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Old 09-28-06, 06:29 AM   #1
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Foo motorcyclists.

Hello foosters. My finance minister(wife)has told me that, if all things go according to plan, I will be able to realize my life long dream of becoming a motorcyclist in the spring. I'm a 31 year old dad of two, so I'm (hopefully) past the point of stupidity for the most part.

So I'm looking for any advice you veteran motorcylists might have for me about motorcycling and shopping for used bikes etc... Anything you think I should know about it before I take the plunge. Thanks in advance, Gurgus.
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Old 09-28-06, 06:37 AM   #2
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Get an upright bike, smaller cc displacement.....
Be careful of the period that usually comes about three months after
starting riding where you feel comfortable....this is when stuff happens
Intersections are always potential death !!! Sorry to be harsh but cars DO
NOT LIKE OR CARE FOR MOTORCYCLES !!! THEY HATE YOU.
Always remember that when you ride and never trust them.

Good luck, be safe !
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Old 09-28-06, 06:53 AM   #3
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Take a Motorcycle Safety Foundation beginning riders course even before you buy. Most have loaner bikes for you to use. This will give you excellent bike handeling skills that just might save your bacon. If, after taking the course, you still feel that you want to join the brother/sisterhood you've got the skillset and didn't endanger yourself or your bike.

Start 'small' and work your way up. I'd reccomend something like a used Honda Rebel 250, Yamaha XT350, Suzuki GS500 or the like... something, like a bicycle, that physically fits you. Dumb ass trick #1a: 6'3" person on a Honda Rebel. 1b: 4' 3" person a BWM GS1100. Yes, size does matter. Once you've mastered controlling the dynamics of a moto, then you can consider an upward move in power and weight. Dumb ass trick #2: Greenhorn on a GSXR 100. Deathwish.

As far as the buying process, the normal usability evaluation applys: tires with good tread and no dryrot, chain and sprockets not worn, functional brakes, all lights and controls in working order, no fluids leaking. Spend the winter shopping, look at bikes, see how they fit and feel under you. Decide what kind of styling you like. UJM, Dual Purpose, Crusier, Sport Bike etc. See what's out there in your budget and by springtime you have all the information you need to buy the kind of bike you want in your price range.

Something else to consider... ARMOR! Basic minimum: a properly fitting helmet (again, like motorcycles, they come in different sizes and each maker has a different feel on your head), leather motorcycle gloves, a leather motorcycle jacket (and preferably pants too), good sturdy M/C boots. Remember, when (not if, when. I forget the statistic but something like 70% of new riders go down in the first three years of riding) you hit the asphalt your skin will always lose. Only leave unprotected the skin you don't mind leaving behind.

Hope this helps and not scare you away. Being 'in the wind' is the best place on earth to be.
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Old 09-28-06, 06:57 AM   #4
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1b: 4' 3" person a BWM GS1100.
Ahhh yes, bwwwmers are nice bikes!
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Old 09-28-06, 07:01 AM   #5
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I had a 1984 Honda Nighthawk 450 when I first (and last) got my motorcycle. It was great because it was underpowered and was a bit heavy, but it was comfortable as hell. I beat the garbage out of that thing, and if I had to go back and do it again I'd pick just about the same sized bike.

Ride that, and then upgrade in a couple of years to something beefier if you feel the need.
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Old 09-28-06, 07:33 AM   #6
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How do road riding/traffic skills compare? Do you find that riding a bike in traffic prepares you for motorcycling? Excellent advice so far, guys and girls. thanks!
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Old 09-28-06, 08:07 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Stacey
Take a Motorcycle Safety Foundation beginning riders course even before you buy. Most have loaner bikes for you to use. This will give you excellent bike handeling skills that just might save your bacon. If, after taking the course, you still feel that you want to join the brother/sisterhood you've got the skillset and didn't endanger yourself or your bike.
Here's the link: http://www.msf-usa.org/
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Old 09-28-06, 10:08 AM   #8
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Be careful of the period that usually comes about three months after
starting riding where you feel comfortable....this is when stuff happens
haha, SO true!

I've learned to be humble these days when it comes to riding, so I haven't dropped the bike in a long while *knocks on wood*

Make sure you set aside about $1000 for gear if you're just beginning. That's right, helmet, jacket, gloves, boots. Pants, too, if you're up for sexy ass-hugging leather pants. The textile alternatives can be really comfy, though, and more waterproof. Not that I advocate riding in the rain...
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Old 09-28-06, 10:12 AM   #9
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And watch out for that hidden "power band"........I found mine on a curve.
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Old 09-28-06, 10:14 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by Stacey
Something else to consider... ARMOR! Basic minimum: a properly fitting helmet (again, like motorcycles, they come in different sizes and each maker has a different feel on your head), leather motorcycle gloves, a leather motorcycle jacket (and preferably pants too), good sturdy M/C boots. Remember, when (not if, when. I forget the statistic but something like 70% of new riders go down in the first three years of riding) you hit the asphalt your skin will always lose. Only leave unprotected the skin you don't mind leaving behind.
+1

When I was an EMT I saw many many motorcycle accidents. Those that were well protected faired best. One guy in particular tried to cut off a 18-wheeler on I-95. He had on a full-face helmet, yet he had facial injuries (non full-face, he probably would have died), leather jacket and pants were pretty much worn down. He was lucky.
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Old 09-28-06, 10:15 AM   #11
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I used to love it when the young kids came in to the shop wanting to replace their power band.

Thing is, we only sold it by the foot.
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Old 09-28-06, 10:37 AM   #12
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+1

When I was an EMT I saw many many motorcycle accidents. Those that were well protected faired best. One guy in particular tried to cut off a 18-wheeler on I-95. He had on a full-face helmet, yet he had facial injuries (non full-face, he probably would have died), leather jacket and pants were pretty much worn down. He was lucky.
I was just reading in our local paper about a motorcyclist killed on I-295 around Jacksonville yesterday when he hit a deer. Another one was killed on I-10 here in Tallahassee racing his sport bike. I love motorcyles but my wife sees those articles and pleads with me not to get one.
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Old 09-28-06, 10:41 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by Gurgus
How do road riding/traffic skills compare? Do you find that riding a bike in traffic prepares you for motorcycling? Excellent advice so far, guys and girls. thanks!
100% agree. Its not the handling skills so much as the traffic sense. Your already precondtioned to the idea of everyone trying to kill you and you've already got a sort of 6th sense and awareness for dangerous situtations. Like watching for left turning cars at intersections and such. However as far as handling skills, there's a certain balance and grace that caries over from cycling to motorcycling. For instance, I've just about perfected the art of trackstanding my Ducati Monster. One the flip side, my cornering skills on the bicycle are much better because of motorcycling.

My 2 cents (ie this is what i did)

1. Ninja 250, great first bike. It was what i got to relearn skills after 20 years away from a bike. I bought it used off E-bay and almost got back what i paid for it when i sold it. I never dropped it.

2. Buy the book Proficient Motorcycling. It's the bible. Buy the DVD, Ride Like a Pro III. Its the ultimate in slow speed skills instruction. I actually learned more from the drills on the DVD than the MSF course. It's the DVD bible.

3. MSF. Get signed up now. I had to wait 4 months from the time i signed up to the actual class. I took class thru the local HD dealer. Their program is called Riders Edge. Its still taught by MSF certified instructors and uses MSF course materials.

4. If you have to wait to get in, start your learning process early. After signing up, i had no patience for a 4 month wait. I went to the DMV and picked up the free MSF Motorcycling handbook. I studied the book and went back a couple days later and got a learner permit after taking the written test (FYI-21 out of 25 minimum correct. If you get 5 wrong before reaching 25 test is over, and you have to come back)

5. The skills test is laid out in the back of the handbook. I bought some orange cones from the local Walmart sporting goods dept and laid out the test in my parking lot at work and at the ball field parking lot near home. For weeks, I just practiced and practiced the skills. At the same time I also got out and rode the roads with a licenced rider. I also broke the rules and rode those roads solo too. No harm no foul. YMMV.

6. One month after taking the written test i, I took the skills test at the DMV and got my full license. I had about 1000 miles already.

7. I rode alot! Bought a Ducati Monster 620 too.

8. A couple months and a couple thousand miles later it came time to take the MSF course. It was 30 degs both days on the range. I scored 49/50 on the written test and a perfect score on the skills test. I learned some good skills and got ride of some early bad habits.

9. I ride all the time. So much so that my training suffers from it. I put 8000 miles on my Monster in the first year. I ride year round. Electric clothing works!


It should go without saying that you should get a good full face helmet, a good armored riding jacket, pants, leather motorcycle gloves and a good pair of leather motocycle boots. I wear a full textile suit for commuting and leathers for backroad fun.

Good luck.
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Old 09-28-06, 10:51 AM   #14
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I should add to above mentioned statistic of riders hitting the deck in the first 3 years. I got a 10 year term life insurance policy for $400k. In addtion to the 100k of whole life i already had. If something happens i want my wife to not have to worry about losing the house.
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Old 09-28-06, 10:56 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Olebiker
I was just reading in our local paper about a motorcyclist killed on I-295 around Jacksonville yesterday when he hit a deer. Another one was killed on I-10 here in Tallahassee racing his sport bike. I love motorcyles but my wife sees those articles and pleads with me not to get one.
I knew a guy who hit a deer once. When he picked himself up and looked back he saw a half a deer over there and the other have over there. Yuk
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Old 09-28-06, 11:03 AM   #16
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Originally Posted by Olebiker
I was just reading in our local paper about a motorcyclist killed on I-295 around Jacksonville yesterday when he hit a deer. Another one was killed on I-10 here in Tallahassee racing his sport bike. I love motorcyles but my wife sees those articles and pleads with me not to get one.
Any fatal car accidents that day?
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Old 09-28-06, 11:15 AM   #17
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Yeah, I've got enough life insurance even though I hope I don't need it. I'm thinking the bike is going to be no bigger than a 500cc. I'm six feet tall and I weigh around 190 so I need something that has enough power to get out of it's own way, but not enough to make me do silly things. Alos, I figure I'll be riding on the highways at some point, seeing as I plan on commuting with the bike for at least part of the year.

I've been down on my mountain bike plenty, but I haven't been down on my road bikes. I do enjoy playing in traffic though and I've been doing it long enough to develop the required skills.

Man, I'm getting excited. All my life I've wanted a bike, but first it was my mom keeping me from it, then it was the wife/house/kids. But if the wife says ok(and it seems to be going that way) then here we go!

Also, an Canadian here know about insurance for a newbie rider? Am I gonna get raped? Does it make a differance that I'm not 16 anymore?

Thanks again, Gurgus.
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Old 09-28-06, 11:41 AM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gurgus
Yeah, I've got enough life insurance even though I hope I don't need it. I'm thinking the bike is going to be no bigger than a 500cc. I'm six feet tall and I weigh around 190 so I need something that has enough power to get out of it's own way, but not enough to make me do silly things. Alos, I figure I'll be riding on the highways at some point, seeing as I plan on commuting with the bike for at least part of the year.

I've been down on my mountain bike plenty, but I haven't been down on my road bikes. I do enjoy playing in traffic though and I've been doing it long enough to develop the required skills.

Man, I'm getting excited. All my life I've wanted a bike, but first it was my mom keeping me from it, then it was the wife/house/kids. But if the wife says ok(and it seems to be going that way) then here we go!

Also, an Canadian here know about insurance for a newbie rider? Am I gonna get raped? Does it make a differance that I'm not 16 anymore?

Thanks again, Gurgus.
First of all, what Stacey and FatguyRacer said. Secondly, great advice from the foosters in general! Thirdly, I'm excited for you. I got a used Rebel 250(still have it, actually) when I was on my own in the Army so I had a bike before I got married. My wife worried, but she knew I loved to ride. One we split, I got a Ducati Monster as well. Almost the same as Fatguy's...620Dark, tho. I've never laid my motorcycles down, but there have been some close calls.

Insurance will probably suck. Mine was US$81.50/year on the Rebel and went to $153/month for both bikes now. If I'd had my endorsement on my TN license longer the insurance agency said it would've helped a bit. I'd definitely go with a less than 600cc bike to start with. Partially for the intro to bikes and mostly for the insurance. I think being older than 25 might help, but I'm not sure if that applies to bikes or not. Make sure you get some quotes before you buy the bike. You don't want to wind up with crippling insurance payments that make you unable to keep the bike even though it's paid for or the payments are low. Good luck!
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Old 09-28-06, 11:44 AM   #19
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I completely agree with the MSF recommendations. There's usually a long waiting list, so you should sign up now. I also recommend you don't actually buy a bike until after the class.

As for the actual shopping part, here's a link to a very long, but very thorough used bike evaluation guide. I recommend you commit as much of the general concepts to memory - it can be really useful.
http://www.clarity.net/~adam/buying-bike.html

I started on a Suzuki GS500 and it was a great starter. Fast enough to have fun on, but not so much acceleration as to get you in too much trouble if something unexpected happens.

Other safety advice - wear a full face helmet - many accidents include chin to street contact. It's the 5-10 mile quick trips that are statistically most likely to result in an accident so take the time to gear up. Try to make a few friends to ride with, and then always ride your own pace. So many accidents occur because a newb is trying to keep up with more experienced riders. At some point your group will blow ahead of you through an especially twisty section of road. Take it at your own comfort level and you'll find them cruising nice and slow at the next straightaway. This kind of riding is called "The Pace". It's based on a great article written years ago. You'll find it on google if you look.

Good luck! Cycling is the way in all of its manifestations.
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Old 09-28-06, 11:46 AM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ritehsedad
I knew a guy who hit a deer once. When he picked himself up and looked back he saw a half a deer over there and the other have over there. Yuk
I hit a bird once. It was after the twisty section in the hills, I got up from my tuck to stretch out a bit and *BAM* I took a sparrow to the chest going maybe 60mph.

Despite wearing my leather/kevlar jacket, the little bastard knocked the wind out of me!
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Old 09-28-06, 11:50 AM   #21
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Thanks. I'm pretty excited too. I wonder what all my bicycles will think when the motorbike shows up in the garage. They'll all be like "WTF?! It's kinda like us, but .... bigger! And what the heck is that thing up front where the crank is supposed to be? On no no no, I don't like this at all!".

And I think thats enough bicycle impersonation for one day. I want to get going on this because I want lots of riding under my belt before my two sons (3 and 1) are old enough to ride on the back with dad. Many years from now, we can ride together. Also, I want my wife to ride pillion while she's still sexy enough to make other dudes jealous. And she as pretty sexy, though she'll never admit it.
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Old 09-28-06, 12:37 PM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Karldar
...I got a Ducati Monster as well. Almost the same as Fatguy's...620Dark, tho.
I have the red one, the fastest color.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Karldar
Insurance will probably suck. Mine was US$81.50/year on the Rebel and went to $153/month for both bikes now...
Ouch! I pay 330 a year for my Duc. I'm gonna probably add a used Ducati ST-4 sport-tourer to the stable next year, but still should'nt kill the insurance. I'm getting the track itch and wanna convert the Monster to something trackworthy. I can here the divorce papers being filed already. Right after i get a provisional racing license.
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Old 09-28-06, 12:47 PM   #23
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Any fatal car accidents that day?
I doubt if a single day goes by in Florida without someone getting killed in an auto accident. Gruesome motorcyle wrecks just make for flashier headlines so those two articles jumped out at me.
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Old 09-28-06, 01:01 PM   #24
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Use that to plead your case. Maybe you shouldn't take a shower either, lotsa people die in the tub ya know
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Old 09-28-06, 01:32 PM   #25
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Use that to plead your case. Maybe you shouldn't take a shower either, lotsa people die in the tub ya know
I had one argument that almost backfired on me. I told her that I had been riding my bicycle on the road for over 30 years without a major incident. I tried to convince her that a motorcyle, going at the same speed as a car, was probably safer than a bicycle. I thought she was going to try to make me give up the bicycle too.
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