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Got myself a smoking steal of a deal on a relatively great Honda Shadow 1100, initially purchased it just to mod and sell, but now I'm really considering learning how to ride and keeping it. This bike is huge though! The only other bike I ever had was an old CB750 which I restored and sold, never had a chance to ride it. I'm worried from what I've read that this might be too much bike for a brand new rider. Did I bite off more than I can conceivably chew?

From all the research I've done, I probably should have started out with something like a 750 Shadow or even the 300 Rebel - but like I said, I could not pass up the price. I'm also no small guy at 6" and around 325 on a good day. I physically fit well on the 1100, but the few times I've actually moved it under power it seems horribly heavy - I'm almost afraid to try and learn how to ride on this beast!

I'm in need of some advice from those that have been there - should I put her back together, sell and get something smaller and lighter for now, or just deal with getting trapped under a 650lb sled in a parking lot (inevitable from what my friends have told me...)?
 

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Discussion Starter #3
The Harley dealerships by my house offer one, so that's definitely on the list. But even those, they teach them on the Street 500's, which is 600cc's less in power and about 130lbs lighter than the Sabre in my garage. I'm just looking at for example the weight of the Rebel 300 being almost 250lbs less than the 1100 Shadow - that has to make a big difference in honing skills right? Of course the cheapest Rebel I can find around here is north of $3k so quite a bit out of my price range. Plus I'm afraid that with my size, it would be like Mongo trying to ride a miniature pony...
 

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Got myself a smoking steal of a deal on a relatively great Honda Shadow 1100, initially purchased it just to mod and sell, but now I'm really considering learning how to ride and keeping it. This bike is huge though! The only other bike I ever had was an old CB750 which I restored and sold, never had a chance to ride it. I'm worried from what I've read that this might be too much bike for a brand new rider. Did I bite off more than I can conceivably chew?

From all the research I've done, I probably should have started out with something like a 750 Shadow or even the 300 Rebel - but like I said, I could not pass up the price. I'm also no small guy at 6" and around 325 on a good day. I physically fit well on the 1100, but the few times I've actually moved it under power it seems horribly heavy - I'm almost afraid to try and learn how to ride on this beast!

I'm in need of some advice from those that have been there - should I put her back together, sell and get something smaller and lighter for now, or just deal with getting trapped under a 650lb sled in a parking lot (inevitable from what my friends have told me...)?
I started riding again last year. I found a clean 750 spirit. I dropped mine twice learning to ride again. Both when the bike died as I just began to go. Neither time was I hurt or the bike scratched. Wear good gloves and watch many of the learn to ride y tube videos. Also the 750 weighs 500 lbs so not a huge difference.
 

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Does weight really make a difference? I know a heavier bike is much harder to control in a slow speed scenario, but I've never really ridden a lighter one... Does 100-150 lbs make a noticeable difference? I know mine's a bear to maneuver sometimes
 

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Heavier with a higher center of gravity as some of these V twins are will take some getting used to. But after a while you will be confident of low speed handling.
Look what can be done with 800 + pounds. Watch this guys videos.

 

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wow - now that's some skill. I have trouble staying on two feet without falling over let alone throwing around a nearly 1/2 ton bike like that...
 

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Take a motorcycle safety foundation course.
Good advice.

I'm not sure how they do it in your state, but here in PA they supply smaller bikes for the students to learn on. After you learn the basic skills there, then the bigger bike you have may be less daunting.

Even if you were comfortable riding your 1100, taking the course is a good idea. I was riding for a couple of years before I took the course and thought I had things nailed down, but I learned things I didn't know that I didn't know.

You might also want to pick up this book, Proficient Motorcycling by David Hough.
Proficient Motorcycling: The Ultimate Guide to Riding Well: David L. Hough: 0731360583598: Amazon.com: Books

I prefer smaller bikes. My current 800cc is the biggest bike I've ever owned and have no desire to go any bigger. I happily rode and toured on a Shadow 600cc VLX for years before that. (I used to tour on a 150cc scooter at one time, too.) Each step up took a bit of getting used and felt ungainly at first. You can get used to almost anything with time.
Still, having a comfortable seat and being comfortable riding the bike are two different things. If it turns out riding a bike that big doesn't suit you, then trade it in for a smaller one.

Riding while nervous is no fun at all.
 

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Take a motorcycle safety foundation course.
I highly recommend a safety class. I bought my '99 ACE 750 before ever learning to ride. I signed up for a weekend class (here in Mass it is called Training Wheels) but until the class started I was self-taught. I could have used my bike in the class but opted to use one of the provided bikes, it was a 250 (older Rebel I think) and was awesome. I was very comfortable on it which I think helped me really think about and absorb all of the training. For someone with zero experience I just cant say enough about how phenominal the class was. Made me a better rider instantly AND got a break on my bike insurance too!
 

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Discussion Starter #10
I would love to go with a slightly smaller bike just due to the ease (comparatively) of navigation in the city etc. but I don't see anything less than 1000cc being able to haul my extra large although short frame around well. Before I was given this opportunity I went to a Harley dealership to take a look at the 883 Iron. Not only did I look slightly ridiculous on that bike, but the dealer advised that with my size, I'd be tired of the very poor performance very soon. It's a lot easier to chop fenders and bags than a belly...
 

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Personal experience...
When I took the course almost 20 years ago, I didn’t have a bike to ride (course supplied them). Once I had passed, I knew I needed something with 2 wheels and a motor and I needed it NOW!!!! I picked up an ‘81 CB 650. It’s a great bike but a challenge for 6’ 1”, 230lbs. After about 6 months or so, I moved up to a Shadow 1100 and have not had a smaller bike since (largest was a Kawasaki Vulcan 1500). I found with all bikes I had, once you get used to the position, clutch, torque, et al differences, the weight has little impact on how it rides.
Plus, everyone is different. For some, a weekend course on a smaller bike might be enough to feel comfortable on the 1100. For others, you might have to move in stages. To quote any number of wise men on this thread, “take the course”. Then you can decide which camp you fall into.
Have fun and ride safe!!!
 

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I never took the course but seeing how it prevents more accidents and injuries I think it is worth it. My first bike, a dual sport, I took it out to the field and practiced riding and wrecking before considering the street at all. I figured the dirt was softer than concrete. On a big heavy bike the countersteering is what really makes a difference in the handling and maneuvering. If you know how to countersteer even a light rider can whip the bike around. If you ride a light bike and muscle it then get on a big bike and do the same you will lose control. I have the Spirit 1100, my biggest bike but it is really light considering the engine size. My 1100 isn't that much heavier than my lightest bike. Now if you break down and have to push that's another story about weight. Good luck, be safe, enjoy the bike and take your time learning to ride.
 

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Plus, everyone is different. For some, a weekend course on a smaller bike might be enough to feel comfortable on the 1100. For others, you might have to move in stages.
Well said Teflon...The smaller bike was fun and great to learn on. I've since been riding my 750 for 3 to 4 years now and am ready to move up. The 750 used to feel like a big heavy bike, now not so much.
 
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