Moto Diary #0: Preperation
I decided to learn to ride a motorcycle about a month and a half ago, triggered by not much more than a trip video I saw on reddit one night.
I thought I'd keep track of the early days of riding, as a bit of a log of how far I'd hopefully go, and as a reference for anyone else that starts out. But for some context, I'll talk about the bike. My first bike.
A 2008 Suzuki V-Strom 650 ABS. Well used and well traveled by an owner that has already done the trips I dream of doing. It's been modified in a few ways to make it better for long rides, such as having wind guards for the grips, heated, grips, highway pegs (so you can stretch your legs out), and on and on. Oh, and it had crash bars. When it drops on it's side the bars protect much of the body. Really, really important for my first bike.
I went back and forth on getting a small 250cc starter bike, or the V-Strom which at some point I set my heart on. I wanted something usable for big trips, good on highways, with a big gas tank. Should be noted that 650cc seems like way more power than 250cc, but it delivers it in a very linear, predictable manner, and the higher weight means the bike doesn't just take off on you. A sports bike with that power would be quite different as they're much lighter, and universally seemed like a bad idea. This one is considered a dual sport bike, with some off-roading capabilities. Sturdy, dependable.
After a lot of research on forums, it seemed like it was on the higher end of acceptable beginner bikes for taller/bigger people. So I went for it.
Height and Weight
It's a big bike. Way larger in feel than the training bikes I learned on (Honda CBR). If getting onto the CBR felt like stepping over a tall park bench, this feels like climbing a fence. Awkwardly. The seat was also replaced with a taller one, to accommodate for the previous owner being 6'2". The end result is that when I'm sitting on the bike, I can almost see over the roofs of smaller cars. It's basically my full standing height.
It's heavy too, around 500lbs, with the starter bikes being around 300lbs. So it's about 2/3rds heavier, and a lot taller, making it no easy task to pick up again.
The first time I tried to get on it, it really did look like I was climbing a fence. Then the previous owner, who was with me at the time to drop it off, told me to use the foot pegs to get on. Way easier.
When I finally took ownership of it, and it was just sitting in my parking spot, I was really intidimidated. Especially after getting on and seeing how high up it was. Made me nervous just thinking about it.
That was on a Thursday night. Friday I planned to get the sale finalized in a government office and get a temporary plate (10 days) so I could take it to the mechanic (you need safety certification before getting a full plate sticker).
The plan was that my first ride would be the very next day, a Saturday morning. Counting my 2 training days, it would only by the 3rd day I'd ever ridden a motorcycle.