Monday, November 22, 2010

Can You Learn To Ride On A Street Triple?

One of the things I really wish I could do is answer the questions people use to get to my blog from Google. Perhaps I should add a banner on my blog: Hey You! Got a Question? Email me!

Anyway, one of the recent questions I found in my stats was "Can I use a Street Triple to learn to ride?"

The short answer is: Yes, but please don't.

The long answer is: You can learn to ride on anything. You could learn to ride on an race-prepared R1. But, you know, you might not have the best experience doing so.

First off, if you're a total moto-newbie, take the MSF class (or your local equivalent) on one of their bikes. A Honda Rebel 250 is possibly the least intimidating machine in the world. It is difficult to scare yourself so badly you pee a little on a Rebel 250, which makes them perfect for getting the hang of how riding works.*

Then, when you're licensed, get some old bike to ride for a year. There's a good chance you're going to dump that thing, and it hurts a lot less when you can just pick it up, slap some flat black paint on it, and call it repaired. Pick something that isn't too high-strung. You're still learning how to ride, and you're going to make (and hopefully survive) some scary mistakes no matter what bike you're on. A high-performance bike makes it easier to make very scary mistakes. A Street Triple, by the way, is a high-performance bike. If you scare yourself badly enough, you might just give up riding. I know a guy who bought a GSX-R 1000 as his first bike. Can you guess who scared himself so badly that he parked his new bike for a year before selling it?

So, you've been riding for a year, you've got a handle on how motorcycles work and how to survive traffic, now go get that Street Triple and ride it in to the ground!

*And some people like them so much, they just keep riding them after they've learned to ride. My "starter bike" can be someone else's "dream machine."


irondad said...

Kinda like learning to fly in a Cessna and not an F-16, eh? Oh, but the jet is so much cooler!

mq01 said...

loved this read lucky! but i gotta tell ya, now im considering how many people have peed on a rebel ;)

word veri: butstye
wtf, lol!

Stacy said...

I agree with every word in this post.

Also, regarding "It is difficult to scare yourself so badly you pee a little on a Rebel 250"... difficult, yes, but not impossible! :)

bobskoot said...


I suppose you can learn to ride on anything, but your ride may not be long.

I was just speaking to someone on the weekend about his friend who was a new rider and just had to have a Harley. He is incompetent. He has dropped the Harley around 37 times. He cannot ride on the twisties, everyone has to wait for him. He is a candidate for the Rebel 250.

Wet Coast Scootin

irondad said...


Perhaps this person is a candidate for another mode of transportation?

irondad said...


I agree. I've taught countless people to ride on bikes the size of the Rebel. Yes, it's quite possible to pee a little! Sometimes even for the instructors.


Sorry to take over the blog, man. I consider you a friend so I just sort of came in and made myself at home.

SonjaM said...

What is wrong with beginning your riding career on a 250? I had a Virago 250 for a year before I upgraded to a roaring 500 cc thumper ;-) And even after many years I am still content with 650cc.

jason.ewert said...

I had a buddy get a VTX 1800 for his first. That's the kind of thing that'll keep you up at night. Now he's commuting with it daily :) BTW if you've never ridden a bike before don't get on one of the mini-cruisers at the MSF class. They are the most difficult bikes to ride. The small dirt bikes and standards are by far better intro bikes. (I'm thinking about some of the less confident individuals at my MSF I class.)

Stacy said...

@jason: What, you mean forward controls aren't the easiest thing to learn on? ;)

RichardM said...

Great advice. My first bike is a R100RT and on hindsight, not the best beginner bike. Though like @jason suggests, it handles a whole lot better than the cruiser bikes used in the class. The old BMW is much easier to do sharp turns on though it is kind of heavy. This is most noticeable on dirt roads.


wyckedsin said...

My first bike was an Aeromacchi Sprint set up for Speedway racing...

It made me do more then just pee!

I don't recommend the same path, next thing you know, you'll get thrown down the road, end up with Geigeresque X-Rays and want to climb back on another bike before your physically ready...

Canajun said...

Great post. Every year around here there's at least one newbie who manages to total his brand new 1200+cc sportsbike before it has 100 kms on the clock. And the lucky ones get to ride again some day if they're not scared sh..less.