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 Post subject: Motorcycles...
PostPosted: Mon 04-21-2008 2:10PM 
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I've never ridden a motorcycle, thought it might be fun. I've ridden a bike... but that's as close as it gets to a motorcycle. Is it hard? Is it fun? Are there any places that teach you how to ride / let you see what it's like?

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 Post subject: Re: Motorcycles...
PostPosted: Mon 04-21-2008 3:39PM 
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you are too gay to own a motorcycle. Sorry.

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 Post subject: Re: Motorcycles...
PostPosted: Mon 04-21-2008 4:36PM 
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i've heard you can take lessons down in springfield or up in jeff. city. costs a few hundred but i believe they do supply the bike. i think it's a little 250 twin like a rebel so it should be easy to control. after you're done i think it may count toward a licence.

for me, i ride a motorcycle better then a bike.


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 Post subject: Re: Motorcycles...
PostPosted: Mon 04-21-2008 4:57PM 
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Hey, I've got a motorcycle, a bike, and a scooter. Good compromise between the three, right? Just have 'em all. :)

I took up motorcycling last year, so for all intents and purposes, I'm still a noob. So feel free to take what I say with a grain of salt.

Riding a motorcycle isn't HARD per se, as much as it is completely counterintuitive. Anybody can hop on and go straight (if you can work through the gears). The riding mechanics, however, are a lot different from what one might expect coming from a bicycle or a car. Having both those experiences helps you when you come to a motorcycle, but it's completely different.

You can learn by reading and trying, and eventually finding something that works. Nothing wrong with that, that's how I picked it up, but be prepared to spend some time on the pavement. If you do that, though, there's a wealth of information you'd never pick up, bad habits you'll inevitably get into, and all kinds of things you'd miss. That's why I'd suggest going to a class especially if you've never so much as touched a motorcycle. They'll drill you on mechanics, methodology, and why and how the motorcycle handles the way it does. The instructors are typically very forgiving, and when you leave they give you a little card to take to the DMV so you can get your motorcycle endorsement on your license. It IS like $250 for the course though. If you can, go to the one that Harley-Davidson sponsors (Rider's Edge), you get more seat time, more classroom time, more time plain and simple--plus a 500cc bike, which will help if you're looking to get into a sporty bike or a heavyweight midclass cruiser right off the bat. (Don't do this.)

Anyway, one of the first things you'll have to acclimate yourself to is the whole idea of a manual transmission. Get used to it. It's actually a lot easier to learn on a motorcycle than it is a car, so if you've got that taken care of, just get used to the shift sequence and you'll be ok. I ended up spending about 3 hours in a parking lot with the bike, getting into first without killing the thing, and shifting up between first and second. Once you get that down, get your balance on it. After that, learn how to turn and take curves. That's a lot of practice (and it's probably best done in a controlled environment). Once you can do that, you're almost ready to ride, but you need to get a head for traffic and defensive driving techniques. Cars WON'T see you, get used to it. People will be stupid, merge into you, turn in front of you, all sorts of crap; you just have to learn to leave yourself an out.

Get yourself a copy of David Hough's book "Proficient Motorcycling" and read it. Study it. This will come in really handy once you get your permit and you've gotten a feel for the bike. I've got a copy if you want to borrow it or take a look at it sometime, or chat it up, or wrench around or whatever you want to do.

Personally? My motorcycle's up on its centerstand right now and I'm doing a rewire on the entire dang thing. During this time, I've taken to riding my wife's scooter around town, and I've been rather impressed with it. The riding mechanics are about the same, though it's a little more twitchy. Getting a friend to let you borrow his scooter might not be a bad thing, that way you can learn some of the fundamentals of handling, at a lower speed, without having to worry about being in the right gear.

Any other questions, feel free to post them. Heck I might turn this into a column for the Mineshaft.

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 Post subject: Re: Motorcycles...
PostPosted: Mon 04-21-2008 5:00PM 
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I forgot the most important thing. Yes, it's INCREDIBLY fun! It's my favorite stress relief activity.

other than, well....you know....

--hey honey?? ;)

Also, for lessons, the closest place is Waynesville, the technical center up there offers a beginner's class as well as a refresher course (which I may take when I get a little more scratch. and when my bike's running.) They're also about the cheapest, but you only get two days to do all the in-class work AND the lot work AND the test. If you get up to St. Louis, Springfield, Joplin, Columbia, or the Lake, the Harley dealers in those places do the Rider's Edge program, which I'd recommend if you can afford it. There's a business in Kansas City that just does motorcycle riding school, and they have five or six classes a week. Go to http://www.mmsp.org for a complete listing of DMV-approved classes. Most of them are from $200 to $450 for two to five days worth of class time and the use of a motorcycle. Some places will make you bring a helmet, others will let you use a loaner. All of them require jeans, boots, eyewear, and a jacket. Some will even put you up in a motel for the duration at a reduced rate. Basically, before you go, you should take your Motorcycle permit test, pass it and bring the permit to the class. For Missouri, the program gets you out of the riding test, but you still have to do the written test--so get the permit and get that out of the way.

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 Post subject: Re: Motorcycles...
PostPosted: Mon 04-21-2008 5:40PM 
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Thanks bag! I started looking around KC for classes, the community colleges up there run a class for $215 (http://www.mcckc.edu/mwcycle/mc-basic.asp) that goes over the weekend which would be perfect. I'm still looking into the Riders Edge stuff, according to their site (http://www.ridersedge.com/1_new/1_new1_basic.htm) it runs during the week in the evenings, it's longer and sounds better... cost was comparable - the site says $190-$350 depending on the dealer. Seems worth it...


Eh... apparently the Harley Davidson classes are a bit too popular - all of the places I've checked so far are filled till July... still looking though

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 Post subject: Re: Motorcycles...
PostPosted: Mon 04-21-2008 5:56PM 
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Deffinitely take a course. I've been riding for 2 years now, I took an MSF course in Kansas City when I started. I agree with pretty much everything bagvwf said. Motorcycles turn via counter-steering and while someone can be taught to ride a motorcycle very well without conciously counter-steering (though they'll just be doing it sub-conciously), it's much better to understand how and why it works and use it intentionally.

One thing bagvwf didn't mention and something that I suppose is kind of my pet-peeve is gear. Motorcycling is very dangerous, not sense not doing what you can to protect yourself for when something does go wrong. On fun rides I always wear full leathers with armor in key areas, leather gloves with a gauntlet and knuckle armor, armored riding boots, and a full face helmet. When commuting I'll often switch the leather jacket and pants for textile riding jacket and pants which have a little bit less armor, a little less abrasion protection, and will be destroyed by one crash (leather can last several), but are lighter, fold easier, breathe better, etc. Also, jeans will NOT protect you from abrasion, they'll last like a foot or two of sliding. If you insist, there are various kevlar reinforced or even leather reinforced (have patches in key locations) jeans out there. Draggin jeans is the big kevlar one and I think tour master/cortech makes a pair of leather reinforced jeans. Anyways in the end it's your choice, but as bagvwf said, cars won't see you, and chances are good that eventually you'll go down even if it's not your fault. And when that happens I'd much rather get up and have a 'conversation' with the car driver than lay on the pavement waiting for an ambulance.

newegg.com is one good online retailer for gear.


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 Post subject: Re: Motorcycles...
PostPosted: Mon 04-21-2008 5:59PM 
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benm wrote:
Thanks bag! I started looking around KC for classes, the community colleges up there run a class for $215 (http://www.mcckc.edu/mwcycle/mc-basic.asp) that goes over the weekend which would be perfect. I'm still looking into the Riders Edge stuff, according to their site (http://www.ridersedge.com/1_new/1_new1_basic.htm) it runs during the week in the evenings, it's longer and sounds better... cost was comparable - the site says $190-$350 depending on the dealer. Seems worth it...


Eh... apparently the Harley Davidson classes are a bit too popular - all of the places I've checked so far are filled till July... still looking though


Oh, you're from KC. I took the MSF course at maple woods community college, it's part of the metropolitan community colleges. I thought it was done pretty well and was satisfied that I got my money's worth.


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 Post subject: Re: Motorcycles...
PostPosted: Mon 04-21-2008 6:11PM 
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Inquizator wrote:
newegg.com is one good online retailer for gear.


When I read that I rofl'd - that's awesome.

(At the moment) it looks like I'll sign up for the maple woods one. I'm going to get my permit in the next few weeks - all you need for that is the written test right? I'm doing a lot of reading now and that particular detail got caught up in the mix... Thanks for the info, definitely nice to know someone that has gone to the same place.

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 Post subject: Re: Motorcycles...
PostPosted: Mon 04-21-2008 11:55PM 
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benm wrote:
Inquizator wrote:
newegg.com is one good online retailer for gear.


When I read that I rofl'd - that's awesome.

(At the moment) it looks like I'll sign up for the maple woods one. I'm going to get my permit in the next few weeks - all you need for that is the written test right? I'm doing a lot of reading now and that particular detail got caught up in the mix... Thanks for the info, definitely nice to know someone that has gone to the same place.


The only helmet I see on newegg is master chief's... are you sure you meant newegg??

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 Post subject: Re: Motorcycles...
PostPosted: Tue 04-22-2008 12:28AM 
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benm wrote:
benm wrote:
Inquizator wrote:
newegg.com is one good online retailer for gear.


When I read that I rofl'd - that's awesome.

(At the moment) it looks like I'll sign up for the maple woods one. I'm going to get my permit in the next few weeks - all you need for that is the written test right? I'm doing a lot of reading now and that particular detail got caught up in the mix... Thanks for the info, definitely nice to know someone that has gone to the same place.


The only helmet I see on newegg is master chief's... are you sure you meant newegg??


NewEnough.com, I think is what he meant. I found this about two weeks ago, wish I would have found it last year.

Also, to answer your question regarding the permit--In order to get the permit you need to take the motorcycle written test. It's 25 questions, they've got study materials or you can find it online. Just like the car test really, and pretty simple. Once you pass that, take that to the DMV and get your permit. It's $1 ($3.50 in Rolla or any "fee" office) and will allow you to ride anytime during daylight hours, with no passengers. When you eventually go to get your license, you'll need your permit (or else your test slip from the written test, if you never got your permit) and either the card from the MSF class or the test slip from the DMV parking lot test.

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 Post subject: Re: Motorcycles...
PostPosted: Tue 04-22-2008 6:24AM 
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benm wrote:
Inquizator wrote:
newegg.com is one good online retailer for gear.
When I read that I rofl'd - that's awesome.



When I re-read my quote there I rofled too. Bagvwf is right, I meant newenough.com, bah, can't get my newe websites straight.


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 Post subject: Re: Motorcycles...
PostPosted: Thu 04-24-2008 8:50PM 
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Inquizator wrote:
benm wrote:
Inquizator wrote:
newegg.com is one good online retailer for gear.
When I read that I rofl'd - that's awesome.



When I re-read my quote there I rofled too. Bagvwf is right, I meant newenough.com, bah, can't get my newe websites straight.


Did the Metro CC supply any equipment or did you have to bring a bunch of stuff?

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 Post subject: Re: Motorcycles...
PostPosted: Thu 04-24-2008 9:15PM 
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They supplied the bikes and had a few loaner helmets (though I brought my own). Basically we had to supply: long pants, long sleeves (could be a riding jacket, could be a long sleeve cotton t-shirt, just had to be long sleeves), over the ankle boots (one guy ran to k-mart and bought $25 boots right before class), and gloves (many people had like work gloves, I had some cheaper ($25-$30) summer motorcycle gloves). They do send you a list of what you need to bring, just make sure to read and follow it, many of the items they will not flex on, it's a safety thing and probably required for their insurance.


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 Post subject: Re: Motorcycles...
PostPosted: Wed 04-30-2008 7:24AM 
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i'd love to get a little fifty. i tried riding one once, never having ridden anything with a hand clutch before. not a good experience! i tried to do a u-turn and downshifted from 3rd to 2nd. i dumped the clutch and it popped up on me and dragged the exhaust on the ground. i just walked it back to my group of friends embarassed. i still want one, though.

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