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Discussion Starter #1
Hello! I am a new forum member as well as a new rider. I got my license back in April and have been riding a Vespa GTS250ie. Since I live in DC, the Vespa has been a great city ride- practical, efficient, and fun. But lately I have been wanting a bike with more power that I can use for commuting on the highway and weekend trips. I have always loved the classic retro looks of the Bonnie and Thruxton; especially the Thruxton. Are either of these bikes appropriate for a beginner? Also, I am 5'4" and 130lbs. Therefore the seat height and weight will be a factor. Can the seats on these two bikes be lowered? Thanks for your feedback!

Also, can you recommend a good dealer in the DC/MD/VA area?

Cheers!
 

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Hi Retro,

Mate having owned both a T100 and a Thrux I'd have to say that the Bonnie is probably a better choice for you. My main reason for suggesting the Bonnie is that I believe it's seat height is probably a little lower than the Thrux and that might suit your stature a bit better.

Both are pretty much identical in the performance side of things. Some (me included!) do find the Thrux riding position to be a bit of a chore after a few miles but others have no problem with it. Take both for a test ride and then make a decision.

Cheers mate,

Russ
 

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Dealer

You'll have to decide for yourself if the Bonnie or the Thruxton is better for you. The 2009 Bonneville SE has been lowered about an inch, according to the manufacturer's information, so that might be a factor. (I would think that the Bonneville is the same reduced height, but that's not what Triumph's web site says.)

Try talking to Kyle at Fredericktown Yamaha/Triumph in Frederick, MD. It's a small, friendly, family-run dealership. I bought my bike there in 2005 and feel I was treated fairly. They've also been very supportive on a couple of minor warranty issues. (I mostly do my own service.)
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Thanks for the feedback guys. I guess I'll have to throw a leg over both of them to get a feel for each one. My head says Bonneville, but my heart says Thruxton.:(
 

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Actually, I'm 5'4" and I ride a Thruxton. I can touch with both toes on the ground and flat foot with one.:D No disadvantage in using one foot. If your looking for a retro racer then the Thruxton is the bike. Other than that you'll have to put alot of accessories on the Bonnie to get it to the Thrux. Your choice though!;) Welcome and enjoy the forum it's a great place for information and good conversation.

Cheers

Jeff:motorbike2::motorbike2:
 

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Hi Retro:

I own a 07 Speedmaster and ride it to work alot. I have ridden both a Bonnie and a Thruxton. Both are great bikes but I would recommend a Bonnie over the Thrux just for shear ease of riding. The ergos on the Thrux will kill your wrists and back after about 20 minutes of riding. The Thruxton is a blast on back country roads where you can really wind it out but I would hate to be sitting on it in stop and go traffic. The Bonnie is an all around great bike so go for it.
:)
 

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:eek: Dear sweet tap-dancing Senators, please tell me you have taken the MSF safety class, wear full safety gear, and stay out of that DC traffic during rush hour (approx. 07:00 - 20:00)! The thought of being a new rider and braving DC traffic makes my blood run cold.

Okay, having gotten that out of my system, welcome to the forum!

How's the riding been so far? If you aren't fully convinced that you are ready to step up to a full-sized motorcycle, I'd highly recommend buying an old (but well-maintained, especially in terms of safety) beater to practice on for a while. You'll be shifting and braking somewhat differently, and it would be a real shame to spill that pretty new Buxton because your mind was in scooter gear.

Once you are sure you are ready, go for whichever bike pegs your thrill meter. You already have practicality covered. Go with your heart, even if it means a few workouts to deal with Thruxton ergonomics.
 

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Bonnie in either T100 or Thruxton trim is great. New riders are often overly sensitive to height, sometimes vets are as well. The critical factor is position while riding the bike. Many riders can only one foot their bikes, and you've landed a few times its fine.

If you do get a Thruxton and are having pain in your neck, back, arms or wrists, you aren't positioning correctly. The bike is fine for an all day ride. It obviously isn't the same as riding a huge BMW mini-van type bike, but it is just fine.

Which you end up getting is much about your tastes, and you'll be fine on either bike. Do you have a strong preference yet?
 

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What all the others said! Especially about safety - but I think you put it very well yourself with your statement "guess I'll have to throw a leg over each one" - that is definitely the truth! Just make sure not both bikes at the same time! :eek:

Go feel them out - the right bike will speak to you and be bathed in rays of sunlight and accompanied by a heavenly chorus when you find it - you'll know!

And (I have to get my little sneaky recruitment in while Lee and HiDesert aren't watching) don't forget to visit us in the twins forum http://www.triumphrat.net/twin-talk/
 

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+1 on Hidesert's advice. Going from a 250 Vespa to an 800+cc, full-size bike is quite a leap. Even if you have to borrow a friend's bike (a 500 cc would be nice) and get used to the way a full-size bike handles.

I would personally recommend the Bonnie, even a T100, but that's up to you and your taste. The main thing is not to ignore the difference in your Vespa and a Bonnie. After you have ridden a full-size bike for a while, test ride the Thrux and the Bonnie. Only then can you make the proper choice for yourself. Always remember ATGATT (All The Gear All The Time). Ride safe and may many thousands of fun miles lie before you.
 

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Quick Question Retro -

"....got my license back in April"

What did you get it taken away for??? (not judging, just curious)

+1 on the recommendation to take a safety rider course to help get used to machines that are larger than your VESPA. I'm 5'8" 148 lbs and I still found the Bonnie to be slightly top heavy at times. I would hate to see you get a new beautiful Bonnie/Thrux, dump it on a short turn, and bend/dent something expensive (frame, engine cover, tank, etc), not to mention possibly hurt yourself. (500lbs on your leg/ankle/foot makes dancing impossible!) There is a Harley Rider (Triumph didn't offer one....no comments) course offered here in OH that actually lasts 5 days long (3 nights of the week, and 2 full days of 'on the bike' training with a Buell Blast). Gave me a chance to get used to something a bit heavier under my control. Best part of the class is that it takes the place of your state required exam and your endorsement is given to you upon completion of the course.
Something like this might help you to make a decision on your confidence and comfort with what are two different style bikes with two different style riding positions (for the most part)
 

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I have an '07 Bonneville and an '07 Thruxton. As far as the seat height issue is concerned, I'm 5'8" and my wife is 5'7". She has done fine on the Bonneville but has not tried the Thruxton. I can flat foot both (but boots are helpful). My wife can as well but needs boots with a decent heal. Even though the Thruxton is slightly higher, I find that that it is actually easier to put my feet down flat on the Thruxton then the Bonneville. The reason is that the Bonneville's feet pegs are in the way and I have to spread my feet out a bit further. The Thruxton's seat is also a bit narrower at the front. The new 09 Bonneville's would probably be even better then either. Putting your leg over on both is the best thing you can do.

I also only got my license a year ago. The Bonneville was my first bike, and I'm glad that I didn't buy a cheaper bike first. I don't think that a smaller CC bike is that much safer. 250 Ninja's are extremely light and rev really high. And due to high gas prices in the recent past, there is a huge demand for small cc bikes causing them to be much more expensive.

I did lay the Thruxton down recently doing a rookie mistake. I was pulling off the road and when the bike went from concrete to dirt, the front lost traction and it went down. It is expensive to repair as I'm finding out.

As a learner myself, I think the upright seating position of the Bonneville is better. It is easier to see and be seen. It is less fatiguing which can cause your mind to drift. Because of my experience level, I also find the Bonneville easier to lean over in tight turns while going downhill.

If you decide to get a cheaper bike first, I would get a 70's Honda CB350 to 550. Then move up to a Bonneville. You can then turn the Honda into the cafe racer for short trips and keep the Bonneville set up for longer rides. Take care and Triumphs really are a great way to go.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
"....got my license back in April"
What did you get it taken away for??? (not judging, just curious)
What I meant was that I passed the MSF course and received my motorcycle license in April. Therefore, I've been riding for about 7 months.

I called a couple of dealers, but none of them have any 2009 models yet. Also, demo models seem to be hard to come by. None of the dealers had any Bonnies or Thruxtons for demo. That surprised me. I don't understand why bike dealers don't have demo models on hand like car dealers do. I'm sure its an economics issue, but do dealers really expect you to buy a bike without a test ride?:confused:
 

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Unfortunately the general answer is yes. They sometimes mumble about insurance, and they point you to demo trucks at rallies, but basically, it stinks. Some salesmen will hold the bike upright so you can pull both feet up and feel the riding position better than one one foot down method, but that's about as far as most dealers go.
 

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bigdunn501 said:
I also only got my license a year ago. The Bonneville was my first bike, and I'm glad that I didn't buy a cheaper bike first. I don't think that a smaller CC bike is that much safer.


…….


I did lay the Thruxton down recently doing a rookie mistake. I was pulling off the road and when the bike went from concrete to dirt, the front lost traction and it went down. It is expensive to repair as I'm finding out.
Bolded for emphasis. My suggestion to the OP is to buy a used EX500 Ninja, consummately cheaper than a brand new Triumph, similar riding position (to determine whether or not a standard is right for you, I wouldn’t recommend anything with clipons for a first bike), and after a year or two you can sell it for the same (if not more) amount of cash you bought it for.

I know, your heart won’t let you consider this, but seriously this would be the wise and prudent move. I would never advise anyone to purchase a brand new bike as their first street bike. Everyone drops their first bike, and it feels a lot better to drop a fifteen hundred dollar ninja 500 than it does to drop that 9 grand bonnie that you still owe on.
 

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There is truth to both sides of the debate about buying a cheaper bike first. Dropping a bike is expensive, but it didn't happen to me until after I had been riding for over a year. I had only purchased the used Thruxton two weeks before.

Starting off with the Bonneville rather than getting a cheaper or smaller cc bike first was right for me. The only way to improve your skills is to ride. If you buy a bike that doesn't make you happy, you may not ride enough. When I bought my bike, I wasn't close friends with anyone that had a motorcycle. Most people actively discouraged it. My best friend is an emergency room physician and is still angry. Because I didn't know many riders at first, I did almost all of my early riding alone. Buy the bike that you want, the one that fits the riding style and image of what you want, and then get out and ride as much as possible (and safely with gear).

A quick scan on craigslist in my local area shows a number of the used 500 ninjas for 4500 to 5500. (close to used prices on a decent bonneville). I just don't think that is a big enough savings to really justify buying a bike that doesn't make you happy. A really cheap bike may be unsound mechanically or is salvaged. I've also met a few people who purchased ninja 250's because they were told that was the thing to do and then turned around and sold them a short time later because they realized that they didn't want that style of bike or wanted more cc. Good luck and happy riding!
 

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Get the bike you want. Everybody doesn't drop their first bike although I have come real close on two occasions. My first bike was/is a Sprint. Have had it for 2 1/2 years.

A Bonnie is not top heavy(IMO). Try a Sprint for a few days if you want to ride a bike that is really top heavy.
 
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