Originally posted by ericande
Thanks for your advice on the safety gear.
Yes I will be taking the motorcycle safety course next month. It's only $100 in WA and from what I understand the ones around here are awesome. Part of the reason I'm picking the sv650s is besides from hearing in these forums that it is a good starting bike is that I have ridden my buddy's some and feel very good on it. It fits well and I feel confident (but that doesn't mean I will act stupid on it, I just know riding a bike and feeling unsure is a recipe for disaster!)
Eric, you will (and should) feel confident on your bike after only a month or so, I'd guess. The real key is not feeling like a racer b/c the first surprise will be a painful lesson of how little you know. IMHO (ONLY!!) a good dose of paranoia is outstanding survival instinct.
To offer you really specific suggestions on gear, I'd buy in this order, depending on your financial situation:
Whether you buy textile or leather depends on the type of riding you do and your typical riding weather conditions. Lurk about the Gear section and drop back with things you can't find, don't understand, or need more focused responses to.
Don't buy a used helmet, period. If you want to save some money, just pick up a DOT to start with. SNELL is a better option, but the prices can begin to get up there and there's plenty of room for arguing if the value's really delivered. I do own and daily use a SNELL nonetheless.
Fit for jacket and pants depends on the material. Whatever you opt to do, get double stitched gear b/c it will survive the falls much better and offer far greater protection. Armor is always a good deal to have installed as well; "hard" is preferred and you'll probably want it installed into the gear for the most part.
Gloves should have velcro straps to secure them to your hands. My AGV ones have two sets of straps for an extra tight fit.
Alternatives until you get more $:
-Denim anything is the best material aside from leather and the specialized textiles. However, make no mistake in understanding its probably good for no more than about 5' and avoid any denim having holes or that is bleached or faded. Those are all signs of weakness. Stone wash is what I use for very short trips.
-Boots should cover your ankles. Hiking boots are a good substitute until riding boots can be afforded. These were my second to last gear purchase (pants were last). Tuck in those laces if you have any!
Where to get all this stuff? Locally is my top recommendation. Not only can you try it on, but you can start to form a relationship with the dealer which can help you out down the road. Often they're willing to work on price, esp if you know what it goes for online. But you should pay a premium b/c they stocked it for you to try out.
An alternative is www.newenough.com,
which you've probably already read about. But since you can't try stuff on, its hard to know what sizes to order. The staff are friendly and helpful and the prices are great, esp on the clearance stuff (and there's lots of that!).
Oh, as for bike. Older bikes (early 90's) are probably fine, but remember that the older a bike is, the more maintenance it will require. If part of your aim is to learn some mechanical skills, this is a great way to start and save some money. If you only want to ride, buy nothing older than a 2000, IMO, and if possible something that has fuel injection (FI). Carbs are a pain. Ooops, last thing. Whatever you get, locate a shop manual for it. Clymer or the manufacturer both make these helpful for both troubleshooting and routine maint, which saves you $ in the long run.
Well, I've got to run for now.