- This topic has 16 replies, 8 voices, and was last updated 12 years, 8 months ago by eon.
Someone with zero riding experience has some questions…
June 24, 2010 at 6:04 pm #4063
So I’m signed up for a beginner’s rider course next month. I’ve had some thoughts/questions that I’d like feedback on, please:
1) Are there any Ninja 250R owners who have had their bike for more than a year? Ppl say that one will become bored quickly with a 250cc bike, but reviews of the Ninja 250R make it sound like a blast.
2) Perhaps my biggest fear with motorcycle riding is falling or getting hit while at speed. I also don’t want to drop the bike at a standstill (how embarrassing). Ppl make it seem like this is bound to happen at some point. Just a concern of mine.
3) I bought a helmet and it’s not too comfortable. I mean, I got one that fits right and feels comfortable in that sense, but it’s heavy so it feels weird. And at first I felt kind of claustrophobic. :-p How long does it take to get used to?
4) For the helmet, how does an anti-fog insert work? Is it just an insert, or an entirely new shield thingy? From looking at this web site — http://www.helmetcity.com/page/HC/PROD/cl16shields/cl16pinlockinsert — it seems that the anti-fog insert is a lens that’s placed over the existing helmet lens?
5) For someone who’s not great at *driving* stick shift, how hard do you think it will be to learn stick shift motorcycle riding? Is it as easy to stall a bike as it is a car?
Thanks!June 24, 2010 at 6:25 pm #27172
1) Yes, I’m a Ninja 250R owner. I’ve had a 2008 model since late 2007. I also own a track bike (a GSX-R600) and a supermoto bike. While I may sell the Ninja in the next six months or so, it will be for space and money reasons. If I had my choice, I’d keep it forever.
Will you get bored? I don’t know. That has more to do with how concerned you are with learning to ride really well vs. going fast in a straight line. I know lots of people at the track that ride super fast bikes very slowly. That’s a reflection of not really knowing how to ride and not knowing the limits of their bike. So, will you want more power after a year? Probably. Do you NEED more power, and will you have tons and tons of fun on a 250R for many more years? Absolutely. You know yourself better than anybody (I hope), so try to figure out whether you’ll be willing to restrain the urge to accelerate meaninglessly to a super-low speed limit on a bike that’s more expensive, harder to insure, and more difficult to ride.
2) Most people do crash or drop their bikes at some point. I never have (on the road anyway). If you are prudent, patient, and you practice a lot, you can reduce the risk of any such incident dramatically. Drops are always a risk until you know how to manage the weight of the bike, but the lighter and lower your bike is, the less likely you are to drop it. Heavier bikes with higher seats will make it MUCH harder to prevent a tip if the weight of the bike gets away from you. As far as crashing on the street goes, don’t be an idiot. The rest is down to blind luck.
3) You get over this very quickly. A couple of rides and you’ll be fine.
5) It is very hard to stall a bike. You probably won’t ever stall once you’ve learned. In fact, I doubt you’ll stall by the second day of your safety course. Even weenie bikes have much better power-to-weight than cars, so stalling is much less likely.June 24, 2010 at 6:30 pm #27173JackTradeParticipant
I’ll take a shot at some of the ones with which I have experience:
2) the “everyone falls at some point” is motorcycle conventional wisdom that has a basis in statistics…but it doesn’t mean that it’s going to happen to you. You should keep in mind always that statistically, riding a motorcycle means your chances of being in an accident go up (in addition to the lack of standard safety equipment, as you’ll learn, there are many more ways to screw up riding a bike than driving a car). BUT…if you learn to ride properly (as you’re doing) and always keep the right mindset, there’s no reason why you can’t have a long safe riding life. I personally think that focusing on the negative “I’m going to crash” is asking for trouble if you ride.
3) took me maybe a month or so. Yeah, they feel huge and heavy (esp. if you buy a lower-cost one), but after awhile, you’ll barely feel it.
5) It is true that knowing how drive a manual transmission does help in the sense that it’s one less thing to worry about in the MSF course, but you’ll pick it up. It’s harder to stall a bike (indeed, one of the first things you’ll learn how to use the “friction zone” of the clutch to move the bike at low speeds) than it is a car, esp. the small bikes you’ll be riding.June 24, 2010 at 7:15 pm #27176TrialsRiderParticipant
Add; all cars have a ‘dry’ clutch, just as the vast majority of motorcycles have a ‘wet’ clutch. A wet clutch can take far more just learning abuse and the motorcycle shift pattern is far more natural.
Heavy helmet combined with the wind force is a pain in the neck, best fix I can suggest is Ibuprofen.June 24, 2010 at 8:35 pm #27177eonParticipant
1) I don’t own one but they look gorgeous and would happily have one in my garage.
2) You are certainly more exposed to serious injuries on a bike than in a car so you need to keep that in mind. In practice it means you are so much more in tune with your surroundings as you are watching out for mistakes made by everyone else. This makes riding a bike a much more involved experience than driving a car, and IMO adds to the fun. But taking the attitude that it’s bound to happen is lazy and flawed.
4) The pin lock insert fits onto your visor but there are breath deflectors that fit into your helmet and sit over your nose. Also, Scorpion’s helmet visors are pre-treated and don’t really fog up too much, unlike my Arai. There are also cleaning fluids that help keep the problem in check but need constant application.June 24, 2010 at 9:25 pm #27183
Thanks guys!June 25, 2010 at 5:02 am #27191madjak30Participant
1) I don’t have a Ninja 250, but I ride a Suzuki GS500E…another highly recommended “learner/beginner” bikes. I found that the straight line accel. is great for the first week, then you are looking for more. But a bike isn’t about stop light racing, it’s about learning to carry speed through a courner and taking the back road because you want to. I found that I try to take a “joy ride” after work, and I have a big stupid grin on my face doing it. Am I faster than any car out there? Nope, I got beat by an Escalade the other day…I’m sure the guy told his buddies that he beat a “sport bike”, but my bike may be “sporty looking” but not a sport bike…similar to the Ninja…low power, but extreme fun!!
2) The “everyone drops their bike eventually” talk has merrit (as said above, in the stats). You shouldn’t drop your bike if you are aware of the possibility, but as soon as your mind is elsewhere…you may put your foot down in some loose gravel, and……if your bike is lighter, you will have more of a chance to save it (I did, luckily). As for at speed, it is more of a defensive driving vs agressive driving issue…if you ride it like you stole it, you will probably have some kind of incident. But if you are aware of your surroundings and ride defensively, you are much less likely to ever add to those stats…(I almost did, over accellerated through an on ramp and ended up right on the line…no other car right there, but if there was they would have probably swerved and honked…BAD ME!! Learning curve.)
4) The anti-fog insert is just that, an insert. My helmet came with one and it works well. I didn’t put the chin piece in, so on a windy day on my way to work I found out what it is for. It helps to stop wind from hitting your chest, going up into the front of the helmet and hitting the breath deflector to end up hitting you square in the eyes…not great, I pulled over and yanked out the deflector…
5) I think it is helpful and hurtful to have previous experience in a car…the basics are the same, but in a car you are told not to “ride the clutch”. On a bike you are told to “slip the clutch” to control your speed at slow manouvres…so you have to unlearn one of the first rules that you are told when learning in a car…it’s kinda like explaining “counter steer”, it doesn’t make sense to most people until you try it…then it becomes clear…
Anyway, I know I skipped #3 but I didn’t have any problems with my helmet fitting or feeling wrong…maybe because I have a big head…lol ???
My suggestion is to go with the 250cc bike for the first year, if you buy used you will probably get what you paid for it…free use for a year (minus insurance and fuel).
Good luck and remember, this is fun!!
Later.June 28, 2010 at 8:22 pm #27233CBBaronParticipant
1) I’ve had an `06 ninja 250r for about 6 months and 2k miles (bought it just before winter) and love it. Compared to the larger motorcycles it is underpowered but compared to most cars it is peppy. If you want the baddest and fastest bike then you will want more quickly. If you want a fun vehicle that you can learn to ride fast then the 250r is a great choice.
2) With care you should avoid dropping the bike. A strong taller person on a light bike will be able to get away with those little mistakes that cause drops with weaker riders or bigger bikes. I’ve not dropped the bike but there have been a couple times I may have dropped it if I rode a bike bike.
3) I had no problem with the helmet, but I ride a bicycle nearly daily with a helmet and used to play football and rid ATVs so have experience with heavy helmets. I would guess that with some time you will adapt and it becomes barely noticable.
4) My cheap HJC helmet steamed very easily in humid or cool conditions. I got the pin-lock shield and insert and it nearly eliminated the problem. However the shield and insert cost nearly as much as the helmet.
5) I didn’t think automotive clutch experience and shifting really helped me with the motorcycle. It really was a matter of training the motor memories. The first day of the MSF class everything required so much thought tha I was usually forgetting something. However by the second day some things started becoming automatic and I was able to concentrate more on what I was doing and learning the new skills. I think experience and practice is very important in riding skills and ability.
CraigJune 28, 2010 at 10:41 pm #27239RabParticipant
There are two types of anti-fog insert for full-face helmets that I’m aware of:
1. The Fog City ones are a plastic film that sticks-on to your existing visor and stays stuck. I’ve not used those. They reportedly work well but may introduce a little visual distortion to the visor I’ve heard.
2. Pinlock is a two-piece thing:
(i) Your visor has to have two small plastic studs in it to anchor the Pinlock insert. Your helmet visor may come so equipped or you may have to purchase a suitably equipped accessory visor (they are available for a number of different helmet brands, but certainly not all brands). They used to sell a do-it-yourself kit to modify your own visor, but I don’t know if that’s still available or not.
(ii) The insert itself is made of a soft plastic which has a bead of silicon around the periphery to seal it against the visor. The insert comes in a variety of tints (you can’t go wrong with “clear” though) and is attached/detached by flexing the visor and aligning the notches on the insert with the plastic pins on the visor. The curvature of the visor once unflexed, keeps the insert firmly in place.
I have a Pinlock set-up on my HJC CL-15 and it works 100%, no fogging, no way, no how; in any kind of weather. It costs a bit, but it really does do what it says it does. The only drawback (if you can call it that) is that in pitch darkness, I can sometimes see some tiny “ghost” headlights reflected in the visor, but it’s really not a big deal and only seen on pitch black unlighted roads.
I use anti-fog sprays on my glasses when riding in cold/damp weather and they’re okay for that if re-applied every couple of days, but they’re not great when used on a visor as although the visor doesn’t “fog”, condensation tends to form and distort your view.June 29, 2010 at 12:52 pm #27250
Thanks so much.
“Compared to the larger motorcycles it is underpowered but compared to most cars it is peppy. If you want the baddest and fastest bike then you will want more quickly. If you want a fun vehicle that you can learn to ride fast then the 250r is a great choice.”
Since my daily driver is a boring economy car with a 0-60 time of 9.5 seconds, I think the 250R will feel plenty peppy. :-p Starting off, I want something easy to handle and fun to ride, certainly not the fastest bike.
“I have a Pinlock set-up on my HJC CL-15 and it works 100%, no fogging, no way, no how; in any kind of weather.”
Awesome. I have an HJC CL-16 with the pinlock system, so I went ahead and ordered the anti-fog insert.July 3, 2010 at 11:57 pm #27315
Madjak, you offer a lot of great advice, and I agree with the spirit of what you’re saying, but I have to nitpick the way you got this point across:
“Am I faster than any car out there? Nope, I got beat by an Escalade the other day…I’m sure the guy told his buddies that he beat a “sport bike”, but my bike may be “sporty looking” but not a sport bike…similar to the Ninja…low power, but extreme fun!!”
Here’s the thing. You, or anybody, will get desensitized to straight-line speed really fast. I mean, really fast. On my first track day I was running down the main straight at 100 mph with the throttle at 40% and I was pumping adrenaline. By the end of the day, I was pinning it at 150+ and not sweating it at all. I ride a GSX-R (among other things), and I regularly catch myself thinking “man, I wish I had some more horsepower.” Straight-line speed is not the litmus test for anything…unless you’re drag racing.
Your GS, Madjak, is not “low power.” It’s “low power” for a BIKE, but in terms of power to weight ratio, it’s pretty damn quick! You have more power on tap per pound than an Aston Martin V12 Vanquish, and that’s at sports car rocking 460 horsepower! Your GS has TWICE the power-to-weight ratio of an Escalade, so if you get “beat by an Escalade,” I’m afraid you can chalk it up to either safe restraint (my hope) or your own riding. Why am I harping on this? It’s because I hear it all the time: “my ____ doesn’t have a lot of power.” It used to be that bikes like your GS were considered the “big bikes” and the 250R would have been considered a “middleweight.” People need to be more aware that they’re talking about 250-450 pound vehicles here. 47 horsepower on a bike is a good chunk!
Lots of people get desensitized to the power of their car, bike, etc. while trundling around on the street. Then (assuming they’re executive vice presidents of DoofCo) they go buy a Mustang, then upgrade to a GT-R, and then a 911 Turbo with 500 horses. What I want to make clear is that you could put a local club racer against your average street driver on the track, put him on my Ninja 250R and the street driver in a 500hp sportscar, and the street driver’d get WHOOPED! If you know how to ride, your ability to go fast increases regardless of what you ride, as does your confidence, your safety margin, and your enjoyment. Unless you want to be the guy with the 130hp bike who floors it to 60mph on the freeway onramp and then nails the brakes and cruises the superslab, it makes a lot more sense TO ME to learn to go fast (or safe, or well, or whatever your goal is) on a “slow” bike than to be the guy going slow on the “fast” bike.July 5, 2010 at 6:01 pm #27337madjak30Participant
It probably has more to do with my riding skills, or lack there of…but if you read the whole comment, and like you mentioned in your own post, you get used to the accelleration of your bike pretty quick…the skill and fun of riding the bike is carrying the speed through the corners…
As for the power to weight ratio…mine is a little different. 1. I think my carbs need tuning (I can smell raw fuel when I stop at a light) 2. My weight adds more than most (275lbs). This makes my bike with me on it weigh in at nearly 700lbs, which is a lot of mass for 47hp and 29lb/ft of torque to move. It moves that mass quite well, quicker than most vehicles…but not all. With me on the bike, it’s like others riding 2up…
I don’t expect to be the fastest thing on two wheels, and I am glad that I am not…sometimes the fun of riding makes me act immature….?? Hence the improptue drag race…I should be more mature and just nod, let them floor it and take off from the light while I just start out normal and civilized…but sometimes you think “yeah, I can take him!”…but even losing is fun…
And just in case you think I am a total idiot (stop light racing in the city), the lights I was stopped at are the last set of lights heading out of town onto the hiway…no side streets and speed limit of 110kph (65mph ish), which is where I stopped accellerating (I guess my maturity kicked in…no speeding)…
Later.July 5, 2010 at 6:14 pm #27339
Like I said in my original post, I am 100% in agreement with your message. I really was just nitpicking the way you chose to express that one idea. I think a lot of people just don’t get how much fun you can have with (and how much there is to learn about) everything OTHER than the right-hand grip.July 5, 2010 at 7:33 pm #27341eonParticipant
My combined weight is 713lbs and I only have 40bhp and 31 lb/ft torque. In 2 years, 18000 miles of riding I have rarely found it wanting in acceleration, and certainly not during the first few months of riding. These days, occasionally, but only when I want to execute an overtaking maneuver.
I have no doubt you can accelerate faster than I can so why is it you feel this lack of power and I do not? You only been riding what, a month? But then you were complaining about a lack of power from the very first day, on the 250s in your training class. I think you also mentioned the lack of power on the GS500 from the very beginning and are now drooling over 1500cc bikes. It could be you have different expectations than me, but I get concerned when you start confirming to newbies that they will get bored with a 250. Out of all the contributors to this site I think you are unique in feeling this lack of power. Just something to ponder upon.
As mentioned, you do get used to the acceleration pretty quickly but that does not mean it is time to trade up. Carrying speed through corners has NOTHING to do with how much horsepower you have beneath you. My fat pig of a scooter can easily reach unsafe speeds for any corner. Learning how to take the corners quickly but safely with a good safety margin is where I have fun on a bike. Perhaps that’s why I’ve not felt a lack of power.July 5, 2010 at 10:43 pm #27346
Eon: always saying what I’m too inarticulate to express.
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