And another thing: two bikes NOT for learners

by on April 30, 2009
in Beginning Riders, Brands

As a follow-up to this week’s post about good bikes for beginners, I wanted to point out that I had read recently where someone recommended the automatic-shifting Ridley as a “great first bike.”

I respectfully disagree, for the simple reasons that it’s expensive and doesn’t teach you all the necessary skills.

Sure you don’t have to learn to manage the clutch, but what if you decide someday that you want a different bike? You certainly couldn’t test-ride anything if you haven’t mastered shifting.  And, if you were in a situation where you were needed to ride someone else’s bike, you’d be useless. Learning to shift is part of the challenge of learning to ride, and you should tackle the challenge. Besides, I can’t imagine shelling out that kind of money, or taking on that kind of loan, for a “first bike.”  

Same for custom choppers – choppers are engineered quite differently from, other bikes, including the learner bikes they use in the MSF courses. For one thing, the turning radius is drastically different. Why put unnecessary obstacles in your way when you are still learning how to manage operating the bike, riding defensively, moving through traffic, etc.?  Plus, again, the cost is extraordinary compared to a basic small-cc bike, especially if you don’t know whether riding is “for you” just yet.

Of course, once you are riding comfortably you can have any bike you want, and can adjust your riding skills accordingly.

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2 Responses to “And another thing: two bikes NOT for learners”
  1. Jeremy says:

    I would also like you to consider the Royal Enfield Bullet 500. It is a great beginners price range and it is simple enough to learn some basic mechanics skills. The single cylinder 500 cc is strong and at 350ish pounds is light and easy to control.

  2. BikerChick says:

    Jeremy, I had not heard of Royal Enfield so looked them up – I would agree with you that the bike seems to be suited for beginners in terms of the weight and power. However, according to the website ( they are manufactured in India and there is a limited production run of 500, which means they won’t be widely available. I sure do like the vintage styling of the Bullet though! Thanks for reading and commenting here – appreciated the opportunity to learn about a bike I hadn’t heard of before.

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