Have you ever taken the class? In my opinion, they spend a little too much time on ultra-low speed "stupid motorcycle tricks," but there are definitely large portions that translate directly to the street. For example: having never ridden before taking the class, I just about sh!t myself when they busted out 4x4s to ride over, but quickly found out that it was no big deal. Now think of how many new guys (or even old guys) have probably went down trying to avoid an unavoidable object rather than just hopping over it.
All of the practice on emergency braking is also invaluable. If you can't stop from 20 mph, what makes you think it's wise to just jump on the highway and crank it up to 70? I could go on, but if you didn't learn anything from the MSF, you either weren't there, or weren't paying attention.
Germans are white people. Look up #84 on the list of things white people like: Gear. Lots of Gear. We even have gear farkles over here. -Atomicalex
Upon my word I have had as much excitement on a car as in the air, especially since the R.F.C. have had women drivers. -James Byford McCudden
If you have any doubts as to whether or not it's for you, at least take the (subsidized) MSF course. At the very least you'll get to crash someone else banged up and dented motorcycle and have fun doing it.
For example, a non-rider recently asked me the other day if I use my back brake more than my front. That one misperception could cost you your life on a first ride out.
Suzuki SV's or Kawi parallel twins (EX 500, Ninja 650, etc) would be my pick for a first bike. Carb'ed or otherwise. ... Or even 2nd or 3rd bike. I dream of adding one to my garage myself.
Now if you are one of those posers that thinks 125's and 250's aren't "real bikes" or some such, then you can just GTFO.
I /want/ one of those little 250 runabouts. The XT250 I was riding for my bike portions was fun.
LOL state a differing opinion and everyone gets all butt hurt. I even said the MSF is a good resource, however I do not believe it to be the be-all end-all some people tout it as. Familiarizing yourself with basic techniques (such as the front vs. back brake, noted above) should be common sense.
I have taken the course, only to comply with the state requirements. The MSF didn't exist when your grandfather hopped on a motorcycle for the first time, and kids aren't sent before getting on a dirt bike.
Heck, fans used to be made so that you could fit your whole hand through them... and your parents probably have all of their fingers.
My advice to the OP is to go for it. Take a class if you can, have a buddy teach you if it's not an option. Read books, get further training, etc.... Just go out and give it a go basically. You may like it, you might not, but you'll never know until you try. But don't get a 70s UJM as your first bike. If you really dig the look, get a use Triumph Bonnie instead.
Nobody called it the 'be-all' of anything. It's a great place for the OP, or any rider, to start.
The MSF solves way more problems than it creates. It's worth the money, worth the time. Just do it and then move on. Hell, you'll probably get an insurance discount.
I don't get all bent out of shape about safety, but I do think there's a lot of value in being sensible...
I don't fit your description as I've been riding on the road since I was 15 and got my first two wheeled motorized vehicle years before that.
Get the mid 70's Honda. They are bullet proof. You can get a good starter bike, say a 1975 CB360 in great shape for $800. You should be able to ride one in good shape 3-4 years without doing anything more than a oil change at the start of the season.
The only parts that are expensive on these bikes are the pipes but you can stick all sorts of aftermarket pipes on them that are cheap.
The 360 will stay with traffic just fine. It's a mid sized bike so it's easy to handle for a new rider. Their brakes were leap years ahead of the bikes of the recent past. I ride pre-1977 bikes exclusively and I'm never left stranded. (that is, with the Japanese bikes)
I agree with those who state that taking a riders course if you've never rode before is a good idea. Also, never ride in shorts or sandals. Not only are you asking for trouble, you look really stupid.
While I agree that they are reliable, you're talking about a bike that's over 35 years old. If it hasn't been ridden semi-regularly, and maintained, you're in for some surprises. Gummed up carbs, dried out gaskets and seals, etc. And I don't know of any bike that you can ride for 3-4 years w/o doing anything other than an annual oil change. Well maybe if you ride
For what it's worth, my first time on a motorcycle was at 23, now 29 and still love to ride. I don't think it's age that causes people to give up on riding, it's easy for people to get a bike just because it sounds like fun at the moment. I remember a neighbors son having a series of Hondas growing up with I was
I think a lot of people quit riding because of climate, family pressure (read: wife says so), or a close call. Traffic is nuckin' futz these days. In the end they just don't end up using the bike as much as they figured they would. At some point it becomes tough to justify the tires and insurance and upkeep if you only ride the damned thing 3-4 times a year or something.
This is why I ride something I can commute on. If I can't ride it to work, I won't ride it enough to justify having it.. in my mind.
I started last year when I was 36. Took the MSF a month or so before my 37th birthday. Its been about 9-10 months or so with about 5800 miles in the last year on my 1125CR. I'm not so sure I will be getting another Liter bike next go around. Something in the 650-750 range. Perhaps an 848 EVO.
Don't get me wrong, had her up to the limiter enough times in 2nd-5th and enjoyed removing nearly all my chicken strips;about 1/8" left or so. Enjoyed every minute of it even in the heaviest rain and cold weather. Been longing to ride since I was in my late teens early 20's.
My father has me beat though. He started riding HD's at 47 and has ridden across the country several times over the years. My parents have gone just about everywhere on 6 different HD's throughout the years. They are in their late 60's now and he just picked up a new Fat Boy last Fall. Still riding...
OP = me exactly 1 year ago. I was 41 last spring and finally pushed myself to do it. Actually my wife did. I have loved but not owned bikes ever since I laid my eyes on my neighbors Honda vfr Interceptor back in 1985. I decided to go the responsible route and take the MFS course which was exactly what I needed. I have always been able to pick up new things very easily such as snow boarding, longboarding etc pretty easily but I felt that I wanted to do it right and I am sure happy that I took the class. Yes, it is a little rudimentary but really gets you in responsible riders state of mind. I picked up a brand new Honda CBR 250r last summer 1 day after the class. Despite all the elbowing by others for going the 250 route I still think it was a smart decision. The bike is as fast around town and up to 70mph as your average car which allowed me to "push it hard" without doing anything outside the scope of the law and the scope of my beginner skills. I am a speed freak and like to push the mechanical limits by nature so this bike has kept me from getting in over my head. I say "go for it". Do it right. Take the class. Get good helmet, jacket, gloves and boots and do a LOT of research on what bike you feel would be best for you NOW for your skills.
Studies have shown that all decaying mammals smell exactly the same. So what if you want the smell of dead whores but can't afford to risk a lengthy jail sentence? Try a dead cat. Just slip it under the seat and no one will be the wiser. They will get in your car and say " Dam ******, you gots a dead hooker in the trunk?" and you can smile and just say " I'll never tell".