Hey everyone. I wanted to return to this forum and provide an update and to also thank you all for answering all my questions and providing your insights and wisdom.
Since I last posted, my experience with bikes has increased. I mentioned I had only ridden a 500 vulcan for a little bit but mostly just riding my 250. Well, I had gone to the IMS (International Motorcycle Show) in Chicago and what a great event. I was able to test ride (on a about an 8 mile loop on open road, some with leaders in groups, some freely) the following bikes
- Rebel 500 (I really liked this style, also wish I could have ridden the 1100 but it was not available at my time slot)
- Vulcan 650 (I liked the ride, but did not like the way forward pegs. I learned later that this bike is cusomizable to size and likely could have had pegs moved inward some and it would have been a better experience)
- Scout Bobber - wow, what a solid, smooth ride! I liked it. When I got off the bike, I was shocked to learn it was a 1000cc (converted to us metric folks!)
- SV650 - I really liked the look of this bike. I liked how it rode but once I was going 50, I did NOT like it. Felt too light for that speed and I was only in 4th gear! (has 6!)
I then got home with newfound but timely confidence and more research was done. I started focusing on Shadows, either 750 or 1100s. I test rode 2 750's but then....long story short, I reached out to a guy in my subdivision who was selling a Sabre 1100 2007 earlier in the summer at our subdivision wide garage sale. I noticed the bike, but dismissed it as I had just gotten my license and Rebel and was in no way ready for an 1100. I didnt even talk to the guy, I just noticed it and saw it in good condition, took a pic of his for sale sign/and phone #. However, I contacted him as I still saw it in his driveway. Turns out he was still wanting to sell it but was busy with building a new house. After some talking, researching, talking more and test riding. I bought it for a really good price!
So I now have a Shadow Sabre 1100 and I am liking it. Its a good next bike for me. (its the bottom one in the pics below) The Rebel may have been small, but it was the right bike, for me, to start learning how to ride. I put over 1500 miles on it. The past few rides on my new Sabre, had me back in the parking lot so I can learn all the slow turn maneuvers, hard stops, turns, 90 turns from stop, emergency braking, braking on turns, straightening up on a turn to brake/stop, figure 8s, circles, weaves. Its a different bike and going through these beginner motions was great. I took it out for a longer ride on familiar routes. I am loving it.
Top is my Rebel, middle is the 750 Shadow I test rode, The bottom bike is my new, to me, Sabre.
Oh, and lastly, after all this, my neighbor friends let me ride their F6Bs around the block. I wouldn't even sit on their bike when I first got my license. They never offered it for me to ride that early (they are not a pressure type) but they did offer me to sit. I didn't, maybe once, but knew I needed to start on step 1 (rebel 250). Well yesterday I felt confident and they offered, so I rode it around the block. Wow, those are NICE bikes. Something to work towards, but for now, I will enjoy my 1100!
I also eventually sat on an ST1300 (at the dealership who I suspected never had it. They did, it was just not in the front showroom, they have all their ONLINE bikes in a back showroom! I wish I had time to take it out, but I sat on it, it felt beastly to me, but I am sure I could have ridden it for demo. However, my focus was laser focus on Shadows)
Thank you all for helping me along on this journey. I may not be on these boards much but I still have my Rebel and while I also bought that so my daughter can learn (she had taken the MSF with me and has her license, she just has shown no further interest, I will keep it a little longer in case she does, but if not, it will go up for sale for the next person to enjoy).