Friend wants brand new GSXR for first bike and won’t listen to reason. How do I prevent her from making a serious mistake?
August 11, 2008 at 3:51 pm #1874
Here’s the story: Ever since I got my SV650 I’ve been attracting a lot of attention from the bench racer crowd; that is, people who are “into bikes” even though they don’t own one or really even know anything about them. They read lots of magazines and that’s about the extent of their motorcycling know-how. This particular example of one, an attractive female one named Lauren, is the worst kind. She’s the kind of bench racer with squidly friends who DO ride, and they’ve been giving her squidly advice.
Something to know about Lauren: She has parents with money and has driven nothing but BMWs since she first got her license. She wants a new bike for her first bike and she has the money to spend on one. Price is no object. She considers 12k for a new Hayabusa “reasonably priced” and what worries me is that she’s willing to drop that kind of money on her first bike and kill herself on it. I’ve been trying to explain to her there’s a big difference between the fantasy of the motorcycle world and the facts, and I’m trying to help her learn to distinguish between the two, and while it looks like I’ve made a little bit of progress most of the things I say seem to just wash off her head like a shower.
She considers a 250 or even a 500 to be “beneath” her because she wants something she won’t feel the need to upgrade from within a year. Her dream bike is a Hayabusa and she wants a bike she can learn on and hold her over until she’s comfortable enough to just go out and buy one. I tried to explain to her that she’s probably going to go through at least 3 other bikes before being able to step up to a ‘Busa, but she’s not hearing it.
Her requirements of her first bike are: Enough power so that it can keep up with friends when going on group rides and she won’t “feel the need to upgrade to a bigger bike” within a year. It must have a full sportbike style fairing (I explained to her how impractical that is on a first bike but she won’t hear it). It must be aesthetically pleasing in a way that evokes the same kind of reaction a Ducati does. It must be able to compete on the track after modding it.
I tried to explain to her that she won’t find all of these qualities in a beginner bike and if she does buy a bike that possesses all of these qualities, she’ll surely kill herself. I’m almost at the point of letting her just kill herself on a ‘Busa and calling it a Darwin award but I’ve never seen anyone who looks as good as she does in a pair of short shorts and the world truly would miss such a fantastic pair of legs.
What should I do? Should I just let her kill herself?
EDIT: The bike she’s been looking into in particular is a brand new GSXR600 because her squidly friends tell her “its ok to start out on a race-ready 600cc supersport.”August 11, 2008 at 4:02 pm #10271BuddParticipant
Find some funny clips on you tube of guys wrecking 600s just trying to take off the first time. Probably won’t help and when it doesn’t, take out a life insurance policy on her.
“I am the best there is at what I do, and what I do ain’t nice.”-WolverineAugust 11, 2008 at 4:26 pm #10276megaspazParticipant
If she won’t listen to reason, might as well suggest the least evil of choices. Either a kawa 650r or an sv650sf. Both bikes will run circles around squids in the twisties and track… hell a good rider on a ninja 250 will do that too…
You should really work on her changing her friends if her friends are really squids. There comes a point, which is hard to do, that you just gotta let them go off and make their own decisions for better or for worse and just hope for the best. So yeh, I guess in a roundabout way, let her become a darwin recipient… She’s kinda the poster child on why we should probably move to a tiered licensing system.
If there’s anything more important than my ego
around, I want it caught and shot now…August 11, 2008 at 5:22 pm #10282MattParticipant
Well, if she really wants, a SV650S is faired, will do track days wihtout any mods, and is more than fast enough to keep up with an 600cc bike on the streets. It is used at the FAST ( http://www.fastridingschool.com/english/index.html ) riding school for sport bike training.
Better, a GS500F. It looks like a GSXR to non riders (personal taste on weather or not it looks good, just don’t tell ShannonG if Lauren doesn’t like the looks). It will keep up with bigger bikes in the real world. This bike will out accelerate any BMW she has driven and most likely any Porsche she has driven. She will not feel the need to upgrade it within a year.
And if she really wants a Ducati, and money isn’t an issue, tell her to get a 695 Monster. Very similar bike (from a rider’s perspective) to the faired SV650. Still not a gentle bike to learn on by any stretch, but it would give her poser cred.
Has she ever rode pillion with her squidly friends?
If she has, remind her that the GS500 will be as fast (quiet possibly faster if the guy driving had any sense about him) as the super sport she rode on the back of – simply because with the extra weight, only a really good rider, or a really stupid one, can push a two-up (where the pillion doesn’t know how to lean, etc) supersport to the limits of a 500cc sportbike with only one person on it.
Also has she ever been in an accident (or almost in an accident) in one of her BMWs? Remind her that learning to bike is the same as learning to drive all over again, only this time, any mistakes she made before that simply ended with her heart racing could end with a trip to the ER. Any mistakes that banged up her Bimmer will almost certainly put her in the Hospital for a week or more.
My 1.9 cents
“The two seconds between ‘Oh S**!’ and the crash isn’t a lot of practice time.”August 11, 2008 at 5:31 pm #10284
I showed her pics of the GS500F and she said that she liked the side profile view but didn’t like the way it looked from the front. In fact, she didn’t know the 2 pics I showed here were the same bike! I told her that if she thinks it looks ugly from the front that’s ok because not many people will be seeing you from in front for very long .
But, it didn’t do any good. Her squidly friends have beaten me to the punch and explained to her that twin cylinder bikes are pointless and that she should be looking into fours. Trying to undo the damage they have done to her motorcycle fantasy world is hard!
EDIT: Bear in mind that her squidly friends are the guys who all started on 80cc dirtbikes living out in the boonies or Honda F2s and F3s back when 600cc sportbikes still had some degree of mild-manneredness to them.August 11, 2008 at 5:53 pm #10288ShannonGParticipant
Has she ever ridden a motorcycle?
I can almost guarantee you she will get on her brand new $10k bike and scare the living sh^t out of herself the first time she tries to ride it. You see it all the time (youtube, etc) of girlfriends practically crying on their boyfriends’ sport bikes, saying “I’m scared’ and him laughing in the background and telling her she’ll be fine.
Once she’s scared and ready to listen to you, then you can start working on the common sense angle. And probably her parents will be choked about taking a bath on a bike she can’t ride and get a little more involved in the decision making process.August 11, 2008 at 6:01 pm #10292
She says she rode a 125cc two-stroke dirtbike once when she was about 15 years old and crashed it into a tree because the throttle was too twitchy and sensitive for her. That’s about the extend of her riding experience.August 11, 2008 at 6:04 pm #10293megaspazParticipant
And what does she expect from a 600cc I-4 throttle? peaches and cream?
If there’s anything more important than my ego
around, I want it caught and shot now…August 11, 2008 at 6:11 pm #10295
Apparently she’s under the impression that the fact that it was a two-stroke which are less forgiving than four-strokes changes everything and makes that experience not apply to street bikes.August 11, 2008 at 6:12 pm #10296ShannonGParticipant
Tell her to expect the same from her GSXR 600. Only she’ll be gong twice as fast when she crashes.August 11, 2008 at 6:33 pm #10297BenParticipant
She sounds like one of the people that wants to ride for looks and not ride to ride. I would give up the bike battle and concentrate all fronts on proper gear. She will most likely crash her bike in the 30-40mph range and if she has the proper gear then she is more likely to walk away without serious injury.
~Best Beginner Motorcycles AdminAugust 11, 2008 at 6:46 pm #10298
She says that what turned her on to bikes in the first place was videos on youtube of people doing illegal drag racing in the streets on Hayabusas with extended swingarms and big bore engines and custom paint jobs. When I explained to her that bikes put more of an emphasis on handling on outright speed, and that bikes like the GSXR aren’t so much made for going fast as they were going around bends, it was like it was shocking news to her.August 11, 2008 at 7:50 pm #10305MattParticipant
You sure have a winner here
I’m partly with Ben (focus on getting her into stylish race leathers, which shouldn’t be too hard since the few ghostrider and other totally insane youtube videos that don’t end in a bloody crash have the guys in full leathers).
But I’m a stubborn man, and I say keep pushing “right the first time”. Let her know that a two stroke revs faster than an equivilant four stroke, but only twice as much. As a general rule a two stroke is twice as powerful as a four stroke of equal size (go figure, twice the number of detonations per rpm equals twice the power). So a 125cc two stroke is only roughly as powerful as a 250cc four stroke.
This isn’t strikly true, since two strokes don’t have to meet the same environmental standards as four strokes, two strokes are often more then twice the power of four strokes, but not by a huge margin, short of a 125GP bike, a 125 two stroke (such as the Aprilla 125) is not to be a straight line match for a 500cc bike.
So one tactic is to work on the angle that the only bike she has ridden was pretty much the same as a KLX 250 or WR250, and really, not much less friendly than a Ninja 250R. It was most certainly not in the same spectrum as the GS500.
Since she’s looking at the tuner and stunter world, see if you can find any reference to tuner 250Rs or customs…
I’m sure there are 250Rs and GS500s with “Poser Cred” (my new phrase).
I still think, if she hasn’t even ridden pillion one of these monsters she’s looking at, she needs to ask one of her experienced riding buddies to take her for a spin. Tell her, anything he can do with you on the back you can do alone on a 500 (with practice adn experience).
“The two seconds between ‘Oh S**!’ and the crash isn’t a lot of practice time.”August 11, 2008 at 8:03 pm #10309
I showed her pictures of the Ninja 650R and she seems to really like the look of it. She doesn’t like that it’s only 2 cylinders vs. 4 however and she also doesn’t like that in magazine comparisons it is outperformed by my bike (the SV650). Its starting to seem as though she wants something to top mine. Still, if I can get her on a 650R that’s a much wiser choice than a GSXR.August 11, 2008 at 9:05 pm #10314JimParticipant
Well at least see if you can get her in a MSF class before she rides for the first time. If she is rich she can afford it, hopefully she doesn’t think she is too cool for it. My guess she will lay down a Gixxer the first week she has it will be too scared to ever ride it again. Oh yeah leathers, don’t want to see road rash scars when she wears those short shorts.
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