Picking the wrong bike for a new rider. - Stromtrooper Forum : Suzuki V-Strom Motorcycle Forums
Riding Proficiency Tips and suggestions for improving the rider's safety skills and riding techniques

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post #1 of 97 Old 02-17-2015, 12:48 PM Thread Starter
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Picking the wrong bike for a new rider.

I see so many threads on here or questions asking if the Strom is a good first bike for a new rider. I will answer with an emphatic.........NO, it is not an ideal or even remotely good bike for a new or inexperienced rider. What got me really thinking about this today, was a conversation I had while at the Dentist office. The secretary who is a new rider as of last year, is very discouraged and totally wigged out by riding. Her Husband of course rides, and he gave her some very bad advice on which bike to purchase. She ended up with a Honda Shadow 750, which he said "its only a 750".......... once again ego and ignorance rules the day. She took the MSF course and really enjoyed it, as well as obviously learning allot. And you know what bikes they use at the class, they run the Honda Rebel 250. Her Hubby said, "bikes like that you will have a problem reselling, it does not have enough power, it is not a real motorcycle". So here she is on a motorcycle that really intimidates her, she is afraid to ride, and she is considering selling it and stop riding all together. I told her how long that I have been riding and that I grew up riding mini bikes, dirtbikes, ATV's.....etc, and having that base really goes a log way for when you buy your first street bike or start riding on the street. But not everybody has that experience growing up, so you need to get the appropriate tool for the job. Yes there are always those that catch on quick and are the exception, but overall most are going to need the experience on the right machines to start out. Crap like this is why I see so many riders out there on the road that "cannot ride", they are just barely getting by and have some horrible habits and total ignorance of how to actually control their machine and handle it properly. They have never really learned to ride, but they are at times convinced that they are doing just fine. Riding is not a game, and inexperienced riders on the wrong machine can get others around hurt as well. So back to the Dental secretary........she has a husband who is pushing her incorrectly and giving her allot of bad advice, and they had a salesman that sold her the wrong "first bike". I gave her some good advice, whether she takes it or not will be seen. It is a Honda cruiser, so she would likely have a hard time selling it here in Harley Davidson country. I told her to stay away from traffic and people, head out to the state park and practice braking and maneuvering in the large empty beach state parking lots. She is just overall nervous and terrified, and I told her that goes away with experience and becoming one with your bike. Riding at 30 and below in all the neighborhoods is also a good way to learn, just stay away from downtown and the busy state roads at all costs "at this point". Baby steps.......do not let her husband or anyone for that matter push her too far beyond her comfort zone. Learn the basics and all of the bikes controls and the rest will come naturally, she can learn to ride her bike and become proficient in time, but she for sure is making it harder on herself than it needs to be. Her husband and her friends that ride have done her a huge disservice, what should be therapeutic and so much fun is anything but that for her right now. So I guess what I am trying to say for those that really want a V-Strom as their first bike..........DON'T DO IT!!!!!! You are gonna drop it.......trust me, and that can get expensive in multiple ways. I liken it to shooting, learn the basics with the small calibers first, then you can move up to the really fun stuff. But the older I get, I swear that less is more and often more fun......and that goes for both firearms and motorcycles. There is a big reason why the 650 Strom is such a good seller, it all goes back to that whole less is sometimes more analogy. Really experienced riders just love these bikes, they are built for enthusiasts that know a good all around machine when they see one. So if you just gotta have that bike you really want, take some time to think "am I really ready yet"? There are many riders on the road playing the whole lifestyle thing, and that number appears to be growing. Believe me I get it, but for the sake of yourself and others......learn to ride first. Motorcycles and the love of such can be quite the money pit, they are not investments nor are they even a smart purchase for many. I am waiting on that tricked out Goldwing that somebody purchased that had every intention to ride, and I will gladly take it off their hands for the right price. Lots and lots of bikes like that out there.....like new, low mileage, lots of farkles!!! Be a smart consumer, be a smart rider, be a safe rider, and above all else have fun!

BRIAN "GO Buckeyes, GO Wildcats"!

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post #2 of 97 Old 02-17-2015, 04:54 PM
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Well said....when I was doing a cross-country one time I stopped at a Suzuki dealer for something and got talking to one of the guys who told me about this guy who picked up his new bike the other day and could barely make it out of the parking lot....I guess that happens a lot.
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post #3 of 97 Old 02-17-2015, 07:05 PM
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I dropped my Ducati 85 within a block of the dealership in 1961. I had a scooter and the Duc was way taller and not as powerful as I had thought it would be. Dumped it on a hill. Hmmmm. Recurring theme:-). I dropped my new-to-me KTM EXC 450 a couple years ago at 11,000 feet because I took on a hill in 2nd that it couldn't make and waited too long to shift down. This, after decades of dirt riding. Would have been fine at sea level. Bobby
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post #4 of 97 Old 02-17-2015, 08:07 PM Thread Starter
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So many these days who are new to riding are pushed by others to "buy that Harley", and they have no clue how to ride. Yes there are plenty of guys and gals buying crotch rockets too.......but we all know what bikes and clothing sells the most here in the states and around much of the world. Bikes these days are so well built and capable of handling so well, it is the idiot on the bike causing the problem. Mess up in a car and you have some leeway, mess up on a bike and well......you know what can happen. Many just want to fit in and belong and I totally get that, but that for certain does not mean it is a good idea to "go big or go home". So now you have the tall and relatively powerful weight to HP ratio ADV bikes out there, they are fun to ride and very versatile, but they are not really meant to be lowered just so you can ride one. After owning and or riding many types of bikes, it is very easy to see why the ADV market is really starting to pick up steam.....these types of bikes can scratch allot of itches. But they do not come with a long heritage of cool factor and American tradition, and so many want to be part of that.......I get it. I just wish more would take the time to actually learn how to ride on the right machines first, then they can take that next step for the cool bike they really want.

BRIAN "GO Buckeyes, GO Wildcats"!

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1997 Honda Valkyrie 1500 custom “Dolores”

Last edited by Big B; 02-17-2015 at 08:17 PM.
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post #5 of 97 Old 02-17-2015, 08:53 PM
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get the right first bike

My first bike that I owned in high school, many yeas ago, was just a joke to many. But I proved them all wrong.
I bought a used 1966 Vespa 150cc scooter and rode it 20,000 miles in two years and then sold it for the same price. I could carry camping gear and a full case of 24 beers on the sucker.
I totally agree, buy a small used bike and learn how to handle it before getting horse power. My next bike was a 250cc Kawasaki F11 enduro; on which I learned how to ride well and got many chances to fall down in mud and on trails.

Road Toads Charter Member - old guy goes stromabout on a 2007 Vee and finally has touched all of the 48 contiguous United states and the 10 Canadian provinces.
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post #6 of 97 Old 02-17-2015, 09:37 PM
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Great post, Big B. Could not have said it better. Really.

I recently saw a middle aged guy attempt to make a u-turn on his mid-sized cruiser. He had two lanes plus the bus stop lane to easily make the turn. He couldn't do it with feet on pegs (or floorboards). He had to toe-walk the bike to do the 180° turn. Beyond belief.

A few years ago a guy on a full dresser couldn't figure out how to cross a set of 45° angled railroad tracks. He wobbled the front wheel until it caught the track near parallel then dumped the bike and his wife. All his friends went to the rescue, but just stood there wondering what to do. They summoned a tow truck Lunkheads.

So many memories. So many dumbasses.


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post #7 of 97 Old 02-17-2015, 09:48 PM
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Years ago I was a MSF instructor. You would be amazed with how many times I would have the wife or girlfriend of a so called experienced "biker" in my class (and I hate to say it - more often than not, they were Hardly Ableson riders) where the hubby pushed the spouse to get her own bike - they went out and bought a big bad ass Hardly, she tried to ride it but barely could, if at all. They would show up in my classes and either a) fail the class miserably, and say "we never should of bought that big bike" or b) pass the class, but say "I now realize that big bike is way to much for me". I can only think of a couple of cases where I even remotely felt they were really ready for a big bike.

And to be gender equal - many many instances of guys buying bikes, struggling with riding, sucking up their ego enough to take the class to conclude, they made a mistake with their purchase.

dont even get me going on the guys that "used to ride 20 years ago" (but truth be told, even back then they barely actually rode...and maybe only really did so for a couple of years) dive right back ego leading the way, to get in WAY over their heads with to much of a bike ..and due to ego, wont allow themselves to take a class.

No longer a Vstrom Owner - fantastic bike! Now sporting a KTM 990 Adventure
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post #8 of 97 Old 02-17-2015, 10:01 PM
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B, I mainly agree with you. A strom might be OK for a first bike for a tall, athletic rider. Otherwise...no. Your secretary should start with a comfy 250 or 350. Get handy with it. Then consider the move-up. Used motorcycles are remarkable for their durability and reliability. She should get whatever used bike that best fits her desires, then when she outgrows it, trade up. And, your avatar sucks.

"Older people who are reasonable, good-tempered, and gracious will bear aging well. Those who are mean-spirited and irritable will be unhappy at every period of their lives.

"Let each of use properly whatever strengths he has and strive to use them well. If he does this, he will never find himself lacking."

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post #9 of 97 Old 02-17-2015, 11:16 PM
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Well the size alone of that single paragraph should set some sort of record here Brian. But I do concur.

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'06 ST1300
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post #10 of 97 Old 02-18-2015, 12:13 AM
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Good write up. I started with a 500cc over 40 years ago. But, I was in a very small town so had a lot of opportunity to learn. I have just bought a CB500X to do some serious long distance riding this summer. Came full circle. Why change from my Vee? It is getting very hard to pick the sucker up! I'm alone on most of my trips and last year I had to wait for someone to travel that road to help me.

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