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The Best Types of Motorcycles for Seniors - Quicken Loans Zing Blog

Spring is in the air and the baby boomers just want to ride! Aging baby boomers are riding motorcycles like crazy these days. And they’re getting into accidents like crazy, too. Slower reaction times and deteriorating equilibrium are two major causes of crashing when it comes to baby boomers. The National Highway Traffic Safety Association last did a study in 2007, and they found that “motorcyclists over 40 have seen the greatest increases in fatalities from 1997 to 2006.”

The majority of senior bikers aren’t “scooter trash,” criminals or the infamous “1%.” In fact, if you talk to the guys and gals making up the 50 or so motorcycles lined up outside my local Starbucks, many of them are retired professionals, like lawyers, dentists and accountants. Lots of brand-new tattoos and leather jackets in that crowd. Many boomers didn’t have the time or money for motorcycling in their youth. Now, with retirement pensions, savings and even reverse mortgages, many now have the money to be “reborn to be wild.”

Face it, not many seniors are as fit and strong as guys like Arnold Schwarzenegger or Hulk Hogan. Motorcycles can be very heavy. A new Harley Davidson Dyna Glide has a dry weight of 639 pounds. Drop that and try to lift it up without help! Not gonna happen unless you’re more like the Hulkster than most of us.

There are quite a few options that can make motorcycling a bit more adaptable to seniors. Let’s take a look.

Three Wheelers

With a three-wheel motorcycle, the chance of tipping over is greatly decreased. And because motorcycle manufacturers understand just how large the market is for senior bikers, many now offer three-wheel versions of their motorcycles, and/or have come up with surprising new three-wheel designs.

Can Am

Can Am makes this space age-looking bike, designed as a three wheeler with a very sophisticated suspension. Noteworthy is that two wheels are in the front with one in the back – opposite of traditional three-wheel designs.

Harley Davidson

The folks at Harley recognized the market for three-wheel conversion kits that folks were using for its iconic American motorcycles. So, the Harley Davidson Tri Glide Ultra was engineered from the ground up as a three wheeler. The Tri Glide Ultra has two wheels in the back and one in the front, like a traditional trike. Priced at over $32,000, the Tri Glide Ultra also offers a superior level of comfort and convenience for those long rides.

Sidecars

A motorcycle outfitted with a sidecar is a fun alternative to a traditional two-wheel motorcycle. You may have seen them in movies like “Where Eagles Dare,” but they are readily available and a ton more fun in person! A little tricky to ride at first, the sidecar makes tipping over at a stop pretty tough. And there’s plenty of room for luggage or groceries.

Ural-ly should try one

Russian manufacturer Ural offers a number of retro-styled motorcycles with sidecars. The Ural looks a lot like a BMW motorcycle because the Russians nicked the design from the Germans during World War II. The drive shaft and boxer engine are dead giveaways. Urals come in a number of different colors and styles, and are reasonably priced. Ural-ly should try one!

Scooters

Motor scooters have been around for ages. The Vespas and Lambrettas of Italy put that country on wheels when many Italians didn’t have the lire for a car. Scooters are great for seniors in that they’re not as heavy as standard motorcycles, and the center of gravity is much lower, so they are not prone to tip over easily. And you just can’t top that sexy Italian style. Be sure not to get one with too small of an engine, as getting in the way of moving traffic can be dangerous. Great for a ride through town, a Vespa is also a fantastic conversation starter!

Are you a senior who was born to be wild? Well, get on your bad motor scooter and ride. Do you ride already? Tell us why you love it. Got a recommendation for other seniors who want to hit the open road in open-air style? Tell us, we’d love to hear!

 

This Post Has 42 Comments

  1. I AM 75 STILL RIDING EVERY DAY IN HEAVY TRAFFIC IN TAMPA FL RIDE A 2020 HARLEY SPORT GLIDE 700 PDS AND A YAMAHA MT10 WHICH IS 1000 CC SPORT AND LOVE RIDING BOTH BIKES BUT STARTING TO WORRY THAT MAYBE I AM GETTING TO OLD TO RIDE IN THE HEAVY TRAFFIC WE HAVE HERE IN TAMPA BUT FEEL VERY DOWN ABOUT SELLING MY BELOVED BIKES

  2. Iam 80 and in uk been riding since 1955,have 7 bikes all classics except my 1989 1500 goldwing and my 650 Suzuki Burgman which I love heated seats grips,electric screen,and mirrors ,capable 110mph auto or manual,storage for 2 helmets,wife loves it to,gold wings great,done all 1000 mile days ,all over Europe trouble getting leg over now ,still reluctant to let it go ,bought new in 89 too many memories,
    Remember guys been there ,seen it,done it,you got nothing to prove now,
    Try a Burgman you will smile again 😊

  3. Started riding my buddies Honda 50, worked at a gas station after school and during the summer, saved up and bought a Honda 90. Next a Honda 305 Super Hawk that was being flat tracked was not stock! Pause for Vietnam. Next a Honda 125 then a Honda 250 then a Husky 450 desertmaster. Then a 650 suzuki. Joined the Patriot Guard bought a 1200 t Harley Sportster. These guys are GREAT. My present bike which I love a Harley Heritage with the 114 Milwaukee 8. Got that right before i turned 72. This bike will be going on some long road trips.

    1. I’m 77 (going on 78). The best bike for me is my Fat Boy. Why? 2 reasons:
      1. I have a 30″ inseam and I have to have a low riding position to really flatfoot the bike.
      2. It’s light enough that I have handle it with ease.
      I consider myself to be in my “late middle ages” But 2 years ago I was 2 inches taller and could press 250lbs. and I rode a Kaw ZX 1200.

      Those days are gone with the wind. But not me. I can still ride with ease as long as I have the right bike and don’t try to rub my knee on the pavement in corners. (THOSE DAYS ARE OVER) sniff, sniff.

      We all get old, like it or not. No one can stop the hands on their clock. So —-
      If your 65, 75, 85 and yes 95. Get the bike that fits you and go out and ride.

      Remember a trike is a lot better than a car.

      I’m not going to stop riding till i’m dead. Remember, a wheelchair is just an electric 4 wheeler!

  4. 63 and just bought my first sport bike, a Ninja 400. It’s certainly a change from my 99 BMW., but it’s so much lighter and fun. Low seat height helps, plenty of power to keep up with traffic, but no too much. There’s a learning curve but so far I like it.

  5. I’m 66 and ride two bikes: a 2012 Electra Glide (927lb) and a 2005 BMW LT (853lb). The BMW is more composed and has better manners, but the HD fits me better, so I ride it more often. Weight is not a big issue for me if I keep the weight over the wheels where it belongs. A heavy bike with a good suspension is a pleasure to ride, especially on a trip.

  6. I am 75 and been riding since i was 16. I just sold my honda shadow and stepped down to a reflex scooter which is a lot of fun. Easier to handle and a lot of fun.

  7. I have to confess, I’m getting the bug again too.
    Having owned a Z1b and an Aprilia Falco in my earlier days and at 65 in a few months I’m thinking of something a little more sensible.
    Do you think a BMW G650 GS is appropriate? I’m 6’1” and reasonably healthy though hips and knees prevent me from running for more than a few hundred metres before they start to get sore.

  8. I have loved riding since homemade mini bikes and surprising ny dad at 15 yrs old by saving enough to buy a honda sl 100 ,thento a 350,norton 650 engine on a hardtail chopper to a 1974 hd sportster,1979 FLH,first brand new bike off the showrm fl at at age 55 a 2013 FLHRC traded in with 55000 miles for my newest joy at age 59 and a half ,a2017 FLS.I go to the gym regularly,lift dumbells,run on the treadmill and do occasional yoga stretch in my living room.Ill see you in the wind.

  9. I am 75 and have been riding on and off since I was in my teens. About 4 years ago I sold my 700 lb plus Suzuki intruder and bought a HD Sportster 1200. I equipped it with bags and bars
    and now it weighs exactly 620 lb . I am not big or strong any more but handle the Sportster just fine. When I ride I am careful and focus on safely arriving home after the ride. I do not ride two up any more and avoid high traffic situations. Life is good!

  10. I’ve been riding a motorcycle, accident free since I was fourteen, I’m now 86 in
    excellent health and ride daily during the summer months. Over the years I’ve
    owned many different makes, British, German, American, Italian and Japanese,
    my current ride is a 2017 250 cc Yamaha street cruiser, I’ve ridden the above
    in their country of origin, also I’ve composed biking songs and had them recorded,
    written newspaper and magazine articles, and been a riding instructor, Not a bad
    background in biking hey?

    1. I am 75 yrs old and currently ride a Versys 650 and am looking for something a little larger, but i want everything, heated grips, windshield, cruise and no one seems to build one that is just a little bigger than a 650. I have to step all the way up to a fjr 1300 and I am not certain I can handle something that big.

      1. I’ve had a couple of Harleys and one C50 and a 170 scooter. The scooter was too much of a dip for me. I recently found The Honda Aero 750. There are no bells or whistles with these bikes, but they are just over 500 lbs and a very low saddle. I find it to have all the power I would ever want. The styling is much like the Fat Boy I had. It’s a very smooth operating bike and I feel confident riding it. I think it is the best for the 71 year old that I am. I didn’t start riding motorcycle until I turned 60.

      2. I’m 77 going on 78 and have an 1800 GW, a Valkyie, a K1200rs and a Harley Fatboy.

        The Wing is ok but you have to be careful with the weight when not moving. When moving it’s a pussycat.

        Valkyrie, Just fun. No problem with weight. Just fun.

        K1200RS. Sometime hard to flatfoot but a blast.

        Halrey Fatboy. THIS IS THE BIKE FOR SHORT, OLD PEOPLE. iT’S THE RIGHT WIEGHT, HEIGHTH AND IS VERY, VERY EASY TO HANDLE. AND, AT ALMOST 78, IT’S THE WOMEN WHO WANT MORE OF THE HARLEY AND YOU! (WINK, WINK)

        GET THE HARLEY.

  11. What is good for 65 yr old 6’2″guy? Must be comfey for passenger wife. Looking at Kawasaki, Yamaha and Honda (the wife is writing this).

  12. I am 64 years old but did not get my bike licence until I was 48. I started with a Yamaha SRX 250,then progressed to a Kawasaki 500 then a Kawasaki 650. As my confidence and experience grew,I bought a Yamaha 1000. This bike was a naked sports 4 cylinder rocket. My dream bike in retirement was going to be a Ducati but after riding various models,I realised they looked good but uncomfortable to ride.
    Finally one day I took a Yamaha MT09 for a test and was smitten. It’ s a great all round bike ,with power,comfort and looks.

  13. Great little site but really outdated. I agree with most of the writers, motor cycles are for the under 60 age group, UNLESS you really stay in shape. I was a rider for the first 30 some years and then family life said “No More”. Well, about three years ago, AGE 74, the bug again caught up with me. I had lost my wife three years earlier and wanted to try cycling again. The bicycle was good but not enough thrill. The Suzuki Burgman 400 was good, actually great for town and hwy. Speeds for two lane roads was adequate, but I wanted more. This year, 2017, the Harley Sportster 883 found a home in my garage. Now, I am a walker and exerciser, but the weight factor and top heaviness of the Harley is a big factor. Worse, as I found out recently, throwing the right leg over the seat and rear bag has caused a right hip concern. Nothing that needs surgery, but the 100+ mile rides are over and the bicycle is the best way to go. Fortunately, my mental and physical state is still good (some might question that statement for a 77 yr old buying a motorcycle), and the balance is great. It is time for me to remember the motorcycle riding and stick with the bicycle.

    1. Thanks for the advice and tips, Gary. Maybe you can put some Harley stuff on that bicycle. Glad you got to ride for so long.

  14. I do not think 3 wheel bikes are safe as when you want to see around a large truck or tractor your one wheel is past the center line of the road. Side cars are much better, as you can see around things much better. And you can take your dog with you, even if he is 116 lbs.
    If you want 2 wheels the Suzuki S 40 is great it is low and very light and still has all the power you need for the highway. I have a DR 650 and it is also light with lots of power and travel in the springs. How ever it is more difficult to get on and off, and a center stand is a must for easy chain maintenance. I am planing on getting the S 40 and maybe putting a sidecar on the DR 650. I have been riding for over 50 years, and had all sorts of bikes and find the DR a fun bike and took the S 40 out for a long test ride and fell in love with it, it was a blast to ride. If you are getting close to 70 yr you should give the S 40 a try.

  15. Hi.This is not a story about scooters or sidecars.I have been building and driving fast cars for over 40 years.I got my bike license over 25 year ago.I’m 67 now.My first bike was a Honda 850.I bought and sold it just to make a profit.My second bike was a 85 Yamaha Vmax.At the time it was the biggest baddest bike you could buy.I took a bike course and at 40 I was the oldest student.I ranked #2 in a class of 48 in the end.I rode that bike for 3 years and had a lot of fun.
    Today I am retired and doing ok.I decided I wanted a Harley Vrod as I love the looks.They turned out to be too expensive for my budget and my next choice was a Vmax that was half the price.I thought I would get on the bike and just ride away NP.Silly me.After not riding for 25 years my first ride was like my first ride way back when.I was very nervous and felt like I was starting all over again.I had trouble with simple things like stopping and putting my feet down.Coming out of turns froma stop was also a problem.I’m 5’9″ 265 #s.I’m not as strong as I was back then but I’m no lite weight by any means.The Vmax is a big heavy bike.680#s and it feels it.It also is a wide bike because of the large motor and frame.For the first week I just drove it around the block trying to get my legs back.I eventually got out in traffic and made it out to the country.I was still nervous and I really wasn’t having any fun.I don’t give up easy.The only part of this whole deal that I really enjoy is buying bike stuff and researching on the PC.My first time to the gas station was embarrassing.I pulled up to the pumps and lost my footing on a small curb and dropped the bike.No one offered to help and I bent over and picked that bike up.I have a bad back but I did it and no back problems after.I’ve put about 300 miles on the bike and even though I’m getting better I’m still nervous and really not having fun.If things don’t change soon I will be selling the bike.It won’t be that big a deal but I will be dissappointed.I still have my Hot Rod in the garage.:)
    Take care.(really) Ken

  16. I am 67 and started riding at 65. I didn’t have much choice, as I was living in northern Vietnam, wanted to see the countryside and visit the minority peoples living there, and motorbiking was the only way to do this. I have put 32,000 km on my very reliable Honda SH150. It was the biggest bike available in Vietnam, and the safest, as it has disc brakes front and back, a combined braking system (no ABS available), and is an automatic scooter. I have not enjoyed anything as much as motorized two-wheeling through these mountain valleys. But soon I will return to the USA, where I intend to buy a Kawasaki Versys 300cc bike and spend a year or more wandering around Mexico. An old guy must be ever aware that his reflexes and strength are not what they were, so he has to develop very safe habits. Think always of safety and never of rights, and you’re liable to get several years of great adventuring in before you have to hang it up. Bon voyage!

  17. At 63 years young the best 2 wheeled mode of transportation I’ve found is the Honda CN250 Scooter, also known as the Helix maxi-scooter. It’s low center of gravity, step-thru design, and extremely comfortable seating is a joy to ride. The digital dash is easy on the eyes and the simple twist-and-go drive train will get you easily up to 60 mph for occasional freeway riding. The large rear trunk and luggage rack will serve your purpose for many shopping errands. Built as model years 1987 thru 2007 (minus a few years), the Helix is still easy to find for sale and lots of parts are available. Investment can run between $1000 and $2500. It’s a bit of an ugly duckling but who cares when your behind the handle bars on a run ride! Buy one and keep it for the rest of your riding days.

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