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New to motorcycles…could use some help!

This topic has 25 replies, 7 voices, and was last updated 9 years, 2 months ago by Avatarjsan08.
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  • #3074
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    jsan08
    Participant

    Intros first I guess…lets see…names James, I’m currently in the Navy stationed stateside in Washington, DC.

    My buddy and I have been seriously talking about getting motorcycles for next summer. I’ve always wanted one and thought they were cool and look like a lot of fun and all that jazz, but now that I’m seriously considering it I have realized I know almost nothing about motorcycles lol…aside from what I have read here. I have to say, I’m glad I found this site and have learned a lot already. After reading through all of the beginner motorcycle guides I’ve become both excited and humbled at the idea of riding a motorcycle. I even have to admit I was a bit turned off to the idea when I read about the crashes and injuries…but hey everything comes with a risk, especially fun things like this :p. I’m an avid skydiver so I figure what the hell lol.

    After reading about why 600cc is too much for a beginner I’ve become stuck on the idea of getting a 250cc first. My friends say that I will get bored quick with a 250. However, I feel if I’m going to do this I want to do it the safest way possible, and get good experience in before I move up, especially because I have almost zero experience with motorcycles/bikes.

    First question is will I even comfortably fit on a 250? I’m 6’1″ 210lbs with an athletic build. I know only I will really know if I am comfortable on a bike but I’ve heard of people being too big for a bike…

    I will post more questions later, any tips, ideas or thoughts you guys might have for me are greatly appreciated. :)

    #20315
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    madjak30
    Participant

    I started riding May 2010, and by mid June I was complaining about my bike…mostly that I didn’t fit the bike, but also that I craved more power…now that I have been riding another few weeks, I have figured out that my bike is powerful enough to have lots of fun and keep up with traffic…and as for the fit, it will come with time…your body will get used to what ever you decide to ride. If you are looking at a Ninja 250, your knees will be bent more than if you are looking at a Honda Rebel 250, or an enduro (dual sport) type of bike like a Suzuki DR200…all of them will move you along pretty good, and you will think they are quite fast for the first few rides. They can all get up to hiway speeds, but after a few weeks (depends on how much you ride it) you will get used to the accelleration, and want more…you just have to realize that your first bike is for learning, and not for being the fastest or coolest set of wheels ever. With you being taller, you will probably find the enduro bikes more comfortable, but that doesn’t mean that you won’t get used to the Ninja…it will just take a little getting used to. I find that stretching and getting more limber before rides helps (although I’m certain that you are in better physical condition than I am), and once you are comfortable on the bike, go for longer, and longer rides to get your body used to the riding position.

    Just remember that when you are picking your first bike, lighter and comfort will be more important than fast and cool…the other bonus of the smaller bikes…fuel economy…you will get 60+ mpg out of the 200-250cc bikes, not that bigger bikes are terrible…but it sure is nice to get out of a truck that gets 16mpg, costing me about $125 per week in fuel, and getting on a bike that only costs me about $30 for the same distance travelled…and it is much more fun on the bike.

    #27923
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    WeaponZero
    Participant

    Buy a Yamaha WR250X. Guarantee you won’t get bored with it. And it’ll fit taller people like a glove. Trust me on this…

    As far as being discouraged by people crashing goes, you’ll find that most everyone on this forum has gone down more than once but never sustained any major injuries due to the fact that we practice the ATGATT philosophy around here. Means All The Gear, All The Time. Suit up head to toe in all your safety gear, from your helmet to your jacket and gloves and riding boots, even whatever leg protection you have, whenever you get on the bike. Even if it’s just to take a spin up to the convenience store to grab a bag of chips. I’ve gone down three times myself, even highsided once. But never sustained any injuries.

    #27924
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    CBBaron
    Participant

    I think the WR250X or DRZ-400SM is an excellent suggestion for a taller rider. Like he said you will not easily get bored with the bike but they are easy to learn on, you won’t hardly notice it if you do drop the bike and powerful enough to flow with traffic when necessary.

    I’m 6’2″ and ride a ’06 Ninja 250R. The Ninja 250R is a great bike to start with as its still a small light weight bike but is probably the fastest of the 250 class bikes. As a tall rider it feels bigger than most other 250cc bikes but the seat is low so your knees will be bent pretty tight. Just get off and stretch your legs every hour of riding and it shouldn’t be a problem. The new 250R may not fit well without lowered footpegs as the fairing is a different shape that interferes with your knees. Still it is a pretty inexpensive upgrade if you find you need it.

    The Ninja 500R and Suzuki GS500F may provide a little more more though I still had problems with the Ninja fairings.

    Craig

    #27928
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    TrialsRider
    Participant

    G’day James, just talking to a couple of points you noted in your intro :I You are a young military type that likes to jump out of perfectly good airplanes and plummet towards earth wearing little more than a few pounds of silk and string ( rayon and kevlar or whatever ) Why on earth would you be worried about falling off a motorcycle ? … I do it all the time !;) Scared silly of heights myself, I’d much rather rev it up and drop the clutch in second gear, pointed at a vertical rock face. ( the … part is Trials humor, I don’t expect anyone to get it ;)
    Considering your size you should also check out one of my personal favorites, large displacement singles.
    On the topic of comfort, I’ll reiterate something I just noted to another potential new rider, motorcycles are meant to be ridden not driven like a car and to ride a motorcycle you need to be alert and constantly moving about, even if it’s only to balance. Comfort as in at easy with what you are doing is great, but comfort as in; laid back, feet up and nodding off cozy in front of the TV comfort is not conducive to good riding.
    Any interest in off-road motorcycles ? I still maintain that dirt bike experience is the best first experience.

    #27933
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    Jeff in Kentucky
    Participant

    It is possible that you will get bored after 6 months to a year while learning on a small bike, but that is better than being in the hospital or in a grave after starting with a bike with too much engine power and too much braking power. If you do get bored with it, sell it and get the next step up faster, such as a 650cc twin cylinder.

    Instead of the 250cc Kawasaki Ninja, you might like either a 250cc or 400cc supermoto, or the 500cc Ninja or 500cc Suzuki.

    Also, you can raise the seat and handlebar grips higher, get a kit to move the footpegs for many bikes, and get different handlebars to make a bike fit you better, after riding for a few weeks to decide what needs changing.

    The safest way to start- take the Motorcycle Safety Foundation Beginning Rider Course- in many states it counts as the road test for your motorcycle license, and gets you an insurance discount.

    #27935
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    eon
    Participant

    It is my belief that those who trot out the old line “you will get bored” don’t know what they are talking about. I’ve been riding for 2 years and 20,000 miles on a 500cc scooter (39hp) and even though I am now ready for more power, it would be wrong to say I am bored with what I have. For me the fun of riding is all in the corners, seeking out twisty roads to test your skill. In that situation power has nothing to do with the fun you will have.

    There are many factors that influence how well or aggressive you can take a corner but horsepower is not one of them. The biggest factor is the gray matter between your ears and a lot of the things you need to do are counter intuitive and hard to learn. But that’s what makes it so fun.

    The reason I am now interested in more power is to help in overtaking maneuvers. I frequently catch up guys on bikes much larger than mine but they go so slow through the corners I catch up with them and it spoils my ride. If I had more power it would help me pass them on the straights. But it would not enable me to go any faster through the corners. That is all about technique.

    It is also my believe that a lot of folks main reason for riding is to do with image. And small engines, from sport bikes to cruisers, are rarely cool. But if you are actually interested in learning to ride, then a small engine is your friend.

    #27936
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    jsan08
    Participant

    Thanks everybody for your thoughts. I have taken all of your comments into consideration and will definitely research the motorcycles you guys have mentioned. I definitely would like to learn how to ride and not just be sitting on top of a rocket just for the cool factor. Every time I mention getting a 250 to my buddies they say that it’s not a good idea and I will get bored. I don’t see why…it’s not like I plan on flying down the highway at 130mph anytime soon here in Washington D.C. (not like there’s any place to do that here anyway). A good piece of information I discovered today was that I can take this riding course that teaches new riders the basics of riding and safety. They supply the bikes (small honds 250s) and it is a free course that is provided by the military. I will definitely plan to do that.

    My next question has to do with insurance. This may seem like a stupid question but is getting full coverage recommended/necessary? A lot of my friends with bikes just have liability…I’m also a young guy (19 years old) but I have no accidents or points/tickets on my driving record. Do you guys know what kind of premium I could expect to be paying?

    @ TrialsRider – I know I jump out of planes and all of that fun stuff, it still just makes me cringe thinking about getting into a bad motorcycle accident!


    @WeaponZero
    – That’s good to know. I definitely plan on following that same philosophy.

    #27937
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    TrialsRider
    Participant

    If planning and preparation can avoid such a thing, it sounds like you have things well at hand. Very cool deal on that training course, you just saved yourself enough coin to purchase a quality helmet ;)

    #27940
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    CBBaron
    Participant

    About insurance
    Several online sites like Progressive and Geico allow you to enter your information and get quotes for various coverage. You will need to enter the bike you are interested in to get accurate information. The bike will often make a big difference. Try several sites to get an good idea as some have found huge differences between companies.

    You need to decide, probably as you are buying your bike whether you need full coverage. If you can afford to pay to repair or replace you bike incase of an accident then you can go with just liability. If not then full coverage is a good idea. I paid $1600 for my bike, so its inexpensive to replace, and it would not take much damage before I would just walk away from it. Liability is fine. However, you say bought a new WR250X for about $6000 then you would be out a serious amount of money if it was stolen or wrecked next week.

    Its up to you but that the question seriously.

    Craig

    #27942
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    jsan08
    Participant

    Thanks Craig, that puts it in perspective for me. I want my first bike to be under 3k so I’m leaning toward just having liability to save myself money.

    Besides the Ninja 250, are there any other bikes you guys can recommend that have the same ‘sport bike’ look to them?

    #27949
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    CBBaron
    Participant

    The GS500F and Ninja 500R are other good starter bikes that have the sport bike look.

    Other things to look at are supermotos. You should be able to find a DRZ-400SM or KLX250SF below $3000. With luck you may find a WR250X in that price range. The look is a little different but are said to be tons of fun in urban riding and in the twisties.

    Craig

    #27951
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    WeaponZero
    Participant

    If you want a 250 that LOOKS like a sportbike and isn’t a Korean-made off band with no dealer network, the Ninja 250R is your ONLY option. However, if you’re willing to get past the looks, I think you’ll find that Supermoto-style bikes such as the Yamaha WR250X, Kawasaki KLX250SF, and Suzuki DR-Z400SM are even “sportier” in performance and handling than the Ninja 250R.

    #27968
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    jsan08
    Participant

    I’ve been reading reviews on those supermoto bikes, I was still wondering though, will they be able to keep up/are they safe to ride at freeway speeds?

    #27970
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    madjak30
    Participant

    They are safe, but they are lighter bikes and will be more effected by wind than a heavier bike…basically the heavier the bike, the more stable it is on the freeway but you pay for that in slow manouvres. Heavier bikes suck around town when you are new to riding. They make it harder to learn (mostly because you are worried you will drop the beast), and usually don’t have a very tight turning radius…the lighter bikes are great for slower/in town and parking lot speeds, they turn on a dime and you don’t worry as much about dropping them, but they feel the effects of a truck passing you or following a car too closely a lot more. If your riding will be mostly in town and on less travelled two lane, then I would get the lightest bike to help you learn and get quite comfortable with the controls of a bike…but if you are planning on hitting the freeway a lot, I would look at the larger beginner bikes (Ninja 500, GS500F, or maybe a KLR650) to make the freeway less stressful…

    Make sure you take the course that you mentioned, through the military I think you said, and get your bike afterward…the course I took had samples of the different types of bikes for you to try out…they had mostly dual sport bikes (DR200 and Super Sherpa) and cruisers (Honda Rebel 250 and Yamaha 250), but they also had a couple of sport bikes and a Super Moto (Konker 200…and they were all really impressed with how the Konker was holding up)…I had already bought my bike, so I stuck to the dual sports for the course (made it very easy, nice to ride and steer…vision was excellent), I wish I had waited because I probably would have bought a different bike…

    Anyway, good luck. And make sure you spend a lot of time in the bike shops and sit on all the bikes that appeal to you…try to sit on them for about 20mins as you talk to the salesman (the longer the better) to get an idea of whether or not the bike will be comfortable or not.

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