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    The General Motorbikers Discussion Thread

    I was surprised there wasn't such a similar thread yet, given the fact there's quite alot of bikers around here.

    I'm guessing we could use this to chitchat about motorbikes without having to open a new thread for every little thingy.

    So, I'll start off; I've finally decided to work on my bike licence. 6 May is the date of the introduction, and the day a 150kg bike will fall on my foot/leg for the very first time, and you know what? I cannot wait!

    I've also been looking into beginner bikes, rules in Dutchland say you cannot hang on to a bike that exceeds 25kW (34 BHP) until you turn 21. So far I have looked at some used bikes of which; Honda CB500 and a Shadow VT500, and a Suzuki Bandit. That said, I'm sort of moving away from the Bandit as it has 4 cilinders opposite to the Honda's mentioned above. Between the VT500 and the CB500, they look very similar performance wise. So I'm left with the choice, do I want a naked bike, or do I want a chopper?

    If you do not want to answer my question (); use this thread to discuss anything bike related that doesn't deserve it's own thread!

    #2
    ^I would still go for the bandit.. It's the best bike of those three.. And imo choppers are boring.. Especially smaller ones.. But only you can answer what kind of bike you want!! Or if you aren't afraid of getting your hands dirty, perhaps a KTM supermoto? great fun and very easy to ride, but not very comfortable...

    Comment


      #3
      Motorbikes>Cars.

      The end.

      Comment


        #4
        My first bike was a 500cc Shadow and I got bored with it pretty quick. Then again, I never really had a love for those plastic bikes (sport bikes) and always preferred cruisers. No, a cruiser is not always a chopper.

        I have actually found that my Magna does very well in the twists, in fact my chicken strips are down to half an inch. Some guys at last night's meet noticed that and were really impressed for some reason. Then I noticed that I have more even tire wear than they do on their sport bikes - meaning I get farther over. The nice thing about the Magna is that, while it's a comfortable cruiser, it can tuck into the corners better than most big cruiser bikes and it's got a sport-bike engine. In other words, it's a bit of a sleeper.

        No trees were killed in the transmission of this message;
        but a stupendous number of photons and electrons were terribly inconvenienced.

        Comment


          #5
          I actually considering buying one will the continual rise in gas.

          Comment


            #6
            Originally posted by Karoug View Post
            ^I would still go for the bandit.. It's the best bike of those three.. And imo choppers are boring.. Especially smaller ones.. But only you can answer what kind of bike you want!! Or if you aren't afraid of getting your hands dirty, perhaps a KTM supermoto? great fun and very easy to ride, but not very comfortable...
            True, but perhaps I should've explained myself a bit more clearly. I was fishing for the pro's and con's of a naked bike and a chopper (ride comfort? long distances? not so many panels to scratch? etc.).

            And in what way is the Bandit the better bike? If it is due to the performance, all of the mentioned bikes will be limited to 25kW ouput.

            Don't think I want an off-road bike really, I will mainly use the bike for sunny afternoons rides on the nice and winding backroads.

            I have to say, I really really really dig the looks of this CB500 in particular:


            The Shadow does indeed seem to be a tad 'small', compared to the image I have in my head of 'this is a chopper'. But I think the upright position is nice and comfy for easy riding?
            Last edited by Derek; April 25th, 2008, 5:20 PM.

            Comment


              #7
              Originally posted by Blind_Io View Post
              My first bike was a 500cc Shadow and I got bored with it pretty quick. Then again, I never really had a love for those plastic bikes (sport bikes) and always preferred cruisers. No, a cruiser is not always a chopper.

              I have actually found that my Magna does very well in the twists, in fact my chicken strips are down to half an inch. Some guys at last night's meet noticed that and were really impressed for some reason. Then I noticed that I have more even tire wear than they do on their sport bikes - meaning I get farther over. The nice thing about the Magna is that, while it's a comfortable cruiser, it can tuck into the corners better than most big cruiser bikes and it's got a sport-bike engine. In other words, it's a bit of a sleeper.
              In what way did you become bored with it? Lack of power? Dull looks? I'm very interested into hearing your reasons as I certainly don't want to buy a bike that'll sit in the shed a week after purchase. Also, is the formfactor of the Magna about the same as the Shadow?

              Comment


                #8
                The Shadow 500 was a bit small for me and not very comfortable (it was a 1986), also the bike didn't have much power, which I now realize is dangerous. The suspension on those old 80s bikes is pretty primitive so you can't really carry any speed through corners (and it's a cruiser so it's not made for that). If I were to get a low-power bike I would probably look for a V-twin to maximize torque and something rather new to get a good suspension that will keep the wheels down and let me corner with some speed. My friend has a Ducati Monster and he is good enough that he can not only hang with many riders of much larger bikes, but leave them in his wake.

                My Magna is more comfortable, faster, more powerful, better in the corners, and looks better than the '86 Shadow. I have been on group rides with it, and while I'm not part of the knee-dragging crowd, I can hang with many sportbikers. In fact, it has been commented that my technique is better because I'm doing the work and not letting the bike's lightness and power make up for my deficiencies. I think that a low-hp bike is the best way to work on technique and in the long run it will make you a better rider. If I got a sport bike it would probably be a 600cc, enough to have fun but it's not a liter-bike. In fact, many insurance companies are looking at not providing coverage of liter sport bikes.

                The Shadow was not just sitting around a week after I got it, I loved riding and that was the bike that made me fall in love, however, after a season I started longing for a larger, more powerful machine. I didn't like the feeling that the bike was topped-out at 75 mph with no power reserve. Last night the road was deserted on my ride home and Maggie cruised at 85 mph with power to spare. Had I needed to open the taps, she would have stormed ahead.
                The Magna has an interesting engine configuration, a V4. This gives the bike less low-end torque, which I think is a good thing. If you make a mistake at low speed and low RPM the bike will stall, not shoot away from you. If you happen to stall, the starter button is right under your right thumb, so it's no big deal. The power curve has a nice long mid range and doesn't peak quickly and then fade like some bikes. You can rev it up to 10,000 RPM and blow the wheels off other cruisers or putter along at 3,000 RPM in comfort.

                It's a comfortable long distance cruiser, it handles the twisties better than any other cruiser I've seen, and it has a fantastic engine. It's just a very good well-rounded bike. I get teased a bit for having a cruiser, but it's all in good fun. Many sport bikers have commented that they would love to own my bike. My saddle bags, as small as they are, are still about 4 times bigger than the tiny "trunk" under the rear cowl of most sport bikes. I can ride 2up in comfort and even take off for a whole week and not exactly have to pack light.

                I highly recommend Honda. Everyone agrees that Honda's bikes are the endurance runners of the motorcycle world. They run longer and need fewer repairs than other bikes.

                The 1986 Shadow (not mine)


                The 1994 Magna (third and final generation) - I snagged a photo online that is similar to the angle of the above image, so you can compare them.



                As you can see, the new bike is larger, longer and has different proportions than the older, more upright 80s bikes.
                Last edited by Blind_Io; April 25th, 2008, 6:08 PM.

                No trees were killed in the transmission of this message;
                but a stupendous number of photons and electrons were terribly inconvenienced.

                Comment


                  #9
                  We should have a Final Gear Motorcycle registration thread, me thinks.
                  I like Top Gear. But I'm not a Top Gear snob.

                  Comment


                    #10
                    It seems like more members have bikes or are interested in them, at least more than I remember.

                    I shot Swek a PM with a proposal, we'll see what happens.

                    No trees were killed in the transmission of this message;
                    but a stupendous number of photons and electrons were terribly inconvenienced.

                    Comment


                      #11
                      Originally posted by Blind_Io View Post
                      [very long story for which I thank you]
                      First of all; thanks.

                      Second, jumping halfway through your story; I hadn't even thought about stalling, does it occur in the same manor as it does with cars? You'll start to notice bad vibes before it goes? And will it throw you off the bike?

                      Back to the first half; I've seen your pics and I'm guessing you have about the same build as me, so a Shadow is a very cautious option given the fact you weren't comfortable on one. Thanks for this info.

                      About the Honda bit. That's something I've also read alot, they're very very very reliable, which is also one of the reasons I'm leaning towards a Honda. I've seen quite alot nice ~'96-'97 CB500's with 16.000km on the clock (~9900 miles) for about 2750 USD (mind you, I'm in Europe, but thats relatively cheap here). Would you consider '96 'modern' in the handling/suspension terms?

                      The Shadow does indeed seem to be a bit dwarved by the Magna.

                      Comment


                        #12
                        Originally posted by Derek View Post
                        I've also been looking into beginner bikes, rules in Dutchland say you cannot hang on to a bike that exceeds 25kW (34 BHP) until you turn 21. So far I have looked at some used bikes of which; Honda CB500 and a Shadow VT500, and a Suzuki Bandit. That said, I'm sort of moving away from the Bandit as it has 4 cilinders opposite to the Honda's mentioned above. Between the VT500 and the CB500, they look very similar performance wise. So I'm left with the choice, do I want a naked bike, or do I want a chopper?
                        Glad to hear you're getting into motorcycles. I think you're on the right track with that CB500. No fairings to tear up and it should be easy to work on. Plus I'd think that those are fairly light, so the 34hp restriction isn't too big of a deal. Blind made an excellent point about lower power bikes forcing you to become a better rider. My Yamaha has, iirc 25hp, and I can tell you that when you don't have the power to outgun most cars on the road, you become much more aware of your surroundings.

                        Originally posted by Blind_Io View Post
                        No, a cruiser is not always a chopper.
                        It bugs me when people use those terms interchangeably.

                        Cruiser (heh, shamelessly stolen from Blinds post):


                        Chopper:

                        Tiny pic but it illustrates my point nicely. Choppers are modified bikes with basically anything extraneous cut off. Typically hardtails. That bike pictured is pretty much my dream bike .

                        Originally posted by Blind_Io View Post
                        The Shadow 500 was a bit small for me and not very comfortable (it was a 1986), also the bike didn't have much power, which I now realize is dangerous.
                        Was it that bad? I've been looking at '70s Yamaha and Honda 500s-750s to replace my enduro, but I need something that can manage at least state highway speeds and possibly stick to a corner respectably. Mostly I'm looking at the CB and XS bikes; the Suzukis of that era seem a little porkier. Any tips?
                        Last edited by tigger; April 25th, 2008, 7:16 PM. Reason: I suck at spelling.
                        Saying smaller engines are better is like saying you don't want huge muscles because you wouldn't fit through the door. So what? You can bench 500. Fuck doors. - MadCat360

                        Comment


                          #13
                          Derek - Stalling is no big deal. Yes, you will feel the engine shudder as it labors under load and then it stalls. It's not violent and it won't throw you from the bike, it just stops running. On bikes with more torque it will lurch a bit, but it's no big deal. If the bike had enough power to run away from you it would have done that and not stall. I have stalled a couple times while rolling; just pull in on the clutch and hit the starter button, it's easier than in a car.

                          Tigger - I've never ridden bikes from the 70s, so I can't really speak to them. The biggest problem would be suspension, modern suspensions are much better. If you bought one you might find parts difficult and some shops won't service older bikes because they are a PITA compared to modern fuel-injection. My Shadow was not a bad bike, quite the contrary. I just out grew it. I had loads of fun on that bike, and as I said it made me vow to own another bike. It was my Shadow that started my love affair with motorcycles. I wouldn't buy another one because I have moved on to bigger and better bikes; but for what it was, it was fantastic. It never needed a repair due to mechanical fault.

                          The CB bikes look fun, but if you won't be able to hang in the twisties with modern bikes. That doesn't mean it won't be a blast to ride. Those old CB bikes are legendary and the genesis for the Goliath that Honda has become. You should just know that until you know a route and are sure there's no bumps on the corners to throw you off you should take it easy. That's true of any bike.

                          Just remember:
                          Become fast... slowly.

                          No trees were killed in the transmission of this message;
                          but a stupendous number of photons and electrons were terribly inconvenienced.

                          Comment


                            #14
                            Originally posted by Blind_Io View Post
                            The CB bikes look fun, but if you won't be able to hang in the twisties with modern bikes. That doesn't mean it won't be a blast to ride. Those old CB bikes are legendary and the genesis for the Goliath that Honda has become. You should just know that until you know a route and are sure there's no bumps on the corners to throw you off you should take it easy. That's true of any bike.
                            Thanks for the input.
                            I suppose handling is somewhat relative. Anything is better than my enduro on knobbies with its twin shock rear suspension. I've ridden an old GS850 Suzuki, which just felt uncomfortably huge to me, and a chopped up rat of a XS650 which I don't want to base any opinions on . I think I'm leaning towards the CB series, because like you mentioned, they were Honda's backbone and there seems to still be a whole lot of them out there. There's even an aftermarket for them. The impossible-to-find-parts problem is one reason why I'm getting rid of my enduro.

                            If I can hold out long enough (and make myself save enough money) I'll get something a little more modern, but I still don't trust myself enough to get something too nice.
                            Saying smaller engines are better is like saying you don't want huge muscles because you wouldn't fit through the door. So what? You can bench 500. Fuck doors. - MadCat360

                            Comment


                              #15
                              Thanks for all the advise so far guys. I think it has already come in handy in choosing the best bike.

                              On another, yet not any less important note, clothing. Do we have any tips about that? I have already decided I wanted to have a seperate goretex jacket and pants, not a full leather suit, I do not want to be a power ranger. But Eltoro on IRC also mentioned something about kevlar jeans which you can put on if you aren't planning on doing any outragous speeds. Anybody has some experience with these?

                              Comment


                                #16
                                Textile gear is fine, however it does not do as well in a crash. If you do go down plan on replacing all your gear. Leathers will do better and may not need replacing in all but the worst crashes.

                                Gear is good, rashing is bad. Really bad road rash may result in bad scarring and skin grafts. Denim is not abrasion resistant!

                                Armor. Rash is bad, but impacts are what break bones and shatter joints. Be sure to get full armor including knees, shoulders, elbows, back, and if you are going to be really aggressive you should get armored hip pads and specialized motorcycle track boots. Now, I don't ride with hip pads or track boots and much of the time I don't wear knee armor. My bike is also my workhorse commuter so I need to be presentable during the day. Also, armored gloves are a must. All armor is not created equal, just because it says "CE" doesn't make it the best. I like the armor with a hard plastic shell lined with padding, I think it does a better job spreading out the force of going down than the dual-density armor. I have had both and I feel much better with hard armor.

                                Pants: I have a pair of Draggin' Jeans with kevlar in the knees and ass. I have never gone down in them and I hope I never do. The kevlar helps with abrasion resistance but it's not as good as leather. My problem is that I can't find leather pants that fit, and most the time I don't want to sit in class wearing leather gear. The Draggin' Jeans are better than the Icon in my opinion because of the kevlar in the ass. Icon and other brands just have it in the knees, but in a crash you will probably end up on your ass most of the slide. For longer rides I wear leather chaps to cut the wind and provide added protection against stones and other road debris that can be kicked up. If you get the Draggin Jeans, I suggest you get hard-shell knee armor to wear under them. I don't recommend the armor that hooks inside the pants, as it would move too much in a crash. Get some armor from your local shop that straps to your leg.

                                Helmet: Full-face helmet. Period. More impacts happen on the face guard of a helmet than on any other part of the shell. Without a face guard even a minor crash will result in months of expensive reconstructive surgery and eating liquefied Salisbury steak. Full face helmet, all the time.

                                Boots: if you don't get track-style boots go with something heavy with a hard sole. I ride in OSHA steel-toe work boots but I have some Red Wing riding boots on order. My steel toes have saved me twice, once when I went down and my bike landed on my foot, another time (just two weeks ago) a piece of metal debris blew into my path and I hit it with my foot at 60 mph. My boots have a dent in the front of the sole and a slice in the leather, but my foot was fine.

                                Jackets: A regular leather jacket is not adequate. I thought it was until I crashed at 30 mph in one and the pavement rashed right through it. You need a good leather jacket with the fit and leather specifically made to protect you in a crash.

                                Last thoughts
                                Be sure to budget for gear with your bike. While it's important to be comfortable when you ride, remember the gear is designed to fit tightly. This prevents it from moving around during a crash and it will keep you safer. Don't be fooled by motorcycle-brand street clothing, it's not riding gear. If you want it, wear it when you're not on your bike.
                                Last edited by Blind_Io; April 25th, 2008, 7:51 PM.

                                No trees were killed in the transmission of this message;
                                but a stupendous number of photons and electrons were terribly inconvenienced.

                                Comment


                                  #17
                                  For the UK members considering getting a bike, you should probably go ahead and get your license ASAP. In October the test will be changed, costing you more money, a longer wait, and depending on your location, potentially a couple hour drive just to get to the test facility.

                                  www.takeyourbiketestnow.com

                                  Comment


                                    #18
                                    Good find, thanks for passing it along.

                                    No trees were killed in the transmission of this message;
                                    but a stupendous number of photons and electrons were terribly inconvenienced.

                                    Comment


                                      #19
                                      Originally posted by Derek View Post
                                      And in what way is the Bandit the better bike? If it is due to the performance, all of the mentioned bikes will be limited to 25kW ouput.

                                      Don't think I want an off-road bike really, I will mainly use the bike for sunny afternoons rides on the nice and winding backroads.
                                      I think the Bandit is the bike you might wanna keep when you are allowed to take the 25kw limiter off.. it's a good allround bike.

                                      And the KTM isn't an offroader, it's a supermotard.
                                      But it's impossible to go for a "nice" ride on one of those..

                                      Here's a Supermotard in action:
                                      [YOUTUBE]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LZeoWJZv2no[/YOUTUBE]

                                      Comment


                                        #20
                                        ^ the rider seemed a bit wobbly on some of those slower turns. He should stop riding on stairs and work on balance drills.

                                        No trees were killed in the transmission of this message;
                                        but a stupendous number of photons and electrons were terribly inconvenienced.

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