Too big for a newbie?

    • 24 posts
    March 19, 2013 12:33 PM PDT
     With my bf's encouragement I bought a Honda Shadow VT1100 a few weeks ago.  This was BEFORE I even got my endorsement, before I ever rode a bike at all.  Michael has been riding forever and owns a VT1100 as well.  Knowing what I know now I probably would've gone for a 750 but that ship has sailed and I got what I got.

    Now I'm taking the big leap from the bike I learned to ride on (Kawasaki 250) to my 1100.  We're planning on going out and practicing on parking lots starting tomorrow and continuing until I'm comfortable enough to get on the road.  From there I'll probably take another rider's course that will help me fine-tune some things.  Michael (the bf) thinks I'll get it in no time.  I feel like it's a bit of a challenge, but do-able. Still, just like taking the MSP I'm a bit nervous, wondering if I'm taking on too much. 
    So----my question is do any of you ride a larger bike and what were your challenges?  Advice?  Tips?  Did you have friends who tried to dissuade you from riding a larger bike, or dissuade you from riding at all?  
    I'm fairly confident with what I learned in the course and know it's going to take practice, practice, practice for me to get comfortable on an 1100 but just want to hear your experiences.   I appreciate anything you have to say about the subject.


    • Moderator
    • 19061 posts
    March 19, 2013 9:58 PM PDT
    If you can reach the ground flat footed while seated the size of the bike really makes little difference in riding it. Do Not let it intimidate you. It is a psyche thing. All two wheelers are subject to the same laws of physics. The only difference I see is throttle response and once you get that figured out you will do fine. (normally a bigger engine can accelerate faster and get a novice into trouble). It is ALL about the balance.

    AND Congrats!
  • March 19, 2013 10:55 PM PDT

    I agree with Rex.
    I've ridden many different kinds and sizes of motorcycles on the road since 1964. The most important thing is awareness of your surroundings(on any bike)..and making it 2nd nature..or really 1st nature as soon as you throw a leg over. Don't drive it like a car. Become familiar with whatever you are riding and how it handles especially at lower speeds. I think your 1100 shadow is a nice size bike to easily maneuver around in most any situation. The 1100 CC is also a better friend compared to a 750. Really Gypsy...you can get quite comfortable on most any bike after some long rides of seat time. Be aware..careful..(not afraid of it)..and that Honda will become your baby before you know it..!! I think your BF advised you well.
  • March 20, 2013 1:29 AM PDT
    1100 is probably in the medium range now a days. You would have probably outgrown the 750 fairly soon and would have regreted not getting the bike you have now. I agree with Rex that you just have to get comfortable with it, respect it and not be affraid. Im sure that you will have no problems with it! Have fun and ride safe.
  • March 20, 2013 1:59 AM PDT
    Probably the first thing you noticed when you moved from the Kaw 250 was the weight of the bike. The 250 weighs around 320lbs and the 1100 weighs around 554lbs. So, pushing the bike around the driveway will be more difficult and take a little bit to get use to doing. Once on the road, the bike should feel balanced and effortless to maneuver. The VT1100 and the 750 Shadow weigh the same so that is not an issue. I'm happy for you and relax, have fun and ride safe.
    • 5420 posts
    March 20, 2013 2:10 AM PDT
    Like the others said once you are moving it really doesn't matter too much about the size. I actually find the big bigs easier on the open road... a lot more stable. However when you are going slow the weight will be a little more noticeable, so just spend a lot of time with it getting used to it. You also have to get used to pushing it backwards and getting it off the stand in slanted lies. But the engine size - as far as power - is nothing to worry about. The bike is not going any faster than you make it go

    Practice, practice, practice in controlled areas until you are completely comfortable with it.  Then go have some fun!!!

    • 2685 posts
    March 20, 2013 2:24 AM PDT
    I agree, just take your time and practice a lot.
    My wife wants a small bike because she is afraid of a bigger one, I tried to tell her that if she continued to ride she would want a bigger one pretty quick. Still working on that.
    I've been riding on and off for about 20+ years.
    I started with a 450 that only weighed 385, it was nice to lean on a smaller bike but it got small quick.
    The second one was a 750 that weighed in at 453 and even though it was more comfortable it was really still too small for me.
    I think I've got my permanent bike now, its got a 2053cc engine, (bigger than my wife's car) and weighs in at 820#, all the negative reviews I read were about its weight and how hard it was to move around and get off the stand. I have to say that it is the best, most comfortable and easiest riding bikes I've been on including several Harley's, (sorry guys), as long as you keep the tires, and as Mike said your feet flat, on the road I think you'll do just fine.
    • 0 posts
    March 20, 2013 6:07 AM PDT
    Look up the "ride like a pro" video's on Youtube and maybe even purchase your own and you will see that the size of the bike has very little to do with the actual riding. Well worth it to check it out.