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Old 06-29-2007, 10:11 AM   #1
lwatcdr
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Default Helping my wife get started.

I am not a woman rider so I hope this is okay to post.
My wife has told me she is "interested" in learning to ride but she is.
1. Very short. I mean 4'11" short.
2. A little scared to learn how to shift.
3. A little scared by the nuts on the road. "She is right to be scared about them".

She also is a little angry that when we looked at bikes she might right several shops suggested that I just get a bike she would like to a passenger on. While I have no problem with her riding on my bike with me I found it a little.. Well rude.
An MSF course would be a good start but how will I know they will do more than throw her on a bike? Some are better than others. So what would you all suggest?
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Old 06-29-2007, 10:22 AM   #2
Kenneth_Moore
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MSF is your best option for her to learn. If she's very intimidated by shifting, you might want to see if there is a Ridley Motorcycles dealer in your area. They make several "automatic" bikes, including some models designed for the vertically challenged.
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Old 06-29-2007, 10:33 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by lwatcdr View Post
I am not a woman rider so I hope this is okay to post.
My wife has told me she is "interested" in learning to ride but she is.
1. Very short. I mean 4'11" short.
2. A little scared to learn how to shift.
3. A little scared by the nuts on the road. "She is right to be scared about them".

She also is a little angry that when we looked at bikes she might right several shops suggested that I just get a bike she would like to a passenger on. While I have no problem with her riding on my bike with me I found it a little.. Well rude.
An MSF course would be a good start but how will I know they will do more than throw her on a bike? Some are better than others. So what would you all suggest?

A good start would be a Yamaha Virago250 or the Kawasaki EX250 (depending on taste/desired riding). Both should fit her height.

The Virago can get up to 70-80mph and a the EX250 can do, I think, a max speed of around 110mph. Both are light and small, so the intimidation factor is low.

Both bikes are cheap and I would definitely buy used. You can find both bikes for under 3 grand while still looking new.

The MSF class is a great start, but even than I would stick to parking lots and neighborhood roads for several days/weeks as the MSF class does not prepare you for traffic situations.

When I taught my wife to ride (5'4" 109lbs) I took here to a wide open and empty parking lot and went through a lot of the beginning drills that I learned at the AZ MSF class.

As far as dealing with saleholes, it is hit or miss. Especially when it comes to gear. It is a pain in the @ss to find good female gear that is in stock. Otherwise you get threatened with a restocking fee or an "it fits good enough" remark.

She didn't get much in the way of demeaning remarks, at least. I did have a kid (20-22yrs old) try to tell her the 600rr is the way to go as "it will take you longer to grow out of it"...which was followed by my wife giving the kid the "you're a retard stare".
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Old 06-29-2007, 10:38 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by Kenneth_Moore View Post
MSF is your best option for her to learn. If she's very intimidated by shifting, you might want to see if there is a Ridley Motorcycles dealer in your area. They make several "automatic" bikes, including some models designed for the vertically challenged.
-The shifting thing is easy to over come if you don't try to throw too much at her. The first day of learning I spent having her just getting familiar with the bike and taking away the intimidation factor.

If you brake it down into small chunks of info it comes together better.

We stayed in large parking lots for four straight weekends for about two to four hours at a time. I made sure to stay in her comfort zone until I saw she was ready for the next challenge.
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Old 06-29-2007, 10:46 AM   #5
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Agreed, she might even prefer learning to shift in the long run. Just tossing out options there. Those Ridleys are weird, the engine winds up to full RPM quickly and then the bike accelerates to catch up. Very strange feeling...
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Old 06-29-2007, 12:23 PM   #6
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She was looking at the Honda Rebel and the Little Buell 500 since they both have very low seats. She also used to work for Honda so she has a soft spot for them. Yea the sales rep made both of us made to be honest. I have been mostly depressed by the current batch of sales weenies I have seen. The EX250 might be fun also since I really want to try one also I hear they are a lot of fun. I was thinking of getting one as a track bike but EX500s and GSE500s are even cheaper!
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Old 06-29-2007, 04:21 PM   #7
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An MSF course would be a good start but how will I know they will do more than throw her on a bike? Some are better than others. So what would you all suggest?
Oh God, PLEASE go with the MSF!

I've been riding since I was five so I felt quite sure in teaching my wife how to handle a Honda VLX many years ago. (The VLX is a great starter bike BTW) We went to a secluded parking lot and I set about teaching her everything I know about riding a motorcycle. I walked her through clutch, brake and throttle. I instructed her on the fine points of turning a bike at low speeds. We spent about thirty minutes going through everything I remembered being shown and had learned about "learning" to ride. I then went about getting on her bike and performing a large oval in first gear and turning it over to her to do the same thing.

It was a beautiful site to see my helmeted and leathered babe launch herself on her VLX into that large oval pattern. Smooth clutch and throttle control followed by gorgeous slow speed turns. Nice and smooth braking coming up beside me to a stop. The grin she had was ear-to-ear. Right up to the point where she forgot to put her right foot down and promptly dropped her bike onto all the shiny bits.

Now yes, she did pick herself up and go on to learn much more that day but the worst thing she learned was that about eight hours later the little pain she had in her elbow had turned into a right arm she couldn't bend. Yes, she had fractured her elbow.

Her sports injury specialist (also a rider) kept her off her bike for the next three months. During that time she registered for the Beginner MSF course.

She went through the course and came out ready to practice the skills she'd learned. Within four months she'd been on a number of dinner rides with our club and had taken many three hundred plus mile trips with me. After one of those trips we got home and she said, "I need more power and better brakes."

The MSF Beginner course is the only way to go, lwatcdr. I would advise letting her go alone. I did. She doesn’t need you there as a distraction or an excuse. They are trained at how to teach beginners who don't bounce as well as we did as kids. I crashed so many times as a kid I thought it was part of learning. The problem with teaching like that is that my wife wasn't a preteen when she bounced! Grown-ups break.

Trust the course and your wife. If she’s got a rider trapped inside her then the MSF instructors will introduce her.
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Old 06-29-2007, 04:28 PM   #8
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The EX250 might be fun also since I really want to try one also I hear they are a lot of fun. I was thinking of getting one as a track bike but EX500s and GSE500s are even cheaper!
I test rode a used EX250 while Betty and I were shopping for her first bike and after I came back with an enormous smile on my face she started laughing. Once I got stopped she came up to me and said, "You look like an elephant humping a peanut!" NO I'm not that big of a guy and YES that was the last time I've ever ridden an EX250!
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Old 07-03-2007, 07:33 AM   #9
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The EX250 is a blast. I bought one a month ago and have ridden the hell out of it. Literally, 3K miles.

If you live where there are any twisty roads, you'll love this bike. Incredibly light weight, handles fantastic, not much power but that's part of the game.

It's a good starter bike too because of the weight, power and fairly neutral seating position.
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Old 07-03-2007, 10:34 AM   #10
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Simply put, have her take an MSF course and she'll discover if concerns 1-3 are warranted, and discover if she wants a motorcycle, a scooter, or nothing at all. Just depends.

My wife rides a Volusia 800 after learning on a Virago 250 (great little bike). I'm still amazed how many men AND women are shocked she rides and doesn't just sit on the back of my V-Strom. I though we were past all that bull... it's '07 afterall.
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