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Thread: Starter Bike

  1. #21
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    So many good posts in this thread!

    The SDR is a really cool bike. One that was very high on my list for this summer.

    Racer, I would knock the Cub due to its manufacturer. ;)

    Merson, that Red 2011 GPR on Goo is the one that I bought. It's over at Apex right now. I'm not quite sure why the ad is still up. There was another one for sale a bit south, but I don't see it currently listed. In addition to the two stroke 50cc version of the bike it was also available with the same 125cc 4T engine seen in the other bikes we've discussed. The Aprilia RS4 is the same bike with different livery. I wanted the Derbi because, well I am a fan of Derbi. ;) But there are so many cool/fun/great bikes available in Japan. It's a total candy store. If I lived in Japan I would find it exceedingly difficult to not have a lot of bikes.

    I will be doing a bunch of mods to the GPR. I'll post them up here to some extent, because it will be fun to share. If you want to get some idea of what I'm going to do you can check out what I've done with my 05 GPR. Many of the things I've learned/done with that bike will be applied to the 11. I hardly ever leave anything stock. Even the 899 is scheduled for a some mods. Nothing to the engine really, but I intend to upgrade the brakes, suspension, and subframe.

    Gear and Training. I am a HUGE fan of getting the best gear that you can, and lots of good quality training. Just like Mike says better training will help you no matter what bike you ride. And like Racer has said getting good gear is very important, because it is likely to save your life. I almost exclusively ride in what most people call track suits. Yeah I tend to look like a power ranger. ;) The reason for this is while they lack connivence they offer the best protection. I understand why people wear the other types of gear. I've just chosen to gear up the best I can. Even if I'm just going on a short ride I will gear up. It doesn't really take any longer, and if something happens I will be better prepared. When on a bike you don't have control over your environment. You can train to deal with these threats, and to a very large degree mitigate most of them, but not all of them.

    While it might be harder for a gaijin in Japan I have frequently found great buys on used gear. Although I wont buy used helmets. I always get those new, and for quite a while now I've made an effort to get them in the higher end. It's possible to get $700 helmets for half off or more when they bring out the new pain jobs. This makes getting a top line helmet somewhat affordable. But even spending $500 on a helmet is reasonable, because helmets are so very important to the motorcycle rider. I'll also spend a lot on gloves, although sometimes very nice reasonably priced ones can be found used, so look for those on the used market too. Boots I tend to get new. Here in SF we have the D-Store, and when they put stuff on sale the prices can be great. The color choices can be difficult, but that's fine.

    I made a list of books, videos, and rider training aids sometime ago. I'll look around for it, and post it when I find it. If I can't find it I'll compile a new one. I don't know to what level the Japanese training teaches riding beyond the basic traffic stuff. I mean the most education I've had on the Japanese training system came from the anime Bakuon!!, and that's likely not the best representation (although it's probably pretty good). I have read about it to the extent that I can find information (there's quite a bit about it on this foro). But I've not taken the classes, so really I'm fairly ignorant about the system. In the States the basic training is all slow speed. The mid and advanced classes move up from there, and then there are the Super bike classes on the track. We actually have a lot of training available in the States now. But very few people take more than the basic class. If I had the time budget I would take the Japanese classes while I'm there this summer. Unfortunately I likely wont be able to pull that off this time. I'm sure it would be fun though, and I haven't ruled it out. :)

    As far as learning goes. My research has led me to the position that you will learn faster and better on a light bike than you will on a heavy bike. You will also learn faster and better on a low powered bike than you will on a high powered bike (especially in the beginning). Animal studies on learning have illustrated this, and we can see it in acton at schools with fire drills. The drills are always conducted on nice sunny days in a relaxed atmosphere. This is done because learning done under heavy stress isn't repurposed. By doing the drills on a sunny day the students are predisposed to employ this learning to any classroom. Had they done the drills under stress it would only be functional from the room they were in during the drill. These same tenets hold for learning to ride a bike. If you learn on a light low powered bike the stress will be greatly reduced, and what you learn will be employable to other situations. This is much less so if you learn on a heavy powerful bike.

    I ride with a lot of different levels of riders. The people that generally are the best riders put in a lot of time on quality small bikes. The ones that rode smaller replicas tend to have much better skill sets than those that have not. For sure these are generalities, and humans being such adaptable creatures they can overcome most any obstacle. The knowledge to take home here is that why insert obstacles into the learning process? if there is a faster better way to learn doesn't it behoove us to check it out?

    Motorcycle riding is a life long endeavor. There's always more to learn, and you can always get better, no matter what level you are at. To me that's part of the charm.

  2. Default

    Dear friends
    Thank you so much for all your kind attention to my post. I now have a firm plan.
    I currently have 2 Honda cub’s of 50cc, a carb and EFI model.
    My wife uses one occasionally, and even more occasionally we will go out together for little jaunts. I bought my first cub the carb model from Frameworks. I don’t suppose it is the best dealer in Tokyo, and I doubt they have the best bikes, but their prices are at the more reasonable end and I kind of liked the very old-school back alley style messy shop they worked in.
    After reading all of your posts, and exploring more the hassle of getting a small motorbike license, I have decided that for the next 3 -4 months I will just by a 50cc manual bike and learn my trade the old way. Then if things are going well, when the wife goes back to the UK with the kids in the summer and I have a few weeks riding solo, I will do the Koyama driving school thing over a week or two. Or if I really think I can pass the 125cc test without it, I might just give it a go. Maybe in fact I will try that after a month of riding my new 50, and at least I will get a feeling if the school is going to be mandatory for me.

    The good thing about this Framework garage is they have lots of 50’s in stock covering most types. They have 3 NS-1’s, a YB 50, a YB1 Four, an XL50S, and a couple of GS50’s and for the frustrated ‘Village person’ inside of me even a Magna Fifty or two.
    Prices start around 80,000 and go to 140,000 all in. I hopefully will get 30 or 40k for the cub I bought from them last year.

    After purchase I will definitely upgrade my helmet for the best I can afford, and look for a cool ‘Harley Davidson and the Marlboro Man’ leather jacket. I have always wanted a motorbike leather jacket, but could never justify having one without a bike to ride it on, and no matter what any of you say, I would feel I looked a dick wearing one on my Cub J
    Fortunately I can keep a suit and shoes at my work, but we don’t have any shower facilities. So I can play around with what equipment to buy and wear.

    Racer, Mike, Oi Oi, Tora, thanks again for all your advice, if you like any of the 50’s particularly on the page below, do let me know, and yes Tora I hear you about Hondas!!

    Link to framework here
    http://www.framework.co.jp/zaiko.html

  3. Default

    Actually those bikes all look a bit rough, I will find another dealer in Tokyo with a selection

  4. #24

    Default

    I like the idea of just putting in a lot of hours a 50cc bike on the road. Schools seem expensive.. Save that money for your bike and gear.

    In terms of dealers I can definitely second the recommendation of Apexmoto. Apart from the good value and service, being able to do everything in English is very convenient. They can deliver to Tokyo.

    Let us know when you get your bike, let's go for a ride some time.

  5. Default

    Thanks Arber, I am on my way to SCS near Tokyo Dome in my lunch break, if I find a bike I like, I will call Apex

    Cheers!

  6. #26
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    If all you need is to learn how to use a manual transmission, maybe somebody in Tokyo will let you ride one around a parking lot for an hour or two to get the hang of it. It ain't that hard. Buying a bike just for that seems like overkill.

    An hour or two tops in a deserted parking lot and you'll be ready to go try the 125cc test, at least as far as the clutch-n-gears thing goes.
    Last edited by Mike Cash; 01-03-18 at 11:58 AM.

  7. #27
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    Another fun thing to do is go to the mini moto kart tracks. Arber and I have talked about going to one while I'm out there. I go to them here in the States. It's super fun.

    I bought my bike with help from John at Apex. I'll be out there wrenching on my bike from about April 11th to, well until it's ready. lolz If you have time come out and say hello. Once I get the bike sorted then I'll be off to lake Motosuko for camping. I figure it's far enough to test out the bike, and close enough that if I have trouble I can get back to Apex to sort things out.

    Also, the bike I found was up in Sendai. John was able to get the bike to his shop, and save me a few yen on the price too. Many of the Japanese dealers work with what they call AucNet. It's a dealer network that allows them to trade bikes around. Since no one shop can host a massive inventory this allows them to effectively extend their inventory without huge costs. As Arber stated this allowed me to do everything in English making the process very easy.

    As Mike says it doesn't take all that long before you are working the clutch and shifting the gears. Once you understand the friction zone it's pretty simple from there.


  8. #28
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    Cool

    Quote Originally Posted by Mersontheperson View Post
    After purchase I will definitely upgrade my helmet for the best I can afford, and look for a cool ‘Harley Davidson and the Marlboro Man’ leather jacket. I have always wanted a motorbike leather jacket, but could never justify having one without a bike to ride it on, and no matter what any of you say, I would feel I looked a dick wearing one on my Cub J
    It doesn't matter what you are riding. The inattentive drivers don't care. They wont discriminate. They will happily run you over as well as the next rider. This is why no matter what you ride gear is vital. To this end I also heartily encourage people to not wear dark colors, or camo on a motorcycle. Sure it looks cool, but it makes you that much harder to see. You don't have to go super fluorescent (although that's not a bad way to do it). There are other bight colors. I've chosen to go with reds and whites. Even my bikes now are mostly red or white. One of them is silver with red wheels, but that's close enough. ;)

    Click image for larger version. 

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  9. Default

    Understood Tora

    I have spent most of my day trying to find 50cc motorbikes for sale in Tokyo, and it is a thankless task.
    It seems that Tokyo is the desert of 2 strokes.

    If you or your friends happen to know if one that comes up for sale or see one in a shop, please let me know.

  10. #30
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    To pile on to what Tora said....

    It isn't just inattentive drivers who are the problem. Fuckers will look you straight in the eye and still run over you and later swear up and down they didn't see you.

  11. #31
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    I agree with you on the colors. Bright like a lime green, yellow are my favorites. And for helmet, I'd never buy a black helmet, stick with white color for now. But a bright color would fit the bill also. By accident, my scooter is "orange", not too crazy about it, but it sure stands out.

  12. Default

    Here is one you will like boys, seems very good value considering what else you can get for the money
    300,000 and only 520km on the clock
    http://www.goobike.com/web/search/sp...ai_name=iphone

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    So it’s either this bike, or the Snake motors brand new custom bike from the first page of this thread, or I have also found this bike near Osaka for 200,000k with 1300 km on the clock
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  14. #34
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    I can certainly see how "scope creep" is something you have to guard against.....

    300,000 for a 50cc "starter" bike to practice shifting gears on to avoid 100,000 for driving school.

    That's one hell of a "starter" bike. I can't wait to see what you get for your main serious ride once you get your 125cc license.

  15. #35
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    Default Starter Bike

    Quote Originally Posted by Mersontheperson View Post
    Here is one you will like boys, seems very good value considering what else you can get for the money
    300,000 and only 520km on the clock
    http://www.goobike.com/web/search/sp...ai_name=iphone

    Click image for larger version. 

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    Actually I think you will ding that bike is actually already sold to Toratora and is sitting at Apex now.
    Getting to the Summit is Optional, Returning home is mandatory
    Life begins at 155mph

  16. #36
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    Do you have to do the funky right turns on that thing the same way you do on a 50cc scooter?

  17. Default

    I think it applies to any 50cc Mike

    What I have realized is that it’s very difficult to get any decent bike for under 150,000. And since there doesn’t seem to be any depreciation, I might as well get something as good as I can get. I don’t have the time to go to a school and pass a test, if I want to be riding a bike as my commute for spring and summer. I tried a YB1 Four 50cc Friday, first time with a hand operated clutch, and it was clear to me I will need to get a good few miles under my belt until it is second nature. So I reckon 4-6 months on a 50 will keep me in good stead as I will probably do 50-100 Km’s a week.

    Will the sport bike be much harder to ride than the others?

  18. #38
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    It's ten hours on the course and one hour in the classroom. You can do it in five days.

  19. #39
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mersontheperson View Post
    Here is one you will like boys, seems very good value considering what else you can get for the money
    300,000 and only 520km on the clock
    http://www.goobike.com/web/search/sp...ai_name=iphone
    Quote Originally Posted by racer162 View Post
    Actually I think you will find that bike is actually already sold to Toratora and is sitting at Apex now.
    Yeah it's really strange that they still have the ad up. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

    Quote Originally Posted by Mike Cash View Post
    I can certainly see how "scope creep" is something you have to guard against.....

    300,000 for a 50cc "starter" bike to practice shifting gears on to avoid 100,000 for driving school.

    That's one hell of a "starter" bike. I can't wait to see what you get for your main serious ride once you get your 125cc license.
    I know we've been trained to perceive the value of a bike based on the displacement. The marketing departments of the manufacturers have drilled this into us for many decades. But it's really kind of a false way to judge bikes. I would be really happy if someone made a $10K 50cc Replica. They aren't sold so if you want something at that level you have to buy a bike like I did, and then swap out about 25%-40% of the bike—as you will see me do with this GPR. Of course once you do that then you have one of the funnest bikes any amount of money can buy. ;)

    Actually RMU does make a $10K 50cc-ish track bike. I was pretty intent on getting one, but I decided to do my trip to Japan instead. :P

    Merson, the other shop that had a GPR like the one I bought seems to specialize in small bikes. They are currently out of Derbis, but they do have a lot of Aprilias. From 2006 on the Aprilia is the same bike as the Derbi with slightly different plastics and livery. Anyway here's there link, they also have a bunch of domestic bikes too. ;)

    http://www.goobike.com/shop/client_8.../showroom.html

    This looks like it could be a nice bike.

    http://www.goobike.com/spread/820010...009/index.html

  20. #40
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    I don't judge a bike by the displacement. I just marvel at paying that much for something bought for the sole purpose of learning to shift gears on for a couple of months.

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