Which first bike?

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Ruby
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I am thinking of taking up motorbiking at the late age of *cough* 50+ (although I am only half that old in my head lol). However I am only 5'3" and don't want a huge thing that I can't move or put my feet on the floor! l'm looking at the Honda CBF125, what are your views on this bike and would it be small and light enough for me?

kevash
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Re: Which first bike?

Hi Ruby, never too late to start! Especially as your real age is only 25 or so...

Yours is a very common problem unfortunately, a lot of people are kept off bikes because they can't comfortably reach the ground. In the end the only way to find out is to try sitting on a few, as it also depends on your leg length, the width of the seat, how much the suspension compresses under your weight and your general confidence.

The CBF though is a compact, lightweight bike with a reasonably low seat so there's a good chance you'll be okay on it. It's also well made and very economical - I've achieved more than 115mpg on one (review here: Honda CBF125 test), there are lots of Honda dealers around and they're gnerally pretty good. The bike's a lot better made than cheap Chinese stuff, which I'd strongly recommend you avoid.

If the Honda still proves to be too tall, you might want to consider cruiser style bikes. The Yamaha YBR125 Custom doesn't look too extreme, it's as well made as the Honda and the seat height is just 29.9in (760mm) compared with 31.2in (792mm), though new it does cost £200 more. If that's still a struggle, the Suzuki Marauder has an ultra-low 26.8in (680mm) seat and if you like cruisers, is a proper low-rider type that looks pretty cool, though it costs more at around £2,700. You'll definitely reach the ground on that though! As with the Honda and Yamaha, quality's very good too.

I'd suggest checking out the CBF first though, a dealer will let you sit on one and see how you are with it. Make sure you can put the balls of both feet on the ground. You don't need to get your feet flat on the floor, but nor should your toes only just be brushing the ground. Bear in mind that despite what novices often believe, you don't need strength to ride or handle a bike, only balance and confidence, but this starts with being comfortable in terms of keeping it upright at a standstill.

It'll all be quite daunting at first, but stick with it because you will absolutely love it! And let us know how you get on, people who are already into bikes enjoy seeing others discovering how great it is for the first time.

silvercub
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Re: Which first bike?

Hi Ruby & welcome,
I think many of us on this site cough when declaring our age.
I had a weird one the other week when touring in W. Scotland. Standing at a petrol pump, waiting for it to clunk into action, I was hailed on the Tannoy and asked to remove my helmet. I duly obliged (bikers are patient and charming) and filled the tank. At the cashier's desk, I popped the credit card into the slot and was about to enter the pin when I noticed it read £84. Most bike tanks hold around 15 ltrs, so £18 is usually the order of the day. The eyebrow raised quizically (which it was of course at liberty to do, barefaced as it were). 'YES, PUMP 5, 75 litres of diesel'.
'Hang on, I'm the guy you asked to remove his motorcycle helmet...'
'Oh, pump 4 then - un (and here I had my first taste of a displaced Glaswegian accent - it sounded exactly like....)'wedded'?
'Just a minute, first you ask me to take off my helmet and then I have to give my marital status - all this, just for petrol?'
She and the rest of the queue fortunately appreciated the dry wit of the sassenach.
The CBF is unburstable. A guy called Simon Gandolfini rode one the length of Central & S. America and wrote about it in 'Old Man on a Bike'. He was 73 at the time.
You'll obviously need a top box too. Not for Pizza deliveries, but to carry your Corgi.
I'm sure you'll enjoy life on two wheels. Get a good instructor and quality waterproof clothing.

playlord
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Re: Which first bike?

Welcome, and when you finally settle on one you really, really like, Ruby, do take your love to town. :)

shuggiemac
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Re: Which first bike?

Hi Ruby - welcome into the wonderful world of motorcycling and good on you for giving it a go. There is no shortage of people who try to put us off but it is such a great thing to do but be prepared for it to become so much more than just a mode of transport.

Navy Boy
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Re: Which first bike?

Ruby

Welcome to the community. You've made a wise choice to get into biking.

The CBF is a cracking little machine. If you're looking for something larger the Harley-Davidson Sportster 883 Low is well worth a look. My wife's only 5'00'' and she manages perfectly well.

Whatever you end up riding enjoy it. There're always reasons for us not to take up biking - Don't listen to them. You'll love it!

Ruby
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Re: Which first bike?

Well, I had to forego the CBF as I was just on tiptoe with it. I went into a motorcycle clothing shop in Northwich Cheshire, and there was a little black YBR125 sitting outside. I asked for a sit on it and it was perfect! So I bought the bike, hubby drove it home for me and I got my CBT mid-July, then theory in August.

I have since clocked up over 1000 miles on my little back steed, dropped it three times due to stupid inexperienced decisions (trying to do a tight u-turn at home and not making it; practising an emergency stop in a country lane but not realising the road camber tipped away sharply to the left and I ended up nearly upside down in a ditch; trying to do a u-turn on a hill, not making it and again the bike went down past the point of no return!) but luckily have had minimal damage, managed to right the bike on all occasions and most importantly no-one saw me lol. Hoping three drops means I won't have any more and I have learned from experience!

I go all over the place solo and am fortunate to have some fab riding country near me - namely the Horseshoe Pass near Llangollen and surrounding areas. I always feel a little strange being a female on my own, I haven't yet met any other solo female riders but I'm used to being independent :-). I can really see the attraction of being as one with your bike (although, it doesn't quite meet the adrenaline rush of galloping flat out on a horse!). Also, I am feeling the restriction of the 125 engine and am already looking at what I might upgrade to if and when I pass ....... but again, I have had to strike some of my shortlist - the Ducati 696 I LOVE that bike, but it's too high :-((. The Triumph Bonneville fits me perfectly, not really what I had in mind but I might warm to it!!

silvercub
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Re: Which first bike?

Ruby, you'll need to work a bit harder to get a bike journalist's attention.

The full article will make your toes curl......

http://hellforleathermagazine.com/2010/11/silvio-berlusconi-at-eicma-on-...

Markyboyzx6r
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Re: Which first bike?

Ruby - last week's MCN had an article on appropriate bikes/adaptations for "shorter" legged riders. Well worth a wee read to help focus your mind on your next bike.

I'm sure Kev would be able to offer advice on the Ducati 696 and getting the seat lowered - you obviously enjoy the twisties so something with sporty handling would fit the bill.

Glad you're enjoying your riding - there's not nearly enough women on bikes.

Ruby
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Re: Which first bike?

silvercub wrote:
Ruby, you'll need to work a bit harder to get a bike journalist's attention.

The full article will make your toes curl......

http://hellforleathermagazine.com/2010/11/silvio-berlusconi-at-eicma-on-his-alleged-17-year-old-mistress/

Darn you found me out ....

Ruby
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Re: Which first bike?

Markyboyzx6r wrote:
Ruby - last week's MCN had an article on appropriate bikes/adaptations for "shorter" legged riders. Well worth a wee read to help focus your mind on your next bike.

I'm sure Kev would be able to offer advice on the Ducati 696 and getting the seat lowered - you obviously enjoy the twisties so something with sporty handling would fit the bill.

Glad you're enjoying your riding - there's not nearly enough women on bikes.

I do like the 696 but I prefer to be a bit more upright, the salesman said the seat could be lowered but I don't think enough to make me comfortable. Bars were too far forwards, much as I love the look of them anything remotely sports-like will put too much pressure on my poor arthritic wrists :-( oh the joys of getting old.

I also tried the F650GS which was surprisingly comfortable and felt quite good, although I'm not keen on the whacky styling. Now just got to pass my test ... but will probably wait will next year.

Ruby
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Re: Which first bike?

silvercub wrote:

You'll obviously need a top box too. Not for Pizza deliveries, but to carry your Corgi.

My dog Ruby would be most insulted at being called a Corgi! She is a very tough and totally mad Australian Cattle Dog!! And she wouldn't fit in a top box ... :-O

Markyboyzx6r
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Re: Which first bike?

I definitely won't recommend a Kawasaki Versys. I bought one a fortnight ago, I'm on tippy toes on it, and I'm 6 foot tall.

The BMW F650GS is a bit like the Versys - and I love the quirky Kwak, it's brilliant fun. I'm using it more than my S1000rr these days. It's fantastic on all roads.

I know the F650 looks a bit eccentric, but it'll make for an excellent 2nd bike.

Adeux
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Re: Which first bike?

Look at a vanvan and they are sooooooo much fun

Adeux
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Joined: 02/11/2012
Re: Which first bike?

Just two years too late

Ruby
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Joined: 21/06/2010
Re: Which first bike?

LOL I passed in 2011 and ended up with a Suzuki Gladius, which I had lowered, and it's been a fantastic first big bike - still have it!

Adeux
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Joined: 02/11/2012
Re: Which first bike?

Well congrats to you! You have fantastic taste by the way - motorbikes anyway. I didn't get to choose my current ride - I think it chose me. But every time I am in my local shop I eye that same bike. Unfortunately for my local shop he struggles to sell suzukis and gets offered a lot of them in PX. So I get to eye it over often and know instinctively that I would love that bike and it would allow my old skills to re-immerge. No offence to my current bike but I have a single interest in its handling in that it stays put due to its weight etc.

I bet she handles beautifully and I am quite jealous...
Happy safe riding
Adeux

james04k
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Re: Which first bike?

Honda CBF 125 give amazing performance to please beginner riders or those looking to commute. The bike's identifiable by the half fairing and thin looking tyres. Raised handlebars and a low seat give a natural riding position and the whole machine is confidence building.

jitin25
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Joined: 06/06/2013
Re: Which first bike?

If you want to ride bike so should go now and take risks, because its good thing.