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Author Topic: Total, absolute, 100% noob...  (Read 1638 times)

talltenor

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Total, absolute, 100% noob...
« on: May 18, 2009, 02:44:56 AM »
Hi, all:

Guess I should start by stating I'd never heard of RE until the NY Times article came out.  Second thing to state is that what I know of motorcycles would fit on the head of a pin.  Those things admitted, as soon as I'd read the Times article, I immediate thought, "This is the coolest thing I've seen in a long, long, time!!!

So, where the heck to start my queries?  How does one get into riding?  How does a 47-year-old man, who 30 years ago had one afternoon of trying to learn to ride, begin in this hobby/obsession?  How does one learn to ride?  How does one know what type of bike is "best?"  How does one learn to be one's own mechanic, for the "routine" stuff like oil changes?  Perhaps most important of all, how does one convince the wife that getting a bike would be a great idea? 

I live in Connecticut, about an hour's drive north of NYC.  Southwestern New England would seem to me to be wonderful riding country, with lots of curving, two-lane roads, a few hills from time to time, and the occasional covered bridge.  I drive into NYC on a semi-regular basis, but I'm thinking riding a motorcycle into the City is not such a great idea, no?  What about longer trips?

I freely admit that I have no idea what I'd be doing.  If y'all want to flame me and tell me to go away, fine.  But from what I've seen on the web, these RE bikes have a "cool factor" that is off the charts, and the people on this forum seem to be really friendly and helpful.  I would appreciate any and all suggestions that you good folk might have.

Thanks,

Bill in CT

The Garbone

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Re: Total, absolute, 100% noob...
« Reply #1 on: May 18, 2009, 03:10:28 AM »
Take a 2 day Motorcycle Safety Course.   They take you from power walking a bike feathering a clutch to the point of your final riding exam with basics of preriding checks etc thrown in.

That is what I did before buying my Bullet and it worked out well. 

As for the wife,  I had a friend take her for a ride on a Harley and she was convinced..  She likes to go for rides as much as I do...
Gary
57' RE Crusader 250
67' Ford Mustang
74' Catalina 27 "Knot a Clew"
95 RE Ace Clubman 535
01 HD 1200 Custom
07 RE 5spd HaCK

* all actions described in this post are fictional *

jdrouin

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Re: Total, absolute, 100% noob...
« Reply #2 on: May 18, 2009, 03:23:54 AM »
Hi Bill,

I grew up in CT (Wethersfield) and live in Brooklyn, and have owned a 2007 Bullet Classic since September 2008. The first step in learning is to take the Motorcycle Safety Foundation (MSF) Basic Rider Course.

http://www.msf-usa.org/

Click on "Rider Course Info" to find a location near your area. Most likely you'll have to take a written test at your DMV in order to obtain a motorcycle learner's permit. Then you'll present that permit when you sign up for the course. Do not learn from your friends or family who might be experienced riders -- you need training from a professional instructor.

As for "best" bikes to start with, anything that's not too powerful and on which you can sit comfortably will do. I would avoid a heavy cruiser or over-powered crotch rocket. The Bullet is my first bike. It's a sound beginner bike because it has a small displacement motor without a whole lot of power. Also, the maintenance is easy and fun, but you have to be active about it. If you're looking into the new fuel injected model, you'll have even less maintenance, so that bike would be even better for a beginner. But you should go to dealerships, sit on different bikes, see what feels comfortable.

http://powersportsnetwork.com is a good resource for specifications and rider reports for all makes and model of motorcycles, so you can start getting a feel for things there.

The Bullet is an excellent city bike, but you can't take it on the freeway (i.e. at constant speeds of 70 MPH). Parkways are more like it. I ride mine on the Brooklyn Queens Expressway, West Side Highway, and FDR Drive all the time, but those roads rarely even reach 45 MPH. I once rode from Brooklyn to the Hartford area on the Merritt Parkway in mid-afternoon, at 55-60 MPH and it was totally fine (got 70 MPG too). You can click here for a report on my recent trip back to the city on country/coastal roads and parkways: http://www.enfieldmotorcycles.com/forum/index.php/topic,4218.0.html.

It's a rugged and reliable bike, not to mention beautiful and fun. You just have to keep up with maintenance (oil/fluid changes, check the valves, keep the chain tightened and lubed), which isn't much more than you'd have to do on a modern bike.

You can check the dealer locator at the top of this page for a dealer near you.

As for the wife, I don't think I can help you much there. Sometimes it's better to ask for forgiveness than for permission.

Good luck with your decision, and let us know if you have any more questions.

Jeff

doomed1

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Re: Total, absolute, 100% noob...
« Reply #3 on: May 18, 2009, 03:27:56 AM »
you assume too much of us. most of us here are the same age or older and don't really care for flaming out a guy who wants in on our passion. course, i'm in a similar boat as you, knowing nothing about cycling, just starting out, as well as likely being the youngest rocker who regularly posts here at 20, but hey, we're easy going guys (and gals, wait, do we have any ladies on the forums?).

first thing you have to do is go to the DMV, as i'm sure someone will post before me, to find out how to get your motorcycle permit, but that's the easy stuff. motorcycling is a great thing to get into, cheap economical, and most of all cool. getting the permit is the easy part.

i used to live up in the Springfield in MA when i was a kid. now i'm in the NYC metropolitan across the Hudson in Jersey, and i will tell you this: the Bullet, and ESPECIALLY the C5 (or the G5) are EXCELLENT city bikes. economical, fuel efficient, nimble, i could go on, but then i'd start sounding like an RE rep. i plan to continue to use mass transit to get into NYC since it's cheaper and more convenient than dealing with traffic, but from everything i've heard, it handles sublimely which is ideal for city traffic, which is what i'll be dealing with locally anyway.

as for the longer trips, the main reason i don't have an AVL or old iron barreled is because i go to school all the way out in Minnesota, so i need a bike that can get me halfway across the country in a reasonable time frame, meaning long distance highway travel. i'll be putting 3k miles a year on the bike AT LEAST. the general sanity of my endeavor has been questioned, and on these very boards, but the bike is more than capable, so after breaking it in over the summer, i'll put the bike through the ultimate test in late August, when i make the trip back to school. i might even create a blog about it...

anyway, the new UCE bullets are great starter bikes, especially considering the light engine, the good handling, the lower (but not TOO low) top speed, and the ease of home maintenance. Connecticut doesn't appear to have any dealers, so i think you're going to have to look elsewhere for the bike. there appears to be a couple of dealers in MA and a few in upstate NY with one on Long Island, so you're going to have to travel across state lines to buy one, which sucks, but hey, the look and feel is worth it, at least as far as i can tell from all the guys posting here. you'll definitely be unique.

talltenor

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Re: Total, absolute, 100% noob...
« Reply #4 on: May 18, 2009, 03:55:30 AM »
Thanks, guys.  The safety course as a point of origin sounds like the best way to start.  One of the websites I just checked even goes so far as to say (paraphrasing) that some of those who take these courses find that motorcycles are not for them... I don't know if I'd be one of "those" or not, but $200 for three hours of classroom work & eight hours of on-bike learning sounds like a pretty good investment.

Thanks again, guys!

Bill

Bullet Bill

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Re: Total, absolute, 100% noob...
« Reply #5 on: May 18, 2009, 04:36:13 AM »
The MSF course is two hundred bucks in Connecticut?  Yeesh.  It was twenty for me in Illinois, but the trade-off was an idiot mayor.  (Look up the words "mayor," "New Lenox," and "strip club" on a search engine)
There's something that doesn't make sense... let's go and poke it with a stick.

doomed1

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Re: Total, absolute, 100% noob...
« Reply #6 on: May 18, 2009, 06:32:31 AM »
The MSF course is two hundred bucks in Connecticut?  Yeesh.  It was twenty for me in Illinois, but the trade-off was an idiot mayor.  (Look up the words "mayor," "New Lenox," and "strip club" on a search engine)
250-300 here in Jersey, all because they stopped their free program. really sucks too...

UK-Classics

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Re: Total, absolute, 100% noob...
« Reply #7 on: May 18, 2009, 07:22:26 AM »
Good luck with your training - it should give you an idea if riding is for you - looking back I enjoyed learning to ride (properly) - things you learn stick with you for life & you will end up being a better & more considerate car driver afterwards

Count yourself lucky - if you were trying to start riding in the UK you would end up paying 10 times that much  >:(
Cheers
Nick

23hp

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Re: Total, absolute, 100% noob...
« Reply #8 on: May 18, 2009, 09:13:25 AM »
Hi Bill

When the Bullet bug bites, you get hooked and from then on its just a matter of time till you mount her for the first time. 

The Bullet is my first real bike and every day she teaches me somthing new.  To drive her is inspiring, to fiddle with her is addictivly intreaging.

All the best with your training, Im sure you will love every minute of it like I did!


thesodapopkid

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Re: Total, absolute, 100% noob...
« Reply #9 on: May 18, 2009, 11:20:52 AM »
Hey Bill. I'm in the same boat as you, I too have just discovered that RE are still making these beautiful bikes and I'm thinkin' the new g5 is going to be my first ride as soon as I get my motorcycle training done. Well, good luck to you sir, and hello to everyone. I've been lurking these forums for awhile now, and finally signed up!

ace.cafe

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Re: Total, absolute, 100% noob...
« Reply #10 on: May 18, 2009, 12:37:58 PM »
Welcome to the club!

Since you are a beginner, I think you need to take advantage of the latest models available. such as the C5 or G5.
The C5 is so new that we don't have any here yet in the US, but they should be coming in within a month. The G5 models are already on the showroom floor.
These new models have improvements which were never before available on a Royal Enfield, and promise to provide higher levels of reliability, and higher cruising speeds than before.
The new models will be less demanding of mechanical skills, although you'll still need to be able to do a few things.

Get your new bike and take the Motorcycle Safety Course, and spend some spare time leisurely breaking-in your new motorcycle at low speeds on the back roads.
Home of the ACE Fireball 535 Bullet,  Ace GP Hi-Lift Roller Rocker Head . Pistons, cams, etc. Highest performance Bullet engine mods available .  AVL mods. Redditch 700/750 Twin mods. UCE kit soon.

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talltenor

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Re: Total, absolute, 100% noob...
« Reply #11 on: May 18, 2009, 06:50:37 PM »
CT's DMV site links to several places that offer the safety courses... the location nearest to me is a community college.  I don't think the state subsidizes these at all - it's indeed $200 at NVCC.  A dealer a bit further up the road offers them for $240.

I do think this is the right thing for me to do, though, once I have some time (which I won't until late July).

Bullet Bill

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Re: Total, absolute, 100% noob...
« Reply #12 on: May 18, 2009, 08:10:00 PM »
July's probably a good time for it anyhow.  I took my course in July, and it never rained, though the second day of three (I did the weekday classes) was overcast.  With the weather we've been having, you'd be lucky to get a single day on the bike right now!  Hang in there, Bill.  You'll be in class soon, though perhaps not soon enough.

My main piece of advice would be to arrive to the classes early, especially once you  get outdoors.  You'll have to wait a while before starting, but at least you'll have the pick of the litter as bikes and helmets go.  Also, if you know anyone at all who's recently taken the MSF course, borrow their handbook and flip through it.  The written test is nothing special, but it would be a shame to fail the class over it and have to delay getting an 'm' class licence.  And, of course, don't forget to have fun.
There's something that doesn't make sense... let's go and poke it with a stick.

jdrouin

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Re: Total, absolute, 100% noob...
« Reply #13 on: May 19, 2009, 02:26:40 AM »
Bring some food and drink as well, including water. In the MSF course you do lots of very slow riding all day, which is physically demanding. You can get dehydrated quickly sitting on an internal combustion engine.

Jeff

talltenor

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Re: Total, absolute, 100% noob...
« Reply #14 on: May 19, 2009, 04:09:32 PM »
Norwalk Community College lists $165 for the beginner course; Naugatuck Valley CC in Brookfield lists $200.  They're about equidistant from me.