Reader Story: So You Wanna Buy Your Wife a Bike?

A step-by-step guide from an MSF Instructor

By Cliff Brown, Ozark, Alabama

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Buy Your Wife a Motorcycle? Are You Crazy?

I know, you think it will be really cool if your wife (speaking to men here) has her own bike, so why not just go down to the (fill in the blank) motorcycle dealer and buy her a bike you think would be perfect?

Problem statement: You will buy the wrong bike, she will get hurt, and yes, it will be all your fault!

Let’s go back in time, back to the first motorcycle you ever rode. Let’s see—you were anywhere from 12 to 26, and it was a small, underpowered yet fun motorcycle that you rode until it blew up. Then you went on to bigger bikes, gradually increasing in power and engine size. Now you have a big-man bike, big cruiser, big sportbike, big sport tourer, yet by some twisted logic, you think that your 45-year-old wife standing all of 5-foot-3, weighing between 100 and 150 pounds, is just going to throw her leg over that 883 Harley-Davidson Sportster you just bought and ride off with you into the sunset. Are you crazy?

buy wife a motorcycle
A salesman helps a female customer shop for a motorcycle.

Why would you deny her the opportunity to start small and grow into a bigger motorcycle, kind of the way you did? As a Motorcycle Safety Foundation (MSF) Instructor, I have run up against this scenario at least 5,000 times in the past 13 years, sometimes with fatal results, and often with serious, life-threatening injuries. As with all things mechanical, there is a right way and then there is your way of bringing your wife into the sport of motorcycling.

Your way: expense, pain, suffering, marital stress leading potentially to divorce, and your children/grandchildren hating you forever for getting their mother/grandmother hurt or killed.

My way: expense, fun, joy, everyone is happy.

buy wife a motorcycle
Cliff, a Motorcycle Safety Foundation instructor, speaks from his experiences teaching his wife, Dottie, to ride and from his years teaching motorcycle training classes.

It’s your choice, so let’s try it my way and see what you think. First, do not, do not, do not buy her a motorcycle. Instead, sign up with a good local company or state entity that provides the MSF Basic Rider Course (BRC). When I say good, I mean woman-friendly. Many guys do not have a clue how to effectively impart motorcycle instruction to women, so talk to women who have taken the BRC and get their take on it.

Your good local provider will supply a training motorcycle for her to use and abuse during the course. After she finishes the course (and if she is still interested), then she needs to get her motorcycle endorsement on her state driver’s license. Next step is to shop at a motorcycle dealership that will let you test ride. You may need to fill out a credit application to prove you have the credit to actually purchase, fill out a waiver to absolve the dealer of any liability and leave a copy of your driver’s license in their possession while on the test ride. If your dealer does not allow test rides, then go somewhere else—there are plenty of dealers in your state who will.

A motorcycle is a very personal choice, which is why you cannot pick one out for her. Does she send you to the store to buy her makeup or unmentionables? Of course not! Why? Because you are a big, bumbling man who would buy the wrong thing. Same reason applies to why you cannot pick out a motorcycle for her. This is also why she must test ride before you buy. Just because her feet can touch the ground does not mean that motorcycle fits her.

Cliff stresses the importance of giving all new riders the opportunity to start small and build up to a bigger bike.
Cliff stresses the importance of giving all new riders the opportunity to start small and build up to a bigger bike.
buy wife a motorcycle
After test-riding several different 250cc motorcycles, she will most likely find one that suits her best. You can then buy it and truck or trailer it home.

Encourage Her to Buy the Gear, Too!

But wait, you’re not done yet! Of course she’ll need to buy a full-coverage white helmet; a brightly colored armored jacket; armored pants; over-the-ankle riding boots with good gripping soles and a low heel; and armored gloves. So now you two are ready for your first husband and wife riding experience on the mean streets.

Let Her Lead

The rule is, she leads! I know, you are the man and used to being in charge and leading the way, but in this case, you need to back off! When she leads, she will: go through an intersection when she is ready; make that right turn from a stop when there is no cross traffic so if she screws up and swings wide, she will not become a hood ornament for an oncoming SUV; pull over when she needs a rest; and ride at a speed that does not overwhelm her newly acquired riding skills. If she has a problem, you are right there behind her to block traffic and get her off the road as necessary. If you are in the lead, you can do absolutely nothing but watch in horror in your rearview mirrors while she tries to catch up with you.

Cliffs wife, Dottie, says she's a better rider for having a patient husband who let her learn at her own speed.
Cliffs wife, Dottie, says she's a better rider for having a patient husband who let her learn at her own speed.

It’s now six months since you two have been riding. You must wait and wait and wait until she says, “Honey, I think I am ready for something bigger to ride.” Then off you two go to a dealer who will allow you to test ride again. Sell off the smaller bike, accessorize the newer, bigger bike, and off you two go into the sunset, or Sturgis, or anywhere you can imagine, in one piece, together.

This article was originally published on in December 2010. 

About the Author:
Cliff Brown is an MSF instructor in northern Florida. His story is a culmination of 15 years of running into the situation described. 

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46 thoughts on Reader Story: So You Wanna Buy Your Wife a Bike?

  1. Amazing article! I have been riding on the back of motorcycles since I was a little girl. About eight years ago, my husband decided to start riding motorcycles again. He wanted me to take the MSF course with him so I could handle the bike in an emergency. After the class I was hooked! We picked up a Suzuki GZ250 for me to learn on. I put 1,000 miles on it and followed around my entire family on their “big” Harleys. After I was comfortable, we stepped me up to a Honda Shadow 750. I rode that bike for about a year before I felt I was ready to move up. We bought my 2013 Harley-Davidson Heritage Softail six years ago. I love this motorcycle. I am 5 feet 4 inches’ and 135 pounds, so bigger motorcycles were very intimidating.We just broke the Guinness record in Paris, Texas, for the most Harleys in a parade. I never would have had the confidence to complete this ride with 3,500 other motorcycles if I had started off on a larger motorcycle. It would have broken my confidence and I would have stopped solo riding. This article is spot on! Starting off small and slow is the way to go! Move at her pace.

  2. My husband and son created a monster when they bought me my first bike in 2016. In about 21 months of riding, I’m now on my third and bigger bike, all at my request. I was and still am blessed with a very patient husband who has been an amazing teacher outside of the safety classroom. For the most part, he has let me set the pace with my riding, occasionally (safely) pushing me out of my comfort zone to show me that I am a better rider than I think I am. Riding with someone better and faster than me, but yet willing to throttle back and hang with me has helped my confidence tremendously. Now, for the fun of it, I occasionally twist the throttle and have him chase me!

  3. A great article. My husband even took the Basic RiderCourse with me even though he is an experienced rider. He had fun riding the course and talking bikes with the instructors. He also commented that the course sharpened up his riding skills.

  4. I agree with this article 100%! I took the motorcycle safety course and decided that I enjoyed it and wanted to get off the back of my husband’s and onto my own. He decided to upgrade to a Harley-Davidson Ultra Limited and give me his old bike, a Yamaha V-Star 1100. I rode it for roughly a year and then refused to get back on. It was too big for me and I felt like the bike controlled me instead of me the bike. I was scared to ride it. Fast forward two years and I missed riding so I am now on a Harley-Davidson 750 Street. It’s much smaller and lighter. I am very comfortable on this bike right now. It showed that me that I started too big which could have ended badly. Everyone should start with what they are comfortable on and then move up slowly and safely.

  5. Could not agree more. A safety class should be mandatory. Not everyone who takes the class ends up on a bike. After a trial my wife decided she would rather drive a Miata. To each their own.

  6. Started riding on a Honda moped without pedals. It did 35 mph downhill with a tailwind! But, I was issued my drivers license in Hawaii and it worked for me. Moved to California, and took the motorcycle safety course. Showed up riding a borrowed Wide Glide Harley since my car broke down. As a 6-feet 4-inch woman, I can say that it has less to do with the size of the bike and everything to do with learning properly. There was a 70-plus-year-old little tiny lady there who showed us how to get a bike back up from a side tipped position. It’s a lot of physics and angles. Please stop assuming that women are or are not afraid of, in favor of, enjoy, or don’t enjoy anything. We are as individual and independent as anyone. I hate small bikes for me; they are horribly uncomfortable, dangerous in turns, underpowered, and difficult — but that’s me. I’m on a bike with 15-inch apehangers just to have my elbows in neutral riding position. And I still had to push my floorboards forward, and get a seat custom made. Fit is important; style is fun.

  7. Great article. My husband bought my first bike as a Mother’s Day present one year. But he knew my preference after years of discussing and trying on our two-wheeled desires. We both started off with vintage Honda c70s and are working our way up.

  8. Great article! My only comment would be this: As a new rider with not much experience I, personally, felt more comfortable with following and not leading. That being said, he knows my limitations and does not do anything he thinks I would be too uncomfortable with. My point is that it should not be a hard fast rule that the “teacher” should follow, but the rule should be whichever “role” the “learner” feels most comfortable with is the way you should go!

  9. Unquestionably, this is good advice, and in agreement with this premise: Women can master new experiences, such as riding a big bike as well as men. The difference: 99 percent of women need to be “kept in a comfort zone” along the way. It could be starting on a smaller bike as he recommends, or there are other ways to do it. In November of 2003, I purchased a 2004 Harley Road King Custom for my wife. She had never driven a motorcycle before. We took tiny steps. She learned the mechanics on a four-wheeler first, (shifter, clutch, throttle, brake lever, brake pedal), then she took the state motorcycle course on a 250cc, after which, she tackled learning her Harley. Saddlebags off. Me on the back, holding the bike up; her feet never leaving the floorboards. Letting out the clutch and roll. Stop. Then on to shifting into second gear, etc. It went like this throughout each new learning. It was a deliberately slow and nurtured process, in the neighborhood/at a closed shopping center. She learned the dynamics of the weight of the big bike. (Dropping it five times learning to make a turn, or coming to a halt with the wheel turned). We studied films on safe riding. She rode on the back of my Ultra, listening to my narrative on all of the “watch-outs” to stay safe. After five months of weekend training, she did her first solo out of the neighborhood into town. She has enjoyed riding for the past 12 years—safely, and with a healthy respect for the continuing learning process.

    1. Ward, Thanks for sharing the process you took with your wife as a patient husband taking baby steps along the way. However, I must go on record here for those reading this that we never, ever advocate the type of training you did with your wife. 1. A Harley-Davidson Road King is not a motorcycle we recommend for beginners, no matter what physical size or height that beginner rider is. A Road King is a large touring motorcycle with a powerful engine and beginners simply do not have the skills and knowledge necessary to handle the weight and power of that size motorcycle without severely compromising the learning process.2. We are against any person, man or woman, sitting on the passenger seat while the beginner rider is in the front seat to help them learn to ride a motorcycle. There are far too many obvious reasons why this is not safe at all, for both people, let alone, that the rider is faced with huge unnecessary challenges when learning to ride a motorcycle. This is a big disservice to the beginner.- No beginner should have to deal with unnecessary weight on the back on the bike while they are learning all about the weight distribution of a motorcycle. – No beginner should have a rider who is not certified in the proper training of how to ride a motorcycle telling then how to ride a motorcycle, let alone sitting on the back of the bike telling them what to do. You don’t see MSF instructors sitting on the back of a their students’ motorcycles in class telling them how to ride.- Beginners who learn from someone other than a trained and certified motorcycle safety instructor have a high chance of picking up bad habits from the “experienced” rider. Most riders have become accustomed to executing moves and/or shortcuts in their mind in the handling of a motorcycle. Often these are not the most effective way to handle a motorcycle. There is a high chance the beginner will be taught these “bad” habits.- When learning from a friend or loved one, there is a high chance the “training” experience will be an exercise in frustration, leaving the beginner at a disadvantage. This is simply not fair to the beginner.3. You say your wife dropped the bike five times. Its likely a beginner will drop a motorcycle once or twice during the learning stage, but five times is excessive, and speaks clearly to the disastrous situation in which your wife was put during the “learning” phase of riding this Road King. I’m very sorry to squelch your enthusiasm Ward as I’m sure you and she are proud of your efforts and accomplishments together as a team, however at the risk of losing you as a reader of my magazine, I must be straightforward in my assessment of how you trained your wife to ride a motorcycle.

  10. Agree 100 percent! Learned to ride fives years ago at 54 and did it exactly this way. Started on a 250cc then a 650cc and then a 800cc. Now I ride a Ducati Diavel and a BMW R 1200 R and I can assure you these bikes would have gotten away from me and I probably would have killed myself. What’s the rush. I’m a skilled and confident rider now because of taking it slow and who cares what size bike you ride as long as you are enjoying yourself.

  11. I rode a Honda 80 when I was a teenager. I just got my endorsement in December 2015 and I am 60 years old. I am 5 feet 8 inches tall and have no problem reaching the ground. My problem is the weight. I have a shoulder injury so I am learning to ride on a 150cc scooter to build up my strength and balance. Yes, my biker friends laugh but I don’t care. I may not ever ride my own and if not I’m happy on the back.

  12. All good advice, except 250cc? If your goal is street riding, a 500cc should be small enough. I wanted that 250cc I learned on in class, my hubby made me go 500cc and I’m glad. Four months later I was on a Softail and loving it! I don’t think I would’ve jumped from a 250cc to a Softail. Anything I thought I couldn’t do, I did! Good training gives you more confidence! Don’t pass up any chance to get good instruction!

  13. Very good article. I actually followed these steps years ago, but I did buy her first bike, a Buell Blast. She just wasn’t into it like I was so we sold it.

  14. This was a great article. Most women are not big enough or have enough experience to ride a large motorcycle. It takes years of experience. I have been riding since the age of 8 years old. I am 60 years old now. I started riding on a Yamaha 80. In a few years graduated to a 250 Yamaha. As an adult my first Harley was a Low Rider then a Softail Deluxe. I now ride a Street Glide Special and love it! My husband and I both ride Street Glides!

  15. I learned to ride last year at the age of 59 in a STARS class. Everyone thought I was crazy. The article was good, but I would add that just choosing a bike to move up to can be fraught with danger. The dealer put me on too heavy and powerful bike for my level of experience, a Honda Valkyrie. He took me on a route that had a stop sign on an uphill. Even though my feet touched the ground, the bike rolled backward and I couldn’t hold it while I tried to leave from the stop. I felt like I could just let it roll back and crash or try to go forward and try to ride out of it. I ended up trying to accelerate to pull myself out of the backward roll and over accelerated, lost control and went through a fence. I didn’t have the experience to know what to do when presented with the situation. I faired better than the bike but that made me scared to try bigger bikes. I ended up with an Indian Scout which was low enough and light enough for me to hold up even on a hill. Even with a lot of power I feel comfortable and in control. I rode my 250 Honda Rebel for my first year and gained confidence with it. Start small and be careful when you decide to move up.I would also say that I don’t like to lead. I get a lot of advanced information from my husband by following and other women riders I’ve talked to feel the same. I think you should do what makes you most comfortable when you ride. Ride your own ride.

    1. Thanks for sharing your story Marlene. I’m surprised a dealer would put you on a Valkyrie as your first motorcycle. That is a large touring motorcycle, definitely not suited for a newly minted motorcyclist. Must not have been very bright salesperson. The Scout is an ideal choice or confident beginners. We reviewed the Scout here.As far as who should lead, you or your husband, our readers weighed in on this subject with mixed views. You can read that discussion here on WRN.

  16. This article is spot on. I decided to learn to ride before I met my husband. My son paid for my MSF course and took it with me. I met my sweetie during the weeks before I took the class. I had already purchased my first bike, a used 30 -year-old Virago 750 that ran well and just needed new tires and an oil change. My new sweetheart came down to see what I had gotten myself into, test rode the bike and proceeded to start riding me around on it as a passenger. We put about 2,000 miles on it 2-up in the four weeks I had to wait for my class.Once I had taken the class, Toby would pilot us off the mountain to some nice easy road, then have me get behind the controls and he would ride passenger while I piloted. I was shaky, and nervous and we fell over in slow motion more then once. He was patient and encouraging and endlessly supportive. Eventually we had two bikes, and we have logged more than 40,000 blissful miles together. I still lead. He prefers it that way. There is nothing that says “I love you” to your wife more then helping her learn to ride the right way if she desires it.

  17. I really want to thank you for this article; extremely informative, insightful and helpful. I needed to read it. Keep it up.

  18. Thanks for your insightful article. I started riding at age 4 on a 50cc Indian and yes, I did progress to bigger and bigger bikes including dirt bikes and road bikes. I have owned everything from Japanese multi-cylinder sportbikes to a couple of H-D’s. I currently commute from Santa Cruz to San Jose on a BMW K 1200 GT which is by far the favorite of all.I too had grand ideas of what my wife should start on when she decided she wanted to ride. Having enough “couple’s” experience I was able to back off and let her choose her first bike. A sweet low mileage 2008 Honda Nighthawk 250 made its way to our home after a marathon run to the Sacramento area (couldn’t find a clean one closer to home). She is 63 and has never ridden a motorcycle but got the bug after riding a scooter around Lake Tahoe while on vacation a few years back. She is now learning the basics by way of women’s support Web groups and YouTube videos. We make short runs up and down our street which is in the Santa Cruz Mountains and she practices in a large research facility parking lot. I follow behind running interference and let her set the pace while grinning from ear to ear. She is scheduled to take the MSF in September. The little Honda has become her “baby” right after me and our pooch Bella (maybe not in that order). She spends as much time as I surfing the Web for the “right” riding accessories etc. I may have created a monster but one I am very happy to ride with!

  19. This article is right on the money! Got interested in riding after I met my current boyfriend who owes a Honda VTX1800. Surprised him when I got my motorcycle permit and he immediately took me down to our local Honda shop where I will well-fitted with a little Suzuki Boulevard 650. Learned to ride everywhere on that little bike and have now stepped up to a Honda Shadow Spirit. He let me lead everywhere we went, was extremely patient with me and was a great teacher. Now we are quite the motorcycle riding pair! Getting ready to take my intermediate riders course and pass my tests to I have my full motorcycle endorsement. I am one happy rider!

  20. I took my MSF Basic Rider Course about a month ago. I own a Yamaha 650 V Star and can’t wait for the weather to break so I can put my training to work. I am a 51-year-old grandmother of two and have been a passenger for more than 30 years. I never really had the desire to ride untill my son joined the military and I took over the payment of his bike (the 650 V Star). I would sneak out to the garage and climb on and to see how it fit. My husband caught me one day and started encouraging me to take a riders course. Then my husband recently bought a new Harley and they offered me the Riders Edge course for free — how could I pass up the opportunity? I was the only female with five other guys in the class. My class was taught by two women and I really felt they were cheering me on every step. I out scored three of the five guys in my riders class and doing so really boosted my confidence. I would highly recommend a riders course for everyone, men and women.

  21. Great article, great thoughts, and completely on track. I’ve taken the BRC twice (passed it each time, but spent a period of time away from motorcycles and wanted a refresher) and I think that providing it as a gift is a tremendous idea — not just from husbands to their wives, but from parents to children or anyone to a loved one or friend. It’s a fantastic course.

  22. Great article! My ride is a Genuine Buddy 150 scooter, and I have more than 13,000 miles on her now since March 2008, mainly commuting to work. I couldn’t seem to learn to shift on the 98 Kawasaki KLR 250 that had a kickstart. Would kill it almost every time I tried, then I couldn’t start it. My husband could easily ride it, but, it was not for me. No such problems with my scooter.

  23. Thank you for spreading the word that women need to choose the bike they feel right on, not the one someone else says would be better for them. The only thing I would add, is that if a woman is riding only because of pressure from her husband/boyfriend and not because she wants it, she needs to say no. Forced riders are not safe riders, and it just isn’t worth the risk.

  24. Cliff,Your article was excellent and I can only hope every man with the best intentions would read it before they head out to buy their lady a motorcylce. I have been riding solo since 1988 and my very patient husband started me off with much smaller bikes to build up my skills. I eventually matured into a cruiser which was my all-time favorite and toured throughout our country and Canada. Just recently, I decided to scale down to a lighter bike that fits me better and is easier to ride. Having the right bike is the key to many years of riding enjoyment!

  25. A lot of good sense here. I taught MSF curriculum classes for 14 years, 1991 to 2004, here in Arizona. Early on there were fewer women in the classes. As time went on some classes were mostly women or all women. Standard procedure was to have students say why they were taking the class. In the beginning most of the gals indicated that they were taking the class because their husband or boyfriend wanted them to. Many of those students did poorly. Desire helps them learn. Many advised that their husband/boyfriend and already purchased a motorcycle for them, usually a Harley Sportster. Many of them had already been on the bike. Most had fallen. Those ladies were also frightened. Fright is a serious impediment to learning the skills required.A suggestion for men wanting their lady to ride, let her make that decision. Don’t choose her bike for her, let her make that decision. Don’t try to make her take the course or ride unless it’s her decision. Riding two-up with her as passenger can be just as enjoyable and much safer for her if she does not choose to have her own bike.My wife took the course. She was scheduled to be with other instructors but ended up in one of my classes. She completed the class and passed. She has her endorsement and the ability to ride. So far she is happy being my passenger. That also makes me happier.

  26. Love the article. Couldn’t agree any more. I started on a 250cc, graduated to a 450cc two years later, then a 1000cc a few years after that. Currently ride a Harley-Davidson 1550cc (my 6th bike) with 73,000 miles on it and have seen the country from north to south, east to west. Don’t let anyone force you into anything until you are ready. Always ride at your comfort level, even if that means meeting the rest of the group at the restaurant, dealership, club, whatever. There’s an awful lot of spectacular sights along the byways not to be missed.

  27. This man speaks the truth! I am very blessed to have a husband who did exactly as above. Motorcycle Safety Course first. If you still love it, now look for a bike. First choice: Kawasaki Vulcan 500. Perfect! The best advice he ever gave me was, “Show your bike who’s boss! You are driving it, not the other way around!” The only thing we did differently than in the story above is I learned better following him. It’s the same way I learned to downhill ski with him. As I followed his moves and body form skiing, I also follow his line through curves, listen to his bike as he shifts, watch and copy him weave around manhole covers, etc. He always pulls over if I get caught in traffic or at an intersection. No pressure. But that’s just us. We love riding together. It’s brought a whole other dimension to our marriage.

  28. When I read this I cracked up, and just had to call my husband over to read it. I was sure you were talking about us in the paragraph after the problem statement. He has been riding since he was a kid, and he did slowly graduate up to the monster of a Harley he has now. I am 46, and 5-feet-7, and in the low end of that weight range. He went out and bought me a Sportster 883 Hugger. I did take the Riders Edge Course, and got my license. So he thought I could just get on and hit the road right away. He didn’t get that I wanted to practice with this much larger bike first in parking lots and side roads, and work my way up to getting on the busier roads. He’s starting to understand now, and has let me learn at my own pace. Thank you so much for this article! It helps to reaffirm what I’ve been telling him all along.

  29. I love the story! I’d like to share. I was 44 years old when I realized I wanted to ride. My friends all take long rides through the countryside. My then boyfriend and I would be invited to share on the fun. There we were in our Toyota Corolla trailing along in the back of the pack…all the way to Canadian side Niagara Falls. That’s the day I decided I was getting my license. I wasn’t going to wait around to for my man to ride me around. In fact he did not even have his license either. So we learned together! Now he is my husband and we are riding partners. We bought our first bikes off craigslist (2006 Honda Shadow 600, he got the 750). We sold them and purchased our new bikes from the showroom together. What an experience! My advice is buy a smaller used bike, learn to ride. You’ll find out what you like and what you don’t. My turning point was a 7-day vacation to New Hampshire on my bike. Never rode so many hours on my bike in a short time. That was it. We were both in the market for better fitting bikes. We both decided on the V Star 2009. I got the 950. It is beautiful, very girly yet smooth, just the right height etc. My husband decided to go with the 1300. He is very tall and this is one of the bikes that accommodates tall riders. My point here is that there is a bike out there for everyone. You won’t know what you like or what you need until you try a smaller less powerful bike on your own. Choose wisely. It will pay off.

  30. My husband surprised my with a Iron 883 Sportster for our anniversary. That was a wrong choice for a first bike. I got the bike before my license. I did finally get my license. It was not easy! I am getting used to my bike now. But this is the best advice I have ever heard. I wish I would have listened to it. I begged my husband for that bike for over a year. I wish I would have started out a lot smaller.

  31. I’m not married and made the decisions on my own with no one to advise me. This is the way I did it. My first bike was a Honda Rebel 250 due to my financial situation, I rode it for a year but I outgrew it in six months. I’ll never forget the first time I got it up to 55 miles an hour for the first time and actually felt comfortable. My next bike was a Yamaha V Star 650 Classic — heavier and more power than the 250 and a dream to ride. Rode him to New Mexico and Florida on two solo trips. I now ride a Harley-Davidson Cross Bones — my dream bike (at least for now). I have no regrets on learning through transition.

  32. Very good article. But guys, once your wife has enough experience and states that she’s ready, let her ride behind you sometimes. If you always make her ride ahead she’ll think you have no confidence in her skills.

  33. Very good article! Sounds a bit like my story.A few years ago I decided I wanted to ride my own bike, so I took the classes, got my endorsement and I figured I was on my way to a good time. My husband – bless his heart – got so excited that I wanted to ride he went out and bought a cheap (and ugly) bike that I disliked from the minute it rolled off the trailer. It was to tall for m; it had major clutch issues and did I mention it was ugly? Long story short, I did manage to crash into our mailbox and break some stuff on the bike. I walked away with only a brused ego. I decided that maybe riding behind him was better for me. Two summers past and I got the itch again, this time I didn’t tell him that I was looking at bikes, I did my research, asked my girlfriends about their bikes and found mine at a local private seller. I saved my own money, so she is really “mine.” I am so happy on my 2004 650 V Star Custom! Husband is happy to see me riding again too. I will ride her all of next summer, then she will be traded off for my dream bike, a Harley-Davidson Deluxe!

  34. Dirt bikes are a great place to start. I still practice riding on a dirt bike.Dirt is softer than asphalt.

  35. What a terrific article! I had and still have a lot of pressure from people in my workplace to get a bigger bike but my husband is quite happy for me to continue on my 250 Honda Rebel.

  36. I loved this story, and am very lucky to have a husband and sons who are willing to let me make the decision on what I want to ride. It happened just the way you said it would. Come spring I can’t wait for a bigger bike!

  37. OMG! When I bought my 1200 Sportster my boyfriend kept going on and on about how I should have gotten a Softail. Then after about 6 months of so called riding he thought I should be flying like a bat out of hell to keep up with him. I finally told him, either I ride out front or we don’t ride together at all. He finally took his place in the back and it’s been much better! I feel much more confident when I’m making the decisions up front…no more surprises! Thanks for this article!

  38. Really enjoyed this article. Fully endorse everything that was mentioned. I was one of the lucky ones. My husband stepped back and let me decide what, where and how I was going to learn to ride. Must admit, sometimes he did have a few laughs at my expense, but not out any type of malice, more like, “Keep going honey, you’ll get there!” I love to ride because I have built up my experience and confidence. I don’t think I’ll ever outride my husband, but I sure as hell am going to try!

  39. Don’t automatically gravitate toward cruiser-style bikes! The front-end geometry of a cruiser makes them harder to steer well and require more shoulder muscle. Women biologically have less strength in that direction. Lower seat height may be comforting at a standstill, but a front end that wants to “flop over” at parking-lot speeds and “run wide” around fast corners can make any beginner, male or female, think “I’m no good at this. I quit!” I recommend the Ninja 250 to a lot of beginners. I haven’t yet tried the Hyosungs or Suzuki’s new-to-USA TU250 or Honda CBR250, but they look promising too.

  40. Awesome story and one that needs to be told over and over and over and over again. Thank you!

  41. High five to Cliff Brown! I took the Learn2ride endorsement class in Pensacola after flunking the class at PJC. The instructor at PJC had no patience for a 49-year-old woman who had never been on a bike before. When I spoke to Cliff about the terrible experience I had at PJC he assured me that Learn2ride would be nothing like PJC and he was correct. The classes were like night and day. They knew I was nervous and guided me through each exercise. It was wonderful and I would recommend Learn2ride to any woman that has decided to ride. I was the top third student in the class and the only woman. Knowing I am a single lady learn2ride even offered to help me find the perfect bike. I have had my bike, V Star 650 Custom, for five months now and have 5,000 miles under my belt. A huge thanks to Cliff and the wonderful instructors at Learn2ride!

  42. Cliff,Great article! If people could read this, they may save themselves a lot of time, money, and pain. Thanks! Love the pic of Dottie.

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