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Old 02-19-2011, 07:11 PM   #1
Shredz
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Default First bike advice

Basically I'm 5' 10" in my early 20's and 155pounds. Finished my msf course and looking for my first motorcycle. Ive got a few in mind and needed some advice.

My needs as far as a bike are one that can be ridden in the city, on the highway (frequently) and touring.

I selected these bikes on the recommendations of different dealers I've spoken to, Idiots guide to motorcycles 4th edition, and I've sat on all of them and found them to match price point and comfort.

Cruisers:

Used 2003 harley davidson XL883

Used 2002 Honda Shadow Spirit 750

Sportish Street bikes:

2004 Kawasaki Ninja 500/EX500

2000/2009 Suzuki GS500


My thoughts are that the cruisers will be better for longer distance riding but the sportier bikes will be a bit more agile and forgiving to ride.

I thought I might get some more thoughts from veteran riders.

Thanks.

PS: Forgot to mention that two-up riding will also occur on occasion.

Last edited by Shredz; 02-19-2011 at 07:28 PM..
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Old 02-19-2011, 08:15 PM   #2
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Of those four, it all comes down to which of them you "feel".

I don't know about 2-up room for the GS or the cruisers, but the EX is acceptable for shorter-rides (sub-day trip), 'specially if your pillion is your size or smaller.

I THINK the Shadow may be a better 2-up. The Harley is quite heavy, and often I see the pillion saddle on them appears to be a postage-stamp. But, most that I have seen have been "Customized" to one-extent or another.

The EX is quite tractable, if a little "buzzy" at times (and essentially the last "living" '80s motorcycle) and the 883 is easy to ride as well. I've been told the GS is an excellent, low-key, friendly bike; but have never ridden one (nor have I ridden the Shadow).

My advice: Take your passenger, and sit on each of them. If you've a friend with any of these, try to cop a short, solo ride to get the feel of the animal.

Then, buy the one that you can get the best deal used.......

(buy used - spend your "excess" money on safety gear, then sell the bike after a year or so with little/no loss and buy another bike that "speaks" to you)
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Old 02-19-2011, 08:27 PM   #3
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Of those four, it all comes down to which of them you "feel".

I don't know about 2-up room for the GS or the cruisers, but the EX is acceptable for shorter-rides (sub-day trip), 'specially if your pillion is your size or smaller.

I THINK the Shadow may be a better 2-up. The Harley is quite heavy, and often I see the pillion saddle on them appears to be a postage-stamp. But, most that I have seen have been "Customized" to one-extent or another.

The EX is quite tractable, if a little "buzzy" at times (and essentially the last "living" '80s motorcycle) and the 883 is easy to ride as well. I've been told the GS is an excellent, low-key, friendly bike; but have never ridden one (nor have I ridden the Shadow).
Thanks for the reply, much appreciated.

I really love the harley but I'm looking at about 6500$ minimum in the local used market seems alittle steep. That being my major reasoning for going for the Honda spirit which is about about 2000-2500$ cheaper.

Since you have experience with the Ninja, have you ever ridden long distance with it and would saddle bags lead to any negative performance? Such as becoming unstable?
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Old 02-20-2011, 06:57 AM   #4
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My advice: Take your passenger, and sit on each of them. If you've a friend with any of these, try to cop a short, solo ride to get the feel of the animal.
Safety should be your first consideration......hard, I know for a 20-something.

Comfort, for you and the passenger, should be the second consideration. Tied with decent performance with 2-up.

Last comes looks.

And I've got to say: For a new rider, considering 2-up and/or touring during your first riding season is likely NOT a good idea. Buying a bike with that in mind for the future is not a bad idea but regardless of what you think or others may tell you, a new rider needs several months and a couple of thousand miles SOLO on short to medium trips and lots of purposeful practice thrown in before you even consider 2-up for more than a short slow ride or any real long distance touring.

I think you will find the "sporty" bikes are not well suited to 2-up or long trips. Of those you listed, I think the Shadow is probably the best choice. It might need a new seat for long distances. Most find the power of the 750 barely adequate for 2-up.......but that's not all bad for a new rider.

This will be your first bike, not your last.
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Old 02-20-2011, 07:05 AM   #5
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Personally, from an insurance man perspective I'd go Ninja 500. Very easy to ride. Very forgiving to learn on and very easy to maintain. Not to mention easy to insure. HOWEVER- if you like "standard" style bikes like the Sporty I suggest you take a look at a nice used Triumph Bonneville. Excellent two up ride and a bike you probably won't think you've out-grown in two yrs.
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Old 02-20-2011, 07:54 AM   #6
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Safety should be your first consideration......hard, I know for a 20-something.

Comfort, for you and the passenger, should be the second consideration. Tied with decent performance with 2-up.

Last comes looks.

And I've got to say: For a new rider, considering 2-up and/or touring during your first riding season is likely NOT a good idea. Buying a bike with that in mind for the future is not a bad idea but regardless of what you think or others may tell you, a new rider needs several months and a couple of thousand miles SOLO on short to medium trips and lots of purposeful practice thrown in before you even consider 2-up for more than a short slow ride or any real long distance touring.

I think you will find the "sporty" bikes are not well suited to 2-up or long trips. Of those you listed, I think the Shadow is probably the best choice. It might need a new seat for long distances. Most find the power of the 750 barely adequate for 2-up.......but that's not all bad for a new rider.

This will be your first bike, not your last.

Good tips for sure. I will make sure any two up riding is only done when I feel extremely comfortable.

You aren't the first person to tell me 750cc isnt the best for two up. One of the guys at the honda dealership advised me to go around 1000cc's for a cruiser that is adequate for two up riding. My problem with that is insurance goes up after 1000cc and I'm trying to hold back from a liter bike as my first.
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Old 02-20-2011, 08:02 AM   #7
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Personally, from an insurance man perspective I'd go Ninja 500. Very easy to ride. Very forgiving to learn on and very easy to maintain. Not to mention easy to insure. HOWEVER- if you like "standard" style bikes like the Sporty I suggest you take a look at a nice used Triumph Bonneville. Excellent two up ride and a bike you probably won't think you've out-grown in two yrs.

The 2011 Triumph bonneville was the most comfortable bike I sat on but there just aren't any used ones around (one from 1975 but far from novice friendly I hear). There is a Used 2004 Triumph america around which I also like alot. Gorgeous bike, cheaper than the harley but more expensive than the honda, about 5700$ which is fair I believe.
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Old 02-20-2011, 09:39 AM   #8
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The America is the exact same motor. HOWEVER, you shouldn't be affraid to look outside your geographic location. If a dealer owns the bike you can ship most bikes coast to coast for under $400. Private party sales are much harder to do because you should inspect it before, but you have the idea. The Bonni Speedmaster is a nice ride, as well. I prefer the T100 and the Scrambler models the most. But you can find Bonni Black models for around $4k now.
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Old 02-20-2011, 10:20 AM   #9
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and I'm trying to hold back from a liter bike as my first.
1000 cc cruisers usually aren't referred to as "liter bikes". That term belongs to 1K sport bikes, usually I-4 designs. There is a world of difference.

A 750 Shadow is perfectly adequate for 2 up.....unless......

The two riders present a HEAVY load
or
You do a LOT or riding in the mountains
or
You think cruising on the interstates means 90 mph.

That is if you get one that hasn't been screwed up by an amateur "mechanic" who made changes that he really didn't understand.
Beware used bikes that are not stock......or very near to.

There are good cruisers in the 900-1100 range and I think you will find the insurance more affordable on a V-twin or an I-2.

I agree that a Ninja 500 is a good all purpose starter bike......except that it really isn't good for 2-up except around town.......and there is a lot of plastic body work.
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Old 02-20-2011, 11:15 AM   #10
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The America is the exact same motor. HOWEVER, you shouldn't be affraid to look outside your geographic location. If a dealer owns the bike you can ship most bikes coast to coast for under $400. Private party sales are much harder to do because you should inspect it before, but you have the idea. The Bonni Speedmaster is a nice ride, as well. I prefer the T100 and the Scrambler models the most. But you can find Bonni Black models for around $4k now.
I'll keep looking, none of the dealer websites for triumph had any used in stock. Havent been able to find much in classifieds either.
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