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Old 02-07-2008, 07:36 PM   #11
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It boils down to how much you want to spend and what kind of riding you do.
You can get a Super Glide for 12K or a Road King for just over 17K. I have had a couple Sportsters, a 2000 Wide Glide, a 2002 Fat Boy and I now have a 2008 Street Glide. I have only had 1 issue with the neck bearing on the Wide Glide.

Harleys are much more reliable now, comparing the new Harleys to bikes built in the early 90s is like comparing apples to oranges. They have been totally redesigned with 96" twin cams and 6 speed transmissions, the touring bikes now have Brembo brakes and electronic throttles and the list goes on.
You don't have to spend a ton of money on chrome and accessories, I did that once and I will NEVER do that again.

My BIL works for Harley so I get a nice discount but even without that i would still buy a Harley. When I get a little older it may be a BMW.

My BIL puts an average of 14K a year on his Harleys with absolutely no problems and the same can be said for most of our Hog club. My FIL use to put and average of 30K on his BMW 1200LT but he has had a few issues a couple being major but that could have just been a lemon. He usually buys a new one at 100K or so. If you do some research you will find Goldwings have their share of problems too some being major...bottom line they are only machines and they will all last longer with proper care.

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Old 02-07-2008, 07:37 PM   #12
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Honda is the brand I really like, HD are nice looking bikes, but I've known a few HD owner's that have sold their bikes... reasons unknown to me... i guess resale is decent on them...

I've been debating whether or not to get a bike, the way the weather has been around here I'd almost get a good 10 months use of it...

When i started looking everyone told me to start out small and then work my way up... 650cc and up is where you wanna start... if you are like me (running with some experience but not enough to confidently hop on a 1100cc bike and take off) then 650 should be enough to keep up with other rides and not feel like cars behind you are pushing you around.

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Old 02-07-2008, 07:54 PM   #13
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If you want to participate in group rides, be a part of the Harley mystique, pick up chicks in bars, then bottom line, there is no substitute for a Harley. I mean, I just can't deny it. And don't let people tell you Harleys aren't reliable, they are just fine in that regard. Nevertheless, a harley is a harley. It lets you into a certain club and that's cool if you like to join clubs.

However, if you think to yourself, "Hey, riding is pretty cool. I bet it feels great. I'd love to go riding around town, do a few errands, maybe check out a few interesting roads at my own pace", then buy something else. Personally, I hate group rides. There's always some noobs riding stupid/drunk (whether on sportbikes or cruisers) and being in close proximity puts you at risk... it also can serve as guilt by association. Not to mention the fact that I always thought parades were kind of lame. So, as a general rule, there are very few people I ever willingly ride with. That's just a personal decision I've made, and I gotta say, when you strip away the mystique of Harleys and the way other non-riders think about harleys, there's really not much else there (besides being american made) that really justifies their premium price tag.

Anyway, there's more in the world than just cruisers and crotch rockets. Educate yourself about the different kinds of bikes.

Some styles include... touring bikes which have bags and a good amount of power and allow you to pack enough stuff for a weekend trip for two. Touring bikes can be of the cruiser (Road King) or sportbike (Triumph Sprint ST) variety. They're both big bikes, but just have a different "slant" to them.

Then there's cruisers like harleys, but there's also standards. Things like moto-guzzis which are generally more upright. This is a nice balance between sport and cruising and, probably, the most comfortable of all bikes for longer distances. It's just kind of a sitting-up position rather than humping a football (crotch rocket) or spreading for a gyno exam (cruiser).

Then there's Dual Purpose bikes. Ever wanted to explore a trail into the wilderness? Check out advrider.com for some truly awesome stories and adventures.

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Old 02-07-2008, 08:03 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sir Humpsalot
I'd love to go riding around town, do a few errands, maybe check out a few interesting roads at my own pace", then buy something else.
I am not sure I understand that statement....
Only buy a Harley if you plan on doing group rides???

I do very little group riding, in fact it is not uncommon for just the wife an I to do a 250 mile scenic ride on a nice day.

Although I will be doing a small group ride to the BMW MOA rally in Wyoming this July though. It is a short 2000 mile round trip......
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Old 02-07-2008, 08:09 PM   #15
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Harleys are great for what they are, but IMHO most of what they are is image. HDs are reliable, true, but they are less reliable than most of the Japanese cruisers. Hondas, for example, are considered the Swiss watches of the motorcycle world. I had an '88 VFR 700 (not a cruiser, of course, but a Honda nonetheless) that had been left outside uncovered in the Michigan winters for I don't know how many years (but at least 3) before I found it. A little carb work (well, ok, a lot of carb work; it's a V4, after all) and a new battery, and it ran like a top.

I also absolutely LOVE my Suzuki SV650, and it's been 100% rock solid, even flogging at the track as often as I can. It began life as a standard (neither a cruiser nor a crotch rocket, as mentioned above), but is race/track oriented now after a lot of suspension and control work.

And while I agree with the vast majority of what Sir Humpsalot said, I do have to object to the group rides comment. I go on group rides all the time on my SV. The group is of standard and sportbike riders, mostly, not cruiser riders, though. But we still definitely do it, and so do guys on Japanese cruisers. My dad rides (among other bikes) a Vulcan, and he goes on group rides down in Tucson all the time.

Finally -- if this will be your first bike, absolutely buy a used one. There are two types of riders in the world: those who have dropped their bikes, and those who are going to drop their bikes. If it's your first bike, you WILL drop it, be it backing out of your garage, at a red light, getting gas, etc... It just happens, and it's a whole lot easier to take if somebody else has already done it for you and there's already a scuff or two. It also hurts a lot less to drop a $3K bike than a $17K bike.

Really finally -- take the Motorcycle Safety Foundation training course! It's $25, it's offered nationwide, it gives you a discount on your insurance, it can substitute for the driving portion of your license exam in most states, and it provides you with a foundation in the basics of safe, defensive motorcycle riding.

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Old 02-07-2008, 08:27 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ryanh1801
Personally I would never own a Harley. They are just not reliable bikes and love to break down. Honda's are where it is at for motorcycles IMO. You can ride them forever with out having a problem. Only problem is the Honda will lose its value a lot faster than a HD.
I call BS on that. I ride a Ducati, but I owned a '98 XL1200 sport for years and had ZERO problems with it. I have seen plenty of 50K plus mile HDs with simple basic maintenance done. Feel free to say you don't care for Harley riders, of lifestyle, or even that they're for posers, but the Evo and BT motored HDs are very reliable. It was the AMC years that had QC issues, but that was decades ago.

Honda does make a great bike, but you're really showing a lack of knowledge about bikes in general to state what you have.

To the OP:
Take a look at the recent Triumphs. They're pretty sweet retro machines, and the last couple years are pretty reliable machines as well. I think the only issue many have with them at the moment is that they're being made in Thailand. Many dealers have some of the '07s around still at pretty decent prices. I also really dig the Victory line, but they're every bit as pricey as a HD. I think that when Arlen Ness and a number of other highly respected HD customizers started doing metric bikes a number of years ago it really opened the flood gates, and riding a foreign cruiser doesn't get the same disrespect it used to. OK, it still gets some, but nowhere near what it used to . I think the Royal Star would be a sweet machine for eating up some serious highway miles.

Whatever you decide, do yourself a favor and really learn to ride properly. Take the MSF course and concentrate on riding smart. I'm not saying to ride like a granny, just to learn the proper way to handle your machine. It really makes riding more fun when you know how to deal with common situations, particularly times that most young riders don't bother to practice, like tight U-turns and slow speed maneuvering that really shows inexperience when someone drops their machine at under 5 mph. ( I know, bad grammar there, run on and on...). If this is your first bike I wouldn't bother getting your dream bike, as you are going to drop it. Not might. You will drop it, maybe just on the driveway, or at the gas station, but it will go down.

ETA: Just wanted to add I think the Honda Magna V4s are great bikes. There's some great deals on used ones, they have a fantastic motor, and there's plenty of aftermarket goodies if you want to fix one up.
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Old 02-07-2008, 08:38 PM   #17
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Another Honda Shadow owner. Just the 650, but it does everything I want, quietly.

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Old 02-07-2008, 08:44 PM   #18
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Victory, from Polaris. Best of both worlds in my opinion. American Made, tons of custom options, good performance, priced less than a Harley(at least in my area anyway) and has been as reliable as my friends japanese bikes so far.

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Old 02-07-2008, 08:45 PM   #19
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Someday I'll own a Hog, prolly when the kids are grown and gone. My current bike is a 79 Yamaha 750 Triple. Bought it used in 84 and drove it over 20 years before it started to die ever so slowly. Currently it's sitting in the shed awaiting some carb work and a regulator. I probably will retire it.

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Old 02-07-2008, 09:03 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sir Humpsalot
.

Anyway, there's more in the world than just cruisers and crotch rockets. Educate yourself about the different kinds of bikes.

Some styles include... touring bikes which have bags and a good amount of power and allow you to pack enough stuff for a weekend trip for two. Touring bikes can be of the cruiser (Road King) or sportbike (Triumph Sprint ST) variety. They're both big bikes, but just have a different "slant" to them.

Then there's cruisers like harleys, but there's also standards. Things like moto-guzzis which are generally more upright. This is a nice balance between sport and cruising and, probably, the most comfortable of all bikes for longer distances. It's just kind of a sitting-up position rather than humping a football (crotch rocket) or spreading for a gyno exam (cruiser).

Then there's Dual Purpose bikes. Ever wanted to explore a trail into the wilderness? Check out advrider.com for some truly awesome stories and adventures.
This is the 2nd-best advice written on this thread. (The WINNING advice is about taking MSF courses!!) Don't write off "standard" bikes, or the "streetfighter" types. I LOOOVE a good, simple, flickable bike to thrash around some corners. Dualsports rock!

I have 3 bikes, for 3 different purposes. Mine all happen to be BMW's, but they are really, really different from each other. We like old bikes and working on them ourselves, so that opens up a lot more possibilities for us. Beemers work for us and we like the BMW community a lot, too...Beemer folks tend to camp and rallys are centered toward riding, not being nekkid and acting the fool. Suits us!

The most important thing to do is to get whatever bike gives you the "Wheeeeee!" factor. That's what it's all about, isn't it? Don't go by looks alone, get on the thing and see if it gets your blood pumpin'. After all, when you're ridin' it, you aren't lookin' at it! (Which explains why mine never get washed. Except in the rain.)

Online info is also good. There's a great riding group in your area:


http://wetleather.com/

and lots of good threads about first bike advice on here:

http://www.twtex.com

(although the site has been down today for some reason. Trust me, it usually isn't! )

Best of luck
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