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Old 05-13-2013, 12:48 PM   #1
High Country Herb OP
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First Bike For My Wife

My wife has passed the BRC, and is ready for her own bike. She has limited riding experience, having only held her learner's permit for 2 months.

She has ridden dirt bikes when she was a teenager over 20 years ago. The largest bike she rode at that time was an XL250. Recently, she has been practicing with an XL600 and an Aprilia Dorsoduro 750. She did well on the 600 dual sport, but cannot kick start it herself. The Aprilia was fine while moving, but she cannot handle the 410+ lbs weight very well. She dropped it once after coming to an abrupt stop, and feels it is too much for her first bike. She said the BRC course bike was too short for her, and she had to put her knee in her chest to use the foot brake. It wasn't the Honda Rebel, either. She is almost 6 foot tall, so she needs a decent sized bike.

We had been talking about selling the 600 dual sport, and replacing it with an electric start Suzuki DR350. Now that we are getting serious about buying, however, she has told me she wants something more unique than a dirt bike. 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. We won't be doing cross country rides on the bike, but she wants to be able to ride solo over the steep Sierra mountain passes (~10,000 feet elevation). It will also need to handle 70 mph highway speeds for a few hours at a time. Our budget is around $2,500 max.

Can you think of any other bikes that are readily available in the US in our budget that will fit her needs?
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Old 05-13-2013, 01:13 PM   #2
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I have a '71 Honda CB450 that I'll sell for $2,500. I'll have spent close to $1000 getting everything "dialed in".

It has electric start.

.

All that being said, an older bike might not be the best choice unless you like to tinker.

With any bike that old, there will always be something that needs to get tweaked.

For a new rider, I'd suggest looking at a Ninja 250.



I've heard nothing but good things about these bikes. You can ride them all day, they're light and they're as fun as hell.

Plus, once she grows out of it, you can sell it for pretty much what you've got into it.

Your first bike shouldn't be your dream bike. It's a learner. Buy it, use it, learn on it, and sell it.

Just my $0.02.

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Old 05-13-2013, 01:28 PM   #3
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if you can find one, a Honda Hawk GT very unique, fun and trouble free.
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Old 05-13-2013, 01:30 PM   #4
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I might be interested in the CB450. That is a twin, correct? (I know Honda had some short run models using 4 cylinders with small displacements). Oregon is a bit far away, however, at 8 hours one way.

I think the Ninja 250 and the DR350 are both ideal first bikes, but she doesn't want a sport bike or dual sport.

I do like to tinker, so that doesn't bother me, but it will need to be reliable enough for her to ride to work (2 hour round trip) without issues. Fair point about not expecting the first bike to be the dream bike. It sounds like that is what she is hoping for.

What about standards? Are there any newer standards with character like the CB, yet still in our price range. Triumph Bonnevilles and Moto Guzzis are too heavy.
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Old 05-13-2013, 01:32 PM   #5
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if you can find one, a Honda Hawk GT very unique, fun and trouble free.
Good one. I have also considered the Honda Ascott VT500.
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Old 05-13-2013, 01:37 PM   #6
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Good one. I have also considered the Honda Ascott VT500.
That would be another great bike, I had one for a few years and currently have the Hawk GT as well. The CB1 was good, but lower bars than the Hawk. Hawk is more "Standard"

Plus you can find really nice ones road ready for your price range.



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Old 05-13-2013, 01:53 PM   #7
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I like the Hawk and the Ascott. I don't have any experience working on shaft driven bike, however. It seems like repairing one, should the internals go bad, would be quite expensive. Being Honda, maybe they never have issues? My dual sport Hondas never do.
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Old 05-13-2013, 01:59 PM   #8
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Yep, the CB is a twin. Right now, it's having the carbs rebuilt, and dialed in. It has a fresh paint job, and all the chrome shines as the day it rolled out of the factory.

It has a front disc brake, and the fluid has been bled and replaced. It has a new chain and new spark plugs, coil and cables. Both cylinders have had a compression test, and both are in good shape.

The gas tank had an issue with rust, but that has been treated too.

It is Japanese, so I'd bet it'd be pretty reliable.

The one thing it'd probably need that I haven't done is new tires. It still has the original ones on from the Nixon Administration.

HCH, I'll give you first refusal. If you want it, let me know. I haven't listed it yet, and won't until I hear back from you.

I saw a place online that will ship a bike anywhere in the lower 48 for $350.
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Old 05-13-2013, 02:21 PM   #9
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535 or 750 Virago, 600 shadow VLX....
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Old 05-13-2013, 02:32 PM   #10
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535 or 750 Virago, 600 shadow VLX....
I think those would be as heavy as the Aprilia, wouldn't they?
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Old 05-13-2013, 02:33 PM   #11
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Here's a pic of it on it's way to the shop to get dialed in.
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Old 05-13-2013, 02:45 PM   #12
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Here's a pic of it on it's way to the shop to get dialed in.
Nice. If we get one of these vintage bikes, we will definitely be looking for one that is "dialed in". That will save lots of work getting it road worthy.

I looked it up, and it would be 11 hours from my house to Portland. I mentioned fly-and-ride to my wife, and she looked at me like

Like I said, don't wait for me if you find a buyer.
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Old 05-13-2013, 02:53 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by High Country Herb View Post
Nice. If we get one of these vintage bikes, we will definitely be looking for one that is "dialed in". That will save lots of work getting it road worthy.

I looked it up, and it would be 11 hours from my house to Portland. I mentioned fly-and-ride to my wife, and she looked at me like

Like I said, don't wait for me if you find a buyer.
My wife and I are planning a trip to the Grand Tetons, Yellowstone, and Glacier National Park this summer.

I said "Know what'd be fun? If I took the CB instead of my C14!"

I got the same look.



I'll let you know when I get the bike back, post fresh pics, and we'll take it from there.

Sound good?
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Old 05-13-2013, 02:59 PM   #14
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My wife and I are planning a trip to the Grand Tetons, Yellowstone, and Glacier National Park this summer.

I said "Know what'd be fun? If I took the CB instead of my C14!"

I got the same look.



I'll let you know when I get the bike back, post fresh pics, and we'll take it from there.

Sound good?
Cool.

I think riding the CB through those areas would be great, though 2-up could be a challenge. I would be willing to bet it was done thousands of times in the 70s.
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Old 05-13-2013, 03:13 PM   #15
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Cool.

I think riding the CB through those areas would be great, though 2-up could be a challenge. I would be willing to bet it was done thousands of times in the 70s.
And probably still is overseas.

Know how many people can fit on a motorcycle over there? Just one more.



After riding my Concours, taking that bike out for a spin was a bit of an eye-opener.

"Really? Is that all there is? Oh, yeah. It's a 42 year old 450cc."

There is passenger pegs, that little strap for your passenger to hold on to, and it even has highway pegs! Although, I'll bet that was put on by a previous owner.
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