Ready to be flamed…
October 1, 2008 at 4:20 pm #13117
Thank you Reindeer. I’m not too worried about others on this site not taking the time to learn their bike. That does seem to be the theme, or yes spirit, of this site.October 9, 2008 at 1:55 am #13567
Had my first little scare last night. Nothing serious, and nothing related to the size of my bike. Had been out for about an hour, started out on a very challenging road, if anybody has visited northern Vermont they are probably familiar with a little stretch of road called Smuggler’s Notch, or simply “The Notch,” one of the steepest, narrowest, twistiest roads you’ll ever find yourself on. A challenging ride but I felt pretty comfortable. After working my way through the notch and across a state highway I was heading south on another state highway, one lane in each direction, doing the speed limit of 50mph, about 5 miles from home. I was riding with my friend behind me and was making a point to check my mirrors frequently to get an idea of where he was. All of a sudden, probably about 45 seconds after the last time I’d checked behind me, out of nowhere a car had passed both my friend and I in one shot, probably doing about 85, and with an oncoming car bearing down on this idiot he snuck back into the lane with about a 3 foot cushion in front of me. I’ve been passed before, especially on the scooter, but never by someone who cut so close in front of me. Just the suddenness of it scared the piss out of me. Idiot got stuck behind a minivan and couldn’t pass for the next mile or so before I turned off the road, headed for home, and lost sight of him.
Apart from that things are progressing steadily. I usually manage to get out every day at least for a short ride. By this time of the year most people would consider riding up here a chilly affair, I tend to think of it as exhilarating. I’ll be taking the MSF class in NYC in late November, the last class of the year; we’ll see how exhilarating that gets.October 13, 2008 at 7:34 pm #13810MattNParticipant
I was at our local Triumph/Ducati dealership over last weekend.
I now know why you bought that bike. pictures do not even come close to doing it justice.
I just sat and admired the 1000S ( the one with the half fairing, otherwise essentially the same ) for a good 15 minutes. That right there is a dream bike. No wonder so many park them in their living rooms.October 14, 2008 at 4:02 am #13823ShiftyParticipant
The Ducati is certainly a tempting fruit. I almost went for a Monster as my first bike after my 150 scooter. Fortunately I know myself well enough to not trust myself on that bike (yet), and I’ve opted for a Ninja 250 instead. A customer of mine rides a 1000s to the shop every now-and-then… it’s a great bike.October 14, 2008 at 5:01 pm #13839MattNParticipant
We have a bunch up by us for sale here.
I love it b/c its just so different from anything else…
http://www.nationalpowersports.net/itemDetail.aspx?itemID=2741&pid=2&sTxt=ducati&st=Description#_ctl0_ContentPlaceHolder1_detailCtrl_mainImgNovember 18, 2008 at 3:16 pm #14885
About 1200 miles on the Ducati and about 1500 on my scooter, so a little under 3000 two wheeled miles under my belt and they’ve both been put away for the winter. A couple of maintenance issues, due to Italian “character” rather than newbie misuse, but no drops and no scares. I can honestly say this is the first time, certainly the first time since I’ve lived in Vermont, that I’ve been sad to see the first flakes start to fly. I guess I’ll have to satisfy my need for the wind in my face and a little adrenaline in my blood the same way I have since I’ve been a kid, on a pair of skis. However I am hanging on to a few last bits of autumn, finally taking the BRC this Friday. I guess I’ll finally get to see what all this fuss about 250’s is about.November 26, 2008 at 3:54 pm #15049
Finished up my riding year last weekend by taking the BRC in New York, of course the weather was unseasonably cold-mid 20’s to mid 30’s and windy. We all knew there was a risk of that signing up for a class so late in the season, but we all managed to avoid frostbite.
As for the class, I got a good deal out of the classroom time not by what was covered in the book-most of that I had drilled into my head when I took my permit test-but by my and a few others asking specific questions to the instructors. I found the first day’s riding, similar to someone who took some grief for saying this in a previous thread, pretty basic for anybody who had spent a little time riding. I do realize that the course is designed so that even if you’ve never ridden you can complete the course so that was not unexpected. The second day of riding I found to be very useful. If there was one thing that I learned that I was doing wrong it was not looking through my turns quite enough. Though I was looking in the proper direction I was looking down at the road a little too much. The instructors, who were incredibly perceptive, picked up on that immediately and gave me no leeway. Of course I listened to all of them, but one was an ex cop-he really had a way of making you take note. With neither a sense of false modesty nor being too high on myself, I would say that I was probably the strongest rider in the group, then again I certainly had the most experience. I did disappoint myself in that I didn’t get a 100 on the skills test, my clutch control let me down in the double u turn and I went outside the line and put my foot down. After that I was fine but that bungle cost me 6 points giving me a 94. So, I can say I thought I was the strongest rider in the group all I want, however, someone who had never before thrown his leg over a motorcycle ended up getting a 100, so who’s to say.
During some down time I did ask one of the instructors about my particular road to this class, making the jump from a scooter to a Ducati. He said that he would normally recommend something smaller to start on-though not necessarily a 250-but that he felt the approach to learning was just as important as the bike you start on. The one question I was curious about was whether he thought that starting on a larger bike had hindered my development. He told me he couldn’t tell for sure but that for somebody with a little over a thousand miles on a motorcycle I was doing fine. Hopefully next year I’ll find the time to take the Experienced Rider Course.
As for the bikes, we were on Suzuki GZ250’s. Definitely a different animal than my GT1000. Again I’ll make a skiing analogy. There are days when you push yourself a little bit, skiing in terrain a little above your comfort zone, with people who are stronger athletes than you are. When you go back to your comfort zone it almost seems too easy. I guess that is how I felt about the 250 after riding a 1000, it was so small and easy to handle I can see why people enjoy riding them. That being said I can’t wait to get back on the Ducati come spring. The one thing I didn’t like about the GZ250 was the forward controls. On their website Suzuki classifies it as a standard, but it is definitely more of a small cruiser. I didn’t like the position of the controls nor the fact that I really needed to bend at the ankles, or even lift my foot off the pegs to either shift or apply the rear brake. On my bike the movements seem significantly more efficient.
So that’s my season, from a total beginner to a slightly more experienced beginner, and proud graduate of the BRC. Looking forward to that first twist of the throttle this coming spring.November 27, 2008 at 1:52 am #15057MunchParticipant
I am refusing to give up my riding …for now…. going ot every chance I get… the weather is giving me a break tomorrow and getting to a toasty 58….. I plan on riding til I run out of sun.
One of the things i hated most about the 2 days riding in the course was the bike is very different from my V500 … I had to re-learn my cruiser position and no the standard foot positions… took me about 10 stops to get back into it. No worries now though.
Yesterday is a memory, tomorrow is a prediction, but today…… is a Bi**hDecember 5, 2008 at 1:59 am #15162skyviannesParticipant
Couldn’t help commenting on the spirit of this site arguement (debate? arguement sounds so mean .. ) I’m new to riding and starting on a kawasaki 440 ltd (a bit dated but a nice bike). It’s no 250 rebel or ninja, but it’s also no 1000cc ducati. However i choose the bike i have becuase i feel it is the best combination of small yet powerful that i could find. Most 250cc bikes felt to cramped for me as i’m just over 6ft tall. I know i’ll have to be more careful in this that i would on something smaller, but i’m willing to take it slow and have a great teacher with 40ish years of riding under him. I realize that the ducati isn’t the ‘best beginner motorcycle’ for everyone, but i feel like we can’t say
is the best for everyone who wants to ride. The fact of the matter is that the ducati is quite possibly the ‘best beginner motorcycle’ for ran, and no one really should say that he’s making a dumb decision, as he has realized the power of the beast and is taking the proper procautions. The idealology of starting on a smaller bike is good, but we can’t limit it to saying anyone starting on a bigger bike is making a foolish choice. Caution them of what they’re getting into (or onto) but not open demean them for riding a bike that you don’t prefer.
Just one added note, this isn’t endorsing high cc beginner bikes, nor is it a shot at anyone on this site. Just my humble opinion.
~skivviesDecember 5, 2008 at 10:19 pm #15169
Skivvies,I pretty much agree with everything you’ve written. At this point in time I believe that the Ducati was the proper choice for me. Not necessarily for you, or you or you, but for me. Now I’m still at the stage where I’m a beginner, my skill levels well below the capability of the bike, so who knows, next year something may come up to change my opinion. However, right now, after a few months of pretty much trouble free learning, I am absolutely thrilled with my choice for my particular situation.
Now after taking the BRC and riding a 250 I can see how they would be easier to learn on. However I feel, and my instructors felt similarly, that my learning was in no way stunted by being on a larger bike, and that was because of the approach that I took. I realize it is sacrilege to even ponder the following on this site, but is it possible that I have more diverse, and dare I say better, experience than someone who had put about 1500 miles on a 250? I’m not saying this is so, but I will say as a fact that when I needed to get on a smaller bike for the BRC I in no way felt intimidated. The first time someone steps from a smaller bike to a larger one there will probably be at least some intimidation involved simply due to the size, sound, etc. I got that out of the way months ago.
I realize that in order to keep ourselves safe a lot of rational decisions should go into our choice of bike and how we choose to ride. However part of what makes motorcycles special is an emotional draw that most of us feel, or more precisely, “get.” I’ll admit my choice of ride was absolutely influenced more by emotion that rationale; hell once I saw one I had sweaty palms and couldn’t sleep until I owned one. However once that was done I did abide by the spirit of this site in that I’ve taken a conservative, rational, approach to riding. I think that is probably preferable to someone heeding the advice of many, purchasing a Ninja 250, but then riding it like an idiot. As I said previously in this post, and have written in numerous others, given the chance to go back a few months I wouldn’t change a thing.December 17, 2008 at 12:33 am #15303RoboChristParticipant
Those Ducati retros are definitely all that and a bag of chips. I would feel so paranoid about owning a marquee brand as a first bike….enjoy and ride safe
Body By Nautilus, brain by Mattel
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