April 18, 2010 at 7:28 am #3882
First off i have never even been on a bike before so i know that i will have to take a riders course. So i am worried about mastering shifting and down shifting i don’t even know the gear pattern on most bikes. I have been looking it to what bike to get the only thing that worries me is looking like i am riding a scooter instead of a motorcycle, since beginner bikes are smaller. And get laughed at by the Harley riders. The top two on my list are the Rebel and the Eliminator 125 don’t know if i go new or used yet which i will buy once i come home from this deployment.April 18, 2010 at 2:48 pm #25810Jeff in KentuckyParticipant
Take the Motorcycle Safety Foundation beginners course first, before choosing a bike. Around here, they give you a 250cc Suzuki standard bike to use. A standard bike has the footpegs below the seat, easiest for a beginner.
So Harley Davidson lovers will not tease you, it is best to ride either a sportbike like the 250cc Kawasaki Ninja, or a dirt bike like a 250cc Kawasaki or 400cc Suzuki supermoto. They tend to like the Triumph bikes or the 500cc Kawasaki Vulcan cruiser better, because they have a parallel twin engine instead of a V-twin engine that copies the Harley look.
I have the worst bike for a Harley lover- a Honda cruiser with a V-twin engine that is a smaller copy of a 1985 Harley Softail, but with a 1950s English V-twin Shadow name. I have never had a Harley rider make fun of me- they tend to not look at me or my bike, and do not talk to me, like I do not exist. I ride with some guys with Harleys- once in a while they will ask when I am going to spend more to get a real bike like a Harley big twin.April 18, 2010 at 3:27 pm #25813Sean_DParticipant
… on my Bonneville is they love to sit there at gas stations, traffic lights and the like revving their engines to let me know how much noise they can make compared to mine. One guy last week sat there the entire time I was fueling just revving his engine while looking at me. Seriously?? All I could think about was the South Park Episode…
I still have the stock pipes on it .. and yes I will admit it sounds a bit like a scooter, but come on
I will probably put a set of Norman Hyde Classics on it. It gives it a nice exhaust note without being obnoxious. I live in a rural community where everyone seems to be in bed by 10PM LOL.April 18, 2010 at 3:48 pm #25814eonParticipant
First thing to learn is not to give a rats ass what anyone thinks about what/when/how you ride. The only person who matters in this is you. There was a quote on here recently that I liked, “You don’t show your maturity by how you ride, maturity starts by what you ride” (I’m sure I’ve mangled that quote but I hope the meaning comes through).
Second, I think you are worrying too much about Harley riders being obnoxious. I ride a 3 wheel scooter wearing yellow gear and no-one has ever given me crap about it, Harley rider or otherwise. If they did, I would give back as good as I got. On the contrary I’ve had nothing but interest shown in my strange ride. Admittedly if I was riding a small displacement cruiser I’m thinking I would get some wise ass making comments but like I said, give back as good as you get. Then pull a u-turn and sit back and watch them duck walk the bike around (and 9/10 of folks will walk the bike around).
As far as shifting goes, try not to worry about it. The gear pattern is simple. Press the lever down to shift down and lift up to go up. Neutral is always (I believe) between first and second. If you have never driven a manual car then it may take you a little while to get the hang of it but it just takes time.
Good luck with your journey onto two (or three!) wheelsApril 18, 2010 at 3:59 pm #25816
I LOVE that episode! So funny, yet true…
The majority of harley riders here arent bad. The worst thats happened to me is like what jeff said, they just won’t acknowledge me, and that was once or twice when I went to wave at them riding by (so now I let them make the first move lol ) Of course I’m on a sportbike so that does make a slight difference I suppose. Either way, 99% of riders will respect you for being a rider and making that initial first step to put yourself on 2 wheels (or 3 in eon’s case ), if the other 1% wants to be a douchebag, then so be it! I dont think the main reason why you decided to ride was to give all of the harley rider chubby’s when they see you was it?
And as for shifting, before the class I had never driven a manual car or ridden a motorcycle, but once I was actually on the bike, it came fairly easily. Like you, I was worried about not being able to do it, but I promise you, its really not a big deal. The main thing is clutch control, once you get that, shifting will become second nature. and eon was right the usual pattern is 1-N-2-3-4-5-6.April 19, 2010 at 3:25 pm #25834JackTradeParticipant
And like Eon said, don’t worry about what other riders think of you. But you’ll be pleasantly surprised at how 85% of other riders will respect you, no matter what you ride. It’s that you DO ride that counts.
Sure, you’ll have the odd suburbanite Brando-wannabe on his Harley or the urban sportbiker in his matching factory-logo outfit who’ll not return your wave, but they’re a definite minority.
And what’s most impressive re motorcycles is SKILL. Anyone can buy a bad-ass bike, but not everyone (in fact not most) can ride it right. Take the courses, read the books, hang out here, etc. and be the guy that can effortlessly thread his way through a crowded gas station without a problem, while the guys with the impressive bikes awkwardly walk theirs around.
Among good, real riders, nothing will get you laughed at more than a skill-level/bike-level mismatch. So do the right thing, start reasonable, then work your way up. It’ll go quickly.April 19, 2010 at 4:09 pm #25837CBBaronParticipant
+1 Don’t worry about others.
Ride your own ride.
I went into the MSF course last fall never having ridden a motorcycle either. The first day was challenging learning the muscle memory for shifting, clutch, and brakes. Riding was very easy at decent speeds, it was slow speed maneuvers, stopping and changing gears that required habits I did not yet have. By the second day it just started coming to me and things started happening with out near as much thought required.
The course is designed with new riders in mind, so there was no expectation that you have those skills.
As for a first motorcycle. Find one you feel comfortable on and don’t worry about the style, sound or what others think. You will be having too much fun. I would suggest waiting until you have taken the course so you have a better idea what you may like and don’t like. And I would look at a used bike. A late model used bike is usually much cheaper than a new bike and if you take care of it, it will lose little value. In addition because you have less invested you will be less worried about minor damage from a slow speed drop.
There are a number of good choices out there for a first bike. Don’t feel you have to start on a small “cruiser” just because you want to get a Harley at some point. The standard riding position may make it easier to learn to ride. The TU250x is a nice retro standard that may appeal visually. The Ninja 250r is a faired bike with a standard riding position and is one of the most capable small bikes on the highway. Dual sports and supermotos are very light and more damage resistant than other road bikes and give you the option to ride more places.
CraigApril 19, 2010 at 6:02 pm #25839
Haha I’m a sportbiker with a matching factory logo jacketApril 19, 2010 at 7:07 pm #25844JackTradeParticipant
But you’d actually wave to those of us who don’t have the same logos, right?
April 19, 2010 at 8:06 pm #25846
Haha of course…I think the only person I might not wave at would be someone on a 50cc scooter…I’m not exactly sure if they count or not lol
But seriously, I wave at everybody, because thats what its all about… I remember the first time I was waved at, it gave me a warm fuzzy feeling in my belly! lol Its just a way of acknowledging that youre in the fraternity of those on 2 wheels.April 19, 2010 at 11:43 pm #25859owlieParticipant
On a completely different note:
Kudos for your service. It is appreciated.
Good move on planning to start small. Don’t let anyone talk you out of it (though if they try to talk you up from the 125, don’t worry about it- 250s are still very sane for beginners).
Finally, if you want to ride your bike on base when you get back, you will have to take an MSF class, and I think that they make you wear hi-vis vests- so if you are worried about the cruiser image, get over it.
OwlieApril 20, 2010 at 8:17 am #25863
yes i would have to take two msf classes one to get the endursment on my license and then i would have to take the army one just to be allowed to ride on post. At Fort Bragg the riders just have to wear a high vis belt that most just wrap around a back pack.April 20, 2010 at 8:21 am #25864
will i just learned to drive a manual car and of my army buddies tell me that its almost the same concept. I just worried about mistaking popping wheelies when i come out of 1st.April 20, 2010 at 11:00 pm #25877owlieParticipant
I could be wrong (I’m not military), but I think that you only have to take one. When I took the MSF class, we were told that if someone wanted to ride on base, we would need to show the completion card from the class. If they encourage you to take the class on base, it probably counts toward the endorsement. You might check into it a little more closely. Although- there is no harm in taking the class twice.April 21, 2010 at 3:31 am #25880IBA270Participant
where you’re licensed, and which class they accept for licensing. In Texas for example, the BRC is the only class accepted for licensing, and I BELIEVE that the ARC is the required class for the military. The ARC is not a state approved class, meaning if you want a license AND want to ride on base…you gotta take both.
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