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Wife wants a bike!


reglook

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So I haven't even broken in my new RT ... and my wife says as we were on our first date night on the new bike last night...

 

"I think I want to start driving

 

I'm thinking, "were not teaching you on my new RT." But I didn't say that of course... I have to learn SOMETHING after 19 yrs of marriage :)

 

After talking, she wants her own bike ... (whew!)

 

She is a height challenged, 5' 1" so something with a low center of gravity is needed ...

 

The only thing that comes to my mind is a Honda shadow ... what do you guys think? Does BMW have a low center bike? What would you look at?

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Upper body strength?

Inseam, not all 5'1" are the same.

Add height thru boot soles.

There are options in the BMW line, and others.

Have had riders on original F 650's, BMW cruiser, etc.

Now HD makes plenty targeted for low seat height...

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I would suggest starting with something small and light. Don't expect her first ride to be able to accompany you on big road trips. Assume there will be at least two bikes in her early history, one to learn on and another that might be more permanent.

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Dennis Andress

Shop for something like an SV650, Ninja 650R, etc. They make great beginner's bikes and can be resold for almost what you paid. Modest wrenching skills help.

 

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Depending on your budget, you could always start with one of the new Honda's. They have the new CBR and CBF's in both 300 and 500. If you want more of a cruiser look, they now have the Rebel 300/500 with those same engines.

 

If you want cheaper, I'd look for a good used Aero 750. I prefer the Aero 750 over the Ace 750 mainly because the Aero has shaft drive.

 

I'd highly recommend she still take an ABATE course. That'll allow her to get her feet wet and still change her mind. Plus, the bigger mistakes she'll hopefully make on their bikes.

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Wow, you're already talking what motorcycle to buy. As mentioned your *first* step should be the MSF class.

 

When she passes that *then* start discussing which motorcycle. Just my $0.02 of course....

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Pro beginner training is important so she doesn't start off with bad habits. Definitely no tours until she's got a couple thousand miles around town on her own bike that she can become familiar with.

 

I'd consider a bike that was neither underpowered nor overpowered. A new or used modern Triumph Bonneville is a comfortable, light and narrow, good-handling, forgiving, easy-to-ride bike with low-speed torque for easy clutching.

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Maybe a BMW scooter? They have plenty of power, can ride at highway speeds, and have an easy step through design.

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I'm not a very big Harley fan...however a Sportster 1200 for a wife is a common bike in this part of the world. They are not too bad price wise as you can usually find a used 2016 for 6-9k depending on what they have done to it. I'm not exactly sure when they went to the larger 4.5 gallon tank, but that would be a must versus the smaller 3 gallon.

 

You will still have a challenge on long trips. The newer ones will probably average mid 40'smpg so if you burn 4 gallon, you better start looking for fuel at about 150 miles and get a tow rope out at 200...

 

Used Harleys are plentiful...just check ebay and see the 100's of them out there. Nearby dealers will have a bunch as well. Besides it most likely has a set of noise makers added to it so you will never lose her :)

Edited by Skywagon
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fourteenfour

go to your local Harley Davidson dealer and see if they have their riding course available at that location or another. The bikes are all easy to ride and they are truly patient with new riders

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We went through this process last year. After the basic rider course she decided that two wheels weren't for her. She ended up with a Spyder and loves it.

 

BRC is definitely the best starting point.

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Lots of good advice here so far. Mine will probably not be in that catagory . Anytime your wife is around, play a continuous loop of motorcycle crash compilations. Probably won't have to worry about what type of bike to get the wife. If that doesn't work, I have noticed quite a few petite woman riding very sporty on Triumphs.

 

Edited by joeb
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After the basic rider course she decided that two wheels weren't for her. She ended up with a Spyder and loves it.

 

I was going to suggest the Spyder route also. It takes one big hurdle out of the learning curve. Falling down! :eek::grin: Problem is, other than twisting a throttle, any experience gained on a Spyder will not transfer over to a two wheeler.

 

Pat

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We went through this process last year. After the basic rider course she decided that two wheels weren't for her. She ended up with a Spyder and loves it.

 

BRC is definitely the best starting point.

 

Same thing happened with a good friend's wife. Strongly suggest you don't buy the wife a bike until she has her license and a good motorcycle class completed.

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My first bike, at around age 35, was an R100/7. I could fairly comfortably tippy toe both feet at the same time.

 

My wife bought a F650CS, in her late 30s, and she could just touch tippy toes on both sides. We took it to Rich's Custom Seats, and had the seat lowered by a couple inches, and then got some lowering links which brought the rear end down a bit more. She could flat foot it after all that (which she insisted on).

 

The BMW salesman told her the same thing I told her: it's not necessary to flat foot both sides. Although you should be fairly comfortable touching the ground.

 

Before we bought her bike, she took the class, where they rode shadows. She thought she wanted one at first, and then got stuck on the Buell Blast for a bit, until I talked her into something a little nicer. It didn't take long for her to get comfortable on it, and she still loves her CS.

 

Anyway, the moral to our stories - it is possible to start out on a liter bike with zero experience (shoot, my very first ride bringing it home was prolly 50 miles, including a ferry ride, and seattle traffic - but I wouldn't recommend that). And it is possible to buy an average height bike and modify it just enough to get started.

 

But we're not swimming in cash, and neither of us wanted her to buy a bike that she basically didn't want, just to ride it one summer and then purchase another bike all over again.

 

So my two pennies: Look around. Decide which bikes she likes, and which she doesn't. Think about rides you two want to do together, and think about a bike for her that will do everything you want. Then see if you can make it work with some creativity. Or just buy a shadow, and trade it in. Most importantly, do what she seems comfortable with. But keep in mind, most any bike will be a bit daunting. It's more the learning process, rather than the bike itself, that is daunting (IMHO).

 

Obviously, forums like this are wonderful resources for information on parts, aftermarket parts etc.

Edited by elkroeger
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szurszewski

I think this is the first time I've heard a 100/7 refered to as a liter bike.

 

I'm not arguing, mind you - just that's not what comes to mind when I hear the phrase ;)

 

That said, if someone in the house is into a bit of wrenching for maintenance, an airhead is not a terrible idea. Even with a custom seat I don't think she'll be able to flat foot, but the center of gravity is low, and while there is ample oomph for highway and interstate cruising if you want, it certainly won't rip her arms off when she twists the throttle.

 

Oh, and you'd get to ride it when she didn't want to - they are kind of fun.

 

 

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My wife, having never ridden before, wanted a bike because she'd get motion sick on the back of the RT (also, she doesn't like looking at the back of a helmet).

 

We ended up going to several dealerships/brands and she said she felt most "comfortable" on a Honda Shadow RS (similar to a Sportster).

 

I gave her the basics of my "how to" and told her I wasn't going to be her teacher. She went to the basic rider course and I attended as Moron support.

 

That's been a few years ago and she doesn't ride enough to be comfortable/confident so I have to ride her bike on occasion.

 

Anyway, my advice is take her to dealerships varying brand and bike let her sit on the machines and see which bike fits her, then dump her off at a BRC to let those folks teach her.

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Lone_RT_rider
I would suggest starting with something small and light. Don't expect her first ride to be able to accompany you on big road trips. Assume there will be at least two bikes in her early history, one to learn on and another that might be more permanent.

 

Wise words....

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I have seen this scenario play out with other couples. As a couple of folks have mentioned, get her through the MSF course first. Then, if she still wants to ride, buy a good used bike as a starter. Once she has a few thousands miles under her, then you can look for "her" bike. Doing this will save you heartache and money!

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After the basic rider course she decided that two wheels weren't for her. She ended up with a Spyder and loves it.

 

I was going to suggest the Spyder route also. It takes one big hurdle out of the learning curve. Falling down! :eek::grin: Problem is, other than twisting a throttle, any experience gained on a Spyder will not transfer over to a two wheeler.

 

Pat

 

My thoughts exactly. While you can learn to ride a motorcycle later in life, some of the skills that keep me alive were learned off road before I even had a license. This is just MY opinion.

 

That said, a Spyder seems to bridge that gap nicely. She would not be bringing motorcycle habits to the Spyder, and that means a quick learning curve to becoming competent on the Spyder. Most of what makes motorcycling the experience it is, you will get a degree of at least on the Spyder.

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szurszewski

I don't know what's available in Denver, but if you can a S/TEP class in addition to the MSF basic class would be a great idea - she'd get a chance to try out a Spyder there most likely.

 

Oh - here's a place in Denver - I know nothing about them, but the site says they offer two and three wheel training:

 

http://www.ironbuff.org/

 

Even at a a couple/few hundred per class it's a bargain! (Think of the money you two will save when her first drop is someone else's bike!)

 

 

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Bill_Walker

I'm going to join the crowd here: basic riding course (through MSF or whatever organization does the same in your state) FIRST. After 19 years of marriage, you should also know that YOU should NOT be the one to teach her to ride!

 

Also, get her to read David Hough's "Proficient Motorcycling". If you don't already have a copy, you should read it, too. Every rider should.

 

As to bikes, if you're looking to buy new, Honda's newly-redesigned Rebels (available in 300 single and 500 twin) look like a pretty decent choice for the inseam-challenged.

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So many good points in this thread ... wow .. I need to make a list and begin prioritizing ... thank you all for the responses. Now, I have some work to do :)

 

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Just one more thing in the funny category... People ask me all the time does my wife ride with me or own a bike... I always respond with no and I appreciate it :)

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Dennis Andress
FIRST. After 19 years of marriage, you should also know that YOU should NOT be the one to teach her to ride!

 

Also, get her to read David Hough's "Proficient Motorcycling". If you don't already have a copy, you should read it, too. Every rider should.

 

 

 

What Bill said ^

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As others have said, have to wife take a motorcycle safety foundation class (you will learn a thing or two if you take it was well, regardless of how long you've been riding). ABATE is another option.

 

I highly recommend getting something in the 250cc range and old enough that if she drops it, she won't likely get hurt, and it won't appreciably hurt the value of the bike. Plus, she'll be able to pick it up herself if she does drop it, which will help with confidence.

 

If she doesn't mind a clutch and gears, 250 Honda Rebels are ubiquitous and cheap on craigslist - I just picked up a low miles 2000 model for the wife for $1200. From what I've read, the little Rebels are damn near indestructable.

 

If she wants an automatic, look for a 250cc scooter.

 

After a year, she'll have enough confidence to move up to a bigger bike.

 

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John, thank a whole heapin' bunch for the seat height link. My wife is looking for a bike and is inseam challenged. While this does not list several bikes, it's pretty darn complete.

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TN_R11_Girl

+1 on the inseam question... that will play a larger role in whether a bike fits her than her overall height.

 

Also +1 on the small light bikes.

 

I loved my SV650 but don't remember whether I was completely flat footed on it or not (I'm 5'7" with about 31" inseam; 32" with boots).

 

I'll warn you away from the Yamaha FZ1 .. it's much taller than you would think (it's roughly the same height as my R1100S.)

 

You might even consider a Ninja 250 with the understanding that she will not be going on any long trips or want to be on the highway with it.

 

Good luck!

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...You might even consider a Ninja 250 with the understanding that she will not be going on any long trips or want to be on the highway with it....

 

That brings up a good point: I've been told that if you intend to do more than minimal travel on the interstate, you're gonna want 450cc or more.

 

But like I said, that's just what I've been told.

Edited by elkroeger
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...You might even consider a Ninja 250 with the understanding that she will not be going on any long trips or want to be on the highway with it....

 

That brings up a good point: I've been told that if you intend to do more than minimal travel on the interstate, you're gonna want 450cc or more.

 

But like I said, that's just what I've been told.

 

I've had my wife's 250 Rebel up to 70, but it felt like I was riding a huge Hitachi magic wand.

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I've had my wife's 250 Rebel up to 70, but it felt like I was riding a huge Hitachi magic wand.

 

:rofl::rofl::rofl: She must love that bike :rofl:

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In Colorado the week before last, there was a couple that were both riding. He on a fully farkled out R 1200 GS wet head. She, blond with pony tail hanging out back of helmet and pretty blue eyes and a wonderful smile was riding a Spyder and enjoying the heck out of riding with him. She honked and waved when I went by.

 

F 650 has been mentioned. Not a bad place to begin. Many others as well.

 

Heck a guy and his wife were entering the parking lot of a motorcycle accessory store on the east side of Denver. She was on a GROM and loved it!!!!!

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In Colorado the week before last, there was a couple that were both riding. He on a fully farkled out R 1200 GS wet head. She, blond with pony tail hanging out back of helmet and pretty blue eyes and a wonderful smile was riding a Spyder and enjoying the heck out of riding with him. She honked and waved when I went by.

 

mmmm. Nicol is kicking around the idea of a Spyder. I'm letting that play out on it's own. She wants to ride but doesn't ever think she'd be comfortable on two wheels.

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fourteenfour
She was on a GROM and loved it!!!!!

 

what is GROM? ... sorry ...

 

someone else provided the link but they look like silly fun

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Lone_RT_rider
She was on a GROM and loved it!!!!!

 

what is GROM? ... sorry ...

 

someone else provided the link but they look like silly fun

 

Honda%20MSX%20125%20Grom-17%20%203.jpg

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someone else provided the link but they look like silly fun

 

I have absolutely no need or use for one.

 

But I still want one.

 

Or the Kawasaki Z125, with semi-knobby tires.

 

Might be good to have one in the garage to corrupt the grandkids? :stir:

Edited by lkraus
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someone else provided the link but they look like silly fun

 

Oh, they're CRAZY fun. There's a guy who commutes to work on one and he let me take it for a spin. It's a hoot trying to ride fast on a slow bike. :rofl:

 

I don't think I'd tour on one, though. :D

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When I met Gary 32 years ago I had been riding 12 years. He didn't like the idea of me riding,I continued however. We moved to Phoenix and I saw someone killed on a MC my first week there and quit riding for 20 years, but kept my R90/6. Finally we moved to the best motorcycling road in AZ, Hwy 89 between Yarnell and Prescott. Gary became interested in riding and took the BRC. No way would I try to teach him my bad habits. He immediately bought a K1100 LT. Not too much power but too tall. I could keep up with him on my R90/6 as he was so terrified of the Light Truck. Sanity finally arrived, he sold the K and bought an R1100 RT, I did the same. Today we both ride R1200RTs. BRC was the best intro to riding for Gary. And the thought of a beginner bike is not necessary for an adult.

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