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    Thread: Question for those that haven't been riding since birth.

    1. Member Cubster's Avatar
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      04-03-2012 10:26 PM #1
      So I've really wanted to be in the two-wheeled world pretty bad for the last 3-4 years but haven't pulled the trigger or acted upon it yet. I love my cars but feel that escaping by myself for a jaunt on a motorcycle would be so much more satisfying. I don't need the speed of a sportbike or the laid back feel of a cruiser.....something inbetween. For those that got into it and got their licinse later in lfe (25+ years old) how did that go? My younger brother started ridiing when he was 29 but got out of it...now he's 36 and not really into it. I'm 41 and really lust for a 70's Japanese bike and getting lost. Tell me anyhthing....just wondering.

    2. 04-03-2012 11:21 PM #2
      I'm 27 and started four or five years ago. Not the age group you're shooting for, but hopefully my input is well received. It seems that regardless of age, some people are motorcyclists and some aren't. You never know until you try.

      The older I get, the more I try to get lost on back country roads and then navigate my way back to a familiar area. It is very nice to leave everything (work/family/life) behind and escape. It has become a form of therapy for me.

      A lot of the time newer riders sell their motorcycle due to financial responsibilities and then never get back in the saddle for one reason or another. Those are the types (possibly like your brother) that simply lose interest and find another hobby. Others have a fall and are too timid to jump right back on. There are also those who have a scare and pack the bike away because their health is too much to risk.

      If life provides you the opportunity to see the world through a visor, I strongly suggest you take it. Everything looks different when you're on two wheels. You smell the air. You feel the temperature change. You watch the clouds. You become a part of your surroundings. This is especially true if you do any type of 'touring.'

      I primarily ride sport bikes. I do 50 to 100 miles most days taking the long way home from work. My free time on the weekends has a 400 mile minimum each day. I commute on my motorcycle, grocery shop to a certain extent, run errands, and use it for anything that I safely can rain or shine. I consider myself a motorcyclist, not a fair weather hobbyist. I've crashed, I've had scares, and I've had financial troubles. But nothing will take my motorcycle away, it is far too dear to me.

    3. Member turbinepowered's Avatar
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      04-03-2012 11:52 PM #3
      ^ what this guy said.

      Also, if you're going to pull the trigger, remember your first bike is not your last bike. You mention you lust for a 70s Japanese bike; get something newer first. Something 90s, that parts are cheap and plentiful, electronic ignition and modern evolution carburetors mean the reliability is high, and you can focus on getting your skills up and going. You'll have better brakes (not just stronger), better engine management, better handling. And when you drop it however you drop it, parts are easy to find, unlike for some of those 70s bikes.

      I started on a '93 CB750 at the age of 26. One of my best friends had a CB650SC ('83, and now I own it too long story) and it looked like fun but terrifying. He managed to cajole me out of my terror, onto two wheels, and I haven't looked back since. Now looking to "trade down" to something smaller than the 750 for my daily commutes, maybe something watercooled too.

      Then when you've practiced your skills on your newer bike, you can go hunt up that 70s beast you want, and you'll be familiar with the basics enough to now put your attention into coping with how it is "less than ideal" in each department while still enjoying the machine.
      Quote Originally Posted by zukiphile View Post
      There is an area of a normal brain that lets the owner know the object works and needs to be left alone. Not all of us have it. It is like being colorblind.

    4. Member atomicalex's Avatar
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      04-04-2012 03:55 AM #4
      25+ is generous. I am somewhat older than that. Started riding last summer after 20 years of wishing. I had the opportunity to do driving school in Germany (hi Bryan), which gave me a really solid foundation set of skills on the bike, and now I have my own bike that I am inching up on 4500kms on. Riding is everything I hoped it would be and then some.

      I went into it wanting to learn how to ride so that I could take a bike out on the track (I am a track junkie) once in a while. Well, about half way through, I realized that every time I got on the bike, it was like track day: the focus and precision required are similar and you feel the road much like you do in a prepped track car. So, I took the plunge and after much discussion, picked out a 2004 F650GSa - a for ABS. It's FI, lots of creature comforts, but still a single cylinder enduro that is just about perfect for commuting and back-road touring. It's not a highway bike, but it can hold 130kph for hours on end with no trouble, so I can get on the autobahn with no worries.

      The thing that hooked me was the freedom it gives me. In Germany, I can't drive my Golf everywhere, because it has the wrong color emissions sticker. It's hell to park cars, and expensive, too. Traffic is terrible some days. On the bike, I can go whereever I want to. No restrictions. And it traffic is bad, pop off the main road and enjoy some side streets or just less-traveled county roads. Or even filter or split if I'm feeling adventurous.

      It literally is like being let out of a cage.
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    5. Senior Member Mk1Racer's Avatar
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      04-04-2012 07:16 AM #5
      Quote Originally Posted by retrorabbit View Post
      I'm 27 and started four or five years ago. Not the age group you're shooting for, but hopefully my input is well received. It seems that regardless of age, some people are motorcyclists and some aren't. You never know until you try.

      The older I get, the more I try to get lost on back country roads and then navigate my way back to a familiar area. It is very nice to leave everything (work/family/life) behind and escape. It has become a form of therapy for me.

      A lot of the time newer riders sell their motorcycle due to financial responsibilities and then never get back in the saddle for one reason or another. Those are the types (possibly like your brother) that simply lose interest and find another hobby. Others have a fall and are too timid to jump right back on. There are also those who have a scare and pack the bike away because their health is too much to risk.

      If life provides you the opportunity to see the world through a visor, I strongly suggest you take it. Everything looks different when you're on two wheels. You smell the air. You feel the temperature change. You watch the clouds. You become a part of your surroundings. This is especially true if you do any type of 'touring.'

      I primarily ride sport bikes. I do 50 to 100 miles most days taking the long way home from work. My free time on the weekends has a 400 mile minimum each day. I commute on my motorcycle, grocery shop to a certain extent, run errands, and use it for anything that I safely can rain or shine. I consider myself a motorcyclist, not a fair weather hobbyist. I've crashed, I've had scares, and I've had financial troubles. But nothing will take my motorcycle away, it is far too dear to me.
      This. I started riding when I was young (got my first bike when I was a sophomore in HS). And while I've had a bike almost ever since, I've not always ridden. I've got '79 Triumph T140D that I've had for a very long time. Unfortunately it was curse by John Lucas, and has spent way more time in my shed that it should. 3 years ago, I bought my FXDWG. I have put 20k miles on it in that time. Mostly just 'getting lost'. I have no problem jumping on it and going for an all-day ride to nowhere. It helps that my g/f likes to go too.
      Quote Originally Posted by turbinepowered View Post
      ^ what this guy said.

      Also, if you're going to pull the trigger, remember your first bike is not your last bike. You mention you lust for a 70s Japanese bike; get something newer first. Something 90s, that parts are cheap and plentiful, electronic ignition and modern evolution carburetors mean the reliability is high, and you can focus on getting your skills up and going. You'll have better brakes (not just stronger), better engine management, better handling. And when you drop it however you drop it, parts are easy to find, unlike for some of those 70s bikes.

      I started on a '93 CB750 at the age of 26. One of my best friends had a CB650SC ('83, and now I own it too long story) and it looked like fun but terrifying. He managed to cajole me out of my terror, onto two wheels, and I haven't looked back since. Now looking to "trade down" to something smaller than the 750 for my daily commutes, maybe something watercooled too.

      Then when you've practiced your skills on your newer bike, you can go hunt up that 70s beast you want, and you'll be familiar with the basics enough to now put your attention into coping with how it is "less than ideal" in each department while still enjoying the machine.
      This guy is onto something as well. Don't get me wrong, 70's bikes are very cool (and seem to be all the rage these days), but give your new hobby a fighting chance. There's lots to learn when you're just starting out, don't let 40+ y/o technology sabotage that. You want to be riding now, not tinkering w/ an old bike, or worrying that you may get stuck somewhere. Pick up an early 90's standard and learn how to ride. Once you've got most of the basics out of the way, start looking for the kind of bike that you want.
      Quote Originally Posted by atomicalex View Post

      It literally is like being let out of a cage.
      This is just soooo true!
      Quote Originally Posted by atomicalex View Post
      Hey, don't forget the anarchist car chicks. We are angry and have whips!

    6. 04-04-2012 08:39 AM #6
      I didn't start until I was 26. I'm 37 now and still riding as much as I can. I still love cars, but there's nothing quite like a road trip on a bike. You feel much more like you're out there in the world rather than just watching it go by.

      As far as advice goes, I'd echo the others with the idea of getting a beater before buying your dream bike. Also, make sure you save enough money for decent gear. I happen to like Scorpion helmets and Fieldsheer gear for good quality stuff that won't break the bank. Finally, and most importantly, take the MSF course. You'll learn a whole lot more than you think is possible in a parking lot.

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      04-04-2012 11:00 AM #7
      i'm 28 and just started riding this week. i took most everyones advice and got a small cc bike. i chose the cbr250r, cheap to buy, cheap upkeep, cheap insurance. i plan on doing the safety course and most of all i plan on taking my time and learning/enjoying at my own pace.

    8. Member Spectaculiciousnes's Avatar
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      04-04-2012 01:08 PM #8
      I didn't start until my mid 30's. Bought a used 93 GSXR 750 to learn on & rode that for a year or so. Then bought my first new bike. I've had 4 new bike since then & have ridden roughly 50,000+ miles. I don't see myself ever wanting to get out of riding like your brother did.
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    9. Member atomicalex's Avatar
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      04-04-2012 02:04 PM #9
      Quote Originally Posted by Spectaculiciousnes View Post
      I don't see myself ever wanting to get out of riding like your brother did.
      Genau!! Exactly! This is way too much fun. And the little motors! You can play with them on the dining room table! No engine hoist required! What is not to love?

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    10. Member turbinepowered's Avatar
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      04-04-2012 03:11 PM #10
      Quote Originally Posted by atomicalex View Post
      Genau!! Exactly! This is way too much fun. And the little motors! You can play with them on the dining room table! No engine hoist required! What is not to love?

      I find myself wanting to find ways to put one of these tiny engines into some of my bigger toys.
      Quote Originally Posted by zukiphile View Post
      There is an area of a normal brain that lets the owner know the object works and needs to be left alone. Not all of us have it. It is like being colorblind.

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      04-04-2012 04:11 PM #11
      I picked up my M1 license at 21, but didn't get my first bike until I was 25. I'm still riding my first bike - 05 Yamaha R6. I never touched a motorcycle before this one. I can't speak for others (getting such a powerful, race-prepped bike as a first bike is generally not a good idea), but I was easy on the throttle, kept it easy on everything, didn't worry about how fast others were going, and rode very defensively. I'm 30 now and I'm still riding. In fact, I'm a better driver because of the riding skills I've developed.

      As others have mentioned, you either love it or you're not into it. I've been wanting a motorcycle since I was 15. I have a friends that have no interest whatsoever in motorcycles. However, I can tell you that it's a feeling you won't get in any other vehicle and it doesn't matter what type of bike you get. There is a bike for every type of rider. You may pick up a race-prep and find yourself cruising most of the time and later end up with a Harley. We each have our different riding styles. As with the VW culture, you'll also find that there's also a culture for motorcyclists.

      In the end, I still ride because it still puts a smile on my face when I'm out in the open. I'm pretty sure I'll still be riding in the next 10-20+ years. I may change over to a different bike, but I'll still be riding.
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      04-04-2012 04:25 PM #12
      I think the best thing you could do for yourself is take the MSF course. That way you can get a pretty good feel for riding and you will learn a lot. If you drop a bike there or decide riding isn't for you, you can just walk away. I started riding 2 years ago at 19 after always wanting a motorcycle. I had no idea if I'd like it or not, but now I'm hooked. As for the bike situation, definitely get something newer to start on. I bought my 250 and then bought my CB 550 the next year so I could build a cafe racer, like I had initially wanted to do.

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      04-04-2012 07:58 PM #13
      Started riding at 33, about 4 years ago. Never had been on a bike before. Took the MSF, had fun, passed, bought a Ninja 250. The journey began.

      I've averaged about 12,000 miles a year on a bike since then. I've had an assortment of bikes in this short time. Currently have an '11 Street Triple R and a '12 Multistrada S Touring. I'm batsh1t insane for bikes now.

      I've had one small accident that was not my fault, where I was hit by car, and I was fortunately not injured. Dropped a brand new bike once. I actually consider myself pretty lucky so far. Sh1t happens on 2 wheels, you'll learn.

      Still consider myself a beginner, despite riding almost all the time.

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      04-04-2012 08:31 PM #14
      I started riding unofficially before I was licensed to drive a car. Officially I got my motorcycle endorsement very shortly after my 17th birthday. I have owned a motorcycle ever since.

      So I may qualify as your "since birth" crowd.

      That said. Some thoughts:

      First. Take a MSF course. Spend the weekend zipping around a parking lot on someone else's bike. Verify you want to ride. I know people that have done the MSF and found that motorcycling just isn't for them. Nice to do that and be out a weekend and maybe $150 or so instead of stuck with a bike you don't feel comfortable riding and all the associated gear, etc.

      Second. Look at adventure tourers. Ignore the name; these things are what you make of them. I bought one last year and am very happy with how it walks the line between a sport bike and an old UJM. You are upright, have some wind protection, and you can easily hang luggage from it. Mount up some sport-tourer rubber and you can mostly hang with the sport-bike crowd. Nice blend of all genres.

      These things run the gamut from very fast, very sporty (ie Duc Multi) to bad-ass off-roader (BMW GS, Triumph XC). These things are the modern UJM, in my opinion.

      Good luck. Have fun.

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      04-04-2012 10:22 PM #15
      I have a 24 YO coworker who is all amped to ride after I took the bike to work the other day. I told him to wait a few years to get the last remnants of 'stupid' out of his system Sure you can start riding at 16 and be fine, but I'm glad I didn't start that early.

      Take the MSF, buy a mint UJM, read up on the risks, have fun

    16. 04-04-2012 11:08 PM #16
      Quote Originally Posted by turbinepowered View Post
      Also, if you're going to pull the trigger, remember your first bike is not your last bike. You mention you lust for a 70s Japanese bike; get something newer first. Something 90s, that parts are cheap and plentiful, electronic ignition and modern evolution carburetors mean the reliability is high, and you can focus on getting your skills up and going. You'll have better brakes (not just stronger), better engine management, better handling. And when you drop it however you drop it, parts are easy to find, unlike for some of those 70s bikes.
      This is a very valid topic for discussion in this thread and reminded me of something I always tell would be beginners.

      The experience of riding a motorcycle can only be enjoyed when the damn thing runs.

      Vintage bikes are a lot of fun, however they require much more attention to maintain and operate on today's roads. A 'barn find' bike is a terrible idea for your first motorcycle. A running 1970's Jap bike from Craigslist is also a miserable idea. Carburetors are finicky by design, add 40 years of usage and it is a miracle the motorcycles still run. Things like floats, float needles, needle seats, emulsion tubes, pilot jets, main jets, o-rings, petcocks, and vacuum leaks all need attention on these older bikes. Let's not pass over the safety side of things with calipers that rust and seize, master cylinders that gum up and hold pressure on the calipers, spoke wheels that come out of true, old tires that still have tread, and drive chains that destroy engine cases when they break.

      I love vintage bikes just as much as everyone else. I am restoring/modding a 1974 Yamaha RD 250 to be my work commuter and bike night fun ride. The bike has 3,200 original miles on it with a set of 100 mile BT-045 tires (good tire for a vintage bike). Yes, the bike ran and went down the street decently. Upon dis assembly I found the steering head bearings grooved and dry, the front caliper would barely retract, front brake hose would swell every time pressure was put on the master cylinder, the pet **** was nearly full of rust/crud and the 'filter' inside the tank was all but gone. The chain had lost all of it's factory lube from between the pins, there was a vacuum leak between the carbs, the clutch pushrod seal was leaking oil, fork seals began leaking on the test ride, and the rear brake light wiring was duct taped together. Any one of these issues could have lead to a failure on the road or at the very least an unsafe situation. These are the types of things a beginner over looks during the purchase process and then spends tons of time and money fixing. It sours the experience of owning a motorcycle when you 'just want to ride.'

      Here is the bike from above the day I brought it home.



      Looks can be deceiving after 38 years of aging. A more seasoned rider would see the light at the end of the tunnel with such a project, while people new to the hobby tend to get frustrated and leave the bike for dead.

      Starting on a newer machine is an excellent idea and I highly recommend buying reliable over 'cool' for your first bike. Once you know motorcycling is for you, then find yourself a vintage bike, learn how to work on it, and go enjoy all of the amazing back roads you never knew were there. Keep in mind that any bike from the 70s will need a fair amount of attention before it is safe to ride. And please never knowingly ride an unsafe motorcycle. If you are in doubt, ask a professional. Panic stops, and evasive maneuvers are inevitable.

      I am the tech for an independent motorcycle shop. Every day I am amazed at the things people ride simply because they don't know any better.

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      04-05-2012 01:13 AM #17
      I do not agree that carburetors are inherently troublesome. They gave good service for about a 100 years. I have two bikes with carburetors; both over 25 years old. Each has never had the carburetors cleaned and both start without issues in the Spring after Winter storage. Unleaded gasoline and storing with fresh gasoline in the Fall make this possible.

      Much has been said so I will add a thought that is unique and possibly unpopular. You should not need 75 or more horsepower to enjoy a ride on a bike. 40 horsepower will easily carry you down a freeway at 70 mph for as long as you can sit on a bike. I graduated from a bicycle; have not forgotten that and still love not having to pedal.
      Last edited by Tinker Toy; 04-06-2012 at 10:28 PM. Reason: changed 70 mpg to 70 mph

    18. Senior Member Mk1Racer's Avatar
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      04-05-2012 08:45 AM #18
      Quote Originally Posted by sucking chest wound View Post
      Started riding at 33, about 4 years ago. Never had been on a bike before. Took the MSF, had fun, passed, bought a Ninja 250. The journey began.

      I've averaged about 12,000 miles a year on a bike since then. I've had an assortment of bikes in this short time. Currently have an '11 Street Triple R and a '12 Multistrada S Touring. I'm batsh1t insane for bikes now.

      I've had one small accident that was not my fault, where I was hit by car, and I was fortunately not injured. Dropped a brand new bike once. I actually consider myself pretty lucky so far. Sh1t happens on 2 wheels, you'll learn.

      Still consider myself a beginner, despite riding almost all the time.
      12k miles a year on a bike is impressive. Live in Cali or the South?

      @retrorabbit,

      LOVE the old RD's! I kind of regret giving my '75 RD-350 to my buddy, as it's languishing in his garage.
      Quote Originally Posted by atomicalex View Post
      Hey, don't forget the anarchist car chicks. We are angry and have whips!

    19. 04-05-2012 09:36 AM #19
      I'm younger, but just decided to buy a motorcycle one day and proceeded to put 3k miles on it after 4 months - rain, shine, freak snow storms and all.

      Started out with a 1979 Suzuki, these old bikes just require some attention. If your set on one just go for it and spend some time working on it. People today are scared off by points ignition and carburetors which is crazy, they worked for decades (without as much "fiddling" as people will claim) and still function fine today.

      I've yet to rebuild a single carb after taking down close to 10 this winter, getting several bikes running with some cleaning.

      Depending on your states laws, just get a permit and go for it or register for a MSF course if you feel more comfortable going that route.

      Quote Originally Posted by Mk1Racer View Post
      12k miles a year on a bike is impressive. Live in Cali or the South?

      @retrorabbit,

      LOVE the old RD's! I kind of regret giving my '75 RD-350 to my buddy, as it's languishing in his garage.
      The old two strokers are definitely interesting. I just got a 250 DS7 running last night, something that tiny shouldn't go that fast
      Last edited by miscbrah; 04-05-2012 at 09:38 AM.

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      04-05-2012 10:30 AM #20
      Quote Originally Posted by miscbrah View Post
      Depending on your states laws, just get a permit and go for it or register for a MSF course if you feel more comfortable going that route.

      Was it the Hurt report that said you are more likely to crash if you are riding without formal training?

      OT, a friend has a complete RD250 (basket case) FS in his basement.
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    21. Member blue70beetle's Avatar
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      04-05-2012 11:22 AM #21
      At the very least, read _Proficient Motorcycling_ (which might inspire a person to get some training too)...

      Get a bike, hop on, and ride is terrible advice!

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      04-05-2012 12:35 PM #22
      Quote Originally Posted by blue70beetle View Post
      At the very least, read _Proficient Motorcycling_ (which might inspire a person to get some training too)...

      Get a bike, hop on, and ride is terrible advice!
      I actually hear it's better to take the class when you have no experience with motorcycles, so you don't go in having to change bad habits to good ones. Your first experience is likely to stick with you throughout your riding life. It's easier to create habits than it is to break a bad habit (at least for most people)
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    23. 04-05-2012 12:56 PM #23
      is everyone timid with old age? lol. The class is definitely a good resource but riding circles in a parking lot, on a tiny scooter, isn't going to prepare you for the road.

      I did however, read the state manual on operating a motorcycle before taking the permit test. I'd recommend that at a minimum

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      04-05-2012 01:51 PM #24
      Quote Originally Posted by miscbrah View Post
      is everyone timid with old age? lol. The class is definitely a good resource but riding circles in a parking lot, on a tiny scooter, isn't going to prepare you for the road.

      I did however, read the state manual on operating a motorcycle before taking the permit test. I'd recommend that at a minimum
      I don't think it's necessarily timidity or old age. I think it's that the MSF courses are good. They can help break bad habits, and reinforce (or develop) good habits.

      I nearly had a low-side slide not long ago. I think the reason I was able to keep the bike upright was because of something that I learned and practiced in the first rider's course I took, practiced and reinforced in subsequent ones, and practiced on real roads in traffic. Will an MSF course prevent all accidents? Nope...not a chance. But they do give tools and techniques to increase the chances of avoiding accidents.
      soldierguy

      a smallish truck, and a motorcycle

    25. Member dk58's Avatar
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      04-05-2012 01:54 PM #25
      So he shouldn't take advantage of learning to ride and learning valuable riding techniques on somebody else's bike? Nothing can prepare you for riding in traffic with people who don't see you, but learning how to react in sticky situations in a parking lot will give you the confidence and ability to react on the streets.

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