Welcome to Netrider ... Connecting Riders!

Interested in talking motorbikes with a terrific community of riders?
Signup (it's quick and free) to join the discussions and access the full suite of tools and information that Netrider has to offer.

Weight of learner bikes

Discussion in 'New Riders and Riding Tips' at netrider.net.au started by middo, Aug 4, 2014.

  1. Should learners begin on a heavier or lighter bike?

    This question has been bothering me ever since the purchase of my first non-learner bike, an 1100 cruiser, which taught me how to counter steer. Before then, I just sort of wrestled my lightweight bike around corners, the same way I did with my bicycle for many years before. I know, I was counter steering, but it didn't feel that way to me. It was only when I got on a bike significantly heavier then me that I really understood that I didn't need to wrestle with it.

    Note, I am not talking about power, just weight.

    Any thoughts?
  2. Well, most 'upgraded' bikes are going to be heavier than a lot of Learner bikes, what with bigger engines, brakes, transmission, wheels/tyres etc etc.

    I'd say just don't treat a bigger bike like you'd ride a learners. Ride like you're in the rain until you get used to the feel & dynamics, handling, braking, weight shift etc. Probably don't ride too slow coz it's easier to drop it. Learn to use the weight of the bike, not fight against it.
  3. There are some LAMS bikes out there that are actually heavier than top end litre bikes, You will find that with most LAMS bikes that handling, performance and weight reduction is not high on the agenda as it is only an entry level bike. Poor suspension is the usually the main culprit that puts a downer on a riding experience among other variables.

    Its amazing how simple changes can give a totally different riding experience eg suspension. Your average LAMS bike will be fitted with poverty pack suspension and most out of the factory rear shocks are set up for rider and pillion which will not provide you with optimum traction through corners which can effect how confident you are on your bike.

    For me the biggest eye opener was fitting an ohlins rear shock to my SP2 (set up to my specs) as it is well known that it is the single most important upgrade on my bike in place of the dodgy showa shock.

    Instant confidence boost, better tracking through corners and smoother ride. I am able to now carry more speed through corners confidenly without worrying about what the rear end is up to.

    If your bike comes fitted with high end adjustable suspension it is always wise to have it set up for your rider weight. Spending that little bit extra on setting a bike up properly goes a long long way.
  4. So after reading this post I went and checked if my LAMS Gladius has adjustable suspension. Low and behold it does. Conveniently enough the manual fell open on the very page that explained how to operate the adjusting mechanisms.

    Now to find out what is the best setting for me. 100kgs. Any suggestions?
  5. It may be a little different for yourself weighing in at 100kgs, I too am in the ballpark of 100 myself. Now I am no suspension guru as i have had help from guys in the know but I was told that no amount of tuning or re valving of suspension will help me if my shocks are fitted with with springs incorrect for my weight. Your bike may be a different story, im not too sure. I had to weigh in (weight with gear on) to select the correct spring for my ohlins prior to having it tuned up. This had to be done as the standard spring usually issued was not quite right for me.

    I have only had the rear of my bike done so far and the difference in ride is night and day. Next im moving onto the forks, will be kitting the showa forks out with ohlins internals setup for me.

    If you have limited know how when it comes to setup, I would suggest speaking with a specialist before playing around with your suspension as this is what I have previously done as I did not want to tinker with something as important as my suspension without the right guidance. When i upgrade my front end I will be speaking to the pros again to walk me through the process for the forks.
  6. Middo: I think that is just part of riding a cruiser.
    I personally, recommend that a learner start on something other that a cruiser; however, it's a personal choice.

    As Gardz mentioned, there are LAMS bikes that weigh more than some litre bikes, so it comes down to the size/strength of the rider.
    Larger folks, sometimes just don't have the option to choose smaller lightweight bikes (as reversed for smaller lightweight jockeys, regarding taller/heavier bikes)

    My son is on his 'L' plates and because he is 6'2" & 90kg, he is limited in what he rides, on smaller bikes he looks like a 'greyhound f%cking a chihuahua', so he rides a dual sport 650 as a result.

    I have a couple of bikes and love riding a lightweight bike; however, I feel alot more anchored to the road on my XJR1300.