So you want to ride a motorcycle? - Triumph675.Net Forums
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post #1 of 38 Old 02-19-13, 11:55 Thread Starter
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So you want to ride a motorcycle?

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.


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:

    66.5 HP
    40 ft lb torque
    470 lb Wet Weight

  • Kawasaki Ninja 650R:

    64.8 HP
    44.7 ft lb torque
    401.3 lb Dry Weight (Sorry no info on wet weight I could find.)

  • Kawasaki Ninja 250R:

    37.4 HP
    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:

  • Helmet
  • Jacket
  • Gloves
  • Boots

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.

"Faster we become, until the thrill of speed overcomes the fear of death"

Last edited by Godly; 03-02-13 at 09:07.
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Now onto one of the most important things that will ever be done in your motorcycle cycle career. Prepping your bike for the ride! This goes a lot farther then just making sure that you have gas in the tank when it comes to a bike. There is a LOT of things to check on a regular basis and alot of things to equip your bike with before you head out.

We will start off with the PROTECTION prep of your motorcycle. Yes it is just as important as protecting your self, so don't be afraid to spend a few extra dollars to protect your investment in the case of a crash! Frame Sliders are one thing you'll hear EVERY rider say they have or need. I personally recommend getting much more then just frame sliders. Full protection kits will inlude: Frame Sliders, Fork Sliders, Rear Axle Sliders (or spools), crank case cover, stator cover, and a timing cover. When going with a full kit I highly recommend GB Racing, it's a little pricey (about 500$) but well worth it! There are also more sliders you CAN purchase, but are not really nessacary, such as bar end sliders, tail sliders, etc etc.

Now, on to what you need to do to prep your bike on a regular basis. Not only are these check up's important, but if you don't do them you risk some serious injury. The maintnence of a motorcycle is what's going to keep you safe and your bike running and functioning the way it should for a LONG time. There is an operation called TCLOCKS, that they teach in the MSF class and most other motorcycle safety programs, however, some of that honestly is not needed, so I will list my general weekly procedure.

  • Tire pressures. The most important thing on your motorcycle is the tires, they are what keeps you going. If your tires are under or over inflated it can be truly dangerous. For optimum grip check your bikes owners manual for the recommended amount of air for each tire.

  • Tire wear. Just like in a car, if your tires are to the wear bars do NOT ride anywhere, and always make sure that you have enough tread to last for the ride your about to go on. The last thing you want to do is have a blowout on a motorcycle.

  • Chain slack. There is WAY to many procedures on how to do this out there, and every bike is different, just check your manual for the recommended slack.

  • Brakes. On a motorcycle your brakes are more then important, if your pads are low it will slow down your stopping time significantly and when that emergency situation comes where you need them, they may not be there for you.

  • Sprockets, you have two sprockets on a motorcycle, front and rear, in which the teeth will get worn down. NEVER and I mean NEVER ride on a motorcycle equipped with sprockets that have broken teeth, or worn down teeth, if that chain jumps off it's not going to feel to good around your leg.....

  • Lines and cables. Brake, coolant, clutch, etc etc, just make sure that every line and cable on your bike is in good working condition, springing a leak during a ride or snapping a cable is going to put a serious damper on your day.

  • Oil. Just like in your car, check your oil regularly, bike rev high, and alot of them do burn oil now and then, so make sure you keep an eye on it, and change it every 3000-4000 miles!

  • Chain Lubrication. Lubrication is very important when it comes to your chain. Each week (or 500 milesish) wipe your chain down with some chain cleaner and put down a new coat of chain lube.

  • Nut's and Bolts. Bolts and nuts on a motorcycle are PRONE to twisting out from vibration. Keep an eye on them, it takes maybe 30 minutes to go over them all.

  • Fluid Levels. Check your oil, brake fluid (front and rear)

Keeping an eye on those few things will save you all kinds of hassle and possible crashes, so be sure to take care of your motorcycle!

Next up, how to prepare yourself for the ride! To some people it comes natural, it's get on and go. However alot of people will have FEAR when it comes to throwing a leg over a bike for the first time. My only advice at that point is don't be. Fear is going to be your limiter on a motorcycle, and if your scared just trying to pull out your never going to be able to ride normally. So suck it up. :guns:

To all of you that are starting out, and you experienced guys if you haven't done it yet, take the MSF course. It is a cheap way to become familiar with some emergency manuevers and how to ride your bike safely. It varies in price state to state. I know in WV it's about $100 to take the course. They will provide you with a motorcycle to ride and the class consist of three days. One day classroom learning, and two days out on your motorcycle. At the end you will have a test (one written, one physical.) If you pass both test then you will get to waive the skills test at the DMV, and obtain your Motorcycle Endorsement on your license.

In this section i'm going to talk about what you have to do to get your bike, and you, road legal. Alot of people don't even know about the fact they need a motorcycle endorsement to operate a motorcycle on the road legally. So here is the process.

  • Motorcycle Learners Permit, Yes you need one. Same process as getting your driving learners permit, however most states do require you to have a normal drivers license in order to obtain this. It allows you to operate your motorcycle on the road for 90 days, however you can not carry passengers and you can not ride after dark.

  • Insurance. I recommend full coverage. If the bike gets stolen it's not covered under liability. Insurance can and will get expensive depending on the bike you ride. Here are some quotes I received via Rider Insurance (Rider is only within a few states, so don't bet on getting this low of rates much of anywhere else unless you have 0 tickets, and are over 25)

    I am 22, with two moving violations, so take that into play here as well.
    • 2011 Yamha R6 ~ $900 a year $75 a month
    • 2009 Ninja 650R ~ 650$ a year $54.16 a month
    • 2008 Ninja 250R ~ 150$ a year
    • 2011 GSXR 600 ~ $1400 a year $116.66 a month
    • 2003 Suzuki SV650 ~ $200 a year
    As said it varies greatly, and the HUGE difference between SS bikes and beginner bikes in insurance is yet another reason to start on a smaller bike.

  • Liscense Plate, it's the same as a car. Pay the taxes, get the plates. Cost me $32 for two years here in WV, I recommend getting your plate for as long as you can, here it's a two year limit.

  • Endorsement. No you do not need an additional license to operate a motorcycle however you do need an endorsement added to your current license. After 90 days with your Learners (or sooner) you can come back to the DMV and try in the skills test to get this, however like above, I suggest going the MSF route.

Next up in this article is going to be how to decide if a bike is for you or not.

"Faster we become, until the thrill of speed overcomes the fear of death"

Last edited by Godly; 02-19-13 at 12:31.
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There are QUITE a few points that will tell you if a motorcycle would be good for you:
  • Can you flat foot the bike? A LOT of people overlook this factor when getting there first motorcycle. Weather or not your feet touch the ground is huge because while you can stop and only put one foot down, but there is a whole world of scenarios that can go wrong in doing so, such as:
    1. Putting the foot down into a pot hole that you didn't see, in turn toppling the bike on top of you at the light. Both embarasing and painful.
    2. Your foot slips out from under you from oil in the roadway when you put your foot down, resulting in the same scenario as above.
    3. The road is crowned, and you have to lean the bike way over at the light, and drop the bike.
    There is a ton more reasons that you want to be able to flat foot the bike, but nobody in the world has the time to type of all of that.

  • Position. Are you stretching to reach the bars? Are your knees coming up way to close to the top of the tank? If you have to stress your body to reach the controls then that's not a good thing. This doesn't mean that if you have to lean forward then you shouldn't ride that bike, you'll have to do that on every bike, but if your in riding position, and stretching your arms and lower back just to reach the bars it's a little much.

  • This isn't really a much needed thing, but I see it as important. However it may not matter to you. Now, the question is, does the bike suit your eyes? Does it look good? In my opinion your bike needs to look good to you, riding a motorcycle should make you happy, and if you don't like the way it looks 9 chances out of 10 it's not going to do that.

  • Weight. Some bikes weigh up into 500+ pounds, Sportbikes anyway some cruisers weigh into the thousands, make sure you are strong enough to balance the bike, as well as pick it up if it goes down.

The main thing is the bike has to feel like it fits you, you don't want to be uncomfortable. (Until you go to an SS bike anyhow, all of those *****es are torture racks LOL)

Next up on the list is telling you how to make sure you purchase a quality bike, one that's taken care of and doesn't give you any problems. When you should walk away from a deal, etc etc.

When buying your first bike I am gonig to highly recommend you buy used! Yes I know having a bike with 0 miles and being the only owner is cool, but honestly you have a bigger chance of wrecking your first bike then any other bike you own. This is also another reason for beginners bikes, fairings and parts are CHEAP, so that when a new rider messes something up, it doesn't break his bank.

When looking for a bike first off do your research, the things i'm going to tell you are JUST the things that apply to any bike you look at, certain bikes do have there certain problems that are unique to them.

When it comes to buying a used bike I suggest going to a private seller, as dealers are pushy, and most of them will NOT allow you to test ride the bike. Anyway here is what to do when you are looking for a used motorcycle:
  • Pick the motorcycle right for you, for this you may have to go around to some dealers and set on them, if no dealers have them don't worry, find a used one for sale and ask if you can come look at it.

  • Do your research! Find out if there is any common problems, and check for the symptoms.

  • Locate the bike. Plan your trip. Get a trailer, etc etc if your truly interested in buying the bike!

  • TEST RIDE. Most dealers will not let you test ride bikes. Therefore like I stated before I suggest private sellers. Show them the money and they are usually fine with it. NEVER buy a motorcycle without test riding it. There could be plenty of problems that only persist while in motion, and if the seller denies you a test ride, chances are, those problems are there.

  • Once the test ride's over, and you like the bike, hand over the cash, smile, and either load your new bike in to the trailer or ride off into the sunset knowing you are now a motorcyclist!

Once you buy your bike, if you are just going through town I would suggest riding it. The sooner you start your new found love of riding the better, however if your going to need to go on the freeway, I suggest trailering the bike. The freeway is WAY to dangerous for a new rider. From 18 wheelers sucking you in to cagers cutting into you so they can exit. Stay away from there for a little while.

Now onto what to look at when you go to check out a used motorcycle:
  • Tires, it is not THAT important that the bike has good tires, unless your riding it home. However if it does not have good tires ask the seller to knock off 100-200 dollars for a new set of tires. How do you tell if the tires are bad?

    1. Tread, this ones obvious. Check all the wear markers on the tire, if ANY of them are close, the tires need to be trashed and replaced.
    2. Manufacture date, located on the sidewall in a small bubble, this tells you the week and the year that the tire was made. If the tires are over two years old, I suggest tossing them. You can ride on old tires, but they just don't have as much grip, and you risk them cracking.

  • How does the engine run? Is it a smooth idle? rough? The idle can tell you alot about the condition of a bikes engine. Ecspecially if it's carbeurated like the Ninja 250.

  • Forks. Be sure to check the forks for any leaking. Compress the suspension a few times and make sure that all is working correctly. Changing fork seals is no fun. If you want the bike even with a leaky fork seal, I would ask the seller to knock off another 100 or so dollars to get the seals replaced. Also, be SURE to try the best you can to make sure they are not bent. Sometimes it is hard to see, but a bent fork can ruin your day.

  • Drive system. Take a look over the drive system (chain, front sprocket, rear sprocket) take covers off if you have too. (I always keep tools in my truck, so that the seller can't say he doesn't have the tools to remove that) if the chain and sprockets are dirty, gunky, etc etc then that's a good sign that the bike hasn't been maintained and takin care of very well. The paint and other things can be as pretty as the showroom floor, but if the mechanics of the bike aren't maintained it's going to become a paper weight.

  • Controls. Make sure that ALL of the controls work, from the horn to the killswitch. Hit EVERY lever and EVERY button on that bike to make sure they do what they are suppose to be doing. You'd be suprised how many people screw some of that stuff up :lol:

  • Leaks. Check around all covers, check all the hoses, etc etc for ANY type of leak. Coolant, oil, brake fluid, etc etc. Bikes have a lot of places a leak could happen at, and they are not a big deal usually, just make sure that it's not leaking from anywhere bad.

  • Starter, start the bike, make sure it starts in 1 crank (as long as it's warm out) if it doesn't then either the battery is low, or the starter motor is getting week. This is not a big deal, it just tells you if you may have to change some parts soon

  • Mileage. I'm just throwing this in here to tell you that a bike can LAST. A lot of people have it in there head that 10,000 miles on a bike is a lot of miles. However now a days, that's nothing. Bikes go to an easy 40-50k before they have problems in this day and age. I know a few people that has bikes with over 100k on them. So don't let it scare you away if a bike says it has 20,000 miles or something like that.

That is what I always make sure to look at when buying a bike. However other people may have there own inspections. My main advice is don't be afraid to ask, and don't be afraid to walk away if they say no. If you have to take the fairings off to check for leaks, then do it. If he says no, then tell him no sell, he'll come around if there is truly nothing wrong with the bike. One more tip of advice is to NEVER believe somebody when they tell you they have never wheelied, raced, rode fast, etc etc on a sport bike. They did, and if your like me, you would rather them tell you the truth!

Next in this article i'm going to talk a bit about the MSF (Motorcycle Safety Foundation) course. I covered this briefly before here, but I have gotten a few messages asking about it, so i'm going to explain it in a bit more detail.

There is more then one MSF course first of all, the list of programs goes like this:
  • Basic RiderCourse:

    The Basic RiderCourse is a complete entry-level, learn-to-ride class that consists of at least 15 hours of formal classroom activities and on-cycle riding exercises conducted over two or three days. About five hours are devoted to learning activities in the classroom, and around 10 hours of hands-on practice are included. Training motorcycles are provided. Successful completion may lead to a waiver of the motorcycle license skill test and an insurance discount.

  • Basic RiderCourse 2:

    A one-day course for riders with basic skills, this class provides more in-depth riding techniques and procedures than practiced in the BRC. The course consists of activities that emphasize personal risk management and self-assessment strategies, and on-cycle exercises with emphasis in cornering, braking and swerving. For permit holders, this course may be used as a license waiver course, if permitted by state regulations. Riders in this category would be required to successfully complete a knowledge and skill test. For riders already possessing a license or endorsement, the testing portions of the course are optional.

  • Street RiderCourse 1:

    A half-day class for recent BRC graduates who would like their first street experience in a small-group setting under the supervision of an MSF-certified RiderCoach. Activities include a preliminary skill assessment, followed by light residential riding, light suburban traffic, and perhaps progression into more complex traffic situations. Class size is limited to four riders.

  • Basic Bike-Bonding RiderCourse:

    The BBBRC is designed for small motorcycles, and may be conducted with training motorcycles or with an appropriate, street-legal motorcycles provided by the participants. Although riders with larger motorcycles may participate, they should be referred to the Ultimate Bike Bonding RiderCourse. Riders providing their own motorcycles must show proof of insurance, and the motorcycle must pass a TCLOCS inspection by a RiderCoach.

  • Street RiderCourse 2:

    A half-day class for licensed riders with current experience. This class consists of small-group riding experiences on the street. It is for riders who wish to improve their strategies for successful street riding. Class size is limited to four riders.

  • Ultimate Bike-Bonding RiderCourse:

    The MSF Ultimate Bike Bonding RiderCourseSM (UBBRC) is a partial day course designed to provide a low risk, effective, and enjoyable training event for participants who have riding experience. The primary tasks of a RiderCoachSM are to ensure a low-risk learning environment consistent with MSF principles and to facilitate the development of rider skills and competencies during each exercise and throughout the course. Participants must be licensed and use their personal (or borrowed, with permission), safe and street-legal motorcycle.

    Bike Bonding refers to the connection and interaction of the rider and motorcycle. Good bike bonding helps riders automate their physical skills so they can devote more attention to road and traffic conditions (searching and evaluating).

    The UBBRC is designed for riders who possess a solid basic skill and have recent riding experience. It is recommended that the motorcycle be appropriate for the size and strength of its rider. The UBBRC is designed for two-wheel, single-track motorcycles, not 3-wheel motorcycles or hybrid designs. Riders must also show proof of license and insurance. No passengers are permitted in the UBBRC.

  • Introductory Motorcycle Experience:

    A two-hour, first-touch experience with a motorcycle and not designed to teach a person to ride. As a familiarization program that points out the primary parts and controls of a typical motorcycle, it helps a potential rider determine whether motorcycling is a good personal choice. A person is given the option to manipulate the controls while astride a motorcycle, and is led into a BRC as a formal way to learn to ride. Also embedded in the experience is a self-assessment component to ensure a person is aware of the risks and requirements for being a good, safe and responsible rider.

The one is bold is the class I will be referrig to as it is the most common class for people to take. However if you can afford it, and have the time, I reccommend taking them all!

The BRC (Basic Rider Course, is a three day course. The first day is usually a Friday evening, and the other two days start early on Saturday and Sunday morning. I'll go over the schedule that I had in my MSF course with you, remember it may or may not be different from the schedule of the MSF course in your area.
  • Day 1: Friday, started at 5:45 PM in the confrence room at the Sleep Inn in Beaver, WV. We spend about 3.5 hours in the classroom that day, watching videos, getting to know names, etc etc. At the end of the day there is a written test with about 50 questions. Just watch the videos and you should have no problem passing that test with EASE!

  • Day 2:Saturday, started at 6:45 AM on the Range (parking lot with painted lines) at Shady Spring Hight School, Shady Spring, WV. This day is where things get fun. They introduce you to the bikes you'll be riding, we had choice of:

    1. Honda 125BT
    2. Honda Nighthawk 250
    3. Suzuki GZ250

Your choices may be the same, but it's also very possible they will be different. I chose the Nighthawk for myself.

The first thing you do this day is basic setting on the bike, roll it back and fourth with your legs, then you move it forward and back using the clutch friction point, then you "power walk" the bike which is walking the bike using the clutch to pull it every now and then. Then you finally pull out, ride a straight line, turn around, come back.

Next up you do some weaving exercises through some cones, and an emergency stop exercise. That concluded day 2 for us.

"Faster we become, until the thrill of speed overcomes the fear of death"

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  • Day 3:Sunday, started at 6:45 AM on the Range (parking lot with painted lines) at Shady Spring Hight School, Shady Spring, WV. This was the fun day.

You do alot more emergency stop exercises this day, as well as some slow speed clutch control exercises. You also finally get to ride some laps at about 20-25 MPH. All the exercises are fairly simple, the figure 8 in a small box is the hardest part in my opinion. At the end of this day you will do a riding test. This will include a couple of the emergency stop exercises, the figure 8 in a box, taking a turn exercise, and a couple other small exercises.

This class is honestly easy if you pay attention. They will usually give you as many practice runs as you want. Just take every thing slow and learn it as you can. Don't try to rush the process! If at the end of the third day you have passed both the written test and the riding test most states will allow you to use your MSF card as a waiver to the DMV skills test. Allowing you to add your motorcycle endorsement to your liscense.

In WV this class cost $100 to take if your from the state and $195 if you are from out of state. In your state it may or may not be different and in a few states I know it is even free. There is no excuse not to take it, you will learn a LOT about how to ride, and how to do it safely in that class! Click the link below to sign up for your class today!]here

There is only a couple more things left that all riders need to know, and that is how to act on the street. While riding is extremely fun, you also have to remember that it is dangerous. There are thousands of factors on the road that could lead to your potential demise as a rider.
  • Cagers (People driving cars/trucks/SUVs): While you may think they are harmless starting out, trust me they are NOT, most of them don't look for other cars, weather along look for riders on machines a fourth their size.
  • Debris/Trash: Not ALL of it is going to cause you to risk crashing, however, plastic bags can get caught up in your wheels, trucks could loose a piece of cargo, or a cager could throw out a cigarette butt at the wrong time. It's all things you need to be aware of.
  • Animals: Just like in a car, animals aren't going to really pay much attention to you and they are definitely going to walk out in front of you at some point, and when they do, you don't have the metal cage surrounding you to protect you anymore.

These are all reasons that you need to STAY ATTENTIVE! The last thing you want to do on a bike is being dazed off in to space, every second of every ride needs to be concentrated on whats around you, so that when the time comes, your emergency actions can be engaged. Weather it's a cager switching into your lane, or bambi deciding to cross the road right when your mid turn at 60 MPH. There is ALWAYS something to be watching for. No excuses. Over time you will train yourself on how to see when this stuff is going to happen, for example when in traffic, watch the cars around you, are their front tires turned towards you? If they are be SURE they see you coming! Beep the horn, rev your engine, whatever is needed for them to become aware of you!

Last but not least, enjoy the ride! When starting out as a motorcyclist you are going to learn weather or not you are going to enjoy motorcycling. If you don't, don't be discouraged, millions of people try it every year and decide the sport just isn't for them. However if you don't put your heart and soul into riding, it's never going to make you happy. Riding takes a dedicated person, that has oil in their veins and passion in their heart in order to succeed.

Follow these guidelines and I assure you that in the end you will become a great motorcyclist, and you'll do it the correct and SAFE way. Don't become a squid, you need to ride well if you want the respect of fellow motorcyclist. If anybody has any questions my email is [email protected], feel free to message me anytime!

"Faster we become, until the thrill of speed overcomes the fear of death"

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I completely disagree with the statement that dirt bike riding skills don't help you at all when making the switch to street bikes. Rather than type out a long diatribe, I'll just poach an article from Cycle World:
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Originally Posted by sideshow bob View Post
I completely disagree with the statement that dirt bike riding skills don't help you at all when making the switch to street bikes. Rather than type out a long diatribe, I'll just poach an article from Cycle World:
As I already stated, the article that I wrote is solely my opinion. It may or may not be correct, but to me, seeing as I rode dirt before I came to the street, the dynamics from riding a dirt bike offroad to riding a sportbike are two completely different worlds...

"Faster we become, until the thrill of speed overcomes the fear of death"
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I'm not try to blast you, it's an excellent post.
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Re: So you want to ride a motorcycle?

A lot of good information here. I hope it helps the new riders. The grammar Nazi in me can't help but to point out the fact you may want to go back through and look at how you used "your" when many places you should have used "you're" as well as using "to" where you should have used "too." Just minor things my OCD nature can't help but notice.

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Looks great so far! A few bikes to add:
Suzuki gs500e and gs500f
Honda Cbr 250 and 500
Kawasaki 300
Hyosung 250r and 650r

1993 Mitsubishi 3000GT VR-4
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And add the CBR125R to the learning list! Miles of clutch to learn, light and all around fun!

Would also disagree dirt riding doesn't help on street...balance, control operation, sliding tires and more all comes across. But again...everyone has their on opinion as you state.

Good article, I will point anyone looking to get into riding towards this for sure!
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