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.