Beginners who buy big bikes simply because they can

The new generation

I have a friend who, despite my advice, decided to buy a 1000cc superbike without any experience at all. As you might imagine it ended up badly, crashing twice in the first few weeks. I think this is pretty common in the new generation, many of them they get on the bike pretty late and when they are 25 they want a “serious bike”. A sexy 1000cc, better if it’s a MotoGP replica. Sure they have 200 HP but they also have traction control and all the electronic assistance to keep them on the road, right? Well, not really.

While modern bikes might be easier to ride but the electronic controls don’t turn a lion into a cat. 

Sometimes I have the feeling that people of my generation tended to start earlier. The consequence is that we started with smaller bikes, which are very forgiving. I started with the 50cc but I really felt that I made the grade only when I moved to the 125cc. It was more than enough for me with its 28HP and 150 kph top speed. But I was a teenager and the big Ducatis, CBRs, GSXRs, were big boys motorcycles. The 125cc was the best riding school ever. It was very light, nimble but still forgiving and the technique was very easy to learn and understand which is also a part of riding. I don’t want to write a nostalgic post about the good old times, I just want to make a point. 

Motorcycles are not cars

It might look like an obvious statement but think about it for a minute. You don’t need to be a racing driver to drive a Ferrari or a Lamborghini. Modern sports cars are easy to drive like an Audi. A motorcycle is a different animal. You ride it with your body and you need time to develop the feeling of grip, lean angle and how it affects the ride. Which brings me to another consideration. 

The grip

The first thing the pops into my mind when I think about the differences between modern bikes and the ones from the 90ies it’s the grip. Modern bikes have tons of grip, a lot more than you’ll ever need. Because they are built to make a corner at 150 kph at 55 degrees of lean angle with Valentino Rossi on it. But the harsh reality is that you’re not Valentino Rossi. So all this grip gives you so much confidence like it’ll never end. Except at one point, it does. 

Now, this might be just my opinion but old bikes tended to slide earlier making it easier to keep a slide.

A good advice 

Don’t start with a 1000cc with sticky tires. Start small with something that you can handle. Use road tires to learn how to ride in every condition. If you’re 25 I can understand that you don’t want to be on a 125cc but a 300cc will do a great job for the way it looks and how it sounds. I would stay under the 500cc benchmark (it depends on which kind of bike you want to buy) because I think that modern four-cylinder 600cc are insanely fast for a beginner, they are more like a second step to reach the 1000cc. 

And don’t forget the most important thing regardless of your bike or your level of experience: ride with care.

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Gasolist in chief, test-rider, and content writer. He began in the two-stroke era which makes him feel pretty old but gave him the chance to race everything from 125cc to 1000cc. All useless experiences when he got lost in the Sahara desert with nothing but a can of beans.

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