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Discussion Starter #1
Hey everyone!
My name is Ethan Peck. I am 23 and currently deployed overseas with the USN. I am here to ask advice on whether or not I should get my dream bike (the VTX 1800F) but first some back story. My dad first took me riding on my 10th birthday and I fell in love with motorcycles since that day. I remember going to my first bike show with my grandpa and father and I was allowed to sit on all of the different kinds and when I sat on the VTX 1800F something just felt right about it. Since that day I have dreamt about getting the VTX, but for one reason or another I still have not succeeded in purchasing one. Now that I'm on deployment I have ample opportunity to research, save and hopefully purchase the bike, but before I do I want to ask advice. I know that typically you want to start out on a smaller bike for your first bike because most people drop them, but I am only in the service for another two years. Essentially, I don't want to get say a Honda Shadow 750 as a starter bike with the intention to upgrade in a few years just to end up a poor college student who can't afford it. What do you guys think as riders of the VTX? Should I go for the larger bike and risk potentially dropping it or should I play it safe and get a smaller starter bike? Thanks for any advice that you guys are able to offer!

V/R
ET3 (SW) Peck, Ethan
 

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Thank You for your Service,

I guess it depends on your build and strength... it is a good size bike 750 pounds.. a little top heavy,,,. with fuel injection very drivable in traffic.
but if you pull lots of throttle, you better have a very good grip... 100 horsepower and 100 lb of torque... it will pull HARD... and do not do it .. leaned over for a turn.

I have been riding for 44 years.. there is little need to size a beginners bike.. unless you are a smaller guy. but I am 6'3... so I fit my "F" very well and 10 years of ownership.
 

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Thanks for your quick response! I am 5'10 and weigh in at 200 pounds. I still have a few months to make my final decision on whether or not to get it. A few of my colleagues are looking at getting into riding and I feel like a slight hypocrite suggesting that they start out on smaller bikes when I've been planning on jumping straight onto an 1800.
 

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Old bikes were heavy.. extremely top heavy. bad brakes.. handled badly.. engine issues... crappy tires....

you needed to MAN handle the bike ..all the time.. Not So Today... past 20 years...my opinion.
 

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There are some that start out on 1800's and also smaller women that ride them very well (not start on them generally).

But you asked for opinion so here's mine. It's not just the weight you need to be able to handle, it's learning how to properly maneuver, keep yourself safe, avoid mishaps, u-turns, figure eights, carry a passenger etc

Dropping it is the least of your concerns....

It's not that you HAVE to or an 1800 can't be done but don't let the idea that you would immediately want larger displacement be a deciding factor. There are tons of 1100-1300 bikes that will do you for years or forever. And likely more safely to start....jmo

And take a riders course.....
 

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+1 on taking the MSF rider's course. Even experienced riders are amazed at what they either didn't know, or have forgotten. Some do it every few years just because. My experience- After a 28 yr. gap in riding, I took the MSF course, after buying a '97 1100 Shadow with low miles. Great bike to re-learn on! Kept it 2 years, and nearly got what I paid for it. 5'10", 200lbs. + a few. Bought my 1800, and the big difference, as mentioned, was the maybe 150# weight difference, and the butt-puckering TORQUE & HP! Welcome from central Pa. high atop the Alleghenies.
 

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Welcome from So Calif....

I think one of the biggest issues with starting on a big bike is the power and speed...
It kills the untrained/new riders..
Some seat time on smaller bikes often gets you over the Hot Rod/Power thrill..
Not all the time, but you have more ability to handle it with the experience IMO.....

If your a level headed and responsible driver, no reason not to start on the 1800..
Just know it can get away from you very easily...

Who am I kidding?? Im 70 and riding since 1963 and still "have" to crank it when I can...





.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Thanks for all of the responses guys. In quick reference to the rider's course. The Navy actually requires me to not only take the beginner's course but the advanced course with my own bike so that is definitely something that I will be doing regardless of which bike I select.
 

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I strongly recommend starting on a smaller bike. The 1800 is heavy in general and annoyingly top-heavy specifically. Instead, get anything in the medium size Honda line (750 Aero, 900, 1100 - although I recommend the 750 or, at most, the 900). The beauty of these bikes is that most of them are used repeatedly as starter bikes. Hence, they are in reasonable demand but have low miles. You could buy a 10 year old Aero 750 for $2000 (a guess), ride it for a year to learn biking and take your classes on, and then sell it for $1900. They basically hold their depreciated value very well. Or perhaps a better way of saying it is that they have already experienced most of their depreciation and are now holding near steady.

At the end of a year, you can then buy the bike you want having much more experience around bikes to know what it is that you want. Maybe it will still be an 1800 but maybe not.

G'day,

Vinish
 

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Thank you for your service! Welcome from Tennessee and wishing you well. :patriot:
 

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Without really knowing you it's hard to say if that would be a wise purchase or not. Normally I'd agree with everyone else and advise you to get something a little more manageable however if you feel like this may be your only shot to purchase for several years then it might be best to go ahead and get the 1800. It would suck if you got something that you would not be happy with in a year and then not be able to get the one you really wanted.
I was kinda in the same boat when I got my 1800. Although I had grown up riding dirt bikes and small street bikes I had not been on a bike in 25 years. I kinda kicked around the idea of getting a smaller bike to reacquaint myself with riding but I also felt that it might be my only shot as well. This could very well be the last bike I ever own so I wanted to make sure I got something I would be happy with for the duration.
Keep in mind though that I was 50 years old when I got mine. I'm 55 now and so glad I did. Now you've got a lot of years ahead of you so your situation is a little different but I get where your coming from.
So if you don't kill yourself on the 1800 you'll get used to it. Just remember, it is a BEAST so if that's the way you go then be sure to respect it.
 

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Welcome from Elkhart, Indiana!
 

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Hi Ethan,
I too have spent time in Uncle Sam's Canoe Club as an STG. Having ridden for 50+ years I have found that many folks who start small will want to trade very quickly to a bigger bike. Take a riding course which will help you personally and with insurance. You might also considering renting a smaller ride if possible. The 1800 VTX is top heavy but you will get lots of smiles per gallon. I'll tell you like I told my son when he began to ride, always ride like everybody in a cage is out to kill you and then will laugh about it. Always ride as if you are invisible. Anchors Aweigh.
DRS
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Thanks everyone for all of your replies and input. I believe I came to a decision. It came to me while I was 300 feet in the air giving people training on how to climb the mast and not die. All of the new people were freaking out about the height and I've gotten so used to it (and I trust my training and gear) that it's pretty much nothing to me now. I'm going to go ahead and get the bike. I've talked to my father who owns a Shadow 1100 and if i'm having any major problems in driving it we are going to switch until I feel comfortable riding his. Any more opinions are always welcome, but i'm about 99% sure my mind is made up and now I just have to select a bike and get back from this awfully long deployment!

-Ethan
 

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Ethan, thank you for your service. Your situation sounds ideal. Dads got a smaller bike if you need to get used to handling something bigger. Just remember what everyone is saying here about respecting it and you should be fine. As far as the 1800 being top heavy, you'll only notice that when you get it off of the kickstand. Once it's rolling, no worries. Do be careful in parking lots and slow maneuvers though. I've dropped mine a few times like that. Then you'll really understand about top heavy. Lol! Ride safe!!!
 

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Greetings~

A: Thank you for your service, and be safe out there.
B: I just started riding last year. I went from never having ridden before to taking the class (and riding a 250) to purchasing a used 1300 and riding that. I had originally thought of purchasing a smaller bike, like a 750 and then moving to a 1000, then maybe the 1300. Having ridden 1800 miles last summer, I am glad I chose the route I did. It does depend on the rider, and I even after taking the class, I had several people who 'taught' me how to ride.

The first time I sat on the 1300 I almost had a panic attack. About 10 seconds in to the first ride, it felt so natural. It did take me most of the summer to learn how to turn left however. :)
 

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Might be a little late to chime in, but, I am a little guy 5'9" 165 lbs soaking wet, and handle my 1800 just fine. I do have more experience than you (been riding since I was twelve), however, with lots of practice in an empty parking lot assisted by someone who has ridden, you should do just fine with weight/balance. ANY dropped bike can hurt you if you don't know how to properly pick one up, no matter how light it is. Search Youtube and watch some videos of old geezers picking up their Goldwing, and that should help put your mind at ease. Good luck with your purchase, definitely thank you for your service, and welcome to the cafe from Oklahoma!
 

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All of the comments on the thread are good ones. I will just tell you that I bought my VTX1800N five years ago and it was the first bike that I had ever owned. I had been on gsxr, ninja and numerous dirtbikes, but it was a much different ride. I took the MSF and just took it easy and practiced slow maneuvers in parking lots. I was fine and I still have the bike and love it. I asked a similar question 5 years ago when I bought it and got the same responses that you are getting. Go with what you are comfortable with... but take the MSF first.
 

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I'm 6'1 185 I dropped my 1300 2 3/4 times before I got the hang of it. No matter how good you think you are, It's not if you drop your bike it's when you drop your bike. You will drop your bike multiple times. Do really want to drop your dream bike a couple few times? Learn how to ride, then get your dream bike.
 
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