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Noob buying a practice bike

Discussion in 'New Riders and Riding Tips' started by tange, Jun 4, 2011.

  1. I just got my L's yesterday and have always planned to get a Vespa. But, I still want to get my P's on a manual (just in case i decide to get a bigger bike in the future) so my husband has suggested that we get a manual bike to learn gears on so I can sit my P's on a manual.

    So.. Where to start! I really don't want to spend a fortune being I won't have the bike for long and it won't be a daily bike (I'd say a vespa will come in to the picture when I'm confident enough to do the daily commute).

    The other thing to consider is that it will probably be used as a learner bike when my husband gets his license too. And here's the tricky part - I'm 5'9" but pretty light, where as my husband is 6'5" and obviously heavier than me. What should we be looking at?
  2. Anything that is cheap and has no fairings on it.
    With your relative heights I would be looking at a road trail. Honda XT or XR, Suzuki DR or TS, Yamaha DT. Kawasaki KLX. Something along the lines of these. They are road trail but built like the proverbial brick shithouse. They can take plenty of abuse and falls without any damage.
    They are tall and usually fairly light. There also not too bad in the dirt or on grass where you can fall without having to suffer gravel rash or tar burns.
    And for mine learning on the dirt is not such a bad thing. You get use to a bike moving about under you and learning to keep your balance and not worry about the bikes much quicker. Bikes have great balance...we don't.
    Any who have fun and all the best.
    Ps Vespa's are very dear and not a real bike. Scooters are not safer at all either.
  3. :WStupid:
    A motard (basically a trail bike with road gear) is a good compromise and better suited to the road. You can commute on them so you won't need a scooter.
  4. Thanks guys. I knew I would get the vespa's aren't a real bike line, but it's why I got my bike licence ;) I've wanted one for as long as I can remember and I won't be swayed!
    The price isn't the concern, if it was I wouldn't be buying a scooter at all. It's vespa or nothing!

    As for the bike, we looked in a bike place today at various naked bikes to check sizes. They was a suzuki 250 (I should have paid more attention to the type, but it had a sticker saying 'maverick' on the tank.. Not sure if this was put on by the previous owner or actually originally on the bike) that looked ok, of course at $4000 more than we wanted to pay at this stage of our riding life! Would this kind of bike be ok? It was very much like the bike on my learner course (which was a Honda 250 from memory) which I felt ok on and seemed big enough for my husband. Ill have to go and check dirt/road bikes to see how they look.
    I also made my first bike purchase today - pair of Draggin jeans from MCAS. This is gonna be expensive :D
  5. Depends on what you want to do with this learner bike when you have learn't.
    He wont want it. @ 6'5" he must be about 90kg or more. The poor thing will be struggling like mad to haul him. Besides his knees will be around his ears. (leave it alone boy's)
    Buying from a dealer will cost you around a 30% premium over private. And you will get nothing more than a nice smile. There is no warranty on a used bike.
    So yeah if you are in the two to three grand price range. Use the dealers to find what you want and then buy one private.
    And Oh yeah on the expensive bit. But hey just think, buying a xmas or birthday present for each other will never be a problem again. There's always something you want or need with a bike.
  6. I would think that after he has his P's he'll upgrade (or possibly before depending on how he goes, he probably will be more confident sooner than I will be). So I guess it's more a bike for me with the added bonus that he can learn on it too when that time comes.
    Yeah we weren't planning on buying from a dealer, we were just checking for sizes more than anything. Easier to gauge that kind of thing in a yard full of bikes than pics on the net.
    I have no probs buying stuff - I'm a chick after all!
  7. Get a 250 naked bike.
    Honda VTR 250
    Yamaha Zeal 250
    Honda Hornet 250 (winner)
    Suzuki Bandit 250
    Suzuki GS500
    Honda CBF250
    Hyosung 2008+ GT250
    Honda XR250
    Honda CB400

    Faired bikes:
    Honda CBR250R (2011, single cyl model, advantage of ABS,warranty etc.)
    Ninja 250R
    Have a look on bikesales at these models.
  8. Buy a 250 naked second hand, like 2 or 3 years old. In 12 months time it won't have lost much value as there is pretty constant demand for them.
  9. I ended up getting a Suzuki gn250 which I've had for a few weeks now but only able to take it out on weekends (damn early sunsets).

    I live at the end of a business park which is THE area for learners in cars so perfect for me. It has hills, culdesacs, a round a bout and nice wide long straights. I've been practicing big turns, tighter turns, going over driveways, speeding up and fast braking, complete stops and sometimes stalling :p thankfully I'm getting better at finding the friction point but the round a about has a slight hill on one side and it gets me a fair bit.
    I've finally got gear changes without revving my head off (I'm a stickler for a smooth gear change in a car so this is a must for me) and slowly getting there with down shifting.

    Today I'm hoping to take it for a ride with other cars (with my husband in a car behind me). Just a local road so I know it well but I'm still nervous!
    So taking it slow so I feel comfortable - is there anything else I should be practicing?
  10. Stopping. Or coming to a stop and changing down.
    So start off at 40kph. Get into second. Pull the clutch in and get on both brakes. Just before you come to a complete halt is when you want to click first. NOT BEFORE !! It should be a single movement as you put your foot down to balance.
    And seeing though your gear change is on the left and your right foot should still be on the rear brake holding you steady. You want your left foot down. Push a little forward on the left bar when you stop and the bike will always tilt to the left when you come to a stop.
    Only noobs with a lack of confidence ever need two feet down.
    Now the back brake. Often they don't have too much feel. And can lock up very easily. So it's not a bad idea to get the feel of one. So same thing, get into second and brake with only the rear. It will take a lot longer to reduce speed with the rear only. You want to find the lock up point. Which will vary depending on the conditions. If it locks just get your foot off it.
    Then you need to train your eyes. To be able to focus on where you want to go. Fig 8's are brilliant for this. And rear brake/throttle control. You need to focus on where you want to go and not where your going. Sounds so basic but people don't. they have to glimps where they are going and that is the start of an accident.
    Slow speed work is very critical too. Most accidents happen under twenty k an hour. Because the bike is big, heavy and cumbersome under those speeds. So yeah the friction point in the clutch. Riding the throttle against the rear brake.
    I really like tennis balls as a training aid. Cut them in half and use them for visual points with fig 8's, U turns. Even braking, entry, apex and line out of corners. Set them up to where you want your eyes to be. As you approach one you should move your eyes to the next.
  11. Thanks Brett, I have been going up and long stretches of road going up to first then braking with both front and back on both flat roads and on a hill. I occasionally go off balance and put both feet go down but maybe once out of every 15 goes. By the end of my practice time I was starting and stopping pretty quickly without stalling which is what I wanted to get sorted out today.

    Still uncomfortable turning right, left is much easier. I remember my instructor mentioning something about equilibrium and the brain not catching up.

    When I was learning my instructor would get us up to 3rd then when coming to a stop to clutch all the way down to 1st without letting the gear out. Is that something you should do for a quick stop and go thru the gears when you have more room?
    I try to to do as much slow maneuvering as I can as it is so much harder, I will give the figure eights a go next. I find throttle control very jumpy sometimes in cornering so definitely something I need to work on, I think it's cause I am leaning towards my right hand and it starts to twist.

    Today I went down a busy road stopping at lights, crossing a busy road and drove in the dark, all while keeping up with the traffic and it felt like a major achievement!!
  12. when you feel you can get out, pop down on sat morn to the learner prac session, theres a thread on it sat morn learning, Doug and Dave are fantastic, hve hubby follow you down, it is at the BP servo on beach rd Elwood, next to St Kilda marina!! Take your time, and you will pick it up slowly but surely..
  13. I would but I'm in Sydney ;)
  14. An alternative would be to get a postie bike (Honda CT110). It is an easy bike to learn on as it does not have a clutch. You still change gears like a manual bike and it is considered a manual bike when you do the Ps test.

    I bought this bike to do my Ps and I am selling one now that I have passed. I highly recommend this to a new rider as it inspires confidence. Only selling as my main bike is a Husqvarna SMR 510 supermotard.
  15. Thanks Kelvinc, but I purchased a yamaha gn250 so I'm all good :)
    I did a longer ride yesterday (funnily enough around your neck of the woods Kelvinc!) and it felt good, a bit in traffic, lots of lights (a couple of stalls and then a couple of bunny hops when trying to compensate for the previous stalls) also around hilly back streets and even had to fill up.
  16. Glad to hear you had fun. There are some good hills around here but take care around the side streets. I live near a T intersection where cars do not stop and I remember being extremely scared when I got close to it.

    Once you gain the confidence, it seems so easy. Have fun and I hope to see you around.
  17. Yeah I know the area well (used to live on Plymton Rd) but I had to get across pennant hills Rd to get there but I didn't feel too nervous about that thankfully!
  18. all i can say is i'm the epitome of a n00b...starting to get the hang of things ...purchased a kawasaki gpx 250 for $500 unreg...i've crashed it once and dropped it once...with only a few cosmetic scrapes and a broken blinker to show...by most accounts they're indestructable and... there's obscene amounts of them up for sale and wrecking bikes everywhere so parts are easy to get..as for your 6'5 partner.....i'd say like above that the road trail is the way to go...however it might be a tad too intimidating for a bike for you to learn on with the height you sit up from the ground

    you can consider it a learners bike or you can consider it a investment that you just wish to learn on whilst your holding onto it (re-registering a bike you've purchased to make a few extra dollars) either way...bikesales.com.au bikepoint.com.au ebay.com.au tradingpost.com.au and gumtree.com.au <---i trolled those sites for 4 months before purchasing my bike...good luck with it all
  19. Once you get used to riding a regular bike, you may not like the idea of a scooter.

    While i can see their minor value for zipping around locally or hanging around the inner city, commuting would'nt be much fun, unless you get quite a powerful model, to handle freeways or just to keep out of the way of peak hr cars on regular roads.

    The CB 400 is imho about the most versatile LAMS bike. But they hold their price well. But second hand and a few years old might work for you.