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Hi folks, I have been into cars, then trucks, now back to cars. I have recently gotten to see a lot of cool things about bike (not on TV), and have decided to get my endorsement and start shopping around for a bike. I know what I like but don't know what it is that I should really get. I don't want to start off to big or to small. I really like the Sportster 883 and a friend has a Sportster 1200 custom that is nice. But I don't want to start off to big again. I don't really know where to start.

I will say this. I am taking the riders classes at a local HD dealer to help get my endorsement, so that is a good start I think. But the classes don't start for another month or more.

Let me know where the smartest place to start is, Thanks,


Unknown,
 

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Biker_unknown said:
Hi folks, I have been into cars, then trucks, now back to cars. I have recently gotten to see a lot of cool things about bike (not on TV), and have decided to get my endorsement and start shopping around for a bike. I know what I like but don't know what it is that I should really get. I don't want to start off to big or to small. I really like the Sportster 883 and a friend has a Sportster 1200 custom that is nice. But I don't want to start off to big again. I don't really know where to start.

I will say this. I am taking the riders classes at a local HD dealer to help get my endorsement, so that is a good start I think. But the classes don't start for another month or more.

Let me know where the smartest place to start is, Thanks,


Unknown,
Most people start at the beginning. :yes: If your considering a Sportster you might as well get the 1200. It has the same physical size, almost the same weight only with a more powerful engine. For a little more money you can move up to a Super Glide. My personal opinion is unless you are going to start out with something in the 250cc range it dosen't matter whether you get an 883cc, 1200cc or a 1450 cc engine. They are all big bikes so get what you want and can afford. Regardless just take it easy and even after you rack up some respectable miles don't ever become complacent. The Harley class is probably a good start. I don't know which is better the MSF or the Riders Edge. Either one will get you off to a good start. After you gain some confidence and got a few thousand miles under your belt I highly recommend taking the MSF Experienced Rider Course. Anyway welcome to the world of two wheels and ride safe!
 

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You can find used Hondas fairly cheap if you look around. See if you really enjoy the sport/hobby/life before making a big purchase. My old Honda held up really good throughout the years, including 2 deer hits, ditching it after loosing control on an ice patch, and one slow-speed colision caused by an auto.

After I decided it was something I couldn't be without, I then purchased my first V-twin. It sucks to spend a lot of money on what might just be a phase.
 

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I say buy the 883 cc, get really got at it, it will be a easier one to handle when you do your first drop, and than, one day, you will have that feeling that you need a bigger bike, than you move on...
I started with a Honda 125cc , I am glad I did , or you will feel intimidated by the bike, and endeed up riding less and become one of those who sells their 3ys old Harley with 800 miles on it!! We do love those guys though.... :thumbsup:
 
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From what you've written, I'd say wait on a decision until after your Rider's Edge Course. An awful lot of people (myself included) started on Sportsters and then felt they out grew them fairly quickly. That being said an equal number of riders start with a Sportster and never leave them. Although they are lighter, my own opinion is that a Sportster requires more riding skill than the big twins. Once you have your endorsement, you can ride as many bikes as you're willing to stand in line for if they have the Demo Fleet near you.

Harris
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Thanks for the fast feedback folks. Lots to think about in the first few posts, keep them coming.

As far as the Honda thing goes maybe that is a good idea. I have a feeling if this goes like my driving career I might lay one down so why not a cheap one, over a HD.

Classes, classes, and more classes is my plan. You can never stop learning.

Thanks again and I hope to get more replies to this post so that I might make a better more well researched decision when it comes time.
 

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Definitely buy used. I started out on a Yamaha 125 dual street/dirt, then bought a brand new 750 Honda Shadow... should have bought a used Honda, cause within 4 months I was eyeing my Heritage.
 

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After your classes Get your license endorsement. Use a buddys bike if necessary. The course I went to (MSF) guaranteed a Florida endorsement on my license if I successfully passed the course.
Go to every motorcycle dealer you can find. Sit on every bike they have and test ride if they will let you.
Don't start off to big or it will discourage you. Make sure you are comfortable just sitting on it.
Seriously consider buying a used honda or KAW. Pretty cheap those used *** bikes, even relaticely new ones. Harleys are expensive even used. Riding a *** bike may be better for you to make sure you really can and want to ride.
Don't expect to ride 500 miles per year and become experienced. That type of rider ends up in the newspaper or evening news.
Determine what type of riding you will be doing. This determines what size bike you will need. (Cruising around town or Touring or off road, etc.
 

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Hello-

The smartest place to start is with this book,

Proficient Motorcycling- By David L Hough.

In my opinion, a person should know what kinds of risks they are taking, before they get on a motorcycle. This book will tell you.

There should also be a www.abateofohio.org website.

If you're serious about motor training, I would take this class as well. After you complete your classes, buy the most used bike that you can afford...definitely not a new one. I would not go any lower than a 750, and with this being your first bike, I would not feel comfortable recommending a Harley.

By no means, do I mean to insult you in any way, but you only need to look as far as ebay to see that there are a whole lot of garage queens. I would not want to see you waste your money.

Buy the book, take some classes, learn the basics, get you feet wet with a cheap bike, and then, see if you still want a Harley.

good luck! :)
David
 

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A lot of great info so far. One thing you didn't mention is your budget. I would (after completing the rider course) look for a used bike as stated. If your budget will allow, look at a Road King (yea, I said Road King), a Dyna Sport/Low Rider or a Softail Heritage. A lot of the selection would depend on preference of riding position, but these 3 will handle very well and are very neutral, with the RK the best (IMO) regarding handling. The Dyna would be the lightest, but not enough to really impact the overall handling and it is the least versitile- but generally the least expensive. The size/weight of the bike is, to some degree mental, and the course will get you acquainted with the basics. My wife started on an 800 Vulcan and thought it was WAY too much bike for her at the time. Less than a year later, she would constantly try to swipe my Fatboy- so she rides it full time now and I got an EGlide! You solicited opinions and mine would be to look for a 2000 and up Road King- best VALUE in a bike on the used market and the handling is tremendous. You are looking a 10k and up (wild-arse guess) depending on the market in your area and the condition of the bike. Did I mention the RKs really handle well :D!

If your budget is a little more restrictive, you might want to look at a used V-Star or a Vulcan. The Hondas are a reliable choice as well, most of the diffrence is in appeal. I have had excellent luck with the Vulcans (800 and 1500) and they handle very well too. I've never been a big fan of the drum brakes on the rear of the 800 Classic (they don't bite as well as I'd like), but they work.

The payment on a new Harley is only the start $$$:laugh: :laugh:$$$ so until you are sure this is something you like, I'd strongly consider a used metric or a really good deal on a used HD. To some, chrome is like crack, but it's not the reason these damn things get addictive!

Best of luck and :welcome:

Some good folks here!

Allen
 

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I am not sure if this is for every dealer or just local or if it even exists anymore but it is worth a try. GO to a couple local h-d dealers and ask if any bike has a 1 year full trade in value. I know they used to do it for sportys and buel blasts, but i am not sure if the deal still goes on. I know one of my local dealers offer a buell blast for msrp and will give you 100% of you money back on a trade against another harley/buell. The only thing you lose is the tax paid. This is a good deal because i too got a 1200 custom for my first bike and wanted to sell it in 4 months, and i moved on to a fatboy. I am not knoking the sporty it is a great bike......just my advice, check it out...
 

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Definitely get through the course and then test ride / rent a few. You will know then what bike fits you.
 

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If you decide to start with a Harley Sportster here is my girlfriend's experience....

She bought a 2004 883 Sportster Custom in 2004 and then traded it in for a 2004 1200 Sportster Custom in 2005. The 1200 is actually 4 lbs lighter than the 883 and her experience has been a lot better with the 1200. The 883 took forever to warm up - even though we had it rejetted, high flow ac, and SE II pipes put on it. The 1200 warms up quicker, has plenty of power and in my opinion, is safer because it runs better (it is a bad thing when the 883 would cough and lose power in the middle of a turn). Maybe is wasn't rejetted right but I think they just run too lean.

As for starting with a *** bike, a buddy of mine started on *** bikes (cruisers) and he put about 14,000 miles on it in 8 years. Since he has got his first Harley, he puts about 14,000 miles on it every year. He says "i don't know why but there is something about riding a Harley"...

I bought my first bike in 2004, a 1999 Dyna Low Rider, and had no riding experience. While it seemed very big and heavy, you get use to it. I now have a Softail but feel I could handle a touring bike without a problem...

Good luck with the class. I took it last year. I know it changed several people's minds as to what they were going to get (I had a bunch of girls in my class that were 5' 2" tall and 2' 5" wide). Many of them thought they were going to get a crotch rocket and decided a cruiser fits them better.

Good Luck.
 

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Start

Complete the MSF class, get a bike (after test rides if you can get them), and then practice, practice, and more pratice all the routines you did in the MSF class. Start w/ a smaller bike, one you can comfortably afford and pickup when dropped (and you will). Then as you learn and experience more, you can graduate to a larger bike.
 

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I did it cold turkey went out sat on a bunch of bikes at the dealers and bought a 2001 FXDL took a class and the rest is history. Everytime I look at bikes I still like mine. So far so good, and 30,000 happy miles, and 10,000 in chrome and goodies ?prty:
 

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Biker_unknown said:
Thanks for the fast feedback folks. Lots to think about in the first few posts, keep them coming.

As far as the Honda thing goes maybe that is a good idea. I have a feeling if this goes like my driving career I might lay one down so why not a cheap one, over a HD.

Classes, classes, and more classes is my plan. You can never stop learning.

Thanks again and I hope to get more replies to this post so that I might make a better more well researched decision when it comes time.
Hey Unknown!

I took the MSC in '94 and had NEVER ridden before in my life. I struggled with the same questions you are, and ended up buying an '82 1000 cc Sportster as my first bike. I rode that Sporty for 9 years, but looking back on it, I honestly wish that I had bought something first that I wouldn't be so concerned about messing up if I dropped it.

I'd have liked to have been able to (safely) test the limits of a bike a little more than I did, but held back because I was concerned about damaging the bike. Also, Sportsters can be a little harder to handle due to the higher center of gravity as compared to something like a Fat Boy which is bigger, but with a lower center of gravity. And yes, a lot of people "outgrow" Sportsters pretty quickly if they catch on to the basics of riding.

Take the class and see how you do - then make your decision.

Good luck, and :welcome:
 

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I started out on a Buell Blast (used). Traded it back into the dealer I bought it from a year later and actually made a little money on it (bought it for $2500, traded it in for $3000). Fun, nimble bike to learn on (they have them in the Riders Edge courses, or used to). I put a V&H pipe on it and rejetted, K&N filter on it and it was loud and quick(er)!
 

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:yikes: Like most things I do I did the return to riding bass-ackwards. I hadn't been on a bike in 30 years, at least knew enough to stay off one until schooled, but bought the Harley, had it trailered to my home. Watched it in the garage for a looonnnnggg month before taking the MSF course. Finally rode it a lot for 6 months, sold it (04 sporty 1200 custom), then bought what I really wanted, a Fatgirl. Like most newbies, thought the sporty would be easier to ride, wrong! The sporty was like white lightnin', the Fatgirl is like sippin' whiskey.

Lefty
 

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I had ridden on lots of back seats but never operated a motorcyle myself until 1972. I bought and read two books on motorcycle operation and figured that was good enough. I went out and took delivery of a new Honda CB450. I had a little thrill and rocket-like ride across the dealership parking lot when I let out the clutch the first time. I'm sure I gave a salesman his first coronary. But, I got it stopped before I hit the guard rail at the end of the parking lot. It wouldn't fit in the VW van I brought to haul it home so my first ride was 80 miles home. By the time we got there I mostly had it figured out. I've been hooked ever since.

But, I've never had the nerve to go back to that dealership. I'm sure they still have my picture on the wall captioned, "Don't sell a bike to this fool!"

I'm a big advocate of taking classes first. It teaches skills, instills confidence, and gives you a different flavor of what you might like to do with purchasing.
 
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