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Thread: What's a Good Starter Bike?

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  1. #1
    Registered User
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    Apr 2012
    Gilbert, AZ

    What's a Good Starter Bike?

    My 25 yr old daughter has been bitten by the motorcycle bug. She's been talking about a scooter (one of her friends has one) but I'm pushing a standard motorcycle. Any thoughts on a good starter bike that will get her some good experience before she moves up to an airhead? Something that would have decent power and fairly light that would work for commuting and maybe short road rides? I was thinking about something in the 250 cc range...Honda Rebel or there's a Suzuki 250 that I don't remember the model number of. Something we could pick up for around $2k.
    2004 R1150RT
    BMW MOA 181289

  2. #2
    Rally Rat
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Canon City Colorado

    Cruiser or retro

    The Honda Rebel is a twin with a more cruiser style and the Suzuki TU 250 is more a retro style that is a fuel injected single. So it depends on style more then anything. You might also be able to pick up a Suzuki GS500 twin for $2K if you look around for a 10 year old GS. That style is a little more standard. Good luck.

    DR650's rule

  3. #3
    Mars needs women! 35634's Avatar
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    Apr 2008
    SW Ohio
    Check out Kawasaki Ninja 250s. Been around forever and not bad looking, if she likes the ergonomics. Lots of them up for sale since people move up to bigger bikes or quit riding. Should be able to find a nice one cheap and have money left over for riding gear.
    1987 K75S
    Original litter
    Original owner
    2012 Ural Gear Up

  4. #4
    John. jstrube's Avatar
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    Nov 2009
    Atwater, CA
    GS500 is a great & mostly cheap bike.

  5. #5
    Rally Rat gstom's Avatar
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    Mar 2003
    Joplin, Missouri

    Something Italian?

    A Ducati Monster 696 is a reasonable choice. My son started out with the 600 Monster (before they had the 696) and it was a great starter bike. We went on several long trips together. He ended up putting 30,000 plus trouble-free miles on it before upgrading to a more touring oriented bike (Ducati ST2).

    Very light, docile and easy to handle, yet has the oomph if you want to ride it more aggresively. Plus the Ducati "mystique" may appeal to your daughter. Kept its value well also. The sound of the V-twin is also very satisfying.

    It does exceed your $2000 price range, though good used examples are fairly plentiful in the $3-$4 K range.

  6. #6
    the Wizard of Oz 26667's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    NW suburban chgo


    Quote Originally Posted by 35634 View Post
    Check out Kawasaki Ninja 250s. Been around forever and not bad looking, if she likes the ergonomics. Lots of them up for sale since people move up to bigger bikes or quit riding. Should be able to find a nice one cheap and have money left over for riding gear.
    saw a young woman on one a Total Rider tech class last year. nice bike. semed to handle extremely well. she was new-ish rider and had that thing managing the exercises really well early in the day
    We might as well walk. ~ Adam Guettel The Light In The Piazza
    used to own: 1982 R100T, 1984 R65, 1986K75C, 1997 R1100RT, R850R, K75S, 1978 R100RS... what was I thinking?

  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by podsobinski View Post
    The Honda Rebel
    I would have been inclined to agree... but then I rode one. What a gutless, flimsy machine. I would not want anyone I care about being blown around my 18-wheelers on a highway riding a Rebel.

  8. #8
    Old man in the mountains osbornk's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Marion VA-In the middle of some of the best riding in the country.
    I think a Burgman 400 scooter would be a better choice for a novice. It is easy to ride, will run over 100, will cruise at interstate speeds all day and handles better than most motorcycles. My brother calls mine a "girl's motorcycle".
    'You can say what you want about the South, but I almost never hear of anyone wanting to retire to the North.

  9. #9
    Dee G flymymbz's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Central WA
    My first bike was a Honda Rebel. Still have it. I've put over 28,000 miles on it in the 7 years that I have had it. In fact, I've spent more time on that bike than I have on all my BMW's combined.

    And yes, its a bit underpowered, but hell, its only got 236cc. What do you expect? Our TU250 is the same way. The CBR250 and the Ninja 250 are a bit better, but not as comfortable.

    I don't spend a whole lot of time on the highway with any of our 8 sub 250cc bikes. BTA, I don't spend a whole lot of time on the highway with any of my other bikes either.

    The Rebel does what its designed to do. Its an inexpensive and reliable trainer and commute machine. And if you ask it to take you across the US, it'll do that do.
    Too damn many bikes to list

  10. #10
    Registered User Bmandiego's Avatar
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    May 2012
    I agree with the beginning Honda idea. They are nimble, light, have a good power range, smooth, reliable, etc...
    I knew a guy who would take his 600cc scooter around the twisties with the other motorcycles....
    Scooters aren't all bad.
    Not what I want, but it does seem to be more of a chick thing.
    Same skills, nearly the same license...., M2 in CA for scooter, M1 for motorcycles and anything in class M2
    2000 R1100RT-P

  11. #11
    I would be looking for something in the 400cc size. That said, I have to tell a story.

    Last summer we were riding in the west. We were headed from Wyoming to the Colorado National Monument just west of Grand Junction, Colorado. We came down from the north just west of there and when we arrived at I-70 we could see a vicious thunderstorm right where we were headed. Radar on our phone said it would move east quickly so we stopped at a convenience store to let it pass. It rained a little where we were, just on the edge of the storm.

    Sitting on the bench on the porch I noticed we had been joined by a young man, maybe upper teens or lower 20s. We struck a conversation and I discovered he was from New York, headed to California. He was riding a Kawasaki KL250 Super Sherpa - 2003 model, 250cc dual sport.. Since I happen to also own a 2003 Super Sherpa I thought this was cool. When the storm passed we headed east, he headed west - more or less.

    A week or so later we went to the rally at the Sipapu Ski Area in New Mexico and then headed home to the Texas Big Bend. We had stopped in Roswell, New Mexico when up to us rode the guy on the Sherpa. He was detouring on his way - still headed to California.

    About a week after we got home, just north of the Mexican border south of Alpine, Texas we got a phone call. The young man was 45 miles as a crow could fly west of us in Presidio, Texas. He had explored Big Bend National Park and ridden the River Road over to Presidio. We are 25 miles north of where he came out of the park so he bypassed heading west. He just wanted to say "Hi" and to let us know he was going to head to California.

    I'm not sure where he went next, but I am willing to bet it didn't resemble a straight line to California. And I also know that 30 or 40 years from now he will still fondly remember this trip, on his 250.
    Paul Glaves - "Big Bend", Texas U.S.A
    "The greatest challenge to any thinker is stating the problem in a way that will allow a solution." - Bertrand Russell

  12. #12
    Ultimately it comes down to what she wants and what she feels comfortable on. Don't try to push her into something that you want her to be on. She needs to feel comfortable or she'll likely walk away from riding altogether. Go to dealerships and start trying them on.
    My wife started on a 250 Ninja. She tried the 500 but didn't feel comfortable. The 250 didn't have a lot of low end power that could get her into trouble. You really have to get the RPMs up to get the bike going(around 8k). As my wife learned how to ride and got more comfortable with it she was wringing it out at 11k and having fun with it. She used it for commuting and the occasional weekend ride. She put 4000 miles on it the first year before she moved up to a 650. She put 9000 on that this year.
    She credits starting out on the 250 to her love of riding now.
    Jim McGill
    '87 K100RS
    '04 R1150RT

  13. #13
    Registered User miairhead's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Otsego, Michigan


    Take her to a deal, and just sit on a few smaller size bikes. Get her into a class and
    don't push her, guide her to the MC that would be good.
    '84 R100RT '04 CLC(gone) Honda NT700V
    Beer Motorcycles Women

  14. #14
    Suzuki SV650 is a great starter bike. My Niece and my Son both have one.
    Fun to ride and good weight, size, geometry for a beginner.
    Tom Barrie
    2012 K1600GTL
    2002 R1150RT (sold)

  15. #15
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Eastern KY
    It matters a bunch: how long are her legs?
    I say ebay/craiglist standard Japanese bike in anywhere from 125-250.There are lots that go for far less than $2k & you can always resell & move up. I see it as practical to ride a smaller bike and feel safe then move up several times in size. The scoot(they are not girly!) ideas OK for fun & transportation but not as an intro to MC/s.

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