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Discussion Starter #1
Hi All, have just registered...not yet a Harley owner, but a gal considering a switch from riding horses to Harleys...can park 'em both in the barn and no mucking is required! Have enjoyed being a passenger but would rather drive my own. My brother just bought a Harley and suggested a V-rod...Val, that would be Terry...

Two questions: where's the best place to learn riding in the San Jose area? There's no Rider's Edge school around here. Figure I ought to learn how to drive before I buy. Duh.

Also, any suggestions from the ladies (or guys) for someone just starting out? Thx!
 

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Fries with that?
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Hey! Welcome to our lil' corner of the Internet!

Best advice I can give? Take the MSF course, then relax and have fun. Each time you go out on the bike you'll learn something new... and it just gets better and better. "Ride your own ride"... don't worry about trying to keep up with others. Be patient with yourself and you'll be "up to speed" in no time!

As for a good "beginner bike", don't be afraid to "go shopping" and "try on" every bike that catches your eye. Don't limit yourself to any one brand. Confidence is a byproduct of comfort. If you sit on a bike, pick it up and feel good on it, you'll be more likely to enjoy your experience.
:jeannie:
 

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Here?
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This is probably unwelcome advice, but here goes...

Honestly, if this is your first bike I wouldn't start on a V-Rod. My wife and I started riding together and we both got smaller, cheaper, plastic bikes for a year (She got a ninja 250 - less than 3k new). A newbie mistake turning around in a gas station cost $25. on the ninja, and would have been closer to $1k on the V-Rod. Fast forward to now..We're both more comfortable piloting a 600lb bike.

Also, get 'proficient motorcycling' by david hough, in addition to MSF or other rider training. Best $22. I've spent so far. :)
 

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skin changer
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My wife's experience

My wife just started riding about 2 years ago at age 51. She took the riders saftey course then I bought here a Honda 250 Rebel...that lasted a couple months. Then she upgraded to a Honda 450 Rebel...again for a few months. Then she upgraded to a Virago 1100 and that lasted till the end of last year. She never felt comfortable on that one so she got a Virago 750 and now she's happy as a clam and doesn't want to switch anymore.
She's afraid of the power of my V-Rod and her feet don't touch the ground and she's not use to the forward controls. I know I can change all that for her...but she's happy where she's at and she has enough power to keep up when we take rides....and I'm happy because the cost is allot less.
My wife is about 5' tall (short) and she was glad to start on something smaller to learn on and she upgraded to her comfort level as she felt she could handle it.
I won't force her to try my V-Rod.....it just may get allot more expensive if I do.
I think learning on a smaller bike and then moving up will be better then starting at the top and feeling uncomfortable and decide you don't like riding.
Your age, height and weight also have a bearing on what you pick out also.
0992
 

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I agree with all the advice so far. Start on something you can feel comfortable. Riding is something you want to enjoy, not be afraid of. We will wait for you to be ready to buy a V-Rod. Here is a WEB site that has tips and explainations of how a motorcycle works and how to ride safely. Click on the Tips and Techniques.

http://www.msgroup.org/TIPS.asp


:jeannie:
 

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Definitely find a motorcyle saftey course in your area, it will give you some experience on a bike that will let you know then and there if you want to give up Horses for Harleys(i.e. motorcycles). I would use the same experience you went thru with horses for your determining factor on the bike you decide to buy. Meaning, if you are the type of person that isnt afraid of very many things and started riding a big-fast horse first thing out, then you are probably a person that can handle a v-rod without any problems. If you tend to be the more shy type (get use to things first), then you probably want to start smaller.

The Safety course will help you determine this a little(it will definitely teach you many of the basics), go to some biker events and talk to people also (they wont bite).
 

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An old Harley guy told me in 1986 ( When I started riding street bikes) to start small and move up in CC's when I got used to them. Best advice I ever got about a bike. I had MOST safety training back then, probably the same as what most dealers offer today. You will learn alot. But I would have to agree with the earlier post, start on a smaller bike not a V-Rod. Get used to it, then move up in cc's. You'll be riding a V-Rod in no time!
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Same advice I apply to buying horses, really...

....I always tell beginner horse riders that the horse they learn to ride is not the horse they would ultimately buy. So many of them buy horses they can't handle because they "look" good or make them look good, then they have a meltdown because they can't handle what they bought and give up riding. (Does this sound familiar to anyone?) With confidence comes the ability to move on to more...challenging. In a safe way. Thanks for the great advice...I will take it to heart.
 

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Something that was not mentioned earlier..... if you start on any smaller bikes, try different styles, i.e. sport bikes, cruisers, choppers. They all handle different, the V-Rod is like no other style. It's kind of its own, spend a year learning and then try a V-Rod, you will see what I mean! Good Luck!
 

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We have Many First Time Riders starting out with a V-rod!It's only as Fast as Your Wrist Lets it's! :hitfan: You can Kill Your Self on a Bandit 250 just as quick GSXR1000 if you Not Smart about what Your doing! :soapbox: You are are Professional Horse Person so Your No Wimp! :notworth: Spend the Time and Money and Get your License then Rent one for a few days and see what You think!You will not be out much and will have Your License so you can Buy any thing You Choose! :kaz:
 

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I agree with Kaz.

The Vrod is the reason I ride a bike. I saw the Vrod a couple of years ago and being a Porsche fanatic I knew that if I was to ride a motorcycle it would be a Vrod. I took the Motorcycle Safety Foundation (MSF) and it was like adding a few years of experience under my belt immediately. Call SAN JOSE (800) 825-7262 San Mateo County http://www.msf-usa.org/

I did take the advice of my friends and buy a smaller cc bike (BMWF650) and learn on that. It was mostly out of fear of dropping the bike and wanting to have something I wouldnt be afriad to do that with. It happened once in parking lot when I was cut off by a little old lady who couldnt see above the steering wheel. The BMW was more challenging to ride than the Vrod. The handling, cornering, shifting, low center of balance, and well mannered low end on the Vrod make it a tremendously easier bike to ride. I kind of wished I would have saved myself the trouble and just bought the harley right off the bat. I think it comes down to a matter of getting a smaller bike to experiment on and then buy the bike you really want (The vrod). It seems that Vrod that is attracting thousands of people to this incredible pastime, its the reason I enthusiastically ride it every chance I get.
 

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The V-Rod was my first bike. I took the MSF Beginning Rider Course and then bought my Rod. It can definitely be done. I don't know if I would have been better off starting small, but I've very happy with how I did it. But I had wanted a Harley for years, the V-Rod just forced my hand ;)
 

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Biker Pilot
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There are at least a half dozen or so of us in the Monterey/San Jose/Bay area, so if you do get one, you'll have plenty of local help. - Crash
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Well, I have an Andalusian as a horse...

...which is to horses as Harleys are to motorcycles (the coolest, most maneuverable, and super performance!). I think taking the rider's course on a smaller bike and then deciding what to buy would be the best way to go...after all, I am already riding a 1500 lb beastie (though she can hold herself upright on her own...and burns alfalfa at $10 a bale...hmm with gas prices what they are, maybe I should reconsider...)
 

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Fries with that?
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Super Kaz said:
We have Many First Time Riders starting out with a V-rod!It's only as Fast as Your Wrist Lets it's! :hitfan: You can Kill Your Self on a Bandit 250 just as quick GSXR1000 if you Not Smart about what Your doing! :soapbox: You are are Professional Horse Person so Your No Wimp! :notworth: Spend the Time and Money and Get your License then Rent one for a few days and see what You think!You will not be out much and will have Your License so you can Buy any thing You Choose! :kaz:
Kaz, I agree that no motorcycle has ever jumped off of its sidestand and killed anybody, and that the nut holding the throttle is the biggest source of input determining the bike's response and handling but let's be honest. The "margin of error" on a GSXR is MUCH LESS versus a slower-handling cruiser-type bike (or even a 250 Ninja). A ham-handed, "novice" mistake on a Sportster or a GS500 is quite a bit less likely to land you on your head than on a TRUE performance machine such as a modern sportbike.
 

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This is why I love this forum so much your all correct, the V-rod was my first bike when I saw the V-rod I knew it was the one for me. I took all the safety courses needed but nothing could prepare me for the her power but the respect I have for her keeps me from going beyond my limits as a rider. I have the advantage of being in Germany the Autoban is long and free depending on the time so you can test her with a high degree of safety. I'm about 255 so a smaller bike just didn't do it for me, but I just crewzzzz 95% of the time. Any bike can kill you if your not safe but the people around you will be the main issues you have to plan. What ever you choose ride safe and ride free :vrodforu:
 

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SilverNite9
Welcome, try Two Wheel Safety Training, in Hayward. The in class work is in Hayward, and the riding is in Fremont... Plus their schedule is pretty good.

In terms of choosing a bike take your time, like some have said rent, beg, borrow, and... well.

BTW right now in the Bay it's a Buyers market, so you can pick up used bike at a great value. Play with it, learn on it, and most important don't worry about it.

Have fun!
 

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Talk to the boot!
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V-Rod my first bike in 20+ years

Wouldn't recommend this for all but, when I decided I wanted my V-Rod I hadn't been on a bike in over 20 years. Used to do a lot of off-road riding back in my younger days, but hadn't been on two wheels in decades -- Mountain Bikes notwithstanding. Then this V-Rod thing shows up and I had to get one.

So I hop on a plane with a one-way ticket to Texas, head over to Barnetts's H-D in El Paso, grab my 'Rod (sight unseen BTW), grab some gear, and head-out on a three day road trip to bring it back home... :eek:

Spontaneous? Yes. Fun? You Bet. Foolish? Probably. Regret it? NEVER! This bike is a dream machine and has yet to dissapoint. It really does keep getting better and better as they say.

So, can the V-Rod be your first bike? It depends on your comfort level in keeping this machine under control. Having had previous motorcycling experience in the past I felt I had the mechanics of operating the machine, and hopefully I had studied my many books on riding enough to survive. 18k+ miles later I'm still rolling so I must be doing something right.

Lastly, I would recommend taking the MSF rider course(s) and getting as many books on riding techniques as possible. And read them. Then read them again. Any of the books by David Hough, Kieth Code, or Wayne Rainey will do you admirably. Whenever I hit a mall or something with a bookstore in it I always hit the Transportation section and see if there's a new title out.

Keep the hoof side down...
 

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A bunch of good points were posted, now here is my :2cents: . ;)
I started biking 3 years ago with a Buell Blast and a motorcycle saftey course. The bike was almost too easy to ride, and I learned a lot in the course.
The next year I got a Sportster, which I am glad I learned on. After you learn to ride a poor handling, top heavy bike, the VRod is a breeze!
Like Kaz said, the VRod is only as fast as your wrist twist. Only recently did I go on a ride with my buddy (who has a CBR 900RR) and found a new side to the VRod!
 

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apologies

SilverNite9, apologies for not seeing this thread earlier. I was gone for the weekend. GREAT to have you here!

I started riding with the MSF course in PA about 1.5 yrs ago and bought a sporty as my first bike. I had a real hard time with it - it had a mind of its own and we often didn't agree on where we were going and how fast. Anyway, I had wanted a v-rod from the beginning, but thought it was going to be too heavy, too powerful, too much bike, etc. What a mistake!!! When I finally test-rode a v-rod last year at this time, I immediately knew it was the right bike. I couldn't believe the difference in handling, comfort, and controllability. In the meantime, I had ridden several other HDs for demos or rentals and they just couldn't hold a candle to the v-rod.

My one-year anniversary of owning the v-rod is tomorrow and I have put over 16,000 miles on her in the past year, even with the rotten winter we had. I suppose it's wiser to learn on a small bike, but you'll have to make the transition to the bigger bike anyway and I don't really think you'll notice a whole-lot of difference, because the v-rod handles so well and is so well-balanced with its low center of gravity.

If you're worried about dropping the bike, I'd suggest get engine guards to protect the front end, saddlebags to protect the rear, and don't put anything fancy on it until the worry has eased. THEN, you can chrome it and paint it and do whatever you want without it costing you $500 or more from a new-rider error.

I KNOW you'll immediately love the darned thing...

Again, welcome.

Val
 
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