My mom rode the DR650!!!

She's never ridden a motorcycle before by herself, and has been a passenger less than maybe 5 times in her life. She's been asking me to teach her how to ride for a while now as she has a lot of free time and wants to learn to do something out of the ordinary for her: riding! Naturally, I was thrilled that she wanted to learn and gladly offered to help her.

I took her out on Saturday on the DR and we found a big parking lot where I could show here the basics. I gave her the basic instructions and let her get a feel for the gas and how the throttle affected the rpms. Then I pushed her around with the bike off so she could get a feel for the weight, brakes, and turning. She knows how to drive a stick so she understood the controls which was a plus. After some more run throughs and and instructions, I figured I'd let her go. She was all geared up and there were no cars in the huge lot so I figured the worst she could do was dump the bike. I pushed her to get her going so she wouldn't have to fumble with the clutch. She did great and rode around the lot for a few minutes. Then she got aimed at a small island in the lot and couldn't turn around it. I was yelling "CLUTCH! CLUTCH!!" but the bike just ended up bucking to a stop and she jumped off as it fell over. No injuries to her or the bike so that was good.

I figured she would be like "ok, I'm done no more riding for me" but to my surprise she wanted to try again! I told her I'd rather get something smaller for her to learn on because the DR is really a bit big for her. I'd like to get a little XL100 or something similar for her. I figure that way she can learn in the grass or a field but still be able to ride around our neighbor hood. If anyone is selling anything small like that, please let me know. I'm just glad that another rider may soon join the fray! ...and not only that, she thinks she'd like to get a DR once she gets better!!!

that is awesome bro!!! wish my mom would jump on the horse!!! get her a dr 350!!! or 200....

/\ That may be a possibility in the future. Right now, she's only looking to spend about $500 or so just to get something to get started. I'd like to see her get something lower to the ground, and somewhat light. Then maybe in a year or so when her skills develop, she can move up to something a little taller.

:thumbsup::confused::thumbsup:

Dude, everybody knows DR650's are for old ladies...

2006-06_Bick-ByWW2bridge.jpg

http://www.haefale.de/linda/index.html

:ride: Awesome!

I'd recommend the Motorcycle Safety Course offered by PAMSP in Pa.. Its free and if you pass the course you automatically get your motorcycle license. I took it after riding for 25 yrs. and learned a lot. Got to get your permit first though. Info at PAMSP.com . They usally use smaller bikes to train on.

/\ Thanks for the info. I wouldn't mind taking it myself. My permit is up in about a month so I'm going to jump on it.

Picked up a used Yamaha SR185 Exciter in 1999 for $300 and after tires and a boneyard exhaust my kids and 2 others learned on it. Still have it (in Michigan) and it still looks good, and if you're close I'd let it go for a song. I rode it last summer (5'9 and 225 lb) and except for up hills and a head wind it would do 55-60 mph without issue.

/\ Thanks for the offer! It's quite a drive, but I will keep it in mind.

/\ Thanks for the info. I wouldn't mind taking it myself. My permit is up in about a month so I'm going to jump on it.

+1 on the motorcycle safety course. They provided the bikes at the course I took. It should help your mom gain confidence. The license cost me $1 after the course.

If you bought something like a used DR200, you could easily get your money back out of it after she is done with it.

Well, I stopped at the dealer today to pick up some jets as well as took my mom to pick out a helmet and gloves. I was talking to the guy I usually work with and told him that I was looking for a cheapo starter bike for her. Lo and behold they had a mid 80s Nighthawk 550 sitting in the back that they had taken on trade last year.

We took a look at it and I even fired it up. The guy said it has sat for months and it fired up pretty quickly all things considered. I know the carbs need cleaned so I was surprised it even started. The bike has 43000 miles on it and they're asking $600 (could probably get it for $500 otd). My only concern was the tappity-tap of the valves. I'm thinking that they are tappet / rocker arm type valves but I'm not sure. If they are, I'm sure I could probably adjust them as thats what the DR is. Then again, it could just be noisy because the carbs need cleaned.

Another concern is the mileage. 43000 is a lot, but she's probably only going to ride the thing a few days per month so it might not be a big deal. She really liked the look of the bike and seemed pretty comfortable sitting on it. I think it would be nice to start but would also have sufficient power for the future. Also, I could tinker with it and kinda do a "restore" on it as time and money permit.

Does anyone have any input? Good idea / bad idea? Thanks!

Well, I stopped at the dealer today to pick up some jets as well as took my mom to pick out a helmet and gloves. I was talking to the guy I usually work with and told him that I was looking for a cheapo starter bike for her. Lo and behold they had a mid 80s Nighthawk 550 sitting in the back that they had taken on trade last year.

We took a look at it and I even fired it up. The guy said it has sat for months and it fired up pretty quickly all things considered. I know the carbs need cleaned so I was surprised it even started. The bike has 43000 miles on it and they're asking $600 (could probably get it for $500 otd). My only concern was the tappity-tap of the valves. I'm thinking that they are tappet / rocker arm type valves but I'm not sure. If they are, I'm sure I could probably adjust them as thats what the DR is. Then again, it could just be noisy because the carbs need cleaned.

Another concern is the mileage. 43000 is a lot, but she's probably only going to ride the thing a few days per month so it might not be a big deal. She really liked the look of the bike and seemed pretty comfortable sitting on it. I think it would be nice to start but would also have sufficient power for the future. Also, I could tinker with it and kinda do a "restore" on it as time and money permit.

Does anyone have any input? Good idea / bad idea? Thanks!

I think the Nighthawks were 650's. Double overhead cams with very short rockers. There is an adjuster so you don't need to remove cams or have special tools to compress valves to remove shims. 43,000 is not an issue as long as the bike was cared for. I put 92,000 on my CB550 and sold it to a buddy of mine. The last time I saw the bike it had 108,000 on it. The only engine part ever replaced were a couple of clutches over the years. Honda makes some pretty solid machines. Not sure if the Nighthawk series had any do-hickey type issues though. :thumbsup:

I think the Nighthawks were 650's. Double overhead cams with very short rockers. There is an adjuster so you don't need to remove cams or have special tools to compress valves to remove shims. 43,000 is not an issue as long as the bike was cared for. I put 92,000 on my CB550 and sold it to a buddy on mine. The last time I saw the bike it had 108,000 on it. The only engine part ever replaced were a couple of clutches over the years. Honda makes some pretty solid machines. Not sure if the Nighthawk series had any do-hickey type issues though. :thumbsup:

Thanks Rob. The bike actually is a 550 though, they only made it for a few years (83 and 84 I think). I read up on the bike a bit and from what I understand, it actually has auto-adjusting rockers. Here's a quote from a review on the bike (taken from Hondanighthawks.net):

It's also designed for low maintenance. The hydraulic lash adjuster automatically take up clearance between valve stems and rocker arms - meaning no valve adjustment is necessary

That sound like a good thing to me. I have a few other prospects that I'd like to check out but this one might just work out. I figure if I can get a carb cleaning and sync thrown in for the asking price, it would be a nice deal.

Well, I stopped at the dealer today to pick up some jets as well as took my mom to pick out a helmet and gloves. I was talking to the guy I usually work with and told him that I was looking for a cheapo starter bike for her. Lo and behold they had a mid 80s Nighthawk 550 sitting in the back that they had taken on trade last year.

We took a look at it and I even fired it up. The guy said it has sat for months and it fired up pretty quickly all things considered. I know the carbs need cleaned so I was surprised it even started. The bike has 43000 miles on it and they're asking $600 (could probably get it for $500 otd). My only concern was the tappity-tap of the valves. I'm thinking that they are tappet / rocker arm type valves but I'm not sure. If they are, I'm sure I could probably adjust them as thats what the DR is. Then again, it could just be noisy because the carbs need cleaned.

Another concern is the mileage. 43000 is a lot, but she's probably only going to ride the thing a few days per month so it might not be a big deal. She really liked the look of the bike and seemed pretty comfortable sitting on it. I think it would be nice to start but would also have sufficient power for the future. Also, I could tinker with it and kinda do a "restore" on it as time and money permit.

Does anyone have any input? Good idea / bad idea? Thanks!

I had a friend that had a 550 night hawk not sure what year it was but it was probably the mid 80s. That is the only one I have crossed paths with. It was shaft drive kind of a tear drop shaped tank the bike was awesome.It was black I always liked that bike he beat the snot out it and did not take care of it but it just kept going. He was one of those people that was hard on everything and took care of nothing. Like hold the front brake and smoke the back tire. Slip the clutch to pull wheelies back and forth in front of the house for hours. I told him he would tear the shaft drive apart but it held up unbelievably tough bike his was.

/\ Thanks, that's good to hear that they're durable. Then again, Honda's usually are.

I found out too that they only made the 550 for 1 year which was 1983. They were sold in Canada in 1984 too but nothing changed other than the paint as far as I know.

Thanks Rob. The bike actually is a 550 though, they only made it for a few years (83 and 84 I think). I read up on the bike a bit and from what I understand, it actually has auto-adjusting rockers. Here's a quote from a review on the bike (taken from Hondanighthawks.net):

That sound like a good thing to me. I have a few other prospects that I'd like to check out but this one might just work out. I figure if I can get a carb cleaning and sync thrown in for the asking price, it would be a nice deal.

Cool! Maybe the tappy sound is one of the auto lifters a bit on the worn side? My 550 had manual adjusters just like our DR's have.

Well, an update. I found an 81 Kawasaki 440LTD with 9200 miles on it locally. It runs but needs a battery and headlight bulb. I'm going to go take a look at it today. The guy said that he'll get it started for me via jump to so that I can hear and see that it runs ok. From the pics it looks like it might be a nice deal. My mom likes the looks of it too (aside from the sissy bar) so it might be the right one.

Another update. I ended up missing out on the bike above as there was one person ahead of me to look at it and they ended up getting it. I did get to see it and ride it and it rode nice enough. It was quite rough cosmetically though, lost of rust and aluminum corrosion. Not a big deal, but it would've taken some new metal to get it looking nice again.

Anyway, I'll be going to be picking this little beauty up on Saturday...

kaw1.jpg

kaw2.jpg

88 Kawasaki 454LTD with only 7200 miles. This thing is as cherry as they get! Not a scratch on the thing, no rust, properly maintained and recently serviced. I'm getting it for well under $1000 too!!! I rode it today and I think it will be great for my mother. It's a little "bigger" physically than I had hoped, but the weight is carried low and the seat is very low too. Very smooth and easy to ride too. Not intimidating in the least, but it's peppy enough for the freeway if she ever gets to that level. Man am I glad I waited for the right deal.

Nice score. Very low seat height, trouble-free belt drive. I think that engine was basically a Ninja 900 lopped in half. Perfect for learning and around town...

My brother has a nighthawk 550, and I love it. He had a bit of an issue with the Carb's leaking, but new gaskets were the solution. I just love the small 4 banger. It's a great and unique bike. Go get it if its still there. Trust me, you won't regret it.

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!


Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.


Sign In Now