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Learning to ride a Street Bike

This topic has 20 replies, 8 voices, and was last updated 11 years, 11 months ago by AvatarRupmisc.
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  • #1714
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    jfbayley
    Participant

    I rode dirt bikes for years and years. Mainly trail, 450 -600 cc Motocross style bikes actually. Raced a little, but mainly rode trails and climbed hills. Also rode street legal enduro-type bikes for years when growing up.

    Rode a cafe-racer type stree bike one time and felt like I had no clue about how to steer the darn thing.

    That was 30 yrs ago.

    I’ve also ridden 1000’s of miles on road bicycles. Also 30 yrs ago.

    Got a new road bicyle about a year ago and have been riding quite a bit. Had a heck of a time, at first. Kept falling over. Very embarassing and kind of surprising since I road so much in the past.

    Things got a lot better after a few months and now I’m comfortable again on my bike.

    I’m now thinking of getting a600 or 650 cc street bike for commuting to work, but am really worried that I’m going to have a heck of time learning how to ride the darn thing. I hate to go buy a nice bike and then lay it down 4 or 5 times trying to learn how to ride it.

    Based on my 1 experience 30 yrs ago, I’m not confident I could drive one of those things around the block without laying it down.

    Any suggestions?

    #8724
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    Budd
    Participant

    take the beginner course through the MSF. You will get very comfortable on a bike there, and if you lay the bike down it is theirs not yours.

    “I am the best I am at what I do, and what I do ain’t nice.”-Wolverine

    #8728
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    jfbayley
    Participant

    Thanks for the advice. I’ll check that out.

    But, what do you think? Is it kind of weird getting use to a cafe-racer (sorry. I don’t know any other term to describe road racer type bikes) style bike after having always ridden bikes with a more tradtitional hanblebar (Like a dirt bike or motocrosser)? Or is it something that you get used to pretty quick?

    #8731
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    Budd
    Participant

    I had some experience on minibikes and dirt bikes in my past. The beginner course used the night hawk 250, which seemed almost like a dirt bike in look and feel (at least to the early 80’s dirt bike I grew up on). My current motorcycle is a Ninja 250, and although they handle differently, if you can ride one you can ride them both. That being said, the ex250 has an upright seating position and most 600-650 sportbikes are going to be more forward. You could try the Ninja 500 it is a little bigger than the 250 and has a fairly upright position. Megaspaz can tell you about the sv650 (he currently owns one).

    “I am the best I am at what I do, and what I do ain’t nice.”-Wolverine

    #8733
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    jfbayley
    Participant

    Thanks for your comments.

    #8736
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    Mickey
    Participant

    The difference will amaze you, unless you are used to riding your racing bike fully tucked and going over 50mph there is no compareason. if you want to get the feeling of a 600cc street bike find the talllest mountian you can and go down the mountian using no brakes! if you like that feeling you may be ready for a 600cc streetbike!
    “I thought I was indecisive but now I’m not sure”

    #8739
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    Mickey
    Participant

    If you fell over several times on a 20lbs bicycle just imagine the same bike weighting a 30 times as much!
    “I thought I was indecisive but now I’m not sure”

    #8755
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    jfbayley
    Participant

    Maybe I didn’t emphasize enough, I rode dirt bikes A LOT. 400 and 500cc Motocross bikes on all kinds of terrain from motocross courses to monstrous hills to mountain trails that often verged on trials type riding.

    So, it’s not like I don’t have any experience riding motorcycles. It’s just that it’s been awhile. Actually ,kind of a long while.

    As far as dirt bike’s go, anything less than a 400 seems to me like a “kid’s” bike.

    Are street bikes really that much different?

    I know one thing, they’re a heck of a lot heavier, which I would think would make 600cc’s a bit more sluggish than one wrapped in a package weighing 30-40% less.

    And, yes, I realize that the power band is totally different on some street bikes, and I know how squirrely that can make any bike.

    So, I didn’t really think the power on a 600cc bike would be as much of an issue as what seems like the fundamental difference in how you steer a street bike as opposed to how you steer a dirt bike.

    Do you know what I mean?

    BTW, I have been considering the Suzuki sv 650, based on articles on this website that tout this bike as 600+ cc bike that is actually not a bad bike for a beginner.

    #8757
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    CBennett
    Participant

    Then why not get something like the Suzuki DRZ 400 SM..pretty much a dirtbike with street tires thats street legal. Would seem to be pretty much right down your alley..and meets that 400CC requirement…Im actually considering it for a first bike and ive never ridden before.

    http://www.suzukicycles.com/Products/ProductDisplay.aspx?modelCode=DRZ400SMK8&activeSection=OVERVIEW

    https://www.bestbeginnermotorcycles.com/suzuki-drz-400-sm-review

    http://www.motorbikestoday.com/reviews/Articles/suz_drz400_sm.htm

    #8758
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    jfbayley
    Participant

    I appreciate your comments and I’ll check those links out.

    But, I kind of think that that was then and this is now and I’m kind of over dirt bikes.

    As a result of your comments though, I have looked at a couple of the 250cc bikes featured on this site.

    Guess it wouldn’t hurt to go check them out. Assuming I could ride them, I think I could tell pretty quick whether the power was going to be acceptable.

    But, I’m geting away from the point of my original question.

    Aside from the power issues, what I’m really concerned about is steering a lay-down cafe-racer style bike (e.g., Kawasaki Ninja). In my 1 brief attempt (literally around the block, 1 time, 30 yrs ago), I thought steering that little beast was fundamentally different than steering a straight up dirt bike.

    I’m wondering if there’s anyone out there ( there must be thousands of you!!??) whose made the switch from dirt bike to cafe racer and can talk about how to make the switch and how hard it is to do.

    I would think maybe a couple times around the block would do it, but just don’t know.

    Thanks.

    #8759
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    jfbayley
    Participant

    Wow that is an interesting looking little bike.

    Looks like a very sophisticated enduro type bike w/road tires. Weird!! But, definitely cool.

    Unfortunately, the price of the 08 would put the bike out of my price range.

    Has this bike been around for awhile?

    #8769
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    jfbayley
    Participant

    So, looking at Suzuki’s website, it appears that what I refer to as a “cafe racer” is now called a Sportbike.

    It also seems that a “Standard” Motorcycle is a Sport Bike configured w/less or no fairing and bars and I don’t know what else to allow a more upright sitting position.

    Is this correct?

    If so, then I’m guessing by going for a Standard as opposed to a Sportbike my transition from dirt bike to street bike would be a lot easier.

    Any comments??

    #8772
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    Budd
    Participant

    I personally think that you are over thinking this. As long as you don’t get on a bike that is going to rip off out from under you, it shouldn’t be a problem. Just remember to keep your feet on the pegs and not stick them out while turning. If you take the MSF beginner course, you will be eased into it and the transition will seem like nothing.

    “I am the best I am at what I do, and what I do ain’t nice.”-Wolverine

    #8773
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    jfbayley
    Participant

    Well, you got that right. I am a deliberative kind of guy.

    Hey, BTW, any idea what they charge for that course?

    Couldn’t find anything on their website and a bit too busy right now to pick up the phone.

    Thanks.

    #8776
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    CBennett
    Participant

    yes, i believe it has been out a while you can definnately get used for about 1/2 the price listed or less..ive seen them in the $2100-3000 range regularly for used ones.

    just as a example

    http://motors.shop.ebay.com/Motorcycles___suzuki-drz-400-sm_W0QQ_nkwZsuzukiQ20drzQ20400Q20smQQ_dmptZMotorcyclesQ5fPartsQ5fAccessoriesQQ_flnZ1

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