I remember my first time on a motorcycle. I was 16 and my brother-in-law took me for a ride on his Suzuki Bandit 1200. Now, I had always loved the look and idea of motorcycles, especially Ducuatis (pictured above) but had never had the opportunity to ride a motorcycle until that day.
It was such an amazing feeling! I felt the air on my face and the breeze through my hair. And then we went fast…and I mean, FAST. We easily went up to 120 mph in a matter of seconds. That was the day that I decided I would own a motorcycle… someday in my future…
Taking the Class to get my Motorcycle License
The summer before my 26th birthday was when I finally did the research on getting my motorcycle license and the cost of owning a motorcycle. To my surprise, it was not as expensive as I had thought. So what did I do? You guessed it, I signed up for the Basic Safety Motorcycle Course to learn how to ride and then, hopefully, pass the test for my license.
That class was definitely a learning experience, as I had never driven a motorcycle (or anything similar) in my entire life. The first time I attempted to ride it and increase the speed a little bit, what did I do? Oh ya know, just killed it and then tipped it over. Oops! Thankfully, the instructor came over and showed me how to handle the clutch and the throttle better. From then on, I was able to follow each lesson throughout the entire course. I even was scraping pegs during the turning lessons 🙂 The first time I did it, I was nervous the instructors would be upset. Instead, they cheered me on! So, I did it a few more times.
Third and Final Day of Motorcycle Course
The third and final day was the driving test where the instructors decided if you were ready to get your motorcycle license/endorsement or not. Unfortunately, it rained that day during the lessons part of the day so when it came time to the testing part, the course was still very wet. When it came to the hard/emergency brake, the gal in front of me did it beautifully except her boot slipped when putting her foot down and she dropped the motorcycle. That meant an immediate “fail” for the test. Then, it was my turn. I was SO nervous due to the previous gal and the course environment, but I was able to do the hard/emergency brake and passed it without a problem!
Deciding When to Purchase My First Motorcycle
The same weekend I passed my motorcycle test was the same weekend I decided to move into my own apartment. Unfortunately, that meant the plan to purchase a motorcycle went on the back burner. The good news, that following March, I was more than ready to purchase my very first motorcycle. So, that is what I did! Well, after doing some research and shopping around first.
I ended up doing quite a bit of research and sitting on multiple motorcycles. I’m barely 5’4 which is just short enough to be tippy toes on most 600 cc and higher motorcycles. I was torn between a Suzuki SV650S or a Kawasaki Ninja 650. What were the similarities between the two?
- Okay height.
- Color was red, which I wasn’t a huge fan of, but oh well.
- Within my budget.
- Recommended as decent first bikes.
So, which did I end up choosing and why?
Here’s the fuzzy picture of me with the sold sign on my new (to me) 2007 Kawasaki Ninja 650! I ended up deciding on the Ninja because it just seemed to “fit” me better. After a few days of thinking about it, I went back to Simply and sat on the two bikes again. With my short stature, that also means I have shorter arms, haha. When I leaned over the tank and reached for the bars, it was easier and more natural feeling with the Ninja rather than the SV. So, that ultimately made my choice for me.
First Few Times Riding My Motorcycle
Since I purchased it at the end of winter, I had to wait for the snow to melt. It sat in my garage for a few weeks but once the snow melted, I was able to actually ride it! I was so nervous but yet excited at the same time. A friend and I went out together for my first ride so I wouldn’t be by myself. Everything was going great. Until we were a couple of miles away from my apartment. We had been stopped at a stop sign, but it was our turn to go. So, my friend goes quite easily. But not me. Instead of going, I and the bike just tipped on over. 🙁
I ended up tipping it over two more times before I FINALLY figured out I just wasn’t quite tall enough for it. I made the decision to get it lowered and for my first motorcycle, it was a smart decision. After that, I didn’t have any issues with keeping it upright from a stop and go. 😉
Aftermarket Changes Made
Other than lowering it, I only really had to make one other change to it. That was to swap out the stock windscreen to a smoked double bubble windscreen. When I purchased it, it had already come with a fender eliminator kit, aftermarket exhaust, and aftermarket bars and grips. It was a great first motorcycle and treated me well for almost 3 1/2 years.
Keep an eye out for future posts about the adventures I had with my red Ninja and what I decide to purchase for my next motorcycle.
Do you have a first-time motorcycle experience? Or are you still wanting to learn how to ride a motorcycle? Comment below!