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Old 05-11-2011, 07:44 AM   #1
Jordosilver
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Default First Bike... Need some advice!

Hi there, new to this forum. I have just complete a motorcycle safety course and plan to purchase my first motorcycle and need some good advice. I'm sure this has been addressed in previous threads, but since this is an issue dealing directly with me, I thought I'd start my own new thread.

First, let me say that I'm not like an existing thread that I just read and think that I know everything and don't need safety equipment. When I ride, I will never ride without a helmet, I will always be wearing other safety equipment, jacket, gloves, etc. I'm in my late 30's, have a wife and two young children at home. There are too many important things in my life and I would never sacrifice my safety. In addition, I just purchased a life insurance policy... I would have had that with or without my desire to ride a motorcycle.

As a teenager, I rode motorcross bikes. Mostly 80cc and 125cc, but that was over 25 years ago. I was never competitive or anything, I just had my own bike and tooled around, mostly by myself, on trails and such. Also, I have never owned an automatic car, every car I have ever had has been stick shift.

I am ready to buy my first motorcycle. Originally, I was way into Harley's, but after a visit to a sport bike race, I realize that is more my fit. I really like the street fighter type of bike cuz I feel I'd get the best of both worlds. My absolute desire is either a Triumph Street Triple or a Ducati Monster 696. My concern is... Is this too much motorcycle? I see so many deferring opinions on this. Should I start with a Ninja 250 or a CBR 250 or something?

One of my buddies, who is a competitive racer, has gone with me to the stores, I'm just not sure I can take his advice. When we were at Ducati, he said the 696 was not enough bike, I would outgrow it quick, and should get the 796. I'm just not sure that is the right advice.

I have no plans to be a competitive racer, to drive it daily as a commuter, or anything like that. For me, its about riding on the weekend... time to myself or with friends... just getting away and enjoying the open road. I don't see myself as a hooligan, doing wheelies, speeding around, wearing tanktops and a baseball cap, etc. I know I would be a responsible rider.

I just look at those 250's and they do nothing for me, but my safety is very important and don't want to get in over my head. My cars have always been sports cars, with horsepower, etc. So, when I look at a Monster, and especially the Street Triple... I really get excited. I need to test drive both, but could really use some solid advice from a seasoned rider.

Thanks for reading this long winded post and providing your opinion!
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Old 05-11-2011, 08:07 AM   #2
trenttheuncatchable
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I know that you're raring to go, but do yourself a favor, and buy a used Ninja 250 or 500, and ride that for at least three to six months (a year is better). Then get that Monster or Street Triple.

And riding with friends is only a good thing if they're responsible riders and look out for your comfort and safety first. You need some decent seat time on a forgiving bike on the street.
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Old 05-11-2011, 08:57 AM   #3
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I completely agree with the previous poster ... Your first bike should a cheaper used bike that may not have a lot of power, but is very manageable and forgiving. Mine was a 1985 Yamaha Virago 500. Great bike and virtually maintenance free while I rode it. After about a year it started to feel small and underpowered; it was time to upgrade.

Despite your car experience, your brain has to learn how to react quickly while riding. There's a lot more going on during an emergency manuver on a bike than a car. You got one hand pulling/releasing the clutch, the other feathering the brake, one foot down shifting, the other braking all while you're checking mirrors and looking for an escape route. It's a lot to think about until you train yourself through experience and repetition.

Finally, "riding buddies" need to be choosen carefully in the beginning. They need to adjust how they ride to help you not feel pressured to go beyond your capabilities. Also, if they don't follow proper group riding ediquette not only will you learn bad habits, but they could force you into an accident!

To recap, I recommend starting a 250-750cc (depends on your weight a 160lb guy on a 250cc feels the same as a 260lb guy on a 750cc). Also, suggest you start with a cheaper used standard, i.e. Honda Shadow, Suzuki Intruder, etc. Once you feel confident and put at least 1k miles on (roughly 6-8 months), start looking for your ideal bike. You'll probably be able to sell the starter for what you paid, and with your new skills you'll be able to ride just about any style bike... Just take it slow at first.

There's lots of videos of guys driving their brand new bike off the dealer lot and immediately getting into an accident.

Best of luck and welcome to freedom!
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Old 05-11-2011, 06:57 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jordosilver View Post
I just look at those 250's and they do nothing for me, but my safety is very important and don't want to get in over my head.
Every new poster thinks he is different than all who have asked that question before him........but NONE really are.......and the advice in no different either.

Despite what your "friend" says......who has, no doubt forgotten what his first time on a bike felt like......or who is just not too bright.....your first bike should be:
1) small to keep you out of BIG trouble if you make a mistake
2) used and relatively inexpensive.....to keep you out of financial trouble if you make a mistake.

A used bike in good shape won't depreciate much, if any, in just a year.
During that year you can decide what you really want and how much you can afford. Then you can sell or trade it for something larger.

Your professed love of sport bikes and your claim to be extremely safety conscioius.......are pretty much at odds with each other.
Nobody "needs" a street bike larger than 750 CCs or so as they can break every speed limit in the US......with some to spare in most cases.

In my opinion, a guy in his 30's with kids needs to get that "need for speed" in serious check. Speed DOES kill. And for your kids, the money from life insurance would NOT replace their Dad.
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Old 05-11-2011, 09:33 PM   #5
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A rider who just *has* to go fast should do a track day. That is the correct venue for it, *not* the street.
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Old 05-12-2011, 07:13 AM   #6
Jordosilver
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Thanks for some of your input, its appreciated. Some of you have put words in my mouth. The big question was is 6-700cc's too much to start with. Perhaps it is, and I really appreciate the advice. I think its very wise to go used at first with a small bike, get some motorcycle legs for a few years, and then go from there. I never suggested my "need for speed" but thanks for putting words in my mouth, and the parenting advice. My interest in certain bikes is ultimately due to style, an expression of me, although I definitely understand and respect that the bikes I like have ability for speed, and are not laid back cruisers. Its interesting when I read reviews on motorcycle.com regarding bikes. I've recently looked at the Yamaha FZ6 and FZ6R and they talk about it like a beginner bike as well, even though its 600cc's. Its been helpful to hear from your average everyday rider, as opposed to the pros.
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Old 05-12-2011, 07:53 AM   #7
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There's a nice, low-mileage Concours 14 for sale today, right here on MO. Lots of power, comfort for long rides, and still sporty enough to enjoy in the canyons.

If you can beat 13 smokes and 2 days of reacharounds, the bike is yours!
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Old 05-17-2011, 10:43 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by The_AirHawk View Post
The only thing a motorcyclist "outgrows" is his/her waistline. Outgrowing any particular bike is the biggest goddam myth ever perpetuated. There is only the urge for more.
"Outgrowing" isn't always a physical response to a typical American lifestyle. Personally, I felt that, after my first year of riding, the bike was no longer capable of meeting my needs/desires, i.e. long rides @ highway speeds. That's how I outgrew my first bike.
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