Reader’s Reviews: 2007 Yamaha 250, 2005 Harley-Davidson 883C and 2007 Harley-Davidson Sportster Nightster 1200

By Vicky Childers, Patrick, South Carolina

Vicky's height: 5 feet 5 inches
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This Yamaha V Star 250 was my first bike. I bought it brand new expecting to ride it for several years, and I found it to be a great starter bike. It is lightweight and easy to handle. I did not feel intimidated learning on this bike. The ride was so smooth and easy (though I didnt realize this at the time), and I didnt know that a lot of the bumps on the road were even there. The only drawback was the light weight. Out on the highway, while meeting large trucks, the wind would actually push me to the shoulder of the road until I learned to stop letting it do that. I really loved this bike but never got a picture of it. I was too busy learning to ride to stop and take pictures.
My next bike is a 2005 Harley-Davidson Sportster 883C. I did so well on the Yamaha, Hubby thought it was time for me to move up. Then I spotted this one. It was yellow and matched my Chevy S10 almost perfectly. I had to have it, so I got it. I moved up too fast; the seat height was just too high for me to handle the increased weight. We lowered the seat a couple of inches by changing to shocks recommended by our Harley-Davidson parts department. Whether you are supposed to or not, we put the solo seat from Hubbys Nightster on it. The bike worked really well with the new seat, which dropped me down a couple more inches and slightly lowered the center of gravity.
Vickys second bike, a 2005 Harley-Davidson 883C. Notice how the color matches her Chevy S10 in the background.

However, I just never have been able to get comfortable on the 883C. I really can’t explain it. I still think if we took the riser off and put some mini ape-style handlebars on, I could handle it better and have more leverage. This bike has a really smooth ride, but the weight and longer length just kept giving me problems. The carburetor makes it hard to keep it running in cooler weather, too.

Bike No. 3 is a 2007 Harley-Davidson Sportster Nightster 1200. I wanted this one since Hubby bought it in the spring of 2007. After all, he was the inspiration for getting my own bike. The old-school look with all the newer technology on the Nightster really does the trick for me. It seems I did learn something from riding the other twoits all about throttle control. I was worried at first that the bigger motor would be hard for me to control, but the experience paid off. I hope the following is a lesson I never forget: “No matter what happens, dont panic or overreact. Stay calm.”
Vicky ended up with this 2007 Harley-Davidson Sportster Nightster 1200. She has added a new windshield, exhaust, handlebars, and saddlebags.

We put mini ape-style handlebars on this bike. Hubby had already added Screamin Eagle pipes and a Screamin Eagle Stage 1 air kit. We changed out the footpeg shifter and the handgrips, and added a sport windshield and saddlebags. This past Christmas, I got the new mirrors with the turn signals. I wanted to make sure every car would see me coming. The ride is not as smooth as the 883C, but the Nightster sure fits me better!

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6 thoughts on Reader’s Reviews: 2007 Yamaha 250, 2005 Harley-Davidson 883C and 2007 Harley-Davidson Sportster Nightster 1200

  1. Terrific article. I as well started out on a 650 Suzuki. Once I became confident I went to a Harley-Davidson, many different Harleys during the past 11 years. I have owned a Fat Boy, Sportster 883, 1200, and 1200N and finally a Dyna Low Rider. I just traded my 2008 Dyna for a 2007 Sportster 1200N. Merry Christmas to me. I am so looking forward to spring and being back in the saddle of my Nightster.

  2. I started with a Vulcan 500 and it has been a perfect bike for me – low center of gravity, low seat (I'm 5 feet 8 inches and could use a higher seat but like the control this provides) and easy to handle. It's light enough that I can push it around my garage, into and out of parking spaces and have no trouble lifting it off the kickstand.

    That said, after riding just under a year, I'm considering an upgrade to either the new Yamaha 950T or a BMW R1200R (if I can find one on the secondary market – $$$). The desire to upgrade is due to lack of power at highway speeds. On a recent ride to NC, I was unable to pass a semi hauling chicken fertilizer – not a fun experience. Also in sixth gear, going 70 mph, the bike feels like it is going wide open, all out. And anyone who has ridden on 400, 75 or 285 in Atlanta knows that at 70 mph, you're the slowest thing in the slow lane.

  3. Wow! Our experiences are very similar. My first bike was a 250 Virago which I only had for a short time. Next was a 650 Suzuki for about a year. On to an 883 HD for another year. Next came the 1200 HD for about 18 months. Thought I would keep it forever, but a friend bought a bagger and was selling her '06 Softail Deluxe. They made me an offer I could not refuse so I have a great new ride. I am only 4 feet 11 inches so without a doubt, this will be it for me.

    So, to the author of this story, enjoy your 1200 but but keep your eyes open for a Softail Deluxe. Nothing like it!

  4. I took the Rider's Edge Course where we rode 500 Buell Blasts. Previous to that I had ridden a Honda Rebel 250, only about twice as practice. So, after I passed the course it was time to decide on a first bike. My husband and the dealer convinced me that the Rebel would be outgrown in six months or less and I should go with a bigger bike I would ride longer. As much as I thought the Rebel was so cute I realized that with my frame (5-feet-6, 126 pounds and long legs) I could go for a larger frame bike.

    I chose the 750 Honda Shadow Aero, which was actually my “dream bike” from the start, and it was a perfect choice. I wanted a cruiser, I love the retro look and it is a dream to ride. It fits me perfectly without any changes or adjustments. As a matter of fact, it's starting to feel “small” to me now. The bike is so smooth on the highway higher speeds and the weight is good as well. Bottom line, the bike does everything I want and need it to do so I'm very happy. Some chrome candy and other accessories were all that I needed.

  5. This was a real helpful article. Thank you. I am also wanting to start with a V Star 250 or a Honda Rebel 250 to help build my confidence when I start back riding. My husband and I enjoyed the info on the 883 Sportster as my husband wants to start back on an 883 or a 1200 Sportster. My husband used to ride Honda 250s, 350s, and 750s. We also liked the info on the mini ape hangers. My husband likes the buckhorn handle bars. Again, thank you for a really good article. We hope to be riding again in the spring of 2010.

  6. I have only been riding since taking the motorcycle safty course at CFCC in June 08. My instrucyor told me start with anything 250. I bought a GZ 250 (Suzuki) That was a perfect first bike. I like the cruiser style. After six months I was ready for more bike and now have a Volusia Intruder (also a Suzuki and the father of the Boulevard C50 )

    At first the weight in the front end was very heavy for me and even my “Harley” friends thought so, but after consulting with them and online Intruder club members, I switched to pullback risers. It only moved the bars a little bit , but was closer and higher and amazingly changed the whole center of balance on the bike. I now feel far more balanced and in control. That said, I guess we agree start with a 250 and let your own needs and confidence tell you when or if is time to move up in power and to a heavier bike. It will feel strange at first , but not as strange as getting back on the earlier bike again (as I did recently taking mine in for a regular service.)

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