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How to approach learning and restricted period

Discussion in 'New Riders and Riding Tips' at netrider.net.au started by Daniel And, Apr 10, 2016.

  1. Hi all,

    My name is Dan – currently living in Melbourne.

    I recently received my Learner Permit in Victoria and must be one of the first people who had to fork out for the (now mandatory) two day training prior to obtaining the permit.

    I have a few questions about next steps as a learner now that I’m let loose on the general public.

    Let’s start off with some general info:

    Besides the training mentioned above and a day of riding an automatic scooter in Thailand, I have zero experience on a motorbike. Having said that, I’ve ridden a bicycle all my life, so am not struggling with balance or anything like that. I’ve also held a full car license for 10+ years, so I’m no noobie to road rules or general behaviour in traffic.

    During training, I mostly struggled with taking off (stalled a number of times), but once the bike was moving, I felt fairly comfortable. They gave us Honda 125e’s for the training (which also included taking the bike out into general traffic).

    I will be moving to Sydney next month, so will wait until then to get a motorcycle and get started with the whole thing. Added bonus is that I will only be on my Ps for 12 months due to being older than 25 and having a full car license.

    I expect to be using the bike for my daily commute in inner Sydney (will still have car as backup) and for the occasional joy ride a bit further afield.

    The main thing I’m struggling with is how I should approach my L / P period. After having done some research, there are broadly two schools of thought:

    A: Get a cheap, easy-to-handle, low-capacity bike for the restricted period. Reasoning: less bothersome if scratched / dropped / in an accident, and will want to upgrade anyhow

    B: Get a “premium” LAMS bike straight away because you may want to upgrade after 3-4 months anyways

    In order to decide what to do, I’d love to get some insight on the following points:

    1) Everyone keeps banging on about damaging the first bike or dropping it. How serious of a problem is that really? Despite my limited experience, I never came close to falling off the bike or dropping it during training.


    2) Related to the above: will getting a bigger/heavier/more powerful bike make it more likely that I will drop it or damage it otherwise? Are they more difficult to handle and control?


    3) I checked out a couple of dealers here in Victoria. They let me sit on many bikes, but told me that I wouldn’t be able to test drive them due to insurance problems with learners. Really? Are learners expected to buy bikes just by the looks and 2 minutes of sitting on them?


    4) I’m confused by used bike pricing. Checked out a few makes and models on bikesales, but compared to new bikes, the discount doesn’t seem to be all that big unless the bike is more than five years old and has 20,000+ kms on the clock. Of course, I understand asking price is not the same as sales price, but still…


    Would appreciate any comments on the above.

    For now, I’d love to keep exact make / model discussions out of the debate – already read a lot about that. I’m more interested in the general philosophy that I should follow and that has worked for others.

    Many thanks!

    Dan


     
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  2. 1) it's pretty realistic that you will drop it in some way shape or form. Moving a 100+Kg machine around take a lot more skill and finesse than a 5Kg pushie and things get crushed with they hit the ground even if you're not going forward at all.

    2) they can be, especially at low speed and when pushing it around in the yard. More power can also be a handful if you're not used to it or not expecting it. Ask anybody that's stepped up from a 300 to a 1000 and you'll get pretty consistent answers. Lots of power, especially lots of SUDDEN power, can get an inexperienced rider into trouble very quickly.

    3) No, they expect you'll drop it (lack of experience) and cost them a shitload of money. This is another good reason to buy used and cheap to start off, as is the cost of comprehensive insurance for learner riders.

    4) a modern bike does not suddenly become worn out and need a massive rebuild with 10,000Km on the clock. Many are only just run it at that stage and can be expected to last well over 100,000Km with proper maintenance. LAMS bikes in particular hold their value quite aggressively.
     
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  3. Hi Dan, I was asking myself the same questions when i got my learners about a year and a half ago... similarly i had zero road bike experience (had ridden dirt bikes many moons ago).

    I started off buying a Honda CB250 for $1500, didn't want to fork out decent $$ to find road riding wasn't my thing. After 12 months of riding and absolutely loving it I decided to upgrade, had to be a LAMS bike.

    I toyed with the idea of buying a new "premium" LAMS bike but decided against it as I would only want to upgrade when I'm off restrictions.

    I ended up buying a used Honda CBR500R with 4200km on the clock, just under 2 years old... sold my CB250 for $1500 :)

    Personally I didn't want to cop the depreciation on a new bike that I'll keep for just over 2 years.

    Cheers
    Dave
     
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  4. G'day DanDan. I've just progressed through to a full rider licence as a +25 year old licence holder.

    1. You might drop your bike. It's not a given - there are a large number of variables (including luck) that contribute to the likelihood of dropping a bike during your Learner/Provisional licence stages. The size and weight characteristic of a motorcycle can contribute to it - a Honda CB125E is a light and nimble bike that might appear hard to drop. The main reason you might hear people talking about dropping a motorcycle in the early stages is due to the amount of experience (or lack thereof) you have in handling a motorcycle in the myriad of riding or parking situations you'll encounter. I expected to drop mine but thus far I haven't - I've come close several times.

    2. The power and weight of a larger displacement bike can make it harder to control for a novice. It is difficult to judge just how much acceleration and weight transfer occurs on different bikes until you've ridden them. Your size and weight, the intended sort of riding (e.g. city commuting vs open road touring) and your level of previous experience all contribute to narrowing down the right first bike for you. I am 6-ft/100kg and do most of my riding on the highway so a 250cc bike just wouldn't be suitable - if I could negate the highway riding the 250cc bike might be perfect for short commutes. The standard (and good) advice given is to go and sit on as many bikes as you can to get a feel for them, which leads to...

    3. Unfortunately, that's it. If I sell my LAMS bike privately, presumably to a Learner rider, they can leave the full sale amount as a non-refundable deposit should they drop it. You'll probably feel the same if/when you go to sell a bike. It is simply not worth the risk and paperwork involved for dealers to offer Learners test rides. I sat on most of the popular LAMS bikes before buying and that set me up well for selecting and buying the right one.

    4. A lot of the time I see bikes that are 5+ years old with low kilometres (for the age of the bike) selling for what seems to be a high price. Low kilometres (and associated good condition) seems to count for a lot when it comes to motorcycles.

    I hope this helps - please qualify my responses with those from more experienced riders - as mentioned earlier, my responses are from a relatively new rider's perspective.
     
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  5. When I was in your shoes (only 4 months ago!):

    After sitting on it, I wanted a CB400, I wanted ABS. Two non-negotiables for me. At the time, there was only 2 in VIC second hand (just checked bikesales, there's currently none), and they were around 8K. Most interstate were that price, and there were a couple with ~30K for around 5K but they were in WA. Now, I bought one new, for a touch over 10K ride away. That was with 12 moths rego paid, and 20% off a bunch of gear with the bike, and there was the nice thought of full warranty, no drops or damage, and a few little niceties with a post 2015 build like a trip meter and a gear indicator and nicer wheels (IMO). It seemed like a much much better deal than trying to save at most 2 grand with a private sale. I thought in general the prices for second hand ones were insane. I briefly considered a cheapie for my LAMS period but I've got to be on this bike for 3 (three) years and that seemed like way too long to spend on something I didn't want. The CB400 does NOT have a huge amount of torque to blast you off the line and have the bike flip arse over tit so I've never felt like I couldn't handle it.
     
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  6. Dark Angel, Dave, Xj6N, Domo - thanks very much for your input so far. This is indeed very helpful.
     
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  7. Second hand LAMS bikes are expensive because of the market conditions, lots of demand etc.

    About the dealer not letting learners ride - with your limited seat time, what would a test ride actually tell you about the bike? You are not in a position yet to judge because the first few times out on the road your mind is consumed with the basics of riding etc - main question is whether you like the look and feel of the machine

    Lots of people mention falling etc - this is actually not a common occurrence. Depends on each riders skill level and how enthusiastically you start pushing your boundaries when developing as a rider. I only dropped my KTM Duke 390 once as a L plater when practising the u-turn at the Homebush Learners session - was more of a put down than a fall over since I realized I could not stop it from falling over at low speed. I did fall a year later after thinking I had mastered wet weather cornering (which I obviously had not) around a roundabout. Some bikes (like nakeds etc) are cheaper to fix should this happen etc.

    Get yourself to the Homebush learner sessions in Sydney on a Saturday to speak to others, view the different bikes and perhaps get to sit on a few. It might help you make the decision
     
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  8. Hahaha, I can't imagine anyone being flipped arse over tit on a CB400 (great expression btw!). They're great bikes, capable of going absolutely everywhere and never give you any trouble (at least both of mine never did) but yeah, they're definitely not the torquiest of machines. Having saud that, they're damn fun to ride.
    Like a very trusty and reliable workhorse that just goes and goes and goes...and goes... :D
     
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  9. I like the advice that has been given and really can't add too much to it. Small bikes (light) are much easier to not have a drop with and as far as I am conserned, gives you the chance to learn how to corner properly. Because you do not have the power to just power out to be quick. You have to carry corner speed or you will be slow. You need to learn to change down a gear or too while braking into the corner, be in the right gear to power out as hard as a low poered bike can. On bigger bike you may not ever need to change down. You may only need to brake coming into the corner and power out. I love riding my 250 hard and coming home in one peice and my license in one peice.
     
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  10. I'll second the fact that I don't believe we all need 100+ kw of grunt to have fun. Mind you I've never ridden a big bike fast, biggest thing I've ridden was a Tiger 800 at under 80 klicks. I too still have my CB400 after over a year unrestricted. Pillion on it no issue as well. I still cant get thru the twistys at full throttle in a million years. I'm not Rossi, but I am happy to lay the bike over. I can only assume with a litre bike, that you must be near idling around corners. Naked bikes are also gunna be a lot cheaper to repair if it all goes pear shaped too. I must admit I traded up from a CBR250R to the CB400 after only 4 months, and that was with only 1 year on Restrictions. And ExportswedeExportswede , you can lift the front wheel on the CeeBee if you really want to give it a go with a bit of clutch.
     
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  11. On public roads, pretty much. Most litre bikes will do well over 100kmh in first gear. I can do the entire old Pacific hwy from berowa to gosford without needing to shift from 2nd gear. Spirited riding too.
    God its fun though, i want to ride right now.
     
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  12. Now I'm no experienced rider here, but this is my two cents.
    1. I've been riding for 4 years and have never dropped my bike. It's a myth that you need to get the drop out of the way.
    Sure, the likelihood of dropping a bike goes up as your riding career expands, but there are some people who have never dropped in in a very long lifetime. The only thing I'd be concerned about is whether or not you are comfortable to push the bike up with either leg if it leans over too far. If you sit on the bike and you don't feel comfortable when you wiggle side to side because it feels too heavy, then that would probably be one you might drop in the event of stalling on a hill intersection or something. Again, you may very well never drop a bike, and yes you might. Still, myth that it's necessary.
    2. Bigger bike doesn't always mean heavier if that makes sense. I got on a Ducati Scrambler yesterday (800cc) that is deadset lighter than my Honda VTR250. I didn't think it was possible without going postie.
    I get my R's next Feb and that's when I'll be looking at a bigger bike. I had initially considered upgrading to a 650 LAMS or something in the mean time, but I like my current bike and have no need to get rid of it, especially since I would probably be reconsidering all over again in a year as my riding evolves. So personally the plan is to stick with it and then get a bigger bike later to save the hassle. Each to their own.
    Bigger engines are actually easier to handle because the weight of the motor helps keep you stable and they can be far smoother in low speed traffic. They may also make you more comfortable if you feel like you need the grunt to get out of a potentially sticky situation. I will NOT ride my VTR on the highway because I can't overtake with ANY form of swiftness and it feels dangerous. It just doesn't pull at 110km/h.
    3. I've never had anyone say that to me when I was looking at LAMS bikes in dealers. I guess it's the area? I don't know.
    4. LAMS bikes are popular so sellers know they can ask a bit more for it.
    The pros and cons of getting a new or new-old bike don't go away, but I understand where you're coming from.
     
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  13. The VTR250 has a dry weight of 138Kg.
    The Ducati scrambler has a dry weight of 176Kg.

    Being able to read the specs confirms the Ducati is much heavier. Experience tells me, until you drop it, it's all about weight distribution, ie how high the centre of gravity is.
     
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  14. Ha, the only time my front wheel is coming off the road is when I'm riding down rutted dirt roads. Then we're all over that stuff :p
     
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  15. A 750 would be good compromise for a first big bike. I wish there was more out there.
    My last bike was a GSXR750 and it was as much fun as my s1000rr in the twisties (lighter, more flickable, fun overtaking litre bikes)
    Less fun everywhere else though and no "saved your ass" electronics.
     
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  16. I have only had my L's since mid Feb. My hubby and I have a Kawasaki ZZR 250. We bought her second hand without riding her and have been very happy. She is reasonably light and maneuverable, completely predictable, cheap to run, cheap to insure and best of all reliable.
    We have both dropped her - I dropped her at a corner - stopped put my foot in a hole in the road and down she went. Hubby dropped her coming out of our weirdly shaped driveway - approached the road at a slight angle and down she went. Both times it was inexperience and observation that undid us. However as a result I can now confidently replace both the clutch and brake levers. Everything is an exercise in learning.
    We will probably upgrade at some point but for now the ZZR is the perfect learner bike.
     
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  17. New is good if your wallet allows but remember to allocate funds for riding gear as well.
    I wouldn't buy anything too ancient unless you are a tinkerer.
    A higher Km bike will be cheaper ... a record of good regular maintenance will negate most of the worries associated with higher Ks ... you will find most LAMS bikes don't get too high on the odometer anyway before people move on. Watch out for bikes that have been sitting for a quite a while ... it's likely they could be neglected and you will have to cost in new tyres and servicing before riding it. Get a sensible knowledgeable person to inspect the running gear - how well it's maintained will be apparent.
     
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  18. I went for the option of a cheap vtr250, did some work on her myself, learnt a lot too. I love her. I too skip green Ps and almost at end of Ls so I am just waiting and saving for the next year and getting a none LAMS bike. But I will keep my vtr250 to commute around sydney city as someone may knock it over haha... Also its very easy to slip while stopped and drop your bike.

    Also remember in NSW its instant loss of license for 3 months for speeding on Ls and Ps and they will also suspend your driving license....
     
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  19. Some good posts there Daniel AndDaniel And it'll be interesting to see what you decide.
     
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  20. [QUOTE="Daniel And, post: 2974072, member: 55677

    During training, I mostly struggled with taking off (stalled a number of times), but once the bike was moving, I felt fairly comfortable. They gave us Honda 125e’s for the training (which also included taking the bike out into general traffic).



    The main thing I’m struggling with is how I should approach my L / P period.
    A: Get a cheap, easy-to-handle, low-capacity bike for the restricted period. Reasoning: less bothersome if scratched / dropped / in an accident, and will want to upgrade anyhow

    B: Get a “premium” LAMS bike straight away because you may want to upgrade after 3-4 months anyways

    1) Everyone keeps banging on about damaging the first bike or dropping it. How serious of a problem is that really? Despite my limited experience, I never came close to falling off the bike or dropping it during training.


    2) Related to the above: will getting a bigger/heavier/more powerful bike make it more likely that I will drop it or damage it otherwise? Are they more difficult to handle and control?


    3) I checked out a couple of dealers here in Victoria. They let me sit on many bikes, but told me that I wouldn’t be able to test drive them due to insurance problems with learners. Really? Are learners expected to buy bikes just by the looks and 2 minutes of sitting on them?

    4) I’m confused by used bike pricing. Checked out a few makes and models on bikesales, but compared to new bikes, the discount doesn’t seem to be all that big unless the bike is more than five years old and has 20,000+ kms on the clock. Of course, I understand asking price is not the same as sales price, but still…


    Dan[/QUOTE]

    Hi Dan,

    Welcome, and great questions.

    My background:
    46y.o 6'6" tall male. Ride for fun, with the occasional 200km round trip commute to work.
    Driving for 25 years and riding for 2 years. Spent 6 months / 8,000km on a 250, 11 months / 16,000km on a 500, and to date; 2 months / 6,000km, on a 650.

    Now, my 2 cents...
    A/B: This all depends on you, everyone has different needs. You'll always second guess, no matter what. Buy the bike that makes you smile.

    1/ Training in a controlled environment is VERY different to road riding. You may come across water, gravel, mud, sticks, leaves, animal shit, rocks, bits of wood, tools from utes, etc... Get the picture?
    Centre of gravity aside, big bikes are generally harder to control once they get away from you. Mass and inertia do their thing. I could catch my 150kg bike on a slippy, muddy road, but the 240kg bike is a different story. When she goes; she goes.

    2/ Big bikes are easier to ride at speed, but can be more tricky in car parks, U-turns and while filtering. Confined spaces like servos tend to freak some new riders out, as well.

    3/ Learners pose a big risk for the dealer and a $3000.00 excess is not uncommon, if they do agree to give you the keys.

    4/ Due to high demand, LAMS bikes hold their prices very well.

    Don't become paralysed by indecision. As the song says: 'There is always time to change the road you're on'...
    All the best, mate.

    P.s Don't forget to allow space in your budget for gear.
     
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