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Discussion Starter #1
I just signed up for the BRC and will be taking it the start of august. I grew up with both a endro bike and one for motocross as well as had a quad and too this day still trail ride once and awhile. With that I feel I have some experience under my belt in the sense of basic control and shifting but know that dirt vs asphalt is a very different beast so I am not running around thinking I am a pro and ready to go, I do believe I am ready to learn though.

With that out of the way my questions revolve around gear and the first bike for me. I have decide to get a bike because my commute is just far too long in terms of mileage for both my leases so a bike is a cheaper and fun way to resolve this.

For my first bike I want to go used because scuffs and who knows what are going to happen and I want to pay between 1-3k. I am not after fast but most of my driving is on interstate and parkway so I want to feel safe in that the bike can react as quickly as I do if the need arises I care more about defensive then fun. I tried to talk to a dealer and they were pushing me to get a cbr 650 and it was clear I wasn't going to get very far taking their advice as a new rider.

Because I am just starting to learn I am in the belief that 200-300 would be more then ample to provide defensive driving on busier roads but yous guys can tell me best. Second I am not quite yet set on style, once I have been riding for a bit I do believe I will want to ride a little more aggressive and sportier so I don't know if a cruiser would be the way to go but my drive is a 45 minute drive and am unsure how a none cruiser would have my back feeling for that long of a drive. I also have heard and this could be very false, that a cruiser leaves you a little more relaxed, and for me I want something that keeps me as alert as possible because the riding style it's self demands it.

Last bit of my short book. I do have 2 young ones at home so safety and precaution is of the utmost importance to me. In my head I imagine fully suiting up but I want to be realistic with this and on the same hand be as comfortable as possible while being ready for the what ifs. I would rather spend more and be over protected vs crash and be under protected.

Oh and since this is my ride to work I will be have my laptop from time to time with me on my back unless you know of a better method. Also I believe I might some time have to change my shoes and such so those could go with my laptop, how ever I am carrying it.

Thank you for reading my short book and any advice and help you can provide. I am quite excited about this.. oh shoot and I forgot to mention I did own a honda shadow 2 years back that I was working on getting running and it had fallen so I know how heavy those suckers can be.
 

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There's a very short window that you can edit any part of your post. 15 minutes? I'm not sure but after that you are toast. You are locked out.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Ok thanks! I am eager to get feedback and wasn't sure if was either my title or the way it was written that hadn't gotten anyone's attention yet. For now I am reading as much as I can on here and different sites and checking out reputable people on youtube so i can piece all of this together. I can't wait for august to come!
 

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Take the BRC first. That will hopefully help you decide what style and size bike you might be interested in. With your enduro experience you might be better off starting on a little bigger bike.

I like the standard/cruiser bikes best. The rider position is much easier on your back if you're riding any distance. You should go to lots of dealers and sit on a styles new and used. You will find one or two that just feel right. Make sure you can get both feet flat on the floor.

Talk to the sales people and tell them what you plan to do with the bike and that you are new. They should help you figure it out. Talk to one at each dealer you go to. See how much info they give that is alike. Hope this helps you.
 

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A cruiser or a standard will be most comfortable for mid-distance commutes. As far as storing a laptop and shoes, a set of saddlebags of the proper size will work just fine.
 

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If you're looking to carry a backpack often, I'd suggest against a sport bike too. I don't think the position is as uncomfortable as people say, but a backpack adds a lot of pressure on your back and wrists, which becomes real uncomfortable real quick.
 

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Discussion Starter #8 (Edited)
Thanks for the great feedback so far. Having had relatively quick cars my whole life I surely believe in my head the belief that a sport bike will respond the way I want and so on exist. I have 0 research or knowledge on bikes and do not want to pretend to. I would gladly spend the money to remedy the backpack issue and have a saddle bag to have something a little more sportier but yet still safe, but I do not want to go sporty at the sake of comfort as you guys have pointed out so far.

I was unsure if just going to a dealer and sitting on bikes would give me a good idea of feel or not so I will check some out today and sit on them like you have suggested. I would plan to check out the same dealer I went to the other day, I am only unsure if the sales person was being genuine with me or not. He was claiming that a CBR 650 could feel just as comfortable for me as a standard as long as I rode it correctly. He did also state the 650 would either pick up less or have less power then a 500 because the 650 is a 4 cyl but that it would keep me safe with most of my riding being highway. The dealer has good reviews so I want to believe and trust him but knowing the bike is about 9k out the door brand new and I am beginner so mistakes will happen, plus it might be way more powerful then I need to start?

I really want to do this right and be as smart as possible about it. So if I at all seem like I am dismissing anyone's thoughts or am going to just do what I want, please say something. In the end I will surely make my own decision but it will heavily be influenced by the feedback you have given me and if you are all saying x makes more sense then y, you know far better then I.
 

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The CBR 650 has about as much power as my 1988 Ninja 600. It's a good amount, but not ungodly. It is more than I'll ever need on the streets, if I'm being completely honest. I wouldn't recommend it to a complete beginner, but since you've got dirt bike experience, I'll just leave it up to your judgement. The big danger with a sport bike is throttle control.

I don't know how similar the 650 is, but the 600RR is widely considered one of, if not the, most comfortable sport bike out there.

The reason people recommend you not buy new for your first street bike is because of the probability of dropping it during low-speed maneuvers.

Having learned on a dirt bike will minimize or negate a lot of the newbie problems of a sport bike, but it brings up the other problem that street technique is the complete opposite of dirt bike in several ways, and dirt bike instincts can get you in a world of hurt when you enter a corner too fast.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
CDRW the things you mentioned are one of my biggest fears, while I could save my ass on dirt because I knew what the bike was going to do in dirt or sand. On asphalt I have no idea in the same situation, and I would fear that what my mind would naturally snap to would put me in a worse situation. I definitely want something that is forgiving vs instantly responsive in terms of break, throttle and so on. But I also don't want too forgiving because I do not believe throttle/break control will be an issue due to many years of riding after my initial break in period. But this is a belief and only that, one that I want to find out how to validate I am correct that it's not an issue because being wrong is not worth it.

When you say dropping it during low speed maneuvers are you referring to literally dropping the bike? Like going 5 miles an hour and something happening, or from hitting the throttle too hard and having it drop. Or do people go to do a slow corner and end up going down? If it's the throttle I can imagine, hell forget my CRF, my buddies dropped and wheeled my endro bikes after I warned them over and over about the throttle. First time I got on my CRF was a hell of a surprise after being used to endro for so long. I can only imagine what a sport bike will be like.
 

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I mean literally dropping the bike. I dropped my first bike twice, once while practicing in the parking lot, and once while trying to make a u-turn on a mountain road with a gravel shoulder. I've actually never managed to wheelie the one I have now—though I haven't really tried at all. The power band is so high in the rpms that I've never been in danger of hitting it accidentally.

The problem is that in that situation, your instinct is to hit the brakes and put your foot down. But the bikes are heavy, and that will make you drop it, then you'll be out a thousand dollars to replace the fairings. The solution is to keep your foot up and give it more gas.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Ah ok, when I had the honda shadow I was trying to fix I got it running and ran it down the street in my neighborhood and it was running alright. Got back to my driveway and on the way up I had decided I wanted to park it on a slant, went to turn a little and the damn thing stalled out mid turn and me and the bike went down due to it being a hill and a stop I was not expecting at all. I was lucky and it was just a minor scratch on the bike and that thing was surely not light to pick up off the ground.

I am preparing for a few more of these scenarios and that's exactly why i don't want new.
 

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Road Work: First Bike? - YouTube

Try Googling this. It is our own CaptCrash's You Tube on your 1st bike. He has many great training videos. I still go back and check them out frequently. I hope this helps explain what to expect.
 

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First off: Welcome to the world of motorcycling!!

You are to be commended (of course, it might just be that your State requires it) for signing up for a BRC. Too bad it's so late in the year however.

Nothing I could find, indicated where you live, so I don't know if riding year round is an acceptable option for you. This only has impact with regard to the BRC, because if you live somewhere where "Winter" is a factor, you MIGHT not want to ride from November to March (but of course there ARE some real bulldogs who DO ride in Winter).

When you consider how to carry a laptop, (as you have brought up) I'm assuming you are also considering the roads you will likely travel as well (highways, secondary roads, etc).
The motor size of the motorcycle you choose, (imho) should be gauged by what conditions you are likely to encounter in your daily commute. A 250cc (for example) or 300cc, might be fine for around the block, but not the best (again imho) choice for highway rides. It's not that a bike of that size couldn't handle 70 MPH, but it's about "how much stress do you want to put on yourself when riding" more than anything else.

As for gear, if you wear a helmet, and boots that cover your ankles, and a decent jacket to cut down on abrasions, cuts and road rash, I'd say you are sufficiently protected. There are all sorts of levels of comfort in gear options, and this is valuable to consider when it's 100 degrees outside, and you don't WANT to wear a Jacket and helmet (for example) but know you should.

Having a family to consider, as many if not all of us do, we manage our risks the best we can, and make decisions based on common sense and the law of averages. Sometimes it becomes a case of "damned if I do, and damned if I don't," and we choose to gamble or not. Some common sense things always come into play, like "don't drive if you have been drinking," (stuff like that).

-Soupy
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Watching that poor bike go down in the first video =( I will checking the rest of his videos out now. I should have stated I live in NJ so it surely gets hot and that is one thing on my mind but I think I can also get a little more riding time here since I love the cold.

60 to 70 percent of the driving will be on the interstate and some on the Parkway due to that being my daily commute so I will be maintaining a pretty steady speed. I am not sure if this helps at all but aside from my years of dirt I have also always had performance manual cars and man did that commute kill the thrill of owning them lol. I average 80 or under during my commute which I believe I would be comfortable maintaining steadily on a bike, not at first I assume, I imagine it will take me a good many rides of staying around 60-65 first and learning to always have lots of distance between me and other vehicles. Like you have stated tings can vary greatly here though so while I might average that, there are plenty of times where I am stopping quick or having to accelerate quick for who knows what reason. At the moment I am pretty set on the logic of over 300 for the commute. If the CBR650 wasn't so much new and they could be found used I would likely be picking it up asap lol. More and more that I read and learn about the bike giving a lot which is important to me. I don't imagine I will be slamming the breaks or snapping the throttle but it's all new to me on the road so I want to be safer then sorry.

The BRC was also my decision, sucks that it cost 315 but the way I see it is that 315 will give me lots of great experience and a very good riding start foundation before I take off riding. So in the end the 315 is a minor expense for valuable safety tips and experience. Everyone talks highly of it and recommends it so I think I would be foolish to not take it. It just sucks it's over a month away! I want to ride lol. I am tempted to go get my permit so I can start to look into getting my bike so that I am ready to ride as soon as I am done the BRC but I am waiting it out.

Just from reading and watching videos I already feel like I am learning a bunch in observing how better riders give them self space at all times, how they turn at low or high speeds and being ready for what ever. This community has been great so far also and is getting me more and more excited to finally get started but helping to keep it clear that safety and smarts are paramount and everything needs to be thought through beforehand so you can be ready for the what if.

Lastly in terms of gear I have spent time thinking about how hot it gets but any of the videos I watch of good riders I notice they are in warm areas but still have the gear on that keeps them fully protected vs cutting some corners on safety for the sake of comfort. Hell it drives me nuts when I see people not wearing a full helmet, I just can't imagine not protecting my whole head and knowing I have far better odds of the thing staying on in an emergency.
 

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The gear isn't as uncomfortable as some people make it out to be anyway. I live in a pretty warm place myself, and only ever feel too hot when I'm sitting at a long stoplight on a really hot day.
 

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".....The BRC was also my decision, sucks that it cost 315 but the way I see it is that 315 will give me lots of great experience and a very good riding start foundation before I take off riding..........."

It'll be the best $315.00 you've ever spent!! (Provided, of course, that you take it seriously, and that it is taught by Instructor(s) who really care. I've seen some folks who teach that Course that shouldn't be given that position. However, you should be able to glean some really great advice and experience there, in SPITE of WHO it is teaching it.

-Soupy
 

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Discussion Starter #19
Soupy thanks for all the advice and I believe the 315 will be very well spent. I know going into it that for a bit they will cover things I already know but that this is a from knowing nothing to being able to ride experience for some. Sales pepper are telling me get. the permit so you can get the bike and then do the brc but I feel like I'm right in waiting for the class to get the bike.

What I want to get is getting tougher and tougher, I feel like the cbr 650f would be great because it gives me that sport look but is also good for a experienced rider but first time street rider and has the power needed for the roads I will primarily travel. The issue being that the bike just came out last year and finding used at a good price will be slim. A cruiser does seem like a good call but my head keeps fighting the body style. Is their another sports bike that is styled like the 650 in that it sits sort of like a cruiser but is designed like a sport bike? I really want to keep the cost down on my first bike until km experienced and the bike has taken its beginner toals that I'm sure to give it.
 

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Do check out most of CaptCrash's videos before you take the class. They are all very informative and interesting. They helped me a lot when I took the class. Good Luck to you!

Thanks CmonStart for posting the video. I haven't learned how to do that yet. :)
 
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