I started with a Kaw 440LTD back in the early 80's. Sold it (for a profit!) after 2 years and didn't have another bike until last March. I got a Hyosung GV250 (the cruiser model). A few months later (after a MSF course and a lot a riding), I got a Cross Country Tour. I used the CCT for long trips and the Hyosung for commuting. I wanted a bigger bike for commuting (the Hyosung just wasn't quite big enough, lacked power on the highway, but was almost perfect for in-city driving). I just got a Vegas 8-Ball (traded the Hyosung). I wasn't planning on doing that until next summer, but stumbled into a great deal.
A good Vic starter bike would be the Vegas or Kingpin. Any of the Jap 650 - 900 bikes (used) would be great starter bikes. You won't outgrow them as quickly as you would a 250 or 500. Get used and you won't take such a big hit when you do get a larger one. The Hyosung 250's can be had brand new for $3K which is why I got it.
2012 Cross Country Tour (Black)
Bought brand spanking new with 1 mile on odometer!
2012 Vegas 8-Ball (used, but only 782 miles on it!!)
2009 Hyosung GV250 for daily commute (Traded for the Vegas 8-Ball)
1981 Kawasaki 440LTD (First bike ever owned)
The Vegas Low could be an option, but I always am in favor starting on something "easier" for a season or two for a multitude of reasons. Namely being riding is different than driving and starting in a Corolla or Camry is better than a Corvette.
I'd say get her out to a big store and just have her sit on everything to see what she's comfortable with. Everyone's different. My wife rides a Vulcan 900 and loves how it fits her and will be upgrading to a Kingpin eventually here. Her mother who's pretty similar in height/build rides a Honda Shadow 650. Mom-in-law says Crysti's is too big and Crysti says her mom's is too small! lol It's all a matter of preference. And when starting out as a new rider, comfort is very important.
I like the Yamaha 650 or the Honda 750, because the seats are lower and wide enough to be comfortable; and they have enough weight and power to keep up on the highway. The Kawasaki 900 is great too, but it has too much of a "big bike" feel for a starter bike. I think the sportsters are just too narrow in the seat to be comfortable for longer rides.
if she hasn't had any experience at all i would put her in a field on a small dirt bike till she was comfortable with it. i had a friends wife try to learn on an 883 and he put her in a big parking lot , she fell over twice and never would try to ride again. just something we take for granted, putting your foot down when you stop was foreign to her. she sold the new 883 with a few dents for a big loss. i really think if he had put her on a SMALL street trail in a field and let her go at it she would have learned to ride
now , 2011 crossroads
in order of ownership, sears compact scooter, honda 305 scrambler, honda 160 dream , triumph 500 trophy trail, honda cb450, sportster, honda f750, 2nd sportster, harley flh, harley super glide, 3rd sportster, bmw k1000, harley low rider, 2nd harley super glide, harley heratage, harley road king,
thats just the street bikes!
I think the Triumph Speedmaster, America, or Bonneville are great starter bikes too. I had a Bonneville t100 for a while and loved it, handled great and smooth power. I may pick one up for my GF in the future.
I'd suggest starting off with whatever bike they provide in the MSF begginers course. Don't buy it, just have her ride the one they assign to her. Go from there depending on comfort level and ambition - she might jump right to a Vegas? This is the best experience that money can buy for a new rider.
I ALWAYS recommend taking that course before investing in your first bike. Who knows, she might decide she'd rather ride behind you than on her own....then you won't be out $$$$$$.
My wife ended up wanting the Buell Blast she took the course on. It really was a fun little bike! After two seasons I got her a 'forever' bike. That's the C50 she rides now. Also a dandy.
Hers: 2009 Suzuki C50SE - Cream and Green
His: 2012 Victory XCT - Big Red
Last edited by Emack76; 11-13-2012 at 08:53 PM.
I'd look at a Japanese V-Twin. The Suzuki Intruder/S50 is an excellent starter bike. A Sportster Clone with liquid cooling and thousands cheaper.
I bought one for my wife as her first bike after a scooter because I wanted to make sure that she really wanted to ride rather than thinking it is a good idea. You can get one for a really low price used, and new they are pretty cheap. They are narrow, low and have great engines.
She now has a Vulcan 900 with Corbin Beetle bags, and I'm trying to convince her to pick up Victory Cross Roads.
2011 Cross Country
Stage One Exhaust
I bought a Shadow 750 to teach my wife, bad move. To me it felt like a scooter, to her it felt like a truck. Not only that, she ended up not wanting to ride at all either. That's cool though because she just wants to stay on the back of mine which is why I sold the Honda and my V Star to buy my Victory
Personally, I started on a Vulcan 750. The reason is that it fit me and it was cheap. I still felt bad when I dropped it, but not nearly as bad as if I had spent thousands more I sold it 6 months later to buy my V Star so I could ride two up.