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The Best Women’s Motorcycle Boots 
Firstly, remember, always do a spot check by turning your head (not just using the mirrors). All mirrors will have a blind spot.
Secondly, I found the best way around the “my mirrors only show my my elbows” problem is to shift my shoulders to the other side when I’m checking my mirrors.
If I need to check my left mirror, I move my upper body as far to the right as possible (but don’t turn/lean the bike in the process). This makes all the difference in the world to me.
North Shore as in North Van?
If so, shake your fist at Mt Seymour for me, will you? Last time I was there it gave me a wonderful concussion as a parting gift
Welcome to the board!
I use the EAR brand 33db ones (foam dispoasable, dirt cheap when bought in large quantities). They fit me comfortably, and make a serious reduction in noise (and on a bike with lots of tingy sounds like most 250s, they make the bike sound better to me
I use them any time I’ll be travelling above 40mph. Which is pretty much every ride. I only leave them out if I’m planning a short loop through city streets.
If I’m on the bike without them for an hour, I feel fatigued. With them I feel significantly better. It is amazing how draining noise really is.
Also, I reuse mine. I can get about a week of commuting out of one pair.
Before I worry about the engine size, I’d look at the age of the beast. Who’s going to wrench on it? The local dealership won’t have anyone trained to fix a bike that old. Where are you going to get parts? Honda doesn’t make ’em any more…
Consider, would you buy a 1982 Honda Civic today, as your first car? It was mighty reliable, but it is just so old now, that when things go, you’re in a heap of trouble replacing them, unless you are comfortable doign the work (and sourcing the parts) yourself.
That said, powerwise… if you can avoid freeways all the time, it is an option. That bike should top out at 60-65 mph. Chances are you’d want to run it a handful of mph below that. That bike was probably designed during the 55mph national speed limit…
Really, any of the 250cc bikes (Ninja, Rebel, KLX, etc) will be great starting points. They’re all light, great on gas, cheap to insure.
I see no reason not to move up to a bigger bike if that is what you want. Shifting is very natural and you’ll get back into it quickly. None of the bikes you list will punish you for poor shifting, or even poor throttle control.
There is a definite charm to riding a light bike like the Ninja or Rebel, and the others you list won’t have that charm. But, since you said you’ll be keeping the vespa, I don’t think it’ll be a worry. Embrace and enjoy the differences.
As the shoe says, just Do It.
I took the ERC 10 months (6 of those being winter) after my BRC. I had just shy of 1000kms on my bike, and my Dads.
I found the course to be totally worth while.
Others in the course had taken the BRC in september, gotten their bikes in October (and winterized at the end of October) and had less than 300kms on their bikes. They still did really well and found it very useful.
The ERC is a great way to learn your new bike.
Seriosuly, if you enjoyed the BRC, doing the ERC on your own bike will be twice as rewarding.March 9, 2009 at 10:46 pm in reply to: 600 Is Too Much!…No It Isn’t!…Yes It Is!…No It Isn’t! #16962
Maxim and a Ninja 650 should ride pretty differently.
The Ninja has a stiffer frame, makes more power, has wider sticker tires (more effort to turn in, way more grip, and higher confidence factor), and will out brake the Maxim by a big factor (double disc up front, and better tires allowing more of that force to be used).
The maxim is better compared to other cruisers (though it is much more upright than most modern cruisers).
Performance wise both the Ninja and SV650 are pretty close to the 600 super sports of the late eighties (although with considerably more mid range and less top end power).
Indeed, they’d eat the lunch of many litre bikes from the late 70s early 80s in everything but outright acceleration.
I think Sidi does their “adventure tour” style boots… Honestly, I’m not sure though.
I commute in the rain. I’ve spent entire days traveling by bike in the rain. Totally doable, but make sure you have proper rain gear.
I commuted all last season on a ZZR-250 (Ninja 250 by any other name). It was absolutely perfect in the city. The small size and easiness of it made sure that my mind was always on the traffic, not the bike. I always showed up to work with a smile.
I’m hoping this season with the SV650 will be every bit as good.
Protective gear: you change when you get to work. Overpants and jacket mean that all you need is to either bring with you, or leave at work, is a pair of shoes.
If you wear leathers or other armour that goes on in place of regular clothing, then you need to bring (or leave at work) a pair of pants as well.
As for storage (how do you get your shoes and lunch to work?) the simplest is a backpack. The next step up is a tank bag (either magnetic for quick removal, or strapped on). My tank bag easily carres a full change of clothes, lunch, and when I have to, a pair of shoes (it is a bit more of a stretch to get the shoes in there on top of everything else).
After that, you can get “soft” saddlebags which go over the back seat. These often carry 40L of cargo (enough for a weekend away if you pack right).
And if you keep going you can add a “top box” which is essentially a locking trunk that sits up behind the passenger seat, and hard luggage which requires a frame to be added to the back of your bike.
Costs go from $20 for the back pack, to $1000 for a high end hard luggage setup.
Many people cross the country with nothing more than a backpack, some soft saddlebags, and some bungee cords.
Just because a bike doesn’t have OEM hard bags, doesn’t mean you can’t pack it up. There are aftermarket bags for just about every style. Everything from dirt bikes to race ready bikes can be fitted with luggage from some reputable company.March 5, 2009 at 8:58 pm in reply to: 600 Is Too Much!…No It Isn’t!…Yes It Is!…No It Isn’t! #16913
Vibration is a product of the engine design (single cylinder 500cc sans counter-balancers), but is really only an issue at idle. Plenty of Buell owners like it, gives the bike an attitude. Kinda like a petrol powered rottweiler… If you don’t like it, chance are you don’t own a Buell
Reliability issues were cleared up with the 2003 model. Previous to that there was an issue with the head gasket. Every Buell post 2003 has a stellar reliability record.
Each brand fits differently. Trying it on in person is really the best option. BMW gear is really just Aerostich, so if it fits you, you can order an aerostich piece in the same size.
When it comes to pants, I find they are pretty close. Ditto for jackets. But you have to know your waist and chest measurements to use the sizing charts properly.
Boots are much harder. Each manufacturer uses a different foot mold. I find Icon fit wide but small, so they fit my overly wide feet nicely, I just have to wear a full size larger than normal. Joe Rocket and many of the other brands are simply too narrow for my foot.
The nice thing is, you don’t need to try the exact model you want, just the same company. All Joe Rocket boots have the same foot mold, so if a size 9 joe rocket boot fits, another style of joe rocket will still fit as a size 9.
If you think you should be in second through the turn, then down shift to second as you decelerate. Don’t just go down the two or three gears right away, but as you slow down to the speed for that particular gear. You don’t have to let out the clutch to use engine braking until you are comfortable with it.
But just remember, you do want the clutch out, and some power going to the wheels as you make your turn (just enough to keep your speed, not slow down or speed up through the turn, but make sure you have that power going to the wheels before you lean the bike over, so in case you are off a bit, it doesn’t jerk the bike while leaned over).March 5, 2009 at 3:17 am in reply to: 600 Is Too Much!…No It Isn’t!…Yes It Is!…No It Isn’t! #16914
Firstly, bikes are meant to ride, not sit. The worst thing you can do to a bike is let it sit.
Secondly, Ethanol is your friend.
Run 10% mixed ethanol (sometimes called “winter gas”, available year round all over the place). All gas vehicle sold in North America can run it without issue (it is often the only gas available in the winter where the temps drop below -20 on a regular basis).
Ethanol is a nasty solvent (it dissolves gas lines at higher mix ratios, hence why you can’t put E85 in a regular car). But it also dissolves the crud that might build up in carbs. Running a couple tanks of it will do wonders for slightly gunky carbs.
But frankly, that should never be an issue. Just don’t let the bike sit with gas in the carbs long enough for them to gunk up. If the bike is going to sit for three weeks or more, put some fuel stabilizer in it and make sure it makes its way down to the carb. The only motorcycles I’ve ever heard of needing carbs cleaned are ones that sat without fuel stabilizer. In two years of having three bikes in my family, all of them carb’d until just recently, never had an issue with a carb.March 5, 2009 at 3:04 am in reply to: 600 Is Too Much!…No It Isn’t!…Yes It Is!…No It Isn’t! #16911
People have started on ‘Busa’s. The fact that it is possible does not make it a good idea.
Reasons for a 650R:
-It is new ans stylish
-the 650 parallel engine produces a flat torque curve, so no matter where you are in the power band, the same twist of the throttle will result in the same increase in acceleration. (This is not the case in a rising torque curve like a I4, where the higher the rpm, the more pronounced the effect of the throttle will be).
-The suspension, brakes, and geometry are “good enough” by sporting standards; that is, they work and do their job, but do not do it so well as to be grabby or twitchy – aka the sport bike where a sudden fistful of brake results in flipping end over end.
The reasons against:
-Despite not reacting quickly and twitchy to all inputs (again, like a sport), nor being overly heavy, the Ninja 650 and SV650 both work in the realm of what was a super bike 20 years ago. They accelerate very quickly, they stop very quickly, and they turn in very quickly. In normal riding situations these traits are not too much for a confident rider IMO. The issue becomes when in stressful situations. The rider can still wheelie the bike with a clutch let out too fast, or stoppie the bike (or worse) with too tight a right hand.
The confidence the bike exudes can easily get a rider in over their head. Doing great, feeling great, you’re in the moment, then you realize you’re coming into the corner too hot. Most riders will try to loose as much speed as possible. The number of things they can screw up here is huge – target fixate on the shoulder, lock the wheels, etc. The new rider simply doesn’t have either the mental or physical skills yet to deal with it.
And everyone does it – mistakes are how we learn.
But on a lighter, slower, less stiff bike, you aren’t going as fast, your brain has more time to see what it is doing wrong and correct. Additionally, the “lesser” bikes are more forgiving to over-corrections (which all new drivers and new riders do, it is part of muscle learning).
Now, if you have dirt bike experience, and you think you’ve got what it takes to tame the 650, go for it. But don’t say it is fine for everyone, because it isn’t.
But also remember that smooth control of the bike and yourself is only half the equation. The other half is managing the road and other road users.
I know at least two guys who started on dirt bikes, raced them, and damn near made a mess in their pants the first time on a twisty road with traffic. Just because you have 75% of the muscle memory you need doesn’t give you the mental skills you need to hold your line around a corner with an 18 wheeler barreling down on you. It’s a different mind game than being in the dirt.
And that mind game is made easier when you aren’t worrying about your bike. As they say, each rider only has $10 worth of concentration. On a busy road you need at least $5 just for the other traffic and $2 spent on figuring out your immediate route. Now if you’re a new rider on a bike that requires careful smooth operation you’ll be spending another buck on keeping your throttle smooth, another worrying about shifting, and another one on the brakes. So what happens to your mental capacity when something else pops up? Something’s going to give.
It’s much nicer when you’re on machine that “just does what you want” without any surprises. It gives you more room for error.
I had about 1000 kms under my belt on a trio of bikes (GS450 making about 45hp, and a VF500F making 65hp, and a ZZR-250 making 35hp) when I test rode a BMW F650GS (making 75hp and 55 foot pounds of torque). Despite my experience, that bike made me very aware, the entire time, of how fast it could haul, how hard it could brake, and just how easy it was to turn. Frankly, it was too fast in every way. I spent a lot of energy making sure I didn’t bin it. When I drove home on my 250, my brain was free to enjoy the ride.
When I took my ERC, three of the guys there were on CBR125s. Tiny little “toy” bikes. They all had slightly less road time than I had. But when it came to controlling their bikes, they rode like the veterans on the 600s. They leaned those bikes over so far, braked so hard. Having seen that, there is no question in my mind that the best tool to learn on is an easy and forgiving one that you can “forget about” and just focus on your riding.
You are absolutely right about how everyone tries to simplify what makes a good bike down to displacement. Similarly everyone tries to link displacement directly with performance. And really, displacement is only a broad indicator of all the things that make a bike easy or hard, slow or fast. Just don’t make the mistake of discrediting over-simplification as lack of reason.