I’m Buying A Motorcycle

Yep, I am. After I go through the motorcycle riders class this weekend and wade through all the suggestions made by riders concerning what make, style, model and size bike I should buy.

It’s confusing as hell.

Add in the 10% telling me it is sure death to own one and I’ve had a very stressful couple of weeks since I announced to the world I was buying one.

What I do know is it won’t be a Harley.  I know they are great bikes.  I know they are THE bike.  But, well, they just aren’t for me.  I’m just not that kind of guy. I don’t mean that as an insult cause there’s nothing wrong with Harley guys and gals.  It’s just that it’s a persona I don’t feel comfortable with and, frankly, I think I would look like Matt Damon trying to pull off being a patriotic American soldier in Iraq.

In other words I would suck at it because it would be a lie.

But the real thing I am hung-up on is the size. I really, really am hesitant to get a bigger bike starting off which is what all these avid riders are telling me to do. By bigger I mean a 650cc or 750cc, which seems HUGE to me but is tiny to them.

A real starter bike – say a Honda Rebel – is just too small. I will want to get a bigger bike in a few months and it would be a waste of money. But those 650s and higher are just so damn intimidating that I know I am going to lay it down right outside my driveway. I was going to settle on a Kawasaki Vulcan 500 LTD, but my rider friends say that is a “girlie” bike.

Yeah, insult my manhood. That sure builds confidence.

I’m not exactly new to riding. I had a Honda 350 back in my 20s, but crap, that was almost 30 years ago so,  really, yeah, I am new to riding.

And I don’t want to get more bike than I can handle.

So, well, if any of my few readers, or anyone who stumbles by this blog, wants to chime in with suggestions I would love to hear them.

Except the “you’re gonna die” comments. I’ve had a ton of those already. And being the obsessive-compulsive guy that I am I have read a TON of research on the dangers of riding and how to be safe.

I think I can be safe.

So, again, if you have any suggestions let me know.  I won’t buy it for a few more weeks so I’ve got time to listen.


I passed the motorcycle safety course today. Now I have no excuse but to get a bike.



  1. This means I’m going to have to move you to the “Biker
    Trash Gunnies” category.

    My 2 cents: Don’t listen to them.

    it is a very good idea to get a “starter bike” when you first start riding. I wouldn’t go too small like a Rebel, but a 500 or 600 should do you just fine. They’ll go fast enough to keep up on the highway (barely), but will be light and maneuverable.

    That’s what you’re looking for right off the bat.

    Don’t let your ego get you into something you’re not ready for. If anyone gives you a hard time about it and are serous…they aren’t the kind of people to listen to anyway because they’re idiots…to put it bluntly.

    Your first task is to get proficient at riding so that you can gradually move up to bigger bikes (if you choose to) and do it safely.

    BTW: I’d highly recommend getting something used and a bit beat up to start with.

    You WILL drop it. At least once. You don’t want to have serious money involved in a starter bike. I also highly recommend wearing as much protective gear as is practical when you’re first starting out for the same reason. DO NOT ride without a helmet…ever in my humble opinion, but if you’re in a state where it’s legal and you decide to ride without one, at least don’t do itt until you are proficient enough to minimize the risk.

    After a year or two, you can sell it to another beginner as their starter bike and move on to something bigger and newer.

    Never let anyone else bully you into doing something you’re not ready for or comfortable with. Take it slow, learn the ropes. Get your head on a swivel and learn motorcycle defensive driving (EVERYONE is actively trying to kill you…drive accordingly) and you’ll be fine.

    I hope my warnings didn’t scare you off, I’m just trying to be realistic. I’ve been riding since I was 13. My motorcycle is my primary means of transportation all year round. I taught my wife and my son both to ride and they’re both still avid bikers. It’s a great lifestyle and I love it. I’m not trying to dissuade you, I’m just trying to say that it comes with some real consideratoins and cautions that you need to take into account.

  2. I took the rider course June 2008 having never been on a bike. I considered buiying a smaller bike as my first but ended up buying a 883 Harley Sportster and I’m glad that I did because I would of outgrown the smaller bike in just a few weeks. With the Sportster I have a smaller bike for getting around town and yet I can still get on the highway and move along at 80-90 mph. If you are not into Harleys look at Triumphs.

  3. I sat on a new Kawasaki 500 LTD and a 2008 Yamaha V-Star Silverado (650cc) today. The Silverado was in mint condition with only 300 miles and the same price as the new 500. A lot more bike in every way, too.

    I think I could be happy with the 500 for a couple of years minimum, but I know I would be happy on the Silverado for many years. It is bigger though and a little intimidating, so I am going to see how I feel after the course this weekend and make a decision then.

  4. My 20 yr old son bought a bike. He didn’t think I’d let him, but I told him that if he took the suggested courses through a local school and promised to always wear a helmet, I’d smooth things over with Mom and he could get one. A Triumph Street Triple. Nice bike. Triumph has been off the radar screen for a while when it comes to bikes. But they’ve made a nice turnaround and produce a pretty good (and adaptable) product.

  5. Just wear a helmet.

    And take me for a ride.

    • Hop on, baby!

  6. Get a Yamaha YZ450 dirt bike and go trail riding. When you lay it down it just gets dirty. OK, maybe the handlebars get out of alignment. You straighten them and ride on. When you hit the ground because you haven’t ridden in awhile it’s all grass or dirt. Grass and dirt is forgiving. Asphalt isn’t. Asphalt rips clothing apart and leaves scars on your flesh. I can show you if you doubt me. Dirt bikes are fun. Street bikes make you realize just how bad the other drivers on the road really are.

  7. OK, my dirt bike advice was probably useless so here’s something more helpful. Sit on every bike i the shop. The ones that ‘feel’ right to you, test drive around the lot. How it feels to you matters a lot. If it feels right then you’ll probably enjoy riding it. If not, no matter how many other riders tell you its a great bike, to you it won’t be.

  8. I had my first day of riding in the motorcycle riding course. I passed the test with a 100, but unfortunately they still want you to RIDE the bike, so that basically counts for nothing.


    I’m probably the worst student in the class. I stalled the bike five times and almost dropped it, while everyone else seems to be breezing through.

    That sucks.

    Tomorrow is another day.

  9. Speaking of rebel, I’ve owned two motorcycles and ridden solo to the Grand Canyon and back. And I never bothered to get my motorcycle endorsement. Oops. That did get me into a spot of legal trouble, though, and I don’t recommend it.

    I always (ALWAYS!) wore a helmet. I prefer the kind with the full shield. Invaluable when you go through a bug storm.

    The main advice I have for riding a bike is: Don’t be a dumb ass and learn to be the most defensive driver EVAR. Do that and you’ll be fine. 🙂

  10. I crashed the bike on my second range day and it had to be replaced. My entire left side was black and blue after bouncing off the pavement and I was sore for weeks. But I passed the course. I learned the hard way, don’t brake in a curve until you’ve straightend up.

    One fellow student who was the best in the class dropped his bike during the final riding test. He brought the bike to a stop and just dropped it which flunked him and he had to do the range over again the next weekend.

    After the class and when you start riding on your own, just be wise, but get out there and have some fun. I started by riding around the parking lot behind the house and when I was comforable with the bike’s controls I took him out and rode the neighborhood streets with little traffic, Then out into traffic and when I got comfortable with that , I got on the highway.

    iI ride everyday in all sorts of weather. It’s a blast.

    • The second day at the range was fun. I still made a ton of mistakes but it was much less stressful than the first day. And the test? Well, my guardian angel was with me because I had the second highest score . . . behind a seasoned rider who was taking the course so he could ride on the Army Post where he worked. I only lost three points for going too slow in the curve part of the test. Everything else I did fine – even the figure-8 – which I hadn’t done right in about 10 tries before. Go figure – LOL.

  11. Looks like you got a lot of good advice. My Main Man found a small starter bike on Ebay (while we were still in TN), and then moved up to a larger one when he was comfy. Now, he has a monster.

    Miss you, too! I do most of my doinkin’ around on the ‘net on Facebook nowadays. I’m thinking about getting back into the game – there’s just not enough time in the day.

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