I'll put in my .02 as someone who's never ridden before, and just recently bought one. First and foremost, I've never owned a foreign made automobile. The last one owned by my family was like an 87 mazda when I was a baby. American automobiles have always treated us well. When I graduated high school my parents bought me a 94 ford thunderbird for $1500. The car lasted throughout college and a year afterwards. We bought it with 70k on the odometer and sold it with 137k for 1000. It had some bad paint wear, but was a good car. After that I bought an '02 ford focus. That's been good to me, but I've owned it just over a year. My parents both drive dodge vehicle. Mom has a caravan with about 40k on it and dad has a 95 ram with 187k on it. He's looking for a new one, but it is an older truck. So why would I buy any motor vehicle that wasn't made in America. Plus I'd rather support an american run company then send my money overseas.
My dad used to own a Harley, and 89 tour glide that was given to my parents by my mom's father. They got so much enjoyment out of it for awhile. But it got too be to much to handle. My dad is 5'8" and weighs 190-200lbs. He could barely hold the bike up due to weight and how high you sat. He had to stand up on his toes practically. Then he had health issues come into play. He sold it maybe 5 years ago for 9 or 10,000.
I'll tell you I live a pretty dull existance. I work, pay bills, and play computer games. Occasionally I go out with friends, but alot of them have been moving on with their lives. My "best" friend is now practically living with his girlfriend, having a baby and I hardly ever get to see him. When I do, he's usually with his girlfriend. They are literally attached at the hip. So I became depressed, shut in etc, etc. One day enough was enough after a long discussion with my parents we decided I needed to get a few more hobbies. I always liked shooting guns, so I joined a gun club. Still needed something else. Then they asked me "Well, what do you really want to do?" It didn't take long because I had been thinking about a motorcycle for months. Easy decision "Learn to ride a motorcycle."
My mom was pretty much shocked, but she came around. Went and got my permit, bought a helmet, bought gloves. Then registered for a safety course, a week later I bought boots and they knew that I was serious.
I said to my dad I wanted to buy a bike. His reply was "Buy a Harley, 1200cc will be about right.." I asked about a million questions most of them are so big, weigh alot more then other bikes, etc. What if it has too much power @ 1200cc should I buy a smaller one yadda yadda. I asked my dad if he wanted to go look at some on tuesday. I've never seen the man so ecstatic, and happy for me. I think he wants to get on one again too. Sat on some sportsters, but they just didn't feel right. Felt a bit too heavy (Again, I never rode before), and a bit awkward. We went home with a bill of sales, but I knew it wasnt what I wanted.
There had to be one though. So after countless hours looking on the harley-davidson website I called a dealership and asked if they had any nightsters. They had 3, 2 with security one without. So I sat on one. I fell in love. Seat left a bit to be desired, and I'm not sure about the mid controls. But I felt like I had an excellent center of gravity, and felt like I could move the bike around effectively. I bought the one without security, because it seemed kind of crappy since you always need to have keys to start sportsters anyway. Vivid black paint. Did a stage 1 w/ 2" baffles, I told the guy I wanted it loud, he said that the most cost effective was 2" because you don't have to repogram it to run right or anything. I like the blacked out look, so I did black slash down cut mufflers and black heat spreader on the exhaust.
I went home and went to bed woke up later that night and my dad asked me about if I had saw anything I liked and got a quote. I told him not only did I find one that I liked, I bought it. Told him all the addons I got, etc. He told my mom, and she came in and asked me all about it. Earlier Friday our neighbor was shining up his harley and I was outside my mom came home and told me "That'll be you soon, shining up your bike. Because if you don't have pride in a harley, you don't have pride in anything."
I'm still generally concerned that the bike (2009 Nightster) will be too much for me. I'm concerned that the throttle will be too touchy, or that I'll drop it. Overall though, was it worth it? Well, I've never seen my entire family happier. My father is on like cloud 9 about it. I'd have to say it is worth it.
I told this story elsewhere and a Honda owner told me that it was arrogant and ignorant that I don't buy foreign vehicles. Is it? I thought it was patriotic, what do I know.