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Harley Riders USA Forums » Harley Davidson General Forums » She Rides! » Which bike to get?


She Rides! Dedicated area for the ladies who ride, whatever they ride, and whenever they ride!



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Old 08-05-2008, 11:50 AM Top   #1 (permalink)
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Cool Which bike to get?

I'm a new rider, and I don't know what bike to get. Any suggestions?
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Old 08-05-2008, 12:02 PM Top   #2 (permalink)
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how tall are you???? general size (toothpick, average, bigboned) not trying to get too invasive.

most of the softail models have a low saddle height. and there are some low models on the sporty's and they weigh less, but i see alot of women on Softail Deluxe's. make sure you visit a dealership and sit on some to see what feels comfortable.

Hope this helps

if you have never ridden before i would maybe try to start out on a smaller metric cruiser because they cost alot less and it doesn't hurt as much laying down a $5000 bike as it does a $15,000+ bike. i would look at the Honda Shadow 750 or the Yamaha V-Star 650
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Old 08-05-2008, 12:29 PM Top   #3 (permalink)
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Thanks, that really helps! But ... I really wanted a harley. Probably the smallest 883 will be good. I'm a fairly good dirt rider.
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Old 08-05-2008, 12:36 PM Top   #4 (permalink)
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Laura,
+1 for the Deluxe ...very classy.
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Old 08-05-2008, 01:39 PM Top   #5 (permalink)
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Deluxe is a very nice womans bike.
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Old 08-05-2008, 03:18 PM Top   #6 (permalink)
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Go set on a sportster. Eventhough I am a man. I am 5'5'' ish and the sportster fits me fine.
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Old 08-05-2008, 03:25 PM Top   #7 (permalink)
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Ditto on the metric cruisers. Get used to the weight and power, and then skip past the Sportsters to a StreetGlide
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Old 08-05-2008, 03:29 PM Top   #8 (permalink)
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Ditto on the Deluxe for the bigger bikes or get a sportie for now and trade up in a year when you will want a bigger bike!!!
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Old 08-05-2008, 03:29 PM Top   #9 (permalink)
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what you are using it for. Primarily city running, or longer highway cruising...

The Nightser is popular with a lot of female riders as is the Dyna Low and the Superglide.
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Old 08-05-2008, 03:35 PM Top   #10 (permalink)
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Hey Laura, my friend Lucy, had the same connundrum, but never once relented on getting a Harley. Don't settle for less, you'll regret it in 5 minutes. Get the Harley you want regardless of height. I am 5"7 and my Dyna is lower than a softail after I put on a barebones seat, and lowered the suspension by 2". By the way she got a Sporster, and she loves it.
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Old 08-05-2008, 03:46 PM Top   #11 (permalink)
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I'm going to go out on a limb here...but I'd recommend a Road King best general all purpose road machine, from daily commutes, to the market or long distance touring. Just take the MSF course or if you've taken it take the Advanced or Ride-Like-A-Pro class and/or vids. Once you get a bike rolling they're all about the same, stayng up on two-wheels that is.

As said in an above post...a sportie is nice but after a few months you'll want a bigger bike for those longer rides and your skills develop, might as well start off with a very usable bike and not waste money.

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Old 08-05-2008, 04:46 PM Top   #12 (permalink)
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Jeez Oddster, you're gonna put a newbie rider on an RK ... What is this world coming to? !!!
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Old 08-05-2008, 04:52 PM Top   #13 (permalink)
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Thanks everybody! Ill try the deluxe and the dyna as well but theyy are probably too big for me. Just 20 and I don't think I could handle much above a sportster. I took MSF course but those were a lot smaller kawa cruizers. I don't think I'm ready for a bigger bike yet.
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Old 08-05-2008, 05:13 PM Top   #14 (permalink)
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Hey DAX...like I said, was going out on a limb.

Laura...the Deluxe and Dyna are large bikes like the road king, FYI. Get one that fits you!!! We're all trying to help!! Good Luck in your search!
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Old 08-05-2008, 05:20 PM Top   #15 (permalink)
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I'll probably get shot for this one but if you don't like the 883 once you sit on it, 2 of the lower seat height bikes are the Deuce and the base Rocker. Of course the Deuce has been discontinued but you can still find used ones that are practically new.
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Old 08-05-2008, 05:36 PM Top   #16 (permalink)
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If you are gonna try the sportster, try the 1200. It is about the same weight as the 883 with much more power.
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Old 08-05-2008, 06:59 PM Top   #17 (permalink)
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a deuce might be ok, but emsley, what have you been smokin' ? A rocker :p !?
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Old 08-05-2008, 09:36 PM Top   #18 (permalink)
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I would look in the classifieds for a used metric. Something inexpensive and something to get used to riding for a few months so you are comfortable with riding on the roads and road hazards. I am sure since you are a new rider you will not be taking any trips any time soon so for around town or local riding I feel this would give you a good feel for a bigger bike in the near future.

My wife is 5'3 and started off on a V star 650 custom. I think we got it for 5,000. Now 4 bikes later she is riding a Heritage Springer Classic. Very nice bike and big bike. She rides like a pro.

Just my thought.

Good luck in your decision. Ride safe
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Old 08-05-2008, 11:13 PM Top   #19 (permalink)
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no no no nonoooooooooo everyone here has it wrong,, it has to be a Street Bob, and this is an unbiased view.. Although the silver motor on the 09 isnt my thing,, the bike is low and stable, handles real well and is of course the greatest motorcycle ever to roll rubber..
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Old 08-06-2008, 05:00 AM Top   #20 (permalink)
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i believe you said you are a fairly good dirt rider. if that's the case try test riding or renting a few of the bikes you like. don't be intimidated by the extra weight of a big twin they are balanced nicely. if you want something to flick though the turns then i would lean more towards the sportsters. most importantly buy the bike you like, make it your own & have fun.
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Old 08-06-2008, 05:54 AM Top   #21 (permalink)
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Go to your local HD Dealer and rent a Deluxe & Sporty, then compare. Most dealers will credit you back the rental fee if you purchase a bike throught them.
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Old 08-06-2008, 09:42 AM Top   #22 (permalink)
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My friend's wife inherited a brand new 1200 Sportster a few years back after her first husband passed away. The bike was a garage queen for a couple years until she decided she wanted to ride it. She's 56 years old and had never ridden a motorcycle before. She signed up for the safety course, got her MC endorsement and has been riding it like she stole it ever since!!
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Old 08-06-2008, 04:55 PM Top   #23 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Scoots123 View Post
a deuce might be ok, but emsley, what have you been smokin' ? A rocker :p !?
I know...I know...I should have said a Rocker C like mine but didn't because the seat height is 1" higher than the Rocker. The Rocker is just a cheap looking imitation of the Rocker C!
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Old 08-06-2008, 11:52 PM Top   #24 (permalink)
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I agree with Bone Head on the 1200 if your going with a sporty. Renting is also a good idea. But I will also add that if your set on a sporty there are so many used ones out there to get a great deal on. That way you won't have as much invested in case you want to move to a bigger bike sooner than you planned. The other benefit to used, you usually get most upgrades, if not free, for pennys on the dollar. Good Luck.
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Old 08-07-2008, 01:41 AM Top   #25 (permalink)
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+1 Spoh,, dont think you will get any better advice than that...
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Old 08-07-2008, 06:30 AM Top   #26 (permalink)
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Hi Laura, my wife is 5' 4" and started out on an old iron head Sporty. The bike was custom built for her and lowered 3". She liked it, and rode it for about 4 thousand miles. Then, after 3 months on that, she bought a brand new Street Bob. I'd suggest you take a look at them. I don't like the new gray matter engines they put on the new ones, but still a great bike! Low height, very well balanced, you can haul it through the twisties and drag the pegs like it's much smaller and lighter, and the money ain't too bad for one! Someone mentioned Ride Like A Pro; all I can say about the video is this: I've been riding 43 years and still learned some real good stuff from it! Get it! Practice it! You can ride ANY bike you like! Best of luck. Let us know what you end up with!

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Old 08-07-2008, 08:16 AM Top   #27 (permalink)
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Emsley, you are a chucklehead!! Or is that me?
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Old 08-07-2008, 08:31 AM Top   #28 (permalink)
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Emsley, you are a chucklehead!! Or is that me?
Dax, you sure you didn't mean shithead?

These days, it seems most people just take shit too seriously too often and get there feelings hurt too easily. Throw a little humor in or a stab at yourself every once in a while and people know you don't mind disagreements about opinions.
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Old 08-07-2008, 10:19 AM Top   #29 (permalink)
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Quote:
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Dax, you sure you didn't mean shithead?

These days, it seems most people just take shit too seriously too often and get there feelings hurt too easily. Throw a little humor in or a stab at yourself every once in a while and people know you don't mind disagreements about opinions.
Heh ... emsley, yep self-deprecating humor is a great thing for chuckleheads like me! And you!! But, seriously, I'm sorry to hear that you are a shithead and hope you work out of it soon ... doh!

Perhaps if we continue this we should do it in the off topic!
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Old 08-07-2008, 11:33 PM Top   #30 (permalink)
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Talking Check out the Sportster, then go from there.

I ride a 1200 Custom Sportster, and I love the bike. It handles well, has a very good power to weight ratio, and I can keep up with anybody on a cruise, and the bike is more than quick enough for me(in fact, it is very quick). I am not a big guy (5'9" 165 lbs.) so I love the fact it is not a heavy bike, and I am low enough in the saddle to sit flat-footed very comfortably. I don't know your weight or body size, but I would be willing to bet it would be a good fit.

I would start there, and try out some other models that catch your eye, using the Sportster as a base point. See what feels right for you (we're all different afterall), and consider your budget and riding skills as to how much bike you can handle. I can tell you that I've have had my eye on other models (the new Crossbones), but I don't think I will buy one until I can do so without trading in my Sporty. I plan to keep it in my inventory for a long time to come, as it is just a hoot to ride.
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Old 08-09-2008, 09:31 PM Top   #31 (permalink)
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I'm unsure why you are so insistent on an HD as your first bike. It's not about what you ride so much as you do ride. I had this conversation the other day with a girl that said she would only ride a Harley but she was too short (5') no matter what I said that was her story....

Personally I found sporties top heavy and have known a few women (but definately not all) that found them to be intimidating because of it. I started on a Yamaha 650. It's a relatively light cruiser type bike. I also put on floor boards to help me get used to feel of them. It was a great starter bike I rode it for 9 months and sold it for what I purchased for even though I had thrown it on the ground more then once.

From there I moved to an HD Deluxe and then to the Ultra you can see in the little bitty picture below.

The real deal is this...as a new rider you really have no idea what you do an do not want in a cruiser. What looks good may also not be the right bike for you. Buying a less expensive metric and getting used to street riding gives you the opportunity to gain knowledge about what you want and what your riding style may be as you move up.

Do you really want to spend $7000 + to 25,000 and find out you got the wrong bike?

Are you planning on just riding locally? a Sportie might be the ticket. A bit longer rides but not a 7000 mile odessy? A Softail is Awesome (750 lbs). Have the itch to see the country top to bottom? Think touring (800 lbs). No matter what your stature you can make a bike fit your height to a certian degree. The right seat, shock adjustments, handlebars make all the difference in the world. You just need to know what you want based on how you plan to ride.

So get that metric starter bike and hang out on the forum so you get a good idea where you'll be going.
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Old 08-09-2008, 09:51 PM Top   #32 (permalink)
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A lot of people will tell a new rider to get a sporty, but IMO, it really isn't a good starter bike. It is rather top heavy (I hear), and not as easy to ride as you would think. I have ridden a softail deluxe, and that is a balanced ride. Very comfy, and very easy to handle. And, with the low seat height, you would be set. Plus, I would hate for you to buy a sporty, and then want to get a bigger bike before to long. IMO, you are best off to get the bike that you think you will end up on. Meaning, if you like the deluxe, get it now instead of trying to upgrade later. Same with the king. You can handle it, even as a new rider. Don't let the size of the bike deter you. My best advice would to be, since you have a license, would be to rent a few bikes. Take them out for a long cruise, through town, and on the road. Then you will know. That is what I did. Over the course of a few years, I rented all of the bikes I thought I would want to own. And, I saved myself money, in the long run. I really wanted a fat boy, but after renting one, I knew it was not the bike for me. I ended up with a rk custom, and I love the damn thing.

BTW, my wife rode dirt bikes as a child. After riding behind me for a year, she decided to get her own bike. We were lucky that her mom was looking for a new bike, and gavemy wife her old yamaha. It was a great bike for her to learn on, but, in the short time she has been on it, she now knows she is ready for a big HD. Now, I just have to figure out how to pay for it, LMAO.

Good luck with your search... rent, rent, rent...
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Old 08-10-2008, 12:29 AM Top   #33 (permalink)
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at least with a metric it doesnt matter if you sling it down the road,, so i guess thats a point,, BUT the street bob is low, low center of gravity, easy to maneuver and stock is slow,, pretty much ideal
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Old 08-10-2008, 06:44 AM Top   #34 (permalink)
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I agree a Sportster is not the easiest bike to learn on...........contrary to popular belief, it's a lot of bike for anyone to handle. However, I'm a firm believer in getting whatever bike you're going to end up on. Why bother with a "starter bike?" Sooner or later, you're going to have to "learn" to ride the bike you end up with. Start out with a safety course to see if you even want to ride! Lots of people go buy a bike, then find out they don't really care for riding anyway! Just cause you like the back, doesn't mean you're going to like the front! The argument about dropping the bike while you're learning is silly cause sooner or later, you ARE going to drop your bike! I have to smile every time I hear somebody say "I been riding over 20 years and never dropped my bike." I rode for over 30 before my first drop! Riding a 450cc metric is not at all like riding a 883 (or bigger) HD.
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Old 08-10-2008, 09:53 AM Top   #35 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by UglyTroll View Post
I agree a Sportster is not the easiest bike to learn on...........contrary to popular belief, it's a lot of bike for anyone to handle. However, I'm a firm believer in getting whatever bike you're going to end up on. Why bother with a "starter bike?" Sooner or later, you're going to have to "learn" to ride the bike you end up with. Start out with a safety course to see if you even want to ride! Lots of people go buy a bike, then find out they don't really care for riding anyway! Just cause you like the back, doesn't mean you're going to like the front! The argument about dropping the bike while you're learning is silly cause sooner or later, you ARE going to drop your bike! I have to smile every time I hear somebody say "I been riding over 20 years and never dropped my bike." I rode for over 30 before my first drop! Riding a 450cc metric is not at all like riding a 883 (or bigger) HD.
You actually stated some of the reasons for a starter bike. Unless you happen to have a lot of money why on earth would you spend $15K + on something you THINK you might like? What if you decide riding is not for you after a couple of months and your now stuck with it?

First off not everyone is the same. It's nice if you bought a large bike and did well but not everyone can do that. I have seen way too many news stories where such and such bought his dream bike, used to ride 20 years ago, and died 2 weeks later after losing control.

A lot of women (but not all) are intimidated by the weight factor of a larger bike. The ability to lift your own bike is a real confidence builder for riding on your own. I could lift the Yamaha easily, I'm pretty sure I could have lifted the Deluxe but then I'm not that petite at 5'8" and 1XX pounds. My Ultra is a different story. I'm thinking if I have too, I'll figure out how to lift it but I am way more confident now though that it will not just go over due to lack of experience.

How do you know what type of bike you want from the get go? When I started riding I figured I would just be riding locally...couple hours here and there. Now I'm disappointed if I don't get to ride for 200 - 300 miles in a day.

Based on how I thought I would be riding, I actually thought the Yamaha might be enough. After 9 months of trying to follow hubby around on an 1800 I decided I wanted something bigger. Now I had the confidence to test ride the bigger heavier bikes.

I bought the Deluxe because I thought it would be enough and it was "pretty". After spending a LOT of money to make the bike fit my size and more functional I found I was out riding the true function of a softail.....They are OK to tour on but my back was not agreeing that it was the right bike.

After figuring out I really like to tour on my bike I reluctantly traded for something with a better suspension. I lost a mint when I traded for my Ultra but though it is not a "pretty" as my Deluxe I never looked back. I've spent a bit on the Ultra to make it more ergonomic but nothing like I spent on my Deluxe to do the same.

Don't get me wrong, the Deluxe is a great bike, but If I had to do it all over again I might have gone for the Road King. I would not however have have skipped the starter bike.

I just can't figure why everyone jumps to tell someone a 1500+cc bike that weighs over 800 lbs is the best starter bike? Though I will agree CC don't really matter if you know how to handle them but have you ever ridden something like a VTX? With out a bit of knowledge that sucker will throw you off the bike with even a minor twist of the throttle.

Saving money? Nope, can't tell me that one either. I bought the Yamaha for 3500...maybe put a couple hundred in it and sold it for 3600...9 months later. I bought my kids a Rebel and after 3 months of them figuring out they don't want to ride I sold it for the same price I bought it. The real trick is to not start customizing until you know you are on the bike you want to keep for a long time.
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Old 08-10-2008, 12:27 PM Top   #36 (permalink)
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You actually stated some of the reasons for a starter bike. Unless you happen to have a lot of money why on earth would you spend $15K + on something you THINK you might like? What if you decide riding is not for you after a couple of months and your now stuck with it?

First off not everyone is the same. It's nice if you bought a large bike and did well but not everyone can do that. I have seen way too many news stories where such and such bought his dream bike, used to ride 20 years ago, and died 2 weeks later after losing control.

A lot of women (but not all) are intimidated by the weight factor of a larger bike. The ability to lift your own bike is a real confidence builder for riding on your own. I could lift the Yamaha easily, I'm pretty sure I could have lifted the Deluxe but then I'm not that petite at 5'8" and 1XX pounds. My Ultra is a different story. I'm thinking if I have too, I'll figure out how to lift it but I am way more confident now though that it will not just go over due to lack of experience.

How do you know what type of bike you want from the get go? When I started riding I figured I would just be riding locally...couple hours here and there. Now I'm disappointed if I don't get to ride for 200 - 300 miles in a day.

Based on how I thought I would be riding, I actually thought the Yamaha might be enough. After 9 months of trying to follow hubby around on an 1800 I decided I wanted something bigger. Now I had the confidence to test ride the bigger heavier bikes.

I bought the Deluxe because I thought it would be enough and it was "pretty". After spending a LOT of money to make the bike fit my size and more functional I found I was out riding the true function of a softail.....They are OK to tour on but my back was not agreeing that it was the right bike.

After figuring out I really like to tour on my bike I reluctantly traded for something with a better suspension. I lost a mint when I traded for my Ultra but though it is not a "pretty" as my Deluxe I never looked back. I've spent a bit on the Ultra to make it more ergonomic but nothing like I spent on my Deluxe to do the same.

Don't get me wrong, the Deluxe is a great bike, but If I had to do it all over again I might have gone for the Road King. I would not however have have skipped the starter bike.

I just can't figure why everyone jumps to tell someone a 1500+cc bike that weighs over 800 lbs is the best starter bike? Though I will agree CC don't really matter if you know how to handle them but have you ever ridden something like a VTX? With out a bit of knowledge that sucker will throw you off the bike with even a minor twist of the throttle.

Saving money? Nope, can't tell me that one either. I bought the Yamaha for 3500...maybe put a couple hundred in it and sold it for 3600...9 months later. I bought my kids a Rebel and after 3 months of them figuring out they don't want to ride I sold it for the same price I bought it. The real trick is to not start customizing until you know you are on the bike you want to keep for a long time.
Rose, I always enjoy your posts, here and on HDF as well. Always something constructive to offer and always respectful as well! Good on you. I have no problem with anything you said here, and respect your point of view. I do not try to discourage people from taking whatever approach they want, unless I believe it to be an unsafe path for some reason. To each his own, blah blah! Regarding having to pick up your Ultra (I hope you never have to!) I would suggest a copy of Ride Like A Pro. A lot to be learned from that video; for everyone! They even teach you how to pick up your Ultra when it falls over! And they have a very petite young thing do it. I have bad knees and a bad back courtesy of some folks in South East Asia.............anyway, I can easily pick up my EGC using the technique they teach in the video. The whole video I think gives folks a good deal of confidence, and I believe knowing the pick up technique adds to the confidence level and possibly leaves you less nervous about dropping the bike therefore making it more likely you will NOT drop it.........dunno if that makes sense, but anyway just my 2 cents!

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Old 08-10-2008, 02:33 PM Top   #37 (permalink)
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Laura,

Buy something CHEAP and USED until you've gained some experience.
The last thing you want to do is drop an expensive hawg.
There's only two kinds of people, those that HAVE dropped their bikes and those that WILL.
There is nothing more expensive than repairing what you dropped.
Buy a 'throw-away' bike first, it won't hurt as much if you screw it up.
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Old 08-10-2008, 05:50 PM Top   #38 (permalink)
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Laura,

Buy something CHEAP and USED until you've gained some experience.
The last thing you want to do is drop an expensive hawg.
There's only two kinds of people, those that HAVE dropped their bikes and those that WILL.
There is nothing more expensive than repairing what you dropped.
Buy a 'throw-away' bike first, it won't hurt as much if you screw it up.
That is good advice in my opinion. You can get a good smaller used metric to tool around on until you get used to riding around on the streets. Then get your Harley. By that time, your confidence will be up, and you can better enjoy the best motorcycle on earth.
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Old 08-10-2008, 05:58 PM Top   #39 (permalink)
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I am a rider from many moons ago. I started on a mini bike, then a scooter, then a Honda 90 (I think, its been a while). My first real bike was a Kawasaki 100. It was street legal and I rode all over on that thing. My next was a Yamaha 400 . I road all over northern California on that. At that point a good friend convinced me that if I could ride my bike I could ride something bigger. I tried my ex's Virago at the time. I loved it!!

Many, many years later, after not having ridden in quite some time, and living amid city dwellers and busy freeways I took it upon myself to try riding my sweetie's Sporty. I did well for someone who hadn't ridden in quite a while and had NEVER used forward controls .....BUT..... I panicked and dropped it! Slow speed but still ......... I decided I wasn't giving up, I rode before, I can do it again. We looked and looked for a bike I could ride, why he even brought a used bike that I could have had for free home! NOT. When I found my Lowrider it had mid controls (which is what I learned on), it was a Dyna (cuz I knew I would want a bigger bike too kwikly ... just my nature) and I had fallen in love with it. Now, its taking me awhile to get adjusted to riding again ......... quite a while, but I figure that I would rather be safe than sorry. My Lowrider allows me to put both feet on the ground, feel comfortable and go at my own pace. (Which means dh doesn't ride with me cuz I'm going to slow... )

I guess my point is ... try stuff out as people suggest. If I hadn't ridden all the other smaller bikes as I did when i was younger I wouldn't have known what I thought I wanted now. And take your time, go at your own speed. Don't let anyone push you into anything that doesn't feel right. You'll make the right decisions!

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Old 08-10-2008, 06:39 PM Top   #40 (permalink)
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Rose, I always enjoy your posts, here and on HDF as well. Always something constructive to offer and always respectful as well! Good on you. I have no problem with anything you said here, and respect your point of view. I do not try to discourage people from taking whatever approach they want, unless I believe it to be an unsafe path for some reason. To each his own, blah blah! Regarding having to pick up your Ultra (I hope you never have to!) I would suggest a copy of Ride Like A Pro. A lot to be learned from that video; for everyone! They even teach you how to pick up your Ultra when it falls over! And they have a very petite young thing do it. I have bad knees and a bad back courtesy of some folks in South East Asia.............anyway, I can easily pick up my EGC using the technique they teach in the video. The whole video I think gives folks a good deal of confidence, and I believe knowing the pick up technique adds to the confidence level and possibly leaves you less nervous about dropping the bike therefore making it more likely you will NOT drop it.........dunno if that makes sense, but anyway just my 2 cents!

Troll
I have the video and Mark (the West Coast RLP teacher) has offered to show me but I have been sooo busy I haven't had time to get down there.

I tried to lift the bike when I did drop it about 2 weeks after I had it. The angle of the road was not a good one and the bike didn't move at all. Thinking back I didn't try the bars. At that angle it might have just gone straight up. But it was Dark and I was in traffic so a good sumerian finally helped me get it on the wheels again.

What I need to do is get it out there, lay it down, and practice lifting (Hubby would be around of course). I venture to say hubby really needs to do the same thing with his Goldwing...that thing weighs more then mine!
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