June 23, 2009 at 3:15 am #3047ransak78Participant
Everyone here seems to be really helpful and know what they are talking about. Which is perfect, because I really don’t know a whole lot. I’m new to this whole thing and I need some help. I’ve been doing some research, and everything points to the Kawasaki Ninja 250R being my first bike. Seems like a good bike to learn on and it seems perfect for my needs. Basically just to and from school and over to friends’ houses and stuff. And if the advertised 61 mpg is accurate, then gas won’t be a problem. So I’ve got the bike itself sorted out.
Next is protective gear. Obviously I want gear that is comfortable, offers good protection and relatively inexpensive. So if anyone has any recommendations for jackets, helmets, pants, boots, that’d be great. I’ve heard good things about brands like Icon, Joe Rocket, Shift, but what about the cheaper brands like Fieldsheer, Tour master, Alpinestars. Do they offer enough bang for your buck?
Next is insurance. People have told me that motorcycles are the most expensive to insure. They don’t seem that expensive. I’ve only gotten a quote from Progressive. That was around $200 a year for bare minimum coverage. I added a bit more coverage and my quote was around $400. So what does everyone here pay? I’d like to get an average price of insurance for a year.
And lastly the most important thing. Trying to convince my parents to let me get a bike in the first place. I’m hoping that with a lot of research and some help from people, like the people here, I can manage to convince them. But hey, if anyone has any ideas that might tip the odds in my favor, please share. Anything is appreciated.
Thanks.June 23, 2009 at 3:30 am #20049ransak78Participant
Forgot to put one thing. Going along with the gear stuff, what are some good websites that sell gear cheap?June 23, 2009 at 3:46 am #20051MunchParticipant
Get them to take the MSF… read sites like BBM… as far as parents go.
Sites… leatherup.com, Cyclegear.com ummmmmm brain fart………June 23, 2009 at 3:52 am #20052zeppelinfromledParticipant
First off, if you haven’t taken the MSF course, take it. That will be a good first step in convincing your parents, and it’s also a course that can save your life. So take it if you haven’t.
It’s turned out that most of my gear is from Tour Master/Cortech (boots, pants, and jacket at least). My helmet is a Shoei RF-1000. I’m happy with it, but you can definitely get quality helmets for cheaper than that one. I wrote a post a week or two ago with information about my gear, so you might want to see if you can find that.
My insurance is a little more than $1000 for the year, but I think I pay more than most people on this site. Being a single male in my early 20s in Boston doesn’t help. I would get more than the minimum coverage if I were you. I have a good deal of liability coverage, as well as un/underinsured motorist coverage (but that’s not what is expensive). Collision and comprehensive coverage are good as well, but they cost more for a motorcycle. Collision insurance will cover the bike if you get in a wreck that’s your fault, and that includes things like you dropping the bike. Comprehensive insurance covers things like damage from the weather, or vandalism, or theft (or collision with an animal, at least in Massachusetts).
If you’re a dependent on your parents, or if their name will be associated with the insurance, then it’s especially important to get high liability coverage.
If your parents are concerned that riding is dangerous, the best step that you can take is to make sure they know that you’re a responsible person (and to actually be a responsible person. And also make sure they realize that a lot of motorcycle wrecks happen when people are idiots. That being said, don’t fool yourself. Responsible motorcyclists do sometimes get into wrecks, and they can be pretty seriously injured in those wrecks. Safety gear helps immensely, and you should wear it at all times while you’re on your bike, but I think it’s important to accept the risks that you take.June 23, 2009 at 5:56 am #20054eonParticipant
Hmmm…I have a different opinion of some of those brands. I thought Alpinestars was a quality brand (though I have seen a wide price range in their products) and my opinion of Joe Rocket is that it is designed to appeal to the masses (good enough protection, good enough style and good enough price). This is all just opinion though, I don’t own anything from either of those companies. The best place I ever found for reviews on gear (practically the only place) is webbikeworld.com Most products they review get good reviews but you can get a feel for the differences and what appeals to you within your price range.
My favorite sites for buying stuff are http://www.motorcyclesuperstore.com and http://www.newenough.com. NewEnough has great pictures and comments from the seller. I have also bought from a few other sites (bikerhighway and johnsonleather) and had no problems. Motorcycle gear seems to be very seasonal so you can get great discounts on last seasons stuff if you are quick enough (it’s always really small and really large sizes left when I go browsing).
There are some really expensive helmets out there but you don’t need to spend a whole lot to get the most expensive part, protection. All the other bells and whistles you can live without if money is tight (and getting started in this business is expensive). There was a thread on here a few weeks back about Snell v No Snell. Dig that out and read it. You will learn a lot.
The one most important thing you can do is to take the MSF class and get in the mindset of learning to ride safe and continually trying to learn (maybe that’s more than one thing ) Lot’s of material out there that teaches you how to be safe. Proficient Motorcycling by David Hough was what I learned from. Others here have used Twist of the Wrist (I think that’s what it was called) and Ride Like A Pro dvds.
The fact is crashing on a motorcycle is much more dangerous than crashing in a car. No point trying to pretend it is not. But, I honestly believe my odds of crashing on the bike are much less than when driving. Why?
1) I am higher up and so have a better field of view
2) I have greater all round vision as there no pillars in the way
3) I can move around in my lane to see past the car in front of me
4) In the event I need to take avoiding action I have more options on the bike
5) I am much more focused on what is going on around me. With no air bags or steel cage around me I am very aware of my own mortality. If that does not help focus the mind nothing will.
The last point is something that took me by surprise when I started. Your mind is on high alert and it is exhausting but it is also part of the enjoyment. You live very much in the moment.
Good luck convincing the parents but hopefully that comes second to making an honest appraisal of the risks involved to yourself.June 23, 2009 at 6:45 am #20055eternal05Participant
As Zep noted, Alpinestars is NOT a cheap brand at all. In fact, they are just about the most expensive brand after Dainese. Both produce imported top-quality Italian gear. They do have “cheaper” products in their product line, but they’re only cheap until you realize that they are less feature-rich than equivalently-priced options from other companies.
I own some A-stars gear and it is pretty-damn top-notch. You absolutely do not need this when you first start out though. As with the bike, start with “good enough.” Nothing would suck more than to spend $500 on a kick-ass Italian leather jacket and have it ripped up in a noob parking lot crash.June 23, 2009 at 5:05 pm #20071briderdtParticipant
Second the suggestion of NewEnough.com — great site. Cruise through the closeouts, and get on their mailing list.
For gear, I’ve gone a different route. I’ve got the jacket(s), gloves (several weights), helmet (and ear plugs and glasses), two pair of boots (full and low-top), but for pants I go two ways. I’ve got some full A* overpants for colder rides, and for commuting and warm rides I’ve been going with Riggs Wear Ranger pants. They’re kind of like Carhartt’s, but better looking for that not-so-construction-site look, and they’re cargo pants made from cordura — the same stuff that most textile riding gear is made from. And at $33 each at DenimExpress.com, that’s a TON cheaper than most any riding pants out there. Add some knee/shin armor, and you’re set.
Maybe that will help some.June 23, 2009 at 5:35 pm #20074Clay DowlingParticipant
And life will either be good, or you’ll find out that this isn’t what you want to do.
Definitely do this before buying a bike. Cap’n Crash put up a good video today about this very subject: you could drop a lot of dough on a bike and gear only to find that you can’t ride or don’t like riding. And there are people who really can’t ride. In my MSF class there were three people who didn’t complete the class, either by choice or because they were a danger to themselves and to others.June 23, 2009 at 7:28 pm #20087bigguybbrParticipant
I was gonna say “Alpine Stars is cheep!?!?!?!” If so I wanna know where he is shopping! Hook me up!
As for inexpensive brands give power trip a try. I have one of their jackets and it’s pretty nice all around and not very pricey. HJC makes some dot and snell approved helmets that won’t put too big of a dent in your wallet. I got inexpensive touring boots by Vega at the Americade Rally that only set me back $60 which was a steal…June 25, 2009 at 1:19 am #20157gsmurfetteParticipant
LIke the other’s I would say MSF, I would ask to see if it would be okay if one (or both) of them came to see what you are being taught. As a parent, it helps me a lot to see what’s going on, my son can tell me anything (not saying that you’re dishonest), but I don’t always believe him. Have them do research with you as well. It helps if the parents are well informed. My parents were bikers in the 70’s (and my dad well into the 90’s, now Mom wants to get into it).
As for brands. My husband and I lucked out, and when we bought our gear, we got it half price due to the shop changing the brand that they stocked. We have mostly Fieldsheer. I love it. We have 2 jackets, 1 pair of pants, and a pair of winter gloves by them. The pants were great, but I’ve got retarded long legs, and the only brand that made a long enough inseam for me was Joe Rocket, so I didn’t really have a choice with my pants. We have Tour Master (made by Cortech) gloves, and Scorpion helmets. We got my hubby’s at closeout for 99 bucks (it’s an ex-400). I had to pay full price for mine (ex-700) was a little over 200 if I remember right.
I think there’s even a thread in here for gear.
I use motorcycle superstore, leather-up.com
There’s more, but they aren’t coming to me right now.
PS- 2 didn’t pass my class. 1 should have, but her turn was too slow in the test, the other chose to leave after laying the bike down, I think it freaked her out.June 25, 2009 at 4:38 pm #20194SafetyFirstParticipant
Speaking of Scorpion helmets…
IronPony.com (and their brick-and-mortar store in Columbus, OH) has a bunch of discontinued EXO-400 and EXO-700 helmets for cheap. If I remember, most of the EXO-400s were women styles (unless light blue and purple is your color) for around $60ish (some might have been ever less) and the EXO700s are Raider green and yellow XS for $80.
A $35 replacement liner and cheekpads later, I’m rocking out in my XS turned S Raider Green EXO-700 for like $120 (yes, Scorpion uses the same shell for XS, S and M. The only difference is the liners.)
I know I say this too much, but pick up a Halo when you get your helmet! It’s a reflective band that goes around your helmet and makes you much more visable even during the day. I can’t get myself to buy a neon yellow helmet, so it’s the next best thing.June 25, 2009 at 7:28 pm #20203eonParticipant
Not sure why you think a gray band around your helmet makes you more visible during the day. Not unless where you live everyone is required to have headlights on during the day?
A word of warning. The Halo band will lose its stretchiness over a period of a few months and will start to fall off your helmet and wrap itself around your neck. Not a pleasant thought so the 2nd time I found my halo around my neck it was time for it to go. Some people have glued it to their helmet, I replaced it with SOLAS tape. This is a reflective tape that is required to be on every life jacket. If it is good enough for that application, it is good enough for me. My helmet is now ghetto as hell but it is plenty reflective.June 25, 2009 at 8:34 pm #20208Clay DowlingParticipant
After following a friend home one night and noticing that his black jacket and grey helmet disappeared even in the headlights until I got really close, I pointed that fact out to him. I figured he’d get some of the dark reflective tape some people here had talked about. He went with this instead:
I expected it would look ghetto, but I didn’t even notice it there until he pointed it out. Having something reflective on the helmet is just so natural that I didn’t take notice of it.June 25, 2009 at 9:07 pm #20213SafetyFirstParticipant
Ugh, Harbor Freight!
It’s a love-hate relationship, sort of like the bike store.
I love the place, but the wallet hates it.June 25, 2009 at 9:36 pm #20216SantaCruzRiderParticipant
I use one and figure it increases my visibility during those sunrise/sunset hours that accompany my commute.
I also had a bit of trouble keeping it on my helmet, especially when I switch from a larger bobblehead cap to a sleeker model. So I soaked the strap in water for an hour to revive and clean the neopreen, cleaned the helmet surface, then installed it with several small loops of tape (hidden inside, 1 in front, 1 in back, 1 on either side). It now stays on no problem, up to 90+ mph so far.
I would not recommend it for anyone who switches helmets though as it will eventually get stretched out.
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