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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi, this is Kari aka frydaddy96's frymama I've decided to kick the backseat habit and get my own bike but I have some questions for you veteran riders. Is smaller (bikes) better? I can easily bring up my husbands heritage classic from the stand to upright and it balances with very little effort from me,but I worry about dropping it. I use to ride dirt bikes in my younger days (about 20 years ago)If I dropped my bike in the dirt I said "oh,crap" and bent the fender back away from the tire and went about business as usual. Now that i am older i think dropping a bike, especially on blacktop will be a little more painful and costly than 'oh, crap". I saw a beautiful duece today but was barely able to stand it up and had a hard time balancing it. The salesman said I should think about a smaller bike like a 883 low because I'm only 5-2 (5-3 in my boots ;) ) and 130#. but a lady rider has told me that the smaller bikes are a harder ride, that you feel every bump and the bike will "scream" at speeds over 65mph. Can you all give me some advice on the pros and cons of your bikes as it would pertain to a novice rider? thanks!
 

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Jersey Girl, Forever
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Check in to the Dyna Low Rider...it was the bike I had before this bike, and I just loved it. I am the opposite of you, I am tall, 5'9, but the Low Rider has a low seat height, its light, and very manueverable.

I'm not too sure i would believe the person who told you that you feel every bump on a small bike, and that they scream over 65 mph....get out there, find a dealer that will let you rent, and try out a few models. You will find the one that is perfect for you!

Good for you on wanting to get out from behind! :banana:
 

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I never used to recommend a harley for a first bike. I've always said to get a used light-weight *** bike. I started out on a yamaha virago 750 which they no longer make but you can still find them used. But now, since they have changed the sportster, I always say to check it out. I think it still has forward controls though which might be a stretch for someone of your height. The lowrider is definately another option but that's what I ride and at times, I wish it was lighter. So many women say the bigger bikes like the road king or heritage are easier to ride even though they are big bikes because the weight is down low. I've never tried them so I don't know if that is true or not but there sure are alot of women riders riding those big bikes. I'm still not sure if that is the way to go for a first bike though. In the long run, it's gonna come down to personal preference and what you will feel comfortable with. Sit on as many as you can. Also, be sure and take the MSF course.
 

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Hey Kari...

This 5'3" 118 lb lady can show you how to lift a bike...Don't be afraid of the unknown. The only thing I find hard explaining to a new rider is that when you become proficient, the psychological need to have both feet down when you are stopped sort of fades away. I guess what I'm saying is, get whatever your heart is set on, but learn to ride first on something that inspires confidence. If that means a bike you can flat-foot, do it. As far as the size or weight of the bike goes it disappears when underway. The most important thing to know about riding is how to corner at all speeds and under every potential condition so that you don't run off the road or find yourself in predicament where you don't have adequate traction, shoulder, gravel etc. IMHO

http://www.pinkribbonrides.com/index.html

:cheers:
 

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try a rubber mounted Sportster 1200. It is 200 lbs lighter than frydaddy's Heritage. It is also faster and more nimble. You can get them either forward or mid-body foot controls. Don't be fooled..it is not a "girl's" bike.
Fred
 

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Hey Kari!
Sorry to butt in but a few words from the peanut gallery... Yes, a sportster is an awesome bike(the new ones!) and you can get it in the low config but...It likes to come back up while in the corners. You actually have to force it to stay in the corner.
My recommendation is a Dyna! Much more balanced ride and if you don't go with the low rider then just the regular model and add the low shocks! You will be much happier in the long run. You have ridden before so the only advice is to take a MSF approved course and the experienced riders course if you have 5k miles or more. This will bring up your confidence level 100 fold. We have a Road Guard that is all of 5'3" and she rides an Ultra Classic and handles it like a mini bike. She has to be 110 dripping wet! It also helps to take your boots in and add 1/2-1" on the soles.
Good Luck with your decision and "Go get em GIRL!"
1 1/2 years ago I started with an 04 1200 sporty, then 7 months later I bought a 05 Dyna Custom, and this past Dec I bought a 06 Road Glide... I love my Dyna!!!!
 

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ORIGINAL DOOF BABE
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Hi Kari!

I'd have to agree that a Dyna might be something you'd enjoy more (and longer) than a Sportster. I rode an '82 Sporty for 9 years, and while it was still an awesome bike, they really are harder to handle due to the higher center of gravity, and they WILL beat you up on longer rides.

I wouldn't recommend anything too big if you're a novice rider, but I also wouldn't worry TOO much about the size of the bike if you're comfortable on it. If you dump it (like we all do at some point) there's usually someone right there to help you get it back up (although of course you should be able to do it yourself).

Fatboys are great because their center of gravity is so low, but I think a Dyna is a great choice between a Sporty and a Fatboy as far as size and price.

Have fun and be safe! (And check out the Safety Tips forum when you have time - lots of good stuff there). :)
 

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Kari,
Congrats on getting your first bike. I am somewhat biased and have to recommend the Deuce. It is a great bike and comes from Harley with tons of chrome already on it. This is my first Harley and I have ridden dirt bikes to smaller metrics too. I am 5'5" and 120 lbs. If you end up with a Deuce - try out the badlander seat. It sits you lower on the bike and helps get you closer to the ground. I can sit on mine flat footed with no problem. The only down side to the badlander is if you are on the back it has no padding whatsoever........but hey you are going to be driving so you are all set. Good Luck in your tough choice they are all great bikes and so much fun!
 

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I bought my wife a Dyna Low Rider for her birthday. It is her first bike, as well. It took her no time to feel comfortable on it. She did worry at first about dropping it, but that passed. It's a great bike and she looks good on it.
 

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Knower of Stuff
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I always recommend the Dyna low rider, but now the Deluxe has an even lower seat height. The other option is the Sporster 1200 Custom like Lace's. It is a very nice bike and will last you a long time. All can be lowered to add a comfort level to them. I have never been a fan of the 883 line. Just not enough bike but the 883 Low is supossed to be a good bike for the shorter rider. I would recommend a smaller Japanese bike before an other of the 883 line.
Learn to ride first, take the Basic Rider Course and then decide. Being able to test ride them would be a plus in picking a bike you feel comfortable on.
Congrats on your decision to ride. As long as it was your decision and not your man pushing it on you, you will be happy with your choise.
 

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When I got my first bike (in 1972) I wanted something medium sized so I got the Honda 350. Today it would be considered a toy. But anyway, hearing someone say a 750 is "small" still confuses me.

If you decide to get a heavy bike, you wouldn't be the only person unable to stand their bike up alone. Luckily, this is where women have the advantage. A gal with a downed bike won't have time to right it before she is surrounded by guys wanting to help.

The weight of my EG is only a problem when I'm dumb enough to park downhill and I must back out.

Tom
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Thanks everybody! Your advice was helpful. I'm taking a riding class to get back in the swing of things. Unfortunately, I have to wait until Memorial Day weekend for my course as they are very in demand here. I guess the main hang up I'm having about the different "sizes" is the intimidation factor. I dropped Frydaddy's Kaw 750 at a stop sign many moons ago. I could barely touch the ground and once it started to tip, it was all over but the crying. Couldnt pick it back up, thank goodness was only half a block from home, can still see the look on his face when i came walking down the street without his bike....
So here is my next question: if you have dropped your bike,what were the circumstances and how much/what kind of damage did you sustain?
Thanks again, everyone!
 

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My EG has been on it's side three times and I can't find a single scratch. All two of them were dumb tipovers. The third I'm not talking about. Only one of the times I picked it up myself and it wasn't easy. Unless you ride in a remote area, you should have no trouble getting someone to help with this embarrassing chore.

For centuries, women have been lying to men, telling them size doesn't matter. In your heart, you know the bigger it is, the better the ride. :) If you want a big bike, I know you can handle it.

Tom
 

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Total Nutcase
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Once you get used to riding, there are several HDs that you'll be comfortable with. I agree with what others have said, take the course first. I suggest buying a used metric to start off.

Several reasons for this - It'll be smaller and lighter. You won't be broken hearted if you drop it. It'll give you something to ride while you decide which HD is right for you. Mostly, you just need experience. You need to get comfortable riding in traffic.

Used metrics are cheap. If you buy it right, you can sell it for what you paid (or a very small loss), then go get your new HD. If you start off with a brand new HD, you'll be worried about dropping it. Learning to handle a bike in traffic is stressful. Sometimes worrying about something is enough added stress to actually make it happen. If you buy a new Sporty now, you may decide later that you'd rather have a Dyna or a Softail. Or if you buy a big twin now, you might decide it's too much bike and wish you'd bought the Sporty. After you get some miles under your belt, you'll have a much better idea of which bike is right for you.

Just one guy's opinion... No matter what you do, you'll have a lot of fun. :beer4u:

My OL is going to be making the same choices this year. She's planning on taking the MSF course next month. I've got my fingers crossed!
 

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My wife was ready to get off my back seat a few years back and she wanted a Harley or nothing to learn on. Bought a used 2002 Hugger for her to learn on. After spending a season on that, she was tired of the "paint shaker" effect and was ready to move up. We didn't have the coin to get her in a Heritage (what she really wants), but were able to afford an 05 1200 Custom Sportster last winter after selling her old ride. She loves the bike since it doesn't have the vibration, loves how nimble and quick it is. She had added a lot of chrome goodies to bike and plans on riding it for at least one more season and will be able to sell and have a good down payment for her Heritage. I've rode the bike and it is a great ride, very quick and no vibration when riding it at high speeds. Have fun with whatever you choose!
 

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ORIGINAL DOOF BABE
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I read over this thread again and forgot that I was going to agree with the folks who suggested getting something OTHER than a Harley as your first bike.

I got my Sporty right away, and although I loved it, I now wish I had gotten something that I wouldn't be so afraid of damaging it if I dumped it. I think I would've (safely) tested the limits of the bike a little more if I hadn't been so concerned that I'd do expensive damage if I dropped it.

I've dumped my bikes a total of 3 times - everybody does it! (Or they're lying about it!) Once on my Sporty right after I got it - just got off balance turning to park and over it went - no real damage.

Did the same thing on my road king a week after I got it but it wasn't as stoopid of a dump. (BIG difference between a 1000cc Sporty and a Road King Classic!) I had only about 2 feet of grass clearance between me and the curb (couldn't go down it because the bike is lowered). I got the handlebars cranked over too far and it tipped over onto the floorboard and running light. No real damage - just had to bend the light back to where it was supposed to go. I got an engine guard after that so I don't have to worry much - which was good because I pulled a real bonehead "forgot to put the kickstand down again" move a few years ago after moving my bike. Duh... :(-
 

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If it were me, I would pick the bike you like and have the front and rear lowered. Softail lowering kits for front and back are not much $. About $150 for both kits. Labor would be about an hour so for around $200 you can lower the bike and ride what ever bike one you want.
 

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I'm 5'1 1/2" and the 883 Low (2005) was the best fit for me (my first bike). The mid pegs for my short stature and the thinness of the bike made it easier for me to be comfortable on and flat foot the ground easily. Also put on a Cobin Close Solo seat. Made a big difference in the comfort of the ride.

It's rubber mounted, so vibration is a thing of the past and it has plenty of get up and go. I can keep up with the old man's Road King well enough.

It took me a little getting used to at the beginning being that it was my first bike (only been riding for about a year and a half). It felt top heavy to me, like it wanted to tip over at any time. But once I got the basics down and did plenty of practicing (at hubby's insistence), it's become a very comfortable and nimble ride.

If you get the opportunity, rent a bike(s) so you can get an idea of what fits you.

I'm sure whatever you choose, you will love.

Good luck!!!:Banadance
 

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I started out on mini bikes and went from there; first bike I learned on was a 750 Triumph and I couldn't even touch the ground, my brother had to hold it till I took off..........then I rode Honda 400's for many many years and then got my '04 1200 custom two years ago. I did take the experienced MSF to get used it and I love it!! I like being able to get out of the way if need be, quickly. :)

No matter what you get, definitely put an engine guard on it, it pays for itself in what it protects IMO. I have dropped mine 3-4 times, every time in my front yard :eek: usually on wet grass and once I popped the clutch by mistake. **** happens, but never had more that a scratch or two.
 
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