I'm preparing for my big test, which I am planning on passing, of course. Yesterday I made a commitment to myself that I would begin preparations not only for setting myself up to use the bike frequently and do shorter trips but I intend to do some extended trip, or perhaps even RTW in the not too distant future, probably before my two year restriction is lifted. I'm pretty lucky that I seem to be built to fit on nearly anything because I'm tall-ish for a girl (5'9") and my legs are long so even on bigger bikes, usually the lowering options get my feet pretty squarely on the ground. I can foot a 1200 GS. The weight of the bigger bikes, on the other hand... I'll address that issue once I leap this first hurdle.
There are a few initial factors muddying my decision making abilities when it comes to finding the right first bike for me, the first factor being the restricted period after I pass my test.
I am of two minds about the bike I have in this period: As an inexperienced rider who rides fairly confidently and who wants a bike on which I can continue to advance my skills, both on and off road, do I buy a cheaper bike that I will be happy to grow out of and flog once my restriction is lifted? Or do I buy a machine that I want to hold on to and keep riding after my restriction period is over?
The second confusing issue is around the type of bike, as in street vs. dual sport. My heart seems set on a dual sport bike because I want something that's comfortable enough for long road distances, but I do want to tackle off-road riding and head off the beaten path and know that the bike will take it. With this in mind I went to BMW yesterday simply to throw my leg over an f650 and 800 GS to feel the positioning, weight, etc. While I was there I also saw a very clean 2007 f650 Dakar with an astoundingly low 3200 miles on it for what I thought was a decent price and I was sorely tempted to put a deposit on it to keep it out of the showroom (the deposit is fully refundable should I change my mind). I have to say like the positioning on the BMWs. I'm not that interested in going fast, really, and I couldn't go very fast restricted anyhow. I don't want to tire my arms out leaning on them, or wreck my spine leaning over. However, it seems that everyone with experience around me right now is pushing me towards a street bike of some sort to start off on, and as I appreciate they know a lot more than I do I wonder if there's a logical reason for this or is it simply because it's the kind of bike they prefer? None of these people are interested in touring, as far as I know.
I've noticed that motorcyclists in Northern Ireland lean toward sport and street bikes but for me I'm really not that way inclined. I am, on the other hand, very aware of my lack of experience and I aim to take advice to heart if I understand the reasoning behind it. My instructor says he would prefer I get a Bandit, Hornet or Fazer as my first bike. Someone else is pushing my toward a CBR. I have yet to put my leg over any of these machines but simply reading reviews available online is turning me off. And from what I can glean from pictures, I can't see myself folded up on top of these bikes for long periods of time and feeling very happy about it. They're not in the classification I think I want, and the positioning on them looks to me to be more forward than I want to be. I do intend to go sit on some of these to get a full understanding of what they're like in the flesh.
So, IS there some reason for people suggesting that I start on a street bike? Or is it simply a cultural thing? It's of the utmost importance to me that whatever I get can take me and my luggage long distances comfortably.
Am I taking the wrong approach in wanting to buy one bike that will see me through and hopefully past my restricted period, and should perhaps consider not getting so attached and simply graduate from bike to bike as I advance?
And would I be nuts to throw a £250 fully refundable deposit on the 650 Dakar to keep it from going before I get a chance to get a trusted, more knowledgeable individual to go check it out and take it for a spin for me?