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Old 05-13-2013, 03:25 PM   #16
High Country Herb OP
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The more I look at the old CB bikes, the more I like them. I am really warming up to the cafe racer customs, and it seems these bikes are the most popular choice for that style.

I keep going back to what Wout said about not expecting your first bike to be your dream bike, however.

I don't think I want to go all out on a custom build, only to have her drop it in parking lot and damage something critical. She would be devastated. Has anybody seen crash bars installed on the CB? I wouldn't want anything to big and visible, just a little something to keep the motor from getting a cracked side case. Maybe even sliders instead.
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Old 05-13-2013, 03:36 PM   #17
kimber45
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how about something like a drz400sm.

they are fairly tall and light.
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Old 05-13-2013, 03:48 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kimber45 View Post
how about something like a drz400sm.

they are fairly tall and light.
That is what I really wanted her to get, since we have to sell my beloved '83 XL600R to make room for her bike. (We only have room for 2). My Aprilia, while being partially converted to an adventure bike, isn't well suited to single track. I will be adding some TKC80 knobbies to the Aprilia, along with another gearing change.

But this isn't about me, and if she wants a cafe racer, so be it. I will give her advice along the way, but it will be up to her ultimately.
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Old 05-13-2013, 03:52 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by High Country Herb View Post
The more I look at the old CB bikes, the more I like them. I am really warming up to the cafe racer customs, and it seems these bikes are the most popular choice for that style.

I keep going back to what Wout said about not expecting your first bike to be your dream bike, however.

I don't think I want to go all out on a custom build, only to have her drop it in parking lot and damage something critical. She would be devastated. Has anybody seen crash bars installed on the CB? I wouldn't want anything to big and visible, just a little something to keep the motor from getting a cracked side case. Maybe even sliders instead.
Funny you mention that. My CB has chrome highway pegs that I left on it for that very reason. With fresh paint, it'd suck to have a drop scratch all that up. I'll send pics when she gets home.
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Old 05-13-2013, 08:02 PM   #20
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TU250s are the fuel-injected air-cooled standard I wish they made when I first started riding, but you'll have to find one with 7500 miles out of state. The big S never bothered to put evap control on them and can't sell them in CA.
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Old 05-14-2013, 04:55 AM   #21
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my wife is getting her 1st bike to and being on learner plates to but she is stuck on a 125cc bike till she does a bike test. the fun off the UK

i would get ur wife a small cc bike to start out with then move up to a big bike that why you can get use to rding on the road ect.
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Old 05-14-2013, 05:02 AM   #22
guitarin
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I started my wife on a Kawasaki LTD 550. It was perfect! She then moved to a Triumph Bonneville and finally a BMW F650GS.
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Old 05-14-2013, 05:08 AM   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by High Country Herb View Post
I think those would be as heavy as the Aprilia, wouldn't they?
Not as heavy as the CB's. The really low seat height and CofG of the Virago's and the VLX's are great for a new rider. And enough power to easily keep up at highway speeds.
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Old 05-14-2013, 07:03 AM   #24
Wout67
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I guess it all depends on what kind of bike she wants, (standard, cruiser, sport bike, dual sport).

Keeping in mind, the beginner bike isn't necessarily the one she will be keeping for years and years.

Even though I'm selling a CB, I do think the Ninja 250 is the go to starter bike. The baby sport bikes don't have the tucked over ergos of the bigger ones, they do have the good braking abilities, and they are very forgiving with the clutch.

Plus, you as her husband can have a blast tearing around on it.

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Old 05-14-2013, 08:25 AM   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by der_saeufer View Post
TU250s are the fuel-injected air-cooled standard I wish they made when I first started riding, but you'll have to find one with 7500 miles out of state. The big S never bothered to put evap control on them and can't sell them in CA.
Dang, you beat me to it!

I rode a TU250 last weekend at a Suzuki demo event, and that thing was a blast. It did an indicated 70 mph on the highway with more to give, just not in top gear, and I followed it down the highway in a V-strom 650 that indicated 66 mph. I'm 6'3" and 230 lbs. The TU 250 was actually a little more comfortable than the Gladius I rode. The cut outs for my knees were not quite right on the Gladius, but the TU250 was just a great little standard motorcycle. Fuel injection, low weight, everything a competent bike should be and nothing it shouldn't. It reminded me a lot of riding a Bonneville.

EDIT: D'oh, I just realized you're not where I thought you were.
(A quick check on CycleTrader shows several in Washington and Oregon, but they might be a bit out of your stated price range. There is always a deal to be found somewhere.)

If your wife is interested in classic styled bikes, a Bonneville/Scrambler/Thruxton could be a consideration. Probably out of budget, but the Bonneville is pretty low slung weight and very pleasant to ride, and it would be hard to outgrow.
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Old 05-14-2013, 08:36 AM   #26
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They get much better with a sprocket change and after they break in.
Stock, they are sort of slow and geared very low.

Anyone learning on the street (a bad idea I think) needs something that drops very well, which is usually a dual sport.
There are low light ones, tall ones, heavy ones, most are very cheap used, and can be taken to a field where falling hurts less and is less risky.

If you was to ask me, everyone should learn what too much front brake does, how to lock the back wheel up and control the bike, what power sliding the rear wheel feels like, and panic braking, before getting on the street.




Quote:
Originally Posted by KungPaoDog View Post
Dang, you beat me to it!

I rode a TU250 last weekend at a Suzuki demo event, and that thing was a blast. It did an indicated 70 mph on the highway with more to give, just not in top gear, and I followed it down the highway in a V-strom 650 that indicated 66 mph. I'm 6'3" and 230 lbs. The TU 250 was actually a little more comfortable than the Gladius I rode. The cut outs for my knees were not quite right on the Gladius, but the TU250 was just a great little standard motorcycle. Fuel injection, low weight, everything a competent bike should be and nothing it shouldn't. It reminded me a lot of riding a Bonneville.

EDIT: D'oh, I just realized you're not where I thought you were.
(A quick check on CycleTrader shows several in Washington and Oregon, but they might be a bit out of your stated price range. There is always a deal to be found somewhere.)

If your wife is interested in classic styled bikes, a Bonneville/T100/Thruxton could be a consideration. Probably out of budget, but the Bonneville is pretty low slung weight and very pleasant to ride, and it would be hard to outgrow.
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Old 05-14-2013, 09:13 AM   #27
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Congrats to the OP's wife on starting her lifelong addiction!

IME, these "good starter bikes?" threads always end up in the same place.

- Never buy a classic bike as the first bike: often too finicky, too heavy, too pretty to drop
- "Classic" standard: TU250
- "Sport" bikes: Ninja 250/300 or CBR 250 (I prefer the latter, but it must always be noted: far, far too many new riders lose out on these great bikes by judging them by their sporty covers, the seating positions are closer to standard and very comfy for learning riders).
- Dual sport: TW200, XT225/250, or if you're taller, DRZ400
- Learn on the dirt if you can (eh, I can take or leave this advice... I, and pretty much everyone I personally know, learned just fine on the street. But playing in the dirt is great fun).

Best of all, there's not a bike in this range that you can't sell for close to the same price you bought it at. Any depreciation hit you take is easily amortized over the course of a year or so as far, far less than it would cost you to rent a bike.

Good luck!
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Old 05-14-2013, 09:20 AM   #28
electroken
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Quote:
Originally Posted by High Country Herb View Post
Looking through different pictures on the web, she likes the early 70s Honda CB350, and wants to customize it lightly into something resembling a cafe racer, but with dirt bike handlebars and a comfortable seat.
On a CB350 a six-footer will feel like they are riding a clown bike.

The bike in the American version of "Girl With The Dragon Tattoo" is a 1970 (I think) CL350. I'm pretty sure the actress is only 5' 1".
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Old 05-14-2013, 10:26 AM   #29
High Country Herb OP
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On a CB350 a six-footer will feel like they are riding a clown bike.

The bike in the American version of "Girl With The Dragon Tattoo" is a 1970 (I think) CL350. I'm pretty sure the actress is only 5' 1".
We were wondering about this. I'm sure I have seen one in person, but wasn't thinking about fitment at the time.

Are the CB450 or CB500 any taller? The CB750 is too much bike for her.

If we do get a classic, I think it would be wise to wait a year or so before doing any cafe customizing. No sense dinging up a new paint job.

Most newer standard style bikes are too heavy. We are looking for something less than 350 lbs. The TU250, Hawk GT, and similar standards are sounding better and better.
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Old 05-14-2013, 10:40 AM   #30
NJ-Brett
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Smaller budget bikes include:
Street: cb500t, KZ400, cb250, st250, tu250 and the low power Suzuki Savage/s40.

They also used to make cb125 and cb175's, xl250 and 350's, and the sl/cl/cb 350's.

Dual sport: xt225, crf230l, xt250.

I would love a late model sl350...
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