Thinking of doing a bike licence and getting a bike.

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  • Thinking of doing a bike licence and getting a bike.
  • chilled76
    Member

    Morning folks,

    Having spent years listening to everyone telling me “don’t do it”, “it’s not you it’s other road users” etc etc I’m fed up of listening and am going to look at sorting a bike out in the next 6 months.

    Questions

    1) I’ve heard the direct access is no longer available.. what’s the best way to get a licence these days?

    2) Not really sure what sort of bike to go for, sports/ sports tourer or something else?

    3) I’m 30 live in a nice postcode with a garage that can have a ground anchor point… what’s insurance likely to be on different options?

    4) Am I best to start small and get a bigger bike later on?.. my view is I’m good at being sensible when I need to be, I’ve never crashed a car and have owned some 200bhp plus cars from when I was fairly young.

    Obviously what I want it for will have a bearing on the above questions… but in all honestly the answer is just I want one because they look fun and I’ve enjoyed riding scooters on holiday when I’ve rented them.

    I’ll probably to ride to work and back a few days a week when its not raining and I know I’m going to be leaving in rush hour (hope to beat some of the queues). I work 10 miles from where I live with Nottingham city slap bang in the middle of the two points.

    Occasional rides for the sake of it out to country pubs etc.

    Probably use it when I’m in one of my regular states of annoyance with commuting over 6,000,000,000 speed bumps every day.

    Any advice on getting started much appreciated.

    Paul

    Premier Icon Cougar
    Subscriber

    Getting started = CBT.

    I did DAS, my first bike was a CB500. Honda build quality, and ‘just enough’ bike to put a big grin on my face without throwing me into a hedge on a whim.

    If I were doing it over, I think I’d be looking at something like a CBF600S or an SV. The 600s were out of budget for me at the time, the only ones I could afford were either knackered, ragged or both. BMW GS650 is a nice ride too, handles beautifully.

    sobriety
    Member

    Direct access is still available as you’re old enough. But it is slightly different as they’ve changed the modules now.

    I’d do a CBT and get a small bike first, just to see if you like it.

    I’ve just done mine (again) and am now trying desperately to rebulid an old 125 before the end of summer!

    chilled76
    Member

    Can I ride a small bike on just a cbt? Do I have to put L plates on if I do?

    If you assume that every car driver is trying to kill you, you’ll be OK!
    I’m loving my Triumph Tiger 800, I would imagine that it would make a good first bike. These ‘adventure’ style bikes are good for traffic, the upright seating position lets you see better and they tend to be very comfy. Good for pillions, too. Having said that, I got an SV 12 years ago when I got back into biking and loved that. too. Since that I’ve had 5 Hinckley Triumphs and they’ve all been good bikes. Speed triples are fun …..

    b r
    Member

    For 10 miles to work, just do your CBT and buy a 125cc scoot now.

    Worry about passing your test and/or bigger bikes later.

    pjm84
    Member

    My Africa Twin use to be pretty handy over speed bumps. Not so good two up over the same bumps though.

    Did my CBT 1991 and spent 6 months on a KLE 500 before progressing to a Fireblade. I had a bit of dirt bike background so was fairly confident. Still the first time I opened it up it I was hooked. Now I’m not so sure with super sport bikes. Used to cramp up on the blade for the first 10000 miles or so so rearsets were out of the question. There is stuff I did back then that I wouldn’t dream of doing but I suppose that come with getting older.

    Currently riding a Dorsoduro 750 would love an 990 Adventure but not the servicing routine. At 6ft 4in and an 106kg ( ex rower) I need a big bike. Let’s say a 29er of the motorbike world.

    Premier Icon simon_g
    Subscriber

    Did mine at 29 for similar reasons. It transformed how I enjoyed the roads – traffic, pootling sunday drivers, etc just aren’t a problem.

    As said, do a CBT and try it out – but I wouldn’t bother buying a small bike. You can hire 125s very cheaply for practice from most schools and not have to worry about insurance, etc. If you’re happy with the school, instructors, etc then they can walk you through what you need to do for DAS.

    Buy a bike you want. Take a wander around some of the bigger dealers, sit on some, see what takes your fancy. For me it was a Ducati Monster (which I still have nearly 4 years on) but really, if you’re not an idiot you’ll be fine on almost anything.

    thebikeinsurer.co.uk will compare insurers to give you an idea of costs.

    chilled76
    Member

    Thanks for the info guys,

    What’s high mileage for a bike? Cars I tend to have a 100k cut off point if i want it to last 3-5 years.

    I like the look of this, would an 80’s bike cost a lot to keep running?

    Bike

    tinsy
    Member

    chilled76… that bike is an eysore, it will be way faster than its handling should allow, just buy a bike shaped bike or a chopper, the inbentweeny thing is awful*. (*personal opinion)

    I agree. An abomination. How about a ‘modern’ Enfield as a left field choice? People would certainly hear you coming ….

    High mileage on a bike seems to be 5000/year! Ridiculous, I know. Especially because most modern bikes seem fairly bombproof if fed good oil regularly and the valve checks done on time.

    chilled76
    Member

    Really… I must have inexperienced bike eyes, to me it looks really pretty.

    5thElefant
    Member

    What’s high mileage for a bike? Cars I tend to have a 100k cut off point if i want it to last 3-5 years.

    20k is considered high mileage. This may well be cock, but it is.

    I like the look of this, would an 80’s bike cost a lot to keep running?

    Yes.

    Premier Icon Northwind
    Subscriber

    chilled76 – Member

    What’s high mileage for a bike?

    Apparently the average mileage is 3000 miles per year and the average lifespan is 6 years! Meaning many bikes get written off or scrapped before the engine is fully run in. Obviously this is all skewed by weekend warriors, garage queens etc. Personally I’d rather buy something that gets ridden, most of the issues I had with mine in the early days were from the 2 years it’d been parked not from the 15000 miles it did in the year before. God knows what it’ll be like now after 3 years parked up…

    The good news is, this means you can get a great bike with “high” miles for good money. I’m really out of touch with what’s good now but there’s a reason so many people buy something like an SV650 to start with- proper bikes, inexpensive, durable, cheap to run.

    chilled76
    Member

    Is this more acceptable?

    Pretty

    Premier Icon Cougar
    Subscriber

    Do you want a bike you like, or a bike other people like?

    Best way of working that out what you get on with really is to go to a shop and ask nicely if you can throw your leg over a few.

    chilled76
    Member

    Both, can’t have other bikers thinking I look like a nob… be like owning a 29er!

    Premier Icon Cougar
    Subscriber
    tinsy
    Member

    Better, not my cup of tea, but Cougar is right its got nothing to do with me, its your bike, if your happy riding something gay looking & want to dress it up with horse brasses & leather panniers with studs its none of my business.. 🙂

    Premier Icon Northwind
    Subscriber

    chilled76 – Member

    Is this more acceptable?

    The Tart’s Handbag :mrgreen: They fill a small market niche, of cruisers for women who’ve inexplicably been allowed to ride a bike rather than being perched on the back of a fat bloke’s harley.

    Check the rear downpipe, they have a water trap which means they’re almost designed to rust through. Iffy handling, and slightly odd looks, it’s too tall and short when you see it in the metal so it’s trying for cruiser but ends up not quite managing it. Not a bad engine, considering, and pretty reliable though the finish isn’t very good. I would advise that you seek professional help 😉

    At least it’s not a Sportster.

    This was my 125, incidentally:

    It was a bag of shit. But I liked it, and parked beside a 535 it looked more like a proper bike.

    The world according to Kevin Ash –
    First, you must complete a Compulsory Basic Training (CBT) course before being allowed out on the road. With this, and a provisional licence, you can ride a moped (defined as less than 50cc and restricted to 28mph) with L-plates.
    THEN – you can go for the A1 licence. With CBT and theory in the bag, passing the two modules of the practical test now entitles you to ride any bike up to 125cc without L-plates.
    THEN – at 19 or older are you allowed to go for the A2 licence category, which covers motorcycles up to a power output of 47bhp. This includes some decent and interesting bikes, many of which have more power as standard but can be restricted to 47bhp (as long as their unrestricted power output is no more than 94bhp).
    ALSO – there’s the full A licence, which you can apply for either if you’ve held an A2 licence for two years (in which case you can get one from the age of 21) or, if you’re coming in fresh, you’re at least 24. As with the other licences, the A licence first demands CBT and theory, followed by the two-module practical test,

    All a bit of a palaver I know, – however the path to enlightenment is not easy courtesy of the EU and governments who would rather see you in a tin box.
    As for bikes, start small up to 500cc. Sages who suggest CBR/GSXR 600’S etc seem to forget that they are faster and more powerful than super-bikes of a previous age, albeit better braked and with superior handling. Get good post test training, even “seasoned” bikers benefit from it.
    As for bikes, my 1999 GSXF 750 (yes I know she is ugly) has 30,000 miles, runs like a watch (she is maintained within an inch of her life), does 55 to the gallon, tours two up, is good for nearly 150 empeeh and costs me £98/yr to insure fully comp. I could change it, but it does what is says on the tin for little more than tyres and an oil change – sorted!

    b r
    Member

    So XJ550 ‘custom’ and then a Virago – you can see that you ain’t yet a Biker 🙂

    A bit like how non-Bikers think that HD’s must be the best bikes… 😳

    Its usually age that kills bikes, mainly due to been outside/ridden in bad weather. I’ve put +50k on them and sold on no probs, but I wouldn’t buy one with that mileage.

    As said, get a Scooter for work and then go from there – no point looking at big bikes until you can actually ride one.

    badnewz
    Member

    As for bikes, start small up to 500cc. Sages who suggest CBR/GSXR 600’S etc seem to forget that they are faster and more powerful than super-bikes of a previous age, albeit better braked and with superior handling. Get good post test training, even “seasoned” bikers benefit from it.

    I did a track day last month and could not believe how more powerful bikes have become in the last ten years, across the board.

    tinsy
    Member

    Wont be any track day action on a Virago…

    Get your CBT, do your direct access, buy a Honda CBR600F, have an amazing amount of fun – touring, scratching, trackdaying, cruising about etc.

    The CBR600F is a legendary bike, and there’s a reason why so many people buy them as their first bike. They are comfortable, bombproof, fast, forgiving, pillion friendly, easy to maintain, easy to get parts for, not too heavy..the list goes on. I loved mine.

    This was in the Alps in 2009. I since sold it with 36,000 on the clock and it was still going like a train..and still is for the new owner. I upgraded it to a CBR1000RR, which is another great bike but you don’t forget your first 😉

    chilled76
    Member

    Well when I said I’m not really sure what to go for.. sports/ sports tourr or something else… guess I’m leaning towards the something else.

    Not interested in tracking it or riding it fast, more just enjoying being on two wheels.

    Think I’d like to take a relaxed upright approach for a while, may end up buying a sports bike later on… but for now I think a cbr600 is not my cuppa.

    I’ve seen a CBR600F (not the RR) with 70-odd thousand on the clock. Ran beautifully. Held together with gaffer tape in places, though!

    That Virago – eughhh! If you’re going to get a cruiser, get a Harley ‘Sportster’ at least it’s the real thing. Those ‘small’ Triumph cruisers look OK, too (America, Speedmaster). Or a Bonneville? Big Triumph fan, me. Moto Guzzi V7 looks fab and loads of heritage in that engine.

    sobriety
    Member

    If you’re going to go straight for a ‘proper’ bike rather than pissing about on a 125, I’d go for a suzuki bandit/yamaha fazer. They’re pretty standard and can be had fairly cheaply second hand now, and you shouldn’t make much of a loss if you hate it and sell it on, (unless you throw it down the road)

    Premier Icon Northwind
    Subscriber

    As far as lifespan goes… This boy put IIRC 135000 miles on an SV650:

    Think I’d like to take a relaxed upright approach for a while..

    Bear in mind that’s a CBR600 *F* not an RR so is relatively upright, the bars are above the yoke, which means you’re not down on your wrists. It’s a comfortable bike. Each to their own though.

    Not interested in riding it fast? You will need to at times. I think the most dangerous bikes on the road aren’t the fastest ones….they’re the slowest ones. Not having the power to get out of the way at lights/junctions or keep ahead/up with the flow of traffic is dangerous IMHO…but you’ll find all this out in due course! 😉

    Bandit/Fazer also good choices as mentioned, and may be more your cup o’ tea.

    Premier Icon buck53
    Subscriber

    Looking at the bikes you’re linking to and the ‘relaxed upright’ vibe you’re after I would definitely say look at a Triumph Bonneville.

    Premier Icon metalheart
    Subscriber

    Hmm, I was actually thinking about starting a similar thread to this myself (but I wasn’t going to link to a Virago though!).

    My thought was something like a XT600/660 as you can get them for not too much, they have a high centre of gravity, I used to tool around the back roads on a XT500 when I was a lad. And, er, well, it should be easy enough to pick up when I drop it…. :mrgreen:

    any thoughts?

    I’d love a Speedmaster though!

    Suppose i best look Into getting a licence first though… 🙄

    Premier Icon metalheart
    Subscriber

    Can you do a condensed course for a direct ‘full’ licence (i havent been on a motorbike since ’87 but I’m definitely old enough to qualify…)

    5thElefant
    Member

    My lad did a weekend course, so yes.

    I’ve had a couple of big singles. They tend to wear out faster than multis, so I’d look at a newish low miler.

    I did DAS and have had a bmw f650 single ever since. Upright, handles ok, fun at sensible speeds and for a £900 1994 bike its reliable too. It aint fast though. Or pretty.

    Premier Icon maxray
    Member

    Doing my DAS this year as I did my CBT/theory last year. Had dreams of a Monster but I think a Honda NC700 is more likely being that the tank is actually storage and it does over 70mpg! Boring but practical… hmm maybe I should just fek it and get the Monster!


    Droooooooool……. 😛

    Premier Icon metalheart
    Subscriber

    How much is a DAS?

    (ps thanks for the answers above!)

    Premier Icon maxray
    Member

    If you only need a 3 day course about £600 (well that’s what the place I am going to charges)it includes Mod1 and 2 test fees etc.

    Premier Icon cookeaa
    Subscriber

    Similar to the OP here, for motorized commuting (when I don’t cycle) it could make some sense to get a MC…

    But I’ve always been warned about the near certainty of my death if I got a MC, the arguments would be too much bother so I’ve never bothered with a licence… I’m sure my Missus could be talked round eventually, and I am technically a grown up now…

    Recently I’ve just thougt it makes sense to get a sensible bike to ride to work rather than drive a family estate with just little old me in it. 😳

    I’ve got work mates who are far more into biking, all got sports bikes for getting about, couple of track bikes and some into their offroading too… not sure that would be my bag, but useful people to know…

    So whats the best route to go for getting on the road? CBT buy a cheap 125 or 250, then get some lessons booked?
    Anyone recommend a school/instructor in Reading / West berks?

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