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Beginner

by Adrienne
(Alabama)

My Honda Shadow Spirit 750

My Honda Shadow Spirit 750

My Honda Shadow Spirit 750
Honda Shadow Spirit 750

I've wanted to ride since high school. I just graduated from college, starting my career and feel that I don't fit the mold of the typical lady rider :) Now that I'm able to make this dream happen, I've finally gotten my bike; a Honda Shadow Spirit 750. I can't put into words how ecstatic I am! The problem is that I've been told to get a 250cc or something like that to start on, but I've read of many women learning on their shadows! I feel like I'm not completely out of the loop because I know how to drive a straight shift truck, and I'm use to shifting gears with foot on our four-wheeler. I know a motorcycle is different, but I feel like I'm not completely ignorant of the concept. So do I really have to spend another couple thousand dollars to get a 250cc or something like that? My other question is do I get acquainted with being on a bike before I take the safety course, or do I take the safety course first? Quite frankly, I don't want to take the safety course in front of a group of people having not been on a bike at all. Plus $250 is a lot to pay to not pass!! Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

I must add that the bike fits me to a T! I'm flat foot when I don't have any shoes on, the foot pegs are perfect for my legs and I don't feel like Im reaching way forward for the handlebars. Everything is perfect! So, right now I'm just cranking it and sitting on it AND GRINNING!

Comments for Beginner

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Sep 20, 2010
RUN to take the course!
by: Anonymous

I can't stress enough how you will feel after taking the course. I was 46 when I took the MSF course at our community college. The cost was $255 and worth every penny. My husband took it as well even though he had had his license 20yrs ago. Even though I didn't pass my skills test, I did take the written test and passed with flying colors. I was the only one who had never even been on a motorcycle much less to even crank one up. We purchased a Honda Rebel 250 so I could practice the skills they had taught us and passed the DMV test 2 months later. And I am proud to say that I have a 2007 Honda VLX to ride. So, just take the course.......you'll be so glad you did!!!

Sep 16, 2010
Not the size of the engine but the fit for the rider.
by: Mary

I've heard a lot about needing to start on a 250 too, and also of riders that learned on something bigger. From my own experience, being 5'2" and generally petite, I am glad I started with my 250 Ninja. It has allowed me to gain confidence with an easy to handle bike. I also know after this I can eventually handle something bigger. So it's not a one-size fit all situation. I guess the best test is to take the course, and after play around with your bike and see if you can handle it after dropping it (because that will happen) and coming out of first, etc. In a parking lot of course.

Aug 30, 2010
Love the Shadow
by: Lynn - Florida

I'd take the MSF Class right away. They will have smaller bikes for the class. I think the Shadow 750 is an excellent starter (sometimes forever) bike. It is fairly light and well balanced.

Aug 27, 2010
Practice Before the Class
by: Wanda

Your bike is very nice! Congratulations. I would at least ride a motorcycle around a few times in a parking lot or backyard in first gear BEFORE going to the MSF class. That way, you can get your initial fright over with before the class. Get a friend to be with you when you practice. Whether you get a 250 cc to learn on or not is up to you. I chose not too. I got a 650 cc to start on. I took the MSF class at a Harley dealership and road the 500 cc Buell Blast in the class. Good luck!

Aug 27, 2010
Beginner too but not for long.
by: Nancy D

I took the MSF course too. I passed by the skin of my teeth and watched another woman about my age flunk in the class before me but I did it.
I really didn't know what I was going to do after that but the instructor said I would do fine just practice A LOT. I figured I wanted to really give it a good shot so we went looking for something cheap that I could learn on and we found a 2007 black cherry (it's all about the color you know) Yamaha Virago 250 with a matching helmet of course and we bought it for my 52nd birthday (that was in July so I'm real new at this). I love it - I'm glad I got that size because I needed to build my confidence up. Just sitting on the bigger bikes was scary. Now every time I go out I don't want to come in. My husband even sends the kids out looking for me. I say do it, if i can anyone can. Start off where you want to start - sit on many different bikes and when the size is right, you'll know it. Start slow and keep practicing and remember always put the kick stand down before you get off the bike. haha (You only forget once.)

Aug 27, 2010
Another Thought
by: Deb

There is no such thing as a typical lady rider. The first motorcycle I rode was a Honda 90, behind my dad as a kid. I then rode twice behind a neighbor in Jr. High. Then in 2008 hubby got his Harley and I was content to ride back seat. After talking to several women, I decided I better learn how to drive in case we were ever out somewhere and I had to go for help. So, in January of 2009 I took the MSF classes at our local Community College. It was only $100 as opposed to $350 at the Harley dealers. After that course, there was no more back seat for me, no sir! One month later, for my 52nd birthday I got my Harley Softail Heritage. I was terrified riding it home from the dealer with basically no experience, but I did it. Now I want bigger to travel on! Oh, I am a state employee at a college, mother of 5 and grandmother of 11.

Aug 26, 2010
MSF Course
by: Never2old

Hi Adrienne! My husband bought me a Honda Rebel 250 so I could practice riding before taking the beginner's riding class. I chose to go with the Rider's Edge course that Harley-Davidson offers. I was able to take a class with all women, which was wonderful. The motorcycles we used were Buell's that are 500cc, where the Rebel is 250cc's. After riding the Buell during class, I was amazed at the difference between it and the Rebel. The Buell was a lot more fun and had more pep than my Rebel. I ended up selling the Rebel and bought a 2005 Yamaha V-Star 650. I love this bike! It is actually easier to ride than the Rebel was. Anyway, I wouldn't spend the money on getting a smaller bike. After you take the class, take your bike to a safe, vacant parking lot and practice what you learned at your own pace. (Which is what I am still doing since I've only had my license since April.) You will do great!!

Aug 26, 2010
Take the course!
by: Anonymous

Whatever you do, be sure to take the MSF course. You'll pass. The instructors WANT you to pass! If it's a Rider's Edge course, they'll supply the bikes - it is a wonderful experience. A 250 is good to learn on, then you can move up to your own bike and apply what you learned. I was a total novice (but I could drive a stick-shift too) and my husband got me started. Not everything he taught me was 100% correct, but I straightened everything out after I took the course! I have Honda Rebel 250 - it's right for me. Once you take the MSF course, you'll be fine on your own bike! Go for it!

Aug 26, 2010
Beginner
by: Sandra

Does the class you are looking at taking SUPPLY a bike to use during the class? If so, I'll bet it is in the 250cc range...perfect...no reason to CONTINUE to ride a 250cc bike after getting your endorsement unless YOU WANT TO!

I took the class, on a supplied Suzuki TU250, and passed with no real prior knowledge to biking. I did spend one afternoon in a parking lot with my brother before taking the courses (on my 800cc Suzuki Boulevard) but that was because I got in a hurry to ride and dumped my bike practically in my driveway...I did not want to develop a fear of my bike and had my brother help me "get back on the horse" quickly.

I would not have been thrilled to take the course (Basic Rider Course by MSF) on my own 800cc bike...too much pressure learning the techniques they try to convey without adding size and power to the equation. But I would not mind testing on my own bike, now that I've completed the course.

Is it NECESSARY to learn on a small bike? NO - it's just easier to pass the first time through. After that, I would not be happy riding a 250cc bike anymore.

I think the answer comes down to what makes the rider happy. If you HAVE to use your own bike, and don't think you would want to buy one, look into options of borrowing, renting, using someone else's smaller bike, just to get the hang of it; then move back to your Shadow.

Aug 26, 2010
Go 4 It
by: Carol Ferrell

I thought I needed a 250 to learn to ride and so I started there and now I have a Honda 500 Shadow :) I love it to death and I wish I had just started with the 500. I took the safety course but I already had my 250 when I took the class but you learn on a 250 in the class and my son who was 14 yr old at the time too the class with me and he was not a failure with motor bikes at all. We both passed with flying colours and there were others there that did not have a bike either and one or two others like me that already had a bike :) The class is really hands on and I had a great instructor. It was a great experience and I say go for it get your lic and then hit the road and ride <3

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