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buying my first bike
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Posted on Thu, Jun 30, 2005 17:33

Hi my name is Cindy and I have been into bikes for awhile. My dad has ridden for years and now that I'm 20, Im hoping to get my first bike. I'm not too sure on whether I should get something along the lines of a Kawasaki 250R or if I should get something with more power. I'd ask my dad but it's been hard trying to contact him. Any advice?

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Posted on Thu, Jul 21, 2005 15:07

you are welcome they were easy copy& paste the The 20 commandments of motorcycle wisdom is from a site called [speedybikegirl] the other is from [total motorcycle] it would take me many hours to peck type all that i probly still be typing.

have fun all



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Posted on Wed, Jul 20, 2005 04:23

Outdoorsman....

Thanks for the early morning laugh....this was my favorite!

15. If all you can see in your mirrors is sparks and all you can hear is screaming from your passenger, things may not be as they should be.

Lots of good stuff in both of your posts. Thanks for sharing!



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Posted on Tue, Jul 19, 2005 16:39

Choosing a motorcycle is a personal experience, it has to be like that so you can enjoy your new life style as you want to experience it. Every type of bike will give you a little different feeling and view of motorcycling, with no view being more right, better, worse or wrong. They are all different flavours offered to you to be enjoyed at your own time of choosing.

So, what do you choose? Where do you go? What to buy? Where do I get insurance?

First of all, the best way to find out these questions would be to take a Motorcycle Safety Foundation Course in your area. Not only is it a good way to learn a ride a motorcycle properly and more enjoyably, but a great way to avoid learning things the hard way on the road with your new bike. A good MSF course will even provide you with an assortment of motorcycles (standards, cruisers, sport bikes) to learn on, a helmet and even gloves! Of course, choosing to take an MSF Course is totally up to you.

The second step is to imagine what type of riding you would like to try and fit a motorcycle type to it. Don't worry about engine sizes yet, just fitting the style of the bike with what you want to do. You can do anything of course with any style of bike, and it may be interesting to try that but for your first bike, best to stick with the most compatible choice. Say you want to ride fast in the twisties, well, a touring bike could work, but it won't be nearly as fun, handle as well, or be able to do what you want it to do as well as a sport bike will.



NEW OR USED?

Big decision, but a that new model or go for the cheaper used one? Almost every rider goes though this decision, sometimes it is based on finances, other times it is based on looks and feeling. If you get that new one, do you have the cash to fix it up in case you drop it ($$$)? If you get that old one, do you have the cash to fix it up if it needs it ($)? Have you considered insurance for that new ($$$) or used ($) bike? How about maintenance, oil, gas, tires...

This section will help you out, just relax and read on...

A New Bike: The vast majority of new motorcycles will be found at a motorcycle dealership. Most dealerships specialize in one (Harley Davidson, Buell) or two brands of bikes (like a Yamaha/Suzuki). Also some will have the major Japanese brands (Honda, Suzuki, Kawasaki, Yamaha) and fewer yet will have Japanese (Honda, Suzuki, Kawasaki, Yamaha) and European (BMW, Moto Guzzi, Aprila, Ducati, Bimota, MZ) bikes on display. If you are looking around for the first time, why not travel to all your local dealerships and see what they have any ways. It is a great way to learn what style, size, manufacturer and peg layout suits you best. Another great way of getting your information is also to read websites on the Internet (like this one for example), looking through brochures, magazines and reading books (see my recommendations). If you have the money to buy a new bike, you might as well use all your resources to make an educated rather than passionate purchase.

Word of advice on buying a new bike: Not to overly worry you or discourage the purchase of a new motorcycle, but almost everyone drops their bike in their first year. It is "normal" to hear and know people who have done this so if it happens to you, don't freak out about it. So my advice is, if you really want that new first bike try to buy a model that isn't expensive to replace scratched/damaged components. Sport bike plastic farings can run hundreds of dollars each (or more), chrome isn't as expensive to replace unless there is gobs of it damaged, and naked bikes with no farings or gobs of chrome as the cheapest to fix up like the Suzuki GS500 for example.

The manufacturers are again starting to get the word about smaller cc bikes. They are again making them so that you have the opportunity to learn on a bike that will fit your learning curve. In Canada they make beginner cruisers from 125cc (Kawasaki Eliminator), 250cc (Suzuki Marauder, Honda Rebel), 500cc (Kawasaki Vulcan). Sport bikes in 250cc (Kawasaki Ninja 250), 500cc (Kawasaki Ninja 500, Suzuki GS500) and standards in light easily to handle sizes like the Suzuki GS500.

A Used Bike: Used is the way the majority of new motorcyclist take. If for no other reason then cost of the bike and any repairs, then you are already going to save a lot of money. Depending on where you live, generally the bigger the city, the more used bikes will be for sale. Some a great deals, others you don't want to touch with a 10' pole! As with buying new, check out websites on the Internet (like this one for example), looking through brochures, magazines and reading books (see my recommendations).

I've found all of my bikes (all used so far) from the local Buy & Sell/Bargain Finder (local a newspaper/magazine that lists everything from toasters and furniture to autos and motorcycles). For me, the bikes have been in better shape and price than what I could find used at the dealerships. Also, you get to know the owner, ask important maintenance questions and see how the bike has been treated. Usually dealerships won't know this information.

My BEST piece of advice (so far) I can offer you about buying a used motorcycle: Would be to bring a certified motorcycle mechanic with you to inspect the bike you want to buy. Read that line over again. It will cost you something (from a case of beer and up), but it is really really worth it, even if you yourself do mechanics already he/she will point out things to you that because of your excited condition would not have noticed. Also, they have a good chance of knowing the repair history of this type of bike/model and can even give you a good idea of what it is REALLY worth. By using a certified motorcycle mechanic to check out my 1982 XJ650R Seca I saved $560 and he even negotiated with the seller with me as well on the price! (asking $1400, I bought it for $840).

Buying a used motorcycle from a dealership: While dealerships generally sell their used bikes for more money than what you would pay going though the paper, there is a reason to this. They say (I have no way to verify if the place you check out does this) that they drain and replace the fluids (oil, brake, gas, coolant) and give the bike a check over, if they find anything that needs replacing, they do that as well (tires, etc). Maybe they do it, maybe they don't, but if you are interested ask them nicely.



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Posted on Tue, Jul 19, 2005 16:30

The 20 commandments of motorcycle wisdom


1. Every ride is optional. Every parking job is mandatory.

2. If you push the bars left, the bike goes left. If you push the bars right, the bike goes right. That is, unless you continue pushing the bars all the way, then the bike will go down.

3. Riding isn't dangerous. Crashing is dangerous.

4. It's always better to be on the sidelines wishing you were on the track than on the track wishing you were on the sidelines.

5. The only time you have too much fuel is when you're on fire.

6. The rear wheel is just a big fan on back of the bike used to keep the rider cool and his/her butt relaxed. If going into a corner too fast, slamming on the rear brake causes the "fan" to abruptly stop. When this happens you can actually see the rider start sweating and his/her butt become tense.

7. When in doubt, slow down. No one has ever hit something too slow.

8. A 'good' ride is one from which you can walk away. A 'great' ride is one after which you can use the bike again.

9. Learn from the mistakes of others. You won't live long enough to make all of them yourself.

10. You know you've left the sidestand down when all left turn are Bat-turns. You know you've left the centerstand down when your in 1st gear at 4000 rpm going nowhere.

11. Never let a motorcycle take you somewhere your brain didn't get to three seconds earlier.

12. Always try to keep the number of times you put your sidestand down equal to the number of times you put the sidestand up.

13. There are two simple rules for riding smoothly and fast in snow and on ice. Unfortunately no one knows what they are.

14. You start with a bag full of luck and an empty bag of experience. The trick is to fill the bag of experience before you empty the bag of luck.

15. If all you can see in your mirrors is sparks and all you can hear is screaming from your passenger, things may not be as they should be.

16. In the ongoing battle between objects made of metal, rubber and fiberglass going 100+ miles per hour and the ground going zero miles per hour, the ground has yet to lose. Same holds for cars, large trucks, and animals taller than you. Draws don't count.

17. Good judgment comes from experience. Unfortunately, the experience usually comes from bad judgment.

18. Keep looking around. There's always something you've missed.

19. Remember, gravity and centrifical force are not just a good ideas. They're laws and are not subject to appeal.

20. The two most useless things to a rider are the braking distance behind you and nine-tenth of a second ago.



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Posted on Fri, Jul 15, 2005 11:56

I would say that your #1 concern should be comfort and 'fit' of the bike. Don't worry about power. You look like you weigh all of about 25 lbs there. :)

The bike I'm on in the photo to the left is a 250 (Korean import nobody's heard of). I'm 6' tall and weigh about 260 and that 250 will do about 80mph with ME on it (plus all the luggage and windshield). You should expect at LEAST similar performance.

The primary advantages that the smaller bikes will give is much lower weights which is going to make them easier to control. Smaller engine bikes are also more forgiving when it comes to the throttle. You won't accidently end up going vertical.

Easier control is the main ticket though. Remember - the game isn't about being able to control a bike going 60-70 mph down a straight freeway (ANYBODY can ride ANYTHING under those circumstances). It's about maintaining control and putting the bike where you want it when that idiot in a car just made a left turn in front of you leaving you about 20 feet before impact with you doing more like 40 mph (do the math and figure out just how much time you've got to react and get the bike -and YOU- out of harm's way). Light and manouverable is good.



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Posted on Wed, Jul 13, 2005 08:50

Aloha!
Some info on Honolulu motorcycling and getting endorsed to ride; wear a helmet and take a safety course. As for picking a bike, test ride everything you think you want before you make your choice. I obtained the data below on the web, since I know that Honolulu is one of the (if not the) top 5 most dangerous places in the world to ride a motorcycle. I have friends that live there that ride cruisers. Might be able to hook you up so you can get some lessons learned info and advice, but get that safety course taken, young lady.

As for obtaining a motorcycle license in Hawaii, applicants must pass a 25-question written test, a vision test and a driving test.

Under state law, the state director of transportation may waive the motorcycle driving test if the applicant takes a motorcycle education course approved by the director. The only approved course is the one offered by the University of Hawaii.

PROBLEM IDENTIFICATION
In the State of Hawaii in 1995, motorcycles comprised 2 percent of all passenger vehicles and accounted for 2 percent of all licensed operators; however, motorcycle operators and passengers accounted for 15.6 percent of all traffic fatalities. Hawaii Department of Transportation (DOT) officials determined that many motorcycle riders were untrained, and few wore helmets. To address the issue of motorcycle safety throughout the Hawaiian islands the Neighbor Island Motorcycle Safety Instruction program was proposed.

GOALS AND OBJECTIVES
The goal of the Neighbor Island Motorcycle Safety Instruction program was the reduction of motorcycle fatalities on all Hawaiian islands. Objectives for the program were three-fold:

Increase public awareness of the availability of motorcycle safety training
Develop an experienced rider training program
Provide motorcycle safety instruction to all Hawaiian islands
STRATEGIES AND ACTIVITIES
The Neighbor Island Motorcycle Safety Instruction program was established in 1993 by the University of Hawaii through its Community College System Employment Training Center. Since its inception, the program had operated on the island of Oahu. In 1995, the Hawaii DOT Motor Vehicle Safety Office, formed a partnership with the University to use the program as a vehicle to address the problems of motorcycle fatalities and injuries on all Hawaiian islands. Several strategies were employed:

As part of an intensive public awareness campaign, monthly advertisements were placed in seven major and community newspapers on Hawaii, Maui, and Kauai announcing scheduled courses for each of the islands. Spot mailings were sent to all residents who had previously exhibited an interest in the program
Mass mailings were also delivered to all successful graduates of the basic training program in order to elicit candidates for an experienced rider training program. One such course was presented on Maui
The program was extended to the islands of Hawaii, Maui, and Kauaiseven classes were offered on Hawaii, eight classes were offered on Maui, and six classes were offered on Kauai. In support of the classes offered on neighbor islands, and to increase support to the ongoing classes on Oahu, six new motorcycles were purchased
A coordinator position on the island of Oahu was funded, and two instructors from the Island of Hawaii received a refresher training course

RESULTS
During the first year of operation, the Neighbor Island Motorcycle Safety Instruction program was successful in offering 21 additional classes to participants on the expansion islands, training 80 motorcycle operators. In the year following the training courses (1996), Hawaii experienced one fewer fatality involving motorcycle riders.

MOTORCYCLIST FATALITIES: The number of motorcyclist fatalities decreased by 5%, 20 (five-year aver-age) compared to 19 (2003). This is fairly consistent with previous years?numbers. However, we are looking into conducting an awareness cam-paign about motorcyclists? helmet use because the number of injurieshas increased.
MOTORCYCLIST INJURIES: The number of motorcyclist injuries rose by 94%, 381 (five-year average)compared to 763 (2003).
MOTORCYCLIST: % HELMETED IN FATAL CRASHES: The percentage of motorcyclists helmeted in fatal crashes increased by83%, 23.4% (five-year average) compared to 42.9% (2003). We havenoticed that younger motorcyclists that are trained tend to use their hel-mets more often.

Oh, and the shameless plug for Indian: Honolulu Police Department Officers rode the 1932 Indian Motorcycle -- the first two wheel motorcycle used by the department. It's in their museum.

Mahalo,

Ua mau ke ea o ka aina i ka pono
(The life of the land is perpetuated in righteousness)



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Posted on Wed, Jul 13, 2005 05:10


speedyjerry write:

954rr_rider write:
A kawi 250R is a great beginners bike, very solid, and not to intimidating for a new rider. Definatly take a MSF course and have fun! Also dont even consider anything above 600 CCs


You didn't like that ZX10R idea either?



yeah that was about the last bike I would recommend

  


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Posted on Wed, Jul 13, 2005 04:04


954rr_rider write:
A kawi 250R is a great beginners bike, very solid, and not to intimidating for a new rider. Definatly take a MSF course and have fun! Also dont even consider anything above 600 CCs


You didn't like that ZX10R idea either?

  


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Posted on Tue, Jul 12, 2005 12:46

A kawi 250R is a great beginners bike, very solid, and not to intimidating for a new rider. Definatly take a MSF course and have fun! Also dont even consider anything above 600 CCs



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Posted on Sun, Jul 10, 2005 21:36

Cindy:

Good luck. I agree, you can't go wrong taking a rider safety course, it'll be one of the best investments you'll ever make. Everyone should do it. In regards to type of bike, well thats totally up to the rider. I've owned just about every make out there, but have never given up the Harley.

Stay safe.

Jers



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Posted on Wed, Jul 06, 2005 09:32

I can't agree more with the idea of taking a rider safety class. I took the Rider's Edge class from the local Harley dealer, and it was worth every penny.



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Posted on Mon, Jul 04, 2005 04:53

Miss Cindy, at 5'6 your'e tall enough for any bike, just got to decide what type, sportbike, standard, cruiser. Honda's been around the longest and has good entry level models. Figure that out and we'll help some more.

  


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Posted on Sun, Jul 03, 2005 19:09

cindy----nice to hear you want to learn....i tried learning on a 650 savage-loved the bike and size, but to be honest---i didn't know what i was doing and i let someone talk me into it, and i went down three times, and everytime i went down i had to have help to pick it up, just couldn't do it myself-it was to heavy and like i said didn't know what i was doing----i sold it, and listened to me and got a 250 virago, it a nice little bike, and granted, in time i am sure i will want something bigger and faster, but for learning and going out by myself and messing around, riding and building confidence, it's really not a bad little bike......and i can pick it up myself if need be, but havn't had to do that yet-thank god...good luck to you and enjoy and have fun..........



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Posted on Sun, Jul 03, 2005 06:11

cindy

the one that i've had serval recommend for me is hte honda vlx 600--small enough for beginners yet you won't outgrow it in a yr--maybe 2 or 3

the other thing was to go to different dealers and look and sit on the bikes--not only sit but lift off of kick stand
get the feel of the bike and the weight between your legs

i was also told bigger isn't better when you are 1st starting--and make sure you can lift it if it goes down--so weight and knowing the leverage of whatever bike you get is important!!!

good luck
i took the class but the place i took it had inferior bikes--my course will more than likely be to go to harley for their class--they give you 2 full days of riding not 1/2 a day

  


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Posted on Sat, Jul 02, 2005 11:17

Welcome Cindy, glad you joined. As fas as the bike goes, Im kinda a Harley guy and dont know much about the ones your interested in. Im glad to see you re interested in the two wheel world, ride safe and take it slow until you got alot of miles under your belt. Speedjerry likes those kind of bikes and been ridin em for many years, he can probly give you some good advice on your first one. peace
Rich



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Posted on Sat, Jul 02, 2005 09:44

Consider taking a bike safty course
b4 u buy aftera weekend on there bikes
ya will b more infored on whats right
for ya.I rode for 10 years b4 I took
one. I learned I had alot of bad habits
but learning to look threw a corner
helped 10 fold.Have fun. good luck.



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