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  1. #1
    Seat Tester
    My Bike(s)
    1997 BMW R1100RT
    Location
    Wilson, NY
    Posts
    69

    Is a touring bike really all that wrong for starting out?

    My wife has graciously indulged my midlife crisis and agreed to my dream of having a bike and heading out west to the Grand Canyon. I have signed up for the MSF rider course. I realize in an ideal world one should start with a smaller bike and then trade up. I will have about 2 months of riding pracitice before I head out west. I am really better off with something small to start on and then discover a larger bike on one of my first trips out? I would think I would be better off dealing with the nuances of a larger bike to begin with so I am completely comfortable with it before heading out. Any thoughts or opinions?

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  3. #2
    Seat Tester
    My Bike(s)
    FXDWG
    Location
    Twin (frozen) Lakes, WI
    Posts
    80
    It depends a little on your physique. Some of the tourers can be a handful. But if you are full sized and healthy, I, personally, don't think it's that big a deal. You'll have to be very careful until you gert used to it. How much are you going to spend and what were you thinking of?
    Turn on, tune in and ride off.

  4. #3
    Fifth gear streak
    My Bike(s)
    Suzuki M50 2010
    Location
    Sydney Australia
    Posts
    1,335

    Is a touring bike really all that wrong for starting out?

    Which bike for me? is just about the most common question on motorcycle forums and the answer varies with the questioner. Many jurisdictions limit bike size for new riders, with good reason. Most experienced riders also endorse a start smaller approach.

    But as JM says if you are in good physical shape and have a well developed road sense then a bigger bike can be OK if you are careful.

  5. #4
    Seat Tester
    My Bike(s)
    1997 BMW R1100RT
    Location
    Wilson, NY
    Posts
    69
    I am in better shape than most. I do triathlons in an attempt to stave off death and keep my midsection in check. I have no problem with 100 mile days on a bicycle either. That being said, I am generally the biggest triathlete in the bunch. 6'2" tall at 225 lbs is big for that group. I should point out that by biggest I don't mean fat either I am no longer in my 20s so my need for thrills is largely gone. I have not picked a specific motorcycle yet. I think it is silly to pick a bike based on name without ever sitting on it. I may end up with a pink sport tourer or a gold wing. The bike will have to fit me and I have to feel comfortable while seated.

    I just can't decide if it is a definite NO don't do this.

  6. #5
    Fifth gear streak
    My Bike(s)
    09 FatBob, 09 M50
    Location
    Near a Computer
    Posts
    1,321
    personally i'd be more hesitant about 2 months of riding experience and a cross country trip. if that's set in stone then absolutely start on what you plan on making that trip on. and spend as much time riding between purchase and trip as humanly possible.


    900 lbs of goldwing take a while to get used to. riding multiple all day rides back to back takes its toll. if your making that trip 2 up then the passenger also needs time on the bike to get used to it as well.

  7. #6
    Seat Tester
    My Bike(s)
    FXDWG
    Location
    Twin (frozen) Lakes, WI
    Posts
    80
    You may know, Harley will let you rent a motorcycle for a day, or two or a week. You might get a feel for it and see if it makes you feel good. Or, you can buy used Honda ST1100s, and many other older bikes, very inexpensively. But they can be a handful. I, personally, would lean towards a cruiser, but that's just me.
    Turn on, tune in and ride off.

  8. #7
    In Training
    My Bike(s)
    2006 Suzuki M50
    Location
    New Orleans, LA
    Posts
    120
    Yours is an interesting question. Youre definitely a big enough guy to be able to handle just about any bike out there, so i dont see the sizeof the bike being an issue. However, the part that would worry me a bit is having only 2 months of riding experience before heading cross country. You see, it is very different riding 50 miles and 500 miles. You kind of have to learn how to handle yourself and the bike when fatigue sets in, especially in potentially rough weather conditions. This is a learning experience that u get with riding time and any beginner mistakes made on a long trip like this could potentially ruinit for you. My advice would be to begin learning on whatever bike you are actually going to use for the trip and ride as much as you can before this trip, because u have a LOT to learn about the bike, yourself, and how well u both work and fit together. You will know what i mean after u put several hundred miles on the bike.
    2006 Suzuki M50
    2007 Victory Hammer

  9. #8
    Seat Tester
    My Bike(s)
    1997 BMW R1100RT
    Location
    Wilson, NY
    Posts
    69
    Thanks for all of your input. Fatigue will be an issue. I am planning on it. I used to drive 1000 miles a week and I have no problem pulling over for a nap. I will not be taking a passenger. I think that is a bit too ambitious for the first major trip. I will be joined by a more experienced rider for the trip.

  10. #9
    In Training
    My Bike(s)
    2006 Suzuki M50
    Location
    New Orleans, LA
    Posts
    120
    Your proposition for this trip is a lot like taking a test almost cold turkey.

    Is this a hard test?
    No.

    Are there likely to be some surprise questions that will catch you off guard, especially since you're not well prepared?
    Yes, for sure.

    What are your chances of getting those questions right?
    Not very good.

    What are your chances of failing this fairly easy test just because of those few questions which you didn't prepare for?
    Who knows, depends on the questions!

    My point is: do a lot of practice problems in the little time you have, or in other words "cram", so that you have the best preparation possible for whatever the road and weather throw at you.

    I really hope this makes sense, if not, please feel free to ignore…
    2006 Suzuki M50
    2007 Victory Hammer

  11. #10
    Seat Tester
    My Bike(s)
    FXDWG
    Location
    Twin (frozen) Lakes, WI
    Posts
    80
    In my opinion and experience, the best way to learn is a long, cross country trip. It's better than a lot of short jaunts. You'll pick it up quickly. Just be sure to obey traffic laws, stop when you're fatigued, and dress properly for warmth as well as protection and don't take chances. Always have an "escape" route in mind for unforseen actions by cagers.
    Turn on, tune in and ride off.

  12. #11
    Seat Tester
    My Bike(s)
    1997 BMW R1100RT
    Location
    Wilson, NY
    Posts
    69
    BlackM50 - I agree. Unfortunately most people don't prepare at all. I'm guessing for 90% of the population they will be surprised sooner or later. I guess the "surprise questions" as you phrased it are surprises at some point during the learning curve. It would be more convenient to be closer to home if surprised. But they are just that, surprises. I doubt it will matter whether they happen early on or after years of riding. Experience will definitely limit the potentail for such surprises.

    I'm just happy to note that nobody has given a definite no to a larger bike for starting.

  13. #12
    In Training
    My Bike(s)
    2006 Suzuki M50
    Location
    New Orleans, LA
    Posts
    120
    Good deal, glad it made sense. Oh and dont speak too soon, I'm pretty sure the " you NEED a 250 as your first bike" parade is about to show up. They must have slept in this morning... its never a party without them.
    2006 Suzuki M50
    2007 Victory Hammer

  14. #13
    Fifth gear streak
    My Bike(s)
    09 FatBob, 09 M50
    Location
    Near a Computer
    Posts
    1,321
    Quote Originally Posted by Jay_Mack View Post
    In my opinion and experience, the best way to learn is a long, cross country trip. It's better than a lot of short jaunts. You'll pick it up quickly. Just be sure to obey traffic laws, stop when you're fatigued, and dress properly for warmth as well as protection and don't take chances. Always have an "escape" route in mind for unforseen actions by cagers.
    im going to have to disagree, while he does have another rider with him which will increase safety. learning about how to control a bike in adverse conditions 50 miles from any form of civilization isnt optimal. the whole point of learning in town is so you get used to the idiots. and emergency braking so you actually know what to do when a javelina or deer decides to wander into the road. or controlling the bike when you hit a slick section of road or a chunk of tire hits you or it starts to rain.

    Quote Originally Posted by lighthiker90
    It would be more convenient to be closer to home if surprised. But they are just that, surprises. I doubt it will matter whether they happen early on or after years of riding.
    theres a first time for everything. and a good year or so around town and day trips will get a good chunk of those 1st times out of the way. yeah it still hurts getting hit by a decent size chunk of road debris. but the 1st time was very different from more recent events. that 1st deer scared the crap out of me. it still does. but at least im much better at panic stopping. and learning to panic stop at 30 mph in your neighborhood because a minivan didnt bother to look before backing out of the driveway. is a heck of alot better than 75mph, 50 miles from town.

    it seems like you've got your heart set on this so get as much practice in between now and when the trip is, get yourself a nice full CE suit. and pick up a copy of proficient motorcycling to read over the winter.

  15. #14
    Fifth gear streak
    My Bike(s)
    09 FatBob, 09 M50
    Location
    Near a Computer
    Posts
    1,321
    Quote Originally Posted by blackm50
    I'm pretty sure the " you NEED a 250 as your first bike" parade is about to show up.
    i think im the only one in that parade. and i prefer the "we highly recommend a small bike for your 1st" jamboree.

    edit: given a choice of which is more dangerous. i think most of us prefer to focus on the cross country trip over the bike size.

    edit2: the ninja 250 is no more.
    the replacement 300 now has abs!
    Last edited by slozomby; 11-16-2012 at 02:41 PM. Reason: Stuff!

  16. #15
    Where Am I ?
    My Bike(s)
    08 c109rt
    Location
    Newberry Springs Ca.
    Posts
    39
    A 6/2 250 pound guy is a little large for a smaller bike, especially if there is a long trip soon after you start out. It is good that you will be riding with another more seasoned rider. Be sure that what ever bike you end up on it is large enough the handle the changing conditions on the high way. You will most likely be loading the bike up so get one with double front discs and one that runs at low rpm for those long hours in the saddle. You can pick up a Suzuki C90T for not to much money. They don't have a lot of low end speed but the have a ton of torch and will lope along at 70-75 all day. What ever you get put new tires on it and have them put ride-on in the tires. Nothing spoils a trip like getting a fat at high way speeds.

    Good luck in your hunt and what ever you do don't decide not to take the safety class


 

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