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I have always liked small displacement motorcycles for both road and off road. The disadvantages are over-stated and the advantages understated. I rode a KTM 200 for years and could smoke most people on the trails or in cross country races, regardless of the size bike they rode. I have had big displacement road bikes (still have one) but for most riding I prefer the lighter weight of my small displacement bike. I never find keeping up with people, passing safely, or the any other perceived disadvantages to be an issue. I think the "need" for big displacement and horsepower is mostly an ego trip.
Exactly
 

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I have always liked small displacement motorcycles for both road and off road. The disadvantages are over-stated and the advantages understated. I rode a KTM 200 for years and could smoke most people on the trails or in cross country races, regardless of the size bike they rode. I have had big displacement road bikes (still have one) but for most riding I prefer the lighter weight of my small displacement bike. I never find keeping up with people, passing safely, or the any other perceived disadvantages to be an issue. I think the "need" for big displacement and horsepower is mostly an ego trip.
Yup, small displacement bikes are easier to ride but there is a time and place for them. If you never ride high speed highways then small displacement is the way to go.
As you see the pic in my avatar.. it is the belt case of a Honda Helix that I rebuilt a few years ago (and sprayed the case with gold paint I had on hand). I’ve always had one in my stable and always will and it may well be the last bike I ever own. It’s been dyno'd at 15 rwhp and has a top speed of 75 MPH. I have taken it on the highway but it really shouldn’t be there. (The first time you take it on the highway at 75 MPH in heavy traffic you’ll crap your pants regardless of your riding experience. It gets blown around, it wobbles, it weaves, the frame flexes and the brakes aren’t all that. But it really doesn’t put a foot wrong. You get used to it.) It’s sweet spot is between 50 and 60 MPH.
What I use it for is grocery getting, commuting and short trips. I love riding it as much as any bike I’ve ever owned.
Time and place.
 

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It may be of interest that when I began riding 70 years ago the sizes of motorcycle engines were considerably smaller than they are today. A 500cc single or twin was considered a reasonable size for a road bike, even for cross country travels. I had several Velocette 350cc singles that worked fine running around New York City environs back then. A 650 twin was a less common size, tho all the bike manufacturers of that era made them; BSA, Triumph, Ariel, Royal Enfield, Matchless, Norton etc. Ariel did have a "Square Four", with 1000cc from 4 cylinders in a square layout and Harley Davidson had its "74" which was 1240cc and KH (later Sportster) with 883cc.

Now, we have many bikes with well over 1000cc and the Triumph 3 cylinder with over 2000cc! I think, as a whole, the motorcycling community has been "suckered" into buying massive bikes with massive engines (and at massive prices, I might add). Part of the attraction of large and heavy bikes comes from the generally higher quality suspension components, which smaller bikes generally don't have. The Honda CB-500 series certainly comes with abominable rear suspension, by my experience, and is far below the excellent overall quality of the rest of the bike. A call to a vendor of top shelf shock absorbers (Wilbers in my case) settled the suspension problem for me.

I like my '04 Moto Guzzi 750 and my '21 Royal Enfield 650 a lot, but my '17 CB-500F is the "keeper" of the group.

Ralph
 

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Discussion Starter · #24 ·
This -
It been since the beginning - you NEED to start out with a small bike, and then every so (fill in the blank) you NEED to get a biker size bike.
Go smaller - WHAT!!?!?! No you need to go bigger!

Is crap.

Buy / ride what makes YOU happy! Do not listen to anyone.
[/QUOTE


Totally agree
Here in Australia it is so hard to buy bikes that aren’t learner approved or Litre bikes, if you are looking in the sports/tourer mid range, which is sad. But the new CBR500R is amazingly versatile, and as hubby pointed out, it would have been classed as a superbike in 70’s lol
 

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Discussion Starter · #25 ·
Welcome @fizzo1 !

I also "downsized" to a CBR500R after returning to riding after 20 years with my wife banning me from riding because "its so dangerous" and we had a young child. Now that my son is 16 and I'm going through my midlife crisis I'm back to doing things I love which is riding. :) I wanted to start with something I'm more comfortable with at a reasonable price. I used to ride R6s and R1s but because I haven't ridden in so long and now I'm in Malaysia vs. Canada where the drivers follow the rules a lot less with a lot more traffic here, I didn't want to get a bike that was too powerful. Having said that, I went pass the Ducati dealership on the weekend and I fell in love with the Scrambler so I may get a second bike to do longer trips as I find the CBR500R is very uncomfortable for long distance touring rides.

At the end of the day, I agree with @jdock buy whatever makes YOU happy. I love my CBR, the reliability of a Honda, the fuel efficiency :eek: and I love the pearl white paint scheme. Turn heads everywhere I go.

Happy riding!
Thank you! And for some of the really twisty roads we have here in Tassie, the CBR500R has many advantages over the bigger bikes, much lighter to handle and more fun :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #26 ·
To respond to the OP's question, I am neither a beginning rider nor am I a returning rider. I have ridden regularly since July, 1953 and have owned 87 motorcycles since then.
I have had to (resentfully) downsize due to the physical changes attendant to advanced age (85 now, but who's counting?) and my slight build, 135#, which. have rendered me unsafe on the heavier bikes, like my 700# Honda ST-1100 and my two 600# Moto Guzzi 1100cc California Stone Touring models which sold some years ago.

My current bikes are a 2004 Moto Guzzi Breva 750, which is about 470#, a 2021 Royal Enfield Interceptor 650, about 445# (lightened considerably) and the 2017 Honda CB-500F.

The latter bike has been substantially upgraded with Russell "Day Long" seat, Wilbers shock absorber sprung to my weight, a 17T countershaft sprocket (replaces the OEM 15, which is far too low overall gearing), Nelson-Rigg sport bags, a much lighter but not loud muffler and slightly taller and wider bars. Weight reductions have lowered its weight to no more than 400# and I used a Vector lowering link to lower the seat 1.5" It's a far cry from the ST-1100 and big Guzzis, but it is a bike I'd not hesitate to ride anywhere. Solid, dependable, light and comfortable and regularly delivering over 70 mpg per US gallon.

Sure, I miss the bigger bikes but anything they could do the smaller Honda can do, albeit taking a bit longer to do it!

View attachment 73458

Ralph
And may you continue to ride for many years to come :) My dad is in his 80’s and would love to ride again. Unfortunately he has not ridden for about 20years and concerned about his loss of ‘fitness’ to ride so to speak.
 

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Fizzo: Maintenance of good physical conditioning is so important later in life. Weight gain never helps, either. Many older people contract arthritis and other muscle/joint ailments which make exercise even more difficult. Sometimes, it's hard for me to pick up the weights and proceed with the morning work-out and then the walk with weight belt and ankle weights (19# total) but It's the price of being able to do many things which require good fitness. It helps to have an entrenched, stubborn mind set, "I will not get old!!".

Perhaps your dad might incrementally resume some physical conditioning, after consulting with his family physician re any potential risks he may incur.

Ralph
 

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And may you continue to ride for many years to come :) My dad is in his 80’s and would love to ride again. Unfortunately he has not ridden for about 20years and concerned about his loss of ‘fitness’ to ride so to speak.
Have him try a big scooter. A 250cc and up. I have a Honda Helix 250cc and it’s a blast to ride and it’s easier than a motorcycle. It goes 77mph.
 

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There is far more to it than physical fitness in regards to old age. At 74 I am in pretty good physical shape, but I know for a fact my sense of balance, reflexes, eyesight and hearing are all not up to par compared to what they once were. None of those things seem to get much, if any better although I continue to exercise. I keep that in mind when riding and adjust accordingly. No more carving the "S" turns fast enough to see if I can drag the pegs, and the off road excursions are much more tame these days. Some day one of those attributes may prevent me from riding at all as opposed to physical strength.
 

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There is far more to it than physical fitness in regards to old age. At 74 I am in pretty good physical shape, but I know for a fact my sense of balance, reflexes, eyesight and hearing are all not up to par compared to what they once were. None of those things seem to get much, if any better although I continue to exercise. I keep that in mind when riding and adjust accordingly. No more carving the "S" turns fast enough to see if I can drag the pegs, and the off road excursions are much more tame these days. Some day one of those attributes may prevent me from riding at all as opposed to physical strength.
Us Octogenarians cannot in any way expect to do anything as well as we did decades ago. So what? there is still much we can do and enjoy. I learned to drop my bike after breaking my Femur 2 1/2 years ago. Eight times altogether, but I persevered and have not dropped it at all in 60,000 km. Strength has a part to play, but attitude is a bigger factor. Don't mourn what is gone. That was inevitable. Celebrate what you still have.
 

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Riding a bicycle is great for older people. It keeps you strong, balanced, alert and a bunch of other stuff related to motorcycle riding.
If you don’t use it, you lose it.
 
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