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Newbie- looking to get started

Discussion in 'Welcome Lounge' at netrider.net.au started by sharkboy, Aug 27, 2016.

  1. Hi all,

    Just did the learner rider course last week and loved it despite the pedestrian pace.
    Gonna sit a theory test soon to get my L's - I have been meaning to get around to doing a bike licence for years. Am 35 years old living in Sydney - eastern suburbs and originally from Ireland.

    I'm currently looking at the z300 or MT-03 as my favourite initial picks - just based on video reviews and the style. I think 300cc should be plenty of power and strike the balance of learner friendly but not have me looking to upgrade after a few months.

    I do have 2 questions that hopefully you kind folks can help out with.

    Firstly, given that I would only have L's, is any garage going to let me take anything for a test drive in Sydney? Everyone recommends riding a few first to get a feel for the different bikes but I don't know anyone who has a bike and I'm guessing a dealership isn't gonna let a newbie try a new Z300. I'd rather not splash out an additional 400 dollars on a single learner track day when I'm only starting out and probably can use that money for gear.
    Any suggestions for what to do?

    Secondly, if I can't find somewhere and with some bike to practice on, then buying from a dealership in Sydney West or North (where most of them seem to be) probably means my very first trip on the bike involves a decent sized journey on fast roads and highways - not exactly my preferred starting point (especially given the driving style of a lot Sydney drivers). Any advice on options or thoughts is much appreciated?

  2. Welcome to NR.
    I grew out of a 400cc soon after getting off my L's but everyone is different.
    Can't answer your questions re test rides, bought an mt07 without a test ride, thinking I didn't know enough to make an informed decision anyway and based it on reviews and the style of bike I was after.
    If you get along to the Sydney learner sessions in Homebush someone may be kind enough to give you a ride.
  3. Howdy and welcome to the forum mate.

    This is the fun part, shopping for a bike and bike bling! I'm jealous.

    Unfortunately I do think dealerships are 'hesitant ' to hand over bikes to Learners due to the risk and paperwork involved in fixing their demo models, but if they really want a sale you must stick to your guns and insist on a test ride.

    As mentioned above, go to the Homebush sessions, have a look and a sit on different bikes, some might even let you ride .

    Some people take to riding like a duck to water, some need to work harder at it. Also be realistic and rate yourself - if you are still very nervous, petrified at the thought of traffic around you then what can a test ride really tell you in any case?

    In my experience most dealerships are surrounded by busy roads and in or near cbd areas. (There are exceptions)

    Anyway, enjoy the search. You will see one, lose your heart and senses and know that you HAVE to HAVE that one. Good luck.
  4. Just sitting on the bikes will tell you a bit, even if you don't ride them.
    Get one that is a good size for you and feels comfortable.
    Both of those you mentioned are popular and get good reviews.
  5. Welcome to NR mate. Demo rides for L platers will be up to the dealer, some will, some won't. At least sit on them all and make sure you feel comfortable. As to whether a 300 will suit or even not want to make you upgrade in a hurry there are two many variables, where will you be riding, just commuting or is there highway use, your height etc all come into play, I always recommend going towards the larger end of the LAMS bikes, always with ABS but make sure it feels comfortable for you, do as much training as you can, check out the mentoring threads and see if there is somebody close to you to give you some help and support on the list.
  6. Welcome to NR.
    I'd suggest - call the dealer to ask what test rides they do for Learner riders....
    Some dealers are more organised than others. I'm not sure about NSW, but in VIC if you book in an appointment with Peter Stevens in the mornings they have an instructor who leads out L plate riders for a quick 5 min run around the block which is enough to get at least a feel of initial comfort on the bike...
    I took my cuz along who's not done much riding - Z300, Ninja 300 and Ninja 650 were in the list - ended up buying the 650.
    The Z300 is a very good bike as well, it has a slipper clutch and ABS, but the 650 is much more comfortable on 80/100 zones, mainly due to the larger CC and front shield.
  7. I doubt any dealers will let an L plater test ride, but as mentioned earlier just sitting on a bike will give you a good feel for it. As for growing out of a bike it's hard to say. I was happy zipping around on a 250cc V-Twin naked for ages when I first started and never really wanted much more so it'll depend on where your journey takes you. Bigger guys or more confident/natural riders will probably lean towards a few more cubes.

    But pretty much you'll sit on one, fall in love and just buy that!!!
  8. welcome aboard :)

    Congrats on your move towards two wheels.

    Both of those bikes look good, but the LAMS market has such a range it would be good to sit on as many as you can.

    This may be helpful for you Motorcycle Ergonomics

    Good luck :)
  9. Don't quote me but I believe BikeBiz at Parramatta (not Granville) will let a learner test ride, they'll follow you on another bike to make sure you are ok. Best to call them and ask. They are Yamaha dealers so you could probably test ride the MT03 there.
  10. Thanks for the info guys - I have been reading a lot of the other threads and listening to the recommendations.
    I guess just cold calling some dealers is the way to go for me at the moment.

    I will mostly be using the bike at weekends on quieter roads to get up some experience and confidence before using it for a regular short from Randwick to near Central a few times a week.
    I will definitely sit on a couple of bikes to try and get a feel for fit.

    Fully agree there GeorgeO - I guess my point is that the pre-learner course never gets above 25 km/h and only one section for 10 mins had a simulated traffic situation. In terms of ability I was probably the most comfortable rider of 5 in the group, no major issues with clutch control or gear changing, smooth-ish in cornering according to instructor. I also know that counts for very little and just want to get some more practice before making the jump from a small oval at 20km/h to having to drive on the busiest roads in the country 25km back home along the Paramatta Road at 80 (if I don't want to be stacking cars behind me). I think everyone would agree that scenario is far from ideal. Throw into the mix that I don't normally drive in Sydney so navigation would also be an issue.
    Anyway, aside from those slightly whiny sounding points :) , I'm just looking to get some practice in a sensible way rather than right in at the deep end.
    I will definitely check out the recommendations to at least attend Homebush course (even if I don't have a bike yet) and check out the mentoring thread.

    I welcome all further feedback and thanks again for the tips and warm welcome.
  11. I didn't have a dealer refuse a test ride when I was a learner, except Peter Stevens city shop. At that stage I don't think they were allowing any test rides from the CBD shop.
    Peter Steven Ferntree Gully, A1 Ringwood, the old Honda place in Ringwood, and the related dealer in Ferntree Gully all gave test rides with no hesitation.
    On all but the Peter Stevens test ride I was unaccompanied.
  12. gday sharkboysharkboy riding is great craic, welcome to NR, hope you enjoy it here!
  13. last time i test rode a bike
    i was thrown the keys and told they close at 5.30
    took it out for about 45 minutes
    came back and the sales guy checked the recorded top speed
    looked at me sideways
    then worked out a great deal on another bike for me
    but im not a learner
    so i suppose it doesn't really help
    • Like Like x 2
    • Funny Funny x 2
  14. Cheers,

    Just as an update I went to two dealerships today, first one had no LAMS bikes bar scooters but focused a bit more on racing bikes so outta my league.
    2nd one was a good experience at Close cycles in Redfern. I was only really intending to sit on a few bikes to gauge the height of pegs and comfort etc.

    Unfortunately they didn't have a Z300 or a MT-03 as they are mostly Honda and Suzuki. Sat on a used Ninja 250 and and CBR 300. Unfortunately the peg height had my knees feeling like they were too high above my waist and so I felt a bit squashed.
    Sitting on the 500cc and above bikes were a better fit.
    The owner did bring me out for a spin on the back of a new CB500F (as I don't have my L's yet and need to sit the theory). I feel like I really don't need the power of a 500 in my first year on a bike but it was a lot of fun and seemed very smooth.
    They did mention that given my size - 6'1 and around 85 kg that they would recommend a 500 but really I don't feel I need that power yet and don't mind upgrading in a year if needed. Right now it seems the only benefit (for me personally at this very early stage) is that I fit more comfortably on the CB500F.
    Anyone have any thoughts on whether the Z300 or MT-03 will be similarly offering a squashed feeling of my knees up too high - looks like I'm gonna have to go to a dealer outside the city if I want to sit on one.

    Also I am slightly worried I would get myself into trouble easier on a bike as responsive as the CB500F, as a newbie with only a few hours on a bike my throttle control is not exactly the smoothest.
    Anyway, some fun was definitely had - a bit worried I might need to up my budget lol
  15. Welcome to Netrider sharkboy! Like others have said, sit on as many bikes as you can. There'll be one that just feels right, and it's often not the one you expect.

    You can arrange to have the bike delivered if its too nerve wracking to ride it home. I recommend Sydney Motorbike Network.
  16. Hey sharkboysharkboy
    The CB500 range is designed for Aussie learners.
    IMHO, It's the PERFECT way to learn smooth throttle control.

    You will be satisfied with the power after the initial jitters. Then you'll grow with the bike, rather than feeling the need to upgrade within 6-12 months.
    At your height and weight, it should be an excellent fit. Have a look at the CB500X as well, for a comfy riding position.
    Good luck, mate.
    • Agree Agree x 1
  17. Hey sharkboysharkboy and welcome to NR.
    Keeping in mind this is coming from a Suzuki GS500 rider, I agree with Mick MMick M. The CB500X gives a nice heads-up, relaxed riding position that helps in city traffic.
    They're well balanced, not heavy and good on fuel. You can get engines protection bars for them just in case it gets tired and needs to lay down. My experience is that Learner bikes all take a rest at some stage.
    (Please feel free to exchange this 2 cents worth of advise for anything more useful. ;) )
    • Like Like x 1
  18. Don't rule out comfort - in general it's a big factor and for learners I feel it's more important - the last thing you want to do is try to learn your roadcraft and that seat/stance is not comfortable for your back.
    As for the power/weight of the bike - it takes about a week to adjust to this - i.m.h.o this is less a factor than the comfort - unless you're racing and need the fastest bike - in that case comfort is mostly sacrificed.
    • Agree Agree x 1
  19. Regarding your concerns after purchasing the bike and having to ride through heavy traffic, I know a few dealers in Brisbane will deliver the bike to your house, so ask the dealers around your area if they do the same.
    • Informative Informative x 1
  20. Thanks for all the feedback guys - much appreciated!
    I might try to get out to Homebush this Saturday to the learners course to see if I can at least sit on a few of my original wishlist bikes.

    After going to the MCAS I realise I had probably underestimated the cost of gear also slightly - that together with a 500cc bike looks like it is gonna require an extra 3K more than expected lol - just as well it is tax back time!
    • Like Like x 1