Is this too much motorcycle for me?

A sidecar? Dear Tater, I’m pretty sure Norman is emptying his stomach in his trash bin as we speak :wink:

But you’re right, he sure has a cool bike. If only he weren’t such an ignorant idiot, I’d look him up in a heartbeat :stuck_out_tongue:

<Spiny noisily surrenders to a bout of dry heaves>

First you want to put banana juice in my beer (Note to other Dopers: Don’t ask, horrible CopDope story), now you want to bolt a - I’m not going to use that word again - onto my beautiful Italian piece of hardware? Sidecars are abominations in the eyes of the Lord, you can’t lean or brake properly. No fun at all - one might as well be driving a Peugeot or something like that. :smiley:

Tater, my bike does indeed have a back seat - it’s not noted for its comfort, being about 15 cm higher than the rider’s seat and placed on top of the exhausts - but it’s there. I’d be happy to offer you a ride the next time you’re in Hamburg and the weather is reasonable. You too, Coldie, for that matter.

S. Norman

Lay off of my Puggy, ya Danish SpeedFreak :wink:

I think I win a head-on collision, anyway.

Motorcycle saftey class. That is the best advice given here. When, not if, you lay your bike down you will need those skills learned in class. A used 500 - 750 cc bike should get you thru the learning stage so you have a better understanding of what you really want in a motorcycle. Looks isn’t everything, but that there Yamyha is a tough lookin machine. (Where did Q mount the machine gun?) Some road experience is what ya need, so get thee to your class and keep scanning those classified ads. Just don’t let me see you riding in shorts and sneakers. Boots, jeans, gloves and helmet.
Keep the shiney side up!
later, Tom.

This was talked about over in the General Questions last week or so, sorry no link but it’s there. my suggestion, besides the class of course, is to pick up Idiot’s Guide to Motorcycling. VERY good book with lots of helpful tips and in the back he lists most of the bikes with pictures and if he thinks they are good for beginnners or not. Personally I think that’s a huge bike and much to much for a beginner. you might want to try and sit on a bunch of bikes as well to see which ones fit you better, you don’t want to ride for long on a bike that doesn’t fit. but enjoy whatever bike you get.

As you may have read in another thread, I’ve been riding since I was a kid. I can strongly recommend learning on dirt bikes when you’re a kid, as riding in dirt, which is “slidey”, rock-strewn and uneven, does wonders to develop reflexes. Being a kid lets you learn those reflexes quickly.

But if you’re not a kid, I’d suggest something a little less powerful than what you’re looking at. Look at the Yamaha Seca II. It’s 600cc, but it’s still plenty fast for a beginner. It’s cheap (about $5,000), gets over 50mpg, and is the perfect size for commuting in L.A. traffic. I bought mine new in 1994 and it has about 67,000 miles on it. Also look at the Suzuki 600 Bandit. After Yamaha collected kudos for the Seca II, Suzuki decided to make their own version of it a few years after the Seca II came out. A motorcycle magazine said it’s better than the Yamaha, but I’ve never ridden one. Honda has it’s “Hawk”, which I think is a 750cc standard (i.e., not a “cruiser”, “touring” or “sport bike”). There are other bikes that would be good first bikes, but I can’t think of them right at the moment.

I had been riding a well-used Honda CX-500 before I got the Yamaha. The CX-500 is a mini-tourer. Heavy. The first time I rode the Yamaha I was surprised by the quickness. It took me a couple of rides to remember not to give it too much gas to start out. When you start riding, you will be surprised at how quickly a motorcycle – virtually any motorcycle – will accellerate compared to a car. You’ll be “behind the machine” for a little while. The key is not being so far behind that you lose control, and the more powerful the bike, the more likely you are to take a spill.

For your first bike you should get something that’s not going to pull your arms out of their sockets the first time you twist the throttle. You’ll outgrow it of course, but it’s better to be alive to grow! If you have friends who ride, see if they’ll let you try their bikes. (Going off on a tangent: Riders tend to be protective of their mounts. I was honoured when a co-worker loaned be his Suzukii GSXR-750R – a hot sportbike – when my little Yamaha was in the shop. It’s good to be trusted!) My Seca II is not the fastest bike around (I could only get it up to 125mph) and it isn’t as maneuberable as a sportbike (although I’ve managed to grind the ends off of the pegs in corners), but it’s been a very good ride over the years. If you can get a smaller, used, standard motorcycle for your first bike, it will let you learn without a large investment, and it will be plenty for you to handle for a while.

A lot of people like Harley-Davidsons. I don’t. They handle like pigs. Besides, most of the Harley drivers I’ve met have attitudes. IMHO.

I never attended a riding school so I can’t vouch for their usefulness. But it sounds like an excellent idea!

Be aware: There have been posts about bikes being dangerous. They can be. Unlike a car, you can’t talk on the cell phone, eat a Big Mac, listen to the radio, and let your attention wander. Riding demands your full attention. People in cars will try to kill you. Especially if they are driving Mercedes or Lexuses. Learn to play the game, “Find the Homicidal Maniac”, If you win, you get to live. I’ve been hit twice on the freeway. The car driver “didn’t see me”. That’s because car drivers tend not to use their mirrors, or turn their heads. When you ride, keep your head on a swivel. Know where everyone is. Know your limits. There are times when you can push the envelope (it can be very fun!), but there are times when that wouldn’t be prudent.

Bikes are fun! They are also cheap to own, as they get great mileage, are often (depending on size and class) cheaper to insure, and sometimes you don’t have to pay for parking. And it’s easy to find a parking place. And they’re FUN! Your morning commute will never be the same. Did I mention they’re FUN?

Why not? Diesel isn’t that much different from jet fuel (kerosene). A jet engine will even run on gasoline if you’re careful. (Gasoline is much more volotile than jet fuel. Car gas starts at about 87 octane, and jet fuel is about 50 octane or so.) BTW, there are diesel engines being developed for aircraft. The advantage is that they can run on much cheaper jet-fuel, instead of gasoline.

Damn straight…

If you need convincing, go to a parking lot, wearing shorts, tee shirt and sneakers.

Start running as fast as you can…then dive into the pavement. That’s gonna sting. Now get on your bike and try it at 20mph…30mph…40mph.
You get the point.

I bought, boots, gloves, chaps and a leather jacket (Bristol Leather)…of course there was a helmet in there somewhere too.
My 1st bike was a Yamaha 400. Waaaaaaay too small. My next one was a Yamaha XS 1100. Touring Special. Just the right size.

Like the other Dopers have suggested, if that thing is anything like the V-Max, you’ll wanna get something a little tamer.

Nice looking bike though…looks top heavy?

Have fun…that’s what it’s all about.

I’ve always thought the best way to learn how to ride a motorcycle is on a dirt bike. You ride at low speeds. The clutch and transmission are designed to be abused. You learn to balance much quicker and better. And, you’re not going to hurt it by dropping it on the ground.
I know a lot of people who own street bikes and the ones that didnt learn off road first, tend to be the one’s who are always getting into accidents and have to declare bankruptcy due to speeding tickets.
Good luck.


Mr. C, like so many others have said, take the MC safety class. There is one offered in Jefferson county at the driving range at 6th and Kipling in Lakewood. I took my class there years ago. At that time they provided Yamaha 125 cc Enduros for the participants. The class covered just about everything.

Anyway, after the class, you can borrow or rent a motorcycle to see what kind of riding you prefer. The Enduro types are a good combination street and off road bike. You also have your café racers (crotch rockets) like the picture (nice bike, by the way) and you have your cruisers (touring bikes).

I personally found I like the cruiser better. The café racers (crotch rockets) have awesome acceleration, excellent handling, and a design that centers your weight just in front/over the foot pegs. This allows you to easily adjust your position on the bike and change your center of gravity for “pushing the envelope.” I found that I road with much less caution and eventually wrecked the bike and myself. The cruisers or touring bikes center your weight behind the foot pegs. You actually sit back a little bit. This position does not allow for the same type of riding.

Take you time and figure out what you like first, then go buy the bike.

Correction: It should be “I rode” not “I road.”

Blow me!

Why is a Harley-Davidson like a homosexual?

Well, it’s kinda pretty. But I don’t want to throw my leg over one!

:smiley: <=== indicates this is only a joke.

Ducatis are like highly strung female sprinters,
when they are parked up in the blocks/sidestand their balance is precarious.
Lovely to look at, they go like hell and handle wonderful.
You wouldn’t want them run much further than a few hundred metres without plenty of care and maintenance.
When they go wrong they do it good style.

It might be sacriledge to say it, when Ducati was acquired by US owners something good happened.

So now we no longer have the Ducati patent fairing smasher(the spring return sidestand) and the electrics are not going to fry exploding the battery and taking out a chunk of the side panels too .(they fitted a proper alternator instead of the pretend one it had)
The latest 998 engine has redesigned the desmo valve system so now you don’t have to join your local circle of masonic engineers just to learn how to set the damn things up.

Looks like Duke ownership is getting a more realistic dream for folk like me.

Engine size is not a very good guide to power output on motorcyles.
Harleys have huge engines but the power is relatively low around 60bhp in stock trim(torque is huge)
500cc Grand prix bikes can chuck out over 180 bhp in a chassis that probably weighs less than a Harley sidestand!

Even the dear old Honda CB500 can turn out more power than the Harley - nothing like as cool to own though.

but that is only the start of the story as it is really about how the power is delivered, which is how the Harley scores, you don’t have to thrash it, it just chugs along and if you get bored you might change gear once in a while but there isn’t much need as the torque is so great.
On some 2-strokes the power only starts at around 11000 rpm and runs out around 13000 rpm so you have to thrash them mercilessly changing gear constantly(and some have 7).Not a relaxing ride(absolutely manic-like a bumble bee on amphetamines) but it can be fun.

Mr. Cynical, just FYI, some dealers will not sell you a big like that if you’ve never ridden before. They’ll require a safety course like the one Sn-man is talking about, and a certain number of years experience before they’ll allow you to walk (or ride) out with one. Of course, you could lie, and say you have experience, but within about three seconds on a 1600cc bike, the dealer will know the truth. Or you could go for a lesser dealer, but who wants to do that? Be a man and pay your dues. Get a smaller bike. :slight_smile:

This bike looks awesome but would it be a good first bike? Not in a million years. If this is to succeed the V-max this is a scary piece of work for experienced riders only.
Yamaha’s V-max will go from 0-60 in under three seconds with 135hp at the back wheel. I drove my friends a few times and was fairly amazed and a trifle frightened at the power you would be dealing with. I used to run my Honda 750 Supersport (bored to 812) at speeds around 140 mph. Still nothing prepares a person for something in this monster’s class.

My friend has been riding for decades and is an instructor for the Canada Safety Motorcycle program. He took a Kawasaki Ninja 1200 out one day and nearly killed himself because he forgot he wasn’t riding his Goldwing. Something about pulling out to pass a semi, downshifting, and twisting the throttle back caused him to do a wheelie at 80mph for almost the length of the truck. He was teaching a class at the time. They were impressed while he said he almost needed to change his underwear.

There is nothing better than riding a motorcycle except maybe sex and that would depend on the quality of the sex. The best thing about a motorcycle is that you can ride it as long as you want, kick it, and it won’t get jealous if you ride someone’s elses bike. :slight_smile:

So this leaves you with what to buy, my personal preference is with Honda…

A CB750 Nighthawk would be a decent choice with power enough for highway cruising yet light enough for the city. The in-line four is as smooth and as reliable as any engine. As it’s not a sport bike you won’t be riding on your testicles either.

A Honda Silverwing 650 is a nice light tourer with all the fairings that a Goldwing has without the 1000 lb curb weight. This will probably be my next bike.

Honda Rebel 450, I hear that these baby Harley’s are getting quite collectible.

My friend started out by driving a Kawasaki 440 Ltd, gorgeous little machine.

There are just so many out there it is hard to say what would be best for you, ask around, test drive a bunch and see what feels best.


When I was 16, I had a girlfriend. Her father was the director of the company that imports Suzukis into the Netherlands, and he was a big enthusiast as well.

He had a Suzuki GSX 1100 R. Zero to Two Hundred km’s in NINE seconds.
At the time it was one of the fastest bikes available. He took me for a wild ride on the German Autobahn. Hanging on tightly, barely able to force myself to look left or right, I hear his voice over the helmet intercom thingies: “Cool huh?? How fast do you think we’re going?”. Bear in mind, there’s two of us on this rice rocket. Click the link.
After a quick glance, I tell him, “I dunno… 180 km/h, maybe?”.

He starts laughing and tells me we’re actually doing 245 km/h.

That was one of the scariest and coolest things ever. Later that day, he maxed it out for a while when he was riding it alone. 320 km/h on the counter - which is probably around 300 real km’s per hour. Frightening, even to him.

I was at a Honda shop several years ago, and one of the guys told me about a lawyer* who bought a brand new Gold Wing as his first bike. You all probably know this already, but just in case, the Gold Wing is the ultimate touring bike. It’s practically a car. The lawyer starts it up and gets to the driveway. He stops for traffic… and forgets to put his foot down! After he got it back up, he did it again!

Rule #1: When you come to a stop on a motorcycle, put your foot down.

*Not that lawyers are particularly dumb, or deserving of such an embarrassing occurance; it’s just a bit of information related to me by the motorcycle shop employee.

Now that is a sig worthy comment. :slight_smile:

hflathead wrote:

Jeans, nothing. Wear leather protective pants. Jeans will rip on the pavement and give you a great big owee less than one second into your pavement slide.

Motorcycle riding is a great excuse for wearing leather without making people think you’re trying to look “tough” or “fashionable.”