Is 1200cc too much for a first time rider?

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Is 1200cc too much for a first time rider?

#1 Unread post by biznata »

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 »

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 Wed Feb 04, 2009 8:28 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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#3 Unread post by tymanthius »

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.

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 »

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 »

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 »

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 »


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 »

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 »

Waaaaay tooo much bike! :shock:
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#10 Unread post by shane-o »

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


By [url=]su_tux[/url]

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