Journey to Biking

The news and your views about biking

Re: Journey to Biking

Postby Kwacky » 22 Jul 2018, 19:34

Good ride today. You look confident on a bike which is one of the main battles won. I can't see any reason why you would fail your test.
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Re: Journey to Biking

Postby LeCreusetFiend » 19 Aug 2018, 08:51

Finally had my next lesson yesterday (he said, using some tortured grammar...)!

Another day on the SV650. Mixed urban / country riding in the morning, then some 70mph stuff on the dual carriageway going from Redditch to Birmingham, then a couple of hours on the test centre Mod 1 course.

Plus points:

Still haven't dropped it yet....
No longer hear ominous music as soon as I swing my leg over
Much more controlled stopping - both my instructor and Kwacky have told me I go into junctions too hot and too much like a car driver, so it's something I really tried to address. Having the mindset of intending to stop unless I can go, rather than intending to go unless I have to stop has made a hell of a difference.
Observations seem to have gone up a notch (another nod to Kwaky (y) ). When I'm thinking about them, anyway...

Minus points:

Only had about an hour on the test centre, so I've actually only done each Mod 1 exercise on the 650 about 4 times. While I can do them ok at the *end* of the 4 times, I'm not entirely sure how I'll fare going into them cold on the day...

And that's my only concern, really, which I suppose I should be happy about! At the end of the day I'm learning all this to be a half-decent rider. I'd much rather be comfortable on the roads than in a car park at this point. My test is booked for Wednesday, so I'll just give it my best shot. If I balls something up, I'll just rinse and repeat until I get my bit of paper!

Whilst not wanting to tempt fate, I've been tentatively looking at bikes the last couple of weeks. It's funny the things you learn about your body type when you start riding. I'd never had myself down as a midget or anything, but bloody hell do you lot all have 40" legs or something?! I started looking at some small engined stuff, being all "sensible first bike about it". Quick run-down:

Honda CB300R - I *love* the modern retro look of this. Seat is hugely uncomfortable, though. And it seems oddly high for a 780-790mm bike. And even *I* think a 300 single might get a bit boring a bit quickly....

Ninja 400 - I thought I'd love this. I love the design. Just didn't do anything for me when I sat on it. I sat on the Ninja 650 too, and it seemed no more unweildy, really.

Ducati Scrambler 400 - The less said about Ducati Coventry, the better. Suffice to say I won't be returning there. Bunch of sarcastic, useless..... *tails off, grumbling*. Pretty bike, though.

MT03 - the sensible choice. Cheap, not the end of the world if you drop it, light, who doesn't like the idea of high revving?

R3 - thought this was the answer to everything, but it felt a bit of a fraud when I sat on it. And all the downsides of a fully faired bike with none of the advantages.

So at the moment, I'm afraid the MT03 is in the lead. But - I'm aware that literally everyone (except one bloke, but I reckon everyone thinks he's a knob anyway...) is telling me I'll get bored with it. They've been right about everything else so far, so I suppose I should hear them out! I'm hoping to look at some Triumph Street Twins over the next few days. Like the idea of the ultra-low seat height for confidence, and I love the styling. Just slightly worried about getting it in and out of my stupid, sloped, narrow drive. Not sure how I'll turn it round. But we'll cross that bridge when we come to it. I reckon if you spend £7K on a bike, you'll find a way to turn it round..... :?

Anyway. That's all long and probably boring, so I'll stop now. I'll let you know how the first Mod 1 goes...
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Re: Journey to Biking

Postby Jack » 19 Aug 2018, 08:59

good luck on your test . don't panic and follow instructions and you'll be fine .
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Re: Journey to Biking

Postby Cavetroll87 » 19 Aug 2018, 09:06

Glad it's going well bud, Good luck on the test!

As for bikes what about an mt07, about same power ad the sv so not likely to get bored of it anytime soon but easy enough to manage? Or if you really want to stock smaller capacity what about the ktm 390, they look great fun or the husqvarna vitlapen or whatever it's called if you like the modern retro vibe, it's based on the ktm engine but looks pretty awesome too
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Re: Journey to Biking

Postby LeCreusetFiend » 19 Aug 2018, 09:20

Thanks chaps!

I sat on KTM 390, and it's slightly too tall far me to be comfortable at this stage. I'm 5'7", and have short thighs, it turns out! I mean ... I look decidedly human, I promise, but ... you know.

I love the MT07, but worry about the seat height. Actually to be honest, the bike that first turned my head and made me think, "Bugger it! I'll get my test done" was the XSR700. Again ... seat height. I must confess, I haven't actually sat on the MT07 or the XSR700, so I should sort that out, really, just in case...!
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Re: Journey to Biking

Postby C00kiemonster » 19 Aug 2018, 09:28

Great post!

Your a thinker clearly so you will be fine whatever you do.

From a learning and test standpoint, you wont learn much apart from a little confidence, how to ride basically on the roads and to pass your test. You wont be a half decent road rider when you pass, especially as you have limited time. The key is to get your license and then start learning properly!

I remember when i passed, i'd never ridden a bike before and did an intensive 4 day course. I was so proud when i passed, then realised how poor my riding actually was compared to how i wanted to be.

It's a gradual and fun process to build your skills. You become far more aware and see hazards and the road in a very different way. It makes your car driving skills move on significantly too.

I went straight to a sportsbike when i passed and although i loved it, in hindsight there are better bikes to ride just after a test pass. You want a bike that will go as slow or fast as you want to and one you feel comfortable with easily so you can concentrate on your riding skills and roadcraft.

The MT07 is a very good suggestion - will keep up with most bikes in the real world but is a doddle to ride, will grow with you and is fantastic value - used ones are a bargain for what you get. I'd aim to do a couple of years on something like that. The KTM Duke (390 or 690) are well worth a look too. I'm a big fan of both bikes for what they offer.

There isnt a bad bike on the market these days. The best thing is to test ride all of them - it will help you appreciate how every bike has a different feel and we are all different - they should end up being like a pair of slippers if you gel with it.

Oh and if you test ride them, dont get too clever and crash one (like i did ) :D
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Re: Journey to Biking

Postby Kwacky » 19 Aug 2018, 10:07

Yeah yeah, you'll drop your bike, it happens to the best of us ;)

You're more than good enough to pass your test.

Don't get a 300cc. Not only will you get bored, they don't have enough power for today's roads. Modern cars are pretty quick and there's a lot of traffic about. 600cc bikes are easy to ride and have the grunt for fun or pootling along.

I like the street cup. It's a nice bike.

Don't make your mind up until you've ridden one. A few times I've been convinced that a bike was for me until I took it for a ride.
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Re: Journey to Biking

Postby kiwikrasher » 19 Aug 2018, 11:12

LeCreusetFiend wrote:Thanks chaps!

I sat on KTM 390, and it's slightly too tall far me to be comfortable at this stage. I'm 5'7", and have short thighs, it turns out! I mean ... I look decidedly human, I promise, but ... you know.

I love the MT07, but worry about the seat height. Actually to be honest, the bike that first turned my head and made me think, "Bugger it! I'll get my test done" was the XSR700. Again ... seat height. I must confess, I haven't actually sat on the MT07 or the XSR700, so I should sort that out, really, just in case...!


http://www.lustracing.co.uk/suspension/yamaha-mt-07-lowering-kits.html

Nearly every bike has a lowering kit available and you can get 1”-2” lower in seat height. I’m only an inch taller than you so understand your woes. I ride a Multistrada and can only get my top toes down at best. Makes it fun when the girl is jumping on the back and trying to swing her leg over the panniers and top box!!

As for boring us with your posts, your not. It’s great to hear of someone entering the biking realm and you won’t find a more accepting bunch than the TS crew, unlike any other forum I’ve come across.

Keep up the momentum and remember you’ll never stop learning when it comes to biking
Happiness is not a destination. It is a way of life.
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Re: Journey to Biking

Postby Stonesie » 19 Aug 2018, 12:01

Got to agree that dropping bikes happens, my last one was the Multistrada which was fun to pick up, big tall heavy thing. That's why I didn't go for a new bike to start with.

Good luck with the test, you sound like you will follow the examiners instructions so I think you won't have any problems. And the MT-07/XSR700 should be a great bike to start on.
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Re: Journey to Biking

Postby Rossgo » 19 Aug 2018, 18:31

I'm with everyone else here. You are clearly thinking of the best route for you. I've heard of stories of people passing their tests buying brand spanking new bikes and crashing, even heard of one guy buying a new Fireblade with his daddies money and crashing it a week later *headbang* screws us all up when it comes to insurances!

Good luck to you and don't worry about it all

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Re: Journey to Biking

Postby D6Nutz » 19 Aug 2018, 19:53

I gave up trying to get both feet down the day after I bought my first bike. I'm happy enough with one foot these days.

With regards to your drive, get used to pushing the bike. Any time I'm not confident about paddling the bike I get off and push, nobody will laugh and if they do you get the last laugh when they drop their bike.

I'd also agree with the other comments about the 300's. I went straight in on a 600 and scared myself silly the first time I rode it. I then learned that the throttle only goes round as far as I wanted it to. From there I grew into the bike, I also kept it for 6 or 7 years before I crashed it.
You never really learn to swear until you learn to drive.

If everything seems under control, you're not going fast enough - Mario Andretti
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Re: Journey to Biking

Postby D6Nutz » 19 Aug 2018, 19:54

Oh, and good luck with the test. Sure you'll get it done, then you can get in with enjoying biking.
You never really learn to swear until you learn to drive.

If everything seems under control, you're not going fast enough - Mario Andretti
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Re: Journey to Biking

Postby LeCreusetFiend » 23 Aug 2018, 08:47

Thanks for all the advice - I appreciate it :)

Well .... I hate to say it .... but I absolutely stuffed that Mod 1 up yesterday! I don't think I was quite ready. Neither was the girl I was doing it with, who I've been training with from the start.

She binned it during the emergency stop after coming in too hot, and accidentally engaging the ABS, which threw her ... quite literally it seems. No harm to her or the bike, thankfully.

I ballsed up the U-turn with a moment's inattention. I think I must have glanced down at the line as I set off, rather than keeping my head up, because the next thing I knew I'd crossed it! Before I'd even started turning. What an absolute muppet.

I kept going because all the experience is worth it, and then on the avoidance I booted the inside cone clean across the pad. So I can't complain at all really. If you're going to fail, at least do it in style.

While it's entirely my fault I failed, I'm not overly impressed with the riding school, I have to say. I've put people in for exams for a living and I knew I wasn't ready. The Mod 1 element of the "Mod 1 Day" I booked for £180 the weekend before the test consisted of 1 hour out of the day, between the two of us students, actually doing the Mod 1 manoevers. When we booked another lesson before the next test, it seems it's going to be a similar thing. All I want is to pay someone to spend time going over the Mod 1 stuff with me on a 650 for at least a few hours - I don't care about more riding on the road for Mod 2 for the moment, and I'm not too worried about it. I went through the avoidance a total of three times before the test. The first two, I stuffed it up, and I got it right the third time. That doesn't mean I've learned it! I think if I balls it up again I'll have to look for another school - there's one locally that has their own pad in a car park.

Anyway. A bit miffed, needless to say! I'd popped to Blade Stratford the day before and absolutely fallen in love with Triumph Street Twins! When I sat on it, it was the exact ergonomics I've been looking for in my first bike. Love it! I'm due to start a new job next week, so I'm not over the moon about having to take time off to do tests, but I did warn them about it before I accepted the offer, so .... meh. Keep on trucking, I suppose!

If you want me, I'll be in Sainsbury's car park at midnight for the next week practicing!
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Re: Journey to Biking

Postby Kwacky » 23 Aug 2018, 08:55

Which school is it?
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Re: Journey to Biking

Postby LeCreusetFiend » 23 Aug 2018, 08:59

RMT. I was very impressed with them - they got me on a 650 nice and quickly. It just seems impossible to get them to teach you purely Mod 1 stuff :(

To be fair, me and the girl I'm learning with mentioned this when we booked the next lesson, so I'll see how that lesson goes before I get too annoyed.
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Re: Journey to Biking

Postby Kwacky » 23 Aug 2018, 09:02

ApexMCT follow the @tankslappers account on Twitter. They're based in South Birmingham. Might be worth a call if your next lesson with RMT doesn't go to plan.
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Re: Journey to Biking

Postby LeCreusetFiend » 23 Aug 2018, 09:06

Great - thanks - I'll bear that in mind. It just seems ridiculous to me that when I was learning to fly, in a one hour lesson I did more full-on landings than I did u-turns in a whole day of training. And it was cheaper!
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Re: Journey to Biking

Postby Kwacky » 23 Aug 2018, 09:11

It does seem a bit daft that they didn't work on your weaknesses.

At least it's not put you off.
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Re: Journey to Biking

Postby LeCreusetFiend » 23 Aug 2018, 09:13

After sitting on that matte black Street Twin, it will take a lot more than this to put me off! I WANTS!
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Re: Journey to Biking

Postby Kwacky » 23 Aug 2018, 09:28

They are nice looking bikes and I doubt it'll bore you like a 300cc would do.
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