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Discussion Starter #1
Hey everyone,

New to the site (been doing a lot of reading though), and new to motorcycles - so I could use some collective help! I have been researching bikes like crazy for quite a while and find myself at that point of choice all new riders have - what to buy as a first bike?

I have seen a lot of supporters in two camps - one says no matter who you are, buy a 250cc or smaller. The other says, use good judgement, know yourself, and buy the bike that you feel the most comfort on and the most confidence in yourself while on it. Cruisers don't work for me for balance reasons, I am much better off sitting more upright and with my legs underneath me or slightly behind my knees. So - a small sports bike or retro type, right? I have looked very hard at the ninja 250 (both body styles), CBR 250R, even the new suzuki Tu250x - but they all really make me feel like I am contorting my body to fit on the bike.

If you haven't guessed it, yes - I am a very big guy. 6'3" and around 270 pounds, I could lose a bit but I am also fairly strong too. I can flat foot a strom or a versys (the other bike I was really looking at) with ease in the stock configuration. Both bikes feel extremely comfortable to me. I am worried that the 250s are just too small and uncomfortable - plus I have concerns about sufficient oomph to get out of the way of random 4x4s and escalades. Am I fooling myself? Looking for some feedback from the bigger riders out there, where they started.

Thanks,

Rook
 

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Hi Rook, Welcome to the site. Before I finally decided what to buy, I took the MSF beginner course which they provide you with a 250 size bike and you get to try it out for the weekend. I felt confident after that and bought a used DL650 after. I then spent many miles on lonely country roads and practicing in parking lots before venturing into traffic. Worked for me. Good luck and make sure you have good set of gear before you start.
 

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Hey Rook, welcome to the site. I line up with you in several ways. I am mid thirties, 6'3" 240#. I'm also fairly strong and athletic. I taught myself how to ride a small Soviet style motorcycle about ten years ago in Eastern Europe, but I didn't ride much or ride technical twisty roads nor deal with US suburban traffic.
When I decided it was time to ride again I started back on a 500cc standard for a very short period of time and then got my Wee. This was the right path for me for several reasons. My personality type, drivenness, and my athleticism allowed me to become a proficient rider in a relatively short period of time. Your mileage may very. Carefully consider if you would be safer riding a smaller bike for a season or so. How will you handle dropping (it happens...) your late model bike that you just paid a considerable amount of money for vs. dropping a smaller older bike (arguably a better route than buying a new small displacement bike), that you will most likely sell for what you bought it for? How much time will you devote to increasing your skills i.e. MSF, books, vidoes, parking lot drills? How quickly do you pick up new skills and techniques? It's a personal decision that only you can make.

In any case, taking the MSF course is probably the very best place to start. You will get some time on a small "starter" bike and see how you take to it. :yesnod:

Best of luck to you! :hurray: Oh, and I love my Wee. I ride solo, two up, and two up with lots of gear. It's a fantastic bike. :mrgreen:
 

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I echo the MSF beginners course as your first goal. These training sessions save lives. I think a 650 would be a good be a good choice for a guy 6'3". Strom, Versys or the new Honda should all work well. I think you will get your fill of a 250 during the riders course.
 

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Get thee Wee

Get teh Wee, it will work for you

I learn't on an Ex250 but I am 170 Lbs 5'-10"
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Thanks for the replies guys! I am lining up to take the MSF course in October. I want to do it next month, but got a new job building a hospital for our servicemen and that has me tied up. Plus, October means less Texas heat and it gives me a couple more paychecks to invest in decent gear.

Funny thing, there are two MSF course providers in the area. One has ninja 250s, the other has Buell Blasts. I was thinking of taking the course on the larger bike just to try it out. I had actually looked at the blast or a suzuki gs500f as a starter bike, but finding one in good condition for a realistic price seems a rarity in these parts.

If I went with a wee I would get the crash cage day one like what comes on the new 2012 adventure model. I am of the opinion that if I drop my bike, I better just get back up - dust off - and learn not to do whatever I just did again.

cheers,

Rook
 

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on a side note

the Ninjette makes it hard to learn "push left-go left" because it goes left before you can finish thinking it "go left". The Wee takes some definite (but still easy) bar pressure so you know what you are doing.
 

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after not having riden a bike for a number of years. I took a riders edge class last year, to reaquaint myself with riding and to get the endorsement on my Florida DL.
I'm looking now for a wee, after having riden a friends wife bike when he asked me to ride.
 

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I generally think the Vstrom is a poor bike to learn on, primarily because of its weight. With your size, however, I think it would be fine. I don't think it would take long for you to become disappointed in the lack of performance from a 250.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
The weight and horsepower were concerns for me since this will be my first bike - I certainly wouldn't want to learn on anything bigger. I think for now I am going to stick with my original plan - take the MSF course in Octoberish and see how I handle the 500cc blasts they use in the course. If that goes well, I will be in the market for a used wee strom unless I happen to stumble across a GS500F for a great price as a starter.

Thanks all for the input and encouragement! Now I need to go try on some gear! :thumbup:

Rook
 

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I'm back to riding after not doing so for several years. I'm not nearly your mass (6'2", 185), but the DL650 is IMO the bike for 6 ft.+ people in this range/type of motorcycle. I initially looked at the Vulcan 800-900 bikes, quickly realized that a cruiser was not quite what I was looking for. I briefly (briefly I said) looked at the Bergman scooter. Gave serious consideration to the Versys, but after sitting on it I realized it was going to take some serious modification to make it comfortable to ride for more than 45 minutes. Enter the V Strom (DL650). There's no doubt in my mind I got exactly the type of bike I wanted. It is head and shoulders above other, similar bikes as best bang for the $.

Do your HW, check out what interests/appeals to you. Enjoy! Definately take a state approved motorcycle safety course. :cool:
 

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At 6'3", I found the wee in its stock configuration unbearable for anything over a 2 hour ride. After increasing the seat height ~3/4" with a gel seat and adding 1" foot-peg extenders (from Richland Rick), it fits me well. It is a HUGE improvement over stock. I also raised the back of the bike about 3/4" with Soupy's adjustable raising links. Now I have a real nice bike for a tall rider.
 

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At 6'3", I found the wee in its stock configuration unbearable for anything over a 2 hour ride. After increasing the seat height ~3/4" with a gel seat and adding 1" foot-peg extenders (from Richland Rick), it fits me well. It is a HUGE improvement over stock. I also raised the back of the bike about 3/4" with Soupy's adjustable raising links. Now I have a real nice bike for a tall rider.
Certainly each person's bike has to be tweaked to fit them. Even a car has seat adjustments. It's a great platform though for taller riders, IMO. :cool:
 

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My advice if its possible in your area to find places to ride it would be to start with a dirt bike. Learning skills on the the dirt will help you become a better safer street rider, and the dirt is alot more forgiving when you hit the ground.

Andy
 

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At your size, and being able to flat-foot it, the 650 Strom is a good first bike, IME. I'd go with a used one because you're likely to drop it a time or two while learning.

I'm a little taller and heavier than you - I started on a KLR. It wasn't a long time before I stepped up to a Strom.
 

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Normally I'd suggest a smaller bike, but if you are tall and strong that will make up for lack of skill to some extent.

It won't make up for lack of judgement - the DL's will get up to dangerous speeds *very quickly* - not as fast as a litre sports bike, but fast enough to kill you.

Ideally, start on a dirt bike, they work well for tall riders anyway but there are times that just doesn't work - like commuting on a freeway.

I'd also recommend starting with a second hand bike whatever you get.

Pete
 

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It won't make up for lack of judgement - the DL's will get up to dangerous speeds *very quickly* - not as fast as a litre sports bike, but fast enough to kill you.
That must vary greatly from person to person. :) I had been riding motorcycles for about a month and a half before I got my Wee. I rode a Suzuki GN125 for my MSF course (never faster than 20-25 MPH) and a Yamaha TW200 (struggles and screams to top out at 55 MPH) for the next month and a half, and I haven't felt like I needed to be careful with the Wee to avoid going too fast.

The only thing I've had trouble adjusting to is the weight. It doesn't take much of a lean at a stop to topple, at least not compared to the lighter, lower bikes I started on, which I had a couple near-drops on when I was first learning, but I could just manhandle them back upright without hitting the ground. Those near-misses would have certainly been a sleeping bike with the Wee. :p That said, I'm also a toothpick of a guy at 140 pounds after a big dinner, so I think at the OP's size, he shouldn't have any trouble with it.

From a fellow newbie: Take the MSF course, then know and respect the bike's weight and power, and chances are you won't have much, if any, trouble with a V-Strom 650. :)
 

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Feel there is a gap between MSF, and the real road experience you need. Just went through this with the gf. MSF has my full respect, but new folks need lots of safe road time. So, experienced riders, please mentor the new folks. And new folks, many old dogs will give you help, just for the asking. So please ask.....
 
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