I’m a little over 6’2" and approx 230-240 lbs. What’s the cheapest decent motorcycle ride available if I just want to see how I like motorcycles. I’m not looking for a highway cruiser or a road rocket at this point. Do motorcycle dealers ever put the entry level models on sale?
What you are looking for used to be known as a “standard” or UJM (Universal Japanese Motorcyle) They are thin on the ground. Among the bes “all around” motorcycles, OK for everything, not the best for anything, are so called “Dual sport” bikes:
The following come in ~650cc sizes:
BMW F-650 (several variants) some more street, some more dirt oriented.
I’m a long limbed 6’-5" and while I’d like a little more room, all of the above were not horrible ergonomically. They are light enough that a guy your size won’t have any issues.
Not a dual sport, but the Suzuki SV-650 is an excellent little bike. But maybe you are to tall.
Some of these come stock with knobby tires. I wouldn’t advise a beginner to ride knobs on the pavement…the feel does not inspire confidence. Set up with street tires, dual sport bikes are about as close as you can come to an old “standard”. They also have a minimum of body work to get broken if (when) you mess up.
Also, you can save a lot of money buying used, but take a friend who knows bikes so you don’t get burned. The downside is that such friends tend to inject thier own prejudices regarding styling, brand loyalty, etc.
If you’re still undecided as to whether you’re interested in riding, I’d strongly recommend getting a used bike. You can often find a well-loved cruiser or standard, from the 80’s or 90’s, for the $1000-$2000 range. A couple bonuses with an early model like this;
- They’re very easy to mainain, because they’re mechanically much simpler than new bikes.
- If you decide it’s not for you, you can conceivably sell it for what you paid, sometimes more, if you find the right buyer. This is something that’s not really doable with a new bike, which loses value as soon as you drive it off the lot, same as a car.
Now, for my opinion on bikes, I’m personally partial to Honda;
Newer CB900F; your feet are not out in front of you, like a cruiser – they’re under you, to better absorb bumps. The handlebars, OTOH, are taller than sportbike bars, for a much more upright and natural seating position, which is more comfortable for novice riders. At about 95hp, it’s definitely enough bike to pull a rider of your stature, and much more.
If you’re more partial to the cruiser look, but would like decent power, you might want to try and find a Magna 750. It’s a cruiser-style bike, but with a V-4 engine, for better power than an equivalent V-twin like a Shadow 750. Now, these bikes have a more feet-forward seating position, but not so far forward as other cruisers I’ve tried.
All this having been said, one of the most highly recommended ways to see if you like riding would be to take a motorcycle safety course. You get the basic foundations needed for safe riding, they usually have bikes there for the students to learn on (no need to buy a bike to try it), and if you decide it’s not for you, you’re not out anywhere near as much dough, and you can just walk away from it. (you don’t have a bike to try and sell)
(Good Lord, I miss having a bike!!)
I bought a People 150cc scooter a couple of months ago. I’m 5’9" 220 and I find that 150cc is plenty enough for around town and I can get it up to 60 MPH if needed (though it get’s scary on the highway beig buffeted by passing trucks).
I think the frame would be too small for you, as it is just right for me and my small feet. In any case, you could look at even relatively small small bikes even at your large size.
Scooters are easier to learn as they don’t require shifting, but I think I may upgrade to a motorcycle next year.
Do you prefer sport bikes or cruisers? I don’t know anything about cruisers, but if you’re thinking sportbike/standard bike, you can probably get a Ninja 500 fairly cheap. The seating is more upright than a crotch rocket and it’s easy to handle. I wouldn’t recommend a 150cc scooter for a big man. Lack of acceleration and ability to keep up with traffic around you would be annoying and not safe.
And certainly don’t start with a BMW or Ducati… just my opinion.
Did you take the Motorcycle Safety Foundation class?