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Comments needed from experienced bikers

Discussion in 'Biker's Cafe' started by bainbridge, Jan 26, 2019.

  1. bainbridge

    Mobster

    Joined: Dec 9, 2009

    Posts: 3,484

    Location: Bristol

    Hi Bikers, first post in the bikers cafe so please be gentle :)

    I'm after a bit reassurance that my plan is sound and would appreciate any pitfalls being pointed out.

    I rode motocross bike as a kid (have the scars to remind me :) ) and at 17 did the CBT and had a 125 on the road until I got a car at 19 and have been driving cars for the past 20 years. I'm potentially changing jobs and will be working in central Bristol and looking at getting a budget bike to commute into town.

    After doing my research here's the plan:

    • Do my CBT again and get A2 licence. I did my theory years ago for the car licence so am I right in saying I don't need to do the theory again?
    • Buy a Honda CB500 for about £1200. Is this bike ok for the A2 licence? I do all my own car repairs so if it needs a bit of TLC to bring it back to tip top shape that'll be a good rolling spring/summer project for weekends. Can anyone suggest a better bike to put me in the upper power limit of the A2 licence on a similar budget?
    • Use the bike to cruise down the new Metro bus lanes in Bristol and get to work in a reasonable time. Am I right in saying bike parking is quite easy and free in a big city? There's no parking at my new office and I'll need to put it somewhere fairly nearby to make the venture worthwhile.
    • Get the thickest bikechain I have the strength to carry and also possibly fit some sort of alarm system. The bike will be on a open driveway overnight and a neighbour had his bike pinched about 3 years ago. Is there an alarm that's hard to defeat and fairly inexpensive and straightforward to fit?
    • Insurance is working out at about £175 so with a helmet and gloves I'm looking at £2000 including the bike licence. Does this sound viable?
    If you could let me know what you think I'd really appreciate it.

    Thanks
     
  2. Munchies

    Gangster

    Joined: Oct 4, 2010

    Posts: 130

    A CBT (Compulsory Basic Training) doesn't require any form of theory, and isn't a test. However a license, is a test, and therefore requires a new theory test to be completed.

    According to http://a2bikes.co.uk an older CB500 is NOT A2 legal without a restrictor. (http://a2bikes.co.uk/bike/honda-cb500)

    Parking at work with a motorcycle i've always found relatively easy, though I don't work in offices, generally asking the right people if you can park on the premises results in a yes, as for on street parking you can't leave your motorcycle on paths and things or it will get ticketed.

    A chain not attached to anything is no better than a disc lock, if someone wants it, it'll be lifted into a van, making an alarm equally useless. Alarms on bikes are not something I would ever recommend, others may. You shouldn't have too many problems with that type of theft for something like a CB500 though, so a chain attached to something solid should prevent the local scum from pinching it for a joyride.

    Depending on your area and how much tuition you require, theory / training / A2 shouldn't be more than about £1,000 (estimate based on what I paid for tuition / test about 9 years ago, in the south). I would increase your budget for clothing a little, and look at a jacket, gloves, boots, and bottoms, especially if you plan on using it to commute in the wetter / colder weather. Don't be one of these people riding around in shorts / T-shirt / Lid.
     
  3. bainbridge

    Mobster

    Joined: Dec 9, 2009

    Posts: 3,484

    Location: Bristol

    Thanks for your response Munchies, can you suggest a budget bike that might be at the upper end of the A2 licence restrictions with no mods needed?

    So theory is needed too, I'll get that booked in.

    Yes will get a decent jacket, helmet and gloves.
     
  4. Quixote

    Wise Guy

    Joined: May 3, 2006

    Posts: 1,227

    The Motorcycle theory test is different to the car one (although many of the questions are the same), so you will still have to do it. Don't forget to practice the hazard perception part, which I guess wasn't introduced when you passed your car test ?

    So best thing is to swot up & pass the bike theory test, then book yourself on a DAS course that will take you though CBT-> Mod1 -> Mod2 in one course. Your previous experience will help make that easier of course.
    I'm not sure why you would do A2 though instead of A - it's exactly the same tests, costs are the same & honestly the power & weight of the training bikes for the A test are not night & day different to the A2 ones.
    You'd still be free to get an A2 bike for efficient commuting but if in future you wanted a freindly 650 like Sv650/ MT-07/ Z650 you wouldn't have to re-take all the same tests again. It also opens up a bigger choice of bikes in the 2nd hand market.

    Also, don't under-estimate how effective a simple cover is as part of your security setup. Oportunists might never notice your bike & even dedicated thieves will have to get under the cover to assess your bike.

    Hope some of that helps.
     
    Last edited: Jan 26, 2019
  5. tom_e

    Man of Honour

    Joined: Dec 26, 2003

    Posts: 26,841

    Location: West mids

    You're over 24 so no reason to get an a2 licence just get a full a, you'll need a bike theory, no need for a separate cbt you'll do it as part of your full licence training.

    Get a pragmasis or almax chain they're the only ones worth their weight, alarm I wouldn't bother with they cause more issues than they solve. £2000 including bike, licence, insurance, security and decent kit which you'll want if you're commuting every day is not going to be enough I'd say closer to £3k.
     
  6. Quixote

    Wise Guy

    Joined: May 3, 2006

    Posts: 1,227

    Yeah, I'd say training £1000, bike £1300, gear £300, security £100, insurance £300 sounds reasonable. Biking does have a high startup cost but once set up, it can be pretty cost-effective, especially if you're prepared to limit yourself to a sub 500cc bike. Not to mention the fun & time savings.
    Honestly the cb500 seems like a good shout, if you do the A, you won't need to restrict it but if you did, it's often quite easy.
     
    Last edited: Jan 26, 2019
  7. bainbridge

    Mobster

    Joined: Dec 9, 2009

    Posts: 3,484

    Location: Bristol

    Well it looks like getting an A licence is the better option of the 2, I just wanted something bigger than a 125 and figured it would be easier to get the A2 but this evidently isn't worthwhile.

    I agree a cover would be a good additional deterrent, not to mention keeping the rain off!

    Maybe I'll have to stretch the budget to 3k then, thanks for the advice guys 1st step is to get the theory booked in then!
     
  8. TripleT

    Sgarrista

    Joined: Oct 24, 2002

    Posts: 9,398

    Location: Manchester City Centre

    Test for A and A2 is exactly the same just on a bigger bike, seriously no point. A2 is for young 'uns basically to try and stop them killing themselves :)
     
  9. julianhj

    Hitman

    Joined: Aug 27, 2004

    Posts: 932

    Location: UK

    There’s a lot of good points already made here. I was in a similar position a few years ago, but without the motocross experience you’ve had. From my experience I’d add:

    - a 4 or 5 day direct access course should cost you around £500-£600
    - ask around to find the best school in your area
    - you don’t need to spend massive amounts on kit, but if you’re commuting then a decent helmet, jacket, gloves, trousers and boots are invaluable. Try and buy from a shop rather than online in order to get the best fit (particularly the helmet and gloves)
    - fit a good ground anchor on your driveway if you can. Most bikes are nicked by teams of blokes lifting them in to vans.
     
  10. InvaderGIR

    Capodecina

    Joined: Jul 14, 2005

    Posts: 17,480

    Location: Bristol

    OP looks to be in Bristol on his post bio thing, so I'd suggest the place I learnt - http://www.bristolmotorcycletraining.co.uk/ - I think one or two other guys on here have used them too and liked the place, but obviously ask around and do a bit of your own research too OP.
    Bristol also has a J&S store in the South ( https://www.jsaccessories.co.uk/stores/bristol ) which I found to also be pretty handy for advice with gear and costs weren't horrific either. Worst case you can easily try on a large range of gear then order online elsewhere at a cheaper rate I suppose.
     
  11. bainbridge

    Mobster

    Joined: Dec 9, 2009

    Posts: 3,484

    Location: Bristol

    Thanks InvaderGIR I'll check out that place, I did my CBT in Hambrook somewhere 20 years ago so it might be the same place.

    How do you get on with parking a bike in central Bristol?
     
  12. InvaderGIR

    Capodecina

    Joined: Jul 14, 2005

    Posts: 17,480

    Location: Bristol

    It will be the same place then yeah, probably the same tarmac on their training pad too, it really sets you up well for Bristol's roads. :D
    I found the staff all really good, both in the office and out on the bikes. I ended up having a few different instructors as I spaced my training over a few months and they were all great, some would pick up on bad habits others hadn't too which I found beneficial. None were rude or spoke down to me in any way, even when I dropped their bikes they were totally fine with it and made sure I was ok and know full well it's something that happens. :)

    I've had my license for a year but still haven't sorted a bike yet. :(
    However, colleagues do have bikes and they have no issues with parking in the centre, there are quite a lot of spots all around the centre (I work literally in the centre) some of them have chain up points, others don't but it seems to be relatively fine for parking though.
     
  13. Quixote

    Wise Guy

    Joined: May 3, 2006

    Posts: 1,227

    I was in London when I initially geared up - also went to the local J&S. Can confirm it's a good place to go & get fitted. I would definitely aim to buy your helmet fitted from a shop. The rest, you could get 2nd hand off e-bay or whatever. Myself, If I go to a shop to get fitted, I will pay a bit more to buy it off them rather than just order off the net. Otherwise, we will get to the point where there are no shops to buy at. But I get that everyone's circumstances are different.
     
  14. InvaderGIR

    Capodecina

    Joined: Jul 14, 2005

    Posts: 17,480

    Location: Bristol

    Yeah, I paid the extra to get in store as they were really helpful and patient with me going through a lot of gear trying on all sorts and they provided decent advice. I know a lot of people are very much "omg you could save loads by buying online" but for me, a physical shop with clothing etc. (be that bike gear or normal clothing) is so much more useful for trying out sizes quickly and easily.
     
  15. Thecaferacer

    Hitman

    Joined: Feb 3, 2019

    Posts: 747

    Don't underestimate how horrible it is commuting in cold and wet weather, you'll need decent kit. Heated grips, muffs or heated gloves are worth their weight in gold.

    Also a decent helmet from a comfort perspective is worth spending extra on. I've had a couple of MT lids in the past and for the low price are amazing. Try a few on and then buy off eBay. Get one with a nice wide open eye hole. If I'm doing a short trip into a city and town I'll throw a Moto X lid over my race ones purely because my increased vision is a life saver.

    If you can get your full licence via direct access now instead of the A2. You'll have a vast choice of bikes then. CB500 are ok but gutless. I'd rather be on something like a FZR600. If you can stretch a budget out to £2-3k for a bike you have a huge choice. A little more and you get into KTM390 and MT03 territory. Larger initial outlay but you'll barely lose anything come sale time. CB500s are getting on and hitting scrap prices soon
     
  16. SkodaMart

    Mobster

    Joined: Jul 27, 2009

    Posts: 3,551

    Location: Manchester

    I passed my bike test last year, as previously mentioned the A2 licence are pretty pointless as it’s the exact same test on the exact same bike (Honda NC750S) restricted vs non restricted.
    Seems pointless to do the A2 then have to re do the A test later.