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Discussion Starter #1
Hi all,
First post here!

A bit of background, I am 45 living in Canada. I have been using a Vespa (50cc modified to 80) for the past 5 years and am really enjoying so much that I am now looking to get a proper bike (or larger scooter, but I am not herefor this ;). 5 Years in Montréal's traffic not a single accident or issue).
I am a fairly prudent, low speed kind of driver (never had a speeding ticket in my life, and am super mellow).

Wife is really against motorcycles (they find them too dangerous) and I have to choose my battles. Getting a motorbike is already a hell of a battle waiting to happen. I can NOT imagine getting the license, getting a "learning" bike and then sell it a year after to get a larger bike.

I know the proper way to go is to go small first and I am the opposite of thinking this is a stupid idea I would absolutely do this if I could. Also I am not looking for a sportsbike.
My current reasonable shortlist is: Triumph Bobber; Kawa Vulcan 900; Ducati Monster 821
The not reasonable shortlist is: Ducati Diavel

Question is pretty straight: Should I just focus on scooters (I have my eyes on the BMW c400 and c600GT) or is there a way to learn without dying on such a list of motorcycles?
If so, what advices/suggestions would you recommend?

If I go the proper motorcycle way, I'll also try and find some driving technics schools to learn more efficiently.

I have to say this is the last thing between me and owning a bike at this point. I have never driven a motorbike before and I have to say it scares me a bit and the fact that I won't be able to go the "proper" way of learning is a real concern.

Thanks in advance for any link/experience and recommendations you could give.
 

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American Legion Rider
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You got the basics now with the Vespa for road work. If you just have to have a "motorcycle" I really wouldn't worry too much about it except switching from a CVT to a clutch. The BMW C600GT can do highways speeds without problems and do it all day. But if the macho thing is where you are, you might be better to rethink it and not take that battle to your wife, but stick with the scooter. A few days practicing the clutch though and you would be ready for the road. I just don't think causing family problems is worth it. There is not a darn thing wrong with scooters. And I think it's Honda that has even a bigger one but I'm not sure there. It might be Suzuki. Oh, and...
WELCOME ON BOARD, and...

Our regular members do like to know they are welcoming a real person.
So thanks for your introduction.
We are friendly site here. Well, most of us
 

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Stay small and learn to ride.
A 650 Suzuki V twin is more than big enough.
Imagine a few other sports for a newbie. Hockey: Starting at Junior A. Skiing: Do the black diamond runs first.
Surfing: North Shore Hawaii, big waves first.
Even guys that go to track days on fast bikes, will never get to ride the wheels off them. I go to the track and watch them. Too many need more experience on smaller bikes.
Back to my surfing reference. Back when many US guys were on R & R from Vietnam, some would go to the North Shore to surf. The ones without a lot of experience drowned.
I do not want you to crash and burn. I would like you to learn to ride, and stay safe.

I used to sell Vespa in the early seventies in Vancouver. And gidday from a small Island in the Salish Sea.
Where are you.

UK
 

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I agree that the 650 class of bike is not only a good starter but possibly enough bike for the rest of your life. The Suzuki SV650 and the Kawasaki Z650 are both relatively light, very agile and comfortable bikes, perfect for city riding but also more than powerful enough for highway use, and there are numerous other, similar models out there. 65-75 HP in a 400 # bike is easily controllable, but quite enough for serious quickness and speed.

An added bonus -- they tend to be $4-5000 less than the Ducati.
 

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Moderator - Like a crazy cat lady but with bikes!
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I'll be the unpopular opinion and say you can totally go for the big bike. Scooters are a great way to learn riding basics and I think 5 years riding them is plenty. I started with a Buell Blast (500 single) and a Honda Rebel (250 twin). A month after buying both I traded them both for a Suzuki GS 850 and a Goldwing 1100. They both had a bit of a learning curve but I got used to them really quickly. :)

Of course, your choice of bikes are far more powerful than what I went with, but it is possible to go with a big bike and not die. With 5 years of scooting under your belt, you probably have the basics nailed down well enough. However, it is preferable to start small to hone your skills.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Stay small and learn to ride.
A 650 Suzuki V twin is more than big enough.
Imagine a few other sports for a newbie. Hockey: Starting at Junior A. Skiing: Do the black diamond runs first.
Surfing: North Shore Hawaii, big waves first.
Even guys that go to track days on fast bikes, will never get to ride the wheels off them. I go to the track and watch them. Too many need more experience on smaller bikes.
Back to my surfing reference. Back when many US guys were on R & R from Vietnam, some would go to the North Shore to surf. The ones without a lot of experience drowned.
I do not want you to crash and burn. I would like you to learn to ride, and stay safe.

I used to sell Vespa in the early seventies in Vancouver. And gidday from a small Island in the Salish Sea.
Where are you.

UK
Hey UK,
I am in Montréal.

I completely hear you and am absolutely in line with you. Problem is not trying to go big and die, but choosing the ONE bike I'll keep all my life (or at least, long enough so that changing will not be a fight) (Also I used to surf in Europe, and totally get your analogy ;)
Usage will be 80% city (commute) and 20% touring during weekends/vacations.

Thing is that scooters in Canada are super limited. Vespa just released their new 300GTS but they locked the engines at 75mph. Suzuki only has their burgman 600 and this bike needs a refresh. Otherwise it's only 125/150cc.
Only option is BMW at this point in here, but while I am really liking the C400GT (can go on highway no prob, small format for city) with options it is around CAD 12k, 600GT pushes to 15k. This is a budget that had me look into non scooters, and this short list of bikes I thought would fit my needs as well as being aesthetically super pleasing.

I have to look into the bikes suggested in here (650 suzuki and other japanese brands) but they don't generate "envy" on my side, I would rather go the scooter way.

Thanks for taking the time to answer my question.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
I'll be the unpopular opinion and say you can totally go for the big bike. Scooters are a great way to learn riding basics and I think 5 years riding them is plenty. I started with a Buell Blast (500 single) and a Honda Rebel (250 twin). A month after buying both I traded them both for a Suzuki GS 850 and a Goldwing 1100. They both had a bit of a learning curve but I got used to them really quickly. :)

Of course, your choice of bikes are far more powerful than what I went with, but it is possible to go with a big bike and not die. With 5 years of scooting under your belt, you probably have the basics nailed down well enough. However, it is preferable to start small to hone your skills.
Thanks, your point seems to reinforce Hogcowboy answer too.
Yes I think those years doing scooter have "trained" me about the road/people/security regarding other drivers, I am more concerned about the vehicle itself and its handling. One of my good friend got a 600 sport some years ago and crashed badly within his first riding week (told me he was going too fast on a large roundabout and bailed). I guess that's the story that is sticking with me. What if I go too fast. do not negotiate the turn properly? (but again, I am a very "lawful" driver, and highways here are limited to 65mph. So I may be able to keep it safe in the beginning?

Also thinking that if I jump into the hobby, I would use the "user settings" for my own safety... Ie. spending a full year on "city" setting before going to cruise/sport.

Many questions from this weird situation!
 

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American Legion Rider
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Thanks, your point seems to reinforce Hogcowboy answer too.
Yes I think those years doing scooter have "trained" me about the road/people/security regarding other drivers, I am more concerned about the vehicle itself and its handling. One of my good friend got a 600 sport some years ago and crashed badly within his first riding week (told me he was going too fast on a large roundabout and bailed). I guess that's the story that is sticking with me. What if I go too fast. do not negotiate the turn properly? (but again, I am a very "lawful" driver, and highways here are limited to 65mph. So I may be able to keep it safe in the beginning?

Also thinking that if I jump into the hobby, I would use the "user settings" for my own safety... Ie. spending a full year on "city" setting before going to cruise/sport.

Many questions from this weird situation!
Was he also a serious scooter rider, used to negotiating curves and split second changes while riding such as your traffic experience? Yes, if you don't keep that right wrist under control, you can have serious problems. But you do keep saying you can or I'm reading it that way. You also seem to be suggesting you are limiting yourself to new bikes. Are you not interesting in used? Because there are plenty of bikes that are used that fall into your financial range. I actually prefer used high milage bikes because that says they run and run well enough to actually use. And you'll save a bundle going that route which might open your options drastically as it sounds like you'd prefer to get away from scooters.
 

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Your short list contains the Kawa Vulcan 900 -- given your experiences, not a bad option at all... more torque than high-end power, fairly easy"cruiser" style handling and it'll cross the continent at highway speeds if you're so inclined... scooters, mopeds and whatnot may be the best things since sliced bread, but have no experience with them and generally they are less versatile... the 900 Vulcan will probably be less challenging that most 600+/- sport bikes...

But sign up for the training... a refresher every few years is good medicine anyway...
 

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Nightfly
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I'll be unpopular as well. Get the bigger bike, you'll be glad you did. You have riding experience, such as it is and that's all you need. I started on a Harley, first bike I ever rode and never looked back. The time spent getting ever increasingly bigger bikes I always thought was a waste of time.
 
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