Forum Replies Created
A Virago is actually a a loud-voiced, ill-tempered, scolding woman according to Dictionary.com. I hope that description doesn’t fit you
Actually, they use a big Harley type cruiser or Honda gold-wing type bike (can’t remember which) in the television Viagra advertisements here.
I guess it’s true then about Big Bike, Small…
My first bike was a Raleigh Chopper which was pretty much a British “Schwinn Stingray”. Does that date me?
But seriously, my first motorcycle was a Honda Nighthawk 250. I kept it for 7 months before buying a bigger bike.
I had zero motorcycling experience prior to taking the MSF Basic Rider Course and buying the Nighthawk.
I never dropped the Nighthawk but did fall off and drop the bigger bike and almost fell off it once or twice after that (stopping on odd two-plane gradients). It took all my strength to stop it from falling.
I don’t regret starting on a 250 whatsoever.
I only saw a couple of motorcycles on my way to work (on the freeway) this morning; definitely fewer than usual.
Yesterday we had 4 motorcycles and a scooter in the m/c parking lot, today (ride to work day), only 3 motorcycles, one of which was mine (as usual).
Why? Well possibly because yesterday was sunny and warm and today has started off mild and overcast. I’ve noticed that cold weather or rain, or even the possibility of rain really scares people off of their motorcycle, or is it that they only ride in warm weather, or is that the same thing!?
Whatever… Darned fair weather riders
Here in the U.S.A. motorcycles are generally looked upon as expensive toys or even status symbols (like boats or Porsches), so there’s a lot of the “mine is bigger/faster/more expensive/cooler than yours” mentality. All self-aggrandizing egotistical bullshit really.
In Europe, motorcycles are still often seen as, gasp, transportation, and generally, the most common bikes you’ll see are middleweight standards and sports bikes (~650 c.c.).
Unless you’re going long distances or are two-up every day, a 650 standard or sportbike is about as much as anyone needs IMO; cruisers are a different kettle of fish.
Ride what you are comfortable with, change if and when you feel like it. Screw the peer pressure of the brainwashed.
Sorry guys, as you can tell, I’m a little cranky tonight
Re. Selling you two bikes, a small (appropriate) starter bike and then later selling you a bigger bike when you’re capable of riding it, sure, they’d love to do that as they’d make money on the first sale, then they’d take some more of your cash with the trade-in offer, and then make the profit on the second bike (and a commission on financing too probably).
Problem is, they know that you might not come back to buy the second (bigger) bike from them, so while they’ve got your attention, they’d rather sell you the bigger bike from the get-go in case you don’t come back.
Bigger bikes have better profit margins than smaller ones.
Glad to hear you’re pleased with the Nighthawk 250 and it sounds like you’re getting a flavor of why a 250 is a good choice for the beginning rider.
Re. watching the front wheels of the cars, I think you meant “Proficient Motorcycling” by David Hough. Yes, that’s a great book and the edge-traps advice is sound as they can throw you into a wobble no problem at all. It can be a little un-nerving to read though, as it seems that there are a million scary things you’ve got to watch out for. I know my first few rides after reading it were done with some added trepidation. Still, motorcycling, while a lot of fun, can be dangerous as we all know, so it’s worth reminding yourself of that every now and again when you find yourself doing something reckless.
Well done on the 20 mile journey home; quite daring for a newbie
After a while, motorcycling will move from the jerky conscious part of your brain to the subconscious part, then much of it will become fluid and automatic; like learning to play a musical instrument well. Then the scales will begin to tip from the “this is scary” end of the scale to the “hey, I’m enjoying this” end of the scale.
Be safe, always ride within your limits, and ride your own ride.
I too have read, and believe, that it’s a myth that modern steel toe-caps can be crushed and amputate toes.
These things can stand up to massive blows and pressure without deforming, much more than you would likely receive in any motorcycle accident I would think.
I’d go with the steel toe-caps over no steel toe-caps any day of the week.
Here’s a typical scenario:
You give the dealer the price you want to pay, he says he thinks it’s too low but will “ask the manager” if he’ll accept it.
He then goes and has a smoke or something, then comes back with a serious face and says no. Then he gives you a price which is in between what they want and what you want. You make a counter-offer and he goes off “to see if the manager will agree” again. Then he goes off for a little while again and then comes back (with that serious face again) and says, well if you take our financing, I can get some commission on that so I can make your price if you do that.
That’s the way it tends to go (and no, the salesman never once in that whole exchange, really spoke to the manager).
I read somewhere that, in addition to doing Ben’s “too tightness” test, you should fasten the helmet, and try to pull it off of your head by grabbing the back of it and trying to roll it off over the top of your head. If you can roll it off of your head then it doesn’t fit and could come off in a crash.
I’m also an advocate of ATGATT but *very* occasionally will not wear my over-pants for a short jaunt to the store; just my jeans.
MSF say that blue jeans will last for 4 feet of slide on asphalt before exposing your skin to the road; not much, really…
The biggest pain about wearing the gear is what to do with it when you get to your destination and the weather’s hot. I usually thread a long cable lock through the arms and legs and lock it all onto the bike seat / frame and then put a Bungee net on top (to keep it all from falling off the seat. Remember to empty all the pockets and put the cable through your belt buckle and the bungee net as well. I installed a helmet lock for the helmet and have a cable lock for passenger helmet if necessary. I tried those helmet lock “splitter” plates, but they’re very difficult to get two helmets on to. The gloves either go inside the helmets (semi obscured, but not secure at all) or I carry them with me in a Cortech mini tank bag. The whole set-up is not that secure, but it’s better than nothing and, knock on wood, I’ve never had anything taken yet.
Lockable saddle bags would be much better but you might have to take the armour out if you need to fold the gear to get it into the bags (and saddle bags can reduce your ability to split lanes).
Congratulations on your new purchase and I think you’ll find the Nighthawk 250 is up to the task at hand; especially if, as you say, you are conservative by nature.
The Nighthawk 250 is quite zippy around town and will be ideal for Massachusetts back roads (I used to live 15 miles S.W. of Boston and later, on the North Shore); watch-out for wet (and dry) leaves in the fall though! Note that first gear feels very short on this bike, so you’ll probably want to change to second as soon as you’re rolling. It has gear range markings on the speedo which you might find useful in the beginning.
You may even find that you want to keep it as a runabout when it’s time to move-up; I know I wanted to, but alas, finances wouldn’t allow MBS (multiple bike syndrome).
Incidentally, I moved from the Nighthawk 250 to the (much heavier) Triumph Bonneville and it was an easy transition as they are both traditional style “standard” bikes with smooth and even power delivery. Needless to say, the (“slow” by today’s standards; 0-60 in 5 seconds) Bonneville, felt like a rocket ship after the Nighthawk 250
FYI – It takes a *lot* of self-discipline (more than I have at times), to ride conservatively on a fast bike when you become reasonably competent.
Take it easy and keep the shiny side up
Modular helmets seem like a good idea; I think (?).
That said, I don’t think that they’ll offer the same protection as a rigid full-face in a crash (not based on stats, just my gut feeling).
Right now, I personally don’t feel that the extra functionality is worth, what I perceive is, the added risk.July 8, 2008 at 8:50 pm in reply to: H-D Sportster, Ducati Mini Monster, BMW 800(sport-touring) #8574
In a nutshell, you can learn on pretty much *any* size bike. You may, however, fall-off more often on some bikes than others.
As I said, I believe a 250 c.c. is the ideal size bike for beginners to learn on and this is generally what MSF instructors will also tell you. I’m about the same height/weight as you and my Nighthawk 250 topped-out at 80 m.p.h. on the freeway but going up hills and/or into a headwind slowed it down and required a down-change to get it back up to 65+. Certainly freeway capable but no, not ideal.
The Ninja 250 may be your ideal bike as I believe it can be ridden mildly if you so choose, or, go fast if you rev it higher in each gear (can do ~100 m.p.h. I believe). I don’t know if it will fit you for size though.
Remember, as the graduate of an MSF Basic Rider Course, all you are qualified to do right now, is to ride at less than 18 m.p.h. in an empty parking lot; that’s all. You have a lot to learn about riding a motorcycle in traffic, cornering at speed, hill starts, sharp left and right turns from a stop (junctions) and same turns on up-hill gradients and on down-hill gradients, negotiating poor road surfaces, etc, etc.
This experience is all more easily acquired on a smaller engined, lighter bike. The faster you go, the more danger you are in.
Like I said, you can learn on any bike. As you’ve said yourself that you’ll want another bike in 6 months anyway, why not just bite the bullet and set aside six months as a continuance of your MSF BRC before you “join the club” on the bike you really want. If you buy used, you can sell it in six months for what you paid for it.
Remember that most folks who say a 650 c.c. bike is “a good beginner bike”, have forgotten their shaky mistake-ridden beginnings.
Anyway, I’ve said my piece (at length) and I’m sure you’ll be fine with whatever bike you choose if you take your time and realize that the development of motorcycling skills takes time.July 7, 2008 at 9:30 pm in reply to: H-D Sportster, Ducati Mini Monster, BMW 800(sport-touring) #8528
Yes, the weight thing is a big factor, but I personally don’t think a Ninja 500 is a good starter bike either (too much power). I only meant consider a 500 c.c. if you are extremely over-weight, but I definitely think a 250 is the way to go in a first bike.
I’m 6′, weight ~200 lbs, 31″ inseam and a Nighthawk 250 was just fine for me for learning. Nice and light and it won’t throw you off the bike if you accidentally grab a handful of throttle when you hit a pot-hole or hurl you over the handlebar if you panic and grab a handful of brake. You’ll also be able to hold it up if you over-balance when you stop with the front wheel not pointing straight.
Yes, that’s dead right, you should only fill to the bottom of the filler neck.
In a gravity fed fuel system (on a bike with carburetors), there’s a gas tank “breather” hole at the top of the gas tank near the gas cap. The breather hole is connected to a breather tube which goes down to the bottom of the engine area. The purpose of the breather is to let air into the gas tank as the gas level drops through use. If it didn’t, a vacuum would be created in the gas tank and the gas would no longer gravity feed into the carburetor(s).
These breather tubes used to just vent to the open air, however, since clean air regulations came into effect, the “open-end” now plugs into a charcoal cannister, which is supposed to catch any gas which is in the *fumes* coming out of the breather tube. I.e. it allows air into the breather from outside, but filters any air drifting out of the gas tank when the bike is not running.
If you over-fill your gas tank (bike on side-stand), when you straighten the bike up to ride away, you could slosh gas down the breather tube, thus soaking the charcoal cannister. Once soaked, it cannot pass air and therefore a vacuum will form in the gas tank. After a short while, you’ll experience the symptoms of running out of gas.
If this happens, you’ll be able to tell, as when you open the gas cap, you’ll hear the air being sucked-in (and the bike would then run for a short while until a vacuum formed again).
One thing you could do if it happens to you is to pull the breather tube off of the charcoal cannister (probably under/behind the engine) and leave it off for a while to dry out; you should immediately be able to re-start the bike. Be absolutely sure it’s the breather tube and charcoal cannister you’re disconnecting! Once dry, remember to put the tube back on again.
DO *NOT* DISCONNECT THE *GAS* LINE FROM THE GAS TANK, PETCOCK OR CARBURETOR.
Alternatively, I guess you could ride with the gas cap a little loose to let air in (not recommended).
It happened to me a few times before it was explained to me what was happening, and the first time, I got the bike trailered home ($150+) as I didn’t know what was going on except that the bike wouldn’t re-start.
Hopefully, having read this, this won’t happen to you…
Disclaimer: This is given as advice only. You are responsible for ensuring your own safety.