I am new to riding. In fact, I just passed my MSC last week. I need a bike to build my skills on. Ultimately, I want a bike that will serve me well off-road. I’m trying to decide between getting a smaller road bike, or just getting the one I ultimately want—a dual-purpose 700 - 800cc. Being so new, I would love ideas or suggestions. I’m 5 feet 8 inches and am 53 years young. What are the cons for me getting a larger bike out the gate? I looked at BMWs today, and they were steering me towards its smallest bike—I believe it was a 350, and very maneuverable for me. I’m pretty strong, just inexperienced.

Patagonia, AZ
Saturday, November 24, 2018
Editor Response
Congratulations on passing! Please take some time to read through our article Beginner's Guide: Choosing Your First Motorcycle here. It is filled with helpful information that will answer your questions and help determine what is best for you.

We reviewed BMWs G 310 GS here and agree it is an excellent motorcycle for beginners, so long as you have the inseam to hold it up at stops, which you do! We always recommend starting off with a smaller, lighter motorcycle while you develop your skills and trade up to a larger bike once you have mastered the first bike with confidence.
Tricia Szulewski, Associate Editor
This lady and I have the same bike path! I also had a Boulevard (M50), then a sport/standard (Ninja 650R), and now I have the BMW GS. I am only 5 feet 2 inches tall and my inseam is less than 30 inches.

This bike, while being shorter than the others in the GS family, is still my tallest bike. I have not felt the need yet to lower it or buy the comfort seat. I have taken all my bikes "off-roading" if you consider gravel roads "off-road" (I don't) and lots of other situations too. They made it through just fine, but they aren't designed for that. This bike is, but if you want to do really serious off-roading or adventure-riding with it be aware that the 700 has stock cast wheels and they can't take the same abuse as the spoked wheels that are on the rest of the GS family.

The engine in this bike is tried and true, the same one as what's on the 800 GS and the GT. I wanted this bike because I did not want another single cylinder bike. The 650 GS is a great size but no thumpers for me again, no thanks! I am a little disappointed that there are fewer options for aftermarket equipment for this bike when compared to the 800 and up, but there is still lots out there. This is the bike I wanted for years, and I'm very happy with it so far.

Greenbrier, TN
Wednesday, August 31, 2016
I have a 2009 F 650 GS. I have more than 30,000 New England miles on it. I am also 5 feet 6 inches and in my 50s. My husband has the big adventure BMW. The panniers allow me to always have rain gear on board as well as food, beverages, extra helmet, extra clothes and footwear. I love my BMW and can go anywhere with it.

I love "pavement ends" signs. Enjoy the road less traveled.

Susan Stanley
Haverhill, MA
Tuesday, August 30, 2016
I've had a similar journey as Michele, though she's got way more miles under her. I rode a bit when I was 20 on a Honda 350 (it was 1980) and a Triumph Tiger 650 (when it was working, something was backwards on it, I forget). Then, when I was 53, I took the MSF class, got myself a 250 Suzuki GS cruiser and put 1,200 miles on it in a year going nowhere. Then I moved up to a Honda Shadow Spirit 750. I love the look of the sleek cruiser, but even with the forward pegs, it isn't super comfortable for me for more than about 20 minutes. I only put about 800 miles on it, and at the end of last summer got a BMW 650 GS, the single cylinder thumper version of the bike Michele has.

It's a great deal, is tall enough for me (I'm 5 feet 9 inches and have a 33-inch inseam with boots), came with hard luggage, extra tall seat, and tall windshield. Sadly I have not put many miles on it. It's been a busy spring and summer, running ragged and hauling stuff, but this is the bike I will enjoy for some time to come. I'm still trying to sell that 750 though, it seems the market is flooded with them! Michele, if you ever get to Maine, look me up!

Gardiner, ME
Tuesday, August 30, 2016