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post #1 of 50 (permalink) Old 04-12-2005, 06:32 PM Thread Starter
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Reasons To Start Small...

I keep seeing this topic come up, so I thought I would take some time and contribute my thoughts on the matter.

Being a professional musician and music professor, I am well versed in the concepts of muscle memory and how the body learns to do certain activities. When I have a beginner student, they don't start off learning Bach. They start with simple exercises...individual movements designed to teach proper TECHNIQUE. Good technique is defined as the ability to execute a certain movement with the minimal amount of muscle contractions needed..i.e. the most efficient way possible.

When the brain learns to do a new activity, it retains the information indiscriminately... meaning it doesn't differentiate between good technique and bad technique. For example if a student is repeatedly missing the same note, the brain is in effect LEARNING the mistake. The only way to correct that is to isolate the movement, and do it very slowly. As you repeat a muscle movement, the brain remembers it. Then you progress to more complex movements, and more complex music. But the proper technique cannot be learned if the piece itself is beyond a student's current ability.

Allow me to illustrate another example. I see that there are a large number of gun enthusiasts on the board, so perhaps you guys can relate. For the most part, one's first firearm is generally not a Desert Eagle .50 caliber. We usually start on small arms, like .22 rifles, .410 shotguns, etc. Of course there are exceptions, but generally you start with something small in order to learn the proper technique. A smaller gun has less recoil, less power, and is less intimidating to operate. Once you get comfortable, then you move to progressively more powerful weapons.

I feel that these concepts translate directly to riding motorcycles. Technique is simply more easily learned on a smaller machine, because there is more room for error...there is less chance for the bike to get away from you. And of course here come the arguments of "well if the rider shows restraint etc etc." I am not saying that no riders will show restraint, but think about this. Why do most of us ride? Because it's exciting...the feeling of speed and danger kicks those endorphins in our brain into overdrive and sends the adrenaline shooting through our body. It's truly a glorious feeling, and can be quite addictive. For most of us, that temptation increases the more we test our limits. The faster we go, the faster we WANT to go. Again, I am not saying that this is the way everyone feels, just the majority. Once you start to test the limits of your abilities, not having the proper technique to deal with the situations that arise can be fatal.

The first time you decide "Well I just want to see what it can do", you would be much better served to engage in that experiment on a bike that isn't going to flip you over when you hit the throttle. As I stated in a prior post, it's no coincidence that the world's best riders generally started on small bikes, often at a very young age. Again there will always be exceptions...Biaggi is an example...but it's also no coincidence that Rossi routinely hands Biaggi his ass. Rossi started at age three or four, I believe.

Some more examples:

When one learns to golf, they generally start with putting or driving...and learning fundamental technique.

When one learns to rock climb, they generally start on indoor walls and boulders, not on El Capitan.

Kayaking…you don’t start in a Class 4 rapid…you start in a lake, and learn how to properly control the boat.

When you learn to fly a plane, you don't even leave the ground until the fundamental techniques of controlling the plane have been mastered. Shouldn't these principals apply to motorcycles as well?


To sum all of this up, proper technique is best learned within a controlled set of parameters where the margin for error, and the CONSEQUENCES of error, are greatly diminished.

As always, this is just my opinion. What do you guys think?


Ride Safe!

Last edited by ServoR6; 07-06-2005 at 01:51 AM. Reason: typo
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post #2 of 50 (permalink) Old 04-12-2005, 06:36 PM
 
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Great post!
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post #3 of 50 (permalink) Old 04-12-2005, 06:47 PM
 
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Man, it's nice to see a post with proper grammar and spelling, sometimes I wonder about the people here.
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post #4 of 50 (permalink) Old 04-12-2005, 07:20 PM
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Yeah, but I'm different. I can respect the bike and only push my limits as far as is safe at that time. Plus, I don't want to ever have to buy another bike. I want one I'll never outgrow......

Why is it that those arguments don't seem to make any sense in light of all the wonderful, real-world analogies offered above? Great post, but will it change anyone's mind?

Taking this one step further, I have about a 100 mile "loop" through the hills that I ride frequently. I hope this allows me to develop better skills by repeatedly riding roads I know well.

Last edited by RayOSV; 04-12-2005 at 07:24 PM.
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post #5 of 50 (permalink) Old 04-12-2005, 07:29 PM
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No way, I'm different, I'm special!!!

I am mature and have control of myself, that is why I can start with a turbo 'Busa, don't want to sell that R1 in a couple of months because I've outgrown it...


I can't remember how many times I've read that kind of crap

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post #6 of 50 (permalink) Old 04-12-2005, 07:33 PM
 
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I've only been here a few months, but I can tell that this topic comes up over and over again so Servo, I applaud you for having the energy to repeat this idea/concept for the eleventy billionth time.

Although I did notice a typo. First paragraph, second line. "Simply" should be "simple."

Just thought I'd be an ass and point it out.
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post #7 of 50 (permalink) Old 04-12-2005, 07:41 PM
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Excellent post bro! Everyone on SBN should read that!!!!!
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post #8 of 50 (permalink) Old 04-12-2005, 08:18 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ohfourHokie
I've only been here a few months, but I can tell that this topic comes up over and over again so Servo, I applaud you for having the energy to repeat this idea/concept for the eleventy billionth time.

Although I did notice a typo. First paragraph, second line. "Simply" should be "simple."

Just thought I'd be an ass and point it out.

There...typo corrected
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post #9 of 50 (permalink) Old 04-12-2005, 11:50 PM Thread Starter
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wow...6 replies to a waaaay long post...maybe I should have titled it something like "Hot Naked Midgets Dancing in a Bowl of Honey"
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post #10 of 50 (permalink) Old 04-13-2005, 12:01 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Phat_Albert
Man, it's nice to see a post with proper grammar and spelling, sometimes I wonder about the people here.
People and their grammar on this site, what the.......

Anyway, instead of commas and periods shouldn't we be more worried about people buying brand new Gixxer 1ks, riding wheelies, then crashing them within 20 miles of the dealership.

Or maybe, people trying to front flip sportbikes into foam pits (and overshooting).

I wonder about more worrisome topics here, but to each their own.



Just a thought.

P.S.- Please excuse my grammar/spelling/puncuation.

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post #11 of 50 (permalink) Old 04-13-2005, 12:09 AM
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I've posted similar things a couple of times out of exasperation. We already have a sticky, maybe this one will get up there too. Some people just won't listen. I'm not sure I would have if I had been given the speech, it's hard to understand the amount of skill something requires or just how bad you are at it until you become more proficient. And some people don't understand that it's only 50% common sense and respect that keeps you alive, the rest is skill. Nobody is born with the motor reflexes to ride. I'd respect the hell out of a Boeing 747, but if the pilots bail out over the Atlantic respect isn't going to get me very far.

This is the best I've ever read; the chainsaw analogy is priceless:

*
*



"i've addressed this issue so many times i've written a standard response to the question. I hope it helps.


*


-chr|s sedition


__________________


*


*** Getting ANY 600cc for a first bike is a bad idea that may also be an expensive form of suicide. Even worse is getting a BRAND NEW 600cc bike. Here are a few reasons why.




1. Knowledge of Subject Matter

*Right now your at the most basic beginners period, the very start of the learning curve (i.e. you aren’t even aware of what is that you don't know). A personal example of this is when I started taking Shotokan Karate. On the first day of class I didn’t even know what “inside-block” was, let alone how to do it with correct form. After I learned a bit, then I could start to realize how bad my form was and begin the process of improving it. I had to become AWARE that inside-blocks even existed before I could realize that I couldn’t do them correctly. This is to say that it takes knowledge OF something to be able to understand how something works, functions, performs, etc.* Having NO motorcycle experience, you’re not even aware of the power, mistakes, handling, shifting, turning dynamics etc. of any bike, let alone a sport bike. In the process of moving through the learning curve you begin to amass all this new information…you also make a ton of mistakes.



2. The Learning Curve

*When you’re learning to do something, you make mistakes. Without them the learning process is impossible. Making mistakes on a sport bike can be fatal. The thing newbies need to learn above anything else is smooth throttle control and proper speed & lean going into turns. On a 600cc bike, a mistake with throttle control or a turn can cost you your life before even knew what happened. A bike that is less forgiving of mistakes (ninja ex 250, 500, or an OLDER 600cc bike) is far safer to learn on.


*** Ask yourself this question; in which manner would you rather learn to walk on tightropes A) with a 4x4 board that is 2 feet off the ground B) with a wire that is 20 feet off the ground?* Most sensible people would choose “A”. The reason why is obvious. Unfortunally safety concerns with a first motorcycle aren’t as apparent as they are in the example above. However, the wrong choice of what equipment to learn on can be just as deadly…regardless of how safe, careful, and level-headed you are.



3. I’ll be Safe, Responsible, And Level-Headed While Learning".

*** Sorry, but that excuse doesn’t cut it. To be safe you also need SKILL (throttle control, speed, leaning, etc). Skill comes ONLY with experience. To gain that experience you must ride your bike in real traffic, with real cars, and real dangers. Before skills are developed which can foster safe riding, you need a bike that can mirror the level of safety that you’re currently at, not a cutting edge race bike that will throw you off the first chance it has.


** Imagine someone saying, "I want to learn to juggle, but I’m going to start by learning with chainsaws. But don’t worry, I’ll go slow, be careful, and stay level-headed while I’m learning". Like the tightrope example above, the answer here is isn’t hard to see. Be careful all you want, go as slow as you want, be as cautious as you want…your still juggling chainsaws! Without a foundation in place of HOW to juggle there is only a small level of safety you can aspire towards. As such, it’s better to learn the skills of juggling with tennis balls first. The same holds true for learning to ride a motorcycle.



4. I Don’t Want A Bike I’ll Outgrow'

Please. Did your Momma put you in size 9 shoes at age 2? Get with the program.


*



5. Cost (“I don’t want to waste money on a bike I’ll only have for a short period of time”)


*


** Smaller bikes have good resale value, because other (smart) people will want them as learner bikes. You’ll prolly be able to sell a used learner bike for as much as you paid for it.
** If you drop your brand new bike that is fresh off the showroom floor while your learning (and you will), you've just broken a directional, perhaps a brake / clutch lever, cracked / scrapped the fairings ($300.00 each to replace), #### up the bar ends, etc. It's better and cheaper to drop a #### bike that you don’t care about than one you just spent 8k on. Most newbies drop bikes going under 20MPH, when the bike is at its most unstable periods. They often only don’t result in physical injury, just a big dent in your pride and….


*


*


*


6. EGO


*


*Worried about looking like tool on a smaller bike? Well, you'll look even more like a tool with a brand new, but ####-up, 2004 bike (or a new bike that you can’t get out 1st gear without stalling 15 times). Any real rider would give you props for going about learning to ride the *correct* way (i.e. on a learner bike). If you’re stressed about impressing someone with a “cool” bike, or embarrassed about being on small bike then your not mature enough to handle the responsibility of a motorcycle. Try a moped. After you've grown up revisit the idea of a motorcycle.



6. "Don’t ask advice if you don't want to hear the answers".



A common pattern:


1)**** Person X asks for advice on a 1st bike (wanting to hear certain answers)


2)**** Experienced rider’s advice against a 600cc bike for a first ride (this isn’t what Person X wanted to hear).


3)**** Person X thinks, "Others #### up while learning, but that wont happen to me" (as if they are invincible, hold superpowers, have a ‘level head’, etc).


4)**** Experienced riders explain why a ‘level head’ isn’t enough.


5)**** Person X makes up excuses as to why veterans riders “don’t understand why I’d be able to handle a 600cc bike whole others can’t”.


6)**** Person X as a total newbie, who couldn't even tell you what a shift pattern is, by some grace of God now understands what the best bike to buy is and totally disregards all the advice he asked for in the first place (which brings us right back to the very first point I made about knowledge).*



I’m not trying to be harsh, I’m being real. Look all over the net. You’ll see person after person after person telling newbies NOT to get a 600cc bike. Why? Because we hate them? Because we don't want others to have cool bikes? No way. The more riders the better (assuming there not squids)! The reason people like me and countless others spend so much time writing huge rants on this subject is because we actually care about you. We don't want to see people get hurt. We don't want to see more people die in senseless accidents that could have been avoided with a little logic and patients. We WANT you to be around to ride that 600cc bike you desire so badly. However, we just want you to be able to ride it in a safe manner that isn’t going to be a threat to yourself or others. I hope this was of some help, and feel free to email me with any questions.*


*** Speaking of help, this is a great time to plug the MSF (Motorcycle Safety Foundation) course. The MSF course is a GREAT learning opportunity for new riders. The courses are offered all over the USA. I listed a link for their web page at the bottom of this post (or do a Goggle search and check you local RMV web page.). The MSF course assumes no prior knowledge of motorcycles and teaches the basics of how to ride a bike with out killing yourself (and NO, just because you passed the MSF course dose not mean your ready for an R6, GSX, CBR, etc). They provide motorcycles and helmets for the course. It is by far THE BEST way to start a motorcycle career that I hope will last you lifetime. Again I hope this information helped, and feel free to email me with any questions.

-chr|s sedition


Boston, MA


[email protected]


www.msf-usa.org"
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post #12 of 50 (permalink) Old 04-13-2005, 12:22 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ServoR6
..."Hot Naked Midgets Dancing in a Bowl of Honey"


sorry..had to be an ass.

good job relating it to other activities that a person can relate to and has most likely attempted at least once.

Matt

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post #13 of 50 (permalink) Old 04-13-2005, 12:32 AM Thread Starter
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Great post, nig. The chainsaw comparison is indeed excellent! I often find it amusing how so many newbies won't hesitate to ask for advice when it comes to "which exhaust should I buy", or "should I lower my bike", etc. , but when it comes to trying to help them be safer, they don't seem to want to hear it.
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post #14 of 50 (permalink) Old 04-13-2005, 12:41 AM
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I'm just waiting for the next Camaro SS driving n00b to pop in and say "well what if he doesn't turn the chainsaws on?"
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post #15 of 50 (permalink) Old 04-13-2005, 12:42 AM
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Great Post Servo

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Sweat wipes off, road rash doesn't. Wear your gear!!!
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