Still have some editing to do in order to adapt this post to this exact forum, will do that as I get spare time.
So most of you guys here know me, and I'd say you guys have seen me post this 1000 times in some nooby threads, but I finally got around to converting it to forum format. I know I don't know everything and I don't claim to. If you guys have any ideas on something to add, or anything to make the article better please feel free to let me know!
As an avid motorcyclist, I have the drive to help others to get into the sport. My main goal is to protect new riders from making a mistake and getting themselves hurt or killed. I know there are other riders on this forum and I know all of you aren't going to agree with my opinions, but this is my opinion based on advice i've been given and experiences that I have had during my riding career.
I wrote this nearly a year ago, but I always try to keep in easy access to anybody who's wanting to start their journey into riding.
THIS WILL BE A GOOD 15-20 MINUTE READ, BUT IT IS WELL WORTH IT!
Here is the link to the article:
So you want to ride a motorcycle?
Alright I want to address alot of the factors that seem to come up in conversation when talking to someone wanting to get into the sport of riding. One I get from people that message me alot is:
"My buddy just got a 600 (or above) sportbike, and I want to be able to keep up, what should I get?"
First and foremost, keeping up with other riders should be your LAST concern when coming into this sport. A new rider trying to keep up with someone who has been riding for a while is what helps raise the statistics.....Well one thing
"I know your suppose to start small, but I have been riding dirt for years!"
Honestly that shit annoys the hell out of me, riding a dirt bike helps you NONE when it comes to riding a street bike. Yes it teaches you how a gearbox works, and you know where the controls are, BUT balance, technique, form, throttle control, etc etc is ALL a completely different world on the street versus the dirt. So get that dumb idea out of your head.
Those are the two main ones I get on this site, there is a million other things I get as well though, but that would take approximately 1,246 years to write up.
Just remember that NOTHING and I mean nothing, makes you any better then any other new rider out on the road. The only way you're a special case is if you were already a pro racer before you came to the street....and your not. Alot of people tend to get mad when I say "An SS (crotch rocket, Sport Bike) bike is not for a beginner, you should start alot smaller" because they believe that some thing they did in there life makes them a great rider right out of the gate, but i'm sorry to burst some bubbles, it takes years on the road and 10's of thousands of miles to make you a truly experienced rider.
Most people think all bikes are the same, just that SS bikes are faster then the rest, and truly do not understand the reasons, or just refuse to see what the reasons are that they shouldn't get that R6, R1, ZX-6R, etc, that they have lusted over since they saw one. So i'm going to list the top few reasons an SS bike is NOT for a beginner.
- Speed, New riders are going to get tempted, and twisting the throttle to 150+ to early is going to get you killed. I don't want to hear the "I'm responsible and mature, I won't turn the throttle to early, i'll be fine." excuse either, because the truth is, no your not. People that say this don't realize how riding a bike truly is. You honestly start to "feel comfortable" on a bike in just a few hours, but i'm telling you now if you get to squirley to early, your going to regret it when your new bike is sliding away in front of you.
- Brakes, the brakes of an SS bike are made to stop you from top speed to 60 or below in a little over 2 seconds, some even faster. Therefore if a new rider encounters a situation where they have to hit the brakes hard, there is a 99% chance that they are going to grab too much brake and either go over the handlebars, or they will wash the front end out and lowside the bike.
- Reponse, SS bikes are SUPERBLY responsive. Add 1/4 turn of throttle and your taking off pretty good. Some bikes it's less of a turn then that. Therefore, new riders that panic when (for example) killing the bike at a light, are going to throw down to much throttle and it's going to end either in a wheelie crash, or straight panic, onto the brakes again, causing the same situation as above. The same thing goes for the steering, SS bikes are designed to do EXACTLY what you tell them to do, they respond to steering corrections by the MM, not the inch or more like a car.
- Clip On Handle Bars, Clip on bars are NOT the best to learn on, they put you into an aggressive position making slow speed manuevers and other physics of steering 20 times harder. A beginner should start on something with standard bars (which means a normal handlebar, like a bicycle.)
- Power, the power of most SS bikes is pretty substantial. Alot of people underestimate it. Alot of new riders decide to turn the throttle that 1/8th inch more and i'm telling you it's a wake up call when it throws your ass back. Adding throttle through the turn is the BIG keypoint that makes the power of an SS bike bad for a new rider. When riding on the street you will be rolling on the throttle through EVERY turn (Point the bike, choose your line, and get back on the throttle as soon as possible.) When you add to much throttle (in this instence because you just bought an SS bike where an 1/8th of a turn of the throttle is WAY to much) the rear end is going to kick out, your not going to have enough experience to react and save it, and it will most likely end in a crash. Harsh, but the truth.
Most of you wanting to come into this sport lets face it, you probably just want it for the "cool" factor, or because you know bikes are "cheap speed". Please, get that out of your head. Motorcycle riding is a sport, a passion, and a lifestyle. Not something you do just to show off, because you know what? If you don't actually want to be in it for the sport, your never going to learn to ride the bike the way that it needs to be ridden in order to be truly fast. It takes years of practicing, tweaking, and perfecting your form to make a motorcycle truly perform the way you think it will/should. I mean honestly, and i've seen this before, a newer rider on an SS bike, will get left behind by the guy who's been riding his Ninja 250 for years. Not in the straights of course, but in the canyons, at the tracks, etc etc where it actually matters! Remember, a bikes not made for straight line speed, it's made for curves.
The thing that gets a LOT of the new riders looking at the SS bikes is the looks. Yes most of the SS bikes are drop dead gorgeous I know. However a lot of you will let that blind you to how awesome some of the great beginner bikes look. I'll give some examples here in a moment of some GREAT looking beginner bikes that will give you the flash you want, well over enough speed, and just the right amount of power to keep you happy! Something else is the fact that alot of you are going to let your friends influence your decision. Alot of your friends are going to say "Haha you bought a baby bike, should have got a 1000" or something completely idiotic along the lines of that. Just remember, 99% of your friends that say that probably have never ridden a bike
Alright so here is the point of the thread where I will lead you towards some truly awesome bikes that are designed around beginners, and would be perfect for you to start your motorcycling career on!
- Suzuki SV650: Comes in both a faired, and naked version
64.2 HP - 73.4 HP (Depending on model year)
42.3 ft·lb - 47.2 ft·lb (Depending on model year)
417-436lb wet weight (Depending on model year)
- Yamaha FZ6R:
40 ft lb torque
470 lb Wet Weight
- Kawasaki Ninja 650R:
44.7 ft lb torque
401.3 lb Dry Weight (Sorry no info on wet weight I could find.)
- Kawasaki Ninja 250R:
18.1 ft lb torque
374.9 lbs wet weight
and of course there is a ton more options out there, that is just the few that I recommend, and I will update this thread with some new ones when I get time.
Now onto the MOST important part of motorcycle riding, riding GEAR, yeah alot of people don't wear it, and I mean a LOT, but seriously, do you love your skin attached to your muscle, bones, etc etc? because I sure do. So don't be an idiot and listen to me.
When you buy a motocycle you should also set up your gear budget, it's going to take about 1000 dollars to get some quality gear, and do NOT skimp here please. That couple hundred extra dollars for a full leather jacket is going to save you thousands in hospital bills if you go down.
Now here is what should be on your gear list:
That should be your MINIMUM gear list. I recommend a good set of pants as well, but that's all in your choice.
Now, lets cover helmets. I'll tell you now, as long as a helmet is DOT approved it is going to protect your noggin. However, I recommend a full face, and remember the better quality you buy the better the helmet, and cost doesn't mean quality. If you can afford it hop into an Arai helmet. About 700-900 dollars, but we'll worth it. Other brands I recommend are Scorpion, Shoei, Icon, Nexx. Just remember that what's in that helmet is the most important thing you own, so don't skimp on protecting it.
On to jackets. At this point i'll warn you now, PLEASE stay away from mesh jackets. Yes they have armor, yes they say they protect, but have you ever fell on an asphalt basketball court in mesh shorts? Yeah, they don't last very well in a 5 mph fall, weather along a 25+. Textile jackets a good cheap alternative if you can't afford to go full leather, however if you can afford it please spring for a full leather jacket with elbow, shoulder, and back protection. It is WELL worth it. You'll think yourself for spending that extra dough when you go down.
Gloves, honestly this should take NO explaining. Your hands are one of the most important things you have, they NEED great protection. Again LEATHER, not mesh here. A good pair of leather gloves can be found for 90 bucks EASY. So no excuses, if you don't have any hands your days are going to become alot harder.
Boots, again, your feet are very important, if you lose those you may be in trouble. Boots can be expensive, or fairly cheap it's up to you, they range from 100$-500$+. Just get FULL length, leather, heel protection, shin protection at a minimum.
I know alot of you probably think gear is being over cautious, however when you actually get out there and ride you'll see just how dangerous it is on the road. A lot of people say they will be fine because they aren't going to wreck, i'm sorry, but it's like they say, " There's only two types of riders, those who have went down, and those who will", the only difference is the smart riders get back up to ride another day without iodine washes and a steel brush digging into their wounds.