Join Date: Mar 2014
Location: Atlanta, GA, USA
I started riding with an MSF class and bought my first bike, an R1200R. Pulling out of the dealership on the new bike I had to have, I nearly went across the road and into a ditch. After two years and 10,000 miles I totaled the first bike and replaced it with a second R1200R which I totaled. I put 10,000 miles on the third R1200R before selling it and getting an R9t.
Let's assume you never have a wreck on any motorcycle. You're going to drop your first bike repeatedly. Being careful will not prevent this from happening. A lack of skills ensures it will happen. (Have valve cover guards installed before leaving the dealership.)
Despite that, you want the bike that caught your eye. You just don't want to go get a 500cc bike that you really don't want in the first place. I know the feeling.
The problem is that you are hurting yourself by choosing the larger bike as a first. By definition, large bikes are unwieldy and you're going to struggle to develop skills riding a bike you can't really control yet. With a smaller, lighter bike you'll quickly gain confidence, develop skills and be tossing the thing around much sooner.
Other people who have an R9t as a first bike will argue with me and say "I can control it. Not a problem." Ride 20,000 miles or 200,000 miles and get back to me. At that point you'll admit that you really couldn't manage the thing in the beginning. Yeah you could get from Point A to Point B without a major mishap most days but don't confuse that with being in control. With 25,000 miles over four or five years I consider myself a competent novice. I don't consider myself skilled.
If you can, get a used 250 or 500 for $3,000, ride it for six months and sell it for $3,000. I know you aren't in love with that $3,000 beater but it will be good for you.
To me the problem with an R9t as a first bike isn't that it has 110 horsepower but that it is a pretty large bike. A skilled rider has no problems riding it in a fluid fashion but for a new rider, it's really tough.
One bit of wisdom, if you do get an R9t as your first bike you will eventually wonder if it can do a wheelie, spin the rear tire in the corner under acceleration, etc. Let me assure you that it can do all of those things and if you are trying to learn how to do a wheelie on a 1200cc bike then you're as big a moron as I was.