Tuesday, November 26, 2013

I guess it's good to be learning

I came back from the motorcycle ride pretty tired.  Even bundling up against the cold saw me burn a lot of calories to keep warm.  It actually feels a lot like apres ski, only without the sore legs.  A couple of commenters mentioned electrically heated suits, but (a) those are pricy, (b) the Honda wouldn't crank out the Amps to heat things, and (c) there aren't all that many really cold days here in Atlanta.

Just like Mom used to say on those cold Maine winter days, put on a sweater.  But I've put on a thousand miles since getting it, which is not bad for only riding it around town (no highway trips).

I keep coming up snake eyes looking for an intermediate bike (say, in the 650 - 750 range).  The thought was to step up incrementally, but I just am not seeing a selection of bikes I might be interested in.  What do all y'all think about making the jump straight to a full sized bike (say, a Yamaha Fjr 1300- I know that Uncle Jay rides one of these).  Heck, or even a Harley, although I'm leaning more towards a metric with a more upright riding position.  Just not one that's 18 feet tall like the V-Strom.

I expect it would feel like too much bike for 3 months, but then I'd grow into it. So what do you think?


Glen Filthie said...

You could do it but those big bikes are very intimidating for the first few weeks. If you get into an emergency situation with a bike that intimidates you it may not go well. I would definitely recommend an intermediate step, BP.

I would look in the 1000cc range. Unless you are putting on really serious miles with a passenger and luggage - that is about as big as you need to go anyways.

Eagle said...

Make the jump to a larger bike when YOU'RE ready, not when OTHERS tell you you're ready. If you think you're ready - you're ready.

Just make sure you let the bike choose you: that little voice in the back of your head that says "I could really get used to this" when you're on a test ride.

Ignore color, make, model, country of origin, and the rest of that nonsense. Parts and maintenance will always be more expensive on bikes. Instead, look forward to doing a lot of your own wrenching both to save money and learn a lot about your machine for those awsh*t moments on a long ride far from home (it's more fun to do your own wrenching than watching someone else do it, too).

There isn't a "perfect bike" just as there isn't "perfect hamburger". Stock is stock, and not always exactly what you want. But, when you find that "almost perfect bike", you've found your "blank canvas". Aftermarket seats, grips, bling, and other accessories will add just the right touches to make it "perfect" for you.

One last piece of advice: when you buy that "almost perfect" bike, ride it for a couple of months before making any changes to it. Find out what you NEED to change vs what you WANT to change. Then, change what NEEDS to be changed. You'll be surprised at how the "wants" evaporate over time.

perfidy said...

I went from a Suzuki 450 I picked up cheap for a first bike to an 1100. I rode the 450 for maybe four or five months before upgrading.

Aside from freaking out and popping a wheely the first time I goosed the throttle on the new bike, the transition was smooth. For me, the only thing that really took any getting used to was the much greater available power. The bike was bigger, sure, but that didn't seem to make that much of a difference in my confidence handling it.

Looking back, now that I've ridden a few more bikes, it wasn't much more than getting familiar with a new bike. Balance and power are going to be different going from a 450 to a 650, or from a street bike to a rice burner. Take it easy for the first little while, and you'll be fine.

Paul, Dammit! said...

BMW makes some decent cruisers worth thinking about too... money and maintenance are an issue, of course, but they're supposed to be very comfortable.

jon spencer said...

More than likely you are ready for whatever bike you want.
One that has a engine is not working that hard at highway speeds with the equivalent of around a extra 75 pound load is where I would start looking.
You should also look at the required scheduled maintenance and how it is done. Of that, figure out what you are willing to do yourself or the cost of paying someone else to do it.
If you keep the small bike you can use that to run to the store and use the big bike to cruise.
Another thing. When trying out a bigger bike do a lot of stop and go around town. With lots of both way turns and turns from stops too.

It is 23 degrees and a light snow falling here. So my bike is put away for about the next 120 days and I miss it already.

Tom said...

Get the biggest bike you can afford. Riding a 1700cc is not different than riding a 250cc. Stepping up just costs you more money than if you get a big bike from the start. Once you get into the 1500cc range the bike will carry a load and take you anywhere you want.

Six said...

"I expect it would feel like too much bike for 3 months, but then I'd grow into it."

Yes. And once you do everything else will feel too small. My advice is to jump right past the middle weights and go straight to a big bike. It's a step you don't really need. You have acquired (and are currently acquiring) all the necessary skills to safely pilot a motorcycle you will need. I predict that when you buy a true open road sized bike long distance trips will be in your future and you'll never look back.

Jon said...

BMWs have beefy enough alternators to run heated gear, and have an outlet for that when they come from the factory. I've found that a heated vest (approx. $100-150) keeps my core temperature up pretty well on cold days, and I haven't bothered with electrified pants or gloves. If you have good cold weather gear, the extra heat from the vest will suffice.

LoFan John said...

I'd still say to look for something like a Yamaha FZ-6 or FZ-8: more "standard" and less "super-sport" than the Yamaha R's, the Honda CBR's, or the Suzuki GSXR's.(If you luck into a good used Honda Nighthawk, you'll have one of the most practical bikes ever made. Shaft drive and self-adjusting valves will save a lot of maintenance.) If you go for a big machine, you already have the advice: take it easy while learning how to handle it.

The Old Man said...

Being a fat old man, I found the Kaw Vulcan Classic 800 all the scoot I need for local riding. Don't wanna be an "Iron Butt".
'Bout 400 pounds and easy to handle.

Eagle said...

What Tom and Six said - +1

One too many said...

Way back I started with a 500cc street and trail bike. Everyone said I'd kill myself, but my Dad let me get it. I learned pretty early to ride within my limits. I've since had a Honda Hurricane, which was scary fast, but once again I knew my limitations. Getting older the last bike I had and the best thus far was what to me was an old mans bike, I bought a Gold Wing, more for the comfort than anything. Of all the bikes I've ridden that was the most forgiving and better than the Hurricane on a curvy road. That and you could ride it for 18 hours in a day and not be crippled (to much) Test ride a few different kinds, to me a bigger bike has never been a problem as long as you use good judgement, and ride using your head.

Bryn said...

I would, with respect, urge you towards a middleweight bike e.g. Suzuki Bandit 600 (faired or unfaired). 80bhp is plenty for a relatively new rider, and as my son has found there is a huge marketplace for parts to customise the bike to your taste. Also an easy bike for DiY maintenance, and plenty in the breakers yards for spares as they were such a big seller.

I also repeat what I have said previously - check out the ergonomics of any bike of interest to you. The site cycle-ergo(dot)com is a good place to look - there may be others.
The bike must above all be comfortable for you and your riding style over the distance you want to cover. I made the mistake of buying an old Suzuki RF900R without checking this out; it's a great bike over short (150 miles) distances but then my ageing carcass cries "Enough!!!".
I now ride a BMW K100RT. 27 years old, and it still takes me 400 miles+ in a day with a single fuel & food stop. Summertime only, I hasten to add - my days of riding long distances in a British winter are long behind me!

The Redactor said...

Tiger 800. It looks a bit VStrom-ish, but is completely different. Go test ride one, and you will smile. Not as heavy as the FJR. Not as tall as the VStrom. Power is half-way between them, I think.