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post #1 of 28 (permalink) Old 05-17-2017, 03:06 PM Thread Starter
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New Guy Thinking About Getting a Bike

I'm 40 years old, and have never owned a bike. My only experience with riding was back in my early teens riding some of my friends' dirt bikes and a small street bike. I used to be a jeep guy and drove a couple of old CJ7's, but I've gotten out of that. I miss the open air and lately I've started seriously considering a motorcycle. Maybe a mid-life crisis? Anyway, my wife is very much opposed due to the safety factor. I could probably wear her down, if I decide it's something I really want to do.

I guess my only real concern IS the danger. I've heard a million horror stories, and a guy a couple of houses down from me is sporting a new prosthetic leg due to a motorcycle accident. I'm not a dare-devil and have always been a very good driver (of 4 wheeled vehicles). I'd definitely take a safety course or two, if I did decide to jump in.

I don't really know what kind of replies I'm looking for. What do you think it is the ratio of riders to serious accidents? I know a lot are avoidable, and some aren't.

Anyway, I LOVE the LOOK of the Harley 48's. I understand the look and how it actually fits me might not be the same thing. But, that's the type of bike I'm interested in. I don't think I'd ever do long rides, so the lack of comfort and tank size aren't a huge concern for me. I just want something to enjoy on the weekends, and maybe ride to work occasionally.

That's the end of my rambling post. I suppose I just wanted to introduce myself here, and see what you guys have to say.
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post #2 of 28 (permalink) Old 05-17-2017, 05:14 PM
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Take a look at cycle-ergo.com. as far as fitment goes.
You're at about the age that I started riding again. You really shouldn't take any passengers on for about 3 months of steady ridin'.
Also, think of the passenger as far as room to sit, again cycle ergo, when purchasing. My first 2 bikes fit me to a tee but get a passenger and talk about cramped, plus leg position for your other is cramped. After riding it for awhile she'll want to go for a ride and get ice cream or a burger somewhere.
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post #3 of 28 (permalink) Old 05-17-2017, 05:52 PM
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Riding a motorcycle is more dangerous than not riding one. But it's probably far less dangerous than smoking, drinking too much, and letting yourself gain a few extra pounds of fat, but no one seems to get all up-tight when you want to hit the all-u-can-eat buffet.

In any event, don't let a fear of dying keep you from living.
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post #4 of 28 (permalink) Old 05-17-2017, 06:48 PM
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... What do you think it is the ratio of riders to serious accidents? ...
Welcome to the forum.

It's not the statistical probabilities that scare me. I've had a serious accident and still ride. What scares me is that when I'm too old to ride life will be boring.

There's a local retired cop, Officer Bob, who has crashed into deer three separate times. The guys kid him that the motorcycle endorsement is not a hunting license.

Look, people ride motorcycles because its fun, not because its safe.

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post #5 of 28 (permalink) Old 05-17-2017, 07:58 PM
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I'm 21 with 16 years experience. (I still haven't gotten it quite right, I'll keep working at it though) and have been riding for almost 3 months.

4getful, 3 months? My wife has already promised not to get on the bike with me this decade.
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post #6 of 28 (permalink) Old 05-18-2017, 12:21 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Eye_m_no_angel View Post
Riding a motorcycle is more dangerous than not riding one. But it's probably far less dangerous than smoking, drinking too much, and letting yourself gain a few extra pounds of fat, but no one seems to get all up-tight when you want to hit the all-u-can-eat buffet.

In any event, don't let a fear of dying keep you from living.
Well said Eye...
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post #7 of 28 (permalink) Old 05-18-2017, 07:05 AM
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..................don't let a fear of dying keep you from living.
+1

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post #8 of 28 (permalink) Old 05-18-2017, 08:54 AM
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Well its up to you, but today is the very youngest you can start riding.
You just keep getting older from here on out, till you don't.

Your wife is just telling you what she thinks is best for you.
You have to decide if she is right.

Psalms 34:6
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post #9 of 28 (permalink) Old 05-18-2017, 09:16 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks for the replies, everyone. I appreciate the input. I'm going to keep thinking about it for a while. Like I said, my wife is not onboard. But, she hasn't had enough time to get desynthesized to the idea. I know I'd enjoy riding. Besides the risks, I'll just have to decide if I want to sink the money into getting the bike I want. Pretty sure I'd buy used, but it's still a pretty big commitment money-wise. Plus insurance. Plus maintenance. Plus accessories. Plus I'm sure I'd soon want some sort of mod. Etc. Etc.
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post #10 of 28 (permalink) Old 05-18-2017, 10:07 AM
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Quote:
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.... my wife is not onboard. .....
My wife is not onboard either.
-Doesn't THINK she'd enjoy riding.
-Doesn't want helmet hair.
-Doesn't trust motorcycles (or maybe it's other drivers) she wants a cage wrapped around her).
-There's just no convincing her to even TRY to ride, but she also doesn't try to stop me from riding or put up a fuss when I do ride. There's got to be some give and take there. However, there are other considerations to be taken into account too. Your wife could probably take care of herself if you became a street pizza but the one major concern I see mentioned alot is do you have non-adult children that your wife needs your help with or that you're willing to leave behind if you do suffer a major accident? I put off riding for years ('til 46) due to everyone else's objections, and this IS the one that stuck with me the most.

And yes, there are added expenses that have to be taken into account too. Nothing is cheap when it comes to these machines. But, hopefully, at your age, you're at a point where you have some disposable income to dump into the hobby.

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post #11 of 28 (permalink) Old 05-18-2017, 10:52 AM Thread Starter
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My wife is not onboard either.
Your wife could probably take care of herself if you became a street pizza but the one major concern I see mentioned alot is do you have non-adult children that your wife needs your help with or that you're willing to leave behind if you do suffer a major accident? I put off riding for years ('til 46) due to everyone else's objections, and this IS the one that stuck with me the most.

Yeah, I didn't mention it, but most of my concerns about the safety aspect are due to exactly this. I don't want to die, or worse, become a vegetable, and leave my wife and daughter alone.
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post #12 of 28 (permalink) Old 05-18-2017, 10:53 AM
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... Besides the risks, I'll just have to decide if I want to sink the money into getting the bike I want. Pretty sure I'd buy used, but it's still a pretty big commitment money-wise. Plus insurance... Etc. Etc.
Besides insurance for the bike a young guy your age with a family should consider additional life insurance and long term care insurance.

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post #13 of 28 (permalink) Old 05-18-2017, 12:31 PM
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Just read that Nicky Hayden, former MotoGP champion, is in a coma after he was hit by a car while riding a bicycle.

It's not always the most dangerous things we do that leads to injury or death. Sometimes its the routine everyday things that just go horribly wrong.

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post #14 of 28 (permalink) Old 05-18-2017, 02:13 PM
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Life has a 100% mortality rate. Might as well enjoy the "ride" along the way, both literally and figuratively.

Much of the risk can be mitigated by getting proper training, and practicing. You can wear gear that will help to protect you, and you can stay vigilant when you're on the bike. Learn how to operate the machine, respect the risks, and proceed accordingly. In that scenario, I don't really think riding is significantly more dangerous than many things people do on a daily basis without a second thought...

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post #15 of 28 (permalink) Old 05-19-2017, 02:57 AM
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Okay, you're coming to a motorcycle forum asking people if the reward outweighs the risk? I think you are definitely looking for some affirmation! Let me give you some

I started riding less than a year ago at 45 years old. And I also love the look of the 48, but scaled up to a Fat Bob due to fitment issues.

I am not married anymore, so spousal friction was non-existent. My dad, on the other hand, gave me a bit of grief about the risks, etc. What worked for me was to take things incrementally. "I'm going to take a class and see if it is something I might enjoy." Your wife might want to take a pottery class at some point, but would you actually consider how many people are maimed or killed in kiln explosions every year? Probably not.

In reality, the class is the only thing that you need to sell at this point. If you don't enjoy it, end of story. If you do enjoy it, further conversations can be had. You are at square one. Sell square one, not the whole "I'm buying a bike" thing.

My ex-wife would tell you that I am far from being an expert in relationships, but once you take the class and get your license, you should probably have a conversation with your wife around your intentions with respect to your new hobby. If you have any friends who ride, invite one of them over to dinner with their spouse and bring up the subject. Bonus points if she is okay with it. Level-up if she rides, too.

If you plan on riding with your buddy, that can be a huge selling point. Picturing the father of her children out on the road all by himself is a much different mental image than you riding with someone that she knows, and who has experience.

Just my thoughts.
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post #16 of 28 (permalink) Old 05-19-2017, 04:56 AM
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I just started riding myself at age 53 so I'll chime in for what it's worth.

No wife here either, just an ex who wouldn't have minded, though her father, an RN, made her promise to never get on a motorcycle. I know she broke that already before we met though. I also have no children so that's another worry I don't have.

But I am generally not a big risk taker and a pretty careful person. On the other hand, I am certainly not timid or a hand-wringer either. I thought about it in terms of one of my other hobbies of turning money into noise, being a private pilot. The statistics on private flying of the kind I do actually show the risk to be pretty close, maybe just a touch less, than the risks in riding a motorcycle. BUT as we often discuss on pilot boards, if you remove certain easily prevented causes of fatalities that risk goes way down. Namely, exclude fuel mismanagement and exhaustion incidents (basically just plain running out of gas, though the multiple fuel tanks and feed systems in some planes have lead more than one pilot to land in a cow pasture somewhere only to remember he had fuel in another tank - that's "mismanagement" rather an "fuel exhaustion"), continued flight into deteriorating weather conditions, and what I call "stupid pilot tricks" like low level buzz jobs and the risk is reduced dramatically, to something much closer to, but slightly higher than, driving rather than motorcycling.

Now one can take this kind of thing too far. It's always tempting to think we are superior and would not do the dumb things someone else did. But I can say confidently that, at least in the airplanes I fly (which have two tanks and a fuel selector with a "both" position) I am not going to run out of fuel. (Such accidents are not big causes of fatalities though because usually the plane lands safely or with minor injuries in an open area somewhere, we train for that.) I am definitely NOT going to buzz over my friend's house at 50', or generally go below 500' and rarely below 1000' except for landing and take off. Continued flight into bad weather CAN happen inadvertently to even the most careful pilot, but is usually due to pushing on too far until options are exhausted. I try to say "stop" way before that happens, and I am also working on my instrument rating to fly in non-visual weather.

So I rationalized motorcycling as being "only" as dangerous as one of my other hobbies, but then I thought about the fact I know most - not all but most - of the risks in flying can be greatly reduced and I reduce them. But then I started looking into motorcycle accidents and I found that while, yes, there are far too many where the biker could not avoid the accident, a fair number of them COULD have been avoided simply by riding more carefully. If you watch some YouTube videos you'll get an idea of just how many are clearly due to riders riding outside their ability. The other thing that struck me was how many of those I saw where the rider got up unhurt or nearly so. Protective riding gear certainly won't prevent all injuries but it DOES work much better than I would have thought before I saw it in action. I also know a lot of people who have been riding for decades without a serious accident, so the idea that "that thing will kill you one day" is far from true. Might, sure, will, nobody can know that.

I took the BRC class in December and bought my 2007 Yamaha V-Star 650 in February. I'd lost a lot of what I learned plus the V-Star is much bigger and heavier than the 250cc Suzuki in the class. As I said, I'm a pretty cautious person, and I put over 350 miles on the bike just riding around my neighborhood, 10 - 25 miles at a time. I live where this is quite possible and has some hills, some flat areas, some good streets, some broken pavement from water line work, and many cul-de-sacs to practice turning so I'm fortunate in that respect. When I first ventured outside the neighborhood, other than 40 - 50 mph feeling like I'd engaged the warp drive it was just not that big of a challenge. I've been riding for a bit less than a month outside the neighborhood now and put over 1k miles on my bike in that time, not counting the original 350 or so before then. I've done one day-long ride of just over 140 miles with friends, my first buddy ride the weekend before that, and many rides of 60 - 100 miles on my own. I'm having a blast, but I'm trying not to push the envelope.

If you like the looks of the Harley 48 my strong suggestion would be to buy a good used medium sized metric cruiser of 500 - 750 cc or so first. This is NOT a diss on Harleys, Harley fans! Rather, you will most likely drop and/or tip over your first bike, probably more than once. I have. I don't mean you'll crash, I mean you'll fall over in very slow riding, or drop it while moving it around or, as in my most recent bone headed move, get off the bike and forget to put the kickstand down. You want a) a bike you can pick up without too much strain (the Harley 48 weighs only about 30 lbs. more than my bike so no big concern there) and b) something you won't be as bothered about a few scratches. I say a metric (meaning a Japanese brand, any of the big 4 won't disappoint) because Harleys hold so much more resale value. You can pick up a nice metric cruiser in the size range I'm talking about for $3k - $4k, very likely less if you want, ride it a year or two, and sell or trade it for likely not much loss, maybe none if you buy in the winter and sell in riding season. That will give you experience on a bike you won't fret over as much, the chance to see how much you like it before spending big on it, and an idea of what you really want to look for in your next bike. Or, if you decide you DON'T care for it that much, again you can sell without much loss.

Good luck and if you do it have fun!

As for whether you will like it, well, here's something I just posted on Facebook:
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post #17 of 28 (permalink) Old 05-19-2017, 06:13 AM
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^^^

Buying a less expensive used bike to learn on is almost always a good idea. It hurts far less when you drop it.
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post #18 of 28 (permalink) Old 05-19-2017, 09:34 AM
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Started riding at 43 (5 months ago) my wife was against it too, and most everyone else I know. Another thing that worked in my favor (besides taking the BRC and promising to always wear a helmet) was telling her that I was hoping to not spend more than 10K on my bike (which she though sounded like a lot - which I did too) so when I found my near-new Honda Shadow for 4700 she was encouraging that I should grab it cause it was a hellof a lot less than we might pay if I passed it up. I wasn't trying to play her, it's just how the conversations went and it worked well in hindsight.

and I enjoyed the BRC a lot, super glad I took it, and the Shadow felt a bit big after the course (we rode Nighthawks) but very quickly the Shadow stopped feeling big and felt just right and what I am noticing is that every time I ride I enjoy it more, and more, and more, and more and more....!

the first few times I still had a lot of nerves, now (after 500 miles) I just have a bit of nervous feeling, which I think is good at this point. I'm still a noob.

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post #19 of 28 (permalink) Old 05-19-2017, 09:51 AM
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I'm going to be 70 on June 18. Yes I accept online birthday cards

I currently have a New Yamaha 1300T cruiser and a 2016 Suzuki Adventure bike and a Suzuki Burgman 650 Maxi-scooter.

The new Yamaha is my 82nd bike in 54 years of continuous and accident free riding, everything from 50cc scooters to my recent Triumph Rocket 3 Roadster @ 2,394 cc's, from single cylinders to six cylinders, Superbikes to the Touring models.

I bring the aforementioned up not to 'brag,' but to show that the 'Sport/ hobby' of motorcycle riding can be safe and enjoyable as long as you ride as safely and carefully as you can and be super paranoid about other vehicles that can seemingly just pop out of nowhere right in front of you and spoil your day.

Don't drink or do drugs (Yes this includes Ganja/ Cannabis--legal or illegal) of any kind, illegal or prescription as these can dull your perceptions and become causal to crashes.

Take a good safety course and find a suitable bike for your first one, practice and always expect the unexpected.

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post #20 of 28 (permalink) Old 05-19-2017, 09:30 PM
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It hurts far less when you drop it
And don't think you won't drop it. I thought I wouldn't, I did, and I made a thread to point out the stupidity in my own arrogance. :P

There are risks, and I don't think I can put it any more eloquently than Eye already has.

But you can do things to reduce those risks and mitigate it if you are unlucky enough to come off. Good gear, is one, not just against abrasion from nasty road rash and a good helmet to keep your head together, but armour to absorb some of the blow and even back support to help reduce chances of spinal injury. You can even get motorcycle airbags if you really wanted to go that far. You can reduce risks in how you ride and judge traffic, you already have some advantage, being a driver, but then you see the road in a different way as a rider, so there will be some things you'll still learn about the road. The two mantras I keep with me when I ride are: "Don't ride scared" and "Ride as Though You're Invisible". If you're not riding scared, you'll find yourself able to make clearer decisions and less likely to act out irrationally. I've had a couple of situations where I could have let myself be 'thrown' but better to keep a clear head IMO, riding scared adds more thoughts and a slower reaction time and the uncertainty means more of a chance of making the wrong reaction.

And with riding invisible. Cars may pull out when they shouldn't, they may not see you, whether it's because they're not looking properly or because you don't stand out, I'd argue the former. I do notice a lot of what drivers shouldn't do, happen. So treating yourself as invisible, you're preparing yourself for the possibility that the driver near you might do something dumb. So you may be ready to break, keep a sensible breaking distance and a sensible speed and positioning yourself to get seen. This is why some bikers have noisy exhausts, it's not to show off like those boy-racers in their penis-cars with exhausts that are too loud, it's not just a "show-off" thing for bikers, because that noise helps you get seen and people know of your presence.

Taking extra steps to be a safer rider I am sure will be appreciated by your missus.

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post #21 of 28 (permalink) Old 05-19-2017, 09:54 PM
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As for whether you will like it, well, here's something I just posted on Facebook:
Every time I look at that it makes me smile.
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post #22 of 28 (permalink) Old 05-20-2017, 04:00 AM
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Well I'm not one that can jump up and down harping about getting a used bike first. All I can say is it is a good idea. But y'all are right. At some point you will drop it. It was my third new before I did. And it was my dream bike. So really you can't win. But you may as well get a used for your first simply because "generally" that first bike should be smaller and you'll want to get a bigger one once you are pushing it to it's limits and are wanting to do more highway riding. That first bike should be the one you really do beat up. Not your dream bike right off the bat. Save that for getting disappointed later when you drop it too.

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post #23 of 28 (permalink) Old 05-20-2017, 10:07 PM
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A friend told me that sport bike accident statistics are wildly different from cruiser bikes. He also said that cruiser bikes accident statistics are similar to minivan accident statistics. He's a pretty smart guy close to your age, but he's a patent attorney, not an actuary. I don't have any sources to cite for that info.
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post #24 of 28 (permalink) Old 05-21-2017, 05:12 PM
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I'm 42 and I just started riding. Fortunately my wife was on board with me getting the bike, you know due to rising gas prices. I definitely get better gas mileage than my pick up truck. I would definitely buy a used bike for your first one. I bought a 2008 Honda Shadow and I love it. I'm getting more and more addicted to riding every day.
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post #25 of 28 (permalink) Old 05-22-2017, 01:24 PM
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I was riding a motorcycle before I had a wife either one of them.

My current wife has ridden with me from the start, our first date was on a motorcycle.
We will be married 28 years in a couple of months.
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post #26 of 28 (permalink) Old Yesterday, 09:37 PM
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Before you charge out and buy a bike do something far more important. Take the basic rider training that is available to you. It will do two things. You will ride a real motorcycle and can judge for yourself whether or not it is something you really want to do. It will also, in most places, qualify you to get a motorcycle endorsement on your driver's license so that if you ride it will be legal. I would encourage you to have your wife attend the classes with you so that she can get a real world opinion on the safety and hazards of riding. Right now she is running on stories she has heard and her gut feel. It would be better if she had the training and the facts to understand the real hazards because they are not as bad as most stories.


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2013 Victory Vision, 30,xxx miles
Oldman47 is offline  
post #27 of 28 (permalink) Old Today, 07:46 AM
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Originally Posted by Oldman47 View Post
Before you charge out and buy a bike do something far more important. Take the basic rider training that is available to you. It will do two things. You will ride a real motorcycle and can judge for yourself whether or not it is something you really want to do. It will also, in most places, qualify you to get a motorcycle endorsement on your driver's license so that if you ride it will be legal. .
Yea, do this! And since you like the look of the 48 maybe there is a Harley dealer near you that offers the class? I took mine at HD and afterwards they wasted no time in contacting me to get some test rides. Pretty good chance you would be able to try one out. Bonus!

Your story sounds a lot like mine - a thousand years ago I romped around on little dirt bikes in the desert and the itch never really went away. A lot has changed so its good to get some training and be around people with experience.
EdgeWalk is offline  
post #28 of 28 (permalink) Old Today, 01:11 PM
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I got a bike for practicality. I had never rode before age 48, but for most people, in most situations, including me; I've learned they're not going to save money overall and ownership is not very practical, although some choices are much more practical than others. Mine can go anywhere on pavement up to 100 mph and can get mpg in the upper 70s in the summer time, so mine is as about as practical as they get, and it's still not very practical. Buying to ride an mc for this reason as number one priority is not a good reason. In a very urban setting where parking otherwise may be an issue I can more see it; but I live in a rural area with a rural commute. Its not a particular high speed commute, but it is mostly highway, though state hwy; not 80 mph hwy; more like 55-65 mph hwy; its along state highways with lots of great scenery, and so its great to ride; but riding below freezing requires lots of pain tolerance for most people and not so much fun; same for windy weather; and precipation; and buying lots of expensive gear; more time to bundle up; so year around, it's not a time saver. Money spent on maintenance, i.e. tires every 10K, even for a very practical choice like mine (a Honda CTX700) more than makes up for the money saved on gas.

So I posted only to point out, as others have, if you're following this thread, and you're like me wanting something not so gas guzzly and think that you'll ride every day and save money, and you're looking and seeing that rides can be had under $6K and $7K just think deeper about what your'e considering. If you choose a common brand, i.e. Yamaha, Suzuki, Honda, etc; and you know a good shade tree mechanic that's not a dealership, and the bike doesn't take special oil and other special equipment or labor to maintain, then it may work out. Most bikes are also hard to sell and get anything out of them, so think of that as well. So I'd say you should also really like to ride, and I'm hooked, but if I could go back to then and know what I know now without ever experiencing riding, I would not have bought an powered two wheeler.
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