Originally Posted by LooknGr8
WHy do a lot of my biker-dude friends start on sportsters? They get one, they like it, then someone says to them at a weak moment "That's a ladies' HArley" and then they move on to a Softail or whatever. Me no understand. Rode a sporty once 100 or so miles, it was cool.
Long story short: When motorcycling...grass is greener where you are, most likely. "Stepping up" is only needed if the bike is underpowered on the highway or doesn't meet your needs (i.e. you can't do long trips on your SPortster...but do you WANT to take long trips? Really? or daytrips, tops?)
I started on a 1975 Honda Goldwing, then added a 1984 Interceptor with 1000 cc's--that bike seriously screamed. I had it up to 155 mph once and it had more to give, but I backed off. The road gets really narrow and the slightest breeze makes it feel like you're going to get blown into the ditch. That bike eventually blew up. The original Honda V4 had a design flaw that inhibited oil flow to the top end of the motor. I think that's what it was. Then I replaced the GW with my ST1100, which I still have. I was doing a lot of weeklong or two-week tours, as many as 1,000 miles in a day, which is about as far as you can go in a day. You need a bike with weight and power for doing that sort of thing. I haven't taken a long tour in a couple-three years, but see myself doing that again, so I keep it. It's a fine all-around bike that has as much get-up-and-go as I need. The GW, not so much. It was a slug.
Why step up? Because, simply, faster is better, more torque is better. It's good to hear folks here talking about starting out with smaller bikes, 600 or so, and working up, which is exactly what you should do. I think most people, or at least a lot of people, get killed on bikes because they're on more bike than they can handle--the guy who gets a full-size Harley as a first bike, and there are a lot of those, is courting disaster. I was very lucky. I had a couple of close calls on my GW that, in retrospect, were entirely my fault.
Not only is a bigger bike faster (at least, the kind of bikes I favor), they are also more comfortable on any ride lasting more than 30 minutes. My wife--then girlfriend--had a 750cc Shadow ACE for awhile that I liked a lot for zipping around town, so much so that I got an 1100cc Shadow Sabre for myself that was totaled when I got rear-ended at a stoplight. The bike was crushed between the car in front of me and the car that hit me from behind. My wife and I were thrown clear and walked away. It ended up all good. The insurance company paid $1,200 more than I had into the bike, and I used the money to buy an engagement ring. My wife promptly sold her bike. The wreck freaked her out pretty hard.
I love motorcycles, but riding a motorcycle is a really stupid thing to do. There's just no way around it. Since getting one, I have always paid a bit more to get the maximum amount of life insurance on the company-subsidized policy, even though I have no dependents, because I wanted my friends, and now wife, to benefit if I get killed, and the odds of getting killed go up dramatically if you ride a motorcycle instead of driving a car, no matter how careful you are. I don't think I would do it if I had kids. The only excuse is that it is big, big fun. So is shooting heroin and smoking crack, or so I'm told.
I don't know if that answers your question or not. Here's a link to the best treatise on motorcycling I have ever read: