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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
During the fall of 2007 I took a basic riding course. I wanted to find out if I would like riding a motorcycle and if an old teen (age 61) could do it. I did pretty well in the course but there were some areas that I was weak in. Not a surprise for someone who had never been on a motor cycle before. So I took the course again 2 weeks later. I now am convinced that I want a bike.

The bike that they had us ride was a 250 Honda. I am thinking that maybe a used bike in the 500 to 750 category would make sense.

I am 6'0" 250 pounds, inseam 30"

Does this seem logical? Any suggestions? I have decided that I need to get a bike and mount up before April 27 so that I will still be 61 and not have really gotten old and moved to 62. lol. I live in northern Illinois and hopefully the snow, ice, and cold will be gone soon.


Also I need to get going as soon as possible so I can get a 1000 to 1500 miles loged on so I can move up to my second bike. When you start at 61 you do not have time to mess around.:) :cool:
 

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Super Duper Mod Man
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Well Poolboy, my suggestion is to start slow, learn lots and dno't be in a hurry to 'move up' to that second bike. as for a first bike, try to ride as many as you can get a test ride on. A used Kawasaki EX500 would make a good starter bike fo you in my opinion. Lot of other bikes that would make a good beginner bike too. I'm sure more suggestoins will be forthcoming.
 

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The Toad
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Do you have places where you can ride off road? You might consider a dual purpose bike like the Suzuki DRZ400. They are easy to ride and excellent learners. A bit weak if you do a lot of Interstate. In that case a 650 dual purpose bike like a SR650 or a KLR650 is a good choice. Dirt practice will give you confidence in handling the bike without worrying about Joe 6pack in his cage.

Be sure to get all the gear... helmet, armored Jacket, pants and sturdy boots.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Do you have places where you can ride off road? You might consider a dual purpose bike like the Suzuki DRZ400. They are easy to ride and excellent learners. A bit weak if you do a lot of Interstate. In that case a 650 dual purpose bike like a SR650 or a KLR650 is a good choice. Dirt practice will give you confidence in handling the bike without worrying about Joe 6pack in his cage.

Be sure to get all the gear... helmet, armored Jacket, pants and sturdy boots.
I had not thought of off the road riding, but I do have a place where I could do off the road riding. As for gear I knew about helmet, jacket, pants, and boots. One of the insturctors showed us his armored jacket--it was also water proof so would not have to lug along separate rain gear--. Liked the idea of the armored jacket it held up well for one of the instructors in his "not planned adventure with guard rail". He was sure and convinced me that he would have had a lot more serious injuries with out the protection of helmet and armored jacket& pants. Which fits into why I went to a school to learn how to ride instead of just picking up things from a friend.

Since I have been in the education field for 38 years I realize that sometimes those that are trained to teach and the training materials may have some valuable knowledge to pass along, especially to newbies. I also was hoping not to learn too many bad habits.:-D
 

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The Dual Purpose bikes are a great start. You can buy very good models from the mid 90s and up and never have to go over the $3000 mark. Otherwise, a great selection for used mid-sized cruiser would be a Suzuki C50 or a Kawasaki VN800. They are about the size of a Harley Fatboy in dimension (you'll be comfortable for your size). They have execllent reliability and you can find good 2002 and up models for less than $4500. So- pick the style you'd like and you're off.

BTW- we are a bunch of wise cracker's here. Cynicism and sarcasm along with wit and humor are main stays in this place- Welcome to the jungle.
Kirk
 

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KLR 650 is a great learning tool that you may have to buy a new friend for instead of letting it go for the new friend. I sold mine when I upgraded and still wish I hadnt. Whats better than one bike? More bikes! If your tall enough, pick up a dual sport then decide if you want to sell it when its upgrade time. Most Dual sports survive being dropped with little to no damage (thats dropped, not crashed) and you can go almost anywhere, learning in less dangerous surroundings. They are great for the quick fishing / camping trip or just farting around town. The added height comes in handy in traffic and the wide bars and light front end make handling almost telepathic.

For gear start out with the Joe rocket stuff as its cheap and works quite well. If riding is definitely for you, buy a two piece Aerostich Roadcrafter and never look back.

When people complain about the price of good gear, I always tell them to price a skin graft. Puts things in perspective right there.
 

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Oh and a full face helmet, bugs hurt at freeway speeds and pavement even more... Well unless your a Mr. Macho and didnt like your jaw line much anyway.

When buying a lid wear it around the shop for at least 15 minutes. It should be snug causing a little chipmunk cheek but not making you pucker. If you shake your head, the helmet shouldnt. If it gives you a headache, try another one. Different brands fit different heads, try many. If its is DOT and or Snell approved they all protect about the same, money goes up for light weight, venting and higher quality lining materials.

I tell everyone the same thing;

No matter what season, dress for the "FALL"

Hope to wave to you soon...
 

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Do yourself a huge favor and get David Hough's books on Proficient Motorcycling and MOST IMPORTANT his Street Strategies. This one is a must for someone who is a real newbie. You can get killed or worst(paralized) from no fault of yours. You have got to be aware of the many REALLY STUPID auto drivers who "see you but don't see you". Also the other post is very, very true; Dress for the crash and not the ride. A beanie helmet is for bean heads. I am 70 years old, but have been riding (not continuously) for 35 years. Been knocker out, cracked a rib, a other stuff (motocross racing); if it were not for the full coverage helmet, I may well not be typing this note now.
Just my $0.02.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
The Dual Purpose bikes are a great start. You can buy very good models from the mid 90s and up and never have to go over the $3000 mark. Otherwise, a great selection for used mid-sized cruiser would be a Suzuki C50 or a Kawasaki VN800. They are about the size of a Harley Fatboy in dimension (you'll be comfortable for your size). They have execllent reliability and you can find good 2002 and up models for less than $4500. So- pick the style you'd like and you're off.

BTW- we are a bunch of wise cracker's here. Cynicism and sarcasm along with wit and humor are main stays in this place- Welcome to the jungle.
Kirk
You mean to say that when someone told me I should, as a beginner, look for a motorcycle with a pull rope starter that possibly he was pulling my leg. lol
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
I also appreciate the knuckle head.....which I know is a kind of engine besides being his way of thinkiing. As a person dealing with the public for 40 years I meet some knuckle heads and sorry to say they were not a kind of engine. My step dad had an Indian and it did not have 2 legs but had 2 wheels. Too bad he sold it long before I was around.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
KLR 650 is a great learning tool that you may have to buy a new friend for instead of letting it go for the new friend. I sold mine when I upgraded and still wish I hadnt. Whats better than one bike? More bikes! If your tall enough, pick up a dual sport then decide if you want to sell it when its upgrade time. Most Dual sports survive being dropped with little to no damage (thats dropped, not crashed) and you can go almost anywhere, learning in less dangerous surroundings. They are great for the quick fishing / camping trip or just farting around town. The added height comes in handy in traffic and the wide bars and light front end make handling almost telepathic.

For gear start out with the Joe rocket stuff as its cheap and works quite well. If riding is definitely for you, buy a two piece Aerostich Roadcrafter and never look back.

When people complain about the price of good gear, I always tell them to price a skin graft. Puts things in perspective right there.
Riding gear can be very hot on hot days, but I would think not as "hot" as road rash can be.
 

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Riding gear can be very hot on hot days, but I would think not as "hot" as road rash can be.
For the summer months invest in Textile or Mesh gear. They have great air-flow and unless you're sitting still for hours baking in the sun you'll be fine.

My Joe Rocket Jacket and Pants work fine for this. In the fall or spring a good Textile jacket and armoured jeans (Icon, Draggin Jean, Tour Master and a few others) sell quality denim for just @ $100.
 

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Check newenough.com real quick, I think they were giving away mesh jacket a couple of days ago.
 

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One thing to note while being able to ride off road a bit is nice DP's don't usually have any wind protection (fairing) Which if your going over 55 for very long can be very annoying.

The main thing you get with a DP bike you don't get with a bike like the EX500 is much more suspension travel for rougher roads. If it's a smooth dirt road (like a well maintained fire road) just about any bike can off road on it fine knobby tires can help but actualy slicks aren't as bad as you'd think.

I'd recommend the EX500.
 

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One thing to note while being able to ride off road a bit is nice DP's don't usually have any wind protection (fairing) Which if your going over 55 for very long can be very annoying.

The main thing you get with a DP bike you don't get with a bike like the EX500 is much more suspension travel for rougher roads. If it's a smooth dirt road (like a well maintained fire road) just about any bike can off road on it fine knobby tires can help but actualy slicks aren't as bad as you'd think.

I'd recommend the EX500.
Just a little interjection here, The small windscreen on the KLR 650 is very impressive for its size. I'm 6'6" and going back and forth between my BMW K12RS and the old KLR wasnt much different on the freeway. Granted the loud handle was VERY different between the two... Though if your going street only the EX500 is a very very good first choice. Either one can be had used very reasonable. And you can buy aftermarket windshields for either. Though the touring shields Ive seen on a KLR looks rediculous.

Ah another negative about Dual sports on the freeway is with the wide bars you may shimmy down the freeway. Having your arms out wide tends to catch a little wind and with the leverage of the wide bars causes a little unwanted input. Didnt bother me but my riding buddies found it funny to watch my tires squirm side to side an inch or so as we were rolling down the slab. That and passing grunt is limited on a thumper. Lastly strong crosswinds will get your attention on any bike, but a Dual sport you will notice twice as bad. Big front hoop and high center of gravity makes cross winds interesting at freeway speeds.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
riding before you buy

I can understand why they do not want to. But it is too bad that you can not get a chance, at least I do not think you can, but then again I am very new and have certainly not checked all the shops around me, to try different bikes and bike styles before you settle on buy one.

Like you can do with cars. Now I know the chances of dumping a car is (hopefully) not as big of a chance as with a bike but how are you to know how a style of bike rides and then how a particular bike rides.

I have only ridden the Honda 250 nighthawk and Honda 250 Rebel. So I can figure out how a bigger engine Honda might feel, but how am I know how a dirty bike for example or any of the other bikes mentioned in here feels and rides.

Even 3K is a lot for me to spend and then find out that I do not like or can not ride the bike.

Makes it difficult to get into the sport.

But then a few months ago I had no experiences at all so I am farther ahead than I was then.
 

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The used Ninja 500 is the way to go. If you have money burning a hole in your pocket and can keep your wrist from twisting the throttle all the way back, then look for a used (2005 or 2006 model) Kawasaki Z750S. You can even buy one of these bikes and not have to move up to a second bike. Of course, if you're a cruiser kind of guy then that last sentence wouldn't apply to you.
 

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I can understand why they do not want to. But it is too bad that you can not get a chance, at least I do not think you can, but then again I am very new and have certainly not checked all the shops around me, to try different bikes and bike styles before you settle on buy one.

Like you can do with cars. Now I know the chances of dumping a car is (hopefully) not as big of a chance as with a bike but how are you to know how a style of bike rides and then how a particular bike rides.

I have only ridden the Honda 250 nighthawk and Honda 250 Rebel. So I can figure out how a bigger engine Honda might feel, but how am I know how a dirty bike for example or any of the other bikes mentioned in here feels and rides.

Even 3K is a lot for me to spend and then find out that I do not like or can not ride the bike.

Makes it difficult to get into the sport.

But then a few months ago I had no experiences at all so I am farther ahead than I was then.
I know it makes since as a consumer to want to ride before you buy. And I know, as a former F&I mgr, that getting a person to ride before the buy helps the sale. The problem is motorcycle dealers don't have an outlet for insuring consumers while test riding. So, outside of your Euro import dealers- which by the way break those rules all the time for the sale- high volume multi-line dealers tend to not offer the ride because they are simply too scared to let the average joe take their bikes out. Law suits kill it for all of us. Some squid somewhere wads up a bike on a test ride and the next thing you know the shop is closing its doors because of the suit. There you have it. I suggest you buy your first bike as cheap as possible. Try to stick to the DP bikes because they are so versatile for your first ride. The Honda and Suzuki are much more off-road oriented than the KLR is, but the KLR has a parts supply that is second to none. They also resale better and have good on road manners. If you can find an early 90's BMWr100gs you will be very happy with the price, road manners, parts availability and reliability in general. Kind of like cheating the fine line of a road bike but having the ability to run fire roads without hesitation. Good luck.
 

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Haven't looked for one lately, have you? LOL.
Love the White Jesus- everyone should get one.
I found a 89 GS on craigslist the other day for $2100. Looked good from the pics- so you never know.
 
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