Is 1200cc too much for a first time rider?

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biznata
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Is 1200cc too much for a first time rider?

#1 Unread post by biznata » Tue Feb 03, 2009 11:33 pm

Hi all,

My gf wants to get a 1200cc Harley Davidson Sportster. She is 5'3 and weighs 100lbs. Her only experience operating a bike was when she took her motorcycle classes and that was on a 250cc bike. I think it is too much bike for her and many of the motorcyclists I know agree that it is way too much bike. Am I just being paranoid?

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#2 Unread post by blues2cruise » Tue Feb 03, 2009 11:59 pm

No, you are not being paranoid. It is too much bike for her. After she gains some real skills and experience would be more appropriate to consider the 1200 Sportster.
Last edited by blues2cruise on Thu Feb 05, 2009 2:28 am, edited 1 time in total.
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#3 Unread post by tymanthius » Wed Feb 04, 2009 12:10 am

blues2cruise wrote:No, you are not being paranoid. It is too much bike for her. After she gains some real skills and experience would be more appropriate to consider the 1200 Sportster.
Biznata:

You might want to mention to said g/f that the first response was from a lady rider. Otherwise she might just think it's a 'macho thing'.

We guys do do that, after all. My g/f slaps & makes me cry when I do it. ;)
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#4 Unread post by NNYrider » Wed Feb 04, 2009 12:16 am

I would not recommend a 1200 as a first bike.

She's done the BRC. GREAT! She's now full qualified to ride a bike on any parrking lot in the state...

There is no need for a 1200. In all honesty she will not come close to using the full capabilties of an 883. I doubt that the vast majority of riders (experienced or otherwise) would (me included).

There is no rational justification for a bike that large and a rider that new. The usual arguement goes like this:

I don't want to buy a small bike because I'll trade it in later and loose money.

Question: Which is cheaper? Buy small bike, ride it for a year or two, trade up and loose $2000 OR Buy big bike, be out of control, crash big bike, write it off and incurr medical bills?

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#5 Unread post by Thumper » Wed Feb 04, 2009 12:27 am

Too big, IMNSHO. (Female rider here, so again, no machismo behind it) She might be able to physically handle it (yet at her size, it would be hard), but her gains in skills will likely be far less than if she were to start with a smaller bike. Not even necessarily 250cc. A 500cc Vulcan will do everything that 1200 will do, but will be much more forgiving of newby mistakes.

The 1200 can surely be her goal bike. A couple years on something smaller, a good 10,000 miles under her belt...then it's a shiny, zoom-zoom reward.

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#6 Unread post by Grey Thumper » Wed Feb 04, 2009 2:01 am

Why so much of a focus on the 1200? Harley makes an 883cc version of most Sportster variants that's pretty indistinguishable from the 1200s and - although IMHO not exactly ideal for new riders - is still more appropriate for a noob.
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#7 Unread post by Brackstone » Wed Feb 04, 2009 9:02 am

*sigh*

One of my female friends has the same idea. I keep trying to tell her to start out with something small but she is like "No way I'm going to get a big Harley and finance it"

a 1200cc is too much bike for a newbie and they won't learn well on a bike like that at all.
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#8 Unread post by Timmy S » Wed Feb 04, 2009 10:11 am

I have mixed feelings on this but I understand where you are all coming from. From my perspective here is all I can say.

5'3" 100 pounds is a tiny person. Sportsters are somewhat top heavy even more so than the bigger Harleys and 883s are a teensy bit heavier than 1200s!!. The Sportster is probably 200 pounds more than the bike at the MSF BRC. They are the quickest of the Harleys save for the V Rod.

Hand strength.

When I took my MSF at The riders edge they used buell blasts which is almost toy like to me. I had 3 women in that class which I thought was cool and I was rooting for them. One of the women kept stalling her bike (and she dropped it multiple times) and I asked her "was it hand strength that was causing her to dump the clutch and stall the bike?" She said "yes" as her fingers got more extended the clutch would get away from her and bang, stall. I believe she finally got enough practice and did pass the course.

The other two young women did not pass the road tests (one crashed!! on the panic stop test and got hurt a bit) but they did pass the written and I overheard them asking the a coach where they could get more practice/ instruction. Determination!

So I Imagine if there is a will there will be a way but for a small person a chunky "little" bike like the Sportster might be a struggle. I cannot say that I have Not seen newbies on Harleys though.

At least before she gets one she must sit on one and try to "toss" it side to side substantially, maybe her perspective will change.

Stay safe.

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#9 Unread post by HYPERR » Wed Feb 04, 2009 11:48 am

Waaaaay tooo much bike! :shock:
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#10 Unread post by shane-o » Wed Feb 04, 2009 8:17 pm

blues2cruise wrote:No, you are not being paranoid. It is too much bike for her. After she gains some real skills and experience would be more appropriate to consider the 1200 Sportster.
what she said


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#11 Unread post by koji52 » Fri Feb 06, 2009 10:48 am

I ride a sporty and I would advise an 883 for your g/f. The difference in torque is definitely noticable between the 883 and 1200. I guarantee that if she gets the 883, at least in the first six months, she'll be fine with the power.

Although most would recommend buying used (as would I), I think the MoCo is still running the sportster trade in at MSRP deal, meaning that you get a new sportster now, a year from now, they will give you a trade-in value of the msrp of the bike. I'm perfectly happy with my 883 so I didn't really look into it, so check it out for yourself.

Keep in mind, the bike is quite top heavy, so it is easy to tip it over if you're not paying attention. Save yourselves the emotional pain and get a used bike for a couple grand. They should be priced pretty well nowadays. Just something to consider.
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#12 Unread post by HYPERR » Fri Feb 06, 2009 12:21 pm

koji52 wrote:I ride a sporty and I would advise an 883 for your g/f. The difference in torque is definitely noticable between the 883 and 1200. I guarantee that if she gets the 883, at least in the first six months, she'll be fine with the power.

Although most would recommend buying used (as would I), I think the MoCo is still running the sportster trade in at MSRP deal, meaning that you get a new sportster now, a year from now, they will give you a trade-in value of the msrp of the bike. I'm perfectly happy with my 883 so I didn't really look into it, so check it out for yourself.

Keep in mind, the bike is quite top heavy, so it is easy to tip it over if you're not paying attention. Save yourselves the emotional pain and get a used bike for a couple grand. They should be priced pretty well nowadays. Just something to consider.
That's not a bad deal at all getting your money back on a trade! :D

Back to the subject, Koji-san you have to rememeber we are talking about a 5'3" 100# person. I would say even the 883 Sportster would be too much first bike.
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#13 Unread post by koji52 » Fri Feb 06, 2009 1:20 pm

HYPERR wrote:
koji52 wrote:I ride a sporty and I would advise an 883 for your g/f. The difference in torque is definitely noticable between the 883 and 1200. I guarantee that if she gets the 883, at least in the first six months, she'll be fine with the power.

Although most would recommend buying used (as would I), I think the MoCo is still running the sportster trade in at MSRP deal, meaning that you get a new sportster now, a year from now, they will give you a trade-in value of the msrp of the bike. I'm perfectly happy with my 883 so I didn't really look into it, so check it out for yourself.

Keep in mind, the bike is quite top heavy, so it is easy to tip it over if you're not paying attention. Save yourselves the emotional pain and get a used bike for a couple grand. They should be priced pretty well nowadays. Just something to consider.
That's not a bad deal at all getting your money back on a trade! :D

Back to the subject, Koji-san you have to rememeber we are talking about a 5'3" 100# person. I would say even the 883 Sportster would be too much first bike.
I agree...it quite possibly can be too much for her given her size. I've seen some pretty small people on bigger bikes though. It really depends on how she is able to handle the bike. In any event, if she's hell-bent on getting a sporty, the 883 is a better choice than the 1200.

You'd probably be better off getting her started on a 250 though.
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#14 Unread post by MotoEdge » Fri Feb 06, 2009 1:37 pm

Timmy S wrote:
When I took my MSF at The riders edge they used buell blasts
Wow, Blasts for the training course?! Man, that would be so much fun! :jump:

Ok, back to the topic...is it really the bike or a financial thing? This is a major question and influences many bike purchases especially in the sportbike world. A 1000cc only costs around $2000 max than a 600cc so many justify, hey..I'm going to upgrade so why not save the time and do it now.

It's even more deceptive because these bikes are almost the same in dimension but totally different in power :pbjt: Back to the Sportster issue, everybody above says the top is heavy and with her height it may be a problem. Do what someone above also suggested, have her sit on it and try to move it side to side while sitting on it.

Maybe it's possible to test ride one in your area? Or do you know anyone with one? Just some ideas

Although I didn't account for the fact that she may be trying to prove something....hmmmm :tongue: then no matter what we think, she's going to buy it....good luck
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#15 Unread post by Tennif Shoe » Fri Feb 06, 2009 5:06 pm

remeber first bike not last, begin with a small bike (600 cc cruzer is fine for her)
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#16 Unread post by Scott58 » Sun Feb 08, 2009 11:48 am

Get her a Rebel. No need for more deaths in the family.
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#17 Unread post by SBK15 » Sun Feb 08, 2009 9:20 pm

1200cc would be wayyyy to much bike, not just power, but the weight of a 1200cc cruiser. It will be extremley heavey from a noobys perspective. My dad's got an 1800cc VTX, and i dont see how he holds it up!

Start out on a 650cc cruiser, then once shes use to that step it up.
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#18 Unread post by Fast Eddy B » Tue Feb 10, 2009 2:00 pm

NNYrider wrote:I

There is no need for a 1200. In all honesty she will not come close to using the full capabilties of an 883. I doubt that the vast majority of riders (experienced or otherwise) would (me included).
Nobody needs a motorcycle, let alone a 883. First time rider on a 1200 Sportster? Prolly too much. Nobody coming close to using an 883 to its limit? Prolly not.

Weight:
In Running Order 583 lbs. (264.44 kg)
Engine Torque:
North America 55 ft. lbs. @ 3500 rpm
Lean Angle: Right: 29° Left: 31°

Ditch about 60kg, pop the torque up to 85-90, and let that b*tch spin up and make some power. Then lets call it a Sportster. Oh, and give it some good effin brakes too please. We have corners here.

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No

#19 Unread post by XB08 » Fri Feb 13, 2009 8:01 am

A 1200 sportster is not too much for a new rider. There are some 1200 cc bikes I would tell you they are too much for a new rider, if the rider is young and the bike makes big HP this is not good. Young are fearless and they will push the bike to it's limits, which is way pass theres.

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650

#20 Unread post by XB08 » Fri Feb 13, 2009 8:06 am

sbk15 wrote

1200cc would be wayyyy to much bike, not just power, but the weight of a 1200cc cruiser. It will be extremley heavey from a noobys perspective. My dad's got an 1800cc VTX, and i dont see how he holds it up!

Start out on a 650cc cruiser, then once shes use to that step it up.




Most 650s weight as much if not more then a 1200 sporty.

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