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      09-30-2012, 03:12 AM   #1
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Buell Lightning XB9SX - A beginner's opinion

I've been reading some old threads about beginner bikes, and WOW is there a lot of debate. "Get a 600cc!" "NO, you'll kill yourself on a 600cc!" and so on.

I've always wanted a bike, and I finally took the plunge and bought a used Buell. I really love these bikes, from looks, to concept, to unique technology. Before this bike, I had never ridden before in my life.

Well, I'm about 2.5 hours of ride time into it. The first hour was spent in an empty parking lot. When I felt confident enough, I took it onto the San Jose city streets.

Comparing a Buell XB to a CBR or similar is probably like comparing apples to oranges, but I don't know for sure as this Buell is my only experience. It's 984cc, yet redlines at 7500rpm. So a lot of torque I guess? I certainly have NOT mastered the throttle yet, but I'm fairly confident about it. It opens up gradually through 5000rpm, then shortens up and really lays down the torque 5000-7500 (I have not spent significant time in this range yet). I find it manageable.

I approach the "cc" debate the same way I approach cars: As long as you respect the vehicle you're driving, the amount of power it has shouldn't matter.

Conclusion: If I can ride it, it's a good beginner's bike. My only complaint is that it doesn't indicate what gear I'm in, and I often forget because I'm thinking about so much other stuff (like not dying).

Next: Suppressing my fear of going over 50mph. No windscreen on a crotch-rocket format bike leads to scary wind resistance. (for me, anyway)

Ride on!
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      09-30-2012, 05:16 AM   #2
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Those are great fun - shame they don't make them anymore.

Go get some training - don't teach yourself.
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      09-30-2012, 10:51 AM   #3
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Keep some cardboard under it to catch all the oil leaks.

Other tha that YES there cool designed bikes.

be careful and wear all of your gear
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      09-30-2012, 11:30 AM   #4
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some of the community colleges offer a class on first time riders. It's a great way to learn some maneuvers, and safety precaution. And like one of the members stated: don't teach yourself.
Be safe, and have fun.
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      09-30-2012, 02:11 PM   #5
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Definitely take some courses with the Motorcycle Safety Foundation. I cannot recommend it enough. There are things (like panic stops) that you will not do correctly if you haven't studied them.
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      09-30-2012, 02:43 PM   #6
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Thanks for the advice but man, how many times can you guys reiterate taking the MSF course I feel pretty confident on the bike and I learn better at my own pace, but I'll probably take the course if only to bypass the riding test for my license as I've heard it's harder than the MSF course. I'm also skeptical how well the training bikes translate to real-world bikes such as mine.
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      09-30-2012, 03:35 PM   #7
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I had been riding for about 10yrs (started on dirt bikes when I was about 12) I decided to take the MSF course after I had received my first speeding ticket on my R6( I never had the motorcycle endorsement on my license either) I still picked up a couple tips taking the course.

2.5hrs... You would definitely benefit taking the course!

The bikes are usually 250's they function just the same as your bike just without any performance. You may even be able to use your own bike for the course.
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      09-30-2012, 04:13 PM   #8
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In order to ride a bike you have to be constantly aggressive, not constantly crazy though. You have to beat all the other crazies in their cars when they suddenly change lanes, pull out in front of you etc. etc.. The bike course will teach you if you can stop or if you have to avoid. I promise you do not know how nimble that bike is or what it takes to stop as fast as possible maintaining control.
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      09-30-2012, 04:20 PM   #9
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So... common sense defensive driving like I do in my car? I get it, and I know I still have a long ways to go. I'm just not convinced that bike school is such the requirement that everyone claims it to be.
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      09-30-2012, 07:22 PM   #10
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Anyone can ride a bike/learn to ride a motorcycle. 125cc or 1000cc. Common Motorcycle basics still apply. Not everyone can ride a bike adequately though. Fact is that starting on a lighter and more forgiving bike provides a faster and more progressive learning curve.

I've seen too many people on bigger bikes and smaller ones that couldn't negotiate a turn worth shit. They seem fine pinning the throttle, but introduce concepts like braking, downshifting and rev matching simultaneously and there lack of skill and experience shows.

Grab too much brake at speed on a 250 and you may live to tell about it. Grab one on a full on litre/SS bike and you will lock and be lucky to come out alive. Pissing about in a parking lot for an hour and then in the city for an without any unexpected occurance doesn't mean it's a good beginners bike.

Chances are when shit hits the fan, and it will you may react as requiered or you will end up like the rest of the chumps who didn't listen.

Good luck and ride safe.

Ps: I much rather ride a slow bike fast than ride a fast bike slow
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      10-01-2012, 10:27 AM   #11
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Take an MSF course. You really will learn skills that can save your life. Common sense stuff like keeping the front brake covered at all times, Sitting at traffic lights in first gear and watching your mirrors. MSF will teach you how to survive on the street. From there take a performance riding course to learn how to ride the bike as it was intended (on the track).
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      10-01-2012, 11:15 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by aestheticstorm View Post
So... common sense defensive driving like I do in my car? I get it, and I know I still have a long ways to go. I'm just not convinced that bike school is such the requirement that everyone claims it to be.
And you won't know until you take it. What's the worst part about taking it? You're out $150 and a day or two. What's the worst part about not taking it? Potentially missing a skill that may save your life. Places up here give a15-20% discount on gear for 90 days after you pass the course. It costs me $170 and I then saved $400 on gear.

Take the course, then decide if its stupid. You can't judge the unknown opportunity cost.
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      10-01-2012, 02:26 PM   #13
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Quote:
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So... common sense defensive driving like I do in my car? I get it
No you don't, as defensive bike riding is NOTHING like driving a car.

Quote:
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I'm just not convinced that bike school is such the requirement that everyone claims it to be.
Stupidly arrogant attitude to have.

But, it's your life pal.
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      10-01-2012, 02:35 PM   #14
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But, it's your life pal.
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      10-01-2012, 03:05 PM   #15
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Instead of taking the class you could pick up a used gopro so when the inevitable does happen their will be something a family member can post to YouTube.
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      10-01-2012, 03:07 PM   #16
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I'm just not convinced that bike school is such the requirement that everyone claims it to be.
I guess I've just never been the one to think that everyone who has done it is wrong, and myself, with no experience on the topic, thinks I'm right.

Riding a bike is about risk mitigation. How much do you want to put into mitigating your risk?

Bike looks sick though. I'd hate to see it all scraped up!
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      10-01-2012, 03:16 PM   #17
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Thanks for the advice everyone. I will probably take the course to avoid the license skill test (bonus is the added skill benefit you all mention). I'm just surprised I have so many moms and dads here. I was just sharing my excitement and first impressions of the bike. Instantly assuming I'm not capable of riding and insisting I take a course, otherwise I'm guaranteed to meet my doom is annoying. I believe it's possible to ride successfully (and know how to manage in a crisis) without taking a course. Besides, it's not what this thread was about.
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      10-01-2012, 04:01 PM   #18
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Do it for the awesome gear discount if nothing else. Bike does look great btw! I'm looking at a monster 796 myself.
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      10-02-2012, 09:03 AM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by aestheticstorm View Post
Thanks for the advice everyone. I will probably take the course to avoid the license skill test (bonus is the added skill benefit you all mention). I'm just surprised I have so many moms and dads here. I was just sharing my excitement and first impressions of the bike. Instantly assuming I'm not capable of riding and insisting I take a course, otherwise I'm guaranteed to meet my doom is annoying. I believe it's possible to ride successfully (and know how to manage in a crisis) without taking a course. Besides, it's not what this thread was about.
Once you start riding in traffic you will have a better understanding of why those of us with experience recommend the class. On a bike you are invisible to cars. I have been street riding for more than 30 years. It's not a matter of "if" you go down, it's "when" will you go down. Do what you can to minimize your risk. Another benefit of the MSF course is a discount on your insurance. Learning to ride is easy. Learning to be safe around cars is a never ending education. Some advice I was given that has proven itself, always dress for the fall. If I get on a bike it's helmut, full leathers, boots, and gloves. Always. Skin graffs and washing gravel out of road rash sucks bad. The more you learn the more fun you will have riding.
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