- Training Schools
- American Supercamp
- Arizona Highway Patrol – Motor Officer Training
- Atlanta Motorcycle Schools
- Donnie Hansen Motocross School
- Ed Bargy Racing School
- Fastrack Riders
- FASTTRAX Racetrack Training
- Frank Kinsey Racing School
- Gary Bailey MX School
- Gary Semics MX School
- Jim Gibson Motocross Training
- Jimmy Lewis Off-Road Riding School
- Keith Code’s California Superbike School
- Kevin Schwantz Suzuki School
- Lee Parks Total Control Advanced Riding Clinic
- Motorcycle Riding Concepts
- Motorcycle Safety Foundation
- Northwest Motorcycle School
- Penguin Road Racing School
- Phoenix Police – Motor Officer Training School
- Puget Sound Safety – Advanced Street Skills
- RawHyde Adventures
- Red Shift
- Reg Pridmore’s CLASS Motorcycle School
- Rich Lafferty Racing Riding Schools
- Ride Like a Pro
- STAR School – Jason Pridmore
- Stayin’ Safe Motorcycle Training
- Team Hammer Advanced Riding School and Track Rides
- Tony DiStefano’s Motocross School
- World of BMW
Archive for July, 2006
If you’re planning to attend the BMWMOA Rally, do drop in and say hello to the Fitzwaters (John, Jo and Ian) from GoTourNZ.com (Adventure New Zealand Motorcycle Tours & Rentals). I wrote about them in Motorcycle Consumer News (you can find a .pdf of the article here) after a fabulous NZ trip.
Not only are the wonderful people, they’ve got a booth there and if you stop, see them and go to their seminar, you will have a chance to win 2 prizes of a FREE 12 day Guided Motorcycle Tour in New Zealand.
Good friend and fellow-rider Arthur Einstein (see his comment on “Buy the Right Bike” post below) emailed to let me know he’d let his beloved Triumph go and had purchased the BMW 1200RT. Here is picture of the happy couple.
Arthur and Beulah – July, 2006
You know how they say the second happiest day of your life is when you buy a new boat – the happiest being the day you sell it? I noticed and identified with Arthur’s feelings in letting the Triumph go. I think that’s true for most riders when they sell a bike. Unlike boat owners, we’re always sad to see a beloved bike leave our garage. Here are some excerpts from his letter:
1. Shopping. Nobody wants to sell you a bike. Nobody took my name or contact info. Nobody tried to help me make a decision. Nobody convinced me they knew the product. MO and MCN reviews online were the best help I got.
2. Dealer I bought this from (used with 747 miles – a 2005) didn’t clean the bike. Riding I found it missing badly. Made it back to the dealership before it closed. A tech determined it had a bad plug. The kicker of course is that nobody checked out the bike before it was delivered.
3. In the process I bid on a bike at eBay and eventually sold the Triumph there. In both cases scammers tried to bait me with second chance offers. I also learned that other bidders on my bike got bogus emails re second chance offers too.
4. I wrote a pretty thorough description and on reflection think that helped a great deal. It established me as a serious seller and knowledgable rider, gave a good rationale for selling the bike, and generally gave bidders some comfort. It got lots more bids than a similar bike that was up at the same time.
I will miss the Triumph. It’s lighter and handier than the BMW. It’s sort of like the difference between a Miata and a Lexus 430. One’s light and handy. The other’s a Luxo cruiser. The real point is that I’m having to learn to ride differently. At a stoplight on an incline I can hold the Triumph with my legs, two feet on the ground. In the same situation, the BMW makes me keep my left foot on the ground and my right on the brake. I just have to learn to do things differently.
On the upside the BMW pulls in every gear – goes like stink – eats up twisties ( though still not at the rate that the Triumph permitted – but that’s me getting familiar with it ). I’m able to raise the windshield a smidgen and not need to use ear plugs – it reduces the buffeting and wind noise that dramatically. The trip computer shows miles-to-empty, checks oil level, both of which are helpful. The ride control is nice. The ergonomics are good for me and it’s very comfy.”
Earlier today a friend in Oregon emailed me on some business stuff. At the end he said, “I really want to learn and then get a motorcycle. If you were advising someone, what would you suggest for the learning process + the bike to get? He’d ask another motorcyclist the same question, and forwarded that response to me. I thought I’d share with you my answer as well as the comments from the other rider, Geroge.
If you have additional suggestions for Dave, please feel free to add them to the comments section.
Dave, With regards to your question on â€œwhat is the processâ€ and â€œwhat bike,â€ here are my thoughts.
- Go take the MSF beginnerâ€™s course or Basic Riding Course â€“ same thing. They will supply the bike. You will learn a lot. I took it ten years ago after riding for 20 years (in fact, I took the beginnerâ€™s course AFTER taking the advanced riderâ€™s course) and learned a lot. One place in Oregon that teaches it is: Team Oregon
- Buy your first bike with the idea it will be a â€œstarterâ€ bike, not your ultimate ride. Youâ€™ll want time to think about the different bike categories (see Georgeâ€™s note below) then what bike within the category. Take your time on this.
- If you were willing to spend the time, I think the best way to learn is by going the dirt bike route first. While it takes longer and most people want to get right to riding on the street, the skills learned off-road (balance, terrain reading, anticipation, bike control, braking, etc.) really help once you get to the street. Plus, you are learning these things in a far less risky environment. Riders rarely (if ever) get killed riding off road â€“ some bruises or maybe a broken bone on occasion, but that is about it.
- Georgeâ€™s suggestion of looking at the Suzuki V-Strom (DL-650) is a great idea. Although not a dirt bike per se, it can be ridden off road. (Plus you can buy a brand new one, out the door, for about $6500, which makes one of the best deals anywhere.) â€“ Disclosure: I own one and its been reviewed very positively by both magazines I write for (Rider and MCN).
- Once you have your bike, get you and it to some advanced training. Then plan on taking at least one training class per year. Iâ€™ve met many people whoâ€™ve ridden for 30 years and think they have 30 years of experience. After watching them ride, itâ€™s clear theyâ€™ve had one year of experience, repeated 30 times.
- As above, the first bike is something you want to be comfortable on and that will be good to learn with. Iâ€™d probably not totally discount cruisers the way George does, as they do have a low seat height which makes them easier to learn on â€“ you are more likely to catch them when they start tipping over. I donâ€™t ride cruisers myself and donâ€™t think youâ€™d end up there, but they are popular, and used ones can be had for a song. If you go this route, avoid Harleyâ€™s to get a good buy. Also, the idea of 600cc is right on. You wonâ€™t need more.
- Of Georgeâ€™s suggestions, I like the Ducati (620), BMW (F650) and Suzuki DL-650 (V-Strom). These are all V-Twins, have a broad torque curve so less picky about what gear you are in and all are fairly light. I just rode the BMW 650 DAKAR in Brazil for a few days and came away impressed. Although in a value for the $$, the Ducati and Suzuki models above are better deals.
- Jumping into a litre class sport bike is pure insanity, so donâ€™t even think about it.
Excerpt from Email from Dave’s friend George
Subject: RE: help
Ah a motorcycle rider. Good choice.
Where to start. There are so many great bikes nowadays. But to start off, its wise to keep them light, and mid-range. Riding is non-intuitive and takes learning to master. It is too easy to get hurt needlessly and yet most problems are easily avoided if only you start with a riding course and learn the methods. But back to bikes.
There are 4 major categories of bikes, the cruisers, the touring bikes, the street bikes, and the sport bikes. They range from riding position and power/torque. This ranges from the cruisers that are sit-back, feet forward style, to the sports bikes’ lean forward feet back style. Also the cruisers have high torgue/low RPM big bore twins to the sport’s bikes’ high horsepower, high RPM motors. The cruisers are also heavier, longer wheel base, not as manuverable as the sport bikes which are lighter, faster, meant for much more abuse with fast cornering and stopping power. So, pick you pleasure.
I would strongly recommend a good naked street bike or an entry sport-touring bike. You want a light, mid-range bike that is comfortable but allows you to learn as you need. Cruisers will keep you from advancing and sports bikes will push you beyond your ability before you are ready.
My suggestions would be
- Ducati Multistrada 620,
- Buell Lightning CityX,
- Suzuki VStrom 650,
- Honda CB600,
- BMW F650,
- KAWASAKI Z750,
Stay around 600cc, ABS if possible, get a small fairing, and see and sit on them all before you choose one. Most importantly, allways wear a full face helmet. Its not a question if you will ever fall, but when. While accidents do happen they happen much more to those who are not prepared. If you have the right gear, you can walk away from most of them. Otherwise you are an organ donor. Sorry, I just had to throw that in.