Motorcycles - How long does it take to learn to ride and get my license?

Discussion in 'After Hours Lounge (Off Topic)' started by Kevin Alexander, Jul 31, 2005.

  1. Kevin Alexander

    Kevin Alexander Screenwriter

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    I feel that I've made a somewhat important decision in my life to get a motorcycle. The only thing preventing me right now is the fact that I don't know how to operate one. I've driven mopeds and motorized mini bikes in my younger days, but I'll have to learn the gears/shifting of a motorcycle. I don't anticipate having any problems learning to ride, but what is the quickest time frame in learning to ride a motorcycle and get my operating license? I'm ready to do this NOW! BTW, my bike of choice for me as a beginner is the 1998-2000 Yamaha 650 V-Star Classic (opinions on this bike). I've heard they rank pretty high in reliability. My price range is $2000-$3500. I think I am more of a cruiser than a speedster. What do you guys think of everything?
     
  2. Al.Anderson

    Al.Anderson Cinematographer

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    If you've ever driven a stick, you know the mechanics, and you'll get the idea in a few hours. Getting your license shouldn't be hard either; in PA the hardest part is the figure eight. So I'm sure you could get the license in whatever the minimum time is in Georgia

    The bigger concern is doing it under pressure at higher speeds - weight shift when turning, down shifting without loccking up the wheel, riding while staying alert for stupid car drivers. Since you're in Atlanta, a big city, (never been there though) my recommendation is to stay in the outskirts (suburbs?) for a year until you feel really, really comfortable.

    Almost forgot, take a riding couse. Not only will probably lower your insurance; you won't teach yourself any bad habits.
     
  3. ToddS

    ToddS Stunt Coordinator

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    I think in Georgia you have to take a riding course to get your license.
     
  4. Philip Hamm

    Philip Hamm Lead Actor

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  5. Linda Thompson

    Linda Thompson Supporting Actor

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  6. Garrett Lundy

    Garrett Lundy Producer

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    The hard part is having to find someone to ride with (Can't ride solo with a permit in NY)!

    If you can drive stick and ride a bicycle, you should pick it up in a weekend.
     
  7. Michael Caicedo

    Michael Caicedo Second Unit

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    I want to second the MSF beginner's course. Best money I ever spent(a dozen years ago). They teach you how to operate the bike safely, rules of the road, and give you techniques for handling the bike that you do not want to learn the hard way. They provide you with a bike that you can make your early mistakes on and not worry about dropping your own. Plus it's just fun and no pressure, since everyone is there to learn. Oh and a lot of states let you get your endorsement at the end of the course. Win-win-win situtation.
     
  8. Arthur S

    Arthur S Cinematographer

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    I think motorcycle driving is a very dangerous pastime. I drove bikes for several years (quite a while ago), and owned 3 different bikes over that time.

    I just loved going around to dealers to try out the latest and greatest. I drove some bikes that you rarely hear of like Moto Guzzi. That horizontal V-Twin was so heavy, I thought it was going to go down in a turn. Crazy Kawasaki 3 cylinder 750. The big Honda 4 cylinder jobs.

    I was pretty fortunate that I only had a couple minor falls. Wet leaves once, ice once. That was enough for me.

    I heard recently that motorcycle deaths are up ten fold over the last several years to over 4,000 per year. This has proven helpful to those people waiting for organ transplants. In the Emergency Room, the docs call bikes, "donorcycles".

    Bikes are not an inexpensive hobby either. $3K for the bike. If you want to be safe, $150 for a good helmet, several hundred for boots and leathers. Insurance, maintenance. None of this is cheap.

    It seems you have already thought about some of these things and decided it is worth it.

    If nothing else, I sure hope you will wear a helmet.
     
  9. Jack Briggs

    Jack Briggs Executive Producer

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    Well, Arthur, let's keep this on the bright side, sir. The issue is that he is taught by a reliable person, and for that go to the Motorcycle Safety Foundation. Learn on a manageable, smaller machine (meaning that the 650cc machine he has mentioned is a tad large for a newbie -- I'd stay well below 500cc during the learning phase).
     
  10. Jeff Ulmer

    Jeff Ulmer Producer

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    Ah motorcycles....

    I had one for a while, but failed my test (crashed the bike because the tester was too busy gossiping with my instructor to pay attention to my flawless first round) and never got a license. As long as you remember that you are completely invisible to other drivers, and drive VERY defensively, you should be fine.
     
  11. Philip Hamm

    Philip Hamm Lead Actor

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    I disagree. The V-Star 650 is a perfect first bike IMO.
     
  12. Garrett Lundy

    Garrett Lundy Producer

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    That only applies to crotch-rockets. Who else but the doctors can afford the full dress Harleys?! [​IMG]

    In addition to drinking and lack of helmets, the biggest factor in cycle accidents are older riders who buy buy large cruisers with no formal instruction or (rarely) any knowledge of riding at all (but they gotta have that Harley).

    And the previous comments on taking a training course will instantly remove you from the more crash-prone segment of bikers. Avoiding drinking or riding after 2am will improve your odds even better. Motorcycles aren't 100% safe for anyone, but they don't have to be instantly fatal either.
     
  13. TimDoss

    TimDoss Second Unit

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    I initially took the training course because upon completion you
    recieve your license and I believed it would be damn near impossible
    to do that stupid little circle that the DMV makes you do on my
    harley softail.
    I was actually surprised at how much I had taught myself wrong.
    It is very much in your best interest to take the course.
    Other than that, I cannot stress enough, never become too
    confident on it. Never assume that you are seen and learn to
    watch faces in sideview mirrors for signs that they are
    going to change lanes.

    Other than that, have a blast. Ignore the comments like
    "donorcycles" and "it's not if you go down, it's when".
    You'll hear a ton of 'em. And usually by the same bastard
    who always has a cellphone on his ear and doesn't turn his
    damn head before he changes lanes. Maybe so many of us go
    down because you're causing it.... you think????
     
  14. Claudia P

    Claudia P Stunt Coordinator

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    I rode bikes for years too - everything from a Honda 100 to Ducati, Laverda, Moto Guzzi. I did drop the Duke in a corner, damn thing was so heavy, but fortunately came out unscathed bar some bruises and wounded pride. I would agree with Jack, the 650 is too big for a newbie. We can't tell you what to do, but you did ask for advice. My advice is to find a smaller bike, under 500cc, which will be so much more manageable.

    Whatever your choice, be safe, enjoy the ride.
     
  15. Kevin Alexander

    Kevin Alexander Screenwriter

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    Thanks for the feedback everyone. I appreciate it. I also respectfully disagree about the V-Star 650 being too much for me. I think it is perfect for me as a beginner.
     
  16. Brian Johnson

    Brian Johnson Supporting Actor

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    I've been riding bikes for 16 years & have always drove a sportbike.
    I'm really sick of being stereotyped as a "nuisance" on the road. Not every sportbike rider is a 17 year adrenaline junkie wheelie head (I know I know, a lot of them are)
    Some of us are graying 30 year olds that are somewhat responsible & good drivers. We just don't like driving a couch (ooooh yeah I said it [​IMG] )

    Anyways, Tim said to ignore the "its not if you fall but when" and I disagree. I think a high percentage of new riders will crash at one time or another. It takes time to learn to ride & learn the dangers of the road.

    My best advice to give is to drive defensively. Not just "normal" defensive but "very" defensive.
    Yes, that car is going to pull out in front of you. Yes, that car is going to pull into your lane. Yes, that car does not see you. (after re-reading Jeff already pointed this out [​IMG] )

    Like others have suggested, get a good helmet. Full face. I don't like half helmets & don't see the point.
    I see a lot of riders with the peanut shell half helmets. I guess a $10 helmet for a $10 brain.
    Also don't think you need to stop at a helmet. You will appreciate a good jacket,gloves & boots if you ever happen to crash. Some people cry (in my best whiny voice) "it's too hot, i'm gonna sweat" but would you rather wipe away a little sweat or scrub away some fresh road rash. (which IS how they clean it)
    All in all, don't let all this worry you. Take your time, learn to ride & welcome to world of two wheels.


    (edit: also I think a 600/650 is a fine place to start)
     
  17. Matt Stryker

    Matt Stryker Screenwriter

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    kevin -
    I know for sure that Honda offers a MSF course up in Alpharetta; my best friend took it 2 years ago and has been riding ever since. He bought a Shadow 750, and he isn't a big guy...I think you ride 250s during the course, so that may give you an idea of where you stand as far as bike size. I think the state of GA also offers some coursework of their own, but the spots are REALLY hard to get. I've really been thinking about taking a course when I'm home to learn how to drive a bike, so let me know what you find out.

    Hopefully you don't live in Fulton County; a lot of the motorcycle paperwork my friend had to do was required to be done in the courthouse complexes downtown, and he had to take a number of days off work to go down there, park, and wait in lines...ask your instructors if there is a faster way. Also if you need any leads on tracking down a bike, my brother-in-law is a service manager at one of the larger bike dealers in Alpharetta, so I can ask him if there are any auctions or sellers he knows of in the area with a specific kind of bike.

    P.S. - In Mexico, a 250cc Honda or Dinamo is a BIG bike [​IMG] Lotsa guys around here have 125cc pizza delivery cycle specials as their hawg.
     
  18. TimDoss

    TimDoss Second Unit

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    I meant to ignore the comments that you will inevitably hear
    when you either tell people you're going to buy a bike, or
    when they find out you have one. Don't let anyone deter you
    from what you want to do, or let them put a damper on things.
    Ignore comments, not advice.

    Anyway, the very first time I rode a bike was on my way home
    from buying my softail... 1450cc, 650 lbs.
     
  19. John Alvarez

    John Alvarez Screenwriter

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    Like a 250 Rebel? I think the 650 cruiser will be good for you. By the way how big are you?

    Like others have said...you have to be a defensive rider.
    See you at Biketoberfest in Daytona.....[​IMG]
     
  20. Chris Tsutsui

    Chris Tsutsui Screenwriter

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    I passed MSF. Expect to wait about 1-2 months before you can take the class cause there was a wait for me.

    It's easy to pass... Everyone did, and there were people that dropped the bikes who were trying to go 5 feet on it, and they ended up passing. I think it was like $150 or something like that but they teach you basic corning, stopping, and how to start the engine... (everything)

    I got a 2005 Yamaha R6. It was my second street bike, and I love it. The thing with the 600 is the power band is in the high rpm, so when you are taking a turn, the throttle is very sensitive when you're in the high rpms, thus making it very dangerous to go fast in turns.

    You'll fall in love with corning I think... Downshifting, leaning, accelerating... It's incredible [​IMG]

    Your 650 V-twin is an excellent starter bike IMO. You will drop it at least once, but you'll learn the basics on that bike. Such things like Cars don't see you that well... Flys sticking to your visor that fogs up on cold days... Hot sun cooking you while you're in your gear... Inductive loop stop lights not getting triggered.

    Just don't speed, and don't take turns too fast... Keep a watchful eye out, take MSF and pay attention. The 650 V-twin will be a perfect bike, and I'd say even a 600 inline would be ok.

    I think all the rules about NO 600s or bigger apply to the squids and careless riders.

    Just remember that the bike should humble you, and that you should never underestimate it. The moment you get cocky is the moment your rear end slips out... hehe

    I'd try on a Shoei RF-1000, or an Arai Quantom F helmet. Some armored boots by like Alpinestars, protective gloves, and a leather jacket that fits you snug. A mesh jacket for summer heat is good. Always ride with gear on is my best advice... Even if it's a short ride to the market, you never know when that ignorant person is going to pull his car out in front of you.

    Ride safe, wear gear, and wave back to the other riders. [​IMG]
     

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