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Discussion Starter #1
Hi everybody! I'm new to motorcycling and I've got just a few questions. My first question is this: Does engine displacement affect bikes the same between Sports bikes and other bikes? e.g. is a ninja 250 going to have the same as a honda rebel 250 or other similar bike? Keep in mind I know next to nothing about motorcycles. My second question is in regards to helmets. I know that at some point the price of helmets doesn't affect safety, but merely for looks. I would like to know at what price is my safety not compromised? I don't want to spend an extra couple hundred bucks just to look cool.
 

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A 250 ninja and a 250 rebel are two different monsters. Sport bikes are generally faster than cruisers. Have you taken the basic riders course? This is my suggestion to all new riders. Helmets. You want to look for d.o.t stickers at the very minimum. Price really dont matter but the proper fit does. Some have more gizmos and gadgets, some have different designs but they all protect your melon as long as they have the dot sticker. Theres another sticker that one can look for but for the life of me I cant remember the name.
 

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A 250 ninja and a 250 rebel are two different monsters............Sport bikes are generally faster than cruisers. You want to look for d.o.t stickers at the very minimum. Price really dont matter but the proper fit does. Some have more gizmos and gadgets, some have different designs but they all protect your melon as long as they have the dot sticker. Theres another sticker that one can look for but for the life of me I cant remember the name.
I'll offer some modification to what she said, if I may:

1. In terms of engines and performance, it's just like cars, in the sense
that, just because they have the same engine type/size, it doesn't
mean that they all perform the same. There is even a "lemon" factor
with motorcycles. Test driving what you are interested in, will tell you
volumes about the bike (it's form and function).

It doesn't matter if the motor is mounted on a sport bike frame or a
cruiser, the motor will do only what it has the power to do. What you
want to do in your riding life, will dictate what kind of bike you buy.
If you are going to spend your time on the bike in the dirt, you buy
what is designed for that, and choose between bikes of that same
genre. If you are going to ride only on the street, that's a whole
other group of bikes. (If you want to do BOTH, you'd either need
TWO bikes, or a good "crossover." Perhaps someone in here might
have a good "crossover" bike to recommend?).

2. Almost all (if NOT all) helmets sold in stores today, have at LEAST
got a Department Of Transportation ("DOT") sticker on them. SOME
go a step further, and have the SNELL Foundation evaluate their
helmets for safety, and get a "SNELL" sticker on them if they pass.

http://www.smf.org/

There's even an "ECE" (Economic Community of Europe) Rating.
If you can find a helmet with the "DOT" and "SNELL" AND "ECE"
rating stickers on them, you've got a helmet in your hands that
has been REALLY put thru its paces!!

http://silodrome.com/snell-vs-dot-vs-ece-r22-05-helmet-standards-throwdown/


Avoid buying a helmet without at least (as was said) a D.O.T. sticker
on it. A good helmet doesn't have to cost hundreds of dollars. You
need ventilation and proper fit.

Some folks advocate the carbon fiber helmets as the better material
in terms of protection. I'm on the fence on that score.

The option to be able to change out your visor (clear -vs- tinted) is
an added plus.

Also, you should take a moment to consider whether or not you prefer
a full-face helmet, or a half-helmet. There are pros and cons to both.
I "personally" like to see a beginner in a full-face helmet. You can
always change over later.



-Soupy
 

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Studies have shown that the majority of motorcycle head impacts from crashes are to the chin/face area. A full face helmet is a great idea in my opinion.

I often say a half helmet is fine if you plan on landing on the top of your head. :D
 

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Engine configuration will play a larger role in the amount of power developed than displacement.

A 600 CC inline 4 engine can develop about twice the horsepower of a 1200 cc V-twin.

When comparing motorcycle engines, it better to look at torque and horsepower numbers than engine displacement to get an idea of what it is capable of.
 

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The difference in price for helmets beyond safety factors is not just the appearance. There are matters of weight due to the material used to make the shell of the helmet, aerodynamics, ventilation, etc.
None of those particulars factors may impress you about any particular helmet, but they exist for others.

You can find several excellent, safe helmets for less than $150 (e.g. Bell Vortex and HJC CL-17 or FG-17 are all DOT/Snell rated).

From when I last researched helmets, I was not too impressed with the ECE tests (single drop test).

In the USA, you will always find DOT helmets and many Snell.
I think the essential difference between the two ratings is that DOT are performed by running the helmet along a fixed rail at speed into an anvil. Two tests and two differently shaped anvils are used.

Snell does two drops and uses three different anvil.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
I am actually scheduled to take the BRC this weekend. My main concern with the engine displacement is that I don't want something I can't handle. I can't decide if I want a standard or sports bike. From what I've heard I shouldn't get a 600 as a beginner. I'm just wondering if that applies to only sports bikes or both?
 

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As I learned in my BRC, whatever bike you decide to get your going to have to learn the bike. Could be a 250 or 600. I must add that I learned to ride on a beginner bike (ninja 500). It gave me the experience and confidence I needed before I got a bigger bike.
 

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I started off riding on a 96 Suzuki Savage 650, but I imagine a Ninja with the same CC would be a bit different. But I did most of my learning on my Suzuki S40 650 (almost the same bike but newer). The good thing about the Savage was the throttle was a bit old, and you really needed to apply pressure to turn it. Which meant I couldn't really do that Granny trick you see on AFV, where she grabs a whole handful of throttle and ends up doing a wheelie. I wouldn't say a 650 is a good beginner bike for everyone, but for most it works good.

The best beginner bike for you is what you feel comfortable on. Go to a bunch of dealerships and sit on as many as you can. Stand it up, do you feel comfortable holding it up? Can you plant two feet on the ground? (not a good idea for a beginner to tip toe a bike) They won't let you test ride one without the M endorsement, but you can atleast get a feel for them. Find a couple bikes you like, do as much research as possible, come back here as as many questions as you like.

There is absolutely nothing wrong with starting small and working your way up. You will gain more confidence and experience by being comfortable with your bike.
 

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other folks will answer your engine size question.

I remember taking a look at "the whole helmet thing" a few years ago when I got back into serious riding (again). It seemed confusing ... because there are so many different helmets out there. and so many opinions about helmets.

my advice is simple ...

1. Buy a helmet that FITS your head really well.
this requires you to GO to a store and try on several brands.
The helmet should fit very snugly all around your head, and since you are a new rider this is NOT going to be a comfortable experience. You SHOULD feel claustrophobic ... esp. with the full-face helmets. Dont worry - you'll get over it. Buy one that fits super well, with no "slop" (extra space) at any point around your head.

2. Buy the best helmet you can afford.
Most of the major brands are pretty good, and the top ones are outstanding.

Dont get hung up on this whole process.
Only ONE thing will save your butt out there ... DON'T have any accidents.
no ... I'm not joking. :)

dT
 

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Hi everybody! I'm new to motorcycling and I've got just a few questions. My first question is this: Does engine displacement affect bikes the same between Sports bikes and other bikes? e.g. is a ninja 250 going to have the same as a honda rebel 250 or other similar bike? Keep in mind I know next to nothing about motorcycles. My second question is in regards to helmets. I know that at some point the price of helmets doesn't affect safety, but merely for looks. I would like to know at what price is my safety not compromised? I don't want to spend an extra couple hundred bucks just to look cool.
As far as helmets, price has nothing yo do with safety. Any DOT approved helmet will protect your melon. Price definitely will affect features like low weight, good ventilation and such so don't just write off the more costly helmets.
 

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Choosing a good beginner bike can also be dependent on your size as well as riding history as well as where you are going to be riding.

If you're only 5'5 tall and around 140lbs then you should probably stay in the 200cc bike range. But if you're closer to 6'2 and 240lbs then you probably need to get a bike around 400-500cc just to be able to mover your mass around properly.

Yes for any given engine size, a sportbike will usually have a snappier throttle response & higher horsepower than a cruiser/standard of the same engine size.

Go sit on as many bikes as you can. If you can't get both feet firmly on the ground & still have a bit of knee bend, then that bike is too big to learn on.

A properly fitting helmet with the required safety stickers can be had for around $100-200. Keep in mind you will likely replace it in a couple years anyway, it is not the helmet you'll keep forever. Maybe buy a nicer "2nd one" after you've got some riding miles under your belt :)
 

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I am actually scheduled to take the BRC this weekend. My main concern with the engine displacement is that I don't want something I can't handle. I can't decide if I want a standard or sports bike. From what I've heard I shouldn't get a 600 as a beginner. I'm just wondering if that applies to only sports bikes or both?
I recommend starting with a fairly light twin or single cylinder engine. Determine what type of riding you plan on doing most, what style of motorcycle appeals to you best, and buy something that will fit you comfortably.

If your riding will be mostly in-town commuting with short highway trips, a 250 sportbike, standard, or cruiser will likely work fine.

If moderate interstate travel is going to be done, a larger engine such as a 500, 650 or 750 twin can do the job.

If you plan to do some light off-road riding or are really tall, a dual sport or supermoto will fit best.

If you are planning to ride a lot of track days, one of the 250/300 sport bikes would be ideal to learn the basic to advanced techniques for racing.

If you are planning cross-country trips, I would suggest learning on one of the above styles and work up to buying a touring motorcycle after getting a decent amount of seat time.
 

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I just got back on the street after a 20 years. I bought a Bilt helmet that l got on sale for $50 (half price) at Cycle gear. My bike is an SV650 and l would not recommend it for a beginner unless you have experience in the dirt. I can handle it fine, but it would have gotten me in trouble when l was new to riding. I test rode a Kawasaki EX500 and l think it would be fairly safe for almost anyone. I am about 6'2" and 240. If you are a smaller guy, you might want to go with a Ninja 250. They are a dime a dozen, very dependable from what l have heard, and a great starter bike. I see them in decent shape in the $1300-$1800 range all the time
 
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