haakon59, New Member Intro
January 17, 2009 at 2:39 am #2467
Hello everyone. I am new to motorcycles and still need to take my Motorcycle Safety Course. Part of the reason I have decided to join this forum is to answer some basic questions:
1. Should I consider learing to ride a motorcycle?
2. Which would be better for me: scootor or motorcycle?
3. What else do I need to learn before taking the plunge?
Part of the reason I am considering this step is because I am guessing that gas prices are likely to rise overall as time goes on (even despite the current downdrift of prices) and I want to have more travel options. Also, I think it might be fun to ride. I am guessing that most of my riding will be done in-city. I am sure I will think of many newbie questions and hope members will offer their opinions. Thanks.January 17, 2009 at 2:46 am #15736MaxDadAKParticipant
Hey bud welcome to BBM. I’m new motorcycles myself and waiting to take my course as well. I’ve been reading and writing alot for several months now and I can tell you your in the right place. This community is all about getting answers to our questions and having some fun as well. We’ve got newbies like ourselves and more seasoned riders posting everything bike related. Make sure to send a big thanks to Ben for the site.January 17, 2009 at 8:40 am #15748eonParticipant
What else do you need to learn? Just that it is addictive and will soon become an obsession. While waiting to take the MSF class you could start reading Proficient Motorcycling by David Hough. That’s kind of the safety bible for 2 wheels and will start you out on the right path.January 17, 2009 at 4:37 pm #15745
The biggest question I have right now is: motorcycle or scooter? I am hoping that I will learn some solid pointers through this forum.January 17, 2009 at 4:41 pm #15751
Thank you for the reference, I will have to see about acquiring that book. As far as additional learning goes, I suppose I need to decide whether I am going to get a motorcycle or a scooter. I am sure you are right about all this becoming an addiction.January 18, 2009 at 10:53 am #15769tapParticipant
At the tender age of 57, I sold up my Subaru WRX wagon, after having had two Porsches, and took the beginner MSF course in upstate NY at the local community college last June. It is a very good foundational course. I bought a used ’96 Triumph Trophy 900 as my first cycle with 33,000 miles on it. I geared up from leatherup.com getting my jacket, boots, gloves, and helmet from them. Pretty well satisfied with that gear, so far. Full face helmet fogging is an issue but one learns to flip up the visor when approaching just about any stopping situation fairly quickly.
The question of choosing between a scooter and a motorcyle is that, if you have to ask you need to qualify a bit more as to why you are asking. Scooters will get you from point A to point B and will get more miles per gallon than most any motorcycle. If you are not into adrenaline rush and the visceral thrill of riding on two (or three) wheels, a scooter should suit you just fine. It sounds as though, with your stated objectives, you are inclined toward a scooter and that’s just fine although, if you think it would be “fun,” a cycle might be the better option.
I opted for the fairly large cycle because I’m a fairly big person (6’1″, 220 lbs). I was hoping and expecting to get in the low to mid 40’s for mpg but am only getting in the low 30’s and I have not been cruising all that quickly or being all that aggressive in my acceleration. Whatever you are considering getting, try to find an online user group specific to the brand and, if possible, model(s) that you are interested in. The Triumph Trophy on-line user group was and has remained invaluable to me as a new rider for its many technical and other insights.
If I was doing it over again, cycle-wise, I would probably look for something with a smaller displacement (in the 600cc-750cc range) and hope for better (i.e., lower) fuel consumption. Unfortunately, at least by my perception, many of the smaller cycles are “crotch rockets” and I prefer a cruiser style, sitting upright rather than leaning forward hunched over the fuel tank all of the time. The choices are many and there are smaller displacement “cruiser” style cycles so don’t let my generalization about crotch rockets discourage you. Your size, age, level of fitness, and spirit of adventure are all factors in making such a choice. Many people of smaller physical stature enjoy their motorcycles just fine. I seldom see large people on scooters, for that matter I don’t see many people on scooters anyway.
For whichever style of two wheeled conveyance you are considering, make sure that the seat is comfortable, and that your sitting position in relation to the handle bars, hand, and foot controls is not, in any way, cumbersome. It’s a lot like adjusting the seat in your car relative to the foot pedals and steering wheel and making sure that you can comfortably see out of the windows and rear view mirrors – it’s just that on a scooter and cycle the seat position is fixed and your body and limbs have to adjust to the spatial relationships that are required to safely operate your conveyance of choice. On a bicycle you can adjust the seat height and choose your frame size and style, on a cycle or scooter you cannot adjust much of anything – you have to choose the correct size and style from the outset, it will not adjust to you, you have to adjust to it and moving your behind fore and aft is about the only choice you will have.
Check out what the local MSF course you plan on taking is using for it’s training rides. Where I took my course they were all 250cc cycles, even for those who planned on getting scooters. Don’t let that surprise or discourage you. Once you’ve been on a cycle you may reconsider the scooter option. A small cycle will give you fairly low fuel consumption (i.e., higher miles per gallon), perhaps not as good as a scooter, but will probably reward you with a more satisfying riding experience, in my humble opinion (imho).
TomJanuary 18, 2009 at 6:12 pm #15772
Thank you for your pointers. Gas mileage is going to be one of the considerations I will be looking for, so the move to a cycle/scooter for me is partly motivated by this. I had some experienced motorcycle salespeople pitch me a cruiser type motorcycle and they all seemed to settle on something in the 750cc’s range, bikes which are usually around 500 lbs or so, give or take. I sat on several of them and was surprised they were not as heavy as I thought they would be. Before I spoke to these guys, I was thinking of something in the 250cc range, whether it was a scooter or a motorcycle. So this startled me a little, I was thinking that perhaps I was being far too conservative. Now I have come to the conclusion that I was correct in the first place and the 250cc size will be just right for learning on and gaining some experience. While I am generally well coordinated, etc., and I am sure I will be able to handle bikes in the 750cc (or larger if that turns out to happen) range, which will be especially helpful for long distance rides, etc., at this point I have decided to take my learning process in stages. So I am going to start with 250cc and work on my riding skills. After this, I think I will probably get a 750cc bike because I want to buy something “big enough” but which also does give me decent mileage. Why am I asking about scooters versus motorcycles? Well, I am seeking to learn from the experiences of others; there is a famous saying “You can learn by wisdom or learn by woe.” I am guessing that learning by wisdom will be much cheaper. Thanks for your input, I appreciate it.January 29, 2009 at 8:19 pm #16112DaggerParticipant
Like tap said.. If you’re just looking for something to commute on that will give you good gas mileage, then a good 250 scooter will do you fine. My dad is 67 and he rides his scooter everywhere. But most of it is to and from work. I, on the other hand, enjoy the actual act of riding. And when I decided to get back into riding I considered a scooter for a bit but quickly realized that I would not be happy on one for long. I love riding way too much.
If you decide to go with a motorcycle, I would stay away from the 750 if you are completely new to riding. I’m not sure how big of a guy you are, but if you’re small enough to be comfortable on the 250 cruisers then that would be a good place to start. There’s a number of themIf you’re taller you might want to look into either the Vulcan 500 or V-Star 650.. Both good bikes and not too heavy. As far as gas mileage, I’m getting between 40-45 on my V-Star 650. On a scooter you can get upwards of 100mpg depending on the type you get.
DaggerJanuary 30, 2009 at 12:34 am #16130eonParticipant
Oooohhhh….that’s fighting talk right there!
What’s this all this talk that scooters are not fun to ride! At the end of the day it is an automatic motorcycle. Sure there are differences but I would say it is no more different from a bike than a sports bike is from a cruiser. The thrill you get from riding is the same. If you like to go long distances a maxi-scoot will get you there just as easily as a cruiser (but you cannot wear leather chaps and a skull bandanna ). If you are riding round town then a small nimble scooter could be more fun than a trigger happy sport bike.
Last time I went riding with a cruiser group I was frustrated as they chose to stay on straight roads and ride in formation when my favorite twisty road was on the other side of the valley. Everybody has their own idea of what they want to get out of riding but to say that scooters are not fun or are simple utilitarian means of transport is just plain wrong.January 30, 2009 at 3:36 am #16136MunchParticipant
……wait….. you ride a scooter?…. Hmmm…. I had scooters……none of them looked like that. LOL….just kidding. Yours does look like it has fun written all over it, but there again… I am also the type that would just for the principle of getting the “WTF” looks still sport the bandanna and chaps.
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