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Hey all! Im new to the forum and wasnt sure where to post this question, so I figured I go here in the general spot. Point me in the right direction if I need to go somewhere else. Thanks!

So, Ive been in love with the Fatboy since I was 16 (Im now 26) and saw a vivid black with tons of chrome. Ive never owned nor have I ever riden a bike...

With that being said, can (or should) the Fatboy be my first bike? Im a short guy, but Ive flat footed one before at the dealership. Should I stick with a Sporster 1200 to get use to riding or can I go with the Fatboy? Any help from yall would be great! Look forward to talkin with you...

Jas
 

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Jas:

Well - you are going to have to get use to whatever bike you ride. Sportsters are high center gravity bikes - so a lot of the weight is at the top. That can make it hard to handle - top heavy.

Are you going to take a bike course - like through Harley or some local colleges in your area may do one. It normally costs $250-$350 but you are on their bikes and you learn the basics. That is what I did and then I bought a Sportster 1200 - but even then I spent enough time driving around and around my neighborhood to make several neighbors aggrevated and then headed to my nearest church parking lot.

The other thing a class often offers is the exemption of taking the driving course to get your liscense. That way only the written test will be necessary. I don't know enough about the Fatboy to give you any comparison - someone here will. But like I said, your going to have to get use to whatever bike you decide to buy. I am 5'7" and my Sportster is perfect for me. But I fell in love with the bike itself - not the model.

Good luck in whatever you decide. Jas- welcome to the forum. This is a great place, the guys and gals here know more about bikes than you could ever find anywhere and we have a lot of laughs too. So welcome and enjoy your stay.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
BIK88CHK,

Thanks for the help! Im currently in Iraq and will be taking the class at the local Harley when I get home. I figure thatll help me get the basics down. I definitely need those!

I look forward to talking more to everyone here! I appreciate your input! Take care!

Jas
 

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Hey Jas, Welcome to the forum. Glad we can be of some help to you seeing how your helping all of us out in Iraq.

There are varying opinions on the subject but mine is similar to BIK88CHK. I would go directly with the FatBoy as it is a totally different feel than a sportster. As long as your level headed and take it slow and easy at first, you will soon be glad that you chose the FatBoy. There are several mods you can make to feel more comfortable about your choice. Seats that lower you down an inch or so, kits that bring the foot controls closer, handlebars that reduce the reach, and lowering kits that will lower the entire bike down.

As mentioned a riders course and plenty of empty parking lot practice is in order.

One wrench in the works is that HD has an offer going where you can buy a New Sportster and trade it in for the full purchase price up to a year later. So anyway thats what I got for you, I hope it helps.
 

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Jas, The progression I went through was, Yamaha Vstar 650, then Harley Heritage Softail, and now, Harley Ultra Glide. I only started riding in April 08. Speaking only for myself, I was glad I progressed from a smaller bike, got comfortable, then a bigger bike until I was comfortable enough to get my dream bike. In addition, I've ridden my buddy's Street Bob a bit as well. Everyone has brought up some great points. But I would throw in this.... As EZE said, Harley now offers a deal where if you buy a Sportster by March 31, 2009, you can trade it in and get FULL VALUE on a bigger bike. That way you can take a class, ride for a few months, get comfortable, then wheel your sportster in for a brand spanking new Fat Boy!!! And as BIK88 mentioned, the ride will be somewhat different, but you might feel much more comfortable on the Fat Boy after keeping upright on a smaller and more manageable bike first. Hope that helps!!!

PS.. Thanks for what you do!! I've spent many months in the Iraq/AF theater and I know you cant wait to get home.. Stay safe and come home soon! First round is on me..

:drunk
 

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The best first bike for anybody is the one that they feel most comfortable/confident sitting on, picking up and pushing.

Beginner courses sponsored by the Motorcycle Safety Foundation may be available in your state for free - or next to free. Here in Illinois, the classes are held at community colleges throughout the state and it's a $20 "deposit" to guarantee your spot in class, which you can opt to donate back to the org. The cost is partially subsidized by the license plate fee - and best of all, passing the MSF means no further testing when you take your paperwork to the DMV to get your license.


Best of luck in whatever you choose.
 

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Hey, analyzethis311, I started on various bikes, dirt bikes, enduros, street bikes, but bought a sportster for my first harley... the deal hd has going right now, is a good way to go, if your not sure. I have a fxdl, and looked at the fat boy. went with the fxdl because of little better handling, and pretty close to the sportster, with more power... love the new fatboy however...

Thanks for what you and others do, protrecting our freedoms, so we can have the opportunities we enjoy... Be safe!!! Can you give us a unit or city, tell us a little what your group does?

Be Safe!!!
 

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I would pick the bike you from the start. Then listen to everybody else and take the safety riding class. Here in Texas the jr colleges offer a beginner and then a second class that's advanced. Take both if you can. Once you get your bike, take as many days as you can and get that seat time in. More miles, more experience.

Me personally, I wouldn't buy a bike knowing I wanted to trade it in later. (ESPECIALLY in the same year) It's bad enough to sit in the damn dealership for four hours while they process the paperwork. The idea to do this twice would drive me nuts.

By the way, thank you for your service.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Wow! Thank for all the advice yall. Ill be sure to let you know how I go about it. I have heard about the Sportster tradue up option and I might go with that. I think what I really need to do is go to the dealership and sit on them. I just have the opportunity to buy over here at a discounted price, so waiting will be hard! I do have a year over here (I get home in Dec), so Ive got more than enough time to research.

I have to say thank you for all the support. I must be honest, though. Im a contractor, not in the military. I cant take all the credit for those men and women! My wife says thank you! She is with me over here (we're very thankful for that). She is still active duty Army from the 82nd Airborne out of Fort Bragg, NC. We look forward to getting home and cruisin' around!

Again, thank you for all your help and support. Thats a lot of good information. Ill be in touch and let you know how things work out!

Jas
 

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Analyzethis311,
Next time your back home in NC, go by and talk to the folks at Cape Fear HD. I have been there before and prefer their brand of southern hospitality as opposed to Ray Price in Raleigh.
It has been my experience that Harley (HOG) will pony up for the expenses for the rider course. It's kind of a ruse since you must use the money for Harley stuff. Still, you cant go wrong with the rider courses. I have been riding for over 40 years and still learned much when I finally took the course. I got a 10% discount on my motorcycle insurance when I completed the course. That pays for the course. Besides, I had a great time doing it.
Good luck,
MM
 

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The bigger bikes are more stable, so perversely are easier to ride. The weight doesn't really come into it, as all these bikes are heavy enough that if you get it out of balance it's going down anyway. Not like a 125 that you can muscle back into shape.

My local (European) dealer runs Ride Days maybe twice a year where you can ride different bikes for half an hour or so through the day. Maybe you can find one that does this, especially now when big dollar bikes are getting harder to shift. Or maybe suggest it to your local dealer.

It's true you can modify any of these bikes to fit you, like I have with mine, but budget a couple thousand for it. Once you start it will go on longer than you expect. If you can find one that doesn't give you backache or a stiff neck sitting on it for 15 minutes then you have a fit and can ride for a couple years before deciding whether you want to lay out more $$$ to change anything.

Above all, take the time to be sure. And check out the used market - there are a lot of good, low-mileage bikes out there at considerable savings being sold by people who didn't.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Hey all! Thanks for all the help. Just wanted to let yall know that I purchased a bike from the overseas sales people here in Baghdad. Turned out to be a pretty good deal from what I can tell on my research. I got the 2009 Fat Boy in black denim. I love that flat black. Classic. I cant wait to get home and get in the MSF class. For right now though Ive purchased the MSF book for beginners and also a book on maintenance. I want to be well read before I get home. Thats the best I can do out here. So, Ive just been cruising the web looking for leather, helmets and some upgrades. Im thinking some V&H Big Radius 2:1 black. Hope yall are well. Thanks again!

Jas
 

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Jas. If you have the time to read, also get David Hough 'Proficient Motorcycling' and 'More Proficient Motorcycling'.

And remember - you very seldom do any harm by going slower :thumb
 

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good on you !! congrats first off.. and secondly.. thank you for your service..
 

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Congrats on the purchase! I can also vouch for the books Pete mentioned. Good reading.
 

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Congrats try Leather up . com I bought a couple leathers from them and they are awsome and the price is almost to good to be true make sure yuo get the next size larger cause there sizes run small ,nothing but good things to say about them.
 

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Congrats try Leather up . com I bought a couple leathers from them and they are awsome and the price is almost to good to be true make sure yuo get the next size larger cause there sizes run small ,nothing but good things to say about them.
B.A.B.s up there ^^^^^ is right.
I second leatherup.com I picked up a pair of insulated chaps and a new jacket this year. (Out grew the old one) They do have a good price on everything. And DEFINITELY get the next size up.

Congrats on the new bike, I know there's nothing worse then getting a new toy and not being able to "play" with it.
 

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Welcome, Stay safe thanks for your time in, are you short yet?
 

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Jas...well done!! I agree with the others...best to start with the bike you really want. If you went with the Sporty, within a year you'd be kicking yourself wishing you'd got the Fatboy to begin with. Hope you're keeping your eyes open and your ass down. I'm headed to Afghanistan for a tour in June. Who knows...maybe we'll run into each other and swap lies.

Rob
 
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