Considering getting a bike. What to look for?

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Cereb Daithi
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Considering getting a bike. What to look for?

Post by Cereb Daithi » Wed Jun 24, 2009 10:11 pm

This isn't anything immediate, I might not buy til' next summer... but I'm starting a search for a bike and I know next to nothing about them. So bear with my ignorance. :?

I plan to only use it for fun and not any sort of long-distance trips. So a sportier bike is more my flavor. Comfort is not an issue (at least in my opinion. any input on this from more seasoned riders?)

I plan on buying used (unless there is some major reason I should buy new) and nothing too insane. I've been hearing from most people a 600 would be my best choice for speed while still keeping it manageable and within reasonable realms of sanity.

As far as looks go I want something aggressive of course but I'm a fan of the naked bike look. I saw an 01 GSXR that really piqued my interest that style.

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Granted there is a fair amount of effort into making it look that way since unless I am mistaken it would usually have a good deal of plastic covering up most of those bits.

The two people have told me to look at are the Suzuki GSXR600 and Yamaha R6. Just looking on a bit of input from you guys. The GC is priority one right now but once that's done I plan to move into the world of two wheels. My friends and coworkers have them so I think it's time I at least start doing the research. So something quick, decently powered but not mind-blowing, easy to ride, good looking, and fun.

Oh and this will not likely be my FIRST bike. I plan to get a very cheap slower one just so I can get the hang of it. Don't want to go ruining a nicer one while learning on it. But I do want to start to get an idea of what I should be looking for.

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Re: Considering getting a bike. What to look for?

Post by Cereb Daithi » Wed Jun 24, 2009 10:30 pm

Oh. Another thing. I hear a lot of the whole motorcycle thing is personal preference... but is there anything I should really AVOID or watch out for?

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Re: Considering getting a bike. What to look for?

Post by complacent » Thu Jun 25, 2009 9:49 am

The best advice I can offer is this: Take the MSF course (PA offers it for free for their drivers) before you put any more thought into it. Show up, take the course and see if you'll even like riding a bike.

After that, you've got a ton of choices to make: Gear selection, bike selection, etc. Both are really daunting tasks at first. An article that really nails the various aspects is found here. Please do yourself a huge favor and read this entire article from start to finish. It is one of the most concise articles I've found and I don't think I could do much better myself. Read the article.

Surprisingly enough about.com has a pretty good section on motorcycling. I recommend reading that too.

A third, albeit more topical article can be found at the art of manliness.

All of the above aside, here are my super-mega-ultra condensed recommendations:

1. Do not buy anything bigger than a 600cc in-line four cylinder sportbike. It is more bike that you will be rider for many years of your motorcycling experience. The fastest people I know *ALL* started on small bikes.

2. Buy and wear all of your safety gear, all of the time (ATGATT). Period. A shower is *always* cheaper than a skin graft. Don't wear anything while motorcycling that you wouldn't be willing to press against a belt sander or die grinder.

3. Some of the best bikes to start on are the following: Suzuki SV650 and the S model, Kawasaki Ninja 250, Kawasaki Ninja 500R, Suzuki GS500, Buell Blast. I do not recommend a cruiser as a first bike, nor do I recommend a sportbike bigger than 650cc.

4. Buy a used bike, you're going to drop it.

5. Practice, practice, practice. It is impossible to "get it" in six months.

6. Everyone in a car is actively trying to kill you. Get used to it.


Since the breadth of your question is significant, I'll give you a month or so to do some reading and such. You're going to have questions and ideas after some learning that you wouldn't have been able to grasp today. Motorcycling is one of the greatest activities I've ever experienced. It is also very inherently dangerous. It's that kind of double-edged sword. Personally, I wouldn't want it any other way.

Hope this helps,
colin

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Re: Considering getting a bike. What to look for?

Post by Cereb Daithi » Thu Jun 25, 2009 10:17 am

Thanks for the links, Colin. Ill start checking them out at work tonight. I figured it'd be a lengthy process so I'm starting to look into it now.

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Re: Considering getting a bike. What to look for?

Post by ElZorro » Thu Jun 25, 2009 11:24 am

Good timing, I've started to get the itch and have been asking some questions here and there...

Great writeup C.
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Re: Considering getting a bike. What to look for?

Post by Libra Monkee » Thu Jun 25, 2009 11:31 am

Everything Complacent said :plusone:

I went through this process a little under three years ago and I can attest to his words. I'm only now getting to a point where I'm comfortable taking turns and high(er) speeds and can maneuver around cars that cut me off, stop short, and merge in to my lane like I'm not there.

I took the MSP course in Gettysburg (which is a great place to ride BTW) and I recommend it HIGHLY. You do need to take the written test first though because you need a permit for the class.

Don't skimp on the gear either. It's better to have something more expensive that will protect you when you go down as opposed to something that's cheaper and looks cool but falls apart like tissue paper when you crash. Also, I know PA doesn't have a helmet law, wear a helmet. You're in Pittsburgh so I'm sure you know what happened to your quarterback a couple years ago.

But, first things first, take the written test and schedule a class. If you're serious I'd suggest doing this sooner than later because the classes fill up quick. Especially in densely populated areas, like Pittsburgh. If you sleep on it too long you might get a class until the fall.
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Re: Considering getting a bike. What to look for?

Post by scheherazade » Thu Jun 25, 2009 12:11 pm

A 1000 and a 600 weigh pretty close, the problem will really be accidentally applying throttle. A 600 will send you rushing forward, a 1000 will buck and launch.

Generally it's smart to start small.
I know people that started on 900's and just took it easy. When they did wipe out it wasn't because the bike was too big, but because they were doing stupid shit. No one can predict what will happen, you can just make it easier on yourself with smaller bikes.

Just take a look at this : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q9zNUPDmnz4
If he was on a 600 he might have saved himself the embarrassment. (point is : it doesn't take much)

Also, most bikes will be traction limited anywhere from 0 to (pick your speed limit).
If you're gonna stay legal - bigger only means more torque and a more cruiser-type-ride with less gear changing.
If you're gonna go well over reckless - the 1000 will definitely leave a 600 behind.

If you want to track, then the popular choice is a 600.

I personally bought a 750. I like that they are more rare. It's not the first motorcycle I've ridden, but by no means can I handle it in every possible manner.

Used is the way to go. I actually prefer a bike that's a little tore up. That way when you drop it you don't have to feel bad.

If I had to get one again, I think I'd go with the new (albeit bought used) zx6r (monster energy graphics are soooo sexy) or the recent r6 (white with red).
Plus the zx6r shed a lot of weight. I'm small so I really want the lightest thing possible.

-scheherazade

p.s. I won't go out without leather all around. (or knee pads + shin guards under my jeans).
People really will try to kill you. I read something like 75% of all moto accidents result from a car not seeing the bike.
People will pull out in front of you. And they will stop right on top of you at a light.
On the street I have one finger on the head-light-flasher at all times, and I tap it approaching every intersecting stopped car.
Also, tap the brakes when you're stopped until someone else stops behind you.
People tell me that it's good to stay in a part of the lane that gives you the most opportunity to escape.
Fortunately, you can fit in side a single lane next to a car, so when they change lanes into you, you have a little more time to decide what to do.


Also, used prices lag the seasons.

late summer, fall, early winter = expensive
late winter, spring, early summer = cheap

best time is late spring and early summer.
The market gets *flooded* with used bike listings.
All the people who were trying to sell over winter have lost faith and their prices have bottomed out.
So it's a buyer's market.
And there aren't that many buyers in early summer. You see the bikes getting sold fast later in summer.

Also, whoever didn't manage to sell in summer doesn't want to drop their price in half just a couple months later. It takes a while for them to lose patience and drop prices. And after winter, it takes a while for prices to climb, even though the weather is warmer. You can't post your bike for double when everyone else still has their low prices. So everyone needs time to slowly creep up in cost all-together.

I was in the market for 2 years... trying to hawk the killer deals. In 08', A soldier posted his 07' gsxr 1000 with 3k miles for $5500, because he had to deploy. It was sold within the hour (not to me...).
My 07' 750 cost me 5.2k, with 9k miles on the clock. Came with helmet, extra exhaust, solo cowl.

-scheherazade

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Re: Considering getting a bike. What to look for?

Post by Cereb Daithi » Sun Jan 10, 2010 8:25 pm

Well the search is starting to look more serious. Buddy is getting ready to buy another bike and it's bringing back the desire to get one as well. Something used and not too expensive. I plan to take it slow and allow myself to learn but I suppose I'll expect to drop it at some point. This is only if I can find something for a decent price. I don't need one and I still have the rally car to worry about funding so I'm not going to buy a bike if it starts to mess with that too much. But I am quite interested in getting one.

Anyone know of any bikes on the market? I would honestly like something 600cc. I've also been told by many people to only get fuel injected. I'm inclined to believe this as I was on my friend's old bike once which was carbureted and things just seemed sluggish and slow to respond. (this, however, could have been just the bike malfunctioning).

Also what are some good brands of riding gear to look at? I plan to get the full setup. I've lost 2 people I've known to motorcycle crashes this last summer alone. I don't plan on skimping out. Would a one piece suit be preferable or just get a jacket and a nice set of pants. Whatever I get will be armored. I have a good pair of sunglasses already with transitional lenses so I think those should do nicely. If there's anything else you guys would recommend I'm all ears.

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Re: Considering getting a bike. What to look for?

Post by ElZorro » Mon Jan 11, 2010 10:28 am

I had good luck on Craigslist. With a couple days of looking I had a dozen bikes in my price range ($1-2k) and my size/style (650cc cruiser) to look at. I checked out half a dozen of them and am really happy with what I got.
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Re: Considering getting a bike. What to look for?

Post by complacent » Mon Jan 11, 2010 11:37 am

My personal preference is for a fuel injected bike. While I've owned both, I strongly prefer injection to carbs.

As far as brands of gear are concerned, just about anything at New Enough will be sufficient. I'd start with a separate jacket and pants. A one piece suit is expensive and difficult to fit right... Probably not the best choice for a new motorcyclist. Textile protects quite well for less than the cost of leather. Don't forget the boots (cover to mid-shin), gloves (i prefer gauntlet style) and helmet too. Make sure the armor is CE rated, the helmet is at least DOT spec. (preferably SNELL and ECE 2205 rated too)

I know some states don't require helmets on motorcycles... And I'm not directing this specifically at you. That being said, my strong personal opinion is below.

If you ride without a helmet, you are a god damned retard, you don't value your life and probably don't deserve one anyways.

I've personally owned helmets from Shoei, Shark and HJC - all of which can be had at reasonable prices. Make sure you try every stitch of gear on before you buy it. If you'd like more in-depth recommendations for a particular piece of gear, shoot me a PM.
colin

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Re: Considering getting a bike. What to look for?

Post by scheherazade » Wed Jan 13, 2010 5:07 pm

As far as gear goes :

Helmet (snell dot)

Leather jacket, preferably perforated. I would make sure it includes elbow pads and forearm guards. You can also have an integrated spine protector and/or chest guard - although they are available as separate pieces too.

Gauntlets

Pants. You may have a hard time finding something with built in hip/knee/shin guards.
I got crash pads (butt guards), and combo knee-shin guards that I wear underneath. Basically MX gear underneath my pants. You can get reinforced jeans instead of leather if you want it to be more comfortable. I hear they are good for one crash. Leather can go down a few times, but it's not exactly comfortable.
Pants are just a pain to get. Which is why I wear normal pants with guards underneath. I simply couldn't get anything for my short legs that isn't too tight.

If you want a 1 piece suit, there are a few at coleman powersports in falls church, in the back of the store.
It's unlikely that you'll fit well, and you can actually get 'stuck' if you put on a suit that's too tight.

Boots. There's a lot to choose from. I personally am missing this piece myself. I'm just wearing work boots for now.

I looks like I'm a bit on the chubby side when I'm geared up, but whatever. People will hit you eventually.

-scheherazade

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