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Asking for some motorbike advice

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posted on May, 1 2008 @ 07:18 AM
Ok with soaring petrol prices i am really considering taking up riding. I am not 100% on this yet, however, i am after some information to help me make this easier.

Particularly after brands of bikes and models that i should look at that are 'cheap' or easy to find second hand (unless this is not a good idea), also the size of the bikes engine etc. I am after a road bike that will be a joy to ride.

I guess just some general points in the right direction. There are some regulations in the state of Australia i live in as to what bikes i cannot ride while in my provisional stages.

novice riders to ride moderately powered motorcycles with an engine capacity up to and including 660ml and which do not exceed a power to weight ratio of 150 kilowatts per tonne and are shown on this list.

Here is a list of approved bikes.

posted on May, 1 2008 @ 11:50 AM
You say you want a bike that's a joy to ride.. but in what manner?

The bikes that are listed in your group range are sports bikes and are built for speed. They can be a bit uncomfortable on a long run.

You get your usual 'workhorse' bikes too and your 'commuters'.

Also there are 'trail' bikes.. so you gotta work out what you want your bike to do, the sort of roads you'll be riding on the most, and what you want to get out of riding bikes.

So, in order of running costs/insurance costs etc, it roughly looks like this
1. commuters'
2 workhorses
3 trails
4 tourers
5 sports/tourers
6 sports.
( Just to give you an idea)

Although there wont be too much difference in them all, spending 150 on a rear tyre instead of 80 can be quite a difference.

If i were you, I would look around as many bike shops as you can.. find a few bikes you like the look of. Sit on them if the sales staff allow, get the feel of them.

Write down the make and model of the bikes you've cast your eyes over, then go do some research as to what types of bikes they are, including all the costs involved.

I've been a biker for many years and love the Kawasaki Z series, but they're a bit out of your league right now. They are four cylinder air cooled (now liquid too) 'workhorse' bikes. Give more comfort than a sports, with almost as much power as a sports, but are heavier and not as easily thrown around as a sports. Yet the Z series will just keep on running.. they'll happily sit at 100mph for 4 hours.

There's a multitude of bikes out there..and I'm sure you'll find something to your tastes and needs. It just takes a bit of research.

Once you've found a bike'll then be looking into helmets, gloves, jackets, trousers boots, foul weather gear ..chain lube... etc etc etc.. all good fun..

On a side note, the Kawasaki Z 1000cc bikes were the bikes used in the first Mad Max film.

The Z series is classed as a sports/tourer...
Here's a piccy of one...

Arai are my favourite make of helmet. The rest of the clothing is wide and various and open to more choice.

One thing's for sure..once you've got a few weeks experience of bike riding, you'll never see the roads (or life) in the same light.

There's a UK bikers magazine called AWOL (another way of life) and it really is.. you're on the move yet you're not as caged in as car drivers and you get to feel the environment and your surroundings in a new manner.

No doubt you'll have many more questions soon... and hopefully a bike to go with them

good luck in finding what you want...

posted on May, 1 2008 @ 11:57 AM
reply to post by Extralien

Very informative. I too am thinking about a cycle for commuting.

posted on May, 2 2008 @ 09:43 PM
reply to post by Extralien

Thanks for that, great information.

Since i would not be looking at many long trips, just short trips to work and back, i am more interested in something a bit more sporty for some fun riding on my own and not worrying about distance.

Or will i get that with anything? I would like this bike to be nice and quick.

posted on May, 3 2008 @ 03:42 AM
reply to post by SilentShadow

Any bike you get (for your current max allowed) will seem quick (until you get used to it) due to the lack of a metal cage surrounding you and your increased proximity to your surroundings.

Sports bikes will get to 60mph faster than a commuter gets to 60.
Sports bikes will have a shorter wheel base than a commuter (for better cornering)

They'll have better brakes, but then they must seeing as they do things a lot faster.

A sports/tourer offers almost the same sort of 'quickness' as a sports, but they'll have a bit more staying power and if you did do long distance, you'll appreciate the slightly different ride position.

It will take you a while to get used to riding a bike at speed anyway, no matter what you get. Your neck muscles will take time to build up as you'll be trying to hold your head straight as a 60mph wind hits you in the face.
You'll be strengthening your arms as you hold onto the grips and your legs will strengthen as your knees will be gripping the petrol tank.

You'll discover all that as you progress.

One thing you could do is go find a friendly group of bikers and ask any of them if they're willing to allow you to ride pillion so you can get a feel of the sorts of forces involved whilst bike riding. Not only that, once you do get a bike, you'll have a group with which you can go riding with (can be great fun).

I'm not a sports bike rider, but I have ridden a couple and have been impressed by Honda's NSR.
Suzuki RGV is a bit of a pain from what I've seen as they do tend to go wrong a lot (going from friends experiences of them)

Doing your own maintenance will also help you get a feel for and understanding of your bike. Learning how to adjust and oil your chain, changing your engine oil, cleaning your air filter, doing the wheel alignment, checking throttle cable travel are all part of basic maintenance and will save you some cash (unless you prefer a proper mechanic to do it all)

Tyres (especially rear tyre) are important to keep an eye on. The harder you ride, the faster the rear tyre loses its tread. On average you'll do roughly 1.8 rear tyres to 1 front tyre. Choosing the right type of compound for any new tyres will be another decision you'll have to learn about too.

If you want long wearing, then you'll go for a hard compound (cheaper)
If you want to stick to the road like glue (for hard cornering etc) you'll want a soft compound (more expensive and they wear out a LOT faster).
There are several stages in between too and from my experience, Continental, Pirelli and Dunlop tyres have been the best (in that order) for my style of bikes.

Just remember it takes time to build up bike riding experience. Learning to brake properly is one lesson you don't want to learn in an emergency.

The front brake does nearly all the stopping. If the rear brake did it, then you could go into a skid/slide/high side...
The front brake ensures the bike brakes in a straight line. I've had several occasions where I've had to hit the brakes so hard that the front forks dissapear into their own sleeves... sure gets the heart pounding.

Owning a bike is one of lifes great pleasures IMO. It can be exhilarating, fun, educational and makes you so much more aware of the roads and other road users that car driving will never be the same again.

If you find some bikes you like, let us know what you got your eye on.

posted on May, 3 2008 @ 04:11 AM
reply to post by Extralien

Man, thanks for that read. I am really getting into buying one basically as a necessity. I can't help to think that riding a motorcycle means eventually one will eat asphalt, as every rider I have ever known has told me tales of wiping out.

Now, I am not about acting stupid and doing stunts and have never wanted to own a motorcycle because of that inherent risk that someone "may" hit you and I would be safer always just driving a car. Since gasoline prices are so high now, I simply cannot go much longer driving a full sized truck to work 5 days a week.

I have tried selling it and thinking of getting a smaller car, but haven't even gotten any takers as no one wants to have anything to do with buying a gas guzzler now. Silly me, I had always wanted a truck because of the utility.

So it looks as if I may be stuck with my truck and I can park it. But I think if I get my "tax rebate" check in the mail, I may just try to find a smaller older bike for starters.

Mechanically, I've done just about everything with cars, so working on bikes does not frighten me.

posted on May, 3 2008 @ 07:18 AM
Yes, wipe outs do matter how safely you are riding, life has its habit of getting in the way.

My first tyre blow out was on the front. I was doing about 40mph. Freaked me out but kept control and had to push the bike home.

Was banking around a round-about when all of a sudden the back end decided to overtake the front. There was a patch of diesel on the road that my rear tyre slid on. Sliding towards the curb on my right side and then hitting the curb to 'high side' (bike flips over onto opposite side throwing you in that direction). The bike and I came to rest with my left leg securely trapped under the rear wheel.

I might have suffered some bad burns if my leg was trapped under the hot engine.

I've had two cars pull out in front of me. The first one I managed to bring the bike into a sideways skid and I aimed for the front wing of the car. Throwing me clear over the front end of the, I landed on the other side, got up, brushed myself off. Picked up my slightly dented petrol tank of a bike and could only laugh at the look on the car drivers face and his completely crumpled front wing.

Second car pulled out in front of me. He was making an illegal right turn across traffic. i was coming down on the outside of the traffic (never ever ride on the 'passenger' side of traffic in towns/cities... passengers have a tendancy to want to get out of the car whilst traffic is stopped) Luckily, I saw what was going to happen, knew i had absolutely no chance of stopping in time so I just jumped off the bike... The bike 'ghosted' into the side of the car.
So wish I had a camera.. the look on the drivers face as he saw the bike hit...then him looking up at me to see me standing there staring at him..

There were loads of witnesses, including a patrolling police car coming in the opposite direction. They'd already seen the car driver and i had a great laugh with the coppers about the incident and the car drivers foolishness. All that was left to do was to get out my tool kit.. undo the fork braces a little, straighten the front wheel, tighten back up and ride home..

Aquaplaned off a puddle once.. at night, in the rain.. was entering a slip road for a service station. The puddle was massive and didn't see it till it was too late.. no brakes, no road just kept going forward, up a kerb and and headed towards a two-post road sign.. I had two option..hit the sign or ditch.. I ditched and had to ride the rest of my journey with bent handle bars.

All that fails to compare to 'tank slap'... that really got me the first and only time that ever happened.
Tank slap happens when you're just going too fast. You could have the wind behind you and going down hill with the throttle wide open and you just slightly exceed safe parameters of bikes design and slap slap slap slap.... front wheel, forks and handle bars rock violently from side to side.. The handle bars slapping on the sides of the petrol tank.

It's a bit scary and a dangerous situation... DO NOT BRAKE...just ease off the throttle best you'll soon stop. Prevention can be gained by fitting steering dampers.

I have been riding bikes for quite a while (almost 20 years) and the benefits of not coming off or having an accident far outweigh the bad times.. I've been lucky to an extent, others break legs, arms or far worse..

Yet the option to 'bail' from your bike if you see impending doom approach is kinda more tempting an option to take than getting trapped in an upside down burning car.

Bike riding will give you far more road lessons than a car ever'll become so much better a car driver too as you will become more self aware of other bikes on the road.. Think you're aware now?..not a chance..wait until you've spent 6 months bike riding then go for a drive in your car... you'll see a lot more bikes and you'll be a lot more prepared for them.

Check these vids of this highly experienced bike rider. I am not condoning his behaviour as some of the things he does i would not do even if I was blind drunk and on a death wish..
The reason I'm posting them is so you can see exactly what a high powered bike (or any bike for that matter) can do.

16valve GTi Turbo dont mean a thing when you're stuck in traffic...

The freedom of bike riding is a buzz you'll never forget, no matter what.

Edit to add; Safe bike riding and events..
Here's a few vids on riding safe and a few other lessons too.
And here's a couple of pages to two of the 'main events' I used to go to;

The Bulldog Bash

The Plymouth Mega Ride

[edit on 3-5-2008 by Extralien]

posted on May, 4 2008 @ 11:15 PM
reply to post by Extralien

Once again, thanks for the information and tales of terror. Luckily they have not turned me off the notion of riding lol.

Ok so you are recommending a sports cruiser, if i was to narrow that style down to say a Honda. What Honda's are considered Sports Tourer?

Also, how much of a beating can a bike take? i know i have beaten many a quad bike and they are fine, the reason being is that you talk of bailing your bike and then it still working fine. I guess it kinda answers my question but i wanted to ask it directly.

posted on May, 5 2008 @ 08:59 AM
How much of a beating can a bike take??..

a bit more than first meets the eye, actually. But it greatly depends on what happens and how.

Obviously, head on, at speed, into a solid object is gonna crumple the bike big time. Front wheel becomes embedded into the engine, bars and forks become part of the petrol tank. That's worse case scenario.

Side impacts also depends.. is it the bike impacting something or something impacting the bike?
Something else hitting the bike is gonna do a bit more damage than the bike hitting something sideways on. Reason is that if the bike is under control and being forced into a sideway hit, then the speed will already have been reduced and the situation prepared for, but damage is still likely to occur. Everything/anything from bent handle bars, broken mirror, dented petrol tank, slightly twisted forks, cracked/smashed fairings/indicators, dented/bent/broken exhaust pipe/s, bent/broken/missing foot pegs.

Mostly cosmetic, though on certain bike models there are a couple of engine side casings that are prone to damage, like the clutch housing.

Sliding down the road will do mostly scratch damage but all the items listed above are prone to some sort of damage but mostly few small dents and scratches, depending on speed..faster you're going, longer the bike takes to stop sliding, unless it hits something....

motorbikes don't have all the soft metal skins that cars do. A lot of cars become write-offs with the smallest of accidents due to structural design, yet everything on a motorbike can be replaced and is already built for strength and durability. Cars are actually designed to crumple, in particular with hitting another car.. the crumpling of both cars is supposed to reduce the impact/damage.. unfortunately for cars, this means major damage and repair bills.

If you've had a knock and bend the frame, the frame can be replaced.. a cars frame can't, unless you have it professionally straightened and most insurance wont cover that.

Every part of a bike can be replaced and rather quickly, even quicker if you can handle tools and know where to get spares from.

You can even 'mix and match' parts far easier than you can with cars. All depends on your mechanical ability and the parts you're trying to fit.

Some of the older generation 'bikers' will most probably know someone who builds bike parts (including frames) from scratch.

I was doing a 200 mile run from Plymouth to London on my old 1985 Kawasaki Z750, it needed a service..big time.. along the way, the head gasket decided to blow on one cylinder, so that was causing me a bit of grief. Then my rear light failed, it was electrical problem rather than the bulb, so I had to use my rear brake to light up my back. And last but not least, the throttle cable snapped.. so removing the outer throttle cable casing, tying the inner cable together and re-routing it so it would reach the throttle grip where I was able to loop it over and grip it tightly, I managed to limp the final 50 miles to where i was going.. Couldn't have done that with a car, but I might have found a

Turning left hand corners was a problem due to the new length of throttle cable..

Looks like you'll be going the way of the Honda NSR then.. seeing as you can ride up to 250. IMO you can't go far wrong with one of those. The three other major manufacturers will offer something in that range too so feel free to check them out.
Dug up a few lists of models for you.. have a look through and you'll see what's what.

Just had a deeper look at that last link and you might find all you ever need there.. in particular, this link.. Categories

The UK used to have a 250 learner limit.... it was brought down to 125 when i began riding.. not sure if it's changed again since. There is a big difference between a 125 and a 250 though. They might both still only do 110 mph, but one will sure as hack get there a lot quicker...

But, no matter the size of engine, tucking yourself down to get streamlined and opening the throttle wide on a straight is a nice blast...

My first bike was the original Yamaha DT50, then I accidentally on purpose slipped onto a Suzuki GT250, had to go back down to a Kawasaki 125 for my license and then went straight out a bought a Kawasaki Z750.

That really was a shock..going from a 125 to a 750.. not just the massive power difference but the weight of the bike too... took a while to get used to starting, stopping and cornering properly. I was at a stand still once, a side wind caught me and knocked me off balance... I dropped the bike and had to ask for help to pick it up.. was funny.. but that was just another part of the whole biking experience.

posted on May, 6 2008 @ 07:07 AM

Originally posted by Extralien
Turning left hand corners was a problem due to the new length of throttle cable..

LOL... great story. Also thanks for the information regarding my question. I have NO IDEA about mechanics at all, and in fact would love to get to know a bike club that could help me out understanding my bike. In turn i could understand mechanics, electrics etc as a great way to enhance my knowledge.

Originally posted by Extralien
Looks like you'll be going the way of the Honda NSR then.. seeing as you can ride up to 250.

Is this what you would recommended as my first bike to suit my 'desires'? I like the idea of having a reliable Honda, however, if you think there is a different brand or model i should go for please let me know.

posted on May, 7 2008 @ 01:21 PM
reply to post by SilentShadow

Ultimately the choice is yours.

Personally, as a first bike, I'd go for the 125cc range.. get used to riding and bikes before jumping onto something bigger. A 125 will give you that 'quickness' you seek, but without major damage to your wallet should anything go wrong. Insurance wont be so tough either.

Get yourself down to a bike shop and have a look around at the models available there..have a sit on them and get a feel for them. Ask for info on them.

I can throw all the pictures and net links your way all day, but it doesn't compare to actually sitting on and 'feeling' a bike.

I could say one bike would be ideal, but you might be 6'5" tall and weigh 300lbs and that would make my 'choice' obsolete..

You're the one who's gonna ride it...go out and find it..
Do your feet touch the ground on both sides of the bike? (normally this mean the ball of each foot).
Is the seat and your sitting position to your liking?
Do your wrists feel awkward as you hold the grips?
Do the mirrors (if any) adjust easily enough to your 'ride height"?
Is it a 2 stroke engine or 4 stroke (2 stroke requires a seperate oil to be added to petrol, this is done via a seperate tank for the oil these days...used to have to mix your own.) 2 strokes are slightly faster than 4 strokes.

Once you make your decisions on this sort of thing.. you'l then be thinking of wether you like the look of the bike.

For your first bike, looks may not be too important, you'll soon get some biking experience under your belt and once you've met up with a biking group, you'll soon learn a load more real fast... And don't think a bunch of bikers wont accept you into their fold just cos you not got a bike yet.

Once you have got a bike and start riding, you'll soon get to learn there's a bikers code. It's unwritten but you'll discover it. The 'nod' or 'handwave' to bikers that are riding in the opposite direction is commonplace, as is stopping to help ANY biker that appears to have broken down. They may be taking a break from a long ride, they may have a major emergency... either way, your assistance will be recognised by them. It might be them that stops for you if you ever need help...

posted on May, 15 2008 @ 12:38 PM
Just remembered something..

I didn't suggest a model of bike for you to look for as in some parts of the world models of all vehicles have different names and/or designs.

It's very hard to find an Opel Manta in France, but quite easy in the UK. You can't buy Vauxhall cars in France, But you can buy Opel.

Opel and Vauxhall are the same are Daewoo.

The Ford Escort in the USA is of slightly different design to the UK version.

Same goes for a lot of bikes. Canadian Kawasaki Z series (especially older versions) are quite different from the UK versions.

This is all to do with marketing and what 'consumers' prefer and, of course, the laws regarding design and engine power etc.

Keep us informed as to what you've been looking at and please let us know if you get one and what you chose.

A follow up report from your experiences of bike riding here will help others make a choice between a car and a bike.

Happy shopping

posted on May, 23 2008 @ 10:21 PM

Originally posted by ben91069
reply to post by Extralien
I am really getting into buying one basically as a necessity. I can't help to think that riding a motorcycle means eventually one will eat asphalt, as every rider I have ever known has told me tales of wiping out.

Now, I am not about acting stupid and doing stunts and have never wanted to own a motorcycle because of that inherent risk that someone "may" hit you and I would be safer always just driving a car. Since gasoline prices are so high now, I simply cannot go much longer driving a full sized truck to work 5 days a week.

Hello SilentShadow and you too, Ben. I'm new to this website. I saw this thread and it caught my eye. I take it you guys are novice riders. You have some schooling ahead of you. I appreciate the fact that you're concerned about getting hurt out on the open road. I have some advice (call it a prescription) that'll help you keep your butt planted in the seat and your body less apt to be injured:

>you must take an MSF course. There are motorcycle safety courses and then there are MSF courses. MSF courses rule. Do not settle for anything less than an MSF course. Take the course, and then a year or two later, take it again. Repeat on year five

>when you ride, in order to stay alive and inury free, ride like every car is out to get you

>it's not a matter if you'll fall down, but when. Once it happens, breath a sigh of relief that you got your first dump out of the way

>regarding safety: network with other riders on the Internet (find a good bikers discussion forum), get a great book and read it three times, and take an MSF course when you first start out and then take it again a year later. Doing all of that will help you keep both wheels on the ground and your body in one piece

>i recommend Craiglist's motorcycle forum. They have no moderators there which means no one will screw with you because they're holding a personal grudge against you. Plus CL doesn't have any annoying ads that blink, move, flash, ect.

>learn all you can about countersteering. The inability to countersteer is what causes a large percentage (maybe a majority) of motorcycle accidents. I can't stress this enough. Become a rocket scientist at countersteering. Countersteering is easy to do at slow speed, anyone can countersteer at slow speed. But it's tough to do at high speed

>after you have a year or two of riding experience, take a riders course that teaches students race tactics on a local race course. Never mind that you don't have any interest in racing. Take the course anyway. Take the course even if you ride a Harley Davidson chopper. A course such as this will teach you things, survival tactics, that will help you out on the open road

>not sure if I'm allowed to post all these links but I'll do it anyway in order to help prevent an up and coming rider from landing in a hospital or winding up in the morgue

>have fun and cool riding to ya all!

posted on May, 23 2008 @ 10:58 PM
I not long got rid of a Kawasaki gpx 250.Which i ripped off an exchange student for when he was leaving haha.Awesome beginner bike sporty easy to ride, powerful enough if you havnt ridden much but not powerful enough if you ever ridden anything bigger.Cheap to run easily available parts.Will smoke anything off from the lights which is fun just dont race on a long straight or youll get smoked after a couple of seconds.You can buy them in good condition for pretty cheap or do what i did and wait for rich foreign student to scam before they leave for home.

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