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Oh, I agree. Although my point was a bit more about the road training received is - at least in Holland - quite advanced compared to what people receive in America AFAIK. A friend of ours who moved to Florida got her motorcycle license after driving around a parking lot for 30 minutes >_< Even videos of the MSF course look quite tame. The nearest equivalent of the training you get in Holland during your drivers license is the Advanced Police Training Course in the UK, mixed in with some of the stuff from Keith Codes California Superbike School.

That being said, the liter bikes will tear you a new one in the blink of an eye if you mishandle them, but I do think that the training I received during my license does equip me to ride the bike in road situation, at speeds within the legal limit ;) Or at least I bloody well hope so, seeing as my first bike is a ZX-9R E1 :p
 

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oh yeah, the US testing is rubbish in comparison to Europe :)
I studied in the US for a year and took my driving test to get a driver's licence... just have to drive around the block and down main street, sticking to the speed limits :D

This is mainly a US bike forum though, and it seems that alot who pass the test then feel that they're equipped to control any size/type of bike :)

ride safe!
 

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Oh, I agree. Although my point was a bit more about the road training received is - at least in Holland - quite advanced compared to what people receive in America AFAIK. A friend of ours who moved to Florida got her motorcycle license after driving around a parking lot for 30 minutes >_< Even videos of the MSF course look quite tame. The nearest equivalent of the training you get in Holland during your drivers license is the Advanced Police Training Course in the UK, mixed in with some of the stuff from Keith Codes California Superbike School.

That being said, the liter bikes will tear you a new one in the blink of an eye if you mishandle them, but I do think that the training I received during my license does equip me to ride the bike in road situation, at speeds within the legal limit ;) Or at least I bloody well hope so, seeing as my first bike is a ZX-9R E1 :p
Don't care if you went through cooking school with a world class chef. That doesn't make you a world class chef.

You can prepare in any manner that you wish but that still won't help you when the unexpected arises. This thread is about young inexperienced riders getting on to a Ninja ZX-14 and not knowing what the bike is capable of or how to handle it. I don't care if you've been trained by the best, it won't matter if you're riding at 130 mph and a deer runs out in the road. Where do you go? What do you do? The truth is, the difference between wearing a helmet and choosing not to in that scenario is the difference between an open and closed casket for an inexperienced rider.
 

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:) easy tiger. Firstly if you're doing 130mph on public roads you deserve whatever happens to you. But yes, if a deer does run out infront of you and you're riding at the speed limit, and you've received any form of training: you'll probably be riding accordingly to expect it, and will have prepared for that eventuality; and you'll know how to react and not to panic.
For a new rider though, the situation will be made infinitely worse by being on a bike that they cannot safely control.

You are right, being taught by the best doesn't make you as good as them.
But it gives you the tools and knowledge you need to be as good as them, if you continue to practise and follow their guidance.

Training and education are key to ensure that you ride safely and are able to handle your machine.
And never ride beyond your limits.
 

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Never meant for the helmet discussion going any further than using it as an example that the proper gear means nothing if someone is riding like an idiot (I know how motorcycle safety courses love their acronym ATGATT so I had to throw that in.) My whole view is that training and education are great but nothing will replace experience. With that said I strongly believe in the sound advice given by the OP. Start with a bike that will get you in the least amount of trouble. Marine motorcycle deaths top their Iraq combat fatalities - CNN The Navy gives free courses to all Marines and mandates an additional course for all sports bike riders. The problem is these troops have a lot of disposable income and buy the biggest badest bikes that money can buy.
 

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Don't care if you went through cooking school with a world class chef. That doesn't make you a world class chef.

You can prepare in any manner that you wish but that still won't help you when the unexpected arises. This thread is about young inexperienced riders getting on to a Ninja ZX-14 and not knowing what the bike is capable of or how to handle it. I don't care if you've been trained by the best, it won't matter if you're riding at 130 mph and a deer runs out in the road. Where do you go? What do you do? The truth is, the difference between wearing a helmet and choosing not to in that scenario is the difference between an open and closed casket for an inexperienced rider.
I'm not entirely sure where this came from :p It actually underscored my point in a weird way. The helmet comment may be a bit out of left field, but no-one here actually rides without a helmet. Even the squids :p The kids who ride with no other gear are restricted to mopeds, and even when they get their license they are restricted to 25 kW bikes until they are 24.

As far as the whole swerving at 130 mph goes, like insolentminx said you're a bit of a **** if you're doing that on public roads anyway. That being said, the reason why I thought the MSF course a little tame is precisely because one of the exercises is a brake-and-swerve at low speed. Compared to the exercise you get when doing your license here which trains you for exactly this situation. One is a roll off the throttle in a controlled manner while leaning the bike over at the max to swerve about 5m off your path and then back around the cones onto your original course. Another is emergency stopping procedures. Both of which are done at 50 km/h, although some instructors like to have you do them at 80 km/h just to show you that you can. I don't think the MSF does anything like that from what I have seen.

I agree that experience counts for a lot, but don't underestimate good training. It's saved my and other peoples lives on more than one occasion, and if it didn't matter then no-one would do it. Many organisations, not least the military, put a great amount of effort into training. As they say: "Hard training, easy fight". It's all about suppressing your survival instincts in moments of crisis, and here in Holland at least they don't even let you on the road to take lessons until you've completed around 20 hours of practical exercises such as I described in order to do exactly that.

/edit: To be clear: I don't disagree with the OP. However, I do think that it is heavily contextual, and simply wanted to express that I felt that the sentiments contained in it were perhaps not entirely universally applicable. From reading various motorcycle forums and watching vids on Youtube about training exercises from the MSF et al. I have the distinct impression that people do not receive very much training - if any actually - in America in order to get their motorcycle license. If this is indeed that case, then I fully understand the information put out in the OP, although the tone is somewhat condescending and not actually be the best way to get younger people to listen to the advice :D However, in other parts of the world people do get a lot more training, on mid-range bikes (my lessons were on a 60HP Honda CBF500 ABS). Telling people who got their license in such conditions to go learn to ride on a 250CC bike is not only confusing, but a little insulting to boot. Projecting deficiencies of one riding system onto others will only confuse people I feel, and I wanted to at least mention it. This is one of the few Kawasaki forums on the net, and shows up high in the rankings.
 

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Valheru - I guess your superior "20 hours of practical exercises" in Holland gives you all the skills that you need to survive every situation that you'll see on the road. If you read my later comment you will see I addressed my helmet comment to Steve. I'm saying that a helmet or any other gear (I call it Power Ranger suits) that you put on to ride your screaming rice burners won't make a difference when you bite the dirt. Believe me you will bite the dirt, even if it's not your fault.

The OP gave some great advice. Maybe your 20 hours makes you invinsible but don't take away from the direction of the article. The OP may save someone's life. You have your 900 CC and that is your choice. I agree with the article and don't believe anyone should get anything larger than a 500 CC sportsbike until they have at least five years of experience. I have 27 years experience on the road. I pray that my 23 year old son doesn't take a 20 hour course and then run to the dealer to get a ZR-14. I would hope he would heed the warning from the OP. Obviously you did not and your counting on a SAFETY COURSE to save your hide.
 

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Well, you certainly seem determined to be a hostile bugger, so I suppose I'll just have to leave you to that :p Just to set the record straight though, 20 hours of vehicle control and manoeuvres is just the beginning. After that you take a further 20 - 50 hours of road lessons, riding anything between 2.000 - 5.000 km before you can take your test.

I personally think that as long as you have ample training, and ride within your limits you can learn to ride on a bigger bike. The key is staying within your limits as you explore the potential of your bike, and become familiar with it. Most of the training I received served to reinforce exactly this sort of behaviour, preparing riders to be able to ride larger bikes once they had their licenses. I had actually set out to buy a ZX-6R, but after two dealers had recommended getting a larger machine due to the fact that I am commuting 300 km a day on it I settled on the ZX-9R. It's a very nice bike, and you are excruciatingly aware of the fact that it is twice as powerful as the bike you learned to ride on. I don't agree that you are signing your death warrant though simply by getting on the thing. Perhaps if your lessons consist of riding around a parking lot and then getting a bike without knowing anything about proper clutch control, low-speed manoeuvring, smooth acceleration/deceleration, proper cornering technique, visual techniques, emergency manoeuvres, proper equipment, defensive riding, assertive riding and a myriad other things then I could agree with you. As it stands though, I'm afraid I simply can't.
 

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Well, you certainly seem determined to be a hostile bugger Just to set the record straight though, 20 hours of vehicle control and manoeuvres is just the beginning. After that you take a further 20 - 50 hours of road lessons, riding anything between 2.000 - 5.000 km before you can take your test.

Perhaps if your lessons consist of riding around a parking lot and then getting a bike without knowing anything about proper clutch control, low-speed manoeuvring, smooth acceleration/deceleration, proper cornering technique, visual techniques, emergency manoeuvres, proper equipment, defensive riding, assertive riding and a myriad other things then I could agree with you. As it stands though, I'm afraid I simply can't.
All I'm doing is reinforcing what the article was TRYING to get across to people thinking about getting a bike. I guess it's great that your government demands that you take a course to start you off. But as I stated in my original thread, just because you went through cooking school with a world class chef, that does not make you a world class chef. As far as your dealer saying you would be better off on the larger bike. That makes sense to me. If I could sell a product for $15,000 versus $11,000 and my commission was 5%, of course you would be walking out of my showroom on the $15,000 bike. The salesman made an additional $200 off of you.

Back to the article... You are using excuses why not to get the smaller bike as described in the article. 1. I went to a great course that gave me all the ability I will ever need. 2. I drive 300km a day and a smaller cylinder sportsbike would not bring me to point B. I also suppose you are six foot tall and the smaller bike would be too small for you?

Just so you know. We can agree to disagree and that is fine with me. Some of my best friends are born from past conflicts. One other thing (something that you driving school probably didn't teach you.) I used a deer as an example scenario in my earlier post. Deer mostly come out at night. You can maneuver all you can but most of the time they come out beyond your headlights capability. What I do is slow down until a car comes about and passes me. Then I tuck behind them (seven car length or so) and use their headlights to flush the ditches and tree line. Usually when a deer comes onto the road it will most commonly hit the car before it would a trail vehicle. I've been riding in cornfield rich country roads for many years and its a heck of a lot safer to follow my method then it is to try and miss them. Experience!
 

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There you go projecting again. I was never the one who said the course gave me all the experience I needed. Those were your words from the beginning. I merely stated that it gave one a good foundation to start out with, as opposed to the lack of formal training received in America. My original post in the thread was quite clear on this I feel. You keep on trying to steer the conversation back into the predefined notion that you can't begin on a bigger bike for the reasons stated in the OP, while from the very beginning I stated that while the OP made good points, I felt that it was American centric and thus lacking stated context.

The ZX-9R is actually cheaper than the ZX-6R, the reason being that the ZX-6R's are in higher demand. The ZX-9R is a sport-tourer, and isn't very sought after. Not to mention the fact that I bought it second hand. I actually got it about 1.500 euro's cheaper than a ZX-6R, but don't let that stop you grasping at further straws ;)

As for your chef analogy, you ignore the fact that a good education from someone who is good at what they do prepares them well for their chosen task.

As for your contrived example of the deer, it's just that. Contrived. While experience will hopefully cause you to become a better rider over time, it can also cause you to develop bad habits over time, if left to your own devices. There is no guarantee that the deer will choose to jump out in front of the car instead of you, that is just your own assessment of the situation, and is probably governed more by chance than you would like. Touting it as a prime example of how your experience makes you a better rider isn't doing your argument much good as far as I am concerned. Not to mention the fact that you are relying on a car to be present and to drive at a sensible speed. What if the car drives like a moron? Would you careen willy-nilly behind him, in an ever increasingly desperate attempt to use him as a shield?
A more practical response to the situation would simply be to slow down to give you more time to react. You don't need a car for that, merely some rational thought.
The whole deer argument is a bit silly in my situation anyway, since we don't really have deer here in Holland. However, chance would have it that I frequently visit my family in Suffolk, England where they do have deer. Instead of performing all sorts of acrobatics in order to ensconce myself behind some random cager, I just slow down and use my peripheral vision to scan for their eyes, which light up when hit by the headlights. The roads usually dictate that I slow down anyway, due to the amount of debris that collects on them. But hey, that's just me, using the lessons my driving school taught me ;)
Jokes aside though, what do you really think is the better response to a situation where you have limited situational awareness due to vegetation and restricted vision due to the fact that you are riding at night along a road that is probably not entirely debris free? Tuck yourself behind a car and use it as a shield, or slow down as far as you need to in order to drive safely and look further ahead? I'll leave that one as an exercise to the reader...

/edit: one thing I am probably failing to stress is that the whole riders mentality is different over here. People don't think that getting a bigger bike is necessarily a bad idea when you are starting off. This is primarily because they have been through the same training as you have, and know what you know. I was not making excuses to get a bigger bike as you stated. Rather, it took two different people to talk me into getting a bigger bike due to what I wanted to use it for. It most definitely not purchased to do wheelies and stoppies and other various squiddy things :p I think that this makes a large difference. The whole attitude towards riding is very different here, and it shows. Official figures put the annual total road deaths at about 600. I grew up in South Africa, and that many people died on the roads there over a long weekend :shock: I don't think I would ever ride a bike there.
 

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My first bike was a 1990 GS500E.
It was the perfect first bike for me. My second bike was a 2008 Ninja 650R. I still ride that one almost every day.
I keep bikes for a long time.
I would not recommend that anyone buy more than a 500cc bike for their first machine. I don't care if he has taken private motorcycling lessons from Valentino Rossi.
IMHO, A Super Sport is not a beginner bike. Heck, I still don't ride an SS. My 650 twin is fast enough for the street, although it is receiving a few upgrades as things wear out.
 

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Great article. I own a 04 ninja 500r so you can imagine the grype from the 600's and up. I tell them if we both go down going 120mph, we both could die. If I owned a bike to race, I would accomodate that desire to go 200mph, but I just ride because I love to ride. my 500's accel and top speed is more than enough for me. Great advice for new and experienced riders.
 

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First Reply. Here is some current info on your first bike. Bought my son a starter bike in June '08. 2007 250 Ninja (1200 miles) for $2500 plus tax. Rode it for 4 years (4000 miles) and said it was to small. Found a 2008 650 Ninja (1850 miles) $4955 at a Harley shop. Here's what happened. Got 2000 for trade for 250, took $300 off the 650 $4655. Out the door $2655 plus tax.
Basicaly rode for 4 years for around $500 plus maintenace. Got 4 years of experience and uprgaded to a 650 for $2655.
Did all of this on my 50th birthday 12/2012. What a birthday present! What a great dad!!,,(this week). Now it's my bike but he can ride it.
Pat
 

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Great write up!

I'm a new rider, currently riding around on an '06 Suzuki GZ 125. I commute daily and have done about 1600 miles in the 4 months since I passed my CBT. I am planning to have my full license by April/May this year and will hopefully be riding a 1990 K1 ZZR400 as soon as I pass. I assume this will be a reasonable bike to hone my skills on as I read everywhere that they are underpowered for the weight, but thats what I probably need. I bought the bike 3 years ago with the intention of doing my DAS. Never did it and I'm kinda glad. I have already learned quite a lot on the 125 in the few months I've been riding.

Jim
 

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The first bike I ever bought was a 2006 CBR 600RR. Brand new off the show room floor. Financed that baby and got it delivered to my house. NEVER rode a motorcycle, dirt bike, quad before owning that bike. Taught myself to ride by riding around my block for days first. The first day I could barely make it through first gear. Took it around 25mph roads, 35mph tops. Took my time and did everything I could not to get ahead of myself. Eventually got more comfortable and had all kinds of fun on it. I rode that bike for a total of 6 seasons until I recently sold it. You need to have extreme control over yourself with those types of bikes. Way too many of my friends bought them and crashed them. Luckily no one I know ever got seriously injured. But I never had any issues and had a blast riding it. In the end I found cruisers to be way more comfortable and more practical for everyday. So I got a Vulcan 1500. If I had any advice for a new rider I would say to get something small, dont spend a lot of money. Learn to ride and then upgrade to whatever you like. Its just not necessary to have all that power on the street and especially as your first bike. Now they make that small Kawi sport bike that looks like the real deal. Still plenty cool enough, Im sure you can get one of those used for cheap. Or a 600 cruiser. Otherwise go big but be safe, take your time and learn how to ride. Good luck.
 

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Well, you certainly seem determined to be a hostile bugger, so I suppose I'll just have to leave you to that :p Just to set the record straight though, 20 hours of vehicle control and manoeuvres is just the beginning. After that you take a further 20 - 50 hours of road lessons, riding anything between 2.000 - 5.000 km before you can take your test.

I personally think that as long as you have ample training, and ride within your limits you can learn to ride on a bigger bike. The key is staying within your limits as you explore the potential of your bike, and become familiar with it. Most of the training I received served to reinforce exactly this sort of behaviour, preparing riders to be able to ride larger bikes once they had their licenses. I had actually set out to buy a ZX-6R, but after two dealers had recommended getting a larger machine due to the fact that I am commuting 300 km a day on it I settled on the ZX-9R. It's a very nice bike, and you are excruciatingly aware of the fact that it is twice as powerful as the bike you learned to ride on. I don't agree that you are signing your death warrant though simply by getting on the thing. Perhaps if your lessons consist of riding around a parking lot and then getting a bike without knowing anything about proper clutch control, low-speed manoeuvring, smooth acceleration/deceleration, proper cornering technique, visual techniques, emergency manoeuvres, proper equipment, defensive riding, assertive riding and a myriad other things then I could agree with you. As it stands though, I'm afraid I simply can't.
It's working for me. I ride with in my limits, not taking chances and following the rules of the road. I'm glad I started out with my 600.
 

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I found a great deal on an '07 Ninja 650R, and bought it. I hadn't ridden since I was 14, nearly 9 years. On the ride home I nearly dropped it at the first light I came to, promptly rolled into the nearest gas station and called my buddy to come ride it home for me while I drove his truck. Getting on that bike with no experience (also, the riding experience I had at 14 was only on a 125cc dirtbike), was easily one of the stupidest decisions of my life. I signed up for the nearest Motorcycle Safety Course, and after the 3 day class finally got back on my Ninja, which I was at this time truly afraid of. I spent the next 2 weeks riding around the back roads, and got used to the bike. Now, 4 months later, I ride everyday unless its terrible weather, and I love every moment of it. Every person learns differently, but I speak as one of the people that went out and bought a 650 with next to no riding experience and can say that in my experience, either take a class (they are relatively cheap and short) or spend some time with some friends who know how to ride and are willing to help you learn.
 

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I found a great deal on an '07 Ninja 650R, and bought it. I hadn't ridden since I was 14, nearly 9 years. On the ride home I nearly dropped it at the first light I came to, promptly rolled into the nearest gas station and called my buddy to come ride it home for me while I drove his truck. Getting on that bike with no experience (also, the riding experience I had at 14 was only on a 125cc dirtbike), was easily one of the stupidest decisions of my life. I signed up for the nearest Motorcycle Safety Course, and after the 3 day class finally got back on my Ninja, which I was at this time truly afraid of. I spent the next 2 weeks riding around the back roads, and got used to the bike. Now, 4 months later, I ride everyday unless its terrible weather, and I love every moment of it. Every person learns differently, but I speak as one of the people that went out and bought a 650 with next to no riding experience and can say that in my experience, either take a class (they are relatively cheap and short) or spend some time with some friends who know how to ride and are willing to help you learn.
How did you almost drop it?
 

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I started on a Ninja 250. Of course I wanted a bigger bike, but luckily saner heads prevailed. I rode the 250 for 2 years and put about 10k miles on it, then sold it for $100 less than I bought it for. I also dropped it once due to gravel on a turn which I took too fast.

I was never once trolled about riding a 250 by anyone. I even had people come up and talk to me about my bike from time to time when I was filling it up with gas. I had a lot of looks from girls as well while riding and when I stopped into places. Was I ashamed of riding the 250? In the beginning I felt a little self-conscious, but in the end I was not ashamed in the least...

I have always been a strong driver and frequently visit the track. I have driven sport cars for the better part of 2 decades. I was even the top student of my MSF course (I was the only rider who didn't have a single remark made about their performance after the final test).

Having said that, there were several times on my 250 that I got away with "maneuvers" that I never would have gotten away with on a 600cc+ sport bike. Live and learn... learn to walk before you try to run. It may save your life. I think it saved mine.
 

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I have always had 600cc bikes and am thinking about getting a new zx-10r however a few people have told me that living in florida and being in florida traffic they had problems with the bigger bikes over heating. Wondering if anyone else has had these problems on a bigger bike but not a smaller one.
 
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