Monday, November 22, 2010

Can You Learn To Ride On A Street Triple?

One of the things I really wish I could do is answer the questions people use to get to my blog from Google. Perhaps I should add a banner on my blog: Hey You! Got a Question? Email me!

Anyway, one of the recent questions I found in my stats was "Can I use a Street Triple to learn to ride?"

The short answer is: Yes, but please don't.

The long answer is: You can learn to ride on anything. You could learn to ride on an race-prepared R1. But, you know, you might not have the best experience doing so.

First off, if you're a total moto-newbie, take the MSF class (or your local equivalent) on one of their bikes. A Honda Rebel 250 is possibly the least intimidating machine in the world. It is difficult to scare yourself so badly you pee a little on a Rebel 250, which makes them perfect for getting the hang of how riding works.*

Then, when you're licensed, get some old bike to ride for a year. There's a good chance you're going to dump that thing, and it hurts a lot less when you can just pick it up, slap some flat black paint on it, and call it repaired. Pick something that isn't too high-strung. You're still learning how to ride, and you're going to make (and hopefully survive) some scary mistakes no matter what bike you're on. A high-performance bike makes it easier to make very scary mistakes. A Street Triple, by the way, is a high-performance bike. If you scare yourself badly enough, you might just give up riding. I know a guy who bought a GSX-R 1000 as his first bike. Can you guess who scared himself so badly that he parked his new bike for a year before selling it?

So, you've been riding for a year, you've got a handle on how motorcycles work and how to survive traffic, now go get that Street Triple and ride it in to the ground!

*And some people like them so much, they just keep riding them after they've learned to ride. My "starter bike" can be someone else's "dream machine."