1 2 3
Brian(formerly neon4891)
Brian(formerly neon4891) MegaDork
11/6/20 12:35 p.m.

I've asked before and I'm at it again, this time with an actual plan.  

Rider level, novice. I took the course, got my license in '11. I've had a few practice opportunities since, but no regular riding or ownership. Considering retaking the course to freshen up. 

Big size, 5'11-6' high 200's weight. 2-3XL top, 42-44 waist, 30-32 inseam. Part fat, part large frame. 

Avoiding cruisers, I don't care for the ergonomics. My tastes lean sport/standard. 

Local used market is bad. Dirt bikes, low mile HD's at MSRP, and basket cases. 

Took the course on a 250. I would not want to try to take a 250 on real roads. Plus most 250's are now 3-400's. 

Do I play it safe with a 4-500, or go screw it and jump into the 650 twin market? Dream bike is the Ducati Monster, so the SV 650 is my top pick, especially with the new trellis frame. Second choice is the RE Interceptor 650, but the nearest dealer is 150 miles away and I've heard they have a heavier maintenance schedule. Beyond that, market availability is the name of the game. 


bgkast (Forum Supporter)
bgkast (Forum Supporter) PowerDork
11/6/20 12:57 p.m.

I wouldnt be afraid to start with a 650. You can always use less throttle :) I started on a old honda 350, then a few old 750s before stepping up to a "modern" 1999 Triumph 955. The difference was astounding, both the power and the breaks

Placemotorsports Reader
11/6/20 12:57 p.m.

Just don't get too brave too quick.  There are 2 kinds of riders....

the_machina Reader
11/6/20 1:04 p.m.

I'm a bit bigger than you at 6'2 300#

Took the MSF and got my license in 2018, and my first bike was a BMW F800R. Upright standard naked bike. 800ccs, 90 horsepower. The nice thing about that particular bike was that it has all the equipment needed to restrict it to European A2 standard (44hp), and when I bought it I switched the throttle cable to the big cam to slow down throttle response and drop the power.

My first season riding, I loved that bike, and 45 horsepower is plenty to have a great time. Still have it, ride it at 90hp these days, and it's still a blast.

If you're of the temperament to use all the throttle, all the time, then starting on one of the 300/400/500 bikes would be smart. If you're a little older and wiser and you'll only go WFO occasionally, I bet that you'd be just fine with the SV650. In a pinch, you can always install a throttle block or a restrictor plate for your first few months so that you CAN'T accidentally get yourself in as much trouble.

matthewmcl (Forum Supporter)
matthewmcl (Forum Supporter) Reader
11/6/20 1:04 p.m.

SV650, no doubt.  It is a great beginner bike and still a good bike for an experienced rider.  Fuel injection is nice, but the older carb models weigh about the same as modern 300 bikes.

I bought used and put 80k miles on mine before I sold it.


wearymicrobe PowerDork
11/6/20 1:04 p.m.

If you are really scared of the throttle you can put a throttle restrictor on the bike. you can limit them to 35/65hp. Its big in Europe because riders need to start on a power restricted bike  for the first year and people don't want to double buy a bike. 


I once rode a CBR600RR with one and its not a bad thing, keeps the revs down but you have more then enough power to move arond town. On say 3-6 months you can pull it off and enjoy the bike with full power when you get your feet wet. 


BoxheadTim (Forum Supporter)
BoxheadTim (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
11/6/20 1:09 p.m.

Throttle goes both ways .

SV650 is a pretty good choice, but if a Monster is your dream bike, why not pick up a Monster in the first place? Older aircooled ones aren't that expensive, they're not that DIY un-friendly[1] and especially the 750 isn't hugely powerful either.

[1] Need timing belts regularly, plus adjusting the desmodromic valves apparently isn't that hard, just different.

the_machina Reader
11/6/20 1:27 p.m.

Something that hasn't been stated yet, and is worth thinking about: ABS. The stats were enough to sway me when I was buying my bikes that I made sure I had it, and I've been happy so far. I figure an extra couple hundred bucks to make sure the bike I'm picking has it is worth it to me.

clutchsmoke UltraDork
11/6/20 1:28 p.m.

At your height check out the VStrom as well. Yeah it looks more dorky, but better leg position than the SV. Take a gander at cycle-ergo.com

matthewmcl (Forum Supporter)
matthewmcl (Forum Supporter) Reader
11/6/20 2:11 p.m.

In reply to clutchsmoke :

The older SV650 is the same foot peg position as the V-Strom, if you want the comfier ergo's with the lower seat height.

ddavidv PowerDork
11/6/20 2:41 p.m.

I wouldn't be as hung up on displacement as I would be power output. My Triumph Bonneville is a massive 865cc but the power delivery is easily managed for 68 HP.

Being comfortable/having a bike that fits and has weight that is easily managed are far more important considerations.

I dig the Ducati Monsters but they contain Ducati-ness. And you're worried about a RE being more maintenance? Doing valves on a Interceptor is a snap. The internet makes way too big a deal about that.

The SV650 is an excellent bike. I'd also consider a mid-size Ninja. They aren't as rakish to sit on as you'd think.

wawazat Dork
11/6/20 3:28 p.m.

I'm similarly sized and a new rider as well.  I got my MC certification last spring but have never done any street riding in the past.  I rode last year and this spring on an old HD bobber with probably 45 HP and no modern features.  This year I bought a Ducati GT1000 (build thread below this) with 92hp and much much less weight than the HD.  It has power to keep me fully focused and solid brakes.  I'm an older rider with two kids and am sole bread winner so that factors in to my riding but I don't think the bike is too much for me.   The Monster's come in a wide range or displacement and power but my advice is to get the one you want and if you're concerned about power delivery do the restrictor as noted here.

rustomatic Reader
11/6/20 4:43 p.m.

Busa is great for a big guy.  Don't SV650.  It's a great bike for a small guy, but you will hate it after a short while.  Avoid the Chris Farley feeling.  Do consider the SV 1000 if you can find one that's not dead; there was also a full sport (Suzuki) that had the 1000 V-twin, but I can't think of it now.  The Suzuki 1000 V-twin sounds sick with a little pipe.

If you like the nakeds (budget Monsters), consider Kawasaki z1000 (I had two of these:  '03 and '05) or Honda 919.  They're durable and okay if you drop them once in a while.  They also make a bit of torque, but the engines have no twin-like character.

My main point is that you don't want to need clutch smoke each time you take off.  Bikes got no torques.

If you've got the cash, the BMW R1200GS thingies are awesome.  They practically ride themselves, and you can throw a little dirt at them.  They work well everywhere, and they are very easy to ride at any level of ability.

Main tips from a guy who rode for 15 years or so:  Be smart.  Expect to fall.  Start with something you don't mind denting, scratching, and generally messing up.  Nobody will ever see you, regardless of how much neon you love to wear.  Former stunt bike might be great and cheap.

stuart in mn
stuart in mn MegaDork
11/6/20 5:08 p.m.

Don't be scared of buying a smaller bike.  People always moan and groan about it when these discussions come up ("You'll outgrow it!  You need to get a Harley!  You need to get a Gold Wing!  etc.") but if and when you want to move up, you can easily sell the smaller bike and not be out anything.

ProDarwin MegaDork
11/6/20 5:17 p.m.
stuart in mn said:

Don't be scared of buying a smaller bike.  People always moan and groan about it when these discussions come up ("You'll outgrow it!  You need to get a Harley!  You need to get a Gold Wing!  etc.") but if and when you want to move up, you can easily sell the smaller bike and not be out anything.


Almost any small bike more than a few years old you can ride for quite a while then sell it again at almost what you paid for it.

FSP_ZX2 SuperDork
11/6/20 5:29 p.m.

In reply to rustomatic :

TL1000 was the Suzuki sport VTwin--kind a RC51 wannabe. The S was semi naked and the R was fully faired. The SV1000 replaced the TL1000S I believe. 

FSP_ZX2 SuperDork
11/6/20 5:40 p.m.

Harley XL1200CX Roadster is a fun to ride bike.  Lots of H-D torque--so being a "big guy" won't hamper things much.  The riding position is aggressive by H-D standards but not by sportbike standards.  You'll have good dealer support pretty much anywhere--parts and aftermarket are close to infinity.  They came out in 2016--decent examples can be had in the $7-8K range.


914Driver MegaDork
11/7/20 8:57 a.m.

I got Mrs. 914 a GS550e which she never rode.  I kept it for a few years in case someone wanted to ride, but I can't tell you how many people borrowed it for their road test!  Mike bought a Ducati 900ss which, even with years or riding experience, couldn't do a 180 on my very wide street.

It's light enough to do all the AMA stuff and shuffle in tight spots,, but had enough ass to actually enjoy on mountain roads.

You would enjoy it.

spandak HalfDork
11/9/20 1:51 a.m.

A midsize twin would be totally fine. I rode a freinds sv650 at the same time I have a FZ6 and thought it was pretty anemic. Twins give you all torque all the time which has its pros and cons but I didn't think it was too much bike. The 4 cylinders are slightly better in this regard IMO. They're very docile in the low revs but scream as they spin up. If you have self control you can grow with the bike. 
Monsters are cool but I would avoid the early 2000s 900s that seem to be everywhere. Im not a gifted rider by any measure but I found that bike to be a handful. Enough so that I stopped shopping for them and went a different direction. 
A smaller bike will teach you more because you can use more of its capability but that doesn't mean a bigger bike is a bad idea. 
At the end of the day the bike will only do what you tell it too. Respect the machine and you'll be fine. 
edit: yes, monsters have garbage turning circles. Garbage. 

Professor_Brap (Forum Supporter)
Professor_Brap (Forum Supporter) UltraDork
11/9/20 7:13 a.m.

Don't be afraid to want a small bike. Don't forget small bore bikes are a riot also. 

BoxheadTim (Forum Supporter)
BoxheadTim (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
11/9/20 7:22 a.m.
FSP_ZX2 said:

In reply to rustomatic :

TL1000 was the Suzuki sport VTwin--kind a RC51 wannabe. The S was semi naked and the R was fully faired. The SV1000 replaced the TL1000S I believe. 

IIRC it's the TL that has the rotary damper (no relation to the rotary engine) for the rear suspension. At least in the UK, those were know to cause handling issues that occasionally led to involuntary excursions into the scenery. I'd avoid those unless you need an engine donor for a Bimota SB8.

rustomatic Reader
11/9/20 10:04 a.m.

As I recall, to add to the ADD onslaught, early TLs (dating ourselves, aren't we?) also had big steering issues, until they recalled their way into steering dampers.  They sounded super-cool, though, but were maybe a tad crashy.

One other bike to add to the older, but cooler list is the Honda Superhawk (996?).  It's big, but very docile and easy to ride.

To underscore what was said above, any size bike can get you in trouble.  Even a Briggs and Stratton-powered minibike will mess you up.  Starting small is smart, but longevity on a bike comes from a number of angles that you won't learn in a 3-day course.  The bike itself is one of the smaller parts of the equation.

As for practical riding experience, there used to be a really cool street-supermoto-based forum in the CA Bay Area that was really good for practical explanation of daily riding experiences (frequently including punching mirrors and kicking doors, but in a fun way--the LOL of intense traffic).  Research in this way can definitely add helpful perspective.  

No, I don't want to get back into bikes.  I don't.  I don't.

ebelements Reader
11/9/20 10:38 a.m.

DR650 would be my call. Cheap, reliable, killer aftermarket. They have made the bike more or less unchanged for almost 20 years, which in my mind is a huge plus. It does most things very well, as it is light. Not a distance bike for sure, but can be modified into just about anything you want. I went full supermotard and didn't regret it once. 

No Time
No Time Dork
11/9/20 10:54 a.m.

Keep in mind, regardless of the displacement, you want the controls to be located where you can easily operate them. 

As a bigger guy you may find the large displacement bikes provide better riding positions and control placement to fit your anatomy. 

One thing to watch out for is the availability of parts and consumables. Tires sizes have gone through cycles of shrinking to 16" for quicker handling  and then growing again to gain stability.  Just like cars the options shrink for less popular models as they get older. 

Check tire options for anything you are serious about buying, including sizes and profiles. Some bikes like round profiles while others are better with more triangular profiles. Changing profiles can completely change the handling of a bike, for better or worse, so you don't want to be forced to change due to availability. 

BoxheadTim (Forum Supporter)
BoxheadTim (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
11/9/20 11:39 a.m.

In reply to ebelements :

Just make sure that you pick the right generation DR650. I learned that the hard way as the 1st gen one has barely any aftermarket, but the later ones - as you said - have a pretty spectacular aftermarket.

1 2 3

You'll need to log in to post.

Our Preferred Partners