OK, which bike do I buy/want? [Archive] - Glock Talk


View Full Version : OK, which bike do I buy/want?

Sgt Steve
02-10-2005, 09:02
Ok, lemme' lay it out. I'm 59; haven't ridden a bike in 30 years; never owned one; US Army vet brother has a Wide Glide; brother-in-law has a full dresser. I did get my "M" (motorcycle) permit for Pennsylvania. Classes coming in April at the community college and I'll take em. Checked on insurance. No lid law in PA but I"ll use one! Wife will probably ride with me...eventually. I'm 6' even and about 190 lbs. Will ride locally, short runs for the most part.

Right now my plans are to buy used. Looks like a smaller Harley or a full sized Kaw, Honda, or Yamaha. I can afford something around 6,000 to $8,000 layout. It will be a cruiser, a cruiser, a cruiser, no ball breaker or crotch rocket or mud tracker (althougth nothing wrong with those bikes). Right now I am favoring:
Kawasaki Vulcan 750 or Vulcan 800 (no 800 classic)
Honda Shadow Spirit
Yamaha V Star Custom
Harley ? bout' all I can afford is a Sportster 1200!

Need your advice and guidance in any part of this, any! I think I want to get something BEFORE the class starts so I have some hands on.

02-10-2005, 11:45
Can't really go wrong with those choices of motorcycles. They're all solid cruisers.

I'd suggest getting one AFTER the class. Those bikes are widely available, so you don't have to worry about passing up a good'un. The class will dispel a lot of myths for you and will help you decide which motorcycle will be best for you.

02-10-2005, 13:41
Your choice will depend on if you are looking at this as a first bike or as a bike to hang on for a while and also if you want to buy new or used...

I love the looks of the Vulcan and all new Yamahas, especially the Royal Star Tour Deluxe:


Suzuki also has the new Boulevard series (replacing the Volusias) which are pretty spiffy looking.

Your wife will appreciate one of the bigger touring models, but they can be a handful weight and handling wise if you aren't used to them. I spent many hours on the back of a Wide Glide and it weren't a piece of cake ;g I much prefer the HD electra glide. I can only imagine the Sportster wouldn't be any more comfortable 2-up

02-10-2005, 14:37
My father is 56yrs old and recently started riding again. He choose the Honda Shadow (Classic 750cc). Very nice bike. Low center of gravity, decent power, very reliable. Honda (in my opinion) has best fit and finish of the jap manufacturers ( all my bikes are suzuki ). From what you listed the Shadow would be my pick.

02-10-2005, 20:00
I definitely would leave the Sportster alone.....At your age...lol..and mine, it will do it's level best to kill you. I would opt for a late 80's Harley Dresser or Electra Glide Sport. The EGS is the predecessor to what is now the Road King. You can pick up a fairly low mile bike in the $8 to $9 grand range. This bike has the EVO motor and is as dependable as they come. Happy hunting and ride safe.

Sgt Steve
02-11-2005, 16:20
Thanks for the input. I'll have to check the posts over the weekend. Brother and I had planned to check around and see what was in the area.
I've received the same verbal input on the Sporster and the Honda Shadow, and the old "first bike or bike to hang on to for a while" comments. Like fnfl says I've thought about waiting until after the class too but then I"m looking at 2 or 3 more months. Dunno'. I guess that's the reason a person asks.
Then too I know if I get something that's "uncomfortable" for Evey then she probably won't to ever ride again. These are good situations though,,,keeps a guy going to work, thinking. Kinda' like firearms!

02-11-2005, 18:28
Sgt. Steve:
We have much in common with you.

We rode as a kid, but it had been almost 30 years since we did any steady riding. Until January.

We had similar considerations as yours. At 50 years of age, we knew that we would be happy only with the comfort of a cruiser. We shopped much and finally settled on a 750cc (45 c.i.) Honda Shadow. The bike works well, has adequate power, is nimble and easy to handle, and (so far) has been very trouble free.

We bought ours used (an '02 model) and paid a little over $4K for it. We think that there are some excellent values to be had in the used market, especially among the metrics.

Thus far, we are very well pleased with our Shadow. We think you can not go wrong with a used metric. The Harley's are better investments, perhaps, but we hear that you must spend more time tinkering with them.

You can shop for hours on cycletrader.com. We certainly did.

Good luck with your selection, and ride safely.

We trudge on (figuratively).

02-11-2005, 18:43
There isnt anything wrong with riding/buying a sporty,Ive been riding the same 1967 xlch since 1976, when my old man gave it to me for a high school graduation present. And yes I still ride it several times a week, and have for 30 years now. Id ride it daily, but have 2 (1976,1984) other Sportsters that need riding also.

Good luck with your choice.

02-11-2005, 19:01
I'm 56 and ride a '04 Kawasaki Vulcan 1600 Classic. Love the bike.
Here's pic of it.

Texas T
02-11-2005, 20:15
Originally posted by OMEGA5
I'm 56 and ride a '04 Kawasaki Vulcan 1600 Classic. Love the bike.
Here's pic of it. If your cruiser wasn't so slow you could get out of the way of all those bullets. :)

02-12-2005, 09:55
Texas T.
It's a good thing it's Kevlar lined too. As for slow, at 750 lb it takes me about 6 seconds to go from 0 to 80 and it'll cruise there rock steady all day long. Plenty fast enough for me.:) Here's to other side of it.

02-12-2005, 12:31
My $0.02:

1) Wait 'til after the class, so you are better able to safely take a spin on the bikes you're looking at. I first learned in PA at a MSF class, and the classes do a great job of getting you started right on the basics. I know, 2 mos. is a long time to wait for your new ride, but it passes quick if you're reading up on the choices! :-) Look at it this way- You've waited 30 years, so what's a couple of mos. to increase your odds of getting the right bike for you on the first shot!

2) An Jap bike will give you better value for your dollar, no question, but the Harley's have a certain "feel" to them, and you are buying into a broad community and culture. Personally, I went for a Kawi, but I highly recommend getting a feel for a few different bikes so you know for yourself what you like best. You can also have your PAX sit on back stationary to get a feel for the pegs. (I advise not taking her out until you've got some time under your belt- give it a year or two.)

3) You have the right idea about the helmet- A helmet has done well by me a couple of times- Potential life-ending incidents weren't, so don't let the "wind in your hair crowd" convince you otherwise. I'll skip the wind in my (few remaining) hairs if it means I keep my grey matter safely under my hairs where it belongs.

Good luck, have fun, and keep the rubber side down!!!


02-14-2005, 12:26
As you notice, Sarge, a lot of guys recommended that you go bike purchasing AFTER the MSF course and your getting a license. There's nothing wrong with going shopping beforehand though.;f Hell, that's the best part!

But I gotta tell ya, I was sorely tempted to buy a moto before I got my training and had I done that, I would have settled for a bike that I wasn't going to be happy with two months down the road.

Sgt Steve
02-14-2005, 13:08
Yooo Adrian!!!!! This has been great! Good input.
Brother and I spent about 6 hours Saturday, couple of different Harley places, Kawazaki, etc. Can't figure out why they don't have a new Harley for less than $10,000...other than a Sporty! Well, I can figure it out, I just don't like it!

Anyway, not that I can't do it financially if I had to but - not comfortably - I'll have to go used. Harley or whatever.

I was impressed by a Kawazaki 800 Classic (like the 800 better)that had maybe 4,000 miles on it; nice sissy bar setup and seat. Vance exhausts, very good shape, attempting to get the dealer under $5,000.

Wet mentioned the Honda Shadow (750)and I liked it but it "felt" like there wasn't much room on the pass seat. Wet, you say you guys do fine with it? Reasonable price and a used one in the area for about $4,200. Is it big enough for two?

As for the Sporty...there's not a darn thing "wrong" with it...but I tried one Saturday and the problem there again is room. Not much on the back for Evey. If it were just me that's exactly what I'd get at this point, a Sporty. But it "ain't" just me so I want to make that allowance.

I'm searching and destroying for an older Harley somewhere in the 8,000 range it that's possible. I do appreciate the input about "waiting" but...I started this train of thought about 2 years back...and if I don't do it now...well, it won't get done. My thoughts are I'll find the smaller bikes easier to manuever right now and will want something bigger. Good, if I lose money on a $5,000 bike that's different than losing it on a $15,000 Softail...if I just don't like it.

I know, from the safety angle, the age thing, and a few other items that we won't be into any long trips, probably under 100 miles even locally. Hey, one more angle I kind of ignored; what's the general opine on a Triumph? I looked at the Bonnevilles and that's a pretty nice bike with a good seat for the partner. Even new it's not out of whack.

Hey, above all, THANKS!

02-14-2005, 14:26
The modern days Triumphs are much better than the olden days Triumphs as far as reliability is a concern. It's still not par with the Japanese, but it's quite good.

Sgt Steve
02-14-2005, 14:41
fnfalman, and others,

Hmmmm, thought or heard...that the T's and Asian bikes were about on par but I can understand if they are not. I don't want to start a war here but that's one of the reasons we have an Outback and a Forester. No doubt there are all kinds of good vehicles but the Subarus were something we really liked. Brother...Toyotas...sister...Honda and Subaru.

What's your opine of buying a used Harley versus a used Kaw or Honda?
Seems that I hear you have a hard time selling a used Kaw, Honda, etc.

On another subject...the FNFAL...is that just a nickname for names sake or are you associated with FN? Reason I ask is that they have one of our (Extrudehone) machines.;f

02-14-2005, 15:47
Something else to look at may be Moto Guzzi. A little quirky, but you will not park next to the "same" bike at the local hangouts. They have there own "pedigree" if you will. With shaft drive and fuel injection they require a little less maintenance also. A great bike to just cruise around on.

02-14-2005, 16:03
Triumph seems to be doing OK with the US market since its return. They make some bikes that are quite desirable, especially with their naked bikes.

As far as FN goes, I'm not associated with them at all. I just happen to like their tried-n-trued FAL rifles.

02-15-2005, 18:56
Sgt Steve,
I bought my first bike last summer, I'm 52. I looked at them all, including Harley's, just can't justify the price for them. Ended up with a Honda VTX 1300, it has plenty of power and is very manuverable. Compared to the Shadow Sabre, it just felt right, and it was only $900.00 more when I made my deal.
My suggestion is to get the biggest bike that you can handle safely. If you don't you will be getting another new one soon.

02-16-2005, 05:23
Sgt. Steve:
In response to your question, we feel that our Honda Shadow Spirit (750) has more than adequate power one up. We have ridden it two up only for small jaunts at low speed. Our spouse did not complain about the small passenger seat, but sat upon it only for a short time. The little bike seemed to pull very well, but both us and our spouse may be considered to be somewhat less than average size, our combined weight being somewhat less than 300.

We have taken rides with friends mounted on much larger steeds and have not felt at any disadvantage power wise. Our little Shadow is also averaging around 55 mpg. We like this a lot.

We think that "cghammo" raises a valid point regarding purchasing the largest bike you can safely handle. On the other hand, we think if one purchases something on the used market and then "trades up," the extra financial outlay for changing bikes will be relatively small. Most beginners are unlikely to purchase their first, last, and only dream bike on their first go anyway.

Our $.02, and jolly well worth it.

We trudge on (and on).

02-19-2005, 02:33
I'd recommend a $1000 or under classified special for some refresher miles. You can sell those bikes for what you paid a few months later unless you toss it down the road. If you do, better that bike than a new one!
It's all up to you though. If you feel comfortable on a bigger, newer bike, go for it. Just don't buy /ride a bike you're not comfortable on. If you feel nervous or on edge on it at all, take a pass. I've bowed out on a couple bikes I wasn't ready for at first. That policy has kept me out of harms way, I switched to 2 wheeled primary transportation about 10 years ago, and have not had one accident.
I still need the truck when the dog comes with me, though! ;f

The VTXs are a great cruisers, all my Hondas have been bulletproof. The Boulevards are a pretty good deal too.

02-19-2005, 02:59
go ahead and buy whatever it is that makes you want to get back into bikes again.

Then put it in the garage and get a cheep metric bike to get your feel again, or learn it for the first time.

The thing to look for most is light weigth. If you can get under 400lbs that's great, 350s even better.
A big heavy harley is a heavy bike. It's heavier to manauver and it's a whole lot heavier when your fighting it.

<= rides a V-Rod and I know all about big heavy bikes.

Get something that's inexpensive to repair too.

02-19-2005, 07:45
Originally posted by MonsterMaxx
go ahead and buy whatever it is that makes you want to get back into bikes again.

Then put it in the garage and get a cheep metric bike to get your feel again, or learn it for the first time.

The thing to look for most is light weigth. If you can get under 400lbs that's great, 350s even better.
A big heavy harley is a heavy bike. It's heavier to manauver and it's a whole lot heavier when your fighting it.

<= rides a V-Rod and I know all about big heavy bikes.

Get something that's inexpensive to repair too.

There are no motorcycles made that are inexpensive to repair;)

02-19-2005, 10:04
Originally posted by norton
There are no motorcycles made that are inexpensive to repair;)

Relative to a Harley?
Oh, yea, there are bikes which are much less expensive to repair.

Sgt Steve
02-21-2005, 13:21
Hey, afternoon!
Thanks for all the input. Now the serious stuff starts...I guess!

Brother and I went to the shop Friday and I gave the guy the "I bought it money" on a Kaw Vulcan 800, metallic ruby red, 2004, 2,700 miles on the bike, local guy (one owner) bought it and had it serviced where I bought it, checked the pegs/grips/whatever for drops and it's fine. A couple of accessories: chrome sprocket cover, rack on back, cruise control (don't know if I'll like that). Dealer threw in the sissy bar. Without getting personal it was under 4,800 and I thought that was decent.

Wifey and I went Saturday to check it out and she loves it! So she asks the guy to start it up and then she says "...we hafta' do something with this bike", and the guy says "whadya' mean?" and she tells him it sounds like our John Deere mower! "Put some pipes on it". So we ordered the Vance and Hines Straight Shots along with the metering kit.

I know a little better now about "feeling comfortable" and I do on this bike. I feel like I'll be able to handle it, balance, etc. Another biggie; if I decide I really don't like it then no BIG loss but unless I"m totally wacko I'll want to move up and I get the feeling that wifey will want it!

Now we hafta' talk to the brother-in-law when we cruise out to Ohio (south of Columbus) this spring...HOG guy. He knows bikes, in, out, and around. Built several...as in having the tubing bent and welded so he's pretty knowledgeable.

Now where do we go with this? jackets, gloves, helmets (for 2 years in PA), bags (nah!), spats.

02-21-2005, 13:51
Sounds like a good deal. Yes, helmets, jackets, gloves AND seriously think about riding pants. Denims and khakis are better than shorts and G-strings, but not much more.

I would love to have cruise control, if anything just so that you can shake the cramp out of your throttle hand. I'm exploring that posibility on mine right now.

When you buy your helmets, make sure that you buy from a place that has knowledgeable sales helps who can assist you in finding a properly fitted brain bucket.

Sgt Steve
02-21-2005, 14:08
Wasn't sure of the plus for a cruise control but yeah, I guess so.
Brother Tom was a big help. His first was a Vulcan 750 and he really liked it and then he moved up to the Wide Glide.

IF I had the $ right now and IF I knew how to ride correctly and safely and IF Evey knew more how to ride as a passenger it would have been the Springer! Don't know why but it feels good, fits good, looks good. That's just my take right now.

I did notice the bigger Kaws (and Yamahas) don't seem to keep the % of value that the smaller bikes do but I"ll learn. Like I said with this we're comfortable.

FN; reason I mentioned it...we have built a machine (years back)and set it up (an Extrudehone machine)in FN's Carolina shop. They evidently like it and use it a whole bunch.

02-21-2005, 15:09
Congrats on your purchase. When you go looking for gear take a look at the multi-season gear. You may spend a little more up front but make out in the end. I currently use Hein Gericke (now just Gericke)"All Weather Gear" the jacket/pant combo is waterproof ( doubles as my raingear), has soft armor (including back protection in the jacket), and a zip out liners. There are lots of quality manufacturers to choose from. You can check out Chaparral or Dennis Kirk for pricing.

02-21-2005, 16:32
Sgt. Steve:
Congrats on your purchase. We think you have chosen wisely for a first bike. No huge outlay of $$$, and we understand from friends who ride them that the Kaws are relatively bullet-proof through many years and lots of miles. If a Springer is your destiny, the day will come...

Ride safely.

We trudge on (and on).

02-22-2005, 06:10
Here's forum you'll want to join and a how to page for Vulcans that is the best on the net:



Texas T
02-22-2005, 08:46
Originally posted by OMEGA5
http://www.gadgetjq.com/gadgetsfixitpage.htm Good site. I just bookmarked it. The Moto jumper cable tip alone was worth it.

Sgt Steve
02-22-2005, 09:15
Yeah! I just registered on the site as well. Decent! Thanks much!

Sgt Steve
03-01-2005, 09:20
I even got registered today on The PA Motorcycle Safety Course. Thought I'd get stuck with all the other input and registering but we made it. Now, if it would quit snowing!

03-01-2005, 11:41
When I took my MSF course, we didn't ride in the snow, but the ground was iced over and we rode anyway. Good practice for adversed weather riding. I found out that I will not ride on wet/ice surfaces unless my life is depending on the ride.

03-04-2005, 22:06
save yourself repair costs and dont get a harley. stick with one of the big four japanase (kawasaki, suzuki, yamaha, honda) and you cant go wrong.


Sgt Steve
03-07-2005, 09:27
What a rush! Picked up the 800A Saturday and spent some time then and Sunday just getting familiar. Never got anywhere that I could get out of 3rd gear but the feeling is there. I'm darn well satisfied and glad I did what I did.

I can enjoy this bike and not worry about the $! I'm starting to understand the passion with these machines!

03-07-2005, 11:22
Congrats, Sarge! I just put in around 200-miles this weekend too. Gotta love it! Ride safe.

03-07-2005, 12:26

Hard to beat this if you can find one - I'm going to keep this one forever.

;z ;z

Sgt Steve
03-07-2005, 13:22
OK, I'm new to this. What is it? A BMW ........... what?
Nice looking bike! The more into this I get the more I am amazed at all the different bikes, gear, accessories, etc. Almost as tough a game as Service Rifle Shoots!

03-07-2005, 14:24
OJ's bike looks like an old R100RT.

BMW's bike designation is rather easy to decipher. The first letter indicates engine configuration, the numbers indicate displacement and the last letter(s) indicate types of motorcycle:

K = inline (triple or four water cooled), R = flat twin (air cooled or air/oil cooled), F = single.

Displacements are what they are (usually rounded up as 1130-cc is called 1150 and 1170-cc is called 1200).

R = Roadster, T = Touring, L = Luxury, C = Cruiser, S = Sport, GS = limited off road capability, CS = City Sport? This designation is only on one bike so it may be a special designation.

So, a K1200LT is a top notch, luxurious inline four bike made for touring.

The R1200C is a boxer twin cruiser.

The R1100S is BMW's crotch rocket type which isn't quite the same as the Italian or Japanese crotch rocket, but comparing to other Beemers it's much faster and more agile.

04-05-2005, 19:36
Originally posted by OJ

Hard to beat this if you can find one - I'm going to keep this one forever.

;z ;z

Love the beemers, but if that was my bike that Windjammer would have to go.

Sgt Steve
04-06-2005, 13:31
Hey gentlemen,

I've been off and busy lately. Parent in the hospital, bike, safety classes (by the MSF). Man oh man, those classes are really worthwhile. Darn glad I took it. Still learning. Everyone is harassing me because I won't ride the bike to work yet...I just don't have enough experience, especially the route I'd have to take. It boils down to U.S. route 30 from Greensburg, PA to Irwin, PA or a state route 136 that is crammed with school buses and gravel haulers.

I'm too old to be that aggressive or at least until I can feel more solid and a part of the bike.

04-06-2005, 16:43
That's one good thing about most of us older folks. We don't get goaded into doing stupid things too easily any more.:)

Sgt Steve
04-07-2005, 07:26
You got it FNFAL! Makes you feel a litte more grounded! Definitely love this stuff though! Can't believe I"ve missed it all these years. Great!

Ho bout a separate shot of that BMW? Got a guy here at work that has one and he loves it.

Mad Ryan
04-08-2005, 11:05
I don't know what kind of helmet you have, but there's only one kind that really works and that's a Full Face. Everything else is just a false sense of security. Shoei, Arai and AGV's higher end stuff are my favorites. Spend the money, your brain is worth it.

Sgt Steve
04-12-2005, 08:08
Hey Mad, I tried and tried and tried but I felt like that full face was a bird cage! Realizing you're correct safety wise I know that I'd find a way NOT to wear that full face so it wouldn't do me any good!

The BMW in Hoosierland...sister used to live in Carmel...maybe I"m repeating here. But, I liked that are real well, nice rolling country and you can see out a ways. Here, you're looking at hills, mountains, slate dumps. Still like it though.

Sgt Steve

04-12-2005, 08:33
That's great riding area out there in PA- I used to live in State College, then moved out to CT. Too danged many 4-wheelers in the way out here! ;) Glad to hear you're being smart about it, SgtS! Especially this time of year- all that sand and gravel on the edges of the fun roads, trees off on the sides... It's killed before, and will do so again.

Damn springtime is fun though, ain't it? Them CA folks have it too easy! ;)

Keep the rubber side down,


Sgt Steve
04-12-2005, 08:40
Will do, the rubber side that is.

S.College is somewhat of a different area than southwest PA. I like it here and it's my home but everytime I get down around the N.C. eastern areas, shore, inland, I wish we had more "flat". There's something about cruising along watching farmland, rolling hills, or some swamp land. Guess I'm a little tire of the ups and downs.

Ct. Used to go to Uncasville a good bit for business and Groton Naval Shipyard too. Nice when you can get away from the traffic which isn't often!