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Advice for beginners: get a POS

Discussion in 'New Riders and Riding Tips' started by thecptn, Mar 14, 2006.

  1. As found on ocau...

    The most common newbie question is: What bike should I buy?

    No one wants to give a straight answer to that question. There are a lot of good reasons not to. But I'm going to give you a answer.

    Your first bike should be a Piece Of Shit.

    It doesn't matter the brand, model or year. As long as it's a Piece Of Shit, you're on the right track.

    It should have dents. It should have rust. It should have an inch of greasy, black road splooge caked up underneath the rear fender.

    Weeping fork seals, drips of oil and kinky chains aren't requisite, but they aren't a a bad thing.

    Trust me, go out and find a POS.

    Let me explain why.

    You're wrong.
    You have a vision of what your life as a motorcyclist will be. You have an expectation of what kind of riding you will do and what kind of bike you will ride. Of how you will look going down the road.

    Your vision is wrong. This is not your fault. The problem is, most everything you know about motorcycles and motorcycling has come from grossly inaccurate sources. Movies, TV, newspapers and--if you're an American--motorcycling magazines all get it wrong. They all are interested in various myths of motorcycling, not the reality.

    You may have a friend or family member who rides. There's a disturbingly good chance that they are giving you false information, too. This is why these helpful souls tell you to avoid using the front brake, and think counter-steering is bullshit. They're good people, but they don't get out much.

    Once you actually spend some time in the saddle, you will discover what kind of riding is really the right one for you. No one ever says, "I want to ride hundreds of miles through crappy weather in order to sleep on a floor." Yet lots of riders find themselves doing just that.

    Yes, some people find that they're true mode of riding is just taking fair-weather, low-speed jaunts through the country, looking like Lorenzo Lamas in "Renegade". If that turns out to be you, start saving for your Harley and have fun.

    But it may not be you. You'll never know until you actually start riding. After a year or two, you'll know what kind of riding you'll be doing, and then you can buy the right motorcycle for that purpose.

    You may not be a rider.
    Not everyone who starts riding sticks with it. Either you are a rider or you aren't, but you'll never know until you actually do it.

    Why spend $8,000 - $15,000 on a shiny new motorcycle that's just going to become a garage ornament and something a loved one bitches at you about?

    When you decide motorcycling isn't for you and sell your POS, you'll get most, if not all, or your money back, which you can spend on your next hobby.

    You're going to drop it.
    You are. If you're lucky it'll be in a parking lot or a driveway when no one's watching. If you're a dumbass like me, you'll tank on a country road and get a long ambulance ride while strapped to a backboard to reinforce what a dumbass you are.

    Either way, the bike will get damaged. Who cares if you damage a POS?

    You won't regret replacing it... as much.
    If you really are a rider, you will love your first motorcycle. It doesn't matter how crappy it is, you'll love it.

    So, when you go to replace it, you'll feel a pang of guilt. If it's a POS, it'll be easier to get over that guilt. When you ride your new motorcycle that perfectly fits your new--and accurate--vision of your motorcycling life, you'll find it much easier to say good-bye to your first love. You new bike is so right, you'll be able to focus on the bad things about your old POS, instead of thinking about the reasons you loved it.

    And, yes, no matter what you buy, you'll replace it. True, some people ride their first bike forever. Similiarly, some people marry and live a long happy life with the first person they had sex with. But how many people don't? Did you?

    You will replace it. Replacing a POS hurts a lot less than replacing an expensive, shiny new bike.

    You'll be a better rider.
    POS don't forgive you. Sometimes they are down-right contrary. A friend of mine describes one of his POSs this way:
    I'd be coming to a turn and say to the bike, "Okay, we should turn now." And the bike would say, "fcuk you! I'm going straight!" And I'd say, "No, REALLY, we need to turn now." And they bike would say, "fcuk You!" So I'd jerk at the bars, saying, "We are going to turn now, dammit!" And the bike would say, "Okay, we'll turn... THIS time."
    Don't let this scare you. You're a newbie rider and won't know any better. The poor acceleration, handling and braking of your POS will seem normal to you because you've never ridden a better bike. You'll learn to ride well despite the bike.

    Then when you replace you POS with a good bike, you'll be a much better rider than you would have been if you'd started on a capable bike.

    Any good football coach will tell you that practices should be longer and harder than the games, so that the games seem easy by comparison. Well, your first bike is practice.

    Paitence is a virtue.
    If you really are a rider, you will ride thousands of miles over the rest of your life. You don't need to rush out and try to have the ultimate motorcycling experience the first week.

    Take your time. Learn the sport. Learn about yourself. You've got the rest of your life--do it right.

    You WILL wrench.
    It's tough to justify spending $800 to have some mechanic professionally fcuk up the carbs on a $1500 motorcycle. fcuk them up yourself. It's only a $1500 bike, right?

    Destroying the engine in a shiny new $8000 motorcycle is a lot more heart-breaking than doing it to a POS. Not to mention, it's a lot more budget-busting.

    Even if you never do any of the maintenance or repair on the replacement bike you'll end up buying, the knowledge you gain from wrenching on your POS will be invaluable. When the dealer tells you that your blinker fluid is low and your muffler bearings need re-packed, you can tell him with confidence to go stick an impact driver up his ass.

    Besides, wrenching on a bike teaches you the details of how a bike works. Why it performs and handles the way it does. This information will be very useful when you start looking for your replacement bike.

    And, in the end, good, honest motorcycle mechanics can be damned difficult to find. You may end up wrenching on your replacement bike whether you want to or not. You'll be happy to have first banged your knuckles on a POS, trust me.

    You'll meet more interesting people.
    Any shmoe can buy a new shiny bike and park it outside a bar or coffee shop and "oo" and "ah" over other new shiny bikes.

    Real riders appreciate POSs. They've ridden them, too, and can see the functional beauty under the dents and rust. The guys who come up and say, "Hey, I used to have one of those!" in reference to a POS are much more interesting and informative than guys who once sat on a new bike like yours in a showroom.

    Lots of POSs also have little communities built around them for technical support and such. The folks in those groups tend to be much better riding partners than the guys you meet at the bar/coffee-house.

    You'll be part of the chain.
    Nearly every POS has gone through the hands of many riders. Most of them beginners, after a certain point in a bike's life. When you sell it--or give it away, it's a POS after all--you'll be continuing the chain. You'll be passing on all the good things that come from starting on a POS. You will, hopefully, be helping another true rider get started on a life of motorcycling.

    Really. Ask around. Most riders who started their motorcycling life on a POS don't regret it. They see it for what it was--the first step in a life-long passion.
    • Like Like x 1
  2. That was wonderful.
  3. Nice one, that! I haven't moved past the POS - just had them in different makes, models and sizes :LOL:
  4. I was told the same thing but i didnt listen

    I always have to learn things the hard way when people always tell me otherwise. Kinda like being Squid, one day i will probaly regret it.

    Buying a decent bike, crashing it.
    Being too lazy to check the oil. motor ceases.
    Losing Bond money > :(
    daydreaming in the wet > rear ended some guy
    being to lazy to go around round abouts and buckle my car wheel lol :grin:
    List goes on and on
  5. That was a fantastic read.

    I must admit, I did think about going down the PoS road to begin with, but here is the one con that made me buy a $5,000 bike, with minimal damage and low kms...

    A PoS takes 20 mins to start on a cold day, and I want to ride NOW dammit!

    And I can still sell it for $5,000...
  6. But how many of us actually listen :roll:
  7. :LOL: too true :LOL:
    well said.......
  8. excellent points

    but in reality im EXTREMELY happy with with my 1st bike

    all the good points u mention, with none of the bad points, i work on it myself with a few mates, have met some awesome people through cbr forums, it has a good engine, nice and linear, not scary at all, but with enough power to be fun, good brakes, it looks tops, starts 1st time every time, and the icing on the cake? only cost me $3500...so i think theres a case for buying a middle of the road bike, not a POS but not a new bike either.
  9. When I get my back I will definately take this route, looking for a machine around $1000. Should allow me to learn, and have fun, and really look forward to my next bike.

    And surely, no one cares what type of bike and L plater rides.
  10. I have to be the one to disagree. I belive in buying what you want. You shouldn't buy a POS just because some dickhead says you are going to get sick of it and you are going to drop it etc .....

    If you like the look and feel of that $9000 CBR .. BUY IT.

    By all means buy a second hand bike (It is a really good idea in my opinion) .... but not a POS that is so clapped out that you can't take off from the lights. That is what the author makes it sound like
  11. 1 word - SOBIL

  12. Its a 250 of course is not going to be scary. If anyone finds a 250 scary they shouldnt be riding a m/c and should look at scooters.. :)
  13. well for someone who has never rode any kind of bike b4, a 2stroke NSR or RGV probably isnt the best chocie
  14. True, forgot about the 2strokers.. ](*,) :oops: :oops:
  15. Don't think I agree...

    My bike isn't a POS, I've never dropped it and have had the tail sliding out on me without crashing many times. No need to ride a bucket to learn how to ride properly.

    Although, I did start riding trailies about 14 years ago... only switched to road bikes about 18 months ago.

    Plus most people know what sort of rider they are... I'm a speed freak, I just like to go fast, and whatever bike will help me achieve that is the way I'll go. Very much time for me to upgrade I think.
  16. Hi.

    (first time poster here...)

    I don't particularly agree that a first bike should be a PoS.

    Just going on my father's experience for starters, his PoS CB250 caused him more grief than it should, and imo he would have been better off with something closer to a midrange 250... Especially considering the well maintained PoS had the engine seize whilst my father was out riding... The only time it was dented was when the stand failed.

    In another example, the PoS a work colleague had, had ongoing mechanical failures (breaking chains, failing brakes) that resulted in injuries too frequently. Yes, he learnt alot through this, but when he finally got rid of the PoS the experience put him off buying another bike for a long long time... He was not quite experienced enough at the time to deal with so many failures whilst driving in peak hour traffic - especially in the wet.

    As well maintained a PoS could be, it still generally has a higher pobability of letting you down. If it doesn't cause injury, it will simply not start at all and make you miss that important date or performance review at work... Of course this may not all be 100% applicable if you readily have an alternative form of transport where ever you and your PoS are.

    Its like driving a PoS car as your first car. Years down the track, there will be (usually) fond memories of the vehicle, and dings won't worry you so much at the time, but I've heard enough tales of people being seriously injured due to driving a PoS car that just recently passed a mech inspection/RWC... ...including one example of it catching on fire and and the vehicle burning to the ground.

    I beleive that if you are serious about riding, you should be serious enough about your first bike. The type of bike of choice would typically be already imbedded in most budding rider's heads for long enough for them to want to persue that choice.

    The choice of bike should be more of a practical decision. "I like having my eyebrows torn off my face within seconds of a standing start whilst my beer-gut battles with a tank due to me being hunched over so severely; I can afford to spend $3500" should clearly indicate what style of bike the rider wants. Just as much as T-800 model 101 new exactly what he was going to steal to go with his newly acquired leathers, complete with a place to store a shotgun.

    Myself... I am window shopping at the moment whilst I wait to start and complete my Q-Ride course. I like open road cruising as well as fast track racing when it comes to cars so who knows... I'll try and pick out something more mid budget that I like and feel comfortable on and work from there.
  17. In a perfect world every new rider should buy a 250 trail bike fitted with road tires and bark-busters, that way if he/she does drop it, minimal damage is the result.
    And a traille with road tires on handles superbly.

    But people buy what they like the look of, more so than what is the most practical to begin on.

    And few new riders with say $2000 to $3000 are going to want a POS.
    Who can blame them.

    POS bikes tend to cost money to keep on the road, and who wants to be wrenching on their first bike? They want to be out there riding it.

    The worst case scenario is a POS has a major malfuntion on a corner or a curve, the new rider wont have the experience to deal with sudden engine failure, a rear chain jumping off a sproket, or god forbid the steering head bearings seize.

    My advice is stay well away from a POS just for the safety factor. If it looks like shit on the outside chances are it IS shit on the inside.

    Apart from that gem of wisdom all I can say is that I have taught many people to ride over the years, I lived with a female bike instructor for 8 years, she and I both agree on one thing...if it's your first bike DO NOT buy anything with a full fairing. The cost of replacement for a Kawasaki ZZR 250 fairing, brand new is $2500. Insurance companies will often write off a second hand bike just because it's too much money to replace said fairing. This despite the fact the rest of the bike is perfect.

    If you do like the ZZR 250 or similar bike, buy it, take the lower panels off for the first month or so. Put them back on after you have had some road time and clocked up some mileage.

    I've never owned a fully faired bike, probably never will. If you want to go really scenic places a few hundred kilometers around Sydney you are going to encounter dirt roads, a nightmare for full faired versions.
  18. My bike cost me 1600, I rode around 11k in four months, only needed some repairs to its fuel system, and this has 84 k on the clock too, I guess its finding a pos that isnt to much of a pos thats gunna cost you an arm and a leg.
  19. My first bike cost me $800. I rode the shit out of it for years.. dropped it, crashed it, blew it up. Then I sold it for $850
    • Like Like x 1
  20. For some reason that made me laugh :LOL: