Comments for Test riding for a new bike

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Mar 08, 2012
UPDATE: I bought a Vulcan
by: Lauren

Thanks for all your advice of which I consider very valuable. I bought a Kawasaki Vulcan 900 Classic LT. It fits perfectly I think it will be fast enough to keep up with the big boys and girls. It gets delivered today...can't wait to ride! Thanks again!

Dec 31, 2011
Ducati seat height
by: Susanne

I too suffer from stubby leg syndrome. But with my Diavel I was able to put 95% of my feet down from the get go. No lowering kit like my Ninja650R. No tippy toe. I just had the ride suspension adjusted to my comfort(softened) and that was it. I was so tickled to get a bike with the performance I craved without having to do all the modifications. If needed Ducati does offer a lower seat for it but honestly I am perfectly happy with the bike as it is. The Diavel does have a forum that is quite mature with a few of us women on it. You are always welcome. I still like swinging by here for the girl aspect though.

Dec 30, 2011
ride what fits you
by: streetbobber

as a rider for 37 yrs, i have have had Honda, Triumph, kawasaski, buell, harley. They all have a different ride, but the Honda and Kawi seemed to be my best bikes. I find that you need to read everyones comments posted for great personal knowledge, butr bottom line is buy what fits your build. Be comfortable, compare repair cost, check to see if it can be customed out at a reasionable price and that parts are available to build it to fit you. don't settle for something that is close to perfect for you, get one tthat is perfect for you. whether it is harley, kaw, honda, bmw, get what you want. It isn't about what you ride, it is about getting out and riding and enjoying each trip, meeting new riders, having fun...... you will find the bike for you.

Dec 29, 2011
by: Gypsy Spirit

I just had this thought about another consideration when bike shopping. How easy is it to take care of basic maintenance?

Do you need to pull the seat to get at the battery like with a Harley Softtail? Do you need to pull the gas tank to change the spark plugs like with the Suzuki Savage? How accessible is the air filter? the carburetor? ... and so on.

Even if you normally take your bike to a shop to be serviced, the more that has to come apart, the more time it takes, and time equals money.

Like everything else with a bike, it's a personal fit thing, just one most people don't think about until the time comes.

Have a Happy New Year!

Dec 29, 2011
Bike Fit
by: Gypsy Spirit

Hi again ...

Lauren ... I did the same with my Sporty ... changed the seat, added road bars and pull back risers. At 5'3" I'm still a little short when it comes to pushing it (heeled boots help)!

I'm really writing to comment on the remark by Anonymous "even the 650 handled the trip".

When I was a kid a 750 was a BIG bike and a Harley 54 (54 cubic inches is equal to 884.9 cubic centimeters) was THE big bike to have! When Honda came out with the Gold Wing (1000 cc) in the late 70s it was huge! A Harley 1200 was the cream of the crop.

I've been all around the country with my 883, as has my daughter on her 450 Rebel (which, with its 6 speed tranny, has the same top speed as my 883 - 95 mph!). Do not feel like you need a great big bike for long distance touring! Comfort is the most important factor as long as you don't need to run full throttle on the interstates. For most of us 75 mph is enough speed and still leaves room for acceleration if required.

One of the first things I was taught as a new rider was "if you can't pick it up, you shouldn't be riding it". The reality is, bikes go over. Whether it be a spill or a kickstand sinking in soft pavement, you never know when there won't be somebody around to help pick it up!

Find a bike that suits you as well at low speeds bopping around town as well as on the open road and don't let anybody "dis" your ride because it's not a Harley or has a smaller engine! As long as you love it, it's perfect!!!

Dec 29, 2011
by: Lois

I am short also and have a hard time with it when it comes to the bikes I like. I went into the BMW dealer to take a look, they just happen to have a F800st factory lowered with the lowered seat too. I can't tell you how nice that bike was to sit on, all I can tell you is I bought it the next day. 2 weeks later I took a 4 day trip out to the coast with my husband he rides a Triumph Sprint I had no trouble at all with this bike it's light and responsive and plenty of room to pack whatever you need. I'm planning a 2 week trip next Sept. up thru New England hope to get in to Canada. I also have a lot of people interested in the bike whereever I stop, I just can't say enough good about it.

Dec 29, 2011
low seat
by: Anonymous

i bought my wife a vstar 650 and the seat is very low and adjustable...the 1100 is the same way...nice riding bike too...we took a long trip across old route 66 this year....no problems at all, even the 650 handled the trip...i ride a 1999 vulcan drifter 1500 , if you can find one buy it...you won't be sorry you did...BEST BIKE I HAVE EVER RIDEN. i've been riding over 40 years

be safe and ride straight,


Dec 29, 2011
by: Lynn - Florida

Susanne - I have dreamed about a BMW but noticed their lowest seat height is 30". Did you have to lower your Ducati, since you are 5'1"? Along with my VStar 1100, I ride a small 250 Ninja. I love the narrow seat and lightweight feel of my Ninja but would never venture on the longer rides I take on the cruiser. I think the BMW would give me the best of both worlds.

Wish I didn't have such short legs!

Dec 29, 2011
...........test riding
by: Lauren

Wow...great comments from everyone! Gypsy, that's exactly what I did with the Sportster. After I bought it I changed the seat and the handlebars to a perfect fit. I suspect I will have to adjust some on the new bike but I'm finding that the foreign bikes fit way better than the Harley's, which means more bike for less money when it's all done.

I'm also finding it very interesting that the V-Star keeps coming up in the comments. So much that I think it's worth looking into this weekend.

Dec 29, 2011
definitely test it first
by: Lynn - Florida

I am only 5'2" and will never buy another new bike unless I can test the model first. I fell in love with the Triumph Bonnevile (before they made a lower version) and had to have it. Well after riding it for 8,000 miles and struggling in parking lots on my tippy toes, I decided to sell the bike rather than lower it. It also was not designed for touring, which I'd grown to love. I ended up with a used VStar 1100 with risers already installed on the handlebars. The prior owner gladly let me ride it first (he was short too).

If I were to buy a new bike, I would ask for a LONG test ride, not just around the block. All the bikes you mentioned are nice. I hope you get to test them all! Keep us posted.

Dec 29, 2011
Demo Days
by: Gypsy Spirit

Hi Lauren ...

While I understand dealers' concern about people dropping their bikes, knowing if a bike "fits" is so important it seems crazy to me not to allow test rides!

Most manufacturer's hold "Demo Days", often at rallies, and sometimes at dealers, where you can sign up to ride a variety of models. Also, consider shopping private sales of used bikes as a means of trying out different models. You just might find something you had never given a thought!

Keep in mind that relatively small changes to a stock machine can make a big difference in comfort and handling! If you find a bike you really like that doesn't seem to quite "fit" try to figure out what it would take to adjust it for you ... maybe shorter pedals, different handlebars (or maybe just pull back risers to shorten the reach) and so on. To me, that's what customizing is all about.

Happy Hunting!

Dec 29, 2011
by: Robin

If your local dealer does't allow test riding, find another one. They are just trying to save money on liability issues. There are dealers out there that will let you ride. Call ahead. We had to go 70 miles to find a Yamaha dealer that would let me test ride the V-star 950. But it was worth it. I ended up with the 1100.

Dec 28, 2011
Test rides
by: Susanne

I have been able to test ride several bikes. Ducati,Triumph and BMW with no problems. I'm 5'1 so I understand the height issue. Check out the BMW line as they are nice touring bikes. I love my Ducati Diavel and have had no problem touring with it and cutting up the twisties with it.

Dec 28, 2011
by: Thrrottlerocker

You should give the Vulcan 900 a try. I think you will be pleasantly surprised. I've been cross country on mine. Love it!

Dec 28, 2011
..........test riding
by: Lauren

Awesome Patti, thanks for the input. I was wondering if I was stretching it a bit with the 1700 Nomad so I just started looking at the Yamaha bikes for a change. They seem to have that inbetween size that I just might need.

Dec 28, 2011
stay HD
by: Anonymous

U can test any HD @ Harley....stay true

Dec 28, 2011
.....test riding
by: Lauren

The 1200 Sportster Custom size was not a problem for me at all. It even had forward pedals which is necessary for me...bad knees. Actually looking for a bit larger more touring type like the V950 or the Vulcan 900 or the Nomad.

Just have trouble finding one to test ride!

Dec 28, 2011
Test riding for a new bike
by: Patti Lee

I am about your height. I have an '08 Yamaha 1100 V-Star which fits me perfectly. I originally had my eye on an '09 Kawasaki Vulcan 900, but the handlebars were a bit too wide for my comfort (when I had the bar turned all the way to the right or left, I was really stretched out). My husband and I ended up buying both of them (brand new) earlier this year. All I can advise is go sit on as many different bikes as you can. Pick it upright and feel the weight and balance. Turn the handlebars as far to the right and left as you can. I visited my rider coach soon after my purchase and he couldn't stop remarking how well-suited my bike is for me. Good luck in your search!

Dec 28, 2011
by: Anonymous

i am 5'1 sporty is too big...well more that i need mid controls...
shadow seemed a good fit to me but i have the sporty none the less

Dec 28, 2011
test rides
by: Anonymous

Go to any BMW dealer, you'll fall in love with the F800 ST.

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