New future rider -- newbie questions... - BMW Luxury Touring Community
 
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post #1 of 13 Old May 30th, 2013, 4:44 am Thread Starter
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New future rider -- newbie questions...

So I'm in the process of deciding on what my first bike will be. I plan on taking a local MSF course, and at the moment, the two bikes I like best on paper are the BMW R1200RT and the Suzuki V-Strom 650 ... But as I'm considering this, several "logistics" questions have come up for me... maybe I can get some insight?

1) I plan on commuting to work with the bike. That means (minimally) dress pants, shirt, tie, and typically that also means either (usually) a sportcoat, or a full-on suit. I don't mind stashing the jacket portion of the suit in some luggage for the trip, but is the rest of this get-up feasible with riding gear? Are there any provisions I should make or take to prevent ruining my nice clothes, or is that not even something to really worry about?

2) Securing the bike while out and about -- how, and how much? I've read everything from people who just use the factory alarm and just park it when out, all the way to people suggesting it's smart to chain the bike to a lamp post or tree. I don't want the bike to be stolen of course, but at 500ish LBS (both bikes are in this range), it's not exactly like one person could pick it up and walk off with it. How much paranoia is healthy, and how much paranoia is unnecessary?

...

I'm sure I'll have some more, but that's all for now.
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post #2 of 13 Old May 30th, 2013, 6:14 am
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Re: New future rider -- newbie questions...

Good morning and welcome to the group !

There is a currently active thread that will answer a lot of your questions as it started with essentially the same question:

http://www.bmwlt.com/forums/showthread.php?t=73532


Given your two choices, the SV650 would be a better choice for a first bike, especially if you can get a good deal on a used bike. Not too big, not too small. There are also a lot of DL-650 "Wee Strom" bikes available on the used market that would be a good choice.

You did not mention how far or what kind of roads you will be commuting on. The SV or DL will handle about anything, so again a good choice.

The Cliff Notes version of the thread above is this: The RT is a superb bike that many of us ride and absolutely love. While it is possible to jump on one as a first bike, it is probably not a really good idea due to the learning curve you will have in your first six to twelve months on the road. You are going to be heavily task loaded just doing the basics, and there is a good possibility you will, at some point, drop whatever you are riding. Fixing RT stuff is expensive !

As I pointed out to the other thread poster, you are purchasing your first bike. It will not be your last bike. Most people run through several over time and end up with something that really grabs them, which is what the RT will do after you have the skill set to appreciate what it does.

Gear: With some luggage, you can put your coat or whatever in them and use standard gear, mesh jacket, and overpants, to ride in. I am an attorney and run to the courthouse all the time, although if actually making court appearances, I generally use my car instead, simply because I am usually carrying a stack of files. Your biggest consideration is the weather. When it is hot, you will sweat. Cotton anything your are wearing will stay soggy all day. If it is raining, a good set of rain gear will do wonders, but you are going to get wet a bit in really heavy rain. Weather is where the RT really shines. Run the windscreen up and hide behind it, and you will be relatively dry as long as you are moving. Stop lights, well... you get a bit damp. Plan B: Pack the work shirt, pants and dress shoes in the case and change when you get to work. Many riders I know do that, and it works well for them.

As far as security, if you are on any bike, any size and somebody really wants is, they will get it, locks, security or whatever. Mostly nobody steals BMW, so parking next to Harleys (bait!) helps alot At work, it is probably not a problem at all unless you are in a really bad area. Traveling, a lot of folks carry a big chain, a bike cover, and let it go at that. LoJack is a good option if you are really worried about it.

Good luck on the choice, and ride safe out there: Always remember that you are invisible and everyone is out to kill you and act accordingly.

Doug Stracener
2011 RT polar metallic
Attorney,
MSF #127350,
Instructor, Motorcycle Safety Program Louisiana Department of Public Safety
NAUI Scuba Instructor #36288
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post #3 of 13 Old May 30th, 2013, 6:57 am
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Re: New future rider -- newbie questions...

I use a vinyl covered steel cable to secure the helmets to the bike if I park it out of sight and don't want to lug the helmet with me, I don't park in areas were I suspect the bike is in danger of being stolen. When I stop for lunch/dinner/coffee I park it in very public areas, not the free spot down an alley next to the dumpster and my concern is more vandalism than theft. When I stay at hotels I park near the entrance in high foot traffic areas. Lots of hotels, when asked, will let you park your bike in the reception area. Most hotels don't want motorcycles in parking garages because of liability concerns if the rider hits a low hanging pipe or beam.

Gerhard

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post #4 of 13 Old May 30th, 2013, 11:44 am
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Re: New future rider -- newbie questions...

You're likely to use less fuel running a diesel VW for commuting ... and you might be able to bring home some groceries or a 2X4 on occasion. Probably costs less to insure, too.

IMHO commuting by motorcycle is a really bad idea and it's simply rationalization/fantasy to think that it's economical.

Motorcycles are hobby toys and there's nothing to feel guilty about in that. An R1200RT is a massively powerful version of this, suitable for some nice long rides in fun country. They're not so fun in stop and go situations.

Kent Christensen
Albuquerque
'12 R1200RT, '02 R1100S, '84 R80G/S
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post #5 of 13 Old May 30th, 2013, 4:29 pm Thread Starter
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Re: New future rider -- newbie questions...

Quote:
Originally Posted by ka5ysy
Good morning and welcome to the group !

There is a currently active thread that will answer a lot of your questions as it started with essentially the same question:

http://www.bmwlt.com/forums/showthread.php?t=73532

Given your two choices, the SV650 would be a better choice for a first bike, especially if you can get a good deal on a used bike. Not too big, not too small. There are also a lot of DL-650 "Wee Strom" bikes available on the used market that would be a good choice.

You did not mention how far or what kind of roads you will be commuting on. The SV or DL will handle about anything, so again a good choice.
Actually, that's my thread, and it's where I got the idea on the Wee Strom... AFAIK the SV650 seems to have much less wind protection than the DL, and for the amount of highway driving, I think that it may be worth it to go with the Wee... is there a reason that the SV is better as a first bike?

As far as roads, mostly highway for the commute, (which is easily 90% of my miles in the cage). Mostly city for everything else. No offroading, though I may encounter the occasional graded or packed dirt/gravel road if I go touring and camping.

Thanks for the advice on gear -- it makes a lot of sense, especially in IT with our dress code, which I imagine would be simliar to yours.

Quote:
Originally Posted by lkchris
You're likely to use less fuel running a diesel VW for commuting ... and you might be able to bring home some groceries or a 2X4 on occasion. Probably costs less to insure, too.

IMHO commuting by motorcycle is a really bad idea and it's simply rationalization/fantasy to think that it's economical.

Motorcycles are hobby toys and there's nothing to feel guilty about in that. An R1200RT is a massively powerful version of this, suitable for some nice long rides in fun country. They're not so fun in stop and go situations.
Yeah it's not an economy thing, it's a fun thing, though if I get ~50 MPG average on the Wee, I will beat out my fuel costs on the VW. I'd just like to enjoy the beautiful weather a bit more and be able to change up an otherwise boring commute, not to exclusively commute on the bike, but to have options ... Plus, once I'm sure enough on the road, putting some highway miles on the bike in a very familiar route would (in my estimation) be a great way to extend my experience and prepare for long(er)-distance touring.
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post #6 of 13 Old May 31st, 2013, 7:49 am
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Re: New future rider -- newbie questions...

Quote:
Originally Posted by lkchris
------------------------------------------------
IMHO commuting by motorcycle is a really bad idea and it's simply rationalization/fantasy to think that it's economical.

Motorcycles are hobby toys and there's nothing to feel guilty about in that. An R1200RT is a massively powerful version of this, suitable for some nice long rides in fun country. They're not so fun in stop and go situations.
I commuted every day for over 4 years, in San Diego traffic, lane splitting for about12 miles of my 30 mile commute. I did it on an LT, and loved it! Would not have had it any other way.

To tell someone you do not know, or what their commute is like that to do it on a motorcycle is a bad idea is in itself a bad idea. It may be a bad idea for YOU, but a great idea for many. It is fine to express and opinion, but not to express it as applying to other than yourself.

I don't want to achieve immortality through my work...I want to achieve it through not dying.

David Shealey
Dandridge, TN
EX: '01 Black LT, BAT BYKE (Totaled at 110,000 miles)
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post #7 of 13 Old May 31st, 2013, 7:07 pm
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Re: New future rider -- newbie questions...

Quote
"Plus, once I'm sure enough on the road, putting some highway miles on the bike in a very familiar route "

Just a small point.
Never be lulled into a false sense of security because you ride a very familiar road daily. That's the very time it will jump up at you and bite.

While those wheels are turning the same level of concentration exist.
1 mile or 1000 miles from home.

Enjoy the ride. Every day.

Jenna: Ocean Blue '06
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Rena: The Committee.
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post #8 of 13 Old May 31st, 2013, 10:29 pm Thread Starter
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Re: New future rider -- newbie questions...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Hilton
Quote
"Plus, once I'm sure enough on the road, putting some highway miles on the bike in a very familiar route "

Just a small point.
Never be lulled into a false sense of security because you ride a very familiar road daily. That's the very time it will jump up at you and bite.

While those wheels are turning the same level of concentration exist.
1 mile or 1000 miles from home.

Enjoy the ride. Every day.
Good point, and I do understand that. Thanks!
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post #9 of 13 Old Jun 1st, 2013, 12:54 pm
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Re: New future rider -- newbie questions...

Quote:
Originally Posted by lkchris
You're likely to use less fuel running a diesel VW for commuting ... and you might be able to bring home some groceries or a 2X4 on occasion. Probably costs less to insure, too.

IMHO commuting by motorcycle is a really bad idea and it's simply rationalization/fantasy to think that it's economical.

Motorcycles are hobby toys and there's nothing to feel guilty about in that. An R1200RT is a massively powerful version of this, suitable for some nice long rides in fun country. They're not so fun in stop and go situations.
+1, it's a great point. Justifying bike purchase on grounds of commuting economy is simply a rationalization of an irrational choice - especially for a Michigan rider. It is not sunny Italy...

All above posts raise very valid points. I'd only add that the RT is a big and heavy bike and a new rider is more likely to drop and damage it, especially at low speed. Repair costs for BMW's are often staggering.

I would suggest starting out on the SV, which is a wonderful, capable "universal bike" - actually used by some big-name track schools in their fleets (that's how I had a chance to try that model).

After all, one does not get married to the bike. Once a number of miles is put under the belt, the OP can reconsider the choices and search for something else with ease.

Good luck riding!

Robert in Northern NJ

'09 R12GS, '08 R12RT, '03 R1150RT, '01 F650GS - time to thin the herd?


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post #10 of 13 Old Jun 1st, 2013, 3:22 pm
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Re: New future rider -- newbie questions...

K.I.S.S. the R1200RT, best motorcycle ever made..........

John
Florida
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post #11 of 13 Old Jun 3rd, 2013, 1:25 pm
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Re: New future rider -- newbie questions...

Quote:
Originally Posted by dshealey
... It is fine to express and opinion, but not to express it as applying to other than yourself.
This is an interesting statement. I learned in a college speech/communications class that unless someone is quoting some particular source, it is understood they are expressing their opinions/thoughts/beliefs. Supposedly, therefor it is bad technique/not necessary for a public speaker to use the terms "I think...." or "I believe....". I've always assumed it applied in written communication as well, thus that is how I read Ikchris' suggestion of commuting as a bad idea, regardless the fact he started it with "IMHO".

Jeff
Big D is my neck of the woods

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prior:
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post #12 of 13 Old Jun 12th, 2013, 6:33 pm
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Re: New future rider -- newbie questions...

I can not really say anything about your options on a bike because I have an LT and have never owned an RT or SV, except I have heard that you just feed the 650 tires fuel and oil and they run for ever and the RT has the best element protection of any bike aside from an LT.
Starting out though, I can assure you that you are going to drop it, I have dropped every bike I have owned and I am pretty sure every one here has too. It is not about going down, just dropping, In a lot or at a gas station etc. It will happen just be prepared.
The commute on the other hand is one of the best parts about having a bike. You have to focus so much on the ride that you forget about the stresses of going to work or what happened at work. You tend to focus more on the rain clouds or the idiot on the phone that is trying to kill you because he is jealous your on a bike an he isn't.
As for cloths, get a one pce suit from Aerostich or Olympia. They go on quick over what ever you are wearing and come off quick with you dry under. Keep an extra pant and shirt at work if you can just in case but it is inevitable you will get caught in rain going or coming.
As you get experience with the Wee you will be able to add things to make route better and more comfortable also. Remember!!! It is all about having fun!!

It's not what you ride, it's where you ride to eat!
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post #13 of 13 Old Jun 12th, 2013, 7:50 pm
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Re: New future rider -- newbie questions...

The V-Strom would surely work well for you as a 1st bike. However if the RT really floats your boat you might consider shopping for a well cared for R1100RT or R1150RT as a 1st bike. I believe either of those would be some lighter than the 1200 and could make a good 1st bike. If you shop for one that has a documented service history you can probably find something at a reasonable price that will make you happy and provide many miles of trouble free service. Besides, it's usually better to start with something other than brand new so if (when) you drop it you'll shed fewer tears!

Good luck with your decision.

As far as commuting on a motorcycle, I did it for over 20 years almost every work day and working in an Engineering Office I was required to wear dress slacks and a button down shirt (thankfully no tie or coat). When I finally told my boss that I was retiring I informed him that the only reason I stuck it out the last 5 years was because I got to ride the motorcycle to and from work every day!

Lynn Keen
North East Florida
MSF #28271 Retired
'99 Canyon Red RETIRED AT 93,000 MI
'05 GRAPHITE METALLIC retired at 87,000 MI
'01 R1150 GS- totaled
'02 R1150 GS sold
'85 K100/EML sidecar sold
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