I receive at least one PM or email a day
on this topic, so I felt the need for this thread was definitely there.
Like most of my threads this will be a lot to read. There are about a dozen or so riders on this forum and they can feel free to chime in or provide opinions at any time. If you strongly disagree with one of my points then please send me a PM, as I would rather have a mature discussion than a ****fest.
I have been riding motorcycles and two wheeled powered machines for a little more than a decade. I have fallen, crashed, dropped, been dumb, been smart, gone too slow, gone too fast, and have had way more close calls and have spent way more money than I like to admit. Has it all been worth it? Absolutely.
Done properly, motorcycling is very rewarding, fun, and a great way to relieve stress and even save money, in some cases. Lets get started.How do I know motorcycling is right for me? Isn't it dangerous? Isn't insurance crazy? Will I die? I want to go fast!!!11!BBQ
If you're interested in motorcycles, watch some beginner videos on youtube. Read some books. Read this thread. Talk to responsible
people that are riders and ask them what it does for them. Come to TTi meets on Fridays, as there is usually a decently sized bike crew attending, with different makes, models, and styles of machines (not everybody rides a crotch rocket). Make sure it fits your budget, and decide what you want out of it.
Humans are built very delicately and frail by nature. People have and do die on motorcycles, there's no point in avoiding that fact. You might get injured, killed, or disfigured, just as you might riding in a car, plane, crossing the street, or sitting in a Tims drive through. If you are smart and responsible enough about it, you can make motorcycling just as safe, if not safer than cars, for yourself and the people around you. It is not easy.
Insurance here is fairly high, yes, especially for people residing in Winnipeg. You only pay for 5 months, May to October, but the bike remains insured all year long. The payments may seem high based on that alone, but motorcycles are very, very fuel efficient, and depending on how much you ride, the yearly insurance can be offset by the fuel savings. Its up to you whether you think it is worth it or not.How do I acquire a motorcycle (Class 6) license in Manitoba?
First you go down to your local broker and ask them for a Motorcycle handbook. It costs $5-$10 I think, I don't exactly remember. Read it over a couple times. Once you're confident you know the material, call the broker up and schedule a written test. It is 15 questions with an error threshold of 3 questions, and costs $10.
Once you pass that, the broker will issue you a Class 6M licence, which is training only
. This license allows you to register and take the Motorcycle Training Course provided by Safety Services Manitoba.
There are two courses, the 8 hour, and the 21 hour courses. The 8 hour is for people who have a decent amount of experience on two wheels already, and by that I don't mean your bicycle. I do not recommend this course to very many people. I took it because I had lots of previous experience, and MPI screwed me over on my Class 6 from before. Even still, I think I should have taken the 21 hour, as everyone will learn something in that course, novices or experts regardless.
The 21 hour course is for individuals completely new to the concept, and, if you pass, is actually cheaper to take than the 8 hour, since MPI refunds you $200 once you complete it. I recommend this to almost everyone. You will learn much, much more and be with people that have a similar level of experience. And its cheaper!
You will need some proper riding gear for the course, but do not have to provide your own motorcycle.
Once you complete the course you are in the Learner stage for a minimum of 9 months. After a road test, you are in the Intermediate stage for 15 months. There are restrictions for each stage, night riding/BAC/passengers and such, all that info is in the Handbook.
You can find more info and register here: http://www.safetyservicesmanitoba.ca/driver-safety-training/motorcycle-training/motorcycle-faq/I can't wait to get on a bike! How do I choose one!? What gear should I wear?
Excitement is normal, but patience and responsibility is required. By all means, no one is stopping you from going out and buying a brand new or used Honda CBR1000RR or Yamaha R1, or riding it in your sandals, jean shorts, and wife beater. If you think that is within your ability, then go for it. I used to know a few individuals who had those same thoughts, and sadly they are now a statistic. One is missing the lower half of his arm, and another is missing half a leg. They were the lucky ones.
Being unsafe, riding beyond your scope or ability, and not wearing the proper gear does nothing but drive insurance premiums up and make us all look bad. "Proper gear" means nothing more than a helmet to some people, and that is their choice to make. I choose not to ride with such people, and that is my choice. You can make your own.
As for the type of machine, that depends on the type of riding you plan to do. Are you commuting to work? Are you looking for a sporty ride in the morning on the way to work across the city? Long distance while carrying some luggage? Racing? A little off road?
A good rule is to never, ever start on something brand new. Above 90% of people drop their bike in the first year, whether on the road or just walking it around, and replacement panels are NOT cheap, as there rarely is any place to get them other than the OEM. You will feel much more comfortable learning control and how a bike is set up on something cheap from Kijiji than you will something brand new. And you won't have to worry about damaging it. When you're done, sell it to another learner for what you paid. Ride it for a few months or however long it takes until you are confident in your skills.
Another good rule, is to keep the displacement (size of engine) relatively low. 500cc and under is a safe bet, and insurance rates are much cheaper for anything under 501cc's. Keep that in mind. Larger engines are of course heavier, and take some getting used to compared to a CBR125, for example.
Don't be afraid of carburetors or points. With a decent service manual you can learn to maintain and repair your own machine, and there are a few people on here that will provide helpful experience if you need it.
I'll go off on an opinion tangent here, but I believe the best starter bike for anyone is the Honda CBR125R. They are cheap to buy used, extremely reliable, take a beating (10,000RPM for an hour or two straight is nothing), and cost almost nothing to maintain. They are very, very light, have that sporty look, and get 90 mpg without breaking a sweat. It is also one of the bikes used for training in the safety course, which makes it very easy to get used to.
Have a look for what is out there, and choose accordingly. The "hug the tank" riding position on the CBR is much different than a cruiser or touring style machine. Some prefer it, others don't.
Whatever you do, choose the bike that is right for YOU, not your buddy or his dad or neighbour or anyone else. There will be people saying "YO DUDE YOU SHOULD TOTALLY BUY THIS SICK CBR600 I SAW ON KIJIJI!!!". You can decide whether that is an intelligent choice for a beginner. Lots of people do start on such bikes, and in turn their rate of accidents and slides is much higher. Once you ride for a few years, you can easily spot the guys who started on a rocket, and those who took small steps and learned progressively.