Motorcycle question!

Discussion in 'Community Discussion' started by abijnk, Jun 26, 2009.

  1. abijnk macrumors 68040


    Oct 15, 2007
    Los Angeles, CA
    Hey everybody! In July I will be taking the "Basic Riders Course" at my university to get my motorcycle license. I figure there are people on here who ride so I have two questions:

    1) Any general advice for someone just starting to learn?

    2) Any suggestions for a good "starter bike"?
  2. Boneoh macrumors 6502


    Feb 27, 2009
    So. Cal.
    You are starting off on the right foot by taking the course. Its the best way to start, in my opinion.

    For the first bike, look for used bike in the Cycle Trader. Don't waste your money on something new until you really, really know what you want.

    Avoid the temptation to buy a very large or very fast bike for a while. You need to get enough riding experience. Be careful out there, lots of drivers plain just don't see motorcycles, kind of blind to them. Stay sober, lots of guys have crashed by thinking they are indestructable after one too many beers.

    Ride within your limits and you will have tons of fun, the most fun you can have with your clothes on! :D
  3. yetanotherdave macrumors 68000


    Apr 27, 2007
    Bristol, England
    1) the bike will go where you're looking, turn your head in the direction you want to go and the bike will follow.
    buy the best safety gear you can afford. the more you can spend on your helmet the better.

    2) Don't buy a sports 600, or 100cc. Look at bikes like fazers, CB500's, ER5's, bandit's. They'll go plenty quick enough without putting you in a tree.
    I started on an EX500. Great started bike.
  4. Melrose Suspended


    Dec 12, 2007
    Harley Davidson Heritage Softtail Fatboy. Classic, timeless bikes.

    [​IMG] may be able to get by with less saddlebags, but the bike is awesome.
  5. adroit macrumors 6502


    Sep 28, 2005
    Victoria, BC
    Hi, and welcome to motorcycles. If you're anything like us, the sport/hobby will consume you. They are absolutely awsome! We've been riding for 2 and a half years now and love every minute of it.

    Good on you for taking the course. Safety first!

    As far as first bikes go, it depends on what style you want to ride. There are plenty of small cruisers our there. But if you're into sport bikes like we are, I absolutely can't say enough about the Kawasaki Ninja 250. Absolutely awesome bike. We started on a Ninja 250 and have owned it for more than 2 years now. It is very easy to ride, very responsive, nimble and extremely cheep to own and operate.

    Also, in my opinion a lot of people make the mistake of moving to a bigger bike too soon. We bought a Ducati S2R 800 after a year and a half of riding but we still ride the 250. When we're riding in the twisties, the Ducati can't loose the Ninja. Of course on the straights it's a different story. The Ninja 250 is a very capable bike and you can learn a lot from it. After two and a half years we are just now thinking of replacing it with a bigger sport bike.

    Other good starter bikes include the Suzuki SV650, GS500 and the Kawasaki Ninja 650R but I would personally stay away from the GS500. the Ninja 250 has roughly the same power but is lighter and in some jurisdictions is cheaper to insure. All of these bikes are technically classed as "sport touring" but they are still great fun to ride and very forgiving. Don't rule out the Ducati 695 and 696 or the Honda CBR F4i if you want to start with something more intermediate (the SV650 and Ninja 650R kind of fall into this category too). It also depends on your size, the Ducatis and the Ninja 250 tend to have lower seat heights for those who aren't too confident with their balance but you can learn to shift your weight around to get a toe down if you're short. On the other side, very tall people may find the Ninja 250 a bit small.

    A piece of advice, budget for gear. Between the two of us, we've sent as much on gear as we did on our first bike. That's mainly because we bought full racing leathers but even without that it will be a significant amount of money.

    You will need:
    -Good gloves, preferably leather.
    -Riding Jacket
    -Boots that provide ankle protection
    -Obviously a helmet. make sure it fits. I can't stress this enough. My first helmet felt fine in the store but after 30 minutes on the road I had to pull over to take it off because of the pain. Go to the store and try them on. Take your time and wear each for as long as is practical. If you feel any pressure points you're best to try another helmet. Those "hotspots" can become excruciating after a while.

    Good luck and ride safe!
  6. abijnk thread starter macrumors 68040


    Oct 15, 2007
    Los Angeles, CA
    Its beautiful alright, but is it good for a beginner? That's my biggest concern. I can get something pretty when I know what the heck I'm doing. :) From what I've seen Harleys start out at around 800ccs, and honestly that seems like a lot.
  7. adroit macrumors 6502


    Sep 28, 2005
    Victoria, BC
    If you want a cruiser, the Yamaha Virago 250 or 500 has the look without the big power or cost.
  8. maestrocasa macrumors regular

    Aug 16, 2007
    Somewhere on the Buffalo National River
    Good for you for taking the course. It will teach you a lot on how to handle the bike in emergency situations. (not exactly the thing you want to learn the hard way) I would recommend staying away from the sport bikes until you've got some riding time under your belt. Even a 250 sport bike is a ton of speed and power.

    If you are doing mostly street riding, I'd say look at a small cruiser. Honda used to make a Rebel 250 and it was a decent starting cruiser. even something like a Shadow 500 would be good.

    I live in a place with a good mix of dirt and pavement, and love my dual-sport (enduro) class bike. I have a Kawasaki KLR 650, and it's awesome. They also make a KLR 250 and there are other brands out there in the dual-sport class (yamaha, Honda, and KTM all make them)

    good luck, ride safe.
  9. NC MacGuy macrumors 603

    NC MacGuy

    Feb 9, 2005
    The good side of the grass.
    I wouldn't go over 750cc's (<450lb.) for a first bike. Something that sits upright with standard controls is what I strongly suggest for a new rider. Don't ride on the highways for a few months and stay out of rush hour traffic.

    Learn how to ride SLOW. It's a bit harder than you think and I've seen numerous people drop or nearly drop a slow moving bike (including myself.:rolleyes:)

    Be super defensive and never assume you are seen. Keep it in gear and ready to take off at stops always looking at your rear in the mirror.

    Have fun and always wear a helmet.:)
  10. adk macrumors 68000


    Nov 11, 2005
    Stuck in the middle with you
    Your first bike should be a 25 year old rust bucket that you pick up on craigslist for $800. That way when (not if, but when) you dump it you won't end up paying thousands to repair it.
  11. nobunaga209 macrumors 6502a


    Mar 13, 2009
    +1 for taking the course; I did as well and it's def saved my life once or twice. Anywho, I would suggest starting out with a 600 or 750 just to get your juices going...dunno too much about cruisers. Rocket's can be 'cruised' or...well, you know.
  12. dukebound85 macrumors P6


    Jul 17, 2005
    5045 feet above sea level
    look where you want to go, dont go fast in turns and watch out for gravel...even when doing slow manuevers

    my first bike was a 2008 ninja 250 and it was great

    i just bought a 2003 sv650s yesterday and boy can i tell a difference in power

    Go with the 250r or the 500r as a first imo
    i strongly advise against this.....

    for those interested, here was my first bike, and here is my new bike!

    oh yea, the 250r still is quck and can go on interstates. it runs a mid 14 sec quater mile so it will eat most things out there still

    i am always dissapointed when i get off my bike and into my car and find my car is so unresponsive to the throttle lol

    edit: always be sure to wear gear...i know im not in my first photo and i was stupid. better safe than sorry

    Attached Files:

  13. Queso macrumors G4

    Mar 4, 2006
    Learn how to use the back brake effectively from the beginning. So many new riders don't bother mastering it when learning, but it makes a huge difference in many situations.
  14. MacRy macrumors 601


    Apr 2, 2004
    I agree with most of what has been said here. Just to add to that - Ride like everyone is out to kill you. That sounds a little melodramatic but it is well worth remembering. Us motorcyclists are extremely vulnerable on the roads, especially these days where people in cars seem to be more interested in; talking on the phone, eating their lunch, doing their makeup, fiddling with their satnav, tuning in their radios, reading magazines or maps (saw two people only yesterday doing that on the M1 motorway here in England at 70mph+), or any number of other activities other than paying attention to the road. Be really careful at junctions. Make sure you do your lifesaver checks (don't know whether they are called the same in the states. Basically looking in your blind spot over your shoulder before completing maneuvers). On the flip side also ride responsibly and have consideration for other road users.

    Most of all, keep it shiny side up and have fun!

    For a first bike definitely avoid the temptation of getting something ridiculously quick like an R1 until you have a bit of experience under your belt. I would also suggest something that you won't be too unhappy about dropping in your first year either as there is a very small chance that you will. As to which one is right, well that depends on your taste in bikes. I'm not a fan of race replicas and i'm not too fussed about speed really so I looked at retro style nakeds. My first bike (only last year) was a Kawasaki Zephyr 550 which I loved. This was replaced four months ago by a Triumph Bonneville Scrambler 900 which I adore. My best buddy is the total opposite and loves speed and race reps so his first bike was an SV650. He now has a ZX6 and a ZX10....and a Superduke. He's just greedy I guess ;)

    Good luck on your course and future bike purchase. Welcome to the club.

    Here are a couple of pics of my babies :)

    Edit: And buy a decent lock. Having posted this earlier today my friend has told me that his ZX10 was stolen this morning from outside a hotel in Spain where he had ridden to go on a track day at the Assen Circuit. Along with both bikes of the friends he was with. What a bugger!

    Attached Files:

Share This Page