New Rider....

by Missy

I have been riding with my husband for a while and I eventually decided I wanted my own bike so we got me a Harley 1200xl Custom. It is a beautiful bike.

I took the class, passed, and got my license. We used Honda 250s in the class so the first time I drove my bike I was scared to death to pick my feet up....but once I did I loved it. I seem to be having a problem balancing the bike though.

I have dropped it 3x when stopping (Although 1x I dropped it because I forgot to pull in the clutch when stopping and the bike started bucking and I dropped it....in the middle if the street with all to see. OUCH, my ego was hurt!). I finally figured out that the bike just doesn't fit me right. I was on my tip toes and also "reaching" for the handlebars. My husband lowered it to the light rider setting and that helped a lot but i still think it needs to be about another inch lower so we are about to buy the kit to lower it more. He changed out my handlebars yesterday and he noticed that my throttle and release wasn't working right so he fixed it.

I haven't had a chance to ride it but he said it was riding much better. I sure hope this does the trick because I was almost to the point to thinking that that I am better off on the back of a bike....BUT I don't want to give up! Reading all the stories of other people with the same experiences is very uplifting and helps me realize that all this is part of learning. I will do this!

I am wondering, though, if I should wait until he lowers it again before I ride it again.....

Comments for New Rider....

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May 01, 2012
by: Sprocket

I bought a 2012 XL1200 Custom and put 900 miles on it. I had exactly the same problem, even after a bunch of modifications. I ended up selling it and bought a Kawasaki Vulcan 900 LT. Soooooo much better! It has a lower center of gravity and even though it's a heavier bike, by 200lbs, I can handle it so much better. Sportsters are great but I liken them to this: it's like comparing an air liner to a zippy private jet, the ladder being the sportster. Just try sitting on something like a Vulcan or a Harley Deluxe. I think you will immediately see a difference, even before you ride one.

May 01, 2012
by: Missy

Thanks for all the comments! The advice and encouragement is really helpful. My husband ordered the lowering kit yesterday so hopefully that will lower me enough. If not, we will be ordering a seat soon. I can’t wait to get out there and ride!

Apr 30, 2012
Another option
by: Nina

I had exactly the same problem. I had a hard time keeping my balance. I got a trike and love it. I actually have a can-am Spyder. So much fun. And no possibility of dropping it. LOL

Apr 30, 2012
by: Kathy - WA

I too have just moved up from a honda rebel to HD's 883 SuperLow. I am 5'2" (vertically challenged) the SuperLow is already low but I moved the bars back, installed a Super Reduced Reach seat to get my feet flat with just a little extra. Replaced the pegs with mini floorboards cause my feet where too small to reach shifter properly, also changed the shifter to one that stuck out 1/2" further. Another add was extenders for the turn signals (sorta look like press on fingernails), helps with the small hands. I love the bike! Love the extra horse power. I had a time adjusting to the way to ride it though. Kept thinking of it as the Honda and just about bowled over my Hubby on his Road King :O Just make it your own and give yourself time to get adjusted. Ride On!

Apr 30, 2012
new rider
by: Deeann

Sportsters do have a higher center of gravity than other bikes but you can learn to ride one. Just get the bike set up for YOU, then ride carefully until you get used to it. Make sure you are flat footed when you stop. No tip toes. Sportsters are the most fun to ride of all the HD's but they are different because of the higher center of gravity. Lots of women have a Sportster, including me; you'll get used to your bike. Don't give up.

Apr 30, 2012
Getting comfortable
by: Donna

I just bought my first street bike about 6 weeks ago from a woman who was about 8 inches shorter than me. The foot brake and clutch pedal had to be re-adjusted for the bike to feel comfortable for me. Wait until the adjustments are made. You will gain confidance when the bike is set up right for you. Sturdy, over the ankle, oil resistant sole boots also help alot. I now have my first pair of Timmies. Are you comfortable with the weight of the bike? I found that to be key with my bike and a low center of gravity as well. Good luck and I agree, once comfortable, you will be obsessed. 450 miles in 5 weeks :-)

Apr 30, 2012
Don't give up
by: Chadeoflv

I have to wear boots with just a bit of a heel (not spikes) to be "flat footed" on my bike. That definitely helps. You can also bring your handlebars back so they are closer, or get a seat that moves you just a little more forward. That may really help with your center of gravity and reaching the ground. Just keep trying until you get comfortable.

Apr 29, 2012
lowering your bike
by: Colleen

I'm a fairly new rider myself, I have couple thousand miles under my belt. Going from the Rebel 250 last year to my 883 has been a wonderful upgrade,but my bike was already lowered by a much shorter woman who owned it previously. You need to have a lower center of gravity to control your bike. I think you should wait until you feel completely comfortable before you continue riding it. You need to be flat footed or you will be off balance. Don't get discouraged, keep up the practice and soon you will be obsessed :)
I still ride on the bike with my hubby for a change of pace- he likes the backrest! :)

Apr 29, 2012
Good Luck
by: Anonymous

Get a scooped out seat. Harley is making them for shorter people now. You'll be lower and sit further forward with more lower back support. Hope that helps.

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