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first bike questions

Discussion in 'Moto Club' started by mdj1, May 28, 2006.

  1. mdj1

    mdj1

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    If I can find a time that the state dmv is open that I'm not working, I'm going to get my "learners permit" for a motorcycle license. Once I pass the written portion of the test I'll get the permit then the State will allow my to take the safty course, then I'm going to look at getting a bike. I have riden a dirt bike before (15+ years ago) but never on the street.

    Here's my questions.

    1. What size bike should I look at for a new rider? I was looking at the honda rebel however it seems "small" when I sat on it. Would that be "enough" bike for me (5'8" tall 350lbs)? I'll use it for commuting 11-15 miles interstate to work one way and in general when I won't need to use my truck.

    2. I know that a jacket, gloves, boots and of course a helmet are the necessites, but what kind? I've read the posts about the full gear but should I start with leather or will the mesh type be sificent?

    I stopped at the local honda shop today and the sales woman told me that the rebel (250cc I think) was too small of a bike for me backing up my first impression. She suggested something 750cc or above, (she said I would be best off with an 1100cc) was she just tring to see me a more expensive bike for a bigger comission or should I consider a bigger bike?
    Your thoughts please
    thanks
    Matt
     
  2. fnfalman

    fnfalman Chicks Dig It

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    The Honda Rebel is way too underpowered to move somebody of your size. However, that stupid sales broad is trying to get you killed.

    If all you do is commute for that little of a distance then go check out the Suzuki GS500 (E or F) or the Kawasaki Ninja 500. These 500-cc bikes will have enough oomph to move you with alacrity.

    These bikes are around $5000 brand new. If you're willing to spend more than that then the next step up would be the 650-cc V-twins from either Suzuki SV650 or Kawasaki Ninja 650R.

    After these bikes, things get expensive real quick.

    Of course if you go with the used route then you'll have a lot more option. But stay away from large bore bikes until you get your wind back.

    As far as leathers or mesh, that depends on the climate condition. If you start riding during the hot season then go with mesh. If you start riding with the cold season then go with leathers or heavy duty textile.
     

  3. mdj1

    mdj1

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    I prefer the look and feel (when I sat on the bikes)of a crusier to the sport bike style.
    I see that kawasaki and honda both have 500cc cruisers below $5500. Are these good starter bikes?

    I'm not opposed to going with a used bike for a starter either so that opens up my options as well. I just don't want someone else's problems becoming mine.
     
  4. fnfalman

    fnfalman Chicks Dig It

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    Suzuki also has smallbore cruisers for decent prices too.

    I personally don't think that cruisers make good starter bikes and here are my reasons:

    1. They have too crappy of handling. The sport bikes are too twitchy and the cruisers are too slow and awkward.

    2. They have too crappy of brakes. The sport bikes have brakes that lock up the wheels if you sneeze and the cruisers have nothing for brakes.

    I think that a plain jane standard style bike makes the best starter bike. Don't let the fairings put you off because the Kawasaki Ninja 500 and Suzuki GS500 are more of a standard bike than sport bike. You sit straight up with your feet below you and the handle bars are up but not too high. Perfect position for commuting and handling at slow speed. The Honda Nighthawk is another good standard bike.

    There are other good standard bikes too but they get into the more powerful range like the Kawi ZRX1200, the Z170, Z1000, FZ6, FZ1, etc.

    When you look for a motorcycle as a commuter; an implement, a tool, instead of as a toy, your requirements change considerably. You'd look for a design that's cheap and easy to ride, easy to maintain, and easy on the pocket to insure.

    The European and Asian market has a lot more standard bikes available because the owners view them as modes of transportation instead of the sentimentality that Americans look at their motorcycles as toys.

    If I were to commute on a bike, I'd personally own a Suzuki SV650. Good mid-sized V-twin standard with decent oomph and superb road manners.

    However, if you prefer the cruiser type then go for it. After all, it's you who has to ride the bike.
     
  5. GixxerSixxer

    GixxerSixxer Phil Deez Nutz

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    I don't know much about the cruiser models but in a first bike you want something light. You will drop it. Nine out of ten times it will be a parking lot doing a slow speed maneuveur.

    I have ridden the Rebel, I passed my MSF course on it. I think that would be too under-powered for you. However, I don't recommend you get a 750 or 1000cc bike. Those bikes are heavy and difficuly to maneuveur without experience.

    I also don't recommend you try to pass the state road test on a sportbike. Sportbikes have horrible slow speed maneuveurability. They hit full lock in steering a lot sooner than a crusier. A lot of people fail the state road test on a sportbike when their new. You can pass the state test on a Sportbike but you need to have some solid prior experience.

    FnFalman has a good point with the SV650. It's an incredible bike for the money.

    After just browsing the Honda website and seeing their 500's they look ok. I would still suggest a used bike. You won't be buying the bike for life you can always upgrade. Don't get caught up in being superficial and HAVING to have a bike that hasn't been dropped before. If you're a new rider you will drop the bike. You don't want a drop a new custom cruiser so drop a 10 year old "learner" bike instead.

    On to gear. I'm partial to leather. I have a few mesh texile jackets but don't use them too often. Leather holds up better in a crash. Textiles tend to heat up and the nylon will melt into the skin. If you're going over 30 mph a perforated leather jacket isn't too hot even when it's 100+ outside. Well known brands are: Alpinestars, Joe Rocket, Dainese, AGV, and Fieldsheer.

    Helmets, IMO full-face only. If you go down you don't have control if your chin hits the pavement. Also from personal experice a bee to the chest at 30 mph on a mountain bike hurts. I'd hate to feel a rock at 65 from the back of an 18-wheeler. Well known brands are: HJC, AGV, Arai, and Shoei.

    Boots should keep the ankle pretty sturdy. Some motorcycle boots have a shifter pad to keep the boot from getting eaten up. I have Alpinestars boots but they're probably not the style you want to be seen in.

    Gloves should be gauntlet style gloves, that overlap the jacket past the wrist. You don't need the carbon fiber knuckles like mine but they look cool.

    Don't forget pants either. Leather pants are also a good idea. Jeans across pavement will be worn through in less than 10 feet.
     
  6. WellArmedSheep

    WellArmedSheep NRA Member

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    If you're looking for a cruiser, the Yamaha V-stars are great bikes. They come in 650 and 1100cc versions. I started out on a V-Star 650 Classic and I never had any problems with it. If you aren't dead set on a cruiser, the Suzuki SV650 would be a good choice.

    As far as helmets go...I recommend HJC to anyone that asks. I believe them to be one of the best values going for head protection. They're not the cheapest out there, but they're not overly expensive, and fit my big ol' head like a glove. I currently own a CS-12 (I think it may have been discontinued) and a SyMax modular. A bunch of the folks I ride with have the newer CLmax and it's a great looking lid, too.

    Good luck finding your first bike...it's a great hobby.
     
  7. mdj1

    mdj1

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    Thanks all

    I'm going to try and get my pemit in the am (tues)if the dmv isn't too crowed (start work at 9:30). Wish me luck I've gone over the manuel the state puts out and the info on the MSP website (took the pratice test with good results missed 2).
    The info given by experinced riders, both in person and here has provided more options than I realized.

    Quote:
    Don't let the fairings put you off because the Kawasaki Ninja 500 and Suzuki GS500 are more of a standard bike than sport bike. You sit straight up with your feet below you and the handle bars are up but not too high. (End quote)

    Fnfalman - I did not realize this. The seated position is what I don't like about the sportbike style feet behind you and low crouch. thanks for the info.
     
  8. Cryptoboy

    Cryptoboy Sr. Sr. Member!

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    What SCRCTeach said! The V-Star is a nice bike! A friend of mine has one, she refuses to sell it (she's talked about it several times, gotten good offers, and just can't part with it!) Can't go wrong with an SV650 either. Get a used bike, because as GixxerSixxer said, you will drop it. Nothing feels worse than dropping a spanking new, shiny cruiser, or spiffy sportbike (not to mention resale, you buy new, when you decide to move up to a bigger bike or the cruiser you want, you'll take a larger hit trying to trade in a new bike as opposed to a used one.)

    Instead of getting the learners permit, why not just go take the MSF course over a weekend, and go from there (they offer it in the evening over 3-4 nights as well)? It's safer and gives you a better foundation than trying to learn on your own (or worse, having a friend try to teach you!), and then you'll have your full license, and not have to go in to the DMV anymore than you have to.
     
  9. mdj1

    mdj1

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    PA offers the MSF class free however you have to have a learners permit (pass written test + vision test) to take the class. Once you pass the class you do not need to take the road test you automaticly get the license.
    With just a learners permit I'll be able to ride sun up to sun down for 1 year before I ned to get the license. The next class is in mid June so I'll try to get in that one but the only guaranteed seat would be in Aug or Sept.
     
  10. fnfalman

    fnfalman Chicks Dig It

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    Just take your time and don't hurry. Get started right. The roads ain't goin' nowhere. It'll be there comes next year.
     
  11. fiveoboy01

    fiveoboy01

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    I really like my Ninja 500. It's got plenty of power to get away from traffic if needed. The seat isn't hard, and the seating position, while not like that of a cruiser, isn't hunched over like that of a sport bike. I'm the same height as you and I can flat-foot the bike, and my legs aren't bunched up because the peg height is just right. I get about 45-49 mpg too, which is a bonus.

    I'd suggest sitting on one and see what you think.
     
  12. Lone_Wolfe

    Lone_Wolfe Sandbox Refugee CLM

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    The smaller V-Star mentioned earlier would be an excellent choice. Here's another to consider; Honda Shadow in 500-750 cc. There are a few different styles to pick from and they have enough power to move out without being a big monster like my 1100.

    +100 on buying a used bike at first. I bought a KZ750 for my first bike in almost 20 years. I made myself wait a full year before I treated myself to my Shadow:eagle:
     
  13. rayetter

    rayetter

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    dont rule out the honda shadows, they come in various sizes and they are extremely reliable. you can pick up a used 600 for about 1500. as far as helmets go, i personally like HJC, they fit my head better, you just have to try some on, see what is comfortable, also look for the dot and snell approved rating on the back of the helmet. good luck and ride safe.