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  #21  
Old 02-26-2016, 11:49 AM
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Default Re: How hard is it to learn to ride a motorcycle?

We want something that will go on dirt roads because we have dirt, gravel and chip & seal roads around our area. And when I say dirt roads I'm not saying rough logging roads or cross country tracks. I'm saying dirt roads that cars us on a daily basis so they are reasonable roads.

Not looking for dirt bikes. But want something that will actually go down the roads that surround our property so we are not limited to just the surrounding asphalt.

But also looking for something that will manage a road trip and give us some luggage storage.
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Old 02-26-2016, 12:39 PM
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Default Re: How hard is it to learn to ride a motorcycle?

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Originally Posted by Doc View Post
The trip sounds like fun. ETF's comment reminded me of the reverse trike Can-Am has out now. Two wheels in front one in back. They appear to be easier to ride (I say appear as I've never been on one). Downside, to me, is you can't lean in the turns like on a motorcycle. But these might be something worth a look Bob.

They sure look comfortable.
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I have several friends who ride. One of them decided he was getting too old for the Harley. He said it was too much work on long rides and he'd end up exhausted. He bought a Harley trike. He liked it but after the second time he tipped it while parking in Walmart's car park he got rid of it and got the Can-Am. To me, there's something about it that doesn't look quite right with 2-wheels at the front but he absolutely loves it. He's heading to Tennessee this summer on it. By the way, he's almost 73-years old.
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Old 02-26-2016, 01:24 PM
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Default Re: How hard is it to learn to ride a motorcycle?

I've always wanted to have a bike just as you are describing myself. I've looked into them time and time again and without the opportunity to actually sit and ride one, BMW Duel Sport series seems to be my cup of tea. They are said to be just marginally compromised on trails but also the only trail bike that also a perfectly comfortable and vibration free bike to ride coast to coast on the road.

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Dual-sports reside in an unusual market segment. Bikes range from essentially off-road racers that are barely street-legal to liter-class adventure machines that rarely get soil on their tarmac-oriented tires. This year, there is a bike that treads a fine balance, one that allows a degree of capability in the dirt that belies its excellent highway manners. That bike is the BMW F800GS. On-road, the parallel-Twin will blow the doors off any Single, while the bike’s comfort, amenities and ride quality make it a great mount for month-long road tours or just plain commuting. But hit a gravel road or desert trail—and even the occasional single-track—and the Beemer will surprise you with its competence. When somebody asks “How do you get to…?” the answer is an F800GS.
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  #24  
Old 02-26-2016, 06:00 PM
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Default Re: How hard is it to learn to ride a motorcycle?

BAMBY, the BMW F800GS Adventure and the BMW R1200GS Adventure on the short list too. As is the Honda Africa Twin. The KTM 1190/1190R Adventure is the last one on the short list.

KTM > http://www.ktm.com/us/travel/1190-adventure1/

BMW F800 Adventure >> http://byo.bmwmotorcycles.com/16FA#model-info

BMW R1200 Adventure >>> http://byo.bmwmotorcycles.com/16RA#model-info

Out of all of the BMW options, the KTM and the 3 Honda models previously mentioned, the easiest BRAND for me to exclude is the KTM. Fewest dealers in the area sort of kill that brand for me despite the fact that they are light, capable and highly recommended by some seriously experienced friends. The next easiest to eliminate would be the BMW bikes and that is also for the lack of dealerships in the area, despite the fact that the BMW 1200 Adventure is probably the favorite for my personal tastes.

The logical choices are the 3 Honda motorcycles previously mentioned simply because there are local dealers and a wide dealer network. Given the newbie status of the potential riders, that would be a bonus for me/my family.

For MELEN it seems the best choice is one of the smaller bikes, they tend to be a bit lighter too. Given her back surgery that seems like the right answer so the Honda 700 or the BMW 800 would be the better options. Not sure what the lovely Mrs_Bob would like, if she is even going to go for this whole thing at all because she is "iffy" on it at this point, but I'd think smaller/lighter might be right for her too.
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Old 02-26-2016, 10:49 PM
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Default Re: How hard is it to learn to ride a motorcycle?

If you are planning on doing a circle of the great Lakes, I recommend circling superior. It's a trip I've always wanted to do. Plenty of beautiful scenery. But if you do, cross into Canada in Sault st Marie Michigan and do the northern route. You'll end up driving right by me on your way back to the states. Then keep going till you get to Duluth, hang left and follow the south Shore back to where you started. From what I've heard it's a good 5 day ride.

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  #26  
Old 02-27-2016, 10:22 AM
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Default Re: How hard is it to learn to ride a motorcycle?

I wouldn't buy the "dream" bike first. Get something small (safe) to ride around on first and do some short trips to make sure you really want to do this.
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Old 02-27-2016, 11:38 AM
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Default Re: How hard is it to learn to ride a motorcycle?

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I wouldn't buy the "dream" bike first.
Get something small (safe) to ride around on first and do some short trips to make sure you really want to do this.
And quite frankly that is the appeal of the Hondas.

Practical. Reliable. Less expensive. Lots of dealer support. May not hold resale value like a BMW with a boxer engine, but it also costs less, weighs less, and while less capable off-road that should not be an issue. We are not looking to cross Africa or Mongolia or take logging roads through the Amazon. We are looking for fun, comfortable, easy to ride for a summer adventure.

I could outfit one of those Honda NC700x bikes, with cargo boxes, helmet, leathers/rain gear, communications, etc for under $15,000. The "dream" BMW would be right under $30,000. Sure the BMW would offer lots more power, lots more capability, but being honest about all this I'm a "scooter" guy. Love to run around on the scooter, enjoy the rural roads, but I don't need to make a giant leap for mankind just to go on a summer vacation.

And I need to think about the budget here because I'd be buying not 1, but 3 of these things, plus the cost of the trip itself (food/lodging). Even if we decide to sell after the potential trip I'd be better off with 3 lower priced, capable bikes than 3 ultimate dream machines.

The Honda pictured below is the Africa Twin. It is 1 model up from the NC700x. Its about $3000 more in cost, bigger engine that is well suited for a long trip. But its about 535# without the cargo boxes. Not sure that would be as easy to handle for the Lovely Mrs_Bob and Melen. Given Melen's back surgery I am somewhat concerned about going up in weight, and I think that is a very justifiable concern.
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  #28  
Old 02-27-2016, 11:43 AM
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Default Re: How hard is it to learn to ride a motorcycle?

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Originally Posted by NorthernRedneck View Post
If you are planning on doing a circle of the great Lakes, I recommend circling superior. It's a trip I've always wanted to do. Plenty of beautiful scenery. But if you do, cross into Canada in Sault st Marie Michigan and do the northern route. You'll end up driving right by me on your way back to the states. Then keep going till you get to Duluth, hang left and follow the south Shore back to where you started. From what I've heard it's a good 5 day ride.

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You made me curious as to how much shoreline Lake Superior has. So I looked it up.

The shoreline of the lake stretches 2,726 miles

and I learned:
Lake Superior, the coldest and deepest of the Great Lakes, with an average depth is 483 feet and 1,332 feet at the deepest point, is the biggest freshwater lake on the planet, harboring 20 percent of the world's fresh surface water. It is deep enough to hold all the other Great Lakes together, plus three Lake Eries -in an era of global warming and water shortage crisis throughout much of the planet, Lake Superior could be the U.S. and Canada's equivalent of Saud Arabia's importance to the oil consuming world


I've been around Erie and Ontario, Lake Superior sounds like it would be a fun trip all by itself. I like the Sault st Marie Michigan / Mackinac Bridge area.
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  #29  
Old 02-27-2016, 12:13 PM
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Default Re: How hard is it to learn to ride a motorcycle?

Curious, none of my business but you did post this on a public forum after all. Who says the lovely ladies need the same size bike that you do? You being the guy possibly need something a bit larger then the ladies. Something lighter and easier to maneuver may be just the ticket for them on that long trip.

Back in my earlier riding days I had a 74 Harley and Mrs TR rode a Kawasaki 250cc S1 triple. She kept up just fine.
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Old 02-27-2016, 12:53 PM
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Default Re: How hard is it to learn to ride a motorcycle?

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Curious, none of my business but you did post this on a public forum after all. Who says the lovely ladies need the same size bike that you do? You being the guy possibly need something a bit larger then the ladies. Something lighter and easier to maneuver may be just the ticket for them on that long trip.

Back in my earlier riding days I had a 74 Harley and Mrs TR rode a Kawasaki 250cc S1 triple. She kept up just fine.
No reason all 3 would need to be the same. But clearly my daughter needs something that is both capable and is still a bit smaller/lighter. My wife probably would do better on a similar model. Me bumping up in size would be within my character ... my scooter is bigger than theirs and it has flames painted on the side
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  #31  
Old 02-27-2016, 04:11 PM
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Default Re: How hard is it to learn to ride a motorcycle?

I do see your point and very well understand seeking "value". I've never ridden any of the big really heavy road bikes but the various ones I have ridden weight wasn't really a factor unless a person laid it down for some stupid reason.

Of the bikes you have on your short list the VFR1200X is the only model listing ABS brakes. ABS brakes if they work and perform properly like they should would be a big plus in my book especially for a inexperienced rider. Improperly applied braking has created a lot of road rash especially in a panic stop situation and working ABS may be the path to prevention.

Anyway it sounds like a good time, pick wisely and enjoy your trip.
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  #32  
Old 02-27-2016, 04:23 PM
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Default Re: How hard is it to learn to ride a motorcycle?

All 3 of the Honda choices have the option of ABS.

Melen is coming home from college next Friday. This trip is going to be a topic of conversation with the lovely Mrs_Bob. How that goes is going to be a factor in what happens next.
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Old 02-27-2016, 11:03 PM
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Default Re: How hard is it to learn to ride a motorcycle?

I never considered a long trip each on a bike in bad weather takes the fun out.

A larger bike to carry most loads and a reverser might be a good thing.
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Old 02-28-2016, 09:24 AM
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Default Re: How hard is it to learn to ride a motorcycle?

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I never considered a long trip each on a bike in bad weather takes the fun out.

A larger bike to carry most loads and a reverser might be a good thing.
Used to traveling fairly light, and with some backpacking background we can, if we choose, travel very light. So with that in mind I'd like the bikes to be on the lighter end of the spectrum but still large enough to manage a trip with relative comfort. 500# seems like a pretty good target weight and that NC700X from Honda, with luggage, would probably top out right over that point. The larger Africa Twin with the heavier DCT automatic transmission would probably be closer to 565# with luggage & gear. The BMW with the 1200cc twin Boxer engine would run about the same weight as the Africa Twin but not have the automatic transmission.

To put that into perspective, a smaller H-D, which is not suitable for gravel roads around my property, is going to have a bare weight of about 565#, without luggage boxes or luggage so figure that would be closer to 625# and it would have a smaller engine too. The Sportster 1200T SuperLow is another option, 599# with fluids, so again back up to 625# loaded and ready to go, but again, no gravel roads for that bike and also much lower fuel economy so 50% fuel stops. While a H-D V-Rod Special would be pushing 700# in weight with bags and luggage.
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Old 03-03-2016, 05:46 PM
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Default Re: How hard is it to learn to ride a motorcycle?

Learning to ride is easy, continuing to ride is a little harder as you must be 300% defensive and alert to all other drivers around you. We sold our motorcycles last spring and decided at our age the bumps and bruises in a "what if" would be hard to heal. Everyone should try it in their life and find out if it is for them or not. I rode for 53 years and loved every moment except for the time the dog hit me and put me on crutches for 6 weeks but I got right back on for another 49 years of riding.
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  #36  
Old 03-03-2016, 06:30 PM
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Default Re: How hard is it to learn to ride a motorcycle?

One thing that most riders don't take into account is that the throttle can be a defensive weapon, often times far more effective than the brakes. Slowing or stopping can sometimes be more dangerous than speeding up to clear the area of danger.

Remember, a motorcycle, even a small one, will outperform most 4-wheeled vehicles in many circumstances.
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  #37  
Old 03-07-2016, 08:07 AM
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Default Re: How hard is it to learn to ride a motorcycle?

Wow, how did I miss this thread ................. I've been riding for 48 years, I was 8 when I got my first motorcycle.

The biggest issue I've found with beginners is maneuvering the clutch, anyone can shift but the coordination between shifting and clutch work it the stickler. I bought a cheap clutch operated quad for the wife to practice shifting so she didn't have to concentrate on keeping the bike up. She transitioned to 2 wheel fine after having the shifting down.

Your state DMV more than likely has a motorcycle class with motorcycles provide. In PA its 2 - 4 hour evenings in class and 2 - 8 hour weekend practicals which includes examination at the end of the second day. BTW, rain or shine. My wife took hers a few years ago in a downpour and passed. Emrgency braking is the most important lesson, it's re-enforced continually.

Bob, your first machine shouldn't have anything with a seat height more than 26" just for stability. If you do any homework you're gonna find the Honda Shadow 750 comes up the majority of the time for a first street bike. My wife has the Spirit model and she loves it, they are very comfortable. My only suggestion might be go with the Shadow Aero or Phantom models, their front end is a bit beefier.
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