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changing over

Discussion in 'New Riders and Riding Tips' started by awoodage, Oct 1, 2008.

  1. Hi guys,
    I've been reading the forum for a while and love all the great tips, info, support etc given.

    For the past 2 years i've ridden a 150cc bug espresso scooter to get around the city (sydney) and loved every moment. I'm starting to find it a bit limiting though and am thinking about getting a bigger bike that can take me further afield.

    I'm after some advice:
    1. What's the best way to start dealing with gears? - I'm not scared of them, but haven't ridden anything with gears and am not sure how i'll go about test riding bikes. I don't think the dealers would appreciate me learning/practicing on their bikes.

    2. What sort of bike should i be looking at? I know this one is very subjective and depends alot on what i like. I'm not sure, but i do know:
    - i want to be able to commute in inner city sydney
    - i want to be able to take it for longer rides - including weekends away
    - i don't want to it too be too small so i am wanting to upgrade again in a couple of years
    - i don't want it to be too big for me to handle
    - comfort, reliability, saftey are more important than cost - but price is fairly important too

    I'm sure i'll be able to add to this list, but at my current stage of inexperience that's all i'm aware of.

    Looking forward to your advice.

  2. If you drive a manual car, the transition will be easy. If you dont, I cant say.

    Its actually quite easy to change gears, but some people still cant do it.
    The most important thing is to see if you are comfortable doing it.

    If not, you can always get bigger capacity scooters
  3. Hey there Alison, welcome to Netrider.

    When I went to get my motorbike learner licence, I had only driven an automatic car. I pretty much learnt to deal with gears and the clutch on the day I did the course. It's not too hard to learn, and with a bit of practise, you'll get better at it. I recommend going to empty carpark and just practising.

    As for bikes, from what I gather Honda's Vtr 250 is very popular and so is Kawasaki's GPX/ZZR 250.

    hope this helps,

  4. thanks for that. I drove a manual car for years so gears aren't a problem as such. It's more the logistics of practicing on a bike with gears before going to dealers to test ride bikes. I currently only have access to an automatic scooter.

    Do you think a 250 bike is big enough? I want this bike to do me for awhile - i don't want to get to the point where i feel limited again in a couple of years. I don't want to get one too big so that i'm too scared to ride it either.....
  5. Welcome Alison! With limited experience too, what I can add is that going from a manual car to road bike made logic sense. Yet I'm still refining my clutch work & practicing lots. I look forward to the day it becomes 2nd nature but realise it just takes time... suppose I'm fortunate my VTR250 is quite forgiving on messy gear changes!!

    Perhaps start by working out what style of bike you like? Naked, Sports, Cruiser? As for power, I see my 250 being plenty for at least the next few years. Do a search as there are many threads which will give u many perspectives on power, models & female rider opinion too.

    Don't worry as dealers should be helpful, yet as the market is so large I found a short list was essential.

    +1 raman_ra - Gr8 Bike Suggestions

  6. I went from a scooter to a bike. I first did a practice session at HART and they showed me how to use the gears and I rode round on their bike for 1 1/2 hours and got used to it. I think in NSW its a private lesson or something like that. Had a test ride the next day and been riding bikes ever since. (Still got a little scooter for round town though.)

    modern two fiddys are good bikes.
  7. One thing that surprised me a little going from manual cars to manual bike is the clutch. After being told not to slip the clutch in the car I naturally rode the bike the same way. Shock Horror bike clutches are designed to be slipped, it still feels very mechanically unsympathetic. Oh and suddenly your hand is controlling the clutch instead of your foot but doesnt feel weird.

  8. GS500 :)
  9. Welcome Alison !


  10. Hi Alison,

    and hi to everyone else on the forum this is my first post ever. I've been reading for a while now but haven't actually posted anything as yet.

    I was in a similar situation to the one alison is in and I looked at and test rode a lot of different bikes before making my decision. I finally settled on the Honda CB400. I have to say its an amazing bike. Great seat hight, comfortable riding position, power when you need it without being silly and with enough in it to be able to head off for the weekend.

    If you budget can extend that far and you are happy to wait for you bike to be delivered I would seriously urge you to consider it as a very realistic option. It a great happy medium between a learner bike and something you can hold onto for a few years.

    Good luck with the search.

  11. hi alison

    you will get sick of a 250 imho.

    im assuming your not a rev head so something like a GS500 would be perfect for you. Learner legal and also big enough for touring, carrying another person and luggage.
  12. I'm biased, but I would agree with the GS500. It's what I have ... I've only had my L's for 4 months now but absolutely love it.

    Glad I didn't get a 250 first because I would be going nuts by now and would want to upgrade. As it is, I think this will only last me a year or two before I upgrade.

    It's very light and when I was away hubby borrowed her for a week (he has a Honda CBR 1100) and said that the GS was fantatsic for him getting into the city and back for work.

    They are nice looking bikes too :grin:

    Good luck with your decision.
  13. Hi,

    Just a bit of an update. Oh and thanks for all the advice (and the welcome to the dark side lol).

    Last weekend i had a 2 hour lesson at Stay Upright getting familiar with the controls etc etc. From memory it was a sped up version of the first "L" class - basic, but i found it well worthwhile.

    Now I've just come back from picking up a weekend hire of a CB250 to get a bit of practice in. On reflection, peak hour in sydney traffic was not the best time to pick it up, but i made it home. Glad I chose to leave the 'L' plate on - hopefully all the drivers behind me as I bunny hopped along understood.

    I feel prety uncoordinated trying to deal with 3 extra controls - clutch, gears and rear brake pedal, but I'm pretty sure I'll get the hang of it over the weekend. The one thing that troubled me was the rear brake pedal. I didn't know what to do with my foot. I wasn't sure if resting my foot on the pedal activated the brake light, confusing the drivers behind me. I found that if i lifted the front of my foot off the pedal it got very tired very quickly. Any tips???? The rest of it I think i'll get with practice.

    I'm still undecided about the bike I'll get but I think I'll be looking at the GS500 first.

  14. Welcome!

    and ball of the foot on the foot peg. You don't have to "cover" the back brake all the time (you wouldn't drive like that would you? unless you're a taxi driver :evil: )

    Foot position is individual preference. Some people rest the ball of their fert on the peg others their heel and tilt their toes outwards. Personally I do the former so I don't scrape toes of in big leans :cool:
  15. Hi there.

    I've got a cb250. It's great but get it on a freeway and you'll see it's limits - takes it's time getting to freeway speeds, gets blown around and has next to no overtaking ability. If I'm honest I have it because it fit the budget.

    The gs500f was what I wanted and I think it would serve you well. I believe suzuki have a few more lams bikes on the market - might also be worth a look.

    The cb400 is another option but it's quite expensive for what it is and has no fairing for freeway speeds.

    Good luck with your decision.
  16. Couldn't disagree more vigorously! Or, to put it another way, rubbish!!!

    Bike controls are designed to be adjusted so that your hands AND feet are always 'just there' ready to use them. The only reason why you don't 'cover' the brake pedal in a car is because the design doesn't let you, not because it's a bad idea.

    Read my little tutorial, please https://netrider.net.au/forums/viewtopic.php?t=52234&start=0
  17. Then we can mutually agree to disagree. Personally I wouldn't want to cover the rear brake for firstly that it does 9 tenths of stuff all if you need to brake hard (yes it has a job, just not the primary one), secondly I don't like my foot to be in that position constantly and finally, general braking and hard braking require both brakes to be applied, that means rolling off the throttle to setup and squeeze and by the time you get to that you can easily move you foot into position over the brake.

    That's the way I ride and it works for me in all traffic conditions. Minor concession in the twisties when I'll be using the rear a little more often (like you would in a go kart).

    The correct answer is more like "each rider finds their own style that suits them, considering comfort, safety and ability".
  18. Although I'm looking forward to upgrading from my VTR250, it still stacks up pretty well against a Suzuki GS500F, on paper at least. The VTR250 has a lower seat height by 30mm and weighs 40 kg less for a similar top speed. It does get blown around a bit in the wind, but it is part of the learning experience.

    I got the 250 because LAMS wasn't in in Victoria until July this year, but I haven't been disappointed in the VTR250. My wife has a scooter and is considering taking over the VTR250 when I get a bigger bike.