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HDshane 11-01-2005 03:18 PM

Re: Question from a newbie
I think I am sold on the idea of getting a lesser bike to learn on before getting a Harley.

I saw that a lot of people suggested SV650. I think I will test drive the SV650 and the others mentioned here as well as the sportster. Then I will know better what I feel comfortable with. After the class of course.

If I really am going to drop the bike a few times, I probably do not want to drop the HD. The SV650 looks funky to me, just not into the whole sharp edges thing. So dropping it would not matter to me. :-)

12er 11-01-2005 04:43 PM

Re: Question from a newbie
In regards to #3, price a skin graft. Jeans are good for about 5mph, above that its your hide, muscle and bone. Draggin Jeans are reletively inexpensive and supposedly do a pretty decent job. Though they have no padding, thats the very least I would ride in for lower protection. Personally my Aerostich Roadcrafter goes everywhere I go. At $700+ plus people shy away, but again refer to my first sentance.

A buddy had a Tourmaster riding suit for about $400, about half the quality of a roadcrafter but infinitely better than jeans. It did the job when he went down in commuter traffic. His full face helmet saved his jaw when he faceplanted into the back bumper of the car in front of him. Other than a few bruises and a torn riding suit he faired very well.

When selecting your Helmet wear it around the store for at least a half an hour. You may look like a dork but you will know if there are any pressure points that will annoy. You want it snug but comfortable, remember that cheek pads will break in a little with wear. So shake your head around and see if there is any slop, if so its only going to get worse over time. You dont want any slop, nor do you want a headache. A little chipmunk pucker is ok, a lot isnt. You shouldnt have to spend a lot for a good Helmet, unless like me you have an Aria head.

You can spend anything you want on Gloves, get something that fits well and has a decent gauntlet (the part that covers your wrist). Wrist bones grind off quite well, so keep them covered. I have two pairs, one warm weather and one cold weather set.

As for boots anything that protects your ankles is a good thing. I ride in work boots only because I have a size 15 foot and the powers that be in Motorcycling dont believe us large folks exist. Otherwise I'd be in a nice set of touring boots pronto. Abrasion protection is better than no protection.

The general rule of thumb on gear is make sure its comfortable, otherwise you wont want to wear it. Your subject to the elements on a bike, hot or cold, wet or windy. Buy gear accordinly. Leather is the best abrasion resistance, but sucks in the heat, cold or wet. Synthetics are better for commuting year round. Pricing out all the gear I bought prior to my Aerostich, my stich is actually Cheap. Bad choices add up fast so evaluate critically. If you do choose to buy a stich, the one peice is a commuters dream, unless you commute in a ton of rain, then buy the two piece. Wet crotch can be embarassing when getting to work. Especially on a Sporty with no fairing to protect you from the wind and rain.

Lastly on bikes, stick your head out the window of your car at freeway speeds, thats what your whole body is going to be subjected to. Like stated in the sport touring comparo "Life behind the windshield is a good thing." Since your talking about commuting on your bike, wind protection should be way up on the list. So research a windshield for your sporty and add it into the price. Or like I suggested above a bike like the 650 Vstrom would make a better commuter. I rode dirt bikes from 5 to 20, then was a without a bike for a decade. I bought a KLR 650 as my 1st street bike, put 11,000 miles on it, then bought my K1200RS BMW dream bike. I recommend like others above to buy a beater first bike, sell it for pretty much what you paid for it a year later then buy whatever your heat desires. You may find that your heat desires something different after time in the saddle. I look forwards to waving at ya on the road.

eddyline 11-02-2005 03:34 AM

Re: Question from a newbie

If the bike doesn't look good to you, riding won't be as fun(goofy as that sounds). Get a used bike in the style you like.

A caveat: when you start learning how to lean the bike into turns, there are some bikes that just don't go that far over before parts start scraping. This girl I know washed out on a 250 Rebel by pivoting on the footpeg mount while taking a hairpin turn. Wouldn't have happened on a sportier bike.

There are lots of points to think about; welcome to a more complex commute!

SuperBill 11-02-2005 10:06 AM

Re: Question from a newbie
OK, HDShane, if you still need help deciding whether to buy a Harley or some other bike, just click the advertisement on the left side of this page under "Gear Shifting." You will note that only the Harley riders are afforded the opportunity to purchase a "Harley Chrome" SHIFTCUSH, while the rest of us must either suffer with a plain old black rubber SHIFTCUSH or live with the indignity of a permanently scuffed left toe.

And here’s another accessory aimed toward the Harley crowd that’s a real favorite here at MO. Arm Chaps! Think it’s a joke? Check ‘em out at .

Looks dumb on a Yamakawahonzuki, but somehow they look just right on the on a big FLPOS.

Choose wisely!

Gluge 11-02-2005 11:05 AM

Re: Question from a newbie
I'd like to note that while your correct it CAN save you money. I bought a EX500 for $1200, my first bike, insurance is only $280 a year and I'm only 24, and it's my first bike, so it should drop quite a bit after a few years. It has a 4.8 galon tank and they usualy get like 55 mpg. Yea, tires are more expensive than car tires, but the little EX500 is pretty easy on them compared to bigger bikes. It saves me time and gas money and probably insurance money.. so while you might be able to do a little better with a 5 speed geo-metro. The motorcycle can be a very cheap (And a much faster in LA) form of transportation.

m_t_yeo 11-02-2005 05:04 PM

Re: Advice I wish I had known a year ago ...
Man, you guys are a laugh. Every time I post, the same four to five know-it-alls chime in with the insults and sarcasm. Think I didn't notice that the only two that get consistent slagging from you jokers are myself and Sportbikebandit?

Keep it up. You are wonderful ambassadors for the hobby. Ostracize anyone you disagree with. Charming.

m_t_yeo 11-02-2005 05:12 PM

Re: Advice I wish I had known a year ago ...
I agree that they certainly know their stuff. Not too tolerant of other opinions, though, that group. A real bevy of open minds ...

BMW4VWW 11-03-2005 05:52 AM

Re: Advice I wish I had known a year ago ...
Well I'll give you some credit. Unlike Sportbikebandit you at least seem to understand sarcasm.

dsouthard 11-03-2005 03:04 PM

Re: Question from a newbie

Yeah, I could just walk around the corner to your office, but since I was the one that suggested you subscribe to MO in the first place**, I'll add my two cents here in addition to the 2000 words or so I've sent you in the last couple weeks :-)
  1. Everything everybody said is true. Call it different strokes, cognitive dissonance, or whatever, but everyone who owns a bike owns The Best Bike(tm). So ask 100 motorcyclists and you'll get 100 different answers, more if you ask them twice.
  2. Take your time think it over, get what you like/want/are comfortable with.
  3. Don't disregard the used market, see also
  4. Don't get caught in the HP myth. I've managed to commute into the lab on my wife's ninja 250 a few dozen times. Anything with more HP that that (which means "just about everything") has enough beans to get you here safely.
  5. You're new, you might drop it.
  6. Buy protective equipment, and wear it.
  7. Far and away the best site on the web for MSF safety reading is the Master Strategy Group Tips archive
  8. johnnyb is god
  9. Sean is faster than all of us
  10. Sportbikebandit is kpaul
  11. Everything everyone said, including what I said above, is wrong. Do what you want. It's your money and your butt skidding across the pavement if you fsck up. :-)
I think I said many of the same things in private, but there you go. Good luck.

**Ashley, please send the commission check to my work address.

jhof989620 11-04-2005 12:26 PM

Re: Question from a newbie
LOL.....I'm saving for that neon banana suit from Aerostitch as we one would want to be seen anywhere near me.....

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