View Full Version : cheap bike to learn on

07-15-2014, 10:11 AM
So I'm looking for a cheap street bike for the wife to learn to ride on. Something I dont have to work on but dont have much invested in. A guy at work has a 2005 wildfire 250 he wants $900 for. Anyone have any experience with these? I know its a Chinese bike and all but for $900 im not out much when she lays it down. Any options?

07-15-2014, 10:21 AM
Get a cheap evo sportster

07-15-2014, 10:25 AM
Go with what they teach the masses on at the MSF course....Honda Rebel 250. It's low, light, indestructible, and cheap. Then you can turn around and get your $$ back after selling it on CL.

07-15-2014, 1:56 PM
Buell blast, cheap easy to learn on and American made

07-15-2014, 2:08 PM
How tall is the wifey? I know the Buell sits higher than the Rebel. It's always more comforting to have both feet flat on the ground if possible when learning.

07-15-2014, 2:17 PM
Rebel is the perfect starter bike for a woman. They're reliable, light, nimble, and even kind of fun. The stock bars are stupid, throw some tracker bars on it and it is a fun little bike to mess around on. What's great about them is they hold their value. So you pick one up around a grand, and sell it for a grand a year later.

Then once she's comfortable with it and wants to go faster than 65mph she can get something bigger.

07-15-2014, 2:42 PM
My Old Lady Loves her Rebel Definitly a great starter bike bullet proof and easy to maintain cheap enough and you can definatly get your money back out of it.

07-16-2014, 2:44 AM
Rebel wins. They've changed so little over the decades because they work.

Fun little fuckers too, but if it does get dropped they are narrow and not much gets tweaked.

07-16-2014, 5:13 AM
Another vote for the rebel. Cheap, reliable, fun little things. tons of parts out there for them, and I've seen some pretty fucking cool little chops made out of them.

07-16-2014, 6:51 AM
Buell blast, cheap easy to learn on and American made

I could be wrong, but i think that Rebels were made in their Ohio plant up until the late 2000's.

07-16-2014, 7:44 AM
I like the Rebel too.But she will get bored with it fast.Suzuki Savage.They are only about 50 lbs heavier and they're a 650.They are a good learning bike because the clutch and stuff is easy and very forgiving.And they have enough power she won't get bored too quickly.Plus they are easy to make look cool.

07-16-2014, 7:49 AM
All new riders should go through an MSF course if possible and if they learn a bit beforehand on a Rebel the hardware will be familiar. You could find out what your local course has since if it ain't reliable private instructors won't buy fleets of them, but Rebels make great trainers.

Things to remember to teach new riders that many old riders either take for granted or don't do:

Controlling the bike at very slow speeds by using the rear brake while slipping the clutch. Also vital for license tests which are often at very low speeds in tight confines.

Keeping head and eyes up, and looking where they wish to go.

Controlling rear wheel skids and holding the brake locked until a stop.

Maximum braking including instant release of the front brake should it lock.

Defending your lane and not hugging the curb which cuts off half your maneuvering room.

Countersteering, which is the only way motorcycles turn at speed but should be deliberate. Many riders don't know how aggressive you can get.

Bump/obstacle surmounting.

Braking in a straight line before a curve then accelerating through it.

Rapid lateral displacement by aggressive countersteering. Switching lanes can often save a rider from becoming the meat in a bumper sandwich.

Emergency stopping in a curve. Square the handlebars, get vertical then stop.

"Squeeze two, press two" to slow down. Squeeze front brake and clutch while braking and downshifting.

Riding safely is riding efficiently and is NOT intuitive.

One of my bros was paralyzed back in the late '70s when he went too wide on a curve and wrecked. None of us had formal training at the time, we just hopped on and figured it out. (I first learned to ride on the way home in North Jersey traffic after buying an MT250 Elsinore.)

There are better ways to do things now. Encourage your trainees to read about riding skills and to practice maneuvers when they get another motorcycle, since ya can't know what a machine will to unless you DO it yourself before you need it to save your ass.

07-16-2014, 8:03 AM
Our msf class had rebels and a few dual sports, what about something like that? Cheap, reliable, and when it goes down it's only plastic.

07-16-2014, 8:12 AM
Dual-sports are serious fun. Ensure the learner can stand flat-footed and that center of gravity isn't an issue.

When buying used be careful the previous owner didn't beat the fuck out of them and find a low-mileage example, but that applies to anything.

This was many years before the motard trend, but we had a few dual-purpose owners who ran street tires and they had the most agile bikes in the course.

DP suspension is more tolerant of shitty roads.

Example course vid to show new riders:


07-16-2014, 8:19 AM
I made sure to grab one of the available dual sports when I took the class back in high school. My friends dad owned one that we used to mess around on in their back yard but it was still just as much fun to ride during the class.

07-16-2014, 8:20 AM
Thanks for all the input guys....looks like im gonna pass on the Chinese bike. She is only 5'2" so heighth is a concern. Looks like I will be looking for a cheap rebel. fwiw she will be taking the class. In ohio passing the class allows you to skip the riding test for your license.

07-16-2014, 9:12 AM
Look at a suzuki savage or s40 as theyve been called the past few years, itll allow her some room to grow experience, comfort, power wise over the rebel. they are a light weight, decent low end, one lung 650cc. i rode one all over the state of NY

07-16-2014, 9:21 AM
On my ex's Rebel I got rid of the airbox in favor of a pod filter and re-jetted it and it really woke it up.

07-16-2014, 1:22 PM
If you get a Savage inspect the chain tensioner. Some have issues.

suzukisavage.com has more details. I've not had to fix any customer Savages so no personal input here.

07-16-2014, 5:48 PM
If you want something a bit bigger than a Rebel, take a look at the Honda VLX. It's a 600cc v-twin with a low center of gravity with a forgiving power curve, but enough oomph to ride two up 1300 miles in a weekend. The bigger hills were an issue, but it's a fun around town bike that you won't outgrow too quickly.

07-16-2014, 5:51 PM
I got my wife an 1982 Honda CM450e to learn on. I suggest any of the CB's or CM's. Great bikes and really any bike you get cheap that you don't care if it hits the ground, is a good bike to learn on.

07-16-2014, 6:54 PM
get a dirt bike for her to practice on in the dirt, a field etc then if shes good at rideing ,move on the street, besides, dirt is softer than tarmac,,,rebels good starter bike old honda cb 350 not to bad either ,cheap, hard to kill em guess all comes down to what she feels like it isn't too big .my mom had a 250 rebel and shes 5,1/2 so size is right for those bikes,,,

07-17-2014, 2:50 PM
My wife decided she wanted to learn to ride too. After she finished the basic rider course through the local HD place I picked her up a 2000 Honda Rebel off craigslist for $400. Runs great. I dig this little bike.

07-17-2014, 9:09 PM
the rebel's solid. I also think the yamaha tw200 dual sport is a good choice. It's a thumper so only one piston and a single carb. Not much to go wrong with that thing either and plus that bitch is twice the fun since you can pop it off the road when you want.

07-17-2014, 9:22 PM
A guy at work has a 2005 wildfire 250 he wants $900 for.
Anyone have any experience with these?
I know its a Chinese bike and all but for $900
im not out much when she lays it down. Any options?

Replacement parts availability on some Chinese stuff sucks.
Research before you buy.

07-29-2014, 7:30 AM
Thanks for all your input chopcult! I found her a rebel on craigslist and she loves it. Granted she hasn't made it out of first gear yet but ya gotta crawl before you walk right?

07-29-2014, 7:36 AM
CONGRATS on the rebel.

07-29-2014, 7:37 AM
Good for her. Got a beginning rider course scheduled yet?

07-29-2014, 8:27 AM
Calling to schedule it today...im even gonna take it with her since I never did

07-29-2014, 8:48 AM
Niiiice. Grats dude