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Discussion Starter #1
I'm getting ready to buy my first bike within the next couple weeks... currently it looks like I'm going to be picking up a 2003 F4i from a friend of a friend who bought it and can no longer afford the payments because of school. He has paid quite a bit of it off already and only wants me to take over payments, and he'll also throw in his matching helmet which just happens to be my size :)

The bike has about 500 miles on it and looks like it never left the showroom floor.

I've ridden quite a few of my friend's bikes before so I'm not a total newbie, but have any of you had any experience with the F4i? Would you consider it to be a good choice for a "beginner"?
 

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Mike,

Honda makes great bikes. No sportbike is really a good beginner bike. But the F4i is a pretty 'friendly' bike. A better choice for a beginner is the Suzuki SV650. The problem with sportbikes is their fairings. They are expensive to replace. As a beginner, you will likely drop or go down on the bike and it will result in a bunch of $ to fix. There two types of riders: those that have gone down and those that will. Whatever you choose, go take a MSF course.

BTW: I learned how to ride in the alleys of Chicago way back in the eighties.

Be warned that motorcycles are addictive. :D
 

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Uhh..

You're kidding, right? The F4i is probably on someone's "Top 5 Worst Bikes For Beginners" list. But you probably knew that from looking at the specs.

Me, I don't believe in the whole Beginner Bike thing. Whether the bike is right/safe/appropriate for you depends 100% on you, not the bike.

You can kill yourself on any "beginner bike", and no law says you must crash a sportbike, so the responsibility is all yours.

A better indicator of your future success or disasterous failure on the F4i would be if you put the required effort into preparation -- getting a m/c license before riding, taking some MSF courses, starting small, avoiding high-pressure rides with your kneedragging friends, investing in quality protective gear from head to toe.

If you're one of the many unfortunates who do none of these things and just jump on SportBike #1 with jeans, no license, no training.. well, the statistics are not in your favor.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
shinoo said:
Mike,

Honda makes great bikes. No sportbike is really a good beginner bike. But the F4i is a pretty 'friendly' bike. A better choice for a beginner is the Suzuki SV650. The problem with sportbikes is their fairings. They are expensive to replace. As a beginner, you will likely drop or go down on the bike and it will result in a bunch of $ to fix. There two types of riders: those that have gone down and those that will. Whatever you choose, go take a MSF course.

BTW: I learned how to ride in the alleys of Chicago way back in the eighties.

Be warned that motorcycles are addictive. :D
I'm definitely going to take a course and I'm already expecting to drop the bike at some point, so that's covered. I have already dropped a dirtbike a couple times, though I suppose that doesn't really count ;)

I'll definitely look into the SV650 though, thanks for the tip. I actually think there's a dealership near my house so maybe I'll head over there and check it out this weekend.

As for motorcycles being addictive, I'm already addicted just from riding my friend's bikes once in a while, which is why I'm getting one for myself. I figure between the Elise and the bike, my speed and g-force cravings will be taken care of for a while :D
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Re: Uhh..

Ground Loop said:
You're kidding, right?
Settle down there, killer... I was only asking a question. I'm not your typical ignorant "I'm going riding 150mph in jeans and a t-shirt as soon as I wheel my first bike out on the road" type newbie. I do plan to get full protective gear, I do plan to take courses, and I already have my license.

You can kill yourself on any "beginner bike", and no law says you must crash a sportbike, so the responsibility is all yours.
No sh*t, huh? I'll be sure to make note of that, I obviously wasn't aware :rolleyes:
 

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Discussion Starter #7
shinoo said:
Oh and insurance on a F4i, for a young lad like yourself, will be very cruel.
I'm already counting on it... especially after the ridiculous quotes I got for the Elise before finally settling on a "less ridiculous" quote :p
 

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Re: Re: Uhh..

Hey man, you asked. Just throwing in my 2 cents. My point was that there is no such thing as a "Beginner Bike", only beginner riders, so the question won't get you any insight -- just debate. Ride whatever you want, just stay on your side of the double-yellow.

I don't know if Chicago gets the annual load of Spring Squid that San Diego does, but if you want to roll your eyes sometime, come for one of our weekly rides through the Laguna mountains right about now.

Anyway, I second the vote for an SV650.. they're great, inexpensive ($5500 OTD), and better now with EFI. The fairings aren't cheap, though.. about $250 discount plus usually a $150 mounting bracket. Assuming your headlamps are still useable.. I had the unfortunate opportunity to take this picture on Easter sunday:

First mountain ride, still breaking in the engine. He's fine. That's the THIRD SV-650 I've seen drive away from a spill. Nice machines.
 

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I echo Shinoo's statement about taking a Motorcycle Safety Course first. I'd also recommend taking it easy for the first 6 months of riding.

I think the F4i isn't an ideal starter bike but I don't think it's the worst either. At least you didn't get a Hayabusa as a first bike.

No sh*t, huh? I'll be sure to make note of that, I obviously wasn't aware
Judging from your sarcastic response to Ground Loops benign statement you might need to reasses.
 

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Make sure you take an approved Motorcycle Safety Foundation (MSF) course. In California, you can avoid doing a riding test (riding around the lollipop) if you have a MSF certificate.

As for the F4i... it's a nice bike. I wouldn't think it's a beginner's bike, but it's worlds better than a CBR1100XX. But since you're getting a good deal on it, you might as well learn on it.

The F4i will be an OK bike to learn on, but I would make a very conscious effort to keep your RPMS below 7000. High RPM means high horsepower and it'll catch you off guard. Get used to the bike before using the power.

I personally prefer the F4 over the F4i. The 1/2 inch increase in seat height makes it a bit uncomfortable for my shorter legs. And be prepared to take plenty of breaks from riding. The vibration the the aggressive seating position will put a lot of weight on your wrists.

Make sure you have good leathers or ballistic nylon jacket with soft body armor. And don't go cheap on a helmet. Splurge and get the best and most comfortable helmet you can find. Trust me on this one.

Have fun and ride safe!

Bob
 

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On second thought you shouldn't take the MSF course. The day you get the bike try doing stand up wheelies wearing flip-flops, shorts, a wife beater and backwards baseball cap. Throw a stoppie in there too. :D
 

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Discussion Starter #12
huggy bear said:
I think the F4i isn't an ideal starter bike but I don't think it's the worst either. At least you didn't get a Hayabusa as a first bike.
I will definitely take it easy for at least the first 6 months, probably more than that. The last thing I want is to mess up or kill myself, the bike, or someone else. Like I said I'm not 100% new to riding a bike as I have ridden my friends bikes quite a few times. The hayabusa is way too heavy and powerful for me and I know enough about it to know that I wouldn't have any chance of handling it. A small(ish) 600 is more than enough.

The sarcastic response was given because it seemed as though ground loop was talking to me in a condescending manner, which is something I'm not fond of in the least bit as I said nothing to deserve it.
 

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Something that I also found very useful to improve my skills quickly were track days. Video taped ones really help you see what you are doing wrong with body position, throttle, breaking etc

By the way fairings really aren't that expensive on the F4i. You can get them on ebay pretty cheap. Plus if you do track days you'll probably get race skins anyway.
 

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I believe in the beginners bike thing only from the standpoint of damage when dropping the bike which you WILL do, just a question of when. Happens to everyone.

Otherwise, if your reasonably mature you'll have no problems with the 600. Also, the only significant diff in performance of a good 600 and a 1000 is relatively insignificant 0-60 maybe 2/10ths of a second slower, less top end.

I started off with a brand new triumph sprint 97 as my first bike, had never ridden until I took the MSF which is a must, most insurance comp. give a brake on premiums if you successfully complete the course. The sprint was the worst bike in the world to learn on without a doubt the most top heavy bike ever created except for ANY BMW. After about 4-5 months I moved up to a Triumph 955 Daytona, sweet ride, than duc 748 then duc 996 and aprilia mille.

Riding a bike will prepare you for the fact that no one sees you and everyone driver is trying his damndest to kill you which is what the elise will be like.

I agree with track days, and the SV650 is an exc. bike for regular usage as well as track days. Lots more torque than a 4-cyl 600.

YOu'll love riding, I've been riding a bike as daily transport all year round now for 3-4 years and haven't owned a car for 1 1/2 years (figured surely I'd have my elise by now!)

A bad day riding a motorcyle is better than a good day doin just about anything else.
Chris
 

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A couple of things:

My first bike that was reliable enough to ride more than three or four blocks was an F2. It was reasonably well-mannered below, say, 8K RPMS. Past that things got hairy exponentially fast.

Think hard about who you are willing to ride with. I was a cautious rider, and my best riding buddies would make sure to take it a little easier if I was along for a ride while I was still new. It took me a long time to learn the lesson that you get no bonus points for keeping up with guys that are riding like assholes. It's very easy to get caught up in things and ride beyond your limits. I ended up doing stuff I swore that I'd never do just hours before.

Many people have said (and I believe them) that the most dangerous point comes after you've been riding six months to a year, right about when you start feeling really confident while riding. Your brain gets comfortable with the situation long before you've fully developed your skills, both the physical riding skills as well as the more mental traffic awareness stuff.
 

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If you like the 'naked' bike thing, the Ducati monsters are also very reasonable as first bikes. Seating position is low and comfortable. Price is around 6K, maybe a tad more.

About a year ago, I started riding on a Ducati 620 sport as my first bike. I love it now, but it was a bit hard to learn on. Biggest thing for me was the fact that the seat is high, so at a stop my heels are off the ground. Dropped it maybe three times the first month -- all at a standstill and all on uneven surfaces (beware of cobblestones). No drop since, and no other problems. Though it 'only' has 60 hp, it's plenty fast enough (for now...)
 

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I gave up on motorcycles as a kid - my father had bought me a 50cc honda mini-bike, and at the time we liived in Brooklyn so we had a tiny yard, and all I could do was go around in a circle...well one time around I went a little too wide and went through the back door which was glass:D But believe it or not my father, who is about 70, rides a Boss Hoss:)
 

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I was told that being 6'3 and 225, I should look at bigger bikes even as a starter (900 - 1100cc), that I would outgrow a 600 in a month. Is that true? I mean, does size make a difference when considering a bike?
 

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transio said:
I was told that being 6'3 and 225, I should look at bigger bikes even as a starter (900 - 1100cc), that I would outgrow a 600 in a month. Is that true? I mean, does size make a difference when considering a bike?
Absolutely. There is nothing in your size but the aforementioned Boss Hoss.
 

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I may 'trade up' soon, but not because I will 'need' to. The 620 bike is still faster that I'll ever be.
I was told that being 6'3 and 225, I should look at bigger bikes even as a starter (900 - 1100cc), that I would outgrow a 600 in a month. Is that true? I mean, does size make a difference when considering a bike?
I heard the thing about 'outgrowing' a 600 when I was shopping around. I think that's just 'up-selling' the customer

In America, 600 cc is considered 'small.' Everywhere else, it's still a 'big' bike. Some 600 cc bikes are pumping out well over 100 hp

My Ducati 620 has 60 hp, and as I noted above, it's plenty fast. I can take my friend's Suzuki 1200 cc off the line (I'm sure that's just a factor of weight and gearing). I have seen 120 mph with plenty to go.

I'm 5'9" and 175, but even at your size, I think a 600 is plenty to start off with
 
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