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Newbie wannabe rider

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Category: Forum Lounge (off-topic & lighter discussions)
Forum Name: A Bikers Barstool online
Forum Description: For the Masons who ride and want to Share.
Printed Date: September/26/2020 at 7:35pm
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Topic: Newbie wannabe rider
Posted By: jdwalker519
Subject: Newbie wannabe rider
Date Posted: December/05/2013 at 9:22am
Greetings Brethren!
     I'm coming close to being debt-free (except my Mortgage) and want to begin riding.  I'm over 40, and definitely looking for comfort, NOT for a crotch-rocket.  Any advice for a first-timer?  What to get as a starter bike, and where to look for lessons would be a great start.

J.D. Walker
Free and Accepted Masons of the District of Columbia
Royal Arch of the District of Columbia
Order of the Eastern Star, Grand Chapter of Virginia

Posted By: Hyksos
Date Posted: December/07/2013 at 6:07pm
I too have interest in riding. Here in Florida we have to take a weekend long motorcycle class and get a DMV endorsement on our license before we can ride. If you get pulled over without an endorsement it is an arrestable offense.

People say Honda Rebels are good starter bikes, but you will quickly outgrow them because the 250cc engine is small.

Gainesville Lodge #41

Posted By: droche
Date Posted: December/08/2013 at 9:49am
JD, welcome to the forum and world of riding. I was like you; in my forties and waiting till my kids were grown until I started riding. I think you make very good judgments in looking for lessons and avoiding the crotch rockets. As far as lessons go, the local DMV or D.C Police should be able to inform you of what is available in your area. I would make sure that the riding school is certified with certified instructors. My school started on a Friday night and ended on Sunday afternoon. I would be wary of anything shorter. In Massachusetts, if one completes a certified riding school, they do not have to take the road test for the motorcycle endorsement.

As far as good starter bikes go, I won't recommend a specific model, but I would start out with an upright seating, cruiser type model in the 650-900 cc range. As Hyksos said, if you really enjoy riding, you will probably quickly outgrow that size (although some remain satisfied with that size and that is fine) so I wouldn't spend too much at first. The exception would be the Harley Sportster 1200. This particular bike isn't too bad for a beginner.  The Sporster also comes in a 883cc model but this model is seriously underpowered. My wife's cousin and her husband owned a Harley dealership and she said she would absolutely refuse to sell me an 883 for that reason, and that a 1200 was fine for a beginner. 

Seat height is also very important, especially for the beginner. You don't want it too low or too high, however if a choice must be made, lower is better. Your feet should be able to rest firmly on the ground when the bike is upright.

I do feel that the 250cc size is too small for a beginner if he is going to be riding on highways or open roads. It is fine IMO for around town, but out on open roads I don't feel that you will get a good feel for a bike with an engine this size.

Let us know how you make out.

Posted By: Hyksos
Date Posted: October/14/2014 at 6:25am
Hey Brother Jd,

I figured I would update this thread. Since last posting I decided to take the motorcycle endorsement class and buy a motorcycle. I've owned a 1995 Honda Shadow 600cc for about 6 months now. I got it for $1000. It was cheap and needed some minor repairs, but it runs. I have enjoyed this bike a whole lot, but I feel that I am going to sell it soon.

I've taken it on I-95 a few times, but it felt a little underpowered. Don't get me still feels fast compared to a car, but I think I want something bigger. I'm looking at getting a used Harley.

PS: Take the class! Riding is totally worth it.

Gainesville Lodge #41

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