Which bike to learn on?

by Mona
(Cairo, Egypt)

As a small girl, which bike should I start learning on? I want something I can easily manage, thats not too heavy and can make it look pretty. I was told that with my height (5'5) its best that I don't ride at all... But I just think thats weak talk. What kind of pretection gear should I invest in as a beginner? And is self-taught riding the best way to learn here??

Comments for Which bike to learn on?

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Dec 14, 2011
small riders
by: Linda

First of all you are not too short to ride. Thats bull. I am 60" tall and I ride comfortably albeit its a small bike. I also am a new rider and I have a used Honda Rebel 250 which I love. I can plant my feet down securely at stops and I believe it only weights about 400 lbs max. Secondly, I recommend the safety course first and foremost. It will give you the basics and teach you some skills you will need to venture out on your own. From there - you will essentially have to teach yourself my just getting on and riding - within your scope of safety and experience. Good luck and have fun.

Nov 18, 2011
Suzuki S40
by: WV Harley Chic

Well my hubby bought me a 2006 SuZuki S40 its a 650, i am 5'5 and 135 pounds so dont let them tell you not to ride. I can sit with both feet flat and the bike is very easy to ride,has the boulvard windshield and all the things i want on it. I added saddle bags and the extras to make it mine. So get a bike go look at a boulvard they are great to learn on and they dont weight a lot i think its 530 pounds or close to that,so you go girl and ....enjoy the ride.

Nov 16, 2011
Bike to learn on
by: Twisted Sister

I started out on a Honda Shadow 600, it was light, the center of gravity was perfect on it, easy to handle, fairly inexpensive and most of all I felt 100% comfortable on it. After having it and riding it daily for 10 months, I traded it in on a brand new HD Dyna Superglide

Nov 15, 2011
suzuki, savage 650
by: Dawn

I'm 5'3", 135lbs and first year rider. Got a 1986 Savage 650 and LOVE IT! Very light (maybe 400lbs) and very easy to control. Had a hard time finding a bike where I could touch the ground while sitting on it...lol. Perfect for a beginner. But not a traveling bike. U really feel the wind on a windy day (because its so light)...but I never found this as a problem.

Nov 13, 2011
by: Anonymous

I am 5'2" and 120 lbs. Don't let anyone tell you that you shouldn't be riding - what a crock.

I took the BRC/MSF class and bought a used Honda Rebel 250. I love that bike, rode it all over, town, country highways and backroads and will be keeping it for my in-town commuter bike - its nimble and quick and easy to handle. You will learn how to shift, up and down, and ride a bike on this motorcycle.

Recently, I wanted a bit more power for longer rides and bought a used Suzuki Savage 650, or, as they are now called, the Suzuki Boulevard S40. Only about 50 pounds heavier than the Rebel, but bigger, more power, but also, the weight is very easily handled, rides wonderfully. I love this bike.

Buy used, start out on something small to learn on, the Rebel or Suzuki V-Star 250. Then move up. Just take your time - you really learn how to ride on the smaller one, then you'll be able to pretty much handle whatever you decide to eventually move up to.

Nov 12, 2011
Not too small
by: Robin C

I'm 5'2" and 100 lbs. You are not too small to ride a motorcycle, you just need to find the right fit for you. The perfect fit for my first bike was a V Star 650 Classic. The height of the seat fit me right, the reach was a little long so I added pullback risers. She has enough weight and is a big enough bike to hold her own when riding with the "big boys", and is a beautiful cruiser with a ton of chrome. I also encourage you to take a course, I took 2 when I started, one that wasn't right for me (too many students per instructor, I didn't get the instruction I felt I needed) and a one-on-one course. You can find a bike that you can make your own, beautifully, that will fit your frame, or be made to. Bikes can be customized as long as you are realistic about it! Good luck to you!

Nov 12, 2011
Style of bike
by: Anonymous

I am a first season rider, please learn from me. 5'5 with a 30 inch in-seam without shoes. Find a good pair of boots, is key they can add important extra height. Go sit on lots of different styles of bikes, see what you like. Don't get talked into something that you have not test driven. Get a used bike so your not stressed about scratches
I was talked into my first bike 92 TDM 850. At the beginning I was not comfortable with the weight and height. I even had a few incidences that spooked me but then realized maybe that not the right bike for me. Keep at it, don't give up. The comfort level improves the more you ride.

Nov 11, 2011
Inseam length, NOT height, is important
by: Judy

Your height is unimportant, but your inseam (leg) length IS. That's what will determine which bikes you can more easily maneuver at low speeds and from a stop. It's best if you can have a least one foot flat on the ground at a stop. While it is true some bikes can be lowered, I don't recommend it, because it alters their chassis dynamics and center of gravity which may adversely impact the way the bike handles.

When you know your inseam length, compare it to the seat height of any bikes you are considering. Also, don't put the "cart before the horse" regarding your remark about "making the bike pretty." There will be plenty of time in the future to customize whatever bike you decide to get. Focus first on these two priorities:
1) Get a full contingent of quality gear: Full face helmet, riding jacket, riding pants (both with armor), gloves and boots.
2) Find a bike that fits you well and isn't overly large or heavy, and take a MSF approved new rider course.

I don't generally recommend the Cruiser (Harley clone) style unless it's a 500cc or smaller engine, because they are much heavier, have inferior suspension compared to some other genres, and the longer wheelbases and fork rake (angle) make for slower steering and less agile handling. The best attribute that particular genre of bike has are very low seat heights, and that is why many women riders gravitate to that style; with a short inseam many find their seat heights allow them to flat foot on both feet.

If you feel comfortable and your inseam length allows you to flat foot at least one side, my first choice for a new rider is the 2nd generation ('89 to '07) Kawasaki Ninja 250. It's engine is very forgiving, having very little power at engine speeds below 5000 rpm, but more than adequate amounts between 5000 and 10,000 rpm.

The Honda Nighthawk and Rebel 250 are decent beginner bikes, but don't have enough power for safe freeway riding, while the Ninja does. Despite it's "Sport Bike" name, it really is more of a Standard, with '70's style, upright seating position and handlebars.

There are a couple of newer models that are standards, or dirt-oriented street legal bikes, like the Suzuki TU250 and Yamaha TTR225, but I wouldn't advise getting a new bike. Excellent condition, low mileage used bikes can be found all the time for much less $$$ and you'll need at least $1000 for a full contingent of gear.

One thing I find annoying is the recent trend of people saying a new rider WILL drop their bike. It becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. I think it has a very negative impact on the psyche of new riders. As long as you can flatfoot at least one side, have good balance and decent leg strength, there is absolutely NO REASON to think it'll happen. I've been riding since the 70's & never heard this until recently. It must be a product of new riders trying to learn on a bike that is either too big or too powerful for them.

In any case, good luck and have fun!

Nov 11, 2011
Good luck!
by: Sapphire

I'm a beginner too. I took a safety course since I had no experience with motorcycles. I'm glad I did. It was a safe, quick way to learn. I don't know the laws or if there is a safety course where you are. I know if you are in the US military or a defendant that some military bases offer safety courses overseas. Good luck in your search! Also, I am 5'3" and have never been told I was too short to ride. I ride a Kawasaki Balius 250cc and can place both feet flat on the ground. Also motorcycle boots add a couple inches of height. You just need to sit on a few bikes til you find one you are comfortable on. I would also invest in a motorcycle jacket with elbow, shoulder, and back armor and some rain gear. Also boots, gloves, and a full face helmet.

Nov 10, 2011
by: Susanne

Mona, I'm 5'1 and have been riding some type of motorcycle for over 25 years so your height isn't a big deal. But I will say that your first thing to do is find a motorcycle safety class somewhere nearby. The roadway isn't the best place to start learning a motorcycle. SemIs aren't forgiving. All the best body armor won't save you if you don't know how to ride. After you take a class find a 250cc bike like a Ninja250,Nighthawk etc. There are plenty of nice beginner bikes to learn on.

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