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Morris111

New rider looking for advice

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Morris111

Hi gang — I’m a new rider who’s looking to get into sport touring. Shop piping bikes right now and am looking at 600-850 G or S bikes. I’m located in San Diego and am also looking for safety courses. Any advice to help me get started is welcome and appreciated.  Steve

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Selden

A Motorcycle Safety Foundation course is the place to start: https://www.msf-usa.org/ If they had been around when I started riding in 1962, I might have fallen over fewer times.

 

How tall are you? The F650GS and F700GS have a low-suspension option. My wife and I rode a F700GS about 1200 miles around Italy 2 years ago. It never lacked for power, even with a passenger. The Suzuki V-Strom 650 is also generally regarded as a good starter bike, and can probably be found used for less than a BMW. 

 

The F-series GS bikes are good choices because they are relatively light, the handlebars provide plenty of leverage, and they don't have a lot of plastic to damage if one tips over. Start with a used bike in good shape.

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Carlisja

For rider safety courses, California does no use MSF. Instead they use Lee Parks’ Total Control curriculum and administer the classes through the California Highway Patrol.  It is called the California Motorcycle Saftey Program.    https://cmsp.msi5.com/.  They provide the motorcycle.    

 

Dont stop there.  Instead of buying a dream bike,  find a well used bike in the riding style you think you are interested in for around $2,000.   One that when it falls over and gets scratched, you won’t care.  Then go out and take the more advanced rider courses until you can handle the bike like second nature and have mastered everything from decreasing radius, off camber, downhill turns as well as tight parking lot maneuvers.   
 

then sell the $2,000 bike for $2,000 and buy your dream bike. 

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Morris111
14 hours ago, Selden said:

A Motorcycle Safety Foundation course is the place to start: https://www.msf-usa.org/ If they had been around when I started riding in 1962, I might have fallen over fewer times.

 

How tall are you? The F650GS and F700GS have a low-suspension option. My wife and I rode a F700GS about 1200 miles around Italy 2 years ago. It never lacked for power, even with a passenger. The Suzuki V-Strom 650 is also generally regarded as a good starter bike, and can probably be found used for less than a BMW. 

 

The F-series GS bikes are good choices because they are relatively light, the handlebars provide plenty of leverage, and they don't have a lot of plastic to damage if one tips over. Start with a used bike in good shape.

I’ve been trying to book a Motorcycle Safety course, but they were stud down due to COVID, now booked for quite a while. I took the class a few years ago, but want to retake it to refresh. 

 

I’m 6’1” and am looking at used bikes only now for all the good reasons you stated.

 

Im also wondering how well the GS handles on dirt and gravel roads.

 

— thanks!

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TEWKS

Dirt and gravel roads are the GS’s sweet spot! And it’ll give you all day comfort traveling to find those roads. :thumbsup:

 

B859034C-8C8D-421F-AC5B-27AF81553B88.jpeg

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roadscholar
2 hours ago, Morris111 said:

Im also wondering how well the GS handles on dirt and gravel roads.

 

— thanks!

 

Its the reason they invented it.

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Selden
6 hours ago, Morris111 said:

I’ve been trying to book a Motorcycle Safety course, but they were stud down due to COVID, now booked for quite a while. I took the class a few years ago, but want to retake it to refresh. 

 

I forgot about the pandemic disruption. I have been trying to sign up for a dirt bike class for 3 years, and one thing after another keeps getting in the way. Now it's the pandemic, and I don't think anybody has any idea when MSF or any other organization will be offering classes again.

 

If you are 6' 1" then add the Kawasaki KLR to your shopping list. It doesn't have gobs of power, but it has enough to keep up, and they have been around forever, so used ones are not hard to find. 

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Morris111
4 hours ago, TEWKS said:

Not sure where you’re located but a few used ones in my area.

 

Squirrel


Jaguar

 

Black Bear

 

Hippopotamus

 

:grin:

I’m located in San Diego, but thanks for the bike links.

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RCS

Hello,

Just wanted to echo the advise to get a used bike first, ride awhile and evaluate what you would like in/on your next bike. I did that as a young teenager myself.

 

regards,

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Marty Hill
On 7/25/2020 at 8:37 PM, Selden said:

A Motorcycle Safety Foundation course is the place to start: https://www.msf-usa.org/ If they had been around when I started riding in 1962, I might have fallen over fewer times.

 

How tall are you? The F650GS and F700GS have a low-suspension option. My wife and I rode a F700GS about 1200 miles around Italy 2 years ago. It never lacked for power, even with a passenger. The Suzuki V-Strom 650 is also generally regarded as a good starter bike, and can probably be found used for less than a BMW. 

 

The F-series GS bikes are good choices because they are relatively light, the handlebars provide plenty of leverage, and they don't have a lot of plastic to damage if one tips over. Start with a used bike in good shape.

I've ridden my 700GS from Germany to the Russian border and back.  Stock suspension.

 

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dba
On 7/26/2020 at 7:51 AM, Morris111 said:

 

 

I'm also wondering how well the GS handles on dirt and gravel roads.

 

— thanks!

Gelande / Strasse means, basically, Terrain / Street.  You'll have no problem with proper tires.  

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Bill_Walker

I have a friend who's a returning rider (the usual story: rode when he was young and single, stopped to get married, have kids, career, etc., now kids are grown and he's back).  He bought a Triumph Bonneville for his first bike back, but sold it after a year and got an F750GS, and he loves it.  He was amazed at how much better a bike it was than the Bonny (and the bikes he remembers from the 70s-80s) in terms of ride, handling, power and comfort.  He bought 'em both new, though, because he doesn't like to buy used and afford not to.

That being said, for your first bike, you have to know that you will drop it at some point.  I'd second Selden's advice for a KLR650.  They've been around forever, so they're not too hard to find, they're pretty indestructible, and they're fine for a local ride or for crossing continents (I have a friend who rode one down to the tip of Tierra del Fuego).  You could even go smaller, of course.  As you can see below, I've got a KLX250S dual-sport bike that can keep up with San Diego traffic, although there's not much margin on the freeway, but is still plenty of fun to ride.  It's like riding a bicycle compared to a big bike.

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Skywagon

I had the long layoff from college until mid career...College bike was Honda 350CL... Thought that was one heck of a fast and fun bike.  Tuition came and away went the bike.  I didn't own another bike for 23 years.  I rode the occasional friends bike, rentals, etc, but basically off 2 wheels for a long time.  I bought a BMW R100RT.  After owning it for less than a year it felt small.  It felt small in size, gettyup, and I felt a little like a toy on the freeways.

 

Find the bike you like...but I would suggest finding the balance between a bike that is a bit challenging for you and one not too challenging.  I think a 700GS like Marty's GS is a real decent bike and should get you going again.  I would be hesitant to go much lower than a 650 anything.  First off the bikes just don't weigh as much and you will notice it on the freeway or in truck turbulence.  The front tires start to get small to me and the small front tires feel less stable and more subject to holes and other obstacles.  You don't want to trade it in in a year thinking you bought too small.  Personally if it were me...having been through it a few decades ago, I would search for a 700 or 1200GS.... 

 

 

Good luck...ride safe....welcome to the best forum with the best people and owner

 

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RPondaRoad

Morris, I'm near Sacramento and live near  the college where the MSF classes are held.  As I rode by last weekend the parking lot course was full of masked students riding their 250 cc bikes while taking the course.  So, your area may be closed, but it's not a statewide thing.  I'd suggest you call back.  The advice to take this course is well founded as are all of the other suggestions here.  

 

I would add one and it's about budgeting for stuff.  Once you have your motorcycle and all of your protective gear purchased make sure you have $$$ left over to enjoy touring on your new bike in whatever fashion you envision  (motel/camp)  There are so many places that are close to you for touring...Death Valley in the spring, the parks in Utah, Hwy 395 up to Mammoth and beyond and even the California coast north of where you are in San Diego.   Good luck with your new adventure...be safe!

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West_Coaster

Hi Morris, I'm also in San Diego and a new rider. I signed up for this https://www.inlandvalleymotorsportstraining.com/

 

With the DMV a mess and not taking appointments, it helps by giving you the certificate for the driving portion so you don't have to wait all day and hope to get a test. Renting or getting a loaner bike is also a problem that is solved with the course.

 

http://www.cyclevisionsrental.com/ is in old town and rents bikes. I've rented a Rebel 250 (the only one you can rent with a driving permit) and had fun getting used to riding again. I considered myself an expert rider when I was young, racing motorcross and terrorizing the streets, but being away for a long time has set me back to beginner status. Just riding the Rebel taught me that I need a lot of practice, and that in a panic situation I would not react well. Being in San Diego we do get to ride in some back county road and get some time under our belt. 

 

If you ever want a riding partner, let me know. I live near Mt. Helix in LaMesa.

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Hosstage

Riding in traffic and following the rules of the road are a completely different skill set than riding off road or racing on a track. It's much scarier!

Edit: I meant to post this in a different thread, but it still applies here. Riding a bike on the street is different than a car until you get your muscle memory and skills in a comfortable way. 

Good advice here with bikes, being 6 feet tall opens up many options for bikes. Whichever one you choose, keep it in good shape and check the tires often.

Good luck, welcome to the world of riding, it opens up a whole new mindset!

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