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All Things (Safety Oriented) Motorcycle   
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 Newbie Advice - First Bike
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Starting Member
2 Posts


Peer Review:

Posted - 05/23/2005 :  4:46 AM                       Like
New member here, and in the process of becoming a newbie rider...any help would be greatly appreciated.

After I take the safety class, I'll be looking for a motorcycle.
I have no idea what kind. I have a co-worker who owns quite a fleet of bikes, but he has something good to say about everything...so I end up more unsure of what to look for everytime I speak with him.

Seeing as how this site is geared towards safety, I have come to ask here, as I want safety to be the main determinant in my search.
Just some information that might factor into the equation...

I live in a rural town in North Carolina (US). The roads in town are fairly busy. There is a larger highway here (US 74-76) that I would probably end up on (it's not a very busy highway). The longest trips I might make are to Wilimington NC on 74-76, and Myrtle Beach, SC on numerous back roads). Wilmington is about 60 miles, Myrtle Beach about 45. The bulk of my driving (in the beginning) will be a 2 mile round trip commute to work (2 miles isn't really a commute I guess) at the prison. I'm six feet tall, and weigh about 180 pounds.
I have no idea what style of bike to choose (cruiser, sport, dual purpose). The only thing I was thinking is that I probably wouldn't want to go above 750 cc's.


Male Advanced Member
506 Posts

Chippewa Falls, WI



Posted - 05/23/2005 :  6:43 AM
Welcome to our world! Kudos to you for looking at safety.
It sounds like any bike, other than a high-performance sport bike (newbies should start on something less... touchy and powerful, really IMHO), will suit your needs. See if your buddy will let you tour his fleet of bikes, sit on them and get an idea of what feels good. Remember, comfort is important- If you are distracted by a sore butt, and tryign to figure out how to shift yourself around on the bike, you may be ignoring something else.
Be prepared to want to ride more. Your description of your biking plans sound suspiciously like my driving plans way back when. I then discovered a love of road trips...
But anyway- for a commuter bike look at a standard or dual purpose bike. I prefer the look of a cruiser, but that is solely personal preference.
In a previous post we listed some bike review resources- check it out and do research.


Don't worry about changing your mind after a couple years, or months! either- most of us, I believe, discover that one bike is enough, but two is more fun (I currently have a list of my next bikes- when $$ allows. Funny thing, none of them are cruisers!).
Go to a bike show, if you can, test ride some bikes, or at least sit on a lot of them. If you see someone on a bike you like pulled off somewhere, don't be afraid to ask about the bike- most of us are very pleased to share info, and if not, well, you will have lost nothing but a minute, right?
Others here will have good advice for you too... check out the various resources.

Remember to go with what you like, for your own reasons.

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Junior Member
84 Posts




Posted - 05/23/2005 :  8:54 AM
Some things I consider important when selecting a bike:

*ABS! The more I ride the less likely I think it is to beat the ABS in an emergency. It could easily save your life. It doesn't mean you can drop braking practise, it's just a guarantee that you wont under/over-brake in an emergency. Body positioning and all that still matters as much as on any other bike. It also makes it a lot easier to train for the ultimate in braking - on the point just short of skidding the tires. Having the ABS kick in is a lot more comforting than sliding tires!

*Geometry - prefers a moderate front and rear end that doesn't do stoppies(lifting rear wheel while braking) or wheelies without excessive input by the rider. Doing a stoppie is most importantly less than optimal braking, secondly, the thought of it might scare you from using the front brake properly.

*Comfort is very important to me. Got my first bike to do 32km of grid-lock traffic commute, but soon found myself doing 10 hour rides in the weekends. Heated grips and a bit of wind shielding helps a lot! So does a great seat, which most often equals an aftermarket seat. Hard suspension doesn't help either, on the softish side seems to be the best for the real world of bumpy roads.

*Low gas usage/injection/catalytic converter. We're already destroying the planet at a great rate and most motorbikes exists purely for the fun of the owner. A low emission bike will give you great MPG's and a better conscience.

*Simple and forgiving construction. As River mentioned, the sharp tools can cut too easily. A so called simple bike made for the real world, not the track(be it MX or RR), will give you a better chance to learn without hurting yourself in the process. Dual sports and standard straight-up-and-down bikes seems to be the easiest to learn on.

*Price. A cheapish bike will give you more dough to spend on safety equipment(more important than the bike!), more to spend on actually using the bike and more to spend on track days and further education. Would rather have a thousand track days than to buy an aftermarket exhaust! It also makes selling the bike easier. Your first years of riding will probably show you what sort of roads and riding style you like to do. Finding the perfect bike is much easier with this knowlegde, which only experience can provide. Good resale value will make it much easier to change bike when the time for that comes around.

Most importantly: what you do during the first years of your riding will influence you for life. Good habits will burn themselves into the system, just like bad habits do. Education will pay off the most the earlier in your riding career you do this. Good habits save lifes!

I've been to track days/safety courses where there's been riders who got the M/C license just weeks ago. Always look them with envy. All the stupideties I could have avoid if I had done the same..!

All that said, looks are important too. You must love to bike to use it. :)


Andreas (bmw f650gs)
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Standard Member
167 Posts

somerville, al


Trophy 1200

Posted - 05/23/2005 :  4:59 PM
Originally posted by Gozor

After I take the safety class, I'll be looking for a motorcycle.
I have no idea what kind. I have a co-worker who owns quite a fleet of bikes, but he has something good to say about everything...so I end up more unsure of what to look for everytime I speak with him.

Your buddy is a wise man, because ALL bikes have something good about them. Which one you go with is all a matter of personal preference. My suggestion is that you go small, cheap and used. And that you buy with the intention of trading up after a year or so. This presumption allows you to go smaller and cheaper than you might if you planned to keep the bike for awhile.

A cheap used bike can usually be sold for the same or close to the same amount you bought it for. This means you wont lose a pot of money should you decide the first bike you buy just isnt your style. Who knows, you may first buy a cruiser and then decide that sportbikes are really what calls to you, or vice versa of course. Only time and some saddle time will tell.

Look for just about any small bike in good condition. You should look for a good buy and not worry so much what brand or style of bike it is.

Yankee Dog

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Starting Member
2 Posts


Posted - 05/24/2005 :  5:50 AM
Thanks for all the input.
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Standard Member
130 Posts

Southern Illinois University Carbondale, Illinois


Vulcan 500ltd

Posted - 05/24/2005 :  11:02 PM
Looks Like I am a bit late to this topic. But here is a link I found. I started on the Ninja 250, Which is the most fun on the list. Ninja 500s are good too. A neighbor has a Suzuki Savage and loves it, it is a bit thumpy and loud though.

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Advanced Member
633 Posts

Pawcatuck, CT


10th Anny Vision

Posted - 05/26/2005 :  7:18 AM
After you get your license go to the bike rallys and take demo rides on the bikes from different manufacturers. Feel/see what you like on the different bikes then look for a bike that has the most of those charateristics. When you narrow the search down go on line and check out the clubs for that make of bike and you will get lots of info on what to look for and what to watch out for.
I would recommend buying a good used bike for your first bike. It is going to go down sometime or other and it will break your heart if she is brand new. Check for any clubs in your area and you should find a club member that's ready to move up. Talk with the other club members and they will tell you how that seller takes care of their bike before you buy.

Good luck in your search.
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