New rider from Vacaville
April 10, 2009 at 4:58 am #2686kt_003Participant
I’m a pretty new rider with an 09 kawi ninja 250. looking for great tips/advise. thanksApril 10, 2009 at 2:46 pm #17654megaspazParticipant
Hi! Welcome to the forums.
The best advise I can give you is to check your ego at the door. Get the bike you want to get, don’t try to impress anyone, ride your own ride and atgatt. Happy trails on your motorcycle journey.April 10, 2009 at 3:40 pm #17659WeaponZeroParticipant
Before you really start riding you’re going to need to pick yourself up a good quality DOT-approved helmet, a riding jacket, riding gloves, and riding boots. Pants are recommended as well.
What you need to understand about helmets, first-off, is that any really good quality helmet WILL set you back $300 or more. Any helmet is better than no helmet but IMO any helmet worth having will be in that price range or higher. Read reviews before you buy and try on what you can. Comfort is the single most important factor. Other important factors are wind noise and defogging properties. There are certain brands, such as HJC, Scorpion, KBC, and Nolan that are known for making cheap helmets of good quality but they still can’t match up to the quality of the “premium” helmet brands: AGV, Arai, Shoei, Shark, Suomy.
Most jackets will do safety-wise, just make sure they have CE-approved armor in the elbows and shoulders, some sort of cooling mechanism (either vents or perforations), and a back protector. The main difference you’ll be asking yourself is the question of mesh/textile vs. leather. Leather holds up better in a crash but can be unbearably hot in summer riding, plus it’s much more expensive. Mesh/textile jackets offer superior cooling and weatherproofing in most cases and are cheaper but don’t hold up as well in a crash. There are companies out there making hybrid jackets that combine the best of both worlds (see our review of the Shift Racing Streetfighter jacket), but they are still something of a compromise between the two in some ways.
As far as boots go, Sidi is the undoubted ruler of the boot market but their prices are too high for most. If you can afford them, however, go for it. I wear Tourmaster Solution WP full-length waterproof riding boots and they do me fine. Avoid riding boots/shoes that have laces and were built to look like sneakers. They do offer some basic protection but don’t protect your ankles or lower legs like actual boots do.
With gloves you’re going to be limited mostly to the shape of your hand. Different manufacturers make gloves that fit different people better. There’s gauntlet-style gloves and “shorty” gloves. Gauntlet style gloves go about halfway up the forearm while “shorty” gloves end just past the wrist. The main difference between the two is that gauntlet-style gloves are meant to be worn OVER the sleeves of your jacket while “shorty” gloves go inside of them. Gauntlet-style gloves do offer some degree of higher protection but depending on the jacket you’re wearing that may not be an issue. “Shorty” gloves are said to be much more comfortable for street riders, however. Don’t buy gloves online. If you can’t try them on to make sure they fit your hand like a.. well, like a glove, don’t buy them at all. Try to get gloves that have built-in armor for the knuckles.April 10, 2009 at 5:47 pm #17664Clay DowlingParticipant
Gloves were my biggest struggle. I improvised a lot at first. Finally I broke down and purchased a pair of decent cold weather gloves on line (Alpine Stars PolarTex).
Gauntlet style gloves that go over the sleeve are ideal for riding in temps below 70, which where I live is most of the year. A shorty glove will let air run up your sleeve, and that gets cold pretty quickly.April 12, 2009 at 5:51 pm #17697SantaCruzRiderParticipant
Congrats on the new bike. I’m sure you’re going to love it.
My advice is to take it slow as you get into tune with the bike, stay focused and ride often. You should be in for some great riding weather and your area has access to all kinds of terrain, so you should be in for some serious fun.
On the subject of gear: I’d advise buying quality gear that you’ll wear all the time. When it comes to jackets, I wear CE armored leather. Venting keeps me cool enough even in summer (I’m in the Santa Cruz/San Jose area) and it provides the best protection. If I were in SoCal, I’d probably go with textile or even mesh to avoid getting cooked.
Gloves: I wear armored leather that come to the wrist. They are warm enough for me for anything over 40 and work through the summer. I bought a couple pair online and have had no issues with fit. But if you’re an odd size (7-foot-tall and/or 300lbs), you may have to work a bit harder to get what works for you.
Pants: Gets something you’ll wear. I’ll wear just jeans if I’m cruising around town, but the truth is that they provide almost zero protection. I wear armored overpants for my daily 90-mile commute.
Boots: I’ve got some MC boots, but I prefer construction type zip ups. The ones I wear have steel toes — which work for my Kawi liter bike, but may not fit the shifter for some bikes. For me, they are more confortable once I’m off the bike.
Helmets: Get a full-face that fits with super comfort and wear it. I’ve done a fair amount of research and have yet to see anything showing that brand or price provides any greater safety. If there was, you’d see the claims in every ad that manufacturer ran. Buy a $400 helmet because it fits like dream, it vents a like a hairnet and the paints job makes your heart flutter. But don’t put too much value in the belief that it will give you super powers or one bit more protection than a $100 unit. I’d love to see something that proves otherwise, but never have. From I’ve seen, the quality difference in the “premium” brands is in the paint and packaging — it’s what we in marketing call “perceived value” and the higher price is part of the branding. Personally, I have HJC and SpeedX helmets and love them.
All totalled, I’ve spent only about $400 on full gear (not counting extras). I got everything but the boots and one helmet online at serious discount.
Best of luck with the new ride.
- You must be logged in to reply to this topic.