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Hey everybody,

So I am going to college soon about 300 miles away and have always been interested in motorcycles. I am looking for a bike that you can ride to Nevada and back (I want to go to Burning Man) and I live in Massachusetts. I also want a bike that is easy to fix and can take a hell of a beating. Something that won't crash easily in the rain would also be preferred. I like smaller, more modest bikes but the more durable the better.

I am looking at a 1988 Harley 883 Sporster with low milaege (10,442) for $2300. This seems like the best bike (I looked all over craigslist).

Would anybody be able to give me any input? I'm 5'9"/5'10" and 145 pounds.

Thanks
 

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Hey everybody,

So I am going to college soon about 300 miles away and have always been interested in motorcycles. I am looking for a bike that you can ride to Nevada and back (I want to go to Burning Man) and I live in Massachusetts. I also want a bike that is easy to fix and can take a hell of a beating. Something that won't crash easily in the rain would also be preferred. I like smaller, more modest bikes but the more durable the better.

I am looking at a 1988 Harley 883 Sporster with low milaege (10,442) for $2300. This seems like the best bike (I looked all over craigslist).

Would anybody be able to give me any input? I'm 5'9"/5'10" and 145 pounds.

Thanks
you are about my build so ill tell you what i was told by everyone i know who rides. "its your first time on a bike you'll kill your self get something small and work your way up." thats what everyone keeps telling me. but i know for a fact harley's can take a hell of a beating.
 

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^ +1

I'm a new rider. Best advice would be to get something small, take the MSF course, and get comfortable on a bike.

Riding has a lot of risks to it. There is also a large price tag that comes with even buying a cheap bike. I got my bike for $600 (ninja 500) but add gear, registration, insurance (you're young so yours will be REALLY high), MSF class, tires, and tune ups (which need to be done buying a used bike), I spent a total of around $2,000. Do a lot of research..

On the Burning Man part. As a Burner myself (been twice, this year will be my third), believe me when I say, you do not want to bring your motorcycle to Burning Man. The amount of stuff that you need to bring to burning man is hefty! I do not know if a bike would be able to carry all that stuff from coast to coast. Second of all sleeping in a tent at Burning Man is horrible! You might as well sleep outside in the alkaline playa and crack your skin from head to toe. The playa and dust out there could also destroy the bike (it takes out plenty of cars and RV's). Just like a motorcycle Burning Man is no joke.. It's one hell of a good time but you really need to prepare before going. If you have any more questions about Burning Man send me a message.

Thoroughly research both things and then make informative decisions about them, it will make it the experiences a whole lot better!

Burn on )'(
 

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Pegasus trapped in a human body on a motorcycle
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Bikernoob, have you taken the MSF course? I assume that you have not, so, as recommended by others in this (and many other) threads, take the course. It is WELL worth the coin spent.

That sounds like a good deal on the Sportster, but I do have to say that I question the sportster as a first bike. The power level is such that would be fine, but the bike is top heavy, and actually feels heavier than it's approx 550lbs when at parking lot speeds or at a stop. Yes, the size should fit you well, but I feel there are better choices. I myself would recommend either a 600 or 750 Shadow. Kawasaki, Yahama and Suzuki also make some excellent bikes in that size range. (as do several other companies)

Lastly, I do not know what this Burning Man thing is, but considering the distance, and the fact that your new to riding, I suggest NOT trying to ride it.
 

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I hate to break it to you, but there's no such thing as a bike that won't crash easily in the rain. The 883 HD is a reliable bike, though a bit of a vibrator on a long trip and it doesn't have much of a fuel range with that little tank, but a bigger one can be had.

I've never been to Burning Man but I'll say don't fear a long distance ride. There's no rule that says you are required to have a specified amount of time/milage before you have an adventure, but you better make sure the bike is serviced and has the tires for the task.
 

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A 650 cruiser from one of the big 4 (Kawasaki, Yamaha, Suzuki, Honda) would be a better fit for someone of your height and build (or a 500cc Kawasaki Vulcan). They will be a little lighter and easier for a newbie who isn't a big person. They will still be able to do the cross country thing if you want to. I concur that long distance highway riding is something for a more experienced rider. Most people are not ready to do that fresh out of an MSF course.
 

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First off Harley's shake like no tomorrow and there heavy as hell.
Just got my first bike the other day. mines an 86 honda shadow vt700. it's a nice size bike and its light as a feather to me. granted I'm 6'3'' 125 pounds so I'm a skinny dude. and I have heard nothing but good things about the shadows. My father got a 2002 HD Sportster 900 converted to a 1100 a few days before i got my honda he's your build a little muscular and tipped it over in the yard because of the weight. So I stand behind shadows somewhere from 700 to 900 for a first time rider.
 

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First off Harley's shake like no tomorrow and there heavy as hell.
Just got my first bike the other day. mines an 86 honda shadow vt700. it's a nice size bike and its light as a feather to me. granted I'm 6'3'' 125 pounds so I'm a skinny dude. and I have heard nothing but good things about the shadows. My father got a 2002 HD Sportster 900 converted to a 1100 a few days before i got my honda he's your build a little muscular and tipped it over in the yard because of the weight. So I stand behind shadows somewhere from 700 to 900 for a first time rider.
Bub, I do have to ask that, before you give advice, please TRY to have SOME knowledge of what you are saying.

First off Harley's shake like no tomorrow and there heavy as hell.
Ok, I am TRYING to figure out how it is that Harley's "shake like no tomorrow." Yes, I'll admit that I am usually one of the first to rag on a Harley Davidson (mainly because I have quite a few Harley riding friends who claim their bikes to be the best bikes they have ever owned lol) but I also have to be honest and say that Harley Davidson makes some pretty damn good bikes. The only ones that had real problems was the ones from the AMF days. One thing about them... they DO vibe more than a shadow would, but it is not as bad as many here would have you believe. As to them being "heavy as hell," The Sportster weighs less than 50lbs more than a Shadow 750, and actually weighs in less than an 1100 Shadow. The only reason a Sportster feels "heavy" is because it is top heavy, as compared to a Shadow, which has it's center mass a good deal lower.

My father got a 2002 HD Sportster 900 converted to a 1100
Ok, in 2002, the HD Sportster came in two Serving sizes, an 883 and a 1200. I do not believe that there EVER was a 900cc Sportster made. The closest Sportster based engine to that size was in some Buells. At one time, HD did make an 1100 Sportster engine, but nowdays, if you have an 883, you upsize to a 1200. There are NO kits out there to make it an 1100.

So I stand behind shadows somewhere from 700 to 900
Ok, here in the US, the Honda Shadow was offered in 500, 600, 700, 750, 800, and 1100cc displacements, with the most common ones being the 750. In some foreign markets, there was a 125 Shadow offered, and I think there might have been a 250 as well.

Just got my first bike the other day.
So I stand behind shadows somewhere from 700 to 900 for a first time rider
To be honest, I question someone who just got his first bike the other day giving advice to other new riders.
 

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Burning man. Wow. On a bike. Wow again.

The most perfect bike I can think of for all these considerations is a Moto Guzzi V50. Nice size and power for YOUR size and power- plus a shaft drive for all the desert abuse it's going to get. With all that riding in the rain, you won't have to worry about lubing the chain, either.
Unfortuately, finding one for sale is not ideal.

There's a tie for 2nd; Suzuki Savage and/or BMW R65.
The Savage will be lower and lighter, but the R65 will gooo allll dayyyy averaging 70mph- no problem. I also think the R65 is more versatile for tying down tents, bags, flame throwers, groceries, bushels of peyote, TP, make-up, wigs, and the usual staples that a stay at Burning man requires.

All of the above are shaft drive and easy to maintain.

IMO, the Harley 883 is a terrific bike, but I consider it more of a day-tour and commuter kind of rig. Great for around town and loops through the countryside for an afternoon, but I just don't think the ergos and seat are great fot a cross-country ride. You might be able to get it there, but it doesn't sound like you have the money it would take to do it.
 

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First off Harley's shake like no tomorrow and there heavy as hell.
Just got my first bike the other day. mines an 86 honda shadow vt700. it's a nice size bike and its light as a feather to me. granted I'm 6'3'' 125 pounds so I'm a skinny dude. and I have heard nothing but good things about the shadows. My father got a 2002 HD Sportster 900 converted to a 1100 a few days before i got my honda he's your build a little muscular and tipped it over in the yard because of the weight. So I stand behind shadows somewhere from 700 to 900 for a first time rider.
Off topic question, what is with the name? I am assuming you are in the USA, would you like to live somewhere else?
 

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Bub, I do have to ask that, before you give advice, please TRY to have SOME knowledge of what you are saying.


Ok, I am TRYING to figure out how it is that Harley's "shake like no tomorrow." Yes, I'll admit that I am usually one of the first to rag on a Harley Davidson (mainly because I have quite a few Harley riding friends who claim their bikes to be the best bikes they have ever owned lol) but I also have to be honest and say that Harley Davidson makes some pretty damn good bikes. The only ones that had real problems was the ones from the AMF days. One thing about them... they DO vibe more than a shadow would, but it is not as bad as many here would have you believe. As to them being "heavy as hell," The Sportster weighs less than 50lbs more than a Shadow 750, and actually weighs in less than an 1100 Shadow. The only reason a Sportster feels "heavy" is because it is top heavy, as compared to a Shadow, which has it's center mass a good deal lower.


Ok, in 2002, the HD Sportster came in two Serving sizes, an 883 and a 1200. I do not believe that there EVER was a 900cc Sportster made. The closest Sportster based engine to that size was in some Buells. At one time, HD did make an 1100 Sportster engine, but nowdays, if you have an 883, you upsize to a 1200. There are NO kits out there to make it an 1100.


Ok, here in the US, the Honda Shadow was offered in 500, 600, 700, 750, 800, and 1100cc displacements, with the most common ones being the 750. In some foreign markets, there was a 125 Shadow offered, and I think there might have been a 250 as well.



To be honest, I question someone who just got his first bike the other day giving advice to other new riders.
Yeah I don't know much but the little I do know I'll put to use. Was just trying to give a little advice and help the dude out. And yes I did just get my first bike the other day however I have been riding off and on for a past few years (mostly indians) I figure the more feedback a person can get the better. hell a little feed back is better than none. Even if my advice isn't all that great its still some useful information. and harleys have alot of oil leak problems and suspension problems and so on. And to be honest I was going to get one myself until a friend told me her family had a shadow for 500 flat out needed a little work but was decent so i bought it just so I could work on it and customize it. and as far as my name, that's completely not relevant to the conversation nor the forum. Nor do I really have the time to get into that as it's a long story. If you really must know then you can private message me and when I have the time to explain I'd be more than happy to. Not trying to ruffle feathers just here for the same reasons as everyone else.
 

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once again from the amf days yes harley had all those problems. nowadays the only problems I see with harleys is not having a lighter bike for beginners. In all honesty the weight really isn't the issue. metric bikes of same size are actually fairly close in comparison.
 
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