What did you learn to ride on - versus
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Veni, Vidi, Posti
Honda CTX 700 DN Automatic Motorcycle
Joined: 08 Oct 2008
Posts: 5073
Location: Naperville, Illinois
Fri Feb 14, 2020 1:35 pm quote
What you would recommend for first timer to learn on NOW.

After all your years of riding, what would you recommend and why?

Ossessionato
2012 Kymco Like 200i (Sold), 2018 FLSL
Joined: 04 Jun 2012
Posts: 2627
Location: San Jose, CA
Fri Feb 14, 2020 1:43 pm quote
I learned to ride on PTW as a kid on a mini bike. Every bike after that was an easy transition to learn to ride. Even manual shifts werenít a problem. For me the challenge was slow speed maneuvering. Once I figured out how to control throttle, clutch and brake i was good to go.

For an adult starting out I say a scooter. Something in the range of a 50 to 150 cc. It would be similar to the experience I had as a kid learning to ride on a mini bike.

Last edited by TroutBum on Sat Feb 15, 2020 6:31 am; edited 2 times in total
Ossessionato
Triumph Street Scrambler 2018, Suzuki VanVan200 (sold), 2015 Sprint 125 (sold)
Joined: 12 Apr 2015
Posts: 2148
Location: Finland
Fri Feb 14, 2020 1:54 pm quote
Good question!

And the answer... depends

If the first timer is a young person, it's hard to beat a Honda CB125R.
A light bike that handles like a proper motorcycle - learn to master that, and you can ride everything afterwards.

For someone starting the hobby later... well, depends on physics and attitude
Something that feels good, but is easy enough not to kill the hobby immediately...light enough to learn proper handling faster.

A scoot, if that's the final goal anyway - although this will be a more difficult/longer route to learn good bike handling, as you cannot use the help of a solid riding position with a petrol tank between the legs.

Honda_CB125R_004-640x360.jpg

Hooked
2020 GTS HPE 300, 2013 GTS 300ie
Joined: 23 Nov 2019
Posts: 124
Location: San Diego
Fri Feb 14, 2020 1:55 pm quote
I did my class on a Kymco and hated it. Then my first scooter was a Buddy and I loved it. Short me could easily put both feet completely flat on the ground in thin soled flip-flops (no, never rode it in them, just when I went to look at them initially and sat on the seat), it was very light to walk it, yet felt sturdy. I had a 170 so that thing could fly and was a bit too much for me at the beginning, so a 125 might have been a better option.
Veni, Vidi, Posti
2008 MP3 500, 2013 BV350, 2020 Vespa Sei Giorni
Joined: 13 Oct 2012
Posts: 7915
Location: Ashburn, Va. Home to the Internet
Fri Feb 14, 2020 1:58 pm quote
Had 10 years of mini bikes and dirt bikes before I ever Legally road on the street.

Wayne B
Moderator
P200 PX150
Joined: 28 May 2008
Posts: 4041
Location: Hustletown, TX
Fri Feb 14, 2020 1:59 pm quote
I learned on a P125

I learned a lot more when I took the Motorcycle Safety Course mandated by the state of Texas. In that class we rode Suzuki 250cc motos. The structured progression in skills is invaluable and shortens the learning curve. The fact that you learn clutch control and how to work a manual gear box from the jump is essential foundation for any rider. Long story short... a small displacement manual motorcycle is what someone should start on and with a qualified instructor to show them the basics.
Addicted
2006 GT200L "Lone Star"
Joined: 15 Jan 2019
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Location: Texas
Fri Feb 14, 2020 2:55 pm quote
Birdsnest wrote:
I learned on a P125

I learned a lot more when I took the Motorcycle Safety Course mandated by the state of Texas. In that class we rode Suzuki 250cc motos. The structured progression in skills is invaluable and shortens the learning curve. The fact that you learn clutch control and how to work a manual gear box from the jump is essential foundation for any rider. Long story short... a small displacement manual motorcycle is what someone should start on and with a qualified instructor to show them the basics.
I'd have to agree. And then, something in the 250cc class, maybe a dual purpose like a Honda XL 250 or Suzuki DR250, will provide a lot of fun riding, can do highway speeds, and give you the option of exploring side roads and trails, all while being ultra reliable and returning 50MPG or more.
Veni, Vidi, Posti
Lx 50 4T, GTS 250, Something Chinese
Joined: 21 Feb 2011
Posts: 7709
Location: KS USA
Fri Feb 14, 2020 3:06 pm quote
A Vespa.

Because it is a Vespa biaches!
Veni, Vidi, Posti
Modded Vespa 2017 GTV 300, BMW 2017 C650GT, Ural 2019 Gear Up
Joined: 21 May 2017
Posts: 6241
Location: Downtown Toronto
Fri Feb 14, 2020 3:17 pm quote
1979 P200e

Had it for a few weeks on a learners permit and friends helped a bit.

I'd say for now a good learner bike would be anything under 400 CC's really. Depends on the rider and what they want. A 300 CC Vespa however is fine to start except for riders with a short stature.




*EDIT* Think I got this messed up with another thread where training was asked about. So I've deleted all my stuff regarding training as it is not relevant here.

Last edited by Harbinger on Fri Feb 14, 2020 6:21 pm; edited 1 time in total
Veni, Vidi, Posti
MP3 500, GTS 250 (both 2008 MY), 2012 Honda NC700 DCT
Joined: 02 Mar 2013
Posts: 5597
Location: Madison, Wisconsin
Fri Feb 14, 2020 4:27 pm quote
About 35 years on bicycles did it for me.

Seriously, getting on a scooter I was like "wow, this sure isn't as much work".

Molto Verboso
Vespa Super 300
Joined: 24 Mar 2013
Posts: 1320
Location: IL
Fri Feb 14, 2020 4:59 pm quote
so I never had a PTW till in my late 50's I decided I wanted a PTW and took the state administered motorcycle safety course, we had 150 and 300cc motorcycles for the course. then i started looking to get a bike. my wife came across an article about Vespas ands she sent it to me and i researched it and was hooked. i went to a couple of dealers and tried several different size Vespas and went with w 300 super. So that is what i really learned on and it has been about 8 years and I have not looked back. Hope this helps

If I was younger I would likely consider a motorcycle but at my age I LOVE MY VESPA

larry
Veni, Vidi, Posti
Lx 50 4T, GTS 250, Something Chinese
Joined: 21 Feb 2011
Posts: 7709
Location: KS USA
Fri Feb 14, 2020 5:13 pm quote
Elegance. I feel so elegant on my Vespa.
Veni, Vidi, Posti
Modded Vespa 2017 GTV 300, BMW 2017 C650GT, Ural 2019 Gear Up
Joined: 21 May 2017
Posts: 6241
Location: Downtown Toronto
Fri Feb 14, 2020 5:18 pm quote
Madison Sully wrote:
About 35 years on bicycles did it for me.

Seriously, getting on a scooter I was like "wow, this sure isn't as much work".

Yup, I hear you there and that is how I felt. However now older and (maybe?) wiser I'm not so sure that is the best way to throw a kid out on a Ducati Monster.

Face it most of the kids don't want a scoot, yes even a Vespa as great as they are. I know.. they just don't get "cool" anymore.

Sounds like the consensus here is throw them on a bike and let them learn like we did. Funny thing is I'm really not so sure I disagree with that statement and I've taken a lot of advanced rider training courses.
Addicted
Bashan 150, CF Moto Fashion 250
Joined: 07 Dec 2008
Posts: 728
Location: Hyde Park, New York
Fri Feb 14, 2020 5:39 pm quote
A Grom style bike. Followed by a used 250 Rebel. Then up to something bigger. I started out on a Sears Allstate 50cc moped with hand shift. They don't make anything like it anymore but a Grom is close.
Hooked
2019 Piaggio Liberty 150
Joined: 20 Feb 2019
Posts: 207
Location: Norfolk, VA
Fri Feb 14, 2020 6:08 pm quote
If its for a young person, Honda Ruckus. I've recommended them instead of mini-bikes because you KNOW the kid is going to sneak out and go joy riding on the streets, and the Ruckus has lights, and because the parent(s) can ride it for quick store runs and such. If its a first motorcycle, used EX250 Ninja.
Ossessionato
LXV 150 3v ie. Midnight Blue (Sold)
Joined: 06 Dec 2010
Posts: 3131
Location: Bangkok
Fri Feb 14, 2020 6:30 pm quote
In a large garden Honda Monkey Bike
Round a field 500 BSA Single
On the road Lambretta
Addicted
Buddy 125, Scarabeo 150, Scarabeo 500ie, Triumphs, Vespa Sprint 150
Joined: 26 Oct 2007
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Location: Charleston,SC-Knoxville, TN- Sanibel, Florida
Fri Feb 14, 2020 8:57 pm quote
For a first time rider.....Honda Metropolitan 50cc.

fried okra
Hooked
Vespa GTS 300 Super
Joined: 17 Jan 2011
Posts: 182
Location: Adelaide, Australia
Fri Feb 14, 2020 10:35 pm quote
I learnt to ride in January 1968 on a 1963 Vespa VNB 125

Fab little scooter, my first purchase after leaving school and working long hours in a milk bottling factory for 2 months.

By the end of 1968 I sold it and bought a near new Vespa 180SS... the rest is history, Vespas for the next 50 years! Never been happier!
Molto Verboso
LXS 150
Joined: 13 Aug 2009
Posts: 1009
Location: The OTHER South Bay, CA
Fri Feb 14, 2020 11:25 pm quote
Bicycle, then a moped.

These days, I'd recommend a 50cc or 150cc large-wheel (Liberty, People) scooter, depending on the rider's weight.
Ossessionato
Triumph Street Scrambler 2018, Suzuki VanVan200 (sold), 2015 Sprint 125 (sold)
Joined: 12 Apr 2015
Posts: 2148
Location: Finland
Sat Feb 15, 2020 1:59 am quote
... nobody from this side of the pond proposed yet a BMW F850GS or on that side of the bond a HD 883 Sportster - those are what 'tru bikers' apparently recommend as beginners bikes. At least the BMW here.

A friend of mine did that. She had never ridden even a moped, plenty of bicycling though. An athlete, middle-aged. Done mountain climbing etc. so really physically in an excellent condition. She wished to keep her motorcycling initiative as a surprise from her friends, so asked from her colleagues' advice instead. Plenty of 1200cc GS riders there...

She got an unanimous recommendation to go and talk to the local BMW dealer. Who told her that the F850GS would be a perfect learners bike. So that's what she bought. Long story short - took riding courses, rode one summer... and sold the bike. Never felt 'at home' with that big, heavy monster - from a beginners viewpoint.

I would have an other story of my ex boss, who started his learning with a Honda VTX 1800...in short, he did ride a lot touring across US and Europe for many years (lived at the both sides of the pond and moved the bike from US to EU with him) and in the end, after years of riding and thousands of miles, confessed he never really felt comfortable with that big bike
Ossessionato
Yamaha Tricity 155 Urban 2019 - MV Agusta 125 RS 1956 - Moto Guzzi Airone 250 Sport 1951
Joined: 21 Jul 2007
Posts: 2555
Location: Latina (Italy)
Sat Feb 15, 2020 2:30 am quote
It was the year 1973, my uncle on his farm in the countryside had a completely broken vehicle which, however, was still walking and used it to go to open and close the irrigation water at the canal lock; today it would be worth a lot of money and it is very rare, but then it was just a scrap that barely walked.
It was a Vespa 125 like that of the Roman Holiday (Vacanze romane) movie.
I learned with that but I liked motorbikes and over the years I forgot scooters, what can you do ... as a boy I was attracted to motorbikes because many had it near my house but few or none scooters.
So at 16 I bought (in the scrap warehouse) an old MV Agusta 125 Sport from 1956 and adjusted it to the best; in the morning I went to school and in the afternoon I was a barman; during the summer holidays i went to work as a metal carpenter saving and i bought a MV Agusta 350 Sport, then a Yamaha XT 500, a Yamaha XJ 550 and ... the list is long ...
I still own the MV 125.



Ossessionato
2012 Kymco Like 200i (Sold), 2018 FLSL
Joined: 04 Jun 2012
Posts: 2627
Location: San Jose, CA
Sat Feb 15, 2020 6:47 am quote
Attila wrote:
It was the year 1973, my uncle on his farm in the countryside had a completely broken vehicle which, however, was still walking and used it to go to open and close the irrigation water at the canal lock; today it would be worth a lot of money and it is very rare, but then it was just a scrap that barely walked.
It was a Vespa 125 like that of the Roman Holiday (Vacanze romane) movie.
I learned with that but I liked motorbikes and over the years I forgot scooters, what can you do ... as a boy I was attracted to motorbikes because many had it near my house but few or none scooters.
So at 16 I bought (in the scrap warehouse) an old MV Agusta 125 Sport from 1956 and adjusted it to the best; in the morning I went to school and in the afternoon I was a barman; during the summer holidays i went to work as a metal carpenter saving and i bought a MV Agusta 350 Sport, then a Yamaha XT 500, a Yamaha XJ 550 and ... the list is long ...
I still own the MV 125.



As to the OP question, what would you recommend to the first time rider and why?
Hooked
2005 Vespa LX 150, 2005 GT 200
Joined: 13 Sep 2016
Posts: 294
Location: Hackettstown, New Jersey
Sat Feb 15, 2020 9:57 am quote
Moped in the late Ď70ís and then a brand new 1985 Honda Elite 150 in Ď85. Been hooked on scooters ever since.
Ossessionato
Yamaha Tricity 155 Urban 2019 - MV Agusta 125 RS 1956 - Moto Guzzi Airone 250 Sport 1951
Joined: 21 Jul 2007
Posts: 2555
Location: Latina (Italy)
Sat Feb 15, 2020 10:19 am quote
TroutBum wrote:
As to the OP question, what would you recommend to the first time rider and why?
Oh..sorry, I get threadbare sometimes ...
As a motorcycle I recommend a medium displacement, therefore definitely a Yamaha MT 03; as a scooter (but don't crucify me) a Yamaha X Max 300. The Vespa as a second scooter or a Medley 150 S as high wheels.
Ossessionato
2015 GTS 300 Super (Melody)
Joined: 22 Apr 2015
Posts: 2400
Location: Asbury Park, NJ
Sat Feb 15, 2020 6:45 pm quote
Madison Sully wrote:
About 35 years on bicycles did it for me.

Seriously, getting on a scooter I was like "wow, this sure isn't as much work".

This was actually my experience as well, as a cyclist in NYC for 40+ years.

Funny thing is, I was tearing around on various and sundry MCs off-road some years before going back to pedal-power (I was on bicycles from age 9 to 14, resuming at age 22). The sum total of all this was seriously useful to me getting my GTS in late 2015, and my MC license some seven months later.

(For the record, those off-road MCs included, but were not necessarily limited to: Honda CT70, Honda SL70, Premier 125, Yamaha DT125/250.)
Veni, Vidi, Posti
Neutrino MP3 492.7 AK, 2013 Moto Guzzi Norge
Joined: 29 Mar 2008
Posts: 21459
Location: Harriman, Tennessee, Tn
Sat Feb 15, 2020 7:54 pm quote
Re: What did you learn to ride on - versus
Belkwinith wrote:
What you would recommend for first timer to learn on NOW.

After all your years of riding, what would you recommend and why?

everybody is different and while some folks can grasp the clutch and shifting , throttle and brake controls really quickly others can hardly operate a hand brake lever.

the best thing is to sign up for a MSF class and let them teach a person to ride. After completing the class then a person has enough knowledge and basic skills to know how to safely operate a PTW.
Veni, Vidi, Posti
LX190, Primavera
Joined: 12 Oct 2007
Posts: 6155
Location: New Zealand
Sat Feb 15, 2020 8:06 pm quote
A few farm bikes but mostly a hodna CBX250 that one of my brothers fell off riding out of the showroom and never rode again. It was considered fair game by the rest of us after a few years languishing in the shed. Soon after I found a cheap Hodna C50 and the rest is history.

Probably the best learners bike I've had was a Suzuki GN125 that I picked up when I wanted to give the Guzzis a rest from commuter duties. 4 stroke, low seat hight, comfortable and plenty fast enough for urban riding.
Addicted
GTS 300 Super
Joined: 28 Sep 2009
Posts: 607
Location: Los Angeles, CA
Sat Feb 15, 2020 8:36 pm quote
I would highly recommend getting a dirt bike as your first bike. I learned to ride on a used Yamaha TTR-230, it was cheap to buy and no reliability issues to worry about, and was just as easy to sell and step up.

Learning to ride on dirt will teach you a lot more stuff, specially when it comes to turning, braking and handling the bike. You will actually appreciate being on two wheels more while riding on dirt.
Ossessionato
GTS250
Joined: 16 Jan 2010
Posts: 3549
Location: Tempe, AZ
Sat Feb 15, 2020 9:32 pm quote
My brother walked into a dealership and asked what was the fastest looking slow bike they had for his son. He rode it first just to make sure. It was the small Suzuki Boulevard, I think.
Member
'05 GT200, "Tornado" '09 Buddy 150, "Zuli"
Joined: 25 Jan 2020
Posts: 12
Location: San Diego
Sat Feb 15, 2020 9:59 pm quote
I learned to ride on a 72cc Yamaha Champ. 3-speed, Semi-autotomatic transmission using a centrifugal clutch. You would shift with your foot but there was no clutch to fuss with. Made stepping up to a Suzuki GN250 really easy.

For a learner bike now I would have to agree with sdscooterista, The Genuine Buddy's handle like a Schwinn Stingray compared to a conventional motorcycle. If it must be a motorcycle then something like the Sym Wolf 150.
Addicted
Vespa PX 177 Settantesimo
Joined: 01 Feb 2017
Posts: 728
Location: London
Sun Feb 16, 2020 12:14 am quote
I spent a lot of time on BMXs so was pretty confident moving on to an automatic scooter as I had a good understanding of how and when to apply pressure to which break. That came in handy on the sort of roads I had to ride on at the time. I pretty much just jumped on a bike and started riding pillion. Never did any formal training until much later as it was a legal requirement.
Addicted
Vespa lxv 125 vie dell moda Chianti
Joined: 28 Aug 2012
Posts: 775
Location: Cheshire
Sun Feb 16, 2020 2:50 am quote
lambretta TV 200 GT registered as a 125 aged 21 ish kept it for about 15 years before selling then nothing till 2012 the vespa lxv 125 i have now
Ossessionato
2016 Vespa GTS 300 i.e. ABS, 2010 Vespa GTS 300 ie Super (sold) & 2003 Honda Shadow VT750 ACE (sold) & 2006 Vespa LX150 (sold)
Joined: 18 Oct 2009
Posts: 3112
Location: Toronto (formerly Montreal)
Mon Feb 17, 2020 7:57 am quote
First the why: riding is a deeply satisfying pleasure. First the physical pleasure, then the inclination to explore on two wheels that eludes me in a car.

Now the how: Lots and lots of bicycle miles, followed by three years on a tiny moped (Velo Solex) from the late 60ís to mid 70ís, then starting in 2010 on Vespas: rented an LX50 for a weekend to test a commuting route; bought an LX150 and commuted on that till 2013; in 2013 bought a GTS so I could add long distance touring with friends on motorcycles; now riding a 2016 GTS that I bought so I could have the added security of ABS and traction control.

When shopping for the first Vespa, I found the prospect of even the 150cc a little daunting, and the 250cc GTS downright intimidating. In retrospect, the 250cc GTS would have been just fine as a starter bike. The difference is just the weight, and more room to play at the higher end of the speedometer.

As far as critical skills go, definitely take a riding course and learn about the importance of counter-steering.

As far as practicality goes: nothing is more efficient than a Vespa for urban commuting, and the LX150 slightly outperforms the GTS because itís slimmer and makes it even easier to slip through traffic jams.
Molto Verboso
2013 Vespa 300 Super, 2007 Burgman 400
Joined: 30 Mar 2014
Posts: 1604
Location: Minneapolis USA
Mon Feb 17, 2020 9:08 am quote
Learn to Ride
Like RRider, I learned to ride on a Honda CB125. Just like Sully said, years
on a bicycle made the transition easy. But OH! what fun when you cranked that throttle. Hooked for life.

Bob Copeland
Lake Wobegon MInnesota

HONDA-CB-125-12417_1.jpg
1971 Honda CB125 "In Red of course"

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