Teaching my girlfriend how to ride - Suzuki GSX-R Motorcycle Forums Gixxer.com
 
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post #1 of 18 (permalink) Old 10-12-2009, 05:45 PM Thread Starter
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Teaching my girlfriend how to ride

Hello ladies, I come in peace. I am wondering if you could give me some advice.

Even though the riding season is coming to an end I promised my girlfriend I would teach her how to ride at the next opportunity. I don't think she is serious enough to take the motorcycle safety course with me, I think she is simply wanting a cute activity for us to do where I teach her a skill I am passionate about. I started teaching her and her roomate on my previous motorcycle (a 94 Kawi ZX6) and met disaster.

--------------------------
(the back story you can skip if you wish)
Basically what happened:
My girlfriend and her best friend were looking to go in on a motorcycle together. I thought it was a bad idea and warned them against it but also would like to see her riding so told her I'd do whatever to help her get started. She did fine on the zx6. I went over all the parts of the motorcycle/what they do. How to start it, shift, and releasing the clutch. I told them "If you ever get nervous, grab the clutch and it turns from a motorcycle into a bicycle."

She did fine coasting up and down the parking lot (she got her feet up on the pegs). Her roommate didn't put her feet up on the pegs. The second time her roommate got on the motorcycle I was going over everything again (same day I just wanted to drill it in). She put the bike into first gear when I went over how to do that then rested her weight on the throttle which revved the engine up to 6k. Right as I was saying "Don't let go of the clutch!" she panicked and dumped the clutch.

The damage to the body work was minimal. I had purchased the motorcycle after someone I knew totaled it (then fixed it up). Cracked stator cover, busted windshield, and a cracked rear set was the major damage. I covered it out of my own pocket. I knew going into it this could happen and when you teach someone to ride you put that responsibility on your shoulders. That was last April. I took it as an opportunity to sell the motorcycle after I fixed it. So it has a positive spin because I then purchased my K4.
---------------------------

I can get out of teaching her (especially if I determine it is too much motorcycle for her) but ultimately I would like to see her learn.
Who taught you how to ride? Do you remember what they did to make you feel comfortable? What were some challenges you had to overcome? Do you ladies have any other advice for teaching her how to ride? She is very cautious so my concern isn't her over riding her ability, it's getting her comfortable so she doesn't panic. Learning to ride came easy for me (granted I started much smaller) but she might not know things I take for granted as general knowledge.

Thanks,

Peter

edit: this question is also brought on by the "Do not let your girlfriend ride your bike" thread in the general section.
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post #2 of 18 (permalink) Old 10-12-2009, 08:30 PM
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Re: Teaching my girlfriend how to ride

I just taught 2 girls how to ride.. and MAN am i glad i have a crash cage.. nothing broke.. but the bike was dropped half a million times!.. I'd suggest SPEND the 200$ get a cage.. take you fairings off and let her loose in the parking lot.. Worked good for me.. also gave them the feel.. sat them infront of me.. and i basicly did SS over them till the bike go rolling so they got the idea of how to add a bit of throttle and release the clutch..

Tell her that the bike has to sound the same as it does when it idles when she starts to let go of the clutch.
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post #3 of 18 (permalink) Old 10-12-2009, 09:13 PM
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Re: Teaching my girlfriend how to ride

My fiance is in the process of teaching me how to ride. We started earlier this summer and I have never driven a manual. Car, bike, quad, anything. So I get on the bike in a parking lot... The one in my pic. I stall out a gazillion times. I finally get going and I freak out and stop. The bike is a tad heavy for me and I voice my concern for falling. My fiance says "I'll catch you if you start to fall! Just go!" (He is 5'7" and weighs all of 125lbs, I am 5'5" and I weigh all of 95lbs) So I start to go and start going over and needless to say, he didn't catch me. I scratched up the side of his bike (luckly he had already dropped it and you really couldn't tell I had done much damage) and fell off. He thinks it best to start me off on a Quad and move to 2 wheels so I don't have to worry about holding it up AND learning to use the clutch too. We're working on it. I'll be a rider one day!
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post #4 of 18 (permalink) Old 10-13-2009, 07:33 AM
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Re: Teaching my girlfriend how to ride

The fiance....

You have to consider the persons background and how much experience theyve had with machines. A sportbike is in a class of its own, but any experience helps. I have been driving tractors and riding dirtbikes and quads since i was 8, so i had some experience so that the day i brough my bike home, i was able to move it around, that did not, however, make me a rider.

In this case, my gixxerbug has never ridden anything more than a bicycle, so i feel like starting her on a quad to learn the mechanics of a clutch would be the best way to go, problem is, i sold my raptor a long time ago.

Its a process, just make sure you have a controlled environment and proper gear.
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post #5 of 18 (permalink) Old 10-13-2009, 07:50 AM
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Re: Teaching my girlfriend how to ride

Sorry everyone - ladies / gentlemen - whoever.

No one, and I mean no one rides my bike but me - if your significant other wants to learn how to ride then send them to an MSF course and have them do it the proper way. Then buy a used / beat up 250 or older 600 and then let them loose in an empty parking lot IMO.
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post #6 of 18 (permalink) Old 10-13-2009, 08:24 AM
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Re: Teaching my girlfriend how to ride

my ex taught me but i had experience with gears and clutches.he rode beside me and coached me.i had a 200.i agree with Bobby grand ms saftey course first.maybe buy her a 125 or something light.
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post #7 of 18 (permalink) Old 10-13-2009, 10:55 AM Thread Starter
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Re: Teaching my girlfriend how to ride

Quote:
Originally Posted by mssmith1 View Post
my ex taught me but i had experience with gears and clutches.he rode beside me and coached me.i had a 200.i agree with Bobby grand ms saftey course first.maybe buy her a 125 or something light.
That's sound advice. Play it safe because risking it could have serious consequences.
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post #8 of 18 (permalink) Old 10-15-2009, 10:37 AM
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Re: Teaching my girlfriend how to ride

I would say if she is serious about learning then have the pros teach her and send her to the MSF course first. Even tipping over in a parking lot can lead to some pretty bad injuries. As a coach myself I have seen people do all sorts of crazy things when they are starting out and the best strategy is to have a pro nearby to help out. I'd hate to see her hurt herself. After she takes the MSF course you guys could consider going to a track day or another riding school together to build on your skills and have some fun while riding

Good luck,

Misti
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post #9 of 18 (permalink) Old 10-15-2009, 05:17 PM
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Re: Teaching my girlfriend how to ride

Absolutely. As much as some may flame MSF's and their "ghey teachings" I am a huge advocate for them. They are NOT race schools, that is a completely different craft. I really believe in MSF courses and their primary goal of introducing the basics of operating a motorcycle and feel the technique that most of them use is priceless in taking someone without ANY experience to having a much clearer grasp on riding. Then there are more advanced classes, track days, performance schools, the sky is the limit.

Stability on the bike and being able to touch the ground is important too, and very confidence inspiring. I'm about 6' tall with most of that legs, so I lucked out there when I first started riding.

Good luck and be safe!!
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post #10 of 18 (permalink) Old 10-15-2009, 11:23 PM
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Re: Teaching my girlfriend how to ride

Bobbygrand, you obviously don't have a teaching bone in your body... don't blame the student.

-----------------------------------------------------------

I was teaching my wife before our little one came along...

I started by holding the clutch for her and she could revv it a bit and i'd let the clutch out until she felt it start things moving.

Then I used the throttle and let her use the clutch.

So when she was comfortable with the amount of throttle and clutch to have it on friction point I let her use both and i jumped on the pillion seat and acted as training wheels and she just stayed in 1st gear and puttered around nice and slow trying to stay at the friction point and see how she could control it with constant rpm and just playing with the amount of clutch.

Next came up to 2, down to 1, up to 2, down to 1, etc with me still on the back and then she even managed that on her own. She was very proud of her acievement and I was right there with her.

Teach a little at a time with you in control to begin with and focus on clutch control before moving on.

Hope it works for you Lostdog.

Last edited by Harte; 10-15-2009 at 11:30 PM.
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post #11 of 18 (permalink) Old 10-17-2009, 06:03 PM
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Re: Teaching my girlfriend how to ride

Quote:
Originally Posted by Harte View Post
Teach a little at a time with you in control to begin with and focus on clutch control before moving on.

Hope it works for you Lostdog.
Harte is right on. I don't think the quad idea is all that useful. It's just too different from the bike. A ZX6 is a terrible learning bike. Get a 250, and it will be dropped, so get over the idea early. My husband taught me while I was waiting a few months for the MSF class. His mantra was "the clutch is your friend". The 1st day was nothing but sitting on the bike, pushing it around, feeling the clutch and brake. 2nd day was same thing then move on to putting in and out of gear, starting it. 3rd day is releasing clutch to feel the pull zone , then adding light braking. 4th day is really starting to ride. So you can see slow is essential. I was really glad I had this before my MSF class, but a patient teacher is critical.

I learned 5 years ago; 6 bikes and 50,000 miles later, I can't even imagine my life without having done this. What was initially a way of spicing up my 55 mile commute, turned into an absolute passion, including 3 trips to Laguna Seca to see the MotoGP races. And I see no dying down of that passion at 57 yrs old. My husband and I are having a blast (he's almost 70!). I hope it all works out, and you and your girlfriend have half as much fun! Good luck.
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post #12 of 18 (permalink) Old 10-17-2009, 06:21 PM
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Re: Teaching my girlfriend how to ride

My Mrs had riding farm bikes before So it wasn't to hard. Now the hard part is gettin my 1000 key out of her hand bag. She loves it. a tack day is good once they get a handle on riding. My Mrs felt a lot safer on the track.
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post #13 of 18 (permalink) Old 10-19-2009, 12:52 PM
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Re: Teaching my girlfriend how to ride

I took a local MSF course & am glad I did. I would never teach someone on my own bike. The course starts from the very basics, things we forget as experienced riders. When I first started riding I didn't even know which was the gas, where the brakes were, clutch, etc. I like how the MSF course was set up, getting you comfortable with one thing at a time, not just trying to ride up & down a lot right away.
post #14 of 18 (permalink) Old 10-19-2009, 01:19 PM
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Re: Teaching my girlfriend how to ride

I personally took the motorcycle safety course, and then bought my own motorcycle. Granted, it was brand new but it was what i wanted, and I put money off to the side because I knew I was going to rough it up a little. I did loops around the parking lot until I got the itch to venture out a little. At first I just stayed on post and then got someone to ride with me off post. I knew that I was going to go down... and when I did, I just knew better to get back on it. (Let a brand new motorcycle collect dust? No way...) but thats how I did it.
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post #15 of 18 (permalink) Old 10-19-2009, 02:37 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Teaching my girlfriend how to ride

Thanks everyone for the advice. Maybe that could be a birthday present next year taking the MSF course.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Luna C View Post
Harte is right on. I don't think the quad idea is all that useful. It's just too different from the bike. A ZX6 is a terrible learning bike. Get a 250, and it will be dropped, so get over the idea early. My husband taught me while I was waiting a few months for the MSF class. His mantra was "the clutch is your friend". The 1st day was nothing but sitting on the bike, pushing it around, feeling the clutch and brake. 2nd day was same thing then move on to putting in and out of gear, starting it. 3rd day is releasing clutch to feel the pull zone , then adding light braking. 4th day is really starting to ride. So you can see slow is essential. I was really glad I had this before my MSF class, but a patient teacher is critical.

I learned 5 years ago; 6 bikes and 50,000 miles later, I can't even imagine my life without having done this. What was initially a way of spicing up my 55 mile commute, turned into an absolute passion, including 3 trips to Laguna Seca to see the MotoGP races. And I see no dying down of that passion at 57 yrs old. My husband and I are having a blast (he's almost 70!). I hope it all works out, and you and your girlfriend have half as much fun! Good luck.
That is what I was looking for, if I were to teach her myself what would be the best way. I appreciate the input!
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post #16 of 18 (permalink) Old 10-19-2009, 02:42 PM
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Re: Teaching my girlfriend how to ride

big whoop on no one but you riding your bike Bobby, that has nothing to do with this convo . . . you could've left that out & just put the "go to the msf course"
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post #17 of 18 (permalink) Old 10-19-2009, 02:47 PM
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Re: Teaching my girlfriend how to ride

Quote:
Originally Posted by Harte View Post
Bobbygrand, you obviously don't have a teaching bone in your body... don't blame the student.

-----------------------------------------------------------

I was teaching my wife before our little one came along...

I started by holding the clutch for her and she could revv it a bit and i'd let the clutch out until she felt it start things moving.

Then I used the throttle and let her use the clutch.

So when she was comfortable with the amount of throttle and clutch to have it on friction point I let her use both and i jumped on the pillion seat and acted as training wheels and she just stayed in 1st gear and puttered around nice and slow trying to stay at the friction point and see how she could control it with constant rpm and just playing with the amount of clutch.

Next came up to 2, down to 1, up to 2, down to 1, etc with me still on the back and then she even managed that on her own. She was very proud of her acievement and I was right there with her.

Teach a little at a time with you in control to begin with and focus on clutch control before moving on.

Hope it works for you Lostdog.
Not that I am blaming the student or that I dont have a teaching bone in my body (my college baseball team coached little leaguers in the off season as part of our school community service requirements) but the issue boils down to the fact that you are putting someone on a bike that you have purchased and put time and money into looking and riding exceptionally. Im sorry, but I'm not going to let a new rider get on a 175hp bike in a parking lot - no matter how big it is. I think its even worse to to have me on the back trying to lean over the rider and help control the bike, not excatly my idea of a safe learning environment.

I stick to my original post - MSF course then a lighter bike to learn on. I would rather spend 1500 to buy a beater bike to help someone learn on then having that same person rash up my pride and joy and have to spend the same if not more for a new set of OEM plastics / exhaust / clip ons etc etc.

Just my $0.02 cents on the matter. To each their own though.

Last edited by BobbyGrand; 10-19-2009 at 02:53 PM. Reason: I spelled like a 5 y/o haha
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post #18 of 18 (permalink) Old 10-19-2009, 02:56 PM
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Re: Teaching my girlfriend how to ride

Quote:
Originally Posted by punkadilly View Post
big whoop on no one but you riding your bike Bobby, that has nothing to do with this convo . . . you could've left that out & just put the "go to the msf course"

In that case - go to the MSF course
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