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New Rider

Hey guys. Mike from Ft Lauderdale here. This is my first post and I’m completely new to riding. I haven’t purchased my first bike yet and have my eyes on something along the lines of the Soft Tail Heritage or a Switchback. Can anyone give me any feedback or pro and cons on these models as they pertain to a first bike. I’m 6’3 230lbs. I know a lot of posts might recommend a sportster but I just don’t feel like that style fits me. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated! Thanks guys!

Mike in Florida

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20 Comments

Welcome Mike. The best recommendation I can make is that you take the Motorcycle Safety Foundation Coarse.
I took My first one at Seminole Community College . Took my last one at Worth Harley and the Harley Plant parking lot.
Do it and somewhere down the road you'll want to thank me. I like beer.

Thanks for the response Edwins. Do you think those courses you mentioned would be more beneficial than the Alligator Alley HD New Rider course? I just moved to Weston from Cleveland OH and like I said I’m brand new, haven’t even bought my first bike yet! I too love beer HAHA!
Thanks, Mike

The HD course will work just fine.They provide the bikes. My HD instructor was a Highway Patrol Motorcycle Instructor. My Brother lived in Sheffield Lake, right on the water. Couldn't open the front door in the winter. Had to wear layers in the house.

I would suggest to go and try by yourself. Is it comfortable for you, does the bike fit like you want. Sure, everybody can tell you what is good, but a bike is always personal. Nobody is the same. Go for it, just watch around and try a few bikes before you make a choice and spend your money...

Welcome on the site, all the way from the Netherlands...

Thanks GertNL, would be awesome to jump right on a cruiser but been leaning toward the 48 as the first bike. Time for a sportster joke. Haha, but in all seriousness it might just be my best and affordable option as a new rider.

I was 44 when I bought my first bike and got my license to ride a bike, so that’s about the same. My first bike seven years ago was a old (‘86) Kawasaki Vulcan 750. Used it the first year and I think it was a good choise for me... just to get a bit more used riding a bike. Than I changed and bought a Royal Star 1300. Last year I changed it for a V star 1100 and I’m really happy I did. A lot less weight, more easy to handle and our country is not the same as US. We don’t have those long distances to get somewhere. Traffic all over the place, traffic lights, roundabouts... I live in a small and busy little country. I also have a little Honda cb 500 as a second bike. Just for use in and around town and during winter (use the little one all year round but not when there is ice and snow on the road like now). The V star is polished and waiting for better weather in the shed... never use that one during winter because of the use of salt on the roads to keep them safe to drive but the salt damaged the chroom... I think whatever bike you take, it is very personal. Just go and try and see what “fits” you best and than go for it! Once you have a bike you will notice... it is soo great to ride... the feeling of freedom, the fresh wind in your face, the sound of the bike... just enjoy your rides!!!

Howdy from Texas. As others have said take that rider course. They have the bikes so if you dump it you dont gotta pay to fix it. LOL I got Gert beat. I got my license when I was 60. It's never to late to get 2 wheels under your butt. Of the two bikes you mention I would go with the soft tail. I have spoken with people who have the switchback and they are not happy with them. Personally I ride a 883 super low (all over the place) it would be too small for you though. The soft tail has been around forever and is a good bike although I have met people that don't like them but they are mostly people who went from a street bike to that. Big dif in ridding a crotch rocket and a cruiser. Wl come to the site. I may be going through your neck of town in July i want to go to Key West for the 4th of July

Hi Mike - G'Day from COOMA NSW - Australia - You are doing the right thing, Do Your Research before buying anything really, but a motorcycle is an extension of the soul - and sometimes your choice can come down to economics too .... What sort of budget do you have for a bike ? Are you wanting to buy a Brand New bike or would a used bike do you ok ?
Having had a 20 year layoff from riding I have, as of April 2017, got back into riding, but being on a government pension, which is a very restricted income and makes for a very tight budget - The Last 4 motorcycles I had before my 20 year break were Harley D's from 1986 through to 1997 ... and prior to that were BMW's, Ducati's, and a plethora of Japanese multi's last of which was an '85 GL1100 Interstate - We all buy bikes for many and varying reasons ...
The bike I purchased in 2017 was a Vulcan 900 Custom for $6,000 with less than 10'000kilometers on it - Fantastic bike - I have done several mods to it and it runs great and rides fairly well, and for a budget bike is does me very well, there are Many Bikes to choose from ...

Do as the others suggest, get some Riding School Skills and have a good look around for something in your budget range and try to Test Ride as many as you can - That way you will have an idea of What fits you and your budget and you will soon have your first set of wheels and a bit more experience when you set forth on your Adventure of Riding ...
Stay Safe and Enjoy whatever you choose to ride ....
Cheers -
frostbite ...

Hi Mike ... I bought my first bike when I was 52, after a 35 year riding hiatus. I bought a Kawasaki VN 800 to get me going, then after a couple of years moved on to a Kawasaki Mean Streak 1600. I kept the Mean Streak for a few years and then jumped onto a 2009 HD 110 CVO Fat Bob ... which I still have (and probably always will). Going up in capacity and the physical size/weight of the bike worked for me. However, at 6’3”, I doubt a small capacity Cruiser would fit you well and you may feel a bit cramped. My advice would be to do a riding course and then test ride as many cruisers as you can. Buy the one that fits you best and on which you feel most comfortable. Regards from Canberra, Australia.

Welcome Mike, from Penrith, Australia.
My first main bike was back in 1980. I bought a 1978 Kawasaki KH250 just to get my license. Rode it about 20 times then sold it. In 2001 I had a midlife crisis and bought a 1998 Suzuki Intruder VL1500LC and had to learn how to ride again. Since then I've had a Boulevard C109R and a Boulevard C50T which I still have plus an Indian Scout.
Depending on your riding style, there are a lot of choices of what bike suits you.

Hi Mike...my first bike (when I was 16) was 250 kawasaki street bike 2 stroke triple cylinder... I put drop bars on it, painted the tank and covers metal flake just about every other week lol, even pulled out the baffles until I got pulled over and was told to put then back in or I would get DOT'd. Rode that that from the first sign of spring until the first snow which stayed, for about 2 yrs...moved up to a 550 suzuki triple 2 stoke and then onto CB750's. I even once had a trike with a VW engine and a coffin gas tank which needed a ton of work (which I sold and never did get to ride). After I go hit head on by someone blinded by the sunlight, I hung up my helmet until about 18mos ago (only cause life moved on). As a joke, when I started the reno on my house 2 yrs ago I joked to my wife that I wanted a motorcycle again and was told once the reno is done (I don't think she ever thought I would go through with it) and...well ...here we are ! I chose right for me in the 1100, or actually I think the bike chose me cause it was only the second one I looked at ... you'll have that ahhh moment when you sit on the right one !

I know that ahhh moment Gordo.

Well guys, I want to thank you ALL very much for your input. Just a quick update. I really appreciate everyone’s comments so thank you very much and keep em coming of you can lol! The unanimous suggestion was to sit on as many bikes as possible so here’s what I’ve accomplished. Going today to sign up at Alligator Alley HD for my new rider course and must have sat on over 70 bikes! Just amazing people on here and in the riding community as a whole. So much help it’s unbelievable. After spending an entire afternoon with the guys I feel confident saying the Softail Deuxe will be my new bike!

Again, the support the riding community shows for each other is unparalleled and I can’t wait to show you guys the bike! Pics coming soon! Thanks so much guys, and hopefully everyone’s weather turns around sooner than later. Ride safe guys, I’ll update soon!

Sure, you have to show us your new bike and glad to hear you enjoyed the afternoon and you could try so many bikes. I’m sure that’s the best way to find out what’s the best for you.... now the next step and that’s riding that new bike!!! Wish you a lot of fun and many safe rides!

Most exultant. You will have a great time ridding. Caution, Motor Cycle Ridding Is Addictive!!! LOL

Hey, Good on you mate - I am sure that you will thoroughly enjoy the Softie - Nice Choice ... Piccy's when you can please ...
Cheers & Ride Safe...

Even though I am not in the market for a new cruiser, whenever our local Harley dealer has a ride-day I go along and cram in rides on as many different models as I can. Always good to know what fits and what doesn’t, juuuust in case the opportunity to buy a new cruiser “pops” up !! ;0))

Hey guys- For some reason this page wasn’t opening on my phone lately but just an update, switched it up and went with the Fat Boy. Pics coming soon!

Mike ... the site was down for a while

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