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City Riding

This is a discussion on City Riding within the Motorcycle Safety forums, part of the General category; OK. I currently lack a motorcycle, but am a very proficient bicyclist, and am good at darting in between cars, ...


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Old 11-26-2006   #1
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Default City Riding

OK. I currently lack a motorcycle, but am a very proficient bicyclist, and am good at darting in between cars, riding defensivelly, dealing with potholes and sand with my skinny road bike tires, ect...

Now, I might be going to college in Boston next year. I really want to start riding, but on what? See, I want to ride a ninja 250 which I will turn into a streetfighter. I'm fairly dead set on that. But then my common sense brain thing kicks in, and makes me start thinking: I'd be riding in the city...Oh shit.

Now, this makes me ask? What is your opinion of city riding?
Would a scooter *ghasp* be better with it's automatic transmission (I can drive a stick shift really well, but still...)?
Would doing any of this be asking for certain death?

Now, to be clear, currently I don't bike in boston, I usually take public transit in. This isn't out of fear, it's because bringing your bike into the city is a hassel. But do you think that city biking would be good practice for city motorcycling?

For those of you who ride in the big city, what do you sugest?

Also, preventing vandilization/theft? Cheap countermeasures?

Thanks for any advice.
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Old 11-26-2006   #2
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Default City Riding

The Ninja 250 will be great for the city, it is faster than 98% of cars so power isn't a problem. Only factor is your motorcycle experience, it seems like you have little or none. At the very least, take the MSF course. And, practice practice practice. Go to a parking lot and practice low speed maneuvering. Set up a 100' straight course and go from one end to the other as SLOWLY as you can without putting your feet down. Make sure you can execute full-lock turns. Master your clutch control and shifting technique.

City riding is tough, it's an athletic activity. You have to be agile, nimble, fast, precise... You are in close proximity to cars, most of which will be driving aggressively.

You need the utmost confidence, if you are not sure of yourself you will get into trouble very quickly.

Remember that traffic laws are put into place for safety. Safety is your goal but sometimes traffic laws can actually impede safety for motorcyclists. Sometimes you will be taking liberties with the law, you will need to do things that are illegal and which will enrage cagers. You can't worry about what anyone else thinks, besides the police: you need to keep an eye out for them. But if you ever get caught doing something, DO NOT RUN. Stop, be polite, cooperative and respectful, you may get out of a ticket or you may not. If you get a ticket, well, that's a cost you have to deal with. It's risk vs. reward.

City riding isn't for everybody, like I said, it's tough. I commute on my motorcycle to NYC all the time, I've been doing it on a 600+ lb touring bike since July, before that I was doing it on a Ninja 500, it was a lot easier on the ninja!

About theft and such: best way to deal with it is good insurance coverage, if someone wants your bike they will get it. But, IMO you should get a beat up used bike, and turning it into a streetfighter is a great idea. If your bike is ugly enough nobody will steal it. Don't worry about it looking nice because city riding is going to beat up your bike anyway.
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Old 11-27-2006   #3
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Default City Riding

Thanks for the reply. I'm going for my class m permit next week and will sign up for the next availible MSF in my area.

As for bikes, I'm planning on getting something with wrecked fairings and ripping them off to save cash. I want to make it pretty, but in a ratty/grungy way, as in something that would look badass, but you wouldn't want to steal it unless you were grabbing props for a mad-max spin off.

I also will see how I feel after I take the MSF and if I buy a bike, after I have been riding for a bit.

Also...Any protective clothing that would work better in the city? Like, I'd imagine surving a 150 mph slide in the city isn't to much of an issue, but surviving getting broadsided by a car is.

So this will sound REALLY stupid, but is there anything like that? Thats good at protecting you from cagers? Like I'd imagine motocross gear would be good, but I doubt I'd be patient enough to put on a ton of armor under my jacket. Maby a jacket with hard (aka not foam) armor, some hard gauntlets, and knee pads?
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Old 11-28-2006   #4
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Default City Riding

Armor will be more important than leather, and being nice and cool when it's hot out will help a lot. So go with a well ventilated, armored textile jacket. Textile will protect more than mesh, IMO mesh is reserved for really hot days where you'll be riding in a relatively safe and calm environment. GP style armor is the best, failing that get at least CE approved armor and a good quality back protector (some jackets come with a cheap, insufficient back pad which is a usually a glorified piece of foam).

Instead of dedicated riding pants you might want to look into something like Icon field armor.

But don't skimp on the gloves and boots, in a collision those will be especially important. Use heavy, armored, leather gloves and dedicated motorcycle boots.

Also you will really want a full face helmet.
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Old 11-29-2006   #5
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Full face is a given for me. I went to the dealership to look at helmates once, and the guy was trying to sell me a modular one, but I read somewhere that the chin is usually the first place you land. So Full face seams like the way to go.

That Icon stuff looks like it could do the trick.

Now, the guy at the store said that regular steel toed boots would work. Where is the price break where the motorcycle boots begin becoming signifigantely better than regular steel/comosite toe work boots? Also how comfortable are they? Because I don't want to have to leave my boots with my bike (too much of a hassel, to easy to steal)

Lastly, gloves. At the store there were some pretty tough looking gloves with lots of armor for $50, but they didn't extend over the wrists. To get full racing gauntlets, it was at least $100 more. How important is the wrist protection?
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Old 11-30-2006   #6
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For boots I use Shift "Fuel" Street Shoes, which cost $100. They are not the most protective but they are better than sneakers, and very comfortable both for riding and walking. In the same category and price range there is the Icon Super Duty series (1 2 and 3) which is a good bit more protective, I haven't tried them so I don't know how comfortable they are. But I've read that if you have larger feet you might have trouble shifting on a sport bike (that's why I didn't try them, I have size 13 feet). If you have a dealer that sells those and ninja 250s you might ask if you can try the boot with the bike and see how it feels. Boots of the style of the Fuel and Super Duty boots you can wear all day and walk around in and not worry about leaving them with the bike to get stolen.

IMO I wouldn't ever want to wear steel toes on a bike, I've done it when I used to ride dirtbikes and you get no shifter feel. They are clunky enough to be dangerous by giving you poor foot control. Others will disagree, this is my opinion. But MC boots can be had for reasonable prices which are specifically designed to protect motorcyclists from motorcycle crashes, so I ask, what's the point of not having them?

Icon Merc gauntlet gloves are very high quality and I got them for $82 from newenough.com last year. There are plenty of other good gauntlet gloves out there for reasonable prices, your dealer may have jacked up prices. You will want the gauntlet because when you fall you will try to catch yourself, you will put your arms out and fall on your fingers, palms and/or wrists/forearms.
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Old 12-01-2006   #7
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When you look at boots for a sports bike, remember that regular steel toe boots may not fit underneath the gearshift pedal. Look for boots that provide protection but are geared for the bike you wish to ride.
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Old 12-02-2006   #8
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Ahhh...see thats the sort of thing that I never would have found out on my own.

I'll try the super dutys...out...I have pathetically small feet.
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Old 12-03-2009   #9
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OK all this information is nice, but... I would assume that you plan on having destinations, in all your city riding. In other parts of the world, people who use 2 wheels to commute in urban areas, very often go small, wear their work or office clothes and carry rain/weather over gear.
Thieves have no respect for scooters, especially the more urbane, like Vespa or Lambretta. The advantage of a scooter is that they offer some splash protection and often have lockable storage bins. You can select a scooter with displacements up to even 500cc but urbane models typically hover around 150cc to 250cc. If your commute requires you to keep up with 55MPH+ traffic, choose the latter, otherwise, go for economy and cost and select the former.
Whatever you choose, remember that defensive driving is your best friend. City driving is the worse of the worse for disrespectful 4 wheelers running you down. So watch out!
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Old 03-15-2011   #10
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Yeah you can go for ride on Ninja 250 but before going for ride you have to think at what time you going for ride. If you are going in work hours, than you will not happy with your ride. So try to go in free hours for ride.
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