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Discussion Starter #1
Middle aged guy here looking to learn to ride and buy my first bike. My interest is weekend trips to neighboring states over the summer months (I'm in central PA). Long term goal would be traveling the country during retirement. The bike I'm extremely interested in is the BMW R1200 GS Dual Sport. I'm also planning to take a BRC when they open up in my area. My biggest hurdle is my wife isn't remotely on board with the idea. Basically has the mindset that motorcycles are dangerous so motorcycles are bad. I can't argue that having one would be more dangerous than not, so how do I sell the idea? Ultimately I'd love her going with me on rides either as a passenger or riding herself.
 

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Female Rider
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From a woman's point of view...ask her to take the BRC with you to see if she would feel better about it. They teach a lot of safety and might change her mind.

Your other choice is to let her read some of the gals posts on the Forum. There are a several. We all love to ride and also love to get other ladies interested. Even if she doesn't want to ride her own, she might really like riding behind you.

I love both, riding my own and riding behind my husband. Traveling on a bike is my favorite way to go. There's just nothing like it!!

Oh, by the way, Welcome to the Forum!
 

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Take the BRC before you do anything else. That'll give you an idea whether you like it or not and a chance to assess your skill level. It's not uncommon for people to decide motorcycling is not for them after taking the BRC. The BRC is just an entree into motorcycling. There's lot's more to learn after getting your license. A 1200 is a lot of bike for most newbies, though some can do it.

I too was looking larger bikes before taking the BRC, I was a complete newb, but decided to get a smaller bike after getting my license. I reasoned a smaller bike would be a better tool to ramp up my skill set on being that they're nimble and light, making them easier to handle and forgiving of the the mistakes that will inevitably happen. If, down the road, I'm still liking it, there bigger bikes will still be there.
 

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First of all, welcome to the forum, from Seattle :)

When l started talking about getting a bike last Spring, my girlfriend was not too happy about it. Her one and only experience with a motorcycle was with some jerk road racer she happened to meet in France on a business trip some 15 years ago, who talked her into getting on the back of his bike and then sped through the streets of Paris, laughing his head off while she screamed bloody murder. So that was what she thought motorcycling was. Additionally, she has a medical condition that would make motorcycling really difficult, if not impossible, for her, so she saw it as me taking off and leaving her behind. Granted, l could have just done it without regard for her feelings, but l wanted her to be on board and okay with my decision. So this is what l did...

I signed up for the BRC, went and bought a helmet and gloves, and got a copy of the safety book they use for the test. I started reading it regularly, and sharing the safety stuff that l was reading about. I told her about riding in different lane positions, hi-viz clothing, different types of lighting, the most common situations for accidents. Basically, l included her in my education rather than just saying, "Trust me." Because the truth is, it isn't you that your wife doesn't trust. She is afraid that some dumbass is gonna run you off the road and she will be stuck feeding you through a straw for the next 30 years.

When we were out in the car and would see a motorcyclist, l would point out things that he would do and whether or not it was considered safe riding based on what l was learning. I would explain how the rider had scanned ahead and changed lanes because he saw that the car ahead was moving over into his lane. When some guy came flying through traffic dangerously, l told her that those were the people who get in wrecks and they are the ones that give us a bad name and inflate the statistics.

After taking my BRC and getting my endorsement, l spent 2-3 months searching for the right bike rather than running out and buying one right away. People here can tell you. l am pretty sure they all got really tired of me asking questions about every different bike on the planet. By the time l got around to buying, l was pretty well educated about what l wanted and what l wanted to do with it.

I also spent good money on good gear. I spent more than l needed to on my helmet, but l didn't care because l loved the design, the fit, and justified it by telling myself that my head is worth a $600 hat. Other than that, though, l have done a lot of bargain hunting and done well. $100 riding boots, $60 apiece for Kevlar jeans, $110 on Ebay for gloves that retail for $350. (Personally, l think gloves are the second-most important piece of riding gear next to your helmet. After all, you are either in control or not in control of the throttle and the strongest brake with the same hand). I already had a leather jacket, but she got me a nice ballistic hi-vis armored jacket for Christmas, probably a couple hundred. And l always wear bright colors.

My approach isn't for everyone, but it works for me. I have taken my own safety very seriously, maybe overboard for some, but in the process, l have gained full trust because she sees me live what l talk. She knows that l am not out there being a jackass, and through sharing what l have learned with her, she has found that motorcycling is not just about racing and adrenaline. In fact, this past weekend we were down in Phoenix and met up with friends from this forum in person for the first time, and she and l sat on one guy's Harley...and she actually liked it! I don't know if she will ever decide she wants to get involved or not, but it was a big step for someone who jumped off her first bike as fast as she could and swore she would never get on one again as long as she lived.

As far as the bike you want to get, l agree with Calculon, that 1200 is not a beginner bike. If you want to get into dual sport/adventure riding, l would suggest starting with a smaller dual sport bike. Maybe a Kawasaki KLR250, a Yamaha XT225, something along those lines. You can buy a good running used one for under $3000. I recommend buying used because you will more than likely drop it. Everyone does. Ride your first bike for a season, learn how to ride well, and then you will be ready for more bike. Big bikes perform and they are engineered for guys who can handle the power. A new rider can get into a world of hurt quickly no matter how careful he is. You just have no idea how powerful they are until you grab a handful of throttle in the wrong situation.

I do wish you well, and feel free to ask questions :)
 

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Swamp Rat Rider
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While not trying to sound like a broken record .. Take the Course and start with a Used Bike around 500CC or so.. If really decide you are into riding, trade it in towards what you want and won't take much of a beating on it .. If buy a BMW 1200 and decide riding is not for you may cost you a whole lot of money ..
 

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Pretty much what's been said.

My wife was not crazy about it either. Before long though, she was suggesting I should ride today because it's nice and uses less gas. Okay. Who am I to argue? :D

Now that I've wrecked one, she's a little apprehensive again, but hey, I wrecked and nothing too bad happened. A bike wreck is not a death sentence or mandatory paralysis. Wear a helmet. Wear the other gear, too. My arms and hand wouldn't have gotten all skinned up if I were wearing all my gear at the time.

As to first bike size, a 1200 BMW dual sport is not a 1200 street sport. My first was an 805 cruiser. Nothing bad happened because of it. The type of bike plays heavily. It's not all about displacement. An 800cc sport bike would fly past an 800cc cruiser.

A used bike though is not a bad idea. Even more so if you plan to learn off road stuff. DS riders crash so much, they don't even count it if it happens off road. Seriously, those guys consider crashing just part of the adventure.
 

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Pretty much what's been said.

My wife was not crazy about it either. Before long though, she was suggesting I should ride today because it's nice and uses less gas. Okay. Who am I to argue? :D

Now that I've wrecked one, she's a little apprehensive again, but hey, I wrecked and nothing too bad happened. A bike wreck is not a death sentence or mandatory paralysis. Wear a helmet. Wear the other gear, too. My arms and hand wouldn't have gotten all skinned up if I were wearing all my gear at the time.

As to first bike size, a 1200 BMW dual sport is not a 1200 street sport. My first was an 805 cruiser. Nothing bad happened because of it. The type of bike plays heavily. It's not all about displacement. An 800cc sport bike would fly past an 800cc cruiser.

A used bike though is not a bad idea. Even more so if you plan to learn off road stuff. DS riders crash so much, they don't even count it if it happens off road. Seriously, those guys consider crashing just part of the adventure.
l would tend to agree with this. However, the GS1200 he is talking about has 125 horsepower. That's a lot of power no matter how it's configured.
 

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Lead Astronaut
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My wife isn't a fan of my riding either... but she knows that one of the reasons I divorced my ex was because I was never allowed to do anything I enjoyed in life without a major and constant berating and headache and she promised to never do that to me as long as it was within reason (showing up with a stripper on each arm in not considered within reason). She knew I loved bikes and knew that it was likely I would start riding in the near future. She's Ok with it, but certainly worries I may get hurt someday.

Dan
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Wow. Thank you all for the replies.

Moni, I really like the idea of asking her to take the BRC course with me. When she moved in with me she wasn't crazy about having guns in the house. I took her shooting with me because it was important for her to know how to handle firearms from a safety standpoint. Turns out she loved it and we've had a lot of fun target shooting together. My hope would be a similar experience at the BRC.

Hawk, That's exactly how I feel. I don't want to just do it anyway, even though I could. Wouldn't be much fun riding if I knew she was home worried sick about me.

I'm pretty confident riding is going to be for me but I am going to try and cool my jets until I can take a course this spring. On vacation we've rented ATV's and wave runners and had a blast. Granted it's not the same thing but the "wind in your face" experience is awesome. We have several neighbors that ride and hearing those bikes starts up on a nice summer morning and not returning until just after dark makes me long for one of my own.

I'm a little surprised by all the recommendations to start smaller. I always thought that advice was aimed at sport bikes. BMW does make an F800GS which is something I could be happy with. I guess I'll see how I feel after taking the class and trying them on for size. I do want to feel in control of the bike and not intimidated by it.
 

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Female Rider
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Here's a link to some very good YouTube Videos from our own CaptCrashIdaho. This one is about your First bike. I recommend watching as many of them as you can prior to taking the BRC course. He really knows how to break riding skills down to help everyone. They are done in good taste and very entertaining. Heck have your wife watch them with you. They are that enjoyable!

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC9qZpXVqpbjGINQP_kStToQ

Good Luck in starting your riding career and getting your wife to join you.

By the way, I also love to shoot. Our shooting range is in our front yard. Both of my daughters shoot and so does my grandson.
 

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When l took my BRC they had some BMW GS650's, so that is what l rode in the class. It wasn't a bike l would have bought, necessarily, but it was closest in size to what l would be buying. It was plenty of bike and would have made a great starter for someone who wanted to go that direction. The only thing is, they are expensive and if you drop one, the value drops REALLY fast. You are much better off getting a good bikes that is a few years old to learn on, then when you feel confident in your riding ability, go buy the bike you really want. It's a lot cheaper that way.
 

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I just have to add to Hawk's above post...When you are ready to move up, that might become your wife's starter bike. ;)
 

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She is afraid that some dumbass is gonna run you off the road and she will be stuck feeding you through a straw for the next 30 years.
When my hubby spent three months at Gaylord there was many times I felt helpless and other feelings. But I never felt "stuck". I know many don't take the oath seriously anymore, but when you marry, its for better or worse.
 

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First of all, welcome to the forum, from Seattle :)

After taking my BRC and getting my endorsement, l spent 2-3 months searching for the right bike rather than running out and buying one right away. People here can tell you. l am pretty sure they all got really tired of me asking questions about every different bike on the planet. By the time l got around to buying, l was pretty well educated about what l wanted and what l wanted to do with it.
:)
Yeah Hawk! I'm just now beginning to like you!:biggrin::biggrin:
Seriously, Hawk has many good points, and yeah I really think starting on a 1200 BMW for 18K is a bad idea. First of all you will feel really, really bad (not to mention your wife's reaction) when you dump it backing out of a parking spot, and it's way more power than a newb needs. Take a course, get a smaller bike and really LEARN to ride.
 

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Yeah Hawk! I'm just now beginning to like you!:biggrin::biggrin:
Seriously, Hawk has many good points, and yeah I really think starting on a 1200 BMW for 18K is a bad idea. First of all you will feel really, really bad (not to mention your wife's reaction) when you dump it backing out of a parking spot, and it's way more power than a newb needs. Take a course, get a smaller bike and really LEARN to ride.
Thanks! I knew l would make friends if l stuck it out long enough ;-)
 
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