Sunday, February 8, 2009

Which Motorcycle To Start Out On?

I had been doing a lot of reading about which motorcycle a first time rider should get. The amount of information out there is astounding. Books, magazines, on- line forums, talking to other riders, everyone had an opinion. Most riders suggest that you get whatever their style and brand is. A lot of people suggest getting a small used bike, the style of your choice, and after getting used to riding, purchase a larger one. Others recommend getting a larger bike so you do not have to trade up as soon. I kind of liked the buy big theory myself. It would make it a little more challenging at first but you would be able to enjoy the ride for a lot longer without wishing you had something bigger.

The style of bike you get is really a function of personal preference and the purpose of it's intended use. There are several choices of styles including; Sport, Dual Sport, Cruiser, Chopper, Touring, and Adventure Touring. Each of these styles of motorcycle had their own purpose and were designed for specific intents. They each had pros and cons to certain types of riding and conditions. Although similar, riding positions and handling characteristics vary as well. There was the bare minimum, “naked” bike to the completely decked out Tourer with everything on board but the kitchen sink. Come to think of it, maybe I did see a Gold Wing with a kitchen sink.

I had decided early on that I wanted a Cruiser. I felt that the American brand bikes, sad to say, were overpriced, so I looked mostly at foreign made bikes. I had no brand preferences set in stone, but the Star brand of motorcycles seemed to be catching my eye a lot. For those who do not know the Star brand is a part of Yamaha. They were sexy looking with tight lines and attractive curves. They set low which gave them a lower center of gravity helping comfort, control and handling. There was a plethora of accessories to customize them. They also had a very large, loyal, and dedicated bunch of riders.

I looked at all the local motorcycle dealers. Service at the dealers was hit or miss. Sometimes I was waited on right away and sometimes completely ignored by salespeople while I browsed through the new and used bikes or accessories. I even applied for credit with Yamaha and Honda on-line. Both turned me down. Looking back, I'm glad they did. So, it was settled, I would be buying used. I also went to several used bike dealers and checked out what they had in stock as well. I saw bikes of all shapes and sizes.

During this process I set on several different machines to see how they felt. All the V-Stars I sat on sure felt nice. Being a large 6'2” guy, I felt that a 650cc sized engine/bike would be too small of a bike for me. It would probably be just fine starting out but I wanted to get something that I would not outgrow and want to trade up too soon. The 1100cc size seemed to be just about right. They set right in the middle of the large cruiser segment. The search was on.

Ride on,


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