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Old 23rd February 2017, 13:08   #1
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Default 15 things to consider before buying a big motorcycle

Disclaimer - This piece of writing is inspired by the article from Shumi of Overdrive, a journalist I admire for his honest words. However, while it takes inspiration from it, I hope to build on it while keeping the experiences from a new biker point of few, one that is trying to bite into the superbike pie for the first time. Like me. That said, for the sake of fairness, I'd leave a link to his writing here - http://overdrive.in/features/buying-...-need-to-know/




The decision to buy a big bike happened virtually overnight for me. Although I always wanted to buy one, I never really had a hard look into the affordability factor, neither expected support from family on the decision. It was always a dream that I wished to fulfill sometime in the future when other main aspects of life were settled. However, the status quo did change overnight and the bike was in the garage within a period of just over a month. In a way that helped because I was suddenly exposed to the various little nuances that follows such a purchase, so I could take note and pen this down. As a newbie biker, I can say with confidence that living with a bigger capacity motorcycle in India, even an entry level sub-1000 motorcycle, is nothing like owning a small bike earlier and touring your world on it.

There are chances that the whole experiences will leave you disappointed, and the bike would find it's way into the classifieds much earlier than you would have ever predicted! Hopefully, the below pointers would help avoid that trauma for you -

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1. Convincing family will not be easy. And not just for purchase, but for every single ride!

A good read on getting family approvals here - Advice: Getting family approval for a Superbike!

That said, if you had extreme difficulty convincing the family about the safety of life on such a powerful set of wheels, then don't buy the motorcycle all too soon. Convincing them for a purchase is only the start of the journey. The real pincher is when you need to convince them before every single ride, big or small. And unfortunately, they would have their own set of convincing reasons that would be hard to argue against - ranging from safety to not spending enough time with the family.

Specially when it comes to women, they do like it that such a purchase makes you stand out in the social circles. But that helps only till the initial one or two months of purchase. However, she would always want her man to be with her during the weekend, and not spending time roaming around with a group of biker friends. Ultimate angle would be that of safety, and especially so for the ones that prefer solo rides.

Even if you manage to win these arguments, it surely does spoil the mood for the ride.

2. Taking the time out to ride. It could largely remain idle.

Which brings me to the second point. Ever noticed the number of superbikes listed in the classifieds with very low odo figures? Some bordering on silly even! It might sound funny, but the reality is that you need to introspect before purchase itself whether you'll ever be able to ride. I, personally have seen friends having to let go of bikes just because they don't get to use it at all!

The reasons could be many - few of the primary ones being family and work responsibilities, health concerns etc. Many of us work day in and day out, and might only be getting the rare weekend off. Weekends do come 4-5 times a month, but many would be filled with social responsibilities too. You can't prioritise a ride over taking the kids to school events, or attending the cousin's wedding, or even taking the wife out for dinner. A reason why many superbike riders limit themselves to only having breakfast rides.

This point is especially applicable if you are the father of a small kid yet to start schooling IMO.

3. Friends and extended family will not like you the same again.

This is one purchase that changes your character, or atleast the way your character is perceived. Spending 35 lakhs on a car is way more acceptable in the social circles than spending 5 lakhs on a motorcycle. Overnight your impression changes from a gentleman to something a lot more flashy, if not that of a freak adventure seeker.

If you still manage to escape these perception issues, there is always another chance when you turn down the requests to allow them to ride the bike. Golden rule though: Do not allow them to ride, for the fear of their own lives. It's far easier to fatally crash such a motorcycle than they would imagine it to be!

You can't really go for a ride with them either. Riding with a gang of bullets at 60-70 kmph is a totally different story, as against joining the same gang with a 200 kmph machine that'll make you fall asleep if you ride it for an hour at the same speeds. Even if you do manage to do it for a few times, you can't help but move on to different company later. Even worse, you could end up subconsciously increasing your average speeds, putting them at risk too, for they are out of their comfort zones and the machinery is not similar either.

Last edited by Rehaan : 24th February 2017 at 10:59.
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Old 23rd February 2017, 13:13   #2
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Default re: 15 things to consider before buying a big motorcycle

4. These bikes are not designed for India!

Bent rims, sore butt, stiff back and burnt legs are a reality. These bikes are not really designed with the Indian conditions in mind. Suspension on many such machines, especially the sportier ones are designed to maintain maximum contact with the tarmac over varying conditions, and not to deal with the potholes and speed breakers that Indian roads have to offer. If the rim doesn't take the hit, mostly your back will! Either ways, its a struggle.

Every bike is a compromise one way or the other. So depending on your long term plans, pick one that you can live with. The ones designed with a little bit of bad roads in mind are the easier ones for our conditions - bikes like the Versys, Tiger, GS etc. Sports tourers, cruisers, street motorcycles etc come somewhere in the middle and the track machines require the maximum commitment. Do not purchase the supersports for the looks and the sound, unless you are extremely sure you can keep up the commitment of riding such a hardcore machine over the long term.

Time to start exercising, if you haven't been doing so already, unless you want to skip the rides to rest those aching muscles!

5. Not the best weapon for office commute.

This topic can be debated, as many bikers do use their big machines for the office commute. However, even they can't deny that it is NOT ideal for the city cycle. Most of these machines generate way more heat than can be tolerated for our Indian summers, and this is exaggerated during stop-go traffic conditions. Some of the machines feel like extreme duds at city rpms, while some others remind with a perceptible jerkiness that you really need to get a move on. Dragging the clutch is not a choice either, since it is very easy to burn through one. At best, office commutes will need to be planned properly to avoid peak traffic hours.

Even if the machine is well suited for traffic, you would end up burning extremely costly spares (tyres, chain, brake pads etc) over the year that can be diverted into the purchase of another good motorcycle for the city use. For example, tyres for the stock size of the 650s cost anywhere between 25-35k and would last anything between 10-15k kms, brake pads should cost around 10k, chain kit should cost between 20k to 25k etc. Would cost much more for the bigger capacity motorcycles.

6. Public won't have respect for your property

So you've spent all of your life savings on a motorcycle and kitted it out with the best accessories. But your asset turns a liability as soon as a third party sees it - for most of them want their pictures clicked or that of their kids clicked. Some politely request for the same, while the others just keep a toddler on the seat or hop on the bike themselves and claim their selfie rights. From my limited experience, I was able to deduce that it is the men who forget politeness when they want their pics clicked, while women act even worse when it comes to kids.

What harm would a simple photo session do? Nothing much, but the fiddling won't stop there for sure. Mirrors, switches etc are easy targets anyways! Not to mention the possibility that they could drop the machine as well, not being used to the weight of it.

7. FUEL availability and quality would play on your mind. Always.

Quite self explanatory point in itself, when you consider the fact that most of these machines are designed to run on high octane fuel. Not only makes it extremely expensive to run, but the availability would be a real question mark as well. This is especially true in the case of the bikes that boasts of extremely high horsepower figures, whereas the tuned down touring versions should do better with the fuel available in our country.

To make matters worse, most of these machines have limited cruising tank range.

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Last edited by Rehaan : 24th February 2017 at 10:58.
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Old 23rd February 2017, 13:14   #3
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Default re: 15 things to consider before buying a big motorcycle

8. Service and spares WILL be an issue.

It's only reasonable to expect that service centers would only have the regular spares available for service and common issues. This would be true for any of the bigger bikes in India, because none of the brands can afford to keep an inventory of all costly parts in a market that sells such small numbers. Even parts like tyres are an extreme pain to order in the case of the extremely rare bikes like the BMW Motorrads, high end Harleys etc.

Bikes that have sold more numbers like the Street 750, Ninja 650 etc will have a better availability of spares, atleast at a centralised warehouse in India. The same for a rarer bike like the 1000s would need to be ordered from the international market. Things get even worse if the brand is rare internationally as well! Horrible if the brand is an exotic!

The fact is - the market is not ready for bigger bikes yet, and your bike will go off the road for a couple of weeks or months, if any major issues arise or any rare spares are required. Whoever is still going for such bikes should do so very well knowing the risks that come along with it. Unless the sales numbers improve, we Indians have only two ways to go about it - either buy and live with this scenario. Or don't buy at all. But if we don't buy, the situation will never improve and we continue to remain the losers. Not to mention that we don't remain young forever! For faster services and the expectation of having every spare available locally, you need to stick to more mainstream brands like Royal Enfield or even KTMs.

And are not ready for the bigger bikes yet, irrespective of brands! Period.

9. You can't risk touring the entire country on it!

Many of the bigger bikes are bought for their go-anywhere image, off the beaten track. Harleys are marketed for their sense of freedom, for when you hit the endless roads with you and the motorcycle. Some are bought for their inter continental touring ability and some others to tear up the corners.

In reality, your freedom will be curtailed because of the sheer affordability of the machine as compared to our general incomes. Buying a machine is one thing, and maintaining it is totally something else. As mentioned earlier, the cost of spares of such machines are exorbitantly high and the bikes are also at risk of being out of action for some time incase you manage to drop or crash it. Incase cash is not a concern, some of the brands are not known to be very reliable either, and that also robs you of your confidence, coupled with the fact that the nearest service centers are located miles away. So finally freedom will need to stick with friends for yearly long rides. Or stick to doing breakfast rides over the weekends.

One option to tear up the roads is to attend track days, but they are extremely hard to come by, unless you are lucky enough to be living close enough to the handful number of tracks around the country.

Of course, there are exceptions to this, where people have been utilizing their dream machines for the intended purpose itself. I'm not saying it can't be done in our country, just a warning that it might not be possible for most people to do it.


10. Our country is yet to get the best medical facilities.

And some of that fear is not misplaced. You can't buy a trackbike like the Daytona and get your knee down for every ride to a nearby hill station like Sarge does in Powerdrift videos, or even the countless youtube videos available from markets abroad!

Why? Because unlike the western countries, we simply don't have the required medical backup in our country, god forbid, if you crash. There are multiple youtube videos available which demonstrates the level of healthcare assist some of the foreign bikers get - even getting flown out of a crash situation to the nearby hospital in choppers, while we can't even hope for a proper ambulance most of the time. Infact, you would be lucky if the onlookers don't take photos and videos while you lay there in paining waiting for some medical help to arrive.

Last edited by Rehaan : 24th February 2017 at 10:57.
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Old 23rd February 2017, 13:16   #4
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Default re: 15 things to consider before buying a big motorcycle

11. Service availability.

Like they say - If you have a motorcycle, you will crash some day or the other. And when you do, forget about any care for the bike, in case you are ok but the machine is not! The most common form of roadside assistance in India is called a TATA Ace pickup.

Service centers for most of the big bike brands are available only in a select few cities, and you will need to haul your precious vehicle back to them. And when you do, the spares availability and pricing horror story starts!

12. Accidents and death become a part of life.

Luck will run out for some of our brothers. May their poor souls rest in peace.

I used the word 'brothers' because the emotions tend to dig deeper among biking groups and friends, may be due to the inherent danger of the common interest involved. A death of a known person, even though not too close in your friend circle, is bound to play with your psyche when you plan to ride the next day. Situation would be 10 times or even more worse if your family comes to know about it too!

Yes, motorcycling is an inherently risky activity. You can, at best, be a more mature rider and delay the inevitable as much as you can -

There are Old Riders, and Bold Riders, but there are no Old, Bold Riders.
Source


13. Hostility towards bikers.

Another unfortunate reality is the sheer hostility that accidents bring towards other fellow riders, especially if the accident involves pedestrians. Have heard of atleast two cases in south india recently where superbike accidents involving pedestrians resulted in villagers targeting all the bikers passing through that area. Many were attacked for no fault of theirs.

And even the original guy might not have done any wrong, but being the guy with fancy clothes sitting on expensive set of two wheels, he is always considered guilty until proven innocent. The same applies with cops as well, where superbikers are considered an easy target for violations of exhaust modifications, speeding etc. An action camera mounted and recording helps prove your innocence in such cases.

You can't really blame the public either, for there are many so called 'bikers' out there giving others a bad name as well. An example from among many -


14. Life inside riding gear!

There's only one way to play it though - Ride as safe as possible, and wear the best riding gear you can afford. Notwithstanding the fact that riding gear is also insanely expensive, and there is always a better one.

However, the point here is that - Life inside riding gear is not easy given our conditions. On any given summer day, you would be sweating like a pig inside the mesh jackets, and boiling inside if it were leathers! The helmet would be dripping with sweat and you would be wishing for the ordeal to end, especially if you are stuck in traffic for long. Another reason bikers tend to stick to doing breakfast rides during the summer seasons.

Things don't improve during the rains either. Because the bike will just be parked in the garage, just waiting it out.

15. Accessories are insanely expensive.

Speaking of the prices of gear - One of the first shocks I received and one that I got accustomed to later, is the cost of gear and accessories. Get this, something as trivial as a center stand would cost anywhere between 20-35k depending on the bikes. Accessory lights another 50k, a set of protection guards and sliders another 30k - you get the drift!

And the bikes NEED many of these stuff to come anywhere close to our realistic expectations of it. One major budget needs to be factored in, while considering the affordability factor of these vehicles.




All said and done - I am not warning people to stay away from living the dream. Quite the opposite, I'm asking them to live it, after thoughtfully considering all these points and taking the right decisions so that the dream doesn't turn into a nightmare later.

Fact is, the high end motorcycling culture is still evolving in India despite all these restricting factors, because the experience is even more rewarding. Personally, I feel our dream cars are out of the reach for most normal Indians even if they toil away their entire lifetimes for it, the least we can hope is to own our dream bikes then. To start with and inspire, after all that negativity, here's the story of mine - Introducing the 'Black Panther' - My Kawasaki Versys 650

Inviting comments from more experiences riders and wishing the best to the ones still sitting undecided on the fence.

Last edited by Rehaan : 24th February 2017 at 10:57. Reason: Small typo. Brilliant thread!! Thanks :)
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Old 23rd February 2017, 16:48   #5
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Default Re: 15 things to consider before buying a big motorcycle

Thread moved from the Assembly Line (The "Assembly Line" Forum section) to the Superbike Section. Thanks for sharing!

Just wanted to add a 16th point . Slowly graduate to a big bike. E.g. if you've ridden only a 100 - 150 cc so far, first get yourself a 250 - 400 cc and so on.

Liter bikes are as quick as Formula racers. The power on tap is extraordinary. First sharpen your skills, even if your wallet is ready .

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Old 23rd February 2017, 17:32   #6
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Default Re: 15 things to consider before buying a big motorcycle

And I would like to add 17th Point

Check your passion on Big bikes and real need for the Big Bike through the following tests

1. Is the Passion for Big bike really in Blood ? or has it come through instantaneous inspiration?
This is a psychology. When I listen to Hindustani Vocal music (Say, Pt. Bhimsen joshi), I get so highly inspired, that I think I should also learn Hindustani Vocal. This is what I call Instantaneous Inspiration(II).

If the the desire to own a big bike is not long enough (in terms of duration), then probably, your desire will diminish after few days/weeks/months. Even if you purchase a big bike with the II spirit, there is all chance that you will not own it for long.

I always remember: The joy or happiness derived in dreaming to own something is always greater than the joy of actually owning something. So, it is better for me to derive happiness in dreaming to own a big bike than to own a big bike

2. What is the real need for me to own a big bike?
Considering all the drawbacks /limitations of our country to own big bikes, I think big bikes are mostly worth to own only when I plan to make long trips on bike.

Given the above fact, check your history, how many times, have you gone for long trips using your current "Small" bikes. if you have really traveled umpteen (In my view, at least 30-40 trips in your earlier life) number of times by bike covering at least 200 kms per trip, then, you have a passion to go long drive by bikes.

If you have not traveled so many times, chances are that, even in big bikes, you won't travel either. So, bike becomes a material(Rather God) for Ayudha pooja

I was wanting to purchase a big bike few years back. But, then, when I really started thinking from brain(and stopped thinking from heart), I controlled myself and stopped thinking about big bike.

Last edited by gkveda : 23rd February 2017 at 17:36.
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Old 23rd February 2017, 17:47   #7
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Beautifully written and extremely practical in almost all of the given scenarios. I can relate to it even more because I am looking to graduate from my HH CBZ Xtreme to most probably a Yamaha R3 maybe this year or the next.

One more important point could be the Bad Road Manners in our Country. This includes:
1. People jumping out on roads out of nowhere - In a car you have the option to move left or right but in a bike doing high speeds, it becomes all the more difficult.
2. Trucks, buses, cars, bikes, cycles, and even animals sharing the same road.
3. Even if you are riding perfectly, you don't know how is the other person driving. He can be drunk/sleepy/not paying attention on the road, or any other such condition.
4. Also, a biker just needs a nudge from a fellow motorist to fall, which is simply not possible in a car. So one needs to be extra careful while on a bike.
5. Badly maintained roads - Although national highways are in much better shape now, but state highways and other arterial roads are mostly filled with potholes.

We can't do much about public infrastructure, but we can try to reduce riding during nights, or take the well-maintained highways for our tours.

And most importantly, the lack of awareness and easy access to money. People in developed countries need to graduate from a 250cc bike, to a 500cc, and then to the litre class, but in India, if your dad has money, you can directly go and buy a litre class superbike when you are 18 or even below. Having a rich dad doesn't makes you qualified enough to ride a superbike.

So we need to increase the awareness around the same and maybe push for policies/regulations which can formalize the process with hefty fines and other punishment.

And in the end, what we can do is "Ride Safe".

Keep riding brothers.

Last edited by Amit_breakfree : 23rd February 2017 at 17:49. Reason: Spelling correction
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Old 23rd February 2017, 18:02   #8
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Default Re: 15 things to consider before buying a big motorcycle

Very well written and so true on all the points.

I've been dreaming over the past few months and reading up, even leaving my work aside. I'm sure I didnt miss a single news item on todays Duke launch and was watching live as well

The good bit is there are so many good options you have today across so many ranges.

The head's slowly starting to take over the heart and especially after reading your piece, I think its gonna remain a dream
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Old 23rd February 2017, 18:43   #9
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Default Re: 15 things to consider before buying a big motorcycle

Nice thread CD. Thanks for sharing.

Quote:
Originally Posted by GTO View Post
Just wanted to add a 16th point . Slowly graduate to a big bike. E.g. if you've ridden only a 100 - 150 cc so far, first get yourself a 250 - 400 cc and so on.
Good point. I had grand dreams to buy a big bike and go on a lot of rides and I thought I had a lot of passion for the same. Fortunately, my wallet did not allow for it and I did not really have the skills too. So I decided to take it step by step and moved to a 200cc Pulsar NS from a 100 cc splendor. Plan was to start with small rides doable on an NS, then hone my skills and test my passion.

End result: Point 2 mentioned by Crazy Driver. Could not find the time to go on rides and I guess I was not passionate enough to prioritize it. Apart from couple of small rides, the bike has not seen the outside of the city. Glad I did not buy even a 250-400 cc one. Would have been a monumental waste

It is still a lingering dream. I do enjoy riding and the simple pleasures that a small 200cc bike gives. Reading all these reports and threads rekindles the dream of a big bike. Maybe one day it will happen.

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Old 23rd February 2017, 18:47   #10
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Default Re: 15 things to consider before buying a big motorcycle

Quote:
Originally Posted by CrAzY dRiVeR View Post
[b]4.

6. Public won't have respect for your property

So you've spent all of your life savings on a motorcycle and kitted it out with the best accessories. But your asset turns a liability as soon as a third party sees it - for most of them want their pictures clicked or that of their kids clicked. Some politely request for the same, while the others just keep a toddler on the seat or hop on the bike themselves and claim their selfie rights. From my limited experience, I was able to deduce that it is the men who forget politeness when they want their pics clicked, while women act even worse when it comes to kids.

What harm would a simple photo session do? Nothing much, but the fiddling won't stop there for sure. Mirrors, switches etc are easy targets anyways! Not to mention the possibility that they could drop the machine as well, not being used to the weight of it.

This one is a real bummer. I am really loosing sleep thanks to the kids in my society who always keep taking off the cover to take pictures, sit on the bike and what not For the moment I have to use my other bikes as a boundary to protect the big one like this.

15 things to consider before buying a big motorcycle-img_8780.jpg

15 things to consider before buying a big motorcycle-img_8781.jpg

Thinking off getting a foldable bike tent and getting it locked on the ground so no one can open it like this one below:

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Old 23rd February 2017, 19:38   #11
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Nice article. All points are valid !
I own a Yamaha R15 which is almost 7 years old and ridden only 23000 km so far. (it does not qualify as a superbike, but for my parents and wife it does ! ) I will just add my two cents.

Your age and social life plays a very important role in biking. I got the bike when I was single at 22. It is a completely different mindset then, you take risks and you really haven't seen a lot of the world around you. As you start growing up, you start losing people around you (naturally or accidental) and new people start coming in your life (wife, nephews etc) and a sense of responsibility slowly starts building up, you no more want to take unnecessary risks with your life. Financial aspect is another bummer for most middle-class people like us. Having said that, nothing can replace the feeling of riding a good bike. Whats more, they are way more safer than the commuter bikes when it comes to handling. I don't plan to sell my seven year old bike even when I don't take it to office or long distance now. I ride it on weekends by finding one or other reason to ride it or no reason at all. The feeling when you are at a signal and the girl on that scooter next to you tells the pillion 'Hey, dekh naa kitni sahi bike hai' is inexplicable
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Old 23rd February 2017, 19:47   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CrAzY dRiVeR View Post
12. Accidents and death become a part of life.

Yes, motorcycling is an inherently risky activity. You can, at best, be a more mature rider and delay the inevitable as much as you can -

13. Hostility towards bikers.

You can't really blame the public either, for there are many so called 'bikers' out there giving others a bad name as well. An example from among many -
Crazy Driver, a mature sensible piece of writing. Kudos to you. I speak from the other side of the wall. My son & nephew want fancy bikes. Old man me says no way. The risks are too enormous for a short adrenalin high. I have insisted there are easier & more effective ways to impress the opposite gender! My rule is you buy what your pay grade can pay for.

The bikers in the video are irresponsible - no helmets on most and speeding through a small town road at what seems like 100 kmph.

Thanks for this article. Will show it to my two young men. Best wishes, Narayan
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Old 23rd February 2017, 21:43   #13
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Default Re: 15 things to consider before buying a big motorcycle

These are the most sensible set of points I have read in a long time about a super bike ownership. I have myself been thinking on whether to take the plunge and keenly reading the thread about convincing your family.

Another aspect is, are you both physically and mentally ready for it ? Its one thing riding a Splendor in the city and another thing to drive a Harley or Triumph !!!

But I am sure if I get my family members to read this thread, my "pipe dream" of a super bike is definitely out of the window.

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Old 23rd February 2017, 21:54   #14
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Default Re: 15 things to consider before buying a big motorcycle

Would like to add this :
Hone your skills by going and learning on a track.

You think you've been riding motorcycles all your life so you can handle a litre class in the same way? Wrong! Learn proper skills from a training academy and then you'll realise how much more you can do with your bike.

Places like California Superbike School are good places to hone and learn new skills.

Do go to a track to unleash full potential of your bike. You're not doing any favour to yourself and your bike by riding in everyday city traffic.

And buy the best riding gear you can find before you step out of the motorcycle showroom after delivery.

Last edited by The Brutailer : 23rd February 2017 at 22:23.
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Old 23rd February 2017, 23:47   #15
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Default Re: 15 things to consider before buying a big motorcycle

Seriously, this thread has knocked some sense into my childish mind. Wanted to get a big motorcycle since a long time; reading your thread on the V and V12's Z800 thread had me staring aimlessly at the ceiling for many nights, dreaming about how it would be to have a proper bike under me. This thread has given me a glimpse of the other not so great side of it. And what you say about convincing your folks before every single ride? So damn true! We could easily (most of us could) arm-twist our family into getting the bike, but what's the joy in the ride when you see them waving bye to you, as you wheel your ride out, with a mixed expression of anxiousness and apprehension. If I'm going to have a big bike, I'm going to make sure to have my family on board with me on this decision; otherwise I'd rather not.
Really sensible, mature and an eye opening thread. Five stars!
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