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READER MOTORCYCLE REVIEW: 2008 Harley-Davidson Nightster 1200 & 1986 Honda Rebel

By Rachel Pike, Kansas City, Missouri

Rachel's height: 5 feet 3 inches
10/22/2008

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Rachel on her 2008 Nightster, which she says is just too heavy for her.
Rachel on her 2008 Nightster, which she says is just too heavy for her.

I own two motorcycles. The first one my husband and I purchased was a 2008 Harley-Davidson Nightster 1200. We bought this bike in May 2008 after I signed up to take the rider's safety course, which I completed and passed in June 2008. I had never ridden a bike before this except on the back with my husband.  

We put mini-apes and an engine guard on the Nightster. The seat height was great, as I am only 5-foot-3 and weigh about 105 pounds. It is a nice-looking bike, but the problem with the Nightster is the weight factor. I could hold it up standing still, but when it came to turns and hills, I would dump it.   

I finally talked my husband into buying me a Honda Rebel. It is a used bike—a 1986 model. It isn't the prettiest thing, but it fits. The 300-pound bike is perfect for my size. I am able to hold it up, and if I make any mistakes, I can easily correct myself, whereas the Nightster and I would have been on the pavement. I would like the Rebel to be louder and wish there was a cruiser bike out there like this one at around 600 to 700cc and weighing 300 to 400 pounds That would be perfect! I know I will soon outgrow the Rebel, as it is only 250cc. Now I have the dilemma of "what next?" I really want to ride a Harley, but I think we have decided to sell the Nightster next spring. It is just too much weight for me right now. 

Rachel on her Honda Rebel 250.
Rachel on her Honda Rebel 250.

In the meantime, I ride every chance I can get, especially with a 2-year-old and a 6-year-old and winter fast approaching. I wake up at the crack of dawn or go out after dinner at dusk and hop on my bike. My husband would tell me, "You'll know if it is for you." I never understood that until we got the Rebel. The bike and I have become "one," as I have heard people say. Now I understand.  

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