Re: New Riders: R Bikes as a first bike, Dont post a new thr
I'm not even sure if I should posting to this, but since .02 & what you're first bike is, has been asked for...
My first bike in some years, a '98 Suzuki GSXR - 600.
I had ridden some years ago, took the MSF class as well, but it's been so long I considered that time irrelevant. I took the class again recently, and have begun reacquainting myself with the joys of riding.
It also scares the crap out of me.
I was told that if riding does scare me, then my mindset is in the right place. I suppose that to mean that I will have a healthy respect for riding such a bike and what's involved.
It's been stated that it's better to start out smaller, thus the 'R' bikes aren't the best choice for starting out. It was also stated that sport biking has become quite the new fad. I see more people riding now, all sorts of men & women, than I saw when I originally years ago. Those two statements right there define the current climate. For many it just ISN'T practical to start out on 500's and peer pressure will dictate that other bikes such as SV -650's and such aren't acceptable.
You can rail on about how one shouldn't pick their bike based on the impressions of others, but also keep in mind that many ride to associate with others. This kind of makes the opinions of others important. Let's also not forget that there's probably only a handful of salesmen in your state who would steer you away from the latest sportbike to something more practical & forgiving.
The simple fact is, as pointed out this is the U.S., not Europe or Japan. Starting out on 400's or 500's isn't the norm, it's an exception. The culture here has dictated that starting out on 600's are the way to go, and for some more pig headed, even that is not acceptable. I went to dealerships who made their assessments of what bike I should get based on my physical size. Skill to them was irrelevant. Because of my build I should be on a 1K, maybe a 750, but I'd look silly on a 600. Out of the many magazines out there, how many discuss older bikes? How many cover articles have you ever seen on the SV - 650, the Katana, or the EX - 500? There are now magazines dedicated to the sport biking culture, how many times have you seen anything besides a stunter or a chromed out Hayabusa on the cover?Why? Because that's what the current culture has been groomed on. Only the latest, greatest, fastest, and shiniest will do.
While what you are saying is admirable, and believe me I respect, I can see where Spongebob is coming from. You've had the time to develop your skills across bikes, you've made your bike choices based on what is good for you and damn the opinions of others. For many who just jump into sportbiking, that isn't going to happen. They are in it now, for however long, and riding 'practical' bikes isn't what they envisioned. Telling anyone their dream is impractical, no matter how right you are, isn't going to be met with the most receptive ears.
I've come to realize that while that fear I stated I have earlier, is a healthy thing, it's also counter productive. Why would anyone willingly do something they fear? I have to respect riding & the bike, but not fear it. As long as I'm gripped by an overwhelming fear that an idiot motorist will not see me, send me in a situation I may not be prepared for, I will never enjoy riding. I will never truly improve my riding skills. This flies in the face of the fact that I've been put into the same situation while driving my car, on a regular basis, just driving to work. The difference of course being that behind the wheel of my car, I have that confidence that I've built from years of driving. Whether or not it's deserved, whether I've driven F-1, Rally, tuner, or high performance, it's a confidence I've gained from repeatedly driving and getting comfortable.
While dissuading newbs such as myself from bikes that are beyond their grasp is admirable, it may also be just as important to help them with their choices. As stated, here in the states, the sport bike craze has been built on the latest jet technology disguised as a two wheeled motor vehicle. The greatest advantage new riders like myself have, are veterans such as yourself, who can impart riding advice you've already learned. Yes, it would make us better riders if we'd gone the same route as you, but that just may not happen. Some may not be dedicated to become the expert riders, for them it's a casual thing. Others may want that learning experience and will have to find their own way.
I guess all I am trying to say is that the road you took to gain your cycling experience may not be the same for others.