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The Open Road => Beginner's Garage => Topic started by: RowdyRed94 on April 06, 2007, 04:21:17 am



Title: Sportbikes are not beginner bikes
Post by: RowdyRed94 on April 06, 2007, 04:21:17 am
First posted at beginnerbikes.com (which is no longer), reportedly by a Matt Pickering:

Form Equals Function: Sportbikes are Not Beginner Bikes

Introduction


Well, another riding season is upon us and as it always happens, we get lots of inquiries from potential new riders on how to get into the sport, what's a good first ride, where to take safety classes and so on. One particular type of inquiry that pops up with almost clockwork frequency is from a small number of new riders who wish to buy 600cc and up sportbikes as their first ride.

For the past year and a half, I, along with lots of other BB forum members, have entertained this question of 600cc sportbikes for a first ride with patience and lots and lots of repetition. It seems this small group of newbies keep coming back with the same arguments and questions over and over again. As a result, I am going to take the time in this column to try and put into words, answers that get repeated over and over on the BB forums.

Allow me to state first and foremost that I am a sport rider. My first bike was a Ninja 250R and I put nearly 7000 miles on it in two seasons before selling it. I am presently shopping for my next ride and it will almost certainly be a sportbike or sport tourer in the 600-1000cc range. I am also building a track bike in my garage which I hope to complete this season (a Yamaha FZR600). Although I am not an expert rider by any stretch, I have tinkered enough and done enough research along with talking with other riders to be able to speak with some degree of knowledge on the subject.

This column is split into two parts. First, I would like to address the common arguments we see here as to why a 600cc sportbike simply must be a first ride along with rebuttals. Second, I want to cover the rationale behind why the BB community-at-large steers new riders away from these machines.

False Logic

On about a three month interval, a whole slew of questions pop up on the BB forum from potential riders trying to convince the community that a 600cc sportbike is a suitable first ride and then proceed to explain to us why they are the exception. I can almost set my clock to this pattern of behavior since it is almost swarm-like. I guess the newbies figure by swamping the forum with the same questions in lots of places we might trip up and endorse such a machine. Hasn't happened yet but they keep on trying.

For those of you that come to Beginner Bikes trying to convince us to endorse a 600cc sportbike, I offer you the following responses to your arguments.
I can only afford to get one bike so it might as be the one that I want.

I don't want to go through the hassle of buying and selling a used bike to learn on.

These two lines of reasoning pop up as one of the more common arguments. I am going to offer first a piece of wisdom which is stated with great regularity on the forums:

This is your first bike, not your last.

Motorcycle riders are reputed to change bikes, on average, once every two to three years. If this is the case (and it appears to be based on my observations), the bike you learn to ride on will not be in your garage in a few years time anyway whether you buy it new or used. You're going to sell it regardless to get something different, newer, more powerful, more comfortable, etc.

Yes, buying a bike involves effort and a financial outlay. Most of us simply cannot afford to drop thousands of dollars on a whim every time we want to try something new. Getting into riding is a serious commitment in time and money and we want the best value out it as much as possible.

However, if you can afford to buy outright or finance a 600cc or up sportbike that costs $7000 on average, you can probably afford to spend $2000 or so on a used bike to learn on. Most of the beginner sportbikes we recommend here (Ninja 250/500, Buell Blast, GS500) can all be found used for between $1500-$3000.

Done properly, buying and selling that first bike is a fairly painless process. Buying a used bike is no harder than buying new. I would argue it is a bit easier. No different than buying a used car from a private seller. If you've done that at least once, you'll know what to do in buying a used bike.

Selling a beginner bike is even easier. You want to know why? Because beginner bikes are constantly in demand (especially Ninja 250s). These bikes spend their lives migrating from one new rider to the next to act as a teaching vehicle. It is not uncommon for a beginner bike to see four or five different owners before it is wrecked or junked. There are a lot of people out there looking for inexpensive, reliable bikes and all of our beginner recommendations fit into that category.

If you buy a used Ninja 250R for $1500, ride it for a season or two, you can be almost guaranteed that you will be able to resell that bike for $1300 or so when you are done with it provided you take care of it. And on a bike like the Ninja 250R, the average turnaround on such a sale is two to three days. No joke. I had five offers on my Ninja 250R within FOUR HOURS of my ad going up on Cycle Trader. I put the bike on hold the same day and sold it four days later to a fellow who drove 500 miles to pick it up. My bike never made it into the print edition. Believe me, the demand is there.

And look at it this way: For those one or two seasons of riding using the above example, excluding maintenance costs which you have no matter what, you will have paid a net cost of $200 to ride that Ninja. That is extremely cheap for what is basically a bike rental for a year or two. Considering it can cost $300 or more just to rent a 600cc sportbike for a weekend (not including the $1500-$2000 security deposit), that is economic value that you simply cannot argue with.

Vanity Arguments

The beginner bikes you recommend are dated and ugly looking.

I want something that's modern and stylish.

I want a bike that looks good and that I look good on.


I call these the vanity arguments. These are probably the worst reasons you can have for wanting a particular bike.

I will not disagree that aesthetics plays a huge part in the bikes that appeal to us. Motorcycles are the ultimate expression in personal taste in vehicles. Far more than cars. Bikes are more personal and the connection between rider and machine is far more intimate on a bike than a car. On a bike, you are part of the machine, not just a passive passenger.

However, as entry into world of riding and with the temporarily status that most beginner bikes have in our garages, looks should be the least of your concerns. As long as the bike is in good repair and mechanically sound, that is usually enough for most new riders to be happy. Most riders are happy to ride and they will ride anything given the choice between riding or not riding.

If you are looking at bike mainly because of how it looks and/or how you will look it and how others will perceive you on it, take a good, long, honest look as to why you want to ride. There are lots of people out there who buy things strictly because of how it makes them appear in the eyes of others. It's shallow and vain but it is a fact of life. It shouldn't be a factor in choosing that first ride but it is. I won't deny that.

The difference is: a BMW or Mercedes generally won't leaving you hanging on for dear life if you stomp on the accelerator or throw you into the road if you slam on the brakes a little hard. Virtually ever sportbike made in the past 10-15 years will do both of those things given a chance to do so (for reasons that will be explained later in this column).

The population at large may think you're cool and look great on that brand new sportbike and ohh-and-ahh at you. The ohhs can quickly turn to screams of horror should, in your efforts to impress the masses, you wind up dumping your bike and surfing the asphalt. Will you still look cool with thousands of dollars in damage to that once-beautiful sportbike and with the signatures and well-wishes of your friends on the various casts you'll be wearing months afterwards?

You Be The Judge

I'm a big rider so I need a bigger bike to get me around.

I'm a tall rider and all of those beginner bikes just don't fit me the way the sportbike does.

I'll look huge and foolish riding on such a small bike.

My friends will laugh at me for riding something so small.


These arguments are almost as bad as the vanity arguments. The difference being is they simply show a lack of motorcycle knowledge for the most part.

Unless you are over 6'3" tall or are extremely overweight (meaning well over 300lbs), even the smallest 250cc motorcycle will be able to accommodate you without difficultly. To provide an example, the Ninja 250R has a load limit of 348 pounds. That is more than sufficient to accommodate a heavier rider in full gear and still leave plenty of space for cargo in tank, tail and saddle bags. Or enough to allow two-up riding between two average weight individuals.

The idea that bigger riders need bigger bikes is almost laughable. It's like saying small drivers need Honda Civics but bigger drivers only 100 pounds heavier need to drive Hummers to get around. Or Corvettes with plenty of power to pull their ample frames, as the analogy goes. It is only because of the small physical size of bikes compared to their users that this train of thought even exists. It simply doesn't hold up to scrutiny. A look at any motorcycle owner's manual will confirm that for you.

Tall riders suffer more from fit issues than weight issues. On this, they do have a point. I'm a taller rider (6'1"). I do fold up quite comfortably on the Ninja 250 which is considered a small bike. I found it perfect for my frame. Others haven't. Then again, my knees hit the bars on bikes like the Rebel 250 and Buell Blast. Just different ergonomics that didn't fit me.

For taller riders, a much better beginner fit is a dual-sport machine rather than a sport machine. They offer the high seat heights that make them comfortable rides and their power is well within acceptable limits. We have a small but vocal dual-sport community here and they will tell you, quite rightly, that a dual-sport is just as capable on twisty roads as a sportbike. The same properties that give sportbikes their cornering ability is also possessed by dual sports (high center of gravity).

As to peer pressure, I admit to taking more than my fair share of ribbing from my 600cc riding friends. Some of it good natured, some of it not. In the end, this argument falls into the vanity arena. Which is more important: Your safety and comfort on a bike or what your friends think?

The ways to deal with friends giving you a hard time about a smaller ride is very simple. Tell them to ride their rides and you'll ride yours. It's your ride, after all. Most true riders will accept other riders, no matter what they are on. Only posers and losers care that your ride doesn't measure up to their "standards". And if so, do you really want to be riding with them anyway? It's more fun to stand out than to be a member of a flock anyway. And if they don't buy that line of reasoning, try this one: "Well if you don't like my ride, why don't you go buy me something that you will like?". THAT will shut them up REALLY fast. It works too. Unless their name is on the payment book or the title, it shouldn't be their concern.

If your friends can't deal with your decisions, you're probably better off looking for new friends. And if you can't deal with the peer pressure, then you are putting your own safety at risk solely because of what others think. Revisit the vanity arguments above and think about why you want to ride.

Decision Justification Arguments


I'll take it easy and grow into the bike.

I'm a careful driver so I'll be a careful rider and not get into trouble.

I drive a fast car so I'll be able to handle a fast bike.

Other people have started on a 600cc sportbike and didn't get hurt. So why can't I?


These arguments are the most common ones put forth and the ones that are hardest to deal with. These are the arguments that start flame wars. Because it is on these arguments that you have to convince someone the idea of what a beginner bike is over their preconceived notions.

The arguments also often surface in what I call the "decision justification arguments". Many new riders have their heart set on a specific bike and often come to BB to ask about it not to get real advice but to get confirmation that their decision is right. In cruisers, standards, scooters and dual-sports, more often than not these "pre-decisions" are generally good ones. In sportbikes, more than 3/4 of the posters are trying to get the community to approve their choice of a 600cc machine as a first ride. Their shock is quite real when they are barraged with answers that don't meet their expectations and that is when a flurry of oft-repeated discussion ensues.

Let's take each argument in turn since these are the ones that turn up with regularity.

I'll take it easy and grow into the bike.

The purpose of a first bike is to allow you to master basic riding skills, build confidence and develop street survival strategies. You don't grow into a bike. You develop your skills on it. As your skills develop, so does your confidence and with it, your willingness to explore what the bike is capable of.

But you are also entering in a contract with the bike. It is two-way. You are going to expect the bike to act on your inputs and the bike in turn is going to respond. The problem is, your skills are still developing but the bike doesn't know that. It does what it is told. You want a partner in a contract to treat you fairly. On a bike, you don't want it fighting you every step of the way. And like most contracts, the problems don't start until there is a breakdown in communication or a misunderstanding.

In sportbikes, the disparity between a new rider's fledgling skills and the responsiveness of the machine are very far apart. That is a wide gulf to bridge when you are still trying to figure out what the best inputs and actions on the bike should be. Ideally, you want your bike to do what you tell it and do it nicely. You never want the bike to argue with you. Modern sportbikes, despite their exquisite handling will often argue violently right at the moment a new rider doesn't need them to.

Remember, riding is a LEARNED skill. It does not come naturally to the majority of us (save those like the Hayden brothers who were raised on dirt bikes from the moment they could walk). It must be practiced and refined. Riding is counter-intuitive to most new riders. It doesn't happen the way you expect. For example, at speeds over 25mph, to get a bike to go right, you actually turn the bars to the left. It's called counter-steering and it eventually comes naturally as breathing once you've been in the saddle for a while. But for new riders, this kind of thing is utterly baffling.

You want your skills to grow in a measurable and predictable fashion. You have enough to be fearful of riding in traffic. The last thing you need is to be fearful of what your bike might do when you aren't ready for it. It's never a good situation.

It is interesting to point out that only one manufacturer, Suzuki, explicitly states in their promotional material that their GSX-R family of sportbikes are intended for experienced riders. This also applies to several of their larger, more powerful machines (such as a GSX-1300R Hayabusa). If Suzuki issues such a warning for its top-flight sport machines, it is reasonable to say that the same warning would apply equally to similar machines from other manufacturers.


Title: Re: Sportbikes are not beginner bikes
Post by: RowdyRed94 on April 06, 2007, 04:21:39 am
Form Equals Function: Part Two

In Part One of this article, we covered a lot of the excuses that new riders give for wanting to start on a 600cc sportbike. This second half finishes off our discussion of this reasoning and discusses why high-powered sport machines are not the ideal beginner machine.

False Logic Completed

Last month, we covered many of the reasons new riders give to justify why they want or should get a 600cc sportbike. Now we finish with the last and most common excuses given.
I'm a careful driver so I'll be a careful rider and not get into trouble.

This is what I call the "I'm responsible and mature" argument. This one is a general excuse and does not apply to sportbikes in particular.

Recent studies have shown that 90% of all drivers feel that they have average to above-driving abilities compared to other drivers on the road. These drivers also said that they think 60% of those on the road are less skilled than they are. It's an interesting perception as it indicates a mentality that everyone else is sub-par, not you. Obviously someone has to be wrong because the percentages just don't add up.

A proper attitude towards driving as well as riding is essential. But these same drivers who see themselves as superior also engage in dangerous driving habits (aggressive weaving, illegal passing, bad merges, following too close, lack of attention to traffic/road conditions, etc). Very few drivers are truly honest with themselves and their ability to handle a vehicle.

The problem is, on a bike, the perception that you are responsible is not enough. On a bike, you must be. You either learn to be or you are going to be in trouble really quick. In talking with other riders I have found that they tend to be much more defensive and thoughtful drivers behind the wheel because riding raises their perception of their surroundings.

Ultimately, responsible and mature does not equate to riding skill. It has nothing to do with it except how you will approach riding in general. You want to know the sign of a responsible rider? Look at their gear. Are they in full safety gear? Watch them ride. If you are seeing them turn their heads to clear their blind spots, making careful and smooth maneuvers, leaving a nice, safe amount space around them and working to maximize your chance of seeing and knowing what they are doing, then you are looking at a responsible rider.

Now do the same exercise and watch the drivers around you. How many turn their heads to check their blind spots, signal lane changes, leaving several car lengths of space in front of them, weave in and out of traffic or dash to the end of a ramp and then attempt to force themselves onto the highway rather than yield like they are supposed to? I'm willing to bet it's not going to be a pretty significant percentage. Now imagine these same individuals on a bike. I'm sure you'll be able to spot more than a few of these types on bikes to (just look for the T-shirts and flip-flops as they blast by you at 100mph on the Interstate on the right).

How you approach the task of driving is how you will approach riding. Attention to the task of riding is the number one way you avoid trouble by not getting into it in the first place. Study your own driving habits. Good habits will definitely keep your chances of getting into trouble but they have little to do with controlling a motorcycle. Any motorcycle. Many lax drivers often become much better drivers as the result of riding a motorcycle. It is far less common for it to go in the other direction.

I drive a fast car so I'll be able to handle a fast bike.

Of all the excuses and justifications, this one is my personal favorite. It is in the top three most common excuses given and it shows a complete and utter lack of motorcycle knowledge. It is a statement made out of naivety rather than ignorance.

Most of the folks who make this statement own fast cars (Corvette, Mustang, Acura, modified Civic, etc) or think they do. The belief is that if you can drive fast in a car you can handle a bike that can go fast. I would argue unless these folks race cars on weekends, driving a car that can go fast does not make them a experienced high-speed driver. And for those that do understand how to handle a car at high speed, it gives you knowledge of braking and traction but even that knowledge is useless for one simple reason:

Bikes are not cars.

Braking, traction control, acceleration and handling are totally different on a motorcycle. Cars do not lean. Bikes do. When bikes lean, it changes the part of the tire contacting the ground (the contact patch/ring) and changes the stability and dynamics of the bike from moment to moment. The physics of motorcycle control are in a league of their own. Even the ability to race cars will not give you instant godhood on a motorcycle.

Are you aware that a racing motorcycle (any 600cc supersport made today basically) when it is turning is touching the ground with an amount of rubber equal to a couple of postage stamps? The same applies to any street bike at deep lean angles except they don't have the advantage of a smooth surface to hold on to or sticky race tires. Now imagine having to control the power and the amount of traction you are getting in that space.

Like being responsible, the ability to handle a car at high speed has nothing to do with handling a fast motorcycle. You are missing two wheels, a cage and a seatbelt on a bike. Turning at 70mph becomes a whole different world on a motorcycle compared to car. Braking is a different experience too. It is fairly hard to stand a car on its front fender if you stomp on the brakes. It can be done with two fingers, a good amount of speed and a moment of panic on a sportbike. The only cars that have brakes equal or better than that of a sportbike built in the last 10 years is a Formula One race car.

The skills to handle the potent combination of acceleration, instant-on power and brakes are best learned on a smaller machine so when you finally get on that ultimate sportbike, you have an idea of what to do and how to handle the machine. Driving a car won't give you that. Only time in the saddle, the more, the better.

Other people have started on a 600cc sportbike and didn't get hurt. So why can't I?

This is probably the number one reason that pops up. However, it isn't so much a reason as an observation. And it is a true one. Every year, lots of new riders go to their local dealerships or scour their local ads and bring home a brand new or used 600cc sportbike. And many of those riders do successfully manage to get through their learning process on these machines.

The purpose of a first ride more than any other is to get the risk of riding for the first year or two as low as possible. You want your margin of forgiveness in the bike to be as wide as possible. A 600cc sportbike gives you very little of that. Yes, a 600cc down low is a tame if sensitive machine. However, it takes very little twist on the throttle to induce a large jump in rpm's. A brief bump on a pothole with a death grip on the throttle can introduce a 4000rpm jump in the blink of an eye (speaking from personal experience). In an experienced rider's hands, this is alarming but recoverable. A gentle rolloff or a little clutch feathering manages the surge nicely. In the hands of a newbie trying to figure out the best reaction to such a scare, a rapid closeoff or a panic brake is often the result and can get you into trouble very, very quickly.

Yes, a new rider can start on a 600cc sportbike. It is NOT RECOMMENDED! The reason this line of reasoning pops up so often is because everyone feels they are the exception rather than just another new rider. It makes sense. It's hard to think of oneself as just another face in the crowd. As a rider, I know I am just another average rider. Although I have track aspirations, I have no doubt as to where my skill level is and it is definitely not in (or ever was) in the "start on a 600cc exceptional group".

In the end, to deal with this line of reasoning is going to involve the new rider, not the one giving the advice. No one can stop that person from going out and buying a 600cc sportbike as a first ride. And maybe they will succeed and crow about all the bad advice they received on starting small. Great! They were the exception.

What you don't hear about are the non-exceptional people. Very, very few new riders who start on 600s come back to talk about their experiences if they aren't in the "I've had no problems." group. On the forums recently, there have been a couple folks who admitted they got 600cc sportbikes to start on and indicated that it had been a less-than-ideal choice. This type of honesty is refreshing and it is very, very rare. I am grateful these riders stepped up.

Most of the time, we never learn the fate of those riders who start on 600s. Some make it and simply never bother to tell their tales except to friends. Some wind up scaring themselves so badly (by getting out of control or by actually dumping the bike and injuring themselves) that they sell off and never ride again. These types can be found. Just troll the ads for new supersports with one owner and low miles. The worst of this class of riders are the ones who become "born again safety advocates". These riders who scare themselves out of riding occasionally become preachers that tell anyone who will listen that "motorcycles are dangerous and should be banned". What they don't tell those they are preaching to is how they got that way. It's bad enough having to deal with the general public (who are at least honestly unaware of what riding is about) but a lot worse to be sabotaged from within by someone who did it to themselves and got in over their head.

Then there is the last group of these "started on a 600cc sportbike" riders that never tell us their tales. They never do because they can't. Instead, they enjoying peaceful surroundings and occasional visits by bereaved family and friends. They made that one mistake, that one error that compounded into a tragedy of inexperience. They can never tell us what that error was so we can learn from it and maybe also tell us that they should have started on something smaller. They were successful right until the point their skills and luck ran out. This can happen to any of us on any bike. But, in the end, new riders on a powerful sportbike can be a recipe for disaster.

Be honest with yourself. Very honest. Take the advice and wisdom of others more experienced than you and consider what they are saying. They may have a point. But if you opt for that 600cc sportbike, be assured you will still be accepted as a rider and still encouraged to act as safely as possible at all times.

The Final Equation

We've covered the reasons why people justify or want to get a 600cc sportbike. But we have one more thing to answer and it is simple: What makes these bad bikes to start on?

Sportbikes are built as racing machines, pure and simple. They are built in response to guidelines laid down by racing bodies for a particular class and made to win races in that class. Ducati, for example, spends most of their existence building bikes to win races. Since 1950, Ducati was always a racing bike manufacturer first and their products reflected that philosophy. A by-product of winning races is the fact that people see those winning machines and want to ride them (if you're going to ride, you might as well ride the best as it goes). It didn't take the motorcycle manufacturers long to figure out that there was a market demand for these machines and reacted accordingly.

Sportbikes represent a technological arms race. This has really become apparent in the past 5-10 years where new models eclipse last years models with better performance and capability with each passing year. To compare a 1989 Honda CBR600F Hurricane (the original CBR) to a 2003 CBR600RR is pointless. There is no comparison except in the model designation showing a distant family relation. The new CBR is lighter by at least 50 pounds and packs 30 percent more power, handling and braking ability that makes the original CBR look like a ponderous dinosaur. But just because that original CBR dinosaur has been eclipsed doesn't make it any more tamable. If anything, older sportbikes are far more temperamental than the descendants.

Consider the fact that this year a privateer (independent racer) bought a Yamaha YZF-R1 off the showroom floor, took off the lights and mirrors, added a race belly pan, exhaust and tires and placed in the top ten at the AMA Superbike race at Daytona. The bike was two weeks off the floor and basically stock (the modifications with the exception of the pipe are required). Since factory sponsored teams tend to take the top slots, any privateer that can break in the top ten is doing well by anyone's definition.

Because sportbikes (and especially 600s since they compete in the most populous racing class out there) are designed first as racing machines, they are built with handling, acceleration and speed in mind. Not just one quality at the expense of others but all of them in abundance! Centralizing the mass of the bike at the center of gravity (CoG) gives the bike neutral stability. The high riding position and the perching of the rider over the CoG gives the bike the ability to flick over rapidly.

The steering geometry and short wheelbase of these bikes is designed to provide short and rapid directional changes. Combined with the higher CoG and mass centralization, the steering setup is what gives sportbikes their amazing turning ability.

Engine designs vary but have settled on V-twins and inline fours as the preferred choices. The sportbike V-twins are liquid-cooled, high-rpm engines designed to generate massive torque (hence acceleration) and power in the mid-range of their design limits. Witness the success of Nicky Hayden and Miquel Duhamel on the Honda RC51 in AMA Superbike as testament to the massive grunt these engines put out. So potent in fact that the AMA changed the rules for the following season to even the odds between the V-twins and inline fours. The inline four equipped bikes simply couldn't outpower the twins on curvy portions of the race circuit.

The inline four is by far the most common engine layout in sportbikes including all 600cc sport designs (the Ducati 620SS has a V-twin but is air-cooled and the bike is not a racing machine). All of the sportbikes that new riders lust after are equipped with this engine design. High-rpm capability (redlines vary between 11K and 16K rpm), liquid cooled and designed to produce peak power at very high rpms. The inline four delivers smooth and increasing power as the throttle is opened. Power tends to build to the peak point, at which power the engine will tend to surge to peak power and fall off as the peak point is crossed. Although nowhere near as bad as a race-tuned two-stroke (which literally double their horsepower as the engine transitions to peak power), the engine displays its roots as a racing thoroughbred.

A 1mm or 1/16 of an inch twist of the throttle can easily result in a 2000-4000rpm jump. You can be cruising along at a sedate 4000rpm, hit a pothole and suddenly find the bike surging forward with the front end getting light at 7000rpm. Definitely unnerving the first time you experience it.

And then there are the brakes. Braking technology has gotten progressively more potent over the past ten years. Even older sportbikes sport twin disc setups with two or four piston calipers designed to get these bikes down from 150mph to 60mph as quickly as possible. Current generation bikes are unreal. These brakes have grown to six piston calipers with massive discs whose sole job is to slow a 180mph missile down to corner speed in the shortest distance possible. If you ever watch racers, notice that they tend to only use two fingers to brake. They don't need anymore than that. The brakes are almost too powerful. And accidents happen on the track a lot due to bad or late braking.

All of these qualities produce an exquisite riding machine. The problem is, all of these qualities are designed to operate at extremes since it is under extreme conditions that these bikes are intended to operate. For the street, these capabilities are overkill. A hard squeeze of the front brake on the street can easily get a sportbike to lock its front wheel. Same applies to an over-aggressive stomp on the rear brake. No matter which way you slice it, highsides hurt.

The powerful engine can literally get you from 0 to 45mph in the blink of an eye in first gear. Come up one gear and you can be at 70mph with the slightest drop of your wrist. Add in one bump at speed without knowing what the throttle is going to do and suddenly you aren't at 70mph anymore. You're at 90+ mph and the bike is tickling its "sweet spot". At this speed, you better not panic. If you botch the slowdown from this error (either by a rapid rolloff or a shift), you can find yourself in serious trouble.

The handling capabilities of sportbikes actually make them wonderful machines to ride once you are used to thinking where you want to go. This actually gives them great beginner qualities (if on the extreme end). The downside is this perfect handling is slaved to amazing power on tap and the brakes that can back it off just as quickly.

In the final equation, a 600cc sportbike is little more than a racing machine with street parts bolted on. They aren't designed for street use; they are adapted to it. But no compromises are made in that transition. The same R6, GSX-R600, ZX-6RR or CBR600RR you can buy off the showroom floor can be converted in an afternoon, be at the track the next day and wind up winning races. And the sportbikes from 10 years ago were the R6s, Gixxers, Ninjas and CBRs of their day. They possessed the same qualities that their modern descendants do just not with the same maximums. Even today on the street, a 15 year old sportbike is little different than its 2003 cousin. The 2003 might accelerate quicker, stop shorter and lean farther but at the speeds us mortals ride at, there will be little difference.

Sportbike technology has gone an amazing distance in twenty years. Performance and ability has almost doubled in that time. But rider ability has not and a new rider from 20 years ago would still have the same challenges then as a new rider would today on an R6.

Sportbike form evolved to meets its function: to win races. Always has, always will. And riders will lust after these technological marvels for that reason. Can you start out on one? Yes. But you can also pretend to be a GP racer on a smaller sportbike that gives up nothing to its bigger brothers where most of us spend our riding days. It is always more satisfying to smoke a 600cc or 1000cc sportbike in the twisties on a Ninja 250 or GS500 than a bigger bike.

But when you are ready to answer the call of the Supersport, they will be waiting for you and you'll be better off having honed your skills on the smaller sportbike. Supersports are not beginner bikes. But they make great second and third bikes.

The choice is yours.


Title: Re: Sportbikes are not beginner bikes
Post by: CBRXXBLACKBIRD on April 06, 2007, 10:27:22 am
Boy you put alot of time in this but very good read.  :thumbsup:


Title: Re: Sportbikes are not beginner bikes
Post by: RowdyRed94 on April 06, 2007, 02:37:03 pm
As the first line sorta states, it's not my work. Sorry if I mislead anyone. The actual author seems to be somewhat of a mystery. Any help with that is appreciated.


Title: Re: Sportbikes are not beginner bikes
Post by: chiltech500 on April 07, 2007, 06:19:34 am
Great post and logical arguments.

Big problem is when decision makers are aged 18-28 :) I survived those years despite doing my damnest not to - just luck. Vanity and peer pressure rule now more than ever???


Title: Re: Sportbikes are not beginner bikes
Post by: Jeff N on April 07, 2007, 06:58:41 am

As the first line sorta states, it's not my work. Sorry if I mislead anyone.


Excellent cut-and-paste, then.  :D

One takes up motorcycling because as a child one looked at bikes and decided, "Damn, that looks like fun." You then proceed accordingly and learn the art and science of it to maximize your enjoyment. Simple, innit?


Title: Re: Sportbikes are not beginner bikes
Post by: guitardad on April 18, 2007, 10:32:53 pm
The original author's name is Matt Pickering.  I rode with him a couple of times in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia.  Nice guy, an encyclopedia of knowledge.  Haven't heard from him in quite a while.


Title: Re: Sportbikes are not beginner bikes
Post by: TBirdVI on April 19, 2007, 12:10:39 am
Excellent. And lots of good points that 38 years' worth of experience riders (like me) can learn from if taken to heart.
vern....


Title: Re: Sportbikes are not beginner bikes
Post by: GusinCA on April 19, 2007, 12:43:19 am
My brother in law wants a 600cc sport bike as a first bike.
I tell him I've been riding 26 years and I'm still not as capable as my 1998 ZX-11, which is probably slower than some of the new 600's out there...
I will print this out for him to read...


Title: Re: Sportbikes are not beginner bikes
Post by: lionlady on April 20, 2007, 06:47:21 am
And for those who mourn the loss of beginnerbikers.org. There are actually two websites that grew out of its demise.

For those interested, the site that seems to follow the original form/function the best is http://www.beginnerbikers.org

The other is http://www.beginnerandbeyond.com - which seems to have become more NE Atlantic focused.

P


Title: Re: Sportbikes are not beginner bikes
Post by: RowdyRed94 on April 22, 2007, 04:05:14 pm

The original author's name is Matt Pickering.  I rode with him a couple of times in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia.  Nice guy, an encyclopedia of knowledge.  Haven't heard from him in quite a while.


Thank you. I've heard that name mentioned before in this context, but your encounter is as close as I've come to actual evidence. I'll take it! :-)


Title: Re: Sportbikes are not beginner bikes
Post by: Flat-Out on April 27, 2007, 11:13:29 am
Mehhhh...

I really think it depends more on the maturity level and innate ability of the rider than the size/type of bike.  

A responsible and smart, mature rider won't get in over their head on any bike.  

However as someone said earlier the 18-30 yr old man-boys are immature and they want sportbikes.

It's really just nature's way of thinning the herd.



Title: Re: Sportbikes are not beginner bikes
Post by: olumpa1 on April 30, 2007, 06:54:47 am
WOW, im a noob to riding and i wanted a sport bike but after reading on here and few other sites i see where im in the wrong and i thank you for the post it opened my eyes that i was headed down the wrong path for the wrong reasons..

Mitch


Title: Re: Sportbikes are not beginner bikes
Post by: Lon on May 08, 2007, 12:53:54 pm

I really think it depends more on the maturity level and innate ability of the rider than the size/type of bike.  

A responsible and smart, mature rider won't get in over their head on any bike.  


LOL!  You know, intelligence, maturity, and self-proclaimed innate ability are all covered in the article.  Who will tell you that you have the innate ability to ride a sportbike as your first bike safely?

It also covers the "I drive a fast car" and "I am a responsible driver" arguments, as well as "Others have done this and not died, so I should be able to".


Title: Re: Sportbikes are not beginner bikes
Post by: Flat-Out on May 08, 2007, 01:09:24 pm



LOL!  You know, intelligence, maturity, and self-proclaimed innate ability are all covered in the article.  Who will tell you that you have the innate ability to ride a sportbike as your first bike safely?

It also covers the "I drive a fast car" and "I am a responsible driver" arguments, as well as "Others have done this and not died, so I should be able to".


Yes because that mamby pamby pablum article must be the last word on the subject b/c it's on the inturdweb :twofinger:  

To be honest I really don't care what other people do as a first bike whether it's a 250 rebel or a gixxer.    

As I said before ---  It's really just nature's way of thinning the herd.


Title: Re: Sportbikes are not beginner bikes
Post by: JTM on May 08, 2007, 02:55:58 pm
if this is thinning the heard maybe we shouldn't advocate protective gear to the ones we don't like.


Title: Re: Sportbikes are not beginner bikes
Post by: Flat-Out on May 08, 2007, 03:04:02 pm

if this is thinning the heard maybe we shouldn't advocate protective gear to the ones we don't like.


good idea  :thumbsup:


Title: Re: Sportbikes are not beginner bikes
Post by: Kootenanny on May 12, 2007, 11:12:40 am
Hmmm...I agree with the overall article, although I have my quibbles with some of the specifics.

Right now, on another forum I visit, there have been two inquiries within the last week from newbies about sportbikes--one wants to know if he should get the R6 or GSX-R600 (as if he could tell the difference :rolleyes: ) and the other is interested in the CBR600RR.  I also read somewhere of a young newbie whose parents got him a ZX-10R to start on (talk of an inappropriate starter bike! :eek: )


Mehhhh...

I really think it depends more on the maturity level and innate ability of the rider than the size/type of bike.  

A responsible and smart, mature rider won't get in over their head on any bike.  

However as someone said earlier the 18-30 yr old man-boys are immature and they want sportbikes.


Now, I really disagree with Flat-Out here.  As the article goes to lengths to explain, there is a lot more than rider responsibility or maturity involved with the suitability of a learning bike.  Yes, they play a big part, but (and this is where I disagree a bit with the original article, too) there is more than engine power and throttle control involved.  Sportbikes are designed so the rider can tuck at high speeds, and can easily move his body around on the bike.  The clip-ons are generally narrow, which translates to high effort steering, and far forward, which translates to many riders resting a fair bit of weight on their hands.  These things are not conducive to good handling at street speeds; they induce unintended and/or excessive control inputs.  Responsibility and maturity don't matter here--the bikes are simply harder to ride than a good standard.

And this doesn't just go for sportbikes.  Ever try to ride practice exercises on a heavy cruiser?  IMO, these bikes are just as poor for learning on as a supersport--if they have forward controls and pull-back bars, I'd argue they're even worse for slow-speed control than sportbikes.  And they're the ones often purchased as beginner bikes by the more mature, "responsible" newbie.

Of course, throttle control does enter the picture, whether on a supersport or a big twin (which often have enough torque right off idle to surprise a supersport rider).  But as the article points out, the whole idea of a beginner bike is to learn bike control, which is more easily and more effectively done without having to worry about throttle control (I read an article by Reg Pridmore, a well-known race instructor, where he suggests that most of his students actually improve their lap times simply by stepping down from a supersport to an SV650S, because without having to worry about finessing the throttle they can concentrate more on what the bike itself is doing, and this gets them around the track faster).

I mentioned above a "good standard."  A bike with the rider positioned with a slight forward lean to reach the bars, and footpegs below the rider's thighs, a neutral position adopted by most dual-sports--for exactly the same reason, it's the position which affords the best bike control.  Back in the day (hey, I learned in the late 70s) almost all bikes were "standards," unless their owners modified them--which generally indicated a fair bit of experience (think of the cafe racers of the day).  Nowadays, though, when race-worthy machines are available right off the showroom floor, and a constant media barrage seemingly intended to convince new riders they gotta have the latest and greatest or they won't be able to keep up (ever read the annual supersport comparisons?), and reasonable, standard-type bikes generally perceived as the motorcycle equivalent of "sensible" shoes, is it any wonder so many newbies get confused?

Oh, and one last thing--this comment:

It's really just nature's way of thinning the herd.

indicates an attitude which I find abhorrent, yet increasingly prevalent in the motorcycle community.  "Nature" has nothing to do with it.  Every time a new rider gets himself into trouble, whether it involves injury or not, it reflects poorly on all of us in the eyes of the public.  I think that experienced riders have some responsibility to help newbies learn the ropes, and with the Internet this is far easier to do than ever before.  We don't all have to become MSF instructors, but if new riders got the same message from the entire community (including the retailers :crazy: ) I think it would benefit us all.


Title: Re: Sportbikes are not beginner bikes
Post by: Kootenanny on May 12, 2007, 11:20:29 am
Oh, and I forgot to add--anyone else notice that on the "general" motorcycle sites (like ST.N or Motorcycle-USA), there is an overall concensus that sportbikes are not for newbies--but on the brand-specific sites, this is much less prevalent?  Even on the "Manufacturer's Row" sites here on ST.N, I find that when a newbie posts about his desire for an inappropriate first-bike, many members just say "Wow, yeah, that's a great bike--I love mine!" rather than "Well, maybe that's not the best bike to learn on."  The same post here in "Beginners Garage" or even "General" usually generates a much more appropriate response, because brand loyalties are less likely to be involved...


Title: Re: Sportbikes are not beginner bikes
Post by: jschmidt on May 12, 2007, 04:38:40 pm
I get really tired of this false argument. Acceleration is no a factor in most accidents.


Title: Re: Sportbikes are not beginner bikes
Post by: Flat-Out on May 12, 2007, 05:21:34 pm
Why do people think they have the right to tell other people what to ride with such religious fervour?!!?

Good advice is one thing but the young asshats who want the biggest and best sportbike are not going to listen to the above kind of lecturing anyhow.

The mature and responsible person will likely be fine on any bike regardless.

The sermons above aren't really going to affect any of the new sportbikers as they will fall on deaf ears -- why spend so much effort preaching to the converted?!?!?!



Title: Re: Sportbikes are not beginner bikes
Post by: kevin_stevens on May 12, 2007, 10:43:17 pm

I get really tired of this false argument. Acceleration is no a factor in most accidents.


+1  I think that the difference in dynamics/responsiveness between a "standard" and a SS bike of any displacement is more significant than the difference in displacement between a 600 and a liter bike, in terms of hazard for a beginning rider.  Most of the incidents I hear of aren't outside the performance envelope of any motorcycle.

KeS


Title: Re: Sportbikes are not beginner bikes
Post by: Kootenanny on May 13, 2007, 02:26:13 pm

Why do people think they have the right to tell other people what to ride with such religious fervour?!!?

Good advice is one thing but the young asshats who want the biggest and best sportbike are not going to listen to the above kind of lecturing anyhow.

The mature and responsible person will likely be fine on any bike regardless.

The sermons above aren't really going to affect any of the new sportbikers as they will fall on deaf ears -- why spend so much effort preaching to the converted?!?!?!

I'm not telling anyone what to ride, I'm suggesting a new rider start on an appropriate bike--and I'm going on to describe what makes a bike appropriate, as well as giving my reasoning.  People are free to disagree, or even argue with me.

I agree, many won't listen, but a few may find my comments informative.

As to "maturity" and "responsibility," yes they are by far the largest part of the picture.  But starting on an inappropriate bike isn't so much dangerous as more difficult--most new riders will learn more about bike control on a GS500 than an R1 in the same amount of time, no matter how "mature and responsible" they are.


Title: Re: Sportbikes are not beginner bikes
Post by: RowdyRed94 on May 14, 2007, 09:56:27 pm

Why do people think they have the right to tell other people what to ride with such religious fervour?!!?

Good advice is one thing but the young asshats who want the biggest and best sportbike are not going to listen to the above kind of lecturing anyhow.

The mature and responsible person will likely be fine on any bike regardless.

The sermons above aren't really going to affect any of the new sportbikers as they will fall on deaf ears -- why spend so much effort preaching to the converted?!?!?!





WOW, im a noob to riding and i wanted a sport bike but after reading on here and few other sites i see where im in the wrong and i thank you for the post it opened my eyes that i was headed down the wrong path for the wrong reasons..

Mitch


Enough said. I've seen this happen many times, and I take pride that I've been a part of saving riders' asses. Please take your bad attitude outta my friggin' thread! If you don't want to help, that's fine. Just walk away.


Title: Re: Sportbikes are not beginner bikes
Post by: Flat-Out on May 15, 2007, 10:37:48 am
No  :twofinger: -- My opinions are just as valid as yours.

I have never stated that sport bikes are good bikes to start on -- I'm just always amused by these mother hen arguments.


Title: Re: Sportbikes are not beginner bikes
Post by: RowdyRed94 on May 15, 2007, 10:47:54 am
Then don't make any, and stay out of the beginner forum altogether. It's where the mother hens hang out.


Title: Re: Sportbikes are not beginner bikes
Post by: Flat-Out on May 15, 2007, 10:57:25 am
OK dad   :rolleyes:


Title: Re: Sportbikes are not beginner bikes
Post by: Scratch33 on May 15, 2007, 11:03:33 am

Good advice is one thing but the young asshats who want the biggest and best sportbike are not going to listen to the above kind of lecturing anyhow.


We lecture them in the hopes they'll grow up to be adult asshats.


Title: Re: Sportbikes are not beginner bikes
Post by: cosmoose on May 17, 2007, 01:56:45 pm

No  :twofinger: -- My opinions are just as valid as yours.

I have never stated that sport bikes are good bikes to start on -- I'm just always amused by these mother hen arguments.


Okay, now I'm confused.  So you agree that sport bikes are not good beginner bikes, but you take issue with actually saying so?  

The nature of a good bike to learn on is (correct me if I'm wrong) not under debate here.  We have track schools recommending SV650s, there's American Supercamp with it's XR100s, and every single MSF course out there on little 250 tiddlers.  Less-aggressive, neutral-handling, even less-powerful bikes make better learning tools.  Agreed?  Good.  

This presumes, of course, that a new rider's primary goal should be the development of good riding skills.  Yes, having fun is also important (it's why we do this, of course), but I'm pretty sure we're all also interested interested in getting better, or at least maintaining some kind of minimum skill level.  Am I off here?  Because that's an assumption in the main article.  

Following from that, we presume that it is desirable to have the motorcycle population as a whole be skilled and, to some extent, safe.  This is a social engineering argument, and flies in the face of traditional American values like autonomy and rugged individualism.  On the other hand, it acknowledges the simple truth that things like helmet laws, top speed limiters, insurance premiums and health insurance coverage are all based on group statistics, but applied to individuals.  Sad, perhaps, and not ideal, but true.  

But lastly we have the hand-wringing that follows impetuous youth with more cash than sense and more style than skill.  Here is where opinions divide.  Yes, to some extent Flat-Out is right: you cannot convince kids of anything, least of all of their own lack of sense.  On the other hand, beginners come in all stripes, from red smear in training to MSF poster child.  The vast majority land somewhere in the middle.  Some of those might read ST.N once in a while.  And if one agrees with the preceding points, then it makes sense that we present the notion that perhaps a 150-hp plastic-wrapped rocket on wheels may not be ideal for their first few clutch-shuddering miles.  Maybe a few listen.  And then it's worth the posting.  

Good enough?

Dave



Title: Re: Sportbikes are not beginner bikes
Post by: Flat-Out on May 17, 2007, 03:54:21 pm
naahhh I'm still all for thinning the herd


Title: Re: Sportbikes are not beginner bikes
Post by: JTM on May 18, 2007, 01:04:52 pm

naahhh I'm still all for thinning the herd


Flat-Out, I agree with you, thining the herd seems much easier.

For the rest of you I have some trival techincalities.
your title says sport bikes are not for beginner's but you are recommending sport bikes, that doesn't make much senes.

EX250s and 500s are sportbikes
GS500s and SVs are sportbikes

If it has more than 100hp it is usually called a SuperSport.

I'm guessing none of you have tried riding a 120hp hardtail chopper thing? In my oppinion they are worse for beginners than the SS bikes.


Title: Re: Sportbikes are not beginner bikes
Post by: RowdyRed94 on May 18, 2007, 05:03:43 pm
Splitting semantic hairs, are we?  :p

I agree, though. There are other types of bikes that beginners shouldn't ride.


Title: Re: Sportbikes are not beginner bikes
Post by: Kootenanny on May 18, 2007, 11:28:09 pm

For the rest of you I have some trival techincalities.
your title says sport bikes are not for beginner's but you are recommending sport bikes, that doesn't make much senes.

EX250s and 500s are sportbikes
GS500s and SVs are sportbikes

If it has more than 100hp it is usually called a SuperSport.

I'm guessing none of you have tried riding a 120hp hardtail chopper thing? In my oppinion they are worse for beginners than the SS bikes.

Actually, I'd refer to the Ninja 250, 500, and 650 as "standards," which also goes for the GS500 and SV650.  These bikes all have handlebars (as opposed to clip-ons) and quite neutral seating positions, upright with a slight forward lean and footpegs just under the thighs or butt.  They also all feature tractable engines tuned for broad midrange powerbands, which are easier for newbies to handle.

Just because a bike has fairings on it doesn't make it a sportbike.  IMO, a sportbike has a pronounced forward lean, with clip-on bars and more or less rearset pegs.  You can read in my first post in this thread why I don't think this is a good position for newbies.  Sportbike engines also often (but not always!) have a peaky powerband, biased to the top of the rev range where they deliver a "rush" of power, often to the detriment of midrange tractability.

And while I've never ridden "a 120hp hardtail chopper thing," I have ridden a few large and powerful cruisers, and I fully agree they are NOT suitable for learning on--as I wrote in my earlier post, "these bikes are just as poor for learning on as a supersport--if they have forward controls and pull-back bars, I'd argue they're even worse for slow-speed control than sportbikes."  I would certainly never recommend a "chopper" to learn on (I'm not even all that keen on the Honda Rebel, often considered the quintessential beginner bike, because it leans too far to the cruiser side of the spectrum IMO).




Title: Re: Sportbikes are not beginner bikes
Post by: JTM on May 22, 2007, 03:03:53 pm

Splitting semantic hairs, are we?  :p

I agree, though. There are other types of bikes that beginners shouldn't ride.


 :D somebody has to give'm split ends.


Title: Re: Sportbikes are not beginner bikes
Post by: JTM on May 22, 2007, 03:12:14 pm


Actually, I'd refer to the Ninja 250, 500, and 650 as "standards," which also goes for the GS500 and SV650.  These bikes all have handlebars (as opposed to clip-ons) and quite neutral seating positions, upright with a slight forward lean and footpegs just under the thighs or butt.  They also all feature tractable engines tuned for broad midrange powerbands, which are easier for newbies to handle.

Just because a bike has fairings on it doesn't make it a sportbike.  IMO, a sportbike has a pronounced forward lean, with clip-on bars and more or less rearset pegs.  You can read in my first post in this thread why I don't think this is a good position for newbies.  Sportbike engines also often (but not always!) have a peaky powerband, biased to the top of the rev range where they deliver a "rush" of power, often to the detriment of midrange tractability.

And while I've never ridden "a 120hp hardtail chopper thing," I have ridden a few large and powerful cruisers, and I fully agree they are NOT suitable for learning on--as I wrote in my earlier post, "these bikes are just as poor for learning on as a supersport--if they have forward controls and pull-back bars, I'd argue they're even worse for slow-speed control than sportbikes."  I would certainly never recommend a "chopper" to learn on (I'm not even all that keen on the Honda Rebel, often considered the quintessential beginner bike, because it leans too far to the cruiser side of the spectrum IMO).





I'll only throw one quick thing in.

Calling an EX, SV, or GS a standard is like calling a 70's Cafe Racer a standard, yes there are some similarites handle bars instead of clip-ons but it is still a sport bike at heart. However in the same breath I agree with you that this is meerly left to personal interpretation, I just chose to follow what Kawasaki called it.

For a starter bike I like the idea of a dual sport, they are extremely forgiving and fun. One of their biggest advantages is the fact that you can practice on dirt where are no cars to worry about and virtually no worry of hurting it if you fall.


Title: Re: Sportbikes are not beginner bikes
Post by: Kootenanny on May 23, 2007, 03:05:58 am

Calling an EX, SV, or GS a standard is like calling a 70's Cafe Racer a standard, yes there are some similarites handle bars instead of clip-ons but it is still a sport bike at heart. However in the same breath I agree with you that this is meerly left to personal interpretation, I just chose to follow what Kawasaki called it.

Hmmm...when I think of "Cafe raers," I think of bikes with "Clubman" bars--which put the grips as low and forward as clip-ons--and rearset pegs...two of the main ingredients of the sportbike riding position as I described it.  But I agree about how the manufacturers rate their bikes...hell, at the local Honda place a few years ago I was told that Honda classifies the 599 as a "sportbike!"


For a starter bike I like the idea of a dual sport, they are extremely forgiving and fun.

I agree completely here.   Dual sports usually have the most neutral, "standard" seating position of all--specifically because that is the position best suited for controlling the bike at slower speeds, and dual-sports are intended for use in situations where slow-speed bike control is important.  Dual sports are also good for learning mechanics...

(http://mywebpage.netscape.com/paddleratcan/MC+road+pics/mefix.JPG)

(messy, wasn't I?)


Title: Re: Sportbikes are not beginner bikes
Post by: JTM on May 23, 2007, 01:51:22 pm
that looks a lot like my suzuki that is sitting in the barn.

Another point about the dual sport is that they can accelorate very quickly at low speed keeping the new rider content. They are also more easily controlled with only throttle input since they are usually single cyclinder (their are a few twins), inexpensive, and easy to pick up when they fall.


Title: Re: Sportbikes are not beginner bikes
Post by: phoenix on May 24, 2007, 09:50:01 am

naahhh I'm still all for thinning the herd


this is the type of comment that I have an issue with. Maybe I just value life a little more. Maybe I think about if/when one of my friends or family asks a question of an experienced group on a subject they are not well versed in, that they would get some good constructive advice. This sort of comments comes off as "well that dipshit will be dead soon, so we won't have to deal with him anymore". Nice.

BUT ... I wonder if there is a similar article that goes into some length about the benefits of riding gear. I would suspect that most of us have accumulated more and better gear over the years, and could provide a wealth of information about gear to noobs. Hell, I had no idea about overpants when I first started riding. Now I don't think I make a trip to the grocery store without 'em.  Stuff like that.


Title: Re: Sportbikes are not beginner bikes
Post by: RowdyRed94 on May 24, 2007, 11:40:35 am
Good point, but one only needs to hang out at a forum for a while to learn that. Anecdotal abrasion tests with denim vs. leather vs. ballistic nylon reveal much.


Title: Re: Sportbikes are not beginner bikes
Post by: lunchmoney on May 24, 2007, 12:47:58 pm
For me it was a matter of: "What do I actually fit comfortably on?"

I am curently on my first bike, a 2004 Honda 919, which I admit is more engine than I need or probably should have. My first choices were a Suzuki SV650, a Honda 599, or a Monster 620... but at 6'4" tall, I simply didn't fit on them.

I wasn't even considering the 919, until I sat on one in a showroom, and I fit perfectly on it.  Now two years and 4000 miles later, I have no regrets about it.  If it was stolen today, I'd buy another one tomorrow.


Title: Re: Sportbikes are not beginner bikes
Post by: ShadowStar on June 06, 2007, 06:04:52 pm
There are several fallacies here which must be noted.

One, following too close, speeding, agressive weaving etc etc are all things you can do just fine on any Ninja 250, dual sport, whatever you want. Having a "beginner" bike doesn't MAKE you responsible any more than it makes you safer. That big ol caddy won't have any more trouble crunching you and your 250 than it will you and your Zx-10R straight out of the box.

Second, who on earth suggests a beginner bike and notes it will accomodate two-up riding? Two up riding is the last thing a beginner should be doing on ANY motorcycle.

The reason to avoid machines specifically like 600's and 1000's, and Busa's, is

1) their characteristics when ham-fisted on the gas. Its not the wheelie on the way up that kills you usually, its the letting off the throttle and having the bike smack down and get squirrely. Popping the clutch accidentally on a 250 might get you a squeak and a "woops" where a liter bike gives you 30 mile an hour rear-ending the car in front of you with the wheel up at 12 oclock

2) their characteristics during turning. racing bikes have a tendency to fall into a turn. midcourse corrections in multilane traffic (cloverleafs, eg) will get you killed, period.) also, if you hit a bump and goose the gas on a 250 when you're bent over, you're not going to break the rear wheel loose, oversteer and end up in a ditch.

3) their characteristic when braking. just get cut off? snatch that front brake on a zx-10r and end up doing an endo and dying anyway. snatch that brake on the 250 and you'll skitter along and be able to back up on the brake.


put a newbie on a bike that is "safe" and watch them get hurt riding it past its limits. put a newbie on a bike that has limits past theirs and watch them get hurt when they act irresponsibly.

its not the bike, its the rider. never will it be the bike, no matter what anybody thinks. if somebody will go kill themselves on a bike, it could be a 80cc dirt bike with big neon newbie signs and they're still toast. if the machine is approached correctly (learned in the parking lot, panic braked, overgassed, ridden on empty highway during the 2pm off peak hour) then i think anybody can ride anything. if you remove that step of a rider training themselves to know their machine, then it doesn't matter what they're on.


Title: Re: Sportbikes are not beginner bikes
Post by: RowdyRed94 on June 09, 2007, 08:45:07 pm
Where did you find these "fallacies"? You've just reiterated the contents of the article. Why the snooty tone? Moreover, why would you make that your first post?


Title: Re: Sportbikes are not beginner bikes
Post by: Bodhi on June 09, 2007, 10:15:38 pm
Huh - Jeez I fell asleep reading through that dissertation.


Title: Re: Sportbikes are not beginner bikes
Post by: USMCUSAFbiker on June 10, 2007, 01:54:03 am

Why do people think they have the right to tell other people what to ride with such religious fervour?!!?

Good advice is one thing but the young asshats who want the biggest and best sportbike are not going to listen to the above kind of lecturing anyhow.

The mature and responsible person will likely be fine on any bike regardless.

The sermons above aren't really going to affect any of the new sportbikers as they will fall on deaf ears -- why spend so much effort preaching to the converted?!?!?!




If they are reading this on this website, and not on SUPERCBKZXR.com they are probably heading in the right direction to not be asshats. If not then at least we gave them the info. Hell, if they are reading in the "Beginners Garage Forum" even better. Every time somebody wrecks it is only a matter of time before your insurance rates go up a little bit. It might be pennies at a time, but it adds up with all the people going down.

I agree that some asshats that you see on the road might be better off if somebody would have gotten to them first, if not the road is very unforgiving.


Title: Re: Sportbikes are not beginner bikes
Post by: Kool shades on June 10, 2007, 07:04:18 am
Hi. I'm new to this whole thing... but here's my two cents.  When/if you buy your child a hunting rifle(i know things differ here in Canada), you don't go out and get them a 300 Ultra Mag. You get them something they can handle. You look at Size, Weight, Response, etc... (of the gun and the child) and when they prove themselves competent they can look at bigger.  Should it really be that much different with a motorcycle?


Title: Re: Sportbikes are not beginner bikes
Post by: rs4duke on June 12, 2007, 08:58:37 am
Wow, great thread.  I am new to the motorcycle world and was looking at 600cc bikes but now I have a change of heart and want to take my time getting into this even if I have to wait a year or two to get that 600cc or 1000cc I have always dreamed of.  I am going to start looking at 250cc and 500cc.  Thanks for all of the information that is provided in the thread.


Title: Re: Sportbikes are not beginner bikes
Post by: JTM on June 12, 2007, 11:52:04 am

Hi. I'm new to this whole thing... but here's my two cents.  When/if you buy your child a hunting rifle(i know things differ here in Canada), you don't go out and get them a 300 Ultra Mag. You get them something they can handle. You look at Size, Weight, Response, etc... (of the gun and the child) and when they prove themselves competent they can look at bigger.  Should it really be that much different with a motorcycle?


Yes, to me those points are more important than displacement.


Title: Re: Sportbikes are not beginner bikes
Post by: iwilli1169 on August 05, 2007, 08:45:40 pm
Wow.  I am about to take the MSF course and was pondering on my first bike.  I was looking at a Kawasaki Concours.  It is a 1000cc bike.  I've changed my mind after reading the arguments given.  I am 6'4" so it'll take some time finding a bike that fits but I'll stay under 500cc for my first bike.  I can then live to buy another bike.

For those that disagree with the article, I'm sorry but it is very worthwhile information.  My personal background is not having ridden a bike before in my life.  I'm 37 years old and drive fast in my car.  I'm no stranger to doing 120mph or more in my BMW.  However, my car does 0-60mph in about 10 seconds.  The car is heavy and the old In-line 6 is not much of a torque monster.  Knowing that I can accidentally hit a pot hole and kill myself by reacting incorrectly on the wrong bike makes me wanna learn on a moped.  LOL


Title: Re: Sportbikes are not beginner bikes
Post by: birdrunner on August 06, 2007, 11:31:07 am

Wow.  I am about to take the MSF course and was pondering on my first bike.  I was looking at a Kawasaki Concours.  It is a 1000cc bike.  I've changed my mind after reading the arguments given.  I am 6'4" so it'll take some time finding a bike that fits but I'll stay under 500cc for my first bike.  I can then live to buy another bike.




You can find alot of Dual-Sport bike that'd fit just fine.   Plus there's the whole "go anywhere" thing that can be huge fun.


Title: Re: Sportbikes are not beginner bikes
Post by: Grainbelt on August 06, 2007, 11:38:20 am

Wow.  I am about to take the MSF course and was pondering on my first bike.  I was looking at a Kawasaki Concours.  It is a 1000cc bike.  I've changed my mind after reading the arguments given.  I am 6'4" so it'll take some time finding a bike that fits but I'll stay under 500cc for my first bike.  I can then live to buy another bike.


If you had the Concours in mind so that you could do some touring, the GS500 and EX500 are both very capable of solo touring. Givi top cases are available, and look at Tourmaster Cortech saddle and tail bags. I had a GS500 as my first - very forgiving bike, and more than capable of touring.

Most of all, have fun. Enjoy the MSF and take the lessons to heart.


Title: Sportbikes are not beginner bikes
Post by: MisterSmooth on August 23, 2007, 02:43:02 pm

Hmmm...I agree with the overall article, although I have my quibbles with some of the specifics...
this doesn't just go for sportbikes.  Ever try to ride practice exercises on a heavy cruiser?  IMO, these bikes are just as poor for learning on as a supersport--if they have forward controls and pull-back bars, I'd argue they're even worse for slow-speed control than sportbikes.  And they're the ones often purchased as beginner bikes by the more mature, "responsible" newbie...



Word.   :thumbsup:  Cruisers are not necessarily easy bikes to ride well.  If more people started out on upright, easy to control bikes like XT225's, we'd have more happy riders, and I daresay more riders, out there.

I loved my Kawasaki GPz 305 when I started out as a rider.  It was easy to control, fun to ride (I took it to redline at least once every ride just because it was fun), light, good riding position, I thought it looked great, and it got 70 mpg!!

Unfortunately, those bikes had crap for engines but I didn't own mine long enough to find out.  :bigok:


Title: Re: Sportbikes are not beginner bikes
Post by: Silver Penguin on September 22, 2007, 11:43:50 am

For me it was a matter of: "What do I actually fit comfortably on?"



That works both ways.  The taller rider, as previously suggested, has the option of a dual sport.  OTOH, shorter riders tend to be steered towards cruisers due to their low seat height.  My inseam is almost 27" which leaves me very few bikes to choose from.  For that reason, I started with a 650 cruiser, thinking it would be the biggest bike I'd EVER ride.

Nice bike, but not so much fun through the twisties.  I now have an FJR1300 and the confidence to ride it without a solid footing.  To me, the bike is easier to ride than the cruiser, but certainly NOT a beginner bike.

Jill


Title: Re: Sportbikes are not beginner bikes
Post by: raphael on December 05, 2007, 01:04:25 pm
It is better off to learn how to walk first.


Title: Re: Sportbikes are not beginner bikes
Post by: bipedal on December 23, 2007, 07:08:12 pm
250 Rebel  :)


Title: Re: Sportbikes are not beginner bikes
Post by: RickC1957 on December 23, 2007, 08:55:33 pm
I don't know...I always had way more fun trying to make a small slow bike go fast :D I love screaming around on Diane's Rebel....it does a screaming fast 77 MPH :bigok: And when the corner is marked 30, believe me, it seems very, very fast :D


Title: Re: Sportbikes are not beginner bikes
Post by: riverprincess74 on February 05, 2008, 01:14:03 pm

First posted at beginnerbikes.com (which is no longer), reportedly by a Matt Pickering:

Form Equals Function: Sportbikes are Not Beginner Bikes

Introduction


Well, another riding season is upon us and as it always happens, we get lots of inquiries from potential new riders on how to get into the sport, what's a good first ride, where to take safety classes and so on. One particular type of inquiry that pops up with almost clockwork frequency is from a small number of new riders who wish to buy 600cc and up sportbikes as their first ride.

For the past year and a half, I, along with lots of other BB forum members, have entertained this question of 600cc sportbikes for a first ride with patience and lots and lots of repetition. It seems this small group of newbies keep coming back with the same arguments and questions over and over again. As a result, I am going to take the time in this column to try and put into words, answers that get repeated over and over on the BB forums.

Allow me to state first and foremost that I am a sport rider. My first bike was a Ninja 250R and I put nearly 7000 miles on it in two seasons before selling it. I am presently shopping for my next ride and it will almost certainly be a sportbike or sport tourer in the 600-1000cc range. I am also building a track bike in my garage which I hope to complete this season (a Yamaha FZR600). Although I am not an expert rider by any stretch, I have tinkered enough and done enough research along with talking with other riders to be able to speak with some degree of knowledge on the subject.

This column is split into two parts. First, I would like to address the common arguments we see here as to why a 600cc sportbike simply must be a first ride along with rebuttals. Second, I want to cover the rationale behind why the BB community-at-large steers new riders away from these machines.

False Logic

On about a three month interval, a whole slew of questions pop up on the BB forum from potential riders trying to convince the community that a 600cc sportbike is a suitable first ride and then proceed to explain to us why they are the exception. I can almost set my clock to this pattern of behavior since it is almost swarm-like. I guess the newbies figure by swamping the forum with the same questions in lots of places we might trip up and endorse such a machine. Hasn't happened yet but they keep on trying.

For those of you that come to Beginner Bikes trying to convince us to endorse a 600cc sportbike, I offer you the following responses to your arguments.
I can only afford to get one bike so it might as be the one that I want.

I don't want to go through the hassle of buying and selling a used bike to learn on.

These two lines of reasoning pop up as one of the more common arguments. I am going to offer first a piece of wisdom which is stated with great regularity on the forums:

This is your first bike, not your last.

Motorcycle riders are reputed to change bikes, on average, once every two to three years. If this is the case (and it appears to be based on my observations), the bike you learn to ride on will not be in your garage in a few years time anyway whether you buy it new or used. You're going to sell it regardless to get something different, newer, more powerful, more comfortable, etc.

Yes, buying a bike involves effort and a financial outlay. Most of us simply cannot afford to drop thousands of dollars on a whim every time we want to try something new. Getting into riding is a serious commitment in time and money and we want the best value out it as much as possible.

However, if you can afford to buy outright or finance a 600cc or up sportbike that costs $7000 on average, you can probably afford to spend $2000 or so on a used bike to learn on. Most of the beginner sportbikes we recommend here (Ninja 250/500, Buell Blast, GS500) can all be found used for between $1500-$3000.

Done properly, buying and selling that first bike is a fairly painless process. Buying a used bike is no harder than buying new. I would argue it is a bit easier. No different than buying a used car from a private seller. If you've done that at least once, you'll know what to do in buying a used bike.

Selling a beginner bike is even easier. You want to know why? Because beginner bikes are constantly in demand (especially Ninja 250s). These bikes spend their lives migrating from one new rider to the next to act as a teaching vehicle. It is not uncommon for a beginner bike to see four or five different owners before it is wrecked or junked. There are a lot of people out there looking for inexpensive, reliable bikes and all of our beginner recommendations fit into that category.

If you buy a used Ninja 250R for $1500, ride it for a season or two, you can be almost guaranteed that you will be able to resell that bike for $1300 or so when you are done with it provided you take care of it. And on a bike like the Ninja 250R, the average turnaround on such a sale is two to three days. No joke. I had five offers on my Ninja 250R within FOUR HOURS of my ad going up on Cycle Trader. I put the bike on hold the same day and sold it four days later to a fellow who drove 500 miles to pick it up. My bike never made it into the print edition. Believe me, the demand is there.

And look at it this way: For those one or two seasons of riding using the above example, excluding maintenance costs which you have no matter what, you will have paid a net cost of $200 to ride that Ninja. That is extremely cheap for what is basically a bike rental for a year or two. Considering it can cost $300 or more just to rent a 600cc sportbike for a weekend (not including the $1500-$2000 security deposit), that is economic value that you simply cannot argue with.

Vanity Arguments

The beginner bikes you recommend are dated and ugly looking.

I want something that's modern and stylish.

I want a bike that looks good and that I look good on.


I call these the vanity arguments. These are probably the worst reasons you can have for wanting a particular bike.

I will not disagree that aesthetics plays a huge part in the bikes that appeal to us. Motorcycles are the ultimate expression in personal taste in vehicles. Far more than cars. Bikes are more personal and the connection between rider and machine is far more intimate on a bike than a car. On a bike, you are part of the machine, not just a passive passenger.

However, as entry into world of riding and with the temporarily status that most beginner bikes have in our garages, looks should be the least of your concerns. As long as the bike is in good repair and mechanically sound, that is usually enough for most new riders to be happy. Most riders are happy to ride and they will ride anything given the choice between riding or not riding.

If you are looking at bike mainly because of how it looks and/or how you will look it and how others will perceive you on it, take a good, long, honest look as to why you want to ride. There are lots of people out there who buy things strictly because of how it makes them appear in the eyes of others. It's shallow and vain but it is a fact of life. It shouldn't be a factor in choosing that first ride but it is. I won't deny that.

The difference is: a BMW or Mercedes generally won't leaving you hanging on for dear life if you stomp on the accelerator or throw you into the road if you slam on the brakes a little hard. Virtually ever sportbike made in the past 10-15 years will do both of those things given a chance to do so (for reasons that will be explained later in this column).

The population at large may think you're cool and look great on that brand new sportbike and ohh-and-ahh at you. The ohhs can quickly turn to screams of horror should, in your efforts to impress the masses, you wind up dumping your bike and surfing the asphalt. Will you still look cool with thousands of dollars in damage to that once-beautiful sportbike and with the signatures and well-wishes of your friends on the various casts you'll be wearing months afterwards?

You Be The Judge

I'm a big rider so I need a bigger bike to get me around.

I'm a tall rider and all of those beginner bikes just don't fit me the way the sportbike does.

I'll look huge and foolish riding on such a small bike.

My friends will laugh at me for riding something so small.


These arguments are almost as bad as the vanity arguments. The difference being is they simply show a lack of motorcycle knowledge for the most part.

Unless you are over 6'3" tall or are extremely overweight (meaning well over 300lbs), even the smallest 250cc motorcycle will be able to accommodate you without difficultly. To provide an example, the Ninja 250R has a load limit of 348 pounds. That is more than sufficient to accommodate a heavier rider in full gear and still leave plenty of space for cargo in tank, tail and saddle bags. Or enough to allow two-up riding between two average weight individuals.

The idea that bigger riders need bigger bikes is almost laughable. It's like saying small drivers need Honda Civics but bigger drivers only 100 pounds heavier need to drive Hummers to get around. Or Corvettes with plenty of power to pull their ample frames, as the analogy goes. It is only because of the small physical size of bikes compared to their users that this train of thought even exists. It simply doesn't hold up to scrutiny. A look at any motorcycle owner's manual will confirm that for you.

Tall riders suffer more from fit issues than weight issues. On this, they do have a point. I'm a taller rider (6'1"). I do fold up quite comfortably on the Ninja 250 which is considered a small bike. I found it perfect for my frame. Others haven't. Then again, my knees hit the bars on bikes like the Rebel 250 and Buell Blast. Just different ergonomics that didn't fit me.

For taller riders, a much better beginner fit is a dual-sport machine rather than a sport machine. They offer the high seat heights that make them comfortable rides and their power is well within acceptable limits. We have a small but vocal dual-sport community here and they will tell you, quite rightly, that a dual-sport is just as capable on twisty roads as a sportbike. The same properties that give sportbikes their cornering ability is also possessed by dual sports (high center of gravity).

As to peer pressure, I admit to taking more than my fair share of ribbing from my 600cc riding friends. Some of it good natured, some of it not. In the end, this argument falls into the vanity arena. Which is more important: Your safety and comfort on a bike or what your friends think?

The ways to deal with friends giving you a hard time about a smaller ride is very simple. Tell them to ride their rides and you'll ride yours. It's your ride, after all. Most true riders will accept other riders, no matter what they are on. Only posers and losers care that your ride doesn't measure up to their "standards". And if so, do you really want to be riding with them anyway? It's more fun to stand out than to be a member of a flock anyway. And if they don't buy that line of reasoning, try this one: "Well if you don't like my ride, why don't you go buy me something that you will like?". THAT will shut them up REALLY fast. It works too. Unless their name is on the payment book or the title, it shouldn't be their concern.

If your friends can't deal with your decisions, you're probably better off looking for new friends. And if you can't deal with the peer pressure, then you are putting your own safety at risk solely because of what others think. Revisit the vanity arguments above and think about why you want to ride.

Decision Justification Arguments


I'll take it easy and grow into the bike.

I'm a careful driver so I'll be a careful rider and not get into trouble.

I drive a fast car so I'll be able to handle a fast bike.

Other people have started on a 600cc sportbike and didn't get hurt. So why can't I?


These arguments are the most common ones put forth and the ones that are hardest to deal with. These are the arguments that start flame wars. Because it is on these arguments that you have to convince someone the idea of what a beginner bike is over their preconceived notions.

The arguments also often surface in what I call the "decision justification arguments". Many new riders have their heart set on a specific bike and often come to BB to ask about it not to get real advice but to get confirmation that their decision is right. In cruisers, standards, scooters and dual-sports, more often than not these "pre-decisions" are generally good ones. In sportbikes, more than 3/4 of the posters are trying to get the community to approve their choice of a 600cc machine as a first ride. Their shock is quite real when they are barraged with answers that don't meet their expectations and that is when a flurry of oft-repeated discussion ensues.

Let's take each argument in turn since these are the ones that turn up with regularity.

I'll take it easy and grow into the bike.

The purpose of a first bike is to allow you to master basic riding skills, build confidence and develop street survival strategies. You don't grow into a bike. You develop your skills on it. As your skills develop, so does your confidence and with it, your willingness to explore what the bike is capable of.

But you are also entering in a contract with the bike. It is two-way. You are going to expect the bike to act on your inputs and the bike in turn is going to respond. The problem is, your skills are still developing but the bike doesn't know that. It does what it is told. You want a partner in a contract to treat you fairly. On a bike, you don't want it fighting you every step of the way. And like most contracts, the problems don't start until there is a breakdown in communication or a misunderstanding.

In sportbikes, the disparity between a new rider's fledgling skills and the responsiveness of the machine are very far apart. That is a wide gulf to bridge when you are still trying to figure out what the best inputs and actions on the bike should be. Ideally, you want your bike to do what you tell it and do it nicely. You never want the bike to argue with you. Modern sportbikes, despite their exquisite handling will often argue violently right at the moment a new rider doesn't need them to.

Remember, riding is a LEARNED skill. It does not come naturally to the majority of us (save those like the Hayden brothers who were raised on dirt bikes from the moment they could walk). It must be practiced and refined. Riding is counter-intuitive to most new riders. It doesn't happen the way you expect. For example, at speeds over 25mph, to get a bike to go right, you actually turn the bars to the left. It's called counter-steering and it eventually comes naturally as breathing once you've been in the saddle for a while. But for new riders, this kind of thing is utterly baffling.

You want your skills to grow in a measurable and predictable fashion. You have enough to be fearful of riding in traffic. The last thing you need is to be fearful of what your bike might do when you aren't ready for it. It's never a good situation.

It is interesting to point out that only one manufacturer, Suzuki, explicitly states in their promotional material that their GSX-R family of sportbikes are intended for experienced riders. This also applies to several of their larger, more powerful machines (such as a GSX-1300R Hayabusa). If Suzuki issues such a warning for its top-flight sport machines, it is reasonable to say that the same warning would apply equally to similar machines from other manufacturers.



I have been on a Suzuki 100 Dirtbike, I currently have a Honda 110 Superbike and would like the 2008 Ninja 250 for I have felt comfortable when sitting on the bike at the International Bike Show in Mpls. Technically, I am 4'11" flat footed but, my agent tells me to round up to 5 foot.lol Anyways, I use to have a Buell Blast 500 but, to me it was not sporty enough even though, I could have my feet touch the ground. I know that the Ninja 250 can be lowered.

I am usually with a bunch of guys who ride and Im on the back of my husbands R1. Some of the guys tell me to go for a 600 but, I know that I would feel most comfortable with a ninja 250. I am very light weight and petite and I know that there are short female riders out there but, some of them may have a little more muscle than I. So with all in said, I agree to starting off with a 2008 Ninja 250 if one can afford it.

Kimberly


Title: Re: Sportbikes are not beginner bikes
Post by: SWriverstone on February 25, 2008, 02:18:52 pm
I'm going to present a different perspective and possibility.

I'm 45 years old and started riding when I was 42. so far (knocking on wood) I've ridden 35,000 miles in three years without incident. My first bike was a Ducati 748 superbike. My second bike was a VFR800...and my third and fourth bikes were both 650cc dual-sports. (I downsized!  :D)

I've been an extremely careful, conservative person all my life. And for the past two decades, I've spent thousands of hours becoming expert at other elevated-risk sports (whitewater kayaking, hang gliding, snowboarding). Before that, I spent years becoming a professional percussionist.

My point is not to toot my own horn...but rather to say that in each of these sports, I approached the learning process with a great deal of caution, deliberation, and humility. Most importantly, I was always willing to take my time. I was never in a hurry. I listened to what more experienced people had to say, I did tons of research...and when it came time to start actually learning to do whatever it was, I took baby steps. I learned to sit up, then crawl, then walk, then run.

On a motorcycle, I spent time in a parking lot. Then for the first month or real riding (after taking an MSF course and getting my license), I rode only on empty rural backroads way out in the country. I didn't get near any traffic.

As my riding progressed, I started flirting with a bit more traffic in the form of busier 2-lane roads...but they were still country roads through largely rural areas.

I didn't ride in rain (or on wet pavement) for several months after I started.

It was six months (or more) of riding weekly before I rode anywhere near a town or city with a population greater than 1,000.

On a purely mechanical level, every time I twisted the throttle, I treated it quite literally like the detonator of a bomb that could go off at any moment and kill me if I applied even a piconewton more force. (Seriously. I walked on eggshells around the motorcycle for a long time.)

I rode hyper-defensively. I waited 'til the main road was empty in both directions before pulling out. I allowed at least 5-10 seconds of following distance ahead of me at all times. I used hand signals. I started engine braking far in advance and slowed gradually at stop signs and lights. I double- and triple-checked my blind spots by looking over both shoulders before passing or changing lanes.

I never redlined the motorcycle once...and still haven't to this day.

And I also never rode with anyone else while learning. Never once.

-----
Again, my point is not to say "I'm great," but rather to show that there is a careful, cautious, defensive process that any new rider can use...and if a new rider is committed to taking every precaution...if they treat the bike like a bomb that could kill them...if they avoid heavily trafficked areas...if they ride the speed limit (or under it) everywhere for the first 6-12 months...if they baby the engine, ride only on dry, clean pavement with good tires...if they take all these precautions and more...then...

...the type of bike makes NO difference at all.

Am I unique in my willingness to learn this way? I don't know---maybe so. But I'll stand by everything I've said above.

The conditions under which a new rider is advised to start with a small (less than 650cc) bike include:

- if you doubt your ability to never be in a hurry while learning
- if you doubt your manual dexterity in applying force to a twist-grip throttle
- if you doubt your dexterity in gently, gradually releasing a clutch
- if you are an impatient person
- if you are even remotely enamored of being powerful, cool, brave, fearless, macho, etc.
- if you will be riding with experienced riders who aren't willing to step back to square one with you and ride slow and easy

But if you are confident that none of those items above will be an issue...if you have rarely (or never) had an accident due to carelessness or bravado...and most importantly, if you do NOT live in an area where every road around is packed with traffic...then you are perfectly fine starting off with any bike you choose.

Scott

PS - I should add that in my case, an interesting result of my cautious, deliberate approach is that I never even knew what the sportbikes I rode could do. I never came close to pushing the Ducati or VFR to their limits. I was like a soccer mom driving a Ferrari to the grocery store every day in a 25mph zone!  :lol:

I'm sure a lot of people scoff and roll their eyes at that...but the important point here is: not only can you start out on a powerful sportbike...but if you are conservative by nature, you can ride a more powerful sportbike for years without ever exceeding the performance of 50cc scooter! (So the notion that powerful bikes get new riders into trouble most definitely does NOT apply to everyone.)


Title: Re: Sportbikes are not beginner bikes
Post by: jschmidt on February 25, 2008, 02:45:10 pm
A level-headed rider can ride anything. A fathead will wreck anything. Bike choice plays a role, but temperment is the determinant factor. Why? Because it actually takes about ten times as much experience to be a good rider as it takes to feel like one. A level-headed rider comes by his confidence cautiously. A fathead recklessly.


Title: Re: Sportbikes are not beginner bikes
Post by: Kootenanny on February 25, 2008, 08:13:16 pm

...and if a new rider is committed to taking every precaution...if they treat the bike like a bomb that could kill them...if they avoid heavily trafficked areas...if they ride the speed limit (or under it) everywhere for the first 6-12 months...if they baby the engine, ride only on dry, clean pavement with good tires...if they take all these precautions and more...then...

...the type of bike makes NO difference at all.

I don't necessarily agree.  Yes, it worked for you--and actually, a lot of new riders start on full-on race replica sportbikes, and are just fine.

However, the bike DOES make a difference.  You started on a 748, now you have a 650 dualsport.  Surely you can understand as well or better than most how much different these bikes are to ride.  The dualsport is a whole lot easier to ride slowly, to do parking-lot manoeuvers on, to simply control.  You're sitting upright, the steering is lighter, the bike is lighter...thinking back now, don't you think you might have been a bit more comfortable starting on the 650 right off?  Note, I'm not saying "safer," but simply "more comfortable," as in feeling a bit more in control.


Title: Re: Sportbikes are not beginner bikes
Post by: SWriverstone on February 26, 2008, 01:52:33 pm


I don't necessarily agree.  Yes, it worked for you--and actually, a lot of new riders start on full-on race replica sportbikes, and are just fine.

However, the bike DOES make a difference.  You started on a 748, now you have a 650 dualsport.  Surely you can understand as well or better than most how much different these bikes are to ride.  The dualsport is a whole lot easier to ride slowly, to do parking-lot manoeuvers on, to simply control.  You're sitting upright, the steering is lighter, the bike is lighter...thinking back now, don't you think you might have been a bit more comfortable starting on the 650 right off?  Note, I'm not saying "safer," but simply "more comfortable," as in feeling a bit more in control.


You're right Kootenanny---the dual-sports are definitely easier to ride and control, no doubt about it. That's why I switched!  :D But...I never had a problem riding the sportbikes. I guess I just think that if you give any bike enough time and don't push it, you will adapt.

Interestingly, though there's only about 50cc difference between the two, the Ducati 748 was a pretty tiny, light bike to learn on...compared to the VFR, which seemed a lot bigger (but still handled beautifully, I thought).

So yes...I agree there are distinct differences between bikes...but given enough time and patience and caution, I don't think those differences amount to much when learning to ride.

Scott


Title: Re: Sportbikes are not beginner bikes
Post by: 2WheelPilot on February 26, 2008, 04:16:41 pm

I'm going to present a different perspective and possibility.

I'm 45 years old and started riding when I was 42. so far (knocking on wood) I've ridden 35,000 miles in three years without incident. My first bike was a Ducati 748 superbike. My second bike was a VFR800...and my third and fourth bikes were both 650cc dual-sports. (I downsized!  :D)

snip

On a purely mechanical level, every time I twisted the throttle, I treated it quite literally like the detonator of a bomb that could go off at any moment and kill me if I applied even a piconewton more force. (Seriously. I walked on eggshells around the motorcycle for a long time.)

I rode hyper-defensively. I waited 'til the main road was empty in both directions before pulling out. I allowed at least 5-10 seconds of following distance ahead of me at all times. I used hand signals. I started engine braking far in advance and slowed gradually at stop signs and lights. I double- and triple-checked my blind spots by looking over both shoulders before passing or changing lanes.


Hate to break it to you, but you're kinda proving the point.  You were being hyper careful with the throttle, and riding hyper defensively.  How much brain power and attention did you have left for learning how to ride?  The benefit of the slow, easy to ride bike is that you can be somewhat ham fisted with it while learning and not accidentally get into trouble.

Quote from: SWriverstone

I never redlined the motorcycle once...and still haven't to this day.

And I also never rode with anyone else while learning. Never once.

-----
Again, my point is not to say "I'm great," but rather to show that there is a careful, cautious, defensive process that any new rider can use...and if a new rider is committed to taking every precaution...if they treat the bike like a bomb that could kill them...if they avoid heavily trafficked areas...if they ride the speed limit (or under it) everywhere for the first 6-12 months...if they baby the engine, ride only on dry, clean pavement with good tires...if they take all these precautions and more...then...

...the type of bike makes NO difference at all.


I disagree.  The only thing you proved is that you got away with it.  People have also "gotten away" with falling out of a third story window, but I don't recommend it.  You CAN get away with starting on a larger bike if you're willing to take all the precautions SWriverstone did, but you won't be as good a rider as you could have been had you started small.


Title: Re: Sportbikes are not beginner bikes
Post by: OrangeSVS on April 14, 2008, 02:06:04 am
I'm going to bump this (stickied) thread to mention my pet peeve...

People mention Rossi or the Hayden brothers as "the exception to the rule" when it comes to "starting small" and growing to a level of great skill...

Puppy Ca-ca!!!

Those guys both started out on 50cc bikes when they were freakin toddlers.  They aren't exceptions to the rule, they are proof of the rule.  You can start small and grow to become great, but nobody who starts out big starts out great.  Nobody.  

Not even Rossi.

Not even the Haydens.

Think about that...


Title: Re: Sportbikes are not beginner bikes
Post by: Boondox on May 13, 2008, 08:29:17 pm

Why do people think they have the right to tell other people what to ride with such religious fervour?!!?

Good advice is one thing but the young asshats who want the biggest and best sportbike are not going to listen to the above kind of lecturing anyhow.

The mature and responsible person will likely be fine on any bike regardless.

The sermons above aren't really going to affect any of the new sportbikers as they will fall on deaf ears -- why spend so much effort preaching to the converted?!?!?!




Wow, I didn't take it as preaching at all...just someone putting together a compendium of logical responses when a noobie asks our opinion. Personally, I found it very timely. I've been riding since my teen years (now 52), and my neighbor who is ten years younger and wants a bike after seeing how much fun I have is looking at high performance sports bikes as his first. And he doesn't even have a minute of riding experience nor a mc endorsement on his license yet. We also live on a steep and narrow dirt road with a loose base and a lot of sand/gravel. Hardly the sort of road I'd want to take on a Ninja or Fizzer!

I love this sport, and want others to love it as well. Dumping your brand new crotch rocket is not the way I'd like anybody to start out.

Pete


Title: Re: Sportbikes are not beginner bikes
Post by: Windblown on May 19, 2008, 06:30:36 pm
Frankly, sportbikes are always a poor choice in the most logical sense for street riding regardless of experiance level.  If logic was the only driving factor we'd all have one bicycle, one 50cc scooter, an econo car, and perhaps a pick-up on a rare occasion.  

Sure, you can learn riding skills much faster on a lightweight lightly powered bike.  There are enough examples of this to consider it a simple truth IMHO.  Small lightly powered bikes make it much more likely that a rider will reach the bikes limits before they exceed theirs. But riding often isn't about logic, it's about desire.  

No one rule works for everyone, and to those who ride a bike that has more power than you NEED take a real close look in the mirror. Are you alive because you're that good? Or was there perhaps at least one incident that you can think of involving a motorcycle where luck, good fortune, whatever, kept you alive.  Perhaps the incident in no way involved the size, weight, or HP of your motorcycle. Now consider that if that incident had gone another way, some would be using YOU as an example for why one shouldn't ride a high powered bike.

The lucky live. The unlucky don't.  Everybody dies sometime.


Title: Re: Sportbikes are not beginner bikes
Post by: brianstanfill on June 01, 2008, 02:02:55 am
Many thanks to the original author and the inevitable poster.

I found the thread and this discussion board while researching the type of bike I may like to ride. Based on how, where, and why I'd like to ride, I find myself looking for a suitable sport-touring bike. Alaska is a big state with straight and long roads. I want to be comfortable riding long distances.

I'm two days through an MSF course in which we are riding 500cc Buell Blasts. The bike's riding posture is nice, and the diverse maneuverability of the machine is appealing. But something is missing. The bike feels cheap, light, and not nearly comfortable enough for long hauls.

Hopefully, I will be able to peruse many more topics in this forum on my journey to find a suitable and sensible first bike. Nevertheless, the best line of the entire article is that this will be my first bike--not my last.

Thanks again,

Brian


Title: Re: Sportbikes are not beginner bikes
Post by: Kootenanny on June 01, 2008, 12:04:11 pm

Sure, you can learn riding skills much faster on a lightweight lightly powered bike.  There are enough examples of this to consider it a simple truth IMHO.  Small lightly powered bikes make it much more likely that a rider will reach the bikes limits before they exceed theirs. But riding often isn't about logic, it's about desire.  

Yup, I agree.  But the problem is, what is that desire?  All too often, the desire new riders have isn't to ride well, it's to own a serious bike!  They don't think, "I'd like to become a good, safe, and fast rider"--instead, they're thinking, "I'm really gonna impress my buddies with this new GSX-R1000!"

Someone has to tell them different.  When someone comes on a forum like this, it usually indicates at least a willingness to ask the question.

I stopped yesterday to help out some guys working on an old Beemer in a restaurant parking lot, and a couple of young kids approached and started asking questions about the bikes.  First question: "Is it fast?"  I told them it's not the bike that's fast, but the rider.  I honestly believe this, and racing bears it out...but still, the overwhelming impression is that if you wanna go FAST on a bike, you need a "fast bike." :rolleyes:

BTW, their second question was, "Is it loud?" :crazy:  

The lucky live. The unlucky don't.

Fatalism.  Bull pucky.


Title: Re: Sportbikes are not beginner bikes
Post by: lionlady on June 01, 2008, 05:59:13 pm
All that SWriverstone proved is that he has patience and self control (both no doubt the result of his maturity) and was able to hold himself back and ride the way we try to coach newbs with sport bikes to begin to ride.

In this "RIGHT NOW" era - it isn't unreasonable to expect that less than a handful of newbs have the patience or self-awareness to TRULY take learning to ride on a super powered bike, with the care and caution needed to survive uninjured.

That is why this thread was written.

P


Title: Re: Sportbikes are not beginner bikes
Post by: Windblown on June 01, 2008, 10:31:01 pm

All that SWriverstone proved is that he has patience and self control (both no doubt the result of his maturity) and was able to hold himself back and ride the way we try to coach newbs with sport bikes to begin to ride.

In this "RIGHT NOW" era - it isn't unreasonable to expect that less than a handful of newbs have the patience or self-awareness to TRULY take learning to ride on a super powered bike, with the care and caution needed to survive uninjured.

That is why this thread was written.

P


I don't think you give young people enough credit.  I ride with lots of folks quite a bit younger than me.  If they are fast they go fast, if they are slower they hang back, but for the most part they ride powerful bikes.  Here's a pic from a typical group ride.  The two oldest riders (Myself on the Concours and another guy on the Sprint ST on the end) were far from the most talented riders in the group. Some are street riders only, others are street riders with a bad track habit. LOL.  

(http://i41.photobucket.com/albums/e269/Windblown101/nb%20ride/bikes.jpg)

Being young doesn't mean you can't handle a powerful machine. Would I recomend a new rider learn on a race replica? Of course not. However I really don't think the difference in danger is all THAT great.






Title: Re: Sportbikes are not beginner bikes
Post by: Kootenanny on June 03, 2008, 12:18:32 am

I don't think you give young people enough credit...Being young doesn't mean you can't handle a powerful machine.

There is a big difference between being young and being a beginner.  Some young riders are highly skilled and experienced (Brett McCormick, anyone?) (http://mcracing.sasktelwebhosting.com/), while many beginners these days are retired.  This thread is titled, "Sportbikes are not beginner bikes."  No mention made of age.



Title: Re: Sportbikes are not beginner bikes
Post by: Windblown on June 03, 2008, 11:13:44 am


There is a big difference between being young and being a beginner.  Some young riders are highly skilled and experienced (Brett McCormick, anyone?) (http://mcracing.sasktelwebhosting.com/), while many beginners these days are retired.  This thread is titled, "Sportbikes are not beginner bikes."  No mention made of age.




I stand corrected. I was really focused on new riders, not just young ones but it didn't read that way. I take issue with the tone thoughout the OP's post and many of the following posts that make it sound like a sportbike is the worst thing that could happen to a new rider and that bad things will happen if they buy one.  I can't count how many folks I know that started on 600 class race replicas and have never gone down on the street.  For those that can't ride their own ride, getting on powerful machines merely hastens the inevitable but it doesn't change it.

As I said before, I'm not disputing the value of starting out on lesser machines. I believe I've learned more about riding while atop the DR-Z than I did on any previous bikes I've owned, inculding a dedicated trackbike. I wish I had started out on something smaller.  

The catch is that experiance comes after the lesson, not before.  You can't expect new riders to understand what they have not experianced.


Title: Re: Sportbikes are not beginner bikes
Post by: birdrunner on June 04, 2008, 08:13:11 pm

Many thanks to the original author and the inevitable poster.

I found the thread and this discussion board while researching the type of bike I may like to ride. Based on how, where, and why I'd like to ride, I find myself looking for a suitable sport-touring bike. Alaska is a big state with straight and long roads. I want to be comfortable riding long distances.

I'm two days through an MSF course in which we are riding 500cc Buell Blasts. The bike's riding posture is nice, and the diverse maneuverability of the machine is appealing. But something is missing. The bike feels cheap, light, and not nearly comfortable enough for long hauls.

Hopefully, I will be able to peruse many more topics in this forum on my journey to find a suitable and sensible first bike. Nevertheless, the best line of the entire article is that this will be my first bike--not my last.

Thanks again,

Brian


Brian,   If I were you,  beginner or not,  I'd be looking at a dual sport of some sort.   Or at the least an Adventure Tour type bike.   the first thing that comes to mind is the DL600  V Strom from Suzuki.  It has the upright position you liked about the Buell, plus its a v-twin, and absolutely reliable.


Title: Re: Sportbikes are not beginner bikes
Post by: Kootenanny on June 06, 2008, 08:10:24 pm

The catch is that experiance comes after the lesson, not before.  You can't expect new riders to understand what they have not experianced.

And this is too true!  I think a big part of the problem under discussion is that newbies simply don't know how much they don't know!  It's one thing to read this advice on a forum, it's something else again the first time you experience that corner coming up waaay too fast...


Title: Re: Sportbikes are not beginner bikes
Post by: jawntybull on July 23, 2008, 08:15:36 pm
Great post - and as a newbie of 2 months I thoroughly agree with OP. I bought a second hand GS500; FANTASTIC first bike - even though I had ridden dirt bikes in my teens and have put at least 3000km in per year over the last 20 years on a road pushbike. I have to say in the last two months there have been at least three occasions where I thought "woah - thank g*d I didn't have anything bigger, heavier or more powerful underneath me!". Wet roundabouts with oil, sudden stops in corners thanks to other drivers, losing a bit of balance in a corner and rolling on the throttle unexpectedly - in all of these cases anything more than 50hp and 180kg would have turned to disaster. Much better to upgrade when you're ready than downgrade suddenly and unexpectedly (and perhaps terminally!)


Title: Re: Sportbikes are not beginner bikes
Post by: Triple88a on August 04, 2008, 12:52:56 am
I read the post and i saw you talk about tall riders however i didnt see any info about shorter riders (5'6-7")

Anything to add about "us"?


Title: Re: Sportbikes are not beginner bikes
Post by: Kootenanny on August 08, 2008, 01:45:29 am

I read the post and i saw you talk about tall riders however i didnt see any info about shorter riders (5'6-7")

Anything to add about "us"?

5'6" or so isn't really short at all--I'm shorter than that.  And truly, it isn't a problem for motorcycle riding (except when I rode that '96 Uly with the really tall seat...).  

The issue isn't leg length, it's confidence...most beginners feel more confident if they can "flatfoot," but IMO this is something they should be weaned from very early in their training, so it never becomes a crutch or limits their bike options.

A site I often recommend is http://www.nebcom.com/noemi/moto/sbl.faq.html; the author dwells more on skills shorter riders can use to their advantage than on "which bike" questions.


Title: Re: Sportbikes are not beginner bikes
Post by: 35nready on August 21, 2008, 12:23:50 am
First let me say thanks from the bottom of my heart as I am not one of the gung ho kids who doesn't care what someone says and I was going to buy a sport or sport touring bike abouve 600cc as my first bike. I believed some of the points you posted, expecially the wieght one and that was the reason for my thoughts.

I would like to tell you guys my situation and have you suggest some good starter choices for me.

I just turned 35 and have waited for 2 years till this B day to make sure wanting a bike was not a fad. I rode dirt bikes occasionally as a kid when I could sneak out on my cousins Yamaha 100mx (very tame machine). My love afair came on a trip we took accross canada and seeing all the touring machines making the same trip. I drive a convertable Mustand and after talking at a rest area we compared the experiences and although some simularities the bike's seemed to offer more of what I loved about the trip.
I did agree to actually put the top up and ride in the fast lane to block the cross wind through the flat lands for them which they were so appreciative of they bought dinner for me :)

Anyway I realized that it was what I wanted to do tour (long trips and weekends on a bike) Here is where it gets interesting. I am an extreamly large person. At my biggest I weighed 488lbs I am now down to 450lbs and will get down to 400lbs which is my other goal to get a bike now. My question is for someone who eventually would like to get a 2000ish triump spirit st and do some touring with and without my wife on the back what would be a good started bike? Also note no experience at all with street bikes and very little with dirt bikes 20yrs ago. I plan on taking the local safty course they offer at the college but I don't think 2 days is going to be all that great of a course but much better then nothing and I am hoping they after some follow up courses after you have your license as well.

Anyway any info would be greatly appreciated I plan on eventually getting down under 300lbs and have told my wife I need at least 2 years of experiece riding before I will think of putting someone on the back of my bike.

Thanks again for this thread and to the person who says that "it's just natural selection to not inform new riders" I hope no one you run into when you are about to make a major decision that could be life threatning treats you will the same absent mindedness you treat new riders with.


EDIT here is some more info that might help I dont know

450lbs
5'10"
short legs and arms


Title: Re: Sportbikes are not beginner bikes
Post by: OrangeSVS on August 21, 2008, 08:19:05 am
Greetings and welcome!    :bigok:

May I suggest starting your own thread in this Beginner's Forum?  For some reason nobody ever seems to pay attention to the stickied threads.   :rolleyes:

I think the Sprint would ultimately be a good choice for you.  A lot of guys try to use their weight/size to justify insane horsepower for a beginner bike, but the logic just doesn't hold up.  Even a person of your size will have a phenomenal power to weight ratio as compared to most cars.  The suspension, and the physical size of the bike are really more the issues.  With short arms/legs, that pretty probably rules out dual sports, and you very well may feel self-conscious hanging off all over on a tiny sport bike.  I'm not trying to be condescending, I'm just talking honestly here.

So I'm thinking about a couple ways to go.  One is a BMW 650.  Nice bikes, good power.  After a few months of practice, some saddle bags sticking out the sides will be practical and also help fill the bike out and make it suit your size. Harleys are also good beginner bikes.  Lots of torque down low makes for easy take offs.  Harleys may or may not be your thing, but it's something to think about.

I'm sure other folks will be around shortly with some more suggestions.

Cheers!  And welcome to STN.


Title: Re: Sportbikes are not beginner bikes
Post by: 35nready on August 21, 2008, 01:45:41 pm
Hey yeah I did post  a thread in the section lol I didn't plan on going on and on in this thread it just happened lol sorry for breaking the rules it was unitentional was just trying to get some good feed back and what people were saying in this thread seemed good no B.S.


Title: Re: Sportbikes are not beginner bikes
Post by: Triple88a on September 02, 2008, 12:43:05 am
i've been looking around the web and i find it that gsxr600 is under 20lb heavier than the ninja 250...  :headscratch:


Title: Re: Sportbikes are not beginner bikes
Post by: 2ndWind on September 04, 2008, 11:50:07 pm
I am so glad you have this section in the forum.  I am guilty of looking at 900cc model standards or cruisers after taking the MSF class.  It is not my first bike but might as well be that after 35 years of not riding motorbikes.  So your points are well made in choosing that first bike to learn or in my case relearn the skills.  I do see comments of the few that have made similar decisions (good and bad) and are still with us.  The key is their self paced training and following common sense with a big dose of dumb luck.  The 600cc sport bikes just scare the daylights out of me knowing how quick they can react to the smallest changes from the rider.  Key word here is 'rider' and not driver!  We drive our cars but in case of two wheels we ride.  So keep this site as a sticky as I plan to share with others.  And the key word is to keep riding fun and safe.  Thanks! :)


Title: Re: Sportbikes are not beginner bikes
Post by: Usmc1968 on September 08, 2008, 02:50:43 pm
Hey all-

First post here on this site! I was "warned" about getting this type of high performance racing bike as a first bike.  I heeded that advice and purchased a very nice black 1986 Honda Shadow Vt500C for $700 :).  This bike is sweet to ride and in almost perfect mechanical condition. It is Comfortable, pretty forgiving.  A few weeks ago I passed the BRC (well worth it).  The more I get out the more I enjoy riding.  one of my riding buddies told me to "ride like you are invisible".  Anyhow, there are very nice worthy bikes out there that you can build your skills and confidence.  I practice almost everyday on my 1000ft paved driveway, especially that darned tight u-turn :crazy:  Looking forward to many posts and learning from you all

Safe riding

Semper Fi
Andrew


Title: Re: Sportbikes are not beginner bikes
Post by: Triple88a on September 08, 2008, 05:15:00 pm
Dude take the Intermediate course.. I just took it and i gotta say it was worth it.


Title: Re: Sportbikes are not beginner bikes
Post by: Sailariel on November 09, 2008, 06:12:52 pm
I got my first bike in 1958 and it was an NSU 250 Special Max. I rode it for three years and bought a 500cc Triumph, followed two years later by a 650 BSA Lightning. The BSA was followed by a BMW R-60 with which I logged 230,000mi. In the early 70`s I became a Norton, Benelli, Jawa dealer and rode a Norton 750 (Dunstall). I stopped riding in 1984 when I married a woman terrified of motorcycles. We got into sailing and lived aboard our boat till 2004. This past June, I decided to get back into motorcyling and bought a new 2008 Ninja EX250R. Calling that bike a "beginner`s" machine, in my opinion is stretching it. I managed to go on a 1200mi tour with two friends--one riding an 1100cc BMW, and the other riding a 900cc Honda Sport bike. I had no trouble staying with them even in an etremely mountanous terrain. I just had to keep my RPM over 7000. With 50 years of riding experience, I do not consider myself as a beginner--even though I learn something new every day. Most of the new stuff I learn about is the clothing (people wear armor these days) All I can say is that the Ninja 250 is one fast bike. It is hard to believe that it is a 250--plenty big for me at age 67.








 




50 years of riding experience, I don`t consider myself a beginner--although I feel I learn something new each day.


Title: Re: Sportbikes are not beginner bikes
Post by: Ferine41 on February 10, 2009, 12:26:44 am
My first bike was a 81 Yamaha 400 special. The 2nd one was a 80 GPZ1100. The GPZ was fast enough to walk away from most every car even heavily modified ones. That bike is slow compared to the 600cc Sportbikes coming out today. I'm not sure why anyone would think about getting one of those for their first bike. It actually shows how little they know about bikes. Yes, the 1000cc bikes are crazy fast, but 600cc sportbikes are heavily engineered performance bikes.

I don't think new riders who think this way really understand how you physically interact with your bike, and how you can't just lift up your foot to reduce power. OOOORRR how the pavement feels when you smack it (I've had 4 knee surgeries, 1 shoulder, and going in on March 2nd for my other shoulder from a wreck over 20 years ago).

On a lighter note ... can't wait to take the bike to the mountains this weekend  :D


Title: Re: Sportbikes are not beginner bikes
Post by: jfurf on February 10, 2009, 11:22:06 am
My co-worker was telling me the other day how a year ago he bought a brand new 07 GSXR 600 with dealer financing, had a friend ride it to his house, then proceeded to wheelie it out from under him in the driveway. Promptly decided the bike thing wasn't for him.  :lol:

The best part of his story was when I asked him why he bought what is essentially a race bike... "It was a 600 cc bike. They didn't have anything smaller!"  :lol:

I almost felt sorry for him because maybe he really would have enjoyed riding if he took the time to find a better starter bike.


Title: Re: Sportbikes are not beginner bikes
Post by: Ti954 on February 24, 2009, 05:52:51 pm
Cliff notes??


Anyone?

Anyone?


Title: Re: Sportbikes are not beginner bikes
Post by: Ferine41 on February 25, 2009, 02:57:30 pm
To summarize ....

It's your money; buy what you want, but in that split second before you impact the pavement, remember we told you 600cc sportbikes aren't for beginners.


Title: Re: Sportbikes are not beginner bikes
Post by: UFO on February 25, 2009, 04:52:32 pm

Cliff notes??


Anyone?

Anyone?


1)  Advice asked.
2)  Give advice.
3)  Wash hands.

At least that's how I approach it, because most of the time people who ask for advice tend to ignore it.


Title: Re: Sportbikes are not beginner bikes
Post by: birdrunner on February 25, 2009, 06:30:42 pm



1)  Advice asked.
2)  Give advice.
3)  Wash hands.

At least that's how I approach it, because most of the time people who ask for advice tend to ignore it.


What do you think we should do about this?


Title: Re: Sportbikes are not beginner bikes
Post by: Hickey on February 26, 2009, 11:20:47 am



What do you think we should do about this?


Legally?  Nothing.

I think we should just try to be consistent and well meaning with our suggestions, while at the same time setting a good example.  This is probably a case where mentoring is more valuable than legislation.  


Title: Re: Sportbikes are not beginner bikes
Post by: chimera on February 26, 2009, 12:06:44 pm
Ron White: You can't fix stupid.


Title: Re: Sportbikes are not beginner bikes
Post by: Bamaboy on February 27, 2009, 03:56:59 pm

Anyone that can't figure out that a 500 lb. 100+ HP motorcycle is not a good beginners bike should not ride any kind of bike IMO.

I still ride very carefully on my 600 cc 45 hp dual sport.  A 125 cc bike can kill you just as dead as a Hyabusa can.  


Title: Re: Sportbikes are not beginner bikes
Post by: Ferine41 on February 28, 2009, 03:12:09 pm
The dry weight of a CBR1000rr is 360lbs with 167 HP.


Title: Re: Sportbikes are not beginner bikes
Post by: GrayAuthor on March 21, 2009, 12:49:50 pm
Thanks for posting Matts work! Awesome! I really enjoyed it! I wish that I had read it before the purchase of my GSX 650F. Don't get me wrong, I definitely enjoy riding my motorcycle; however, I can see how learning would have been much easier on a 250cc or lighter motorcycle.  As a youth, I played on a yammie 100. During motorcycle training, I was instructed on 250cc's. However, my motorcycle is 656cc's, and I am much older. Honestly, I am glad that my parents never purchased a motorcycle for me. I probably would have injured myself or worse. This posting occurred in 2007. I purchased my first motorcycle in 2008. I have been riding 1yr/1mo/1day as of today. I made (1) one 6hr touring ride which was awesome. I only have 3300mi on my Chariot. I believe this information is helpful, and I will pass it on to as many as will read it.

Thanks Again


Title: Re: Sportbikes are not beginner bikes
Post by: JamieK on March 21, 2009, 01:46:46 pm
A couple years back I was at a Honda dealer and listened in complete disbelief to the salesman as he was talking to the prospective donor umm...buyer. The dude was in his early 20's with a trophy girl hangin' off his elbow. He was concerned as it was his first bike about shifting and such, he really didn't want to shift too much. To which the salesman replied "The CBR100RR has more torque than the CBR600RR so you won't have to shift as much"  :crazy: Although he didn't lie, I feel the advice given certainly wasn't going to help this chap make it to his late 20's


Title: Re: Sportbikes are not beginner bikes
Post by: Ferine41 on March 24, 2009, 09:47:25 pm
Just get a modified Hayabusa, that way he can just stay in first!


Title: Re: Sportbikes are not beginner bikes
Post by: Ferine41 on April 06, 2009, 09:33:20 pm
Perfect example:

http://www.Break.com/index/first-motorcycle-ride-goes-poorly.html


Title: Re: Sportbikes are not beginner bikes
Post by: jdgretz on April 08, 2009, 02:27:17 pm
My step son picked out a Ninja 250R for his first bike - he is a touch over 6' and probably weighs in at about 130lbs.  He loves (loved?) that bike and it's a good fit for him.  Unfortunately he got hit by a Sheriff's Deputy Cruiser (fortunately at low speed) and is now waiting for the County's insurance to pay him for a replacement.  In the mean time he is riding a 1976 CJ360T that I was given for my wife to learn on.  Other than it keeping him from walking, he is not happy.  He has never had to deal with a kick starting, real basic carburation which is not electronically monitored and drum brakes. On the other hand, he is learning to ride without having an overabundance of torque and horse power at his finger tips, as well as how to turn on a bike that requires a bit of thinking to make it all work out correctly.  Overall I think it's good for him (though he would disagree  :lol: ).  I enjoy riding that little thing - then again I've always enjoyed standard bikes.

:gerg: "Back in my day" a 250 was a good intermediate bike and a 750 was big ('64).  I started off on a Suzuki 80, then a Honda CL42 (250), Harley 250 and finally a Sportster (complete with magneto starting system).  During that time I also got exposed to the joys of British motorcycles (Royal Enfields, BSAs and Triumphs) and have had the pure enjoyment of rebuilding and riding a mid '70 Moto Guzzi V7 something or other.  Now I'm looking to buy a new Norge and a pre-owned Triumph Bonneville.  The wife wants something bigger than the 360T once she gets comfortable riding, so she may end up riding the Bonne - you never know.

So the CJ will be passed along to someone else to learn on, and the price will be right (probably give it away as it was given to me).  Hopefully it will still introduce many more people to the joys of riding motorcycles.

jdg


Title: Re: Sportbikes are not beginner bikes
Post by: Kootenanny on April 08, 2009, 08:17:29 pm

...In the mean time he is riding a 1976 CJ360T that I was given for my wife to learn on.  Other than it keeping him from walking, he is not happy.  He has never had to deal with a kick starting, real basic carburation which is not electronically monitored and drum brakes. On the other hand, he is learning to ride without having an overabundance of torque and horse power at his finger tips, as well as how to turn on a bike that requires a bit of thinking to make it all work out correctly.  Overall I think it's good for him (though he would disagree  :lol: ).  I enjoy riding that little thing - then again I've always enjoyed standard bikes.

Hey, my first bike!

(http://photoshare.shaw.ca/image/b/d/2/54398/cj360t-0.jpg?rev=0)


Title: Re: Sportbikes are not beginner bikes
Post by: Westy on April 30, 2009, 12:05:00 pm
Funny how that is, "young & dumb" or the "I'm to mature for a smaller bike, I want the 800# harley"  the norm... All states should limit new licensees to 250cc bikes or less for a period of 1 year and if you get a ticket, you lose your M license forever....of course a few drops of bleach into the "Gene Pool" benefits society and is somewhat entertaining on youtube.

Of the original 8 of us that got into biking, 3 are dead-all rider at faults, all head injuries. 1 other has no left leg and limited use of right...thats 50%....thats a hard lesson to learn.

Lots of "Joe Rockets" in the graveyards or now drooling all over themselves and gimpers shuffling around...glad I grew out of that mindset, save alot of money, bones, skin and life  (I place myself in the "gimper shuffling around" catagory)...I wasn't always this old....


Title: Re: Sportbikes are not beginner bikes
Post by: Squijummonkey on May 25, 2009, 07:25:10 pm


All states should limit new licensees to 250cc bikes or less for a period of 1 year and if you get a ticket, you lose your M license forever



poo, no fun!  :crazy:


Title: Re: Sportbikes are not beginner bikes
Post by: gritsngravy on May 31, 2009, 11:20:47 pm
All this drama about folks buying demon supersport 600's.  I've never had anyone ask me what bike to buy in 25+ years of riding...most folks seem to have already have a bike or know what THEY want.   Hell a co-worker of mine has a zx10 and I just recently learned it was his first bike!!!!  

Truth is a rider is vulnerable on any bike, even a day glo orange scooter.   Any two wheeled device can be fatal in the wrong hands.  


Title: Re: Sportbikes are not beginner bikes
Post by: Ferine41 on June 01, 2009, 04:32:02 am
Well, this is true, but developing the basic riding skills on a more forgiving bike is less risky. After all increasing risk is a major factor in what causes many wrecks. In my group of riding friends, the highest cause of accidents has been a rider buying too much bike for their skill level. There are actually several liter bike owners in there, one of which is in a coma for this choice, which was to get a liter bike as his first bike.

No one ever asks my opinion before they buy a bike for their first bike, and I don't track anyone down to give it. I believe the whole nature of this thread is for beginners looking for advise on which bike is best for them. So, with that, the suggestion is not to get a sportbike as a first bike.


Title: Re: Sportbikes are not beginner bikes
Post by: Zixxerpilot on June 14, 2009, 11:35:23 am

All this drama about folks buying demon supersport 600's.  I've never had anyone ask me what bike to buy in 25+ years of riding...most folks seem to have already have a bike or know what THEY want.   Hell a co-worker of mine has a zx10 and I just recently learned it was his first bike!!!!  

Truth is a rider is vulnerable on any bike, even a day glo orange scooter.   Any two wheeled device can be fatal in the wrong hands.  



I've got the perfect case study for you.

Rider 1) Buys a Honda RC51 for his first bike, because he likes the fact that its some super badass. He has a whopping 4, yes, 4 miles experience on a POS CB650. He bought the RC51 in 2004, and its just pushing past 6000 miles. He's "officially" totalled it twice, and has 4 total claims on it, all from him not knowing how to control a bike. His riding is terrible, and he'll probably never progress past where he is. He's stuck because he can't push his skill level, because the bike bites him when he does. Btw, he did take the MSF, shortly after getting the bike.

Rider 2) Literally no prior experience. Buys a '97 GSXR-600 (hey, I tried to fit him on a smaller bike, but have you tried sticking a 6'5" tall 250lb lineman on a 500?). Bike was in ok shape, but had scratches and a few blemishes. Rider 2 puts a few hundred miles on this one with a more experienced rider tailing along. Takes MSF, buys CBR600F3 because its more comfortable. Has about 1000 miles on the CBR, for a total of about 1500 riding miles so far this year. He is consistently improving his skill levels, and is becoming a very capable rider. Oh, and he's already a far better rider than rider #1. He continues to progress on every ride. He's even able to keep up with another rider and myself on our milder version of our accelerated pace.


There is a huge difference in learning curve. And, normally I wouldn't even consider a 600SS for a new rider, but we couldn't find a bike where his knees weren't connecting to the handlebars. Even the smaller cruisers didn't fit. But, its a good view of the difference in bike and learning curves.


Title: Re: Sportbikes are not beginner bikes
Post by: atypical1 on June 14, 2009, 11:39:25 am




I've got the perfect case study for you.

Rider 1) Buys a Honda RC51 for his first bike, because he likes the fact that its some super badass. He has a whopping 4, yes, 4 miles experience on a POS CB650. He bought the RC51 in 2004, and its just pushing past 6000 miles. He's "officially" totalled it twice, and has 4 total claims on it, all from him not knowing how to control a bike. His riding is terrible, and he'll probably never progress past where he is. He's stuck because he can't push his skill level, because the bike bites him when he does. Btw, he did take the MSF, shortly after getting the bike.

Rider 2) Literally no prior experience. Buys a '97 GSXR-600 (hey, I tried to fit him on a smaller bike, but have you tried sticking a 6'5" tall 250lb lineman on a 500?). Bike was in ok shape, but had scratches and a few blemishes. Rider 2 puts a few hundred miles on this one with a more experienced rider tailing along. Takes MSF, buys CBR600F3 because its more comfortable. Has about 1000 miles on the CBR, for a total of about 1500 riding miles so far this year. He is consistently improving his skill levels, and is becoming a very capable rider. Oh, and he's already a far better rider than rider #1. He continues to progress on every ride. He's even able to keep up with another rider and myself on our milder version of our accelerated pace.


There is a huge difference in learning curve. And, normally I wouldn't even consider a 600SS for a new rider, but we couldn't find a bike where his knees weren't connecting to the handlebars. Even the smaller cruisers didn't fit. But, its a good view of the difference in bike and learning curves.


But would say the difference was the bike or the rider?

james


Title: Re: Sportbikes are not beginner bikes
Post by: Zixxerpilot on June 14, 2009, 10:17:46 pm
Probably a small bit of both. However, the bike is definitely holding back the guy on the RC51. He's so afraid of going down now that he's become a Starbucks rider.



Title: Re: Sportbikes are not beginner bikes
Post by: Del435 on August 15, 2009, 08:02:41 pm
Thank you so much for the article.  My son is looking for a bike and the 600cc class is what he has been looking at.  Those 600cc bikes scare the crap out of me for a beginners bike.  The read opened his eyes to different possibilities for his first bike.  By the way I ride a ZZR1200.

Del


Title: Re: Sportbikes are not beginner bikes
Post by: JMan240 on April 17, 2010, 03:08:33 pm
I have a couple things to say about this article, and one bone to pick.

First off I have to say this is great advice. The first bike I hopped on and started riding around a parking lot on was a little red Ninja 250. Then the Buell Blasts at the HD store's training class. The small size is definitely important for getting used to stopping and starting. Especially since even for someone who has been riding a beginner bike for a while, taking the step up to the bigger bike where your legs are nearly straight when you are stopping and starting can be rather disconcerting in itself. Not to mention the harder pull from acceleration and all that other jazz.

Also, if you are looking to learn clutch control go get a Buell Blast, those things are so sensitive and engage so quickly it can be annoying, but if you learn how to ride them you WILL be able handle the clutch on almost any other bike out there.

Second, the actual magnitude of the effect of having even gotten some time under my belt on a beginner bike didn't hit be until I really sat here and thought about it. I may have gotten off of it a bit too soon now that I think about it. Even if my father's early model FZ1 that I'm on now is geared more towards the touring side of sport-touring than the more speed oriented iterations coming out now, it is still a lot of bike if you wind it up. 998cc isn't something that should be fooled around with, and when you are just starting out it doesn't make a difference if your bike is 600cc or 1000cc, it still has the ability to give you the worst beating of your life with one slap of the tank or twist of the throttle.

Now my bone to pick.

As a car enthusiast, and a casual motorcycle rider, I have to take offense to the statement that you are simply a disconnected passenger. If you can't feel everything that any vehicle carrying you at high speed is doing, then you don't need to be piloting that vehicle. Car, truck, bike, whatever. It doesn't matter. If you aren't in complete and utter control you are putting the lives, and hearts, of your friends, family, and other motorists at risk. I choose my cars not just because I like how they look, but because I feel connected to them when I get in them to go for a drive. I feel the tires slip and slide and the gravel or sand beneath them, I know what sounds they are supposed to make and when. They are like a really fast extension of my feet. I can tell even before I hit the throttle how that is going to effect the car and I can feel what happens translate all the way back up into the controls. Driving a car correctly and safely involves much of the same things as riding a motorcycle does, but with an added responsibility. When you are driving a car, you are not simply taking on the risk of someone else's actions having an adverse effect on you along with your own, but you are also taking to the road knowing that whatever mistake you make has the potential to kill anyone else within at least 100 feet of the surface on which you are traveling.

It is that false sense of security along for the ride mentality that puts those articles in the papers and faces in the obituaries. It is the carelessness that comes along with that state of mind that causes drivers not to look carefully enough before they pull out. It is what takes down more motorcycles than almost anything else every year.


Title: Re: Sportbikes are not beginner bikes
Post by: Kootenanny on April 17, 2010, 11:27:10 pm

. I choose my cars not just because I like how they look, but because I feel connected to them when I get in them to go for a drive. I feel the tires slip and slide and the gravel or sand beneath them, I know what sounds they are supposed to make and when. They are like a really fast extension of my feet. I can tell even before I hit the throttle how that is going to effect the car and I can feel what happens translate all the way back up into the controls. Driving a car correctly and safely involves much of the same things as riding a motorcycle does...

I agree with ya here, but...you have to admit, for the vast majority out there, a car is simply transportation, and the act of driving is seen as a chore.  Which is why modern automobiles are seemingly designed to insulate the driver more and more from the actual act of driving.  Personally, I prefer a car with a manual transmission and as little electronic control as possible, but that's becoming harder and harder to find.  


Title: Re: Sportbikes are not beginner bikes
Post by: shift on July 24, 2010, 12:59:24 am
After a good but long read I have a few questions .. im a new rider currently taking the saftey course

The past few days I have been going to dealers trying to find which bike/style is the best fit.

So far im leaning towards the Kawasaki 650R (sport touring?) I love the ferring look of a sport bike and the comfort of sitting up right rather than forward.   The size /seating is quite comfterable (im 6'1  190lbs)

I have also seen on line they have the 500cc and 250cc model but have not had one to sit on for the feel of it... Are they the same physical size or smaller in size.. also being a 650 semi sport/touring bike is it overkill for a beginner?  Im not to sure how it compares to the actual sport versions.





Title: Re: Sportbikes are not beginner bikes
Post by: Kootenanny on July 24, 2010, 01:19:06 am

So far im leaning towards the Kawasaki 650R (sport touring?) I love the ferring look of a sport bike and the comfort of sitting up right rather than forward.   The size /seating is quite comfterable (im 6'1  190lbs)

I have also seen on line they have the 500cc and 250cc model but have not had one to sit on for the feel of it... Are they the same physical size or smaller in size.. also being a 650 semi sport/touring bike is it overkill for a beginner?  Im not to sure how it compares to the actual sport versions.

The 250 for sure is a smaller bike, and the 500 maybe a bit smaller.  The 650R is what it is...there really isn't a "sport" version that I know of (there is the Versys which shares the same engine, but it is quite a different bike).

For a confident beginner, especially if they're your size, the 650R should be a pretty good bike.  It was designed with beginners in mind.  It is gonna be much more user friendly than a Ninja ZX-6R, which is a full-on 600cc supersport.  The differences are: the 650R has a more upright seating position (much better for bike control at slower speeds) and a more tractable parallel twin engine (compared to the race-tuned I4 in the ZX-6R).  But don't think it's slow; it is still a potent machine.


Title: Re: Sportbikes are not beginner bikes
Post by: shift on July 24, 2010, 01:52:31 am
That is promising,  I start the safety course next week ( i believe they have a 250r as one the learners so it will be a chance to test it out)  As long as the 650r isnt to much of a bike for  beginner.. I find them alot more comfortable then the straight sport bikes.

Is there any other bikes similar to the 650r that is worth taking a look at? (looking for sport look but more straight up sitting)

Thanks for your help


Title: Re: Sportbikes are not beginner bikes
Post by: nater on July 24, 2010, 11:14:10 am


Is there any other bikes similar to the 650r that is worth taking a look at? (looking for sport look but more straight up sitting)

Thanks for your help



Yamaha FZ6R, Suzuki GSX650F, Suzuki GS500F, Ninja 500


Title: Re: Sportbikes are not beginner bikes
Post by: shift on July 24, 2010, 11:55:56 am
Thanks for the list nater!

I have a bunch to track down and feel out in the next week or so.

IS there any you would recommend over the other for a beginner?


Title: Re: Sportbikes are not beginner bikes
Post by: nater on July 24, 2010, 01:32:04 pm

Thanks for the list nater!

I have a bunch to track down and feel out in the next week or so.

IS there any you would recommend over the other for a beginner?


First of all, kudos to you on planning to take the MSF course!  I took it a few years ago and it was invaluable.  

If you are planning on buying used, than I would go with whatever one you can find that is the least expensive.  That will probably be the Ninja 500 as there are a lot of used ones out there and the bike is unchanged from the 1990s.  The Ninja 500 and the GS500 would be the best beginner bikes on the list simply because they are the slowest of the bunch.  It's easier to learn on something that is slower.

However, you would probably be fine with a GSX650F or a FZ6R if you are planning to purchase new.  The GSX started production in 2008 so there isn't many used ones around.  The FZ6R is new for 2010 so I would be surprised if you would find any used examples of this as well.



Title: Re: Sportbikes are not beginner bikes
Post by: jdgretz on July 24, 2010, 04:26:06 pm

Thanks for the list nater!

I have a bunch to track down and feel out in the next week or so.

IS there any you would recommend over the other for a beginner?


I'd probably add, try to stay away from forward controls to start.  There is a lot of discussion about forward vs. center vs. rear sets, but I think as a general rule, when learning, you should look for something that gives you the most control of the motorcycle under as many conditions as possible.  Forward controls just don't do that.  Once you are comfortable riding, then you can figure out what you really like best and go from there.  You'll also notice many (most?) folks here have more than one motorcycle of completely different styles for completely different purposes. This is not to say you can't take a chopper on dirt roads or ride around the world on a Nimbus (both have been and are being done), but some bikes lend themselves better to one style of riding over another.

Your profile does not say where you are located - that might help with some specific ideas.  For example, if you were in So Cal, I'd say wander over to Bert's Mega Mall and sit on everything in there.  At any time they will have a couple of hundred different motorcycles - new and used - to see and try for fit.

You might consider a used Harley Sportster - 883 with center controls.  Not a screamer, handles well, and is easy to find dealer support.  The biggest thing may be your height.  Some bikes will feel cramped.

If you want to browse the used market, try this mashup --> http://www.jaxed.com/cgi-bin/mash.cgi?cat=cpmoto  There is always way more out there than you can possibly own  :D

Enjoy your course, buy the best protective gear you can afford, ask lots of questions and welcome to the family.

jdg


Title: Re: Sportbikes are not beginner bikes
Post by: shift on July 25, 2010, 03:12:12 am
jdgretz: thanks for the site! Its an awesome search tool.

What exactly do you mean by forward controls, are you referring to your position relative to them (leaning forward/back ect)?

Im located in BC Canada, how ever im thinking of going down to Washington (5 hours drive ish) to get a bike.. they seem to be 1500$ ish cheaper on average for a new bike and probably more if I find the right deal.

Im open to new or used, the 650R is  my favorite so far for comfort.. I still have to hunt down the rest in town to get a feel for them.  Im 6'1" 190lbs so i don't want too short of a bike.. the 650R seems to be a good size.  but im still on the hunt.

Ideally (sport look touring position.. )  Should I buy new or used? Obviously cheaper is better considering I will also have to get all the gear and just payd 750$ for the saftey course.. which starts Tuesday! yay!

A bit  of background.. im 27 and have wanted a bike for years but finally decided to go for my license.. Originally I thought i wanted a super sport (cbr600 from my younger days) but decided a sport-touring is a much better option for comfort / longer rides and more general purpose.. probably a much better start bike as well.. especially after reading this article






Title: Re: Sportbikes are not beginner bikes
Post by: jdgretz on July 25, 2010, 03:56:55 am

jdgretz: thanks for the site! Its an awesome search tool.

What exactly do you mean by forward controls, are you referring to your position relative to them (leaning forward/back ect)?

Im located in BC Canada, how ever im thinking of going down to Washington (5 hours drive ish) to get a bike.. they seem to be 1500$ ish cheaper on average for a new bike and probably more if I find the right deal.

Im open to new or used, the 650R is  my favorite so far for comfort.. I still have to hunt down the rest in town to get a feel for them.  Im 6'1" 190lbs so i don't want too short of a bike.. the 650R seems to be a good size.  but im still on the hunt.

Ideally (sport look touring position.. )  Should I buy new or used? Obviously cheaper is better considering I will also have to get all the gear and just payd 750$ for the saftey course.. which starts Tuesday! yay!

A bit  of background.. im 27 and have wanted a bike for years but finally decided to go for my license.. Originally I thought i wanted a super sport (cbr600 from my younger days) but decided a sport-touring is a much better option for comfort / longer rides and more general purpose.. probably a much better start bike as well.. especially after reading this article


You're welcome - I use it quite often.

Forward controls refer to where the foot controls are located relative to your butt.  Mid or standard controls will have your knees between roughly a 90* angle when sitting on the bike to slightly bent so they are under your butt.  Forward controls have your feet well in front of you, think cruisers.  Sport bikes typically have your legs bent at quite an angle with your feet behind your butt.

The 650 is an excellent choice for a first bike.  If you can, purchase a used, do so.  There is a good chance you will drop the bike as you are learning.  Any drop feels bad and breaks plastic, but it hurts even more when it's a new bike.  It's not guaranteed you'll drop it, but it's a better than even bet you will.

Good luck on your search an in your class.

jdg


Title: Re: Sportbikes are not beginner bikes
Post by: Kootenanny on July 25, 2010, 10:51:33 am
As long as the 650r isnt to much of a bike for  beginner..

That depends a LOT on the beginner!  If you're confident, should be fine.

Where are you taking your course?  I'm in BC also, and at one time I taught for the BC Safety Council in Vancouver (sadly no longer).

Before you buy your new bike in the States, check on the import fees, etc.--I don't think it's terribly expensive, but it'll eat into that $1500 you mentioned, and it can be a bit of a hassle (bike will have to be inspected, for instance--any Canadian Tire, I believe, can do it).  Make sure you have a letter stating all recalls have been done, etc.  There is a thread in the "Canada" section of this site with details of importing a bike, I believe.

Myself, while I do regularly buy tires and parts in the US, I've always bought my bikes in Canada.  I have a US spec car, though, which is just fine...except that I have to be careful with the speedo (km/hr are the little numbers...) and the odo reads in miles only...


Title: Re: Sportbikes are not beginner bikes
Post by: Grainbelt on July 25, 2010, 10:51:43 am


The 650 is an excellent choice for a first bike.  If you can, purchase a used, do so.  There is a good chance you will drop the bike as you are learning.  Any drop feels bad and brakes plastic, but it hurts even more when it's a new bike.  It's not guaranteed you'll drop it, but it's a better than even bet you will.


I had a 650R as my second bike, after a GS500. Fantastic bike. I put 36,000kms on mine, even spent a week in BC riding the kootenays (sometimes at, err, elevated speeds).  If you find your legs a bit cramped, Kawasaki does sell an aftermarket 1 inch taller seat.

As to the 'if/when you drop it' comment, I agree, and recommend you purchase some frame sliders (little urethane pucks that poke thru an existing hole in the frame, and hit the groudn first).  :thumbsup:


Title: Re: Sportbikes are not beginner bikes
Post by: shift on July 25, 2010, 09:33:19 pm
Frame sliders could be a good investment (save the paint!) Hopefully It doesnt come to it buy you never know.  So far I have found a 09' 650R for 6500$CDN (coincidence? lol) which seems promising since its has less than 1,000k on it.

Should I be buying an older cheaper bike. Is there any advantages to newer over older?  I originally was looking at a bunch of 04-08s on buysell.com for 2500$ but no-one seemed to respond.. and alot of the adds seemed kinda fishy.





Title: Re: Sportbikes are not beginner bikes
Post by: nater on July 25, 2010, 10:50:15 pm
It's up to you and what you want to spend.  I would advise getting a used bike first.  Your first bike probably won't be your last and you may discover that you want to try something different in a year or two.  Have you checked craigslist.org?


Title: Re: Sportbikes are not beginner bikes
Post by: shift on July 25, 2010, 11:01:17 pm
I have been coming across lots from jaxed.com/ (very handy!)

Is there any other recommendations for the 2500-4000$ price range?  for the sport/street-touring style




Title: Re: Sportbikes are not beginner bikes
Post by: shift on July 28, 2010, 02:23:41 am
I was at kawasaki again the other tday and the 600cc Super sports were 6000-6500.. why are they 2000 cheaper then the 650R?

Could you buy a SS and raise the handle bars so you sat up more like a 650r?



Title: Re: Sportbikes are not beginner bikes
Post by: birdrunner on July 28, 2010, 11:39:49 am

I was at kawasaki again the other tday and the 600cc Super sports were 6000-6500.. why are they 2000 cheaper then the 650R?

Could you buy a SS and raise the handle bars so you sat up more like a 650r?



.

Yes,  but it still wouldn't affect the hair-trigger response these bikes are designed to have.  While amazing in experienced hands, this will just add one more factor for a new rider to overcome.

You don't put a new rider in a Ferrari and expect them to learn to drive easily, why would you do something even trickier to a new rider?


Title: Re: Sportbikes are not beginner bikes
Post by: shift on July 28, 2010, 12:43:51 pm
Hows the GS500F  for a beginner?

Im starting to lean towards a cheaper used bike to start out..


Title: Re: Sportbikes are not beginner bikes
Post by: birdrunner on July 28, 2010, 12:46:57 pm

Hows the GS500F  for a beginner?

Im starting to lean towards a cheaper used bike to start out..


considered a great bike.

Used is absolutely the way to go.


Title: Re: Sportbikes are not beginner bikes
Post by: nater on July 28, 2010, 02:52:10 pm

Hows the GS500F  for a beginner?

Im starting to lean towards a cheaper used bike to start out..



My first bike was an old, dry-rotted, and rusty 94 GS500 with bent front forks with no fluid left in them.  Talk about a harsh ride!  But I didn't know any better.  I paid too much for it (because I didn't know what I was doing--I didn't even know the forks were bent when I got it!).  But it ran, the tires held air and the lights worked.  I replaced the tires and chain in short order and then proceeded to drive it for 5000 miles before I sold it.  A friend bought it from me and then wrecked it a year later.  That poor bike had a rough life.  It was an excellent bike to learn on (low power, forgiving, light).  I think that you are looking in the right direction.  A GS500 makes an excellent first bike.  It's a better bike than a 650R and you can find used ones much cheaper.


Title: Re: Sportbikes are not beginner bikes
Post by: shift on July 28, 2010, 04:05:12 pm
Im on my way to the suzuki dealer after work to see how one feels... any other comparables ones to check out? So far the price is right 2006-2008  3600-3900 obo on some classifiedies :)




Title: Re: Sportbikes are not beginner bikes
Post by: nater on July 28, 2010, 07:29:26 pm

Im on my way to the suzuki dealer after work to see how one feels... any other comparables ones to check out? So far the price is right 2006-2008  3600-3900 obo on some classifiedies :)





A Ninja 500 would be about the same.  Let us know what you think after you check them out.


Title: Re: Sportbikes are not beginner bikes
Post by: shift on July 29, 2010, 02:28:48 am
I apologize for 8 million questions but i Really appreciate everyone help!

ZX636R -   supposedly decent for beginner



2004 ZX6RR 4200$ cdn - Ok for a beginner or to much of a street bike?  
(http://i382.photobucket.com/albums/oo261/bowserclaw/Kawasaki%20ZX6RR/Ksbike043.jpg)




2008 GS500GF   4200$ cdn  
(http://i693.photobucket.com/albums/vv292/pacificcoast/Honda%20GS500FK8/IMG_3821.jpg)

sv650s
2000 sv650 - $3950 (debating, prefer sport look but dont mind it) awaiting lower offer.
(http://images.craigslist.org/3nb3pa3l85T55P55X3a7e8780f5a6d76219e7.jpg)

07 650R  - 4500$ cdn
(http://images.craigslist.org/3k23m03o45T05Q25U4a7k31ce393ed429191b.jpg)

FZ6? - to SS like?


Is there any I should/shouldn't get?  or would any be okay?

Still open for more suggestions.. Its rough trying to decide on a bike!
I think im going to try to keep it under 4k




Title: Re: Sportbikes are not beginner bikes
Post by: birdrunner on July 29, 2010, 09:25:19 am
forget the ZX6rr,

The 500 or the SV650 are your best bets,  many expert riders love the SV,   plus .... less plastic to break when it gets dropped.  ( the ZX6RR  looks repainted,  why???)


Title: Re: Sportbikes are not beginner bikes
Post by: shift on July 29, 2010, 09:47:21 am
Good call on the repainted, completely overlooked it.


GS500GF    vs SC650  any major differences?
Which ones is more comfortable to ride.


Also for the sv650 (naked vs faring versions) is there any differences other than looks?
the naked one below seemed a bit expensive for a 2000 with 16,000k but 3700$cdn  
(http://images.craigslist.org/3nb3pa3l85T55P55X3a7e8780f5a6d76219e7.jpg)


Also just found this one, 2003 sv650s with 7,000k  for 3600$cdn (lowest K/price!)

(http://c.castanet.net/data/152/large/c0a0h9jfg4pv7qir1oanrecfs4_11.jpg)

and  2004 SV650s  with 25,000k  for 4300 $ cdn
(http://c.castanet.net/data/152/large/IMGP1189.JPG)

2007 sv650 - 14,000k   $4,900 cdn
(http://c.castanet.net/data/152/large/akep8d68l3oi048nme8cm5amv6_1.jpg)


How many km is considered high? is it similar to a car? at what point do bikes generally start to have problems?




Title: Re: Sportbikes are not beginner bikes
Post by: nater on July 29, 2010, 11:49:46 am
You have been doing a lot of looking and compairing.  That's good!  I prefer a plastic faring and a windshield because I don't like the wind blasting me in the face.  The GS500 that I had did not have a windshield and the wind would get tiring after 50 miles.  But maybe that's just me.

None of those bikes have high milage/kilometers.  The silver 03 SV650 is probably the best option.  It looks like there is a scrape in the pipe but I don't see any damage anywhere else, so it's probably ok.  I'm a little afraid of the last Ninja 650.  It looks like it may have been down at some point...

Now if it were me, I would get the ZX6...


Title: Re: Sportbikes are not beginner bikes
Post by: birdrunner on July 29, 2010, 12:12:40 pm

The ex650r looks to be a screaming good deal.   Almost too good.  Frame would need a good inspection (professionally done to be sure).  If it's ok,  I'd go for it,  after all,  who cares about the plastic?


The motors on most bikes are bulletproof now a days.   I'm up on 80,000 km w/ my bike.    Lots of people here have more than that.  I'm expecting 150,000 before I have to touch up the engine.

Most important is how the bike's been maintained.


Title: Re: Sportbikes are not beginner bikes
Post by: shift on July 29, 2010, 12:16:06 pm
Well GS500f is a not bad price at all almost new for 4,000  and its a good learner bike
how ever few hour drive and borrow a truck to get it.


Silver 03 is an older sv650s bike but super low km and if its still there for that price its not bad at all (and its local!)

As for the Zx6 I like it by far the best for looks.. (hows the riding position compared to a sv650?)
As for the Zx6 there mixed opinions on if it should be used for beginners, its not really a supersport but kinda in the middle.. at least from my impression


Title: Re: Sportbikes are not beginner bikes
Post by: shift on July 29, 2010, 12:22:00 pm
2005 Kawasaki Ninja 250  - 2800$ cash
I wonder if it would be to small/out grow to quick? But i gusess only time would tell.. cheap decent starter bike
(http://c.castanet.net/data/152/large/vscf0upll0lcs3nvc64j8n30k2_11.jpg)(http://c.castanet.net/data/152/large/vscf0upll0lcs3nvc64j8n30k2_21.jpg)



Report so far on the SVC650R
Okay just called the silver sv650R

The bike had been doped by its prior owner, he has had it 4 years since then and rides it all the time.,  the tank was dented/front fearing cracked.. He replaced the tank but it could use a new fearing.. which is about 400$ he says..    I asked what he wanted he said 3100 ish but maybe work out something if you wanted..

I may go take a look at at later..  especially since its so cheap.. however ill need to take a good look at it..
(http://c.castanet.net/data/152/large/c0a0h9jfg4pv7qir1oanrecfs4_11.jpg)
(http://c.castanet.net/data/152/large/c0a0h9jfg4pv7qir1oanrecfs4_2.jpg)
(http://c.castanet.net/data/152/large/c0a0h9jfg4pv7qir1oanrecfs4_3.jpg)
(http://c.castanet.net/data/152/large/c0a0h9jfg4pv7qir1oanrecfs4_4.jpg)


What all should I look out for/be a warning signs.. I have looked over the general info for used bike buying.. just not sure about previously dropped ones..



Title: Re: Sportbikes are not beginner bikes
Post by: Kootenanny on July 29, 2010, 01:04:49 pm

ZX636R -   supposedly decent for beginner

Sez who?  

I rode one of these when it first came out in 2003, and lemme tell ya, it is NOT for a beginner.  It is a racebike...powerful engine, sensitive handling, and a riding position that makes it almost impossible to ride properly at legal speeds.  (OK...I wanted one, but then again, I have the experience both to ride one, and to resist buying one...)

As for the SV650s you've been looking at...I like the SV650 nakeds for beginners, but the SV650S you found is definitely a bit less expensive.  If you do get it, you will likely want to put some bar risers on it to make the position better for street riding (nothing to do with age or flexibility--when you're leaned too far forward, it is hard not to rest some of your body weight on the bars, which is not only hard on the wrists, it makes it difficult to make subtle control inputs).


Title: Re: Sportbikes are not beginner bikes
Post by: jdgretz on July 29, 2010, 01:23:20 pm
Ninja 250s are fun bikes.  Some folks "outgrow" them while others keep them for a really long time.  They hold their value well.  When my step-son's 07 250 was totaled last year a comparable was around $3k - it's still around $3K today.  He's currently riding an '87 Ninja 600 as would actually prefer going back to the 250 - he enjoyed it more.  It's a good bike for both around town and long trips ( see this article (http://pashnit.com/forum/showthread.php?t=1145) from a dedicated Hyabusa rider).  They have also been seen completing the Iron Butt Ralley.

Lots of folks love the SVs - both the 650 and 1000s.  Not my cup of tea, but I'm not the one buying it.  You'll have to judge the comfort factor for yourself.  From my experience, if the bike does not feel good sitting still, it won't feel good after 300 miles either.  Again, YMMV.  You might take a quick hop to one of the SV forums ( http://forum.svrider.com/ ) and see what they have to say.

Both bikes look like good choices.

jdg


Title: Re: Sportbikes are not beginner bikes
Post by: shift on July 29, 2010, 02:27:51 pm
Posted for some fellow SV650 rider opinions so far the 2 replies say it should be okay!

As for handle bar risers are they universal or bike specific?


Title: Re: Sportbikes are not beginner bikes
Post by: nater on July 29, 2010, 02:38:15 pm

The bike had been doped by its prior owner, he has had it 4 years since then and rides it all the time.,  the tank was dented/front fearing cracked.. He replaced the tank but it could use a new fearing.. which is about 400$ he says..    I asked what he wanted he said 3100 ish but maybe work out something if you wanted..


What all should I look out for/be a warning signs.. I have looked over the general info for used bike buying.. just not sure about previously dropped ones..




Look for scrapes on the engine cases.  Also check to see if the front fork seals are leaking.  If they are, that could indicated that the front forks are bent.  Look at the frame to see if there is anything bent or any cracks.  Make sure the brakes, lights, and instruments all function.  Have the owner drive it a bit and shift if he won't let you test drive it.

Ask the owner what kind of tip over he had.  If it was just a parking lot tip over, then everything (but the scratch in the exhaust and the crack in the faring) is probably ok.  If he ran into something, the forks might be bent (as would be evidences by leaking oil).  It dosen't look to me from the pictures that he wrecked it while doing 80mph leaned over in a corner.  From the pictures, the bike looks pretty good to me.  

While I really like the ZX 6, I would not advise you to get that one for the first bike.  You can always get one of those later.  I just happen to like pretty much all SS bikes.

Don't be too afraid of getting a bike (like the silver SV) that has some scratches on it.  You can usually talk the owner down in price because of the scratches.  Just make sure that it's nothing more than a scratch or two.  

Regarding handle bar risers.  Ride it like it is first.  You may determine that you don't want risers.


Title: Re: Sportbikes are not beginner bikes
Post by: Kootenanny on July 29, 2010, 03:21:51 pm


Regarding handle bar risers.  Ride it like it is first.  You may determine that you don't want risers.


YOU might determine that, but a beginner has no frame of reference.

Reading this thread, you'l note that many riders advise against sportbikes for beginners strictly because of engine power and peakiness.  However, IMO the more important reason that beginners should avoid sportbikes is riding position.  The proper way to ride a sportbike is to support your upper body with your legs and trunk muscles, not with your arms and hands.  However, even experienced riders are not always able to do this, so why expect a beginner to have to do so, along with everything else they have to learn?  

Leaning on your hands on a sportbike makes it difficult to deliver smooth, subtle control inputs; the fact that the bars are often narrow makes this even more difficult.  A beginner is best off learning on a bike with a neutral riding position, like a dirtbike or most standards have, which is much more conducive to proper bike control.  

But, a beginning rider knows none of this.  He'll adapt to whatever riding position his bike has, and if it is a full-forward race crouch (like the 2003 ZX-6R 636 I rode years ago) this may limit how fast he learns to control his bike properly.  In the case of the ZV650S, how is a beginner to determine whether he wants risers unless he's ridden other bikes that have higher bars?  And not knowing how it may affect his learning curve?


Title: Re: Sportbikes are not beginner bikes
Post by: jdgretz on July 29, 2010, 05:08:39 pm


YOU might determine that, but a beginner has no frame of reference.

Reading this thread, you'l note that many riders advise against sportbikes for beginners strictly because of engine power and peakiness.  However, IMO the more important reason that beginners should avoid sportbikes is riding position.  The proper way to ride a sportbike is to support your upper body with your legs and trunk muscles, not with your arms and hands.  However, even experienced riders are not always able to do this, so why expect a beginner to have to do so, along with everything else they have to learn?  

Leaning on your hands on a sportbike makes it difficult to deliver smooth, subtle control inputs; the fact that the bars are often narrow makes this even more difficult.  A beginner is best off learning on a bike with a neutral riding position, like a dirtbike or most standards have, which is much more conducive to proper bike control.  

But, a beginning rider knows none of this.  He'll adapt to whatever riding position his bike has, and if it is a full-forward race crouch (like the 2003 ZX-6R 636 I rode years ago) this may limit how fast he learns to control his bike properly.  In the case of the ZV650S, how is a beginner to determine whether he wants risers unless he's ridden other bikes that have higher bars?  And not knowing how it may affect his learning curve?


While I agree with you for the most part, at some point a new rider has to get on a bike he likes the looks of, likes the feel of and learn to ride it, warts and all.  No bike is absolutely perfect - and if it feels good to start, when those imperfections show up after getting some experience the rider will decide to "fix" them to bring the bike closer to what (s)he feels is perfect, or get a different bike.  Risers are relatively cheap and if purchased used, can be resold for the same price if they turn out not to be an improvement.

In this case shift is asking all the right questions, doing all the right things and headed toward purchasing a bike that is pretty well accepted as being new rider friendly.  When he gets to sit on the bike he may immediately know it does not feel "right", whatever that means to him, or it may feel just like he imagines a bike is supposed to feel.  I don't like the feel of a C-14 and don't care to ride one, but my Norge felt great from day one and still does, as does a standard height, standard bar, mid control Sportster.

If it was me, I'd say go check it out.  If it looks good, passes all the pre-purchase check lists, feels good, and is at an acceptable price, then you may have found your first bike.   You lose nothing except a bit of time by looking.  Just remember, there are a ton of bike out there that you can enjoy, and this is just one of them, don't be afraid to walk away if the deal does not feel right.  Oh yes, once you purchase, quit shopping price because I can guarantee that tomorrow a better looking similar bike will be on sale for $500 less  :D.

jdg

jdg


Title: Re: Sportbikes are not beginner bikes
Post by: shift on July 30, 2010, 01:13:43 pm
I just took a look at  silver SV650


Dented radiator was main thing..(crack in fearing/dented tank.. but has a spare tank)

 Please take a look at the pics and let me know your opinions

I have low and high res ones..

Thanks guys!

http://s88451732.onlinehome.us/bike/


Title: Re: Sportbikes are not beginner bikes
Post by: shift on July 30, 2010, 01:41:28 pm
Fixed  http://s88451732.onlinehome.us/bike/

Main page is low res.. first link blank image takes you to the high res if you need a close up view :)

Thanks guys!  Its a big help when you dont fully know what to look for :)


Title: Re: Sportbikes are not beginner bikes
Post by: McHack on July 30, 2010, 02:41:19 pm

Posted for some fellow SV650 rider opinions so far the 2 replies say it should be okay!

As for handle bar risers are they universal or bike specific?


I own an SV650S...   It's my first street bike,  since I was maybe...  19-20.

If you go w/ a standard, I cant imagine needing risers...  However, if you go w/ a 650S, as I did....
there are a couple of options.   I can tell ya,  if I planned on keeping the bike,  I'd definitely do
SOMETHING.   As far as a good beginner bike,   I think an SV will last you a year or two...

The SV is a bike,  that is capable of keeping experienced riders entertained.   I made the "mistake"
of riding a Triumph Street Triple R, & have mentally moved on already.

If you seek info on SV's,  I'd head over to www.svrider.com.  
 LSL Handlebars,   Convertibars & Helibars are the more popular options...


Title: Re: Sportbikes are not beginner bikes
Post by: shift on July 30, 2010, 02:54:07 pm
What do you think of the pics in the link..  any damage or signs aside from cosmetic...

Radiator is biggest thing but i didnt see any leaks.



Title: Re: Sportbikes are not beginner bikes
Post by: Thunderbox on July 30, 2010, 03:13:51 pm



Yes because that mamby pamby pablum article must be the last word on the subject b/c it's on the inturdweb :twofinger:  

To be honest I really don't care what other people do as a first bike whether it's a 250 rebel or a gixxer.    

As I said before ---  It's really just nature's way of thinning the herd.


Now this shows real maturity and wisdom beyond comprehension.   Just remember Flat Out, you are part of the herd.  Hope you don't get thinned out as you so delicately put it.


Title: Re: Sportbikes are not beginner bikes
Post by: McHack on July 30, 2010, 03:53:05 pm
I dunno,  I have a difficult time accepting anyone else's drop...   you don't know what they've "fixed".
But, the damage that is there would indicate to me,  that they were very low speed drops,  or more likely
dropping them in the driveway or something...

Everything looks stock.


Title: Re: Sportbikes are not beginner bikes
Post by: nater on July 30, 2010, 10:11:44 pm

What do you think of the pics in the link..  any damage or signs aside from cosmetic...

Radiator is biggest thing but i didnt see any leaks.




I say if you can get him down to $2500, go for it.  It looks like you picked out the main damage (radiator).  If the radiator dosen't leak, than you are good to go.  Use the fact that it is a bit banged up to get the price lower.  If the seller doesn't want to budge on the price, than go for one of the others you were looking at that hasn't been dropped.



Title: Re: Sportbikes are not beginner bikes
Post by: Mrs. DantesDame on July 30, 2010, 10:16:35 pm

Dented radiator was main thing..(crack in fearing/dented tank.. but has a spare tank)


I don't have much experience with these particular bikes, but the spelling police would prefer if you'd spell it "Fairing"  :cool:



Good luck with your search - it sounds like you're going about this in just the right way  :thumbsup:  And I'm excited to hear about your first ride!!!


Title: Re: Sportbikes are not beginner bikes
Post by: shift on July 31, 2010, 03:00:34 am
2,850$ is the lowest I can get him.. no leeks visible.. im going to pay 75$ next week and get the suzuki bike shop to fully inspect it.. if nothing mechanically is damaged im going to go for it.. the bike only has 7,000km on it.. which is nothing..   so see what happens :)


Title: Re: Sportbikes are not beginner bikes
Post by: nater on July 31, 2010, 09:43:39 pm
Go for it!  


Title: Re: Sportbikes are not beginner bikes
Post by: McHack on August 02, 2010, 09:09:21 am
Geez,  and I'm trying to sell my 2006 SV650S,  which is CLEAN CLEAN CLEAN,  never dropped...  with a couple of extras,  for $3500, & cant even get a single nibble.


Title: Re: Sportbikes are not beginner bikes
Post by: shift on August 02, 2010, 11:14:15 am
Depends where you live, there is actually a surprising amount of bikes for sale in BC where im looking.. most seem to be 4-5g    lots around the 4200$ mark.. so 3,000 for one with 7000km is decent as long as it checks out ok.

where about do you live McHack


Title: Re: Sportbikes are not beginner bikes
Post by: Kootenanny on August 02, 2010, 12:15:11 pm

Depends where you live, there is actually a surprising amount of bikes for sale in BC where im looking.. most seem to be 4-5g    lots around the 4200$ mark.. so 3,000 for one with 7000km is decent as long as it checks out ok.

where about do you live McHack

Uh...keep in mind that prices in BC are gonna be higher than most members of this board (who are located in the US) are used to.  This is because initial retail prices are so much higher here (for various reasons).  So when talking prices, we're often comparing apples to oranges.  You can go to the States and buy a bike, but if it's your first bike I doubt I'd recommend this--there is a lot to be said for picking up a bike locally (a local guy I know recently flew to California to purchase a bike he'd found online, only to find it had been misrepresented by the seller; he later found a great deal on exactly the bike he wanted right here in BC).

edit--oops, I see you already have a thread going about importing a bike from the US...


Title: Re: Sportbikes are not beginner bikes
Post by: birdrunner on August 02, 2010, 02:06:08 pm

Depends where you live, there is actually a surprising amount of bikes for sale in BC where im looking.. most seem to be 4-5g    lots around the 4200$ mark.. so 3,000 for one with 7000km is decent as long as it checks out ok.

where about do you live McHack


Also,  the economy in Canada isn't totally in the toilet.  ...... yet.


Title: Re: Sportbikes are not beginner bikes
Post by: shift on August 03, 2010, 10:48:30 pm
Well the inspection went well, perfect running condition, only cosmetic damage.. buying the bike in an hour or two! yay!


Title: Re: Sportbikes are not beginner bikes
Post by: jdgretz on August 04, 2010, 01:17:25 am
Good on ya - ride safe and enjoy YOUR new bike.  :bigok: :clap:

jdg


Title: Re: Sportbikes are not beginner bikes
Post by: shift on August 04, 2010, 01:55:54 am
Parking lot training starts this weekend :)



Title: Re: Sportbikes are not beginner bikes
Post by: McHack on August 04, 2010, 09:19:54 am
Grats!   Welcome to SV'dom...   anything you want to know about them = www.svrider.com


Title: Re: Sportbikes are not beginner bikes
Post by: nater on August 04, 2010, 03:04:06 pm
Very nice!  Glad you found something you like!


Title: Re: Sportbikes are not beginner bikes
Post by: shift on August 09, 2010, 10:15:46 pm
Thanks again for all your help guys.. went on my first ride on it yesterday for about an hour.. was awesome!


Title: Re: Sportbikes are not beginner bikes
Post by: lgman on August 09, 2010, 10:43:15 pm
Good stuff


Title: Re: Sportbikes are not beginner bikes
Post by: Mrs. DantesDame on August 10, 2010, 08:11:17 am

Thanks again for all your help guys.. went on my first ride on it yesterday for about an hour.. was awesome!


 :needpics:  


  :D


Title: Re: Sportbikes are not beginner bikes
Post by: shift on August 15, 2010, 08:01:45 pm
Well I only have one from before i left the drive way! In other good news i got 100% on my motorcycle skills test so i can officially ride on my own now!

(http://s88451732.onlinehome.us/bike/svride.jpg)


Title: Re: Sportbikes are not beginner bikes
Post by: ArizonaRocket on August 16, 2010, 04:54:55 pm

Just met a young guy .. never been on a bike.  A local dealership convinced him to buy a 155 hp GSXR 750 as a first bike.  He had to take a learning to ride course before taking it out of his garage.  Insanity...



Title: Re: Sportbikes are not beginner bikes
Post by: shift on September 16, 2010, 12:10:02 am
It other good news I took the SV on my roadtest today and passed with flying colors!
No more restrictions!!   :)


Title: Re: Sportbikes are not beginner bikes
Post by: jdgretz on September 16, 2010, 02:15:26 am
 :bigok:

Good on you shift - Ride careful and enjoy getting used to your new bike.

jdg


Title: Re: Sportbikes are not beginner bikes
Post by: Mrs. DantesDame on September 16, 2010, 08:21:42 am

It other good news I took the SV on my roadtest today and passed with flying colors!
No more restrictions!!   :)


Enjoy the roads before the ice comes!  :thumbsup: :thumbsup:


Title: Re: Sportbikes are not beginner bikes
Post by: McHack on September 16, 2010, 09:42:31 am

It other good news I took the SV on my roadtest today and passed with flying colors!
No more restrictions!!   :)


Grats!   Labor Day weekend,  I yanked the forks off of mine...  & upgraded the springs, & installed new damping rods & cartridge emulators.   Gotta say,  its an improvement...  but, I dont think I'll realize how MUCH, until I do the rear shock, too...


Title: Re: Sportbikes are not beginner bikes
Post by: jesse v on February 24, 2012, 02:19:29 pm
I completely agree with the OP.  Great article.

...And this is coming from a guy who bought an SV1000 as his second bike.  My first bike was Marauder 800, which was a good choice for a first bike (albeit a cruiser).  I rode it for 2.5 years before getting the SV.

Was it too big of a jump too soon?  Probably; namely because I had never ridden a sport bike before driving this thing off the consignment lot.  I justified it by telling myself it was a v-twin, and therefore would be easier to control (i.e., less likely to accidentally get out of control) than an I4 liter bike.  "The power is practical," I told myself.  "It only crazy when you ask it to be."  And to an extent that could be true.

However, with my (still) perfect driving record and self-proclaimed responsible nature, I was taking a big risk.


Title: Re: Sportbikes are not beginner bikes
Post by: ambientboy on February 25, 2012, 12:23:58 am


However, with my (still) perfect driving record and self-proclaimed responsible nature, I was taking a big risk.


I feel you there.  Things might change the first time you're on a 75mph limit highway (doing 79 of course) and a semi decides to change lanes with you next to it...and you decide to punch the gas to get out of the way.  Then you look down and you're doing 110mph and you realize how great the adrenaline feels...


Title: Re: Sportbikes are not beginner bikes
Post by: Cablebandit on February 25, 2012, 09:25:09 am
Or the first time you're on a two lane and you have 4-5 cars in front of you.  You round a corner see a straightaway and decide to pass all 5 at once.  Over a double yellow of course.   :D


Title: Re: Sportbikes are not beginner bikes
Post by: ambientboy on February 25, 2012, 11:19:08 am
 :lmao:


Or the first time you're on a two lane and you have 4-5 cars in front of you.  You round a corner see a straightaway and decide to pass all 5 at once.  Over a double yellow of course.   :D


Exactly.


Title: Re: Sportbikes are not beginner bikes
Post by: jesse v on February 25, 2012, 03:55:23 pm
The ability to pass is wonderful.  Don't get me wrong, I DON'T mind using the power available.  The "big risk" that I was referring to was the possibility of accidentally using the power.


Title: Re: Sportbikes are not beginner bikes
Post by: Cablebandit on February 25, 2012, 04:04:32 pm
True, and that comes with letting that thing in your helmet control that thing at the end of your right arm.  I think once you control the bike though muscle memory you can ride anything.  If you still need to think, even for a split second, what to do regarding the controls you should stay away from the more powerful bikes.

I see it all the time in the MSF courses.  A student grabs a handful of 125cc and not much happens.  Even if it does the speeds are usually still slow enough once you figure out what to do to correct it.  Grab a handful of a modern sportbike and you're doomed by the time you can correct.


Title: Re: Sportbikes are not beginner bikes
Post by: Kootenanny on February 25, 2012, 04:52:23 pm
...I think once you control the bike though muscle memory you can ride anything.  If you still need to think, even for a split second, what to do regarding the controls you should stay away from the more powerful bikes.

This is a good way to put it.  The problem is that so many new riders don't want to take the time to learn the "muscle memory."


Title: Re: Sportbikes are not beginner bikes
Post by: Cablebandit on February 25, 2012, 04:58:22 pm
Yup, the only way to get it is seat time.  How many of these new riders will be out there for years on 3 months worth of experience repeated over and over.

I had a guy in a class last year that has ridden on a permit for the past 20 years.  He got one of the lowest scores on the skills test because he was a fair weather rider who never had enough consecutive days riding to develop the skills you or I take for granted.


Title: Re: Sportbikes are not beginner bikes
Post by: jesse v on February 26, 2012, 12:39:20 pm

I think once you control the bike though muscle memory you can ride anything..


Awesome line.  

Quote from: Kootenanny
The problem is that so many new riders don't want to take the time to learn the "muscle memory."


And muscle memory is what makes motorcycling so fun!  You think it, the bike does it.  These are the kind of people that just ride to look cool and couldn't care less about the actual experience.


Title: Re: Sportbikes are not beginner bikes
Post by: Mortech on February 26, 2012, 09:36:48 pm
Sheeesh , fair weather riders , Since i got my bike the beginning of January to th tune of 11oo miles so far , the only days I haven't ridden it has been in snow or heavy downpours ....I'm riding , blast it ! Its been 24 years and I got some miles to make up !


Title: Re: Sportbikes are not beginner bikes
Post by: Kootenanny on February 26, 2012, 10:53:39 pm

Sheeesh , fair weather riders , Since i got my bike the beginning of January to th tune of 11oo miles so far , the only days I haven't ridden it has been in snow or heavy downpours ....I'm riding , blast it ! Its been 24 years and I got some miles to make up !

Yes, I'm a wimp for not riding in winter.  What's wrong with me?  Never mind that I spent several hours yesterday clearing the 9" of snow that'd fallen and settled overnight...




(still trying to figure out how this post fits into the context of this thread :headscratch: )


Title: Re: Sportbikes are not beginner bikes
Post by: Mrs. DantesDame on February 27, 2012, 10:06:55 am

(still trying to figure out how this post fits into the context of this thread :headscratch: )

(It doesn't)


Title: Re: Sportbikes are not beginner bikes
Post by: Mr.Black on February 27, 2012, 12:36:56 pm
How about them Knicks?


Title: Re: Sportbikes are not beginner bikes
Post by: diethornig on March 16, 2012, 09:16:17 pm
(still trying to figure out how this post fits into the context of this thread :headscratch: )

[/quote]


Don't worry I'll just give you a hug. Com'n :bigok:

And yes Sport bikes are not absolutely not a beginner's bike. One reason, it is expensive for you to bump and drag it all  on your practice.   :rolleyes: :facepalm:


"no women, no cry ;)"


Title: Re: Sportbikes are not beginner bikes
Post by: Bill-Z on September 27, 2012, 03:03:54 pm
I WANT ONE!


Title: Re: Sportbikes are not beginner bikes
Post by: Conni14 on January 18, 2013, 10:06:09 am
Okay...first I will announce that I am a fairly new rider (and a WOMAN). . . I got into riding virtually because of my husband...who currently rides a Hayabusa, has had a Triumph Trophy 1200, VMax, even down to an old honda turd...however the Conni14 is being delivered this month for our sport-touring ventures (YAAY).  My husband is probably more capable of handling that machine (Busa) than most of the squids on the road today having gone to many levels of training, cal superbike school, and taking the Busa to the trackdays (imagine throwing that big hog around on a track).  I decided I was willing to take the training course, did it, and got my endorsement - and while I was in the training, my  husband went to Phx and bought MY first bike...a Virago 750.  We went on several short road trips, up thru Zion, Bryce Canyon - he on the Busa of course, and I on my Viggo.  Problems began to develop first when trying to get around a diesel pusher, 18-wheeler, and pawpaw in his hay truck...my husband would duck, look and rock - leaving me behind on my Viggo turd, not able to get around.  I'm not saying that he left me behind on purpose, he wasn't expecting me to ride beyond my limits at all...and patiently waited for me to catch up.  Another thing was the handling of my beloved Viggo - it don't corner like a sport bike...surprise surprise...so going thru Bryce and Zion was not as much fun as I had anticipated.  My next disappointment with Viggo was the seating position - I have back problems so sitting on a cruiser began to give me issues with discomfort...not to mention I have legs as long as I am tall so I felt my knees were up around my waist.
Now...Viggo gave me several months of learning experience, but then it was seriously concluded that for LONG rides (every summer we take a long trip - one year we rode tandem to Mt. Rushmore, next year we went to Michigan - from Arizona) I would need something that could be packed more, have more power and more of a sport-bike position to keep the pressure off my back.  I began to check out other bikes - of the sportbike origin - test drove a Ninja1000 (good power, handling was a bit sluggish), VerSys (felt like a dirtbike when wound up), CBR650 (nice power, too forward leaning for my taste because of the back thing and crazy fast), even took the husbands cherished Busa out for a spin (and yeah, that bitch is a MONSTER and VERY intimidating).  I finally took an FZ1 out for a spin - a nice sport-touring bike that is comfy, has a great power band, can be loaded without the bike getting too worked up about it...I feel that IS my bike...I keep going back to it.  I completely understand the POWER that bike holds and that you have to be vigilant that it doesn't get out of control in speed before you hit that corner...it's no slouch...and I am still in love.  Handling is brilliant, and it is something that I will grow into as my skills develop.  I don't believe in the slightest that I have the ability (yet) to make that bike do what it CAN do, but the very second I have it in my garage it is going to the next level training course, then the next, then the next.  I have to put every ounce of training in my arsenal to protect myself.  I'm 44 years old and a grandmother - I have to be smart here.  No one should hop on a motorcycle with their brand new motorcycle endorsement and go WOOHOO...ANY motorcycle!  My husband is trying to put risers on the Busa so that perhaps I can ride IT more comfortably (since he has the Conni14 coming), but again, it IS a monster and VERRRY intimidating...can I ride it?  Hell yeah I can...do I feel it's too much bike?  Hell yeah I do!
Now, although I have basically turned down the Busa as a bike I can ride permanently as my NEXT beginning bike because of the monster intimidation factor, the FZ1 is the one I'm going to choose as my next beginner bike.  Although it too can be a monster in its own right, the determining factor there is between the brain and the throttle - a smart rider has to know their limitations...and five over the speed limit in and out of the corners is mine - but one day I want to gradually up the ante and go the CA superbike school and learn how to dig into the corners like a lady (meaning no knee dragging).
Ride safe, and keep the rubber side down ya'll :inlove:


First posted at beginnerbikes.com (which is no longer), reportedly by a Matt Pickering:

Form Equals Function: Sportbikes are Not Beginner Bikes

Introduction


Well, another riding season is upon us and as it always happens, we get lots of inquiries from potential new riders on how to get into the sport, what's a good first ride, where to take safety classes and so on. One particular type of inquiry that pops up with almost clockwork frequency is from a small number of new riders who wish to buy 600cc and up sportbikes as their first ride.

For the past year and a half, I, along with lots of other BB forum members, have entertained this question of 600cc sportbikes for a first ride with patience and lots and lots of repetition. It seems this small group of newbies keep coming back with the same arguments and questions over and over again. As a result, I am going to take the time in this column to try and put into words, answers that get repeated over and over on the BB forums.

Allow me to state first and foremost that I am a sport rider. My first bike was a Ninja 250R and I put nearly 7000 miles on it in two seasons before selling it. I am presently shopping for my next ride and it will almost certainly be a sportbike or sport tourer in the 600-1000cc range. I am also building a track bike in my garage which I hope to complete this season (a Yamaha FZR600). Although I am not an expert rider by any stretch, I have tinkered enough and done enough research along with talking with other riders to be able to speak with some degree of knowledge on the subject.

This column is split into two parts. First, I would like to address the common arguments we see here as to why a 600cc sportbike simply must be a first ride along with rebuttals. Second, I want to cover the rationale behind why the BB community-at-large steers new riders away from these machines.

False Logic

On about a three month interval, a whole slew of questions pop up on the BB forum from potential riders trying to convince the community that a 600cc sportbike is a suitable first ride and then proceed to explain to us why they are the exception. I can almost set my clock to this pattern of behavior since it is almost swarm-like. I guess the newbies figure by swamping the forum with the same questions in lots of places we might trip up and endorse such a machine. Hasn't happened yet but they keep on trying.

For those of you that come to Beginner Bikes trying to convince us to endorse a 600cc sportbike, I offer you the following responses to your arguments.
I can only afford to get one bike so it might as be the one that I want.

I don't want to go through the hassle of buying and selling a used bike to learn on.

These two lines of reasoning pop up as one of the more common arguments. I am going to offer first a piece of wisdom which is stated with great regularity on the forums:

This is your first bike, not your last.

Motorcycle riders are reputed to change bikes, on average, once every two to three years. If this is the case (and it appears to be based on my observations), the bike you learn to ride on will not be in your garage in a few years time anyway whether you buy it new or used. You're going to sell it regardless to get something different, newer, more powerful, more comfortable, etc.

Yes, buying a bike involves effort and a financial outlay. Most of us simply cannot afford to drop thousands of dollars on a whim every time we want to try something new. Getting into riding is a serious commitment in time and money and we want the best value out it as much as possible.

However, if you can afford to buy outright or finance a 600cc or up sportbike that costs $7000 on average, you can probably afford to spend $2000 or so on a used bike to learn on. Most of the beginner sportbikes we recommend here (Ninja 250/500, Buell Blast, GS500) can all be found used for between $1500-$3000.

Done properly, buying and selling that first bike is a fairly painless process. Buying a used bike is no harder than buying new. I would argue it is a bit easier. No different than buying a used car from a private seller. If you've done that at least once, you'll know what to do in buying a used bike.

Selling a beginner bike is even easier. You want to know why? Because beginner bikes are constantly in demand (especially Ninja 250s). These bikes spend their lives migrating from one new rider to the next to act as a teaching vehicle. It is not uncommon for a beginner bike to see four or five different owners before it is wrecked or junked. There are a lot of people out there looking for inexpensive, reliable bikes and all of our beginner recommendations fit into that category.

If you buy a used Ninja 250R for $1500, ride it for a season or two, you can be almost guaranteed that you will be able to resell that bike for $1300 or so when you are done with it provided you take care of it. And on a bike like the Ninja 250R, the average turnaround on such a sale is two to three days. No joke. I had five offers on my Ninja 250R within FOUR HOURS of my ad going up on Cycle Trader. I put the bike on hold the same day and sold it four days later to a fellow who drove 500 miles to pick it up. My bike never made it into the print edition. Believe me, the demand is there.

And look at it this way: For those one or two seasons of riding using the above example, excluding maintenance costs which you have no matter what, you will have paid a net cost of $200 to ride that Ninja. That is extremely cheap for what is basically a bike rental for a year or two. Considering it can cost $300 or more just to rent a 600cc sportbike for a weekend (not including the $1500-$2000 security deposit), that is economic value that you simply cannot argue with.

Vanity Arguments

The beginner bikes you recommend are dated and ugly looking.

I want something that's modern and stylish.

I want a bike that looks good and that I look good on.


I call these the vanity arguments. These are probably the worst reasons you can have for wanting a particular bike.

I will not disagree that aesthetics plays a huge part in the bikes that appeal to us. Motorcycles are the ultimate expression in personal taste in vehicles. Far more than cars. Bikes are more personal and the connection between rider and machine is far more intimate on a bike than a car. On a bike, you are part of the machine, not just a passive passenger.

However, as entry into world of riding and with the temporarily status that most beginner bikes have in our garages, looks should be the least of your concerns. As long as the bike is in good repair and mechanically sound, that is usually enough for most new riders to be happy. Most riders are happy to ride and they will ride anything given the choice between riding or not riding.

If you are looking at bike mainly because of how it looks and/or how you will look it and how others will perceive you on it, take a good, long, honest look as to why you want to ride. There are lots of people out there who buy things strictly because of how it makes them appear in the eyes of others. It's shallow and vain but it is a fact of life. It shouldn't be a factor in choosing that first ride but it is. I won't deny that.

The difference is: a BMW or Mercedes generally won't leaving you hanging on for dear life if you stomp on the accelerator or throw you into the road if you slam on the brakes a little hard. Virtually ever sportbike made in the past 10-15 years will do both of those things given a chance to do so (for reasons that will be explained later in this column).

The population at large may think you're cool and look great on that brand new sportbike and ohh-and-ahh at you. The ohhs can quickly turn to screams of horror should, in your efforts to impress the masses, you wind up dumping your bike and surfing the asphalt. Will you still look cool with thousands of dollars in damage to that once-beautiful sportbike and with the signatures and well-wishes of your friends on the various casts you'll be wearing months afterwards?

You Be The Judge

I'm a big rider so I need a bigger bike to get me around.

I'm a tall rider and all of those beginner bikes just don't fit me the way the sportbike does.

I'll look huge and foolish riding on such a small bike.

My friends will laugh at me for riding something so small.


These arguments are almost as bad as the vanity arguments. The difference being is they simply show a lack of motorcycle knowledge for the most part.

Unless you are over 6'3" tall or are extremely overweight (meaning well over 300lbs), even the smallest 250cc motorcycle will be able to accommodate you without difficultly. To provide an example, the Ninja 250R has a load limit of 348 pounds. That is more than sufficient to accommodate a heavier rider in full gear and still leave plenty of space for cargo in tank, tail and saddle bags. Or enough to allow two-up riding between two average weight individuals.

The idea that bigger riders need bigger bikes is almost laughable. It's like saying small drivers need Honda Civics but bigger drivers only 100 pounds heavier need to drive Hummers to get around. Or Corvettes with plenty of power to pull their ample frames, as the analogy goes. It is only because of the small physical size of bikes compared to their users that this train of thought even exists. It simply doesn't hold up to scrutiny. A look at any motorcycle owner's manual will confirm that for you.

Tall riders suffer more from fit issues than weight issues. On this, they do have a point. I'm a taller rider (6'1"). I do fold up quite comfortably on the Ninja 250 which is considered a small bike. I found it perfect for my frame. Others haven't. Then again, my knees hit the bars on bikes like the Rebel 250 and Buell Blast. Just different ergonomics that didn't fit me.

For taller riders, a much better beginner fit is a dual-sport machine rather than a sport machine. They offer the high seat heights that make them comfortable rides and their power is well within acceptable limits. We have a small but vocal dual-sport community here and they will tell you, quite rightly, that a dual-sport is just as capable on twisty roads as a sportbike. The same properties that give sportbikes their cornering ability is also possessed by dual sports (high center of gravity).

As to peer pressure, I admit to taking more than my fair share of ribbing from my 600cc riding friends. Some of it good natured, some of it not. In the end, this argument falls into the vanity arena. Which is more important: Your safety and comfort on a bike or what your friends think?

The ways to deal with friends giving you a hard time about a smaller ride is very simple. Tell them to ride their rides and you'll ride yours. It's your ride, after all. Most true riders will accept other riders, no matter what they are on. Only posers and losers care that your ride doesn't measure up to their "standards". And if so, do you really want to be riding with them anyway? It's more fun to stand out than to be a member of a flock anyway. And if they don't buy that line of reasoning, try this one: "Well if you don't like my ride, why don't you go buy me something that you will like?". THAT will shut them up REALLY fast. It works too. Unless their name is on the payment book or the title, it shouldn't be their concern.

If your friends can't deal with your decisions, you're probably better off looking for new friends. And if you can't deal with the peer pressure, then you are putting your own safety at risk solely because of what others think. Revisit the vanity arguments above and think about why you want to ride.

Decision Justification Arguments


I'll take it easy and grow into the bike.

I'm a careful driver so I'll be a careful rider and not get into trouble.

I drive a fast car so I'll be able to handle a fast bike.

Other people have started on a 600cc sportbike and didn't get hurt. So why can't I?


These arguments are the most common ones put forth and the ones that are hardest to deal with. These are the arguments that start flame wars. Because it is on these arguments that you have to convince someone the idea of what a beginner bike is over their preconceived notions.

The arguments also often surface in what I call the "decision justification arguments". Many new riders have their heart set on a specific bike and often come to BB to ask about it not to get real advice but to get confirmation that their decision is right. In cruisers, standards, scooters and dual-sports, more often than not these "pre-decisions" are generally good ones. In sportbikes, more than 3/4 of the posters are trying to get the community to approve their choice of a 600cc machine as a first ride. Their shock is quite real when they are barraged with answers that don't meet their expectations and that is when a flurry of oft-repeated discussion ensues.

Let's take each argument in turn since these are the ones that turn up with regularity.

I'll take it easy and grow into the bike.

The purpose of a first bike is to allow you to master basic riding skills, build confidence and develop street survival strategies. You don't grow into a bike. You develop your skills on it. As your skills develop, so does your confidence and with it, your willingness to explore what the bike is capable of.

But you are also entering in a contract with the bike. It is two-way. You are going to expect the bike to act on your inputs and the bike in turn is going to respond. The problem is, your skills are still developing but the bike doesn't know that. It does what it is told. You want a partner in a contract to treat you fairly. On a bike, you don't want it fighting you every step of the way. And like most contracts, the problems don't start until there is a breakdown in communication or a misunderstanding.

In sportbikes, the disparity between a new rider's fledgling skills and the responsiveness of the machine are very far apart. That is a wide gulf to bridge when you are still trying to figure out what the best inputs and actions on the bike should be. Ideally, you want your bike to do what you tell it and do it nicely. You never want the bike to argue with you. Modern sportbikes, despite their exquisite handling will often argue violently right at the moment a new rider doesn't need them to.

Remember, riding is a LEARNED skill. It does not come naturally to the majority of us (save those like the Hayden brothers who were raised on dirt bikes from the moment they could walk). It must be practiced and refined. Riding is counter-intuitive to most new riders. It doesn't happen the way you expect. For example, at speeds over 25mph, to get a bike to go right, you actually turn the bars to the left. It's called counter-steering and it eventually comes naturally as breathing once you've been in the saddle for a while. But for new riders, this kind of thing is utterly baffling.

You want your skills to grow in a measurable and predictable fashion. You have enough to be fearful of riding in traffic. The last thing you need is to be fearful of what your bike might do when you aren't ready for it. It's never a good situation.

It is interesting to point out that only one manufacturer, Suzuki, explicitly states in their promotional material that their GSX-R family of sportbikes are intended for experienced riders. This also applies to several of their larger, more powerful machines (such as a GSX-1300R Hayabusa). If Suzuki issues such a warning for its top-flight sport machines, it is reasonable to say that the same warning would apply equally to similar machines from other manufacturers.


Title: Re: Sportbikes are not beginner bikes
Post by: jdgretz on January 18, 2013, 12:04:46 pm

Okay...first I will announce that I am a fairly new rider (and a WOMAN). . . I got into riding virtually because of my husband...who currently rides a Hayabusa, has had a Triumph Trophy 1200, VMax, even down to an old honda turd...however the Conni14 is being delivered this month for our sport-touring ventures (YAAY).

{snip}

I finally took an FZ1 out for a spin - a nice sport-touring bike that is comfy, has a great power band, can be loaded without the bike getting too worked up about it...I feel that IS my bike...I keep going back to it.  I completely understand the POWER that bike holds and that you have to be vigilant that it doesn't get out of control in speed before you hit that corner...it's no slouch...and I am still in love.  Handling is brilliant, and it is something that I will grow into as my skills develop.  I don't believe in the slightest that I have the ability (yet) to make that bike do what it CAN do, but the very second I have it in my garage it is going to the next level training course, then the next, then the next.  I have to put every ounce of training in my arsenal to protect myself.  I'm 44 years old and a grandmother - I have to be smart here.  No one should hop on a motorcycle with their brand new motorcycle endorsement and go WOOHOO...ANY motorcycle!  My husband is trying to put risers on the Busa so that perhaps I can ride IT more comfortably (since he has the Conni14 coming), but again, it IS a monster and VERRRY intimidating...can I ride it?  Hell yeah I can...do I feel it's too much bike?  Hell yeah I do!


Now, although I have basically turned down the Busa as a bike I can ride permanently as my NEXT beginning bike because of the monster intimidation factor, the FZ1 is the one I'm going to choose as my next beginner bike.  Although it too can be a monster in its own right, the determining factor there is between the brain and the throttle - a smart rider has to know their limitations...and five over the speed limit in and out of the corners is mine - but one day I want to gradually up the ante and go the CA superbike school and learn how to dig into the corners like a lady (meaning no knee dragging).
Ride safe, and keep the rubber side down ya'll :inlove:



You're going to do just fine.  You nailed the problem with new riders jumping on a high horse power sport bike (I guess that's redundant isn't it?)

Older new riders come in with a different attitude, and having a safe and sane mentor is a big help as well.  My return to riding bike was/is my Moto Guzzi Norge.  Not a sport bike, but not what one would classify as an entry level motorcycle either.  It worked for me, but could easily have been a disaster due to the weight and capabilities of the motorcycle.  Keeping the brain engaged (and being afraid I was going to dump the bike and prove all the naysayers correct) helped me comfortably grow into the bike and gently explore its and my limitations (of which I have more than the Norge ever will).

Hope to see you guys on the road, and welcome to the family.

jdg


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