T Nation

Which Motorcycle Should I Buy?


This may have been discussed before, but anyway -
I will be taking a rider course in April to learn how to ride and when I complete the course, I'll receive my license. I was wondering what you guys would recommend for a new purchase. I assume there are a lot of owners on a site like this. I'm not necessarily looking for a "beginner" bike but more like something I would buy and grow into and keep indefinitely.

I have a picture of a Harley V-rod at my desk and I love the way it looks more and more everyday. I know they are expensive and a lot of guys are going to say that it is probably too powerful a bike to start off with but I'm not looking to drag race or travel cross country right off the bat. I would take it easy and take my time learning how to ride. Some people I have spoken to say that Harleys in general are for people who like to work on their bikes because they need a lot of "love". The recommended the Suzuki M109R Boulevard for its low maintenance and great performance.



Harley Davidson does have a trade up program. If you buy a sportster you can ride it for 6 months, and then trade it in for the full retail value for the next size bike and work your way up to a fat boy. I would recommend this especially if you do not have much riding experience. It's alot cheaper to fix a wrecked sportster than a fatbay. Besides that insurance is cheaper with a smaller bike and you show a gradient as to working up to larger cc motorcycle. The new Harley's are dependable are require very little maintenace as compared to thier earlier bikes. especially on the newer fuel injected models, PM me if you need more information.



Get what you want! The old notion that Harley is crap is just that...old! They HAD reliability issues, but those have been put to rest, for the most part. If you want a Harley...then get one. However, when you get onone (or any bike), KNOW YOUR LIMITATIONS! Don't do something stupid...you'll regret it! Here's mine!



Ah, ha! I just finished my rider course - three months after purchasing a sportster XL1200R. It was a toss up between that and the Speed Triple (Triumph). At first, the 1200 was imposing and a bit "too much." Now, it's just a "little sporty." There's always the trade up option for Harley's. There's also customizing, regardless. There's also the option of starting a collection of various scooters. Do you want to lean forward or back? How do you envision yourself? Your first thought re: motorcycle is always your smartest choice. If you've dreamt of the V-ROD, then get it! You won't be sorry. After your rider course, it won't feel too big.

Congratulations on your decision. Be a rebel.


Absolute beginners should buy a disposable bike that can be used for 1-2 years. Spend good money on a bike when you've learned not to drop and crash it.


I actually agree with this, even though I regularly wish that I had bought the 1,000R1 instead of the Yzf-R600. They say most crashes occur within the rider's first 4,000 miles.


Kurmatt...I'm in the same boat as you. I just bought the wife a HD 1200 Custom and then I bought myself a XL1200. She has ridden before but I have never had any motorcycle training. I of course bought used bikes "just in case" we do lay them down. We are both getting extremely antsy and are wanting to ride but have decided to take the training classes first. Good luck to ya and maybe we'll see you on the road!


Professor I have to agree, I had a hard-on when the GXSR 1000 first came out and the claims they were making comparing it to the GSXR 600 in power to weight ratio in early 2000. I unfortunately couldn't pony up the 12 grand for it so I settled for a 1999 Kawasaki ZX750, Man was I ever thrilled, It's light, extremely quick, and overall good value. I only gave 4,500.00 for it and it had 1,500 miles on it. I slapped a pipe on it and jetted the carbs, it was a monster.

Golf is for people who don't have the balls to drag a knee..

Going fast on four wheels is fun, going fast on two wheels is funner



If you want the V-Rod, get the V-Rod. As far as being to powerful....every bike has the power to get you into trouble if you don't respect it.

I have had two Fatboys, a Buell XB12R, Suzuki Hayabusa, and now I have a V-Rod. Very fun bike to ride. Somewhat the best of both worlds, it is still a cruiser that you can go on leisurely rides, but has the ability to scream too.

As far as reliability, Harley's are going to be just as reliable as the Suzuki you mentioned. Just keep up with the service schedule and you will be able to ride that bike for as long as you want.


seeign is that i work for Buell i should promote the company and say buy a XB9R, but in all honesty, for a good beginner bike that wont hurt the pockets, is an SV650 or any 600 is for that matter. when it comes down to it, all 600 japanese bikes are similar in terms of performance and reliability. though slightly used sv650s can be picked up relatively cheap, check ebay as well.. and like X said, get something cheap to start off with, cause chances are you will go down, or drop it, etc... and for the record the new GSXr 1000 is scary fast.


If you're looking for the harley look and feel without the pricetag, check out the suzuki boulevard C50, or the Yamaha VStar Classic or Custom. They are nice bikes, I was looking at them both for myself. My friend just bought a C50 and loves it. It's middle of the row between a 600 and 1000. I believe it is a 850, which you won't grow out of right away.

I would love to have and R1, but right now am looking at getting an R6. The wife doesn't want me to kill myself right away.

Go to the different dealers and try them out. There are a lot of bikes out there, and it comes down to what fits and feels right.
Good luck bro, be safe.





I recommend getting something that you won't cry about when you drop it.

You can always upgrade in a year or two.

The V-Rod has an awesome motor but does not handle the curves very well.

If you have your heart set on a Harley I like the Sportsters. They are relatively inexpensive compared to other Harleys and the handle very well.

Not too much power, but enough to have lots of fun.


Now is a great time to get yourself a new R1 in the yellow and black. That shit is hot.


I'm waiting for the 2007-2008 model. I figure if I can hold out, by the time I get ready to upgrade into one, I should be pretty impressive on the bike. I can handle mine pretty well as it is, but a ride I was on this weekend showed me I am still lagging a little on twisties. I was only taking some turns at 70mph while some of the guys I ride with were hitting 100 and dragging knee pads. I meant to write about it on here but I don't know if anyone wants to read anything like that.


I agree with Prof & !vic. Whe I started riding I had a huge boner for the Harley Wide Glides, but for financial reasons alone I picked up a used Virago instead. Two months later I dropped it in a parking lot and it cost me nothing but pride. Get your rookie mistakes out of the way before you invest in your dream bike.


Thanks for the input so far even though 1/2 are saying to go with the v-rod and 1/2 say get a smaller bike.
You're not making this any easier.


I bought a Suzuki GS500F looks sporty, gets the job done but I have a chub on the GSXR-750. I wouldn't mind a cruiser either but oh well. I'll keep plugging along on my "sporty economy" bike and then upgrade in the next year or so. Hell it is paid for, so why sell it?


I'll chime in as an "advanced newbie" here. I started a year ago with a Honda Rebel. After 3 months, man was I ready to get off the tricycle. So I got a Yamaha VStar 650. Cool lookin bike. Very retro the way mine is done out. Had it for a year and will use it again this year. I think this type of bike would make a great starter bike and I agree with what the guys are saying on starter bikes. I'm very careful, so apart from not putting the kickstand one day and dropping it and slamming my shoulder into a parked car (all this lifting and the car just stood there. Fucker!) I'm very happy with it.

My other advice is to never get on one. Cause the minute I did I was hooked.

This year I'm gonna take the time also to learn how to do all the maintenance on it myself.

Roll me Away!

My dream - Harley Heritage Softail Classic FLSTC/FLSTCI. Tour America!


Does anybody have experience on the Honda VTX 1300s?