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Hello everyone. I was wondering what would be a good learning bike. People often say that it is good to learn on a lighter bike (ie two stroke or low cc bike). Pardon my ignorance but why is this the case? What are advantages of getting a light bike for track training?

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Not to mention easy to handle, easy to repair, and TONS of repair parts are readily available new & used...

 

I would tell anyone though, to stay away from liter (or litre if you're across the pond :P ) bikes as something to start on. They chew up tires pretty quick, and require a level of throttle control that few mortals can provide within the first number of years of riding...

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  • 5 months later...

Some things to consider...

 

If you intend to learn to race and/or go racing, the KISS philosophy allows you to focus on your riding. The less time, money and attention required to maintain the machine the more time, money and attention left over to learn to ride. There's nothing like being able to roll it off the trailer, add gas and go. At the end of the day, you put it back and go home.

 

By this philosophy...four stroke, production stock. Least maintenance, most riding time.

 

Next is...how many classes can you run with it? You can always bump up...but not down. not just size but modification level. Most track time vs effort to get to the track.

 

Twin vs. Four cylinder. Well...less cylinders, less plugs, less gas...less maintenance...less to rebuild..something to consider. More torque, less horsepower maybe...definitely easier to ride. More fun per dollar and lap. Less emphasis on shifting gears perhaps as the torque allows you to maybe get away with using one gear where others use three.

 

Unless you are a large person, 6' and 170lbs +, starting with a small bore machine on the track allows the most forgiving and fun experience. Least amount of high-side risk. This is my opinion. But...you do eventually want to learn throttle control and roll on power wheelies...so...'why wait' might be another way to look at it. Might as well get to it.

 

Something to consider...modern 600's make more horse power than my GPz750 superbike and weigh less than my FZR400 race bike. Basically the equivalant of a factory superbike of fifteen years ago. They are incredible machines...they are anything but tame. I and many racing schools recommend going as small as is reasonable. Again, most attention left over for learning to ride correctly. maintaining corner speed as opposed to using the engine to overcome mistakes. Not being overwhelmed by 120 bhp on a 375 lb machine.

 

A two stroke, while light and fun requires a good bit of tuning time and knowledge. Chances are you'll spend most of your time tuning and learning to tune. And suffer from a bike that may not run right at any given point in time. I'd wait on the 2 stroke option.

 

I'm all about light weight. But I'm 5'6" and weigh about 140lbs. So, there's my nickel. Go for it.

 

Cheers

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  • 2 weeks later...

I'd agree if you are not a full on gear head--spend the money on riding, and not on the bike.

 

But it would depend on what you are going to do with it--race and track, or commuter, or simply weekend cornering bike? A lot of the modern 600's aren't that great in my opinion for all around riding, and pretty much suck riding 2 up.

 

The SV-650 has been a fun option for a lot of guys, and now Kawi has a bike to go against it--that looks pretty interesting to me.

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  • 5 weeks later...

If this is a learning bike, you don't want him/her riding two-up.

 

For those who suffer from testosterone, I'm forever talking them out of buying a 1000cc extension of their overblown libido for a first bike. <_< For those who want to be "canyon racers", the 600 series of sportbike has many choices, lots of aftermarket parts, and is enough to get most into trouble and on my mishap list.

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  • 7 months later...

I agree with Cobie. My SV650, which was my third street-going bike, was absolutely the most fun machine I've owned. With it, I did my first wheelie, rode to NYC and Toronto, and had the most comfortble 2-up rides.

 

Getting a literbike (or anything bigger) for a first bike is really not too wise. It is expensive to even drop in the carpark, and it is one of the fastest ways to get a new rider hurt (plus speeding tickets). Personally I think the 600 racebikes of yesteryears, which are now relegated to the "budget sport" or "sport touring" categories, are the best first bikes. You will have much more fun learning on an affordable '01 CBR600F4i Sport, for example, than on a brand new CBR600RR that killed your bank account.

 

All my track riding now is done on a '96 CBR400RR (same "generation" as racer's FZR400), and let me tell you, it is incredible. The lack of power (and thus acceleration) translates into the need for good lines and higher corner speeds. It reveals my mistakes candidly and constantly pushes me to work on my technique.

 

Did I also mention that it is much cheaper to buy and maintain a smaller bike?

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  • 1 month later...

Well I picked up my Ninja 250, I did some gental leaning, and riding for about 20 miles, took it out the next day with my full leathers on, and got my knee down, the bike hanldes great, and is very stable in the turn,

very easy to make small adjustments to the lean angle. I was going at about 20 MPH in a 30 foot circle.

The funny thing is I was just pushing the lean angle bit by bit feeling comfortable, and touch down, not really trying, in fact I through it was a peg feeler. The stock tires hold very well, and the suspension seem to be doing a great job.

 

For some reason I can't get my CBR600RR over at this angle, and I cannot get as comfortable on the CBR as I can on the ninja.

 

James.

 

 

 

 

I agree with Cobie. My SV650, which was my third street-going bike, was absolutely the most fun machine I've owned. With it, I did my first wheelie, rode to NYC and Toronto, and had the most comfortble 2-up rides.

 

Getting a literbike (or anything bigger) for a first bike is really not too wise. It is expensive to even drop in the carpark, and it is one of the fastest ways to get a new rider hurt (plus speeding tickets). Personally I think the 600 racebikes of yesteryears, which are now relegated to the "budget sport" or "sport touring" categories, are the best first bikes. You will have much more fun learning on an affordable '01 CBR600F4i Sport, for example, than on a brand new CBR600RR that killed your bank account.

 

All my track riding now is done on a '96 CBR400RR (same "generation" as racer's FZR400), and let me tell you, it is incredible. The lack of power (and thus acceleration) translates into the need for good lines and higher corner speeds. It reveals my mistakes candidly and constantly pushes me to work on my technique.

 

Did I also mention that it is much cheaper to buy and maintain a smaller bike?

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Well I picked up my Ninja 250, I did some gental leaning, and riding for about 20 miles, took it out the next day with my full leathers on, and got my knee down, the bike hanldes great, and is very stable in the turn,

very easy to make small adjustments to the lean angle. I was going at about 20 MPH in a 30 foot circle.

The funny thing is I was just pushing the lean angle bit by bit feeling comfortable, and touch down, not really trying, in fact I through it was a peg feeler. The stock tires hold very well, and the suspension seem to be doing a great job.

 

For some reason I can't get my CBR600RR over at this angle, and I cannot get as comfortable on the CBR as I can on the ninja.

 

James.

 

 

that might have to do with the size/weight of the two bikes. i'm not sure if the wheelbase would be much different. i wouldn't suggest trying to get a knee down on the street though. i mean, i know plenty of guys who have had no problems destroying pucks on public roads, and i've gotten my knee down a few times too, but one time i did it on an f4i i had, well.... that's why i said had. you just never know about gravel, animals, oil, or in my case, street imperfections. at the track you don't have to worry about all that. at mid ohio i was able to get my knee down all day, but i still can't find it easy on the street. i like to think it's intelligence and not fear though :)

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I always do my leaning practise in a clean car park, usually I do not lean much on the public roads.

The Ninja 250 seems easy to get to high lean angles, I was not actually trying to get the knee down, I was just working on my body posistion, I seem to be able to move my off the ninja a lot more than my CBR,

it may just be the bike ergo's I am think of trying a ZX-6R, it seems you sit more in the bike, on the CBR

you seem to sit more on top of the bike.

 

Thanks for your inputs. James.

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James,

If those are the stock tires on that 250, please be careful leaning way over. They are not very good tires, imo, so take it easy.

Couple of 250-centric recommendations:

1.) Pirelli Sportdemons - GOOD tires. Have done 1 track day on a 250 with these tires and they are really good.

2.) http://www.ninja250.org - The FAQ is awesome. Make sure you search before posting a question. That group is truly FAQ happy and will point it out to you without a second thought. The skill range of riders that frequent that site is truly diverse. LOTS of noobs (which is expected) but also a 250 racer in California and a couple of Iron Butt Rally finishers. Give it a shot.

 

Sorry to the school for the off topic plugs. Hope that wasn't stepping on anyones toes.

 

Hugh

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Hugh (et al),

 

I just spoke with the Dunlop race tire rep, Terry. He said for the stock wheel on the 250 Ninja, they don't have a race tire. But, what most of the fast guys have done at AFM, are modify the wheels (at Kosman) to 17's, and run the Dunlop 209's, 120 front and rear too (some run a 150 rear). He's pretty sure they have the track record at a few tracks with that set up.

 

Best,

CF

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I was using the stock tires, feeling my way waiting for a slide, just waiting to gas it, but I did not feel any movement at all, very stable, remember this was not a race enviroment, and I spent a lot of time warming the tires up. I have read two different accounts about the stock tires, but if you are pushing it and at race speeds then you definetily need better tires. overall I am very impressed by this ninja 250, it is so much fun to ride.

 

James.

 

 

Hugh (et al),

 

I just spoke with the Dunlop race tire rep, Terry. He said for the stock wheel on the 250 Ninja, they don't have a race tire. But, what most of the fast guys have done at AFM, are modify the wheels (at Kosman) to 17's, and run the Dunlop 209's, 120 front and rear too (some run a 150 rear). He's pretty sure they have the track record at a few tracks with that set up.

 

Best,

CF

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