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Mailbag: Kawasaki Vulcan 500 for a starter bike | WhyBike? Motorcycle Blog

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Mailbag: Kawasaki Vulcan 500 for a starter bike

By James - 12/5/2006

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I received an email from Colleen . . .

I am looking at purchasing my first bike. I am told the (Vulcan) 500 will not keep up with my “riding buddies” on the highway. They ride 100 plus. thoughts ??? I actually have a 900 on hold but wonder if the 500 would be a better first bike.
The Vulcan 500 is a great starter bike. Its low weight, center of gravity and forgivable throttle response will help you learn how to ride and bail you out when you make a mistake. I spent the first three years on my Vulcan 500 and it let me gain the skills I needed to become a safe rider. The Vulcan will do 100 mph, but it won’t get their quickly and won’t have much to spare. Funnily enough, the 900 doesn’t go all that much faster, and any bike at 100 mph is not all that fun. Whether or not you can keep up with your “buddies” at 100 mph should not be your concern at this point in your riding career.

The first year you ride you will be building confidence and skills. Riding a motorcycle is not like driving a car. You can’t just hop on and be able to go fast. I suggest taking a MSF course to learn the basics. Find riding buddies that are willing to slow down and tutor a new rider. Don’t ride faster than you are comfortable. Riding is not about being the first, that is for the track. Riding is all about making sure your group shows up in one piece.

My parting advice is to buy a bike that fits you, not your riding buddies. You will have a lot more fun in the long run.

For more information read my article on the Vulcan 500.

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