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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Okay, first post here and I know, all logic points to the Street Twin being a better first bike...with no other reason than it’s less powerful.

I’m not new to riding (but the M2 I had here in Canada expired after 5 years...didn’t get a chance to get the full M). Other financials got in the way. But I haven’t owned a bike before. Driven my buddy’s GSX 600 a litttle bit but not a tonne of seat time.

Anyway, not getting any younger, 41 years old and fairly reasonable on the road (no accidents — in the car at least). 220 lbs. 5’ 11”. So I’m not a small guy. I have bike riding experience and I will have to attend the safety course (again) to get my full license back. I have quite a lot of experience with manual transmission in a car, so this shouldn’t be an issue on the bike (GT350R...so, experience with quite a bit of power ...car side though).

I was all set, mind made up on the Street Twin because well, it’s a great price and recommended as a first bike because it’s forgiving and confidence inspiring.

But then I got to thinking about all the pluses of the Speed Twin: better front brakes, better build quality, bigger engine (although I’m sure I won’t need that for a while), slightly larger bike (not as cramped (although I’m sure the Street Twin would be fine for my height).

I want to improve my skills, learn properly and don’t wanna buy a bike where I won’t be able to do this. Am I crazy for thinking about a Speed Twin as a first bike? I figure, throw that thing in RAIN MODE for a few month until I’m confident and relaxed and then unleash the remaining potential of the bike...

Let me know your thoughts, will the Speed Twin in rain mode still be too much bike for a beginner?

Again, I’m not 18 anymore so I’d like to ‘think’ I’m a bit more responsible and aware of the road and my surroundings than a fresh rider when their 18 with their first license. Learning the road AND how to ride a bike :)

Rob
 

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I started in my mid-40's with a T120, not quite the power of a Speed Twin but not a small bike either. The weight was a bit intimidating for the first couple of weeks riding around the neighborhood but that went away quickly. Larger guy myself, 6'2 and 220+ depending on the ice cream situation and I just thought the size and riding position of the T120 fit better than just about anything I sat on. Was prepared to get the T100 but I got a deal on a used T120 with 600 miles on it that was cheaper than the T100 so I went for it. Get what you want, you will grow into it and it sounds like you know your limits. JMHO.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
I started in my mid-40's with a T120, not quite the power of a Speed Twin but not a small bike either. The weight was a bit intimidating for the first couple of weeks riding around the neighborhood but that went away quickly. Larger guy myself, 6'2 and 220+ depending on the ice cream situation and I just thought the size and riding position of the T120 fit better than just about anything I sat on. Was prepared to get the T100 but I got a deal on a used T120 with 600 miles on it that was cheaper than the T100 so I went for it. Get what you want, you will grow into it and it sounds like you know your limits. JMHO.
Haha, ya the ice cream and French fries are always playing tricks.

Interesting you bring up the weight because the weight of the Speed Twin is 5 lbs less than the Street Twin! Not that anyone would notice that!

I’m not sure which bike feels better between the legs for a new rider but I would think they would be similar. Not sure where the weight falls on the 2 bikes.

R
 

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I would maybe choose based on the suspension, not the power. The Street Twin has plenty of power and lots down low. It's a hoot to ride. I thought about selling mine and getting either a Street Triple of Speed Twin; but instead, I decided to put some money into the suspension, because I really don't need any more power. I like to ride the bike hard-ish in the curves, and the suspension was the only thing that I thought I could actually improve and even it was pretty good already.
 

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I had a Speed Twin and also have a Mustang ('20 Bullitt though, not a GT350R) and I miss it but don't ride 1 bike enough much less 2 so 1 had to go. It has a ton of torque and can surprise you but only if you wring the throttle - be careful and you'll be fine.

I actually thought about getting a used Street Twin recently but have yet to ride one. I know the 2019+ ones have more power with 10 extra HP.

I will say it's nice to have both a toy car and a bike - both enjoyable in their own ways.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
I would maybe choose based on the suspension, not the power. The Street Twin has plenty of power and lots down low. It's a hoot to ride. I thought about selling mine and getting either a Street Triple of Speed Twin; but instead, I decided to put some money into the suspension, because I really don't need any more power. I like to ride the bike hard-ish in the curves, and the suspension was the only thing that I thought I could actually improve and even it was pretty good already.
hmm, that is a good point. I guess the speed twin would have slightly better suspension but I mean I’m sure your suspension upgrade won’t put you over the price of a speed twin.

like you, I’m sure the power and the whole package of the Street Twin will make me happy and the Speed T as well.

So, I agree I don’t feel I will need or use the power of the Speed for a while but more important to me is that I’ll be able to learn just as well on the Speed as I would on the Street. I.E. the Speed isn’t gonna be all jumpy and super sensitive with the throttle. I would think the clutch and throttle should be okay for me.

Hmmm
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
I had a Speed Twin and also have a Mustang ('20 Bullitt though, not a GT350R) and I miss it but don't ride 1 bike enough much less 2 so 1 had to go. It has a ton of torque and can surprise you but only if you wring the throttle - be careful and you'll be fine.

I actually thought about getting a used Street Twin recently but have yet to ride one. I know the 2019+ ones have more power with 10 extra HP.

I will say it's nice to have both a toy car and a bike - both enjoyable in their own ways.
Bullit is nice. I’ve always liked those special editions. They’re only around for a year too right?

Ya the torque I’m sure is much more with the 1200. With rain mode I’m sure it’ll make it a bit lazy :)
 

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Had a Street, have a Speed.

Street was awesome as a firstish bike (Had a buell blast for a bit before I got the Twin). Great low end torque that falls off a cliff around 5700rpm, or at least it used too. Couldn’t say with the new ones but I’d imagine they addressed that with the power upgrade. That said, its not in the Speeds league.

It terms if raw power the Speed absolutely destroys the Street. It’s just way more aggressive in sport mode and has way more to give that the Street - not that the extra power is really needed 90% of the time (even if I use it 90% of the time). If the Speed had been available when I got my Street I would have gotten it Instead. Plan on keeping it for a looooong time.

If I were in your place, I’d go with the Rain Mode plan. You’re old enough to be responsible and not ride beyond your limits, so you’ll have a bike that you can grow into. I know that I’ll limit what the bike can do far longer than it will limit what I can do.
 

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Get the Speed Twin. You won’t grow out of it as you gain more confidence in your riding and the Speed Twin has better brakes.
 
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being a bigger guy you might be best served by a T120. i had a base 2012 bonnie mag wheeler + being only 5-8 +160 lbs i could not get comfortable. short test rides dont reveal all as after half a hr the slightly rearset pegs were uncomfortable. i now have an preowned 18 T120 i found for a fair price, be sure before you put your $$$$ down! put a 41 tooth rear sprocket on it + no need to be always shifting the overgeared for mpgs torquey 1200 a great engine. never rode a speed twin but prolly more of a sport bike if thats what you want, ride as far as you can on both + decide.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Wow, I’m surprised. Thanks for the feedback from everyone. I was expecting everyone to be saying get the Street — Speed will be way too much. This makes me feel I’m not being too crazy. Haha.

In terms of the T120, I’m not sure due to the spoked wheels and the tube tires. I’d rather be able to fix a flat with a plug if something were to happen — maybe that’s not a good enough reason to not consider the T120?

With that said, if/when we’re allowed back in the dealership I’ll give the T120 and SpeedT a look, I have snowmobiles, jetski (yes toys take a lot of my money)...and I’ve been noticing that when I ride these machines, most of the time I tend to naturally tuck my feet back further than my knees. So SpeedT may not be so bad for me. But ya, definitely need to at least sit on them. Not sure they’re doing test drives up here right now (or in the near term).
 

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How does engine size affect insurance cost especially being a newer rider ?

I'm in B.C. and my Speed Twin cost more to insure than my Africa Twin, same coverage on both, because it's in the top insurance bracket where the AT falls in the middle bracket. Any bike will get you to the accident scene if you ride like an idiot.
 

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From your description, the speed will fit the bill.
You sound mature enough to handle the xtra power.
Tube tires were a concern for me, I ride alone on my weekend rides. 3 or 4 hours of being nowhere and everywhere. So, I sealed my spoked rims in Jan and bought a plug kit.
My t120 works well for me, I have some back issues and the riding position is the main concern.
Hopefully you'll get to try them out soon.
 

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Any bike is only going to go as fast as you make it and any bike can get you into trouble if you let it. If you want a speed twin then go for it. You're not going to be any safer on the street twin. Just use common sense. It'll be fine.
 

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better build quality
Really?
slightly larger bike (not as cramped
Really??
I'm pretty close to the same size as you (not sure I carry my weight in the same place) and I find the biggest drawback is the foot peg location on the Speed. I don't have a Street my buddy does and it seems a bit more relaxed.
Having said that I got the Speed and put T120 pegs on it. Go with your heart.
 

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I want to improve my skills, learn properly and don’t wanna buy a bike where I won’t be able to do this. Am I crazy for thinking about a Speed Twin as a first bike? I figure, throw that thing in RAIN MODE for a few month until I’m confident and relaxed and then unleash the remaining potential of the bike...

Let me know your thoughts, will the Speed Twin in rain mode still be too much bike for a beginner?

Again, I’m not 18 anymore so I’d like to ‘think’ I’m a bit more responsible and aware of the road and my surroundings than a fresh rider when their 18 with their first license. Learning the road AND how to ride a bike :)

Rob
Is that really what you tell yourself? You're going to keep it in rain mode? Come on now, you are only fooling yourself. You'll stick with rain mode for a week then never see it again.

Let me try to put things into a slightly different perspective for you. To figure out how fast a vehicle is, you should look at the vehicle's power output and weight. Of course, that's not the whole story, but a 650 hp, 3500 pound Corvette is going to be incredibly similar to a 650 hp, 3500 pound Porsche 911. Yea, one's a V-8 and the other is a 6 cylinder boxer, but they'll be comparable. The Street Twin has a weight to power ratio of 7.3 pounds per hp. The Speed is 4.4 pounds per hp. That's a big difference. The non-turbo charged V8 2021 Camaro has a ratio of 7.7. That's close to the Street Twin. The most powerful 2021 Corvette available (assuming it's also one of the lightest weight) has a ratio of 5.3. The Porsche 911 GT3 is 5.4. The Aston Martin DBS Superleggera is 5.6. That's still not close to the Speed Twin. You've got to set up to true supercars to even get close. You need 4,400 pounds and 1,000 hp to get to Speed Twin ratios.

The Honda Accord with the larger engine chimes in with a ratio of 13. Nobody would worry that an Accord isn't enough car for a 16 year old learning to drive and consider getting the turbocharged Corvette and leaving it in rain mode instead. Yet, that's pretty much what you are doing. Don't get me wrong, adding a 220 pound rider does change the power to weight ratios for those bikes more than for the cars, but even then you're looking at a turbo 4 cylinder Camaro vs V8 Corvette kind of numbers. Sure, you can learn with the 'Vette, but that 4 cylinder Camaro (or Accord) will be a better tool to learn with. You are far less likely to get in trouble with it, but it's still fast enough to keep up with traffic.

Motorcycles don't feel as fast as they are, so people often think they need way more motorcycle than they actually need. That's why people with experience typically suggest little bikes as starter bikes even though beginners often ask about starting with a 600. A car with 0-60 times of 3.5 seconds is a fast car! It's also a really slow bike. Heck, the Honda CBR650R does 0-60 in about 3.3 seconds and people often complain about how slow the 650 class of bikes is. Are you crazy for thinking about a Speed Twin as a first bike? Meh, it's as crazy as thinking about a Corvette for a first car. Would you recommend a Corvette to a kid learning to drive so that they don't get bored with it too soon? If not, why would you recommend it to yourself?
 

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Okay, I'll speak up with a very different view.

The best first bike is a used bike that fits you well, has been well maintained, and won't break your heart when you tip it over. My first bike was a 1980 CB650. This was in the mid 90s. Great in a lot of ways. I took a corner too fast, panicked, locked up the front brake and high sided. I was fine, the bike limped home with a dented fuel tank, ruined headlight, and bent handlebars. May have tweaked the frame a bit too.

Most new riders don't overachieve the way I did; tipovers in parking lots at walking speeds are much more common. But the point is, the process of learning to ride often involves some bike damage. It's much less painful to inflict that on a $2000 craigslist bike than an immaculate brand new gem.
 

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The suspension on the Speed Twin is pretty much the same garbage as in the Street Twin; both will need upgrades if you are closer or over 200lbs.

Weight on both bikes is about the same, with the Speed Twin being slightly lighter; but it's 4 pounds or so.

You get more power on the Speed Twin; the Street Twin will do the ton just fine; you will not notice that much difference at legal speeds. Not like you're going to speend a lot of time doing 100+ mph on a naked bike.

I wanted Street Twin, got Speed twin. Why? I just couldn't stand the single clock on the Street, if I could've got a Street Cup I would have gone that way, but the choice was only between Street and Speed twins and I got a discount on the Speed, which made it a no brainer.

That being said, I do think the Speed Twin can be a handfull, and I've been riding since I was a kid (over 30 years riding). It's one of those deceptively fast bikes as the engine doesn't have to be spinning too fast to be moving and it does have a lot of low end torque, a lot. So far it is the only bike I've had where traction control has saved my butt... And I wasn't being stupid, it just has so much torque down low that it has caught me off guard a couple times. I've never felt the need for TC on other bikes with much more power than the Speed Twin, but they made it up top, unlike the Speed Twin that will try two swap ends at parking lot speeds until the TC kicks in.
 
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