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Thread: So our daughter wants to ride a motorcycle....

  1. #46
    Out There Somewhere bmwrider88's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by AntonLargiader View Post
    The 250 Ninja really seems like a mini F800ST (or F800S, I suppose). Friend's daughter has one. If Faye likes the Ninja, get one! You won't lose money on it
    ...... if she likes the Ninja, it seems like a great bike to me.
    The 250 ninja is a good beginner's bike. You can get one easily, and it's not going to break the bank. Yes, if handled in a certain way, it can be quick. Pretty sure she's not going to be flogging it, at least not immediately. There's a lot to like in the 250 Ninja as a beginner's bike. IMO it's an excellent starter bike- more so, if Faye likes it!
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  2. #47
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    Quote Originally Posted by ponch1 View Post
    My first bike was a KZ1000. I took the road test with it too. The two people before me failed with a sportster and a rebel, both which were smaller bikes. It's all what you get used to.
    Maybe yes, but mostly no. You have to at least pick a bike you CAN get used to. If it's too big, too heavy, too strong, to begin with a new rider may never have the chance to "get used to it." A motorcycle, like a partner is highly personal choice. Just because you did fine on a KZ1000, or someone else did fine on FJR, as a first bike has little bearing on what is good for someone else. Believe me, after having taught over 3,000 riders, until you spend time teaching motorcycle basics and working with a wide variety of people (age 16 to 85), it is more the person relating to the bike than anything else (again assuming the person can handle the bike). I cringe when I hear someone say, "get whatever bike you want and just ride it safe and easy, you'll do fine."

    The idea of starting smaller and lighter, is so the rider can even achieve "safe and easy". A larger bike makes that harder to do. I once had a large, young guy, over 6', easily 250 lbs, and he was SO timid and uncertain he had trouble on a Honda Nighthawk 250. In fact, he failed the basic course.

    Oh, and NO sport-bike of any size is a suitable first bike. Not just because of the engine, but moreso because of the riding position. A strong leaning forward, feet high, upper body weight on the wrists, head cranked back (because the upper body is leaning forward) is NOT a suitable bike to learn basic cycle control for anyone. A standard upright, or dirt bike style riding position is best and the most natural. Again, it comes down to making the rider the most comfortable, because then the rider can focus on learning.

  3. #48
    Old man in the mountains osbornk's Avatar
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    If it was my daughter, I would take her to a multiple brand dealership (which will be Japanese brands) and let her sit on different bikes until she finds one or more that fits her (with the understanding that you are not buying yet). I would then go on a search for a used one. I would not consider a new bike for a new rider. No matter how well she rides, a new rider is going to drop in when it is stopped or nearly stopped (and more than once). After she has mastered it and is sure she really wants to ride, sell the used one with little or no loss and buy her a better newer or new bike. There are a lot of nearly new bikes for sale where the rider only thought they wanted to ride.
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  4. #49
    Ponch ponch1's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ANDYVH View Post
    Maybe yes, but mostly no. You have to at least pick a bike you CAN get used to. If it's too big, too heavy, too strong, to begin with a new rider may never have the chance to "get used to it." A motorcycle, like a partner is highly personal choice. Just because you did fine on a KZ1000, or someone else did fine on FJR, as a first bike has little bearing on what is good for someone else. Believe me, after having taught over 3,000 riders, until you spend time teaching motorcycle basics and working with a wide variety of people (age 16 to 85), it is more the person relating to the bike than anything else (again assuming the person can handle the bike). I cringe when I hear someone say, "get whatever bike you want and just ride it safe and easy, you'll do fine."

    The idea of starting smaller and lighter, is so the rider can even achieve "safe and easy". A larger bike makes that harder to do. I once had a large, young guy, over 6', easily 250 lbs, and he was SO timid and uncertain he had trouble on a Honda Nighthawk 250. In fact, he failed the basic course.

    Oh, and NO sport-bike of any size is a suitable first bike. Not just because of the engine, but moreso because of the riding position. A strong leaning forward, feet high, upper body weight on the wrists, head cranked back (because the upper body is leaning forward) is NOT a suitable bike to learn basic cycle control for anyone. A standard upright, or dirt bike style riding position is best and the most natural. Again, it comes down to making the rider the most comfortable, because then the rider can focus on learning.
    At the time I was over 6'5 and weighed about 260. That said, the KZ is a UJM with upright ergos, straight seat and it weighed about 530 lbs. I had no issues handling it, but I can see how someone would. The difference for me was practicing my ass off with the KZ for the road test. I would have hated a 250 or even 500 as I would have been like a shriner on a mini-bike and I would have outgrown it in a week or two.
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  5. #50
    Registered User rxcrider's Avatar
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    If you haven't noticed, we all have our own version of what worked for us. For me, it was borrowing a friend's 600cc sport bike for a week. I read the test booklet and practiced the drills one evening in the lot where they do the testing because all the cone locations were painted on the pavement and I could see them just fine with the headlight. A couple days later, I took the test and passed on the first try. It wasn't because I'm the greatest motorcyclist ever. It was because I was confident on two wheels having had a dirt bike for a year and having spent a decade pedaling on both streets and trails multiple times a week. I certainly wouldn't recommend a sport bike as the ideal learning and test taking vehicle, but it worked fine for me due to my previous experiences. You know your daughter better than any of us. Trust your and her and your wife's gut as to her level of readiness, confidence, competence, etc. If she is timid and rarely rides a bicycle, a slow, small bike is probably a good idea as is staying away from traffic as much as possible. If she likes going as fast as she can on a bicycle and is comfortable riding it in city traffic, she will probably progress quickly with a motor and can probably handle something a little bigger or quicker. If she can drive a car with a stick shift, she just needs to translate left foot to left hand for clutch work. If not, that may take some getting used to. It all comes into play and we all learn / progress differently. It is always a good idea to be faster than your bike though. It is way more fun to flog a slow bike than get flogged by a fast one.

  6. #51
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    True, dirt bike experience helps a LOT and we instructors can always tell when a student has dirt bike riding experience. A strong assertive bicycle rider has good potential to quickly progree to a cycle also. But a casual bicycle rider may not. Many people equate riding a motorcycle to riding a bicycle with a motor. Not so. The reaction times of a mid-size cycle can easily catch a first time rider by surprise. Plus there is a lot more going on with a cycle than a bicycle.

    There is real value in your last comment, better to flog a slower bike than be flogged by a faster (bigger/heavier) bike. Gotta have a chance to learn the bike, to be able to advance to really learning to ride. Once past the "mechanics" of riding, clutch, throttle, separate brakes, all the many simultaneous controls, THEN the rear riding and learning starts.

  7. #52
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    My son just turned 22 and has been riding since he was 15. I bought him a KLR 250 and made him ride around in a dried out retention pond till he had sufficient skills with sliding, counter-steer, falling off in something softer than asphalt, etc. Made him ride with me for 6 months after that. He still has a Suzuki SV650 and in spite of trying more powerful bikes, loves that danged thing... no complaints.

  8. #53
    The Big Red One sgtbill's Avatar
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    We're checking into the F800ST de-tuning options

    I think Anton may be onto something here. Of course this means my wife is now angling for a new bike for herself if Faye inherits her F800ST. AT first glance there appears to be two methods. One involving changes to the computer and the other involving changing the throttle cable position to allow only 70% of original travel. Not sure if both can be implemented or not. If the computer change is able to be implemented with a flash update of the firmware that might also be interesting. I can't imagine the computer is different and its not simply a software change.

    Anyone heard of someone doing either of these?
    sgtbill
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  9. #54
    . AntonLargiader's Avatar
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    If I were going to pursue that, I think I would not mess with the computer at all. Leave things at the 'reduced throttle' point. What you're really doing is letting her get used to the throttle without the twitchiness and also keeping her from accidentally grabbing a handful of 85HP. It won't be all that long before she will be switching back to the original parts.

    Still like the Ninja 250, too. No ABS though.
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  10. #55
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    Anton's advice and used bikes are what makes sense to me. Talking about old airheads for a young person sounds a lot more like mom and dad reliving their youth than what a modern kid would want and what she likes is what she will ride more often and better. By modern standard airheads are slow pigs that need way too much work and I see no value whatever in teaching kids about carbs and antique electrics when they will never own anything that has either- sort of like teaching maintenance of Victrolas. Better to teach them CANbus and sensor controlled FI systems if you want to teach them anything useful.

    The baby Ninja in 250 or 300 size is a great bike if it fits her. Buying new or used matter little- can be sold with only minimal loss either way or kept for an extra play bike (heck I'd like one for that purpose myself). Even fast enough for traffic though a bit slow off the line. And I wouldn't rule out starting with F twin, even the F800 without fiddling with its power, especially if a lot of the initial riding is with a family of experienced riders. The F twins fit a lot of women very well. Not a fan of the single. As far as J brands- the 650-750 cruiser sizes work well for beginners but they still handle like cruisers and will frustrate heck out of those acquiring skill and trying to ride with experienced folks on regular bikes due to the handling pigginess.

  11. #56
    Norm Norms 427's Avatar
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    I'm thankful my daughter never wanted to ride. I have never nor would I EVER encourage anyone to take up m/cycle riding. I tried to talk my wife OUT of riding but she insisted so here's her staircase of m/cycles. First, a Suzuki DR200, then a Sportster (which we should have skipped) and then a HD Heritage Softail, which she loves.

    I'd recommend a used, small dual-porpose bike to being with.

    Now: '12 R1200RT Midnight Blue Metallic / '11 Ural Patrol 2WD ridden to Alaska / '09 KLR 650 / '05 HD Heritage Softail / '08 Harley Sportster 1200C / '85 Yamaha VMax bought new. I wasn't ready to say goodbye: www.shaunlunt.typepad.com

  12. #57
    Old man in the mountains osbornk's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by racer7 View Post
    As far as J brands- the 650-750 cruiser sizes work well for beginners but they still handle like cruisers and will frustrate heck out of those acquiring skill and trying to ride with experienced folks on regular bikes due to the handling pigginess.
    Huh? The small cruisers don't handle like the large ones. I recently bought a little 500 lb. V-Star 650 (#16) to play with. It's easy to ride and handles well. At 66, I'm the baby of my riding group and we are all experienced (R1200RT. R1200GS, Harley Switchback, Burgman 650). I don't have any problem riding with or leading them on our crooked mountain roads. If I had a daughter that wanted to learn to ride, it would be a bike I would suggest for her (but as I learned long ago, the choice is hers).
    'You can say what you want about the South, but I almost never hear of anyone wanting to retire to the North.

  13. #58
    The Big Red One sgtbill's Avatar
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    How this turned out

    I thought I would close the loop on this thread now the summer riding season is behind us.

    Our daughter came home from high school at the end of May and attended the BRC here in northern Virginia to get her motorcycle learners permit. It took het two classes to get it all together and pass so by mid June she had her permit and Mom's F800ST. Our local mechanic had installed the mechanical detuning part and Faye was ready to ride. My wife took her out for several practice sessions in parking lots nearby in rain and clear weather to practice her skills. On weekends we rode together in the Shenandoah area with a parent in front and back and Faye in the middle. Helmet-to-helmet communications provided immediate feedback and Faye quickly proved to be a natural.

    Then in mid-July we left the DC area for a trip to the MOA National in St Paul. Our plan was to take our Airstream BaseCamp with a bike pulled by our Toyota Highlander and two solo bikes and to ride two-lane roads to Minnesota. We took 4 days to get to St Paul camping in Ohio, Indiana, and SW Wisconsin on the way. My wife and I took turns driving the Highlander with our bike in the BaseCamp. Faye rode every day and every mile. On the last day I was riding with Faye from SW Wisconsin to St Paul and we rode the Great River Road for more than 200 miles.

    At the National Rally Faye was signed up for Camp Gears and we set up the BaseCamp in the RV Park across from the water tower and showers!.


    Faye and Karla both attended rider training during the rally while I lurked in the vendor area and caught up with an old Army buddy.

    After the National Rally we rode through the Upper Peninsula and into Ontario Canada camping in or near several Provincial Parks on our way to visit with a Canadian FOrces "army buddy" in Kingston, ON. From Kingston we rode through New York and PA back to the DC area. All told Faye rode about 3500 miles on the trip and just over 5000 miles for the summer. She only ran into trouble in a couple of gravel parking lots (an Amish ice cream place was especially hard to navigate!). Otherwise she rode very well and by the end of the trip she was "allowed" to take the lead in our riding formation.



    Thanks to everyone for the advice. I can't express very well how great it feels to pass on a love of motorcycling to our daughter. Now she is asking when she can ride my Airhead. I think she may have been hooked.
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  14. #59
    Left Coast Rider
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    Great story, sgtbill. Glad to hear your daughter had such a successful introduction into what will hopefully be a lifelong activity.

    And congratulations to both you and your wife for taking the time to encourage and train her properly.

  15. #60
    Smaug Cometh! AirBender's Avatar
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    So damn cool!

    Quote Originally Posted by BC1100S View Post
    Great story, sgtbill. Glad to hear your daughter had such a successful introduction into what will hopefully be a lifelong activity.

    And congratulations to both you and your wife for taking the time to encourage and train her properly.
    I concur! Call me crazy but after reading this entire thread and then SGTBills final post I actually teared up. I have a soon to be 11yr old and imagined myself going through this experience in about 8yrs. The thought of quality family bonding time like this through the love of motorcycle riding is something I dearly hope for. Congrats to you & your family SGTBill on taking your time and some caring parenting.
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