A friend of mine has recently passed his motorbike test, so he called me to ask for some advice on which bike he should get. I asked him what he wanted to do with the bike and where and when he thought he would ride it. His answer was interesting.
"I want it to ride to and from work (Paddington in London) and I'm not having a Japanese bike."
Hmmm, That's going to be interesting then.
"Oh, and I really like the look of the BMWs."
Ah, well there we have a problem then. Personally I think that buying a BMW bike as a first bike would be a mistake. They are nice bikes, if you like that sort of thing, and very capable. But not the sort of bike I would want to ride into London every day. They are big, heavy and expensive to buy and fix when/if you drop it. My recommendation would be to buy something like a trailie type bike as they are very maneuverable and light for use in the city. Anything below 600cc would be ideal for this and would not cost a fortune as a first bike and insurance would be reasonable too.
I also point him to the www.bikemagazine.com website to check out the bike selector pages.
So a few days I instant message my friend to ask him how he's getting on with looking at the bike shops and I get a very coy message back that says something like "The dirty deed is done"
Cool, what have you got? Well....
I know already that the he's gone a bought a BMW and that the 40-45 minutes I spent on the phone with him was wasted time and effort.
So a BMW R1200GS now sits on his drive and I guess that he has paid in excess of £7000, from a BMW dealer, for it. I have no idea what a brand new rider would have to pay for insurance, but my guess is not much change out of £500 -£750 a year for fully comp insurance. Plus all the riding gear to go with it, and you're looking a the thick end of £8000.
Phew, not my idea of "easy access" to the biking world.
But the thing that worries me the most, is that I know that everyone drops a bike in their motorcycle career. I just hope that this guy does not drop his bike anytime soon. I have no idea what BMW charge for replacing the cylinder heads, but I bet it's not cheap. I would also reason that the insurance company are going to be non too impressed with that bill either, so his insurance will go up, and in turn mine will too.
So I guess the moral of this story is, for me at least, don't offer advice to your friends as they probably won't use it. Even if you do have 15+ years experience in the subject.