Forum Replies Created
How to U-turn on a Motorcycle
August 16, 2008 at 7:34 pm in reply to: What type of bike do you have and what have you done to it? #10646
While I’ve still got a few dirt bikes (mostly for nostalgic reasons; I still own my very first motorcycle, a 1975 Yamaha GT80) to tinker on and ride occasionally, my newest and only street-legal toy is a 2008 white and silver GSX-R600. I can’t imagine that I will do much to it in the way of performance mods since it’s more than fast enough to get me in trouble on the street already and since I’m not trying to make a living racing. (A track day here and there may be on the agenda, though.)
However, I will do a few small things to it:
1.) Helibar clip-ons (already installed)
2.) Puig Double-Bubble (or similar) windscreen (to compensate for the change in riding position)
3.) Swing arm spools (for ease of maintenance/storage)
4.) K&N (or similar) air filter element (because I’ve got a reusable filter in everything else)
4.) Yoshimura slip-on (maybe, just for a little more aggressive sound)
I’ve dragged feet on dirt, but I don’t guess that’s exactly the same thing. So no, I haven’t technically dragged knees, although I do love a good twisty road. I think a track could be a blast, though.
It sounds like a good one and that you did your homework. Good luck, be careful, and have fun!
It sounds like you may be suffering from the early stages of MBS – Multiple Bike Syndrome. The good news is that you’re not alone; I don’t think I’ve ever seen a motorcycle I couldn’t at least appreciate. Granted, the big tourers like the Gold Wings and Electra Glides aren’t really my thing, I still think they are cool in their own right.
I love dirt bikes because that’s where I got started and you don’t really have to worry about traffic with them. (And your typical street bike just doesn’t handle the jumps all that well!) Meanwhile, I love the sportbikes and naked standards for their aggressive styling, awesome performance, and amazing use of technology. And, yet, I also like the cruisers (particularly the power cruisers) just because they’ve got style and offer a greater chance for individuality. (Between you and me, I really like the HD Night Rod Special.)
As far as the size goes, it doesn’t require as much extra muscle as you might think. No, they aren’t “first bike” material and they are certainly a handful (a Gold Wing weighs in at nearly half a ton!), particularly at low speeds and in tight spaces. But, if you had to be a giant or a professional body builder to ride them, they wouldn’t be nearly as popular as they are. (And they really are popular.)
I agree. If it doesn’t come with one, it should be a relatively simple matter to add a tach. Assuming the bike is even remotely popular, the manufacturer will likely have a bolt-on kit available. And, even if they don’t, there should be any number of aftermarket options available.August 15, 2008 at 10:44 pm in reply to: Good first bike for a ridiculously tall/big guy? 6’11” almost 400 lbs #10653
Have him take the MSF; that will give him a instant idea of how a 250 will fair under him. (I can’t imagine they’ll put him on anything smaller.)
However, I agree that a 250 is probably not the best idea for someone that big; just he, his gear, and a full tank of fuel may be pretty close to the bike’s maximum GVWR, depending on the model. With that kind of load, reasonable freeway speeds may be completely out of the question.
Given his really a-typical size, his best bet is to tour the dealerships and sit on anything he sees until he finds something he likes that fits. Then, even if he wants used and they don’t have it, he at least knows what to look for when searching around.
Depending on what he wants, a mid-sized cruiser with forward controls may fit the bill, or a dual-sport like the V-Strom 650. I also wouldn’t discount something like a Ninja 500/650 or a GS500/GSX650F. Basically, I’d still aim for something in the 500-650cc (just not a super sport) range for a sport, standard, or dual-sport and *maybe* something just a bit larger in the cruiser category. Just don’t go crazy; his size may warrant a little more grunt, but it’s no substitute for experience.
He obviously had it specially designed and manufactured by Kawasaki just for him. That’s why it’s so expensive. Duh!
Clean the outside of the shield thoroughly per the manufacturer’s instructions and apply some Rain-X per its instructions. At any kind of speed at all, the water will just bead up and roll-off. Granted you usually can’t use it on mirrored shields, but it’s fine on the outside of clear and tinted shields.August 15, 2008 at 4:19 am in reply to: Dunno y i looooled that much after seeing this pic… (NSFW) #10577
I definitely appreciate her willingness to…ummm….share. But it sure would be a terrible waste of perfectly good ta-tas if they went down. I mean, what if the…errr…weight suddenly shifted and threw off the balance!?!? Save the Ta-Tas!
While the Nighthawk is a decent motorcycle for what it is and what it costs, it is an older design and it is definitely at a technological disadvantage compared to the little Ninja. The Ninja has a better chassis, suspension, engine, and transmission. All of these things, plus steering geometry (rake, trail, wheelbase, etc) designed for more precise handling should all contribute to a better overall experience. Really, despite its small displacement and the lack or respect from the Squid crowd, the 250R is truly a fine machine for the money, particularly the new ’08.
And, while (in my experience) the MSF bikes are remarkably well maintained for what they go through, there is always the chance that the one you rode was suffering a little from a relatively hard life. Oh, and I generally hated the transmission on the last Nighthawk I rode; shifting was a little hit or miss and finding neutral was like trying to find Atlantis.
Modern engines benefit from vastly improved lubrication, metallurgy, and manufacturing technologies. However, this means they are typically built to much *closer* tolerances than engines of the past. This means that they will tend to run hotter (from increased friction) until all the surfaces mate. (This is also why fuel economy generally improves a bit after break-in) So, subjecting the engine to too great a load (higher engine speed = more power = more stress = more heat) too early in its life can cause premature wear.
Granted, there is very little chance that you will notice any ill effects if you don’t follow the break-in procedures and you certainly shouldn’t have a problem if you “over-rev” it a little “accidently” during break-in. However, following the prescribed procedures will give your new scooter the best chance of a long and trouble-free life.
As for the original question, depending on how mechanically adept you are, you might want to consider allowing the dealer to do the first service. That way, if anything serious goes wrong early on, the ball is clearly in their court when it comes to fixing it.
However, they legally cannot deny you warranty coverage if you decide to perform your own routine servicing. So, while I might let them do the first service, I’d consider doing the subsequent ones yourself assuming you have the knowhow and tools. You can save a lot of money, it’s not really hard (particularly if you pick up a service manual), and you will get to know your scooter much better. Just make sure you follow the service schedule (for warranty purposes) and keep good records.
The insurance game is the same whether it is cars or motorcycles. The flashy, high performance, highly desirable (appealing to thieves) toys will always be more expensive. And, unfortunately, motorcycles carry with them a much higher risk factor (to you and the insurance company), and so the premiums increase (relatively).
All is not lost, though. As mentioned above, you may be able to back off on the medical coverage if you have good stand-alone medical insurance. Similarly, if the bike isn’t your sole means of transportation or if you always keep some money squirreled away for a rainy day (which you should, if at all possible), you can raise the deductibles to lower the rates. Just make sure you understand the trade offs as you adjust these things; if your medical insurance has a big deductible, then you should consider keeping enough medical coverage on the bike to cover that and, if the bike is financed, the bank may set limits on how high your deductibles can be.
In the end though, the biggest deciding factor is you. As a general rule, the folks riding great big cruisers and tourers are likely to be at least middle-aged family types just cruising down the highway while sportbike riders tend to be more thrill seeking and are likely to be looking for twisties and/or (unfortunately) just have more horsepower than brains (a.k.a. Squids). The insurance companies know this and count on it. And, obviously, if you have tickets or accidents on your record, that won’t help.
Fortunately, if you’re still under 25, the insurance companies will dramatically lower your rates when you cross that threshold and they will also lower them when/if you get married. Loyalty can also help; all of my cars, my house, and my scooter are covered by State Farm and have been for years, so I get “accident free” (Knock on wood), “multiple lines”, and “multiple policies” discounts. Oh, don’t forget to ask about discounts for the MSF course. It may not make a big difference, but every little bit helps.
And, finally, don’t be afraid to shop around. Quotes are free, even over the phone. For reference, I’m 31, single and live in middle Georgia. Both Progressive and Geico quoted me $1400-$1500/year for full coverage on my GSX-R600. Meanwhile, State Farm charges me roughly $285/year for the same coverage. Granted, they don’t offer a MSF discount and they won’t cover riding gear, but the money I save on insurance can easily cover gear replacement.
Good luck and be safe!