Suggestions for Wife's Starting Bike - BMW Luxury Touring Community
 
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post #1 of 23 Old Apr 1st, 2006, 6:52 pm Thread Starter
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Suggestions for Wife's Starting Bike

The same weekend I was picking up my LT, my wife was taking her MSF course. She went from being terrified on Saturday to enjoying and passing the course on Sunday. She still wants to primarily ride as a pillion, but now has some interest in picking up a bike to learn on and join in on local rides. She is 5-4 which is the biggest limiting factor and secondly, new to motorcycling. Some bikes that I'm aware of include:
Buell Blast - I'm afraid she'd outgrow this too soon to say nothing of the quality issues.
Suzuki Savage - Would look kinda funny next to the LT, but seems like a good little bike.
Suzuki Volusia - or whatever version of Boulevard they are calling it these days.
Honda 599 - my personal favorite because I would enjoy riding it when she wasn't.
BMW F650GS lowered - still a little on the tall side. She was on her toes at the dealer this afternoon. That looked like a fun bike for me as well.
?
Won't be new, so older bikes are fair game as well. Thoughts? Suggestions?
Joel
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post #2 of 23 Old Apr 1st, 2006, 6:57 pm
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Joel,

Both the 650 and 1100 V-Stars are good bikes. I chose them because I am short and they had the lowest seat height in their class. If she will be riding on the freeway, I would recommend the 1100. Center of gravity is pretty low and they were very easy to ride. Plenty of accessories available and maintanence costs were pretty reasonable.

Good luck,
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post #3 of 23 Old Apr 1st, 2006, 8:07 pm
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I would highly recommend a cruiser like the Vulcan 800. It worked for me!

Easy to ride, light and nimble but with enough horsepower to keep up with the big dogs!

Rob V.B.
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post #4 of 23 Old Apr 1st, 2006, 8:31 pm
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My wife went for a Honda Shadow 750.
Very low. Easy to handle. Powerful enough to not be boring right away. We added a Slipstreamer Viper windshield and highway bars. The Kaw, Yam, Suz,etc., were never seriously considered. I've no idea why. She is HAPPY with Her decision, so I am too.

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post #5 of 23 Old Apr 1st, 2006, 8:50 pm
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I can't remember how many times I've been asked this question lately. And the answer is always the same. Suzuki SV650.

You can find used ones cheap everywhere. They are powerful enough not to get bored and not over powered to go nuts. They make for a great track bike and the aftermarket accessories business is huge for this bike.


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post #6 of 23 Old Apr 1st, 2006, 9:37 pm
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Best piece of advice I can give.....

DO NOT buy a Buell Blast.

For what to buy....look for a V or in-line twin (SV650 or GS500 Suzuki, 250 or 500 Ninja, etc,) with a standard seating position. They are narrower and lighter than most of the in-line four bikes, more comfortable, and easier to ride because of the upright ergos.

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post #7 of 23 Old Apr 1st, 2006, 9:46 pm
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tarheel_rider
The same weekend I was picking up my LT, my wife was taking her MSF course. She went from being terrified on Saturday to enjoying and passing the course on Sunday. She still wants to primarily ride as a pillion, but now has some interest in picking up a bike to learn on and join in on local rides. She is 5-4 which is the biggest limiting factor and secondly, new to motorcycling. Some bikes that I'm aware of include:
Buell Blast - I'm afraid she'd outgrow this too soon to say nothing of the quality issues.
Suzuki Savage - Would look kinda funny next to the LT, but seems like a good little bike.
Suzuki Volusia - or whatever version of Boulevard they are calling it these days.
Honda 599 - my personal favorite because I would enjoy riding it when she wasn't.
BMW F650GS lowered - still a little on the tall side. She was on her toes at the dealer this afternoon. That looked like a fun bike for me as well.
?
Won't be new, so older bikes are fair game as well. Thoughts? Suggestions?
Joel
I like the Suzuki 800 Intruder. Low seat, plenty of power. If you want something that is small, take a look at a Honda 250 Rebel. Lots of fun and easy to ride. A lot of Motorcycle Safety Courses use them for new riders.

Don Mosley MSgt, USAF, Retired
Colorado Springs, CO
05 K1200LT, 06 F650GS

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post #8 of 23 Old Apr 1st, 2006, 10:26 pm
 
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650 Yamaha V Star. I just happen to have a friend who has his wife's one for sale. It's a couple of years old, probably doesn't have 1,000 miles on it, purple, & all dressed out. I think he is asking 4,000 or 4,200.
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post #9 of 23 Old Apr 1st, 2006, 10:32 pm
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Try this

Suzuki SV650 with the fairing. Cool bike, low and should last her for a long time.
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post #10 of 23 Old Apr 2nd, 2006, 12:14 am
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tarheel_rider
The same weekend I was picking up my LT, my wife was taking her MSF course. She went from being terrified on Saturday to enjoying and passing the course on Sunday. She still wants to primarily ride as a pillion, but now has some interest in picking up a bike to learn on and join in on local rides. She is 5-4 which is the biggest limiting factor and secondly, new to motorcycling. Some bikes that I'm aware of include:
....Honda 599 - my personal favorite because I would enjoy riding it when she wasn't.
....Won't be new, so older bikes are fair game as well. Thoughts? Suggestions?
Joel
Howdy Joel,

Nancy and I have thought about the this as well, though Nancy is a bit taller. She does fit on the K-R.

You did mention that you would like to ride it yourself at times, so something with some "spirit" may be in order.

The Honda 599 is a fine choice, but here's another idea:

One of the riders with the Posse, Lisa "Ducati Girl", rides a larger Monster (I think it's a 1000). She's about 5'1" and with the cut down seat it fits her well.

A bit more money than a Honda, but with a lot more of that extra "something".

Take a look here.

.

Bill "Omaha"

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post #11 of 23 Old Apr 2nd, 2006, 12:20 am
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Suzuki SV650.

My wife is also 5'4". This bike fit her well, however, after taking the MSF class she realized that she'd rather be a passenger!

Ted

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post #12 of 23 Old Apr 2nd, 2006, 4:25 am
 
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First and foremost...if I know women like I think I know women, this decision is really your wife's. Not only does the bike have to fit her, but color and style is more important to women than even to us finicky men. And yet, we belittle these things when trying to find "the perfect starter bike" for a woman.

Having said that...

If you read this post that I created yesterday, you read about a bike that was used by my riding buddy (Nancy) for the last 2 years...and now has traded hands to my niece, Laura. It's a Ninja 250. If your wife likes the sportbike look, it's a no-brainer.

IMO, the Suzuki SV650 is NOT a good beginner's bike...simply because it does make a good track bike. Isn't that rpoof enough that it is NOT a beginner's bike?

If the lady likes cruisers...any one of them will do. They're all slow.
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post #13 of 23 Old Apr 2nd, 2006, 8:49 am Thread Starter
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Thanks for everyone's replies and insight. We're in the early stages of this thing since I emptied out our bank account getting the LT.

Joe, you are correct, it is her decision, and I'm sure she will be taking things into consideration that would never even cross my radar. I'm hopeful others who have been through the process can help generate ideas on what to look into and/or stay away from. I know I learned a lot hanging around here, on the RT forum, on the ST forum and other boards that helped give insight in addition to the actual test rides before I pulled the trigger on the LT.

Getting the list together to start the winnowing process is half the fun for me so any more ideas are welcome. Don't think I would have ever thought of a lowered Monster.

Thanks! Joel
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post #14 of 23 Old Apr 2nd, 2006, 8:58 am
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Quote:
Originally Posted by eljeffe
I can't remember how many times I've been asked this question lately. And the answer is always the same. Suzuki SV650.

You can find used ones cheap everywhere. They are powerful enough not to get bored and not over powered to go nuts. They make for a great track bike and the aftermarket accessories business is huge for this bike.

I can agree with the SV 650, also if the wife is small do not rule out a ninja 250 I know sounds like a joke, but it is not a joke, the bike runs fine at 70-80 mph is light gets over 60 mpg sell for under 2k used goes over 200 miles on one tank of gas, stops great, handles great, has the footpegs under the rider for better control particularly while learning to ride and will sell again for what you paid for it and is bullet proof even when rode off a mountain )

tom

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post #15 of 23 Old Apr 2nd, 2006, 9:00 am
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tarheel_rider
Thanks for everyone's replies and insight. We're in the early stages of this thing since I emptied out our bank account getting the LT.

Joe, you are correct, it is her decision, and I'm sure she will be taking things into consideration that would never even cross my radar. I'm hopeful others who have been through the process can help generate ideas on what to look into and/or stay away from. I know I learned a lot hanging around here, on the RT forum, on the ST forum and other boards that helped give insight in addition to the actual test rides before I pulled the trigger on the LT.

Getting the list together to start the winnowing process is half the fun for me so any more ideas are welcome. Don't think I would have ever thought of a lowered Monster.

Thanks! Joel

go try a ninja 250 really she mayu just love how easy that bike is to ride, that said my SO learned between a 40 Pan and a 69 900 sporty i then bought her a CR 125, she now rides a lowered R1150Rt after rriding a Hd Bad Boy for quite some time

the so loves my daughters ninja 250 and will swipe it once iun a while to run through the mountains on

Tom

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post #16 of 23 Old Apr 2nd, 2006, 9:19 am
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My wife started riding a Yamaha 250 virago after she took the MSF course.
Nice little cruiser with a v-twin engine that actually looks bigger than it is. Can be outfitted with a windshield and leather saddlebags. It's never had any problem keeping up with other, larger bikes on the highway.

If she'd like something more in line with the LT or RT but smaller, look at the Honda Pacific Coast (PC 800). Neat looking machine. Meant to be a commuter bike. Very low maint. Scads of luggage space. Full fairing like a GW or LT. Only sold in the U.S. for a few years but those that have em, love em. And they put serious miles on em as a kind of sport tourer.

Follow your front wheel...
Steve S.

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If it rolls, floats, flies or shoots, runs on gasoline or gunpowder, is loud, goes fast, or shoots a big bullet, thus producing Torque or Recoil....It's Cool.

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post #17 of 23 Old Apr 2nd, 2006, 4:08 pm
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She's gotta sit on them and try them out, same as we do. My wife had a Ninja 250, but never liked the bent-forward riding posture. A small cruiser would've suited her better. But she didn't know that until after she bought the Ninja and rode it a few times.

The Honda Rebel 250 is also a good starter bike. It's very light, which is good to learn on, but she may outgrow it. That's OK, just sell it to another beginner and then she can use the experience to find what really suits her. Nothing wrong with getting a good used starter bike for a year, then trading up.

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post #18 of 23 Old Apr 3rd, 2006, 7:46 am
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Seems like a lot depends on her height.

If she's tall with long legs, she can ride many different bikes.

Avoid too much power and stiff clutch.
Avoid too little power- ie. 250. Can't get out of traffic's way.

The V-Star and Shadow are excellent choices as they are low to the ground and easy to handle. I do have some questions about the difference in handling a cruiser type vs a more upright. Depends on what you think the final bike will be. I personally feel the laid down crusier style is less confidence inspiring than a more upright bike like the SV650 or BMW 650 CS.

The Suzuki SV650 is super if her legs are long enough. I've seen them for $3200 in excellent condition. There's a lot of options for it- windshield, nose fairing, and etc.

The Buel has issues that were covered in MCN.

The BMW 650CS is really nice if the budget is there.

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post #19 of 23 Old Apr 3rd, 2006, 11:55 am
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As an long time rider and MSF instructor I always Recommend a Standard Bike as I did to my S/O. She yearned for a 650 Yamaha cruiser as it was not itimidating to ride in the parking lot, but I convinced her that in short order she would outgrow it and instead she went with a used Harley Sportster 1200 XL standard.

She was terrified at first but within months loved it and grew into the ability
to utlilize the full lean angle that cruisers don't have!

Now she "outrides" many of the cruiser riders in our group and is much faster and safer thru the curves as she knows she has ample corning clearance and the confidence to fully utilize her gears and suspension.

Fact is, she just sold her Harley and is now riding my 03 DL1000 as her primary ride even tho she can barely touch the ground ! She has come a long way in only 2 years.

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post #20 of 23 Old Apr 3rd, 2006, 3:27 pm
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Thumbs up Don't forget scooters

I bought my wife the Aprilia Scarabeo 250. She loves it. It's great because it has standard motorcycle wheels and tires, not the squirelly little golf cart wheels. Very stable and confidence inspiring.

We first got a F650CS that I lowered for her. But, she was just getting frustrated with the shifting/clutch gesticulations. She just wasn't having any fun. She's driven manual shift cars for nearly two decades, so it wasn't the "concept" of shifting that she came up against. Now she's on her way to learning the basics with a good machine and I get the 650 until she "graduates".

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post #21 of 23 Old Apr 3rd, 2006, 8:30 pm
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Wow, you and your wife have a job ahead of you. I love my Ducati Monster 900 ie for around town use and it is very low, shifts like butter and the hydraulic clutch is a one finger affair. The 620 they now make, a good choice also as is the 800. Colors and styling women love and cheap used on ebay. My buddy is a Harley nut and he fell for the Monsters charm too, financing being of great importance he bought a 2005 Custom model sportster and its great, 250.00/mo. with insurance, over 55mpg on the hiway and easy to ride, great colors, American made, know that doesn't mean much to some on the site but they are reliable machines, 103 years getting it right, HA!!. The Blast seems to be getting a going over on this site. Too under powered and has some issues. However, the new lowered Lightning should not be overlooked by the ladies. in a 1000, a real piece of different work. No tune ups, no valve adjustments, no water, perimeter braking, no adjustment belt, shifts smooth as silk now and a great motor with handling second to none and hi MPG. I have over 25,000 miles on my 2000 S3T with little to no trouble!! Just my two cents for what it's worth. You may have noticed I didn't include any Japaneese bikes, everyone else did. They're cheap (inexpensive) reliable, and everyone rides one. Not to many Buells or Ducs out there. Best advice test ride them all until she finds one that talks to her. You live in great riding country so make sure you have the best of all possible worlds. Good Luck!!

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post #22 of 23 Old Apr 8th, 2006, 9:29 pm
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Don't forget the weight mass of the bike!

My wife has a Suzuki Intruder 800, and she has dropped it quite a few times st slow speeds incorners, or at a stop. She now has a 250 Yamaha Virago. Excellent little bike to learn on. Once she gets the balance, clutch, shifting etc down, then you can move up. My wife almost gave it up because her heart got broken when she dropped the bike! Very emotional creatures! Better to start small. be happy and work your way up gradually. Remember it's not about what you want!!!!
(We kept the intruder for now, she likes the way it looks and hopes to go back to it someday)
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post #23 of 23 Old Apr 9th, 2006, 8:13 am
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shadow

my wife has decided she wants to drive
she is 5'4 also
we are going with a shadow for her.....
we use to have one and she liked the looks of it
they are simple, have plenty of power, and are fairly low sitting
deciding right now between a 750 and a 1200.....
the 750 would be fine for her.....but if we both got on we might want the 1200

anyhow....thats the way we are going.....

Kip
99 LT
97 Shadow 1100
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