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Motorcyclist - Newb needs help buying a bike

Discussion in 'Off Topic [BG]' started by rabid_granny, Aug 17, 2004.

  1. Okay, after 2 years of procrastination, I have my learners license. The next step is to get a helmet, which should be easy. The next next step is to get lessons at a motorcycle school. There is a very reputable school here so that's easy. The next next next step is to get a bike. Not so easy.

    How does one purchase a motorcycle when you can't ride a bike? Would a bike owner even let an experience person test-ride a bike? I don't know anyone that rides (my interests are totally different from my friends) so what's the best course of action?
  2. Woodchuck


    Apr 21, 2000
    Atlanta (Grant Park!)
    Gallien Krueger for the last 12 years!
    Hmm let's see, first of all, it shouldn't be a problem for experienced riders to get a test ride. Before you decide on a machine, do alot of reserch on bikes for your skill level. Most owners will let you test ride if you have a permit. I'm talking mainly about dealers. Also, if/when you buy a bike, get someone to ride it home for you, if you're unsure about your skills. Some dealers will even deliver it for you. MOST IMPORTANTLY, do not go for the eye candy!!!! Eye candy will get you killed!! Get what you can handle. You seem like a rational person, but as a fellow biker, I'm obligated to tell you that. Also, make sure you get a bike that fits you, meaning make sure that both of your feet are flat on the ground when you sit on it. Get what you need, and DO NOT let anyone gode you into a bike that you're not TOTALLY comfortable on. Welcome to the fold. Some people enjoy the sport, others do it to look cool, but you can look cool by being a smart rider. Keep the shiny side up and your right wrist down. :bassist:
  3. kserg


    Feb 20, 2004
    London, UK
    i personally go for used cheap bike... then after a small while when i would understand what i need i'll be able to pick out a bike i want...

    ignore poor spelling... i am wasted...

  4. Philbiker

    Philbiker Pat's the best!

    Dec 28, 2000
    Northern Virginia, USA
    You need more than a helmet. Boots, gloves and a padded/armored riding jacket are minimum security. I would get padded/armored pants also. Go to www.agvsport.com and check out the "helmet depot clearance sale" link http://www.helmetdepot.com/.

    Don't buy the bike till you're done with the school and have your license. Find a few models that interest you, and call your insurance company to see how much they will cost to insure. I recommend a Suzuki GS550E or a Kawasakin Ninja 500 for first-time sport riders. They will be fast and big enough to handle highway speeds no problem, smaller bikes are a little nervous on the highway. If you like cruisers check out the Suzuki Savage, Kawasaki Vulcan 500. Lots of others out there.

    STAY SAFE! :bassist:
  5. Tumbao


    Nov 10, 2001

    Yamaha Warrior
  6. pierce

    pierce freethinker

    May 25, 2000
    San Francisco, Ca
    here in california, and in texas and a few other states, the ppl who hold the motorcycle riding seminars have training bikes. usually after that 2 weekend seminar, they say you have experience comparible to someone with no training who has been riding for a year (or maybe two). you may want to check on those.

    as for my suggestions, go for a USED honda nighthawk (basic bike, various sizes), rebel (low to the ground, and light, cruiser type), or intercepter (entry level sport bike), depending on your preference. you can pick up one relativily cheap, and sell it for about the same price when you are ready to upgrade. not that im pushing honda, but these bikes are the Mexican and Japanese Fenders of the bike world. (solid, reliable, and useable for all levels).

    i bought a suzuki gs500, and i outgrew it in a month. i wish i would have bought the nighthawk or intercepter.

    btw, tumbao, that bike is HAWT! :cool:
  7. cheezewiz

    cheezewiz Supporting Member

    Mar 27, 2002
    Most dealers in this area do not allow any sort of test ride. The ones that do insist you have a motorcycle endorsement (not just a permit). The dealer I just bought my bike at does not allow you to drive a bike off the lot even after you have paid for it if you don't have a motorcycle endorsement. I think for a first bike, you really need to go used and reasonably priced. The midsized Honda suggestion is a good one. Good luck, and enjoy. I think next to bass, motorcycling is my favorite thing!

    I went about 10 yrs without a bike (marraige, kids, etc), but just picked up this 2002 Yamaha V star 1100. I'm really digging it so far.
  8. FunkySpoo

    FunkySpoo Supporting Member

    Feb 6, 2002
    What everybody else has already said. Also it's a great idea to take the MSF rider course. They teach you how to handle your bike in an emergency. It also gets you a discount on your insurance.

    Go here:

    As far as what bike to get my best advice is to buy used because you will drop your bike. Whether you overcook a corner or just tip it over when you come to a stop you will drop your bike, more than once.

    There are lots of good used late model bikes on the market as alot of people buy new then scare themselves out of riding then sell.

    Here are a couple of forums where you can get lots more info



    Here's a pic of my bike
  9. pierce

    pierce freethinker

    May 25, 2000
    San Francisco, Ca

    the MSF is what i meant by the two weekend class, although im not sure if you have anything up in canada. you could make a trip across the border, if possible.

    The MSF is highly reccommended, and actually REQUIRED for new riders here in california.
  10. +1,000
  11. Woodchuck


    Apr 21, 2000
    Atlanta (Grant Park!)
    Gallien Krueger for the last 12 years!
    Here's mine. I'm actually getting ready to sell it to get a Gixxer 750. I sold the Ninja.
  12. srxplayer


    May 19, 2004
    Highland, CA
    First and foremost stay away from the Crotch Rockets. Any of them even the smaller 600's are a hand full for a beginner and will most certainly get you in trouble.

    I would recomend that you look for a Suzuki SV650. This thing is a V-Twin with a mellow power delivery. It small, fairly light, has a neutral riding position, and has enough power to be entertaining after you become more skilled. They can be found used fairly cheap everywere. I would recomend this over the cruiser type bikes to start with because they are better handling and you will learn to master the fundamentals easier on a bike like this.

    Don't buy any of the 250cc bikes that they (dealers) always try to sell a beginner. You will out grow the thing in two months and they are scary on freeways/highways, they have very little power in reserve to get you out of trouble at highway speeds, and their very light weight has them wandering all over the place on the highway. It will fatigue you to fight that little bike on a two hour ride. On top of that those little 250cc twins give you "Monkey Butt" in 30 minutes.

    Good luck and have fun.
  13. Josh Ryan

    Josh Ryan - that dog won't hunt, Monsignor. Supporting Member

    Mar 24, 2001
    Just out of curiosity, where would you guys put a "chopper" on the experience curve? --a bike like the ones that the discovery channel has on every five mintues?
  14. Philbiker

    Philbiker Pat's the best!

    Dec 28, 2000
    Northern Virginia, USA
    I don't even count them as motorcycles, they're accessories.
  15. srxplayer


    May 19, 2004
    Highland, CA
    No beginner should be on one of those.

    1. They handle like crap. Hardatil rear end & 1.5" to 3.5" of off set to the casses so they can fit those 230mm rear tires behind the belt drives. Makes the bike lean to the right all the time.
    2. They stop like crap. No rear suspension.
    3. They are usually over powered for the chassis (S&S 113 CI engines or similar and very little if any real engineering)
    4. They are notoriously unreliable.
    5. Did I metion they handle like crap.

    Those things are for looking cool for short rides between bars at Laughlin & Sturgis. Nothing else.
  16. Josh Ryan

    Josh Ryan - that dog won't hunt, Monsignor. Supporting Member

    Mar 24, 2001
    Gotcha. I always wondered about that.
  17. Laker


    Mar 23, 2000
    Granny, at the Harley dealership where I work we have a driving school and furnish single cylinder, Buell Blast motorcycles for the student drivers. I doubt if anyone would allow a limited experience cyclist take their bike out for a test drive, so try to locate a driving school in tour area that also supplies the cycle for the course.

    When you're ready to buy, look for a used motorcycle that you feel comfortable on; that is in good mechanical condition (take along an experienced rider/friend to evaluate); and don't worry about how fast/cool/hot/etc it is....its a bike you're going to learn on. It probably will bounce a time or two on the turf during your learning curve. Worry about buying a better bike once you're a bit more experienced.

    A grad of our driving school bought a new bigtwin and put the first 100 miles on it driving in a parking lot to get comfortable with it.

    I hope all goes well for you......its a great sport :)
  18. Davehenning


    Aug 9, 2001
    Los Angeles
    That about sums it up. As previously mentioned, I cannot stress enough that you should go with what you feel comfortable on and don't try to ride "over your head."

    You can usually find one of the mid-sized Hondas used on the cheap. They are generally reliable and sturdy bikes. Great for starting out on and getting a feel for the bike world.
  19. Tim Cole

    Tim Cole Supporting Member

    Jun 12, 2002
    Findlay, Ohio
    I just bought this last week. 2002 shadow 750. Not a bad bike.[​IMG]
  20. Petebass


    Dec 22, 2002
    QLD Australia
    Do you guys have power/weight restrictions for learners? We do. For a long time there was a 250cc limit but they've scrapped that in favour of a much smarter power/weight ratio restriction.

    I think it's a great idea. It forces you to learn your bike control and road craft before gettting on something that's capable of power-sliding (ie High-siding to me and you).