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Old April 9 2013, 12:25 PM   #61
Scout101
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Re: I'm getting a motorcycle.

Flux Capacitor wrote: View Post
Oh, I absolutely plan to keep practicing. I have a couple friends who have volunteered to let me put around on their bikes to keep developing my skills. I just didn't want to get on their bike at all before I had at least taken this course. As for getting my own bike, even the "cheap" bikes are a little out of my price range right now in terms of paying cash so I'll need to save up for even a super-super-cheap bike at this point. It's not a matter of saving for something fancy, it's a matter of not having any extra income right now for anything over a couple hundred bucks.
I'm a little confused about why you took the MSF course now, then, and were looking at $5k+ bikes, if you can't come up with a grand for a starter bike. If you don't even have a spare couple hundred bucks, how are you going to afford a good helmet, jacket, gloves, boots, rain gear, insurance, maintenance, etc? It's not a super-expensive hobby, but it's not free by any means. Insurance alone should be at least a couple hundred bucks, especially if you don't have prior experience.

If you're clearly not ready to get a bike, I'd have waited to take the class until you were closer, i think. Now your skill are going to degrade quite a bit before you can get out there and reinforce them.

And unless you've got a friend that has a beat-up starter bike, I'd be pretty hesitant to borrow people's bikes to practice. Not worried about 65 mph wrecks on the highway, but dropping it in a parking lot and scratching the crap out of it, denting the tank, etc. Stuff that's not a big deal on a starter bike, but kinda ruins a Harley that someone spent $10-30k on...
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Old April 9 2013, 06:24 PM   #62
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Re: I'm getting a motorcycle.

Scout101 wrote: View Post
Flux Capacitor wrote: View Post
Oh, I absolutely plan to keep practicing. I have a couple friends who have volunteered to let me put around on their bikes to keep developing my skills. I just didn't want to get on their bike at all before I had at least taken this course. As for getting my own bike, even the "cheap" bikes are a little out of my price range right now in terms of paying cash so I'll need to save up for even a super-super-cheap bike at this point. It's not a matter of saving for something fancy, it's a matter of not having any extra income right now for anything over a couple hundred bucks.
I'm a little confused about why you took the MSF course now, then, and were looking at $5k+ bikes, if you can't come up with a grand for a starter bike. If you don't even have a spare couple hundred bucks, how are you going to afford a good helmet, jacket, gloves, boots, rain gear, insurance, maintenance, etc? It's not a super-expensive hobby, but it's not free by any means. Insurance alone should be at least a couple hundred bucks, especially if you don't have prior experience.

If you're clearly not ready to get a bike, I'd have waited to take the class until you were closer, i think. Now your skill are going to degrade quite a bit before you can get out there and reinforce them.

And unless you've got a friend that has a beat-up starter bike, I'd be pretty hesitant to borrow people's bikes to practice. Not worried about 65 mph wrecks on the highway, but dropping it in a parking lot and scratching the crap out of it, denting the tank, etc. Stuff that's not a big deal on a starter bike, but kinda ruins a Harley that someone spent $10-30k on...
My friend does indeed have a starter bike that I'll be practicing on. He's got his own Honda that he rides but still has an old 250 that he keeps around as a backup.

I should explain the money issue: when I signed up for the class, I had a good amount set aside for a bike...around $2500. Once I was already signed up, though, we had another need for the money and I'm down to just under $1k in savings total. Sure, I could use that on a super cheap bike but I'd rather have that money untouched in savings should something else come up.

As for gear, I already have boots, jacket and gloves. I'll be using my MSF discount for a helmet soon. My dad rides and has a ton of extra gear, too (I wore his extra helmet during the class) and with y birthday coming up, you can guess what's on the list.

I think at the rae I'm saving up and with some freelance design jobs coming up in the next few months I'll be good to go again with the $$$ in about a month or two.
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Old April 9 2013, 06:57 PM   #63
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Re: I'm getting a motorcycle.

Cool, sounds like it's not as bad as you were painting.

If your buddy has an old 250 (assuming Rebel, late 80s like there are SO many of out there, they last forever and have taught millions of people!) around just as a 'backup', why not see if you can make a deal with him?

Unless his bike is shit, doesn't really need a backup, and it would likely be perfect for you to learn on for a season or two. With my random assumptions about brand and age, seems like $1000 or would be a fair price (more or less depending on if it's newer than 1990, or in rough shape, etc). Seems like those are selling for $1000-1500 pretty constantly, see what you can do. If he's letting you borrow it anyway, I'd see if I could swing a deal there. Depending on his own money situation and how friendly you are, maybe could even work it as a "half now, half in a couple months" deal so you can pay it off in a couple chunks? that gives you something that's yours, and available all the time vice having to go visit and have him around. Gets the bike out of his garage, doesn't have to take care of it, and if he's letting you ride it around and take the risk of dropping it, you might as well own the risk of loss to value.

When I was starting, most of my rides were of the 15-20 minute variety anyway. Hop on after work, drive a mile down a empty back road, and then do a few laps in a parking lot. Small, slow stuff to build up some confidence. And stay the hell away from traffic, multiple lanes, intersections, etc. Gotta be able to handle it yourself before you toss in unpredictable variables! First time out on the roads after, I was doing fine myself, but a van pulled out in front of me and I almost went right into the side of him.

Like I said, you do better when you assume that EVERY car is actively trying to harm you. If there's a car on a side street, assume they're about to pull out. Stopped at a stop light? Keep it in first gear (with the clutch in, obviously) assuming the guy approaching from behind isn't paying attention. Every car you drive by in multiple lanes is either drifting around and texting or just doesn't see you and about to merge into you and your lane, so either hang back or accelerate past them quickly before settling back down to cruising speed. Pot holes you can't see are about to eat your front tire and fling you forward. Every time you're slowing down, don't just put your brakes on, pulse them a couple times in the process so the light flashes before it goes solid to get attention.

It's a little bit of a crazy mentality, but IMO really how you ought to be riding. Most of those things won't happen, but more often than you'd prefer, you'll notice at least one of them. If you don't get too zoned out and relaxed and actively scan for those sorts of things and take action upfront to avoid them, you'll be a lot better prepared for the quick braking, acceleration, or swerving you need to keep the shiny side of the bike up.
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Last edited by Scout101; April 9 2013 at 07:23 PM.
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Old April 9 2013, 07:04 PM   #64
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Re: I'm getting a motorcycle.

^ Well said and sound advice, Scout.

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Old April 10 2013, 05:07 AM   #65
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Re: I'm getting a motorcycle.

Scout101 wrote: View Post
Cool, sounds like it's not as bad as you were painting.

If your buddy has an old 250 (assuming Rebel, late 80s like there are SO many of out there, they last forever and have taught millions of people!) around just as a 'backup', why not see if you can make a deal with him?

Unless his bike is shit, doesn't really need a backup, and it would likely be perfect for you to learn on for a season or two. With my random assumptions about brand and age, seems like $1000 or would be a fair price (more or less depending on if it's newer than 1990, or in rough shape, etc). Seems like those are selling for $1000-1500 pretty constantly, see what you can do. If he's letting you borrow it anyway, I'd see if I could swing a deal there. Depending on his own money situation and how friendly you are, maybe could even work it as a "half now, half in a couple months" deal so you can pay it off in a couple chunks? that gives you something that's yours, and available all the time vice having to go visit and have him around. Gets the bike out of his garage, doesn't have to take care of it, and if he's letting you ride it around and take the risk of dropping it, you might as well own the risk of loss to value.

When I was starting, most of my rides were of the 15-20 minute variety anyway. Hop on after work, drive a mile down a empty back road, and then do a few laps in a parking lot. Small, slow stuff to build up some confidence. And stay the hell away from traffic, multiple lanes, intersections, etc. Gotta be able to handle it yourself before you toss in unpredictable variables! First time out on the roads after, I was doing fine myself, but a van pulled out in front of me and I almost went right into the side of him.

Like I said, you do better when you assume that EVERY car is actively trying to harm you. If there's a car on a side street, assume they're about to pull out. Stopped at a stop light? Keep it in first gear (with the clutch in, obviously) assuming the guy approaching from behind isn't paying attention. Every car you drive by in multiple lanes is either drifting around and texting or just doesn't see you and about to merge into you and your lane, so either hang back or accelerate past them quickly before settling back down to cruising speed. Pot holes you can't see are about to eat your front tire and fling you forward. Every time you're slowing down, don't just put your brakes on, pulse them a couple times in the process so the light flashes before it goes solid to get attention.

It's a little bit of a crazy mentality, but IMO really how you ought to be riding. Most of those things won't happen, but more often than you'd prefer, you'll notice at least one of them. If you don't get too zoned out and relaxed and actively scan for those sorts of things and take action upfront to avoid them, you'll be a lot better prepared for the quick braking, acceleration, or swerving you need to keep the shiny side of the bike up.
Agreed, that is all good advice and a lot of the same info we got in the classroom portion of the course. There's a parking lot across the street from my house that I plan on using for practice. I was thinking that riding will call for having a good imagination when it comes to thinking about what could happen at any given time. It's something I already do as a driver so I'm sure it'll carry over.

As for buying his bike...yeah, it's in my price range but it's not exactly something I would want to spend money on and ride around as my own. Call it vanity but I'd like to look a little "cool" when I ride and that bike would not accomplish that. It also needs some work, according to him and is really only good for practicing on as I have been. It's kind alike when you want to learn stick and a friend has a car with it that is good for just that...learning stick, but you wouldn't exactly buy it and drive it to go pick up your date.
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Old April 10 2013, 09:11 AM   #66
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Re: I'm getting a motorcycle.

What kind of bike is it you have to practice on?

If I were you I'd at least get insured on it so you can take it out on the road. Car parks are fine, but there's only so much you can learn there. I wouldn't think you'd need more than a day or two of offroad practice before you'd wanna get on the road.
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Old April 10 2013, 12:07 PM   #67
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Re: I'm getting a motorcycle.

Flux Capacitor wrote: View Post
As for buying his bike...yeah, it's in my price range but it's not exactly something I would want to spend money on and ride around as my own. Call it vanity but I'd like to look a little "cool" when I ride and that bike would not accomplish that.
Honestly? Yeah, sounds pretty vain. The goal is to learn to ride, so that when you get a nice bike, you're not the toolbag who drops it on its side in the parking lot and ruins his $10k bike. Not about how cool you can look on a starter bike. A wobbly idiot on a bike that's too big/powerful for his skill level doesn't look "cool" either. They're a joke, and just look like a poser at best. And while you're learning to ride, shouldn't be too many big trips, no passengers, etc. If the primary reason for getting a bike is so that people can recognize how cool you are from a distance, you're probably talking to the wrong crowd here...

For reference, here's my "cool" first bike:



1979 Honda CB750. For reference, I was born in 1981. Paid $700, and it leaked a few things. When I was done with it 2 years later, it leaked several more things, needed brakes and tires, likely a carb cleaning/rework, and sold it for $600. Not stylish or overly comfortable. But learned on it, and when i knocked it over in a parking lot once (parking on a slight hill, not riding it), just picked it up with no harm done, scratch was just part of the collection. Only thing I'd change is that a 750 was too much starting out, it took quite a while to get comfortable on it, and being that old, it was a HEAVY bike. About 100 lbs heavier than my current 900cc cruiser.

It also needs some work, according to him and is really only good for practicing on as I have been. It's kind alike when you want to learn stick and a friend has a car with it that is good for just that...learning stick, but you wouldn't exactly buy it and drive it to go pick up your date.
Other than not being pretty, I'd be curious as to what work it needs. If it runs and passes inspection, kinda all you need anyway. You just ride it all year, and then sell it in the fall for what you paid for it, and walk away a winner. Not going for style points here, and you're not picking up a date on it anyway.

The NEXT bike is the one you want to look cool. And it'll look a lot cooler if you learn to ride first, so it's not totalled or left with one flat side of your gas tank. Get that for your starter bike, you lose a couple thousand in value when that happens. Do that to a fairly worn starter bike, and it's expected and already depreciated anyway.

Pingfah wrote: View Post
If I were you I'd at least get insured on it so you can take it out on the road. Car parks are fine, but there's only so much you can learn there. I wouldn't think you'd need more than a day or two of offroad practice before you'd wanna get on the road.
That's another bit. Going to need to take out insurance on it if you plan to ever leave the parking lot. And after about a week, you'll be bored to tears driving in circles and practicing starting and stopping anyway.
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Old April 10 2013, 03:58 PM   #68
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Re: I'm getting a motorcycle.

I'm still planning on buying a starter bike, I just don't want to be taking a 250 out on the road. It's too small for me to ride completely comfortably (the 250 I was on for the class was pretty uncomfortable due to it's size) and I know I'd outgrow it power-wise really, really quickly. Everyone I've talked to has said that a 6'3", 200lb guy on a 250 isn't a great combo. I'm thinking of starting with a 750 of some kind. There was a Shadow 750 for sale well before I took my course that went for around $1700 so I know such an animal exists as a cheap bike that isn't a 250. Like I said, it shouldn't take too long to save up for a decent bike with some of the work I have coming up in the next few months so I won't need to compromise too much on what I want. Will I go for a huge Harley that I can't handle as a beginner? No, but I do want a good starter that will last me for a while and will be comfortable for me to ride a lot. I plan on commuting every day and riding with Warriors' Watch once I'm comfortable so whatever I get will get a lot of miles on it eventually.
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Old May 31 2013, 10:05 PM   #69
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Re: I'm getting a motorcycle.

Thought about starting a new thread but figured I'd bring this one back from the depth...because...




I got a motorcycle!

It's a 2006 Honda Shadow VT600 VLX Deluxe. The real selling point was it had been garaged nearly it's whole life and only has 460 miles on it...not even past break-in mileage and everything is still new. Out the door it was about $4200. The savings on gas alone will make it pay for itself as it's got a 3 gallon tank that will give me a good 150-200 miles. The shop put in a new battery and gave it a full once-over. I had a buddy of mine who knows a ton more about bikes than I do to check it out and he actually rode it home for me today. I have my M1 license and gear but want to do some off-street practice first before I take to the mean streets.
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Old May 31 2013, 10:10 PM   #70
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Re: I'm getting a motorcycle.

nice and shiny
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Old May 31 2013, 10:11 PM   #71
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Re: I'm getting a motorcycle.

Congratulations!
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Old June 1 2013, 02:07 AM   #72
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Re: I'm getting a motorcycle.

congrats!
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Old June 1 2013, 03:14 AM   #73
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Re: I'm getting a motorcycle.

I been riding for 29 years. Be careful there are a lot of crazy car drivers out there. Don't get too heavy a bike for you to handle well, or too much power for the same reason.
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Old June 2 2013, 11:50 AM   #74
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Re: I'm getting a motorcycle.

The thing I liked about this bike is that it's large enough so that I'm comfortable (unlike the Rebel I used in the class) but not to big that it's too much to handle. Weight-wise it feels very similar to the Rebel but has the added power. I picked up a nice modular helmet for $150 yesterday and had the rest of the gear when I took the MSF class. A buddy of mine rode it home for me but it's time to hop on and start practicing. I have a few large, open parking lots in mind for that before I'll take on actual city streets. Here's a few more pics I took today.




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Old June 2 2013, 01:55 PM   #75
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Re: I'm getting a motorcycle.

Nice bike. Seems a bit expensive for what you got, though. Book for retail is around $3k, maybe a little more because of condition. Maybe you were including taxes, registration, etc with your price, though?

Looks nice, and 600cc shouldn't be overpowered or heavy for you. Not sure I'd have paid that much for a first bike, so just be careful, I guess. Not quite as nice with a dented tank and road rash on it. Go slow, pay attention, stay off the highway, and don't go for long rides for a while. No passengers, obviously, if CA lets you have them to start in the first place...
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