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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm 60 years old, 5'8", around 190 with a 30" inseam. I'm getting back into riding after 25 years away. I'm gonna take the msf course before I go looking for a bike. I'm a cruiser-kind of of guy, and would like something I can ride comfortably on the highway, but also something I can put my feet flat on the ground at a stoplight. I drove a 750 Suzuki before and was kinda looking around that size (used, of course). Any advice on what to start with, and what might be comfortable?
 

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Snuggles
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Barring any back or knee problems your height should not limit you all that much. 5'8" really isn't short, especially for cruisers. I would say you could probably fit flat footed on 90 percent of the cruisers out there. Unless of course you have extremely short legs, or lost your shins during WWII (gold star for anyone getting that reference).

My wife is 5'4" and she can fit on most cruisers. The main problem she has, apart from the weight of the bike, is how wide the saddle is as it pushes your legs out further which may make it uncomfortable when putting you feet down. You are 4 inches taller than her so it should be far less of an issue, but you might notice it on a few models. The Kawasaki 2000 instantly comes to mind, but if you buy that as your first bike every forum member on here will probably beat you with their keyboards (not an appropriate first bike).
 

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The Vulcan 2000 is a nice bike, but being a used bike kind of guy I'd go 2002-2005 Yamaha Roadstar or Kawasaki Vulcan 1600. Bet you spend less than $6500 on either. But then again I ride a 21yo bike, so if you're a new bike guy keep the oddities in sight- MotoGuzzi California models come to mind or a Ducati Sport GT (go test one- it will be worth it) or if you're a short trip guy look at the new Yamaha Raider.

Now, be ready because the peanut gallery will be chiming in any moment ;-)
 

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One thing that should be mentioned is that although 5'8" will enable him to flat-foot just about any cruiser style bike (I am 5'7" and so I know!), being able to reach the ground is NOT the only element of how one fits on a bike. You need to be able to reach the foot controls and the handlebar, too. More than that, you need to be able to turn the bars from lock to lock without stretching.

I've known some women who bought bikes that they "fit" on when they were not moving. They could flat-foot and they could grab the bars. But on the road, they struggled because the reach to the bars was too far, and they couldn't turn the bike.
 

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Aging Cafe` Racer
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If you want a decent bike buy a Sportster or Triumph Bonneville or Speedmaster, they're low, Have plenty of power look cool as hell and don't weigh 3.5 tons like most Japanese cruisers. The Speedmaster in particular is a totally cool bike.
 

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I have a 30in inseam and can find the ground just fine on the VN2000. I just hope the guy doesn't do the sheep thing and follow the crowd. There are great bikes out there that people don't keep on their radar. The Guzzi is one example. But the Triumph America is a fantastic ride and the Ducati I mentioned before is equally tasteful. I like the big twins, but for me it's about character.
 

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I'm not a cruiser rider, so don't know how those giant cruisers are for new riders, but I'd guess crap is the answer (I'm talking about the 1.5-2.0 liter twin cruisers). Sarnali might have hit on the right set of bikes if you have to have a cruiser. Otherwise maybe find a Honda Nighthawk or something along those lines. Sachi's gotta good point too. All these good points, must be why my membership's comin' up.
 

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I'm a life member of the Guzzi club, and I love those bikes! I used to have a California III -- a lovely ride even though it was (ultimately) not quite the right bike for me. Even a "big" Guzzi is going to be relatively light and nimble compared to the Japanese cruisers or big Harleys.
 

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Why not one of the 800cc and below sized Japanese cruisers from a few years ago? A quick perusal of Craigslist in my area shows a bunch of pretty late model examples for sale at well under $4k.
 

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The Toad
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I second the Bonneville Speedmaster/America idea. Cruisers with low weight and better power/weight than any of the middleweight cruisers and most of the big ones. They even handle like standards. Also not as common as fruit flies. And performance upgrades that actually work. What's not to like?
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
I looked on the web at the Triumph models...I am (sadly) unable to tell the difference between the speedmaster and america models. I also looked online at bikes around that size, and feel that the Kawasaki Vulcan 900 custom looks good - and got what seems to be a decent review on this website. Any thoughts?
 

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MODERATOR X
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..Don't need no short people 'round heah...
 

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The Toad
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I'm not much of a cruiser person, though I do own one - an old Honda 700 Magna. But I own 5 bikes right now and the cruiser doesn't get much use. If I were looking for a middleweight cruiser I'd get the Triumph for the reasons I've stated. There are a millions of V-twins around and they all look the same. At least the Trumpet is a bit different.

But you should get the one that YOU like. Some Triumph dealers give test rides. If you buy used you automatically get a test ride from the seller. Buying used is the best way to go 'cause you might decide you don't like a particular bike. You can resell a used bike without losing much, or any, money. I'd only buy new if I were certain about what I wanted.

What am I saying? I never buy new. Only bought 3 new bikes out of about 3 dozen over the last 40 years.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
"The American Republic will endure until the day Congress discovers that it can bribe the public with the public's money. You got that, ladies? " And what's been in the news lately...but a 'bribe' they call a tax rebate? I was actually considering touring bikes until I sat on a Goldwing and found my feet tippy-toe, just keeping it upright. I tried a used Kawasaki Voyager and that seemed to fit - feet flat on the floor, etc. - but I had not taken the saftey course at that time and would not take it for a test drive. The Voyager seemed comfortable, but I've read nothing about it - of course, it's discontinued, but does meet the used bike qualification. Anyone out there heard anything about the bike?
 

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Touring bikes...

I've been on my Fiances stepdads gold wing, its enormous and its like wrestling an 800 lbs bear at slow speeds (this is my personal feeling) if you want a touring bike how about something smaller like a Triumph Speedmaster/american with some bags or a BMW F800ST. The Voyager is a big bike too. If you like the voyager then a mid cruiser with a couple bags and a backrest should do you well.
 

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Super Duper Mod Man
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Forget the GoldWing. You aren't ready for that one yet. Start small and work your way up. Guys have given plenty of good suggestions here. Touring bikes are usually very heavy and take a bit of experience to handle without dumping it.
 

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Snuggles
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Cotton Hill, age unknown, World War II veteran, died Sunday in a Texas VA hospital. Hill suffered from several injuries ranging from four rusty bullets lodged in his heart from his military service, a broken hip and torn ligaments in his ankle-knees, to an infection in his esophagus and severe burns caused by a freak shrimp accident that occurred earlier this week at Tokyaki's Japanese restaurant. Hill leaves behind sons Hank Hill and G.H. (short for "Good Hank"); daughter-in-law Peggy Hill; grandson Bobby Hill; ex-wife Tilly; second wife Didi; first love and former Japanese lover Michiko; an illegitimate Japanese son, Junichiro; and nephew Dusty Hill (of band ZZ Top).
 
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