What makes for a good first motorcycle?

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Jeremiah

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I am curious enough to inquire here about what makes for a good first motorcycle?

Thank you for your time.
 

Lil Snap

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What is your level of riding experience? What style of bike do you take a liking to? (cruiser, sport, supermoto, dual sport, racer, etc..)
 

Lowie

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What is your level of riding experience?
Judging by what he is asking, I'm going to say little or none.

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I think it all depends on what your looking for, speed, comfort, price range etc.

My uncle started out on a Honda Goldwing and he loved it, said it was the best bike he has ever had (after his Harley.)
 

Lil Snap

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That's why I ask. If you have never thrown a leg over a motorcycle, you don't want to start out with a 900lb. hog. You want a light, maneuverable bike that doesn't have so much power that you can quickly get in trouble with the throttle, and I don't mean tickets. If you have ridden some, on or off road, you have an idea about what a motorcycle can do and the basics are much easier to dispense with. There are many styles of bikes with smaller displacements less than 600 cc, and they handle and perform very differently from style to style.

What ever type you choose, a rider education course would be an excellent idea. (Some even rent bikes to non owners, so they can learn)
 

cation

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That's why I ask. If you have never thrown a leg over a motorcycle, you don't want to start out with a 900lb. hog. You want a light, maneuverable bike that doesn't have so much power that you can quickly get in trouble with the throttle, and I don't mean tickets. If you have ridden some, on or off road, you have an idea about what a motorcycle can do and the basics are much easier to dispense with. There are many styles of bikes with smaller displacements less than 600 cc, and they handle and perform very differently from style to style.

What ever type you choose, a rider education course would be an excellent idea. (Some even rent bikes to non owners, so they can learn)
That's good advice. The throttle can get away from even an experienced rider. I've scared myself a few times with my little 500cc bike. Whatever you get, drive defensively and rememeber even a smaller cc bike can go too fast. Especiolly now days. Smaller engines have a much higher power output than they used to and don't forget a helmet. Leather is a good idea too.
 
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Butterfly Mage

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An awesome first motorcycle is a Honda Rebel 250. It was my first bike and it's still being manufactured! Some good things about the Rebel 250:
-- It's really cheap ($800-$1000 used, $3000 new)
-- It's easy to maintain.
-- It's cheap to insure ($7/month for me!)
-- It's not very powerful, so an inexperienced rider won't get blown away.
-- It starts even in 5 degree weather.

I had my Rebel for three years. It took a wreck for me to part with it.
 

Ace

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I'd say get something mid-range. If you get something small, like a 250, sure they are great to learn on, but you will quickly tire of it. I would liken a 250 bike to someone buying a beater to learn to drive a stick shift on, they will quickly progress to the level of a decent bike.

I would absolutely say get a used one, it will be cheaper, and depending on where you live, there is a good chance that the bike was not used as a daily driver, unless maybe you live in florida or california or something like that. Also, repairs on bikes are generally easy, much easier than a car I can say that.

Take rider education, where I am, the rider ed classes provide bikes, all of them are 250's, so you can get a feel for it. My bike, which is my first, is a Yamaha 600, not a crotch rocket, not a hog, but respectable. The previous owner got a speeding ticket for over 110 mph, so it can move if you ask it. I don't do that though, just stupid.

I will say this, even with a 600, be REAL careful starting out on it, the first time I got mine up to speed, the throttle got out of hand and I had to lay it down and I was not wearing a helmet or leather or anything. I wasn't on a public street, but it was still stupid and I learned my lesson the hard way. I scrapped myself up pretty good, and broke a bit of the plastic trim on the bike, including the speedo. Let's just say I learned my lesson
 
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A lack of training wheels. :D

While I don't own a motorcycle, I think that you also need to look at what you are going to use the bike for. Riding it around town, through the country, or serious highway riding.
 

Nam Repaid

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Light weight and moderate power. My first bike was a 69 Honda Z-50a, I still have it. My first regerstered bike was a 73 Suzuki ts-185 trail street bike. I took my riders test on that one.

Nam
 

Fire2box

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My dad has a Harley sportster. However I don't have one nor have I ever drove one.

I will say this though, be prepared to drive defensively since cars have nothing to fear from your motorcycle.
 
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Hopefully ill be getting a license soon. Im in the same boat ill prob be goin with a used sport bike. I hear good things about suzuki. My buddy learned to ride on and now owns a jsxr idk might be a little to much balsl for me for a first bike.
 

Jeremiah

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Thank you all for the replies. I appreciated having the opportunity to see what others had to say about a first bike.

To be honest, I do not need or want a starter bike. I had almost a decade of experience with dirtbikes before I bought my first street legal machine. My first bike was a dual-sport Suzuki DRZ-400S. I got bored with it after 2 years and 1,800 miles. It was traded for a Suzuki 1000cc VStrom against my co-workers suggestions (600-800cc engine). This bike was wonderful for 3 years and 8,000 miles in South Dakota and Texas. Shortly after I arrived in Florida, that bike caused a scare that prompted me to look for a another machine. This bike scared me when I was cruising along a remote paved road and found the end of the paved section. Around here, the road is either paved or sand. There is no dirt available for roads. A 500 lb machine without knobby tires on sand at 50 mph provided more pucker factor than I desire. My current ride is a dual-sport 2007 Husqavarna TE-610. This one does 0-60 mph in very short order, but does not like to go faster than 70 mph due to the suspension and gearing. It is like driving a lifted Jeep on mud tires. Interstate speeds are not fun. This is the perfect bike for me here in Florida: fast enough, self-limited top speed, and loves sand.

The off-road experience was helpful, but failed to provide most of the skills required for street riding. As many have pointed out, a good first step is to take the basic motorcycle course. I took it a year after I bought my first motorcycle and still learned many skills I could have used earlier. With these skills, I am confident that a new motorcyclist can handle just about any bike they purchase.

Every bike has different characteristics one must learn in order to ride safely. Every time I switch bikes, I need to relearn proper throttle control, braking, and cornering for the bike I am riding. The Super-Sport and 1 liter sport bikes require exceptional control to ride and are the only machines that I would strongly suggest new riders avoid. Someone here mentioned a Honda Goldwing and another mentioned a Harley Sportster. Both of these machines violate common suggestions for a first bike, but have safely been many peoples first bike. A friend of mine bought a used Honda 900cc standard bike for his first bike and has been happy riding it ever since.

My criteria for a first bike is simple: fits the rider well, performs well under intended use, and will keep the buyer happy for years to come.

Thank you for your inputs.
 

ajsco

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The best motorbike probably is a car. That way if you enter some spray you won't come out with your liver in someone else. Bikes may be fun offroad or even 25-30 years ago for on the road but now, for on the road - no no and no.
 

andrew90

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Id get a Kawasaki Ninja!

Goggle it up on motorcycle review dont take my word for it
 

Lil Snap

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The Husky is a nice bike! My Honda XR600L Dual Sport (now gone) was my favorite bike just because I could ride to the trails, go off road, and ride home. It was very comfortable at legal speeds, and while not a perfect trails bike, (it was really too heavy and geared too high for all out trail riding) it was good for 7/10ths riding through almost any terrain.

I've been riding since I was 5, and have experience on a lot of different bikes, but I tend to come back to the Dual Sport type, because of the upright seating position, comfort and the versatility, although the super motard styles are looking like a lot of fun. (The KTM caught my eye recently)
 
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