I was never sure I’d make this leap, but it happened. To celebrate 10 years of motorcycling fun, I treated myself to a new (used) bike – the incredible Aprilia RSV4 Factory.
Ah, the good old engine debate. Ask any motorcycle rider what kind of engine they think is best and you will get some surprisingly heated opinions. Our cruiser riding brethren will of course talk up the virtues of v-twins and their torque, while sportbike riders might be divided between inline fours, v-fours and twins. Single cylinder engines (“thumpers”) are usually reserved for dirt and off-road bikes, but one of the better beginner sportbikes happens to use one – the sharp looking Honda CBR300R. Engine type should not be taken lightly when choosing a first motorcycle and I’ll try to make some sense of the differences here.
2011 is going to be a great year for beginner motorcycle riders looking at sportbikes. That’s because Honda came out of nowhere and introduced the brand new CBR250R, an entry-level stunner aimed directly at the Kawasaki Ninja 250R and its dominance as the best beginner sportbike available in the U.S. It’s terrific to see some variety at the entry level.
If you’re in southern California (or willing to drive here) and want the perfect used beginner sportbike, this 2009 Kawasaki Ninja 250R is available. It’s posted on a forum I frequent and the OP is well known — i.e. this is legit. Nice price too.
I definitely didn’t see this one coming. Honda has just announced the brand new CBR250R, a surprisingly competent looking single-cylinder 250cc sportbike aimed at new riders. Super-sharp looks, fuel injection and available ABS make this an incredibly attractive starter bike. No word on pricing yet, but it looks like Kawasaki’s Ninja 250 has some serious competition here in the U.S.
Update 12/01/10: It’s only $3999! Or you can get the ABS version for $4499.
For those of you thinking you’ll eventually try a track day, a set of leathers is required and is nice to have for canyon rides anyway. It was time for me to find a new set after 4 1/2 years of beating up my old Alpinestars GPU 2 piece suit. It had been through 3 minor offs and performed admirably, but I wasn’t sure the right knee area could take another spill without tearing apart. The only thing I didn’t like about it was the fit – Alpinestars doesn’t seem to be built for relatively skinny guys like me. The jacket fit well enough but Beyonce couldn’t fill the butt on those pants. I swear it looked like I was carrying around a sack of potatoes back there. Enter Dainese.
You know the industry’s hurting when even Ducati rolls out super-low financing offers. Right now you can get certain naked models at a 2.99% APR for 60 months until the end of March 2010. Generally speaking I don’t recommend Ducatis as a first bike; there are many reasons to buy a cheaper used bike as a first ride. But for the headstrong among you with the “new or nothing” mentality, there are worse first bikes than the Monster 696, which is included in this deal. Smokin’ link below.
If you’re new to motorcycle riding, picking out your riding gear is the most fun you’ll have apart from buying your first bike. The only problem is figuring out the who, what and where. I distinctly remember how clueless I felt when it came time for me to buy my first batch of gear. Hopefully I can shed some light on the subject for you and help point you in the right direction.
*Update: our 2011 list is up! http://www.startriding.com/?p=769
The 2010 bikes are starting to roll in and it’s time to look at which ones might be better suited for those of you looking to get started. First things first though, I always recommend getting a used bike for your first one. Most new riders inevitably make mistakes and drop their bikes in parking lots or driveways; best to get this out of the way on a used bike instead of a shiny brand new one. Besides, used bikes are cheaper and can be resold for almost the same price when you’re ready to upgrade. For those of you who aren’t going to listen to my sage advice though, on to the new stuff.
For those of us addicted to doing motorcycle trackdays*, having a dedicated track bike is the ideal situation. Most track bikes look like something only a mother (er… owner) could love, but not this one.