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Old 10-02-2010, 09:36 AM   #1
Vroooom
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Default Suggestions on a beginner cruiser

Okie Dokie... Starting the preliminary research on a first bike:

Wife will be primary rider. She's 5'10" and athletic.

As discussed elsewhere, she likes the classic black and chrome harley look.

We're drawn to the Yamaha V-Star 650 and/or the Suzuki Boulevard M50. But she's been told that the 650 would be slightly anemic and she should shoot for something in the 750 range.

But it seems the next step up in the cruiser style is 1100.

Is that too much for a cautious beginner?

We're told that nothing in the 650-1100 range is gonna jump out from under her if she screws up and gooses the throttle. They'll be heavy enough to be controllable and light enough to be recoverable.

We're always looking for your thoughts.

Oh, and before anybody flames me for not reading the "New rider" sticky or not using the "search" function. I did. That's how I came up with these two front runners. We were just wondering if there might be updates to those posted opinions....lots change change or develop in 2 years +/-.

It should also be noted that this isnt an exclusive list. We are open to suggestion.

Please
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2003 Black Wrangler (His new toy)
2003 Black Suburban (our heavy cruiser)
Hope to add a motorcycle to our fleet soon.

Last edited by Vroooom : 10-02-2010 at 12:29 PM.
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Old 10-02-2010, 01:24 PM   #2
ranchwrench
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Harley still has the best Harley "look-alike" and they've made several bikes just for women. There's a sporty with a really low center of gravity and a 28 or 30" seat height, so that if your wife drops it, she can pick it up herself. (big plus, in case you're wondering) Also, they hold their value better than the Jap bikes.

If you want a "beginner" bike, just to see if she likes it, the Hondas are really nice. I'd stay away from the Kaws because they concentrate too much on high performance out of small engines and suffer reliability and (imo) resale value as a result.

Anyone who gives their wife an 1100 as a first bike, might as well just buy her a coffin.

I witnessed a slicked up sales guy actually selling a zx-12 to a first time girl rider who (not kidding) could not touch both feet on the ground at the same time.

Last edited by ranchwrench : 10-02-2010 at 01:26 PM.
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Old 10-02-2010, 01:46 PM   #3
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And with the Yen/Dollar exchange-rate; if you're foolish-enough to buy "New" and want a Cruiser, and don't check the pricetag of that Shadow against its Milwaukee rival - well, a Fool and his Money are soon parted.

But you should be buying U.S.E.D. for your first bike, anyway!
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Old 10-02-2010, 03:15 PM   #4
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yeah, there is no doubt we are buying USED. We dont even buy new cars. Let the other guy take that initial depreciation hit. If it aint on Craigslist, we dont need it.

We are shooting to stay under $4k since its just gonna be a occasional (infrequent) weekend run-about.

Namebrand doesnt mean squat to me. Our first consideration (always) is safety, then afordability, then fit, then reviews.

If the American brands can compete on those terms, ROCK-ON BABY! I'd love to own one!!!!

But if they cant compete, then they better get the a$$es in ger and start getting competitive.

I despise this "Leave no man behind" crap and I am a vigourous supporter of economic darwinism. If you fall behind...you are left behind.

We'll see how it all shakes out.
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She's a Psychologist. He's a corporate pilot.
2007 Black Corvette (Her daily driver)
2003 Black Wrangler (His new toy)
2003 Black Suburban (our heavy cruiser)
Hope to add a motorcycle to our fleet soon.
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Old 10-02-2010, 03:26 PM   #5
Mollygrubber
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Well here's a recommendation out of left field... if your wife is not dead set on a cruiser (and if so, why? Unless it's a fashion show, then I totally get it...) take a look at the BMW F650GS twin. Light, great mileage, handles well, Brembo brakes, and something a little different from the herd... I mean crowd.

My wife has one and LOVES IT. A real do-everything bike, and it will retain it's value unlike the Japanese bikes. And it's not a Harley.

I know you've set a $4000 limit, but safety is your first priority according to your last post, and these bikes have very effective ABS, tire pressure monitoring and great brakes.

Just a thought, maybe you'll find a good used one locally.
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Old 10-02-2010, 08:54 PM   #6
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Thanks for the recommendation, I'll check out the B-Mer.

Yup, her Cruiser preference is mostly about style. Which while admittedly superficial, is not really that much different than those who choose any other style of bike....because thats what best fits their interest.

Although, I must admit, that since I will usually be following her in my jeep.....I do kinda wish she'd go for a sport bike. No further comment. Lol

But if she wants to sit-up rather than bend-over, its all cool with me so long as its comfortable and safe.

Riding.

The motorcycle.
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She's a Psychologist. He's a corporate pilot.
2007 Black Corvette (Her daily driver)
2003 Black Wrangler (His new toy)
2003 Black Suburban (our heavy cruiser)
Hope to add a motorcycle to our fleet soon.
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Old 10-03-2010, 03:10 AM   #7
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Don't kid yourself. For a first bike, 650cc v-twin will be plenty and will totally go highway speeds. If you don't want to ride-then-trade, consider these options:

Honda Shadow 750 A.C.E. (American Classic Edition)
Kawasaki Vulcan 900
Harley-Davidson Sportster 883

Don't kid yourself. Harleys do not have a low center of gravity, no matter how low the seat is. Go to any Harley store, sit on the bikes. Pull it off the side stand and you'll see. Do the same thing with the import bikes and then decide for yourselves.

Another option -- something totally different: Triumph Bonneville. It's light, nimble, and has plenty of power.
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Old 10-03-2010, 06:31 AM   #8
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The Honda VT750 in most extention models can be had the under $4000 from 2003-2008. The Suzuki Blvd c50 is an excellent bike. I love the simplicity of the Yamaha Vstar 650 and maintaining it is pretty simple. But you should consider the Triumph Bonneville. They'll run about $500 more but you will gain excellent character compared to the other low budget bikes. And if you look at mid 90's Sportys there are many you can find in your price range. If you look at the base gaskets and notice little to no seepage between the case and the jugs you will have found an owner that has taken care of their bike properly.

Personally, I'd put my (future ex) wife on the Bonni. I believe that the bike's balance is perfect for a beginner and your wife probably would not want to replace it in 3 yrs.
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Old 10-03-2010, 06:34 AM   #9
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Sprocket is correct about the Sporty and it's weight. Most women are actually more comfortable on the Dyna models. I know. My sister has a FXDB and is much more comfortable in it than the Sporty. But she spent $12k for it.
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Old 10-03-2010, 11:06 AM   #10
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How close to Milwaukee are you? I can Vouch for this man, if he says a bike needs a particular item or is a particular condition - that's how that bike IS.

Need room, must sell some bikes.

1982 V45 Magna - runs beautifully, strong and smooth V4 motor. Ride it
anywhere. Comfy, all original excepting the lower bars I put on it. Great
low end and midrange grunt. Sheds a few drops of oil after a ride, and the
turn signal relay needs replacing. Clear Wisconsin title. Brakes good,
tranny good, tires good. Fly and ride. Bluebook $1335, yours for $850.

http://hawkfan4life.com/forsale/v45b.jpg

1991 Suzuki GN125 - this bike's a hoot. Bluebook something like $935, need
$600 to let this one go. Low miles (under 10k!), starts INSTANTLY and runs
well. Good brakes, very good tires, clear title. This is my daily go-to bike
when I need to run any errands within 10 miles. Best "learner" bike on the
planet. Clear title. Speedo and tach aren't working right, though the
warning lights and odometer DO work. No worries, you won't be breaking any
speed limits anyhow - but it's good fun. All original excepting turn signals
and handlebars.

http://hawkfan4life.com/000_1595.jpg

2006 Kawasaki 650R - y'all know how I feel about these, they're outstanding
bikes. This was purchased by a young lady I used to work with, who needs
something smaller. I rode it home from her place this morning ...
outstanding bike. Get this - 1700 original miles. It's a creampuff -she
bought it new. Clear title. Did I mention 1700 original miles? Bluebook is
$3520, need $3200 for this one, and by the way it's wearing a PENSKE SHOCK
that ran her roughly $800. Want it without the shock? Knock off $450, and
take this $3520 bike home for $2750. That's rediculously cheap for possibly
the best do-it-all midsized twin on the planet.

http://hawkfan4life.com/650r1.jpg

I'll get bigger/better pics of anything you're interested in. Need to make
room, both in the garage and the bank account. Thanks for looking.

Robb Z
Milwaukee WI
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