Beginner riders: Choosing a motorcycling mentor

Doug Posner receiving advice from Lee Parks during a Total Control Advance Riding ClinicIf you are just getting into riding, chances are you already know someone who rides. It may be a friend, co-worker, neighbor, relative, etc. As a starry-eyed newbie you’re likely to take whatever any experienced rider says as fact- whatever that experience may be. Like anything else though, all things are not equal. Here are some tips in finding the right riding mentor:

• How many miles does the person have on his/her bike? The average rider puts approximately 3,000 miles on their bike per year. That 1997 Magna with only 15,000 miles on it doesn’t show the signs of real die-hard rider.
• Has the person taken any formal riding education classes? Private lessons with a school, the Motorcycle Safety Foundation class, track days? Even riders with 20 years under their belts say they learned something after taking an MSF class.
• What kind of protective gear does the person wear? Ultimately it’s up to the individual, but wearing and being knowledgeable about safety gear does show the seriousness about riding.
• Is the person stuck on one type of bike, or worse yet one brand? True motorcyclists respect all types of bikes. They may favor one type or brand over the other, but they understand that this is what works for them. Be very wary of those expressing statements that one manufacturer is the best and everything else is junk. Or, one type of bike is better than others.
• On the sports bike side of things be especially wary of those who make claims such as you will outgrow a 600cc bike after one season. Those people have mastered nothing except for going fast in a straight line. You would have incredible natural ability and could sign up as a professional level racer, if as a beginner you could truly master a 600 in one season. Modern sport bikes are that good.
• On the cruiser side of things be especially wary of those claiming that all other bikes besides American-made ones are junk. This is not only technically inaccurate, but very close minded.

Find someone you trust and feel comfortable with as a mentor. Someone you can learn from.

Written by Doug Posner at Competition Accessories, (800) 543-3535 EXT. 2021

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