Ready to be flamed…
September 13, 2008 at 1:51 am #2086
…but also ready to post my experiences for anyone who might be interested.
About 2 months ago I had never been on a motorized two wheeled vehicle except for 50cc scooters in Bermuda and Key West. In early July I purchased a Genuine Scooter Co. Buddy 150. It has been a blast, and just as importantly, an incredibly practical vehicle for my particular situation. What the Buddy ended up being was my gateway drug. After riding for a few weeks I knew that I needed to purchase a motorcycle.
Although I first came upon this site today much of the information is out there in other forums. I also have a good number of friends who ride and who gave me their opinions on what I should start out on. I listened to every one of them, and their opinions varied from Honda Rebel, to Buell Blast, to SV650 to “buy what you want, I learned on a bigger bike than was recommended to me.” Unfortunately, purchasing a starter bike would not have been an option unless I had no intention of upgrading in the next decade; the bike that I purchased was going to be the bike that I lived with for quite a while. That pretty much put very small bikes out of the question, even if that might be the best way for a beginner to learn. I looked at some mid sized bikes such as the SV650, but only one bike actually talked to me, the beauty hit me almost on an emotional level; a Ducati GT1000, and that is what I purchased.
As far as background, I am 45 years old, and not a risk taker or speed demon in any way shape or form. Most of my rider friends, after hearing about my purchase expressed more concern about me putting an ugly scratch on a beautiful machine than they did me not respecting the power in my right hand and getting myself in trouble by acting stupidly.
I have one close friend with 30+ years experience who has taken on the task of being my riding guru and mentor. Every day for the past week we’ve put aside an hour or two. We live on a pretty busy road so I ride the scooter and he takes the Ducati. We take it to some very quiet back roads where we switch bikes. From there I take it very slowly. Lots of starts and stops, lots of upshifting and downshifting, not because the terrain demands it, but simply so it becomes second nature. At this point in time I don’t think the bike has gone beyond 3000RPM and I’m probably the only person who owns a 150cc scooter and a 992cc Ducati who has traveled faster on the scooter than on the Duc. No testosterone, no pressure, just have fun and learn a little more each time out. When he feels I’m ready we’ll go in some local traffic, if that’s next week, cool, if he feels I should wait until next spring, that’ll be just fine. In November I’ll be taking the MSF class before putting the bike away for the winter. So far I’m having a great time and have made a good deal of progress; lots more to go before I would even take the bike out on my own, but I will get there.
Again I realize that what I did goes against the judgment of pretty much every senior poster that I’ve read on this site, but I am a responsible adult and feel I made the best purchase for me at this particular juncture. If anyone is interested I will be happy to continue posting my day to day progress. If most of you feel that I am an idiot with a death wish, feel free to post that, I’m a big boy and can take criticism. That being said, numerous “you are an idiot” flames probably won’t serve any purpose beyond chasing me from the board(and of course onto my bike).
RandySeptember 13, 2008 at 3:31 am #12094BuddParticipant
Haha, I think it is called a duc walk for him.
Honestly, I think you bought the wrong bike to start on. Your scooter experience will help somewhat but that bike is a beast.
I would love to hear how your training goes, though. People do learn on bigger bikes. What I hope to hear is, “man, this is tough, I should have started smaller.” What I hope not to hear is, “I looped it.”
“I am the best there is at what I do, and what I do ain’t nice.”-WolverineSeptember 13, 2008 at 3:34 am #12095MunchParticipant
Yes it is against conventional wisdom that you took a huge plunge on such a powerful bike. However at the age you are I am sure you are well aware of all the risks and consequences. Though I would have not tried it nor encourage anyone else to do what you have, mainly cause alot of us are not as fortunate as you seem to be with a semi private riding coach. If you were say 30 years younger give or take 5 years… I would ask about your locale and pray I didn’t read further about you in the paper.
Let us know how your adventures take and by all means stay safe!
Yesterday is a memory, tomorrow is a prediction, but today…… is a Bi**hSeptember 13, 2008 at 3:44 am #12099
The Ducati is a liter bike so it’s not a mid sized bike IMO. Take it slow and make sure your buddy has you practice the slow weaves and u-turns (etc) so you get very familiar with that clutch. If your not already doing it keep your wrist lower than your knuckles on your throttle hand. It limits the amount of throttle you can grab, whic is a good thing.September 13, 2008 at 4:15 am #12102
You should probably be 2 fingering that front brake although the teachers at MSF will bitch at you for it later.September 13, 2008 at 4:22 am #12101
Thanks everyone for the good words.
Andrew, I realize that mine is not a mid sized bike. What I meant is that I looked at a few mid sized bikes, most notably the SV650. Also, thanks for the hint on keeping my wrist low. Hadn’t heard it before but will put it in use tomorrow. At this point in time I am much more concerned with accidentally grabbing too much throttle than intentionally pushing it beyond my meager skill level.
Again, I do appreciate the nice comments and I’ll let everyone know how I’m managing the beast.
If you care to take a glance at the beast here she is. Say what you want as to whether it was the proper choice, you have to admit she’s beautiful. Don’t ya?
http://randystern.myphotoalbum.com/view_photo.php?set_albumName=album04&id=DSC00838September 13, 2008 at 4:37 am #12103
So this is your bike?September 13, 2008 at 4:47 am #12104
I posted a link to a photo of my bike in my previous post. Yes, that’s her, but mine is gray rather than the two tone in your shot.September 13, 2008 at 12:39 pm #12111BuddParticipant
Why does it have two brake fluid resevoirs? nice bike though; keep it shiny.
“I am the best there is at what I do, and what I do ain’t nice.”-WolverineSeptember 13, 2008 at 1:34 pm #12114
“Why does it have two brake fluid resevoirs?”
For balance of course.September 13, 2008 at 2:50 pm #12116CBennettParticipant
I just think with the bigger bikes with more HP and torque that if you make a mistake with the throttle it will get you in trouble a LOT quicker than one with less HP and torque. Its not that you are going to go out and TRY to go real fast or even WANT to go real fast..im like you I have no “need for speed” BUT I also know that if I had had you bike to “learn on” id have already either laid it down or crashed it once already..the only thing that prevented that was that mine has a hamster in it running really fast instead of a Thoroughbred horse lol. When learning that extra HP and torque will make your noob mistakes happen a LOT quicker and a lot FASTER. I have a feeling that at some point that beautiful bike will be laid down because something happened and that will be a shame..Thats also why I myself would always recommend a USED and if possible farringless bike to learn on..just so if it is laid down you done really mess up either a large(and beautiful) bike/investment/$$$ or have to fix tons of plastic farrings…I laid down the MSF bike I was riding last week when I locked up the front brake in the quick stop. im not happy the bike got laid down at all theirs or mine but im much happier it WAS theirs not mine. If that had been the ninja id be getting right side Farrings . it was low speed and no injuries..in fact the bike was so light I almost caught it B4 it actually tipped over….I could have seen what id do if that was your Ducati : ( . Well I hope you have good luck with that bike..IMO it would have made a REAL nice 2nd bike..id have gotten a cheap $1100 bike like mine to learn on first though…less HP& Torque for noob mistakes=better time lol.September 13, 2008 at 3:02 pm #12118dcJohnParticipant
I think that, whatever our opinions might be on its beginner-appropriateness, we can all take a moment to gaze happily at the purty, purty bike. That’s a very nice looking ride.September 13, 2008 at 5:53 pm #12123megaspazParticipant
That bike pictured uses a hydrolic controlled wet clutch. the reservior above the clutch lever’s for lubin’ the clutch.
If there’s anything more important than my ego
around, I want it caught and shot now…September 13, 2008 at 6:31 pm #12124RabParticipant
They’re gorgeous bikes and it felt surprisingly light in the showroom (without fluids) when I sat on one.
I was tempted to buy one after my Triumph Bonneville (which was my 2nd bike) but couldn’t justify the expense for a commuter bike that I’d be putting a lot of miles on.
Because there are variables amongst new riders (age, maturity, gender, weight, experience, attitude, etc.) we usually err on the side of caution and recommend a 250-500 c.c. as the generic “ideal” starter bike. You *can* learn on pretty much any bike but smaller bikes are *much* more forgiving.
You have the advantage of some experience, age (and therefore hopefully maturity) and a mentor. I’d still take an MSF Basic Rider Course if I was you. They’ll supply the 250 c.c. bike and might teach you some things that your mentor has forgotten or doesn’t know about. It’s surprising the number of experienced riders who don’t know about countersteering (who use some form of “Body English” instead) or (wrongly) never use their back brake, etc.September 13, 2008 at 9:38 pm #12127
Just got back from today’s ride, and it was a great one in every sense. First of all it is a beautiful late summer day up here. Second, and more relevant to this forum, I really felt some things starting to click today. Ended up being the first time I had ventured beyond roads where cars were few and far between. Was on a state highway, keep in mind the state is Vermont so we are still talking relatively light traffic, and felt totally at ease. Found myself with a much better feel for the throttle and clutch. A little, actually make that quite a bit, hesitant, about making my first left turn from a stop sign; waited quite a while so that there were absolutely no cars in sight and made the turn. The next time the situation came up I approached it much more confidently, saw a car in the distance but plenty of room to be safe, let out the clutch and off I went. It’s a great feeling to feel yourself making progress and learning.
So far everything has gone great. Actually too great so that I’ve hardly needed to break except when coming to a complete stop after downshifting to a very slow speed. I realize at some point someone is going to pull out in front of me or I’ll need to stop short for some other reason and that is a test I’ll need to pass. Having owned and ridden a large bike for less than a week I realize that I am not one to speak with any authority on any subject, even on the basics. I can tell you that what I find most awkward is handling the bike when stopped. It may be relatively light compared to some others in its class, but 400+ pounds is still quite a bit of dead weight to be pushing around. Once I am moving I do feel quite comfortable and at no point today did I grab even a tiny bit more throttle than I intended to. Hopefully next time out will be just as much fun and just as productive.
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