new rider looking for advice on a starter bike

by Liz
(Monmouth County, NJ)

My husband and I are attending the Basic Rider Course in NJ this weekend and I want to start reading up on specific bikes that will suit me.
I am 5' 7" and 118. I like the Honda Shadow, and a few of the Yamaha sport bikes I've seen, but I don't have anyone to ask for advice, information or suggestions.

Comments for new rider looking for advice on a starter bike

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Oct 18, 2011
by: Katie

I just found your post again. Congrats on passing your course. I know how exciting it is. Have you found bikes yet? Keep us posted.


Oct 11, 2011
Thank you and we passed!
by: Liz

Hi Everyone -
Thank you all SO much for all of the information! We passed our class this weekend and we are now officially on the hunt for a "starter" bike we can learn on, and not be upset when the occasional drop occurs. I will keep this thread posted because I continue to return here for more and more advice.
This is a GREAT forum!

Oct 10, 2011
by: squeekz

I am 5ft 8in and I learned on a Harley Softail Heratige however I couldn't afford to purchase my own so I got a Yamaha V Star 650. I found it to be fun, quick and easy to handle and sharpened my skills on it. Due to the size (small) I felt like a giant on it. I ride with an all female club here in California (First Ladyz) and wanted a larger more powerful bike for long rides. Last January I purchased a Harley-Davidson Road Glide, I love, love, love my bike. This bike I will ride forever. It is not a starter bike but trust me, it is a finished. Rent different models and find what suits your body and soul.

Oct 05, 2011
Yamaha V Star 950
by: Anonymous

Check out the Yamaha 950. I am 5'4" and can plant my feet firmly when stopped. This is due to a low seat height AND a narrow seat in the crotch.

In my first year of riding, I have over 5000 miles on my bike. His name is Horace...for "seize the day".

Select your bike for YOU. Do not let anyone tell you what suits you.

Oct 04, 2011
by: Liz (again)

Wow, you have all given me great information and I hope I will have the freedom to rent an assortment of rides to get a feel for what I like! I will keep you posted :)

Oct 04, 2011
Choosing a bike!
by: Anonymous

Hey there I am also a new rider and I am loving it.

My husband had 650 Vstar that he loved but upgraded quickly to a 1300 Honda VTXR. So here was this newer beautiful bike that could be all mine and I hated it! I am 5 10 with long legs I hated how low the seat was and how front heavy the bike was. I rode it but never liked it. Hubby was not happy lol but he realized that I needed to be safe and happy so we sold it. I am now riding a Suzuki 650 GSXF and I LOVE IT. The bike is higher and the front end is not so heavy and long, I have a gas gage fuel injection and I am happy. This won't be my last bike. I love the Yamaha 1300 FJR and see that in my future (2 years or so) I am drawn to the sport tourer type bikes. I love the look of the cruisers lets face it they are COOL, but I believe you have to be happy with what you ride! I suggest you go and sit on as many bikes as you can and get a feel for the bikes you sit on. I bet you get drawn to a certain type of bike. You will know.

Enjoy but make sure you get what is right for you.


Oct 04, 2011
Yamaha V-Star 650
by: Joan

I was able to find a used V-Star with 1600 miles on it. It is my first bike and I love it. I know I'll eventually move to a bigger bike but so glad I convinced my boyfriend that I needed a smaller bike to begin with.

Oct 04, 2011
which bike?
by: Yvonne - NC

I tried a Rebel at one time, I didn't like the feel. Thought it felt too light. I am riding a Honda Shadow 1100, love it. It felt a little heavy, at first, didn't take long to adjust. I'm 5'3", after finding a pair of boots with thich soles, it is perfect. No matter what bike you choose, you will have to adjust. Good luck. Keep the shiny side up:)

Oct 04, 2011
Don't rush....too much:)
by: Sandy

It depends. I am 5'9 1/2. I wanted to go ahead and get the bike that I planned to ride for years to come, which is a HD Heritage. It balances well because the weight is lower to the ground. If you want to start smaller and trade up as your ability warrants, then you might want a Honda Rebel or Shadow. They are great bikes I understand. Congratulations on passing your rider course and welcome to the family. It's one of the best things I've ever done. Just wish I hadn't waited until I was 50!

Oct 04, 2011
Get what feels the most comfortable
by: Melodee

I took the safety course with three female friends a year and a half ago. One friend already had a Harley Sportster. She now is looking at upgrading. Another friend bought a V-star this past May. I spent alot of time looking, listening and learning. In August I purchased an '08 Harley Softail Deluxe. I LOVE IT. We live in the Black Hills of South Dakota and need power. This gives it to me. In six weeks I have put on 2200 miles with my husband by my side. He has been the best mentor. He rides a Heritage Softail. We put communication in our helmets and I can ask a question any time. I love, love, love my bike! Oh, and the other friend that took the class...she decided she is happy staying on the back of her husbands. That's ok!

Oct 04, 2011
by: Lois

Try a Bonneville

Oct 04, 2011
V-Star is Great!
by: Anonymous

The Yamaha v-star 650 is a great starter bike. I'm petite and it's a perfect fit - comfortable, low center of gravity smooth ride and just enough power. Good luck on the class - take your time, listen well, keep your handlebars straight and don't brake in a curve!

Oct 04, 2011
New Rider
by: Anonymous

I ride a 1450 Dyna Wide Glide now but I started with a 883 Sportster and gradually worked my way up. I will say that Sportsters are great for fast and short riding. They are, in my opinion, not good for distance.

My cousin owns a Honda Shadow - 600 cc and she absolutely loves it. Start with a used bike, there are a lot of bikes out there at very reasonable prices. I use to have a V-Star, one of my favorite bikes. And I'd recommend you get Ryder insurance or Progressive but the key is to make sure they have towing services just in case you need it.

I took the course at the Morris County College 5 years ago, I can still hear the instructor in my head when I go around turns or see a mishaps ahead. It is a great course. Best of luck.

Oct 04, 2011
After 30 years away from riding...
by: Wanda in CAnton GA

I began riding again two years ago. I took the Riders' Edge course and thought, since I am so short, that a Sportster 883XL L would be the right bike for me. I bought an '06 and had it lowered 2.5", but I find that it is top-heavy. I sat on a 2010 Heritage Softaeil and was amzed as how well the bike is balanced. I could rock it back and forth from foot to foot and it just went back to center as if on it's own. The bike could be lowerd another inch, since the previous owner was a female and had already lowered it 2". Knowing what I do now after almost 2,000 miles of riding my own, I would buy this Heritage, if I could afford it right now. I agree with the previous posting, the V-Stars are hot bikes and their size is similar to the Harley Sportsters. But, at 65 mph I feel the shaking and vibrating on the Sportster and I don't really like it. I have done 70 mph (the speed limit on some roads in GA) on a four lane and it was okay after I got used to it. The wind was 15 mph that day so that shows you that the Sportster is stable.

Oct 03, 2011
First bike
by: Laura

I'm riding my starter bike now, it's a Yamaha V Star 650. It's been perfect for me but i'm a bigger girl than you. I knew I wanted something bigger than the 250's we rode in the class. I bought it used, from a friend, so I knew what I was getting and I don't regret it. I am glad I waited until after taking the class though so that I had a good feel for what I felt I could handle.

Have fun, relax and enjoy the class.

Oct 03, 2011
Work your way up...
by: Dawn

I learned my first year on a GS500. I moved into a Yamaha 650 V-star, which I rode for about 6 months when I just happened upon a sweet deal for an 1100 V-star. I bought it and within 8 months, I was thinking about moving up. Within a year of buying the 1100, I moved into the 2010 Yamaha Stratoliner Deluxe 1900. I'm done moving up... mostly due to the payments of this bike! LOL. All I can say is, don't buy something too big to begin with, however, because you will probably grow out of the bike in a relatively short period of time (depending on your love of riding and how much road time you get), plan for moving up. You probably don't want to buy brand new your first time out. Just make sure what you do buy is dependable. You don't want the bike giving you issues that make your learning experience horrible, or the bike distracting you from what's going on around you.

Good luck and keep the rubber on the road!

Oct 03, 2011
I love my 750 Honda Shadow Aero
by: Anonymous

I agree with the comment that you should certainly go to a showroom and check some out for size. You should get one that fits you and is comfortable. Of course with extra $, I'm sure most can change things to help it fit you better.
I am a RiderCoach for the MSF course (basic rider course) in NH. I wish you the best of luck. It is an amazing course and you will learn so much from it.
I also recommend that you take the course before you purchase a mc to make sure you are comfortable and confident with riding.
Take care and be well.
~ Dawn

Oct 03, 2011
I meant a "Standard" bike not a sport
by: the same Liz

When I read about the types of bikes, I must correct myself. I meant a "Standard" bike not a sport bike.

Oct 03, 2011
do your homework
by: Anonymous

I am your size and I ride a 750 Kawasaki Vulcan v-twin, I like the bike but I wish I was on an 800 so I have mine up for sale to make that happen. It's best to go check some out at a showroom that will let you sit on them and get a feel for the weight and the reach if you can.

Oct 03, 2011
Honda Shadow
by: Kim

I have a Honda Shadow Spirit 750, absolutely love this bike. I moved up to this from the Honda Shadow 600. It's a real comfortable ride.

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