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I've been wanting to learn how to ride a motorcycle for forever.

I'm signed up for class, which begins in a few weeks. In the meantime, my boyfriend - who rides a Harley - bought me a VStar 650 so I could practice in the parking lot. He goes with me to help.

I'm a woman, 44 years old, almost 6 feet tall and weigh 170 lbs. I was hoping for a Vstar 250, but he says I'm too tall for that bike and would be very cramped. Thing is, the 650 seems huge and heavy to me. :(. It's size and weight makes me fearful.

What do you think? Considering my height, is a 650 best? Or do you think I would feel more comfortable/ more in control with a 250?
Thanks!
 

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When you take the class you'll be on a 250 more than likely. And you'll feel cramped on it. I've never ridden a 650. But from setting on them at dealers it's a step up from the 250. But not huge. I ride a Stratoliner. And that is huge compared to the 250.


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You'll most likely ride a 250 for the class so you'll get a feel for it there. At 6 feet tall, the 250 felt tiny to me. It's an okay size for training in a parking lot but at the end of the day my legs were killing me because the bike was so cramped.

The 650 really is quite small. It feels big because you are starting out but once you really get out there you'll find that it's a decent size and may decide that it's too small and light. A woman I ride with is barely over 5 feet tall and she sold her 650 and bought a 950 because the 650 just wasn't big enough.


The best suggestion I can offer is to wait until you've taken the class before making any decisions. Assuming that it's the MSF basic rider course that you are taking, they should get you much more comfortable on bikes and that will help your confidence on the 650.
 

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Welcome to the forum!

Pick the bike that feels best to you when you ride it. Whether or not the bike is too big for you is all about how comfortable and confident you are on it. There's no particular thing about the 650 (or any other bike, really) that would make it too much for any reasonably average-sized adult once they get used to riding.

After you take the class on the 250, the 650 will feel big to you again, that's what happened to my girlfriend. But whichever bike makes you feel more comfortable is the one you want. If the 250 in your MSF course feels too cramped to you (I'm just under 6' also, and 250s feel too small for me), move back up to the 650 and spend some time getting used to it. If the 250 feels good and the 650 still feels too bulky, think about trading down to a 250 for keeps.

My girlfriend went through pretty much the exact same thing, so now she has both a Suzuki 250 and a V-Star 650. We're still waiting to see which one she'll eventually keep and which one she'll sell.
 

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I've been wanting to learn how to ride a motorcycle for forever.

I'm signed up for class, which begins in a few weeks. In the meantime, my boyfriend - who rides a Harley - bought me a VStar 650 so I could practice in the parking lot. He goes with me to help.

I'm a woman, 44 years old, almost 6 feet tall and weigh 170 lbs. I was hoping for a Vstar 250, but he says I'm too tall for that bike and would be very cramped. Thing is, the 650 seems huge and heavy to me. :(. It's size and weight makes me fearful.

What do you think? Considering my height, is a 650 best? Or do you think I would feel more comfortable/ more in control with a 250?
Thanks!
The MOST important thing is how you 'sit' the bike; are your feet comfortably and easily flat on the ground when you come to a stop?
You don't want to be up on your toes.

After that, it is ALL about skillz; clutch, throttle, front break, rear break and body control and NO bike is 'too big'. A 250 runs out of engine, real fast in addition to being, as your guy suggested, probably cramped for you which is VERY bad. A 650 is going to be a good starter bike and will be as little motor as you like based on YOU controlling throttle, clutch and brakes.

If you do well, get your license, fall in love with riding and go a lot, you'll want more than the 650 in a few months. Watch.

Here;

 

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Welcome to the forum! Always nice to see another woman riding :D

I'm 5' 1/2" short and have a fairly short inseam. My first bike was a Vulcan 500 and I LOVED it... put over 24,000 miles on it in less than 4 years touring all over the USA with everything I owned on the back. There were times that I wanted something bigger though so this time around I bought a VStar 1100. And I wanted to go even bigger... but I can't comfortably touch the ground with both feet on the 1300 (serious tippy toes). While the 650 is an awesome "starter" bike and fabulous for commuting (great gas mileage, enough oomph to get you out of trouble but probably not quite enough oomph to get you in to trouble ;)) you may find in a year or two that you want to trade up to something bigger....

My honest suggestion is to wait for the MSF course. Many friends/family who "help" you learn to ride tend to push you faster than you want to go and often leave out the really important stuff that is second nature to them so they don't think to mention it (flashbacks to my Dad trying to teach me how to drive a stick-shift car...*groan*). Once you have the basics on the beat up little 250 that they provide you will have more skills and confidence to get onto the 650. And it's all about skills and confidence. The more you ride, the more natural it will seem and soon you'll be throwing that 650 around like it's a toy and wanting to try out the boyfriend's Harley :p

Good luck and remember to have FUN!:cool:
 

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I just started riding. Got a 650. I'm 6' 160 lb and really like the fit on the bike. My wife who took the safety class recently seemed to fit very nicely also and little to no trouble riding the 650. She is 5' 8" and slightly heavier than you. She was originally wanting to get a 250 but I think that's over now that she has ridden the 650.

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Now that I think of it I wish my legs would be stretched out more. At some point I'm going to have to address this but for now I can live with it. I am very happy with my 650 though. Some day I will probably want to upgrade, but I don't think it be a necessary upgrade :)
The only other bikes I have ridden was the ones from the safety class. My experience is very limited.

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My $.02...I think you should park the bike until you're able to get through the course and learn on the 250. It's MUCH easier to maneuver a 250 at first than a 650. Having ridden my 650 for a month now, I can say that I'm confident in low speed maneuvering. However, the first few days on my 650...I had the same impression that you did..."this is a HEAVY bike." I'm 6'4" and 290lbs. If you're nervous taking your 650 around the parking lot...you aren't really going to learn anything. From the sounds of it, you're just focused on how big/heavy it is and attempting to keep it under control.

I'm glad that I took the course first (I considered getting a bike and learners permit...then doing a course) because they go over all of the basics. It was great for me to start from scratch, having never been on a motorcycle before. Why? Let me put it to you this way...regardless of how experienced your boyfriend is...you're likely going to spend a good portion of the course "unlearning" things that he taught you. The instructors are VERY particular about how they want things done.


I don't think that bike is too big for your frame. However, I think it's too much bike for you at this point given your experience (or lack of). That's a lot of bike to maneuver around at low speed for someone that's never been on a bike before. Again...just my $.02...
 

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I've sat on the sideline on this one, but I have to chime in and agree with bubba G.S. about parking the 650 and taking the course on the smaller bike before you try it out again.

That said, it's good that you've got the 650. It's a hell of a bike, and I have no doubt that you'll love it when you're ready for it.
Like many here have said, with your frame, you may very well work your way into feeling comfortable on an 1100 in a matter of months.
The 1100 is only an inch or two longer overall. I think it's just a little over a hundred pounds heavier than the 650. The rest of the physical measurments are pretty darn close. The extra power when you need it is nice, but being able to cruise at high speed with better gearing is priceless. But like I said, the 650 is a hell of a bike and it is able to keep up.

My own personal experience:

I've got it bad. I've only been on top of four wheels four times in the last two months.

I had small bikes (305 Honda Dream through a 650 Norton) in my teens and 20s and I didn't ride for 30-some years.
I bought, and put about 500 miles on, a classic '83 Honda CM250 road bike over a year ago.
I knew I would probably want a bigger bike from the get-go, but the Honda was a really nice steal and an great re-entry point @ $700.
At the end of last October, I found my 650 and sold the Honda to a co-worker.
I put 2,000 miles on the 650 and then found my beautiful '95 250 virago in excellent shape with 2420 miles on it about a month ago for $1500.
I've put 600 miles on the 250 thus far and I've only had my 650 out once since I bought the 250.

The 250 is actually that much fun. I'm 6'2", 230lb. and I have no problem fitting comfortably on the smaller bike.
You simply have to scoot back on the seat and rest the end of your butt and your tailbone just slightly on the edge of the pillion.
By doing that, you almost feel like there's a backrest, you've got extra seat showing between you and the tank,
your (my long) arms fit perfectly and the leg reach to the controls ends up being the same as the 650's.
It's just over 300lb. and I can throw this thing around like It's a skateboard, even though I personally haven't had any problem at all when being passed by big rigs on the open road.

As far as power, by cranking the rpms up slightly, I can actually snap my head back with the 250.
I didn't at first, but I now shift into 5th @ 45mph each and every time without any concern.
The engine was built for it.
I've passed people on the 4-lanes @ 75+mph going uphill in 5th (and it's still got stock sprokets)!
The bike seems to like 68mph the best. Everything sounds and feels absolutely right at home at that speed.
People compliment the thing all the time. It's constantly being mistaken at first glance (even by HD riders) as a HD 883 sportster. Now that I've learned to take advantage of the highest torque points on it's RPM scale when shifting, I won't hesitate to occasionally take it on group rides with the big bores.
It'll keep up just fine.
The only thing it won't do well is ride 2up.
I've got the 650 for that and for blending in a little better (if I feel like it) on those group rides.
But... the 250 Virago is getting me 80mpg.
I'm glad I made the progression that I did this time around.
That's why I'm recommending a similar progression for you.
I may indeed replace the 650 with an 1100 in the future, but the little Virago stays right here.

By all means, let us know how it goes!
 

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I'm 170lbs and 5'7", but I'm a dude. I can whip my 750lb roadstar around like it's a bicycle. I couldn't at first, but after time, no matter the (reasonable) weight, you'll learn how to use it's weight to your advantage.
 

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Greetings from the Pacific NW. I'll backup Bubbagumpshrimp and
650VStar2003.

I have a similiar situation to yours. I've never rode before and I was awaiting my MSF course. I took a 1 day kick start course which was on a 250 (the same as the basic MSF course). It was good to get the feel of the 250 to know that it was definitely a little cramped for me as well as a bit underpowered for what I was looking for.

For learning the basics and maneuvering, I'm glad I waited and took my class on the 250.

I purchased my VStar 650 Classic 5 days before my endorsement but left it at the dealership until I passed my test. Two days after I got my license endorsed, I headed to the dealership, hopped on the bike for the first time.

I experienced the same thing you did when mounting the bike. It was heavy and I wondered what I got myself into. I went from a single lever shifter on the 250 for the MSF course to a heel toe shifter on the 650.

I rode around the dealership area on the street to get a feel for the bike and the controls. Took me a good 45 minutes of starting and stopping, pulling in and out of parking lots to feel comfortable before the 15 mile ride home. Didn't want to dump my shiny new ride.

Once you get some miles under your belt you start to feel more comfortable with handling the bike, controlling the weight, and the bike.

I am close to your height and about 50 lbs heavier, and I feel that the 650 is just the right size for me. I am able to get a wide base with both feet flat on the ground at stops and that makes a big difference. The 250 made me feel like my "tail" was dragging on the ground and I was cramping up in the legs.

The only issue you might have is if you are in a parking space that is downhill and you have to walk the bike back out of the parking spot. You definitely can feel the weight of the bike then.

So you might want to head to the gym to do some leg presses to work on your quads and calfs ;) .

I've been riding since the end of April every day and I am loving my 650 more every day.

Good luck on you MSF course and I hope you enjoy you new ride.
 

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I've helped about a dozen or so people get into motorcycling so I may have a cent or two to add to this conversation, but of course your mileage may vary. I absolutely agree, start off with what you're comfortable with. Nothing can be worse than to be trying to learn something new that involves simultaneously using both hands, both feet, balance, looking ahead and around you and then trying to wrestle a 500+ pound beast into submission that鈥檚 still totally foreign to you. One of my friends/trainee (my best example) bought a vintage Honda 175 and rode it through the field by his house for about 6 months before taking the MSF course. Because of advances in technology and engineering the old 175 was bigger and more cumbersome than the Suzuki 250 he took the course on, so he felt very comfortable with the bike and did well. He went on to sell that old 175 to two more of my friends/trainees who spent several months each practicing and they had pretty much the same good experience. My worst example is a friend who was also an 18-wheeler driver鈥6 foot, 200 pounds of ego and confidence. He had ridden motorcycles as a kid up to about 125 and thought he could just pick it right back up. I actually let him ride my 950 on the church basketball court and while he did okay going in a straight line he would never do low speed maneuvers like I encouraged him to do. He didn鈥檛 need no stinking MSF course so after practicing about 45 minutes he said he was ready. Went and got his learners permit, went to the Yamaha dealership and bought a 1300. Rode that for a month or so on his learners permit and then went and took the DL test. After the third time he finally passed it. He鈥檚 had way too many close calls and as a group we still keep a close eye on him. In short, practice, practice, practice till all the basics become second nature. Practice inside your comfort zone and then slowly expand those zones.
As far as size, I agree with everything that鈥檚 already been said about starting with what you feel comfortable with. You need to be able to 鈥渉andle鈥 the bike you鈥檙e riding and YOU need to FEEL that you can handle the bike. With that said, I鈥檒l add this鈥hen almost all of my friends/newbies went to buy a bike of their own after getting licensed, all but a couple got in the 500 cc range. And they were happy with it鈥or about a year. Once they got some road time and built on their skills and confidence they began to feel like they were ready for something more. Two females/wives (just saying!) in our group still ride their original 500 cc-ish bikes but all the guys and one other lady have moved up to 1100 plus bikes and they have no problems at all. One thing about our group is that we鈥檙e very positive and supportive of our riders and don鈥檛 even suggest to push anybody beyond their limits. We only ride as fast as our slowest rider wants to and just enjoy the ride. Our unofficial group motto is 鈥渞ide your own ride鈥 鈥ake from that what you will.
Hopefully there鈥檚 something worthwhile in my drivel somewhere but either way, welcome to the world of two-wheeled freedom. Get out there and ride your own ride.
 

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I've helped about a dozen or so people get into motorcycling so I may have a cent or two to add to this conversation, but of course your mileage may vary. I absolutely agree, start off with what you're comfortable with. Nothing can be worse than to be trying to learn something new that involves simultaneously using both hands, both feet, balance, looking ahead and around you and then trying to wrestle a 500+ pound beast into submission that鈥檚 still totally foreign to you. One of my friends/trainee (my best example) bought a vintage Honda 175 and rode it through the field by his house for about 6 months before taking the MSF course. Because of advances in technology and engineering the old 175 was bigger and more cumbersome than the Suzuki 250 he took the course on, so he felt very comfortable with the bike and did well. He went on to sell that old 175 to two more of my friends/trainees who spent several months each practicing and they had pretty much the same good experience. My worst example is a friend who was also an 18-wheeler driver鈥6 foot, 200 pounds of ego and confidence. He had ridden motorcycles as a kid up to about 125 and thought he could just pick it right back up. I actually let him ride my 950 on the church basketball court and while he did okay going in a straight line he would never do low speed maneuvers like I encouraged him to do. He didn鈥檛 need no stinking MSF course so after practicing about 45 minutes he said he was ready. Went and got his learners permit, went to the Yamaha dealership and bought a 1300. Rode that for a month or so on his learners permit and then went and took the DL test. After the third time he finally passed it. He鈥檚 had way too many close calls and as a group we still keep a close eye on him. In short, practice, practice, practice till all the basics become second nature. Practice inside your comfort zone and then slowly expand those zones.
As far as size, I agree with everything that鈥檚 already been said about starting with what you feel comfortable with. You need to be able to 鈥渉andle鈥 the bike you鈥檙e riding and YOU need to FEEL that you can handle the bike. With that said, I鈥檒l add this鈥hen almost all of my friends/newbies went to buy a bike of their own after getting licensed, all but a couple got in the 500 cc range. And they were happy with it鈥or about a year. Once they got some road time and built on their skills and confidence they began to feel like they were ready for something more. Two females/wives (just saying!) in our group still ride their original 500 cc-ish bikes but all the guys and one other lady have moved up to 1100 plus bikes and they have no problems at all. One thing about our group is that we鈥檙e very positive and supportive of our riders and don鈥檛 even suggest to push anybody beyond their limits. We only ride as fast as our slowest rider wants to and just enjoy the ride. Our unofficial group motto is 鈥渞ide your own ride鈥 鈥ake from that what you will.
Hopefully there鈥檚 something worthwhile in my drivel somewhere but either way, welcome to the world of two-wheeled freedom. Get out there and ride your own ride.
Yeah! What he said!


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The 650 is a well balanced machine, since your 6' I say go with the 650 you will be more than happy

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