Lots of questions for first time rider

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CalebTheEternal
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Lots of questions for first time rider

#1 Unread post by CalebTheEternal »

I am looking to buy a motorcycle pretty soon and I've been researching around for a while now, and I'm sure I want to get one. With me wanting one I have lots of questions first.

About me - What do I want:
1. New or Used bike (if used, what era) Used - Don't want any older than 2004 probably

2. What style/type of bike are you leaning towards (sport, cruiser, standard, dual sport, etc) Sport

3. Have you taken your MSF or motorcycle course yet? No

I am 17 and turn 18 in about 2 months. I've heard mixed things about taking classes, but they are expensive (for me). I was mainly looking for someone who could teach me to ride.
I don't have too much money to spend, about $3,500. I was looking at the Kawasaki Ninja 250 and it seems nice. I know that's what a lot of people recommend.


Questions I have:

1. Is it fine to buy a dropped bike? If so what should I check for?

2. How many miles is too many when buying a used bike?

3. Is liability insurance enough for me?

4. Is Craigslist a fine place to buy? My parents hate when I bring up Craigslist.

5. Do I really need to take a riding class?

6. Do I need all riding gear? Ex. I don't want to buy pants because I will be riding to work and to school, and for work I wear a uniform. I will wear a helmet and a jacket.

7. Do I even have enough money? Should I wait another year or two before I start? I've loved the idea of riding my whole life and want to get into it.

8. Anyone near the Denver area want to teach me how to ride? :P

GS_in_CO
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Re: Lots of questions for first time rider

#2 Unread post by GS_in_CO »

I typed out a bunch of answers then previewed it and made a small change then all of it disappeared - dammit!
Starting over.

CalebTheEternal wrote:I am looking to buy a motorcycle pretty soon and I've been researching around for a while now, and I'm sure I want to get one. With me wanting one I have lots of questions first.

About me - What do I want:
1. New or Used bike (if used, what era) Used - Don't want any older than 2004 probably

2. What style/type of bike are you leaning towards (sport, cruiser, standard, dual sport, etc) Sport

You may change your mind once you get out exploring backroads and can't turn down the many, many dirt lanes we have to investigate here. We live in dual-sport heaven.

3. Have you taken your MSF or motorcycle course yet? No

I am 17 and turn 18 in about 2 months. I've heard mixed things about taking classes, but they are expensive (for me). I was mainly looking for someone who could teach me to ride.
I don't have too much money to spend, about $3,500. I was looking at the Kawasaki Ninja 250 and it seems nice. I know that's what a lot of people recommend.

It's a good recommendation. Enough power to deal with traffic, not so much that you'll get too crazy too soon.


Questions I have:

1. Is it fine to buy a dropped bike? If so what should I check for?

There's "dropped" and then there's "dropped = crashed at speed" Dropped off the sidestand or at a stopsign has happened to most of us and there's little to no damage. Crashed at speed can be bent frame and forks and more. In some respects a pre-dropped bike is good to learn on as you won't fear the low-speed drop as much as putting the first scratch on your shiny new bike.


2. How many miles is too many when buying a used bike?
Depends on how it's been cared for. But 50k for a beginner bike might be pretty high.

3. Is liability insurance enough for me?
Depends on your security situation for theft. Really the very most important thing is your medical coverage. Injuries can be expensive. How would that be covered?

4. Is Craigslist a fine place to buy? My parents hate when I bring up Craigslist.
I dunno. I've heard good and bad. But the bad could be some joker looking to unload a damaged or stolen bike.

5. Do I really need to take a riding class?

As if your life depends on it. It does.

6. Do I need all riding gear? Ex. I don't want to buy pants because I will be riding to work and to school, and for work I wear a uniform. I will wear a helmet and a jacket.

Those who have crashed with and without full gear will tell you that crashing with full gear is much, much better. But I'll admit I didn't buy riding pants for decades. I also didn't crash.

7. Do I even have enough money? Should I wait another year or two before I start? I've loved the idea of riding my whole life and want to get into it.

Something to consider is that riding a motorcycle is more like flying a jet fighter than it is driving a car performancewise. You are also the most vulnerable thing out there in traffic and every other road user is trying to kill you - even if they aren't aware of it. Are your road spidey-senses developed well enough for that environment? Also consider where you'd be riding. I don't care for surface streets in the 'burbs and absolutely will not go into city traffic on a bike. I'll ride 2 lane mountain roads happily. Fewer risks to my health there. On the other hand there are young fellows with big sportbikes who ride the canyons as if they are on a racetrack. Many of those bikes and riders get wadded up when they go off the road due to gravel, ice, elk, deer, Winnebagos and other random stuff. I prefer nature's randomness to traffic but they both have their risks.


8. Anyone near the Denver area want to teach me how to ride? :P

Learning the monkey skills can be done in a parking lot over a weekend if you already know how to do a manual transmission car. Learning how to survive traffic is a big step up. Monkey skills need to be automatic so your brain can deal with analyzing and reacting to traffic situations. Don't approach it casually. Other drivers are out to kill you.
I taught myself to ride in a pretty benign environment but when I was required to take the MSF course for a Navy base sticker I still learned stuff. Training is good.


Good questions and it's smart to ask early.
Ron

Current: 1988 BMW R100GS (the 'numberplate' model)

Past: 1987 Yamaha XT350
1983 Honda CB900F
1980 Honda XL185S
1979 Suzuki GS425E

GS_in_CO
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Re: Lots of questions for first time rider

#3 Unread post by GS_in_CO »

Another thing to add after thinking about it for awhile.

Last year I looked into teaching a young friend of mine to ride. Part of that investigation was seeing how motorcycle endorsements are done here in Colo. What I found is that, in theory, you can either take a written and riding test with the DMV or you can take the MSF course and the State will recognize the MSF pass and give you the mc endorsement.
I did not end up teaching him to ride. (He's too broke.)

In practice I couldn't find any DMV offices that would administer the riding test - at least not within reasonable range from Ft. Collins. You should look into this to see if not taking the MSF course can even be a workable pathway to the license.
Ron

Current: 1988 BMW R100GS (the 'numberplate' model)

Past: 1987 Yamaha XT350
1983 Honda CB900F
1980 Honda XL185S
1979 Suzuki GS425E

CalebTheEternal
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Re: Lots of questions for first time rider

#4 Unread post by CalebTheEternal »

GS_in_CO wrote:I typed out a bunch of answers then previewed it and made a small change then all of it disappeared - dammit!
Starting over.


- SNIP -
Thanks for your response.

Alright, I'll make sure that if the bike was dropped, that it wasn't actually crashed.

50K? That seems high. I was looking more at under 10k Should I widen my searches to see if I can save some money?

Theft prevention. I will have it in a garage at my house (Parents house) but there are never any break ins or thefts in my neighborhood. Is it likely that it could get stolen at school, work, or while shopping? As for my medical coverage I have health insurance, I'm not sure if it covers stuff like that, but I can probably find out.

I understand the risks of riding, and I understand that most people will hate you and will not see you.

As for learning to ride though, I don't know anyone near me that rides, besides some people at schools parents, but they said they will not teach a minor to ride. They said maybe if I get my own bike first, but how can I get a bike if I don't know how to ride :/ I know how to use stick in a car, and I know how to ride a pedal bike. I don't think learning to ride in traffic would be too hard for me, as the roads are usually pretty clear of cars.

You mentioned that I might change my mind on the sports bike. I've been looking around on the roads to see how clean and good they are, and I've seen that there is some of gravel and rocks on the roads. We have a lot of construction trucks coming in/out of my neighborhood.

GS_in_CO
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Re: Lots of questions for first time rider

#5 Unread post by GS_in_CO »

[quote="CalebTheEternal]



50K? That seems high. I was looking more at under 10k Should I widen my searches to see if I can save some money?

It's up to you but the big dependency is how the bike was taken care of. Oil changes, winter storage, etc.

Theft prevention. I will have it in a garage at my house (Parents house) but there are never any break ins or thefts in my neighborhood. Is it likely that it could get stolen at school, work, or while shopping? As for my medical coverage I have health insurance, I'm not sure if it covers stuff like that, but I can probably find out.

Guy I worked with in Ft. Collins had his bike stolen from the fenced, patrolled parking lot at a major manufacturer. So it happens. Many bikes are light enough that a couple of guys can hoist them and be gone pretty fast.


As for learning to ride though, I don't know anyone near me that rides, besides some people at schools parents, but they said they will not teach a minor to ride. They said maybe if I get my own bike first, but how can I get a bike if I don't know how to ride :/ I know how to use stick in a car, and I know how to ride a pedal bike. I don't think learning to ride in traffic would be too hard for me, as the roads are usually pretty clear of cars.

The DMV issues learner permits so you can legally get road time if you have a bike to use. The other road users aren't merely obstacles to your travel - they are conspiring to surprise and injure you. That's the level of road sense I'm referring to. You are young and likely inexperienced in driving still. You might subconsciously believe that everyone out there carefully follows the rules. One's paranoia level needs to be higher than that. But light traffic where you can do your learning is a plus. But even light traffic can surprise you (I have an early learning memory of a jerk in a bright yellow Renault passing me on my right in my lane when I wasn't accelerating quickly enough to suit him. And that was on me because I was messing with the bike and unaware of him until he was alongside. )



You mentioned that I might change my mind on the sports bike. I've been looking around on the roads to see how clean and good they are, and I've seen that there is some of gravel and rocks on the roads. We have a lot of construction trucks coming in/out of my neighborhood.

I wasn't referring to road cleanliness. I was referring to graded gravel county roads that go places you might want to see. Like many of the National Forest roads up in the mountains. And for me - I'm frequently riding the graded gravel roads out in the Pawnee Grasslands up in Weld County just to see what's out there. I traded my beloved Honda CB900F for my R100GS because on a cross-country touring ride I came to a few gravel roads leading across the desert that I wished I could ride but couldn't do so safely on that bike. (too tall, too heavy, street tires). The Honda was a wonderful motorcycle and I wish I could have kept it. But the GS lets me go many more places. Long ago I took a daytrip on the GS from Ft. Collins to ride it to the summit of Mt. Bross (14,000') on the jeep road up there then went home. Can't do that on a Ninja of any size.

Another thing about dual sports is they have wide handlebars and kind of narrow front tires so in some ways they feel more like a bicycle than a sport bike does. Sport bikes are narrow bars and require more force to turn the bars at very low speeds.


But a Ninja 250 is a great bike to learn on. It won't be your last motorcycle.


[/quote]
Ron

Current: 1988 BMW R100GS (the 'numberplate' model)

Past: 1987 Yamaha XT350
1983 Honda CB900F
1980 Honda XL185S
1979 Suzuki GS425E

CalebTheEternal
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Re: Lots of questions for first time rider

#6 Unread post by CalebTheEternal »

GS_in_CO wrote:
CalebTheEternal wrote:


50K? That seems high. I was looking more at under 10k Should I widen my searches to see if I can save some money?

It's up to you but the big dependency is how the bike was taken care of. Oil changes, winter storage, etc.


Theft prevention. I will have it in a garage at my house (Parents house) but there are never any break ins or thefts in my neighborhood. Is it likely that it could get stolen at school, work, or while shopping? As for my medical coverage I have health insurance, I'm not sure if it covers stuff like that, but I can probably find out.

Guy I worked with in Ft. Collins had his bike stolen from the fenced, patrolled parking lot at a major manufacturer. So it happens. Many bikes are light enough that a couple of guys can hoist them and be gone pretty fast.

I'll need to keep that one in mind.


As for learning to ride though, I don't know anyone near me that rides, besides some people at schools parents, but they said they will not teach a minor to ride. They said maybe if I get my own bike first, but how can I get a bike if I don't know how to ride :/ I know how to use stick in a car, and I know how to ride a pedal bike. I don't think learning to ride in traffic would be too hard for me, as the roads are usually pretty clear of cars.

The DMV issues learner permits so you can legally get road time if you have a bike to use. The other road users aren't merely obstacles to your travel - they are conspiring to surprise and injure you. That's the level of road sense I'm referring to. You are young and likely inexperienced in driving still. You might subconsciously believe that everyone out there carefully follows the rules. One's paranoia level needs to be higher than that. But light traffic where you can do your learning is a plus. But even light traffic can surprise you (I have an early learning memory of a jerk in a bright yellow Renault passing me on my right in my lane when I wasn't accelerating quickly enough to suit him. And that was on me because I was messing with the bike and unaware of him until he was alongside. )


With just a permit would I be able to ride alone or would there have to be someone riding with me that has a motorcycle license? I've though it out, and maybe taking a class that will pass as a driving test too would be better.


You mentioned that I might change my mind on the sports bike. I've been looking around on the roads to see how clean and good they are, and I've seen that there is some of gravel and rocks on the roads. We have a lot of construction trucks coming in/out of my neighborhood.

I wasn't referring to road cleanliness. I was referring to graded gravel county roads that go places you might want to see. Like many of the National Forest roads up in the mountains. And for me - I'm frequently riding the graded gravel roads out in the Pawnee Grasslands up in Weld County just to see what's out there. I traded my beloved Honda CB900F for my R100GS because on a cross-country touring ride I came to a few gravel roads leading across the desert that I wished I could ride but couldn't do so safely on that bike. (too tall, too heavy, street tires). The Honda was a wonderful motorcycle and I wish I could have kept it. But the GS lets me go many more places. Long ago I took a daytrip on the GS from Ft. Collins to ride it to the summit of Mt. Bross (14,000') on the jeep road up there then went home. Can't do that on a Ninja of any size.

Another thing about dual sports is they have wide handlebars and kind of narrow front tires so in some ways they feel more like a bicycle than a sport bike does. Sport bikes are narrow bars and require more force to turn the bars at very low speeds.


But a Ninja 250 is a great bike to learn on. It won't be your last motorcycle.



It wouldn't be someone for everyday use. I still have a 2014 Subaru Crosstrek. I wouldn't be going onto gravel roads any time soon I don't think, but maybe, since I might go to school in Ft. Collins.
[/quote]

GS_in_CO
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Re: Lots of questions for first time rider

#7 Unread post by GS_in_CO »

I don't know the answer about the Learner's Permit. Something to look up on the Colo. DMV site. Pretty good chance it just means you ride alone (no passenger) but don't have to have an escort. That's how it worked in Connecticut when I had a learner's back in the last century.

At this point you can only imagine how you'd use the bike. So not opting for dual sport is understandable. But remember that I warned you that you'll want to know where the roads go eventually.

Bikes are fun but, like airplanes, you need to ride regularly to keep your skills up. Winter is difficult to ride so Springtime is when we old farts are careful and practice things before feeling fully ready once again. Parking lot maneuvers are fun all by themselves (unlike for a car).
Ron

Current: 1988 BMW R100GS (the 'numberplate' model)

Past: 1987 Yamaha XT350
1983 Honda CB900F
1980 Honda XL185S
1979 Suzuki GS425E

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Re: Lots of questions for first time rider

#8 Unread post by CalebTheEternal »

GS_in_CO wrote:I don't know the answer about the Learner's Permit. Something to look up on the Colo. DMV site. Pretty good chance it just means you ride alone (no passenger) but don't have to have an escort. That's how it worked in Connecticut when I had a learner's back in the last century.

At this point you can only imagine how you'd use the bike. So not opting for dual sport is understandable. But remember that I warned you that you'll want to know where the roads go eventually.

Bikes are fun but, like airplanes, you need to ride regularly to keep your skills up. Winter is difficult to ride so Springtime is when we old farts are careful and practice things before feeling fully ready once again. Parking lot maneuvers are fun all by themselves (unlike for a car).
Alright, well thanks for all of the help.

GS_in_CO
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Re: Lots of questions for first time rider

#9 Unread post by GS_in_CO »

Enjoy the journey!
Ron

Current: 1988 BMW R100GS (the 'numberplate' model)

Past: 1987 Yamaha XT350
1983 Honda CB900F
1980 Honda XL185S
1979 Suzuki GS425E

GS_in_CO
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Re: Lots of questions for first time rider

#10 Unread post by GS_in_CO »

Riding on gravel roads in Weld County-



Image

Image

Edit 1-30-16 adding this

Image
Ron

Current: 1988 BMW R100GS (the 'numberplate' model)

Past: 1987 Yamaha XT350
1983 Honda CB900F
1980 Honda XL185S
1979 Suzuki GS425E

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