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  #1  
Old 06-11-2004, 03:18 AM
ned2683's Avatar
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Bike people.

Can some one teach me the basics of riding a motorcycle? i figured i want to get one after this car dies. despite knowing the danger of driving a motorcycle. it will probably be in quite a while, but i was just curious.

i want to know stuff like where the different controls are (clutch, brakes, ****ing. etc) how hard is it to drive compared to a manual car?
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  #2  
Old 06-11-2004, 04:27 AM
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I hesitate to say its easy, but there isnt alot to it. The keys to riding a motorcycle is dont get too big a bike to start with, dont do anything stupid, and know your limits.


I weigh 300lbs, and I started out on a 250 Virago. It moves me at 70mph uphill. Dont listen TO ANYONE who tells you that a 250 is too small. A 250 Ninja will take anyone under 300lbs over 100mph. You dont need some uber-supercharged-death-monger-from-Hell 5000, its the quickest way to kill yourself.

Me, I should have went to a class. But I cant afford it, and they are always full. I rode in a parking lot until I got used to it, and rode about 75miles practicing in deserted streets before I ventured forth into lightly crowded streets. Oh, watch out for loose dirt and gravel. Your car wont be affected, but you have about 1/4 the contact patch a car has, and its easier to lose grip.

Get some gear. Get a mesh jacket with padding, a DOT and SNELL approved helmet, gloves, and most recomend boots. I dont because I have to work in the things. People will tell you that you dont dress for the ride, you dress for the wreck. Its true. I take a risk these days because I dont wear my jacket anymore, and I dont wear boots. Its too damned hot, and I really dont feel like passing out on my bike.

Select a bike that you like. Take days to do it too. Feel out streetbikes, standard position bikes (like the Rebel 250), and the cruisers. Get only what you feel comfortable with, and dont listed to the asshats that tell you you will grow out of it in a month. If you havent ridden enough to know exactly how that bike will react to everything you do and at least 3000 miles, you arent ready to get rid of it and step into something bigger, which can take a bigger bite out of you if you screw up. REMEMBER, LITTLE BIKES CAN KILL YOU JUST AS WELL AS BIG ONES CAN.


Sorry to scare you, but that is the way it goes. Take everything I say with a grain of salt, I only have 450mi under my tires. Go to www.beginnerbikes.com and soak up a lot of information. That is what I did, and read alot. I remembered stuff I read on there that helped me avoid mistakes early. If I hadnt, I might have had a spill already like a friend of mine.
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  #3  
Old 06-11-2004, 04:34 AM
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Quote:
Originally posted by moparmike
I hesitate to say its easy, but there isnt alot to it. The keys to riding a motorcycle is dont get too big a bike to start with, dont do anything stupid, and know your limits.


I weigh 300lbs, and I started out on a 250 Virago. It moves me at 70mph uphill. Dont listen TO ANYONE who tells you that a 250 is too small. A 250 Ninja will take anyone under 300lbs over 100mph. You dont need some uber-supercharged-death-monger-from-Hell 5000, its the quickest way to kill yourself.

Me, I should have went to a class. But I cant afford it, and they are always full. I rode in a parking lot until I got used to it, and rode about 75miles practicing in deserted streets before I ventured forth into lightly crowded streets. Oh, watch out for loose dirt and gravel. Your car wont be affected, but you have about 1/4 the contact patch a car has, and its easier to lose grip.

Get some gear. Get a mesh jacket with padding, a DOT and SNELL approved helmet, gloves, and most recomend boots. I dont because I have to work in the things. People will tell you that you dont dress for the ride, you dress for the wreck. Its true. I take a risk these days because I dont wear my jacket anymore, and I dont wear boots. Its too damned hot, and I really dont feel like passing out on my bike.

Select a bike that you like. Take days to do it too. Feel out streetbikes, standard position bikes (like the Rebel 250), and the cruisers. Get only what you feel comfortable with, and dont listed to the asshats that tell you you will grow out of it in a month. If you havent ridden enough to know exactly how that bike will react to everything you do and at least 3000 miles, you arent ready to get rid of it and step into something bigger, which can take a bigger bite out of you if you screw up. REMEMBER, LITTLE BIKES CAN KILL YOU JUST AS WELL AS BIG ONES CAN.


Sorry to scare you, but that is the way it goes. Take everything I say with a grain of salt, I only have 450mi under my tires. Go to www.beginnerbikes.com and soak up a lot of information. That is what I did, and read alot. I remembered stuff I read on there that helped me avoid mistakes early. If I hadnt, I might have had a spill already like a friend of mine.
thanks for the info. i was looking into a 250 ninja as well. i figured i couldn't handle a hayabusa quite yet.

I have heard in some states that insurance is not required for bikes. i heard this is true in washington.

but the main reason i want one is because it is fun, good fuel economy, cheap (compared to a car), and easy parking space in campus. it takes me 45 minutes to get to class, but if i drive a bike i can pull up near those bike racks and park the motorcycle there.

i was seriously looking into taking a class. but the courses offered here are from a harley store and it was quite expensive. i am more into a sport bike type.

how is the insurance on your bike compared to the car?
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  #4  
Old 06-11-2004, 04:51 AM
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Well, I have a cruiser, no life policy with it (separate), no collision, but with comprehensive (covers theft).

Sport bikes are about 5 times as expensive to insure, especially if you are under 25.


My car is $1800 a year for full coverage (because its a benz, and I am 20), and the bike is $300 a year. Makes a difference.
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  #5  
Old 06-11-2004, 10:05 AM
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Here are two valuable resources.

Take the Motorcycle Safety Foundation Rider Course. It's a two day introductory course on how to ride a motorcycle. Partly classroom learning, but mostly riding instruction and skills exercises riding a small motorcycle on a range. Learn how to ride a bike correctly, the first time. Riders who complete this course have a very significantly lower incidence of accident, injury, and other bad stuff in the first few years of riding. Website is at http://www.msf-usa.org/

There's a good discussion forum at http://www.beginnerbikes.com Read through the posts there. They discuss everything from what constitutes a good starter motorcycle, appropriate protective clothing, riding situations and skills, to maintenance issues. It's a good board.

Lastly, let me emphasize the good advice already given, and add a bit of my own. Since you've never ridden, don't purchase too much bike. A 250 is fine. A used bike would be a plus, as you can expect to drop it a few times. Finally, and I cannot emphasize this too much, budget for appropriate protective gear and clothing. Your skin is too valuable to leave on the pavement. Plan to purchase a full face helmet, armored jacket, gloves, riding pants, and boots. I spent 75% of my budget on the motorcycle, 25% on gear. If you're not going to dress safely and appropriately, just stay home.

- JimY
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  #6  
Old 06-11-2004, 10:41 AM
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Get a dual purpose bike. You will have the opportunity to spend lots of safe (no cars around) time getting experience, and maybe even falling down experience (the fear of falling by itself is bad.)

Do a search for Harry Hurt and the Hurt report, and read it.
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  #7  
Old 06-11-2004, 11:04 AM
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It really is important to take the class, you'll learn so much more there than you will by reading on your own or talking to people. I had several years experience riding before I took the class, and was amazed how much I didn't know.

Very important--->remember that other drivers often just don't see you. I don't know how many times someone pulled out right in front of me when I was in plain view. Plan on them doing it.

Fender bender in a car = death or life in a wheelchair on a bike. Be careful.
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  #8  
Old 06-11-2004, 11:51 AM
Diesel Power
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I will also chime in on taking the MSF course. I purchased my Virago 920 prior to taking the course, and realized very quickly how much of a hazard I was to traffic. This hazard had nothing to do with the displacement of the engine either. The MSF course is $180 around where I live. Typicaly they are booked up pretty solid over the summer. However, be persistent, and if you have time, show up there in case of no shows. I prepaid, and was told the desired class dates I wanted were booked, but to show up anyway. Sure enough there were two no-shows, and I didn't have to wait several months to get in.

One exception I take to those stating that the course is expensive. How much is your life worth to you? I think $180 is chump change for the information passed on through that course. It made me a markedly better rider, got me a discount on my insurance (I'm paying ~$150 per year liability on two big bikes), and in my case waived the driving portion of the license requirement.

If you want to start with a small bike, then that's fine. However, I believe that you should look at whatever suits your desires. Just because it's a big bike, doesn't mean that you have to dip into that power. Remaining conservative on the throttle will do just fine. I've only been riding a couple of months, and have probably 600 or 700 miles under my belt, and I'm now riding an 84 Honda GL 1200 Goldwing with the Aspencade package. It's a big, heavy, and FAST bike that demands respect from the rider. I have no issues whatsoever controlling this bike, and feel that it's even more nimble than my Virago, which weighs almost half as much as the 'wing.

I would recommend to sit on several styles. I bought the Virago, only to find that the physical size of the bike is a bit too small. I sit in a hunched fashion on it, which resulted in alot of back pain. I don't have this problem on the 'wing, which is much larger physically, even not taking into account the fairings and trunks.
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  #9  
Old 06-11-2004, 11:57 AM
ThrillBilly
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MSF, MSF, MSF, MSF, MSF, MSF, MSF, MSF, MSF, MSF

oh, and did i say:

MSF


buy the BEST helmet you can POSSIBLY afford.
i would suggest a arai or shoei. its your HEAD d@mnit!
at minimum: helmet, jacket and gloves AT ALL TIMES.
and NEVER EVER EVER drink and ride!

the suzuki GS-500E is a PERFECT starter bike:
small, light, upright position, dependable, cheap to buy, maintain and insure.

oh, and just in case you missed it:

MSF
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  #10  
Old 06-11-2004, 12:16 PM
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I disagree with the comment "best helmet you can afford." A lot of the price is in the features and durability, which don't affect safety, and comfort, which does indirectly affect safety. Discomfort causes fatigue which causes accidents. Helmets have also been described as "couches for the head."
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  #11  
Old 06-11-2004, 12:50 PM
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[QUOTE]Originally posted by moparmike
[
I weigh 300lbs, and I started out on a 250 Virago.

what ever road bike you get, make sure that it weighs at least
twice your weight. if your body, sitting high becomes the center of
gravity you are in trouble.

don
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  #12  
Old 06-11-2004, 01:03 PM
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[QUOTE]Originally posted by notlostmaybe
Quote:
Originally posted by moparmike
[ what ever road bike you get, make sure that it weighs at least
twice your weight. if your body, sitting high becomes the center of
gravity you are in trouble.
don
As a long time rider, that makes no sense at all. I've ridden tens of thousands of miles on bikes well under twice my weight and never noticed the effect above parking lot speeds; the gyroscopic effect of the wheels minimizes weight distribution at most speeds. If this was an issue, 150-200 lb. male riders on 25 pound bicycles would be losing control up and down the streets of America on a daily basis.

Last edited by PC Dave; 06-11-2004 at 01:38 PM.
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  #13  
Old 06-11-2004, 06:43 PM
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Quote:
Originally posted by PC Dave
As a long time rider, that makes no sense at all. I've ridden tens of thousands of miles on bikes well under twice my weight and never noticed the effect above parking lot speeds; the gyroscopic effect of the wheels minimizes weight distribution at most speeds. If this was an issue, 150-200 lb. male riders on 25 pound bicycles would be losing control up and down the streets of America on a daily basis.
It does make sense.. think about it. If your traveling on a motorcycle at highway speeds, the "system" (rider and bike) will have more weight at the top making it less stable due to center of gravity. If you're traveling at a much slower speed, you will probably not notice it... but at a faster speed, you definately will.

A bicycle does not typically travel fast, as in over 50mph, so you can't use that in comparison to a motorcycle that can easily travel at highway speeds and beyond.
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  #14  
Old 06-11-2004, 06:52 PM
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Maybe a physicist can step in on this one - in my experience, which is pretty extensive, it's just not true. Any two wheeled vehicle is more stable, whether in a straight line or a curve, the faster it goes. I think it's due to centrifugal force, but I haven't paid much attention to that sort of thing since grade school. Anybody who's ridden a Gold Wing, a BMW K1100LT or K1200LT (notoriously top-heavy bikes), or a big Harley, can tell you that they're potentially a ***** at parking lot speeds and easy to drop, but just fine once you're at speed. Not that I do it regularly, but I've ridden a couple of bikes for miles on end (in the Nevada desert, equipped with Throttlemeisters or Wrist Rests) without my hands on the bars on a long ride at freeway speeds to rest my wrists. I wouldn't dream of doing that at low speeds. Any other riders care to weigh in?
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  #15  
Old 06-11-2004, 07:23 PM
Diesel Power
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Sure, I'll weigh in, even though my riding experience is limited.

I have an 83 Yamaha Virago 920. It's a V twin cruiser that weighs in at about 450 pounds dry. I also own an 84 Honda Goldwing 1200 Aspencade. The Virago is heavier handling. The reason? Not me, it's the engine and tank full of fuel. I find it heavier at any speed, including parking lot speeds. I don't care for this bike, and intend to sell it once the carb/ignition problems are corrected.

My Goldwing, weighs in at about 765 pounds dry. I can lean it harder into turns, and actually move it around parking lots easier than the Virago. I had an idiot moment this morning, that resulted in me inadvertently cutting off the ignition without realizing it. I had pushed it halfway across the top level parking lot at work, before realizing what brain dead stunt I was pulling, and got it restarted. I imediately pulled a tight U turn and rode it to the bottom level lot where we prefer to park the motorcycles. The only time I really feel the weight of the bike is when I'm putting it on the center stand, or moving around by pushing it. The primary reason is that the engine is a boxer four, just like in a Porsche, or Subie, and the gas tank is also mounted low, beneath the seat. The bike is the heavier item, and is going to determine the overall center of gravity, not the rider, unless they are morbidly obese. The little 250cc Hondas that we rode around on the training course felt more top heavy than my 'wing. About the only thing it'll do better than the 'wing on is extremely tight maneouvering where your slipping the clutch to keep moving. The weight has some issue here, but the physical size of the bike makes the larger difference.
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