How long did it take for you to learn how to ride a motorcycle?

Discussion in 'General Discussion / News / Information' started by OneL, Dec 23, 2010.

  1. I know how to ride a bicycle, have ridden a scooter (automatic transmission) while in south Europe, and I've ridden in a straight line with a few turns in Khorat region country roads on I think a semi-automatic scooter (left foot was the gear change, no clutch in left hand) a few years ago. Age 40+, athletic build, normal European height. I can also stick shift an automobile, but that's a different skill I presume.

    Now I want to learn how to ride a manual transmission off-road motorcycle but I get different advice from different people. I think they are having some fun with me, but I want to find out more.

    One group says: "Don't worry about it, you sissy OneL! It takes 30 minutes to learn to ride a motorcycle! Just take a few hours lessons in Bangkok and off you go!" Of course they mean not doing tricks, but to learn to ride in a straight line, come to a stop, and make normal left and right turns.

    The second group says (and they seem to be more vocal): "You better not start riding now. You are too old. You have to start when you are a teen. Further, it's very dangerous. Every rider falls down at least once, and comes close to death at least once. At your age if you break a bone it will not heal correctly. Further, it's very difficult to shift a manual transmission motorcycle. If you must drive, get a scooter and stick to metalled roads--nothing off-road."

    Who is right? One or the other? Both?

    BTW here is what I want to drive someday:

    Apparently it's "semi-automatic" (don't fully know what that means).

    So my question: how long did it take for you to ride a motorbike? What age were you? Should I try to learn to ride off-road at my age or just stay home and read books? ;-)

  2. I'll go with group one, clearly.

    Also you're never too old to learn a new thing. Unless you're dead (and that includes walking dead).

    Philosophy aside, it's not too hard to learn. Get safety gear and drive slowly then if you do fall over here you'll get off without a scratch. Riding a motorcycle is very dangerous when going too fast - it's rather safe when going slowly.

    By safety gear I mean riding boots, gloves, helmet, jacket, and pants. Mesh or leather - though leather tends to be too hot here - and preferably with foam padding. It may seem expensive but just look at it as insurance, still better than getting injured.

    As for off-roading - depends - if you ride within the limits of your skill and within the limits of the external conditions, you'll never have a problem. Not being 20 years old might help with that...
  3. The mechanical aspects of learning to control the throttle, the clutch and gear lever can be learned quickly and safely in a large empty car park at low speed. Even kids who cannot get their feet down on the ground can do it over here. Learning to ride safely in Thai traffic in a busy town is more of a challenge and the above bike control skills need acquiring first. Riding off road on easy terrain solves the traffic problem but introduces ground that is much more difficult to ride on than smooth tarmac and one is more likely to fall off from time to time, but usually at low speed. Wear proper protection, helmet, gloves, elbow and knee protectors and good boots and maybe a bruise or two, but no broken bones and certainly no life threatening experience.
    Learn to control the bike in a quiet environment on tarmac. When you can do that by all means go offroad to improve your handling skills, then tackle quiet traffic areas, keep the speed down, keep the eyes on the road ahead and behind and not on the pretty girls or the Christmas displays in the shops and I am sure you will advance very quickly and soon be appreciating this great past time.
  4. 2 minutes to understand.. A Lifetime to master..

    Really theres no reason you cant learn to apply clutch control in a short period.. You sound like a sensible adult so doubt the temptation to go roaring off into the sunset will beless of an issue.. And the difference between riding a step through (semi auto clutch) and a clutched bike is fairly minimal..

    Off road riding can mean anything from motocross to trials, and every kind of enduro / trail in between.. So huge scope to find something you feel comfortable with.
  5. Ha ha 2wheels! I was gonna say the exact same thing (except the "62" part) ;-)
  6. Easy to learn...

    *in 1st gear*
    *foot on the brake*
    *release the clutch slowly until you feel it start to take up*
    *ease off the foot break so you are moving*
    *slowly release the clutch all the way*
    *use the clutch gently when you change gears, but especially when changing down*

    Job done...

    Took a couple of minutes to learn, a couple of days to be pretty safe...

  7. Don't worry to much about you age, I'll turn 40 next year and started to ride motorcycle last year in China, lay down 3 times (ice). Before that it was most of the time scooters, with semi-automatic or automatic transmission. (because that's what most rental shops have). Since a week, I got a Phantom, nothing special but enough to get around. Riding in Thailand is quite relax, compared with China.
    Your first incident which will probably happen, is that you forget to pull the clutch when stopping after a while riding, or when you have to stop somewhere suddenly. That will give you, or more likely your pillion rider the (in)famous "Thai tatoo".
  8. This an interesting thread...because i can't really answer it .
    I would say to have the first few km's done and changing gears with a clutch on a Bike was in a way"happening" same like learning to walk as a baby...and from the moment i was on the 2 wheels i kept learning & still do and will continue, maybe thats part of the riding pleasure too.

    There are no age restrictions on riding :) but take it easy at the beginning and make sure you pay attention on whats going on around you - maybe a area for training with little traffic is best...

    all the best and and happy trails,

  9. Thanks daewoo. It sounds like fun. Foot brake? I always wondered about that--how do you stop a motorbike if the right hand is for throttle and presumeably front brake, and the left hand is for clutch (if not an autoclutch), and the left foot is for changing gears, so there must be something for the right foot to press down on for the back brake (or maybe the front--probably the back since the foot is quicker than the hand in an emergency and back wheels don't lock up as easy), as well as the starter on the right hand side. I've spent maybe 10 minutes in my entire life thinking about these things, so forgive me for the clueless questions.

    My first bike I hope to be an underbones, something similar to the Honda Wave, Yamaha equivalent (Lagenda), or maybe a off-road like the CX135Y or Honda CRF250R ("easy to shift" said the review). Something that has a small engine and won't jump out from between my legs if I open the throttle too much by mistake.

    PS--I will leave this thread posting a story I heard from a guy here in south Europe, straight from the horses mouth. He bought his teenage son a motorcycle, one of those racing bikes like the Ducati (not a Ducati but it looked like one) that has a small automobile engine for a motor, after much argument with the son over the dangers of motorbike riding. The agreement was: no falling down, no aggressive driving for at least the first year, and dad would pay for the bike. So what happens? On the way out of the motorcycle dealership, the very first day they bought the bike, the son, driving, opens the throttle, tears on down the road practically popping a wheelie, and gets broadsided by a car (no serious injuries). They sold the bike back to the dealership the same day (at a steep discount). The son claims the car deliberately broadsided him in order to steal the bike (sounds like a "dog ate my homework" lame excuse to me). Lesson: start small, and maybe don't wreck in front of your dad!

  10. I started learning in 1972 at age 14 when we found an old Matchless 350 single on a dump , then i recovered a 1962 Suzuki 80 from my uncles shed which i got working and i rode both bikes on the road in the UK illegally for 3 years , never got busted until the day after i passed my test at age 17 when alocal cop stopped me on the suzuki as he thought i had stolen it . He remembered seeing an old git riding in a greatcoat for years and i explained it was my grandad ( actually me in disguise) he stopped me because as i had passed my test i was wearind a leather jacket!!!! he never realised it had been me and as i was now legal ,Tax, insurance and license i went on my way.....soon progressed to a BSA starfire 250, then a Triumph 500 daytona, BSA A10 650 and old Bonnies and Norton Commandos.even now at age 52 i am still learning new tricks and old ones which the bike reminds me off when I screw up.
  11. Currently age 70 and still learn something new every time I ride. Just last week dropped my 640 lb VMax on my driveway. Got off and forgot to deploy the kick stand. Busted up the turn signals.......again.

    It all began in 1954 when at age 14 I bought my first Harley. A week later riding in a summer shower traffic was stopped a ways in front me so I braked......and nothing happened. Seeing a crash was going to happen I laid her on her side and let the crash bars take the hit. I learned that day that riding on a rain slick road was akin to riding on ice. Over the decades I've crashed many times but I've not crashed on a wet road or hit another vehicle. When I see a crash is imminent I look for a 'hole' and most often accelerate. Trying to stop a missile on 8 square inches of rubber is very difficult.

    At age 30 I was riding a Kaw H-2 750cc 3 cylinder 2 stroke with expansion chambers. The fastest production motorcycle in America at the time. Unfortunately on several occasions I went into a curve too fast touching a chamber to the pavement breaking traction in the rear causing the bike and me to go into a horizontal spin down the highway. Road rash city. I learned SPEED KILLS.

    At age 40 while riding my TM400 Suzuki motocross bike out in the woods by myself it threw me off and stomped me, breaking my left shoulder. It took me hours riding back to my car and trailer with one hand on the throttle, loading the bike and driving to the hospital. I learned that day to ride with a buddy if I was going to get a little crazy. A motorcycle is like a can bite you when you least expect it.

    At age 50 I rode an Indian Enfield 6000 kilometers through South India by myself. No accidents but I did blow the engine in Goa and had to self rescue. A week later I was back on the road full of confidence.

    For my 60th year I rode a rented Honda Goldwing across America from L.A. to D.C. to Miami back to L.A. in 30 days.
    My longest "Iron Butt" day was 675 miles from South Florida to Kentucky, sun up to sun down. It was like riding a sofa at 85 miles per hour.

    My credo is and has been for many years, "YOU CAN CREATE YOUR CIRCUMSTANCE OR YOU CAN BE A VICTIM OF choose.

    My advice for you, if you have a serious side for adventure, is to buy a Big Bike, roll up a change of clothes in a poncho and bungee it to the seat behind you and go discover the real world. You won't regret it.

    Jolly Roger :thumbup:

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