mjmorrismd wrote:So Adrienne really wants to learn how to ride and is looking new/used bikes!
Do any of the ladies out there own an F800ST? If so, thoughts on that bike and others. She is 5'6 xxxlbs (um...was I supposed to disclose that?) and confidence is not her problem. She loves the look of the sport/touring bikes not the doual sports.
Having just been through this (see http://www.bmwbmw.org/forums/viewtopic.php?f=13&t=19353
) last week, I will add just a bit from that process. FWIW, the Missus took the BRC before she did any street riding and it helped tremendously. She had ridden her trainer around here, though only sparingly prior to MSF.
The best tool out there so "see" if a bike will fit is: http://cycle-ergo.com/
You put in height and select a bike. The site places a stick figure drawing on a picture of whatever bike you selected and shows degree of knee bend and forward lean angle. Both of those factors greatly affect comfort. You can compare different models in the same window (the website does tabs).
The Missus wanted to see the F800ST also. But, after riding the Ducati Monster on a test ride (same angle specs as the ST) she decided it was too far forward. She experienced what Sundevil2 did, pulling and strain on her lower back. FWIW, the ST and the Monster are both rather far leaning (about 33 degrees, though not as far as say a GSXR at 54 degrees).
So, use the site and browse models from different manufacturers (if you do not have brand bias). After that, go sit on the bikes and perhaps even test ride them. As someone pointed out, you have to have a Motorcycle Endorsement before you can test ride. Well, if you want to test ride at a dealer. Your friends and club members may not ask to see a license first...
If it is sport touring you are after, the bike we ended up with will do that quite well. You can add luggage and a tank bag to just about anything...
That is our recent experience.