Mid-Life-Crisis (Motorbike purchase)

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  • Mid-Life-Crisis (Motorbike purchase)
  • Premier Icon 16stonepig
    Subscriber

    Ok, so it’s not really a full-blown MLC (I’m only 38). But…

    My company is probably moving offices very soon. Their logic is that we should move from the building with limited parking space into a building further away, with even less parking space.  The logic being that they’ll be closer to a mainline train station. (And closer to pubs so we can all socialise and be best friends.)

    However, this means that they’ll be 4 miles further away from me, and I’ll have to pay up to £8 per day on parking, or walk 40 minutes to the nearest station and then pay £4 per day for a train ticket. Before you all suggest riding my bike, yes it’s a lovely idea, but my “condition” means that I simply can’t do that more than a day or two per week at most.

    So, it occurred to me that getting myself on the motorbike ladder might be an idea. Free parking, lower petrol costs, avoid a lot of the horrendous queues that the Woking roadworks entail. I’m imagining that the extra cost of commuting by car or train will be £1-2k per year (depending on method), so why don’t I spend 3 years of that up front and actually have something to show for it? i.e. an A2 license and a bike.

    Any advice? Good routes to the license, purchase hints, things to look out for? Anything I haven’t considered?

    Premier Icon allthegear
    Subscriber

    Get an A2 bike by all means but don’t bother with an A2 licence – get the full A licence as it is no more difficult and no more expensive

    rachel

    Premier Icon kilo
    Subscriber

    Sounds like a scooter (even maybe a 125) might do the job. Motorcycles are ace though.

    The big bike license is easier to get as the big bikes at the training centres are easier to ride. ABS for example, it also quite hard to get a shagged out 125 up to the speed needed for the swerve and emergency stop test in the space given, the bigger bikes balance round the cones better too. So if you are old enough get that.

    Premier Icon 16stonepig
    Subscriber

    Interesting thoughts already. Thanks all.

    mike_p
    Member

    Step 1: Do your CBT. Takes a day, is practically impossible to fail unless there’s something the matter with you, and lasts 2yrs

    Step 2: Buy a 125 scooter (the Yamaha XMax is a belter). CBT allows you to ride it on L-plates, see how you get on.

    Step 3: If it does work for you, do a direct access course to get your A license.

    Step 4: Buy a proper bike

    DO NOT be tempted to start on a 50cc moped – you are not 16.

    winston
    Member

    The exact same thing happened to me. I moved office and rather than working in London all week I needed to be somewhere in the shires 2-3 days a week. Was about 20 miles away so too far for a daily bike commute (though i did do it by bike in the summer at least once a week)  and i hate driving so got bike license and a cheap 600

    One thing i would say is that commuting by motorbike is a bit of a baptism of fire. Its one thing to ride out on a nice sunny Sunday morning and stop off at the beach/pub/coffee shop before riding home. Its another to get up on a January morning in the dark, fumble around for all your kit which will be freezing, mix it up on the roads with bleary eyed commuters in the rain, get to work and change, do a days work and then repeat on the way home…..though you do feel a bit more special than if you had driven in. I came off once in the snow but had a few close calls and then changed my job so the bike was no longer needed. Would probably do it again though if needs be.

    Premier Icon macdubh
    Subscriber

    Mike_P, i took a CBT course with 4 other people. First half of day was in the yard practicing turns, figure 8’s, braking etc. second part was a road ride. The instructors refused to let 2 people onto the road as they hadn’t been competent in handling / stopping. No arguments from anyone on that, they were pretty bad. One young lad had been riding scramblers for years and it showed in the yard, but he didn’t drive. i returned from my road ride and the young lad was sat looking glum. his instructor had cut the ride short after he blasted through a give way and nearly got wiped out. Me and the other guy passed so less than 50% success based on my experience.

    winston
    Member

    Yes – when i did my CBT, one guy out of 3 of us didn’t pass – he was awful though…..apparently was his second try too!

    Commuting by bike is OK if you have the option of getting in a car if the roads are icy. I learnt this the hard way!! In the south of England this isnt too often.

    Premier Icon allthegear
    Subscriber

    Guy on my course really struggled to get his head around the swerve manoeuvre. His day job? Flying around in a Tornado…

    Rachel

    Rockhopper
    Member

    Don’t under estimate the running costs of a decent bike (rather than a twist and go style bike).  3000 miles from a set of tyres (£300), chain and sprockets (£150 10k miles or less depending on the weather and how religiously you look after them!) and servicing every 6k or less on some bikes.

    sobriety
    Member

    And yet a lot of these CBT failures will have full car licenaes.

    Makes you think…

    philjunior
    Member

    Based purely on my experience of cycle commuting, chatting with motorcyclists (including my dad) and observing a range of bikes on the road, particularly those with L plates – Make sure you know what you’re doing, have a plan for when the other road users around you do the absolutely stupidest thing possible, and enjoy it when the weather’s nice/endure it when it isn’t safe in the knowledge it’s sharpening your skills and building your character :).

    +1 for CBT and 125cc scooter.

    Very cheap, very effective for commuting

    Zedsdead
    Member

    Sounds like a good excusefor a DRZ400SM to me 😀

    joefm
    Member

    I wouldn’t bother with owning a 125.  Go for the full  licence straight away and ASAP before its winter.

    Most schools will give you a taster, alternatively do a CBT to get the feel for it but if you can ride a push bike competently you can ride a motorbike.

    As for commuting – I don’t find it too bad.  The difference is having the right kit for the conditions and heated grips.  My suit goes over my work clothes so it takes less than 5 minutes to get ready.

    I enjoy for the most part.  You don’t need to spend a fortune on bikes or kit either.

    Don’t under estimate the running costs of a decent bike (rather than a twist and go style bike).  3000 miles from a set of tyres

    You’ll get far more than 3000 miles from tyres on a “decent bike”. I used to get about 7000 on the rear of a 650 BMW twice as much on fronts.

    CBT and a 125cc will give you a nice taster.

    I’ve got my Module 1 training on a big bike this weekend 🙂

    I love commuting by motorbike – saves me so much time.

    I’m currently commuting on either a Triumph Scrambler (the new 900, Street Twin derivative – it’s brilliant and more fun than the Africa Twin it replaced) or a CRF250L if we’re going home via a few lanes.

    The latter has almost no power, is too heavy for an offroad bike and has cheap suspension (it’s £4,700 at the end of the day) yet it’s fast becoming one of the best bikes I’ve ever had. I just love it, on road and off, and probably shouldn’t.

    That or the CRF250 Rally are great in traffic, light on fuel, cheap to insure and replace parts, and great fun off-road.  8,000 mile service intervals means it’s cheap to run.  If you like mountain biking, then depending on where you live, you might like the odd lane on the loop on the way home sometimes too.

    All that said, I was just saying to my wife this morning that I fancy a new Turbo Levo for commuting in.  It’s only 10 miles or so (nearly all offroad) and I’m pretty fit at the moment again, but I want one for those days where you just can’t be arsed to pedal home in the wind and rain after a hard day, or getting on in the dark on a wet, windy cold morning (ironically, I’ll probably go on the turbo when I get back).

    footflaps
    Member

    +1 for CBT and 125cc scooter.

    Once you’ve done this don’t forget that as soon as you put L plates on your bike you must forget everything they’ve taught you. The minimum speed in a built up area is 40mph, all traffic rules are optional and you must wear your helmet unclipped and atop your head, so the chin guard is on your forehead.

    That way you’ll fit in fine with all the other morons on 125s 😉

    and I forgot to add, you must remove all the baffles from your exhaust….

    mike_p
    Member

    Ha ha, went to collect my bike from the Yamaha dealer last night post MOT and there was a lad just like that picking up a 125, L-plates and all.  He shot off, all over the place.  The garage owner & I glanced at each other and he said “won’t see Xmas”.

    There are just two types or riders… those that have been down, and those that are going down

    joefm
    Member

    My 125 lasted me 4 months before I realised I wanted a proper bike with a proper headlight.

    At the time of buying the 125 I was happy that it was going to be a cheap way to work.  But realistically it’ll be time and money wasted.  Although good 125’s hold value.

    I wouldn’t have bothered with the 125 know what I do now.

    Premier Icon nwmlarge
    Subscriber

    Do you want a motorbike for any other reason than to commute?

    If no why not consider an e-bike? would help with your condition and get you to work.

    chewkw
    Member

    Alternative to scooter if you can find any of these.

    2019 Honda Super Cub C125

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ag-70_q9GnY

    Premier Icon Cougar
    Subscriber

    Step 1: Do your CBT. Takes a day, is practically impossible to fail unless there’s something the matter with you, and lasts 2yrs

    As far as I’m aware you cannot fail a CBT – it’s Compulsory Basic Training.  If you do “fail” you’ll be invited to come back the next day.  At least, that’s what I was told when I did mine.  (I suppose technically you could fail by not completing the training?)

    Premier Icon Cougar
    Subscriber

    I wouldn’t bother with owning a 125.  Go for the full  licence straight away and ASAP before its winter.

    +1, and what Rachel said.  I can’t see many compelling reasons to do anything else unless you’re 17.  DAS all the way.

    Riding a 500cc bike is easier than riding a 125 IMHO.  If you get a full A licence you can then go buy a 125 if you like, the reverse isn’t true.

    Premier Icon baldiebenty
    Subscriber

    Whatever you get if it’s a chain drive then get a scottoiller fitted.

    I have insisted on one on all of my last 4 bikes they’re an absolute godsend, yes the back of your bike gets a bit dirtier from the oil but if you’re commuting regularly on it you can’t be too precious about it

    I’ve had one on the VFR800 I’ve had for the last 3 years, in the last 2 years I’ve used it daily to commute 15 miles each way and in all that time I have not had to replace either chain or sprockets.  I haven’t even had to adjust the chain tension and it’s not exactly a light bike.

    I refill the dispenser about once every 2-3 months and apart from a slight adjustment if it get’s really hot or really cold for a long period to accommodate the oil flow change, that’s all you have to do.  No more worrying about remembering to oil the chain.

    Heated grips/Jacket/Gloves also make a huge difference to comfort levels.

    Premier Icon martymac
    Subscriber

    I also would agree that a 500cc bike is easier to ride than a 125.

    go the direct access route if possible, it’s a lot easier.

    i used to have a 600cc yamaha diversion, 60bhp, which doesn’t sound like much, but It was easily a match for an older 911 up to silly speeds.

    don’t get sucked in to thinking you need a fireblade to go to work. (Not that there’s any reason you can’t of course)

    Premier Icon takisawa2
    Subscriber

    E-bike ?

    You’ll quickly end up spending more than car driving if the biking bug takes hold (& it will…) 🙂

    And ditto the 500cc being easier to ride.

    Premier Icon tootallpaul
    Subscriber

    Hey Tim- do it.

    You won’t regret it…

    Excelerate in Mytchett are great for the training bit.

    Paul

    Premier Icon macdubh
    Subscriber

    Yes, technically you cant pass or fail a CBT but you need to complete it to get a nice certificate which is a pre-req for riding a moped / motorbike along with a provisional licence. There are some exceptions if you have other licences / limit your engine size.

    Ok, so it’s not really a full-blown MLC (I’m only 38).

    from http://www.riskprediction.org.uk/index_lifeexp.php

    <b>Age Now: </b>38 years
    <b>Years remaining: </b>42.28 years
    <b>Life Expectancy: </b>80.28 years

    you are pretty close

    Premier Icon kilo
    Subscriber

    That super cub 125 is rather nice, I’ve one of the old c90s and it’s probably the most fun bike I’ve had.

    chewkw
    Member

    £10K ++ get you Kawasaki Z900RS  😀

    deserter
    Member

    I just bought a Kawasaki klx 250(1st ever bike) it’s perfect and I love taking it on gravel roads etc and doing a bit of exploring.I was advised to get something bigger but I’m glad I didn’t as I think it would have put me off

    That said I already want to trade it in for a Royal Enfield Himalayan 🤫

    Premier Icon metalheart
    Subscriber

    Another Rachel +1.

    no disbenefit in not taking the full licence.

    I personally would advocate taking the full training as it does help prepare you for the road. Three days supervision of bike handling and negotiating the roads, well worth it imho.

    even then, being let loose on your own in the ‘real’ world is pretty daunting for a start. Took me 5k miles to learn to actually ride my bike…

    currently without a bike, was in the motorcycle shop checking out the triumph bonneville speedmaster at the week, oh Lordy, I want one….

    Premier Icon mboy
    Subscriber

    £10K ++ get you Kawasaki Z900RS

    Or… Even better… Gets you an MT-10 like mine!

    My current commuter weapon! That said it’s rather good fun at the weekends too…

    You’ll get far more than 3000 miles from tyres on a “decent bike”. I used to get about 7000 on the rear of a 650 BMW twice as much on fronts.

    My last rear was nearly good for the bin after just 1500 miles on this! I managed to tease it out to 1800 but it was shot to pieces. Current rear is coming up to 1800 miles and probably got another 3-400 in it before it too is ready for the bin! Ooops! :-p

    Premier Icon allthegear
    Subscriber

    Different tyres have different ages. I could buy super soft sportbike tyres for my S1000XR but I’d be a pauper riding 12000 miles a year!

    as it happens, I can squeeze nearly 7000 out of a set of Michelin Pilot Road Sports. Good sport touring tyre.

    Rachel

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