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Discussion Starter #1
Am thinking about buying a Japanese Cruiser for my son's first "road" motorcycle. Looking to go with something used, a couple of years old. Neighborhood of $5K to $6K.

The boy has been on dirt bikes (red ones, green ones and blue ones at various times) since he was eight. Nothing too racy - just puttering around our place and going to the neighbors. A little hill-jumping occasionally. Bottom line - he can ride.

Myself, I currently have a loaded-out FLSTCI for my cruiser and a Honda XR650L for when I just want to putter around - or need to run down to the grocery store for a can of soup....

But I can see no reason to buy a 16yr old kid a Harley. Too much money among other things. Better to make him EARN that I think.
And even though he's a good kid, I think racy sportbikes are an invitation to irresponsible riding. Better not tempt fate there.

Besides, the boy's interest is in cruisers. He wants to have leather bags, some chrome. And a comfortable pillion for his girlfriend du jour. And who could argue with that?

We like the looks of the VStar. He's 5-10, 150lbs and can certainly handle the 650 version. But would he be tired of it too soon? (underpowered). I wouldn't even consider anything smaller than a 600 or 650. But is the 1100 too much too soon for a first cruiser? Will that buy me a couple of years?

I have a good feeling about the Yamaha although the Honda Shadows are contenders too (neither of us find them as attractive I guess)

I'd like to hear the voice of experience here. What would you recommend and why.

Thx,
BB
 

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Honda and Yamaha are both good choices. He will need to test ride a few to find out which one fits him the best. Somthing in the 800- 900 range may be a good compromize, although I can not list a specific model.
He needs to gain street smarts, how long has he been driving a car? If the bike is the first road vehicle, he should drive a car for at least 6 months before jumping on a bike.
Dirt bike skills safe you butt in tight situations, but learning what crazy stuff people do in cars comes from being out there.
 

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my sons first "real" motorcycle at age 17 was a 78 FX. he's 37 now and i think he probably prefers his ultra but everytime i go to visit i take the 78 FX "around the block". i think it was probably around 2 or 3 thousand back then so i guess allowing for inflation an FX is still a good deal and almost 30 years later that same 78 FX is still runnin strong.
 

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Check out the Suzuki Boulevards. The 50 series (M50??).. They are 800cc powered and they sell new for 5-6k. They've got a bunch of different models to choose from and they are decent bikes. Good bikes for someone starting out.
 

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I would go ahead and start with the 1100 I ride a 1100 shadow and love it. Its got plenty of power to get around when you need to pass or get up a hill even though it's now a super fast machine It can hold its own and keep up with your Harley on the road.
 

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You have a hard question to answer.

When my grandson was ready for the street we began looking at bikes in the class you are considering. The thing I found was that I did not like the way they "behaved" although it may just be the difference in a bike with more rake than the ultra and other bikes I have had. When we considered a 883 I was sure that he would not be happy with it long and I felt that we had to buy something that would fill his needs for several years. I might add that he is 225 lbs and a small bike was just not in the mix.

I found a 99' FXDX with less than 10,000 miles on it. It had Vance and Hines pipes, a wind screen, forward controls, and a few other extras. The price was only a couple thousand more than several "other" brand bikes we looked at.

While I was concerned that it might be two much bike it seemed a much better option than a smaller cheaper bike that would need replaced in a short time. When I discussed it with my wife she put it in these words: " you gave him a 5.0 GT Mustang and a 69' mustang fastback and now you are not sure he can use good judgement".

Guess it all depends on how good a head they have.

The MSF class and a lot of supervision can go a long way to ease your concerns.

He(my grandson) has done well with the bike and it will serve him well for years to come.

For someone with no riding skills or with a "risk taking" personality I might take a much different position.

I might add my son's first street bike was a 1000cc.

Spend some time looking---You might just luck into something that has Harley on the tank.

Good luck and there is nothing better than sharing the road riding with your child or grandchild.

Talk about " QUALITY TIME"
 

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Discussion Starter #10
crash....he already bought (and insures) his own car. But he's a good kid with good grades and I want to reward that.

bikerbob - appreciate the comments on the 1100 size. Hanging in there with the Harley will be important as I'm hoping he'll want to ride with the old man occasionally.

pairofnines - good thoughts. Have enjoyed looking at the bikes with him so far and I really AM looking forward to some rides together. I guess my goal is to get a bike that he can ride for at least the next two years (through High School). The MSF is a great idea - but we've found it very difficult to get into those classes in this area. Still, we'll continue to pursue that.
 

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You should be able to pick up a new 2006 V Star Silverado for about $6600. A new 2005 model should bring about $6000, possibly less. He could keep it a year or two and sell it for very close to what you paid for it. Personally, I think they are great looking bikes, especially for the money. The performance leaves something to be desired, but I think that might be a good thing for a 16 year old. Its dry weight is 544 lbs.

This is the 2006:


This is the 2005:


Another option is Ebay. You can get a good used 1100 VStar Silverado in the neighborhood of $7000.

Good luck in your search!
 

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When my oldest wanted to ride, we didn't have nearly that much cash to spend on a bike fo him. We wound up spending $800 on a '78 Honda CX500 Custom. It was a good solid bike with a lot of miles left in it, it was also cheap enough that the inevitable drop or two or ten didn't really hurt it much.

He rode that for a season, then we started looking for something a bit nicer. He found a Yamaha Maxim 700 that was in perfect shape for $1000, and that's what he wanted. Turned out to be a great bike and he rode it for a couple of years. When he graduated high school he joined the Air Force and I gave him a Kawasaki Vulcan 800.

As far as what's out there now, in your price range you could get virtually anything. But I would reccomend starting small and cheap, then moving up when he gains some experience. Something like a Honda VLX or Yamaha V-Star 650 would be a perfect starter bike, with plenty of "cool" factor. Then when he's ready he could move up to a Honda ACE 750, Kawasaki 800, or even one of the Honda Shadow 1100s.
 

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BluegrassBoy said:
Looking to go with something used, a couple of years old. Neighborhood of $5K to $6k.

But I can see no reason to buy a 16yr old kid a Harley. Too much money among other things.

You are gonna spend $5k to $6k on a used *** bike and he wants a Harley. Why not just buy him a Sportster? The money is the same in the end. The difference is that he is likely to be happier with his ride and feel like he really has something in common with his old man.
 

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xxxflhrci said:
You are gonna spend $5k to $6k on a used *** bike and he wants a Harley. Why not just buy him a Sportster? The money is the same in the end. The difference is that he is likely to be happier with his ride and feel like he really has something in common with his old man.
My thoughts EXACTLY!!!!

For 5-6K he could have a nice rubbermount 04 883 Sportster. Not to big on the CC's and a nice bike to boot. It will hold its value and can be turned into a 1200 easily when he "outgrows" it. Any of the other bikes will drop in value quickly and when he outgrows them can't typically be upgraded.
 

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My daughter started out on an 84 KZ550 a friend of mine had. She rode that for a year after taking the MSF class at 17. She graduated to a 98 HD this spring when we started taking trips together. She spent the first 4 months after her MSF class riding alongside wife and I. We started out looking for a Shadow or Vstar to go upfrom the Kaw,but when we found a Sporty for the same price, we went for it. Figure to upgrade it to a 1200 in a few years. She earned it...and I treasure our time riding together. We rode the tail of the dragon together this summer. Well worth it....
 

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Discussion Starter #18 (Edited)
Don't you hate it when you try to get some information and you can't get it because someone keeps changing the subject? Like the car salesman who won't help you out with the car you want because he thinks you need to buy what he's got. Yeah. Annoying.

Though there is theoretically something to be said for the upgradability from an 883 to the 1200, frankly the Sportsters don't impress either of us - or our friends who've had them, dumped them and moved up to Dynas, Softails or Tourers.

I could express our distaste for Sportsters in stronger terms but I'll leave it at this - Sporters are NOT under consideration. The type of HD he WOULD want isn't under consideration either (at this time).

If a HD was under consideration I would've posted this in a different forum. I'm asking for comments and recommendations from folks who have experience with the various *** bikes and who've maybe considered them for a similar reason. Looking at used ones so they'll already be depreciated, maybe already taken a ding or two, etc.

I just want to get one with a good combination of appropriate handling, power, reliability....and that's the point of this post (which is in the Japanese/European Cruisers forum).
 

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xxxflhrci said:
You are gonna spend $5k to $6k on a used *** bike and he wants a Harley. Why not just buy him a Sportster? The money is the same in the end. The difference is that he is likely to be happier with his ride and feel like he really has something in common with his old man.

Cuz 883's are garbage, and the fact that he is on any two wheels is not having something in common with his old man? :confused:
 

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I have a V-star Classic with 1200.00 in Acc. on it. It would be better for riding 2-up. I also have a M50. Most of the 16-17 year old kids love the M50 because of the way it looks and the color blue. If he takes has girl out for long rides the V-star would be better the back seat is more comforable. They both will have no ploblem keeping up with a Harley. I now have a electra glide classic and they both a quicker than the harley, but I like the harley better. The V-star Classic is for sale< it is a 02 With 21500 miles on it almost all highway miles. It also has 4 in pull back risers, Leatherlyke bags, windshield, backrest, luggage rack and iso grips. I forgot passanger floorboards for the lady. I live in the far eastern part of Ia. if you would be interested in the bike.
 
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