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GunsForBarbie 01-02-2011 03:55 PM

Noob needs support and advice

I am new here. I woke up one morning (a week ago) and deicided that I want to ride a bike. :)

I was reading this board (including all 43 pages of the "new rider" sticky) and searching for the information through the internet. Unfortunately, I don't have anybody in the family or friends who rides, so I am going to annoy you with my dumb noob questions.

Here it goes:

Our local bike riding season here is from April to September (winters are really cold and snowy).

I commute to work 30 miles each way over highway each day though rush hours and would like to ride a bike to work.

From all the advice here, I understood that Kawi Ninja 250R will make a great beginner bike. People here also suggested in different thread to look at Triumph Speedmaster as a first bike. I don't really have preferences as far as looks or a bike type are concerned.

My question is what bike will suit my purpose the best, namely, considering that I am 5'4" 130lb woman that will ride mostly over highway packed with semi's and during rush hours, 30 miles each way. The speed limit is 80km/hr and heavily reinforced by local cavalery, lol.

So, the bike needs to be comfortable to ride for relatively long periods, has to be perfect for highway as well as city streets, has to be relatively wind steady when all those semi's passing me and if I ride at highway speeds.
Another important thing - I am planning to learn to serve my bike myself to certain extent - oil change, cleaning, chain maintenance, tires etc. That means that I need a bike that will be noob-friendly for this purpose and that I don't need to disassemble half of the bike just for oil change. I also would like the bike to be relatively common for parts availablility.

Whew.... Are you still there, lol? Well, is bike like that exist? What would be your advice?

2. Question about clothes: I understand that safety first, fashion second as far as motocycle clothes are concerned. I was in the bike clothes store today and all the leather jackets are heavy with heavy padding and thick leather. Is this how the motocycle jacket has to be? I wonder if the temperature outside is 35 degrees C, it probably will be too hot to ride in the jacket like this? Are there any alternatives to be protected and yet comfortable as far as motocycle jacket and pants are go?

Thank you for your patience.

I hope to learn as much as I can. Thank you. :)

Dr_Sprocket 01-02-2011 05:15 PM

The Ninjette (Ninja 250) is quite capable of travelling those speeds. It does need to be revved quite a bit to pass or accelerate at highway speeds. Another option might be the Ninja 650R. Depending on your leg length, you might have to stretch to reach the ground. Sit on 'em and check 'em out!

GunsForBarbie 01-02-2011 05:35 PM


Originally Posted by Dr_Sprocket (Post 254024)
The Ninjette (Ninja 250) is quite capable of travelling those speeds. It does need to be revved quite a bit to pass or accelerate at highway speeds. Another option might be the Ninja 650R. Depending on your leg length, you might have to stretch to reach the ground. Sit on 'em and check 'em out!

We have a huge motocycle show coming to the city on January 14-16 and I am going to sit on every single bike that is allowed there. My inseam length is 31" and 250R has a seat height of 30.5" as per manf specs. I hope I will be able to reach the ground.

Did you ride it before on the highway? How it is against the wind? If you ride for 40 minutes or so, how comfortable is it? I still need to work after I arrive, lol!

Do you think I will be able to handle 650R considering that I have zero experience riding bikes?

mugwump58 01-02-2011 07:51 PM

Among other things I have a KLX 250 SF that I sometimes commute on. That route includes the "slab" and the intersection of 2 interstates. The 250 is capable but requires defensive tactics, more so than a larger bike.

Invest some time on some county road maps. Look for an alternative route to the slab. You may find a "fun" way to get back and forth to work.

Morbo the Destroyer 01-03-2011 05:19 AM

Good for you for reading the New Rider sticky. Lots of good stuff there.

About the clothes, you don't have to wear leather to be protected. There are plenty of "textile" options that are abrasion resistant and have armor (pads). Also, for Summer, look into "mesh" gear that won't roast you alive. Gear is everything. Plan on a quality helmet, good boots, Kevlar or Aramid reinforced jeans, two jackets (or a jacket with a removable liner), gloves. $1,000; maybe less if you shop.

About the commute: save that for year or so from now. The last thing you need to do is get your exprience in heavy, rush-hour traffic. Motorcycling is demanding at first, and you need to be extremely comfortable on your bike before you're out there dodging text/cell/breakfast/newspaper distracted cage-drivers. When operating the bike is second nature and you ride as easily as you drive, then consider the heavy-traffic commute.

Highway riding, against the wind, comfort, are all factors that will be dictated by the type of bike you choose and how much time you spend on it. I suggest you look into "standard" motorcycles at the show. The Ninja 250 is fun, but it's not a comfortable bike with wind protection. There are plenty of other bikes that work for beginners, and, by adding a windshield (if it doesn't come with one), you'll be good for windy, wet, and cold days.

Good luck!

CookinBeans 01-03-2011 07:05 AM

Going with clothes first;
Naturally, the thicker the leather and more armor inside- the more protection. My first Gear jacket has zippers in front and back for ventilation, so it's good to around 85 degrees. Olypmia (for example) makes a 3 season layering program with pretty fair armor- but it costs a lot. The more bells and whistles- the more money.
For extra cold, I wear a ****ie/neck-up and coveralls. You might want to wear coveralls to protect your clothes for work, anyway.
Boots and gloves are important, too. don't srimp. You might want to keep a pair of shoes at work so you can change.

Smaller bikes are going to find cruising at 80mph a challenge, frankly.
Biles I like a lot in the small range are the Ninja, Suzuki TU250X, and Yamaha XT250 (a really fun bike on my bucket list)

Used, I like the Honda CM400 and the suzuki GS500- very user-friendly and relatively inexpensive. A lot of people on the Enfield forum seem to be total noobs (Royal Enfields are very easy to work on) but they sure as heck aren't going to cruise at anything over 65mph!)

As far as freeway riding goes, it's mostly the crowed road, noise, wind and speed that scares new folks. It's actually safer because everyone is going the same direction- no cross traffic. Still- probably better to hone your nerves first.

GunsForBarbie 01-03-2011 07:26 AM

Thank you guys so much for the advice! I really appreciate it.

I have a looooong way to go since I was (don't kick me) a HUGE bike hater and wasn't even in my scariest nightmares imagining myself riding a bike, let alone, trying to ride when I am awake, lol. Look at me now - I want to ride myself now, lol. Go figure.

I found a great motocycle school locally but they don't start noob courses up until April 15. So, I guess I have lots of time to do the research and stick around the forum to read all I can to get more education.

I am very excited about the upcoming show. I will try to take some pictures of the bikes I liked and post it here.

Thank you again and please keep those great posts with advice coming. :)

GunsForBarbie 01-03-2011 07:36 AM


Originally Posted by Morbo the Destroyer (Post 254030)
I suggest you look into "standard" motorcycles at the show.

Sorry to bother you, but could you please give some examples of "standard" motocycles? Does this mean a certain type - like cruser/touring or a certain model/make? Thank you. :)

trenttheuncatchable 01-03-2011 08:03 AM

The older Ninja 250 (2007 and before model) is a standard. It means you sit relatively upright, with your feet below you, and you don't have to lean forward or backward too much to reach the handlebars. The newer Ninja 250 (which is the one you'll see at the show) is a little more sporty. So you lean forward a little more on it, and your feet are a little farther back. On a cruiser, you normally lean back, and your feet are forward.

I owned a 2005 Ninja 250R and it was very comfortable for me, even on the highway. The only changes I made were a different windshield, better tires, and better brake pads.

80kph is only 50mph and the Ninja 250 will do that easily (it has a top speed of about twice that fast).

Easy Rider 2 01-03-2011 08:17 AM


Originally Posted by GunsForBarbie (Post 254022)
Whew.... Are you still there, lol? Well, is bike like that exist? What would be your advice?

No, such a bike does not exist.....for a new rider of small size, at least.

1) Brush up on your bicycle riding skills first......if it's been a while.
2) Take the MSF new riders course BEFORE you actually buy a bike.
3) You need AT LEAST 3 months of practice and street riding before you venture out on a "highway" (assuming that means Interstate or freeway) for more than a few minutes.

THEN......look for a late model used 250.......which will be your FIRST bike to be used for one or two seasons, maybe more, depending. Any of the recent 250's will handle the speeds you describe easily.

After the proper training and a years experience on a small, easy to handle bike THEN you can think about moving up to something bigger and faster.

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