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Jaspernuts

Best way to start learning how to ride?

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Me and my wife are going to take up motorcycle riding. The only problem is neither of us have rode before! Looking for tips on how to start. Is a 600cc bike too large to start on? Do you recommend taking a class first? Thanks for the tips!

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Start here:

http://www.motorcyclesafety.state.mn.us/latest/MMSChome.asp?cid=1

Take the class first. You will be fully licensed by the end of the class and know the basics of how motorcycles work. Often, you will be able to line up a bike to buy and practice on. Once you have your own bike, go here and learn how to ride:

http://www.ridingcourse.com/home.aspx

At the end of this course you will know how to control your bike.

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My wife just completed the motorcycle training course through the (MCTC, RSRS) in Windom, MN. There is a husband/wife team who is doing the class almost every weekend this summer in Windom. Excellent class! My wife went into it with absolutely ZERO experience, unless you count her riding with me as experience. She did not even understand how clutching worked before the class. The instructors said that this was ok... no bad habits to fix. They worked with her over the 2 days, and now she has her license! She admits she still needs alot of practice, but she went from someone who was skeptical and nervous about riding, to someone who can't wait to jump on a bike again.

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Take the class it is definately worth it. I talked my wife into it a couple of years ago, she didn't want to do it, but the class took the fear she had away and now I can't keep her off her bike.

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I learned how to ride last year. Read the Motorcycle Manual and take the test first.

Then take the basic riding course (BRC). They'll teach you how to shift and clutch...everything, no experience necessary. There were quite a few people in my class that never rode a motorcycle before. It's a good program.

As for the motorcycle itself, IMO, it depends on you and the bike. A 600cc sport bike is different than a 600cc cruiser/touring. After your first month or two of riding you'll be wanting more.

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I didn't take the class, but agree it would be great thing to take.

What I would recommend though, is once you have a bike and permit, before or after the class, go to a big old empty parking lot and practice driving sllllooooooooowwllyyyyy... Set up soome cones, or mark the pavement with chalk, corners, etc. That is the hardest thing about driving bikes. Any monkey can go fast on a bike, but driving slowly and safely while going slow, and turning and taking off are where the skill is needed most, IMO. At first it is harder than you would think, but you pick it up quickly.

Have fun learning and have fun riding once you get a bike! If you are an average or bigger guy, I would recommend that once you are actually riding, you will want a 750 class bike, maybe bigger. But you can always go bigger later once you know what you "really" want smile Depending upon your wife's size the seat height of bike is probably more important than the engine size.

Good luck!

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Don't do it the way I did. I bougth the bike before I had ridden anything other than a small dirtbike. Had a buddy ride it home for me and just jumped on and started to ride.

By all means take the coarses mentioned by others, you'll know more about safety and handling your bike. And how to properly lay it down if the time comes.

I did buy a book on Motorcylce safety many years ago, and the one thing that really stuck in my head was a pie chart they had that showed where the majority of accident occur. Overwhelmingly they came from you left side, either someone making a left turn, or turning from your left hand side. I think that's why they drill in look to your left and right, then to your left again, that guy on the left is usually the first in line to actually hit you. Not trying to scare you just pointing out my exeperience.

Another thing I can emphasize is to try to make eye contact, if possible with a helmut or glasses on with the other drivers at intersections, it always amazed me how many people never see you at intersections.

Lasted, like others mention, practice in a empty school parking lot, slow driving required balance and bike control and the only way to perfect it is practice, practice, practice.

Quick stops and the like wouldn't hurt either.

Good luck, have fun, and most of all be safe.

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I highly recommend taking the class first. I did not do that myself because I used to ride mini bikes when I was younger. When I bought my first motorcycle I just practiced on my yard then took the test. I later took the class and was impressed on how much more I learned. I found out that I knew how to ride but there were so many things that I could do better to get me out of a jam.

The class is also a great place to find out what size of bike would work out perfectly for your skill level and needs...

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I took the class at age 16 (because I had to) I have been riding for 15 years and grew up in a motorcycle family. Whenever someone tells me that they are looking at getting a motorcycle endorsement my response is "take the class." As a 16 year old, I didn't get issued an license after completing the class and passing the test. I had to take an actual driving test on my own bike.

As far as size goes, I would agree that a 750 class would be a good choice. My dad went shopping with me and I looked at a lot of bikes. I ended up debating between a 750 nighthawk and a Honda V65 Sabre. I ended up choosing the Sabre. (1100 cc)

I was a little intimidated by the size, however, looking back it was a good choice for me. My dad told me that I would probably want something with a little more power in a few years, so choosing this one out of the gate didn't force me to buy...sell...and rebuy.

I still ride this bike today. I have put over 50,000 miles on over the years and I have got out of a few "jams" having the extra power.

It all comes down to personal preference. CC's are a debatable issue. I wouldn't set yourself at a certain cc size, I would look for a bike that fits you. A 600cc sport bike would be way more intimidating to a new rider than a 1200 cc cruiser. Good luck in the class and have fun shopping.

CA

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Thanks for all the help guys, my wife has taken and passed the class. We are now on the hunt for a Honda shadow VLX 600. We have heard this is a excellent starter bike and I will learn on this one myself.

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There are many inexpensive Suzuki GS500 twins available too. Very good bike to build up experience and many people like them so much they never trade.

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Absolutely take the course. I took it as an "experienced" rider thinking that it might be boring or easy. I learned a LOT! especially how to handle the bike at slow speeds and the correct way to brake. There were several in my class that had never ridden a motorcycle before and one that hadn't even sat on a motorcycle before..or even riden a bicycle. She did very well and recieved her endorsement. Not saying that it's easy to get your endorsement in the class but you actually learn something hands on rather than your other option of reading it out of the book and trying it on your own...possibly developing bad habits that are hard to break. The class is MORE than worth it.

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Jasper,

If you haven't yet, I would HIGHLY recommend taking a motorcycle course!!! I started riding a couple of years ago and took the course before I started riding my bike. By the way, my first bike (still have it) is a Yamaha VStar 650. It is a great bike to learn how to ride. Because I took the course, I was given the tools and confidence I needed to ride safely on the road. I had no idea how much I would learn and needed to know until I took the safety course. The cost of the course pales in comparison to a massive hospital bill due to lack of knowledge and experience. Statistically, a person's greatest risk of getting in an accident is within the first year of riding a motorcycle. To sum it up, take the course, learn a lot and HAVE FUN!!! Hope this helps!

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I would for sure take the course. However, I think the only real way to learn how to ride is on a dirt bike. I have raced and rode dirt bikes since I was 14. It is a great way to learn how to ride. The bikes are not heavy at all and they can take a beating from falling down, tipping over and flat out crashing. Many of you may disagree with my statement but its just my .02$ on motorcycles.

Riding on dirt for a year to get the hang of how a motorcycle handles and how to react in situations is key! If it wasn't for dirt biking I would never think of setting foot on an open highway. Learning to lay a bike down is a tricky task but if done right it can save your life. I learned on my dirt bike unintentionally one day. After that I learned how to do it at various speeds. Now I have the confidence to maneuver a motorcycle in tricky situations and worst case scenario. I know I can lay the bike down on its side...

Many may not agree with me, but hopefully someone here has dirt bike experience and will agree with me.

Another thing you could do is purchase an on-road/off-road bike so you can have the joys of both.

Nick

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Nick, I am not sure that you would really want that many people on dirt bikes where you ride at...

You are correct though... I spent a summer banging the heck out of some dirt bikes when I was stationed min Mississippi. You do learn how to lay them down and not end up on the bottom if it! Take care and N Joy the Ride././Jimbo

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