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Old 07-14-2003, 02:19 AM   #1
speediva
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"My first bike" and related tales

We've all read them a BILLION TIMES if not MORE. If you want to know the stance of the riders on this board about first bikes, READ THE THREADS!!! That's what the search engine is for. We won't make exceptions because your mom's dad's uncle's monkey's cousin once let you ride his wotijaw23590235 in the backyard. If you want to ask something SPECIFIC about a bike like "what kinds of tires are best for different kinds of riding", or "is a corbin seat really worth the money" then please ask!!! We really do like to answer *intelligent* questions. Just PLEASE try to do a little bit of research of your own either by Google or by running a search in this forum first.



Thanks!!!


P.S. The Search of the motorcycle forum is of "First bike". Other searches can be done for other specifics if they are so needed.
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Old 05-08-2004, 08:09 PM   #2
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Exclamation Want to know what bike to start on **read this first**

OK I am writing this because the amount of people asking for advice about starting out riding is getting out of hand. The ability to search the forum or the internet seems to not exists for some of you, if you would take your time and browse through the forum you would see us answering YOUR EXACT same question a couple times before. So I will write this one last time and ask that it get stickied so new riders in the future will be able to use it for reference instead of asking us one more time what bike to start out on.

Learning to ride a motorcycle is not very hard, however there is much more to riding than simply operating the clutch, throttle, brakes, and balancing. The more time on the bike the more suited you are for over taking obstacles that will be thrown in your way constantly. Be it cars disregarding your existence on the road, hitting or missing debris, simple no-brainer mistakes, or just about any other unpredictable event that you come across, you will need to be very comfortable on your motorcycle to come out of it on two wheels and still breathing (although sometimes making sure your heart is still beating because it skipped a couple).

When choosing a bike, do not lock in on one certain motorcycle, you often overlook the opportunity to start off right. It is a very general consensus not to start out on a sportbike, whether it is 1liter+ or even just a new 600cc supersport. Since none of you asking for help have actually had any street bike experience, you cannot grasp the concept of how insanely fast these bikes are. Even regular cruiser bikes will be able to beat sportcars in the ľ mile. Imagine being able to beat your friends Camaro by 4 seconds, or your friends Vette by over 2. Now do this all without the stability or safety of 4 wheels and a roll cage, or wind protection. There is so much more you are exposed to on a bike, whether it is wind, weather, debris, or DAMAGE, the costs are far more costly. When you start out on such powerful motorcycles the forgiveness is non existent, in order to get through starting out on a sportbike you need to be nearly flawless in errors. So when you accidentally twist the gas too hard, or pop the clutch too early, the outcome is always worse than when you are on a tamer motorcycle.

We do not try to give you advice that would be harmful to you, we receive absolutely nothing out of us spending our time trying to help you, and the only gratification we RARELY receive is when people actually listen to us. I personally LOVE to answer any question other than ďwhich bikeÖĒ because I do not like giving my advice to people and it being disregarded. And you may say that you are saving money instead of buying an older bike first, well think about it, you buy and old bike, then you sell the old bike. Youíre out of pocket cost is very minimal, it gives you riding experience, if you drop the bike it costs MUCH MUCH MUCH less than dropping a new bike.

And every single bike is different, and you are usually very aware of this after going from one bike to the next. So donít plan on being able to hop directly on to a newer sportbike, even after an older one, and be able to drive like Valentino Rossi. It takes time to develop an understanding of the bike that you are straddling. So while it is possible to start out on a sportbike, it will never be a good idea because of the risk you put on yourself, other people around you, and your wallet.

So in the end, if you are coming here to ask which motorcycle you should start out on, ONLY ask if you are willing to accept the fact the bike you want to start out on is probably not going to be one we recommend. And please donít come back here after you go out and buy a new sportbike, even after we gave you recommendations about what to start on, just to be able to tell other people it is possible to start out on a sportbike, because it is not safe to start like that, and because it pisses people off wasting their time trying to help you. And then the next time you ask for help, guess what? Not going to get any from me and a couple others, and that is bad because I am very knowledgeable about motorcycles.
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Old 07-17-2004, 06:38 AM   #3
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A little more additive from other experts:

__________________________________________

Getting ANY 600cc for a first bike is a bad idea that may also be an expensive form of suicide. Even worse is getting a BRAND NEW 600cc bike. Here are a few reasons why.


1. Knowledge of Subject Matter

Right now your at the most basic beginners period, the very start of the learning curve (i.e. you arenít even aware of what is that you don't know). A personal example of this is when I started taking Shotokan Karate. On the first day of class I didnít even know what ďinside-blockĒ was, let alone how to do it with correct form. After I learned a bit, then I could start to realize how bad my form was and begin the process of improving it. I had to become AWARE that inside-blocks even existed before I could realize that I couldnít do them correctly. This is to say that it takes knowledge OF something to be able to understand how something works, functions, performs, etc. Having NO motorcycle experience, youíre not even aware of the power, mistakes, handling, shifting, turning dynamics etc. of any bike, let alone a sport bike. In the process of moving through the learning curve you begin to amass all this new informationÖyou also make a ton of mistakes.



2. The Learning Curve

When youíre learning to do something, you make mistakes. Without them the learning process is impossible. Making mistakes on a sport bike can be fatal. The thing newbies need to learn above anything else is smooth throttle control and proper speed & lean going into turns. On a 600cc bike, a mistake with throttle control or a turn can cost you your life before even knew what happened. A bike that is less forgiving of mistakes (ninja ex 250, 500, or an OLDER 600cc bike) is far safer to learn on.
Ask yourself this question; in which manner would you rather learn to walk on tightropes A) with a 4x4 board that is 2 feet off the ground B) with a wire that is 20 feet off the ground? Most sensible people would choose ďAĒ. The reason why is obvious. Unfortunally safety concerns with a first motorcycle arenít as apparent as they are in the example above. However, the wrong choice of what equipment to learn on can be just as deadlyÖregardless of how safe, careful, and level-headed you are.



3. Iíll be Safe, Responsible, And Level-Headed While Learning".

Sorry, but that excuse doesnít cut it. To be safe you also need SKILL (throttle control, speed, leaning, etc). Skill comes ONLY with experience. To gain that experience you must ride your bike in real traffic, with real cars, and real dangers. Before skills are developed which can foster safe riding, you need a bike that can mirror the level of safety that youíre currently at, not a cutting edge race bike that will throw you off the first chance it has.
Imagine someone saying, "I want to learn to juggle, but Iím going to start by learning with chainsaws. But donít worry, Iíll go slow, be careful, and stay level-headed while Iím learning". Like the tightrope example above, the answer here is isnít hard to see. Be careful all you want, go as slow as you want, be as cautious as you wantÖyour still juggling chainsaws! Without a foundation in place of HOW to juggle there is only a small level of safety you can aspire towards. As such, itís better to learn the skills of juggling with tennis balls first. The same holds true for learning to ride a motorcycle.



4. I Donít Want A Bike Iíll Outgrow'

Please. Did your Momma put you in size 9 shoes at age 2? Get with the program.


5. Cost (ďI donít want to waste money on a bike Iíll only have for a short period of timeĒ)

Smaller bikes have good resale value, because other (smart) people will want them as learner bikes. Youíll prolly be able to sell a used learner bike for as much as you paid for it.
If you drop your brand new bike that is fresh off the showroom floor while your learning (and you will), you've just broken a directional, perhaps a brake / clutch lever, cracked / scrapped the fairings ($300.00 each to replace), fucked up the bar ends, etc. It's better and cheaper to drop a shit bike that you donít care about than one you just spent 8k on. Most newbies drop bikes going under 20MPH, when the bike is at its most unstable periods. They often only donít result in physical injury, just a big dent in your pride andÖ.



6. EGO

Worried about looking like tool on a smaller bike? Well, you'll look even more like a tool with a brand new, but fucked-up, 2004 bike (or a new bike that you canít get out 1st gear without stalling 15 times). Any real rider would give you props for going about learning to ride the *correct* way (i.e. on a learner bike). If youíre stressed about impressing someone with a ďcoolĒ bike, or embarrassed about being on small bike then your not mature enough to handle the responsibility of a motorcycle. Try a moped. After you've grown up revisit the idea of a motorcycle.



6. "Donít ask advice if you don't want to hear the answers".

A common pattern:
1) Person X asks for advice on a 1st bike (wanting to hear certain answers)
2) Experienced riderís advice against a 600cc bike for a first ride (this isnít what Person X wanted to hear).
3) Person X thinks, "Others fuck up while learning, but that wont happen to me" (as if they are invincible, hold superpowers, have a Ďlevel headí, etc).
4) Experienced riders explain why a Ďlevel headí isnít enough.
5) Person X makes up excuses as to why veterans riders ďdonít understand why Iíd be able to handle a 600cc bike whole others canítĒ.
6) Person X as a total newbie, who couldn't even tell you what a shift pattern is, by some grace of God now understands what the best bike to buy is and totally disregards all the advice he asked for in the first place (which brings us right back to the very first point I made about knowledge).

Iím not trying to be harsh, Iím being real. Look all over the net. Youíll see person after person after person telling newbies NOT to get a 600cc bike. Why? Because we hate them? Because we don't want others to have cool bikes? No way. The more riders the better (assuming there not squids)! The reason people like me and countless others spend so much time writing huge rants on this subject is because we actually care about you. We don't want to see people get hurt. We don't want to see more people die in senseless accidents that could have been avoided with a little logic and patients. We WANT you to be around to ride that 600cc bike you desire so badly. However, we just want you to be able to ride it in a safe manner that isnít going to be a threat to yourself or others. I hope this was of some help, and feel free to email me with any questions.
Speaking of help, this is a great time to plug the MSF (Motorcycle Safety Foundation) course. The MSF course is a GREAT learning opportunity for new riders. The courses are offered all over the USA. I listed a link for their web page at the bottom of this post (or do a Goggle search and check you local RMV web page.). The MSF course assumes no prior knowledge of motorcycles and teaches the basics of how to ride a bike with out killing yourself (and NO, just because you passed the MSF course dose not mean your ready for an R6, GSX, CBR, etc). They provide motorcycles and helmets for the course. It is by far THE BEST way to start a motorcycle career that I hope will last you lifetime. Again I hope this information helped, and feel free to email me with any questions.

-chr|s sedition
Boston, MA
sedition@pipeline.com
www.msf-usa.org
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Old 07-19-2004, 10:31 AM   #4
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-an early 90's honda interceptor.

-a cbf600 (lots ppl i know seem to do good on them)

-kawasaki's smallest ninja, the 500 is pretty decent too.
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Old 08-12-2004, 06:05 PM   #5
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Don't know which starter bike is suited for you?

The key here is to sit on these bikes, determine how well it fits your body and posture, and take it for a test-drive.

So generally it's been adviced to try any one of these to start on:

1. Kawasaki Ninja 250/500
2. Suzuki SV650/SV650S
3. Honda VTR 250
4. Suzuki Katana 600
5. Suzuki GS500F
6. Early 90s F2/F3
7. Others...


Number 1 being the safest to learn on, but people have reservations against it. Since it looks it came straight out of the 80s, and it might not be comfortable for people of certain stature.

Number 2 is probably a lot more popular, generally appeals to the wider crowd. Good looks, naked (means if you drop it, you won't have any fairings to replace). And with the given power, it satisfies the rider for quite some time before moving onto inline 4s. Still have to be careful of the low-end power when you roll the throttle. The '03 of this bike is the best bet out of all the bikes listed IMO, since it comes with fuel injection (no carbs cleaning, hehe), and a neat looking digital speedo.

3. This is also a decent bike, after all, it's Honda. But much rarer to find one for sale, most are usually '89 or prior to 90s.

4. It's an inline 4, comfortable ride like a tourer. But a bit on the heavy side.

5. More or less the same as number 1. But people find number 1 bikes a bit more flickable, less heavy, more power, and more popular.

6. This is for all the people who want inline 4 600 power straight out of the box. The earlier 600s don't have nearly as much powers as today's do, but you can still mess up on it faster compared to the ones above. Basically, gently roll the throttle everytime during first several months of learning stage.

7. Is all the rest... '03-04 R6, Gixxer 600, ZX-6R, CBR-6RR, people who are bit impatient and fixated with looks, go straight for the race replicas. Also bigger balls and sometimes less brain matter is required.

The middle-ground between 6 and 7 are bikes such as '03-04 F4i and YZF600R. Power of today's inline 4, but much lenient on the rider in case he/she screws up.

So you have to see what's compatible to your criteria: price, how well the bike suits you, availability depending on your location, condition of the bike, deals you get, etc, etc.

Also if you use the search function and type in "First Bike," it will give tons of related topics.

Rider Safety 101:

http://www.automotiveforums.com/vbul...6&goto=1949346
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Old 10-02-2004, 04:44 AM   #6
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thank you for the advice im planing on getting a bike soon. have one questons what some of people ideas when it comes to harleys. im going to look into the bikes you listed thanks again.
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Old 10-17-2004, 11:15 AM   #7
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Re: Want to know what bike to start on **read this first**

Quote:
A bike that is less forgiving of mistakes (ninja ex 250, 500, or an OLDER 600cc bike) is far safer to learn on.
Erm... I think you mean "a bike that is more forgiving of mistakes..."

I learned to ride on a Nighthawk 450, 'coz that was the bike the guy who taught me to ride had. The bike I eventually bought was a non-running TwinStar. I tried to fix it, failed even with a Haynes manual (I still have the manual although I sold the bike almost two years ago), and got it fixed instead. It was an emotional choice instead of a rational one and I paid for it. The experience and the rides almost made it money well spent.

I rode for over two years and enjoyed most of it. I sold the bike because repairs got too expensive, because traffic started to scare me too much, and because I really needed a car. I have a car now. I want another bike, but my wallet reminds me that you can't always get what you want.

I probably did it the wrong way around. I should have learned on a TwinStar and then got a Nighthawk 450. But circumstances are what they are.
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Old 12-30-2004, 01:17 AM   #8
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Re: Want to know what bike to start on **read this first**

A friend of mine wanted to learn to ride so I thought that if she could learn to ride my quad (four wheeler) YAMAHA Warior, than I would teach her to ride on two wheels. My point is that if you have access to a four wheeler and you can learn to ride it well than half the battle is over. All the controls are the same, gas, clutch, gear shifter, front brake, and rear brake are in the same place and your on four wheels. Instinctively knowing where the five major components are is a must, then It will be much easier to learn to ride. And oh, my friend now rides her own bike and her own quad. Take it slow but consistant. Learn the basics first, I have seen people that did not and I was scared for them. Just a thought that worked.
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Old 12-30-2004, 05:08 PM   #9
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lol, half the battle isn't over, because you could learn those same controls using a stick shift car, and it still wouldn't giving you the feedback of riding two wheels. about as close to it as you can come are dirtbikes, 250 scooters, etc.
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Old 12-30-2004, 06:19 PM   #10
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Re: Want to know what bike to start on **read this first**

Well Z Fanatic, I see that we dont agree on the right way to teach a new rider, and thats ok. You teach your way and I'll teach mine. I know from practice that my way does work. And no, stick shift cars are not an alternative. I only tried to show that a quad has the same 5 fundamental controls as a bike, and it is much safer on to learn them. After riding a quad to learn the 5 basic conrols then move on to a small bike with the same 5 controls and then your on your way to a lifetime of safe riding.
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Old 12-30-2004, 11:50 PM   #11
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I don't mean to argue against your methods, but you missed the point there. Learning to drive a manual isn't an alternative method to learning how to ride a motorbike, but it's about as effective as the theory that learning how to control a manual ATV would ensure success on learning how to ride a bike. It's the experience on two wheels, balance, steering and counter steering, thottle control, and dodging traffic that makes the different. With dirtbikes, you learn most of it except dodging traffic and harnessing incredible speed. Any idiot can eventually learn to shift and twist the thottle, it takes no brain power. And nothing you learn from before will guarantee safe riding except saddle time.
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Old 12-31-2004, 10:15 AM   #12
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Re: Want to know what bike to start on **read this first**

Truce, my only point was that by learning to ride a quad first helps a NEW rider to learn where the 5 key controls are, instinctively. I have seen to many times that a new rider is overwelmed by it all, and when they need to use a control they have to think first. Which as you know relates to time and feet, reaction time. I feel that after they learn, instinctively, where the controls are then riding a bike is as easy as riding a bike. Granted, a very powerful bike, but all the same. Then secondly, I agree with you. Then they need saddle time to learn balance, speed, control, traffic, road hazards,etc. I agree that saddle time is the best way to gain proficentcy. TRUCE!!!
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Old 01-11-2005, 01:54 PM   #13
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My "learner" bike was a '97 F3 (CBR 600) and even it being on your list of newbie compatible bikes, I don't recommend it. My F3 was immensely fast and felt just as squirrelly as any new 600. And yes I laid it down within a week and spent over $800 on fairings, etc. The only real difference between an F3 and say a Gixxer 6 or an RR is a mere 10 pounds and 12-14 horsepower. People seem to stress "newness" of a bike as the sole component of it's performance and rideability. But even a lowly 1991 ZZR600 is a sub 400 pound (190 Kilo.?) 95 horsepower bikes, which translates to 0-60 (0-100K) times well sub 4 seconds, and top speeds (gearing change required) well over 150. I think the key to a new bike is something that sits a bit more upright, which lends itself to a more controllable nature (i.e., your inner ear is your center of gravity finder, the more centered a riding position, the more stable you are). Yes I agree, an EX500 would be a fairly good starter bike, but please, have some respect for the older 4's!
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Old 01-30-2005, 07:21 AM   #14
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Thanks

Just want to say thankyou for the very sound and practical advice.

I was about to Buy a Honda Steed 600 (because I love it )

After reading your advice and having not ridden a bike for 35 Years

I have decided to buy a secondhand Honda Phanthom 200

Everything You say makes perfect sense to me and the Steed can wait till I have more experience.

Thanks again

Michael B
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Old 02-11-2005, 05:32 AM   #15
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sorry if this aint the right place to ask

But I've been reading a lot of the posts, in this thread as well as others. And this is my question for you. Not so much as somebody to recommend a bike to me, more of their opionion. I rode dirt bikes for yrs. Rode upto 250's at around the age of 16. Since then I've rode a few different street bikes, one of which is my cousin's 04 gsxr1000. Granted it was just around the block, but I was apply to handle it fairly well. However I agree with time on a bike, mine isn't really ready to purchase one of those, but with my experience, my cousin, as well as my uncles, have been suggesting either an R6 or gsxr600. And before I went and did that, just thought I'd get a few more opionions. Keepin in mind this won't be the first 2 wheels I've been on, racing dirt bikes for some time and a bit of street bike experience. Sorry if this isn't the right spot to post it, and I swear, I did read what you guys suggested, and now am wondering if my choices should eblven include thoses. Thanks for the help.
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