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Thread: 1st time rider - opinions on bikes

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    Default 1st time rider - opinions on bikes

    My daughter (30 years old, 5'5") got her M1 license yesterday (graduated licensing - M1 is first level) and will be taking the training class in May (pass training and gets M2). She asked me about a 2018 Suzuki GSX250R and thought I'd get feedback from members on this bike.

    She has ridden with me (on Virago and Venture) and has been passenger on a Ducati. She won't get a bike until after the training.

    So....thoughts on :
    - GSX250R - good bike? Other options like the Honda CBR300 ? Comparison?
    - is a 250cc twin a good option or would she be needing something bigger as she gains experience?

    Found this : https://www.cycleworld.com/which-sma...ou-buy-in-2018

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    Default Re: 1st time rider - opinions on bikes

    A lot has to do with her intended use of the bike.
    If there will be highway driving, a 250 may be a bit small. It is just barely enough power to keep up with traffic and has nothing left in reserve to power away from a bad situation. The light weight will make it more prone to wind gusts coming off the front of big vehicles.

    If all or most of her riding will just be putting around town then the 250 should be fine. Around here most of the places that do beginner MC training use 400s. A 400 will be a lot safer on the highways and still light enough for a small person to handle.

    As far as which bike would be best make or model for her to start on, It has been way to long since I rode a non touring bike to even know what is out there.
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    Default Re: 1st time rider - opinions on bikes

    If she was looking at a cruiser I would have suggested a VStar 650. I agree with your thinking that a small bike wouldn't be good on a highway and that is the same reason I would have suggested a VStar 650. I'm not familiar with riding a sport bike so I can't offer her a lot in the way of experience there. A 400 or 500 would be good I would think in a sport bike. I don't want her to get something so small that she wants to upgrade in a year when she could handle a slightly bigger bike that would last her for years.

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    Default Re: 1st time rider - opinions on bikes

    Agree with a lot of what Flyinfool said.
    I held a UK m/c license for years before coming to Canada, after coming here as I hadn't ridden for a number of years I took a training course in 2012 & took the full BC m/c licence road test.
    The course used 250cc Yamaha cruiser style bikes. The owner said they used cruiser style bikes as they were "more difficult to ride well" than the off-road style bikes that most of the other schools used.
    I just found the 250's felt way too small & insecure for me (6ft & 200lbs) The school also had VStar 650 & 1100 Yamaha cruisers that felt much better. But the 650 Yam felt a bit cramped for me.
    Before taking my test & so that I could get some daily practice in I bought a Kawasaki Vulcan 900cc & was totally delighted with it. Heavier, felt more stable on the highway & in winds, also Ok for riding two up.
    Years later I also bought my Royal Star Tour Deluxe. A much heavier bike (& TOp heavy too) Now that initially "heavy" Vulcan feels like a toy when I ride it, I guess my techniques have improved too. It's all about familiarity.
    I have to say that when I was looking, many folks recommended a 650cc bike as an absolute minimum.
    I was astounded, because when I was a young guy 650's were seen as absolute monsters! (eg Triumph, BSA etc) Shows how things have changed. I would add that 650cc cruiser style bikes have a completely different power delivery 650 sport type bikes. I would definitely go along with the recommendations I was given back in 2012 & would make similar ones for your daughter, but I think she's leaning more towards "sport bikes" from the models you quoted.
    In our riding group there are a LOT of lady riders, many own 650's fewer have 900's &1100's but they all love what they have. There were a couple of young ladies riding Suzuki & Kawasaki 350 & 400cc sport bikes too. But completely different riding style to the cruisers.
    Tell her to try some out, see what feels right for her. A bike that's good for one rider may not suit another.
    Good luck to her! Hope my ramblings help.
    Last edited by Kretz; 04-23-2019 at 01:43 PM.
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    Default Re: 1st time rider - opinions on bikes

    Well, if she is like the rest of us, the first bike will quickly become a second bike. So I would look for a good used bike to put a couple thousand miles on and then decide.

    If she has already ridden bigger bikes, a 250 will be too small too soon. At 5'5", being able to flat foot the bike will be crucial to enjoying motorcycles for years.

    So, I would look for a bike she can flat foot, and has abs brakes, and not worry too much about displacement. Belt or shaft final drive would be nice.

    (I just did a search - "motorcycle 28 inch seat height, abs". There are a lot of great bikes in all styles with short seat height and abs brakes in a wide range of new prices. My favorites were the new Triumph Bobber and the Moto Guzzi V7 III. Even the Harley SuperLow 1200T might be just the thing unless she has a reason to prefer a sport bike. I'll leave to others to point to a sport bike style.)
    Last edited by tz89; 04-23-2019 at 06:12 PM.

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    Default Re: 1st time rider - opinions on bikes

    Hi XV1100SE
    I rode years ago street and dirt and at 50 I am currently going thru a graduated License in NB, I picked up a 500 virago to get back in the saddle so to speak, and now have a venture. I have friends with multiple bikes so I am able to take out other bikes to try and gain experience.

    Not sure if your GL system in ONT is the same as NB but while on the GL you can drive any bike; there is no CC restrictions. I would go to every test ride event put on by your dealers and have her try different models.

    I agree with Fyingfool 250 cc is quite small and light even for just City travelling. My 500 is small for me at 5'10".

    The course provider will see how she does on the generic bikes (we had 125 Gromes) but had available some 350cc sportbikes and Honda rebels cant remember what cc. In the End the instructors are looking at safety first , then rider comfort this included alot of low speed maneuvering to promote balance and clutch/throttle control. Comfort in the means of leaning in corners panic stops etc.

    At 30 years old she at least has driving experience with a car because the next issue is cost of insurance for a new rider. there are many Insurance companies that will not insure new riders or will not take into account total driving experience. I was quoted $1200 for PL/PD for the 84 virago 500 by an insurance agent like this, went to another Ins agent that did and got ins for $350.

    Good luck and happy motoring
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    Default Re: 1st time rider - opinions on bikes

    At 73 years of age and riding since 1959, I loved my early rides. Had two Cushmans, one a turtleback and the other an eagle from a Shriner. Then a 250 Honda and then another Honda 305 CL-77. Road that from Omaha to Denver and back, top speed 60 mph. But I was young and alive. She will go through multiple bikes before settling on the ONE.

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    Default Re: 1st time rider - opinions on bikes

    Don, great advice from the others.
    Ultimately she needs to sit on the different bikes to make sure she finds one that is comfortable and she feels confident with her footing.
    Of course looks I'm sure will also be a big factor for her, like they are for most of us.
    I would suggest as she narrows her choices down to call her insurance and see the price difference for the different bikes. I have heard from some new riders how much more expensive their insurance is for a sport bike. Always good to know before a purchase is made so that price can be budgeted for.

    All the best to her. An exciting chapter about to open up to her.

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    Default Re: 1st time rider - opinions on bikes

    VStar 650.

    Next up would be the VStar 950T. She could fit on that one too, but it's heavier. Doable.

    Highly recommend them.
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    Default Re: 1st time rider - opinions on bikes

    Quote Originally Posted by Sylvester View Post
    At 73 years of age and riding since 1959, I loved my early rides. Had two Cushmans, one a turtleback and the other an eagle from a Shriner. Then a 250 Honda and then another Honda 305 CL-77. Road that from Omaha to Denver and back, top speed 60 mph. But I was young and alive. She will go through multiple bikes before settling on the ONE.

    Don't want to hijack the thread but that CL-77 is one bike that I have never owned and have always wanted. It was one of my favorite bikes. I've had a couple of CL350s and a SL350 but always drooled over the 305 Scrambler. They have gotten very expensive now.

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    Default Re: 1st time rider - opinions on bikes

    My feeling is she won't put many miles on a 250. Either she'll decide she doesn't want to ride or she'll upgrade it in short order. I see several problems with bikes under 650CC:
    • They're so light you can manhandle them around. Can interfere with developing good technique.
    • They're so light they beat the rider up if traveling any distance.
    • They can't keep up.


    You got good advice that she needs to have a bike that fits her. I'd suggest she try bikes 650cc and up. If she's interested in sport bikes I'd stay under 1000cc. If they aren't too big for her size I wouldn't cap the displacement on a cruiser. No tourers yer.
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    Default Re: 1st time rider - opinions on bikes

    Check out the Yammy SR400. It's a classic.

    Sent from my LM-V405 using Tapatalk

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    Default Re: 1st time rider - opinions on bikes

    Quote Originally Posted by Karaboo View Post
    Check out the Yammy SR400. It's a classic.
    Lots of instant street cred kick starting your bike. Easy if she is willing because of all the modern improvements on that bike.

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    Default Re: 1st time rider - opinions on bikes

    The 750 Virago is also a great trainer with a low seat.
    Faded Blue is the fastest.

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    Default Re: 1st time rider - opinions on bikes

    The way I think is that it can't be too small for a first bike, the smaller the better. But, buy a used bike, one that she won't lose a lot of money on when she decides to move up in size. My first bike was a CB350 Honda with a rated 36hp and weight of about 325lbs. The engine was actually a 325cc engine and at the rear wheels was probably about the same hp as the Suzuki. It was a great starter bike and I learned how to ride on it. Then I moved up to a CB750.
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