Salesperson talked me into buying a bigger bike - and I'm struggling with it!

by Jojo
(Seattle, WA)


I am new to riding along with my husband. We took the Motorcycle Safety Course and got our endorsements. I bought a Suzuki Boulevard S40 and am now regretting it. I don't know if it is just mental but I feel like I'm sitting on a huge bike. Do I just need to keep practicing? My husband is wanting to go out on longer rides and I'm content riding in the neighborhood. I've only put 50 miles on the bike.

Any advice?

Comments for Salesperson talked me into buying a bigger bike - and I'm struggling with it!

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Sep 27, 2012
It's about practice and comfort level...
by: Naomi

I hear you! One dealer tried to get me on a Honda Shadow (750cc)as my 1st bike and another dealer tried to get to buy a Honda CBR 250 (250cc).. One was too much bike and the other i would have outgrown within the middle of the 1st season...

I ended up buying a Kawasaki Ninja 400...Horsepower wise it's quite similar to the Shadow...but it's 100lbs lighter. The bike has been very forgiving and has taught me lots of lessons without getting hurt.

I appreciate the comment about "audience"...the first few times on the bike I needed everyone to "GO AWAY"... I went on LOTS of little rides, then more often. It took me most of last year to develop the courage to drive downtown amongst the traffic and to navigate parking garages where there is lots of tight turning required. Since we had a light winter I've been pretty much driving since February and will ride til the snow flies in November/December. I use my bike to commute to work when I can and enjoy the last few good weather days...

Since you own the bike, just keep at it. The biggest fear you have to get over is dropping the bike. Once that happens and you get over that fear, you'll find riding some much easier. Don't let ANYONE tell you they've never dropped their bike before, even the most seasoned drivers have...otherwise they are liars....

The other side to this is you have to decide your driving style...do you like sports bikes, cruisers or enduro style bikes?? I had both (sport/cruiser) this year and am selling my Honda Shadow (bought it used at the end of last season). I love my Ninja, big enough to be fun, but not too big to get into too much trouble.

Give yourself a chance....and have fun.

My two cents...and sorry for the long message.

Sep 27, 2012
Bigger bike = more practice & patience
by: Anonymous

My husband (and the salesman) did the same thing to me! I went out in our neighborhood as often as I could to get used to it. Fortunately there is a school near by that I could go and ride around the parking lot. Practiced a lot of figure 8's in that lot, and also a lot of "quick stops" as I just felt the bike was going to pull me over when stopping. After awhile I discovered I was riding around that parking lot at a faster speed than when I started. For me though, I found it best to take those first rides on my own, my husband is great but he tends to make me nervous. Must be the audience factor or something! Just keep practicing, when you're ready to get out of your neighborhood you'll know!

Hang in there, you'll get it.

Jun 26, 2012
I am so new
by: Denise


I have not ridden a bike for over 30 years. I am a now single lady 53 who decide this is the year for me,. I am looking at a Harley Davidson Sporster today. I am nevous as anyting to think that I amy be riding again. I am going to learn as a beginner. So I will do the 4 day course here in Vancouver BC.
Patti I see you are from Seattle. We have the weather in common. I would love to maybe one day ride with you if you ever come up again to WHistler. I most likly will not be bike ready till the end of JUly, but i will try my best.
I have spent the last couple of nights thinking... am I crazy to want to did this. AM I too old.... My children are all grown, I live a lone. I work all week, and nothing to do on weekends. I need a hobbie, and I thought this would get me out. I guess I need reassurance that I am not doing a stupid thing.

Jun 30, 2011
Thanks Naomi!
by: Patti

I have seen your lovely lengthy comments to me! Thank you so much. I have been away from my computer and now going on vacation for a few weeks. No....not with the bike. I am also a golfer, so it is more of a golf holiday and visiting long time friends all along the way! should be fun. I hope to get in a couple of short rides when I get back, and can't wait to do my 1 week course in August so I can get my full license!! I am going to start it up today and drive it around in my underground parking! Good practice I think.



Jun 27, 2011
Confidence builds with time...
by: Naomi

Hi Patti,

Sorry I was trying to reply in order and was originally replying to JoJo I think and I guess my comment got in after yours... But it does apply regardless... I found it was easiest to go with other people, even just one...it's much easier to follow so you don't have to make some of the navigational decisions. Get your friends out again and just go. Nice straight roads are best to start and you'll gain some confidence... I find I need to ride 2-3 times a week to get comfortable which is now beginning to happen. Too bad you are at the other end of the country, otherwise I'd say, let's meet and ride. If you can gain the confidence to go yourself, then do it. No one's going to criticize you...if they do, tell them to stay home!!! As supportive as my husband is, there's a lot of pressure to get better and keep riding. He now wants to go to Montreal! I'm just getting used to Ottawa.. Same with our friends in our riding club. That can be hard because they expect you to do well right away. We all make mistakes and they need to happen so we can learn. I try to work on something when I'm out...

I wanted to use my bike to commute to work and was hoping to be doing it by now...I'll be lucky if I get confident enough by the end of the summer. The best advice I got from one of the lady's at the Training Course was, go when you are ready but keep at it...

Keep at it Patti, and if you need support, we are are all here for you...

Jun 26, 2011
Thank you for words.
by: Patti

Hi Naomi! thanks so much for replying. Firstly though....I am single,no hubby and doing this venture on my own. I actually just got back home from driving it on highway for 45 min drive to another town that is en route to Whistler (BC). We then had a bit to eat and drove back. My long time gal pal and her hubby raced over here on their Harley to drive behind me while I practiced (Learners license). I had no idea they wanted to ride that far, but I did it! My heart was in my throat for most of it,but even he said that for someone (me) that owned a bike 38 years ago...(for 2 months) and had only ridden perhaps 6 times since.....I did damn good. I will try my best. It is a big bike though.....610 lbs.



Jun 26, 2011
Keep at it!!
by: Naomi

Listen, we've all been there... My Ninja 400 is over 450lbs and I can't pick it up by myself. I bought it brand new and started riding in May and now have 533kms on it and just starting to get used to it. With the bigger bikes we all get scared and I am getting better and better each day. Today was my first solo ride - 70kms and 2hrs... Just keep at it and tell Hubby baby steps... My bike's still being broken in and I can only go 70km/hr max..so long rides with my Hubby are a little slow and tedious but we'll be out for 2 or 3 hrs.

Find long stretches of road with less traffic and try to get out 2-3 times a week...the fear will start to go away..

Jun 26, 2011
Just picked up my C50 yesteray.
by: Patti

OMG.....my heart is racing, my stomach churning. I got it home safe and sound but my god it is big. Please all woman give me some courage to stick with it. It weighs 600 lbs.

Jun 01, 2011
by: jojo

I wanted to give everyone an update. I took your advise and went for it. On Mother's Day my husband and I went out for a long ride. It felt great. I've gotten the feel for my bike and it fits me perfect.

I am glad I bought it. I do think had I bought a Honda Rebel 250, I'd be ready to trade up. I do have my next bike picked out for next year - a Honda Shadow Phantom.

I finally rode my husband's Ninja around the parking lot and was surprised how different it felt. No wonder he likes to go around corners fast. It feels totally different than my Boulevard.

Unfortunately we haven't had many nice days in Seattle. Rain, Rain and more Rain. It hasn't hit 70 degrees yet.

Thanks again for all your encouragement. I'll post some photos of my bike shortly.

Jun 01, 2011
I think we can all relate...
by: Naomi

I completed my course the first week of May and had bought my bike a few weeks earlier. The training bike i was on was a Honda 150cc...and I had bought a Kawasaki Ninja 400R (basically a detuned 650R).... I went to all the dealers in town to finally get this bike...one of the Honda dealers tried to push me towards a CBR 250 because I was a beginner..another Honda dealer told me the 750 shadow was the way to go... I was in the Kawi dealer and they had a lowered 400R and 250R... The 250 felt like a tiny bike and the 400 was perfect!

My first ride was so intimidating!!!! The 400R has LOTS of power... And I dropped it twice in the driveway just repositioning it and I almost went back into the house at that point!!

Now I've been out a half a dozen times...and my first trip by myself (to get gas), was terrifying but good in the end. My hubby took my sister-in-law (she took the course with me) and I out for a 2hr ride... I have to agree with others, get out on the open road and just drive. City streets are frustrating...drivers don't see you, kids running around everywhere...

Don't worry, it will all work out in the end...or at least so everyone tells me! But I have to say so far, I'm happy I did it. A nice way to celebrate my 45th birthday!

Good luck and let us know how things go...

May 21, 2011
Reply to salesman convinced me to buy...
by: Kawigirl

I want you to know that I started out with a Suzuki S40. I am 54 years old, 5'4" tall and LOVED THIS BIKE. Try not to let it psych you out. This bike is very well balanced and easy to handle. Because it is a single cylinder, the noise and slight vibration may be intimidating to you, but have faith in yourself and give it a chance. It is an excellent bike. I got my license in Sept. 2010, and recently sold this bike to purchase a Kawasaki Vulcan Custom 900. A much bigger bike. Practice is the key and stay in your comfort zone in terms of where you ride. May I suggest that you find a large vacant parking lot and practice. Every time you go out, you will gain more and more confidence. Safe riding.

May 06, 2011
Try the Longer Ride
by: Anonymous

I've posted before on this site, so I'm going to give you the same advice. I personally, can't stand the slow residential streets. I feel off balance and never comfortable. If the hubby is going with you, so you will have a companion, take a deep breath and go on a longer ride. I never feel relaxed until I hit the open road and get through the gears. I barely rode my bike the first season for that same reason. I have a Honda Shadow 600 and for the first 100 miles of residential driving wished I had gotten the smaller 250 Rebel instead. I couldn't seem to feel balanced the bike was so heavy and I was constantly preparing to stop or turn, I was a wreck. But one lucky unplanned construction detour and I was on the open road going 55 mph and FINALLY felt balanced and relaxed enough to enjoy the ride. If I wouldn't have been pushed a little I would have never learned that -FOR ME- the open road was the best teacher.

Apr 21, 2011
Thanks for the Encouragement
by: jojo

Thanks everyone for the encouragement. I'm so glad I found this website. My goal is to continue riding each day and get more comfortable with my bike. My husband likes to tell me "We've got the rest of our lives to ride so there's no rush." He commutes everyday by bike and loves it and wants me to have that same feeling of enjoyment. It may take me a little longer than him to get there and that's OK.

Apr 21, 2011
Happy to hear of successful first bike = Big
by: Jewels

Passed the MSF last fall and couldn't stomach buying a small bike - I'm not made of money and can't just be switching on a whim! If the sales guy had pressured me to go small, I probably would have been put off. I know me, and I know that I can do this. I've purchased a VStar 950 as my first bike. Am I nervous? Yes. Am I going to take it easy and go at my own pace? Yes. I felt strongly that I wanted to buy MY bike, something I could grow into and really make my own. I am glad to hear others have been successful in doing it this way. It is sometimes scary to read everyone saying that you must start out small - it's not an option at this point, the Blue Jewel is already in the garage :)

Apr 21, 2011
Keep it Up
by: Anonymous

50 miles is nothing when learning to first ride. When you reach around 1500 things will start to click, so just keep racking up the seat time and like posted earlier 3000 it starts to become a lot easier, so this summer ride all you can. Remember this may take several seasons.

Good luck!

Apr 21, 2011
Struggling Newbie
by: Anonymous

O.K. you are being to hard on yourself first of all. My goodness you only have 50 miles under your rear end. Also, remember men handle bikes differently than women.

Regardless of the size of bike. Most statics say for a new rider (women) it does not start to click or have fun until you reach about the 3,000 mile marker more or less. By then your muscle memory is built. Things become more automatic and you do not have to work as hard to ride. This is your first season so it is a learning season. Your second season will be a true riding season. At least that is what most women told me and they were correct.

Don't let your hubby or anyone else push you out of your comfort zone just yet. There is time. You need to keep practicing until you are comfortable and he needs to understand that everyone learns at a different pace. You just keep riding until you are ready to go a little farther. Then one day you will just notice that you are enjoying the ride and not even thinking about what to do or the size of your bike.

Apr 21, 2011
Mental block?
by: Sandra

My first bike is a Suzuki C50 and looks every bit as huge as my husband's HD Softail...but that is what I wanted all along!

It could be a mental thing - this bike is big - this bike is heavy - what if I drop it? But I agree w/the other comment that you MAY just need to gain a certain level of confidence and competence with THIS bike. Much more than cars, bikes seem to have specific driving "personalities" and are a bit more tricky to get a feel for. Combine that with the newness of learning to ride and I think many people just take longer to rely on their abilities.

I would not think of downsizing now, as I'm entering my second season. And I only WISH my husband would relax and take some trips with me...HE'S the one who does not care to see me riding - my C50 or a 250 cc bike! He likes me "safe"! LOL

Apr 21, 2011
Boulevard S40
by: Cathy

Jojo, my first bike is also a Boulevard S40 (a pretty old one - was branded a Savage back then!), and she did feel big when I first started riding last year, but 6 months later, I feel very comfortable on the bike, and am absolutely loving riding it.

I really recommend you keep trying. I also used to ride round the neighborhood - on my own, so I didn't feel any pressure to go faster or anything like that. Then my husband 'led' me on longer rides so I could get more comfortable with the bike ? at a fairly slow pace, and one day it all just fell into place, and I realized I'd got used to the feel of the bike, and it just gets easier and easier.

Don't give up, but also don't let anyone pressure you into doing more than you're comfortable doing, I?m sure it?ll come in time. Good luck, I hope you soon feel the way I do!

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