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Thread: Thinking about a motorcycle (or scooter)?

  1. #1
    Vulture of The Western World Eric's Avatar
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    Thinking about a motorcycle (or scooter)?

    Cars are expensive - to buy and to operate. Which is why you may have noticed more motorcycles and scooters on the roads. They're inexpensive to buy and keep up - and most of them get much better gas mileage than the best hybrid or diesel-powered cars. And you can park them almost anywhere a bicycle would fit - making them ideal for city dwellers or people who don't have garage space to spare.

    But there are some downsides - and other things you should consider - before you buy a bike (or scooter):

    Things to know -

    * Motorcycles (and scooters) take more skill and involvement to operate than a car. You need to be able to balance and (in the case of motorcycles) shift gears and work a clutch.

    * A two-wheeled (single track) vehicle turns by a combination of steering and leaning. A car turns by steering only. It takes time and experience to master the different handling techniques necessary to safely operate a bike (or scooter).

    * In all cars, depressing the brake pedal automatically engages all four brakes simultaneously and in the appropriate proportion. On a bike, the front and rear brakes are (typically) controlled individually - and separately. The rider must learn to apply the front and rear brakes in the right proportion via manual control of the levers, one for the front brake, the other for the rear.

    * In most states, a separate "M" endorsement on your driver's license is necessary to legally operate a motorcycle on public roads. Typically, you must pass a separate knowledge and skills test above and beyond the test required to get a driver's license. New riders usually must also first obtain a Learner's Permit that limits their riding to daytime hours for a set period of time, typically a couple of months. You may or may not need to get an "M" endorsement if you plan to ride a scooter or moped only; it typically depends on the size (and top speed capability) of the scooter or moped. As a rule, if it can go faster than about 35 mph, you will probably need to get the "M" endorsement. Check with your state DMV to be sure.

    Things to consider -

    * Motorcycles and scooters are inherently much more dangerous than cars as far as being able to protect you in the event of a crash. Safe riding practices can lower the chances you'll be the cause of a wreck, but you can't control other drivers (who are often oblivious to motorcycles and scooters) or random things like an animal suddenly running in front of you (or into you).

    * If you ride a motorcycle or scooter, you should invest in protective riding gear, including a jacket with armored inserts, gloves and boots - in addition to a helmet (which is mandatory in most states).

    * Most motorcycles and scooters have very limited cargo capacity, even big cruising/touring bikes. You'll probably still need a car or truck to transport large/bulky items. And you can only carry one passenger - typically not in great comfort.

    * Motorcycles and scooters are more vulnerable to (and less adept in) bad weather than cars. They are especially vulnerable to dangerous skids/loss of control on wet/slick roads. A car has four contact patches and if it hits some ice, it may slide. But a bike has only two (and much smaller) contact patches and if it hits some ice, it is much more likely to just topple over or skid right off the road or "drop" suddenly onto the pavement. Sand and gravel on the road are also unique threats to bikes and scooters that cars generally don't have to worry about.

    * Bikes and scooters generally don't last as long as today's cars - which with decent car can go 200,000-plus miles before needing major engine work. A bike will typically be tired by 100,000 miles. And certain items often require more frequent maintenance (such as valve adjustments, which may be be necessary as frequently as once every 10,000 miles or so). Tires almost always wear out much faster (on some types of bikes, such as sport bikes, in as little as three or four thousand miles or even less) because they have to work so much harder.

    On the upside, riding a motorcycle or scooter is fun - and with gas mileage that's typically between 45 and 60 mpg (depending on the type of bike/scooter) it's inexpensive fun, too.

    Probably the smartest option, if saving money is the goal, is to buy the bike or scooter and use it when the weather's nice and you don't need to carry either people or stuff - keeping your car as back-up for rainy days, winter driving and when you do need to carry people or stuff.

    This way, you cut down the mileage you put on your car, extending its useful life and decreasing your maintenance while also lowering your annual fuel costs considerably.

    That's having your cake - and eating it, too!

  2. #2
    Senior Member Mithrandir's Avatar
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    Post

    Thanks for the info.

    What are some differences between 250cc Motorcycle and a 250cc scooter?

    One difference I have seen on the net is that a scooter is usually automatic and the motorcycle needs to shift gears manually.

    Another Question is it typical for good protective gear to be about USD $800-$1000. (Jacket, gloves, helmet, pants, anything else?)


    Quote Originally Posted by Eric View Post
    Cars are expensive - to buy and to operate. Which is why you may have noticed more motorcycles and scooters on the roads. They're inexpensive to buy and keep up - and most of them get much better gas mileage than the best hybrid or diesel-powered cars. And you can park them almost anywhere a bicycle would fit - making them ideal for city dwellers or people who don't have garage space to spare.

    But there are some downsides - and other things you should consider - before you buy a bike (or scooter):

    Things to know -

    * Motorcycles (and scooters) take more skill and involvement to operate than a car. You need to be able to balance and (in the case of motorcycles) shift gears and work a clutch.

    * A two-wheeled (single track) vehicle turns by a combination of steering and leaning. A car turns by steering only. It takes time and experience to master the different handling techniques necessary to safely operate a bike (or scooter).

    * In all cars, depressing the brake pedal automatically engages all four brakes simultaneously and in the appropriate proportion. On a bike, the front and rear brakes are (typically) controlled individually - and separately. The rider must learn to apply the front and rear brakes in the right proportion via manual control of the levers, one for the front brake, the other for the rear.

    * In most states, a separate "M" endorsement on your driver's license is necessary to legally operate a motorcycle on public roads. Typically, you must pass a separate knowledge and skills test above and beyond the test required to get a driver's license. New riders usually must also first obtain a Learner's Permit that limits their riding to daytime hours for a set period of time, typically a couple of months. You may or may not need to get an "M" endorsement if you plan to ride a scooter or moped only; it typically depends on the size (and top speed capability) of the scooter or moped. As a rule, if it can go faster than about 35 mph, you will probably need to get the "M" endorsement. Check with your state DMV to be sure.

    Things to consider -

    * Motorcycles and scooters are inherently much more dangerous than cars as far as being able to protect you in the event of a crash. Safe riding practices can lower the chances you'll be the cause of a wreck, but you can't control other drivers (who are often oblivious to motorcycles and scooters) or random things like an animal suddenly running in front of you (or into you).

    * If you ride a motorcycle or scooter, you should invest in protective riding gear, including a jacket with armored inserts, gloves and boots - in addition to a helmet (which is mandatory in most states).

    * Most motorcycles and scooters have very limited cargo capacity, even big cruising/touring bikes. You'll probably still need a car or truck to transport large/bulky items. And you can only carry one passenger - typically not in great comfort.

    * Motorcycles and scooters are more vulnerable to (and less adept in) bad weather than cars. They are especially vulnerable to dangerous skids/loss of control on wet/slick roads. A car has four contact patches and if it hits some ice, it may slide. But a bike has only two (and much smaller) contact patches and if it hits some ice, it is much more likely to just topple over or skid right off the road or "drop" suddenly onto the pavement. Sand and gravel on the road are also unique threats to bikes and scooters that cars generally don't have to worry about.

    * Bikes and scooters generally don't last as long as today's cars - which with decent car can go 200,000-plus miles before needing major engine work. A bike will typically be tired by 100,000 miles. And certain items often require more frequent maintenance (such as valve adjustments, which may be be necessary as frequently as once every 10,000 miles or so). Tires almost always wear out much faster (on some types of bikes, such as sport bikes, in as little as three or four thousand miles or even less) because they have to work so much harder.

    On the upside, riding a motorcycle or scooter is fun - and with gas mileage that's typically between 45 and 60 mpg (depending on the type of bike/scooter) it's inexpensive fun, too.

    Probably the smartest option, if saving money is the goal, is to buy the bike or scooter and use it when the weather's nice and you don't need to carry either people or stuff - keeping your car as back-up for rainy days, winter driving and when you do need to carry people or stuff.

    This way, you cut down the mileage you put on your car, extending its useful life and decreasing your maintenance while also lowering your annual fuel costs considerably.

    That's having your cake - and eating it, too!
    Sincerely,
    Anthony

    'Many are my names in many countries,' he said. 'Mithrandir among the Elves, Tharkûn to the Drarves; Olórin I was in my youth in the West that is forgotten, in the South Incánus, in the North Gandalf; to the East I go not.' Faramir

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  3. #3
    Vulture of The Western World Eric's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mithrandir View Post
    Thanks for the info.

    What are some differences between 250cc Motorcycle and a 250cc scooter?

    One difference I have seen on the net is that a scooter is usually automatic and the motorcycle needs to shift gears manually.

    Another Question is it typical for good protective gear to be about USD $800-$1000. (Jacket, gloves, helmet, pants, anything else?)
    Hi Anthony,

    Yes, the main obvious functional difference between a motorcycle and a scooter is that a motorcycle will have a manual transmission with a clutch to work while a scooter has a type of automatic transmission. (However, there are a few motorcycles with automatics, too.).

    Another difference is the frame/layout. Scooters are also called "walk throughs" because unlike a motorcycle, you do not have to throw a leg over/climb on top; you just sit down, almost like you'd sit in a standard chair. This (in addition to the lack of a clutch) is why scooters are easier to operate. A bike requires a bit more skill as well as multi-tasking ability, balance and coordination.

    As far as engine size:

    There are motorcycles (dirt bikes; kid's bikes) with engines smaller than 250 CCs and scooters with engines larger than 650 CCs (considered "middleweight" for a motorcycle).

    However, most beginner motorcycles are in the 250 CC range because that's enough power to deal with normal street driving (even limited highway use) without being too powerful for a novice.

    Examples of bikes in this class include the Honda Rebel 250, Nighthawk 250 and Kawasaki Ninja 250.

    However, a problem with these bikes is that most riders will very quickly outgrow them, which means they're stuck with a bike they no longer want just a matter of months after having bought it.

    This is one reason why I recommend new riders start with a dual-sport (street/off-road) motorcycle in the 250 CC range, or a dirt bike in the 200-250 cc range. I think they're even better to learn on - because you can learn on grass/dirt rather than pavement (better for your body; better for the bike if you drop it) and also because you won't outgrow it. Dual-sport/dirt bikes are lots of fun and it's always nice to have one around. You can get yourself a bigger bike for street riding, but when you want to explore trails and so on, you've still got a bike for that.

    Plus, the dirt/dual-sport won't lose most of its value a year after you bought it, as a beginner street bike will.

    Some bikes to consider: Honda XR200 (dirt), XL250 (dual-sport); Kawasaki KLR250; KL250; Suzuki DR250 - etc.

    I'd look for a used one; you should have no trouble finding a good one for under $2,000.

    But, before you buy a bike, sign up for the Motorcycle Safety Foundation's rider course. These are excellent, cost very little - and you get to use their bikes (usually a bike such as the ones I've mentioned above). MSF courses are held in every major city; here's a link to the MSF web site, where you can find details about classes in your area: http://nm.msf-usa.org/msf/ridercourses.aspx

    The class will get you up and running; teach you all the basics of operation/safety - and usually (most states) qualify you for your motorcycle learner's permit. Then, you'll be ready to start riding your own bike!

    It's a lot of fun - and these days, economically smart, too. Keep us posted on what you do!

  4. #4
    Administrator Ken's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mithrandir View Post
    Thanks for the info.

    What are some differences between 250cc Motorcycle and a 250cc scooter?

    One difference I have seen on the net is that a scooter is usually automatic and the motorcycle needs to shift gears manually.

    Another Question is it typical for good protective gear to be about USD $800-$1000. (Jacket, gloves, helmet, pants, anything else?)
    Although the differences are slightly blurred here and there, as a generalisation;

    Scooters are 'step-through' whilst motorcycles are 'leg-over' - which may explain some of their appeal.

    The majority of motorcycles are multi geared with foot operated gear change. A large percentage of scooters are 'Twist & Go' automatics.

    A large engined motorcycle has a capacity of 1500-1600 ccs. A large engined scooter has a capacity of around 500 ccs.

    Most modern bikes are fitted with large diameter wheels 17 to 19 inches being fairly popular. By comparison most scoots have small diameter wheels around (I guess) 10 to 12 inches. The Bergman and TMax have larger wheels - the Suzuki has 14" rear and 15" front wheels for example.

    Some of the big scooters like the Suzuki Bergman 650cc and the Yamaha TMax are almost borderline motorcycles with quite useful performance figures and 100+ mph top speeds.

    I would opine that the majority of scoots are fine for round town, easy to ride, 'twist & go' transport. Also very popular in the UK with the teenagers.

    The majority of bikes (excluding the 125cc 'Learner' bikes) are for more long distance riding, touring, cruising, and sports riding.

    The big scoots like the Bergman and TMax are, however, quite adequate for relaxed touring and have very good, built in, storage space.

    A fairly simplistic series of definitions but, I hope, not too far off course.

    Over here $800 - $1000 would be an average layout for simple protective clothing. My sports riding gear was $1203 for the Crowtree leathers, $638 for the Arai helmet, $240 for the Alpinestar boots (In a sale) and around $80 a pair for gloves. (I also have textile gear, different helmet and gloves for winter/bad weathr riding.)

    Ken.
    Last edited by Ken; 02-25-2011 at 10:31 AM. Reason: Added clothing costs.
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  5. #5
    Vulture of The Western World Eric's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mithrandir View Post
    Thanks for the info.

    What are some differences between 250cc Motorcycle and a 250cc scooter?

    One difference I have seen on the net is that a scooter is usually automatic and the motorcycle needs to shift gears manually.

    Another Question is it typical for good protective gear to be about USD $800-$1000. (Jacket, gloves, helmet, pants, anything else?)
    That's on the high end.

    For a beginner, a decent helmet will cost around $200. Gloves another $20 or so. For the rest, you don't have to have motorcycle-specific gear. Long pants (jeans are good), a jacket suitable for the weather, maybe a pair of boots (with ankle protection).

    This will be enough to get you going.

    Later, you can upgrade to a motorcycle-specific riding jacket (ideally with some armor) and pants (they sell riding pants with material designed to provide at least some protection against road rash) and so on.

    Serious riders will eventually invest in a set of leathers (pants and top) as well as high-quality gloves and riding boots, etc. That can easily involve $1,000 or more.

  6. #6
    Senior Member bikerlbf406's Avatar
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    As far as myself is concerned I just regular long pants, a jacket, a pair of gloves that I used when working a security officer that cost about $50 but works perfect for riding, and 3 helmets and a old pair of boots that I bought from Wal-Mart about 4 or 5 years ago. Two of the helmets are open face 3/4 helmets that I managed to buy on clearance sell for only $12 each at K-Mart (yes my local K-Mart does sell some motorcycle/dirt bike supplies including some helmets), they're an off the wall brand, and but they are DOT approved. My 3rd helmet is a full face modular helmet that I bought off Ebay for like $75 including shipping. It is Kylin brand & is too a DOT approved helmet. The old motorcycle helmet I had for my last bike that I sold with the bike, was a full face helmet as well (non modular design) that I bought for like $40 after shipping off of Ebay as well, which was another off the wall brand but was also DOT approved. May not be the best riding gear but it does work, and didn't cost me a lot of money either. Ebay seems to have lots of good riding gear for cheaper prices though. You can even get SNELL & DOT approved helmets on there for about $150 I believe.
    Tim, proud owner of 2001 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 & 2007 Honda CMX250C Rebel


  7. #7
    Senior Member grouch's Avatar
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    What I wear and why are;


    I've got three helmets. One has a large chip from a rock that fell off a truck and I keep it as a reminder but don't use it as they are good for one good whack and tat one nearly took my off the bike backwards. It's a Shoei and so is a newer helmet I wear most of the time. I also have a full face clam shell for long distance riding. I paid extra for it as I can get my fa....er.....extraordinarily intelligent head into it. Most shops don't carry a XXXL helmet so when I found it, I didn't really need one but I snagged it right away. (No, I'm not a small person.)

    I ALWAYS wear leather or kevlar gloves. Your hands have lots of blood vessels and will bleed like the dickens with a minor scrape. Your also have a lot of nerves in your hands and fingers so hand injuries are more painful to begin with. Several years ago I was leaving the house the day after Christmas. I didn't feel like moving my truck so I took my Sport Touring bike through my yard. I had one of those "Oh sh#t" moments when I felt the rear end start to come around and the bike did a slow fall. It was one of those moments when I knew what was going to happen and there wasn't a thing I could do about it.
    There's a concrete curb in my drive that was put in when my house was built. I rolled off my bike as it went down and felt a jar in my hand. I looked down to see a brand new pair of $65 gloves split open on the back of one hand. I wasn't happy but that was $65 worth of stitches I didn't get. I also heard from the dozen or so neighborhood kids across the street who asked me if I could do that again.

    I wear an armored jacket except in the hottest of weather. I have several. One is so heavy I can't wear it over 50 degrees (F) and it ran me about $500 when I got it a few years back. I've got a lighter, shorter jacket, also with armor and a spine protector for warmer weather. I also have a mesh jacket for really hot weather that has armor on the spine and joint areas. I also have an older leather jacket that would protect me from rash but not impact injuries. It's warm and confotable and the ladies do look when I wear it.

    I always wear tall boots. I had sneakers and no socks on once and laid my ankle bone against a hot engine case one time. That was enough.

    I wear long pants all the time and usually they are heavy blue jeans. I had some kevlar jeans but they got stolen from the laundry and I haven't been able to replace them yet.

    Lastly, I usually wear a 3/4 helmet but I always have a face shield on it. The full face has a shield built in.

    I have no idea what I have tied up in riding gear as I've accumulated it over the years. My gloves range from heavy insulated gauntlet gloces to smaller riding gloves for hot weather.
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  8. #8
    Senior Member bikerlbf406's Avatar
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    Does anyone know where I can get an armored jacket without spending $500+ dollars on one. I'm so large of a person and where a 4XL i have problems finding actual riding gear.
    Tim, proud owner of 2001 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 & 2007 Honda CMX250C Rebel


  9. #9
    Vulture of The Western World Eric's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bikerlbf406 View Post
    Does anyone know where I can get an armored jacket without spending $500+ dollars on one. I'm so large of a person and where a 4XL i have problems finding actual riding gear.
    First, look at a catalog/seller (Joe Rocket, Icon, etc.) to get a feel for the types of jackets that are available. Some are leather, some synthetic - some a mix of both. The armor varies, too - as does the style.

    If you have a bike shop/dealer near you, watch for sales - you can sometimes get a great deal on closeouts and so on.

    Also, you might try eBay. People buy stuff, find they don't use it and so want to sell. Main thing here - with clothes of any kind - is to be sure about the fit, which is hard to do without actually trying it on first.

  10. #10
    Administrator Ken's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by grouch View Post
    What I wear and why are;


    I've got three helmets. One has a large chip from a rock that fell off a truck and I keep it as a reminder but don't use it as they are good for one good whack and tat one nearly took my off the bike backwards. It's a Shoei and so is a newer helmet I wear most of the time. I also have a full face clam shell for long distance riding. I paid extra for it as I can get my fa....er.....extraordinarily intelligent head into it. Most shops don't carry a XXXL helmet so when I found it, I didn't really need one but I snagged it right away. (No, I'm not a small person.)

    -----------------------------------------------------------------------

    I have no idea what I have tied up in riding gear as I've accumulated it over the years. My gloves range from heavy insulated gauntlet gloces to smaller riding gloves for hot weather.
    Like you, Grouch, I have several different sets of riding gear. I've got two one-piece leather suits, one by AKITO supple, comfortable and suitable for use on road or track and one new-ish - made to measure - set by Crowtree which are still quite stiff. The Crowtree ones are presently OK for road use but will need to soften up some before I use them on the track where freedom to move quickly and easily on the bike is essential. Under the leathers, when it is cold, I wear an RS Taichi one-piece windproof undersuit, this is a great piece of gear and very effective at combatting wind-chill. For winter or wet weather I have two two piece sets, one set by RS Taichi is very windproof, fairly waterproof and warm despite being quite light. The jacket has a multitude of zip-up vents which can be opened or closed dependent on the temperature of the day. My other set is a Belstaff textile jacket, many large pockets inside and out, ideal for long club runs when I don't want to wear a rucksack. Like the RS Taichi this jacket has a full winter weight removable liner. I team this very waterproof jacket with a pair of Belstaff leather pants. All my riding gear is fully armored. I have (at the moment) three helmets an Arai which is my fave, an HJC Flip-up which is OK for club runs and a Nolan Jet style with flip up visor for very short runs. At the moment I use one pair of Alpinestar track boots for all my riding, they are snug, very comfortable, fully protective and can be worn all day with no discomfort. As for gloves - don't get me started, I buy gloves like a smoker buys cigarettes and discard them for something 'better' at every bike show or visit to a big dealer. I have large hands and when I find gloves that are fine on the palm and wrist the fingers nearly always turn out to be too short. To me, finding the perfect pair of gloves would be like Gail finding the Holy Grail.

    Ken.
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    Ken.
    Wolds Bikers, Lincolnshire, England.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by bikerlbf406 View Post
    Does anyone know where I can get an armored jacket without spending $500+ dollars on one. I'm so large of a person and where a 4XL i have problems finding actual riding gear.
    Eric is right, hit the web, cataloges to see whats out there. Being from Daytona, I have a favorite vendor for all my gear. Hit a bike rally, you can get some good deals and you can try on everything for fit. J&P Cycles, Motorcyclegear.com, and Fleebay are all good resourses. Also, think outside the box, I have a pair of windsurfing gloves that are leather and great for wet weather. My best jacket is 20 yrs old, textile with armor, liner and waterproof. It's been to Alaska twice and in to many wet and cold places over the years. Good riding boots are a must. I found Vega Nitro boots about 7 yrs ago. They're waterproof, comfortable for walking and less then $80.00. I'll need to replace them before this summer. So I've had good wear out of them.

    Best advice? Get what you want, not what "the guys" think you should wear. And, It's your body, protect it with the best gear you can find.

  12. #12
    Ridin Dirty dom's Avatar
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    Check this place out:

    http://www.motorcyclegear.com/

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  13. #13
    Senior Member grouch's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bikerlbf406 View Post
    Does anyone know where I can get an armored jacket without spending $500+ dollars on one. I'm so large of a person and where a 4XL i have problems finding actual riding gear.

    My armored jacket is a multipurpose job and was a state of the art Teknic when I bought it. You're west of me by about 160 miles or so. Rural King has stores all over Illinois. See if there is one near you. They've got a clearance sale right now and you can get a heavy leather jacket for $100 or so. I don't know if they have XXXXL but I did see a XXXL in there when I was looking at saddle bags for a bike I was thinking of getting. Tey have some with elbow protection and such.
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    With gas prices probably surpassing $4.00 a gallon look for more of these things on the roads. It is not just a weekend recreational reason anymore ,people are riding to work to save on gas. Riding to work and back I follow simple rules. No hot dogging because most drivers are tired and stressed from work on the road. I try to stay at a good safe distance and take care of the clovers one at a time. I always wear my helmet but prefer an open face one. The full face shields are good in rain. I think it's important to stay comfortable on bike. When it's 90 degrees and you have black leathers on you'll fry out there like a boiling lobster. I like to use different clothing for different occasions.
    Most important is get something that is perfect for you. You don't need an OCC chopper bike in the beginning. Best is get something you'll like. Ultimately the bike and you are a team out there. Nothing more important then being 100% in control and think safer first but yeah it's risky and sooner or later everyone experiences some type of risk. Could be deer crossings in front of you at a short distance or a light changing to yellow with a car turning left and you burrowing through the intersection. Guys it is dangerous and not for everybody. Still the more you'll ride it the better you'll get.Try to put yourself in a position where people notice you. Be a kind of a robust rider and not too shy. If they see you they will not run in to you.
    Last edited by Adam; 02-26-2011 at 12:00 PM.

  15. #15
    Administrator Ken's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by grouch View Post
    My armored jacket is a multipurpose job and was a state of the art Teknic when I bought it. You're west of me by about 160 miles or so. Rural King has stores all over Illinois. See if there is one near you. They've got a clearance sale right now and you can get a heavy leather jacket for $100 or so. I don't know if they have XXXXL but I did see a XXXL in there when I was looking at saddle bags for a bike I was thinking of getting. Tey have some with elbow protection and such.
    Apart from stores like Rural King, you're spoilt for biker shops to trawl looking for sales and bargains, Tim. There's Biker Shack, Cases, Palmer Jack, Steel City, J & J, Rocket Sportsbike and Joe's Hawg Doc, all in Granite City. But, for the real bargains, if the US is anything like the UK the bike fairs are the place to look - usually loads of rubbish (just walk on by) but, here and there, some very good bargains.

    Ken.
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    Ken.
    Wolds Bikers, Lincolnshire, England.

  16. #16
    Senior Member Mithrandir's Avatar
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    Thanks to all for your helpful information.

    I am still gathering information. One interesting site I found was Motorcycle Tips and Techniques.

    Is there any central place that has information on the torque (and HP) curves of different motorcycles? Even if there is info on models from one maker, this could be useful.

    IMO, this information seems useful to get an idea of how a motorcycle rides.
    Sincerely,
    Anthony

    'Many are my names in many countries,' he said. 'Mithrandir among the Elves, Tharkûn to the Drarves; Olórin I was in my youth in the West that is forgotten, in the South Incánus, in the North Gandalf; to the East I go not.' Faramir

    What nobler employment, or more valuable to the state, than that of the man who instructs the rising generation? Cicero (106BC-43BC)

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  17. #17
    Senior Member grouch's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mithrandir View Post
    Thanks to all for your helpful information.

    I am still gathering information. One interesting site I found was Motorcycle Tips and Techniques.

    Is there any central place that has information on the torque (and HP) curves of different motorcycles? Even if there is info on models from one maker, this could be useful.

    IMO, this information seems useful to get an idea of how a motorcycle rides.

    Try this site.


    http://www.bikelinks.com/directory/Makes/
    Honk if you love Jesus.

    Text if you want to meet him.

  18. #18
    Vulture of The Western World Eric's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mithrandir View Post
    Thanks to all for your helpful information.

    I am still gathering information. One interesting site I found was Motorcycle Tips and Techniques.

    Is there any central place that has information on the torque (and HP) curves of different motorcycles? Even if there is info on models from one maker, this could be useful.

    IMO, this information seems useful to get an idea of how a motorcycle rides.
    Here's the deal on that:

    As a new rider, you do not want a sport bike, period.

    Sport bikes typically have plastic fairings, high footpeg clearance for cornering, stubby, steeply raked "clip on" handlebars and a tucked-in riding position. They also have high horsepower (often, enough to easily wheelie the bike just by throttle alone) and very aggressive power delivery, too. Some rev to more than 14,000 RPM! Several have more than 150 hp in a 400 pound package - a power to weight ratio far beyond a 911 turbo. These kinds of bikes can do 0-60 in less than 3 seconds, run the quarter mile in 10 seconds at more than 130 mph and have top speeds in the 150-plus range. Some can get close to 200 MPH. It's not just the tremendous power, either. Sport bike suspensions can be very unforgiving of newbie mistakes; the steering is typically very, very sharp and the chassis is set up on the assumption that the ride is experienced. Many of the latest sport bikes are basically the same as full-on race bikes. They are extremely aggressive machines.

    Several "naked" bikes - sport bikes without the plastic fairings - are in this class, too.

    Such bikes are great fun but not for a person who has not thoroughly mastered basic riding techniques and is at least somewhat prepared to deal with the very aggressive riding characteristics and capabilities of such machines. My personal opinion: No one who hasn't been riding regularly for at least a year (and taken the MSF class) has any business on any sport bike. This is the type of bike that is most likely to help get a young kid with little or no experience as a rider (but plenty of immaturity and no fear of death) killed.

    You also don't want a large cruiser/touring bike; they are too heavy for a beginner and very easy to drop/lose control of in a corner if you are not experienced. This is the type of bike that is most likely to help get a middle-aged, first-time rider having a mid-life crisis killed. A 45 year old guy thinks he's too mature to start on something smaller - or take the MSF class. And soon finds himself dead.

    So, what does that leave?

    Standards and four-stroke dual sports - in the 250-650 cc range. (Avoid two-stroke off-road motorcycles; these also are not for beginners.)

    These bikes have moderate power and mild power delivery; they are not too heavy; they are predictable and easy to ride - and will help you learn to ride without getting in over your head (and getting hurt).

    I've mentioned bikes like the Kawasaki KL/KLR series and the Honda XLs as examples of good-natured/forgiving and easy to ride dual-sport motorcycles. These types of bikes are my personal recommendation for a new/beginner rider. You can learn to ride on the lawn/dirt. And if you drop the bike, it will not hurt it (even cosmetically; they are rugged and don't have a lot of chrome to scratch, etc.)

    Examples of standards include bikes like the thoroughly excellent Honda Nighthawk, which has been made in sizes from 250 to 750 ccs (the latter being a fine bike for almost any purpose, including commuting). The Suzuki SV650 is a little more aggressive, but it's ok, too.

    You could also go with something like a Honda Rebel, if you wanted a cruiser-type of bike in a manageable package.

    Another option: a 500-650 cc Japanese bike from the late '70s or early '80s. These are much like current standards such as the Honda Nighthawk. They're docile, easy to ride bikes. Tim's new machine, for example (Suzuki GS500) or, the standard version of the touring bike I just got, the Honda GL500/GL650 v-twin.

    Bikes such as these have the Coolness Factor and also have the advantage of being really inexpensive; you can pick up a nice one for less than $2,500.

    As long as you stick with standards and dual-sports, you'll be fine.

    No sport bikes; no big cruising or touring bikes!

  19. #19
    Vulture of The Western World Eric's Avatar
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    See here, Anthony:

    http://epautos.com/?p=2245

  20. #20
    Senior Member bikerlbf406's Avatar
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    I agree with Eric, do yourself a favor and stick with a smaller cruiser, such as a 650cc Honda Shadow at the biggest. No sport bikes, no big cruisers or touring bikes, and whatever you do, be sure to take an MSF course even before buying your own bike. One for you can better learn how to ride and handle one but also make sure you feel comfortable enough on one before buying one. I have seen friends of mine buy a bike without taking the course and after less then an hour of riding, decide they didn't feel comfortable enough and didn't like the idea and ended up selling the bike they just bought at a loss.
    Tim, proud owner of 2001 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 & 2007 Honda CMX250C Rebel


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