The Women's No-B.S. Beginning Guide to Motorcycles - Part Two
By Janet Green
The next question new riders often ask is, "What kind of bike should I get?" This question has a zillion possible correct answers, depending on your comfort-level with riding at the time you're ready to shop, the type of bike you want to own (sport bike? cruiser?), your budget, your personal tastes, brand appeal, etc. For simplicity's sake, though, I'll take a stab and answer the question directly assuming you want a cruiser that's similar to what you used in your MSF course.
The three major manufacturer bikes I would recommend for absolute beginners are:
The Yamaha Virago 250 - a great-looking, easy to handle V-twin.
The Honda Rebel 250 - classic-styled, chain-driven 250
The Kawasaki 125 - single-cylinder five-speed, air-cooled commuter bike
If you're confident in your abilities but not ready for the heavyweight cruisers, there are a few more choices. These are my favorites, in no particular order:
The Yamaha VStar 650 - Classic, custom, or Silverado styling; an awesome middleweight cruiser you may never outgrow.
The Honda VLX or VLX Deluxe - Low to the ground, four-speed 600.
The Honda 750's: Aero & Spirit - five-speed bikes with forward controls
Harley Davidson Sportster 883, Standard or Low - If your heart's set on Harley, the 883 has the HD looks, sound and agility. Of the majors, only the Honda Aero has a lower seat height.
Kawasaki Vulcan - sizes range from 500 to the 900 Classic.
Suzuki Boulevard C50 and S50 bikes - five speeds, forward controls, higher seat height
For a more thorough comparison of these and other bikes, try the BikerChickNews Short Rider Spreadsheet. Although it was intended to be a round-up of cruiser models for shorter riders, it also serves well as a guide to mid-weight bikes from various manufacturers. It's by no means complete, but it might be a good place to start.
Janet Green is the editor and chief biker chick at Biker Chick News, a popular web destination for women who ride motorcycles. For her complete ride journal, plus news and links of interest to women who ride, visit http://www.Bikerchicknews.com.
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