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Discussion Starter #1
Hey guys, long time listener, first time caller.

I recently ventured into the land of motorcycling. I picked up an 06 Honda Rebel (don't laugh), bought gear, and used many a tank of gas practicing in parking lots. I now ride it the 40 miles to and from work each day, through town, on the 101, and through the few twisties we have. It has become my primary mode of transportation and I am fully comfortable at all speeds the little bike is capable of, quick stops, swerves, etc. However, 250cc is quickly becoming too small for my tastes.

I'm looking at buying a bike in the VRSC family, not sure which. Am I setting myself up for a brusied bike and ego? I've heard two different schools of thought: 1) Go For It (just buy the bike and get on with it) and 2) Step By Step (Buy a bigger bike, but not THAT big). Thoughts? Should I take a smaller step up and go with something less accustomed to the drag strip?

The biggest thing I am concerned about is the weight. My bike weighs a little over 300 pounds; it's tiny. The VRod is about double that. I know that the weight falls away at speed, but what about in the parking lot and at slow speeds?

Any insight you can give me about the world of bikes that have engines larger than that of a top-of-the-line sewing machine is appreciated.

Thanks,
DJ

To those just learning or thinking about starting: I am very glad I had a small bike to learn on and would recommend it to everyone. They are very forgiving and let you focus on honing your skills, not fighting a heavy, powerful bike.
 

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Who, me?
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Welcome...don't worry about trashing here, they usually reserve that for people who deserve it and the monderators keep tabs when things get out of hand.

I am a big propoent of renting before buying. If you rent and find out something that you weren't expecting, it may save you thousands of dollars and brain cells.

That being said, you might also want to gauge how your experience applies. If you are comfortable on the smaller bike, then perhaps you're ready for a larger bike (I appluad you for trying to stay within your abilities). All in all though, if you've picked up bad habits on the smaller bike, it is only going to be exemplified on a larger, more powerful bike (and the VROD is a quintessential example of power). If that's the case, take a saftey course and keep having fun!
 

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Humpin One Leg at a Time
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In my opion, the v-rod is a very well balanced bike. I attribute this to the suspension setup and the gas tank being located under the seat. I personally dont think you will have any balance issues with the bike. Go rent one from the harley dealer and see if you like it. Oh yeah, the thing hauls azz, especially when compared to your rebel, so take it easy at first
 

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Even though the bike weighs double what you're used to, that doesn't mean you'll have a hard time handling it. These bikes are very well balanced and you should do okay after a little bit getting used to it. Low Rider's suggestion is a great idea, rent one for the day and you should be okay.
 

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Draggin' Floorboards!
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I highly recommend taking the Riders Edge or MSF course. There are things you learn there that can save your life!

Much like yourself, I started out on a 250cc entry-level starter cruiser. After putting about 500 miles on it, I got tired of the power (or lackthereof). I moved up to a '06 Fat Boy and never looked back. I had my brother ride it home from the dealer for me and I got on the bike after that and rode for 200 miles on my first day with it! I was scared to death about riding a bike twice as heavy as the little suzuki GZ250 I was riding. I was very nervous when first taking off on the FatBoy. But I soon noticed that there's a reason why these bikes costs as much as they do... fit, finish, and balance! the center of gravity is so low and the bike is balanced so well that you do not notice the weight of the bike until you have to push it with your feet, or lean over too far while not moving. Other than that there's no real difference in the feeling, other than in your cheeks being sore from grinning from ear to ear!

Go rent a few different bikes, see what suits you. A Vrod is cool, but you may not like the feeling of the ride, maybe a dyna or softail will work better, you never know until you ride.

:welcome:
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Well, this is encouraging!

Renting is a great idea. I think I looked into it a while ago and found that they require experience on a "big bike". I suppose I can go ask them about it, but do you know if that is enforced?

And perhaps the makings of a new thread in the VRSC forum: V-Rod, Night Rod, or Street Rod?

Thanks for the responses, it's a big help.

DJ

I'm lurking, can you tell? Work just isn't that exciting today.
 

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they require experience on a "big bike".
I hate when people pull stuff like that. If they are going to rent cycles they shouldn't place stipulations on their renting policy. I can see reserving the right to not rent based on factors (no insurance, license points, etc), it makes no sense for an establishment that rents to mandate that a rider have "experience" on a specific bike type (especially if you've completed a saftey course).

I would go somewhere else to rent AND buy if that's their policy.
 

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I rented all the harleys before I decided on a Dyna and had only crotch rocket and dirt bike experience. The 'big' bike question was never brought up. I am also in southern california and I found many rental establishments in the phone book that were not Harley Dealers..


'06 Street Bob
 

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See the "Chance to Ride a V-Rod for a Day" post also.....

Additional info: even though the bike is twice the weight, it feels much lighter than than other Harley's that weigh the same due to the lower center of gravity (I have a Dyna and V-Rod). The V-Rod will out handle and out power the rest of the standard Harley lineup. Handling at low speeds is not a problem. If you are responsible (which is sounds like you are) and use the power of the V-Rod as you gain experience, you should have no problems handling it. A used one can be had cheap also.
 

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When I got back into riding I bought a Rebel and rode it for 750 miles to revive my skils. Then I bought a Dyna. I got half way through the MSF class. Then I crashed at 15 mph and broke my leg. The heavier bike did not handle the same as the lighter bike and I was not skilled enough. I notice on lighter bikes you can correct mistakes with your feet or body english as you would on a bicycle.

Advice: Finish the MSF class first. Rent. Look where you want to go. Ride within your capabilities and continue to build your skills. Take the Experienced Rider Class. Get a crash bar. Wear protective clothing and a full face helmet. Ride several times a week. (Even if you are not a klutz like me, this is good advice.)

(I got back on my SG after my leg healed and have ridden 11,000 miles since and have crashed twice more - improper application of the front brake during cage-induced panic stops.)
 

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Shithead
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I would support the suggestions about renting a bike and taking an MSF course.

I would also suggest you spend $30 on the Ride Like A Pro DVD by Jerry Palladino. While this is intended as (and useful for) an instructional video, it will also give you a good idea of what low speed handling and manoevring is possible and is all about on the big bikes. Google will find it for you.

Our member Neil Harris also is very helpful in advising on training yourself. Username 'Harris'.

I would add two things from personal experience.

The first is very simple. You will not be able to control a big bike with strength.

No one can. You must set your mind on that and understand that only good technique will do the job. So if you are currently using body English or physical strength to help control your bike, you are going to have to unlearn that. If the big bike gets out of balance at low speed, it is going down and there is nothing you or anyone else can do to stop it. So you will need to be sure your technique is clean, balanced and smooth, and if you're not sure about that, get some more school time in.

The second is also simple. The big bikes are easier to ride and more stable than the little ones.

I started on a British 650 many years ago. I now have a Suzuki 750 along with my 1340cc shovelhead (FLH). The shovelhead is easier to ride at every speed. It is much more stable at parking lot speeds, and will manoevre better than the Suzi. I routinely do low speed tight turns on the shovel that I have some difficulty :)sofa: ) achieving on the Suzi.

So, provided you bear in mind rule 1. above, and provided you approach the task in your normal level headed fashion, I wouldn't be at all worried about the size of the bike. I believe you will quickly find it easier all around.

It's not a fashionable view, but I personally argue against starting on a small bike, as I think it is based on a misunderstanding about the perceived difficulty of riding a big cruiser, and can too easily lead to forming bad riding habits. Rules here in Europe require starting on small capacity bikes, and progressing through tests to bigger ones, but that is largely driven by the sport bike world, where I do agree that perhaps a Katana might be a little much for a learner :D

Just a last note, and I hope I'm not preaching and don't offend, but if you don't understand 'countersteering', look it up, understand it, practice it. You can't ride a big bike without it :)

Best of luck, and happy and safe riding :thumbsup:

Pete
 

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FXD-Tim said:
improper application of the front brake during cage-induced panic stops.)
Yeah, cage drivers do that. I find it safer to always assume they are gonna do something insane, and create enough room for them to do it. Not always possible in heavy traffic, I grant you.

Wish we had separate roads :D
 

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DJ,
I have been riding about 4 yrs now and I too started out on a rebel 250. After 500 miles, I moved up to Vstar 1100. I have since rode a lowrider, fatboy and a Vrod. The Vrod was without a doubt the easiest "big bike" I have ever ridden. The center of gravity is so low that it honestly feels like you are riding a toy bike, with the exception of the power. It does have awsome power, but it is all in the twist of the throttle. Since you have ridden the rebel as long as you have, the Vrod should be no problem as far as the weight and balance is concerned. Good luck with your decision.
Chris
 

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Few Twisties?

Hey DJ

I'm just up the coast from you in Santa Barbara. Another option might be to paticipate in one of the demo days the local dealers have occasionally. Won't cost you anything, and while you may not get to ride the "few twisties" (more on that later) around here, you can at least gauge what a bigger bike feels like.

If you go to the SB Harley dealer in Carpinteria, they should let you take a bike on the 192, which is nearby and full of twisties. Speaking of which, this area is full of 'em. The 150 between Lake Casitas and Carpinteria and between Santa Paula and Ojai, 33 from Ojai to Cuyama, PCH, Mulholland Hwy, Kanan Dume Road, to name a few.

PM me if you want the lowdown on SB Harley, and good luck whatever you decide.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Terrapin,

Thanks for the info, I might have to go north and check out the dealer up there. I actually take the 33 and Creek Road from Ventura to Ojai everyday. Not sure if it really qualifies as twisties, but it's damn good fun! I keep meaning to take the 150 home from work, but never get around to doing it.



I think the consensus is that the VRod will not kill me outright the second I throw my leg over. I don't use body english or my foot to hold up the bike when moving, so I am feeling pretty confident that I can handle it. Thanks to everyone for giving me their opinion, I appreicate the help. I'll post some pics when I finally quit gabbing and take the plunge.

~DJ
 

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DJGroove said:
Hey guys, long time listener, first time caller.

I recently ventured into the land of motorcycling. I picked up an 06 Honda Rebel (don't laugh), bought gear, and used many a tank of gas practicing in parking lots. I now ride it the 40 miles to and from work each day, through town, on the 101, and through the few twisties we have. It has become my primary mode of transportation and I am fully comfortable at all speeds the little bike is capable of, quick stops, swerves, etc. However, 250cc is quickly becoming too small for my tastes.

I'm looking at buying a bike in the VRSC family, not sure which. Am I setting myself up for a brusied bike and ego? I've heard two different schools of thought: 1) Go For It (just buy the bike and get on with it) and 2) Step By Step (Buy a bigger bike, but not THAT big). Thoughts? Should I take a smaller step up and go with something less accustomed to the drag strip?

The biggest thing I am concerned about is the weight. My bike weighs a little over 300 pounds; it's tiny. The VRod is about double that. I know that the weight falls away at speed, but what about in the parking lot and at slow speeds?

Any insight you can give me about the world of bikes that have engines larger than that of a top-of-the-line sewing machine is appreciated.

Thanks,
DJ

To those just learning or thinking about starting: I am very glad I had a small bike to learn on and would recommend it to everyone. They are very forgiving and let you focus on honing your skills, not fighting a heavy, powerful bike.
One suggestion I have is for you to get you hands on a cruiser size bike and simply maneuver it around a parking lot. Try to back up with it and get a feel for the mass and balance. That was my biggest concern when I went from a 300 lb. bike to 600 lbs. The throttle is just common sense. Just because you have the power doesn't mean you must use it. Sometimes it's cool just to be uncool and not show off. If you are in good health and have good coordination then a V-Rod should serve you well in my opinion (personally, I'm partial to the Street-Rod). Just don't try to hang with the crotch rockets and remember to ride in your comfort zone.

P.S. Take the MSF course and ride safe! {salute(
 

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Shithead
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DJGroove said:
I think the consensus is that the VRod will not kill me outright the second I throw my leg over.
I think the concensus is you should get your a$$ down there and do it :D :D :D

Damn, I'm jealous :D :D :D
 

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The V rod was'nt my first bike but it was my first one in about 20 years. Its a very easy handling bike with a low center of gravity, Very happy with mine after 10,000 plus miles
Ed
 

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Arrogant Bastard
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Just Do It!

If you haven't taken the MSF class yet go do it. Then go buy the Harley you want. I hadn't been on a street bike in 20 years when I decided this fall it was time for me to get a Harley. I took the class and then went and bought my bike. I didn't have anyone take it home for me I just got on thought about what I learned and then rode it. Now after 1000 or so miles and riding friends bikes I have to say that my Harley handles and feels much smaller than a lot of lighter japanese bikes.

Joe
 
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