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Old 04-10-2009, 08:30 AM   #1
Icehawk
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Default HD Iron v MG Nevada v Triumph Bonneville

I have had a MC license for about a year and have been riding a small CC scooter which I find works well for my needs except that there is not enough power/top speed and the braking power (or lack thereof) is frightening. Both are pretty major issues! I have been looking at 250cc scooters as one option and MCs as another, recently I have been leaning towards a bike as the better overall value.

I'm ready to move to something that will work great in the city, run on the highway when needed and is comfy for riding at least 1-2hrs.

I'd prefer new if I can as my luck with used vehicles isn't stellar and I don't have space to do any maint/work currently. Would consider used though if the price is right.

My criteria demands a rear disc brake - I don't want to hear about how 70% of braking is up front, drums are plenty, etc, etc. I am 100% positive that this is a must. I know, bummer since this rules out a lot of great, cheap Japanese bikes in the low CC classes but it is part of my "must include" list.

I like tachometers but can always add one.

EFI would be nice.

Bike should be able to cruise at 70mph but doesn't need to go more than 80-90. I mostly ride 50mph or below areas but need to be able to keep up on the highway if needed. Adequate power is fine by me, I do not want a rocket or wheelie machine.

City handling/splitting is important, canyon carving not so much - I have a tricked out Miata for cornering.

Seating can be for one, I don't have plans for a passenger.


The bikes that look good to me, manageable size-wise (I'm 5'7", 125lbs, 30" inseam), and priced somewhere I can afford (<$8k new) are:

Harley-Davidson Iron 883
Triumph Bonneville/SE/T100
Moto Guzzi Nevada 750/V7

It seems like I might be able to get a decent used one in the $4-6k range too.

Any comments or other bike suggestions? These are all bigger motored than I originally was looking at but reading reviews they all seems to be relatively low powered, newbie friendly rides.
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Old 04-10-2009, 09:10 AM   #2
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The HD is an excellent value pricewise. And it's a good looking bike too, very trendy with the "Bobber" and Dark Custom styling. Decent city rider, no fun for a passenger (which isn't an issue for you) and, for a lot of people, the social and lifestyle part of Harley is a big deal. Of course, the "real" HD guys will call you a sissy for riding an 883 Sportster, but who cares?

The Bonneville is another great bike; a modern interpretation of an icon, that is easy to ride, has comfortable ergonomics, and a good accessory list (as does the HD). Of the 3, it gets my vote.

The Guzzi is rather esoteric. They sell a fraction of a percentage of bikes compared to HD and Triumph. Dealerships are scarce, I've heard of parts and maintenance issues, and I doubt you'll find any aftermarket parts for it. That's not to say you couldn't get a set of bags or other generic accessories, you probably can. And, you wont' see yourself coming the other way...
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Old 04-10-2009, 09:17 AM   #3
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First, Welcome to the forum!

I'd tell you to peruse the New Riders 'sticky,' but it has become a bit - Large.

Anyway, ignore my avatar. I say, go with a Bonneville! The new FI bikes are supposed to run great. Ignore MSCuddy, as he is 'stuck in the 70's'. He thinks the new Triumphs are an abomination.

Second choice would be a 1200 Sporty. The 883 is nice enough, but I have yet to hear of someone who was happy with the engine. Then again, HD has a new version of the old 'ride at no risk' thing where you can take the Sporty back after a while, and they give you full credit on a Big Twin.

I'd avoid the 'Goose. Although they aren't the maintenance hogs they were, they are still no match for the Triumph or Harley.

I'd add, for a citybike, you might look at the Suzuki Wee-strom (DL650) and maybe the SV650 (not the SV650S). And, the KLR 650 is another good bike. Maybe even the Versys.

Inseam is a consideration with the Dual-purpose bikes, however.

Good Luck, and again, Welcome!
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Old 04-10-2009, 09:42 AM   #4
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So a guy named pushrod recommends an overhead cam Bonnie?? Oh the shame! Get what you like to the poster above. You can't go wrong with anything these days.
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Old 04-10-2009, 09:42 AM   #5
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Thanks guys!

I've read a lot of "first bike" articles & threads so I think I've selected choices that suit my overall goals?

A DS just doesn't fit the bill for me in some respects although I see a lot of dudes bombing around town on them. I really want a standard/classic-styled bike - I always dug those 70s Hondas with the breadloaf seat for example, I guess that is what drew me to the MG/Triumph over the HD.

I agree, they are all good bikes - but I'm curious what some experienced riders have to say in comparison or if I'm missing out on a good bike I've overlooked. I hadn't realized I could afford a Triumph until yesterday!
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Old 04-10-2009, 12:04 PM   #6
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LR,

I got the nickname in a, shall I say, 'destructive fashion'...

Some of the quickest money I've ever spent!
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Old 04-10-2009, 01:45 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by longride View Post
So a guy named pushrod recommends an overhead cam Bonnie?? Oh the shame! Get what you like to the poster above. You can't go wrong with anything these days.
"Dr. Cam?"
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Old 04-10-2009, 07:57 PM   #8
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I had an '05 T100 Bonneville and can assure you you'll be happy with it, you're size is probably the template they built the bike around so it should fit you like a glove. They're a relatively lightweight decent handling and brick simple plus good aftermarket and Triumph accessory support, that'd be my choice, then the Sporty
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Old 04-11-2009, 05:36 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sarnali2 View Post
I had an '05 T100 Bonneville and can assure you you'll be happy with it, you're size is probably the template they built the bike around so it should fit you like a glove. They're a relatively lightweight decent handling and brick simple plus good aftermarket and Triumph accessory support, that'd be my choice, then the Sporty
Based on your needs and size, I second Sarnali's choice:

1st - Triumph
2nd - Harley-Davidson
3rd - Moto Guzzi

Of course, if you prize exclusivity above all else, then the Guzzi is the bike for you. A guy right down the road from me rides a Guzzi California and the nearest Guzzi dealership is 2.5 hours away. It can be done.
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Old 04-11-2009, 09:24 AM   #10
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Seems to me that an advantage to either the Hinckley Triumph or the Sportster is that buying used is a fairly safe proposition. Since you will probably be selling the bike after a year or two (?), shelling out for a new one may be unnecessary.

I have a friend who has a "new" Bonnie as well as several Meridan ("Real") bikes. If it's rainy, he's on the new Bonnie! I also ride with a gal who has a Sporty, and it will walk away from my old 650 Yammie, and the lights actually work! Even the turn-signals! (What kind of a Harley is *that*??)

Seems that either would fill the bill nicely. The Guzzi? Exotic (that means I've never owned one) and interestingly Italian, but if you don't want to do much on-going mechanical work, I'd stick with the Bonnie or Sportster.

Gee, I wish they still made the Honda 305 Superhawk.......
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