I saw one of these up close at a local shop. It's a nice looking bike and it's good to hear the 250 has some grunt to it.
Problem is that for a woman that is 5'4" and 110lbs, it's a bit wide and a bit heavy to start with if the individual has no previous experience. The Virago is still slimmer and lighter which allowed her to be able to build confidence more quickly.
She still had problems picking up the virago when she dropped it and there is no way she would have been able to lift another hundred and something pounds.
Will she grow out of the virago quicker than the Venox? From the sound of it, most likely. But I think if we would have gone with the Venox there would have been a longer learning curve as here confidence would have been shakier in the beginning.
Do they start Air Force pilots out on ultralights?
No. And a properly trained rider, even a smaller woman, should be taught how to handle and pick up a 400 pound machine. I've seen smaller women right much larger bikes, so it can be done, if the method is learned.
Nobody should be purchasing and riding any motorcycle, scooter or moped with "no previous experience."
I started on a 500cc inline 4. I think bikes like the one in this review are for the overly timid who are not sure if they really want to do this thing. If you are sure you are going to be a biker bypass this step and look at 500 to 650 cc bikes. These smaller bikes will be outgrown in about 3 months.
Go larger and just take it slower than you actually want to until you have about 4 months experience.
Your new bike will keep you happy for about 2 years.
Impressive, but I would go with EX250. A MOTORCYCLIST wouldn't "outgrow" the little Ninja. My start was in 1980 (36 yrs. young) on a GN400-cheap and basic, FUN. Self taught. Soon realized straightaways were mostly boring, freeway ramps were IT. Also, was tired of my '69 Cuda 383S, actually commuted on the little thumper (rain, snow, icy-learned how to RIDE). Hello sport riding. Had a ball grinding rubber off the fat footpegs, then the little power/speed bugs began to bite. Flat slide carb and supertrapp made a big difference but...mid 80's: Seca 400 (WERA Novice) Seca 650. '94 FZR 1000. '05 R6 (at 61 yrs. old). Bought my significant other a Ninja 250 in'96- I loved it: felt like a racer making it sing. And now I come full circle-am putting together another GN400 from two junkers. Personally don't care for the cruiser style, but the Chinese bike doesn't look bad, just not my cuppa, but a viable deal.
For me it wasn't the very first bike. But it was the first time back on two wheels since I was a teenager, some (cough) years ago. Since I didn't want to break the bank on a bike to ease me back into the feel of biking, I found an older-but-in-great-shape Honda 650 Nighthawk. Looks really great for a 20-year-old (the bike, not me), and it was garage kept, so clean and not faded. Enough power to get me up to highway speeds, but light enough and easy to balance so I could get my bike legs under me again. After about three months of riding, I'm feeling much more confident and am already looking ahead for next year when I will want something just a bit heavier for the comfort level of a longer ride.
I'd buy a bike from Red Neck Confederate before buying a bike from the Chinese, or Koreans for that matter. A little issue of employee wages and dumping policies of those countries. As we lose our economic strength from out sourcing everything to everybody, regardless of environmental or worker quality issues, we set ourselves up to be the fat queen bee of the world. I love the bikes and all but there is a cost for saving money. Heard anyone complain about a good-paying, easy to find job lately? At least you can buy cheap crap at Walmart. Enjoy. I think my next bike will be a Buell Ulysses. Yes, they too outsource, but at least there is significant domestic content. And that Blast makes a pretty damn good starter bike.
Re: Do they start Air Force pilots out on ultralights?
"Nobody should be purchasing and riding any motorcycle, scooter or moped with "no previous experience.""
--Well, I figured it would be easier than renting every weekend. We spent the first month in a school parking lot going over the basics of pushing the bike around, getting comfortable shifting, turning, braking and everything else I could remember when I took the MSF. Than I had here on small neighborhood roads for a few weeks. And let me clear it up by saying she has ridden dirt bikes before but it was some years ago. Also, here in PA in order to take the safety course you need to sign up months in advance. The earliest we could get was late September (which she is signed up for).
"I've seen smaller women right much larger bikes,"
--So have I. In fact the woman we bought the Virago off of was at least 2 inches shorter. She road an 1100 virago, but she started out on a Rebel and the Virago 250.
"And a properly trained rider, even a smaller woman, should be taught how to handle and pick up a 400 pound machine."
--I agree. But she felt very worried about being able to handle a heavier bike. She was able to lift a few but they also provided a wider stance which made her feel less confident about being able to push it around. I felt the 250 was capable enough since we have mostly back roads around us and highway use isnt a factor. Top speed would only reach 70 on these roads if you REALLY wanted/needed to. And that is at least 25mph over posted. So I rationalized it as; Sure I could force here to buy something she isnt initially comfortable with and make the learning process more difficult for her, or we keep it within her perceived comfort level and make the process easier for her while still providing a bike that is capable of handling the road well.
I didnt mean to make it sound like I was criticizing the Venox. Its a very cool looking bike that seems to be well built, especially since it is more of a beginner bike.
I got my wife a Savage 650 for her first bike - she took the MSF at the prime young age of 52 - and her only complaint was that it was "too light" when we got it out on the highway, so a year later it was a Shadow Spirit 750. That said, I TRIED to get her into a standard both times. I really do think that a standard gives you better control (you can actually put weight on the pegs!) and a new rider needs to learn that but they (the new riders, especially, in my experience, the short, female ones) put way too much emphasis on low seat height.
My first bike was actually a Triumph Tiger Cub in 1966, and after a modest 37 year layoff from riding I bought a new Yamaha v-star 1100 at the age of 57. I bought new because I felt I didn't know enough about bikes to make a good choice of a used bike. I liked the bike, except for the seat, which killed me after about 45 minutes. I was looking at new seats, windshield, bags, etc., but before I sunk a lot of money into that ride I went to the bike show and looked at other bikes. I had pretty much decided on a naked bike like a Yamaha fz6, when I was given the opportunity to trade some work for a 97 Valkyrie with 1650 miles on it. That is what I have now, with about 10,000 miles on it. It took all last year to get used to that beast, but now I really like the thing. When I bought the Yamaha I talked to a lot of very experienced riders, and the advice I got that turned out to be the most accurate, at least for me, was to not get any cruiser under 1000 cc because I would get bored with it very quickly. They were right. Next year I want to pick up a used vfr interceptor and see how I like that. I rode one once and really liked it.
By the way, after I had about 2,000 miles on the Yamaha I managed to get into the basic riders class and found it very helpfull and fun as well. I did put about 4,500 miles on the Yamaha before I sold it. Because I wrangled a good deal when I bought the bike, about all I lost on the sale was the tax.
I'm a bit old for a sport bike (60) , but I'm still looking at other bikes, like the aformentioned vfr. The only drawback to the valk is the weight when trying to pad around in a parking lot.
Any suggestions for a next ride, maybe when my new Avons wear out?
Re: Do they start Air Force pilots out on ultralights?
We actually have a few of the Venox bikes in our MSF class. They are OK for people with some experience but I never put someone on one that has not ridden at least a little before. For the open road I'm sure they are fun to ride, but for slow speed training they would be much better with a larger sprocket to gear them down a little for beginners.
All in all though I would have to say that I like them. I'm just waiting for the day when someone finally drops one and breaks of that huge ignition key though!
GLAD you're reviewing and recommending bikes like that to newbies, and taking them seriously as motorcycles so hopefully they will too. That would be a GOOD thing.
I started out on a '73 Honda CL100S (the one factory-limited to 5hp for pre-DL teens, but everybody did a simple carb mod so it would open all the way to a whopping 9 or 10). Went from there to a 400, 650, 750, 1000, 1200 etc and now have a Triumph Rocket III 2300cc. Yes, there are actually complete *newbies* you run into in the Rocket forums who bought as their FIRST bike a behemoth of 704lb dry weight producing more torque than some pickup trucks the instant you dial it off idle.
And there is actually *debate* over WHY accident stats in the 40+ age group are going up!?
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