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post #1 of 13 (permalink) Old May 19th, 2006, 12:15 am Thread Starter
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Location: SoCal, CA,
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Talking First bike reality

Hello,

I am in the market for my first road bike. I currently have an off-road (KTM 450) that I enjoy very much, but wish I had started the whole motorcycle thing much earler. I have only owned an off-road bike for the last 2 years.

The master plan for the road bike is a daily commuter, weekend rider, and a vacation tourer. My brother and father (both riders, one very experienced, one moderately so) and I have lofty plans of taking some trips together....anything from weekend trips in California to quick trips to Nebraska (family) and back.

Ok, now to the point....
Given I have zero experience on a road bike, is it unexcusable to look at a K1200gt or R1200rt as a first bike? Is it unforgivable? Or, merely not recommended? Or, no problem, go for it!

I'm sure the most common answer would be: "start with the _____ (insert much smaller bike) and work your way up" to gain experience. And while that is certainly sound advice, is it the overwhelmingly most common response?

I am cautious by nature and would like to think that I could ease into the ownership of a BMW. Please let me know your thoughts.

Thanks,
John
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post #2 of 13 (permalink) Old May 19th, 2006, 1:50 am
 
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Hi John,
If you are new to road riding, a GT/RT etc might be a bit of a handful while you are learning the tricks of staying alive. Also, it's a lot of bike to drop. It is a good idea to start with something older, lighter and cheaper for the initial learning curve. Having said that, if you have loads of experience on off road bikes, an old R1100 or 1150 RS or R makes a good cheapish roadbike. They are easy to ride, well balanced, and the power is nice and predictable. It helps if you are more than 5'6" as the bike will feel lighter and more managable. Having said that, I've been riding road bikes since 1980 and I still crashed mine the other day. If you ride your own speed, don't get dragged into following other people too fast, and get some good training you will be fine.

Good luck,
Brian
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post #3 of 13 (permalink) Old May 19th, 2006, 5:16 am
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My wife bought an 1150RT for her first bike,took the MFS course,practiced for a few weeks locally,then followed me on a 300 mile one way trip.Three years later she has 30K on her RT.She did drop the bike a few times in driveways and parking lots till she learned to keep the front end straight and not grab the front brake while her front end was turned.She hasn't dropped it for almost 2 years now and has ridden many a curvey road including deals gap four times.She did have me to follow around and I tried to ease her into ridding. I think if you get the training and find a fellow rider willing to teach you step at a time plus read all the books you can on street ridding you'll be fine with an RT/GT.

Enjoying The Ride. Eddie Layton
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post #4 of 13 (permalink) Old May 19th, 2006, 8:31 am
 
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John,

The fact that you say you're cautious in nature is a strong point in your favor. If you haven't taken a basic motorcycle rider safety course, I'd encourage you to do so. It'll be fun, and easy for you with off road experience, but I know you'll pick up a few road riding tips that will enhance your safety.

Once that's completed, any of the late model RT's should be a good bet. They'll do everything you've listed, and have easy to modulate power. The '03 or '04 GT wouldn't be a bad choice either, except that the seating position is going to feel a bit strange to you at first, the RT will be more upright, therefore more familiar. Power wise, the '03 or '04 GT is about the same as the R1200RT, but GT is much smoother.

Once you pick out your bike, and have gotten familiar with it, I'd recommend an advanced rider course, where you ride you own bike. It'll really sharpen up your low speed handling skills.

I would NOT recommend the latest generation K bike, in the S, R, or GT version, nor any of the LT's as a first road bike. The LT can be a bit top heavy, increasing the risk of a low speed tip over, and all the new generation K bikes have pretty sensitive throttles, and spool up VERY quickly. Off road bikes get a lot of full throttle usage, just one twitch of the throttle on one of the new K bikes can get you into alarming situations in a heartbeat. Besides, the S and the new GT have a lot of fragile plastic to damage!

Good luck with your decision making, it's part of the fun.
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post #5 of 13 (permalink) Old May 19th, 2006, 9:51 am
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First Bike

Hi,

After 23 years out of the saddle, my last bike was a RD400, I started on a Yellow K1200RS, what a bike! So long as you have roadsense and respect for the vehicle you are riding you should be ok, I would recommend an advanced course, I did mine after 9 months practicing. After 11 months I gave in and bought a K12S, still not sure if it was the right thing to do, the K12RS has a lovely motor and the gearbox is not bad either. The low centre of gravity also helps with low speed control.

Cheers

Dibbley
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post #6 of 13 (permalink) Old May 19th, 2006, 10:37 am
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by edlk1200
My wife bought an 1150RT for her first bike,took the MFS course,practiced for a few weeks locally,then followed me on a 300 mile one way trip.Three years later she has 30K on her RT.She did drop the bike a few times in driveways and parking lots till she learned to keep the front end straight and not grab the front brake while her front end was turned.She hasn't dropped it for almost 2 years now and has ridden many a curvey road including deals gap four times.She did have me to follow around and I tried to ease her into ridding. I think if you get the training and find a fellow rider willing to teach you step at a time plus read all the books you can on street ridding you'll be fine with an RT/GT.
Theresa did essentially the same, starting with an 1100RT and the MSF course. First trip was a 2-day 400-mile trip up to Tahoe. She did over 10k the first year and our honeymoon was a tour of the Alps. She was the only woman on her own bike. The older RT's are much easier to handle than the K1200's especially at low speed.

BTW, I do have an R1100RT for sale!
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post #7 of 13 (permalink) Old May 19th, 2006, 3:45 pm Thread Starter
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Thank you for the responses. I especially appreciate learning the nuances of late model BMWs, as I'm still reading all I can about them.

I have signed up for the MSF beginner class already. I think taking the course, settling on a bike, get some nice-and-easy seat time, then stepping up to an advanced course would be a good plan before setting out on a long trip.

Another question: While at a local dealership last weekend, one of the sales guy's pitches was that with a tourer or sport-tourer the ability to stay comfortable on long rides increases when compared to a classic c-seating position cruiser. His point was that on a cruiser your weight is all in the seat/tailbone/back. Whereas with a ST, the weight is distributed among handle bars, seat, and footpegs. Is that just a line or truth?

Seems to me I've seen plenty of cruisers in remote places. I suppose that doesn't mean any of them were comfortable though!

Thanks,
John
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post #8 of 13 (permalink) Old May 19th, 2006, 4:43 pm
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by titaniumfrycook
Another question: While at a local dealership last weekend, one of the sales guy's pitches was that with a tourer or sport-tourer the ability to stay comfortable on long rides increases when compared to a classic c-seating position cruiser. His point was that on a cruiser your weight is all in the seat/tailbone/back. Whereas with a ST, the weight is distributed among handle bars, seat, and footpegs. Is that just a line or truth?

Seems to me I've seen plenty of cruisers in remote places. I suppose that doesn't mean any of them were comfortable though!

Thanks,
John
Having had both, there is no comparison! The BMW sport tourer is much more comfortable for long days in the saddle, especially if you are on twisty roads. (And why would you want to ride anywhere else!)
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post #9 of 13 (permalink) Old May 19th, 2006, 5:17 pm
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I stay much more comfortable on the sport touring bikes than any cruiser I owned.

Enjoying The Ride. Eddie Layton
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post #10 of 13 (permalink) Old May 20th, 2006, 1:35 am
 
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If you can ride a KTM 450 off road as it was meant to be ridden you will have no problem with a big bike on the road. I had a KTM 400 which was enough of a handful off road and two friends have 450s.

You will still have to learn new skills for on road riding but I assume that an MSF course will start you on the right path.

The skills you should have learnt off road will prove useful on road. As an example two days ago on a ride out through Wales with a friend the front on the K1200 washed out in a slowish corner - must have been a spot of diesel - but I knew not to hit the front brake and the bike would collect itself which it duly did.
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