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  1. #1
    Registered User MadJasper's Avatar
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    Looking for my first motorcycle - thoughts?

    So, was about to trade my Prarie 360 on a VStar 250 the other day. I wanted something a little more powerful but it was under 4k and well within my budget.

    Then a friend drove my by a used Harley dealership today. Found a 96 xl883 listed for 3700 with 13k miles. I figure I can get him down to 3300 and it's on consignment so no tax. Include all maintenance records and has a new factory ignition.

    Whatch think? Is that a good first bike?

    If not, what should I look for?
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  2. #2
    sudo apt-get beer SP1966's Avatar
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    The Sporty has the older, but pretty much bulletproof, all aluminum Evo engine. If it was well cared for it will be a very good bike. The bigger issue is at 6'0" tall how do you fit? I would be a cramped ride for me. I will say this though, it will hold much more of its value then the Yamaha, so from an investment standpoint Harley >>> Yamaha. Oh, and the sound, nothing sounds quite as good as a Harley, damn sure a 250cc VStar won't!
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  3. #3
    Progress not Perfection cowboybiker's Avatar
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    No pics huh?

    Im gonna say go with the feel.
    So many choices out there but take it for a ride and see how it feels.
    Is the ride how you like it?
    Do you feel in control?
    Too much or not enough power for you.

    Everyones different.
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  4. #4
    sudo apt-get beer SP1966's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by cowboybiker View Post
    No pics huh?

    Im gonna say go with the feel.
    So many choices out there but take it for a ride and see how it feels.
    Is the ride how you like it?
    Do you feel in control?
    Too much or not enough power for you.

    Everyones different.
    Unless he's a teenage girl there is no way the 250 will have to much power, and more likely he could outrun it on foot!
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  5. #5
    Progress not Perfection cowboybiker's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by SP1966 View Post
    Unless he's a teenage girl there is no way the 250 will have to much power, and more likely he could outrun it on foot!
    LOL.
    I meant the Harley being too much.

    The 250 not enough power.

    Plus I dont know of OPs riding experience.
    He said first bike so Im thinking noob.
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  6. #6
    sudo apt-get beer SP1966's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by cowboybiker View Post
    LOL.
    I meant the Harley being too much.

    The 250 not enough power.

    Plus I dont know of OPs riding experience.
    He said first bike so Im thinking noob.
    I wouldn't sweat the Harley's power, its not that great. It may be called a Sportster, but in reality theres not a whole lot sporty about it. Given the choices I wouldn't even give the 250 a second thought. A neighbor has the Vstar 650, and even that is tiny, and gutless.
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  7. #7
    Progress not Perfection cowboybiker's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by SP1966 View Post
    I wouldn't sweat the Harley's power, its not that great. It may be called a Sportster, but in reality theres not a whole lot sporty about it. Given the choices I wouldn't even give the 250 a second thought. A neighbor has the Vstar 650, and even that is tiny, and gutless.
    My first bike was a CB 400-4
    Lots of power for its time.
    Then came the RD 400. The widowmaker. Had a hard time keeping the front wheel on the ground.
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  8. #8
    Cutting since 10/20/2014 Brackneyc's Avatar
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    My wifes 883l is for sale. 2007, 4400 miles, with pipes. 5200.00.
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  9. #9
    Registered User MrNismo's Avatar
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    Don't want to be a party pooper but I presume you have or at least plan to take the MSF especially if you've not been riding street for quite some time? http://online2.msf-usa.org/msf/Default.aspx

    And going with my above line, the answer to your first bike is always the Hyabusa

    I'm kidding, as CB said, take it for a ride. A long ride preferably at least 30 minutes where the feel of the bike will really show up for you. Some bikes are great -- for the first 15 minutes on them then they may not be so comfortable for you.
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  10. #10
    Ripped Van Winkle IronCharles's Avatar
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    I agree that you'll get tired of the 250 within a month, and be looking for more power. The plus side of the lower displacement bike is, if you panic and gun the throttle, you're less likely to kill yourself..... slightly. I do agree with MrNismo that the MSF class is very worthwhile. You'll learn on a 250cc or smaller bike, and you can get a good feel for what kind of power that translates to. Not to mention, most states will give you an insurance break and waive the DMV rider's test if you complete the course.
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  11. #11
    1776 crupiea's Avatar
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    The harley sounds like a great choice. The only limiting factor would be the actual size like posted above. 883's can be a bit on the smaller size for bigger guys so see how comfortable you are on it and have someone take a picture of you on it. You might think you look cool as hell but in reality it might look like you are on a clown bike.

    You can get an also get an older goldwing that will fit you well. There are are lots of v twins out there but of course none as good as a harley.

    The advantage of a bike is they have the power to get you out of trouble fast so getting one thats underpowered puts you at a huge disadvantage.
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  12. #12
    Registered User MadJasper's Avatar
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    So far I've taking a shadow 750, vulcan 900, VStar 650 and the Sportster for a ride. I don't care for the Sportster as much as I thought. Long story short - in leaning to towards the VStar. It was as comfortable as the other 2. The thing about the VStar is I can pick up an 09 new of the floor (.6 miles on the odo) for 5100. That's at least 2k cheaper than the others.


    I'm not a noob, but I've never owned a street bike and haven't ridden in a few years. However, before I jump on the road with it, I will schedule the MSF course.

    Gina think about for a few days.
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  13. #13
    Registered User danno25nh's Avatar
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    For around town cruising the V-star should be plenty for a first bike. For highway miles it's a bit small.
    I've owned a lot of bikes still have my old '82 Virago 920. A joy to ride. As well as my BMW 1200 rc. At this point there are very few bikes aside from BMW I even consider.
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  14. #14
    sudo apt-get beer SP1966's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by cowboybiker View Post
    My first bike was a CB 400-4
    Lots of power for its time.
    Then came the RD 400. The widowmaker. Had a hard time keeping the front wheel on the ground.
    My first bike was a VF700 Interceptor, nice, but slow. My second bike was a CBR1000F Hurricane, stupid fast! The Hurricane was an awesome bike, unfortunately when going up against a truck, literally, the truck won.

    Originally Posted by MadJasper View Post
    So far I've taking a shadow 750, vulcan 900, VStar 650 and the Sportster for a ride. I don't care for the Sportster as much as I thought. Long story short - in leaning to towards the VStar. It was as comfortable as the other 2. The thing about the VStar is I can pick up an 09 new of the floor (.6 miles on the odo) for 5100. That's at least 2k cheaper than the others.
    Are you talking VStar 650 or 250? And either way, once you ride it off the lot its value drops by damn near half. In this market you can get a nice used bike with low miles for a great price. I wouldn't buy a new bike, let someone else take that hit IMO. In the $5000 range you can get yourself A nice VTX1300 if your looking for a cruiser, usually with well under 10,000 miles.
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    Day 20 NoShave Nov. tmonkey's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by MadJasper View Post
    So far I've taking a shadow 750, vulcan 900, VStar 650 and the Sportster for a ride. I don't care for the Sportster as much as I thought. Long story short - in leaning to towards the VStar. It was as comfortable as the other 2. The thing about the VStar is I can pick up an 09 new of the floor (.6 miles on the odo) for 5100. That's at least 2k cheaper than the others.


    I'm not a noob, but I've never owned a street bike and haven't ridden in a few years. However, before I jump on the road with it, I will schedule the MSF course.

    Gina think about for a few days.
    good choice
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    Day 20 NoShave Nov. tmonkey's Avatar
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  18. #18
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    Originally Posted by MadJasper View Post
    I don't care for the Sportster as much as I thought.
    The seat on a Sportster is just too high, in my opinion. I like cruisers with low saddles.

    Originally Posted by tmonkey View Post
    yamaha tw200
    They actually had a couple of those at the MSF course I took years ago. They were for the taller riders. They stood everybody in a line, and assigned the higher seat bikes to the taller riders, and the lowriders to the shorties.
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    Workin' Stabilizers Skidmarx's Avatar
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    Sportster too small for a tall guy...you'll be cramped.

    If you look around I bet you can find Honda VTX1300 with some miles on it for 4 grand. They are nice dependable bikes. I ride the older version of it, the VT1100C3(Aero) and I'm 6'4". It'll scoot, even with a passenger and decked out.

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    Registered User jdtemple's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by tmonkey View Post
    Monster Diesel
    Ducati makes beautiful machines. I was looking hard at them just a few weeks ago. I'm still trying to decide if the added maintenance is worth the "character".

    Also, I will not buy anything that's branded with some fashion designer crap. Give me the Monster EVO over that one any day of the week.

    Here are the bikes I have owned:

    2005 Suzuki SV650:
    [img]*****://lh6.googleusercontent.com/-9Wu3lSKkwxY/SlStthijtnI/AAAAAAAAE0o/lA6EmmVw4m8/s800/P3131297.JPG[/img]

    After that, I decided to move up to the "ridiculously fast". These are not good first motorcycles!

    2005 Kawasaki ZX-10R:
    [img]*****://lh6.googleusercontent.com/-djiBZdJ0_oQ/Sk91rYp5JQI/AAAAAAAAEwk/lkBbKDWv_7w/s800/P5091354.JPG[/img]

    2006 Kawasaki ZX-10R (rode this one to Sturgis and camped in the Black Hills Forest in 2009):
    [img]*****://lh4.googleusercontent.com/-jdPaxKnCp4g/SkgJOS_SJ6I/AAAAAAAAD_E/UedoEgB9tkI/s800/P6280001.JPG[/img]
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    Here's what I own now:

    2011 Husqvarnara TE630:
    [img]*****://lh5.googleusercontent.com/-YcnHiBk-WSw/ThzSXgESN3I/AAAAAAAAGuI/PP0vg0gMOxQ/s800/IMG_0925.JPG[/img]

    Last year, I took it on a 2500 mile trip across Nebraska, all around Colorado, and back.

    Here it is at the top of Pikes Peak:
    [img]*****://lh4.googleusercontent.com/-2MBJUu2ODko/ThzSoqIdz5I/AAAAAAAAGwg/_PcAgxFZbY8/s800/IMG_0967.JPG[/img]

    Here it is after crossing the continental divide via Cottonwood Pass:
    [img]*****://lh5.googleusercontent.com/-VMwbk1GMSJI/ThzS4X4vydI/AAAAAAAAHB0/LUZrmd89FbI/s800/IMG_1002.JPG[/img]

    Here it is crossing the Royal Gorge Bridge:
    [img]*****://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-ZlpzaBDlxlA/Th2bUPvlb9I/AAAAAAAAG34/emz9zlErnUA/s800/SSPX0641.jpg[/img]

    The Husky is a riot to ride, both on and off road. I do not miss the power of the liter bikes one bit. I do want to get another street bike to keep from racking up so many miles on the Husky. They aren't really built for high mileage.

    I may be buying a second bike next spring. Ducati Monster EVO 1100, Triumph Speed Triple (maybe the R), Honda CB1000R are on my short list. I wish I still had that SV650. Then the second bike would be a non-issue. I'd just keep it. Loved that bike.

    I can't offer much feedback about what you've listed as your choices. Cruisers aren't really my thing. I don't really want to go back to a sportbike. I don't really miss or need the ability to go nearly 100mph in 1st gear. I'd rather have something that's more comfortable to ride, but still fast enough to be fun.
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  22. #22
    Day 20 NoShave Nov. tmonkey's Avatar
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    agree the designer name is crap but it is a nice looking ride
    Thanks,
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    Ahhh Harley Davidson; the most overrated motorcycle out there. No hate, I've owned one.

    Only HD would have the audacity to ask $3,300 for a '96 with less than a liter of displacement.
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  24. #24
    Registered User Mr. Furious's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by MadJasper View Post
    So far I've taking a shadow 750, vulcan 900, VStar 650 and the Sportster for a ride. I don't care for the Sportster as much as I thought. Long story short - in leaning to towards the VStar. It was as comfortable as the other 2. The thing about the VStar is I can pick up an 09 new of the floor (.6 miles on the odo) for 5100. That's at least 2k cheaper than the others.


    I'm not a noob, but I've never owned a street bike and haven't ridden in a few years. However, before I jump on the road with it, I will schedule the MSF course.

    Gina think about for a few days.
    The MSF course is a great idea, it will nip any bad habits you'll develop early in the bud. Stay away from crotch rockets especially a Ducati. You will die.

    Get a bike you can handle and like for a few years and ride the **** out of it. I would say nothing larger than 600-800 cc's. Vstar would be good.
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    Registered User jdtemple's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by Mr. Furious View Post
    The MSF course is a great idea, it will nip any bad habits you'll develop early in the bud. Stay away from crotch rockets especially a Ducati. You will die.

    Get a bike you can handle and like for a few years and ride the **** out of it. I would say nothing larger than 600-800 cc's. Vstar would be good.
    +1 for MSF course. I didn't take it myself, but I don't know anyone that has taken it and regretted it.

    A 600cc sportbike is not for a beginner. It's "only" a 600cc engine, but puts out about 120 horsepower. A sportbike is very unforgiving of mistakes.

    Now, a 650 twin is a different animal. If you wanted something sportier than a cruiser, but didn't want to be bored with it too quickly, I would highly recommend a Suzuki SV650, or maybe a Kawasaki Ninja 650. They have a more upright riding position, are powerful enough for even a seasoned rider and forgiving enough that an accidental throttle twitch while leaned over in a turn won't throw you on your ass. They can also be had on the used market fairly cheaply, and if you buy used, can usually resell it for a minor loss.

    Ok, back on track. He's not looking at sportbikes anyway.

    Whatever you get, buy used. Ride it for a year or two while you learn what you really want in a motorcycle. Then, unload it for most of what you paid for it, and buy something new.
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    My first was a Yamaha 100 4-speed that my dad got me for my 16th birthday. It could maybe go 50 downhill. I rode it to school and thought I was the shiznet.
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    My first bike back in late 70s was a KZ650. I probably kept it for 3 months and traded for a KZ1000
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  28. #28
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    With the japanese bikes a 250 is like a hamster running on a wheel, 750 wouldn't even be enough for most normal men IMO. I had to go up to a 1300 before I was finally satisfied. I think that Sportster is gonna be too small of a frame overall too, the ones I see running around town here look like an ape riding a bicycle (cowboybiker, this is a great GIF opportunity ). If those are the only two options, though, go with the Harley IMO as it will at least have a little bit of power when you twist that throttle.
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  29. #29
    Registered User HairyScandinavian's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by SP1966 View Post
    Are you talking VStar 650 or 250? And either way, once you ride it off the lot its value drops by damn near half. In this market you can get a nice used bike with low miles for a great price. I wouldn't buy a new bike, let someone else take that hit IMO. In the $5000 range you can get yourself A nice VTX1300 if your looking for a cruiser, usually with well under 10,000 miles.
    I would not take the hit on a new 650, you're going to rapidly want to upgrade that thing and end up stuck with it for longer than you'd like. It's fine if you're on inner streets but hit the highway with that thing often and you'll regret it... IMO.
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    ive been riding since im a kid and the 250 is way too small even for a first bike ,within 1 month u will want something bigger...Harley in my opinion are junk ,they look good but way over priced ..i would look for atleast a 600cc i like the vstar 650 nice looking (kinda like a harley but it will always run)..but i owned a few sport bikes but the new lower front handlebars is uncomfortable on the wrists.this is just my opinion..
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