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Motocycle riders...need some advice.

Discussion in 'Downhill & Freeride' started by Dog Welder, Nov 29, 2005.

  1. Dog Welder

    Dog Welder Turbo Monkey

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    Been wanting to get a moto for a long time now. I've kinda decided on a Honda RC51. I love the VTwin on sport bikes but don't want to deal with a Ducati. Only problem is I've putted on bikes before but never owned one. How would the Honda do as a first bike? From what I understand, the VTwins have very even power delivery and aren't that powerful compared to say the new breed of 4cyl. sport bikes. Any ideas?
     

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  2. TWISTED

    TWISTED Turbo Monkey

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    A Suzuki SV650 would be a better first bike, about half the price too. A Honda Superhawk 996 would also work nice for you. There's also the Suzuki TL's.

    The V-twins are torquey-er, inline fours have less bottom end and like to be revved.
     
  3. wydopen

    wydopen Turbo Monkey

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    are you gonna get a casket along with your street bike??
     
  4. Radarr

    Radarr Turbo Monkey

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    If this really is your first bike, I'd get something cheap and small (>500cc) to learn on. Pick up a $1500 Kawasaki Ninja or something similar. That way, you won't cry as much when you lay it down in a parking lot...
     
  5. Tarpon

    Tarpon Monkey

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    I would say the RC51 is a bad idea for a starter bike. Like other have mentioned the EX250 or 500 from Kawasaki or the SV650 are good starting points. Above all, take the MSF class first. Try the Bay Area Riders Forum for an information resource, they are pretty hard core:

    http://www.bayarearidersforum.com/forums/
     
  6. Tattooo

    Tattooo Turbo Monkey

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    I have had six bikes now, and here are some observations:

    - Hondas and the like are good first bikes, but you on anything over 750cc's for your first bike is a mistake.
    - Make sure you spend for protective gear. That old addage of "There are only two types of bikers, those that have crashed and those that are going to crash" is true. Even a little lowside can hurt without gear on.
    - Frame/bar sliders for your first bike are a really good way to prevent damage when you drop it in the parking lot/garage. I know you think you never will drop it, but trust me, you will.
    - Take a class or two before you get into full time riding. MSF or a track day are a good place to start.
    - Beware the rain.

    Just take it easy, you'll be ok, but an RC51 for a first bike is a one way ticket to the morgue.
     
  7. wydopen

    wydopen Turbo Monkey

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    thats the best advise ive heard on here in a long time
     
  8. fiddy_ryder

    fiddy_ryder Turbo Monkey

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    check out the suzuki sv 650 . great learner and still fun on tight backroads.
     
  9. FCLinder

    FCLinder Turbo Monkey

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    I think the RC51 is a great bike. You will find the V-Twins have a lot more power in the bottom end than a Inline 4. The RC51 is a fun bike to ride. I have riding about 12 of them before. My first street bike was a Honda Custom 250cc for about 6 months when I was 15 years old. I then got a Honda CBR 900. Sold it right after high school 12 years ago. My most recent bike was a Kawasaki ZX636R. That would be a great bike for you as a first bike. Lots of power and still light weight. The RC51 may be to much for you at first. I took the ZX636R to track days at Road Atlanta a lot and would always out run the RC51s on the track. If you really want a V-twin get a smaller one like a Ducati Monster or a Suzuki SV650.
     
  10. Tattooo

    Tattooo Turbo Monkey

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    A monster is a hell of an idea. I've had three of those now, love those bikes. And, as a plus, without the bodywork they are cheaper to insure and fix. Just make sure you get the swing of the forks dialed out a bit, so when you drop it you don't dent the tank. Also, bar sliders from cyclecat might serve you good.

    The RC51 is just too much for a first bike, for almost anyone. My first bike was a 916, and I damn near killed myself on that bike more times then I can count. Mind you I was 18 and thought I was invincible, but none the less, it was too much. My roommate ended up dropping the bike at about 40 in the rain going around a corner. He and his woman got all messed up, and the bike ate a light pole.

    Go lighter, lower CC, you be happier in the long run.
     
  11. bikenweed

    bikenweed Turbo Monkey

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    I got a Kawasaki GPZ550 to learn on, and it was a great first bike. Quick enough to be fun, enough power to tote a passenger around town, and super reliable. After a couple months I wanted more power. Second bike I spent a lot of time with was an early 90's Suzuki VX800, very similar to the SV. I would definitely recomend starting on the SV or something of a similar size. You won't get bored, there will be enough power to terrify you enough to not try something stupid, and it isn't as dorky as a Ninja 500. 650 is probably a perfect beginning size. An older 550 just doesn't light the fire like a newer 650, and besides, they're all dangerous in the end. But probably no more danderous than a road bike. Have fun out there!
     
  12. Tarpon

    Tarpon Monkey

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    This has to be the WORST piece of advice I have ever seen on this forum. A modern 600 supersport is a terrible first bike, 100+ HP at the rear wheel is not a good place to start. How is this better than an RC51? 600's are very powerful and very unforgiving, the last things a new rider needs to try and cope with.:mad:
     
  13. dfinn

    dfinn Turbo Monkey

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    have you checked out the Suzuki DRZ-400SM? It will be fun as all hell to ride around town, will keep you from getting into triple digit trouble and you could get a set of dirt wheels and ride off road with it.

    I bought my first street bike this spring, an '05 SV-650S. I had quite a bit of experience riding moto and I had already taking my MSF course (this is a must). The SV is a good starter bike, smooth low power delivery but plenty of power to keep you from getting bored. There's a good chance it will be replaced in the spring with some kind of super moto bike.
     
  14. BMXman

    BMXman I wish I was Canadian

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    hey Paul maybe look into a Kawasaki 500r...not a bad biginner bike. It was was my first bike back in '89 :D
     
  15. sayndesyn

    sayndesyn Turbo Monkey

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    Best piece of advice I heard was to start with an SV650... That is how I learned to ride, and it still has plenty of power to get into trouble. They even have a SV 650 racing classes in some places. The first bike I owned was a new GSXR 600 in 02. My dad swore up and down that it was too much bike. I rode it all summer balls out with a full race suit and wearing down knee pucks on curvy roads. Definately had a bit of a death wish then, and I ended up getting into two accidents eventually which included 2 totalled helmets, blood soaked race boots, shredded ballistic jacket, etc. However the high side left my race leathers remarkably fresh still; ) I guess the point is you can ride a supersport like a nanna and be ok, but then what was the point in getting it in the first place? Start off with a 500 or a SV 650 for the street and then if eventually you want to go balls out get a RC51 or a similiar street legal race bike and race prep it and hit the track with a race suit, etc after taking some race classes.
     
  16. go-ride.com

    go-ride.com Monkey

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    I don't know jack about street bikes accept for that everytime I've been through knee rehab (too many times) there's always a kid or two with a leg that was broken so bad it will never work well again. Sadly, they always seem to have been riding a crotch rocket when it happened. Some of them were doing something stupid and crashed, while others just got hit by a car (usually while doing something stupid).

    Before you think that I'm just and old slow man, know that I ride my road bicycle all the time on busy streets and have come close to getting hit a bunch of times. I'm even stupid enough to ride with my ipod. But, at least my bicycle is limited to about 30mph in most training rides. I'm not sure, but it seems that I only hear of 1 or 2 people a year, nationwide, getting killed while mountain biking, but I hear of a lot of people getting killed while riding on the road. Many many times more than mtb.

    My real passion is riding DH or at least fast twisty mtb trails. In the winter when I can't do that I'm riding my MX bike in the deserts of UT. This finally brings me to my point. You are posting on the DH/FR board. Why not get an off-road bike that can be plated. Such as a KTM 450 Exc. Plenty of motor to get around town, but you get your adrenalin surge riding it off-road where there aren't thousands of cars waiting to hit you. It has a much more upright stance to get a better view of traffic and the ability to plow over curbs and such to avoid errant automobile drivers. Plus when you get it out on the trails it is great training for DH.

    Just a suggestion.
     
  17. Bicyclist

    Bicyclist Turbo Monkey

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    I would check out the Suzuki DRZ-400 Supermoto and the SV 650, 2 good easy to handle bikes. A 4 cylinder 600 would be terrible, way to "revvy" and hard to control.
     
  18. Dog Welder

    Dog Welder Turbo Monkey

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    That's kind of what I'm getting at. I look at bikes today like the R6 and the CBR600s and from what I've heard they're by far WAAAAYYYY more powerful than a RC51. In fact peole have told me that they're way more powerful than 1000CC bikes of like 4 years ago. That's why I was thinking of the RC cuz I rode a Superhawk before and the power delivery was nowhere near that of a new 600
     
  19. SCARY

    SCARY Not long enough

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    I need more of these green square things^^
    I go with Scott on this one.Every time I pick up a Cycle Trader ,a friends freind wakes up dead from one(no kidding).I got an 03 YZ 450f a year ago and it's been the most fun of my life,ever.I go to the track once or twice a week and don't get hurt nearly as much as in DH.Alot of the skills transfer over really well,and there are no 22 year old chicks on cell phones,putting on make up,listening to 50cent and not giving a s**t about you or anyone else.Just 10 yr olds on 65's passing you clean and jumping over your head-...your head ,not mine ;)
     
  20. Dog Welder

    Dog Welder Turbo Monkey

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    My plan is to learn on this bike and go to the track. I'm not that keen on using it as a commuter... if you think the drivers in your neck of the woods suck...move to LA.
     
  21. MikeD

    MikeD Leader and Demogogue of the Ridemonkey Satinists

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    Dog Welder's pretty tall...

    But if you can fit on an SV650, Paul, I'd get one of those. They're really popular as track bikes, too, from what I've seen. Go to www.svrider.com to get your jollies on the model.

    I want one. But I don't think I'll ever buy it.
    MD
     
  22. tacobelldhr

    tacobelldhr Monkey

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    dude get a crf450 and go ride moto! ...beroooot
     
  23. juice

    juice Monkey

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    I can't tell you what's right for you, but only what was wrong for me.

    I like to pin it on a mountain bike. Ride at my limits and even take a digger from time to time. Endorphins. Fear. See how smooth I can be while going 100% down Pink Starfish.

    You can't do that on a sportbike. If you ride at the point where you get that same rush/flow/groove as mountain biking, you're at a point where crashing means serious trouble. I was lucky enough to T-bone a Cadillac at 45 mph and be able to take the bus home. I still don't know how, but I know I totaled the car, the bike, landed 50 feet from point of impact after doing 1 1/2 flips in the air and not have a scratch on my upper body. Witnesses were amazed I lived, much less limped away. This was while riding back to work one day at dusk. I can't even imagine if I'd had this happen when I was riding for fun, going a helluva lot faster. I had really uncomfortable flashbacks for 3 years whenever I drove by that spot.

    I still ride at my limit on my VP-Free, but I've promised both myself and my wife that I'll never ride a road bike again. I have the wrong personality for one of those machines.
     
  24. Dog Welder

    Dog Welder Turbo Monkey

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    Been kinda looking around on some moto websites and I think I might take a look at the Kawi Ninja 250. Somewhere I read said it only has 25hp but a guy who wrote up a review came from riding a Hayabusa. Said it was fun as hell to ride because of its flickability. And despite having only 25 hp it was still able to keep up with guys riding GSXRs and R1s in the twisties. Plus it seems like they sell used for like 1500 bucks.
     
  25. Smelly

    Smelly Turbo Monkey

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    Scott (or anyone for that matter)-
    What are the requirements to make a dirt bike street legal? I've contemplated the idea but never looked into it. How difficult is it to switch the bike between being street legal and off-road ready? Is there a realistic way to make it so you can legally ride it on the road to the woods?
     
  26. dfinn

    dfinn Turbo Monkey

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    that depends on the state. Here in NV it's really easy, but I know in CA it's extra difficult. I believe you need headlight, taillight, blinkers, electric start, horn...not sure what else.
     
  27. Tattooo

    Tattooo Turbo Monkey

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    You can get away with a kick start in NV
     
  28. TurnerDHRider

    TurnerDHRider Monkey

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    gday mate...i ride motos as well...and honda bikes are very good/reliabel...last monday i went to a track day and saw RC51...and immediately i fell in love with it...the sound of that vtwin with a proper after market pipes is just amazing...sounds better than a ducati IMO...i am currently saving up for a new bike and i reckon i will be aiming for a RC51... although it hasnt got the power of the japanese inline fours...it handles very well(according to my friends taht own them)...i dont reckon speed is that important....if i want speed then i will go for hayabusa or gsxr1000...but the RC51 has character...u gotta hear it and u will know...and also theres plenty of after markets upgrades for it as well seeing that it has been around for a while...so yeah..go for the RC51...but maybe not too good of an idea to be your first bike...in australia with have a law saying that Learner/provisional riders cannot get a bike that is larger 250cc...or something like that...which i reckon is fairenough...cuz new riders are inexperienced and they dont know their limits and crash and die...but...go for something less powerful and just work ur way up if u awnt to live longer...but to answer ur question...RC51 is TOPS....

    good luck and ride safe
    KC
     
  29. sayndesyn

    sayndesyn Turbo Monkey

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    One thing to keep in mind might be the range of the RC51 is very short due to the tank size. Less range than 600's for sure. Not really a problem for racing, but a pain in the ass for riding around the countryside.
     
  30. Mutt

    Mutt Monkey

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    I am certainly a fan of the concept of getting a smaller bike first to learn on and later progressing to a more costly, higher performance bike. This would also facilitate dropping some cash on safety gear, which is worth every penny if you value your health/safety.

    That aside, I have a monster 620 and my house-mate has an sv650. Both bikes share some characteristics but definately have different personalities. Both bikes were also the first bikes we each owned (not rode/learned on mind you, but owned). So in some sense they were first bikes. They both have enough power to get you into trouble if you are intent on putting yourself there, but you won't find yourself there by accident. The sv650 has a more upright seating position and has a slightly less smooth transition in and out of turns. It is also a bit more frustrating to access regions of the bike for service if you are doing that yourself, but service is cheaper and easier if you are taking it to a shop (suzuki has many more dealers that ducati). The monster is a bit more gutsy in terms of acceleration and speed, turns smoother, has a lower stand-over height (I'm shorter than my buddy so its good for me), but can be a bit more costly, in either time or money, to purchase and maintain. Although simple routine servicings like plugs, oil, battery, shock adjustment are much easier on the ducati.

    A last note, my personal thoughts, about the way you think about riding. In my mtb and bmx riding, much of my mental game is getting over my fears or pushing through them. On my motorcycle I have had to utilize a completely different mentality and take a good long listen to my fears and respect them because the consequences are much worse and the probability of certain 'complications' lets call them, is much higher. If you are running on a track, maybe this is different since you have a more controlled environment, but on the street..... listen to your fears, they will keep you safe. If you have no fears, don't get a motorcycle.

    thats my $0.02
     
  31. sayndesyn

    sayndesyn Turbo Monkey

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    Oh and to chime in definately get the best damn gear you can afford. DON'T CUT CORNERS. Some people might think, buy the 40 buck gloves. No. Buy the 100 dollar ones with padding on the edge of your hand and carbon knuckles. My first wreck wouldn't of been too big of a deal, but the only thing I wasn't protecting was my knees because I was going to work and had on jeans. My 600 dollar Arai was destroyed, my bellistic jacket was destroyed, the carbon knuckles on my gloves were worn down, my alpinestars boots were worn down. The only thing that ended me up in the ER was the lack of knee protection. So I bought a full on SPIDI race suit and the next time I highsided I was fine and rode the mangled bike with a broken rear brake and clutch lever to the shop. Oh and get frame sliders on ASAP.
     
  32. conleycm1

    conleycm1 Chimp

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    I can't think of better advice...

    I've ridden "no fear" on a little 110cc mini dirt bike, but when I wreck that I just got a little dirt on my elbow pads. It took a couple of wrecks to realize I wasn't invincible. It took an afternoon of that and a ride on my buddy's 750cc streetbike to realize I had a lot of learning to do!
     
  33. bmxr

    bmxr Monkey

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    I just thought I'd chime-in my thoughts, too since I am actually more into motorcycles than mtb's, and I have seen enough people go through this to have some pretty strong opinions :D

    First off, what are you trying to accomplish? If you really want to ride on the street, go take the Motorcycle Safety Foundation Rider Course. Then practice your awareness skills as much as possible. On the street, that is more important than being able to drag a knee. Just ride, keep a level head, be aware, and have fun. That said, if you are interested in it, I would definitely steer you toward riding on the track as much as possible, even to the exclusion of street riding. You will learn infinitely more, have way more fun, and have no risk of getting hit by someone applying makeup or talking on a cell phone. Don't think you have to ride on the street first; go to the track first. There are plenty of track schools that will teach you everything you need to know, and do it in a controlled environment. If you start on the track you learn to ride, THEN worry about traffic. If you start on the street you have to do both at the same time.

    Second, set aside at least $1,500 for getting proper gear and the tools and equipment you will need to do track days. There are a lot of tracks with track days available near LA. You will need:
    A new helmet, full set of leathers (1 piece, preferably), gloves, boots, back protector, a set of stands, tire pressure guage, fuel can, a decent set of basic tools, and a way to tranport the thing to the track. The gear is expensive, but ask anyone that's fallen down (Like me:rolleyes: ) and they will tell you the money spent on gear is worth every penny.

    Finally, bike selection. You could (and many people do) start on a bike with well over 100hp, like a Super Hawk(105hp), 600RR(115hp), RC-51(125hp), or even a CBR1000RR(155hp). Someone is bound to point out that they "know someone" who has done it. That said, I think it's a horribly dangerous thing to do. I don't know how these scumbucket salesmen can sleep at night after selling some 16 year old kid a 165hp GSX-R1000 as a first bike. Those things should be intimidating to anyone, no matter how skilled.

    I can't stand the Ninja 250, not because it's not fun, but because I know they have not changed anything on the bike since it was introduced in 1986. It looks, feels, and rides like a 20 year old bike. Same goes for the 500, wich has received only cosmetic updates. Most importantly, those 180 degeree parallel twins sound like crap! :)

    Supermoto bikes are my favorites right now, but I realize they are a little hard-edged and not for everyone. For street use they are relatively uncomfortable, have low top speeds and limited range, etc. If you are into them, I could give you alot of info on the different types, though. I ride a KTM 625SMC right now.

    And finally, to answer the original question, RC-51's are killer. They are gorgeous, fast and the sound they make is pure sex. That said they are more bike than what you can use, they are uncomfortable (for most), geared way too tall, will cook your legs in traffic, have less range than most other sport bikes, eat lots of tires at the track, and if you ever want to race, very uncompetitive in the current class structures out there. Make it your second bike :)

    My opinion on the best "beginner bike" is hands-down and without question, the SV650S. They are very inexpensive (I bought one in PERFECT condition for $3,700!), have great engines (smooth, 70+hp), excellent suspension (with minor adjustments) and top-shelf brakes. They also sound like 85% of an RC-51, which is to say, GREAT! The best thing about it is that you will not grow out of it the way you will if you buy some bargain basement piece of junk like the Ninja 250 or 500. Tires last, insurance is cheap and there are a million aftermarket and parts-bin hop-ups availabe. Start doing some research at:
    SV Rider.com Forum

    Good luck and let us know how it goes!

    Here's a pic of my "beginner bike" :love: :

    Nothing better than passing guys on R-1's with a "girl's bike"! :nuts:
     
  34. tomvan72

    tomvan72 Monkey

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    My first bike was a Ducati ss900. crashed it on day 2. Then put 3500 miles on it, got divorced, sold it. Now 3 years later just got a Honda 919. From the first time I put a leg over, it was sooo easy to ride. I would still consider myself a beginer. Honda also makes the 599. Same bike with a smaller motor. Not a twin, but easy to ride and will last forever. Its a Honda!
     
  35. Brian Peterson

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    Paul,
    That 250 Kawi is a great first bike... Much better choice than the RC.. My first bike way a CBR600F2, but I also had almost 15 years of off road riding behind me. Some of the other bikes like the SV or Kawi 500 Ninja are worth looking at... The new Kawi 600 twin is pretty sweet looking...

    Have fun!!

    Brian
     
  36. bmxr

    bmxr Monkey

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    The 599 is a lot faster (in a straight line) than an SV, but it could still be a good beginner bike for someon with some self control. Smooth, reliable, and no fairing to replace when it falls over in that proverbial parking lot :D The riding position and wide handlebar make it a lot easier to handle than a bike with clip-ons.
     
  37. Dog Welder

    Dog Welder Turbo Monkey

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    Hey BMXr...thanks for the reply...yeah I'm actually more interested in the track aspect of riding than riding streets. To be honest I'm really intimidated street riding because in my line of work I get to see the results of some one not paying attention. If i decide to go to a track day is there an etiquette that I have to follow? You wouldn't happen to know of a website with like do's and don'ts? And considering that I'm new to riding will I expect to catch a lot of crap from more "experienced" riders?
     
  38. bigdrop05

    bigdrop05 Monkey

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    I don't know how good you are or how much skill ?
    Go for a small flickable bike first & learn bike handling skills.
    Maybe a Ninja 250. I roadraced for a few years & was quite fast. Started on a Xl100 dirtbike on/off road.
    Then Ninja 250 for a few years.
    Then right to a Suzuki GSXR 750.Then superbiked it Yoshimura stage 3 .
    Went to Mike Balwin's school in Brigehampton N.Y .Rode & raced with Scott Russell many times.
    My best riding buddy was Donald Jacks.RIP-He was amazing on a bike & was on a different level. His death riding on the street shows that anyone's luck can run out.
    I recently abondoned DH bikes to get a Honda CBR929RR-but sold it because i was too paranoid of injury or death.Also sold the Honda CR250R too because that thing is friggin sick man !Got a nice pulled A/C now from that moto bike !
    Just get skills is all i can say, & the RC51 is a cramped bike for tall fellas.
    .02
     
  39. Brian Peterson

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    Paul,
    There are usually schools going on up at Willow Springs that will be able to get you dialed in...

    Brian
     
  40. atrokz

    atrokz Turbo Monkey

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    Dust the track on a supermoto.


    BRAAAPPP