Hello, and a question(s)

Discussion in 'The Perfect Line and Other Riding Myths' started by Zedwardson, Apr 27, 2012.

  1. Zedwardson

    Zedwardson n00b

    Apr 26, 2012
    I know that I am sure you had the question before, in fact, I am sure I asked this question a few years ago on this forum.


    I am 32 year old, 5'11, heavyset (though loosing weight) man who decided he wants to buy a motorcycle. Though one of the few rules i have is that in my misspent youth, I got into debt, and while its not normal just to ignore it, I am now almost completely debt free and I am stashing over $250 a month into my "slush fund for fun", and anything to do with this I am going to refuse to go into debt, its going to be cash and ride.

    I have never ridden a motorcycle in my life, though I do know how to ride a peddle bike. I am the first to admit -- I know nothing, and I plan to zoom just locally for a summer prior to doing group rides or any big travels on the bike. I been reading all that I can while got my finances in order.

    Step one will be taking the MSF training class at the "Local" community college, which is a hour away. it is the closest class.

    After the class, I should have a better idea of what type of motorcycle I might want to get, but also, at that point, it will be time to buy the safety gear. I know I will be buying a full-face helmet, along with full body protection, (though don't know if I am going with something like a Olympia Stealth suit or a leather jacket and some sort of lower body protection more then jeans. Also don't know much about helmets except for what certifications to look for when buying one.

    Then comes the infamous question, which motorcycle should I be looking at first? I have asked around, but one thing I learned is that a lot of folks in person want to 1) Sell you there old motorcycle that they are trying to move, or 2) just crazy talk. I am not the most informed, but I know that a big Harley is NOT the best first bike for someone who never ridden.

    As a note on my riding area - I live in the high country of North Carolina (Ashe County), lets just say that highway performance is NA for this bike, as Ashe County roads are twisty and not overly high speed. I need a bike that you can turn safely, not one that can go 90+ on the freeway. Though I wouldn't mind going on the Blue Ridge Parkway for a nice ride.

    As I said, I am 5'11 (with kinda shortish legs, so might want to think of me as 5'9-5'10) and I am a big guy who been loosing weight (I would like to be 260, but I will be most likely 280 when I buy this bike) I have been looking at bikes at about 250-400cc.

    If I was to buy new (or almost new) then I would have stuff like a new Ninja 250, or the new Honda CBR250R. Great reviews, but I hate that "Rice burner" look. That, and I don't want to lean over for long rides, looking for more of a standard or cruiser sitting. Of course, if I was going by looks, it would be something like the tu250.

    But I am most likely going to be buying used, and I have not been looking at motorcycles long enough to know what would be a good used motorcycle. I am looking in the categories of Standards, Cruisers, and Dual Sports (If I am tall enough, as about 20% of the local roads are gravel roads. (Yes, I live in the sticks) I don't mind buying a older bike as long as I can get parts and its mostly reliable. Also the less expensive it is, faster I can get to the point of buying one.

    As for maintenance, I don't mind learning, but I want to learn to be a motorcycle rider, not a motorcycle mechanic. Also, I don't mind buying something that I might just sell later, as this is going to be a learner bike. (Of course, if it a bike that still a hoot to ride is a bonus.)

    So, what type of bikes should I look at?

    :dhorse <-- Sorry if this is beating a dead horse, as I am sure you heard this question a billion times.
  2. bobnoxious67

    bobnoxious67 Baby steps...

    Jun 21, 2008
    Harrisville, NH
    Suzuki DR650...a DL650 would probably work too, but would probably be easier to ride on gravel after you get some experience under your belt:deal
  3. perterra

    perterra -. --- .--. .

    Sep 6, 2010
    I would look at everything on 2 wheels until you get the class behind you. I would go sit on every bike in the dealership and look at every brand out there.

    Your gonna get a million people on here telling you that you need to buy what they have or want to have. But your asking a question no one can answer but you and you cant answer it until you understand the question.
  4. DAKEZ

    DAKEZ Long timer

    Mar 18, 2007
    Begin Op Zoom

    With one post? Who's fake n00b are you?
  5. Alton

    Alton Been here awhile

    Feb 21, 2008
    St. Louis, USA

    I recommend staying under 750cc, but even that isn't set in stone.
    Used is the way to go for your first bike. Much less depreciation if it just doesn't work out.
  6. Zedwardson

    Zedwardson n00b

    Apr 26, 2012
    I thought it was under Zedwardson, but it said I didn't exist, may have been ZSedwardson or Drgong. But I have not posted here in well over a year, and still have yet to get a bike. Decided Debt free > buying bike, and now that I am debt free, gonna get a bike.
  7. vortexau

    vortexau Outside the Pod-bay

    Feb 18, 2008
    Just off the Warrego, S.E. Queensland
    I Second* 'Used' because the FIRST bike is the one that'll fall over, and bung-up something.

    After the Riding Course . . . . learn how to pick-up motorcycle from prone position. And without any hesitation, if fuel starts to leak out.

    Be safe!
    *(The word Second is used in the context of commending author of other Post.)
  8. klaviator

    klaviator Long timer

    May 28, 2008
    Huntsville, AL
    Buy something relatively small, cheap and used. After riding it for a few months you'll have a better idea of what you want. Sport bike, cruiser, standard, dual sport or scooter, it doesn't matter. Just get something with two wheels and a motor and go ride.
  9. daveinva

    daveinva Been here awhile

    Oct 6, 2011
    Washington, D.C.
    Whaddya know! We're close to the same size and we like the same bikes :D.

    Go find a (couple) dealerships and sit on some bikes to see how they "fit." The Ninja and CBR look the part of sportbikes but they're really not, especially the Ninja-- the seating position is far closer to a standard than a sportbike, and are quite comfortable for a beginning rider. The CBR250 is also a great bike, Honda really scored well with the design.

    A good friend of mine was about your size and his first bike was a Ninja 500, he really enjoyed learning on it (FYI, don't let the 500 scare you, the Ninja 500 is a docile machine, NOT a Gixxer-- and in your case, perhaps one to consider for the "huskier" man).

    Don't discount the TU250, the TU250 isn't just a pretty face-- it's a great bike too, and far more comfortable for a guy of your stature than something like a Rebel, Virago or GZ250 (what they'll likely teach you on in the MSF). Plenty of fans of that bike here at ADV, it's not one you'll get bored with anytime soon.

    Other possibilities:
    TW200: I want one sooo bad. NOT a highway mile eater, but very confidence inspiring for a new rider, and you get to goof-off on dirt.
    XT250: A nice dual sport that's not as tall as others. Once you get comfortable to ride, taller bikes shouldn't bother you any longer, but this one is a friendly starter
    S40/Savage: Another great starter bike if you're in the cruiser market. 650cc but a thumper so it's docile. Also a great first bike for someone your stature, it's a nice "goldilocks" size.
    Scooter: Don't laugh... they're great fun and friendly to learn on, and you have scads of options there as well (Vespa, Kymco, Genuine, you name it-- just don't go Chinese and you're set).

    Good luck!
  10. Bill_Z

    Bill_Z Dude! chill,...

    Jun 24, 2009
    Crab Orchard, KY
    All that advice just about covers it. You already have your ducks in a row and some of them are already quacking, so you're in good shape for shopping around. Sit on 'em all until you find the one that feels right. I've had a dozen bike, not many by comparison to a lot of members here. I had a Harley and a Goldwing and many smaller bikes down to a 125 that I started on. They all have there purpose and I've enjoyed them all but I'm back to the Suzuki Vstrom DL650 and lovin' it. Small, easy to ride, cheap and lots of parts available as well as lots of advice and assistance. Some one else suggested staying under 750cc but I've found that 650cc fits my needs perfectly for general purpose riding.
  11. TheFitz

    TheFitz Adventurer

    Mar 31, 2012
    Fredericksburg, VA
    Good luck in your search. It sounds like you're on your way to starting off right!
  12. Strave19

    Strave19 n00b savant

    Mar 8, 2011
    I would think something like a TU250 would be perfect. Or a yamaha XT250, which is a fun, easy to ride bike that you can take anywhere.

    If you're at all interested in wrenching you could look for an older '70s early 80's KZ400, CL350, type of bike. You will likely not find one price well that doesn't need at least a little bit of work though...
  13. gastone

    gastone R.I.P. sweet Angus

    Aug 22, 2010
    Fredvegas, VA
    Buy something used that speaks to you. Ride it. When you're bored with it, or interested in something else, sell it and buy the new one. Rinse, repeat. There is no perfect bike, but there are a lot of good bikes out there. Do yourself a favor and ride/own as many of them as possible.
  14. mrbreeze

    mrbreeze Long timer

    Jan 13, 2007
    If you are concerned about how well the bike will handle on a twisty road, you should stay away from the cruisers. You turn a bike by pushing on the handlebar, so a little bit of a lean on to the handlebar is helpful in that regard.

    It sounds to me like a Suzuki DL650 would be just the ticket for you. Big enough to carry a big guy. Versatile enough to serve you for a long time. Handles a twisty road very well, and comfortable enough to take a long road trip on. They also get great gas mileage. Also they can be had with anti lock brakes.

    One mistake you don't want to make is to be too concerned about what other people may think of your ride. The only person who has to be happy with it is you. The anti rice burner crowd will not like a Japanese cruiser any better than any other Japanese bike. You're the only one paying for it, so it's only your opinion that matters..
  15. Conedodger

    Conedodger Wanna Ride

    Apr 12, 2011
    Upstate, NY
    Consider an older Honda Nighthawk. Nearly bullet proof, low maintenance, low entry cost, standard riding position.

  16. GutterTrash

    GutterTrash 8UP

    Jul 13, 2010
    with the possibility of dirt and gravel roads being hit up, i say the dl650, "weestrom" as stated, upright seating, big enough for a big guy, not overly powerful to get into trouble with. go's great in the twistie's and can go off road. will also zip on down the highway. it may be a little tall if you got short stumps, but lowering links can be had and found on the cheap usually

    klr650 another good all rounder, dont let the jokes steer you away form the bike,, they are great machines. do the doohickey mod and they're bulletproof. tall bike also, lower links needed

    dr650 would be nice, but you would have to dump funds into the suspension for your weight. i was 225 with my dr and that was pushing it.
  17. high dangler

    high dangler Been here awhile

    Aug 6, 2011
    although i have lifelong passion for motorcycles i tell everyone that asks me to stay away from them.
    They are not for everybody.
    Ive just known to many that got a bike on a whim and got dead or mangled.
    Sorry to be so blunt but its just the way I feel about it.
    If you do get one I wish you the best and hope you have many miles of smiles. You will make many new freinds just because of motorcycles.
  18. Kommando

    Kommando Long timer

    Nov 28, 2006
    In the sand
    Definitely take a course or several before you buy a bike. The BRC is highly recommended, then a dirt-rider course might be good too. You'll learn how to handle a bike when the ground isn't the most even and when traction isn't the greatest.

    After you get a bike, practice your drills in a safe place before venturing out on public roads. THIS is one reason I highly recommend a deal of a used dualsport as a first bike. You can even easily ride it around in a big open yard, if it's legal. They typically handle being dropped much better than streetbikes do too. You can learn to comfortably control a moto well in questionable traction conditions without having to conciously think about it. THEN you can throw traffic into the mix.

    Horsing around and exploring in dirt is FUN too, with less chance of losing your license from that than from screwing around on a public street.
  19. livo

    livo Been here awhile

    Mar 26, 2012
    West of Brisbane, Australia

    Yep, I'll second the XT250 as a great first/learner bike
    And I loooooove the TU250X... I reckon they look great and are quite comfy to sit on.

    Anyway, both bikes should be pretty reliable if looked after and have a pretty standard (upright) position, which is good for learning :)
  20. Bigolechalupa

    Bigolechalupa Been here awhile

    Sep 19, 2011
    Nova Scotia, CANADA
    ........... ' Kawasaki Ninja 500....thats what I used as my beginnier bike. Great and reliable machine!! You will find a ton of good used ones for a good price( because most people use them a year or two then move on).