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Discussion Starter #1
First of all, I am not yet a rider. I am planning on taking lessons next Spring and then shopping for one of two models that have made my short list.

Because I'm a beginner rider, my research was focused on "starter bikes". These are the 250-500cc bikes.

My initial impression was that you start off on a bike near the 300cc range and eventually move on up to bigger bikes.

With all the research I've done, it seems the term "starter bike" is not a fair term.

For someone who plans to use their bike as an urban commuter, maybe with some occasional secondary road riding, it seems like these bikes are the perfect deal. They are cheap, economical, and are even making a comeback. I've read many threads from experienced riders saying they are reverting to these bikes, and from people who have started on these bikes and have yet to "upgrade" after a few years riding them.

All that said, it seems unfair to label this class of bike as a "starter bike", giving the impression that you buy them only to train on, but will no doubt eventually outgrow them. It seems more accurate to dub these bikes "commuter bikes" or something along those lines. I understand a beginner would want to start on them because they are more forgiving and safer because of less power and less weight, but that just reinforces the idea that they are proper bikes for beginners, but not necessarily beginner bikes. (I also understand that for many other riders, these bikes simply don't serve their needs or wants after one or two years).

In my case, I am planning on getting a TU250X. With everything that I've read and based on my intended use, I decided to stop thinking of it as my "starter bike" of choice but rather "my first bike".

Again, I have no motorcycle experience yet, so I may be talking out of my pooper, but this is the general impression I've gotten after two months of in depth research.

What are your thoughts?
 

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Retired twice: Navy and as a govt contractor
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The term comes from people buying smaller lighter bikes that are more forgiving and easier to control. So you are correct in your thinking.

and
 

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Very Famous Person
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You can call your first bike whatever you wish. No one is going to make fun of it because of that (unless they're either envious or hurtful). However, many riders want to make their first bike the "bike of their dreams" which might be a super fast race bike. I like to think of it like getting your first car. Would you (or anyone being sensible) suggest a first car being a Ford Focus or a Ferrari?

More important than the label is if it will handle the type of riding you'll be doing for the first year or two. Especially frequent is the purchase of a good condition used bike. They aren't so expensive and when you have a few small learning incidents, you won't be so upset at the loss of beauty.

More important is that you take training classes, have all the protective body gear you can reasonably use, and (for extra knowledge) watch some training DVDs like this one by Jerry Palladino or a book by
which is the best selling m.c. training book sold.

Good luck.

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Hi Montreal

I have been riding for a while and have bigger bikes, but I also ride an 83 XS400, and it is great for around town and commuting.
For those types of trips I have always been on anything from 250 to 500.
250 and 350 Kawasaki two strokes, a couple of Honda 4 cylinder 400s, a 250 Can Am, an XL250 Honda, an old BMW500 and a few others.
The small bikes are more fun to ride.
One of the 400s even started life in Quebec.

The big bikes are better for boring freeway work at higher speeds, with a bunch of gear, and or a passenger.

Unkle Crusty*
 

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I completely agree with your thinking. For the type of riding you describe, the bikes you're considering are perfect... whether it's your first or twentieth ride.
 

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Female Rider
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Welcome to the Forum. I rode the TU250 in my BRC class. I loved it. It handled so well but it still had some spunk. Call it your 1st bike, beginning bike or your forever bike. You may find you don't want anything bigger once you learn the basics but most people do.

I can also suggest that you watch some of CaptCrashIdaho's youtube videos. https://www.youtube.com/user/CaptCrashIdaho They are great and he can break things down so even someone that has never ridden can understand. This might be a good one to start with. Good Luck to you.
 

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Discussion Starter #10 (Edited)
You guys are awesome.

Thanks for agreeing with me. I feel a lot more confident going in with the mentality that when I finally put down on the TU250, it will be my bike, and not my training wheels :)

And where I live, training is mandatory. 6 hrs of theory, 16 hours of closed track training and 10 hrs of on the road training. You can't take the test if you are not in full motorcycle safety gear. Even after all that, there is an 11 month probation period where you have to be accompanied by another rider (very controversial, most people say it's BS and not doing anyone any favours, and is something they've promised since last year to do away with...)
 

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I've never really understood the requirement of riding with another rider following. It is only required here for those riding on a permit, but it isn't like someone on another motorcycle can do much before the fact if things go wrong.
 

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Maybe to help you get up when your fall down or protect you from other vehicles when you are laying in the road. Even with bike to bike comms it would be distracting at best.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
That's been the argument to get rid of that part of the law. It's been argued that it does nothing to improve rider safety/learning, it's more distracting than anything, and actually does more harm than good by making riding more inaccessible to new riders if they can't find accompanying riders... but anyway, we're getting off topic of the thread :p
 

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Nobody really cares what a bike is called. They are called starter bikes because they are easier to learn on. They are lighter, less powerful, and just plain simple bikes without a lot of the options. There is nothing wrong with calling them starter bikes, that is what they are.

Just riding is what it is, if you want to ride, get a bike. If it's your first bike and it's 2000 cc's, it's a starter bike.

As far as the idea of having to ride with an experienced rider for a year, it only means that there are two people in harms way instead of one. But that's what you get when a government is allowed to take over and not allow the people to have a say.
 

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How about "economy bikes"?

Btw, congrats on the the TUx! I rode one in my BRC class and really liked it. I looked for one to buy for my first bike but there weren't any available in my area at the time.
 

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I've never really understood the requirement of riding with another rider following. It is only required here for those riding on a permit, but it isn't like someone on another motorcycle can do much before the fact if things go wrong.
As someone who just learned to ride this past year… I was happy to have to ride with a fully licensed rider for a period of time. It was really great to have someone there who could answer questions and give me tips/advice on specific situations that happened on our ride. Many times my "riding buddy" would toss me tidbits of info when we came to a stop sign/light. He was also there to see exactly how I was riding and give me pointers on things I was doing, it was great.
 

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In my opinion the people that laugh at others for riding what are called "starter" bikes are the same people that buy a bike based on ego. Their friends (idiots) would chastise them for not getting the most awesome fastest most powerful bike available then ride it fast without really learning how to ride safely. Take the time to learn how to ride safely on a bike that will do what you need it to do, then if it turns out to be all you need so be it. Manufacturers are making smaller bikes that are better performing than the previous models because they understand some of us don't want well over five hundred pound bikes with two hundred horsepower. Maybe the new crop of riders are a different breed.
 

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Charlie Tango Xray
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I always get stuck leading our group. Once in a while I'd like to ride in the back and let someone else worry about where we're going. So I have a rule, If you pass the leader, you become the new leader. No take backs. ;)
Most of the guys I ride with have twice the CCs I do. And once in a while I do get the light hearted ribbing about not having a "man's bike". But they've learned to save their high speed "hero passes" until we're headed home and they recognize where we're at. Otherwise they'd get lost. :biggrin:
 

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Welcome to the forum Montreal.
You are quite right that a small bike is an ideal short range commuter. More often than not it is called a beginner or a starter bike because the people we are talking to want to start in with a liter or larger first bike. That kind of bike can quickly kill a new rider so we suggest that they start on a smaller bike like the one you are considering.
I ride daily on a 1731cc bike but just a few years ago I took a beginner training course on a 250cc bike and I loved it. I rode that bike all day while my much larger bike sat in the parking lot waiting for me to finish my daily training. Every bike has a niche it was designed to fill, and as you have observed, the smaller bikes are meant for short range commuter type use.
I can only afford one bike so I own the one that will do what I want to do, like the 4300 miles trip I took 2 weeks ago. Since I only can afford 1 bike, I need to ride that heavy animal for my 5 mile commutes too.
 
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