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Nuthin' too it, just remember, one down, four up and turn the loud handle till blue lights start to flash....



Seriously, Harleys are on the spendy side, if I were you I'd get a GS500 Suzuki or some other standard style bike to learn on, then move up when you have a little practice.



Ready for the best peice of advice you'll get? buy and wear good quality riding gear including a full face helmet, good boots and gloves. Practice braking every chance you get and remember, you're doing it for fun, take your time and learn the trade.
 

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height? weight? personality? i.e. speedracer type. hop along, or "look at me" type.

I have a sportster as my all around ride. great starter bike

buy a cruiser until you find your niche' . honda spirit, or any of the midsize ones.

 

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I'm not really a big Harley fan, but if that's what floats your boat, I'd say go for the Sportster. They are probably the best bike for a newby, and after a few years under your belt, you will know exactly what you want the next time. I imagine you know that the first year or so is the most perilous for a new rider; at first because they don't know where the hazards might come from, and then because they think they have seen it all. The best advice I can give any new rider is to just assume you are invisible; sometimes a driver will look right at you and not see you. Always have an escape route in mind. And you never, ever drive a motorcycle. You ride it. Good Luck.
 

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Welcome to this mode of transport... you'll find it enjoyable.



Some advice:

This assumes you want to ride a bike for the long term. I guess there are three elements of riding a bike

1. Choosing a bike

2. Learning to ride

3. Looking after your bike.



Get as much advice as you can, eg reading websites, buying a book(s) that covers the above three elements. It is important to become a student: learn, study, apply, relearn etc.



My 2cents on these points:

1. Forget the HD, wait until you'r sure of what u want, why u want it and that you'r sure u wont drop it very often. Suzuki GX, GS models are reliable (but not perfect). Spend money on the saftey gear and get into the habbit of using it (ie get some good habbits from the start :))

2.learn to ride slowly - very slowly. Learn to control this beast at slow speed. Learn about traction-how to improve it and deplete it, steering methods (eg counter steering), braking (eg when to use which brake), how to corner roads with different radius of curvature. Learn to ride 1 up b4 u learn how to ride with others and also 2 up.

3. Get a bike thats old enough to be in good condition, and that you can learn to change fluids, plugs, filters etc... Get into the habbit on going thru the same routine of looking over your bike on a weekly basis...



Here's mine - hopefully others will give theirs.

I use the mnemonic TCLOCK (read in a great english riding book years ago)



T: tyres - pressure, tread, pads

C: cables (eg clutch), controls (full and free, rubbed etc), hoses

L: lights, electrics, terminals

O: oils(includes fork)/fluids/petrol - levels and leaks

C: chain(tight-lose-worn sprockets)/chassis

K: kick stand and anything else..



have fun and enjoy :) - its a cool life style!!



 

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Find somebody to borrow a dirt bike from and go learn to ride in the dirt first. In the dirt you can learn to deal with a little slippin' and slidin'. That's the place to master bike control, before you have to worry about traffic.



Buy a cheap bike (Suzuki GS500 or Kawasaki EX500 for under $2000) and go to some track schools. Practice braking - you can lock the front wheel for 3/4sec without falling down.



Then, if you still want an underpowered, poor handling, underbraked, and overpriced bike, go ahead and buy that Harley.
 

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If your dead set on a Harley, I say get the 883 Sportster. I know most people will say that is underpowered or girly but that is crazy talk. Go anywhere else in the world and that is a monstrously HUGE bike, not very beginner friendly but the best out of Harley's range for e beginner (not counting the Buell Blast).



Seriously though I would get a used dirt cheap small standard and some good riding gear and ride that for 1 year. You will have a blast on it even though it is not a big expensive harley and WHEN you drop it you wont feel as bad as when you drop that big expensive Harley, then scrape the hell out of it trying to pick it up.



My first bike was a beautiful new Triumph Thunderbird Sport with about 900cc. It was a 500+ pound monster. It wore me out, I dropped it twice requiring expensive Triumph replacement parts, and I rode poorly on it, even after acing my MSF class. After a couple years I sold it and got a Suzuki SV650 and it was like heaven, it did not have half the style and character of the Triumph, but it weighed half as much (or at least felt like it) was soooo much easier to ride and I rode MUCH better because I was more confident. I now ride a BMW F650 which is like a low seat, detuned SV650 with ABS brakes and better wind protection (an old man's bike in many people's mind), but it is my favorite bike by far. It rips along great a speeds under 100mph and with the low center of gravity handles like a MUCH smaller bike, plus it has wonderful BMW touches like heated grips, accessory sockets for GPS or heated vest, ABS brakes, and low maintenance belt drive (like harley). Being a BMW it gets as many looks from people, probably more so since their bikes are fugley weird, but non-bikers always come up saying how cool they think it looks. I want to get a Derbi GP1 250cc race scooter or a Suzuki DR400SM as a second bike because I have come to realize I have a lot more fun wringing out and blasting through the street on a small bike than I do using only 1/4 of the bike's potential trying not to kill myself.



I say start small, you might not ever want to leave small. And your wife and insurance will thank you for being sane.
 

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Shane:



I'm going to be the curmudgeonly voice of reason here for a minute, because I hear some serious red flags in your plan (or is that "see"?) Anyway, you're new to the world of motor-sickles, you're thinkin' here's your chance. We're about the same age, and it's never too early for a mid-life crisis. Harley dealerships make 75% of their money off mid-life crises! Harley folks tend to be a different breed (although I AM aware many folks here own other bikes and Harleys), and personally I don't get it. These bikes are RIDICULOUSLY overpriced for what they are. Terrible engine deisgn, underpowered, bad handling. All show, no go. Ergos terrible for actually riding safely. But, I digress. My whole point actually is not related to the choice of motorcycle, it's to this whole decision in the first place.



You have an SUV now. You want to save on gas. This seems like a bright idea. However, the hard-commuters like myself tend to be a pretty rare breed. You have to be ten times as careful, and extremely experienced. Most folks roll out of bed brain dead, throw on clothes, drink coffee half asleep on the way to work. YOU CAN'T DO THIS ON A BIKE.



Why am I yelling?! It's just that I'm not sure you've thought this through all the way. Motorcycling is a lot of fun, and can be a cool hobby that can even grow into a lifestyle. but I would be careful planning the lifestyle before you have experienced the hobby.



As a commuter, let me tell you:



1. Cagers in rush hour suck.

2. Rain sucks.

3. Winter sucks.

4. Carrying lots of stuff sucks.

5. Expensive gear sucks, but saves your butt.

6. Flat tires and maintenance suck.

7. Mechanics who take their sweet time fixing your bike because they think it's your leisure toy suck.



So, I would urge you to think carefully about this. If you have sold your wife on this idea as "gas savings," you'd better stop before she gets wise, because it ain't that cost-effective. Bike maintenance costs a fortune if you don't do it yourself, too. And if you sell the SUV (I sure wouldn't, unless you do #1 below), you may find yourself miserable in a couple of months.



I agree with others that a standard is a much better choice, but then again, I ride a standard and don't understand Harleys at all, except that lots of older dudes in the suburbs trying to relive childhood seem to buy them (*flame suit on*). not that all of them are this way, but lord almighty, I sure see a lot of Harleys for sale with 300 miles on 'em after the crisis wears off and reality sets in.



My advice?



1. Sell evil SUV if not absolutely necessary, like for hauling pianos, enormous boxes, and such. Buy fuel-efficient car for half the money.

2. Use other half to buy nice 500-750 standard with all the gear, suit, helmet, gloves, etc.



Take your time.
 

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the sportster is a great bike for a new rider.

ride it stock for awhile and then if you get the 883 have it jetted. It seems like everyone who starts on a sporty eventually moves on but almost all wish they had kept the bike. Keep in mind that this site is slanted against Harley. Read everything you can about safety. There is a science to this and if you approach it from a safety perspective first you will develope skills that can carry you thru a lifetime of safe and fun riding eventually on the spirited side.
 

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Lots of good advice above. Hint: Sarnali gave the best....



So I'll just add this: the best bike for you will always be the one you really like.



And if I wuz you, I'd hold off on a big bike for a season or two until you have some miles under your belt.
 

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I hope you like stopping for gas. (Warning: Math ahead with mucho assumptions made!) If you're spending $90 for gas every week, that's 30 gallons at $3/gallon. If your SUV gets 15 mpg, that's 450 miles = 90 miles per day. If you get the Custom Sportster, you get the "big" tank and can fill up every other day -- if you get the standard, then you get the peanut tank and will fill up daily. This will get old VERY quickly. So get the Custom.



With the miles you plan on doing (over 20K per year if you park the SUV), you really ought to expand your choices. There are better "mile-eater" bikes out there than a Sportster. Just setting up the Sportster for proper communting (windshield, bags, seat(s), throttle lock, crash bar, highway pegs, etc.) will be big $$$.



If I were you, I'd figure out what my requirements were and THEN pick a bike. How many miles will you travel a day (highway/city)? What are the roads like? What's the winter like where you live? How much stuff do you have to carry to work? How much weight can you really handle as a novice (answer: not much)? How high can the seat be? Picking a bike and then forcing requirements on it doesn't often result in bliss.
 

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I really wouldn't start out on a new bike, especially one as heavy as even a sportster. People drop bikes, newbies drop more often. If you are set on Harley I would recommend find a buell blast to ride for a year. They are made for learning. Light weight, low seat, and most importantly supposedly indestructable. Harley used to have a program where if you bought a blast in a year you could get full price of the bike new in trade-in value when you bought a harley. I don't know if they still do that are not, but you might ask a few dealers.
 

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HDshane get the bike that floats your boat, take some classes, and be careful. Chances are you will do just fine. The Sporty is a decent bike that can grow with you as you get better, or want to change the type of riding you want to do. The trouble will come when you think that you have become the bike's master. Then the bike will bite you on the ass until you show respect again. I also wonder how a guy that wants a Harley is only 29. Everyone here on MO says that Harley only appeals to old baby boomers, and Harley is out of touch with what younger guys want. Maybe HDshane aged prematurely, and is gray and has a ponytail.
 

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Forty one years of riding here.Sixty years old and still love riding through New England country side.That said,I would recommend the Sportster 1200R model.I owned one-04.

Great all around enjoyment.

Presently spend my time on a FXDX Sport and ST2 Ducati.Both a little too much for a new rider.Not because of speed,just not slow enough.
 

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Welcome. . . .



Ride what you can pick up if it falls over!



Ride as though the cage driver is going to do something stupid. . . .because he or she will!!



When you ride, wave at every bike rider since we all belong to the same institution!!!



Ride safe, ride long.
 

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If you're 29 and have your heart set on a Harley you're most likely going to buy one. From my experience I find the sporty a bit top heavy; but plenty of bike. How far do you ride to and from work? You might want to find a used glide or low boy, although I don't know if you can get them for 10k. Honda, Kawi, Suz & Yami have entry level cruisers for 10k and less; but all your buddies will know it's not a Harley. Most however won't. So if you want a bike to look good on the street go for the Harley. If you want a bike for comfort and miles get something else.

What do you really want the bike for? If you want to put on a lot of miles and be comfortable try a smaller bike with better all around capabilities. there are many out there.

You're still probably going to get a Harley so ride a few first. Dealers have demo rides. You might want to take a friend along who has some motorcycling experience.
 

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"It is important to become a student: learn, study, apply, relearn etc."



Best summary of advice for a newbie I've seen. The learning never ends and is part of enjoying the journey. Great advice.

 

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Don't try and fool yourself or anyone else with the idea that you are going to buy a bike to save money on commuting. After the cost of the bike comes the riding gear, then come the chrome bits (you are talking Harley after all). Then comes insurance. Then come the repair bills because you dropped the new , heavy bike and you couldn't ride it with scratches and dings. Then comes the hideously expensive dealer maintenance, then comes the second bike because you didn't listen to the people who told you to buy a small older bike to learn on and you realised that while the Harley looked great it wasn't really the commuter-mobile you thought it was. etc; etc; etc. The budget of ~ $10,000.00 just went to ~$20,000.00+ (seriously it will!!!) Before you even put a drop of gas in the new HD tank you have blown about 4 years worth of SUV fuel.



Learn to ride first. Then make sure you have fun on a bike. Sometimes the lifestyle that is force-fed to us is not all that it is cracked up to be in reality.



I went through motorcycle training with a young woman who had all the right gear - wild helmet, full leathers gloves, boots, etc. She had ridden on the back of her boyfriends sport bike a couple of times and was just about to close the deal on a new R6. She was a sport bike rider through and through. By noon of the second day - this was a 4 day course - she had quit and lost her deposit on the new bike. She like being a passenger - absolutely hated, hated, hated actually riding a bike.
 

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Sportsters

I demo'd a 1200 Sportster and loved it. I ride a 97' Electragide Classic and have a Buell Ulysses on order that I'll get towards the end of November. Anyway, the 1200 is a very nice bike and personally I'm partial to midmount controls because I like the ability to stand up on the pegs for more control when needed. That is from my old trail bike days back in the 60's and 70's. Don't let anybody tell you that you should get a HondaYamahaSuzukiKawabungi bike instead of a Sportster. Harleys are great bikes and very reliable. Go for it and have a blast.
 
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