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Old 05-18-14, 08:07 PM   #1
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riding a motorcycle questions

Im getting a motorcycle as my main commuting vehicle. it'll probably be a ninja 250. one of the things that stump me is countersteering. I don't really understand it, but I heard cyclists encounter this all the time. I mean I've done corners on a bicycle. is a motorcycle similar? Will there be a learning curve to riding a motorcycle, or will it pretty much come naturally.
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Old 05-18-14, 08:18 PM   #2
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Having done the transition from a bicycle to a 400cc street bike, I think you will find that low speeds are similar. However, high speeds are completely different. The forces involved are much greater.

Are you going to take a motorcycle safety course? It would be a very wise idea.
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Old 05-18-14, 08:34 PM   #3
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always drive as if u r invisible that car at the intersection pretend he cant see you.as far as the ninja 250 id not get that bike check insurance on it compared to a Honda rebel 250
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Old 05-18-14, 09:03 PM   #4
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Having done the transition from a bicycle to a 400cc street bike, I think you will find that low speeds are similar. However, high speeds are completely different. The forces involved are much greater.

Are you going to take a motorcycle safety course? It would be a very wise idea.
yes, I 'm signing up for that before I buy a ninja

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always drive as if u r invisible that car at the intersection pretend he cant see you.as far as the ninja 250 id not get that bike check insurance on it compared to a Honda rebel 250
why?
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Old 05-18-14, 09:07 PM   #5
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As a cyclist you already do it intuitively but it's good to practice consciously doing it on a motorcycle for emergency situations due to the vastly higher inertial forces involved.

FWIW if you have no experience riding I'd hold off on commuting until you're comfortable. At least if you plan to commute during peak traffic hours. Little mistakes are amplified on a motorcycle and adding panic and adrenaline from an unforeseen situation only make things worse. I'd highly suggest taking the safety course and practicing emergency stopping and avoidance maneuvers a lot.
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Old 05-18-14, 09:08 PM   #6
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when i checked on insurance for a ninja 250 it was like twice that as a rebel
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Old 05-18-14, 09:18 PM   #7
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when i checked on insurance for a ninja 250 it was like twice that as a rebel
Probably because the Ninja has better performance.
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Old 05-18-14, 09:23 PM   #8
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As a cyclist you already do it intuitively but it's good to practice consciously doing it on a motorcycle for emergency situations due to the vastly higher inertial forces involved.

FWIW if you have no experience riding I'd hold off on commuting until you're comfortable. At least if you plan to commute during peak traffic hours. Little mistakes are amplified on a motorcycle and adding panic and adrenaline from an unforeseen situation only make things worse. I'd highly suggest taking the safety course and practicing emergency stopping and avoidance maneuvers a lot.
Solid advice
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Old 05-18-14, 09:28 PM   #9
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250 Ninja or a 250 Supermoto I'd like to have some day as well
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Old 05-18-14, 09:30 PM   #10
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when i checked on insurance for a ninja 250 it was like twice that as a rebel
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Probably because the Ninja has better performance.
I don't understand. maybe ninja is in the sports bike category? so can I expect the insurance premium to be lower for smaller bikes like a 250? I'm guessing that someday, I might move on from the ninja and go to something with a 600 engine. how much would insurance go up


but yes, I do plan to ease into commuting after I get some experience

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Old 05-18-14, 09:34 PM   #11
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I've been riding a 1300cc motorcycle for 10 years and I have no friggin idea what counter steering is. I ride the bike, and that has never been an issue.
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Old 05-18-14, 10:13 PM   #12
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what about long road trips or highway commuting? I live 35 mile away from work, and I feel like a 600cc bike is more suitable for the highway than a 250 bike
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Old 05-18-14, 10:33 PM   #13
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I have been riding motorcycles for 10 plus years.
Motorcycles like a Ninja 300 or CBR500 are crazy cheap compared to S work bikes, Giant Advanced SL bikes and all those 14-15 pds bikes that cost 4-6k. I mean really you can get a 380-430pd motorcycle new for the same price as some of the bicycles out.
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Old 05-18-14, 10:40 PM   #14
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Its all in the steering geometry and the tires. Bicycles generally have pretty neutral steering and by that I mean that at lower speeds you turn into the corner as you would expect yet at higher speeds you can kind of go either way. At higher speed your are better off counter steering a bicycle but you can get away with turning into the corner as well. Those who are better at high speed corners are counter steering.

Depending on steering geometry, some motorcycles with high profile tires pretty much steer like bicycles. You can go either way. Some motorcycles however that have Low profile tires and designed for high performance have STRONG counter steering characteristics. Even at quite low speeds which is quite disconcerting at first.

The trick with counter steering is that you don't think so much about steering the bike as you think of LEANING the bike over and then it makes more sense. You lean the bike over and the bike steers itself based on how much lean you have.

So, steering the bike right acts to lean the bike left and a bike leaning to the left steers to the left.

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Old 05-18-14, 10:55 PM   #15
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what about long road trips or highway commuting? I live 35 mile away from work, and I feel like a 600cc bike is more suitable for the highway than a 250 bike
The 250 Ninja is more than capable of highway speeds. It'll still out accelerate most cars 0-60, it just doesn't have great top speed and it'll be a little wound up and buzzy at high speed.

A pro racer can do faster lap times on a track on one of these than most people can on a liter bike. 99.999% of riders will never be able to ride a 250 at 80% of it's limit let alone a higher displacement motorcycle.
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Old 05-19-14, 12:30 AM   #16
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what about long road trips or highway commuting? I live 35 mile away from work, and I feel like a 600cc bike is more suitable for the highway than a 250 bike
How tall are you? That has a lot to do with how comfortable the 250 will feel. If you are tall, the CBR500 may be a more comfortable size and more than enough power for escaping motorists.
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Old 05-19-14, 05:25 AM   #17
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I don't understand. maybe ninja is in the sports bike category? so can I expect the insurance premium to be lower for smaller bikes like a 250? I'm guessing that someday, I might move on from the ninja and go to something with a 600 engine. how much would insurance go up


but yes, I do plan to ease into commuting after I get some experience
Ninja is more expensive to insure because of the bodywork. Rebel doesn't have any.

Once you get a motorcycle and start riding it, you'll find out what countersteering is all about. Only time it's ever been useful on a bicycle is when I'm going very fast, usually downhill. I've also noticed that cyclists don't really lean into a turn like motorcyclists do.

Don't think you are any more visible to motorists than you are on a bicycle. Ride like everyone is actively trying to kill you. Get the right gear and use it -- boots, gloves, motorcycle specific jacket, helmet. When I was riding, I vastly preferred a one-piece textine suit with armor. If you are using it for commuting, get rain gear, too.

A Ninja 250 would be a great first bike... heck, if I found one used and reasonable, I'd get one myself.
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Old 05-19-14, 06:39 AM   #18
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Everything you need to know will be covered in the MSF class, and you can get the experience you need after you get through the class. Slow, look, lean and roll along with push right, go right helped a lot of us get through the corners early on, remember those when you get to class.
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Old 05-19-14, 07:09 AM   #19
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And, when you have to go around a corner you think you can't make....... just keep telling yourself, "push harder" "Push harder" in the direction you want to go ---- it'll do it!

And, like others said - everyone out there is actively trying to kill you!
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Old 05-19-14, 12:35 PM   #20
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How tall are you? That has a lot to do with how comfortable the 250 will feel. If you are tall, the CBR500 may be a more comfortable size and more than enough power for escaping motorists.
I'm 6'1" 165-170 lbs. Once I take a class, I'll probably go to a dealer to sit on some bikes before deciding on one. They'll let me do that without buying it, right?
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Old 05-19-14, 01:20 PM   #21
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I'm 6'1" 165-170 lbs. Once I take a class, I'll probably go to a dealer to sit on some bikes before deciding on one. They'll let me do that without buying it, right?
They let me sit, not ride.

I got a TU250 off Craigslist as my main mode, and I'm quite happy with it. It was cheap to buy, it's cheap to run and maintain, and fun to ride. I'm 6'4, 220, and it's not uncomfortable. It handles flawlessly at low speeds, and you have great vision because you sit upright, making it a perfect city bike. If you could do your commute off the highway, then a bike like mine might work for you.



The Ninja is not a great choice for highway riding, either. It will handle better at high speeds, but you'll get blown around a lot, and people will not see you very well. If I had to be on the highway, I'd want a 650 or so. Also, you'll pay higher insurance on the Ninja, which has more knuckle head riders than a slow rider like mine.

The rider course is a good idea, especially if you have no riding experience. You do not need to learn to counter steer (comes naturally), but you need to learn other skills, especially low speed moves.
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Old 05-19-14, 01:24 PM   #22
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Yamaha SR400 would be similar to the TU above and have a bit more get up and go.

2015 Yamaha SR400 Home, information
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Old 05-19-14, 01:34 PM   #23
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I don't know why people keep mentioning insurance being more expensive for the Ninja. It's still a 250, the difference will be minimal. If $5-$10 extra a month is going to break the bank then motorcycling isn't for you.

Keep in mind that you will have to buy protective gear and if you buy a new bike you'll have to get the dealership to do the maintenance. Also sport bike tires don't last very long (though on a 250 you should get decent mileage out of the) so you'll have to factor in the cost of replacing them periodically.

its not a bad idea to buy used if you have the cash. You'll save quite a bit on the purchase and you can maintain it yourself. Motorcycles are pretty simple machines, not much more to them than your bicycle.
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Old 05-19-14, 01:52 PM   #24
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ninjas are invisible,right? sounds like a safety issue.
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Old 05-19-14, 02:02 PM   #25
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Motorbikes are heavier and more stable than bicycles, with more rake and more trail and bigger contact patches, and so they require much more force to make them turn, especially at high speed where the gyroscope of the front wheel is fighting your input. It becomes reflex very quickly, just like the bicycle did, so don't worry.
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