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Because I'm 5 feet 4 inches, I found that finding a motorcycle that fit me off the sales floor was difficult. If you have enough money you can have some bikes fitted to your height, but it's not cheap. If you decide to go with an automatic bike this limits the bikes available to you even more.

If you have an automatic bike you also lose the ability to engine brake, when you let off your throttle the bike should slightly slow a bit if the correct gear is chosen.

But at the end of the day, this will be you on your bike. Ride what feels comfortable and right for you at this point in your riding experience.


Terri Camp
Newport News, VA
Wednesday, February 1, 2017
Editor Response
Hi Terri,
Thank you for sharing your experience and wisdom.

Regarding this portion of your comment, "If you have an automatic bike you also lose the ability to engine brake, when you let off your throttle the bike should slightly slow a bit if the correct gear is chosen."

In fact, automatic motorcycles will immediately slow down when the rider rolls off the throttle, which is similar to engine braking a manual motorcycle.

Thank you for allowing us the ability to explain this very important detail to WRN readers.
Tricia Szulewski, Assistant Editor
If you're bad at shifting (car or motorcycle) get an automatic! It takes that part of the stress out of motorcycling for a new rider. Try a dual-clutch. With a dual-clutch, you can start out in automatic and use manual (or sport mode) when you get more comfortable.

I ride a Honda Gold Wing, but my wife, who has been terrible with manual transmissions (car, truck, and motorcycle) since her teenage years, rides a Honda DN-01 dual-clutch. After owning two other bikes and one scooter, she finally says she's found her bike. She's confident, competent, and, most of all, happy. And, the DN-01 is shorter than many bikes and can keep up at highway speeds.

Unfortunately, the DN-01 is no longer manufactured. Look for a used one, or find a dual-clutch bike that fits you.

Karen Z.
OR
Thursday, January 19, 2017
Thank you all for the comments! This advice is amazing!

Jada
OH
Tuesday, January 17, 2017
I just got my license last September after taking and passing the BRC, at the age of 40. I have never driven a motorcycle and have tried manual transmission maybe 20 years ago and hated it. I was very nervous about learning the shifting on a motorcycle, but the course was amazing and really made a difference. The shifting was nothing like in a car.

A month later I bought my first bike, a Victory Octane. I rode around the neighborhood in first gear, getting used to the bike (it's sooo different than the Kawasaki Eliminators we used in the BRC). I practiced in parking lots and rather quickly moved into second gear. I actually got into third by accident, and it was fine. It's actually a lot of fun and quite easy switching gears.

As others have said, it's about what you are comfortable with. But automatic transmission is available on a lot fewer bikes than manual and it is more expensive. I'm 5 feet 5 inches and I felt the bikes I felt comfortable on was very limited. I could imagine at 5 feet it's a lot more limited, especially for a new rider.

Michelle
Long Island, NY
Wednesday, January 11, 2017
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