Any advice on a first bike?

by Lexi
(St. Louis, MO)

I am 5'5" and 118 pounds. I have been riding dirt bikes since I was four, so I am extremely comfortable on my 2006 Honda CRF 250X (with the two-inch lowering kit to make the height manageable).

Now that I am going into my second year of college, I am looking to move to the street, primarily as a commuter. I plan on taking a MRTC. I'm not a nervous rider and am very comfortable with my current bike, but I want to get a bike with the right size and power for a beginner street-rider. I've read a bit online different makes and models that people recommend, but I am not sure which ones to look at.

I'm looking for a bike that is affordable (college student, remember!) and smaller for my size, but with enough power to get me out of hairy situations. I'd like to try to find a bike with a seating position similar to my dirt bike. Any ideas?

Comments for Any advice on a first bike?

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Aug 06, 2010
Cruising with comfort and confidence.
by: Leabo

I'm just about your size (5'4"/120 lbs.), and love my Honda Shadow 750. Plenty of power to keep up with the gang and nice and low for comfortable cruising. I rode dirt bikes years ago and after many years as a passenger my husband bought this bike for me. It's a nice fit for us petite gals.

Jul 08, 2010
Street Rider
by: Aili

OMG - you could be my twin!!! I have a 08 CRF 270. I'm looking at the Royal Enfield Classic 500 as my street replacement. I take my dual-sport back & forth to work (up to 20 miles each way), but on all back roads as the bike tops out at around 55 mph - and then it screams. I saw the Enfield at a show last month & fell in love. A small, short bike, totally comfy with a retro look, and not that expensive.

Although...the Harley Sportster 883 is pretty sexy, but at more than double the price of the Enfield.

Jun 18, 2010
650 cc
by: Wanda

Check out the 650 and 800 cc dual sport bikes. Those are good both on the street and for dirt and gravel roads. Honda XR650L. Kawasaki KLR. BMW G650GS, F650GS, and F800 GS. The BMW's tend to be a little pricier, but you can save by buying one gently used.

A good sport touring bike for street use only is the BMW 800ST. Honda's CB650SC Nighthawk is a good choice--they stopped making them in 2008, but you might get a deal on a used one.

I think for the street, you need at least 650 cc to be able to stay up with traffic and to get out of the way quickly if needed. Since you are an experienced dirt bike rider, I don't think there is any reason for you to start with a 250 cc street bike, but ultimately that is up to you and what you feel comfortable riding. Test drive different bikes and see what you like.

You will notice the extra weight with the 650cc and above bikes which make them slightly harder to steer, but they are still nimble and quick. Once you master your new machine, the greatest hazard will be other drivers. Bikes tend to be less visible to automobile drivers; they're just not looking for bikes. So, stay alert and be safe! Consider investing in armored clothing for street riding. Hope this helps! Have fun out there.

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