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Learning to ride a motorbike


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I'm thinking about taking up biking. Used to be well into it as a kid, had my own bike and used to do some trial bike stuff with my Dad but unfortunately he had a nasty accident when I was 15 and the whole thing was off limits. Now, some 20 years later I'm thinking it would be good to get back into it. I've had no experience since I was 15 so would appreciate any advice and suggestions.

 

Looks like the DAS course would be a good route to go down. Anyone done this? What was it like and how much does it cost?

 

Cheers

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If you've not ridden in 20 years, I would recommend a DAS 3 day course, perhaps with a 1/2 day taster session first just to a) make sure you get on with the instructors and b) get used to riding again.

 

For a 3 day course, expect to pay around the £600-£700 mark since the testing laws have now changes and the course is more expensive, this includes all testing fees, dont forget youll have to do your theory test if you passed your driving test yonks ago.

 

I did my test with http://www.assuredridertraining.com/ in Southampton, can thoroughly recommend their professionalism and training, I went from only riding a 125 for a couple of months to passing on a "big bike" with only 3 minor faults in 2 days worth of training.

 

Good luck, lets us know what you do. I've only been riding for just over a year and about to do my first bike trip next weekend :)

 

9618543.jpg?AWSAccessKeyId=0ZRYP5X5F6FSMBCCSE82&Expires=1243094183&Signature=S2%2FAGp0MWxVzLus8e9UuUXdQuR0%3D

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If you've not ridden in 20 years, I would recommend a DAS 3 day course, perhaps with a 1/2 day taster session first just to a) make sure you get on with the instructors and b) get used to riding again.

 

For a 3 day course, expect to pay around the £600-£700 mark since the testing laws have now changes and the course is more expensive, this includes all testing fees, dont forget youll have to do your theory test if you passed your driving test yonks ago.

 

I did my test with http://www.assuredridertraining.com/ in Southampton, can thoroughly recommend their professionalism and training, I went from only riding a 125 for a couple of months to passing on a "big bike" with only 3 minor faults in 2 days worth of training.

 

Good luck, lets us know what you do. I've only been riding for just over a year and about to do my first bike trip next weekend :)

 

9618543.jpg?AWSAccessKeyId=0ZRYP5X5F6FSMBCCSE82&Expires=1243094183&Signature=S2%2FAGp0MWxVzLus8e9UuUXdQuR0%3D

 

Thanks Baj, that's exactly the kind of thing I had in mind. I've toyed with the idea of getting back into bikes for a while but either not had the time or money. In a few months I'll be able to have both so it makes sense. I'm lucky that my Dad is still well into bikes so will give me good advice (even though he's just turned 60) and I'll confess one of the reasons is it'll be a shared interest for us. One of the reasons for being able to afford it is my Grandad has just died and I'd like to go for some rides with my Dad while we can both appreciate it. Plus it'll make the commuter run a lot more fun and quicker.

 

I'll let you know how it goes.

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Welcome to the clan. Is it just possible we might require our own forum at this rate..? ;) Baj got a lot of advice when he was choosing his machine, and I think it was all pretty helpful. Come back when you need some of your own. Haven't actually photographed mine yet [must get around to that], but it's absolutely stock, and exactly like this one. To be truthful, mine is a tad dirtier. Still another week until I'm allowed to ride it as well. Better get cleaning it I suppose. Ho hum. The frustration is getting to me.

Honda VFR800FiY.jpg

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Welcome to the clan. Is it just possible we might require our own forum at this rate..? ;) Baj got a lot of advice when he was choosing his machine, and I think it was all pretty helpful. Come back when you need some of your own. Haven't actually photographed mine yet [must get around to that], but it's absolutely stock, and exactly like this one. To be truthful, mine is a tad dirtier. Still another week until I'm allowed to ride it as well. Better get cleaning it I suppose. Ho hum. The frustration is getting to me.

 

Cheers! Nice looking machine, bet you can't wait? I'll confess that another reason for getting back into bikes is that i can't afford a decent car but can afford a decent bike! It'll be my main transport as well so I'm not looking at this as a weekend pursuit - I'm sure that'll be levelled at me after having 20 years away though!

 

Who needs a motoring forum? We need a bikers forum (insert winky thing here).

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Get a bike you can ride, so many people get their licence and then go out and start riding something like an R6, it’s not what they are used to and most end up in trouble (mate of mine lasted 20 minutes on his first ride before he dropped it!). When you past your test look at something like a Bandit, even if it’s just a for a few months, very easy to ride and will get you’re confidence up before you start looking at bigger and more performance based bike (if that’s the route you’re going to head down).

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I can only echo lee_saint's advice. Make sure whatever you get you can sit up fairly well in and get a good look around, it's not how fast you can go, it's what you can see that's important! My Fazer 600 has an r6 engine in it, but I certainly don't ride it like an R6!

 

I spend my time 50/50 between car and bike, depending on my diary for the day, but I've not regretted it for one moment, particularly when things like a years tax are only 40 odd quid.

 

Also, if you are going to use it regularly for work, consider getting something with a topbox. Ok, might look a little gay but it will save you a load of hassle in the long run.

 

Here's my bike, full loaded on a test ride for the bike trip next weekend.

 

9618543.jpg?AWSAccessKeyId=0ZRYP5X5F6FSMBCCSE82&Expires=1243111145&Signature=gSX%2BTVu%2FyOViM6ezA21rdiS2sb8%3D

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Cheers, all good advice. The important thing for now is getting the license and then looking for a bike (though I'm sure I'll start looking earlier). As I'm only 5ft 8" I'll need something I can handle easily. The temptation is to get something very quick and very impressive but there's plenty of time for that - I'll resist. The topbox isn't gay at all, the sensible side of me is already thinking something along the tourer side of the street (though it does seem boring).

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Mine doesn't have a topbox, but as the bike is a sports-tourer, it's something that many companies have ranges to equip it with; and it's something that I'm definitely on the look out for. Givi and Kappa systems spring to mind, but of course, one should never pay the asking price when there are plenty of people just gagging to sell you these things. eBay is awash with them. A well designed topbox doesn't alter the balance of the bike to any great respect, and they are always removeable.

 

I can only echo the previous advice. Find something you are comfortable with, because not only will you have to be responsible for your own road safety but, in all honesty, you'll have to do the job of several car drivers too, and that is NOT to condemn car drivers per se. It is so that your senses will be alert. Once you've gained that extra perception, you will be able to enjoy your riding just as much as you know you will.

 

As to being boring; believe me, the average 500-600cc touring bike has real usable performance most other road users can only dream about, so don't think, for one moment, that you're being boring. But I'm sure you'll eventually find a reason for wanting more. ;)

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Mine doesn't have a topbox, but as the bike is a sports-tourer, it's something that many companies have ranges to equip it with; and it's something that I'm definitely on the look out for. Givi and Kappa systems spring to mind, but of course, one should never pay the asking price when there are plenty of people just gagging to sell you these things. eBay is awash with them. A well designed topbox doesn't alter the balance of the bike to any great respect, and they are always removeable.

 

I can only echo the previous advice. Find something you are comfortable with, because not only will you have to be responsible for your own road safety but, in all honesty, you'll have to do the job of several car drivers too, and that is NOT to condemn car drivers per se. It is so that your senses will be alert. Once you've gained that extra perception, you will be able to enjoy your riding just as much as you know you will.

 

As to being boring; believe me, the average 500-600cc touring bike has real usable performance most other road users can only dream about, so don't think, for one moment, that you're being boring. But I'm sure you'll eventually find a reason for wanting more. ;)

 

Cheers, yes you're right about the perils - my Dad broke legs, feet and lost the use of his foot for a year and none of it was his fault, another friend lost his spleen. This was why I didn't follow up my interest for so long but.....it's kind of in the blood. Have to say that now that I'm determined to take it back up I'm really excited! I'll let you all know how I get on...

 

Also, any recommendations for a good starter semi practical bike would be greatly appreciated. I'm looking in the 3 -4 grand price bracket.

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Cheers, all good advice. The important thing for now is getting the license and then looking for a bike (though I'm sure I'll start looking earlier). As I'm only 5ft 8" I'll need something I can handle easily. The temptation is to get something very quick and very impressive but there's plenty of time for that - I'll resist. The topbox isn't gay at all, the sensible side of me is already thinking something along the tourer side of the street (though it does seem boring).

 

If you're looking at tourers, then maybe see what BMW do. Very good motorbikes for everyday riding.

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Also, any recommendations for a good starter semi practical bike would be greatly appreciated. I'm looking in the 3 -4 grand price bracket.

 

You won't need to go anywhere near those sums, if you wish to buy a secondhand machine. At £4,000, you practically have 90% of the secondhand market at your disposal, unless you're aiming at something rare, exotic, or just extremely new.

 

Remember also that there may well be a 33BHP restriction involved for the first 2 years after you have passed. I'm not solid on this information at all, so go here for an explanation.

 

http://www.vauntage.co.uk/cbt_licence_rules.htm

 

Btw, 33bhp will be fine to start with, if you go down that route, or there is Direct Access, the route, I believe Baj took. With all the hoops people have to jump through these days, I'm so glad I got my licence years ago. Good luck, Rev.

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If you're looking at tourers, then maybe see what BMW do. Very good motorbikes for everyday riding.

 

Reliable, but don't you find them a tad expensive, Lee..? I would have thought a Honda, a perfectly well made bike. Think about it - their cars are the most reliable around, and they achieved that on the back of their motorcycle engineering practices. Their bikes are considered extremely reliable. A Beemer seems a bit of an extreme jump into exotica, first time of asking. Just my opinion, of course.

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Reliable, but don't you find them a tad expensive, Lee..? I would have thought a Honda, a perfectly well made bike. Think about it - their cars are the most reliable around, and they achieved that on the back of their motorcycle engineering practices. Their bikes are considered extremely reliable. A Beemer seems a bit of an extreme jump into exotica, first time of asking. Just my opinion, of course.

 

Not when you get a discount on them ;)

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Me old man is quite 'high' up within BMW.

 

Well, in that case, I've always admired the Aprillia/Rotax engineered BMW F650 Single. Not outright ultra fast, but extremely quick and a lot of fun. Though definitely NOT the perfect bike for the beginner, as the engine has enormous low down performance.

 

Dec27%20G650GS.jpg

Edited by St Landrew
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Rather have my Viffer, thanks Lee.

 

Nice though.

 

EDIT: That's the new S1000RR, yes..? 193BHP..? That's crazy for a road bike. Oh well, it's reduced Rev Saint's list of bikes by one, I'm sure.

Edited by St Landrew
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Rather have my Viffer, thanks Lee.

 

Nice though.

 

EDIT: That's the new S1000RR, yes..? 193BHP..? That's crazy for a road bike. Oh well, it's reduced Rev Saint's list of bikes by one, I'm sure.

 

yes, might cross that off the list. In fact my original price bracket of 3-4 grand might not really be sensible. It makes more sense to go for something that is safe but inexpensive and when I've learnt enough then go for something I really want. God, I hate my practical side!

 

So I'd be looking for something around the 600cc mark (if I'm going to do the DAS course then I want to make it worthwhile). Easy to ride, maybe not flashy and certainly not scary fast. The one thing I am concerned about is my height, at 5ft 8" I'm not the tallest and I don't want to end up with a bike that looks great but I'm scared to take out. Any suggestions on a boring, practicle but hopefully ultimately fun bike?

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yes, might cross that off the list. In fact my original price bracket of 3-4 grand might not really be sensible. It makes more sense to go for something that is safe but inexpensive and when I've learnt enough then go for something I really want. God, I hate my practical side!

 

So I'd be looking for something around the 600cc mark (if I'm going to do the DAS course then I want to make it worthwhile). Easy to ride, maybe not flashy and certainly not scary fast. The one thing I am concerned about is my height, at 5ft 8" I'm not the tallest and I don't want to end up with a bike that looks great but I'm scared to take out. Any suggestions on a boring, practicle but hopefully ultimately fun bike?

 

Imho the choice is simple, Honda CB500, Suzuki Bandit or a Yamaha Fazer. All Jap bikes, all keep going for ages, all put you in a good sitting position to be more aware. Popular bikes so there's plenty flying around second hand and all reasonable price.

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Although it's tempting to be boring and buy a Bandit, Fazer or Hornet to teach you the basics there is actually a bike out there that will be good for a learner, but you won't grow bored of once you're past the 1 year mark. This bike is widely acknowledged as being a great first step on the ladder and is flexible enough to be an everyday commuting bike and a weekend toy. A friend of mine rides his one to trackdays and humiliates GSXR/CBR riders who know how to open the throttle but can't go round a corner for toffee. It's also currently available new for 0% finance and is the most underrated sports/everyday bike on the market. Step forward the Suzuki SV650!

 

http://www.suzukilowpayments.co.uk/model_sv650Sport.html

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Although it's tempting to be boring and buy a Bandit, Fazer or Hornet to teach you the basics there is actually a bike out there that will be good for a learner, but you won't grow bored of once you're past the 1 year mark. This bike is widely acknowledged as being a great first step on the ladder and is flexible enough to be an everyday commuting bike and a weekend toy. A friend of mine rides his one to trackdays and humiliates GSXR/CBR riders who know how to open the throttle but can't go round a corner for toffee. It's also currently available new for 0% finance and is the most underrated sports/everyday bike on the market. Step forward the Suzuki SV650!

 

http://www.suzukilowpayments.co.uk/model_sv650Sport.html

 

And if you're not used to riding a Vtwin youll bloody hate getting on it the first time, which may completely put you off buying it, that's what happened to me.

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Imho the choice is simple, Honda CB500, Suzuki Bandit or a Yamaha Fazer. All Jap bikes, all keep going for ages, all put you in a good sitting position to be more aware. Popular bikes so there's plenty flying around second hand and all reasonable price.

 

Although it's tempting to be boring and buy a Bandit, Fazer or Hornet to teach you the basics there is actually a bike out there that will be good for a learner, but you won't grow bored of once you're past the 1 year mark. This bike is widely acknowledged as being a great first step on the ladder and is flexible enough to be an everyday commuting bike and a weekend toy. A friend of mine rides his one to trackdays and humiliates GSXR/CBR riders who know how to open the throttle but can't go round a corner for toffee. It's also currently available new for 0% finance and is the most underrated sports/everyday bike on the market. Step forward the Suzuki SV650!

 

http://www.suzukilowpayments.co.uk/model_sv650Sport.html

 

Cheers both of you. Obviously I'll take my time over it anyway but the bikes Baj suggested seem to fit the bill. Have to say the Triumph Bonny looks good - a step away from a first bike though and according to my Dad hasn't had great reviews but I think it looks good.

 

PS One of the reasons I can afford to do this is my Grandad's just died and left me some money - why does probate take so long? And why do they take a percentage of the estate?

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And if you're not used to riding a Vtwin youll bloody hate getting on it the first time, which may completely put you off buying it, that's what happened to me.

 

I don't understand this, you're the first person i've ever encountered who didn't like a v-twin! Inline fours are just boring, no involvement with the rider at all, just point and squirt. Square fours like the VFR's are pretty decent but i'd rather ride a single or v-twin. Perhaps you just like to get on and ride rather than the more involving experience of a v-twin. If that's the case don't ever ride a single!

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I don't understand this, you're the first person i've ever encountered who didn't like a v-twin! Inline fours are just boring, no involvement with the rider at all, just point and squirt. Square fours like the VFR's are pretty decent but i'd rather ride a single or v-twin. Perhaps you just like to get on and ride rather than the more involving experience of a v-twin. If that's the case don't ever ride a single!

 

You've a short memory Swannymere. It was your recommendation to Baj of the SV650 that got him to test it out. He couldn't get along with what he perceived as a snatchy response. Big twins and singles can be snatchy unless the rider is able to control the pick-up. By their nature, inline fours are a bit easier on that front, unless set up incorrectly.

 

As it happens, I don't think a middleweight/biggish v-twin is the ideal starter bike. And I think people jump on soft engined 650cc bikes thinking they don't have too much performance, when in actual fact the inexperienced rider could get into some serious bother with a 650cc tourer. My brother has the BMW 650cc single I mentioned earlier, and that is absolutely no bike for the inexperienced rider. Better to have a smaller [say 400-500cc] inline four, with over square bore & stroke, so that the power builds gradually, not a stump puller.

 

I could say ultra positive things about my own V-four, which has more of the instant power of a V-twin, but revs and builds like an inline four. But I won't. I was this close ][ to considering a VTR1000 Firestorm myself, but I came to my senses, and I like V-twins too. ;)

 

Btw, it's not a Square Four. That's an Ariel, or an old Suzuki 2-stroke RG500 racer.

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Btw, it's not a Square Four. That's an Ariel, or an old Suzuki 2-stroke RG500 racer.

 

Everyday is a school day, i was under the assumption that a VFR and its sibling the NC30 were square fours! I do remember recommending the SV to Baj and his response last time, i just think that an inline 4 requires minimal rider input and thus enjoyment compared to other engine configurations, might as well drive a tin can. I also don't think an SV650 is too much for new rider, however a big single would be inappropriate.

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You've a short memory Swannymere. It was your recommendation to Baj of the SV650 that got him to test it out. He couldn't get along with what he perceived as a snatchy response.

Thanks, saves me typing it!

 

I'm not saying its a crap bike by any stretch of the imagination, I'm sure its an awesome bike to ride. My point was that riding something like an SV650 requires a lot more "effort" if thats the right word, than something like the 3 bikes I mentioned. Of course, to many this is a good thing, but my point at the time was that I didnt want to fork out for a bike that required me to put up with, what I saw as, an awkward ride whilst I learned to ride a proper bike. Call me a pussy, but I wanted to make sure I bought a bike I was comfortable with from day 1, not once I got used to riding it.

 

As it happens, I'm going to test ride an SV650 again soon to see that, now I have a year of big bike under my belt, it's any easier to ride.

 

Again, not dissin', just thinking it's not an ideal first bike

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I was under the assumption that a VFR and its sibling the NC30 were square fours!

 

No, it's all one crankshaft. The Ariel Square Four and Suzuki RG500 had two linked crankshafts, one behind the other. The RC46 VFR, just like its cousins [RC45, NC30, etc...], all the way back to its origins in 1982, have a 90˚ Vee configuration, sharing the one crankshaft.

 

Incidentally, my brother, who owns the Beemer single, had a rare VFR400 back in the mid-90s; and I think it was the quickest thing he's ever ridden.

Edited by St Landrew
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Welcome to the clan. Is it just possible we might require our own forum at this rate..? ;) Baj got a lot of advice when he was choosing his machine, and I think it was all pretty helpful. Come back when you need some of your own. Haven't actually photographed mine yet [must get around to that], but it's absolutely stock, and exactly like this one. To be truthful, mine is a tad dirtier. Still another week until I'm allowed to ride it as well. Better get cleaning it I suppose. Ho hum. The frustration is getting to me.

 

 

 

St Andrew did you say you got your bike from J2 Honda in Southampton,if so what are they like to deal with as just looking to change my bike.

Decided it's time to get a new bike with summer arriving and the new Fireblade is top of my list so far.

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St Andrew did you say you got your bike from J2 Honda in Southampton,if so what are they like to deal with as just looking to change my bike.

Decided it's time to get a new bike with summer arriving and the new Fireblade is top of my list so far.

 

Long story, but it wasn't from J2 Honda the dealer, it was their chief mechanic's own machine, and I went to the premises, where the bike had been stored for the last 2 years. He kept it sweet for when he could devote more time to owning and riding it, but that never came to pass, and he was in bad trouble with credit card debt. I got an excellent price for the VFR - he's happy now he's out of debt - I'm happy now I've got a cracking bike. J2 didn't get involved. Nice workshop. Love those elevating table ramps.

 

New Fireblade eh..? Isn't the new Yamaha R1, the sports bike to have now..?

Edited by St Landrew
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Long story, but it wasn't from J2 Honda the dealer, it was their chief mechanic's own machine, and I went to the premises, where the bike had been stored for the last 2 years. He kept it sweet for when he could devote more time to owning and riding it, but that never came to pass, and he was in bad trouble with credit card debt. I got an excellent price for the VFR - he's happy now he's out of debt - I'm happy now I've got a cracking bike. J2 didn't get involved. Nice workshop. Love those elevating table ramps.

 

New Fireblade eh..? Isn't the new Yamaha R1, the sports bike to have now..?

 

The R1 is the better bike but i'd get the Ducati 848 or a slightly used MV F4.

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I just prefer how the new Blade looks i just think the R1 now looks a bit iffy with the odd colour choice of powder coating on the frame.

Have also ridden and MV F4 and have to say one of the most over rated bikes ever.

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I just prefer how the new Blade looks i just think the R1 now looks a bit iffy with the odd colour choice of powder coating on the frame.

Have also ridden and MV F4 and have to say one of the most over rated bikes ever.

 

You do have to rev the nuts of the 750 but the 1000 is great, i'll agree overpriced new but a great secondhand buy. All the mags are saying the R1 is the bike to beat but i'd have to say the Honda's build quality would swing it for me.

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Another day, and the F$?K*^G postman didn't arrive with my new registration document and roadtax. The tank is full, the battery charged; all the new kit is bought, including the new tax disc holder with allen screws. And the money is waiting for the numberplate..!

 

I bet the DVLA are going to take this to the bleeding wire. :mad:

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Well I've spent practically all day with the bike, although I've only ridden 65 miles, and nearly all of it in the late afternoon. First was a bit of town work, in amongst heavy traffic. Then I did a short stint on the M27, before turning off into the New Forest, to head for the Red Shoot pub. Then back home for an evening meal.

 

At first I was finding the bike's weight quite unwieldy, as it is 468lbs dry, so I checked the front tyre pressure. Ah... 29lbs. Should be 36lbs [42lbs rear]. That made all the difference, and my confidence in the front end rose dramatically. Now I could crawl it in traffic, feet up, and blip the throttle to get away from any situation. I got some idea of the get-up-and-go when I hit the motorway. The engine has V-twin like torque, and pulls nicely from very low, making absolutely nothing of its weight. It was only a couple of miles, but the acceleration, even on a tiny bit of wound on throttle was blistering. I checked the speedo, after just a few seconds, and had to slow right back down to legal speed. I can easily believe this bike will do 0-60 in 2.4secs. Once rolling, the acceleration is irresistable. I chickened out all the time. The handling is great, but it won't be chucked around just yet, as the tyres still have pimples on them. I'll need a few more days of finding what one can and can't do safely, and wear them in. It is almost unconditionally stable. I folded my arms at 60mph, and it tracked absolutely straight and true. It's said that VFR brakes aren't all that great as standard, but I could have sent myself over the handlebars, I believe. There was plenty of feel in the linked system too. Perhaps people mean they are inadequate for the track..? Well they're fine for the road. Do I feel in anyway tired after all that new concentration..? No, and it's down to how easy the bike was to ride. I have to say, I was a bit tense at the beginning, after the tyre pressure increase. But after a while, I started to relax properly, and it all started to feel right.

 

Well those are my first impressions. It's a great bike. I'll do a proper review once I've had a real chance to get to know all its foibles.

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only just seen this....

 

get the SV! totally fantastic bike, easiest thing to ride ever. really nimble, loads of torque (obviously), and chuck it on a twisty circuit like brands hatch indy you'll enbarass much bigger cumbersome bikes.

 

i learned to ride at the grand old age of 35 having never ridden, and bought an SV after testing (an old) fazer, ER5 and blandit. SV was just far an away the better bike, not had a moments regret on it. cheap on the bills, cheap to insure.

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