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Discussion Starter #1
First of all I, I would like to say that the point of this post is not to start an arguement. It is solely for the benefit of newer riders.

Let me start with this quote:
"With a few notable exceptions, today's sportbikes are no longer the razor-edge focus, high-strung thoroughbreds they used to be. For the most part, ergonomics and overall street manners are palatable enough for everything from urban commuting to an overnight sport-tour." (Taken from Sport Rider BOTY article 2001)

That being said, why do you guys always say start small? After all, a crash at 50mph on a 600 4-cylinder is the same as a crash at 50mph on a 250. You can go into a turn too fast, or make some other mistake on any bike, no matter the size. I ride a GPz550 which 20 years ago was one of the baddest small bikes you could buy and I'm sure back then people where scared to start riding on one. Flash forward to 2005 and my bike is looked at as a good beginner bike with a predictable powerband and user friendly ergos.

You guys also make it sound like you have to have a physics degree to turn a motorcycle, which just doesn't seem truthful to me. You turn a motorcycle basically the same why you turn a bicycle. You get the feeling for it through practicing. You crash your bike, you get up, you think to yourself how that could have been avoided and you gain expereince. The same goes for motorcycles.

Also, no where on the major manufacturers websites does it say "this bike is not for beginners". After all in these days of silly lawsuits you'd think that the manufacturers would take responsibility for what they are providing to their customers and not leave it up to some salesperson who may not really even know how to ride.

I've also read the posts that say stuff like"well you didn't learn how to drive in a Lamborghini". Well, you could! They are no more difficult to operate than any other car. I've driven several different models of Ferarris, a Lotus Esprit Turbo and an XJ220. All cars with lots of power, but not any more difficult to control than a Ford Escort.

Basically I'm just wondering why it seems like you have to be some all powerful being to operate anything above 600cc.

P.S. Peace, don't bash me, it's a perception I have.
 

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S370HSSV 0773H
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I think a lot of it is driven by a very "the earth is flat" viewpoint. Most people I've gotten into this argument with don't seem to take into account our ability to adapt to current technology. I've even used the same argument you did about how the cutting edge race bikes of yesterday, who nobody at the time would have ever dared to learn on, would be spanked by a run of the mill 250 today. It was like talking to a doorknob, I never really did get any answers to that one.

I've basically given up on this argument, but I encourage you to take it head on if you're really interested. Perhaps you'll get farther than I did. For now I pretty much just say anything 600cc's and below is good to start on, and leave it at that. I don't bother posting my opinions on why. If someone wants to find that they can dig through the archives, I have no desire to rehash it over and over.

Good luck! :thumb:
 

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lxer96, it's a numbers game. If 10 people who had never ridden went out and got new GSX-R 1000s, some would be alive a week later, and some would not. Since no one around here who gives advice wants riders to die, the general consensus seems to be start low.

That said, I think the whole "start on a 250" thing is BS. I also tend to think that learning on a race replica of any size, be it 600 or 1000 or 1300 is tempting fate. There's got to be something in the middle.

Your analogy about learning to drive in a Lamborghini is not apt. The Lamborghini has four wheels and to turn it all you have to do is turn the steering wheel.
 

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Strength and Honor
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Since an opinion is formed on the basis of experience, literature and feedback, it seems to me you already have your answer. I'm one who disagrees with sh and you in some ways but won't leap again into the drawn out version.

If you've read the commentary on both sides, you have to make your own decision. If you think, for instance, a liter's cool, then do that. If you think nothing more than a 250cc is right, go that route.

As for your comment about there not being a warning on the manu's site, here's something I found on Suzuki's site under the GSXR600's Rider Safety link suggesting you're incorrect:
The Suzuki GSX-Rs are engineered for experienced riders.
 

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If you lookat the "performance specs" of a liter biker vs a 600 sportbike, they aren't too diffierent. R6 can do roughly 166mph vs R1 @176mph. 1/4 mile times aren't even a sec. apart. So if you think bigger is better go for it. If you can't ride well, just pretend like you're to cool and fast to race the next punk lil kid who pulls up @ the light and wants to see what a liter bike can do. Why the overkill unless you can use it?

Advising people to start small, you think who help. But then there are whose who learn and think they can ride anything now. They upgrade to the bigger bike with less fear and respect for the bikes power and bam.... you get the picture.

Just as all bikes are a little different, so are the riders. We all learn at different rates, some pick it up faster than others. No matter what you ride enjoy it , think how bad it'll suck if you hit the ground.
:crying:
 

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The problem with beginners on powerful bikes isn't the speed, its the fact that they are very unforgiving. Among the issues is that weight is transferred very quickly on a powerful bike.

We can debate this forever but the bottom line is that bad things happen much more quickly on a powerful bike and handling those bad things takes more skill. There is so much more to controlling a motorcycle than just turning your wrist or squeezing the brake lever.
 

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I opted against getting a smaller beginner bike and bought a used 2001 F4i and did fine. Some people I know wrecked in the first week. It's personal. Some people pick it up quick and some people don't.
 

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Smoke Eater said:
The problem with beginners on powerful bikes isn't the speed, its the fact that they are very unforgiving. Among the issues is that weight is transferred very quickly on a powerful bike.

We can debate this forever but the bottom line is that bad things happen much more quickly on a powerful bike and handling those bad things takes more skill. There is so much more to controlling a motorcycle than just turning your wrist or squeezing the brake lever.
+1

My first bike, a '99 ZZR 250 , would do 160km/h - 100mph. That's a 40hp bike with a 185lb weight on it! However, it was very forgiving out of corners, because the power wasn't there to snap the back wheel out of line if I twisted the throttle a bit too far too early.


BTW, lxer96, we don't argue here. We are all civilised people who enjoy abusing each other. :p
 

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Discussion Starter #9
re:

Your analogy about learning to drive in a Lamborghini is not apt. The Lamborghini has four wheels and to turn it all you have to do is turn the steering wheel.
I know. It wasn't my analogy. It's one I've read on this forum.

The Suzuki GSX-Rs are engineered for experienced riders.
Yes, but it doesn't say "only experienced riders", nor does it say something like"Suzuki does not recommend beginners learn to ride on a GSX-R 600 or larger bike".

The problem with beginners on powerful bikes isn't the speed, its the fact that they are very unforgiving. Among the issues is that weight is transferred very quickly on a powerful bike.
Please elaborate. Do you mean a lateral weight transfer or longitudal weight transfer and how does the transfer occur faster on a more powerful bike?

BTW, lxer96, we don't argue here. We are all civilised people who enjoy abusing each other.
I like this forum, I just don't get the whole "start small" thing. Seems to me like it would be easier to learn on a peaky bike than something like a v-twin with grunt in the low end. At first your not going to be revving too high(I wouldn't at least) because you don't know what you can do. Wouldn't a "low peaking" engine break the tires loose easier during normal riding?
 

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Maybe someone with a pilot liscence can confirm this for me, but i suspect riding is closer to flying than driving. So you wouldnt want to learn how to fly in an F-22, you would start in a sescna (sp?).

I think there are two dangers to full size sportbikes (I dont recomend a modern 600 as a starter either. Early 90's 600s are one thing, modern ones are no less dangerous than a liter bike). One is the comfort lever. in my expirience, riders start to get comfy on their bikes after about 2 months. that doesnt mean they learned how to ride, but it does mean they arent scared anymore. So people start playing around. Twisting the throttle on something that will do a 0-60 in 2.5 sec in one gear can end up bad.

The unforgiving factor is a more powerfull argument. Modern sportbikes have very aggressive rake angles, little trail, short wheelbase, touchy brakes, and agressive tire profiles. All of these things make the bike more nimble, but sacrifice stability to do it.
Any modern 600 can flip over backwords from whacking the throttle open in 1st gear. Any modern bike will flip over forward if the rider gets on the front brake too hard (when he sees a small animal run out in front of him). Most have peaky power bands so the rider is likely to stall a bike 3-5 times before starting out, than frustrated, might just dump the clutch with abit too much power and flip it (happened to more people than I care to count).
Most bikes will lock the rear tire from just downshifting a gear. Engine braking alone is enough. New riders tend to be terrified of locked tires, and cant be expected to know how to handle a slide.
Than there are tankslappers coused by the bikes aggressive geometry. Its a phenomena that terrifies expiriences riders, since the bike will very quickly yank the bars from the riders hands and buck hard enough to couse the rider to loose their hold on the pegs too.
As for twins vs inlines, most twins have a wider more gentle powerbands. So while there is more power in the low end, it is easier to control, so a rider is less likely to sping the tire due to a sudden surge in acceleration that is not proportional to throttle change.
Than there is the expance factor. Everyone drops their first bike. EVERYONE. I've heard of modern supersports getting their frames bent from falling of the stand. they are that light.

But I dont think people necessarily need to start on a 250. In fact I dont recommend a 250 to most people unless they are really small. A 500, a large (750+) standart (not sport), an SV650 are all fine starter bikes.
 

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Nice summary, Vash.:thumb: :)

As nice as it was, it could have concluded with "etc, etc".;) There are all of those factors and many more that are combinations of the engineering but more importantly, the "human factor".

Without satisfying the degreed engineers, physicists, and let's not forget the lawyers, suffice to say that experience says, by an OVERWHELMING majority, that the smaller bikes are safer to start on. Many argue further that a rider who starts on a smaller (sub 600) sportbike becomes a better rider in less time than those who start larger. Most countries in Europe limit the size bike a newer rider is ALLOWED to ride for all of these same reasons.

I am a 36 year+ experienced rider and spent at least a little time on just about every style of bike you can imagine from dirt 50's to 250's, to old Harleys, to hard tail choppers, to Gold Wings, to sidecars, and my all time favorite... sportbikes! Drag raced standards to lay-down dragsters, track ridden standards and sportbikes, toured in the US and Canada including just about every state, province, and territory and, as you might imagine, have evolved an opinion on just this subject.;)

That was the opinion that I applied when I got my kids' starter bike.... an EX-500.:cool: :) I ride it now and again because it's FUN.... and it's even more fun to run with or lead a good twisties ride with experienced riders on every size bike up to and including the biggest stuff made, on any road limiting you to about 100 MPH max.:eek: Ridden properly, they give up very little to anything in the twisties, are BETTER in the tighter stuff, and they'll comfortably run an interstate at 85+ all day long. A nice all around bike, yet tame enough positioning and power delivery to be a reasonable starter bike. JMO, of course.;) Good luck.:thumb: :)
 

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Re: re:

lxer96 said:
Please elaborate. Do you mean a lateral weight transfer or longitudal weight transfer and how does the transfer occur faster on a more powerful bike?
Other questions have been answered very well, I'll just take on this little one.

If you studied physics, you may remember that weight and mass are not the same thing. Mass is a fixed quantity, but weight is a measure of force exerted due to gravity. That is why when you are in a free fall, you are practically weightless, i.e. your body is not exerting force on any surface (bar the air resistance, of course). Still with me?

The force exerted on your body by the earth's gravity causes you to accelerate downward when there is no surface (or other force) preventing that from happening. When your vehicle accelerates horizontally, the inertia creates a similar effect, as if there were some force pulling you backwards, which adds to the weight on the rear wheel, and decreases the weight on the front wheel. For this reason all muscle cars are rear-wheel driven, which increases the force keeping wheel in contact with the road.

In the same fashion, when you brake, the inertia increases the weght on the front wheel. This is why the front brakes are always larger and why they are responsible for 70% of your braking power.

The wheelie and the stoppie are very good illustrations of how this weight transfer works when applied in a strong, but controlled fashion.

Based on the above explanation, it becomes clear how more powerful bike = quicker weight transfer = more likely to wheelie, which in novice's hands can be a disasterous event.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
re:

You guys are still assuming that ALL beginners have no understanding of how a bike works. In fact if you've done a little research and training before you start riding, like you should, you'll know not to crank back on the throttle and dump the clutch. Most riders I know started out "taking it easy" so to speak, and learning how the bike applied power throughout the rev range on every bike they owned. The person I got my bike from claims that her Triumph 900 is easier to ride than my 550. I have a buddy that does wheelies and endos all the time on his Ninja 250 . So the weight transfer thing still applies to smaller bikes. Also wouldn't learning on a smaller bike teach you to use MORE throttle during acceleration and more brakes while stopping? Then when you upgrade you'd be more likely to use too much, since that's what you did on your old(smaller)bike.

I think there seems to be a huge "common sense" factor to riding a bike. Some people have it, some people don't, and in order to protect the ones who don't people say "start small". Still doesn't seem to apply to all riders.
 

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You could to learn how to ride on an R1. There is no law that says you are going to wreck.
However I've seen enough people wreck who thought they had common sence. All it takes is abit of a distruction, just getting target fixated on a corner.
Most racing books will start by telling you that you only have so much attention to go around. You can only concentrate on so many things at the same time. A modern bike will take a great deal of concentration to pilot, when you are not used to it. The general mechanics of piloting a bike will also take a great deal of concentration before they become second nature (countersteering for example). So you dont have a great deal of concentration left for the road, the gravel in the corner, the deer, the crazy rabbits, dogs, birds, rain, idiotic drives, soccermoms on cellphones, blue haired grannys, people with roadrage, and all the other hazards out there.
Even something as old and antiquated as a 500 ninja will run a quater mile with a dodge viper, and will most likely run away from it in a slalom. They are still very fast.
I've recently read an article about an '05 600 that with very minor mods (gearing, pipe) did a 9.93 quater mile. Literbikes are even faster (0-60 in 2.5sec).
My point is this, modern sportbikes are absolutely rediculously powerfull machines. The manufacturers are in a middle of a war, and the bikes are getting better than 95% of riders. So yes you could learn on one and be ok, if you are lucky. But when I see a newb on a 1liter I think to myself "spare parts". I'm rarely wrong.
 

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Re: re:

lxer96 said:
Yes, but it doesn't say "only experienced riders", nor does it say something like"Suzuki does not recommend beginners learn to ride on a GSX-R 600 or larger bike".
Its a numbers game. Does a computer come with a warning stating that you should be a network admin to purchase this? No. Why? They get their money either way. If Suzuki put that on their bikes, then they would sell less bikes and not be as big as they are, nor would any other bike maker. The warning stickers all see "Read your manual, wear proper gear etc. etc."

lxer96 said:
I like this forum, I just don't get the whole "start small" thing. Seems to me like it would be easier to learn on a peaky bike than something like a v-twin with grunt in the low end. At first your not going to be revving too high(I wouldn't at least) because you don't know what you can do.
You answered your own question on that one. If you start small if you are less likely to get hurt by revving too high, yes you can get hurt on a 250, no one denies that. But you are less likely to hit 100 mph in a few seconds on a 250 then say an R1. Throttle control is a learning thing. Hell, I am still learning new things on my bike and i have had it for almost 6 years now. Been riding for 8.

Had I started out riding on my bike, I doubt I would be here right now.

You may not rev it to high, but the other guy might. Most people who start big either get hurt in the first few months or sell the bike because it is too big for them and they are scared of it. The people that start small generally have a better since of throttle control.

Hope this helps. :thumb:
 

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Re: re:

lxer96 said:

I think there seems to be a huge "common sense" factor to riding a bike. Some people have it, some people don't, and in order to protect the ones who don't people say "start small". Still doesn't seem to apply to all riders.
There seems to be a "common sense" factor to walking, but human children seem to take a long time to grasp it. Why do you think that is? I mean, dogs and cats learn walking much quicker, so theoretically, humans being much smarter overall, should be able to start walking within a couple of months.

No? Am I using faulty logic here? Am I missing some other factors, perhaps?

Indeed, knowing what to do in an emergency situation and actually being able to respond quickly are two different things. There was a post some time ago by a new rider on a 600 bike. He reported starting uphill from a stoplight and cranking the throttle more than he really meant to. His front end came up, he panicked, and as Smitty puts it "pranged" his bike on a side. Smaller, less powerful bikes are more forgiving to hard throttle cranking and hard braking. Once the rider becomes very familiar with engine response within all of the RPM range, when they know how minute differences in pressure on the brake lever affect stopping, then they can push the limits and determine ways to wheelie and stoppie whatever they are riding. I did not imply earlier that only powerful bikes can wheelie, only that they are more likely to do so inadvertently, when the rider is not familiar with all the nuances of throttle response.

I can't count how many times I also heard the argument of "you learn to crank harder on smaller bike, making it more dangerous to upgrade later on". That's BS, man. That may be true if you had ridden a smaller bike for a couple of weeks, then upgraded to an R1 or something. If you take your time to master the smaller bike, you develop skills thar become transferrable to any other motorcycle. One of those skills is taking it easy at first, until you learn what the new bike is capable of.

That's how I define common sense, anyway.
 

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Re: re:

lxer96 said:
You guys are still assuming that ALL beginners have no understanding of how a bike works.
Assuming? No. We are going off of what people ask. Check the New Riders area, most people say "I have never ridden before, but want a bike, what do I do?"

First things, take the MSF course. Even they will tell you to start small.

lxer96 said:
I think there seems to be a huge "common sense" factor to riding a bike. Some people have it, some people don't, and in order to protect the ones who don't people say "start small". Still doesn't seem to apply to all riders.

There are people that have no common sense when it comes to anything they do in life. Trust me, I work tech support for a major networking company.

And as for the protection thing. We are not just protecting the person on the bike, we are protecting the people that person might hurt because that person was on a bigger bike then they needed to be on.
 

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We're not saying this becouse we want to mean to you. I am saying this becouse I remember doing it. I remember thinking that I will have the common sence not to drop my bike.
I dropped it about a month after I got it. I was starting from a stop, uphill, on a cold morning, while suffering from a nasty cold myself. The bike (a carburates zephyr750. not even a sportbike) stalled just as I put my feet up, I managed to catch it real low, and was to weak to hold it, so i had to let it fall.

A few month later I was following my friend when and we were stopped at a light. There was a good deal of cars, and I went thru a water puddle about 2 blocks back. Everyone started going, I did too, than someone cut inline ahead, and the truck in front of me got on the brakes. I got on my brakes but they were wet. they did nothing for half a second, than locked up. Next thing I knew I was on the ground. I had no idea what to do with a locked front wheel. I had no time to think about it.

So I dropped my cheap non sportbike 3-4 times, and it was cheap to fix. I didnt get seriously hurt. Had I been on something faster, I would have totalled it.

And who wants to get stuck paying for a bike they cant ride?
 

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Re: Re: re:

veektor said:
There seems to be a "common sense" factor to walking, but human children seem to take a long time to grasp it. Why do you think that is? I mean, dogs and cats learn walking much quicker, so theoretically, humans being much smarter overall, should be able to start walking within a couple of months.

No? Am I using faulty logic here? Am I missing some other factors, perhaps?
4 legs v.s 2, for one thing. Also, and perhaps I am wrong on this, but I recall reading somewhere that other animals develop much more in the womb than humans do. The reason is simply size. If a human fetus developed any more it would never be able to get out of the mother, so it is basically born while it's not completely developed.

veektor said:
Indeed, knowing what to do in an emergency situation and actually being able to respond quickly are two different things. There was a post some time ago by a new rider on a 600 bike. He reported starting uphill from a stoplight and cranking the throttle more than he really meant to. His front end came up, he panicked, and as Smitty puts it "pranged" his bike on a side. Smaller, less powerful bikes are more forgiving to hard throttle cranking and hard braking. Once the rider becomes very familiar with engine response within all of the RPM range, when they know how minute differences in pressure on the brake lever affect stopping, then they can push the limits and determine ways to wheelie and stoppie whatever they are riding. I did not imply earlier that only powerful bikes can wheelie, only that they are more likely to do so inadvertently, when the rider is not familiar with all the nuances of throttle response.

I can't count how many times I also heard the argument of "you learn to crank harder on smaller bike, making it more dangerous to upgrade later on". That's BS, man. That may be true if you had ridden a smaller bike for a couple of weeks, then upgraded to an R1 or something. If you take your time to master the smaller bike, you develop skills thar become transferrable to any other motorcycle. One of those skills is taking it easy at first, until you learn what the new bike is capable of.

That's how I define common sense, anyway.
Could you not apply your exact method to a bigger bike? "Taking it easy at first" seems to be something that can be done on any size bike.





And what is with all this "if you accidentally grab a bunch of throttle" crap? Are there just huge populations of very twitchy people out there who do this? And they just happen to want to get into motorcycle riding? I've never seen this done before. How do these people get licences? Even in a car they'd be all over the road, what with being so damned uncoordinated and twitchy and all. Bottom line is, people adapt to the technology that is available to them. Some are better than others.

The other thing I find odd is that in comparisons people always seem to go for the extremes. Comparing a 250 to a 1000 is sheer lunacy! There has to be a middle ground somewhere. I've drawn my line at 600's.
 

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Re: re:

lxer96 said:
You guys are still assuming that ALL beginners have no understanding of how a bike works....
While YOU are demonstrating your lack of knowledge about how the human mind works. The standard god given reflexes that are appropriate for humans on two feet are almost ALL the wrong reflexes on a bike. Most of them need to be UNDONE and reprogrammed. There are schools and books written on the subject and, while education is beneficial and highly recommended, it is only with seat time, practicing those things, that the skills are properly programmed into the system. The REALLY tough stuff, fast riding with reasonable expectations of a safe experience, will only come after MASSIVE amounts of experience, training, and mental reprogramming.

lxer96 said:
I think there seems to be a huge "common sense" factor to riding a bike. Some people have it, some people don't, and in order to protect the ones who don't people say "start small". Still doesn't seem to apply to all riders.
There certainly is. And if you don't have that working for you, you should probably stay away from them altogether. NOBODY starts with the proper set of skills as they are very "uncommon sense", defying all of natures reflexes.

Some DO learn quicker than others. I've seen "quick learners", which means they were decent riders after about 10,000 miles experience under their belt and then went to the track and started to learn how to REALLY ride the thing. Some will never get there.:)

You're arguing the oldest debate in existance about motorcycles. If you buck the experience and advice that you've asked for from those who have been there, you're underscoring your LACK of knowledge and NOT showing common sense. If you do this and stick with it, you'll eventually become one of the "start small" advocates. Your acquired knowledge and experience will have taught you that.;)

This is my last time to try to explain it in this thread. Keep perusing the newer rider threads. It's been said in a million different ways, all ending up at the same end..... start small. Good luck to you.:thumb: :)
 
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