First Bike Advice

Discussion in 'Land of the Rising Sun: ADV Bikes from Japan' started by vstateblazer, May 22, 2014.

  1. vstateblazer

    vstateblazer Adventurer

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    May 22, 2014
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    Hey guys just an update, I am currently taking my MSF course this weekend a spot opened up for this month so I didn't have to wait til next month's session. First day was great and a humbling experience. It took an hour worth of riding for me to get a grasp of the clutch "friction zone" and do it reliably. At the same time for me to commit and get used to bringing my legs up during take off/slow speeds. We executed short corner turns, 25ft cone spaced narrow slalom, wide angle slalom, wide curve turning and various friction zone exercises.

    I'm riding a nighthawk 250 during this course and can see why a lot of people recommend a smaller bike for beginners. It's just easier to develop the fundamental skills without all the growing pains of trying to learn on a heavier, more powerful bike that is less forgiving for beginner skill level mistakes. After getting pass the mental block of picking my feet up and numerous stalls because of releasing the clutch too fast, all other exercises went smoothly. We have 3 bike owners/riders in the class, 2 Harley's one of which is an 883 with a bolt on trike setup and the rider of that one expressed how balancing the little 250 was different to the point she uncomfortable for a while. I think her intentions is to be able to ride without the trike set up. 1 Hayabusa owner who has made 10+ hr trips on the bike, who is still learning some things.
    #81
  2. LordSmoke

    LordSmoke Been here awhile

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    Congratulations. Sounds like you are off to a good start.

    I took the MSF on a NH250, too. At 6'4" there was no way I was going to fit on one of the Savages or Rebels.

    Ironically, I had a book of all the available motorcycle models available at the time. I deemed the NH the ugliest of bikes. Ended up with an '85 NH450SC as my first bike. Great bike - rode it for 25k. Wanted a 750, but then had a chance to buy the second ugliest bike in the book - the DL650 :lol3
    #82
  3. btao

    btao RIP Lilolita

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    Hey VState, just caught your thread. Looks like you're on a good path, and the MSF course is certainly the best place to start. My wife wanted to ride too last fall, and took her course, and got an '82 Virago 750 for 500 bucks. I threw some DS tires on it, and she can at least join me on dirt roads. No suspension travel, but it all depends on what you want. She needs to just get riding experience first and get comfortable on a bike. Learning the basic skills takes simply repetition.

    My recommendation would be similar for you. I'd suggest a more street oriented bike, that's easy to handle and pick up and put some DS tires on it and stick to the easy dirt roads that won't beat up the bike, but gives you the experience of the ground moving beneath you and learning to float the bike under you as you get comfortable. Plan to use the bike for a year or so, then get something different. I can guarantee, the first bike you get isn't what you'll want next year. With that long of a frequent trip, smaller bikes will be downright scary and unstable on the highway for a new rider.

    Working with a budget of 5k, I'd spend at least 1k on gear (1-Helmet, Boots, Jacket, Pants, Gloves-5), then 2-3k on a street bike that is reliable, then the rest on a little dirt bike to learn the dirt skills faster if you have trails nearby. Adventure gear is great for multipurpose like you want. If you plan to ride when it might rain, external rain gear is a change I'd make, opposed to liners. Gore-tex or similar just doesn't breath enough in hot climates or off road and is $$$$. A waterproof top box that locks and fits a helmet and rain gear is highly recommended.

    The next thing you must do is find a riding buddy that you can learn from and shadow. Get an intercom, and just talk about riding and best practices. It takes a lifetime to be a great rider, so learn from someone who has some of that experience, and you'll be two steps ahead. You can push your limits while knowing they are within the bike's limits.

    In the meantime, save up for the next bike. Based on what you want, the Tiger 800XC is the perfect beast. Kicks that F800GS in the gonads. I test rode the BMW, then tried the Tiger the next weekend, and walked out with the Tiger. The Tiger is 97% as capable a GS for the same rider on the dirt, but smokes it in all categories for the street. The only disadvantage in the dirt is it's a bit top heavy, and the power takes a lot of finesse to control. I've ridden the 800XC all day on slab and all day in the dirt, and felt at home at both. The Tiger can drag pegs and keep up with most street bikes, but then ride straight up a ski area, or enjoy all kinds of stuff you wouldn't expect from a bike of that stature. The Tiger 800XC is a case where the bike is typically more capable than the rider.

    Exhibit A:
    http://advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=975869

    Exhibit B:
    http://advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=957787&page=6

    -btao
    #83
  4. Burninator

    Burninator Zed's dead

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    I agree with what btao has to say about buying a used bike and spending 1k on gear. If you shop smart, you'll be able to turn around and sell the beginners bike at no loss in a years time. Having good gear makes a world of difference when commuting every day.

    Where I respectfully disagree is on the Tiger 800xc. I've owned both a 2012 Tiger and a 2014 DL650. The 2012+ DL650 will do 99% of what the Tiger does at about 65-70% the initial cost. The DL650 wins out for me with better reliability and overall operating costs. Cheaper to insure, better dealer network, better fuel economy. A 2012+ V-Strom would be a wise choice, but you probably won't find one for under 5000.
    #84
  5. btao

    btao RIP Lilolita

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    no worries.... guess you haven't ridden with our local tiger pack to see what it can really do. haven't seen any weestroms where we go. ever........

    Sent from my XT1060 using Tapatalk
    #85
  6. Burninator

    Burninator Zed's dead

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    I've seen your "tiger pack" around. There is a reason I won't go where you go!:D
    [​IMG]
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    #86
  7. majorhavoc

    majorhavoc Adventurer

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    Inseam won't be an issue; I'm 5'8" with a 29' inseam, also 220 and most certainly not a former athlete. I ride a (full height) Gen II KLR. It's a great bike in almost every aspect for your needs.

    But I will agree with detractors in that sustained 80mph stretches of slab are not its forte. It'll do it, but not as competently as something like a Vstrom.

    If you can keep your ego in check and stick with closer to 70mph (which will be more like 75mph indicated), then I give the KLR a thumbs up.
    #87
  8. FongMan

    FongMan Been here awhile

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    Coming from the guy from Eugene OR, that will leave a fucking mark!!! :clap
    #88
  9. FastForward47

    FastForward47 n00b

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    Jun 23, 2014
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    Hi, just bought my first bike. Completely new to this and riding. Wondering where to begin. Any suggestions?
    #89
  10. LordSmoke

    LordSmoke Been here awhile

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    Start an intro thread.
    What bike?
    MSF course?
    #90
  11. Burninator

    Burninator Zed's dead

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    Welcome to ADVrider. A good place for a first post would be in a sub-forum specific to the type of bike you have. The following is the sub-forum for the Honda CRF250L, which, according to your profile is what you own:
    http://advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=823409
    This would be a good place to start with introductions and questions regarding your Honda.

    As far as riding information, try one of these sub-forums:
    http://advrider.com/forums/forumdisplay.php?f=12

    This thread was started by someone looking for advice on a first bike, and is not really the best place to come for advice about riding or ADVrider in general.
    #91