| 9:57 pm on Nov 18, 2002 (gmt 0)|
>>all I know is that the Ducati 998 and Yamaha R1 look awesome.
Yep, they look awesome. Now ask yourself how often you plan on riding, and for how long a period of time. If you ride 10 minutes to work, no big deal. If you plan on riding hundreds of miles on pleasure cruises, you might want to look at a different style of bike.
| 10:06 pm on Nov 18, 2002 (gmt 0)|
Welcome to the fabulous world of motorcycles!
I've been riding for 10 years now, and I'll offer the following advice.
First, I don't know the licensing requirements in the UK, but I would recommend you take a GOOD rider course. Not just something to get you to pass the exams, but something that will really teach you about the physics of motorcycling. In the U.S. we have the Motorcycle Safety Foundation [msf-usa.org] (MSF) as a good intro resource. Whatever it costs, get yourself some good instruction.
Second, you have fabulous taste in bikes. :) But for your first motorycle I *highly* recommend buying a used bike with a smaller engine. Two reasons:
1. You *will* drop your new bike. Probably more than once. Not necessarily with you on it, but you'll drop it. It feels so much nicer to scratch up a used bike than a shiny new one.
2. A new bike with a larger engine can get a new rider into trouble. They're so incredibly powerful that they'll outperform your skills fast and leave you with no breathing room.
Third, invest in good gear. Fortunately, most of the UK motorcyclists I've seen tend to wear very safe gear (a lot of U.S. riders are not outfitted well enough). A good helmet, a good jacket (leather is best), good gloves, good boots ... these are all essential gear. Expect to spend $$. (The good news is that high quality gear will last you a long time.)
Fourth, once you have your new bike, get out and practice. Take a track school [webbikeworld.com] (or several - they're fun!). Riding a motorcycle is easy to learn - and then you can spend a lifetime honing your skills.
Finally, learn how to work on your own bike. Even if you don't end up doing all of the work yourself, know how to change the oil, change the sparkplugs, etc. When something goes wrong on the road (and something will, I promise) you'll be more comfortable if you can fix it yourself.
(Oh, so yeah, I was an online motorcycle journalist for a few years in a previous life. I've got LOTS of advice.)
Feel free to sticky me if you have any other questions.
| 10:13 pm on Nov 18, 2002 (gmt 0)|
looking back at my original post, i realised it looked a bit like the following:
"17 year old, never driven a car, but am interested in the New Audi RS6 or BMW M5, got no idea what they do, but they both look nice and are extremely fast"
I have contacted 1 of the best training schools for what we in the UK call "CBT" Compulsory Basic Training, this I hope will give me a days worth of inside knowledge and then let me decide whether this is for me.
All above points noted, and I shall be careful.
will keep you updated.
As for low powered starting point, totally agree and the best looking 1 so far has to be the Honda NSR125 (lovely looking machine).
Still think the Yamaha is a better looking bike than the Ducati 998!
[edited by: Shakil at 10:16 pm (utc) on Nov. 18, 2002]
| 10:16 pm on Nov 18, 2002 (gmt 0)|
The Yamaha would be easier to work on, too. Ducatis are notorious knuckle-busters.
| 10:35 pm on Nov 18, 2002 (gmt 0)|
It's been years since I've had a bike. Seven or eight years ago, I got a hankerin' for a Harley. My girlfriend was all for it. Shortly thereafter she became pregnant. We got married and I named the kid Harley Davidson Mullis since that was about as close to a Harley as I was going to get (don't worry, I really named him Matthew Blake). Since she became my wife, She Who Must Be Obeyed has nixed the motorcycle idea.
| 10:37 pm on Nov 18, 2002 (gmt 0)|
Just aswell I dont have a wife then :)
Lawman, what happened with the C32 idea, or did u get something else.
| 10:52 pm on Nov 18, 2002 (gmt 0)|
what happened with the C32 idea, or did u get something else
I drove to Atlanta with a letter from my bank guaranteeing my check. However, after driving the beast, there wasn't enough magic to justify $1000/month car payments - the darned thing was just too small! I'm thinking about a BMW540, but haven't driven one of those yet.
Now, about those motorcycles . . .
| 8:33 am on Nov 19, 2002 (gmt 0)|
Shakil, welcome to the wonderful world of being a kid again :).
I started riding a little over a year ago and I'm one of those people who will sometimes read a subject to death but in addition to the advice given by Hawkgirl, VERY sound advice, I would reccomend some reading material to help get you in the proper mindset : Proficient Motorcycling by David L Hough. It is the one thing I go back and reread everyonce in awhile because of the way it presents real world situations that I have come across as has just about everyone who has riden a bike.
One thing that cannot be overstated here is get the best fitting most comfortable helmet that you can afford....don't scrimp in this area.
Hehe lawman, my wife told me I could have a bike but she never thought I would go ahead and get one until I came home with it ;).
P.S. Shakil seriously think about starting off with a used bike with a displacement 500cc or less.
| 8:45 am on Nov 19, 2002 (gmt 0)|
Well, I don't have much to add to this thread, but I am also dreaming of a two wheeler. However, I'm dreaming of a Seqway [segway.com] instead. Unfortunatly, I have absolutly no use for one other than to eliminate the mile daily walk to the post office to get my mail. That wouldn't have any impact on my health since the bread store is next to the post office and it would be breaking my 3 donut a day habit.
| 10:35 am on Nov 19, 2002 (gmt 0)|
Birmingham NEC. Now.
Went on Sunday, it was great :)
Agree with post above - first bike - you will drop it. More than once.
Good starter (for the type of bike you are looking for) is the NSR125. For a couple of hundred less, the Sachs XTC125 (if you have a local dealer). Also worth considering are the Cagiva Mito 125 (similar styling to the 996 but looks smaller) and the Aprilia RS125 (more expensive but quicker and the nicest looking of the bunch).
Don't forget - you will drop it and Ducatti and Yamaha R1 parts and repairs are NOT cheap.
| 11:30 am on Nov 19, 2002 (gmt 0)|
Bikes are great and I fully recommend them usually as fun recreation rather than transport these days as cars are so cheap.
It is winter here in UK right now. Not the best time to get into 2 wheels, wet roads, slippy white lines and drain covers, deadly diesel slicks, low grip and low visibility drivers in fogged up cars abounding.
Inside the M25 I would probably recommend them as transport (I beleive they may be exempt the £5 congestion charge) but there would be little rational point in getting an R1 when a cool little scooter would get you there just as fast and with possibly less risk to wallet and composure and of course of theft of your pride and joy.
I agree with Hawkgirl re risk, bikes like the R1 and Ducati have enough power to spin their rear wheel on a wet motorway when the bike is already doing 70mph .. they are *not* for newbies to biking by any means .. speed and power are fun and addictive . but .
Undisciplied bikers often find they become focussed on the next overtaking manouver to the exclusion of other issues which is I think also when they come into contact with the highest risk, overtaking (badly) at junctions when car drivers cannot see them and do not know they are there.
More and more professionals are getting on bikes either for the first time or as returning mid life bikers, thats great and driving the market however I equate the ones taking the biggest risks on the road with the ones that have never hit a car ... Its worth thinking about alongside the need for good training and experience .. believe me once you hit or get hit by your first car your attention to risk in road riding changes somewhat if that is you get up again.
I changed from being an all time budget biker as a youth at which time I had plenty of accidents and was lucky to become older :-) to a fair weather one and now to an occasional "hot road" rider (I mean when the tarmac is hot and so is the rubber :-)
I also built in "biking" into interviews for engineers .. if mechanical engineers had biking experience and could talk their way through gearboxes, electrics, handling etc I figured they were ok .. note for electronics the correlation seemed to be more with a love of science fiction :-)
If you like bikes like the R1 may I suggest plan to get over to France for the next 24hr Le Mans bike race I think sometime early next year - you will be hooked for life!
| 12:39 pm on Nov 19, 2002 (gmt 0)|
Are you in the UK?
I can personally recommend an excellent instructor based in Colchester, Essex if you are.
I would definitely agree on the points that Hawkgirl made!
You *will* drop your bike, and it *will* get at least scratched!
I'd been doing motocross for as long as I could remember before jumping on a road bike, and took a two day intensive course. Most people would need longer than that to learn how to ride, but I already had the off-road experience so I just needed to learn how to ride a bike on the road (it's alot different that driving a car).
Day 1 was the CBT (Compulsary Basic Training) on a 125, then the second day was on a Honda 500 to get some experience, with the test at the end.
Start off on a smaller bike too.
On a bigger bike, the rush you get when you twist the throttle back is so addictive you'll find yourself doing crazy speeds without realising. At least on a smaller bike you won't have as much power available so if you get into a tricky situation, it may be a little better to handle.
I went out and got a Yamaha R6. Within two weeks I'd crashed it on a corner.
The road was a bit shiny so I didnt have as much grip as on other roads, but I couldnt see this until later when the sun was in a different position.
You'll learn to instinctively 'read the road' when your on a bike.
Shiny road = not much grip.
Rough road = loads of grip.
The center of the road (between where the car tyres go) is usually grippiest as it's not been worn by the cars.
Don't skimp on your gear just as Hawkgirl says.
My leather trousers literally saved my butt when I went down, and if I wasnt wearing all my gear I would have had alot of road rash.
Good gloves are vital, as we instincively put our hands down when we fall over and it's no different when coming off a bike. Expensive gloves are vital to protect your hands & fingers.
Boots - at the bare minimum get some sturdy footwear that'll protect your ankles. Proper boots are very protective if you get them.
Jacket - Leather is best, but the 'sports' type jackets are very good as well. They usually have armour in all the right places and usually have a back-protector built in. They're usually a nylon type material which can burn if you slide too far so that's a possible downside if you go down.
Safety helmet - Spend as much as you can. These are one of those things that you really do get what you pay for and generally speaking, the more you pay, the better protection you'll have.
It's very easy to get a false sense of security when riding something like a sports bike. They are such capable machines that they trick you into thinking you're a better rider than you are so take it easy for a while ;)
It's a hell of a buzz though! I often realise that my eyes are nearly popping out of their sockets when going fast. It's so scary, but so much fun you can't help it. Makes you feel like a kid again :)
Most people seem to find the U-turn and emergency stops the hardest parts when training. You need to be able to turn the bike in a normal street without putting your foot down. With the emergency stop, alot of people don't brake hard enough due to fear of the front wheel locking up but that's something that rarely happens due to the weight of you and the bike moving forward onto the front wheel when you brake.
Once you pass your test and get out on the road, you'll feel like you've become a member of some secret club that not many people know about and you'll wish you'd done it years ago!
| 1:12 pm on Nov 19, 2002 (gmt 0)|
Thank you so much for all the information above.
Really has put a new sense adventure in me, really looking fwd to this :)
and yes I am in the UK in Essex, so details of the instructor would be handy as Colchester is about an hour away.
| 1:28 pm on Nov 19, 2002 (gmt 0)|
Judder & Shakil, looks like we are all in Essex, is there anyone who lives anyplace else in UK :-)
Just a point on the emergency stop, I had also been riding dirt bikes before I took my road test.
I nearly failed because I stopped the bike fine but didnt put my feet down .. I looked at the tester and he seemed happy so I rode off .. at the end he said bad emergency stop you didnt put your feet down - Uh say what! .. the bike stopped rear wheel skid was immediately controlled .. etc etc .. anyhow he let me have it ..
Suggestion: Essex webmasterworld bike club
Naa Hawkgirl is too far away .. :-)
| 1:44 pm on Nov 19, 2002 (gmt 0)|
|Naa Hawkgirl is too far away |
Just give me honorary status ... ;)
Everyone brought up great points.
For me, one of the best things I learned when I was learning to ride was the actual physics of how the bike was working. Countersteering, for example, which is counterintuitive - an important concept to learn. Also important to learn is how the size of your tire's contact on the road changes when you are braking, turning, or braking and turning.
Brett - oh, I saw how you were drooling over that McLaren F1 we saw ... we need to introduce you to some bikes. I bet you'd fall for a Britten. ;)
| 1:44 pm on Nov 19, 2002 (gmt 0)|
Here is my favorite one this is so good and it fast, goodlooking, and comfortable.
Suzuki DL 1000 [suzukimc.nu]
| 2:54 pm on Nov 19, 2002 (gmt 0)|
I am one person who does not support motorcycles.
My brother in law died riding a motorcycle.
One of my best friends in high school died on a motorcycle.
1) In any given year, cars account for less than 20 deaths per 100,000 and motorcycles account for more than 60 deaths per 100,000.
2) Motorcycles are less stable than cars.
3) Motorcycles are not as visible as cars.
3) Riders of motorcycles lack the protection of an enclosed vehicle.
4) Motor Vehicle accidents are the #1 cause of death for people aged 15-34.
DON'T GET A MOTORCYCLE. Your taking the leading cause of death and multiplying by 3.
| 3:03 pm on Nov 19, 2002 (gmt 0)|
I drove a honda helix for a few years. not as 'macho' as your avarage motor cycle, but it was highway legal and i LOVED the 80mpg I got out of it. :P
| 3:07 pm on Nov 19, 2002 (gmt 0)|
Dvduval: Your feelings are very understandable. I'm sorry for the loss of your brother-in-law.
My Mom was a trauma nurse for several years - this is why my Dad doesn't have a motorcycle. And when I told her about ten years ago that I got one, she nearly disowned me. (Well, not quite. But she was ticked.)
I guess the key is to realize as a rider that you are taking a risk - and then do what you can to mitigate that risk. Take rider courses, wear the maximum amount of safety gear, always remain diligent.
| 3:29 pm on Nov 19, 2002 (gmt 0)|
No matter how many courses you take, riding a motorcycle is (statistically) stupid. You need to think not only of yourself, but of you friends and family, who may be attending your funeral, and of those people who look up to you and are encouraged to engage in an activity that is more fatal than drugs.
| 3:33 pm on Nov 19, 2002 (gmt 0)|
just got a used 2001 ninja zx900r (completely piped and jetted = about 170hp) for me and and a 1999 ninja 250 for the wife. we love them!
- you will drop it, I did twice so far.
- go small if it's your first bike. seriously, with a smaller bike you'll learn quicker and feel *way* more comfortable.
- practice a lot. I rode at least an hour a day for 6 weeks the first 6 weeks.
- get all the protective equip.
- long rides are a pain on a sport bike. I can deal with 2-3 hours but not much more, but the handleing and speed make it worth it. who would'a thought that 150mph+ could solve a little back pain?
| 3:56 pm on Nov 19, 2002 (gmt 0)|
dvduval I am sorry that you suffered losses because of biking. It is statistically more dangerous than many other activities which people take up however much in life has attendent risk. That is not to say that it should be simply avoided as a result or we would end up living in cotton wool.
Much of what people do to feel alive involves some risk, it is sometimes this aspect that gives the participants the greater realisation that they are in fact alive. Look at many of us sitting in front of our computer screens all day designing sites for people, yes no car will run us over and its not likely an AlQueda bomb will get us in our little computer rooms but there is more to life that safety. Some even more stupid (statistically speaking) people actually smoke while sitting at their computers .. sedentary and smoke inhillation what a way to go.. :-) I get more enjoyment out of occassionally riding my bike through the winding roads of Epping Forest than I get from weeks of smoking cigarettes in front of my computer :-)
Rock climbing, scateboarding, bicycling, hang gliding, etc etc all carry levels of risk partly the control of which make the activity more fun. My son has twice had stitches in his head, he is only 3 years old and has never even been on a moving motorcycle that risk was simply his being a boy. (no offence intended)
Craig_F - the thought of you on a ZX900R does however have me seriously worried! how many years in the saddle have you?
| 4:09 pm on Nov 19, 2002 (gmt 0)|
Craig_F apologies, I think I may have muddled you up with Chris_R whom I met at Pubcon.
| 5:11 pm on Nov 19, 2002 (gmt 0)|
Aw man this thread made me take out m'leathers and give them a good oiling! :)
I've been off a bike for several years now but keep thinking of the day I prepare to purchase again. I'm personally tired of the rice-burners (too light and they wear out too soon); I'm not a harley type (couldn't sit in that position for longer than 10 minutes and the last time I tried it I kept missing the shift lever - way too far forward); and I don't have the desire to get something european (too refined for me). My current dream bike is a Buell XB9R! *sigh*
| 6:05 pm on Nov 19, 2002 (gmt 0)|
Just another point on your Yahama R1. Look at the original. It was bought by many experienced riders. Within 4-6 weeks the market was flooded with second hand R1's because people could not control their speed.
Think seriously before you buy, and don't be put off by restricters (the Aprilia 125 is restricted to 90mph as standard, you can now lose your licence for doing over 85mph).
| 10:26 am on Nov 20, 2002 (gmt 0)|
Just a note to Brett, The Segway is available at Amazon now.
| 10:32 am on Nov 20, 2002 (gmt 0)|
I wonder if they do them with winter tires?