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More Motorcycles are Necessary

A female Biker needs more rides!

A female Biker needs more rides!

Once the monster was 9 years old it started getting a bit sniffy; minor issues like oil light coming on, when it had plenty of oil in it. These issues were really only in the cold weather so presumably the Italian bike didn’t like the cold! 

The main reasons for looking for a new bike were reliability (I was commuting every day) and I also wanted a bit more power. I didn’t like the idea of breaking down and waiting for recovery for hours on end in the cold weather!

The struggle of finding a new bike

Looking for a new, reliable all year round bike, I was struggling to find one I liked enough to buy and which would also do both jobs of commuting and touring.

The criteria this time included seat height, but I also realised how important weight and centre of gravity are.

I test rode a few different bikes including a Kawasaki z1000 (loved the engine), the seat was uncomfortable too and an expensive bike but looked a bit cheap. Tried the KTM (and hated it), also looked at the Triumph Street Triple too (it was OK). 

Not particularly enthused by any that I had seen or tested, I felt I was running out of time and ended up buying a Street Triple. 

It was just a bike

It was just a bike though and I didn’t particularly like it. I thought it sounded like a sewing machine! (Oops, sorry Triumph). The bike did the job of my all year round commute to work, it was just a bike to do the job and I had no particular attachment to it, just a tool for the job.

Meanwhile, and going with the theory that you always need one more bike than you currently have. I started looking for a bike for touring. I like the look of sports tourers, but this style of bike doesn’t seem to be in vogue these days so I was struggling a bit. 

The older Honda CBR was the style I was looking at but can no longer buy brand new. The current CBR650F is not at all like the older CBR600F in looks or power.

Motorcycle Training Instructor and student

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An older CBR 600 was my choice

I managed to pick up a pretty nice CBR600F, it was 8 years old with just over three thousand miles on the clock. I had seen it on Facebook(!) although I did my homework in the background. 

I went to have a look and really liked it, it looked almost new. It wouldn’t start though. I think it had been standing for a good while. I took some advice on this as to potential problems and the cost of fixing these and eventually negotiated a lower price and bought the bike. 

Fuel pump problems

The problem turned out to be a failed fuel pump. The bike had actually been standing for ages. It went in for maintenance and a service, I found out that the last MOT was about four years out of date too, so it had been off the road that long. It was a problem someone obviously wanted to get rid of!

So I now have two bikes. On paper they have exactly the same seat height. The Street is unmodified and I can only just get my big toe down with both feet together. However, it is so well balanced and quite a light bike I have no issues with the height and am quite comfortable riding it. 

Had to get the CBR lowered

The CBR I have had lowered (longer dog bones) and also a narrower seat. 

The difference is that the CBR is a wider bike, I was bow legged and couldn’t get the weight down through to my feet. I wish I’d had the new seat first as I think it may have been enough without adjusting the suspension.

10 things I’ve learned so far about buying bikes

1. Don’t be fixated with height, it is more complex than that

2. Talk to loads of people, get as much information as you can

3. Try sitting on friends bikes, talk to them out it

4. Bikes at bike shows may be on fixed stands, you can’t feel the weight or how it sinks on its suspension. This will limit the information you can get.

5. A lot of newish modern bikes have adjustments that you can make such as adjustable seat heights and suspension

6. Get test rides if you can

7. Some salesmen are not very good, and some are not very good at selling to women

8. Be careful about buying privately and through social media, do your homework and checks

9. Be prepared to negotiate or walk away – although I walked away twice from a salesman, not sure what that says about him or me!

10. You always need one more

Summary

Always do your homework first, be prepared to look for a long time before you buy, and always get a test ride if you can.

The challenge as a new inexperienced rider is huge, you don’t really know what you will like until you have bought it. It might be the wrong bike for you and you may not enjoy riding if it is. Take your time and don’t be in a rush to part with your money. 

Written by Moira Day (female rider)

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