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tinyfaery's avatar

Can someone give me some advice about motorcycles/scooters?

Asked by tinyfaery (40254points) May 9th, 2017

I really have had it with L.A. traffic. If you haven’t read it in the news, 4 million people now call Los Angeles home. That means more traffic.

I am 85% sold on getting a two wheeled vehicle, but I have a few questions. Can you help me with this?

What’s is safer, a motorcycle or a scooter that can go on the freeway? In CA, 2 wheeled vehicles drive between cars so I need something that is agile.

If I went for a motorcycle which is the best for a beginner? I would mostly drive it during my commute so I can’t see myself driving more than 35–40 mph.

I don’t want a motorcycle that requires you to lean over. I’d like to be able to sit up straight. Is this a normal motorcycle or a road bike? I did a little research and seems like there are many kinds of motorcycles.

I see a lot of motorcycles that have a wider back tire. Is that for safety?

Can you help me out? What type of motorcycle or scooter would be best for me?

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18 Answers

ARE_you_kidding_me's avatar

Ok well this is a simple question with a complicated answer so here goes….
For transportation on freeways they are all equally unsafe. You are not protected at all except for what gear you wear. I recommend full leather, boots, full face helmet and gloves. All the time, every time, no exceptions. A scooter is easier to drive but is generally too slow for highways. They are more suitable for side streets. If you decide to go with a motorcycle please take one of the MSF courses before you get one. The style is the next next big decision. A sport bike is not a good commuter. They’re pretty much recreation only as they are not comfortable for any distance riding but serious fun on twisty mountain roads A standard cruiser or sport touring bike is good for commuting as is a dual sport. I personally commute with a dual sport and cruiser equally. Don’t go big on your first bike, go middle displacement like a 500cc as you are just learning. I have a 650 and a 750 right now and have no desire to go larger. I started on a 250 which was too small for a 175lb dude. A mid displacement sport touring is always a good choice. They look like sport bikes (crotch rockets) but are upright and nimble. A good example for a beginner is the suzuki sv650 (naked model) A dualsport is like a street legal dirt bike. They are like the swiss army knife of motorcycles. They are very nimble, upright and versatile. A good beginner example is the suzuki drz400. I ride a kawasaki klr 650 myself.
If you go scooter while they make large displacement models the honda rukus is small, inexpensive and seriously fun. Really, I have done many runs on 129 AKA ” the dragon” on one like it and is was one of the best times I have ever had with a vehicle.
If you get an older bike be aware that you’ll need to be mechanically inclined. If you get a new one you either need to service it regularly or learn to do it yourself. They are not like cars , they require a little more TLC.

MrGrimm888's avatar

Also,consider weight distribution. The higher the weight, the less stable. A bike with a low, or deep seat will feel better. I owned 3 Honda Shadows. Excellent bikes.
For the situation you describe, a 250cc cruiser style would work.

Personally, I would love a scooter, but I am much larger than most people are. So, it’s just not going to happen.

tinyfaery's avatar

Any knowledge about a wider back tire?

MrGrimm888's avatar

The wider back tires are for traction, and faster breaking. But they are made more for drag racing.
To turn on a two wheel vehicle, you angle the bike, and therefore the tire. The thicker tires a not good for turning.
Tire size recommended for the specific bike is what I would go with.

rojo's avatar

I am guessing from your tinyfaery name that you are not a massive bruiser. I would say go for something in the 125 – 175cc range and go for a dual purpose machine. This will give you the upright stance you want and be small and nimble enough for moving quickly in traffic. If you are fairly tall and/or perhaps in the 150 – 175 lb range you might move up to the 250 cc class, particularly if you are looking at more highway than street traffic.
Here is an article that discusses this class of bike and the pros and cons and give you an idea of what is available..

Good luck and ride safe.

Earthbound_Misfit's avatar

I can’t add anything to the ‘what should you buy’ discussion, but my husband is a bike rider and I’d recommend checking out a good defensive riding course. I’m sure you need a licence to ride a bike, but also find a really good company that provides defensive riding training. It might save your life. It’s not your riding that’s the issue. It’s the other fools on the road.

ARE_you_kidding_me's avatar

@tinyfaery when you take that MSF course they’ll probably have you on a 125 or 250cc machine. You’ll know quickly if that is too small or not.

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kritiper's avatar

You should get at least a 250cc. No wide tires, that’s for looks, not for practicality.
60% of your braking power, as with all vehicles, is with the front brake, 40% rear. When slowing around a corner, use the rear brake. When braking in a straight line, use the front more than the rear.

rojo's avatar

Have you given any consideration to something like the Can-Am Spyder, the reverse-trike setup? They are a little spendy but evidently agile and stable.

tinyfaery's avatar

@rojo I don’t think those are good for driving between cars.

rojo's avatar

No, not between cars but better gas mileage and a larger profile. If it was me I would still go with the DP bike just for the lightweight and agility.

Hey!. DP is Dual-Purpose, get your mind out of the gutter flutherites

tinyfaery's avatar

I’m been with a woman for 16 years. DP means nothing to me.

MrGrimm888's avatar

Biting my tongue….

ARE_you_kidding_me's avatar

The larger rear wheel is about contact patch and converting power from engine to ground. A larger contact patch allows for a softer compound to be used so it is “stickier.” Cornering it is advantageous to have a smaller front tire. It makes the machine more responsive. In modern sport bikes this is the compromise balance that is made between agility and keeping the bike on the pavement.
The more powerful the engine the larger the difference will be between the front and rear tires.
That said there are a lot of bikes that have oversized rear tires just for looks. You will not usually see that in a stock motorcycle though.

kritiper's avatar

Maybe GP or GPs would be better than DP or DPs.

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