But it does have a weight limitation being a smaller sized bike so I'm not sure if your combined weight may be more than the weight capacity. Overloading will wear out the pulleys and splines causing damage to bike. But the Vulcan will be able to handle it and it is a very good bike as well.

Hey, and you may find out your wife will want to learn too, so sit her in the rider seat and see if she likes it too....
I am anything but reckless. But where I live is pretty simple driving, it's a one stop light town with nothing but two lane highways around. Even highway traffic where I live is really light.

I am hoping that will be to my advantage.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Zippy is right. She may want to ride her own so it might not be a problem to start out on a smaller bike that she will take over in the future. A lot of gals end up wanting their own bike. :D :D
I just can't see that happening.

When we were young we drove a Honda Civic 5 speed, ran it for at least 5 years, with her driving it as much as me. I had to teach her how to run a clutch, it wasn't pretty. But 5 years later, she still didn't get the concept of downshifting, and argued it made no difference.:biggrin:

My country girl wife, can't start my quad or mower.
 

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My oldest daughter is like that. 32 and she still can't drive a stick shift. She can sure ride my scooter though. :)
 

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I am a rookie and signed up for a rider training course. My plan is to buy a bike this winter and be ready to go when the snow melts. Summer is short enough, I don't want to waste a minute of it. I live in a rural/remote area and I don't plan to wheel and deal buying a smaller bike and then upgrading to a larger bike, if I can avoid it. This is a terrible place to be looking for used bikes.

I am well aware that I will need to put a ton of miles on the bike before I will be able to ride with a passenger. My wife and I are really looking forward to getting out on the road together though. I am actually shocked how excited my wife is about it. She says she lived in the back of a bike in high school and we have been married over 25 years. Is that a mid life crisis?

I am 235 lbs, I don't know what my wife weighs (I suspect 200ish), but between the two of us, we are a load. How big a factor is that on the machine I choose? I read a poster on this forum saying hs Shadown 750 had a 375 lb weight limit.

My plan was to go mid weight cruiser, I like the V Star 950 and The Vulcan 900. Am I buying a large enough machine. I have read some argue the V Star 1300 is just as easy to drive as the 950?? But what do I know?

I am open to advice. 90% of our riding will be highway cruising

Thanks in advance.
Total load weight is a huge factor. I rode a Yamaha RSTD, think Venture (1300cc) with a windshield instead of a fairing. The load rating, passengers and luggage was about 410 pounds. I checked a large number of other foreign bikes with similar results. All I found was Harley and Victory with load ratings that allow me and my wife to tour ride. Today I bet the large Indian has a similar 500+ pounds rating but they were not around at that time. Check the load rating on any bike you think would work for you. Sometimes you will need to subtract the bike weight from the GVWR because they just don't want to tell you how limiting the limits are.
 

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No, I never said you would be reckless, but I am glad to hear that. Its not that I think you are going to be a bad rider, just that rookies tend to make mistakes (it happens to everyone) and the last person you want on the bike when it happens is your wife. Learning to ride is not as easy as one would think. When I first picked up my first bike, my Savage, I had envisioned just getting on the bike and riding it everywhere. But in reality, it took a few weeks of just driving around the neighborhood, causing all kinds of traffic jams (5 cars are considered a traffic jam where I live!!) before I was comfortable going out of the hood.

You will get alot of good advice at your training course. Proper hand positioning on the throttle is the best advice. It will give you a good grip on the throttle, allowing for smoother acceleration. If your grip is too low, it's easy to accidentally grab the throttle at a time you really don't want it. One of the problems I had first starting out. I have gotten alot of good advise from people here on the forum when I first started out. Feel free to ask any questions or problems you may have.
 

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we try to be positive ... esp. with new riders.

your long-term goal of riding with your wife - is a good idea. My suggestion though, is that you DONT do it any time soon. First, you need to acquire a lot of riding experience (not only skills but experience), and ONLY after you are a seasoned rider should you risk the life of a another passenger.

There reason is - there's just too much that can go wrong when a motorcycle rider makes one serious error of judgment. It is easy to do. I just reviewed an accident report where a man and his wife were both killed in the Midwest ... he overshot the centerline on a sharp curve and hit a car head-on. Game over. It was tragic. I know it sounds like a case of "well he just misjudged a turn and I'm not gonna do that". But there is a LOT you need to learn about corners, lines, changes in the controls of the bike thru corners, and how to handle "decreasing radius turns". Theres just a LOT to learn ... MC riding takes a lot more knowledge and skill than car driving does.

The "game" of riding - for want of a better word - is a game where you can NEVER make a serious mistake. You just cant. Motorcycles are not tolerant of our imperfections. And so my recommendation is to take the "learning curve" seriously and don't ride any extended distances with a passenger ... until you are well up on the learning curve. Realistically, at least 2 years with a LOT of riding and at least 10,000 miles on the bike (all by you).

Some people would call me "overly cautious" with that suggestion ... but when you are talking about the life of the person you love the most - its not something to gamble with.

al that being said - hope you have a great time with your training and riding. The MC world is an awesome world - and will introduce you to a whole new set of experiences in life.

and BTW, there is no problem with the idea of getting a cruiser. that fine. check old threads in this section - there has been a LOT of discussion about recommended cruisers for folks who are starting. it is definitely do-able. and if you have a bike that's 750-1100 cc, it will handle two-up.

welcome,
dT
 

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Riden, I don't think many people especially online would say I'm an overly CONSERVATIVE rider. I like to go fast, corner hard, etc.

But I consider myself an extremely SAFE rider. I don't make hero passes, take risks, tailgate, run yellows OR jackrabbit greens. I'm patient with traffic. I wear suitable safety gear. I ONLY listen to tunes out on Interstates.

After 5 years of serious riding I am JUST NOW starting to feel comfortable hauling a SMALLER passenger, especially an inexperienced one who may lean the wrong way, not lean at all, etc.

I'm 5'9, 200#, medium sized. I ride a big bike.

If I'd started hauling a passenger sooner, I'm sure I could be further down the road, but I wanted to know what I was doing myself before endangering anyone else. There's a LOT to learn. You can't control what the passenger does in a panic situation.

Just take me as one data point, ok?
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Thanks for all the input guys, I am listening too.

I am 48 now and I have to say I am really jealous of all these retired couples I see cruising around on touring machines checking out the country. I have always thought that would be an awesome thing to do in retirement.

Ultimately that is my goal, to be really proficient so I can cruise around on a big machine in my 60's with wifey on the back. In the meantime, I would like to cruise around town, and commute to work. Since I don't live near any urban environment, I figured I wouldn't have some of the same challenges most riders do.

I was just hoping after a few months I could take wifey to town for ice cream once a week. Maybe my timeline is bad though.

I do appreciate the advice. I have learnt a lot on here lurking.
 

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Rural areas have the same challenges and maybe a few more than urban areas. In rural areas, most people just assume, hey, it's a back road, there's no one coming, let's just quickly make this left hand turn. They are so busy yapping on their phone, they don't notice you coming down the road. You are just cruising along, maybe it's a straight away, you have the throttle opened up a bit (not dangerous open, but hey, it's a straightaway. You manage to get the drivers attention and you successfully swerve around it, cause of all the advice you got here, you had practiced your emergency stopping. You are like, pheww, that was close!! All of a sudden Mr. Ten Point Buck comes barreling across the roadway and finished where that left hand turner left off. Mr. Buck is snickering at you now, "ha, thought you got away from this didn't ya? Bet you didn't expect that!!!".

Crazy scenerio, but I'm sure it's happened before. But if the Deer starti talking, I'm outta here.........
 

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Thanks for all the input guys, I am listening too.

I am 48 now and I have to say I am really jealous of all these retired couples I see cruising around on touring machines checking out the country. I have always thought that would be an awesome thing to do in retirement.

Ultimately that is my goal, to be really proficient so I can cruise around on a big machine in my 60's with wifey on the back. In the meantime, I would like to cruise around town, and commute to work. Since I don't live near any urban environment, I figured I wouldn't have some of the same challenges most riders do.

I was just hoping after a few months I could take wifey to town for ice cream once a week. Maybe my timeline is bad though.

I do appreciate the advice. I have learnt a lot on here lurking.
The time involved in getting proficient enough to consider carrying a passenger varies a lot. It could be as little as 6 months or as long as never. As Zippy said, some things are harder in a rural setting. My daily ride has a stretch where there are no stop signs at all but 2 roads intersect in a T with no traffic control. In spring and late fall that is no big deal but in summer when the crops are up you can see maybe 50 feet down that road. If you are not down in 2nd doing 15 or 20 MPH as you pass it you are taking your life in your hands. Turning into my property is even worse. My driveway is right on a corner and it is impossible to see around it with the crops up. I end up driving slightly past my driveway to verify no traffic and then make a slightly backtracking turn into my driveway. Before you take on a passenger make sure you know all of the hazards that might be involved. BTW I have met those same deer as Zippy has.
 
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