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Suzuki Canada 1990 AE50 – Scooter Sales Brochure
..probably water released from the A/C. When fall arrives, see if you’re still getting hit…
Like Wbsprudels, it gets to me no matter what I’m driving.
I love cars as much as bikes (that’s why I dislike the term “cager” as much as I do “organ donor”), and the thought of a lit cigarette hitting my paint job really grinds my gears.
Funny how very few people now consider it appropriate to throw say a coffee cup out the window (though we’ve all seen it…sigh), but some smokers seem to think it’s just fine to do it with their butts. It’s just so thoughtless; I’m no hardcore environmentalist, but the idea of throwing one’s trash on the ground seems, for lack of a better word, uncivilized.
On the “Squid” derivation, my favorite apocryphal origin story is that when sportbikes as a type were first coming out in the 1960s, they were popular with military personnel (as they are now), particularly with sailors stationed in California. Riding training being a lot less available then, there were tons of novices on the streets with fast machines, few skills and a lot of testosterone.
Those with military backgrounds know that “squid” is a derogatory term used usually by the Army to refer to Naval personnel. And in the wild, real squids can travel very fast in a straight line, but have trouble turning (they have to slow way down)…kinda like an unskilled rider. Couple the two, and viola…”I was putting the surf boards on top of the Country Squire, and this damn squid nearly ran right into the car!”
Add “Naked”…no fairings. Less aerodynamic, but more visceral. See Monster, Ducati for more info. Note the “Fairings” and “Naked” are usually only discussed in terms of sportbikes…Harleys are not considered naked bikes for instance.
For “Squid”, I always make it more encompassing when I define it…to me, it’s not just hotheads on sportbikes but also guys on Harleys in (inevitably HD) t-shirts, half-helmets and fingerless gloves.
And ’cause I love ’em: “Cafe Racer”…a minimalist, stripped down style of proto-sportbike popular in Europe in the 1950s/60s, currently making a comeback. So named because British bikers would race them from roadside cafe to cafe. (see “Naked”).
On the more humorous side:
“Crotch rocket” – to cruiser riders and the general population, any sportbike, often of Japanese origin.
“Metric bike” – what Harley riders call cruisers made by foreign companies.
“Oldwing” – what sportbike riders call touring bikes. Comes from preeminence of the Honda Goldwing in this segment.
…the upper level Nighthawks again.
Like a lot of people, I rode the 250 version in the MSF course, and for a bargain basement bike, I was impressed. Very smooth, and felt extremely well put together (esp. compared to the, er, “domestic” build quality of my Buell). I love the look of them too…high-tech streamlined body with old-school spoked wheels.
I’d buy a bigger engined one if Honda would make it.
Re Eddie’s comment…while I currently own a 500cc engined bike (a Buell P3 Blast), it’s a “cruiser 500cc”, so doesn’t have nearly the power of a 500cc twin as seen in sportbikes. My Blast is about as powerful as a Ninja 250.
I’m thinking of getting rid of the Blast soon and have been considering a 500cc twin (I dig the Suzuki GS500F) as a replacement…a way to get decent power in a still novice-friendly package. I’m already getting to the limits of the Blast (the footpegs and my boots are now both beveled down on the outside edges!), but I still like a 500’s combination of usable power that’s not overwhelming.
I live in the Washington DC area, and it gets pretty hot+humid here in the summer too. As Eon says, get yourself a quality mesh jacket (and maybe mesh pants too), and you’ll thank yourself. They do a great job of passing air through when you’re in motion, and at least letting heat escape when you’re not.
I have a Fieldsheer High Flow jacket, and it does a great job. CE-rated hard armor all around. Not a lot of pockets unfortunately. I wear it with Fieldsheer Titanium mesh pants (they zip together) for a good balance of protection and comfort.
Assuming you want a sportbike, I’d say check out the Ninja 500. Given your size, that extra hp/torque could make all the difference, esp. for getting up to speed on the highway. Nearly as ridable as the 250, so decent for a beginner (maybe more so, as you don’t need to rev it as much to generate power).
Agree on HJC helmets (that’s what I have…see my avatar..it’s a CL-15). Good, if not great, quality, a reasonable amount of features, but both DOT and Snell rated. I paid a little more than $100 for mine.
I personally wear Fieldsheer gear otherwise, as I feel it offers a great value…quality protection at very reasonable prices (and w/o gigantic logos everywhere).
If you haven’t already, check out http://www.motorcyclecloseouts.com for some great prices on gear. If you don’t mind wearing (gasp!) last season’s styles, they have rock bottom deals. I’ve bought a bunch of things from them, at great prices and terrific customer service.
…my strategy when I started riding in the real world (i.e. not the parking lot in the BRC).
I started on the back streets of a nearby residential neighborhood, getting a feel for everything, both major things like turns and braking, but also the smaller things like using the turn signals and the mirrors properly, and smooth starts and stops (even though I was, I didn’t want to *look* like a beginning rider while on the road).
While in said residential neighborhood, I’d usually make a stop at a local (empty) church parking to practice my emergency braking and my low speed turns. As the hardest part for me in the BRC was “the box,” I would spend tons of time at this church riding in really tight circles. Paid off though…when I took the ERC course recently, the box was nothing.
After a few weeks of doing that, I started to venture onto busier and busier roads with more and more traffic.
Agree on saving highways and expressways until last. Not that they’re hard (they’re not compared with low-speed around-town riding), but because of the confidence factor. As SafetyFirst points out, it’s somewhat disconcerting the first time you reach highway speeds (55+)…it’s both exhilarating and terrifying at the same time.
Congrats on a great bike!
Interesting how the Ninja 250 seems to fast be becoming THE starter bike around here. It was always a competent machine, but I think the new styling is what’s really making it sell.
When I first got into motorcycles, I remember seeing one at a local dealership, sitting next to the supersports…not knowing much about sportbikes at that point (not that I’m an expert now), I didn’t notice anything different about it from its neighbors…just a row of fast-looking bikes.
Beginner bikes that don’t look like beginner bikes…hmmmm….I guess this is why Buell is crushing my model into a cube these days…
The 250 redesign is amazing…a beginner bike that doens’t look like one. Though it always makes me wonder when the 500 will get the same treatment.
I had a friend in high school whose parents bought him a Mitsubishi Starion, a turbocharged coupe of the era. Was a seriously fast car for the time. And you know what? He never crashed it.
It really does depend. The reason why inline 4s on bikes (or turbo 4s in cars) aren’t recommended for beginnners is because a lot of people tend to get in a lot of trouble with them. But some don’t….there are always exceptions, and you may well be one of them. Only you’ll know for sure.
My best argument for starting small is that in Europe, you don’t just get a motorcycle license and then go buy whatever you want. You get a graduated license…at first, you can only ride 250s (!). Once you’ve put in the requisite amount of time, you can apply to get licenses for successively more powerful bikes, eventually getting an unlimited license.
In my BRC, there was a guy from Spain, newly arrived in the states. Due to our in this case totally idiotic laws, they wouldn’t accept his full European motorcycle license, so he was taking the BRC to get it.
He was, for lack of a better term, flawless. He got a perfect score on the riding test, and frequently outperformed the instructors in the exercises. The instructors were suitably impressed, and when I left were still trying to get him to apply to become a MSF instructor.July 31, 2009 at 3:46 pm in reply to: Riding Gear: Are full-body racing suits the only solution? #21105
To be sure, motorcycles are very dangerous. Just getting on a bike, you assume a certain amount of risk. Not riding a motorcycle is always safer than riding one.
But that also applies to most worthwhile activities in life.
Is a leather suit the best possible protection? No doubt about it. But it’ll never protect you as much as not riding. So if you’re going to ride, you’re already in a certain sense compromising your safety. A.J. Liebling wrote that you don’t learn to box in order to avoid getting hit, just as you don’t go swimming in order to avoid drowning. Same thing with motorcycling. For all of us here, the reward outweighs the risk.
Consider that none of us likely rides with any real neck protection. That’s a pretty big risk we all assume from the get-go. But yet we still ride.
I personally think the thing is to consider the odds of when you’ll encounter different types of crashes. Crashes at high speed are exceedingly dangerous, yet statistically rare. This is the issue behind the Hurt Report controversy.
In the summer I wear a Fieldsheer High Flow armored mesh jacket, with connecting Fieldsheer Titanium mesh armored pants, with jeans underneath. Perfect protection, nope. But for me, a good balance of safety, comfort (being uncomfortable on a bike absolutely affects your riding, which is another safety factor as Briderdt mentions) and usability (i.e. you can’t wear normal clothes under a leather suit, so you have to wear it off the bike too).
That’s pretty cool…a nice touch for a cruiser where you want the function, but you don’t want something MotoGP looking.
Makes sense if I had a keeper bike like a Sportster…but I’m going to get rid of the Blast in the fall anyway, so I guess I’ll just survive w/o one for a while longer. Not really an issue, functionally, I suppose…not like I’m racing people on my bike or anything.
On the note of work-arounds for missing tachs, the current Honda Nighthawk (of MSF infamy) has one of the coolest, low-tech solutions I’ve ever seen: on the round analog speedo, there’s a ring outside the speed numbers that shows the range for each gear…so from O to maybe 15, there’s a curved line with a 1 at the end of it, then from 15 to 25, a 2, etc.
A very clever, simple way to give you at least a sense of a redline.
DCJohn…thanks for the offer; very kind of you. I just might take you up on that at some point….I’ve always liked the Versys styling, and now that they’re becoming more readily available (sat on one the other week at Coleman Powersports), maybe I should add it to my consideration.
I’m 6’0″, so the height would be okay for me. That windshield is a nice touch too…doing beltway speeds on my Blast is a real chore after a few minutes…I have to do my best impression of a flat track racer, tucking in so that my helmet’s chin bar is nearly touching the speedo. :-0
That’s one of things I like about the Gladius…you can get a small windscreen for it. Not big, but big enough to provide some protection and give it a Ducati-style look.
On the other hand, you guys have all sent me back for another look at the ER-6n…that comparo article is great, and it’s nice to be able to see them together like that. I do like the angularity of the ER-6n more than the organic look of the Gladius, and love it that Kawasaki has adopted the Buell exhaust-under-the-bike concept.