Buying my first bike!


Hi everyone!

I’m a veteran pillion passenger who’s finally making the jump on the front seat.

I have big expectations…and a small frame. I’m 5.5” and quite short limbed, about 30” of inseam.

I have short listed a few bikes I’m interested into:

Honda rebel 500
Yamaha v-star 450 (do these even exist?)
Kawasaki Vulcan 650

Aside from the displacement (not sure I want to try and handle a 650 just yet), I am just not sure these are right for me. After chatting with the bikers in my life I’ve gathered the best thing to do would be have a sit on each of these and feel for myself.

Do you agree?
What else would you guys suggest?

If you agree, can you recommend any shops where I can go and try these?

Thanks a bunch!


I am much shorter with 26" inseam and short arms to boot, so I know what you are going through, but the good news is you are taller than me so there will be more options.

I trained (and then brought) a BMW F700 GS, it is 760mm seat height - from all the research I have done, this is the shortest Adventure bike type on the market, it has a plank for a seat and low frame, I am still tippie toe, and it is very heavy and my hips regret it most of the time, but I enjoy driving it.

The other options was the Harley/cruiser types, I can flat foot them but again heavy and never appealed to me as a commuter.

But like I said you are a bit taller so you may have more luck, if you have anything adventurie and less than 760 do let me know, I’ll be right behind you in the line.

BTW the F700 is an 800cc engine, I think so long as you have solid clutch control and you’re not a speed demon you wont have any problems with a more powerful vehicle, I went straight from my 125 to it and believe me having that burst of power when you want it is gold.

Good luck


Thank you! I guess I’m lucky because I do dig the cruiser look :slight_smile:

Although, I admittedly have no clue regarding manouvrability in commutin traffic. Highly unlikely I will use it much for commuting anyway though, as things stand the tube is faster!


Have a play on to find bike if the correct physical size


what ever you choose make sure its post 57 reg or it will fall fowl of the ULEZ


Get along to a bike show if your in no rush and sit on lots or spend a day going around various dealers


Capacity wise the 650 should be fine as being a twin it’ll have plenty of torque rather than top end power. Are you sure you want a cruiser? They are not the most dynamic for a first bike. Have you looked at a CB500? Honda usually offer 0% finance at this time of year because nothing is shifting so it could be worth speaking to them. Regardless you’ll enjoy and adjust to whatever you get.


For a first bike get whatever you like the look of and can afford, once you’ve ridden it for a bit you’ll be in a better position to decide what works for you.




Oh tough question. Everyone is warnig me against getting a cruiser… but it’s what I have always wanted to ride on. I think this is also why I want to test them before committing to a model, I kind of need to make sure they feel ok too. Thanks for the warning!


Bike show! Such a good point!


Welcome Gio. You right what you want to ride, if you like cruisers that’s great. The majority of advice you’ll get from other bikers on here though is that they’re the least suitable for city traffic because the long wheelbase and wide turning circle make them unmaneuverable in traffic. If you’re looking to commute faster then it’d be a shame to restrict yourself to being stuck in traffic.

I agree with the other folks, the bike show and sitting on lots of bikes is the best option and don’t be put off by larger engined bikes, you are in charge of your speed.


Thanks for the advice :slight_smile:

I’ve looked up the bike show in Birmingham, so if I can make it I’ll definitely go.

Thanks a lot everyone :slight_smile:


I’m 5’7 with a 30 inch inside leg and don’t have any issues with seat heights on most bikes. I’ve never touched an adventure bike so that might be the exception.


Ali who used to be on here but rides with Southern Knights now bought a Cruiser as her first bike but hated it and sold it shortly after. It was a bit of a beast though, a VN800 or something. Generally the larger ones don’t go round corners so if you are out on a ride out that’s frustrating as everyone else with half the power disappears up the road.


I see! Makes sense :slight_smile:


What are you used to pillioning on, and what’ll you be using the bike for?

Generally, whatever you get as your first bike you’ll likely be eyeing up something quite different within a year or two, just as you figure out what you do and don’t like in a bike and want to try something else that you think you’ll like.

Cruisers do top-out before most other sorts of bikes when it comes to commuting, but on the other hand if you’re in no rush it’s not like they’re completely useless at it (though it can be unnerving sitting at or below the level of the drivers).

Generally, I’d say it’s better to get the bike you want to own and think you’ll enjoy riding, and tolerate it for commuting than to buy the ideal commuter and then spend the whole time wishing you had the bike you wanted.


Big Red S is spot on that you’ll probably change your first bike quite quickly no matter what you get. I had 3 different bikes within my first 18 months. Fazer 600 (Bikini faring), Duke 690 (Naked) and GSXR750 (Sports). I’m planning to go for a Bonnie next for some retro cruising.


I’m a cruiser rider, don’t find it an issue filtering in traffic and does me fine. Yes there is no knee down action on them, but that’s not what I’m looking for.


Reassuring to hear :slight_smile: I’m an extremely chilled person and defintely not in love with bikes for the ear-on-floor cornering. I will def make sure to get on a few bikes before committing to a purchase though… i get attached to what I own and I am not a fan of changing my gear. I’d rather take more time to ponder my options


There is amazig insight here and this is helping lots already!