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Thread: So our daughter wants to ride a motorcycle....

  1. #1
    The Big Red One sgtbill's Avatar
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    So our daughter wants to ride a motorcycle....

    My wife and I are long-time motorcyclists. We met at the Paonia Rally back in 1992 and our daughter grew up riding in our sidecar rig and more recently behind Mom on solo bikes. So I guess it's no surprise that Faye wants to get a motorcycle license and ride. Both of her parents ride, many of our family friends ride, and it is natural that she would assume that she would also ride. So now we have to decide how to start her off. Part of the decision is easy. She will endure the Basic Riding Course and some training prior to getting her motorcycle endorsement on her license. We also plan to get a family-sized ticket to an off-road riding training session. So now that we are agreed on the training part of the equation we have to figure out what Faye's first motorcycle should be.

    Our initial thought was "an older airhead just like we learned to ride on." Something like an older /5 or /6 where she could learn not only riding but also maintenance. So we were leaning toward getting a /6 or /7 (so we would have a front disk brake) in a 750cc or 650cc configuration. We thought a disk brake was an important safety component. And staying with a 650cc or 750cc would keep the power ratio in a manageable zone. But the more we discussed it the more other considerations came to the fore. Is ABS so powerful from a safety perspective that we should not worry as much about the power ratio? So is it better to get a R850R used from someone so we can get ABS and a modern suspension system? Or is it better to get a /7 with less than 75 HP and disk brakes.

    Others we have discussed this with have suggested some other manufacturers starter bikes for consideration in the 250cc range with modern braking systems.

    Our daughter is 16 years old today. She'll be 17 when she starts riding regularly with us (weekend rides and maybe a rally or two). We are both excited and anxious about Faye engaging in something that has been so central to our lives. Any thoughts or experiences others have about this would be much appreciated.

    Is it better to aim for the less powerful older bikes or slant toward a more modern bike with modern safety features. (BTW, we have an F800 ST that she could ride but we are concerned that it may be more power than she should handle right away...) Or maybe she starts with riding our sidecar rig?

    Opinions welcome.
    sgtbill
    Duty First!
    86 K100RS EML
    2007 F800ST & 2014 F800GS & 2014 F700GS

  2. #2
    Survivor akbeemer's Avatar
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    I would opt for a bike with ABS. In addition, it is important that she be able to easily flat foot the bike; I think that greatly aids in building confidence. The F650/G650 series of single cylinder bikes (lowered if needed) are great machines to learn on, yet they are not bikes that she will quickly out grow or tire of.

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  3. #3
    Still Wondering mika's Avatar
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    What does she want and why does she think she want that?

    Been through it four times with my two daughters. Once with cars for each and then bikes. The hardest thing to learn was it mattered what I knew and thought but helping them figure out what they wanted, that fit how they would use the vehicle and they would feel comfortable and confident riding/driving was the most important thing.
    Pass the mustard and UP THE REVOLUTION!

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  4. #4
    Registered User dieselyoda's Avatar
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    To add something for perspective.

    I'm in the retirement stage of my life but the lady I want to be with is in her 50's. She enjoyed being a passenger but got a bit of a taste of two wheels from a scooter that I used for stuff like beer runs and groceries. First year she had it, barely touched it. Second year, she turned into a fiend. She drove it everyday.
    We did the basic motorcycle course together. My reasoning to do it together was it was better than dance lessons.
    She failed the first time. Her confidence took a beating when she dumped the program bike in the hard braking skill through a turn, on wet pavement.
    She took the course again and passed.
    I have a love of my life in a Kawasaki 440 LTD. She's a sweet little ride and very forgiving. Disc on the front, drum for rear and a big wet clutch and best, she can be flat footed and it only weighs 300 lbs wet.
    I gave it to the lady I want to build a future with. It took her about the first ride to drop it. She has dropped it four times this summer. She can pick it up by herself, dust it off and carry on.
    There are no pads left, the shoes must be toast and the clutch is cooked.
    Still though, I will fix it and she will get another season from it and burn it out again if need be. It's fast enough to have fun but not powerful enough to loose it if you pop the clutch. You can't lock the front brakes above 20 mph and you can't break the back tire loose with the throttle.
    When she's ready, the Kawasaki will come back to me for some TLC and she will choose her ride.
    In my opinion, a nice under 500CC that doesn't have a lot of technology and requires daily care, tire pressure, oil level and is simple enough for anybody to learn to repair is the start of beginning to appreciate the sophisticated equipment available.
    Please don't misunderstand me. I will probably never ride a bike any serious distance without ABS again. I also don't want my lady trying to keep up with me at 100 mph until she is comfortable with 5 mph in crazy traffic.
    1997 R1100RT (Restored Basket Case) , 1981 KZ 440 LTD (Restored Basket Case)
    1986 K75S(the beutch), 1993 K1100RS (blown engine), 1997 Chev Short Box (4x4 with an LT1)
    "You can easily judge the character of a man by how he treats those who can do nothing for him."

  5. #5
    neanderssance man sedanman's Avatar
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    http://powersports.honda.com/2014/grom.aspx but no abs.


    I want two of these, one for me and one for my fianace.
    Paul
    "Friends don't let friends ride junk!"
    2011 R1200RT

  6. #6
    Small road corner junkie pffog's Avatar
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    Sounds like you want to stay in the BMW line, and I agree with AK, the 650 single is a great bike, not just for beginners. Also does gravel and rough roads well, and will handle corners with the best of them.


    Hope you have been teaching her situational awareness, I started teaching my sons how to observe and pay attention to their surroundings years before they were old enough to pilot a vehicle, we would play "where did that car come from", rather than the license plate game when we traveled in the car.
    2010 F800GS Full Ohlins package, '04 R1100S Replika
    '01 F650GS Wife's bike
    Maritime Alps and Vosges 2012
    Tuscany and Central Italy 2010

  7. #7
    Old man in the mountains osbornk's Avatar
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    Most BMWs are tall and top heavy which make them difficult for new riders. I stumbled across and bought a good bike for new riders and old men with short inseams. I bought a V-Star 650. They are cheap, dependable and easily found. They have been around with few changes since 1998 and have a shaft drive. They have a narrow 26" seat (my friend with a 26" inseam can flat foot it), will pull from around 30 MPH in high gear and are very easy to ride.
    'You can say what you want about the South, but I almost never hear of anyone wanting to retire to the North.

  8. #8
    Registered User 36654's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sgtbill View Post
    My wife and I are long-time motorcyclists. We met at the Paonia Rally back in 1992 and our daughter grew up riding in our sidecar rig and more recently behind Mom on solo bikes. So I guess it's no surprise that Faye wants to get a motorcycle license and ride. Both of her parents ride, many of our family friends ride, and it is natural that she would assume that she would also ride. So now we have to decide how to start her off. Part of the decision is easy. She will endure the Basic Riding Course and some training prior to getting her motorcycle endorsement on her license. We also plan to get a family-sized ticket to an off-road riding training session. So now that we are agreed on the training part of the equation we have to figure out what Faye's first motorcycle should be.

    Our initial thought was "an older airhead just like we learned to ride on." Something like an older /5 or /6 where she could learn not only riding but also maintenance. So we were leaning toward getting a /6 or /7 (so we would have a front disk brake) in a 750cc or 650cc configuration. We thought a disk brake was an important safety component. And staying with a 650cc or 750cc would keep the power ratio in a manageable zone. But the more we discussed it the more other considerations came to the fore. Is ABS so powerful from a safety perspective that we should not worry as much about the power ratio? So is it better to get a R850R used from someone so we can get ABS and a modern suspension system? Or is it better to get a /7 with less than 75 HP and disk brakes.

    Others we have discussed this with have suggested some other manufacturers starter bikes for consideration in the 250cc range with modern braking systems.

    Our daughter is 16 years old today. She'll be 17 when she starts riding regularly with us (weekend rides and maybe a rally or two). We are both excited and anxious about Faye engaging in something that has been so central to our lives. Any thoughts or experiences others have about this would be much appreciated.

    Is it better to aim for the less powerful older bikes or slant toward a more modern bike with modern safety features. (BTW, we have an F800 ST that she could ride but we are concerned that it may be more power than she should handle right away...) Or maybe she starts with riding our sidecar rig?

    Opinions welcome.
    Airheads in decent shape are expensive. What about a ubiquitous Japanese standard as a trainer then a K75? K-bikes are very reliable, but unloved on the used market and quite affordable.
    Cave contents: 99 R11RS, 2013 Toyota Tacoma, 03 Simplicity Legacy, 97 Stihl FS75, Dewalt DW625 & DW744

  9. #9
    Registered User ItsPhilD's Avatar
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    My girlfriend just started riding. She (with my help) picked up a Honda NC700X. It's got a 700cc engine which is a half block of the engine in the Honda Fit. Nice powerband, not twitchy and the overall machine has a very low center of gravity. Easy to drive at low RPM's but can hold 70's plus highway speeds easily. She picked her 2012 used with less then 5000 miles for $5100 plus taxes and fees.

  10. #10
    Registered User miairhead's Avatar
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    Honda NT700V

    I good starter bike, the NT. You can even get an auto transmission, NT700VA
    Linked brakes even on non ABS. Shaft drive, low seat, good handling at slow speeds and does highway at any speed you choose.
    Price is very low on a good used one, with low mileage.
    Last edited by miairhead; 11-03-2013 at 02:20 PM.
    Tom
    '84 R100RT '04 CLC(gone) Honda NT700V
    BMW
    Beer Motorcycles Women

  11. #11
    Polarbear Polarbear's Avatar
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    ALL girls:).

    Except me on my GSA, my family is all girls riding BMWs. My 2 Daughters ride F700 and GS1200, both on new BMWs. Jessica started on F650ST 6 years ago and Dana just got her FIRST BMW, the F700 and its her first bike. She did all the above trainings and the F700 was easy to get her started. Dana's my youngest at 27. Jessica at 30 now, just traded up to GS1200, new water cooled one. Both girls are 5'7" and lightweight and love their choices. Both the above bikes offer lower seats and make the bigger bikes easy to sit for many women and men. Jessica got the lower seat option on her new GS1200 and Dana did not on her F700GS. Choices. Both have taken offroad schooling and are adventurous riders on and off road. Both have dropped their bikes too, but always stopped and loose footing in dirt. They both CAN pick up their own bikes, but we share the task when in group rides, as anybody does. Welcome your younger familky to BMW or whatever they choose. Its a great life of adventure. Don't cut corners, ride a good bike and wear the best gear! Randy

  12. #12
    Ute's Chauffeur
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    I like the ninja 300, cbr 300 and especially the new honda 500s as starter and maybe more bikes. All available with ABS.

  13. #13
    TravelsWithBarley.com
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    pffog's comments about situational awareness struck a chord. My wife was initially so focused on the bike that she simply did not pay attention to her surroundings. A Scala Q2 set greatly helped. I would ride in front of her at a pace she was comfortable with, calmly calling out things I noticed: cross-traffic, gravel on the edge of the pavement, frost heaves, cars overtaking us from behind, etc. It imprinted on her the need for situational awareness.
    '07 R1200GS for solo rides
    '10 R1200GSA with Hannigan dual sport sidecar for rides with Barley

  14. #14
    Registered User
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    You should be able to buy a older Ninja 250 for not a lot of money, ride it a couple of years, drop it a couple times and sell it for what you paid for it.

  15. #15
    MOA #24991 Pauls1150's Avatar
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    While ABS is a wonderful thing (it has saved my ass several times on several different bikes), I would question having it on a "First" bike: Knowing how it feels when a wheel locks up, and what to do about it, is a useful skill for ANY rider.

    Riding ("flying") a sidecar is a different experience than riding a bike - ultimately the choice is hers, but go for two wheels first...

    Considering her age and experience, I suggest that a new bike or a 1200 is NOT on the list...

    Another point is that with an older, "easier" bike, she might learn the maintenance.

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