Define an Experienced Rider? - Kawasaki Versys Forum
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post #1 of 31 (permalink) Old 01-07-2015, 01:07 AM Thread Starter
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Define an Experienced Rider?

I raised this issue in an expat forum but I'm curious of opinions.

The issue was raised when a couple of friends and I were out riding and stopped for a coffee and a bite to eat. We bumped into a fellow biker in the same joint on his Honda 500x from the UK. Usual questions flowed about our bike and hows along we have all been bikers. This guy was late 50s. One of my biker buddies is in is 50s, another 40s along with myself and another guy in his 30s who as only been riding just over a year.

However, the debate got rather heated when this chap questioned my friends choice in bike when he'd only been riding a year or so. However, within the first year of riding he clocked up 20,000km both on and off road, and rides like he was born to do so. He's well balanced off road and calm and collective on road in the mayhem of Bangkok.

He started to become a little pretentious when he stated he'd been riding for over 20 years, but I asked how many miles per year he did in the UK with its weather. Like most UK riders who barely clock 2000miles per year, this guy though he was the mutts nuts on a bike.

So my question is: How do you define experience. Miles clocked, or years ridden?
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post #2 of 31 (permalink) Old 01-07-2015, 02:37 AM
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Originally Posted by BKKPhil View Post
I raised this issue in an expat forum but I'm curious of opinions.

The issue was raised when a couple of friends and I were out riding and stopped for a coffee and a bite to eat. We bumped into a fellow biker in the same joint on his Honda 500x from the UK. Usual questions flowed about our bike and hows along we have all been bikers. This guy was late 50s. One of my biker buddies is in is 50s, another 40s along with myself and another guy in his 30s who as only been riding just over a year.

However, the debate got rather heated when this chap questioned my friends choice in bike when he'd only been riding a year or so. However, within the first year of riding he clocked up 20,000km both on and off road, and rides like he was born to do so. He's well balanced off road and calm and collective on road in the mayhem of Bangkok.

He started to become a little pretentious when he stated he'd been riding for over 20 years, but I asked how many miles per year he did in the UK with its weather. Like most UK riders who barely clock 2000miles per year, this guy though he was the mutts nuts on a bike.

So my question is: How do you define experience. Miles clocked, or years ridden?
How many angels can dance on the head of a pin?

If someone's ridden many years or many thousands of miles on nice days and local country roads on single machine, surely they have some level of experience in using the bike's controls and hopefully positioning themselves to be seen and escape as necessary. OTOH, they have little or no experience in riding in inclement weather conditions. or preparing for a trip, or riding on a race track, or riding off road, or riding in congested areas, or riding other brands or types of bikes etc.

I've taught a couple friends how to ride. Neither of them had any interest in starting on a small bike. One started on an FZ-1, the other on a ZX-10. Neither had any issue with them and both became good riders. I had another friend who started on an SV-650 and he never could get loose enough to ride fluidly. He attended rider training and track training and even on the little bike, riding just never really clicked for him. He had plenty of experience. Aside from all the training, we took a couple of trips together that encompassed many types of riding. While he had ridden longer and further than the other two guys, it didn't make any difference, he still never became as proficient as either of the others.

In summary, the opinion of the self described "experienced rider" about a rider he's never ridden with or seen ride is about as meaningful as a pin full of dancing angels. Personally, I wouldn't lose any sleep over it.
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post #3 of 31 (permalink) Old 01-07-2015, 03:08 AM
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some thing its one some thing its another. i dont think your a real rider till you crash and experience is experience.... it doesnt have to be a rooster match
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post #4 of 31 (permalink) Old 01-07-2015, 05:39 AM Thread Starter
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How many angels can dance on the head of a pin?

If someone's ridden many years or many thousands of miles on nice days and local country roads on single machine, surely they have some level of experience in using the bike's controls and hopefully positioning themselves to be seen and escape as necessary. OTOH, they have little or no experience in riding in inclement weather conditions. or preparing for a trip, or riding on a race track, or riding off road, or riding in congested areas, or riding other brands or types of bikes etc.

I've taught a couple friends how to ride. Neither of them had any interest in starting on a small bike. One started on an FZ-1, the other on a ZX-10. Neither had any issue with them and both became good riders. I had another friend who started on an SV-650 and he never could get loose enough to ride fluidly. He attended rider training and track training and even on the little bike, riding just never really clicked for him. He had plenty of experience. Aside from all the training, we took a couple of trips together that encompassed many types of riding. While he had ridden longer and further than the other two guys, it didn't make any difference, he still never became as proficient as either of the others.

In summary, the opinion of the self described "experienced rider" about a rider he's never ridden with or seen ride is about as meaningful as a pin full of dancing angels. Personally, I wouldn't lose any sleep over it.
Totally agree, but I loved the big talk from my pals in the UK where their bikes spent 11 months in a garage.

I digress for a moment as I'm watching "Painkiller Jane"who is being chased on a KT990 adventure, but mid-flight over a jump it turned into what looked like a KLX!
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post #5 of 31 (permalink) Old 01-07-2015, 06:13 AM
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Does this guy have 20 years of experience or does he have 6 months that he keeps reusing ???

I'm frequently amused by the mid-life crisis "bikers" in my area...they seemed to have learned it all in that one summer while my continuous efforts don't really matter.
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post #6 of 31 (permalink) Old 01-07-2015, 06:34 AM
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Years riding are important, only if you've made good use of those years.

Experience comes from a combination of: riding different motorcycles, in varied weather conditions, on new and different roads and in different places - touring through other cities, provinces, states (or if you can, other countries) and covering lots and lots of miles.

And, experience shows. You just need to ride with someone to know. Based on the above criteria, I'm the most experienced rider in my regular group. But I went for a ride with Smiley last Summer, and let me tell you, there is a guy who has made good use of his (50) years of experience.

No matter what someone's story is, the proof is in the riding.

Always trust your cape.
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post #7 of 31 (permalink) Old 01-07-2015, 10:31 AM
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...So my question is: How do you define experience. Miles clocked, or years ridden?
ALL THAT, but also LESSONS LEARNED!


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post #8 of 31 (permalink) Old 01-07-2015, 11:16 AM
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Depends on what "riding for 20 yrs" means as well.
My dad has been a motorcycle rider since he was 18. He is now 62. My entire life he had a bike, but it was usually in the backnof the garage in a non running state. Every few years he would pull it out and get it running then ride maybe 1000 miles that summer.
A few years ago he bought a used cruiser, and in almost 5 yrs the bike has gotten only 2k miles. And I put on 500-750 of those. But he is a "motorcycle rider"....

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post #9 of 31 (permalink) Old 01-07-2015, 11:56 AM
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Experience riding a motorcycle? Riding a motorcycle is sort of like sex, some people get it and some don't. On the other hand you really do not have to be good at it to enjoy it. So just go for it.
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post #10 of 31 (permalink) Old 01-07-2015, 12:16 PM
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I could see how a more experienced rider might question a new rider's choice of 1st bike.

You didn't say what your friend was riding.... all of a year.

There's a reason that many 1st time riders start with a smaller, or less powerful bike.....in much of Europe, the motorcycle licenses are graduated according to horsepower/age.

It's not like the guy called anyone stupid, right?



I consider myself a "seasoned rider" - being able to prove more than 800,000 miles on more than 60 motorcycles since 1974.

In my mind, one year's worth of riding does not make the rider "experienced", even though he may have ridden 12,000+ miles on that bike. Maybe we need to get out the "on a Scale of 1 to 10" thing.

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post #11 of 31 (permalink) Old 01-07-2015, 03:36 PM
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Experience is measured by how many bone have been broken.
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post #12 of 31 (permalink) Old 01-07-2015, 03:43 PM
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Experience is measured by how many bone have been broken.
Uggggg. Then I'm not experienced, at all.

Got lots of road rash scars. Can I get 1/2 credit for that?

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post #13 of 31 (permalink) Old 01-07-2015, 04:02 PM
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Experience riding a motorcycle? Riding a motorcycle is sort of like sex, some people get it and some don't. On the other hand you really do not have to be good at it to enjoy it. So just go for it.
+1
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post #14 of 31 (permalink) Old 01-07-2015, 04:44 PM
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Experience is measured by how many bone have been broken.
I was sitting around having a beer with an old 65yr old desert racer from the states. He asked me how many bones I've broken over the last 40 years. I started counting on my fingers and then told him it would be easier if I just counted how many bones I've not broken. He laughed and said that would have been his answer also.

Not much grey matter left up there, the upside is that what little you have left is lot easier to manage than before.
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post #15 of 31 (permalink) Old 01-07-2015, 05:02 PM
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ALL THAT, but also LESSONS LEARNED!

Unfortunately ,I went to the school of hard knocks!
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post #16 of 31 (permalink) Old 01-07-2015, 05:51 PM
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I started riding in summer 2010. I was without a bike for 2012. Since starting to ride I have over 25,000 miles. I like to think of myself as a rider. I ride most days that I can (wife now say's not below 32 degrees). That said, What bike you ride, what you wear, It's all a personal choice. I will ride with you if I see you are a "safe rider" if not we don't ride. no harm no foul. But to put my riding values on someone else is wasting both our time.

I'm not a Weekender, Squid, or Stunter. I'm a rider.
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post #17 of 31 (permalink) Old 01-07-2015, 06:25 PM
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Experience is impossible to define. Time in the saddle means nothing by itself, miles ridden mean nothing by themselves, age means nothing by itself. I've known people who get the concepts right off the bat, they don't need to ride for years or miles to understand and use the physics and the psychology of riding, other people I've known will never get it.
A number of other life experiences can easily translate into riding experience. It also helps to be a good listener and a good watcher, learn from other people's bad days. I don't personally need to make a mistake to recognize how it happened and how important it is that I don't do that.
Who was it that just said you aren't an experienced rider until you've crashed, I'm a more experienced rider by watching and learning why you crashed.
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post #18 of 31 (permalink) Old 01-07-2015, 08:13 PM
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I can't really remember where I heard the quote: "I had been riding for 20 years and thought I had a lot of experience in riding motorcycles. I found out I had the same one year riding experience 20 times over."
the quote is somewhere in one of the many videos or books I have read on riding and control..."Twist of the Wrist 2".."Total Control" are my favorites and provided me with a world of insights to riding safely (at speed or otherwise)...

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post #19 of 31 (permalink) Old 01-07-2015, 08:17 PM
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Also worth pointing out that experienced doesn't always mean safe. A friend has been riding for 40+ years and is a very good rider but does not have a lick of sense. I tend towards the "safe" end of the spectrum and have a whole 6 years under my belt but yet he frequently rides behind me. When I asked why he said he knows I ride at a sensible speed so he uses me as his safety check. All that experience and he cannot tell where the "too fast for conditions" line is.
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post #20 of 31 (permalink) Old 01-07-2015, 08:17 PM
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Who was it that just said you aren't an experienced rider until you've crashed, I'm a more experienced rider by watching and learning why you crashed.
I don't know who is responsible for that quote either..but it's bunk...Believe it or not..not everyone crashes..and some of those people ARE experienced...just sayin'

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