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Old 07-05-2010, 02:31 PM   #1
ghettoe
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Default Cruisers for beginners

So, I read through the new Rider thread and all I hear is DPs and Kawasaki ninjas being recommended. I personally want a cruiser as my first bike and other than the honda rebel, I haven't heard a lot of recomendations. Help Please!
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Old 07-05-2010, 02:40 PM   #2
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If you're under 175lbs I'd go with a Kawasaki Vulcan 500 LTD or a Honda Shadow VLX 600. If you're over that then look at their 750 brothers. BUY USED (likely 2001-2005) and you'll be in the house for under $4k. Good enough for ya?
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Old 07-05-2010, 03:44 PM   #3
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Browse Motorcycles - Scooters, Dirt Bikes, Choppers, Sport Bikes, and Other Motorcycles for Sale - CycleTrader.com and Trader Online Magazine New and Used Classifieds For Sale - TraderOnline.com. You can search by price range, location, keywords like "cruiser." It's a great way to assess what bikes are out there and how much they'll cost.
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Old 07-05-2010, 09:38 PM   #4
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No one really makes a bad cruiser so for brand, go with the one you like best.

For cruisers, weight is probably a bigger deal than engine size. None are very powerful- they are geared more for torque, so even the 1100cc bikes probably have less HP than the 650cc v-twin sports bikes. Weight can make slow speed maneuvering more challenging and if you go too heavy it can slow your development as a rider and you will be more likely to drop it.

For the most part you will be fine up to 900cc. All the major player's 750-950cc bikes are reputed to handle very well and be quite forgiving for beginners. I can attest firsthand that the Suzuki Boulevard C50 has been a great beginners bike (so far). Still, I do wish I at least went used and preferably went a little smaller (smaller generally means cheaper)- you will refine what you want out of your bike the more you ride and you will be very happy if you get a bike that you can easily sell and replace fairly soon without a major loss.

Great first bikes if you want a cruiser are the 650cc v-twin Yamaha V-Star, 650cc single cylinder Suzuki Boulevard S40 (the older Suzuki Savage is the same bike) and the 500cc inline twin (the same engine as in the Ninja 500) Kawasaki Vulcan 500. If you are a large person and need as much room as possible the S40 has the smallest frame, the other two are similar in size to much bigger bikes (by engine size).

If you are larger, do very well in the MSF course, and/or have some prior experience (dirt bikes, riding friend's bikes), even up to some of the 1100cc bikes might work. Another, less conservative, board often has members recommending the 1100cc V-Star, and occasionally recommending the 1100cc Honda Shadow. Personally, I decided not to go this way- I think the 1100cc may have to much torque for a raw beginner. If you do go this way, be very careful that the bike you buy isn't too heavy.

The bikes you will probably most hear for beginners who are interested in cruisers are the 500cc Vulcan, the 650cc V-Star and the 750cc Honda Shadow. The 600cc Shadow tends to get knocked a bit due to the 4-sp transmission making it less well suited to the highway. The Suzuki S40 is knocked due to the single cylinder engine and small frame making it a bit uncomfortable on the highway. The larger bikes are mentioned a bit less, but the Suzuki Boulevard S50, C50 and M50, the Kawasaki Vulcan 900 and Yamaha V-Star 950 are all worthy of consideration. If you go with the 800-950cc bikes, be sure you do well in the MSF course, and make sure the weight isn't too much for you, but if you are a big guy and/or a confident rider they may be a great choice (but remember that you will refine what you want so forget about thinking you will want to keep anything you buy for more than 2-3 years).
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Old 07-05-2010, 09:44 PM   #5
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Much as I hate to say it a 1990 on up Magna 750 is a decent cruiser because of its comparatively light weight. It's pretty fast for a cruiser though so caution is indicated. Or the Triumph America and Speedmaster deserve a look too.
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Old 07-07-2010, 08:49 PM   #6
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I should have mentioned I'm a female and I'm 5'8 and about 130 pounds. I'm the long skinny type.
ps. Thanks for the info so far, it's made me look at bikes I thought were too powerful before.
pps. What year would you set the limit for buying a bike? For example is a 1980 bike too old? Should I be looking at 2000 and above?
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Old 07-08-2010, 06:00 AM   #7
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One of the big things about getting an older bike is that parts are going to be tougher to find.

Unless You are the nostalgic type or whatnot I would recommend staying in the 2000+ range if you can afford to.
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Old 07-08-2010, 06:12 AM   #8
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Shouldn't be a parts problem through the 90s. 80's bikes get more iffy.
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Old 07-08-2010, 02:44 PM   #9
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Triumph Bonneville!
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Old 07-10-2010, 10:08 AM   #10
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What type of motorcycle should a beginning rider purchase? With so many choices, selecting your first motorcycle can be challenging.
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