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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello ladies...
I've just joined the forum and am looking some advice. I've been wanting to learn to ride for a while and now I'm doing it! I'm looking to get my first bike upon completion of my MSF BRC class. I've read the entire new riders thread, as well as every thread in the women's section from new riders.

I'm 44yo woman (5'4", 120lbs, decent strength), a good athlete--expert road cyclist (100+ miles per week), expert skier, advanced wind surfer...I have great balance and am very coordinated. I've only ever owned manual transmission cars so I fully understand about throttle, clutch, shifting, engine braking, etc. (current car is a MINI Cooper S 6spd manual).

I'm signed up to take the MSF BRC class in August and I'm buying my helmet (already tried them on and know which one) and gloves within the next couple weeks. The rest of the clothes will be purchased after the class...the instructor indicated what I currently have is enough for the class.

I realize that since the bikes at the class are 250cc, once I take the class and actually ride those bikes, I might answer my own question and opt for something in that range. I'm not one to get myself knowingly in over my head, and considering the risks of motorcycles in general, this is not something I'm going to make a snap decision on.

But I'm SERIOUSLY interested in getting a Ducati Monster 696 as my first bike. Fit wise, the weight of the bike doesn't seem unreasonable (355lbs), and the reach (to the bars and turning the bars fully) and seat height and general comfort seem good as well...without having ridden it. The levers would have to be changed to be adjustable as they don't quite fit right. The fact that it is a twin and has a more user friendly power-band is another positive in my mind.

My brother is a super experienced rider (but cruiser type bikes only...mostly Harleys) and I've talked at length with him about it and he went to check out the bike last week so he could learn about it. He thought I was nuts until he went and checked it out. Now he's on the fence :). I've talked at length with the guy at the Ducati shop...my brother and I both think that if the guy felt it was a bad idea he would have said so (based on some of the stories he told us about people with no experience and some of the bikes they've came in looking at).

So now I'm here asking some experienced women riders if this would be a mistake. As I said before, once I take the course, I might decide to get something smaller, but what if I don't. Am I crazy...would this Monster be a really bad idea?

Don't worry, you won't insult me...I'm looking for honesty.

Thanks in advance! Kim
 

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A Monster would be an excellent bike. But it would not be your best choice for a first bike, Kim. You may well have the strength and coordination to handle it, and it sure sounds as though you've thought about fit, but you'll still be learning to ride on it. You're going to make some mistakes! You may well drop it while you're learning. What we usually recommend is for new riders to get something used and small for that first bike, so that you can get used to riding on a bike that you don't care so much about. Go over to the "Learning to Ride" forum here and check out the sticky threads -- you'll see the typical advice we give to new riders.

Of course, after you've gotten some miles and experience, then you can get the Monster. ;)
 

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A friend of mine bought the Duck 620 as her first bike and has done well on it. You have to remember that most any modern bike, even an "underpowered one", is capable of humiliating most any car you can name in acceleration from a starting stop. Self-discipline is key to suvival.

I would say that if you really want the Duck696 it would serve if you can exercise self-restraint. At least it has a somehwat decent seating position and the powerband is fairly linear and not an on/off proposition like one of the 4 cylinder sportbikes. Certainly it's a better choice than a 600+ lb cruiser.

You need a bike that is easy to ride while you are learning. It's enough to learn to deal with the traffic. So if you can get a test ride you should. If the bike is comfortable and you can see around you easily while seated on it it should be okay.
 

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My limited Duc knowledge is that an 800 S2R, in my opinion, is more comfortable, less reach. Yes the 696 is marketed as a "beginner" bike, it would make an even better 2nd bike, after your first bike tells you what you want in a bike.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thanks for responding and thanks for the info.

Yes, I read thru the sticky and one option that was mentioned that I was already considering was a dual purpose or dirt bike to get started with. I think after reading the posts, even though I KNOW I can exercise self-restraint, maybe the Monster SHOULD be my 2nd bike.

I am thinking that sliding around a bit in the dirt (and dropping a little dirt bike) might give me a better feel for the dynamics and handling of a bike and also make it more easy for me to adapt to poor riding conditions on the street...I'd definitely learn some riding skills. My brother is an EXCELLENT dirt rider so he can be a big help as well.

There are tons of low-priced options around locally for dual purpose or smaller dirt bikes...not so many for smaller road bikes. My biggest problem may be something with a small enough ride height...I know I fit a TTR125 & CRF150 (would need to add lights to these). The XR200 & TTR230 are probably the tallest I can fit (these are a bit harder to find locally). Another consideration is that the local Ducati dealer may run a rider skills course weekly over the winter and I believe they use 125 4 stroke dirt bikes inside a local go-carting facility (I need to check on that because if the course goes, I would like to be able to use my bike for that).

I wouldn't be doing any interstate riding on a 125cc bike, but I could definitely ride it on the roads locally and around town to get used to riding in traffic. I'm already used to the cars hating me because I ride a road bike (bicycle)...granted it will be a quite a bit different having a motor.

So, please ladies, thoughts on this... Is 125cc way too small if I'm thinking my next bike would be the Monster. Also, what about the fact that the riding positions would be completely different.

Thanks again! Kim

p.s. Oh, and seruzawa, as far as test riding the Monster...the dealer told me as soon as I have my license to stop by and take one out for a ride.
 

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Good questions. Kim, IMHO the step up from a 125 wouldn't be that tough. You'd have a chance to learn riding on a very controllable bike, and once you move to a Monster you'll find it much easier to get used to and to control than you would if you started on it with no experience. Also, I don't think the different riding positions would cause any issue. I sometimes have trouble going to a feet-forward cruiser off my standards, but I get the hang of it in a short while.
 

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I know it has been said many times on the sticky thread, but consider the Ninja 250 for starters. I know it is fully faired and looks like a sport bike, but the ergos are similar to upright standards (like the Ducati). They can be had on the cheap, and you'll be able to sell it for nearly as much as you paid when you are ready to upgrade to the Ducati. Good luck with your decision!
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
sachiwilson...After reading how long you've been riding, I really appreciate your input and the info about changing riding positions. I'm going to look at new dirt bikes this weekend just to be sure I'm right on the sizing, and then make some decisions based on what is for sale used locally.

The additional great news is that my brother said if I buy a dirt bike (and upgrade it to dual purpose), if I get one that he can ride, he'll go in halves initially and if I want, buy me out when I get the Monster... That sounds like a win, win for me! Oh, and don't worry, he wants to make sure I get something that will be right for me and knows it might not be exactly right for him.

I really appreciate everyone's input...I can't wait to start riding and can't wait to take my MSF.
 

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Monsterous Fun

Hi!

I'm a new rider myself and just bought an '06 Monster 620 and I LOVE it. Of course I'm also 5'10" so it fits me nicely and the weight feels good. A new bike would have been too intimidating. The 620 has enough power to grow into but it's a really tame bike, relatively speaking. The new 696 is stunningly beautiful--I just sat on one at Pro Italia today--but I'm thrilled with the choice I made.

Also: there is something very sensual and sexy about Italian bikes, just like everything else Italian. :D

Good luck and have fun!

Ericka
 

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Let me start by saying I'm not a woman, but I have known several of them, and sometimes see them on the television. So right there, I'm a bit of an expert. I also sold motorcycles to women during my brief but legendary career stint as a Harley Davidson Salesperson. I say: Get the Monster! I know at least three women who got Sportsters for their first rides, and they're still out there riding them. (Hi Christine, Lisa, and Linda!) The Monster is far lighter, has better brakes, suspension, and ergos than a Sportster, and it's going to hold it's value after the inevitable initial depreciation hit. So, to make the point specifically: if they can do it on a Sportster, you can do it on a Monster.

Do get comprehensive insurance and put the deductable amount ($500 is typical) aside, so if you do happen to drop the Monster, you're covered. Also, keep in mind that while Ducati has reduced their maintenance costs, sexy Italians are the very definition of "High Maintenance."
 

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I actually TALKED to a woman once...how cool is that?

Anyway I think a dirt bike is an excellent idea, that's how I started when I was 10. Also, I think with your bicycling, skiing and windsurfing your sense of balance and situational awarness should allow you to handle the 620 without too much trouble, those are all skills you need for street riding. Be sure to buy good gear and wear it and you should do jes' fine
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Thanks guys! :D I will say the way you both started your posts cracked me up. I went and checked out dirt bikes last weekend and now am in the search of finding a decent used one locally. I'm definitely getting the monster...after I get the dirt bike, take my MSF (reservation set for end of August) and ride for a while. I'm also getting good gear...I picked out an Arai helmet and want (and will get) an A* jacket, gloves and pants. As much as I had wanted the monster for the fall...it might have to wait until spring. While I'm not too worked about the dropping the bike and damaging it (that is what insurance is for, and I would bet that would happen even if I had a ton of experience at some point), it really is about the my size vs. the size and power of the bike. I think the small dirt bike will be just the ticket when I get it and it will get me used to the dynamics of riding a bike on my own (and not in a classroom setting).

And for the ladies because they will understand this...I'm now on the fence of the colour for the monster (I've always wanted the flat black, but now I kind of really like the new pearl white colour) and so I couldn't possibly get the Ducati until I'm sure on the colour. :D :D :D

Great, great advice here from both the men and women and I appreciate all of it!
 

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Color choice is simple, since your toe and fingernails should match the bike, choose whichever one is closest to what you wear day to day., then choose your riding gear to match that......

It's not Rocket Surgery for heavens sake!!!
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Update

I wanted to give an update to this thread...

So 3 weeks ago I got a call from the MSF instructor and she told me that they had a new course location approved by the state that was about 15 minutes from my house and would I be interested in taking the class that weekend instead of the end of August as I was scheduled. I jumped at it. The class was a blast and went really well and I passed the class and now have my motorcycle license! :D

This past weekend, I bought my first bike...a 2000 Yamaha TTR 225 that had barely been used and was a great deal price wise! I had thought I would get somewhat of a beater for the price I was looking to pay, but I seriously lucked out! The sad part is that I'm sure I'll be causing a lot more damage to it than the original owner did.

Anyway, I laugh now that I even thought the Monster was an option for my first bike. My first day in the MSF class showed me that was a ridiculous idea if for no other reason than bike weight. For me, the dirt bike is a much better option because I still have so much to learn and am learning something new everytime I ride it. It definitely isn't the lightest dirt bike I could find but it isn't too big for me or too heavy and I'm not intimidated by it at all. Fit wise it is nearly identical to the Ducati...and it is only about 125 lbs lighter than the Ducati, so the transition when I make it next year won't be that bad.

I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE my new bike. Baja make a Dual Purpose kit for it and I'm having that put on this fall...for now I'm just dirt riding. At the price I got the bike for and even adding the DP kit after the fact, it is still cheaper than any Dual Purpose bike I could find and trust me, I looked...they are a hot commodity right now in my area.

I've been riding every day...and I actually dropped the bike for the first time 2 days ago (dumb mistake, but I learned). My brother and father have been watching me and have been amazed at how much I've improved in just a week's time. I can't believe how much fun a dirt bike is to ride...I love it. I'm taking it to the local Yamaha dealer to have it fully serviced this weekend, and have to leave it for the week...I'm bummed, but it has to be done.

So to all of you that gave advice about the Ducati being a better second bike...you were SOOOOO right! Thanks again for all your help! Kim

p.s. Oh and the MSF class box exercise has really come in handy because I've been practicing all sorts of really tight turns at the end of our long driveway.
 
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