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Old 04-14-2013, 08:17 PM   #16
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I taught a few girlfriends to ride in high school and college, it's pretty easy, safe, and fun, actually.

The most daunting thing for newb is the sink-or-swim method - ie, "here's XYZ control's, try to say balanced when you stop... now good luck." The easier way is to let a newb work on a single control at time until they are proficient with it, then teach the next control, and then combinations.

The way to do this is for you to sit on the passenger seat with your arms around her. She holds the insides of the grips and levers, you hold the outsides, your feet on the pegs, her feet on top of yours. With you controlling everything else, let her do a few laps in a parking lot just working the throttle only. At first, she lightly grips the throttle feeling what you are doing, and then the control slowly shifts over to her with you lightly gripping the throttle (later you can rest your hand nearby on a mirror stalk, hand guard, or by thumb controls, but be in position to override).

Then let her use the throttle and front brake alternately, then add rear brake. Then the gear shift lever - clutch is last though. Come to a stop frequently to give her a sense of the slow speed balance and when to put your feet down. You're talking in her ear the whole time. Transition the clutch over slowly as described with the throttle above. Keep doing laps, in both directions to learn turning both ways. When you're comfortable, you can move your feet and hands back from their override positions until you're just a passenger.

Have fun!
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Old 04-14-2013, 08:57 PM   #17
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I didn't see anyone mention getting her fitted with full gear. Make sure it's comfortable so she'll wear it and it fits so that she can operate all the controls. Avoid the fashion biker boots they sell women that have very thick soles and make it difficult to shift. The right size gloves are also very important. Watch her operate a clutch, brake, and throttle wearing the gloves.

Another vote for the MSF course.
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Old 04-15-2013, 06:26 AM   #18
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I can tell you from first hand experience that new rider + old bike is not an ideal combination. After I passed the MSF BRC, I spent a winter getting a '76 CB200 road-worthy. It's the perfect starter bike - for 1979 or so. Although nothing catastrophic has happened yet, I have found myself wondering about odd sounds and smells when I should be focusing on my skills.

If the budget had permitted, I probably would have gone with the TU250x - and I still may.

I can also tell you from first hand experience that resurrecting a vintage bike will take more time (and money) than you expect. Buy her a new(ish) bike and she can go riding while you're waiting for the CB160 parts order to show up.

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Old 04-15-2013, 01:46 PM   #19
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Thumb modern bike

I too would recommend a more modern (but not new) bike. The skills from the BRC transfer better, and mechanical issues aren't a concern.

My wife does not have her own bike yet, and has been practicing on my '72 R5 Yamaha. Two stroke is not ideal (less low-rpm torque), and she has developed a great and abiding hatred of a kickstarter.
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Old 04-15-2013, 02:01 PM   #20
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I'm very surprised that no one has-

A) asked if there are any height challenges as this is often a concern for many women.
B) suggested the Ninja 250

As mentioned before, DO NOT attempt to train a new rider on your own. All relationship issues aside, you are not a qualified instructor and will not provide all the information and drills they do in the MSF courses.

Learn from my mistake. Son #1 took the MSF and is a very safe rider.
Son #2 constantly had excuses not to take the MSF. I let him take the Ninja out for a family ride. He made a terrible noob mistake that they drill on in the MSF and luckily was not seriously injured. He's got a nasty chunk of scar tissue on his knee that still bothers him though. Yes, we did all the parking lot drills and practices. Yes, we taught him all we 'thought' he needed. BUT....
Needless to say Son #3 is getting the MSF for his 16th birthday this Summer!

AFTER she takes and passes the MSF I'd be more than happy to go on some short and later longer rides with her if she'd like to meet more women riders.

As for the Ninja 250: That sucker can take a licking and keep on ticking! If you get a used one she can ride it for 6mos to a year or longer. Then if/when she wants something else you can get all the ca$h back that you invested and use it for the down payment on the next bike. It's got a low seat height, great gas mileage, very easy to handle and work on, parts are plentiful and cheap, etc, etc, etc. The '06 we have is about to be passed on to nOOb #3 and still runs great! Not to mention that mom has fun with it on occasion as well!
'06 VFR 800 over 60K miles
'00 SV 650 over 60K miles

There are those who own motorcycles and they can sell a bike and never think about it again. Then there are riders! You get it or you don't.
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Old 04-15-2013, 10:30 PM   #21
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My wife will admit that a MSC course without me there was the best thing that could have happened. Less pressure, everyone else was in her skill level. Very structured and in a safe environment.
Bike fit was something we worked on. She finally settled on a suzuki dr-200.
Eventually moved up to a BMW X-Country.
If she isnt comfortable or stressed out she may give up riding.
Have her take a few laps through its my wifes favorite web site, she learned a lot there.
Good safe riding to all.
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Old 04-16-2013, 05:37 AM   #22
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Taking beginners course is a.must, like few here stated, don't try to teach her solely your self, that's a good way to end a relationship, I taught my wife and daughter to drive, absolutely a nerve racking experience. Everything else has been pretty much said. One thing I'd do styledifferent is go even smaller on the bike, little 125 supermoto or the like, would be good and get her on a dirt road or a paddock. That's the way I started, on a 50cc bike, must have been around 10 years old. Good luck to her with it, whatever you do, stay out of the traffic until she's got enough miles to feel cconfident with the controls, especially the brakes, 'read the front one '!
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Old 04-16-2013, 06:29 AM   #23
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I just learned to ride in September of last year and my wife in January.

We both took the MSF course at the Honda Training Center up 400 and they are very good.

Let someone she doesn't know teach her and save you both some grief, you also get a waiver on the test. Just go to the DMV with your certificate and get the MC endorsement added to your license.

Along with the class she also got a 1999 Suzuki GZ250. She can flat foot it easy and it only weight 320 pounds.

Good gear inspires confidence but style counts so she picked out her own gear.

Here she is with her bike looking a bit apprehensive right before we left for the beach in Destin FL from Atlanta last week.

It's totally worth the effort to get your GF riding.
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Old 04-16-2013, 08:55 AM   #24
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i have the same issue

Been riding bikes for years. My boyfriend wants one and i don't know how to get him started safely with it either. I was thinking of getting him a 2012 250 CBR, since it has a lot of pep but not too much to be dangerous. Not sure if i should get him signed up for an MSF course or if i should let him ride on the road right away. He's a total n00b as well.
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Old 04-16-2013, 10:11 AM   #25
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Think differently...

Here's what red-flagged me: My girlfriend has shown interest in riding and I want to..."

Hey look, cut me a little slack because all relationships are different. IMHO however, if she's showing an interest, be there to support and advise, and leave it at that. The guys before me have it right, incl LuciferMutt's reference to the Hurt Report is revealing. The professional trainers will size her to the right bike and, if that doesn't work out, they'll have other models to which she can switch. They'll also have different helmet types and styles with which she can experiment.

You'll probably also be happier if you're "just along for the ride" on this one. Don't even go watch the class. When she has questions about the classroom work in the evenings, refer her to the book.
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Old 04-16-2013, 10:20 AM   #26
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Originally Posted by arbutus View Post
Been riding bikes for years. My boyfriend wants one and i don't know how to get him started safely with it either. I was thinking of getting him a 2012 250 CBR, since it has a lot of pep but not too much to be dangerous. Not sure if i should get him signed up for an MSF course or if i should let him ride on the road right away. He's a total n00b as well.

Do you not like your BF anymore or something? Does he have a large... insurance policy, with you named as beneficiary?

Why would somebody be AGAINST taking a BRC, especially if your locale offers them for free (like Illinois), or for fairly low cost? Even here in Florida, a $200-$250 BRC can save THOUSANDS in damage, injury, or death costs when compared to the common statistics of new riders that don't get qualified training/coaching. Even the crash statistics of trained riders could be better, so why not do at least that much to mitigate some risk? Proper training can also considerably reduce anxiety...for all parties involved, and many locales even offer a discount on insurance for completing a course.

Nobody is saying that a BRC is the end-all and be-all of learning to ride, but I think that most people would agree that it doesn't really have much downside, and it's a heck of a lot safer for noobs and the people around them than just turning them loose on the road or trying to teach a noob yourself. A 300lb+ moto is NOT a bicycle with a motor. Riding is something that gets people killed every year, and the crash statistics are heavily biased to people who have had no formal training, even if they have been riding for several years.

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Old 04-16-2013, 10:53 AM   #27
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Originally Posted by arbutus View Post
Been riding bikes for years. My boyfriend wants one and i don't know how to get him started safely with it either. I was thinking of getting him a 2012 250 CBR, since it has a lot of pep but not too much to be dangerous. Not sure if i should get him signed up for an MSF course or if i should let him ride on the road right away. He's a total n00b as well.
In addition to the MSF recommendation: The problem with plastic-covered streetbikes to start with is they're not so pretty after they've fallen down a few times. Naked bikes and dual sports handle such n00b events much more gracefully.
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Old 04-16-2013, 10:58 AM   #28
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find some other girl riders to help her out. Even for things as small as to what do with their hair under the helmet. Its a different ballgame for girls on motorbikes.
Ive seen the whole riding thing become very intimidating for girls very fast because its very male dominated. Sometimes just having other girl riders around is enough to give new girl riders confidence. Besides the fact that girls like to talk and hang out with other girls.
She may even forget about you and just want to go riding with her new girlfriends

We shall not cease from exploration, and the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we started and know the place for the first time.
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Old 04-16-2013, 11:14 AM   #29
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There's some good advice in here.

I am a MSF, FRTP, and JSMSP certified RiderCoach.

Do not try to teach her yourself. Even if you are a ridercoach, you have too much connection, it's too personal. Before you do anything else (except maybe buy properly fitting gloves and a helmet) get her through a MSF course.


Don't take it with her, even if she asks, she'll be stressed trying to do well in front of you, (even if she doesn't know it) and it will negatively impact her enjoyment and learning. I've seen in hundreds of times over (been a coach since '07) husband knows how to ride, takes the course with his wife, and she is totally stressed out.

After that the standard stuff, ATGATT, newer bike is better, etc.

I do agree that you may want to look for a small bore DS for her, because it'll be much more forgiving of drops. If she's shorter, you might want to try to find a few year old CRF230M, it's a small air cooled ds-based supermoto. It's a little more street oriented, and the smaller tires give it a lower seat height. Stupid easy to ride. They didn't sell worth a crap when new (why buy that when you can get a KLX or WRX?) so they should be pretty cheap.

Good luck! I met my fiancee through a fellow ridercoach, and within a year of getting started she was doing trackdays and touring from FL to Maine with me.
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Old 04-16-2013, 11:18 AM   #30
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Proven Advice for New (Male and) Female Riders

There's good advice in this thread. Lots of it from a lot of smart people. We've got a couple centuries of combined riding experience and a few MSF RiderCoaches on staff. For sure, we know the three rules below are gospel.

1. Take your loved one to a qualified motorcycle trainer. There are dozens of good reasons why you shouldn't teach some one to ride unless you're formally trained and certified to do so. Even if you are, you might want to let someone else provide the training. We could tell you a story about that!

2. Don't let anyone ride on public roads until they are 100% confident in their braking (to include quick stops) and swerving skills. They must be able to do these things well. Obviously you'll learn this faster on a smaller, lighter bike.

3. Do not put anyone on a bike that doesn't fit their skill level and body size. It doesn't matter if you might outgrow a starter bike in a month or a year. If you start on a bike that's too _________, you are way more likely to get hurt and you might never learn to ride. Ride on a bike that fits and you'll learn faster, better, and be WAY safer. We know of a young woman who went from zero miles on a bike to highly skilled in about one year. She did it by getting good training, good gear, and then putting 12,000 miles (every kind of road and every kind of weather) on a 250 Supermotard. She was never intimidated by the size, weight, or power of the bike and now she rides like the wind. Makes perfect sense.

Be safe, learn lots, have fun. Enjoy the ride.

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