Oh boy, what a reality check…
July 16, 2010 at 12:27 am #27531gitchy42Participant
I have to admit that I was a little concerned when I read your first post to the forums, your seemed really gung-ho and got your gear, or were at least planning on it before you knew if you would like riding or not.
I really congratulate you on being honest with yourself now. Riding is not easy. I assume that you can ride a bicycle fairly well, a motorcycle isn’t really anything more than a bicycle, with an engine attached. Well, at least that’s how they started.
There is a lot of good advice above, starting with dirt of a scooter would definitely get you used to being on two-wheels. Another suggestion is to find a friend with a 4-wheeler and see if they will let you play on it. Most of the controls are the same, and you don’t have to worry about falling over, unless you are going waaaay too fast. Possibly a combination of the above.
If you are good a ‘nerdy’ things, do the nerdy thing here. Sit back, take a look at where you are, and where you want to be then make a plan, and stick to it.July 16, 2010 at 12:40 am #27532ranetteParticipant
I would have to respectfully disagree with your suggestion that a 4 wheeler might be something to try. My one stint on a 4 wheeler was a disaster, and if I could give one reason I would say it was because though it may share similar controls to a motorcycle, the skills are in no way similar. Basically because it looked something like a motorcycle I believe that I was trying to use subtle inputs, including countersteering, when to properly ride an ATV your inputs have to be anything but subtle. I was trying to dance with it when I should have been trying to wrestle with it.
It anybody on the board has extensive experience with 4 wheelers and disagrees, they might be right, but from my very limited experience I’d suggest sticking with the previous advice of a dirt bike or a scooter for some experience.July 16, 2010 at 3:46 am #27537MunchParticipant
I can understand the idea behind it. It gives them a chance to get control of the coordination in gears, throttle and other things without having to be concerned with balance. As far as steering your right they are worlds apart. But if you eliminate parts of the confusion piece by piece and simplify it one step at a time it can make the process easier.
With a 4 Wheeler the steering is very direct but to get more effect not only are you directing it like you would steer a car but in some cases you will need to toss your weight around on turns to gain the needed traction and weight distribution. However if the 4 Wheeler is a manual then the process of going is very similar.July 16, 2010 at 12:49 pm #27542CBBaronParticipant
I agree, skip the ATV.
First most ATVs do not have the same controls. CVT, automatic and push-button electric shifting are all common on ATVs. Only the sport/race bikes seem to still use the traditional clutch and foot shift arrangment on motorcycles.
Second as mentioned riding one is nothing like riding a motorcycle. You have to really manhandle the controls and throw your body around to ride quickly. Or with the more utilitarian models at a sedate pace the controls are like driving a golf cart, with perhaps heavy steering.
If you want to break the learning steps apart, start with a scooter. It atleast is very similar handling characteristics to a motorcyle and the controls are for the most part just simplified from the full motorcycle controls.
Dirt bikes are a good way to learn at a slower pace without traffic and a softer landing. Small dirt bikes are much lighter than road bikes making the process easier.
CraigJuly 16, 2010 at 3:31 pm #27543OvertimeParticipant
Did you know how to drive stick before taking the class? I can’t imagine an MSF class being my first encounter with shifting!
Like other folks here, I spent a LOT of time in the parking lot practicing basic skills before going on the street. I also took my MSF class after months of practice (long waiting list to take it). I already knew all the stuff in the class but I was still amazed at the fast pace. They blew through stuff in a few hours that I had spent months on. I couldn’t believe any of my classmates were keeping up: many of them had NO previous riding experience! So if you aren’t one of those people who just gets it in one day, don’t despair.
Do you have any friends who ride? 1on1 parking lot lessons at your own pace can be great! (Be careful what kind of bike you learn on though…)
Muscle memory, trusting the gyroscopic effect of the bike, progressive braking during an emergency stop…these things take time and practice to get right.
Good luck!July 17, 2010 at 2:55 am #27545skippersusieParticipant
I just finished the MSC this week… what an amazing experience. I had a similiar day to yours, but my instructors really coached me through it and by the end I was feeling a little less uneasy. I went home and did some serious soul searching and decided that I really wanted to ride and that, for me, I would need some serious “Parking Lot” time before I feel comfortable on the streets. So, I went ahead and purchased a bike that many here would say is too powerful, but I WANT to do this and have for a long time. The course also made me realize that in part, this a family and most folks that ride have each others backs (as this site can atest to. I tthink that for a lot of people, that is a draw as well.
I have to say, I know how to drive a manual transmission and did some pretty extensive bicycling, including a 5 mile commute on busy roads for a number of years. I’m still a little freaked out, but I figure I am statistically ahead of the game for taking the course. And besides, I know my limits and don’t plan to push them any time soon.
I am picking up a bike tomorrow morning and like some others purchased the gear before I fully appreciated the complexity. I have signed up for the ERC later next month because they will allow me to use my own bike, which is over 500cc’s.
My first ride will be about a quarter of a mile, on a fairly light thoroughfare to the local wrench who will be doing a safety check for me. Bright & early Sunday I am planning on hitting the parking lot for LOTS of drills & practice before I attempt my first “real” ride/commute. I can tell you, the most valuable part of this has been the advice of the folks here, especially Munch. I was hesitant about purchasing my bike when I started reading the forum but he and others have been a wealth of knowledge.
I guess it is really about what you feel comfortable with and why you want to ride. If this was a piece of cake, they would call it “driving”. Best of luck to you, whichever way you decide to go…
And I think scooters are pretty freeking awesome myself!
SSJuly 17, 2010 at 4:42 pm #27552dlargestParticipant
hey halflife 2, i had a similar experience to yours. it was hard coordinating all the controls. it didn’t help that i’m 6′ 6″ and i had trouble with my long legs and the foot controls (we used a buell blaster). the bumpus harley davidson of memphis ran the BRC and they were wonderful. Unfortunately i crashed and bruised my knee and elbow. My ego took the biggest hit though, because i was slowing everybody down. After the crash i left but will be going back for another workshop, then try to complete the BRC. My instructors were amazing and very supportive.
The crash and difficulties just made me mad at myself and i fully intend to go back and master this motorcycling thing. There is absolutely no quit in me and i still want to ride. This is an amazing website with great forums and all the responses reassure me that I’m not the first person to screw up at a BRC. lucky i live in a quiet part of town and i fully intend to practice, practice, practice till i nail this thing down before i ever venture on the road by myself.July 17, 2010 at 4:49 pm #27553joshParticipant
you have a couple of options with scooters. when i was first getting into the idea of riding a bike, my mom freaked out at me. i compromised with her and bought a scooter. (of course i only used it for a few weeks, took the BRC, and said screw it i wanna shift gears and bought my yamaha fz6.. my mother dealt with it).
but to my point.. when i was looking around for a scooter, i found an interesting option. there are scooters designed to look like motorcycles, so you get the look you want (i wasnt into the scooter look either). the one i was riding was the CPI GTR-150. It was 150cc’s, maxed out at 65mph, and was fully automatic. here is a pic:
also if you want to step it up a notch and get a full size motorcycle, but still want fully automatic ride, you have options. first is the aprilia mana850 (though i’m not sure if i recommend this bike, being that it is 850cc’s.. making it very heavy and possibly very powerful, but it looks beautiful and is fully automatic. here is a pic:
she’s beautiful and full automatic, but they aren’t cheap. aprilia is known for that, expect to drop around $10k that bike, being that are difficult to find used far as i know.
lastly is the brand Ridley. They make automatic motorcycles exclusively, and they are an american based company. all of their bikes are cruiser-style from what i can tell, but they have models ranging in different engine sizes, all automatic.
here is their site if you want to check it out: http://www.ridleymotorcycles.com/
maybe seeing that your options aren’t limited to a regular foot-well styled scooter will inspire you to give riding another shot. just be gentle on and smooth on those brakes, and be careful.
good luck!July 18, 2010 at 12:05 am #27557skippersusieParticipant
So glad to hear someone else talk about their mom!!! I thought of a conversation I had with mine 20 years ago. Sorry to say 20 years later it didn’t change. Yes, I may be older, but mom is still the boss. Glad to hear she got over it… I just picked up my Virago 700 this morning. I may send your post to my mom…
Check out the Aprilia SportCity 250 as well. A friend of mine from Italy turned me on to these when I was first looking at getting a scooter, it is freeway legal in California and I have seen quite a few on the road over the past few months.July 18, 2010 at 5:54 am #27560gitchy42Participant
I’ve only really had experience on an older honda, and then newer ‘sport’ models, other than tooling around on a big polaris once. Other than the throttle, the go-and-stop controls are identical to a bike….anyways, I digress. I was just trying to give an alternative, really it is up to him to figure out what will work.
I will echo the dirt bike suggestion again….if you start on dirt, then go to the street on a dual sport then the only thing that changes it what your tires are on…..
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