Suitable Bike for a learner. - Pugugly {P}
Mrs PU has decided to do her CBT and intends to buy a bike. She is lucky enough to over 21 and have a pre 1997 licence so she is going to go for the Direct Access route. The question is what bike for her to buy. We have (aka she has) decided to buy something over 250 cc up to 400cc, it needs to be a lightweight. She is about 5'6" and at the "upper end" (to quote her) of a size 12. So physical size and weight is crucial. Any ideas out there ?
Suitable Bike for a learner. - stackman
Good luck to Mrs PU, I did my licence 2 years ago and it was great fun and highly educational.

Bikes between 250 and 400 cc are very few and far between. Most manufacturers ranges seem to jump from 125 to 500.

Doing a direct access course your good lady will probably learn on something like a honda CB500 or Kawasaki ER500, both 500cc twins. (Whatever it will have to have at least 50 bhp) If she can get on well enough with the bike she learns on there are plenty of these available second hand and while they are not at all intimidating they do have a breadth of abilities to still be interesting a year or so down the road.

If you do want a 400 then you might have to look for a Japanese grey import. I have seen 400cc versions of Suzuki's fantastic SV650 V-twin and a whole range of other bikes which make sense under Japan's licensing and tax system if not ours.

Personally I have a "grey" Yamaha SRX400, a 4-stroke single with "cafe-racer" type styling. I am only 5'6" tall and have no trouble with it. My bike is 16 years old but they did make them up until fairly recently, updating the style over the years.

Suitable Bike for a learner. - J Bonington Jagworth
It might be worth considering a trailie or super-moto, and they are nimble with good suspension. The DR350 Suzuki has a good reputation and a female friend of mine has an MZ Bagheera which, although a 660cc single, is very light and easy to handle. It's well-made too - she was rear-ended by a Fiesta a few weeks ago and the bike was not only rideable afterwards, but sustained less damage than the car!
Suitable Bike for a learner. - THe Growler
Go for the Suzuki Bandit 400. Has all the performance you can handle, it won't give your lady any nasty surprises and it won't go wrong. It's built like the proverbial. Has the necessary cred and makes the right noise as well. My MC Club over here is closely involved in rider training and we always recommend the Bandit as a transition from pottering about to a full-size but manageable road machine for the rider who has mastered the basics but wants to move on. It is ideal for a rider in the same situation as your good lady. Treat her to a few lessons on the track and you won't see her for dust...

If she prefers the looks/feel of a cruiser get her the Yamaha Virago 400 V-twin (there's actually a rare 535 cc which is the same size and weight if you can find one). My squeeze Growlette is only 5' 1" and weighs 48 kg (she's a size 8, whatever that is) and can manage her Virago no worries.
Suitable Bike for a learner. - THe Growler
I may have been a bit previous there. I did assume the Bandit 400 is available in UK.
Suitable Bike for a learner. - stackman
The Bandit 400 is only available in the UK as a grey import from Japan.

Another thing to consider after passing her test is to see if the riding school offers further training such as a Motorcycle Appreciation Course. This gives additional tuition on the open road, often riding a bigger bike than the direct access course.

My riding school stuck us on Honda Pan European 1100's and we blatted about over the Northumberland moors. Did wonders for rider confidence with plenty of tips on hazard spotting at high speeds.

Concerning which bike to ride, the 535 Virago is quite popular with the ladies due to its low seat height and narrowness. There are usually quite a few available second hand if you can live with the cruiser styling .
Suitable Bike for a learner. - THe Growler
Yes the 400 cc is a break-point here because bikes under that size are banned from the express (motor) ways, although you can get your licence and jump straight on any size bike per se. Daft really when the motorway patrol cops ride KMX 125's! Sorry to mislead. But the Bandit 600 is the same physical size as the 400 anyway is it not?

I just posted a pic of my sig other on my Softail on the HJ Board which was the only printable photo from our Back Room meet last month. This is of no help whatever of course except to show how small she is. She rides as I said a Virago which she loves and it handles perfectly in heavy traffic like we get here, she also rode a Bandit for a while and liked that (which is why I suggested it) and if we win the Lotto wants a Sportster.

I'll ask her to post her thoughts FWIW.
Suitable Bike for a learner. - J Bonington Jagworth
Growler, am I right in thinking that 400cc is a popular break-point in your part of the world because you need a different licence to ride anything larger?

There is a 600cc Bandit here that may well be on the same chassis.
Suitable Bike for a learner. - David L
Good on Mrs PU!

As for a 400 bike, I'd go with the others, and recommending the grey Bandit 400. One of the lads I learnt to ride with progressed on to one of those, and seemed chuffed with it.
Very small, and very light, exactly what you want. Note: unless it's been modified otherwise, I *think* it'll have the KM/H speedo units on it.

However, as the others point out, when doing the DAS with a school, they're probably going to put Mrs PU on a CB500, ER5, GS500, or such like, and she may well then decide a 500 would be acceptable too.
I'd heartily recommend either the Honda CB500, or the Kawa ER-5 (well, I'm recommending that based on my GPZ500, but it's practically the same bike, just with less plastics, and a rear drum)

If you search through for my thread some months ago asking exactly the same question, I got a lot of very useful replies, it's well worth a look. I'll try and find the link.

Good luck Mrs PU
Suitable Bike for a learner. - David L
Here's the link:
Suitable Bike for a learner. - GRowlette
Hallo Mrs PU!

Big G he said I should share my experiences as a lady biker (nearly 3 years now). I'm just 5 foot na lang and first thing that was most important to me was a low seat so I could get my both feet on the the ground. Very important in our traffic and it made me more confident. Of course not a heavy bike either and we tried several before G he got me the Bandit. The Fazer looked no good, the Kawa ER-5 I said was like a pizza delivery bike but the Suzuki felt just right for me and I liked it straight away. The Bandit is very popular here in the Phils because it is affordable but still fast enough to have fun with but without being scary when you are still a bit inexperienced.

I did my Keith Code course (Twist of the Wrist) on it and I enjoyed my Bandit. We have a lot of girl riders here, our most famous is a racer called Love-Love, the Superbike Goddess she rides a TL-1000.

The Bandit was all black and eventually I felt like a change. But definitely I would buy another. Now I have the Virago because biking is a very big social thing in Manila and every one expects you to have a cruiser to park outside the bars so you have some cred! Need chrome and leather for that.

The V doesn't handle the same way but it is easier in traffic (Low seat again) and I prefer the upright riding position. It's very light also and extremely trouble free, I never had anything happen with it just one battery, also the Bandit was the same two new tyres only. Good luck! But you need to take that riding course so you can be as good as the boys!

As Big G always says remember the shiny bit stays upright at all times.
Suitable Bike for a learner. - bernie
Try looking for a Honda CB1.This is a small 400cc 4 cylinder bike with an engine like a sewing machine and superb build quality.

You won't be dissapointed !
Suitable Bike for a learner. - THe Growler
Despite the great divide continentally-speaking, the opinions seem to mesh well. I posed the question on behalf of Mrs PU (please forgive the liberty) on my local Biker Forum and got some useful replies, of which the following typifies the responses:


A 400 has to be the one if she wants a mix of daily commute plus weekend blasts.

I'd like to suggest a naked bike like a CB1, a Super4 or a Bandit400 because these bikes are definitely light because it doesn't have any heap of plastics on. But on weekend rides she might be blown away by windblast... and besides, a lady would look MUCH MORE cool on a fully faired bike.

I'd like to suggest a CBR400RR Babyblade gull arm model. I guess the CBR400RR would not be too high for her.

The ZZR400 would be lower but a bit heavier. It is very stable though. But it would be great for her coz it has a side compartment on the front fairings which would be so convenient for her coins... and probably a make-up kit for a little retouch before she dismounts.

I guess a bike's weight shouldn't be an issue coz she'll get used to it anyways. She's not going to carry it around anyway.


I do like the thoughtful bit -- which none of us considered - about the post-demount retouch!

Suitable Bike for a learner. - SjB {P}
From a quick scan, I see no mention of the Honda Hornet. This comes in 250 (import only), 600, and 900 CC guises, of which the first two are potentially relevant. This is a very popular 'first big bike' (600 more than 250, being the 'official' one in the UK), as a visit to the friendly (though sometimes juvenile) web site at will confirm. Users of this community offer a wealth of help and advice.

I am relatively short in the inside leg department, and chose a Hornet CB600 when I passed my test, with a prime reason being the feeling of control that being able to put both feet down pretty well flat, gave me. Over five years on, I still have it, and have no intention of selling it.

100% reliable, and 100% fun.

Excellent Honda build quality.

Cheap to insure.

Plenty of second hand ones, and new ones are good value.

Because it has 'grown' with me, no financial losses associated with selling and buying another bike.

Originally naked, so being out in the wind kept my speed to a sensible level (70 MPH cruise), now that I have more experience and go touring with the missus, I have fitted a half fairing that raises a comfy cruise to 90 MPH.

Performance directly proportional to right wrist and engine revs, so it was a doddle to switch to after the Suzuki GS500 tractor I learned on. Far from frightening when new, five years on, it delivers plenty of beans when used to full extent.

Handling was a doddle to get to grips with.
Direct without being twitchy, and easy to correct if you mess it up.

Good luck with whatever is chosen.
Suitable Bike for a learner. - Dwight Van Driver
?Oh dreary me? groaned Badger, putting his book down as Mole entered the Riverbank Set.

?Now what? asked Mole?

?PU?s gorn and done it. He?ll be up before the Atturning General on his Woolsack, make no doubt about it,? said Badger shaking his head.

?No, never? asked Mole, ?been dipping in the Pension Fund for Old Solicitors has he??

? Much more serious Mole. He is letting his wife get a motorcycle. I ask you. ?

?So what?s wrong with that? queried Mole.

?Well? explained Badger ? He is getting advice from Growler and his Vision of Loveliness. They telling him she should get astride a Bandit.?

?They do that all the time in the Far East? said Mole knowingly,? But I thought Dick Turpin was dead.?

?Bl**dy fool ?replied Badger ? its not the choice of machine but the dress.?

?Ah ha ha yes,? I can see it now, tight curvy leathers,? Mole said, starting to wipe beads of lust off his forehead.

?NO, NO? shouted Badger, ? If you have been following Big G?s posts and links to motor cycle photos then you will see, if they follow the advice, what PU?s better half will be tooting around SE England in.?

?You mean Bastu?s Helmet (1) flip flops, thong and boob tube,? croaked Mole aquiver with lust and knee deep in drool.

THUD went Badger?s copy of the Karma Sutra, as it met zero deceleration on encountering the wall just above Mole?s head. ?Whatever next??

?A resolution for Polo Girl and her motor?? quipped Mole making a hasty retreat.

(1) Those of you that have been following G?s posts should have seen a photo of this. The trigger fingers of Mark, DD and No Dosh preclude me from describing.

Suitable Bike for a learner. - J Bonington Jagworth
LOL, DVD. I'm sure Mrs PU will appreciate all this effort... :-)
Suitable Bike for a learner. - Pugugly {P}
I am lost for words....just you wait 'til she sees this. Brilliant as usual. I just can't get over this site. Growler et al thanks a bundle...
Suitable Bike for a learner. - Pugugly {P}
This goes down as an all time classic from DVD. Mrs PU will have a right of reply later when she sees it. What was the hidden ingredient in last niht's t'Yorkshire Puddin' ?
Suitable Bike for a learner. - apm
Off the wall- BMW F650. Single cylinder 4 stroke (rotax) engine, pretty docile, and for a pseudo traillie, very low seat (I'm 5'5" and I'm fine on it). Also good build and interesting styling.
Or Ducati monster 600? Low seat again, and low power (less than a jap 400- four cylinder), and bags of cred?
Dr Alex Mears
Seat Leon Cupra
If you are in a hole stop digging...unless
you are a miner.
Suitable Bike for a learner. - GJD

Superb DVD. That's brightened an otherwise extremely annoying day. Just wish I'd read it this morning.

Suitable Bike for a learner. - Simon
Hi, have you considered the insurance costs on the bikes that you are looking at? I don't wish to sound negative but without any bike no claims discount you will probably pay a very heavy price for insurance. I pay nearly £900 fully comp on my YZF-R6 and that includes 1 years no claims discount. Had it not have been for the insurance cost I would have bought an R1. I would also advise you to have fully comp insurance on a bike as well, unless it is worth very little, as the chances are you will come off at least once during your biking 'career'. And obviously the newer you are to the biking world you more likely this is to happen.
Suitable Bike for a learner. - J Bonington Jagworth
Well, she is "over 21" according to PU. Something under 500cc with one or two cylinders shouldn't cost too much to insure.
Suitable Bike for a learner. - Pugugly {P}
DVD you cheeky young man. Promise if I pass my test I will get PU to photograph me with bike in my "boob tube". I see now why this site takes up his time when he should be doing other things.

Mrs (not quite as) PU

Value my car