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Old 01-06-2013, 08:16 AM   #16
DAKEZ
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To add to what others have suggested...

Have her ride a Triumph Street Triple. It may be harder to find one and may be a little over your stated budget but it would be worth it IMO.
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Old 01-06-2013, 08:46 AM   #17
tommu56
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If you are looking for dual sport TW200 or XT250.
Starting out big is tough let her get some time on a bike she can handle easily.

My wife rides the TW and daughter is on the XT (the wife is too short for the xt)
they will do every thing fine and they both have picked them up them selves after a mishap.

Now my wife is lookin for another bike unfortunately its is a Softtail Slim (but whatever floats her boat) but she says she isn't getting rid of the TW.

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Old 01-06-2013, 08:54 AM   #18
BlueLghtning
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The most important thing to remember is this lady is learning to ride and this is her first bike, hopefully not her last. Riding is not natural to most people and developing the muscle memory and skills to be a good rider is a challenge for some. Why make things more difficult than they need to be.

There's probably rarely anyone that failed at learning to ride because they began on too small of a bike. There's a reason in almost every other country, riders are started on small bikes to learn. On the other hand, there are plenty of new riders that gave up or just never became good riders because they started on a bike that was too big and too powerful, and they just never got it. Boyfriends & husbands have a lot to do with this issue too making the wrong choice of starter bike for their lady. It sounds like the XR100 has been very positive so far, but that's probably just around the yard. Once she's on the street, she's got a whole new world to deal with. Keep it as easy as you can for her.

Now at 5'8", she has the height advantage on her side that many ladies don't have, but with that said, that doesn't instantly make her able to handle a larger bike. She just might not drop it as much since she has longer legs to catch it, but she'll still struggle just the same with newbie mistakes everyone makes. The real question is do you want her making these mistakes on a small docile easy to handle bike, or something more powerful and larger that can get away from her and get her discouraged or even hurt.

I actually think the Ninja 250 is a great learning bike. It has 2 very distinct personalities. Keep the RPM's under 6k and its very mellow and easy to ride and is so forgiving at even some of the most stupid mistakes new riders can make. Start revving it up near 10-12k+ RPM's and it actually moves out pretty well. Ridden aggressively, the Ninja 250 is actually a fairly quick bike. I'm 6'4", 250lbs and I did a 2500 mile trip on a Ninja 250, plus lots of around town riding. And just to debunk any myths, the Ninja 250 is easily capable of maintaining 80mph on the interstate with full size man on it. I think my wife and I have owned 5-6 Ninja 250's through the years because they are always so much fun to ride, and we enjoy stepping down to them to play on them. We have one in the garage right now that we are rebuilding as a project bike.

One of the things I like about a Ninja 250 is that because its so docile with low RPM's, once a new rider becomes comfortable with it, they can slowly start learning to ride it more aggressively and slowly build up what its like to "push" a bike a bit more and build those skills. Some riders never learn that starting on larger bikes and end up being very "timid riders" for years because they are too scared to actually get into the power of the bike.

Now, with her height ,the EX500 or GS500 might not be bad choices either if she'd rather have something with a little bit more power than the 250's, but not enough to be overwhelming. These bikes are a bit heavier, but her extra height should help her there.

However, I very strongly disagree that the SV650, Ninja 650 or any 600cc 4 cylinder sport bikes make good starting bikes. They are just too easy to screw up on when new riders make mistakes and they are learning, so they are going to make mistakes. The 650's make excellent 2nd bikes once someone becomes proficient with the basics, but not 1st bikes.

I've helped and seen a lot of ladies learn how to ride and the ones that usually do better are those that started small and learned the basics without being intimidated, and in the long run, they became better riders faster and developed a better set of skills to help them. Once they are comfortable on a small bike, every bike after that seems like a breeze to them.

Remember the most important thing again. She is learning to ride and I'm sure you want her to succeed. A small bike is not going to hold her back, but a big bike might.
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Old 01-06-2013, 09:09 AM   #19
DAKEZ
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BlueLghtning View Post

However, I very strongly disagree that the SV650, Ninja 650 or any 600cc 4 cylinder sport bikes make good starting bikes. They are just too easy to screw up on when new riders make mistakes and they are learning, so they are going to make mistakes.
This tells me you have never ridden an SV650 or a Ninja 650 (both of which have only 2 cylinders)

I agree about the 600cc 4 cylinder sport bikes.

The SV650, Ninja 650 and a Triumph Street Triple all have very polite power delivery that a new rider would be able to easily get along with. Also, the geometry and ergonomics of the bikes are also good for a new rider as they all have an upright comfortable riding position.

This is not to discount the Ninja 250 in any way as they too are fine bikes. One can generally pick up a pre-owned one learn to ride and sell it for the same price they payed for it making it a Free starter bike. (provided it is not dropped)
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Old 01-06-2013, 09:39 AM   #20
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Seriously consider the Buell




Internet pic, but its a great bike for women due to the low seat, torque and light weight.
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Old 01-06-2013, 09:43 AM   #21
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My wife started on an EX500 and very quickly "outgrew" it. Power was not a problem, but the generally lousy suspension and wobbly handling didnt fly once she got comfortable riding. The bike was sprung for someone about 73lbs I think. We got her a FZ6R which she loves. Heck I like it a lot too...
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Old 01-06-2013, 10:04 AM   #22
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I would first concentrate on a bike that is light and can be easily flat footed. I started on a Rebel (not suggesting one here), but those bikes take care of a few things that you have to pay more attention to on a taller, heavier bike. I just bought a Vstrom so now I really have to pay attention in slow maneuvers, coming to stops, stuff that I wouldn't want to worry about as much as a new rider. If the Rebel starts to go over it is very easy to push back up, the Vstrom not so much.

After the rebel I bought a xt250, really fun on a twistie road. I've found it's the rebel version of a dual sport, except no freeways!

I've never ridden a Ninja 250, but have heard a lot of good things.
I'm sure she'll have a much better idea of what she wants after taking the MSF course. I pictured myself buying a Sportster until I took the course! Then I did a search on best first bikes on the net afterwards....
Good luck in her search for her first, going to ride it for quite awhile, bike!
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Old 01-06-2013, 10:24 AM   #23
BlueLghtning
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DAKEZ View Post
This tells me you have never ridden an SV650 or a Ninja 650 (both of which have only 2 cylinders)

I agree about the 600cc 4 cylinder sport bikes.

The SV650, Ninja 650 and a Triumph Street Triple all have very polite power delivery that a new rider would be able to easily get along with. Also, the geometry and ergonomics of the bikes are also good for a new rider as they all have an upright comfortable riding position.

This is not to discount the Ninja 250 in any way as they too are fine bikes. One can generally pick up a pre-owned one learn to ride and sell it for the same price they payed for it making it a Free starter bike. (provided it is not dropped)
Actually, I've owned both and am well aware they are 2 cylinder bikes. My 4 cylinder comment was meant towards the 600cc bikes. I put over 30k on an SV650S and my wife owned a Ninja 650R she put 18k on, so yes I've spent lots of time on both. I have also ridden the Street Triple. Fun bike also.

Yes, the SV650 & Ninja 650 are relatively calm bikes when you compare them to SS600's or other similar sized 4 cylinder bikes, however, a newbie mistake of ham fisting the throttle on a 650 bike can still lead to bad things and let's face it, when you compare them to the Ninja 250/500, GS500, there's still a lot of potential to screw up on them. Can people start on them; sure but I'm always willing to bet, they learn better on a smaller bike, that was my point of my long post.

You ever seen someone that had no business being on an SV650 or Ninja 650R? I have and it can be scary especially for the hubby/boyfriend watching their significant other struggle or put themselves in danger.

My biggest issue with threads like this is why take the chance of your significant other failing or getting badly hurt at something you probably want them to succeed at so much. What do you have to gain at starting them on a bike that might be too big? Yes, they might make it and do fine or they might fail, but I don't see the point in taking the risk. If you think starting them on a larger bike just so they don't have to upgrade so soon is worth the risk, maybe they shouldn't be riding? Even if they only spend 3-6 months on a 250, that's that much more time they have under their belt learning the basics and like you said, 250's can usually be picked up cheap, ridden, and sold for the same price if you don't damage them more.

I absolutely love that my wife and I share a passion to ride and I hope many couples can find that too if both parties want to ride, but do everything you can to help them succeed and the payoff will be priceless!
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Old 01-06-2013, 11:15 AM   #24
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reasons

what I dont like about the 250 is the light weight and under power. She took all of about 30 seconds to pick up the xr 100. and was pushing after an hour. she is not a weak girl so she would be able to handle a slightly bigger bike physically, and seat height is not an issue her legs are longer than mine, I'm 5'11". Some of you are saying the 250 actually has some power. this kind of discredited your view for me. the bike makes 22hp the xr 100 make 9hp. my 1990 kx125 makes 39hp I have spent a small amount of time on ninja 250 it is painfully slow. and im a little worried she will develop bad habbits with it. Seeing as you can rev the bike to 10,000rpm and drop the clutch and its fine. So while I dont want her to end up on her back with the bike gone if she drops the clutch I also dont want to get used to thinking its ok.
So to have the opinion that the 250 is the right bike is great, but to say it has any power is just plain ridiculous.
to everyone else I really appreciate the advice and I'm leaning way toward the ex500 or gs500 good smooth power enough to need to respect it but not enough to scare her.
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Old 01-06-2013, 11:25 AM   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by steveyak View Post
Im also trying to get away from the 250 partially because I feel it is the scariest bike I have ever ridden, just for the fact that it really cant get out of the way with a full sized person on it. I put about 25 miles on one and was scared when I had to pull out into traffic. 22hp doesnt take you very far very fast.
Umm... not trying to be a dick here, but if you have trouble riding an EX250 in traffic, either:

a) the bike had mechanical issues,
b) you are 300+ lbs, or
c) you need more practice in traffic

The current model EX250 is rated 32hp at the crank (the 80s-90s model allegedly made 37hp), which gives a similar power-to-weight ratio to a KLR650. I've put a fair number of miles on a friend's EX250, and I regularly ride my KLR in Los Angeles freeway traffic. While it wouldn't be my first choice for a long-distance bike, the EX250 has no problem getting out of its own way below 75mph. I'm 6'3", was 230lb at the time, and had no problem riding my friend's Ninjette at 6000' on I-25 (posted 75). You do have to rev the piss out of it, but it has a 14krpm redline FFS. The CBR250 (FI single) makes similar power but needs less revving.

Carbed 250 singles are another story not addressed here; some of those actually are a little scary at 70... Don't ask me about riding a CBR125 on the highway either. That was... interesting.

Quote:
Originally Posted by BlueLghtning View Post
Yes, the SV650 & Ninja 650 are relatively calm bikes when you compare them to SS600's or other similar sized 4 cylinder bikes, however, a newbie mistake of ham fisting the throttle on a 650 bike can still lead to bad things and let's face it, when you compare them to the Ninja 250/500, GS500, there's still a lot of potential to screw up on them. Can people start on them; sure but I'm always willing to bet, they learn better on a smaller bike, that was my point of my long post.

...

What do you have to gain at starting them on a bike that might be too big? Yes, they might make it and do fine or they might fail, but I don't see the point in taking the risk. If you think starting them on a larger bike just so they don't have to upgrade so soon is worth the risk, maybe they shouldn't be riding? Even if they only spend 3-6 months on a 250, that's that much more time they have under their belt learning the basics and like you said, 250's can usually be picked up cheap, ridden, and sold for the same price if you don't damage them more.
^ what this guy said. The only thing you stand to lose from starting on a 250 and outgrowing it in 6 months is the time it takes to go shopping again; once they're a couple years old, none of the 250 'sport' bikes or dualsports lose value at all. You stand to gain a better understanding of riding technique from not worrying about the effects of 65hp on your head. Sure, the SV's a lot more forgiving than a GSXR, but it still does 0-60 faster than all but the most exotic of sports cars. That's not something a new rider needs to worry about.

Plus, after the new rider outgrows her 250, she can still ride it while searching for the perfect second bike rather than having to settle for something she only sat on and/or trusted someone else to check out. Maybe she will want an SV650, but maybe she'll decide she's a cruiser chick or an ADVer and get a Vulcan or a V-Strom. You can't really know what you want in a bike until you actually know how to ride it for yourself. I love KLRs, but that doesn't mean that every new rider I meet will even be able to tolerate one, let alone enjoy it.

tl;dr: 250s cost almost nothing to own, so get one. Especially now while it's cold.
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Old 01-06-2013, 11:32 AM   #26
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Originally Posted by BlueLghtning View Post
You ever seen someone that had no business being on an SV650 or Ninja 650R? I have and it can be scary especially for the hubby/boyfriend watching their significant other struggle or put themselves in danger.
I have seen people that were physically too small to ride them... But going by what was posted by the OP that does not seem to apply here.
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Old 01-06-2013, 11:33 AM   #27
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Originally Posted by steveyak View Post
She is definitely not your average woman.
Well, I like her already...lol

As for the bike.. SV 650 hands down. Its comfortable, affordable, good on gas, insurance is much less than the 250 since its a "street bike" and not a "sport bike". They made a bagillion of them so when she drops it parts are cheap off Ebay. They are not sensitive when it comes to brakes, handling, throttle, or clutch so they make it easier to learn how to ride on the street.


If you really wanna play it safe, she can get the Ninja 250 and ride it for 6months then move on to the SV or similar bike.

BTW: I have done track days on a Ninja 250, they are anything but slow, just have to keep them wrapped up and in the right gear. In fact once I am done with school I am getting another one just for a track bike.
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Old 01-06-2013, 11:51 AM   #28
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in reply to not being a dick, yes not looking for a pissing match. I can handle traffic pretty well and enjoy my triple at the track. I do except that on the track holding your 250 wide open it may be fun. but when you look in your mirror and see a truck screaming up behind you talking on his cell phone you dont simply roll the throttle and forget it. you have to look for a side exit.I'm not putting them down, it may very well be the right bike.
But yes if I get on a big and drop 120 hp from what I'm used to it does seem PAINFULLY under powered to me. And yes I am 200 lbs.
She will be doing some minigp days here. We have a track in nj that also runs mini gp track days fun for kids, beginners, or experience guys who really feel like pushing it 50cc-125cc.

Ok again thanks for the advice guys, hopefully we can except some differnce in opinions, this is why I asked for some others.
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Old 01-06-2013, 11:52 AM   #29
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ins

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jnich77 View Post
Well, I like her already...lol

As for the bike.. SV 650 hands down. Its comfortable, affordable, good on gas, insurance is much less than the 250 since its a "street bike" and not a "sport bike". They made a bagillion of them so when she drops it parts are cheap off Ebay. They are not sensitive when it comes to brakes, handling, throttle, or clutch so they make it easier to learn how to ride on the street.


If you really wanna play it safe, she can get the Ninja 250 and ride it for 6months then move on to the SV or similar bike.

BTW: I have done track days on a Ninja 250, they are anything but slow, just have to keep them wrapped up and in the right gear. In fact once I am done with school I am getting another one just for a track bike.
Good point about ins.
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Old 01-06-2013, 12:08 PM   #30
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I had an '08 SV 650N as my first bike with no riding experience beforehand. I didn't think it was bad to learn on for a beginner, and since she has some experience already riding a bike, she should have a shorter learning curve than I did. I did hit a deer on it, just 1000mi into ownership. Experience wouldn't have prevented that though.

I would recommend it as a good bike. I miss mine.
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