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post #1 of 26 (permalink) Old 04-15-2017, 06:28 PM Thread Starter
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Never ridden a motorcycle

Hey all. I'm in the beginning stages of getting into motorcycling. My dad has ridden bikes forever, but I'm just now giving them a try (28 years old). I've signed up for an intro riding class next Saturday, so looking forward to that. I don't own a bike yet, but I've been doing a lot of research. I love the new Honda Rebel, so may start on that. Joined here because this seems to be where all the experts are and I'll need a resource for sure! I guess first question: good idea to buy a new bike or used to start? The new rebel 300 is only about 4500, which isn't much more than what I've looked at in the used market. Im planning to only ride for commuting at first, so... any advice is welcome.
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post #2 of 26 (permalink) Old 04-15-2017, 07:07 PM
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Some will say to buy used because you will probably drop the bike due to inexperience; I never did as I was very careful and respected the bike and myself too much to be stupid.

I recommend this, BUY NEW, if you can afford new then do it!!!!! You won't have to worry about someone else's problem bike that is now yours and you will get a factory warranty and that "New bike smell!"

The new Rebel series is getting great reviews. My concern is that you will quickly outgrow the little 300. The 500 is just big enough to keep you excited and happy for a while with its better overall performance. Neither are 'powerhouses,' that will intimidate you or try to kill you if you aren't prepared or inattentive.

Welcome to the Forum, filled with nice Folks willing to help.

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post #3 of 26 (permalink) Old 04-15-2017, 07:50 PM
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I will be the first to chime in and say "Buy Used"!

Not because you might drop it - but because small bikes that are great for learning to ride on are cheap and plentiful because people outgrow them before they wear them out. And you will too. So, save dough, get a bike to learn on and sell it when you have ridden enough to know what kind of bike you want to grow into (and then spend your money buying a keeper brand new). If you do it right - the 1st one is like a free bike. Entry level bikes don't really drop in value except for the 1st guy who buys one new so if you don't kill it - you just sell for what you spent give/take a little in 6 mos.
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post #4 of 26 (permalink) Old 04-15-2017, 09:03 PM
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The Rebel is supposed to be a good starter bike and I am heavily tempted by the Rebel 500 when I come to upgrade.

On the buying "new" debate. There's definitely plus sides to buying "new" or "used" and downsides all the same. But I can list the reasons why I bought new, with my beginner bike, the CB125F (a good starter bike, but you guys aren't restricted by cc, so you'd probably get away with a Rebel 300).

I get a 3 Year Warranty with Honda. Being inexperienced, I wouldn't yet trust myself to try and fix a fault on a bike myself and could mess it up. And paying a garage could rank up some of those costs should anything go wrong.
Honda's finance options suited me. As I was looking to get out on the road without saving a lot of money first. It worked for me. Especially as I do have the option of using the bike as a deposit before I've paid it off they get to sell it 2nd hand and I've put it towards my second bike and they adjust my finance accordingly.
The dent in what I lose isn't so painful selling second hand. My bike is £2,700 (and the interest is barely anything), but tends to sell for about £2,100 second hand ($3,380 new, $2,629 second hand). To them it works out, because it gives me incentive to stick with a Honda. Though, if my choice ends up not a Honda, I have no qualms paying them off before I upgrade.
Our dealership provided free protective motorcycle clothing & helmet with the bike, and saved money there. Certainly on up front costs.

The above options at least meant I could be up and running pretty quick without paying heavy for up-front costs, with some flexibility to move on and not really losing a lot, with all things considered. But all the more reason to look at the options that are available, what you want and what works for you, going used could end up a better choice for you, but you might find new works for you. Particularly if you are set on a Rebel (I doubt you'd find one used just yet), but you might also find another bike to start on and get the Rebel 500 at a later date (or a similar higher cc'd bike). People generally say you will end up wanting to upgrade and usually fairly quickly. After 3 weeks on my 125, I am wishing I had more power, but maybe on a 300, it'll soften it, by comparison at least, but you may still find yourself in the same position, maybe at a later stage than me. Depends what you're getting out of it too.
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post #5 of 26 (permalink) Old 04-15-2017, 09:49 PM
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Originally Posted by Scourge View Post
I will be the first to chime in and say "Buy Used"!

Not because you might drop it - but because small bikes that are great for learning to ride on are cheap and plentiful because people outgrow them before they wear them out. And you will too. So, save dough, get a bike to learn on and sell it when you have ridden enough to know what kind of bike you want to grow into (and then spend your money buying a keeper brand new). If you do it right - the 1st one is like a free bike. Entry level bikes don't really drop in value except for the 1st guy who buys one new so if you don't kill it - you just sell for what you spent give/take a little in 6 mos.
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People generally say you will end up wanting to upgrade and usually fairly quickly. After 3 weeks on my 125, I am wishing I had more power, but maybe on a 300, it'll soften it, by comparison at least, but you may still find yourself in the same position, maybe at a later stage than me. Depends what you're getting out of it too.
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My concern is that you will quickly outgrow the little 300.
Welcome to the forum, since you've made the decision to ride, I know you cant wait to get the course over and on the road. I agree with all three, Scourge, Saefin and Porky. Don't go too small or you'll find yourself looking for something else pretty quickly. I never dropped a bike in the beginning either, I was always careful. But, I also started riding real motorcycles at 14 after a couple of years of playing on a 3.5 HP mini bike.


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post #6 of 26 (permalink) Old 04-15-2017, 10:59 PM
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I have 25 years of riding experience (broken into two parts of life - long ago and now 😊 ) and I'm riding a Rebel 250. While I agree that the CHANCES of you wanting something bigger are greater than not, I would still recommend starting smaller (i.e., 250-400cc, although there are a few larger that would be acceptable, like the Suzuki S40). You'llearn the needed skills much better on a bike you can really handle, and will develop an appropriate level of confidence.

New or used? Your call...in large part, it's economics. But don't rule out a new bike. After all, you will only buy your "first bike" ONE TIME in your life.

But whatever you do, take your time in choosing one, and don't settle on one before taking the MSF BRC course. Then think about your primary use for the bike...that may guide the type you get (dual sport, cruiser, adventure, etc.). Then go to dealers and sit on different bikes...see how they feel, lean them over and see if you can control them (pull them back up) - with a dealer ready to help if needed, of course. The most important thing is to take your time, which is in direct conflict with your desire to get riding, but it will pay off big-time!
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post #7 of 26 (permalink) Old 04-15-2017, 11:35 PM
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$4500 for a new Rebel... if you can easily afford it, go for it. But, that same $4500 (actually, it will cost you much more after you factor in taxes, title, licensing, shipping/setup fees, etc) will get you much more bike on the used market. My advice is to buy a cheap used bike -- even if you have a mechanic go over it for you it will be cheaper in the long run. Ride it for a season, then sell and upgrade if you want.

The new Rebels do look killer, though.
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post #8 of 26 (permalink) Old 04-16-2017, 01:07 AM
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Normally I'm usually recommending beginner riders go with smaller bikes than what they are thinking of getting. In your case, I think I agree with some of the others, get the 500. If you're really not comfortable, go with the 300 but you may outgrow it fairly soon. What type of highways will you be riding on? What are the speed limits? That may help determine the size of bike you should get. New or used for that size bike, your choice. If it were a $30k new bike, I'd say get used. Whatever you do, take it easy at first and be safe. Get the proper gear at the same time you get the bike. Good luck.

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post #9 of 26 (permalink) Old 04-16-2017, 03:34 AM
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My first suggestion is to buy used as well but only if it's in excellent condition and being ridden. Stay completely away from bikes that have been parked. But if you can't find just what you are looking for a new Rebel is a great bike for a beginner for someone that can respect the throttle. It's about 3x what I started out on and I too normally recommend something in the 250 to 300 range but a mature adult should be fine. I'm a chicken when it comes to motorcycles. Taking the rider training class will tell you if you really want to pursue riding as well so good that you are doing that. And...



Good luck on your new pastime.

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post #10 of 26 (permalink) Old 04-16-2017, 05:06 AM
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That's a fair point. Your training course should help give you a feel and might effect what you choose to go for. Whether it's the confidence to hit a 500 or going for something in the 200-300 range, because it's comfortable with what you know. My training was over 2 days, I know on my first day I was hesitant to go above 20mph, because my brain was thinking about lots of different things, clutch control, braking properly, managing my gears, handling the bike and whatever task the instructor had me doing and trying not to stall the bike. When it came to the second day, my confidence picked up as having slept on it, I retained a lot from the first session and what I was consciously thinking about ended up falling into place more, but I don't think I would have been ready for a powerful bike and my first week ended up about building my confidence, on the road I don't think I push past 40mph until towards the end of the week and now I am pushing it just above 55 and seems to be what the bike finds optimal (though I am sure I can push it more) and I am not getting the acceleration I want, particularly as cars tend to overtake me until I reach the speed limit for that road. :P But a 300 would suffer less from that.

If you do end up going for something bigger than the one you do your training on and can respect the throttle, it might be worth just finding a safe place to practice first, before you go out on the road, so you get used to the bike and handling its throttle. Heck, I did that on my 125, just so I could get used to its nuances compared to the 2 125's I did my training on. So it's worth doing either way. As a complete newbie, you may decide something like the 300 is what you want. It is a hard call to make because everybody is different. There's people who are satisfied with a 250 or a 300 and others who find it's just not enough (which I think is a category a lot of people fall into)

And as people say, go out, sit on them, find what you like, because it's more about the bike you want, but taking into consideration, you may or may not keep the bike (for a firstie at least). For the time being, the bike you get will be your baby, even if you give it up for adoption later for the genetically superior baby...all right, I won't work eugenics into this analogy...

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post #11 of 26 (permalink) Old 04-17-2017, 04:00 AM
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Go 500cc . It's a good starter size . I loved my 2001suzuki gs500.

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post #12 of 26 (permalink) Old 04-20-2017, 08:11 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks for all the suggestions guys. I'm taking a pre-course intro class on Saturday. Only 3 hours, but a cheap intro until I can schedule the course. I'm super pumped.
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post #13 of 26 (permalink) Old 04-22-2017, 04:48 PM
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Hopefully you do well, my first bike was a brand new Honda NightHawk 400. Dropped it at the first red light. LoL The dealer showed me how to ride it in the alley. Sold it the next spring and bought a even bigger bike. Always went up, never down. Now 40 some years later I am riding a Yamaha 1700... Stay safe and have fun
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post #14 of 26 (permalink) Old 04-22-2017, 08:22 PM Thread Starter
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Just as an update, the course was super fun! First time I ever rode and it came pretty natural. It was a fun and exciting experience. Signed up immediately for the 2 day licensing course.

I'm probably going to go new, but not sure whether I'll do 300 or 500. The instructor suggested I do 500 for mostly the same reasons others have: I'll outgrow the 300 quick. I'm also thinking of doing some customization to it eventually, so the 500 makes more sense for that.

One challenge I did have today was accelerating slowly. I've never driven a stick shift (yeah, I know that's lame), so it was hard for me to focus on letting out the clutch and accelerating appropriately. Every time I took off, it was faster than expected. Hopefully that'll just become more natural with practice.
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post #15 of 26 (permalink) Old 04-22-2017, 09:37 PM
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+1 the Suzuki Boulevard S40 as first bike. It's my first and I'm loving it! Not only is it all the bike I need, it looks great! I still watch the local craigslist ads to see what's out there for sale; my S40 is a better looking machine than any other smallish bike out there. Rebel is in that same class.

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I have 25 years of riding experience (broken into two parts of life - long ago and now 😊 ) and I'm riding a Rebel 250. While I agree that the CHANCES of you wanting something bigger are greater than not, I would still recommend starting smaller (i.e., 250-400cc, although there are a few larger that would be acceptable, like the Suzuki S40). You'llearn the needed skills much better on a bike you can really handle, and will develop an appropriate level of confidence.
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post #16 of 26 (permalink) Old 04-23-2017, 04:41 AM
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One challenge I did have today was accelerating slowly. I've never driven a stick shift (yeah, I know that's lame), so it was hard for me to focus on letting out the clutch and accelerating appropriately. Every time I took off, it was faster than expected. Hopefully that'll just become more natural with practice.
That was an exercise I had a little trouble with when I did it, it's getting used to clutch control and getting a feel for where the biting point was. It is worth practicing when you get your new bike. One of the first things I did when I got mine.

I was coming in as somebody who's only ridden a bicycle before and the bicycles I've own have generally had weak levers, so I've been used to pulling them all the way in. So I had to get used to the clutch level biting further out, as to begin with, I had it pulled all the way in and it took forever as I slowly released it to get it bite. But that does become more natural with practice. I now naturally have my clutch having literally just before the biting point when I am stopped and without thinking about it. The good practice for me was getting stuck in traffic, having to stop and start, stop and start and so on. Because each time you're not moving very fast or far and you're getting used to releasing that clutch but not always all the way. Though as in my other thread, my current struggle is the occasional error when downshifting gears. But everything starts to fall into place with time and practice.

My training was over 2 days, because the instructor didn't feel ready to sign me off after 1 day of training as there was more he wanted to work on (he's one of the more thorough people in my area, which is why I went with him). The first day was interesting because I was consciously thinking about everything I had to do and there was so much to think about at once and in places less confident than others, especially my clutch control and ended up making more mistakes. He said I was getting it, yet making errors about a third of the time and that's because my brain was fully engaged in thinking about every I needed to do, given I've never had any experience with a vehicle of any kind that isn't a bicycle. The second day, after 2 nights sleep, much of the knowledge I had from the first day of training just fell into place and I was able to ride the bike much more confidently and competently. I kept putting it down to the fact my instructor had me on a different bike (and that the first bike I rode was actually the superior bike), but he insisted it was because I retained what I learned after sleeping on it and not to do with the bike. But felt like a big improvement off the bat.

So you may find yourself surprised by how much you retained when you next get on a bike.

Riding a 2015 Honda CB125F
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post #17 of 26 (permalink) Old 04-23-2017, 08:21 AM
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And just when you think all the learning is over, it begins anew when you go on the road. THINK AHEAD is almost as important as knowing how to handle your bike. I've always been told to look at least 3 car lengths in front to determine if there is any hazards up ahead. Always keep your mirrors clean and seeing behind you. You want to be prepared to make a quick exit in case the car behind you doesn't see you. When you ride, NEVER assume that the cagers sees you. Most of the time you are invisible to them. Good Luck and Ride Safe..
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post #18 of 26 (permalink) Old 04-23-2017, 12:16 PM
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Yep, you're invisible until you know they've seen you. Being move visible helps a great deal. And being heard can help too. Arguable, be ready to break at any junction, because some sod might decide to pull out even if you have right of way.

But I found this video to be somewhat useful for thinking about riding defensively.

+ YouTube Video
ERROR: If you can see this, then YouTube is down or you don't have Flash installed.


And probably good to learn as much as you can about hazard perception. If you can see a hazard develop before it becomes a hazard, you'll be prepared for it.

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post #19 of 26 (permalink) Old 04-23-2017, 12:22 PM
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As far as picking a bike that FEELS right. You could look at cycle ergo. com . Enter your information and it's usually pretty close.
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post #20 of 26 (permalink) Old 04-23-2017, 02:38 PM
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My two cents

Hi,

I was in your position about 2.5 years ago. Never had ridden a bike except for a couple of times on a small dirt bike when I was a teen. I'm 60 now and currently have four and a half bikes (I own a nice sportster with a friend that we bought just to sell and that accounts for the half, lol). I have 3 here in Colorado and one in New Zealand. All very different bikes, but I love them all. I'm getting ahead of myself though.

It all started with a younger friend of mine who borrowed a bike for a Sunday ride after not riding for 9 years. He gave me a call on the following Monday morning and bought a new Harley Softail Slim. He's impulsive like that and has more money and someone in their mid 30's should have, lol. A couple of months later I got a call from him: "You HAVE to buy a bike." He is the guys who always knows a guy that knows a guy and this time he new a former collage football player who knew a retired pro player who owned a vacation home in Sturgis. The guy farmed and harvest was late so he couldn't use his house. He told his friend to come up and use it and bring all his friends.

Soooooo...... I signed up for a motorcycle class and got my license. Since we were going to Sturgis I had to have an American V Twin of course. I knew I'd immediately out grow a Sportster. Found a great deal on a 2003 Victory v92c. Pretty big bike, but nice, low seat height and it fit me well. I didn't really feel competent to ride it home 80 miles so my friend did. For several days I went by myself and rode around two huge, mostly unused parking lots that were connected by a long driveway going up a pretty steep hill. I practiced figure 8s, stopping, starting, starting from a stop on the hill and going up, shifting up and down until it became automatic. I did this sometimes for 3 hours straight. One I felt good there then took to small town streets and hit every stop sign, stop light, and intersection I could. After a few days of that I then started driving the highways between small towns (with more intersection practice in each town). When I felt good there I started driving the interstates in Denver (I live in Boulder and play hockey twice a week in Denver so that was a good way to combine riding with my normal routine). So after three weeks of riding the snot out of my Victory I went off to Sturgis. With my hi viz yellow helmet and airbag vest on my 'hi viz Skittle green Victory', lol. What a cool trip. It was the 75th Anniverary - just packed with people and bikes.

I say get a bike that will last you awhile. Get a used one. There are lots of very nice older ones with low miles that have been depreciated a bunch. I wanted to get something like a Suzuki C50. Those are pretty bullet proof and can be had for about $3,000 - 3500 out here. My peer group all had Harley's and would only have Harley. They found a Victory to be merely 'acceptable', lol. I got my Victory for only $3K because it had a pretty ugly paint job - paint was nice, but the color and graphics were, ah, err an acquired tasted. I've repainted it a nice satin grey now and will sell it for more than I paid for it. It has only 10K miles on it.

Also I have found that you need to 'ride your own ride' when with a group. I didn't know there was even a phrase for it. I just did it naturally. If you aren't keeping up with the herd then don't sweat it. Just ride at a pace that you are comfortable with and know where you are stopping (it helps to have a Hi Viz yellow helmet though so all your buddies can keep track of you, lol).

So in summary:

1) Ride the snot out of whatever you get and ride it slow. Don't progress to harder stuff until you are comfortable. Any idiot can ride in a straight line and do so very, very fast. It's the curves that will get you! The other thing that will get you, but not from an injury standpoint, is stopping, starting and slow speed maneuvering. Not injury, but it can critically wound your pride if you drop your bike in front of an audience, lol.

2) Buy a used bike. Motorcycles like, rvs, depreciate like mad the the first few years and many get little use. They are prefect things to buy used. You'll want a different one or one's after you have ridden some. It's a given. You need to find out what type of riding you want to do and then find a bike or bikes to to fit that riding. (I had no idea I'd want to ride two up until my current girlfriend was game to try. She had never ridden either. We went to Sturgis for the 76th as her first real trip. One of the guys left early and we got to use his Street Glide for a day. I immediately knew my Victory Cruiser's days were numbered!) Buy yours in the winter and sell yours in the spring. I have no idea why people and dealers sell bikes at such a discount in the winter. I bought a new 2013 V Strom Thanksgiving 2015 (last new one in the country that I could see on Cycletrader and it happened to be in Denver). I can still sell it for more than I paid, but it is a keeper. It's surprisingly roomy and comfortable for two up, especially with the bigger windshield I put on it. I got a 2008 Victory Vision a couple of days before Christmas (remember I said the Crusier's days were numbered). It had 22k miles on it and is in excellent condition. Two owner and ridden very gently. I just wore out the original front tire! I stole it for $5,700. I knew I wanted a Vision and just kept watching craigslist. I worked the guy down from 7,500 to 5,700 and 7,500 would have been a really good deal. Love this bike, but like my Vstrom better for running around town. I bought a 2008 Suzuki Bandit 1250s in New Zealand. Love that bike too. The power and torque have really spoiled me. That one had 19K miles on it when I got it, but we put 4K miles on it in 2.5 weeks on our trip in February. These are bulletproof bikes two. I bit tight for two up, but OK. I just wanted a bike with full cases that I could resell after we used it for about what I paid for it and it fit the bill. We have two more trips there in the next 10 months. Bikes are expensive to rent so after 3 trips I can pretty much throw it away and still come out ahead. Fortunately I have a friend in NZ and I can keep a bike there. What I'm saying is that it is fun to try out a variety of bikes. They are all so different and much less expensive than cars. You should try a bunch of them. I know the Vision is a keeper, but I'm tempted to replace the Vstrom with a Bandit now, but then again maybe something else would be fun!

3) Ride your own ride. I don't need to go fast to have fun, but some people do. Before you know it you'll be fast enough to keep up with everyone.

I jokingly said my 5 riding priorities were:

1) Don't fall off the bike.

2) Don't fall off the bike.

3) Don't fall off the bike.

4) Have fun.

5) Try to keep up with Don (the friend who got me into riding)

After our NZ trip I modified number 3. It's now: Don't scare Suzy"

4) Finally, be safe. When I decided I buy a bike and learn to ride I joking said I get an airbag if they made ones for motorcycle. for some reason I googled it and lo and behold there WERE airbag vests and jackets available. The Japanese invented them for construction workers in case they fell from a height and then realized they would work for equestrian sports, and bikers. I have a vest that the Toyko police use. It's a very simple device that is tethered to the bike and inflates via a co2 cartridge if there is enough force on the tether (don't worry you can't give it enough force by forgetting to unhook before you get off the bike). My girlfriend and I always ride with full helmets, boots, armored jackets and pants, and the airbags. We joke that we put on just enough gear to almost take the fun out of biking and there is some truth to that. None of my friends would be caught dead in an airbag vest or even a hi viz helmet. Many times they ride in half helmets and jeans. Hell, when we go to Sturgis even the half helmets come off so they can look like real bikers in their leather vests and bandanas on there heads (you'd never know one is a real estate developer and other is a CEO for a defense contractor, lol.) It's damn nice to live in free country, but you'll have to pry my airbag vest from my cold dead fingers.

Happy riding,

Mark
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post #21 of 26 (permalink) Old 05-02-2017, 09:16 PM Thread Starter
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Hey gents. As an update to this thread, my two day licensing course starts this Saturday. I'm so pumped. I can't wait.

Two things I've been considering buying before hand are a leather jacket and helmet. Any advice on those things? Folks I've talked to have given me advice all across the board. Helmet wise, I'm planning on going to a shop and trying a bunch on. As for jackets, real leather jackets are freaking expensive. Any alternative suggestions?

Thanks as always!
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post #22 of 26 (permalink) Old 05-02-2017, 09:30 PM
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A good mesh jacket with liners and armor.


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post #23 of 26 (permalink) Old 05-02-2017, 10:29 PM
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Off-brand leather jackets with no armor and relatively little added protection are comparatively cheap. And if you find a well made one it can last you for many years.

Of course, there are added risks, and you'll have to learn how not to crash.
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post #24 of 26 (permalink) Old 05-04-2017, 08:30 AM
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If you've got the dollars and you want to buy a new bike, go ahead.

Personally I like the idea of buying used, for a "first bike," because:

a.. You may decide you don't like it.

b. If you wreck it, you haven't spent top dollar for it.

-Soupy
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"Who SAYS your smarter, just cause you're older?!" -SDC
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post #25 of 26 (permalink) Old 05-04-2017, 10:09 AM
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I agree with Soupy, You will drop your first bike. Plan on getting it scratched a bit.
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post #26 of 26 (permalink) Old 05-04-2017, 11:33 AM
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Iautox, what a great first post!

Welcome to the forum!

Sam

2016 Suzuki DL650 V-Strom Adventure bike.

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