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Old 10-10-2002, 08:23 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Best bike for a beginner please?

Hi,
I am a total beginner but at the age of 45 have decided that the call of a harley is to good to turn down. I live on the beach in florida and want to use a harley for cruising the beach roads on 50 mile journeys.
I went to my local dealer who was extremely helpful.
I liked both the sportster and softail.(but i guess the softail may be just a bit to big for me to start with).

Would those machines be suitable and should I go for a new model or for a 2000 or 2001 used model. I guess i will do 1000 miles per year. Id like to take my wife on occasional rides but not long trips.

thanks
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Old 10-10-2002, 08:38 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Hey Novice welcome to the forum, great to have you my first recomendation is to take a MSF course, then look at the bike that fits you and the lady. if cost is not a big factor the Harley world is open to wide choice of machines. the Sportster is a great bike and many, many riders started there. take your time and start on the right foot.
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Old 10-10-2002, 08:47 PM   #3 (permalink)
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If what you say is true, (total beginner as in never on a bike) consider something less than a Harley. Buy an old junker to learn on. If you wreck it, you haven't lost much. After you become familiar with riding and after the MSF course, the sky is the limit. Harley's are heavy and expensive. While learning, stay away from heavy traffic. I agree with Sammy, the Sportster is a great bike but two up riding leaves something to be desired. The Dyna family would be an option if cost is a factor. Good luck.
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Old 10-10-2002, 08:49 PM   #4 (permalink)
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A Sportster is OK, some feel it's a little top heavy, it does have a higher center of gravity than the bigger bikes. Great to ride a couple of years and then move up. They are not as good long distance bikes, even though some folks ride them long distances. Honestly, you won't know until you ride one a while what your (or your wife's) tolerance for vibration will be on extended rides...but they are a blast to bomb around on and short trips like you are talking about. NOT AS PASSENGER FRIENDLY as the Big Twins, that's for sure. Buy what you can afford and feel comfortable with, you can always move up to a bigger bike.
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Old 10-10-2002, 09:31 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Take the MSF course. While there, talk to the instructors.

Then buy a beater. Save the HD for some other day.
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Old 10-10-2002, 09:33 PM   #6 (permalink)
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thanks for all the advice.
I have contacted my local Motorcycle education centre and will book up the beginners course MRC .
It is most definately my first venture into biking I cant wait. I will buy my harley straight after my lessons after completing the course.
I really appreciate your views and will do a lot more research.
thanks
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Old 10-10-2002, 09:49 PM   #7 (permalink)
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welcome to the forum... my thoughts on your question based on my experiences in the past is this... I bought a suzuki dr250 a fews years back which is a fairly small bike... and I had more problems with that bike, as far a keeping it up right,, "I couldn't touch the ground very well, and trail ridings tough ,when you can't put your feet down" than I did riding my little bro's Road king, so to me it's not about this size , it's about what you feel comfortable with, I'm getting a 03 heritage softail classic in November, and to me that's a hell of alot more bike than the suzuki... but I feel comfortable with my choice... and it took me almost a year to decide on the heritage
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Old 10-10-2002, 10:00 PM   #8 (permalink)
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thanks harleygirl64,
I am hoping that after my 20 hours of lessons and satisfactory "passing" of the MRC in florida I may be in a position to have a little idea of what i should go with. (At the moment i just about know which way round to sit on the bike !! haha).
Im hoping as a few others have suggested that my instructor will be approachable and will advise but I absolutly love the look of the harleys.
Hopefully i can get one.
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Old 10-10-2002, 10:58 PM   #9 (permalink)
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hey Novice ,one of the reasons I choose the Heritage Softail Classic,is cause it's like 2 bikes in1 , leave it with the bags and windshield , or remove it all, and a totally different look...... plus the seat feels good on my ass! and I'm sure your wife will love it too!
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Old 10-10-2002, 11:20 PM   #10 (permalink)
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First time you break a $100 turn signal you will be pissed you bought an HD as a first bike.
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Old 10-11-2002, 01:14 AM   #11 (permalink)
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02 Sporty wants to know Dino or Syn?
Whoa Novice,

I'd recommend taking the MSF course first and that will give you a much better perspective on what type and size bike you should start out on. I would recommend a less expensive new metric or a used cruiser as a beginner bike. I'd ride that for at least a year until you feel really comfortable then consider moving to a Harley (especially a brand new one). Most new riders drop the bike at least once and I'd hate to drop a brand new Harley.

As for riding with passengers, you really need some experience riding solo before you start riding two up. It adds additional weight and changes the handling of the bike.

I'd recommend buying the Harley as the second bike.

Ride safe.
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Old 10-11-2002, 04:41 AM   #12 (permalink)
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Novice, there is some good advice on this thread. MSF is a must! If you've never been on a bike, a Harley probably isn't the best choice as a first bike.(I didn't follow my advice when I got my 2002 Road King,but have been riding since I was six) A sportster would probably be a good to start out with, considering it's size. However, your wife probably won't like touring with you. Don't rush into it. Look around and ask questions(this place is a good start) But, if you must have a Harley to start, go to a dealership and rent one. If ya drop it, insurance will pay! Good luck and keep us informed. J.T.
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Old 10-11-2002, 07:23 AM   #13 (permalink)
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Novice,
I did exactly what fearnot69 suggests. I rented 4 different types of H-Ds - the Ultra Classic, Fatboy, Road King, and V-Rod. You can tell pretty quickly which bike suits you. I didn't find weight to be as important as style. For instance the Fat Boy and the Classic aren't that different in weight but the Classice felt like a tank because it's too cumbersome for the type of riding I do (around town cruising). I've been riding many years and went with the V-Rod and love it (for me).
Lastly, don't get put off buying a Harley as your first bike. You'll never be able to re-sell anything else and nothing makes you feel as good as riding a Harley.
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Old 10-11-2002, 08:05 AM   #14 (permalink)
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I can't say enough about the Sportster, it's simply an excellent bike to learn on, and if you decide to keep it there are endless customization options for it!

You probably could just jump right on a big bike, but you have to give it the respect it deserves.
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Old 10-11-2002, 08:44 AM   #15 (permalink)
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novice wants to know Dino or Syn?
Thanks to you all for so many great replies and good advice.
I have phoned the florida rider training programme that offers the motorcycle riders course (mrc), I assume thats the same as the MSF .
I am waiting for the course info, apparantly its pretty thorough and consists of 20 hours of lessons.
Once i have taken the course i will be in a much better position to decide on which bike, BUT, I cant stop looking at the harley brochure it looks so cool.
I will keep you all posted , im sure i will amuse you with my falling off the bike storys !!
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