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Old 02-10-2005, 09:02   #1
Sgt Steve
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OK, which bike do I buy/want?

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.
;Z
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Old 02-10-2005, 11:45   #2
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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.
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Old 02-10-2005, 13:41   #3
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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:

http://www.yamaha-motor.ca/products/index.php?group=M

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
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Old 02-10-2005, 14:37   #4
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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.
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Old 02-10-2005, 20:00   #5
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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.
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Old 02-11-2005, 16:20   #6
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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!
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Old 02-11-2005, 18:28   #7
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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).
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Old 02-11-2005, 18:43   #8
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Nothing wrong with Sportsters

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.
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Old 02-11-2005, 19:01   #9
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I'm 56 and ride a '04 Kawasaki Vulcan 1600 Classic. Love the bike.
Here's pic of it.
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Old 02-11-2005, 20:15   #10
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Quote:
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.
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Old 02-12-2005, 09:55   #11
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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.
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Old 02-12-2005, 12:31   #12
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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!!!

-JP
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Old 02-14-2005, 12:26   #13
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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.
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Old 02-14-2005, 13:08   #14
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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!
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Old 02-14-2005, 14:26   #15
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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.
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Old 02-14-2005, 14:41   #16
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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
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Old 02-14-2005, 15:47   #17
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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.
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Old 02-14-2005, 16:03   #18
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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.
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Old 02-15-2005, 18:56   #19
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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.
http://powersports.honda.com/motorcy...1300CB4&bhcp=1
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.
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Old 02-16-2005, 05:23   #20
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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).
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