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Discussion Starter #1
Good day, Ladies and Gentlemen,

I'm about as green as a noob could be. I've always been afraid of riding motorcycles, most probably because of an accident I had in my youth. But, after 30 years of pondering the matter, I decided it wasn't really all that bad, and in truth, I just didn't fully understand how the clutch worked. That was a hard lesson :/ But, I think I'm OK now :)

I've decided that yes, riding motorcycles can be safe, fun, and rewarding - without all that paralyzing fear. For me, this is really all about breaking through my fear to the other side, and showing myself that I can do it. I'll be getting to do something that, deep down inside, I've wanted to do secretly but had always discounted the possibility of due to "the other driver not watching out," "two wheels aren't safe," and, "I'm a paramedic and have seen some terrible things." It's true. I have seen some terrible things. However, most, if not all those terrible accidents had a speed demon on the other end of it.

I'm just not after speed at the age of 45.

So, I'm looking for a cruiser. But, first, I will be taking the MSF Basic Course, as well as the Advanced Course, sometime in the future. For now, I just need a helmet by April 16th.

So, I'm looking for a full-face vented, tinted visor, DOT/Snell rated helmet, and something that will fit my 23 1/2" head. I guess that's an XL. Other than the options I listed, are there others that would be good to look into?

For the cruiser, I've taken a look at a Yamaha V-Star 950 - but a friend of mine said 1100 would be better. I like the footboards and feel. I'm 6'2" and 205 lbs.

As I said, I am not looking for speed at all. I'm looking to enjoy something I've wanted to do for some time, and to break through some fears I've had surrounding this one activity. No wheelies, no showing off (except maybe the chrome:), etc. I just want a nice cruiser with footboards that will fit me, be comfortable, and one that I'll enjoy riding (with passengers, eventually.) I like the V-Stars, and beyond that, not too sure what else. Definitely not a Harley or Indian guy, and I won't be spending $20,000 on a bike.

The Yamaha V-Star 950 has a tag of $6999 at a dealer, but I was told even 6k (what I would maybe offer) was too much, and that I could do much better privately. It's a 2012 with 7,000 miles on it, and I pay cash in my deals. I was thinking 6k out the door, but even that might be too much. So, in closing, please add any useful info on:

- Selecting a helmet, other useful options you might like in your helmets.
- Buying a bike, like the one I mentioned.
- Ummm...I'm a little apprehensive. Could use a nice word or two, ahaha.

But really, I just want to THANK YOU now. People who answer forum questions deserve a special place in Heaven, and I thank you so very much for taking the time to read my post, and share any opinions you might have about the things I've said here in my first post, or to offer any golden nuggets of wisdom from your experience, time around motorcycles, or opinions, etc.

Take good care,

Maitai
 

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What he said ^^^^. Take the BRC, and when the weekend is over you will know so much more than you do right now. Oh, and welcome :)

Personally, l think a ceiling of $3000-$4000 is good for your first bike. The reality is, you will probably drop it. And when you drop expensive things, their value goes down fast. I would find a good little Suzuki Savage. It is a great starter bike, and should be found in this price range. Good luck, and let us know what you decide :)
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Sorry Guys!

Sorry guys, I guess I didn't make it clear that I WAS taking the BRC before I bought anything. I was just really checking out various models and sizes, etc., to find out what fit me best earlier on.

I'll be taking the BRC in April, then maybe buy a bike shortly thereafter.

But, I DID want to get a helmet for the course. I don't imagine 80 or a hundred bucks would break the bank.

And thanks for the price range, hawk. I'll definitely take that under advisement and be very serious about my decision. I'll check out those Savages.

Best,

Maitai
 

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I went to CycleGear and bought a helmet for the course...they always have $100 helmets on sale for $50. Bilt is their home brand. It isn't great gear, but it is fine to get started with, and it never hurts to have backup gear.
 

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As far as buying a helmet for longterm, there are a thousand out there, anywhere from $50 to close to a thousand. They all have their own special bells and whistles. Personally, l wanted a helmet that was bright, had really thick padding that was comfortable, and great vents. I wanted to feel confident going down the road that it would save my melon in a wreck, and l do. Also, l just spotted it and said, "That one is really cool!" I ended up spending about $600 on an Arai Vector II. You can certainly spend a lot less on a quality hat. But l love my helmet and have no buyer's remorse.
 

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I was just really checking out various models and sizes, etc., to find out what fit me best earlier on.
Best way to do that is to go to a dealer and sit on a bunch of bikes to see what fits. I just went to the motorcycle show. The two bikes I thought I would like the best, were my least favorite, mainly because they were the feet under the buttocks riding position, which I don't find comfortable. Another used cruiser worth considering might be the Vulcan 500. It's got a bit more zoom than the S40, but is heavier too.

It's the same thing for the gear too. Trying on is the best way. Depending the manufacturer, you might be a L for one, but a XL for another. I have two helmets, one L and one XL, but both fit well. I'm lucky, I've got a major internet retailer about 30 minutes from my house. They've got a store on the side where you can try on anything in stock, which is many times more than a typical dealer.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Dress, Indeed

Hawk,

Love your tagline, "Dress for the crash, not the ride". That has always been my approach to even THINKING about riding a bike. Many times, I see guys riding down the street with no helmet, in shorts, a t-shirt, and flip flops - they are just asking for it. I will most definitely "Dress for the crash, not the ride".

Thanks Calculon,

All great points - I like the idea of trying a lot of different things, and I totally agree that "feet out in front" seems safer and more comfortable for me. Can't wait for the class!!!

It's late zzzzzzzzzz Nite guys :)

Maitai
 

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Remember too that motorcycling was there 30 years ago when you wanted no part of it and it's here now. Take your time, it will still be here. Visit every dealer you can. If there are any, visit shops that carry riding gear. Are you prepared for the cost. This thing you are about to do isn't really cheap. If it doesn't cost a lot in time searching out the least expensive gear, new or used, it will cost in hard earned cash. Slow down, take you time. Use this site to search out questions. Just about every question you might think of has been asked. Numerous times. Have fun now and later. Hopefully after you take a basic riding course where you will learn the best way to accomplish the task at hand and maybe not start off making and improving on mistakes.
 

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Add gloves and a jacket. Arm skin does not hold up well against pavement. I've since added pants, too. So I look like the white power ranger. It beats looking like I got attacked by a right angle grinder.
 

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Welcome aboard and I agree with everyone's comments:

Class first before you buy
BUT
Until then visit every dealer and sit on every bike they will let you try for size. Do the same for gear. I have 4 helmets, two XL, an L, and a medium. One of the XL gives me a headache after a couple of hours, the rest all fit fine.

You have two months to look around and try things on, make use of that time. Who knows you may not want to ride after your class. We had one in our group who actually went out and bought a bike had it painted pink and delivered to her house the week of the classes. After the second day of riding she knew that she would never actually ride on the street and dropped out of the course before the riding test. The instructors tried to talk her into taking the test but she wasn't having any of it.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Good Morning Hogcowboy, Bines, and Critter,

Thank you, guys, you all make very excellent points. I'm glad I came here. It's allowing me to slow the process down quite a bit and go in with an informed opinion before I make a purchase or decision.

I have ridden after my crash, about 7 years ago. This was in my adult years. It was on a ranch in a controlled environment, with full body armor. I got it up to 5th gear, and was loving the feeling. I also, by that time, had figured out the correct order and sequence of shifting and braking - and with a little crash course, I did fine - but, that was not on the street. I know it's totally different.

So, I'm hoping I'll still want to buy a bike and ride, etc. after class, but this little discussion has really taken me from all but "done" and all-in, to a little more cautious approach, thanks to all of you. Not only do I appreciate all of your input - I also know you're right.

Best,

Maitai
 

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For the helmet, I recommend going to Cycle Gear and just trying on a bunch of different ones. Buy the one you like most, take it home, and wear it around the house for a couple hours. That'll tell you whether you really like the fit, and as long as you don't wear it outside, I believe they allow you to exchange it.

For a bike, you can get a used midweight cruiser in good condition for a good price. I'm talking something like a Yamaha V-star 650. Forgiving handling and power delivery, easy to learn on, and holds value well in case you decide to get something bigger once you get used to it.

And as far as riding itself, it's amazing. It takes a little time to get used to. The first time you're out on the road, you will feel incredibly exposed - and you are. But, for me at least, the reward far outweighs the risk. I don't want to scare you off here (and since you're a paramedic, you've probably seen worse than this anyways), but I had a wreck last year that put me in ICU for nine days, inpatient rehab for three weeks, and living with my parents for six months while I recovered. The day after I moved back out, I got a new bike, and all the stress I had built up for the previous seven months just evaporated.
 

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Welcome to the Forum Maitai. Everyone has already given you great advice. The BRC not only teaches you good basic riding techniques, it also helps explain how you need to be thinking and watching to keep yourself safe. You really need to be aware of so much more on a bike than in a car.

In my opinion, riding is so wonderful. When riding my mind has to be totally in it, thus making me forget about any problems. We also vacation on our bike and it is so amazing how much difference there is between riding a bike verses driving a car or motor home.

Enjoy your trek on learning to ride and becoming a rider. That is part of the fun. ;)
 

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Welcome to the Forum Maitai. Everyone has already given you great advice. The BRC not only teaches you good basic riding techniques, it also helps explain how you need to be thinking and watching to keep yourself safe. You really need to be aware of so much more on a bike than in a car.

In my opinion, riding is so wonderful. When riding my mind has to be totally in it, thus making me forget about any problems. We also vacation on our bike and it is so amazing how much difference there is between riding a bike verses driving a car or motor home.

Enjoy your trek on learning to ride and becoming a rider. That is part of the fun. ;)
Especially this! You will always remember the feeling of your first ride.
 
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