WhyBike Motorcycle Blog

Want to Learn to Ride a Motorcycle?

By James - 6/20/2005

I got an email yesterday from a woman wanting to learn to ride a motorcycle:

I would really love to learn how to ride. I live in Kauai, a little island in Hawaii. My name is Amy and I am 25. My contact info: 808.###.####

Now since she didn’t technically ask a question I can read this a couple of ways. Either she wants me to call her up and teach her, which is ridiculous since you can’t learn to ride while talking on the phone. She must want me to fly to Hawaii and teach her. Hmmmm, let me think, what would it take to get me to Hawaii to teach a 25 year old Hawaiian woman to ride? Not much, except maybe a good excuse for my wife; she wouldn’t appreciate my generousity and selfless promotion of motorcycling around the world as much as Amy. The only other alternative for me to share my experience with you is here on my site.

My first step for you would to be to enroll in a Motorcycle Safety Course. It looks like they don’t have a location on your island so unless it is easy to get to these classes, which my wife and I highly recommend, you may have no choice to learn from a non-professional. I couldn’t find any motorcycling clubs in Kauai, which would be the second best option. Most clubs would love to help induct people into the motorcycling fellowship. My third choice would be to go down to the dealership and ask them. It is in their best interest to get another motorcycle rider on the island, just don’t let them talk you into buying a brand new Harley for your first bike. Most bikers are nice people and would love to share their knowledge with you, don’t be afraid to go up to bikers and start a dialogue.

I can’t tell you how to learn to ride a motorcycle over the internet, so this is where an experienced rider can watch you and help you work on the areas that need improvement. Keep reading about it and practice, practice, practice. Then once you are ready to get your own bike take a look at “Starter Motorcycles“.

Good luck and tell me how it goes . . .


New Yamaha Model - RoadLiner

By James - 6/17/2005

As I was looking for an alternative to the seat on my Yamaha V-Star, I went to look up a part number on the Yamaha website. To my surprise I came across a new model in the Star line of Yamaha Motorcycles, the Roadliner. It looks good, with retro styling and a low stretched frame. The most distiguishing feature are the three chrome accents on the tank giving it the Art Deco 1930’s airliner look, which is probably where the engineers got the name for the Roadliner’s touring version, the Stratoliner. It looks like the main differences between the Roadliner and Stratoliner are the hard bags and windshield. For about $1300 more you can get a dolled up version, the “S” with polished wheels and chrome engine casings.

With an 1854cc engine Yamaha is looking to compete with Honda’s VTX 1800, Kawasaki’s Vulcan 2000, and Suzuki’s M95 (and to a lesser degree Harley’s Road King) which has been very popular with the “boulevard touring” crowd. Yamaha seems to be diverging from a company just chasing the Harley look and inventing it’s own identity as a cruiser brand. In hindsight, their recent change to Star Motorcycles emphasises this. The name “Stratoliner” and “Roadliner” could use some help . . . I can only think of a slow lumbering vehicle when I hear the name.

Here are the specs, right off of their site:

Type: 113-cubic-inch (1854cc) air-cooled pushrod 48-degree V-twin
Bore x Stroke: 100mm x 118mm
Compression Ratio: 9.5:1
Carburetion: Twin-bore electronic fuel injection, w/ 43mm throttle bodies and throttle position sensor
Ignition: Digital TCI
Transmission: 5-speed, w/multiplate wet clutch
Final Drive: Belt

Suspension/Front: 46mm telescopic fork; 5.3″ travel
Suspension/Rear: Single shock, link-type; 4.3″ travel
Brakes/Front: 298mm hydraulic, dual discs
Brakes/Rear: 320mm hydraulic, single disc
Tires/Front: 130/70-18
Tires/Rear: 190/60-17

Length: 101.6″
Width: 36.8″
Height: 43.3″
Seat Height: 28.9″
Wheelbase: 67.5″
Ground Clearance: 6.1″
Dry Weight: 705 lbs.
Fuel Capacity: 4.5 gallons

Warranty: 1 Year (Limited Factory Warranty)

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