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Who rides a motorcycle?

Discussion in 'Off Topic [BG]' started by reasonbass, Mar 5, 2006.

  1. I've been interested in riding. But I know nothing about motorcycles. I would want a cruiser, something not too powerful. I was thinking of something like a Honda Rebel. Just something for fun and to ride if im alone and have to travel short distances.

    So my questions are. How hard are they do ride. I could ride a bicycle, but what about the gears and stuff like that? And also I'm not very tall I'm like 5-5"....Am I tall enought to ride?::eyebrow:

    Any tips will be greatly appreciated.

  2. Tom Crofts

    Tom Crofts

    Mar 15, 2001
    Can you drive a car? You'll be fine heightwise for most bikes except enduro/mx bikes, and even then I'm sure most will be ok, if a little unwieldy at first...

    The main thing to understand with motorbikes is that you are incredibly vulnerable and however good you are on a bike you can't account for every moron on the road. So make sure you do all the extra training you can.

    I really can't stress the need for high quality protective clothing enough. If you're going to ride you have to be able to afford it, or don't ride at all. Just because you intend to use it for fun or for short journeys don't skimp on it.

    Something like a fairly low powered cruiser would be alright to start on although you may want to go for something a little more utilitarian at first, would be a shame to scuff up all your chrome the first time you have a little fall.

    Sorry if this has come out sounding negative, I love riding bikes and they're great fun, but if you're not aware of the dangers you may not get a second chance at it.

    Good luck with bikes and I hope you have many years of awesome biking ahead of you :)
  3. SuperDuck


    Sep 26, 2000
    Being able to drive a manual transmission car or at least being familiar with how the clutch/shifting aspect works is a great start. Transmissions on a motorcycle are sequential, however, unlike a car.

    Tom makes some good points - safety cannont be stressed enough!
  4. Tsal


    Jan 28, 2000
    Finland, EU
    A custom bike, as in a cruiser, is a good first choice as they are low, comfy and low-powered. And I agree what Tom Crofts said, just remember that if you get hit, you will be hurt. Usually seriously. Just imagine riding a bicycle on a motorway.

    Shifting on a bike is not that hard, you just have to squeeze the clutch with your hand, kick a gear up or down with your foot and slowly release the clutch. There's no hurry to shift on the road, so you should be fine.

    A couple of riding lessons might be a good idea, just to teach you some general safety points and get you on the road a bit faster.
  5. I appreciate your straight foward answers. Yes, I can drive a car, both manual and auto. I was looking at a Honda Rebel 250cc cruiser bike. I want something used, just to try it out. I'm also planning on taking training courses . Which they offer at my local community college.

    I am fully aware of the dangers. Specially living in Miami:ninja:
    I've driven Package cars at my job UPS. So I have to be very defensive on my driving. Thanks for the replys. It has been great help.

  6. Woodchuck


    Apr 21, 2000
    Atlanta (Grant Park!)
    Gallien Krueger for the last 12 years!
    I've been a rider since, well, that's not important, but don't start out with a 250. Start out with a 500, if you can. Trust me on this. I ride a Gixxer 600 (Suzuki GXR600), but I don't reccommend that either. I concur with what's been said on here so far. SAFTY, SAFETY, SAYFTEE!
  7. Woodchuck, So you thinkg a Buell Blast would be a better choice than the Honda Rebel?
  8. Skeezix


    Sep 28, 2005
    Jacksonville, FL
    1. Go to a few local motorcycle shops in your area and see if they can give you information on who offers the three day beginners course in your area.

    2. Take the course. It is the easiest and cheapest way to see if you really can and want to ride.

    3. Buy a cheap bike to practice on. It hurst much less to lose pieces off of a $1k bike than a $10k bike.

    4. Imagine that everyone out there wants to kill you.

    But all in all, have fun.
    On two wheels since 1977.
  9. Woodchuck


    Apr 21, 2000
    Atlanta (Grant Park!)
    Gallien Krueger for the last 12 years!
    I do, but Buell have funny clutches. It'll take some getting used to. BEFORE you get anything, take a riding course. Your great grandkids will thank you, because they'll be here! ;)
  10. There is a riding course, that they offer on the campus of my local community college. Before even buying a bike, I will take that course.
  11. popinfresh


    Dec 23, 2004
    Melbourne, Aus
    You dont even have to use the clutch when your going, though your transmission will thank you with a little bit more life later on.
    It's a trick we learnt when supercross/motocross riding.

    It's easy as pie to get the hang on though.. Most bikes are one down four/five up.. As in the first gear you press down with your foot, then the rest you go up.. and nuetral is in between 1 and 2.
  12. Keeaumoku


    Dec 29, 2004
    DONOR-CYCLE... hope we don't see you in the ER... :rollno:
  13. Tsal


    Jan 28, 2000
    Finland, EU
    By the way, we need a separate bike licence here in Europe, and Honda Shadow 125 was the bike I drove it with - the smallest engine there is and yet it could easily pass as a 600 except for performance. Rebels have a certain reputation as "kiddy bikes" and 250 is a very small engine, so perhaps you'd want to look into the Honda Shadow 600 or Yamaha Virago 535 as a beginner cruiser that will last you years without need to upgrade, unless you are getting a killer deal on that Rebel of course.

    Just stay at 500-600cc and avoid the "crotch rockets". Easiest way getting yourself killed on a bike is the beginner+sportsbike combination - high power and little skill. Also, the insurances should be a lot of cheaper for bikes with low power/weight ratio.

    Bikes are fun, cool and pretty economical too. You just need to be smart while driving and remember that a motorcycle owner should be a gentleman in traffic.
  14. westland


    Oct 8, 2004
    Hong Kong
    Some basic things for starting out:

    Read all you can ... the best first book is Proficient Motorcycling by David L. Hough

    Get a bike that you won't mind dropping ... because you will ... I think a small dirt bike or standard one-cylindar (thumper) is best for learning

    Don't get a cruiser, because when they fall, they're hard to pick up (really hard), and because cruiser riders never seem to learn how to turn their bikes (and that makes them unsafe)

    Don't get a sportbike ... they'll kill your wrists, and you don't really need them until you get on the track. Plus if you like the looks, you're going to drop it.

    Get a decent jacket, helmet and pants ... you need them most when you are starting.

    Take a motorcycle safety course ... it seems dumb, but it's worth it because you can get hurt on a motorcycle, and this can help keep you out of trouble.

    .... later on when you get better, get out to a race track regularly and practice at speed (you'll normally be topping out at 140-160mph) and in deep knee scratching turns. If you mess up at a track, there's lots of grass and gravel to slide on.
  15. Philbiker

    Philbiker Pat's the best!

    Dec 28, 2000
    Northern Virginia, USA
    Motorcycle Safety Foundation

    Chances are about 99% that the course offered at your local community college is the famous "MSF" course. You need to take it before buying a cycle. You may find that you don't like riding. When you're done you'll get the motorcycle endorsement on your license (in most states), and perhaps a discount from your insurance company for taking the course.

    Riding is fun and is a great way to save fuel and be environmentally friendly. Many motos get mileage better than hybrids, and take substantially less energy and materials to manufacture. Read here about "Ride To Work Day". In my state, motorcycles can ride on the HOV lanes during rush hour. Motos are great practical single person transportation. Go to Europe and you'll see them everywhere (yes, scooters count, too).

    I've always been near the Appalachian Mountains, so as for "fun" I can't imagine riding in southern Florida being very rewarding when I've gone up the Blue Ridge Parkway three times in my life.

    Stay safe and stay covered head to toe including gloves and boots.

    The rebel is underpowered and underbraked IMO. It won't get your in trouble, but it will also have a hard time getting you out of trouble as well. If you buy a Rebel and you end up liking riding you'll be replacing it within a year. The Blast is a good starter bike, but also one that will only last you a year. These bikes will be struggling badly on the highway, to the point where safety would be questionable IMO. I like to recommend more substantial motorcycles as first rides. Something like a Kawasaki Vulcan 800 or 750, Yamaha Virago 750. The Honda Nighthawk and Kawasaki ZR-7S are ideal first bikes. Kawasaki Ninja 500, Yamaha Seca 600, Suzuki GS550, look for something 500ccs or larger.
  16. Andrew Jones

    Andrew Jones Banned

    Feb 28, 2001
    Northampton Mass
    Kawasaki EX 500's are Good First Bikes....Buy Used!

    Never put youself in a position where a car could hurt you and not notice it, be aware of it, and be prepared for it!

    Even if your mind is thinking he'd be in the wrong if he came over on me right now..... You only have one body. Accept that right and wrong don't matter your skin does.

  17. Rocky55

    Rocky55 Supporting Member

    I ride! :)
    There is a lot of good info in this thread already. As for the Rebel 250, by friend's girlfriend bought one last summer as her first bike and outgrew it within a few months and went to a Ninja 500. Now this woman is TINY at 4'11", 96lbs.

    I learned something when buying my big screen TV. Many folks told me to go as big as I could afford, or my room could handle. My room could've taken a 60" but I was debating between the 46" and 51". I'm SO glad I went with the 51". When I bought my bike, a Roadstar 1600, I was more interested in the V-star 1100. After riding the Roadstar, I know I would've found the V-star to small for me after a few weeks. I'm 6' tall, 225lbs and have been riding for 25 years (since I was 10).

    What I usually recommend people that are starting out with motorcycles is the V-star 650 or Vulcan 800. Those bikes are pretty easy to handle and look just like the bigger bikes. However once you sit on them, the feel so small. Also, buy used, this way you will get your money back when you sell it in a year.

    The other thing with bikes is that you have to be 100% comfortable with the driving part (shifting, throttle, braking, handling, stopping, etc.) as you will be invisible to most other drivers out there and you need ALL of your attention towards not getting killed. Besides that, bikes are a lot of fun and I plan on riding until my body doesn't allow me to hold the bike up. I'm seriously thinking about getting my girls (age 3 & 5) on little dirt bikes next year.

  18. THANK YOU EVERYONE. first and foremost. I have found the iformation very usefull. Philbiker the program is the famous MSF course. I will take that class, to see if riding is something I like to do.

    I really don't like sportbikes for some reason. So I really won't be ever getting one. I want a bike with just enought power to be quick but not uncontrolable. My guess the 500 to 600cc's are good.

    The only thing that scares me is the way people drive in Miami. And it might be enough to put me off. But if I still want to ride a bike, I guess I can to for the off road dirt bikes then.
  19. Keeaumoku


    Dec 29, 2004
    Be afraid, son. There are lousy drivers everywhere, but there's just a whole lot more of 'em in every major metropolitan area. If fear doesn't stop you from getting a street bike, then it just might be the ingredient that keeps you safe... if not alive.

    Good luck... :rollno:
  20. Philbiker

    Philbiker Pat's the best!

    Dec 28, 2000
    Northern Virginia, USA
    The MSF course will teach you very valuable skills in this regard. Be sure to take the follow-up "Advanced RiderCourse" after you've ridden for a year or so.

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