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  #1  
Old 09-26-2002, 09:08 AM
astro astro is offline
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Best starter motorcycle for larger guy

I have never ridden a motorcycle but have always been intrigued by them. I was looking at motorcycles the other day at a local dealer and saw a 234cc 2002 Honda Rebel for $ 3200. which is just on the edge of being an affordable indulgence.

Now I'm a fairly large and strong person at a fairly fit 6' 3" and 240 lbs, but quite frankly some of these bigger 500-700 lb 1800cc cycles intimidate me (besides being a lot more expensive) . The rebel is not that big and looks like an affordable way to tool around. Is this a false economy and do I need to go bigger, or is this bike OK to start?
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  #2  
Old 09-26-2002, 01:36 PM
Bjorn240 Bjorn240 is offline
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At your size, you'll have no problem handling a first motorcycle up to 350 lbs, and 650cc, though you should probably stay away from the 600cc fourbanger sports bikes, as they are quite wide, and have narrow handlebars, which can inhibit newer riders in parking lot riding.

First off, $3200 is a high price for a Rebel. The Rebel has stayed the same since its original release in the mid-eighties, and is a very low-powered, stone simple bike. You could get a used one for 1/3 of that price. Additionally, at your weight, the Rebel will feel very underpowered, I'm afraid.

If you like that type of bike (cruiser), I would recommend a mid to late-nineties Honda Shadow VLX 600. It is a 583cc v-twin with attractive styling and low weight. A friend of mine just picked up a 1996 with 6,000 miles in perfect shape for $1700. The Yamaha XV535 from the mid-nineties is another option in this category.

If you're not particularly enamored with the cruiser styling, but like more standard bikes, I think you ought to check out the Suzuki SV650 v-twin, which is pretty light, and very narrow, which makes it easier to handle in low-speed chores like parking and backing up. It retails for $5699, but you ought to be able to find a lightly-used 2000 for under $4000. A similar, but lower-powered bike is the Suzuki GS 500.

You might also consider a dual-purpose bike, if these fit your style. I would have no fear sending a beginner out on a Kawasaki KLR650 or better yet a Suzuki DR-Z 400. Both of these bikes are suitable for riding on the street and little jaunts down dirt roads. The KLR can even be pressed into service as a touring bike, if you've got a desire for longer trips. Dual-sport bikes are also lovely to learn to ride on, because they have wide bars that make steering and low speed handling very easy, and have narrow profiles.

I think your idea of starting with a smaller bike is a good idea, generally, but a 250cc bike will be underpowered for you, which will make highway driving and longer rides a real drag. You'll be fine with a larger bike.

Do be sure to take an MSF Basic RiderCourse, and purchase proper protective gear, including real boots. Just post a reply if you want specific recommendations.

My brother is 20, and just learning to ride. He is 6'2" and 155lbs, and has no trouble riding my KTM Adventure, which weighs 340lbs (and has a 37" seat height!). He's taken the MSF Basic RiderCourse, but his experience prior to that was limited to a 50cc moped...

- Christian

KTM 640 Adventure
Honda CBR1000F
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  #3  
Old 09-26-2002, 02:46 PM
Nametag Nametag is offline
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I agree, the Rebel is a horrid little bike. I'm not terribly thrilled with any V-twin, actually, and if they still made any, I'd suggest a 600cc four-cylinder of the "standard" variety (I'm thinking of the old Yamaha Radian -- my first bike, and a great one).

Above all, though, take the MSF RiderCourse. Even if you never buy that motorcycle, the course will make you a better driver; if you do buy one, the course will keep you alive.
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  #4  
Old 09-26-2002, 03:09 PM
Spiny Norman Spiny Norman is offline
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Bjorn gives excellent advice - IOW, I agree completely. (Welcome to the board, btw!)

A small bike as a starter bike is a good idea, but a Rebel 250 is perhaps too much of a good thing.

I passed my Danish rider test on a Rebel and never really felt the need to ride one again. Nothing wrong with it for a starter bike per se, but I noticed its lack of power (and I weigh 140 pounds soaking wet). It will probably make seem slightly - ehm - gutless after a while, and the idea is to have a little fun, right ?

Besides, the value depreciation on a new bike is not something you want to get stuck with on your very first bike.

The standard advice: Buy a Japanese 2ndhand standard in the 600cc range for a starter bike. Personally I like the Bandit, the Sega II and I really, really like the SV650. Stay away from sportsbikes like the Suzuki GSX-R for the first bike - but you knew that.

I for one subscribe to the philosophy of starting on a standard bike and then branch out into sport, touring, cruiser etc., but if you like the cruiser look, I'll gladly second Bjorn's recommandations.

Take all the riding classes you can, wear proper gear, you know the rest.

Let us know what you decide, 'kay ?
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  #5  
Old 09-26-2002, 03:29 PM
bibliophage bibliophage is online now
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This is a matter of opinion, so I'll move this thread to IMHO.
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  #6  
Old 09-26-2002, 04:24 PM
casdave casdave is offline
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I think the Honda Nighthawk would be an excellent choice.

It is largish, being a 750, but its about as user friendly as it gets, the riding position is comfortable,it can go at a good clip but it won't get you into too much trouble.

Its the sort of bike that seems to help you out, its on your side, the clutch is light and smooth, the seat is low enough for paddling around with your feet, the engine is torquey enough to not have to worry much about getting the revs exactly right and you usually don't have to worry too much about being in the right gear.

With your weight it will hardly notice, the bike has been described as being rather bland, but its about as easy a machine to ride as it is possible to get.

The finish holds up well in bad weather conditions, the engine can take lots of neglect and is simple to maintain.

Oh and they're very cheap to buy secondhand.

Whatever you get, make sure you get engine protector bars fitted, you will get your money back the very first time you drop it.Its emabarrasing enough to have it fall over at amighty 5mph but having damaged engine casings, footpegs, exhausts, gear levers etc is just adding unnecessary insult to injury.
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  #7  
Old 09-26-2002, 05:51 PM
Anachronism Anachronism is offline
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Quote:
Originally posted by Spiny Norman


The standard advice: Buy a Japanese 2ndhand standard in the 600cc range for a starter bike. Personally I like the Bandit, the Sega II and I really, really like the SV650. Stay away from sportsbikes like the Suzuki GSX-R for the first bike - but you knew that.
It's Seca II, I have one and it is would make an excellent starter bike. The Bandit 600 is another excelent choice, the Nighthawk 750 is another good choice particularly because you are a big guy.

I would not buy a bike smaller than 500cc unless you never plan to go on the highway with it. Even on smaller roads I would feel much more comfortable on a bike with some power. Your best defense against idiots in cars is you can get away quick, with a very small bike you give up this advantage.
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  #8  
Old 09-26-2002, 10:20 PM
Labtrash Labtrash is offline
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I'd recommend the VT700 Shadow - not sure if they make a 700 anymore - mine was an '87
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  #9  
Old 09-26-2002, 11:03 PM
TVGuy TVGuy is offline
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Quote:
Originally posted by casdave
Whatever you get, make sure you get engine protector bars fitted, you will get your money back the very first time you drop it.Its emabarrasing enough to have it fall over at amighty 5mph but having damaged engine casings, footpegs, exhausts, gear levers etc is just adding unnecessary insult to injury.
I'll second the crash bars ... I managed to drop a 600 lb bike on my ankle back in May and the bars would have really helped - as it was, my leg saved the chrome. And I spent the summer on crutches.

That said, however, all of the advice given here so far is good. My opinion is that you should start riding on the biggest bike you can that doesn't scare you to death. IME, all you get from a "starter" bike is boredom in about three weeks (you'd be surprised at how quickly you become comfortable and then how quickly that little bike will feel like, well, a little bike) and then you have to learn a new bike all over again anyway.

And DEFINATELY take the MRC:RSS course from the MSF.

(oh, and I'm fine now, by the way, and riding daily on my Harley V-Rod.)
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  #10  
Old 09-26-2002, 11:41 PM
japatlgt japatlgt is offline
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The Rebel is too tiny. Its a ladies bike. For someone your size a 650 to 750cc would not be too big to start with. The other suggestions are good but I will add the Kawasaki Vulcan 750 or 800 to the list for you. Best of luck whatever your decision.
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  #11  
Old 09-26-2002, 11:49 PM
UncleBill UncleBill is offline
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Shadow VLX would be great for a beginner your size (another welcome to Bjorn240). Take the MSF Course. Let me say that another way. Take the MSF Course.

Enjoy.
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  #12  
Old 09-27-2002, 12:22 AM
t-keela t-keela is offline
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Bullshit Astro...if you're not a Harley fan that's cool!

riceburners...get you a 700 Suzuki Intruder..it's low profile, well balanced, and has plenty of punch for a 240lb. plus man. anything less would be a strain on the bike and it sounds like you got the muscle to handle it. Not that it takes alot of muscle...forget those damn racer bikes...get something comfortable that's got room for your SO.

I saw one the other day at a bike shop. Couple pf years old, looked f*^%#ing great, low miles and less than $4k.

Peace
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  #13  
Old 09-27-2002, 01:54 PM
Barbarian Barbarian is offline
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Hey astro,
You're exactly where I was several months ago. I'd been riding a 50cc scooter for a year (BW-- aka Zuma II in the US) before I took my lessons. I bought a bike in August.

First-- take lessons. Take extra lessons. I compared what's offered by the Canada Safety Council to the MSF, and the MSF is pitiful in comparison. I had the chance to do 16 hours of group riding on real streets-- and highways -- as part of my lessons before I went for my license. I was riding a Buell Blast (500 cc), a Suzuki 500, and a Yamaha Virago 250. All had good points, all had bad points... (especially the Blast, which has tremendous vibration).

Second-- don't buy a new bike. You'll almost certainly drop it. (My scoot was brand new, and it's been kicked over by an angry drunk, backed-up into by a person who decided to reverse instead of turning left, and blown over during a 100km windy day). If you do buy new, expect to see scuffs, scratches, and broken plastic bits.

Third-- when you buy used, you will be buying someone else's problems. Spend the money to have a good mechanic inspect the bike tip to tail to tell you about any problems. Skimping here means you'll be stranded on the side of a highway somewhere trying to figure out why the bike doesn't go anymore

I ended up buying a 1980 Suzuki GS 750L. Runs well (most of the time) but it's my disposable bike. I'll replace it with something decent next year-- after I've gotten very comfortable with maneuvering on the highway and in traffic, and never ever come close to crossing the line while making a right hand turn.
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  #14  
Old 06-28-2011, 01:58 PM
deland13 deland13 is offline
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im a big guy 6'3 350 i like bikes taking the course next month, and i want to know what kind of sport bike i may like, and what size, engine, etc. so i can make a informed pick
i want a 2000(yr) or so...

im new and want to learn. don't need to go fast but needs to go 80mph....went to a dealership and they steer me to hayabusa every time.

Last edited by deland13; 06-28-2011 at 01:59 PM..
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  #15  
Old 06-28-2011, 02:07 PM
Johnny L.A. Johnny L.A. is offline
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Originally Posted by deland13 View Post
im a big guy 6'3 350 i like bikes taking the course next month, and i want to know what kind of sport bike i may like...
I would advise against a sportbike -- at least for now. They may not be comfortable at your size, and they can be a little 'twitchy' (which is kind of the point). I would suggest a 750 cc standard-class Honda to start out with. Once you get some miles under your belt, you may want to look into a Yamaha FJR1300. It has a more upright riding position than a sportbike and will be more comfortable. I'll tell you: If I hadn't had my heart set on a YZF-R1, I would have gotten the FJR1300.
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  #16  
Old 06-28-2011, 02:32 PM
BobArrgh BobArrgh is offline
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Welcome to the SDMB, deland13. At your size, you might be interested in the Zombie 2002cc. It is amazing how time flies when you are on it.

I am 6'1", and weigh around 270. I like my Suzuki Boulevard C90, which is 1500cc.

Last edited by BobArrgh; 06-28-2011 at 02:33 PM..
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  #17  
Old 06-28-2011, 03:03 PM
emacknight emacknight is offline
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I haven't read the thread yet, but I also want to suggest the Honda Nighthawk. I bought an '83 with a 650 motor and found it was great starting out. Enough power that I can go on the highway and/or have a passenger, but not too heavy. Now my wife is riding it.

But more importantly, I suggest taking the motorcycle safety course. Not sure if this has already been said, but it's $160 and takes one week day night and then Saturday and Sunday morning. Other than being crazy fun, the course uses 250cc bikes like the Shadow, so you'll get a chance to spend about 16 hours riding around getting comfortable. Afterwards you'll find that you're ready for something in the 650-750 range.

That two advantages here are that you're less likely to die, and you won't have to turn around and buy a second bike once you get used to riding.
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  #18  
Old 06-28-2011, 04:28 PM
TriPolar TriPolar is offline
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Best <adjective> Motorcyle is always a Harley. Now if you take a test to get your license like driving figure 8s in a parking spot like I had to do in PA in 1974, then you want to take the test on a small bike.
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  #19  
Old 06-28-2011, 04:50 PM
emacknight emacknight is offline
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Originally Posted by TriPolar View Post
Best <adjective> Motorcyle is always a Harley. Now if you take a test to get your license like driving figure 8s in a parking spot like I had to do in PA in 1974, then you want to take the test on a small bike.
<adjective> == <second>
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Old 06-28-2011, 05:25 PM
Infovore Infovore is offline
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I've been riding since 1991, and I want to reiterate: don't pay attention to the CC size of the bike. You're easily tall and heavy enough to be able to handle a larger bike, and as a beginner IMO you should be looking at the types of bikes, not the sizes. I know of 1300 cc bikes that are gentle as kittens, and 600 cc bikes that would scare the crap out of you as a beginner. I once test rode two cruiser bikes of roughly the same size during a bike show when I'd only been riding for about a year--one of them scared me to death (it was a Kawasaki Vulcan 88, and the center of gravity was so high that the stupid thing kept wanting to keel over every time I tried to turn it), and one was completely unintimidating (a Harley Heritage Softail--I was scared to ride it because it was so heavy, but it handled like a breeze because it had a low center of gravity).

There are a lot of larger bikes that would be fine for you--for example, the BMW F650 is a sweet little bike. It's a dual-purpose (but not really--it's like 20% offroad, 80% road bike) that's a little taller than a standard, but it handles perfectly, gets good mileage, has decent but not great power, and it's versatile. And when you ride it, it totally doesn't feel like a large bike. (For BMWs, it actually isn't--it's, I believe, the smallest they make).
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  #21  
Old 06-28-2011, 06:30 PM
Bear_Nenno Bear_Nenno is offline
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My starter bike was a Buel 1125R. Go big or go home! You'll be fine.
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  #22  
Old 06-28-2011, 06:32 PM
Bear_Nenno Bear_Nenno is offline
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Ah shit.. Zombie got me. So did you ever get a bike, astro?
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  #23  
Old 06-28-2011, 06:35 PM
Johnny L.A. Johnny L.A. is offline
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Originally Posted by TriPolar View Post
Best <adjective> Motorcyle is always a Harley.
Negative.

I'll race you on my R1 any day.
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  #24  
Old 06-28-2011, 06:49 PM
TriPolar TriPolar is offline
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Harley owners don't race. They have nothing to prove.
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  #25  
Old 06-28-2011, 06:56 PM
Johnny L.A. Johnny L.A. is offline
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Originally Posted by TriPolar View Post
Harley owners... have nothing to prove.
That's because they have nothing.

For me, riding is about the visceral experience. I like a ride that can turn, accelerate, is quiet, doesn't shake, and doesn't have an unnatural seating position.
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  #26  
Old 06-28-2011, 07:02 PM
TriPolar TriPolar is offline
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Originally Posted by Johnny L.A. View Post
That's because they have nothing.

For me, riding is about the visceral experience. I like a ride that can turn, accelerate, is quiet, doesn't shake, and doesn't have an unnatural seating position.
I like all those things too. I've own four rice burners, from a little Honda CB 350, a Honda 750 I turned into a Cafe Racer, a Honda 500 4 cyl. I commuted on, and a Kawasaki dirt bike. Oh yeah, forgot about the Enduro I have now. All in all I'd still rather have a Harley. Then I'd be like all my friends and moaning about how I have no time to ride.
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  #27  
Old 06-28-2011, 07:13 PM
Johnny L.A. Johnny L.A. is offline
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Just messin' with you. Gotta keep up the rivalry!

Heck, I'd own a Harley. Just not as my only bike.
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  #28  
Old 06-28-2011, 07:56 PM
FordTaurusSHO94 FordTaurusSHO94 is offline
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A Harley is best at being a Harley. They all have their own strengths and weaknesses. If he wants a sport bike, a Harley won't work at all.
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  #29  
Old 06-28-2011, 08:18 PM
Robot Arm Robot Arm is online now
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I should bookmark this thread. I'm thinking of getting a motorcycle in the next year or so. I figure riding down the Pacific Coast Highway could be the next adventure on my list. A Triumph Sprint sounds nice from what I've been reading so far.
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  #30  
Old 06-28-2011, 09:06 PM
TriPolar TriPolar is offline
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Originally Posted by Johnny L.A. View Post
Just messin' with you. Gotta keep up the rivalry!

Heck, I'd own a Harley. Just not as my only bike.
S'okay, I can argue either side of this. Some arguments are timeless.
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  #31  
Old 06-28-2011, 09:10 PM
Johnny L.A. Johnny L.A. is offline
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I figure riding down the Pacific Coast Highway could be the next adventure on my list.
The bloody RVs won't go faster than 45.
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  #32  
Old 06-29-2011, 05:26 AM
Robot Arm Robot Arm is online now
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The bloody RVs won't go faster than 45.
Well, I don't imagine I'll be much of a hurry.
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