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Cool_Hand_Luke
Cool_Hand_Luke New Reader
3/3/14 10:35 p.m.

What advice would you give to a youngster looking to ride? I want to learn properly and safely, and only have a high school budget

Appleseed
Appleseed UltimaDork
3/3/14 11:22 p.m.

If you're planning on buying a bike, do it now. Cold weather and hogging up garage space makes bikes cheap. Come spring, that same bike will be 20% more. Start small. A 600cc sport bike in not for beginners, no matter what someone says.

Sign up for a Motorcycle Safety Foundation (MSF) course as soon as you can. They fill up fast. You will learn the basics and good habits from them.

Remember, if you tire of a small bike, you can sell it in the spring next year for exactly what you paid for it. How much are willing to spend? Don't spend all your money on the bike and have nothing left for gear. I personally don't ride without a full faced helmet, riding gloves and a leather riding jacket. Craigslist has used items that can be cheap if you don't mind used. I'm sure the rest of the guys will chime in with their 2 cents.

ddavidv
ddavidv PowerDork
3/4/14 5:23 a.m.

Buy and read the book "Proficient Motorcycling". It's well written, nicely illustrated and will teach you all the things they should be teaching in the MSF course but can't.

yamaha
yamaha UltimaDork
3/4/14 10:28 a.m.

Sportbike, Cruiser, Dual Sport, etc......which type are you looking for, as this makes an important difference in what to recommend. I rode a SV650 for about a year until riding buddy nearly cut a buick in half, after that I spent 6 years bikeless growing up more, then jumped back into the ring with THE Widowmaker. I might have done it wrong.

Otherwise follow the three rules I was taught
1. Don't cock it up
2. Everyone else is trying to kill you
3. Wear gear, period. (Helmet, armor, jacket, gloves, etc)

Cool_Hand_Luke
Cool_Hand_Luke New Reader
3/4/14 6:29 p.m.
yamaha wrote: Otherwise follow the three rules I was taught 1. Don't cock it up 2. Everyone else is trying to kill you 3. Wear gear, period. (Helmet, armor, jacket, gloves, etc)

Very good advice indeed. How did you first get into riding yamaha?

Cool_Hand_Luke
Cool_Hand_Luke New Reader
3/4/14 6:30 p.m.

I'm having a hard time convincing the parents to give me their blessing on the matter but I think taking some safety courses will help. Are they well worth the money? They seem like it.

stuart in mn
stuart in mn PowerDork
3/4/14 6:48 p.m.

The MSF course is well worth it, and will be good bargaining power with the parents.

Don't worry about getting anything new or large or fast. You can have tons of fun on a 250cc or smaller bike.

Cool_Hand_Luke
Cool_Hand_Luke New Reader
3/4/14 7:27 p.m.
stuart in mn wrote: The MSF course is well worth it, and will be good bargaining power with the parents. Don't worry about getting anything new or large or fast. You can have tons of fun on a 250cc or smaller bike.

That's what I was thinking, 250cc. Any bikes in specific you or others would recommend?

Appleseed
Appleseed UltimaDork
3/4/14 11:32 p.m.

First gen Ninja 250. Rebel/CMX 250. Gz250. TwinStar/CM200. CB200. Cb175. Not too faniliar with them but there are 250 dirt bike/enduros as well.

My bike is a CM200T. Fast enough for what I do with it. Mostly around town but I have done a few 2-3-500 mile days on it. I've also beat on it at the strip. Super simple. For example, brand new carbs are $30 on E-Bay.

Trans_Maro
Trans_Maro UltraDork
3/4/14 11:41 p.m.

Make the first bike a cheap / rugged one.

That way you won't cry WHEN you drop it.

I started with a CX500 but I carry a bit more ballast than some folks.

50hp is PLENTY of power, more than enough to scare yourself with.

Shawn

Beer Baron
Beer Baron UltimaDork
3/5/14 6:06 a.m.
Cool_Hand_Luke wrote: I'm having a hard time convincing the parents to give me their blessing on the matter but I think taking some safety courses will help. Are they well worth the money? They seem like it.

Very well worth the money. Even if you end up not riding a bike, the safety awareness concepts they teach will make you a safer driver.

If you do start riding, you are about 1/4 as likely to get in an accident as someone who doesn't take the course, and may well get a discount on insurance.

Grtechguy
Grtechguy UltimaDork
3/5/14 6:10 a.m.

I started riding again on an ex500. Great little bike. Paid $500 for it, road it for 2.5 years with 10,000 miles and sold it again for $500.

You can't go wrong with a small displacement bike. the Ex250 is another zero depreciation bike.

Blitzed306
Blitzed306 Reader
3/5/14 6:34 a.m.

Most important things have been covered here, I will second getting a small CC bike. I can out ride all my friends except one. All except one have something in common, they bought into a look so people would think they were cool, but a SS 600 only slows your growth as a novice. I started on a Ninja250R which I owned for almost 10 years. A lot of bikes have come and gone, but the 250 was always in the stable

toad9977
toad9977 Reader
3/5/14 7:58 a.m.

Old enduros and dual sport bikes are great. I learned on an ole Suzuki TS 125. Dropped it and beat it too many times to count. Still have it at my buddies cabin. Since you will drop a bike or set it down, get yourself gear. Don't skimp either. You can find good deals on comfortable durable gear and you should have that built into your budget for buying a bike, not an afterthought. Take the MSF course. As others mentioned it is a good starting point. They usually are't too expensive and teach you good fundamentals and the basics of riding. Plus it counts for your skills test to get your license and helps the insurance.

As others mentioned, don't go overboard with CC's. 250s are a great place to start, are cheap, fuel efficient, and you wont be scared of it. As has been said, many have had a ton of other bikes, but the small ones are always in the stable or find their way back into the fleet.

yamaha
yamaha UltimaDork
3/5/14 9:39 a.m.

In reply to Cool_Hand_Luke:

Much the same way you're going through, my immediate family was completely against it, until I took the Abate MSF course and paid for everything myself. Bike insurance wasn't cheap for me at 19 though, and I doubt it has gotten any cheaper. MSF should save you more than it costs(if your prospective insurance does discounts, mine currently does not)

As far as a bike to chose, in my area the 250cc sportbikes are steadily pulling $2k+, but you can get a well maintained 70-80's Honda/Yamaha that is 200-500cc for around $1500 here. My advice, buy something you won't mind dropping, and is always in demand(less money lost/quicker sale)

40-60hp would be nice for a start, as it shouldn't punish you too badly for a brief lapse in judgement.

Giant Purple Snorklewacker
Giant Purple Snorklewacker MegaDork
3/5/14 9:50 a.m.

This is easy:

1) Learn to ride. 2) Buy a motorcycle. 3) Buy good gear and wear it. 4) Ride.

Take the MSF courses. There is more to staying alive than physically riding the bike and MSF will teach you good basic skills to get/keep you out of trouble. You will stay healthy by a balance of your sense of premonition, programmed reactions, and 360 awareness at all times. You have to take on the paranoia of a prey animal as instinct. It takes time to make all of that an unconscious competence (things you just do on autopilot so you can think about other things) so really pay attention to developing good habits in the beginning. Don't daydream on a motorcycle. Follow the pilot's rule as much as you can too - 8hrs bottle to throttle.

EDIT: As far as choice of bike... don't over think it. Any good, reliable bike will do. Some people stand by "get a small bike" but I tend to prefer something quick and nimble with a good balance. When I see something developing that makes me skittish I want to be able to leave quickly - not Hyabusa quickly but... quicker than 190lbs sitting on a 4 stroke sewing machine quickly. My first bike was an early 80s vintage UJM 650cc and it was plenty. I still mostly ride things in the sporty 750-900 category because I like the balance. (I am staring lustfully at ads full of 03/04 BMW 1150 GSAs with hard luggage right now though... doh!)

44Dwarf
44Dwarf SuperDork
3/5/14 10:17 a.m.

The MSF course should be mandatory but sadly it is not. Start there with the parents, ask for it as a birthday gift this will show your interested in safely learning how to ride. Most states give a discount on the insurance if you complete the course some will take the cert as a Passing the riders test too. I normally start people on the dirt with a low powered vintage bike and move them up as they get better at clutch and shifting, however I've taught a few just on street bikes so it can be done safely.

yamaha
yamaha UltimaDork
3/5/14 11:32 a.m.

In reply to Giant Purple Snorklewacker:

I let my MC endorsement lapse over the years away so I had to start over with the learners permit -> riding test again. Less than a week in I was getting ready to turn left at a stoplight(it had just turned green for me), but kept watching the guy coming from the right. He didn't even slow down and just went flying through his red light. It was even more saddening that the guy had 2 "Save a Life, Be Aware" motorcycle bumper stickers and the whole rear window of his truck was covered in Harley decals.

Situational awareness and distrust of others are your saving grace on a bike. After a little bit of experience everything we've been saying will become second nature.

RealMiniDriver
RealMiniDriver UltraDork
3/5/14 12:39 p.m.

Hell, I'm 46, and my mom isn't keen with my desire to ride. MSF helped alleviate some of her apprehension, as well knowing that I always wear my gear and ride sensibly.

Where I got my first helmet, jacket and gloves.

Cool_Hand_Luke
Cool_Hand_Luke New Reader
3/5/14 7:56 p.m.
RealMiniDriver wrote: Hell, I'm 46, and my mom isn't keen with my desire to ride. MSF helped alleviate some of her apprehension, as well knowing that I always wear my gear and ride sensibly. Where I got my first helmet, jacket and gloves.

Thanks for the link!

Appleseed
Appleseed UltimaDork
3/6/14 10:23 p.m.

Also, I'd check Revzilla.com. They have a ton of reviews on YouTube, so you can see what you're getting and their return policy is great. If the gear doesn't fit, return it. No restocking fee, just shipping. Helps cool the fear of buying a $400 Arai helmet online. That's were I got the white helmet in the wheelie pic.

yamaha
yamaha UltimaDork
3/7/14 9:31 a.m.

In reply to Appleseed:

Revzilla also price matches its competitors.

AaronBalto
AaronBalto Reader
3/12/14 8:37 p.m.

I am now 47 and I started riding at 17. I did 10,000 miles at 100 miles/day as a courier in Washington DC during Reagan. I am really, REALLY lucky to be alive. The reason your parents don't like the idea of their kid riding a motorcycle is that it's actually genuinely dangerous. People are trying to kill you. They are not just not paying attention. They seem to be actively trying to kill you. They will pull to the shoulder, wait for you to get close, and then they will make an unsignaled U in your path. They will turn left in front of you. They will not signal. They will change lanes into you.

I have been in a million crashes. Cars have cut me off, run me over. I've been hit by a bus. I have crashed on wet leaves. I've crashed for no damned reason, for being smart, for being stupid. You name it. I have road rash and scars and broken bones. You sure you really want to do this?

I understand that there are some things that you just can't not do. This may be one of them. But please, please never forget--not for a second--that this should never be considered even remotely safe.

What to get? Something very slow. Seriously, when I learned to ride, the fast bikes were much slower than the slow bikes are now. And there was no texting. And there were fewer cars out there at all. And NOT black. No black helmets, no black jackets. Nothing black. You want to be SEEN. They won't see you anyway, but give yourself a fighting chance.

Am I still riding? Well, kinda. I have a 1966 Ducati 250 race bike set up for the street. It never runs. It's very safe because it lives in the house where I can admire it. I also have a '74 Guzzi V7 Sport. It's not fast, but it's plenty fast to get me killed. I ride it terrified for a few hundred miles a year.

Be careful! Make a deal with your folks: You will give up on bikes if they buy you a Miata. Win win.

minimac
minimac SuperDork
3/13/14 11:02 a.m.

Every time you wake up, you're going to face some sort of risk. Whether you're in a car or on a bike, when your appointed time is up, it's up. I have been riding motorcycles for almost 50 years, and it has given me more enjoyment than riding in car ever could, with the exception of being on the track. As others stated, start with a good motorcycle safety course. Then invest in the best gear you can afford, and wear it. Scooters are fun, small bikes are fun, big bikes are fun. You ride to please yourself. The "universal Japaneese bike" is usually a very cost effective place to start, and can be had on a high schoolers budget. Make no mistake, there are idiots behind the wheels of cars that have no business driving. Assume that no one sees you and drive accordingly. I've lost a few friends and even a family member to motorcycle crashes, but the same can be said of auto crashes. If I let that stop me from enjoying riding, I wouldn't enjoy my life too much. Being a motorcyclist lets me experience things in a way that non-riders just can't understand.

Lugnut
Lugnut Dork
3/13/14 11:45 a.m.
Appleseed wrote:

I could have sworn your bike was orangey colored.

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