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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Greetings Everyone,

Fairly recently, my girlfriend expressed an interest in learning to ride a motorcycle so that we could ride together (to be honest, I'm not a fan of double riding, don't care for it at all) so I was glad to hear she wants to try riding on her own bike.

I knew the Valk would be a terrible 1st bike (for her), but I had her sit on it just to see if it was even close.
Nope.
She can barely reach the brake and clutch levers and no way could operate them.
Can't flat foot the bike, plus she could not lift the bike off the side stand.... soo. nope....
I think she found the Valk waaaay too intimidating.

She's 5' 3" 130lbs 28" inseam. Zero riding experience. Can ride a bicycle lol.

We did a few rounds at dealers looking at different bikes and see what actually fits (gear too, ofcourse we'd get all the gear she needs)

Honda Rebel 300 & 500, she can flat foot, bikes seem to fit ok (forgot to check the lever reach)
Kawasaki Vulcan S, also fits ok, she can flat foot both feet on the ground, and both hand levers actually fit when adjusted to the closest positions.
This bike has adjustable levers, pegs, seat, bars..... its made for beginners...
Yamaha VSTAR 250 probably easiest fitment so far, except the levers are too far, would have to get adjustable ones (surprising for a 250, but she has small hands)
Suzuki GZ250, can also flat foot, levers seemed weird, one she could reach, other not with out replacement with adjustable levers...
Shadow 750, she could flat foot it, heavy bike, it had adjustable levers, they seemed ok, but I don't think this would work for her 1st bike.... too big.... too heavy.....

Bike wise, I think the VSTAR 250 and Vulcan S are the top two, with the Vulcan S being the best overall fit (she liked it most, she said it felt good and solid)
Price is definitely a factor too, I may be stuck with a bike that no-one wants to ride if it does not work out....

Another bike that caught my attention a bit (cheap and probably better than the Vstar 250) is the older Kawasaki Vulcan 500 (sometimes called the Vulcan 500LTD?)
Anyone think this would be good for a new short rider? longer lasting than the little 250s?
It seems I can find the Vulcan 500 for the same price (if not cheaper) than almost any 250....

Personally, I prefer the Vulcan S, I think it would have the best future, and its a modern bike (in the long run, it would keep up with the Valk, and not be too boring to ride with)
All the 250s seem to be literally 30+ year old tech... drum brakes, carbs, old everything...

But the 250s are also the lightest, and cheapest..... should be the absolute best for learning to ride? maybe?
(at my place of work, one girl that rides, said she kept her 250 for 3 months, then got a Honda shadow 750, she now rides a HD Decker, but she's definitely bigger than my girl, her husband and her ride their own bikes.... seems like an awesome way to go....)

Then there is the training.
100% she'd be taking the MSF course (we're in Canada, so a college riding course from learningcurves)
And it seems according to my insurance, she can't ride anything on the street until she passes the msf course and has her M2 license....?

So... I'm thinking whatever bike we get, we can practice in a parking lot, giving her the best chance of getting through and passing her msf course and getting her m2 (practicing as much as necessary until she had the parking lot riding down and was comfortable, then take the course)

Do we just do the 250, then upgrade as needed? (I'm worried anything bigger may scare her and she won't enjoy riding... and won't ride)
Maybe the older Vulcan 500?
Or just try something newer/bigger? (cost is a factor too)

Anyone on here have their Wife/GF learn to ride her own bike?
How did it go?
Do you still ride together?
Does it interfere with your own riding?
Are you glad you did it? (my 99% solo riding is my Zen time too....)

Whats it like riding the Valk and a little 250 in tow? (or up front really)

Any ideas, experiences, thoughts welcome!

Tazmool
 

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In the USA, I understand that a bike is provided for the MSF course. If the CA equivalent provides a bike, I would take the class first and then decide on a bike.
 

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I am not a fan of buying a small bike and realizing within weeks that it's too small, and then having to sell/trade ot for something bigger. I'd say buy as much bike as she can handle right off the bat. A 500 ought to be a good size. Honda Rebel or Vulcan S would be great starters. I remember when I was a kid, even a Honda 50 was intimidating, just learning how to ride. But I think she could handle a 500. That way she could keep up with you and not outgrow it quickly. Start out just having her sit in it and balance on her feet. If she can do that, she's got the hardest part mastered. But you're right, if it's too big and heavy, she may not want to go out. But the larger the bike, the more stuff tends to be packed on it that she may want, like electronics and such. Think about saddlebags too. Women like to stop and buy stuff. I'd just say have her straddle a few at the dealer and see how comfortable she is balancing them. That's first priority.

I would not want a 250 following me for any longer distance. She'd have a hard time keeping up, or else you'll really have to take it wasy on the throttle.

Richmonder
 

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In the USA, I understand that a bike is provided for the MSF course. If the CA equivalent provides a bike, I would take the class first and then decide on a bike.
I echo Farthers thoughts regarding this. In the MSF course bikes ARE dropped allot. Especially with new riders. Better off dropping their training bikes than your new bike. She will either fall in love and have a deep passion, excited about riding... or may even turn 180° on this and decide it's not for her. Either way the proper training first all the while looking and information gathering. Keep in mind if she develops that passion her first bike will be just that...her first bike. I won't comment on size or brand you seem to know what you are doing. She will probably know as soon as she sits on a few and when she sits on the right one watch for the big smile, you'll both know. Congratulations sounds like fun(y)
 

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I am not a fan of buying a small bike and realizing within weeks that it's too small, and then having to sell/trade ot for something bigger. I'd say buy as much bike as she can handle right off the bat. A 500 ought to be a good size. Honda Rebel or Vulcan S would be great starters. I remember when I was a kid, even a Honda 50 was intimidating, just learning how to ride. But I think she could handle a 500. That way she could keep up with you and not outgrow it quickly. Start out just having her sit in it and balance on her feet. If she can do that, she's got the hardest part mastered. But you're right, if it's too big and heavy, she may not want to go out. But the larger the bike, the more stuff tends to be packed on it that she may want, like electronics and such. Think about saddlebags too. Women like to stop and buy stuff. I'd just say have her straddle a few at the dealer and see how comfortable she is balancing them. That's first priority.

I would not want a 250 following me for any longer distance. She'd have a hard time keeping up, or else you'll really have to take it wasy on the throttle.

Richmonder
"Women like to stop and buy stuff" hahaha:ROFLMAO::ROFLMAO:
 

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Do the course and determine if she has the ability.

I've seen riders on the MSF course scare the crap out of themselves and walk away knowing they will never be riding a bike.
So true, and so is the reverse. I met my late wife twenty-some years ago and she had previously owned her own Sportster and was in to riding. (She had sold her bike to her neighbor, who still owned it and became a friend when I got to know him.) I just assumed that she knew how to ride, I mean after all, she was alive wasn't she? And she understood bikes. Well, ten years later, I thought I'd enjoy getting a bicycle and would enjoy the exercise outdoors. After me having it for about a year, she thought that she would enjoy doing that, too. I dutifully went to the bike store and bought her a beautiful, brand-new, purple bicycle. I had her get on on the front sidewalk to pedal down the street. She proceeded to go not even two full houses down and I was as terrified as she turned out to be! She walked the bicycle back to our house, "handed me the keys", and she never rode it again. It's still rusting away in a storage locker. I never asked her "how in the hell could you ride a small Harley and now can't ride a bicycle like you did in childhood?" Didn't seem like a question I'd want to hear if it had been the other way around. However, about three or four years later, we were in the local Indian dealership. She fell in love with the fringe on the seat and saddlebags of a model low enough for her to sit on flat-footed. She started making hints and I asked, "would you like it in purple to match your bicycle?" 'Nuff was said.
 

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Greetings Everyone,

Fairly recently, my girlfriend expressed an interest in learning to ride a motorcycle so that we could ride together (to be honest, I'm not a fan of double riding, don't care for it at all) so I was glad to hear she wants to try riding on her own bike.

I knew the Valk would be a terrible 1st bike (for her), but I had her sit on it just to see if it was even close.
Nope.
She can barely reach the brake and clutch levers and no way could operate them.
Can't flat foot the bike, plus she could not lift the bike off the side stand.... soo. nope....
I think she found the Valk waaaay too intimidating.

She's 5' 3" 130lbs 28" inseam. Zero riding experience. Can ride a bicycle lol.

We did a few rounds at dealers looking at different bikes and see what actually fits (gear too, ofcourse we'd get all the gear she needs)

Honda Rebel 300 & 500, she can flat foot, bikes seem to fit ok (forgot to check the lever reach)
Kawasaki Vulcan S, also fits ok, she can flat foot both feet on the ground, and both hand levers actually fit when adjusted to the closest positions.
This bike has adjustable levers, pegs, seat, bars..... its made for beginners...
Yamaha VSTAR 250 probably easiest fitment so far, except the levers are too far, would have to get adjustable ones (surprising for a 250, but she has small hands)
Suzuki GZ250, can also flat foot, levers seemed weird, one she could reach, other not with out replacement with adjustable levers...
Shadow 750, she could flat foot it, heavy bike, it had adjustable levers, they seemed ok, but I don't think this would work for her 1st bike.... too big.... too heavy.....

Bike wise, I think the VSTAR 250 and Vulcan S are the top two, with the Vulcan S being the best overall fit (she liked it most, she said it felt good and solid)
Price is definitely a factor too, I may be stuck with a bike that no-one wants to ride if it does not work out....

Another bike that caught my attention a bit (cheap and probably better than the Vstar 250) is the older Kawasaki Vulcan 500 (sometimes called the Vulcan 500LTD?)
Anyone think this would be good for a new short rider? longer lasting than the little 250s?
It seems I can find the Vulcan 500 for the same price (if not cheaper) than almost any 250....

Personally, I prefer the Vulcan S, I think it would have the best future, and its a modern bike (in the long run, it would keep up with the Valk, and not be too boring to ride with)
All the 250s seem to be literally 30+ year old tech... drum brakes, carbs, old everything...

But the 250s are also the lightest, and cheapest..... should be the absolute best for learning to ride? maybe?
(at my place of work, one girl that rides, said she kept her 250 for 3 months, then got a Honda shadow 750, she now rides a HD Decker, but she's definitely bigger than my girl, her husband and her ride their own bikes.... seems like an awesome way to go....)

Then there is the training.
100% she'd be taking the MSF course (we're in Canada, so a college riding course from learningcurves)
And it seems according to my insurance, she can't ride anything on the street until she passes the msf course and has her M2 license....?

So... I'm thinking whatever bike we get, we can practice in a parking lot, giving her the best chance of getting through and passing her msf course and getting her m2 (practicing as much as necessary until she had the parking lot riding down and was comfortable, then take the course)

Do we just do the 250, then upgrade as needed? (I'm worried anything bigger may scare her and she won't enjoy riding... and won't ride)
Maybe the older Vulcan 500?
Or just try something newer/bigger? (cost is a factor too)

Anyone on here have their Wife/GF learn to ride her own bike?
How did it go?
Do you still ride together?
Does it interfere with your own riding?
Are you glad you did it? (my 99% solo riding is my Zen time too....)

Whats it like riding the Valk and a little 250 in tow? (or up front really)

Any ideas, experiences, thoughts welcome!

Tazmool
I always suggest to "want to be" motorcycle riders they should buy a dirt bike and ride it for a year before getting a street bike so they learn to ride, shift and trust their tires before hitting pavement. I think it's the best training ground without the added dangers of cars, trucks, deer in the road and added distractions of people talking and texting on their cell phones.

I recently took my youngest son on a 16 mile ride into the mountains on a trail head next to the Blue Ridge Parkway and I saw this first hand the benefit of riding on dirt first. He hasn't ridden in a couple years but wanted to make the ride with us and I said ok and followed behind him. If he had jumped out on the road with his current riding skills on a street bike with all the distracted idiots these days I can safely he probably wouldn't be around long because he had to spend a lot of time thinking about the bike, when to shift and how to ride the trail without hitting the trees around us. It was great training ground watching him learning how ride the trail and not get hurt or damage the borrowed bike he was on.

I have a local buddy who's daughter (early 20's) just HAD to have a street bike and she didn't know how to ride. She bought a new Triumph 900 and dropped it within a week and it scared her so bad she never got on it again. Because she bought it new and has all this money it in it has sat for months and months waiting on a buyer because she doesn't want to take the loss on the sale but it is what it is. Like I told her Dad at least she wasn't killed trying to figure it out. As a newbie she was just overwhelmed with thinking about how to shift, turn, staying balanced, as well as having to focus on all the other distracted drivers that were around her.

If she will not take no for an answer then a used bike like a Honda rebel or and old Virago would be a good starting point to learn on without spending to much cash and if she decides it not for her then you can flip it and hopefully break even if its still in one piece. :) Good luck.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Thank you all for your insights, I appreciate them.

And here's the update:

I almost bought a VStar 250, it was so close that I was there with a trailer, but the bike itself had some issues that I just did not want to deal with.
Its been a learning experience for myself too.
I did ride the 250, and it felt sooo... dinky..... had to rev it quite a bit just to get it to move.... but it was light and very unintimidating.... and surprisingly not bad.....

I realized that these beginner style bikes will not be perfect, unless they're new.
Its not like looking to buy a Valkyrie where you expect the thing to be mint with out a scratch because the owner loved it, took care of it, and likely had decades of riding experience.

If a newbie rider says their bike is "mint" take that with a huge grain of salt.... a vstar 250 that was supposed to be mint that I drove 6 hrs roud trip to see..... had multiple dents in tank, bent bars, front forks were misaligned (front wheel, fender, bars, forks, were misaligned, maybe bent, who knows...) looked great in photos though....

I was told by several sources, great folks on this forum, local dealer, friends at work, that a 250 may be a great learner bike, but will be a very quick turn-around machine (ie buy, learn, sell, very quickly) and unless the rider really falls in love with the 250, they will be looking to upgrade soon..

What did I end-up with?
Out of nowhere, a classic I've known about for many decades popped up.
Its old name was the Suzuki Savage, but currently known as the Suzuki S40... in production from 1986 to 2019.

I got a 2013 S40 with 4500km on the clock (~2800 miles)
Its clean, has been dropped (tiny marks on foot peg ends and a scuff on the tank) otherwise the bike looks almost new, the tires still have the little nubs on them.
Owner bought it to teach his daughter to ride, but she never took to it, so he rode it around himself a bit, hence the miles on it.

I rode it, its very light, only about 30 lbs heavier than a vstar 250, with very nice torque.
Its a single cylinder 652cc air-cooled thumper, and its loaded with character. Quite torquey and supremely easy to ride.
Ultra low center of gravity (feels lighter than vstar 250)

I forgot to snap any photos of it,
Just picked it up today, and its at a local dealer for a safety inspection.

Its also a surprise, the Gf does not know about it, hoping to get it back tomorrow and do the surprise reveal this weekend.

Tazmool
 

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Sounds like a good starting point. What a shame to drive 6 hours for a misrepresented bike.

Keep us posted!

Richmonder
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
I did look at the tires, they are actually in great condition and they still have the little rubber nubs on them! (both front & rear)
I'm guessing the previous owner installed new tires to help it pass safety before teaching his daughter how to ride.

Tire Wheel Fuel tank Plant Automotive fuel system


Tazmool
 
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