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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
well, i'm 20, from socal, goin into the airforce. i want to buy a bike, since it can travel with me. I have read that alot of people recommend starting with a smaller bike like the 250s, 500s, or older 600s. I am looking into 2008 R-6's. i fell in love with the gray one. I know, i know. but, ive been on dirt bikes, BMX, and almost anything I can find with 2 wheels. i can ride a dirtbike with ease. I only own a wimpy 110cc pit bike now, though. i know dirt is 1000X different than street, but I think I have the capability and patience. shouldn't I be fine on a 600? or am I WAY out of my league?
my friend recently purchased a new 07 or 08 gixxer 600 as his first bike. i'm not sayin i'm great at riding or anything, but i think my skills on a bike are better than his, and he has gotten along fine. not to mention, i don't want to have to mess around with trying to sell a bike if I get stationed in Europe or somewhere crazy. I'm going in to be an Engineer, I am highly mechanically inclined, and in no way a wheelie-er or stunt man, I just want a bike a I can ride and have for a long, long time. Are there any suggestions from the vets? Also, is there any riding gear that surpasses the rest? I have heard good things from Alpinestar, and would probably grab a Shoei helmet. I want to do this the right way, the safe way. the military also will train me in motorcycle safety, and I will probably teach myself on the base. I did search, but I just wanted a more personal opinion, if thats alright.
:squid:
THANKS!
 

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Discussion Starter #2
I am also signing up for MSF class. but, is there any cheap cheap bikes that I could ride for a few months a get rid of real easy before I enter the air force? like 1000 bucks or something i can get rid of really fast? i donno much about 250s and 500s and stuff. ive been reading the threads in here and i'm leaning farther away from the R6, just because I HAVE never ridden a sportbike. I will know better after the M/C class, but everyone is sayin you will lay it down once so i'd rather do it on a crap bike.
 

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Welcome :cheers:

I'm surprised to see someone on here actually talk themselves out of getting a brand new 600 or bigger for their first bike.

Actually, I always recommend early-mid 90's CBR600's if you can't find a decent 250 or 500. Then there's the SV 650's, GS500's and a handfull of others that are good for learning on. When it comes to used bikes, if you get a good deal and ride them for a year without doing too much damage you can easily sell them without taking much (if any) of a loss.

As far as gear goes, I've never had anything alpinestars so I can't tell you how their quality is, but they seem pretty popular. I've got Joe Rocket track gear and Icon street gear. I've got Icon Timax2 nylon jackets, Icon Motorhead boots, Teknic SMT gloves (warm weather), Icon Timax Gauntlet gloves (cold weather). I can give you input on any of that stuff. Helmets, I have a Shoei RF-1000 (track), a KBC VR2 (street) and an Icon Mainframe (backup). The important thing with helmets is that it is snell approved (check the list on this site don't just trust the sticker) and that it is comfortable.

Good luck, and ride safe!
 

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I'm not going to try to talk you out of a 600, but I will try to talk you out of a new bike. The chances of you crashing it in the first year are almost certain. Really, its in the 90% according to insurance companies. Its not that big of deal, wear your gear and enjoy yourself. Most everyone here had a crash. The few who hadnt, will. Get a beater of a bike, whatever size you go with. Just get something cheap, preferably pre-crashed for you. Use it for a season. Chances are you can sell it for what you bought it for, or maybe even make some money on it.
 

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I am also signing up for MSF class. but, is there any cheap cheap bikes that I could ride for a few months a get rid of real easy before I enter the air force? like 1000 bucks or something i can get rid of really fast? i donno much about 250s and 500s and stuff. ive been reading the threads in here and i'm leaning farther away from the R6, just because I HAVE never ridden a sportbike. I will know better after the M/C class, but everyone is sayin you will lay it down once so i'd rather do it on a crap bike.
This is an excellent idea and one that I strongly endorse.

Plenty of $1000 and less "beater bikes" out there to learn on. I think any late 70's early 80's 4-cylinder bike would be a good learner- Kawasaki KZ-550, Yamaha Seca or Maxim 550 or 650, Honda 450, 550, or 650 Nighthawks, Suzuki GS 550 or 650 etc.

Really quick and easy to sell. And you'll probably be able to sell it for what you bought it for.

A lot easier to stomach throwing a $1000 beater down on the ground a couple of times rather than a nice, new $9,500 bike.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
cool, thanx! I will look into the Icon stuff, it seems legit. As far as bikes go, I like something I can work on too. never worked on one before. I love the idea of a $1500 bike I can mess around on and then sell for like 1200 or something. I dont know anything about older bikes, maintenance, wear n tear, etc. are the kawis and suzukis and hondas and stuff pretty much on a level playing field or is there one bike in particular that would suit me? I'm 5'10, 130lbs. i cant wait to get goin on this, this whole motorcycle enthusiast world seems incredibly friendly and helpful. so thanx!
 

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AFdude, Icon actually makes mil-spec vests (link) that eliminate the need to have a safety vest on when you are going to be riding on base, and also have a sleeve for your ID with a clear cover so that you don't have to fumble around with that at the gates. I know there's a company that's got some new Army jackets out now, not sure if they are making anything for the other branches yet. I just happened to see them on display yesterday when I picked up my new jacket.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
cool that would work great, thanks! should I be wearing leathers under the vest? I have taken a spill at ~45mph on my dirt bike, and was picking my sweatshirt out of my arm for a week. also, i'm not sure exactly how thick my pants will be that I have to wear on base, but should I be using something under them? are there special riding jeans or something other than full on leathers? maybe something underneath? im thinking the best way to learn will be to take it to a track and see what it takes before i fall, just so i know how far to push it, instead of learning that boundary on the street. any ideas? :dunno:
 

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Definitely wear a jacket underneath. Leather is best, but I've been wearing nylon jackets for a while now (I've had the Icon Timax, and I've now got 2 Timax 2's). I've gone down with the Timax on, albeit at slow speed, and it held up great. As far as pants go, I used to wear the Timax pants, but anymore I just wear jeans. Not the safest route to go, but it's a risk I take. There are plenty of overpants and specialty pants that you can buy, but I couldn't tell you what's best. Browsing through the "Gear" part of the forum might yield better results. Obviously the safest way to ride would be in a full leather suit, but that's not exactly a reality for a lot of us.

As far as starting on a track, you're asking for trouble. Take an MSF, then tool around for a while until you're used to the bike. Then find some gentle curves to start out on until you get comfortable leaning the bike. Or you could go all out and go to a performance riding school, but you'll still need to have the basics down for that to do you any good.
 

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As far as starting on a track, you're asking for trouble. Take an MSF, then tool around for a while until you're used to the bike. Then find some gentle curves to start out on until you get comfortable leaning the bike. Or you could go all out and go to a performance riding school, but you'll still need to have the basics down for that to do you any good.
Strongly disagree here. The track is simply the best place to learn. Just remember that it is not a race, there will always be people who are much, much faster than you, so go as fast as you feel comfortable with. If you are going to learn to ride its best to do so under controlled conditions. No worries about gravel, deer, cars or cops. The exact same dozen turns each time, so you can get them perfectly. And lots of expirienced instructors to help you out. What can be better than that?

And hey, if you do wreck, there is an ambulance that is less than a minute away.
 

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I think it's a stupid idea to throw somebody into a setting where everyone is pushing their limits. And since he wants to "see what it takes" before he falls, I hope that ambulance is close.

Edit: I lashed out, and after thinking about it, I wanted to add this:
1. Though I have disagreed with Vash on a few things in the past, he definitely knows what he's talking about, so any advice he gives should be seriously considered.

2. I'm pretty sure Vash has some track time under his belt. I don't, I was just going based off of what I've heard about track days.

Sorry for not thinking my reply through a whole lot.
 

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I agree with snake on the track thing. People have a tendency to overstep their limits when they are put in a setting where others are so much faster. It is a natural competitiveness, and very few people don't do it.


Pants... wear something OVER them, not under them. they will shred much faster than Jeans, and you don't want to hand a pair of shredded pants into your CO trying to explain why you are ruining GI clothing on something other than training.

Icon has a vest designed specifically for military personnel, but you'll still need a jacket under it. Icon Milspec

Bicycles aren't close enough to even compare to motorcycles, even Mountain biking or BMX. There are also a few other things to remember when asking if you will be okay on a 600CC.

And this comes up a lot, so pay close attention.

NO... you will not be perfectly okay just picking up a 600+cc bike, just because you have dirtbike or bicycle experience. Nor will you be perfectly okay just because you are "Mature". Maturity plays very little in first crashes, and previous experience plays just ever so slightly more. New riders go down far more often from simply not knowing how to respond in certain emergency situations than they do from being squidly. For example: Attempting to correct mid-corner. It's not a car, you cannot just simply flop it over the other way to correct. You'll be off the road before the bike is even close to upright. It's a common mistake, though. Another is the response most have when the back end spins loose mid-corner. There are many many many more, but I am hoping you got the point already.

While choosing a smaller bike won't be better for teaching you about correcting mid-corner, it WILL give you a LOT of slack when it comes to tire spin. Bikes with less horsepower are much more forgiving if you screw up and jab the throttle closed (Or open), whereas high HP bikes are not forgiving at all. By the time you are riding 1 liter bikes, even opening the throttle a hair too much at certain times will put you down.

Finally... Do not assume that when we say "You will crash", that it means high-speed amidst your doing something stupid. It can happen at the most odd-ball times. For example... I grew up on dirtbikes. I got my first one for my 3rd birthday. I raced Motocross through my whole childhood. I have been on sportbikes for 6 years now. Last fall, while pulling up to a stop light, my front tire caught a chunk of tar (the stuff they patch cracks with... when it is hot out, that crap is like butter.) It wasn't sticking up... it wasn't obvious... You couldn't even see it. But I hit it, and my front end washed out. I was doing less than 5mph. You have to plan for little things like this as well as the potential large crashes. Don't think you are "The one they missed" in the statistics. None of us were. That was the 3rd time my bike has hit pavement, and not once was at high speed. One time was when the kickstand sunk into the pavement, and the first time I ever put her down was when I hit loose gravel on the side of the road. I was doing 2mph at the time.


You also have to plan for people violently crashing into your little world even when you aren't moving. But that's another story for another time. ;)

Anyway... I've rambled enough. Choose wisely and don't get caught up on the numbers. Even a Ninja 250 accelerates faster than 70% of the production cars you will encounter on the road.
 

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Finally... Do not assume that when we say "You will crash", that it means high-speed amidst your doing something stupid. It can happen at the most odd-ball times. For example... I grew up on dirtbikes. I got my first one for my 3rd birthday. I raced Motocross through my whole childhood. I have been on sportbikes for 6 years now. Last fall, while pulling up to a stop light, my front tire caught a chunk of tar (the stuff they patch cracks with... when it is hot out, that crap is like butter.) It wasn't sticking up... it wasn't obvious... You couldn't even see it. But I hit it, and my front end washed out. I was doing less than 5mph. You have to plan for little things like this as well as the potential large crashes. Don't think you are "The one they missed" in the statistics. None of us were. That was the 3rd time my bike has hit pavement, and not once was at high speed. One time was when the kickstand sunk into the pavement, and the first time I ever put her down was when I hit loose gravel on the side of the road. I was doing 2mph at the time.
+100

I've wrecked twice, both times I was doing under 25. First was pulling out of a driveway, had to roll through the grass to get around a car...rear wheel got wet and broke loose as soon as I got on the throttle and I high-sided. Second time I was making a turn, and my friend riding behind me slid on gravel and slammed right into my back tire. High sided again. It will happen. I've got one friend that rides with me now who hasn't gone down yet, but he doesn't ride a lot, and when he does, it's at a granny pace.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
snake, no worries, you must have misunderstood. I did mean track, but as in a closed course, or a wide open space to practice and to see what kind of maneuvers the bike can handle. like I said with the car, it took me a few months time once i bought my first manual trans car to automatically respond by throwin it into lower gear in emergencies, instead of just slamming the brakes, etc. I'm certainly not going to go and race. i figured i would practice like 15mph maneuvers. brakes, clutch, turns, etc. see how hard I can grab the brakes, how much throttle/clutch i can use. and, i will probably dump it once good, but then i'll know my limits, and can learn from it. probably not the conventional way, but I enjoy learning by trial and error, and i'd like to know the exact limits of the tires, brakes, clutch, etc, instead of learning that limit at 80mph a year down the road.

as far as pants, i'm assuming a nice pair of textiles or riding jeans would suffice? def don't want to piss my CO's off! :p thanx again for the replies & help!:cheers:
 

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i figured i would practice like 15mph maneuvers. brakes, clutch, turns, etc. see how hard I can grab the brakes, how much throttle/clutch i can use. and, i will probably dump it once good, but then i'll know my limits, and can learn from it. probably not the conventional way, but I enjoy learning by trial and error
Still NOT a good idea. For starters, turning a streetbike at 15mph is WAY different than turning one at riding speeds. Most of the time you don't even countersteer at that speed, whereas at higher speeds you are pulling quite hard in the opposite direction than what you want to turn the bike. The faster you go, the harder you have to work to get it to turn... it's called centrifugal force. Mother nature is a bitch like that. Second... seeing how hard you can grab the brakes is also a very bad idea. With a modern sportbike, you can grab hard enough with just one finger to send you right over the handlebars. (or if the area is sandy... hard enough to wash your front end out.) Jabbing the throttle is also a serious risk, since there are so many things that can go wrong. You can go over backwards, or you could spin out and either highside (Bike grabs traction and throws you into the air) or lowside (bike washes out and you drop to the ground behind it). Even at 15 MPH, if you screw up and highside, you risk landing on your head and breaking your neck. You absolutely HAVE to get rid of this "Learning the hard way" mentality. Streetbikes, even 250cc bikes, are NOT toys. Even riding around in a wide open area at 10mph... you still have so much that could go wrong. It's not "The conventional way" because most people that buy bikes are aware of the risk! Jeez dude, you are completely off on the wrong foot here.




and i'd like to know the exact limits of the tires, brakes, clutch, etc, instead of learning that limit at 80mph a year down the road.
Refer to my previous post... or just read what snake posted "+100" on. done? Good... read it again!


Stepping off the beaten path (So to speak) is NOT the way to go when you are learning to ride. There is a REASON why so many people all learn the exact same way. Listen to what we, as experienced riders, have to say and follow suit. Otherwise, the concequences will be FAR worse than what your squidly little brain is imagining right now. Even at 10-15mph in an open parking lot. You are thinking "A little skin missing, maybe a bruise"... think "Broken neck... death". It CAN happen. Use some common sense.



EDIT: Anyone have that video of the guy that highsides his brand new bike at 5mph in front of the dealership? I think that would be the PERFECT video to illustrate my point right now.
 

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The faster you go, the harder you have to work to get it to turn... it's called centrifugal force. Mother nature is a bitch like that.
I think you mean gyroscopic force.


AFdude, I know it seems like ZX and I are coming down on you pretty hard, and if you're anything like a lot of the squids out there, you've already convinced yourself that you're the one that's going to break the mold. I hate to tell you this, but it just ain't gonna happen like that.

An open area without traffic is a great place to learn, but I wouldn't suggest trying to push the limits. Most sportbikes have enough power that they are capable of looping (a wheelie that flips over backwards...usually on the rider). They also have front brakes capable of stopping the tire, and despite the minute contact patch, the soft tires can easily get grip and flip you and the bike over. That's what happens in the last video ZX posted, except those guys had probably practiced stoppies a little bit. I have a friend that rides and has a metal plate holding his collar bone together because he flipped a stoppie. I wasn't there, so I couldn't tell you how fast he was going, but I'd be willing to bet that it was below 10, probably even below 5mph. And ZX already mentioned the high- and low-side situations when your tires lose traction. So why am I reiterating all of that? Because when you are nearing those final nanoseconds before you eat pavement, the last thoughts through your mind have nothing to do with the throttle position, brake pressure, or lean angle that resulted in your loss of control. It's more like "Oh **** this is going to hurt."

Be smart about it, gear up, and practice regular maneuvers that will actually help you out on the streets. Good luck.
 

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I think you mean gyroscopic force.
It was late... eat me. :laughing:



AFdude, I know it seems like ZX and I are coming down on you pretty hard, and if you're anything like a lot of the squids out there, you've already convinced yourself that you're the one that's going to break the mold. I hate to tell you this, but it just ain't gonna happen like that.

An open area without traffic is a great place to learn, but I wouldn't suggest trying to push the limits. Most sportbikes have enough power that they are capable of looping (a wheelie that flips over backwards...usually on the rider). They also have front brakes capable of stopping the tire, and despite the minute contact patch, the soft tires can easily get grip and flip you and the bike over. That's what happens in the last video ZX posted, except those guys had probably practiced stoppies a little bit. I have a friend that rides and has a metal plate holding his collar bone together because he flipped a stoppie. I wasn't there, so I couldn't tell you how fast he was going, but I'd be willing to bet that it was below 10, probably even below 5mph. And ZX already mentioned the high- and low-side situations when your tires lose traction. So why am I reiterating all of that? Because when you are nearing those final nanoseconds before you eat pavement, the last thoughts through your mind have nothing to do with the throttle position, brake pressure, or lean angle that resulted in your loss of control. It's more like "Oh **** this is going to hurt."

Be smart about it, gear up, and practice regular maneuvers that will actually help you out on the streets. Good luck.
+1. I just read my post and even I am thinking "Wow, what a dick." But that doesn't make it any less true. You have to keep your head on your shoulders. Many riders will tell you to "Respect the bike." That is great advice, but it means absolutely nothing to people who have never been on a sportbike. I heard it a lot, and never understood it until I had been riding for a week. To sum it up, "Respect the bike" means to know and understand that, without any notice at all, that bike is capable of severely injuring you. All you have to do is slip up just a little bit or get overzealous just once, and you are done. You have to have that in your head the whole time you are riding... everything you do, every move you make. It is something I hope that you too will understand when you get a bike... before you get tossed into the ground and beaten by the bike that just landed on top of you.

I'm not trying to be a prick in any way at all. It's just that posts with the title "Rider down" are posted on this forum far too often, and every one of us tense up as we click to see what happened. No one likes to hear that someone crashed... too much could have happened. They may be fine... but they may be broken, too. Much of the time, it even results in death. We don't want you to be the topic of that next thread. Stay safe man... we all want to keep you here long enough to enjoy reading your posts and seeing pics from all the beautiful places you have ridden.
 
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