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Newbie FAQ

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Newbie FAQ

Post by Admin on Mon Mar 31, 2008 6:37 pm

If anyone wants to add their thoughts, opinions, etc, feel free and we can hopefully come out with some sort of semi-coherent guide


My thoughts:

First bike:
2 stroke vs. 4 stroke:
A 2 stroke will always have more power than a 4 stroke. With out some form of super/turbo charging or other serious tuning a 4 stroke 125 is unlikely to pass 15 - 20hp. As for the limit for learners, it is most probable that new 4 strokes will be built with 15hp and not designed to be 'derestricted' afterwards, very few current 4 stroke 125s make more than 15hp as it is. A 2 stroke will sound a bit more 'tinny', but will be buggering off into the distance while it does it . Most recent 2 strokes can be derestricted to get over 25hp, which should be enough for around 100mph and around 0-60 in 6 seconds.

Older 2 strokes (pre circa 1980-1990) should generally still have about 20hp derestricted, which will give a fair bit better acceleration than the 12 that most older bikes are when restricted or by design for 4 strokes. They are also generally better bikes as far as performance in general goes compared to 4 stroke 'commuter' bikes (i.e. other components such as suspension, brakes etc).

A cheap 4 stroke is an option for a first bike if you're not intending to use fast A roads, however do be aware that you may soon find it limiting and be wanting to upgrade, so it's probably worth going for something very cheap (i.e. 400ish) which you can sell on for about the same price. 4 stroke 125s will have a top speed of about 65 - 75, depending on the age of the design. All tend to struggle over 50mph though.

Personally I'd recommend going for a cheap older 2 stroke first. A derestricted 85mph will let you keep up with most traffic, while the brakes and handling etc will out perform their 4 stroke 'commuter' counterparts. These can usually be picked up from 500 for a tatty example to about 1200 for a very good one. Not only will you be paying less for the bike, but insurance costs tend to be cheaper. This leaves you more money to do your test, buy protective gear and other useful things.

By the way, most of us do think "I'll keep the bike for 2 years, then get a bigger one when the restriction has ended". However good your intentions are, this usually only happens through laziness. The majority of people get a bigger bike fairly soon after passing their test, usually having derestricted it before that. Though I'm not the best example, I got bored of my cg125 (4 stroke) pretty quickly, despite it being my first bike and fairly soon got a ns125 2stroke.

Think about what you want from a bike. Something like the NSR is a good choice, it's not a completely focused sports bike, yet has reasonably decent power and handling when required.
Whatever bike, I'd recommend going for an older model, say between 500 and 1500 will get you a decent older bike, with the top end of that get you a tatty example of a recent design.
Most recentish 2 stroke sports 125s should do 0-60 in around 6 seconds, which means you have plenty of acceleration, at least off the line, to beat most cars.

Reasons you should get an older bike:
A new bike loses a lot of money the minute you walk out of the show room, an older bike will depreciate a lot less.
You will crash it at some point, there are exceptions, but the majority of people do, however good your intentions. This means more relative loss on newer bikes.
You will want to move up, probably a lot sooner than you think and an older bike is generally easier to sell.
You don't have to run it in, for the first 1000 miles you have to restrict the revs you use, on a restricted 125 this will seriously slow you down.

Reasons to get a newer bike:
'Piece of mind' from warranty etc: there are plenty of bikes still in warranty that are a fair bit cheaper than new. People do have new bikes failing and a warranty doesn't always mean much, if the garage doesn't feel like being helpful.


Insurance:
Ring around as many places as possible. Ideally /every one/ from the back of bike mart.
Last time I Was getting insurance the very last place I called out of the around 50 adverts in bike mart brought it down from 450 to 400. 50 more in my pocket, not bad for one extra call
Once you've got a list of places that gave good quotes, find the ones that gave the lowest quote at the time (beat all the ones you had previously) and call them up, asking if they can beat your best quote.
I got my insurance down to 385 eventually, another 15 for 15 minutes work, and I get a lot less than 60 per hour, so it's time well spent in my opinion .


Clothing:
The most important choice when buying a helmet is the fit. A cheap helmet that fits well will be a lot better when your head hits the road than an expensive one that is to loose.

For the best protection it's recommended you go for 'proper' leathers. However due to financial constraints or practicality, many go for a textile suit as their main bike clothing. Leathers should be got in a fairly tight fit, which should stretch slightly as you wear them in. If the fit is too lose then the armour can move around when you hit the deck and if you're very unlucky make it worse when the armour digs in to you rather than protecting. Generally 'you get what you pay for', however cheap leathers will be better than none for leisure riding.

For commuting etc, most people go for a textile suit, these tend to have more flexibility, be easier to get on and off and are generally cheaper. It's still worth getting textiles with CE approved armour and making sure the fit is fairly good. Textile jackets tend to at least be more waterproof than leathers. While many people just go for a jacket, it is definitely worth getting the trousers, in all the times I've crashed (probably <25 now) on motorbikes, the only time I've hurt myself and not only hurt my legs is when I came off the back of a bike at 50-60mph in a wheelie. All the other times I've just messed up my knees because I've only been wearing jeans. This includes quick trips to the shops, where I haven't bothered with trousers and other times I've just been lazy. You're not going to wear protective trousers all the time, but, unless you want knees that look like mine, it's worth doing it as often as possible

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