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I am starting to look at motorcycles and don't know much about them. I am looking for a backroads cruiser, primarily paved and a very small amount of well maintained dirt roads.
This would be for leisure rides, and maybe a night or two at a campground. I think my preference would be for an older, classic type- perhaps something like this...
eBay Motors: BMW : R-Series (item 180346073071 end time Apr-19-09 14:44:26 PDT)

I think I know more about what I don't want...
- No fat, bloated giant fairing Honda Gold Wing thing.
- Not a dirt bike or off-roader
- No crazy powerful pocket rocket or something that looks like i could press some buttons and it would turn into a fighting robot.
- Definitely not a Harley or other Bar-Fight type ride.

Would like to be able to offer a ride to some random chick once in a while. ;)
Something less mainstream would be a plus to me, which is why the BMWs are attractive.
I like the idea of saddlebags for the overnight use or running to the store.
Beyond that, any advice on what to look at and for is appreciated... water cooled vs air cooled, spokes or cast wheels, whatever.
 

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get a moped with a 50cc motor:laugh:
 

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get yourself a little 150cc dirt bike and spend a few afternoons playing in a field before you take a risk with your life (and hers) on any streets.get used to the way a bike handles/performs.

they are very dangerous and very different to a car.

that bmw you linked to could break your leg in 3 places easy if you do the wrong thing.

ride a lightweight/docile 250 for the first year.

fast heavy bike and little experience = serious problems.
 

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60 obviously doesnt ride, and buys into the fear mongering

I have a 250, a 500, and a 1050cc in the garage, all street bikes. They all have a place, and some are much better at some things than others. Its not always about size.

Dont listen to 60, dont go buy a dirt bike to get used to. Shifting and braking is the same, riding is not.

Any bike will kill you, respect the machine. Ignore the size. Get a couple thousand miles under your belt solo before you take a passenger.
Respect the bike, and yourself. You WILL be a better rider starting on a smaller bike. Smaller bikes will carry people. Take a MSF class, get a sub-400lb bike, and get riding.

It IS more dangerous, it is a risk. Be very aware, you will go down. Keep a helmet on.
 

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get yourself a little 150cc dirt bike and spend a few afternoons playing in a field before you take a risk with your life (and hers) on any streets.get used to the way a bike handles/performs.

NOT THE SAME RIDING STYLE. VERY DIFFERENT HANDLING IN DIRT

they are very dangerous and very different to a car.
They are dangerous. They are very different than a car.
that bmw you linked to could break your leg in 3 places easy if you do the wrong thing.

And a 400lb 250cc cruiser cant? :rolleyes:

ride a lightweight/docile 250 for the first year.

Nothing wrong with this, but not "right" either. Even the MSF doesnt give out BS like this. They recomend
1. Under 400lbs
2. Under 30" seat height
3. Under 50(i think) HP.

Meet these requirements to learn and you have the best chance at fun and success.

fast heavy bike and little experience = serious problems.
The only completely true statement here, but a fast light bike will kill you too, just easier to pick up when you drop it.
see above
 

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I rode for a few years exclusively (meaning I had no car at all) before switching back to 4 wheels for family reasons.

In those years, I learned a few things:

1. Take a class, and get certified. It is the law and it is common sense.

2. Beware the dirt roads. I would never, ever take a bike that has pure street tires on a dirt road. The stability or lack thereof is directly attributed to the tires you are using. If a bike is to take even 5% of its time on a dirt road, I'd recommend you choose a setup more attuned to that. It could be as simple as swapping tires, not necessarily a different bike.

3. I've owned a Buell XB9 CityX, and a Honda VFR800, and rode countless other bikes as part of my job as a service writer for a bike shop in the past. I'd recommend to a beginner something with good handlebar turning sweep, since getting out of trouble is impossible once you run out of bar to turn. Look for that when you pick out a bike...Turn the bars, and notice how much lock you have back and forth. The more, the better for beginners.

4. I'd recommend a bike with modest torque and a docile power curve, so it doesn't get away from you if you accidentally blip the throttle of if you get in a slippery situation (like dirt!)

5. I'd recommend a bike that you can get parts for wherever you are. If there is a Yamaha dealer near you but a Duc dealer is 500 miles away, this should sway your decision.
 

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I rode for a few years exclusively (meaning I had no car at all) before switching back to 4 wheels for family reasons.

In those years, I learned a few things:

1. Take a class, and get certified. It is the law and it is common sense.

2. Beware the dirt roads. I would never, ever take a bike that has pure street tires on a dirt road. The stability or lack thereof is directly attributed to the tires you are using. If a bike is to take even 5% of its time on a dirt road, I'd recommend you choose a setup more attuned to that. It could be as simple as swapping tires, not necessarily a different bike.

3. I've owned a Buell XB9 CityX, and a Honda VFR800, and rode countless other bikes as part of my job as a service writer for a bike shop in the past. I'd recommend to a beginner something with good handlebar turning sweep, since getting out of trouble is impossible once you run out of bar to turn. Look for that when you pick out a bike...Turn the bars, and notice how much lock you have back and forth. The more, the better for beginners.

4. I'd recommend a bike with modest torque and a docile power curve, so it doesn't get away from you if you accidentally blip the throttle of if you get in a slippery situation (like dirt!)

5. I'd recommend a bike that you can get parts for wherever you are. If there is a Yamaha dealer near you but a Duc dealer is 500 miles away, this should sway your decision.


What year was your XB9? Been looking at a Buell for a bit, rode a couple of the 1200's, but no one keeps the smaller one in stock...

How did you like it compared to the VFR? I know they are for different purposes, but still...
 

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I don't really know you but the Honda Nighthawk is a decent bike and holds it's value. You state you don't want some big-goldwing but I fail to see the difference between that and the BMW.

The BMW will not be cheap to fix, and you don't want the hobby to kick your ass financially. I looked into BMW's when I was looking because they weren't like assholes (everybody did not have one) but I decided against it due to the price and eventually gave up when I moved out to the country.
 

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I don't really know you but the Honda Nighthawk is a decent bike and holds it's value. You state you don't want some big-goldwing but I fail to see the difference between that and the BMW.

The BMW will not be cheap to fix, and you don't want the hobby to kick your ass financially. I looked into BMW's when I was looking because they weren't like assholes (everybody did not have one) but I decided against it due to the price and eventually gave up when I moved out to the country.

Chad, I dont know about this bike in paticular, but my dad has a pair of K bikes (inline 4 cyl instead of the oil heads) and he likes em because they are "big" bikes but still ~150-200lbs lighter than a 'Wing

Also, these older oil heads are stupid reliable, and as you can see from the link, hold their value like nothing else (1984 = 25 years old, still 4500 bucks!! was probably on a bit more than that new.)

If I had to guess that think makes ~65-70 HP, plenty of torque, a great power band, its a horizontal twin, so it will be smooth. It will weigh ~550lbs (manageable, but not the greatest for a beginner) and will probably outlast most bikes made today.

EDIT: I am pretty close: http://www.motorcyclespecs.co.za/model/bmw/bmw_r100rt 87.htm

It will be a bit expensive to fix, especially if a dealer does it, but they are simple, solid bikes. They made the R bikes well.
 

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The points you brought up are why I was looking at them, lighter, reliable, and different...... BUT as anything mechanical, they will break, no matter how reliable and after going to the BMW repair center and pricing some things I chose a different path.

I also liked the lower center of gravity. I have short legs, a low center of gravity means a lot to me.

I also wanted a mid-80's Yammy Fazer700 REALLY bad.
 

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i know braking distance is very important.

snopes.com: Tulsa Motorcycle Crash
If the story mentioned the bike braking at any time that may be worth pointing out:rolleyes:, however:

The dude was doing 120+ and couldnt steer, thats not a braking problem. And honestly, I would be money he was riding a sport bike, probably a 600cc SuperSport. It probably had some of the best brakes on the road at the time...;)
 

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and the same damn thing would have happened if you mashed a semi trailer with a car going 120+... death.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
I shouldn't have mentioned dirt- there are a number of roads in the area that are paved, and may transition to unpaved for short distances. Therefore, virtually all the riding will be on paved roads.
The repair costs aren't really an issue to me, but I do need to factor in the proximity to a competent mechanic and parts availability. I should know this one well, being a former Citroen DS-21 owner.:eek:
There is some good advice on a starter bike here, thanks. Is there an issue with air cooled vs water cooled?
 

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The points you brought up are why I was looking at them, lighter, reliable, and different...... BUT as anything mechanical, they will break, no matter how reliable and after going to the BMW repair center and pricing some things I chose a different path.

I also liked the lower center of gravity. I have short legs, a low center of gravity means a lot to me.

I also wanted a mid-80's Yammy Fazer700 REALLY bad.
Truth. But like anything, DIY FTW. Parts will kill you, no doubt. But before I got my Triumph I was checking out some Ducati ST bikes, and the early 00' bikes had a 6k mile maint. schedule, at ~$600 a pop. And the VFR's with Vtec have a ~$800 valve adjustment. Unfortunately, they are not the simple machines of old.

And I still wouldnt mind playing on a Fazer, or the VFR!!

But I think the next garage present will be one of these for playing around town:

 
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