Where do I go to learn how to ride?
You should start by taking the Motorcycle Safety Foundation class, or MSF class. To locate a local class in your area, visit http://www.msf-usa.org
. They will provide you with a bike, a helmet, classroom and hands on instructions. In most cases, after completion you will not have to take the driving test at your DMV. Also, some insurance companies offer MSF discount for new riders.
What should I get as my first street bike?
Generally speaking, your chances of dropping and crashing a bike as a new rider are much greater than an experienced rider. For that reason alone, it's wise to get a cheaper older less powerfull bike as your first bike. For starter, your initial investment will be much lower than a brand new bike. Second, you won't lose much resale value when you're ready to upgrade to your "dream" bike. Third, you won't feel as bad when dropping an old beat up bike. Fourth, insurance on an older bike is much cheaper than a new one, especially for new riders. Fifth, it's a lot easier to control the throttle of an underpowered bike than a more powerful one. You're less likely to surprise yourself and get into trouble. "Take it easy" is relative. As a new rider, you may not know the limitations of your bike, therefor, you may not know how to "take it easy".
Some of the better first street bikes are: Kawasaki 250R/500R, Honda Hurricane CBR F2/F3/F4, Suzuki SV650 & GS500, Yamaha YZF600R, Kawasaki Ninja 650R.
What should I get for protective gear?
The most important gear to have is a well fitted helmet. Most helmets out there are DOT approved, but you should purchase one that is both DOT and SNELL approved. SNELL has a more stricten testing method, including multiple and chin bar impact, compare to DOT. Your helmet should be snug fit, and should not move around when shaking your head. A full-face helmet will give you the best protection. For more information regarding SNELL helmet testing method, visit http://www.smf.org
In addition to a helmet, you should wear something to protect yourself from abrasion. Leathers are the best abrasion protection, but require more care and maybe a bit uncomfortable. Textile products are a lot more comfortable, but may not be adequate to protect you in a crash (depending on the material used). Most motorcycle jackets/pants come with armors, dual density foam or GP. You can buy those separately and add them into your existing jacket/pant, if there are pockets for them. You should have GP armors (hard plastics) on your shoulders, elbows, shins, back, and knees.
Gloves and boots are also a must. They will protect your hands and feet in case of a fall. They also give you more consistent control of your motorcycle instruments. Boots should have hard ankle and shin padding. Gloves should have at least some thick palm padding, and enough velcro patches to prevent them from coming off during a fall.
How much gear should I wear?
Well, the answer will be different from person to person. Some people will say that just a helmet will be adequate, others prefer wearing everything available even when it is hot outside. Before you make your decision, ask yourself how much protection you want to have in case of a crash? Are you prepared to go through the pain and being out of work? Because a crash can happen whether it is your fault or not, full protective gear is recommended. However, you will have to make this decision yourself.
What should I modify on my bike first?
Generally speaking, any modern street bike, especially sport bike, is a handful for a new rider. The power to weight ratio and throttle response on these bikes are incredible. As a new rider, we always want to encourage you to invest your money in riding gear, and riding school to take advantage of the power of these bikes. There is a saying, "power without control is a liability, not an asset." With that said, the most common modifications are fender eliminator, additional decals/graphic kits, smaller blinker lights, exhaust canister/full system, lighter sprockets and chain, lighter wheels, steering dampener, and aftermarket suspension system.
What are some of the basic maintenance?
Keeping your bike in top running condition is critical, especially when you can get hurt if something goes wrong. Some of the basic maintenance are oil change (every 3000 miles), chain lube (every 500 miles), cable lube (every 2 years), coolant flush (every year), fork oil change (every 15k miles), brake pads replacement, chain & sprockets replacement.