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My first bike was a white 1964 Honda 90, model C200, exactly like this picture. It was still fairly new when I bought it in 1967. And yes, I would recommend it as a first bike. I taught myself to ride it, and then taught both of my brothers to ride on that bike.
Unfortunately, I didn't know how rare it was and sold it. Today they are as scarce as hen's teeth.


However, a few years ago, I was given a '77 Honda Trail 90, a very similar bike engine wise. I love this one and won't make the mistake of selling it!
I've put about 5,000 miles on this one since receiving it. And yes, I'd recommend this one as a first bike also!
 

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My first bike was a Hyosung GV250. I purchased it after taking the MSF course. It was a good enough bike to learn on, if I had been more mechanically competent I wouldn't have sold it for cheap as I had trouble with the carbs and battery. I'm no mechanic now but have learned a little (on 3rd bike). So it was a 250cc, and a light weight bike which I think is important when first learning. People may fault me for this. I feel that when first learning you don't need a lot of other stuff to be concerned with like weight.

Depending on your style of bike there are a lot of choices. I was actually encouraged not to get a small cc bike, but I knew what I wanted. I wanted time to learn and something I could afford at the time. I would say I am happy with the size bike I had first, but wish I had gotten a Honda Rebel or Yamaha of the same size for their reliability. If I had wanted something more sporty, a Ninja 250

Chances are whatever you get you will feel like you have outgrown it all too soon anyway.


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My first street bike was a brand new 1962 Honda C110, 50cc fun machine and yes, I did meet the nicest people on a Honda!

My 2016 Suzuki DL650 V-Strom Adventure bike is my 80th since 1961.

There are lots of mid-size bikes targeted specifically for the new rider. I would recommend 250cc's to 500cc's.

Just be careful. That safety course taught you a very small fraction of what you'll need to survive the mean streets of America. Ride in a 'Paranoid' state, expecting the worse case scenario, practice and you will do fine.

Sam:)
 

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36 years ago my first 'bike' was a 1976 Indian Moped, I rode that thing about 10,000 miles, all under 28 mph since that was as fast as it went with that 49 cc $ stroke engine. :)

Once I was old enough to get a real license my first 'real' bike was a 1978 Honda CB400TII Hawk II, it was an awesome bike, light as a feather but plenty fast, if they still made them or anything like that would be perfect to learn on, it served me well until I gave up riding.

I re-entered the world of 2 wheels 2 years ago on a 2008 Yamaha 650 Vstar, an excellent choice for a first bike, it's a bit on the heavy side but safe and predictable, with enough power to handle the highway but not enough to be dangerous for a new rider. A great bike, I sold it after 20,000 happy miles with no regrests, we have another one in the house as a shared spare that I still ride from time to time.
 

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My first bike was a 1972 Yamaha 350 R5..with some tasty mods!! But I had it all of two days before my dad took it around the block and broke the shift shaft off in the transmission...

Fast forward a few years.
And insert the 1987 Kawasaki Ninja 600RX

It was vintage. It was quick. It was unbelievably light (The RX was a special addition they only produced in America in a number of 1000, and had an aluminum perimeter frame and weighed about 20 pounds in all less, including its smaller swingarm)

The first bike I ever rode on was an 87 Ninja 600r(how many dad put their two-year-old on a crotch rocket with them... but my dad is the ****) so it had some sentimental value as well.

Learned a lot from that bike, but when it came down to maintenance... it was an absolute nightmare!!!
For one the bike was getting up there in age so it's suffered regularly from a number of old bike problems.

Anytime the carburetors had to be messed with it took about three hours with two guys and a lot of tools to get the 25+-year-old intake boots it's back on...
it wouldn't have been so bad.... if they hadn't designed the frame to look identical to the current ninja of that time. Except the removable trim pieces designed to look like frame are removable on a traditional Ninja... NOT THE RX!!! It was designed to have its engine removed... as I opted to not do that using it primarily as transportation... it was a nightmare to fight around those little frame pieces.

But as far as having a 600cc carbureted crotch rocket for your first bike... unless you have plenty of tools, a tool for syncing your carburetors, extra time, and extra money.... DONT DO IT!!!!

If you're going to get an older carbureted bike... get one with a single cylinder.
You're going to want something different in a year or two anyway, Plus it's gonna go down a few times.
If you want to start out with something a little nicer....
then do yourself a fat favor... spend a little extra money for something with FI!!!


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my first bike was a my current ride, a suzuki m90. most people said you have to start on a 250 and i went back and forth over this for a few years before a friend of mine told me he had this for sale. see i am 6'4 and large so i just felt silly on little 250s and 300s.
 

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my first bike was a my current ride, a suzuki m90. most people said you have to start on a 250 and i went back and forth over this for a few years before a friend of mine told me he had this for sale. see i am 6'4 and large so i just felt silly on little 250s and 300s.


In your case it's OK to get a bigger bike, the reason why I believe that is pushed so hard is because people think they can handle a Road King, or a Hayabusa for their first bike


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First street bike was a 2000 Suzuki Marauder, 800cc V-twin. It was OK. Not a hot rod, but fully capable of freeway & high altitude mountain road riding. I wouldn't NOT recommend it for a new rider but I would suggest a new rider look into either a bike new enough to be fuel injected OR pay a *good* shop to tune it correctly. I wrestled with those carbs and it was very frustrating.

I'd already been a dirt bike rider for 10 years when I got a street bike. My first dirt bike was a Honda XR200. I would not recommend it personally but everybody still seems to think that bike and the newer ones of a similar nature are the slam dunk for beginner women riders. I won't go into THAT particular rant here though.
 

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Oh, forgotten thread, lost to the ages!
Arise and return, to the frontmost pages!

First ever bike was a Kawasaki 440 LTD and yes, would totally recommend it. With its amazing 27 bhp and top speed of 80 mph (with the wind at your back, going down a hill) it was a forgiving bike that was still fun to ride around. I can remember going around tight turns barely needing to lean, just throwing the bike in the direction it needed to go.
 

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My first bike was a 1984 Honda Magna in 2013. I was just out of motorcycle class and it was not a good fit for me. It was good in the sense I didn't spend a lot for it, so I didn't have to worry about dropping it, which I did in my garage, but a 65HP 600 pound bike was not a good fit for a complete newbie just out of class.

I went completely the opposite direction when I got rid of the Magna and bought a Suzuki TU250x like I used in class. It was a much better fit for learning to ride, but I had to get rid of it cause I live in the sticks and sometimes need to take the freeway, where the TU250x is not a good fit.

Ironically, I was going to buy a Moto Guzzi Breva 750, which is a bit heavier than the TU250x, but more learner friendly than the Honda. I'd probably still be riding as it had more room to grow than the TU250x, but I let someone talk me out of it, which was my fault.
 

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My first ride was a 1964 Honda 50 when I was 15. That was a great way to start but within a year I traded it in on a 305 Superhawk - also a great bike. (Wish I still had it!)
 
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In 1969, after saving for a couple of summers, with some help from my dad, I bought a Hodaka 100. It was a little street legal trail bike. With a little tinkering that proved to be a relatively long lasting little bike. I would highly recommend a bike like that to learn on but for a 11 yr old kid it was still a pretty tall bike. At 14 I inherited my dad's Honda CB 450 and started my real street riding. The honda was a very reliable bike. I put almost 35K on that bike. That would be a good bike for an adult to learn on.
 

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My first bike was a 1981 Yamaha XS 11 special, which is still in my garage. In general it was more bike than I needed to be starting off. I started my riding later in life, at 34, so was never really tempted to push that bike to its limits (much). Had I done it at 16 it may have been a different story. I'll probably put that bike back on the road some day.
 

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My first bike of note (after 250cc) was Suzuki SV650. An awesome bike that I sold a year ago and gave adventure riding a try. I enjoyed being on my V-Strom but was missing sports riding, so I decided to go back to the SV. I rode one the other day, and it was amazing to feel it again, it fits me so well :grin:
 

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As a kid I grew up riding various small-cc peewee and dirt bikes starting around age 7 (had a cool dad and grandpa: they let me have guns, Playboys and fireworks too).

But the first bike I bought for my very own was a 1981 Honda CX500. I'd certainly recommend it as a starter (potent enough, light enough, etc.), though at this point the age/vintage/maintenance factors would preclude it. So it would have to be the 'modern equivalent' and I'm not sure what that would be. Probably a Rebel now that they've got a 500 version. There was a 78 GL1000 in there too. Not a good starter bike. Not much missed, frankly.

Then mid-90's I got an anti-bike wife and kids and "responsibilities" so took a 15-year hiatus from riding.

Flash forward to late-00's, I learned about this wonderful thing called "life insurance"... bought me a cool $1MIL policy, grabbed a bike and when my wife came home and flipped out, I showed her my insurance papers and said "responsibilities covered."

That first post-hiatus bike was an 01 Vstar 1100. I would NOT recommend it as a 'starter' bike for a newb. Too heavy and too much to manage. But it was pretty much ideal for me as a "returning rider" in "you never really forget how to ride a bicycle" mode. I'd have been miserable with a lighter, lower-cc bike at that point.

Then... I retired from my soul-sapping corporate career and became a vintage japanese bike dealer/restorer... You can imagine how well THAT went over. But she's learned to live with it.

Now today, my deal with my wife is "one of each" from my preferred marques. My personal 'stable' consists of the following at the moment:

07 Yamaha Vstar 1300 - my 'daily driver'
96 Harley XL1200, severely chopped and bobbed ("all engine" ~400 lbs). My go-to for most casual riding.
81 Honda CX500 (yes, the same one... Just parked it, never did get rid of it. Unrestored original condition)
99 Busa, for when I just wanna go fast
04 Kawi Vulcan 2000. When nothing but a ****ton of displacement will do. My least-ridden bike and I'm probably looking to swap it.

It's also possible I've got a 77 CB750 kicking around. I might have even done a frame-up 'blueprint' restoration on it. But IF I did have that, it would live at my shop and my wife wouldn't know about it... ya dig?

I should mention that I'm 6'1" and fairly 'big boned' (e.g. I run ~225) so my feeling on 'good for a beginner' might not apply to smaller/lighter folk...

That is all a VERY LONG way of saying... the 'best' starter bike depends entirely on the person, the situation, etc. My non-conclusive thoughts there:

-I don't think a 250 is -ever- a good starter bike except maybe for a really hesitant person at the lower end of the 5' height range and the low-100's weight range. Just not enough... They're great for the BRC, but when you buy something, a little more is needed. Light, yes. Not-crazy-fast, yes. 250cc? No.
-I also don't think anything around 750 or higher is good. Too heavy, too much power, learn on something a bit more moderate.
-Around 400-600cc is about ideal in terms of weight, power, etc.
-I don't think a 'sport bike' format is ever a good starter. I do to much business in wrecked Ninja 250's to think otherwise. Get the basics down before you try adding a heel-back crouch position to the mix.
-If you -must- start with a Harley... Sportster 883 or Street.
-For crying out loud, not a Goldwing, voyager, venture, "glide," or other big-ol' bagger.
-Whatever your 'starter' bike: Buy used, value mechanicals over condition, and 'plan' for it to be both temporary and something you'll not shed too many tears over when (not if, when) you drop, scrape, dent or otherwise 'mar' it. Make it a bike you 'add' a couple dents or scrapes to, not be the first.
 

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2009 I believe Kawasaki Vulcan 500. Yes I would recommend.
The Vulcan 500 is a light, nimble, manageable bike. Great for a newb.

That it proves the Japanese can -also- fail to get much performance out of a given displacement (not just the Americans) just helps the case as a starter bike.

In other words, it's about the least zippy 500cc bike I've ever ridden... So it's good as a starter... and plan to sell it along to another newb after the first season when you want something with some power.
 

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My first bike is still my current. I purchased a 2006 Suzuki S50 Boulevard (800cc). I've really liked this bike as a beginner. I had no previous experience other than taking the MSF class. It's small and light ~ 465 lbs so very manageable yet has enough power to keep up with my husband on our long rides on back highways. You do have to be careful in beginning as this bike definitely has some pep. I'm currently in my second season of riding and we've been taking longer rides and even traveling across states so I've been thinking about trading it in for something else. The bike keeps up well and I'm pretty comfortable with the changes I've made to it but I feel I'd be happier and am ready for a heavier bike with more touring comforts. To this bike I added a Memphis shades 14" shooter windshield, new grips with throttle assist, cruise lock, air hawk seat pad for those long rides, and a sissy bar day touring bag. You can see a pic in my profile.
 

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My first bike is still my current. I purchased a 2006 Suzuki S50 Boulevard (800cc). I've really liked this bike as a beginner. I had no previous experience other than taking the MSF class. It's small and light ~ 465 lbs so very manageable yet has enough power to keep up with my husband on our long rides on back highways. You do have to be careful in beginning as this bike definitely has some pep. I'm currently in my second season of riding and we've been taking longer rides and even traveling across states so I've been thinking about trading it in for something else. The bike keeps up well and I'm pretty comfortable with the changes I've made to it but I feel I'd be happier and am ready for a heavier bike with more touring comforts. To this bike I added a Memphis shades 14" shooter windshield, new grips with throttle assist, cruise lock, air hawk seat pad for those long rides, and a sissy bar day touring bag. You can see a pic in my profile.
You go!

Yeah, it's a little heavier and peppier than I'd usually recommend for a starter bike, but you were (as you say) careful with it and now have a bike that'll 'keep up' and could do for more than a starter if you wanted. Congrats!

If you move up to a more robust 'touring' bike, just be aware they vary a lot. I just recently rode a Honda VTX1300 which is just insanely heavy... I'm a big ol' strong 6'1" corn-fed midwestern boy and even -I- found it a handful. Versus my tried and true V-Star 1300 that's certainly heavier than an S50... but not nutso-heavy for it's displacement. Most of the 1100-range metric v-twin bikes (vstar, shadow, vulcan, etc.) are reasonable-weight.
 

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You go!

Yeah, it's a little heavier and peppier than I'd usually recommend for a starter bike, but you were (as you say) careful with it and now have a bike that'll 'keep up' and could do for more than a starter if you wanted. Congrats!

If you move up to a more robust 'touring' bike, just be aware they vary a lot. I just recently rode a Honda VTX1300 which is just insanely heavy... I'm a big ol' strong 6'1" corn-fed midwestern boy and even -I- found it a handful. Versus my tried and true V-Star 1300 that's certainly heavier than an S50... but not nutso-heavy for it's displacement. Most of the 1100-range metric v-twin bikes (vstar, shadow, vulcan, etc.) are reasonable-weight.
Thanks for the recommendations on bikes. I've sat on several Vulcan 900 LT's. I can tell I'd have to change out the bars but otherwise felt pretty good. I love the look of the indian chief but at ~785 lbs, I'm a little intimidated. The scout looks fun but I don't see that I'd be gaining much touring comforts from my current bike. Just a bit more motor. Well.....I'll have all winter to dream about it and save up anyway!!

Heading down to Arkansas from center Iowa the first week of October. That will be my longest ride on the s50 yet!!
 
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