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Advice needed for a noob - riding position

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Post  biscut on Thu Sep 20 2012, 16:20

hi all
Apologies if this is posted in the wrong area but I have just passed my mod 2 (a week ago) and have seen a really nice thundercat for sale at a decent price. What stops me jumping for it is that I am wondering whether it is a sensible choice for a first bike. I passed DAS so the 600cc doesnt scare me (much) but I am wondering if the riding position is sensible or whether I should have something more like a naked bike (kawasaki ER5 or suzuki es500 or equivalent). I will be going to hopefully view a thundercat or two in the near future but cant get to see or sit on one for the next few weeks so thought that posting here might be a really good idea. If it is a daft idea for me to get one as a first bike then please be honest, I have no issues with someone warning me off anything like this till I have more experience on a different type of bike.

Thank you very much for any help / advice you can give.
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Post  stretchie_ on Thu Sep 20 2012, 16:39

Bonjour my freshly passed friend.

I see no problem with the Thundercat being your first bike, it was my first bike.

It's got a bit of weight to it but as with any bike, as long as you are not an idiot you will be fine. Forget the ER and go with your first instinct, the Thundercat.

Although the Er and others like that may be cheaper to insure but as the Cat is 599cc then it's cheaper tax

green smile
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Post  YZFJohn on Thu Sep 20 2012, 16:57

My Cat was my First bike.

It's very tame below 7,000rpm so like most of us take it easy to begin with, get to know her first and then start exploring her.

As for riding position, I like to be on top. LMAO

I should add that the Cat is very economical as you will see from the Fuelly in the footers of some members postings. Click on a Fuelly banner and it will take you to more info.

I personally have had from 46mpg (Track Day) to 60mpg (Touring), so that makes it easier on the pocket, they are also reliable if looked after and certainly can still put more modern bikes to shame.


Last edited by YZFJohn on Thu Sep 20 2012, 17:10; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : Added more useful info. :-))
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Post  Rosco on Thu Sep 20 2012, 17:14

Was my second and current bike.
Like John says it is quite tame if you don't go daft with the revs.
If you do you'll probably find yourself going faster than your experience merits and you'd be more likely to get into trouble than out of it.

Plenty of folks have had it as a first bike.
Personally I can't see past it.
Does everything I want of it certainly.

I can ride it like a sports bike (still havent managed my knee down) or sit up and cruise like a bike copper (having a day-glo helps).

Once you get your own bike (whatever it might be) get yourself down to a quiet industrial estate with good roads / big car park and practice low speed skills, stops and starts.

Also have a google of counter steering. Pushing the right lever to turn right and left to go left. It sounds wrong but once a bike is moving it is what makes it lean and turn.
I only 'learned' this after my test.
Not quite sure what was happening before.

Congrats on the pass and good luck in the purchase.

Cheers
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Last edited by Rosco on Thu Sep 20 2012, 17:21; edited 3 times in total
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Post  YZFJohn on Thu Sep 20 2012, 17:17

@Rosco wrote:Does everything I want of it certainly.
Except Clean itself!!! pmsl
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Post  Rosco on Thu Sep 20 2012, 17:18

Now one of them I would buy John. Wink
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Post  supraloopy on Thu Sep 20 2012, 17:38

Thundercat was my first bike and it's great ;0) best first sports/tourer out there I reckon.
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Post  biscut on Thu Sep 20 2012, 17:41

>As for riding position, I like to be on top. LMAO

LOL, guess I asked for that...

I see from other posts that the cat is economical and although the cat might be cheaper to tax, that wasnt the reason for the posting. the riding school that I passed with didnt give me a sharp intake of breath when I mentioned about possibly getting a cat but then they also didnt give it a "yes, you should be looking at something like that as a first bike" so am a little unsure on how the riding position differs to that of the two bikes I mentioned. I dont want to go for something with a high centre of gravity to start with as I think that would be a bit silly and wouldnt help my self confidence.
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Post  biscut on Thu Sep 20 2012, 17:43

Also have a google of counter steering. Pushing the right lever to turn right and left to go left. It sounds wrong but once a bike is moving it is what makes it lean and turn.
I only 'learned' this after my test.
Not quite sure what was happening before.

Will definitely have a look, have a big industrial estate close to here that is deserted on a weekend so that would be the ideal time to try something like that.

>Congrats on the pass and good luck in the purchase.

Thank you very much, will prolly be back in contact in a coupe of weeks when I have had some time to go and test ride a couple.

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Post  Barnsley Bogtrotter on Thu Sep 20 2012, 18:38

With the Thundercat if you buy one then take it for a ride and put it in 3rd gear and resist changing up...it'll do 10mph or 100mph and wont hurt the engine at either end of the scale so spend a bit of time working with what it's got to offer. It will be super responsive and corner really tight...it's a way of getting a measure of the bike! This can then be scaled up to the last three gears.

Too many riders never work their engines and have no idea what their bike can do
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Post  biscut on Thu Sep 20 2012, 18:44

Hi Barnsley
Wasnt advice on the bike that I wanted (really), was more how the riding position differs to other bikes that I mentioned previously (I mention those two as they were the ones I learnt to ride on and pass my test(s) on) and whether the Cat is a sensible one to have as a first bike but I think peoples opinion seems to be that its a sensible bike to start on provided it isnt ridden stupidly.
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Post  Barnsley Bogtrotter on Thu Sep 20 2012, 18:56

@biscut wrote:Hi Barnsley
Wasnt advice on the bike that I wanted (really), was more how the riding position differs to other bikes that I mentioned previously (I mention those two as they were the ones I learnt to ride on and pass my test(s) on) and whether the Cat is a sensible one to have as a first bike but I think peoples opinion seems to be that its a sensible bike to start on provided it isnt ridden stupidly.

there are only the older 600s that have the same sit up and beg riding position of those bikes you mentioned and the TCat is no different in a sit up and beg position....but all after 2004 all sports went down the racebike route
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Post  biscut on Thu Sep 20 2012, 19:09

>there are only the older 600s that have the same sit up and beg riding position of those bikes you mentioned and the >TCat is no different in a sit up and beg position....but all after 2004 all sports went down the racebike route

ahhh ok, that answers a lot. not keen on the "naked" bikes but prefer something with a bit of style to it (am quite vain) and the Cat ticks all the boxes on that one as far as I am concerned. Having something around the 600 mark I think will be about right power wise too.

Also, another thought/question...dependent on which article I look at then the quoted weight seems to change too, is 187KG about right or are they over the 200KG mark give or take a bit of weight for fuel? The reason i ask is that I know I can pick up a bike that is around the 180KG mark. I was able to pick up both the es500 and the er5 after having slow speed drops (good job the bikes belonged to the riding school!!) so wondered about the Cat. I realise the obvious answer is "dont drop the bike in the first place" but would be happier knowing I could pick the bike up by myself just in case I need to.

Any thoughts ?
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Post  Snowcat on Thu Sep 20 2012, 19:09

Hi and welcome to the forum, I passed my DAS last November aged 39 having not been on a bike since I was 16. Whilst I was having lessons I was looking at my prospective first bike and the Thundercat ticked all the right boxes, a lot of advice from posting on here and reading other threads, (coupled with the fact that I was really taken with T/Cat) I found myself committing the cardinal sin of buying one before I'd passed my test, and the next 6 weeks from putting it in my garage to taking it out for the first ride after passing my test was agony.

Since then I haven't looked back, this is a very accommodating first bike, ideal size and a bit heavier than some of its rivals but don't assume this is a disadvantage, but personally I this saw this as an advantage as the bike feels more planted and grippier!! Smile

The riding position is sporty but not as focused as some of the CBR's, GSXR's and ZZ6's, grip the tank gently with your knees, forearms parallel to the ground and limp wrists (think Frankie Howard not Frank Bruno my instructors said), and the riding position is unbelievably comfortable weather on tight twisty country roads or on a long motorway commute).

Compared to the other bikes mentioned they are more "sit up and beg", you are in a more upright position which can become uncomfortable and hard work at higher motorway speeds unless it's got good fairing. The cats sportier position allows you to tuck down more for motorways keeping out of the wind whilst giving you the option to position yourself in a more upright position if you want.

This bike will happily tootle along in town traffic at 25-30mph but is a rocket capable of 155 out of the box, they are only as fast as you make em go with that right hand Wink

My instructors also felt the cat was an okay 1st bike but Suggested I start on a 500cc. A suggestion quickly dispelled when I reminded them That I'd just passed my test on one of their 600's and the reason why they use a bigger bike is because 500's are "bone shaking pieces of sh*t"!!

I haven't looked back, started off slowly, practised on quiet roads and industrial estates and rode through the winter to try and get as much experience as I could, it's the best decision I made because my confidence grows and I learn something new every time I go out on her. Considering she's a weekend toy I don't commute on I've racked up 600 miles in the last 10 months, been on ride outs and meet ups with this forum, tackled some tricky Welsh roads, done my Bikesafe (highly recommended) and a well documented trip to Assen in Holland for the MotorGP. This along with camping weekends etc all the time taking it slow, reading plenty about the mechanics of riding (A twist Of The Throttle by Keith Code & Motorcycle Roadcraft the police riders manual) and gradually cranking that throttle all the way to the red line.

A few months I toyed with the idea of trading up thinking I wanted more but a test ride on a fireblade convinced me I'm finished with her yet and to be honest I probably never will get rid of her.

I'd consider it one of the best 1st "big" bikes you can possibly ever have, very forgiving for the newbie and ever ready to put straight if you get it a bit wrong, (and put you straight into orbit when you're ready for it) Wink

Listen to your gut and go for it, you won't be sorry.
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Post  ellie on Thu Sep 20 2012, 19:15

The thundercat was my first bike, fresh from passing my test and I'm just a girl! girlpower

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Post  Snowcat on Thu Sep 20 2012, 19:22

@biscut wrote:>187KG about right or are they over the 200KG mark give or take a bit of weight for fuel? The reason i ask is that I know I can pick up a bike that is around the 180KG mark. I was able to pick up both the es500 and the er5 after having slow speed drops (good job the bikes belonged to the riding school!!) so wondered about the Cat. I realise the obvious answer is "dont drop the bike in the first place" but would be happier knowing I could pick the bike up by myself just in case I need to.

Any thoughts ?

Dry weight is approx 187kg so yeah the other figure could be allowing for fuel.

And don't worry about inability to pick the bike up, as long as you're not injured adrenalin will kick in to help you lift the bike if you do drop it Wink
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Post  robertcains on Thu Sep 20 2012, 19:47

@Snowcat wrote:

And don't worry about inability to pick the bike up, as long as you're not injured adrenalin will kick in to help you lift the bike if you do drop it Advice needed for a noob - riding position 1071211947

Aye as a bloke who is vertically challenged I agree that adrenaline will certainly assist in righting your pride asap Advice needed for a noob - riding position 561263

I have to admit after a break from biking of many years (due to all the malarky of having kids eat my money) I bought a GPZ500 which was a cracking bike to learn the trade on again, however I soon needed a new challenge & got bored with it so progressed to a 'cat. The 'cat is a fantastic bike for scratching around on or taking for a damn good butt clenching blast.

The beauty of the 'cat is as other have said its very versatile & can be a tame kitten or a puma depending on how you treat it, as long as you have confidence its a brilliant first bike, good luck & enjoy
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Post  biscut on Thu Sep 20 2012, 20:01

Hi snowcat
Thanks very much for the advice, think I have fallen in love with the Cat, doesnt matter what colour either, the contours are REALLY sexy (hopefully that doesnt come across in a weird way). I think that provided I get on with riding one and feel comfortable on a test ride then that will be the bike for me, will have to wait and see what happens in a couple of weeks.

Re passing the test then it took 2 months from doing the CBT to pass mod 2 and only 3 months since getting on a bike for the first time so hopefully others can understand my nervousness (is that even a word?) about whether its a good choice.

The bike will initially be wanted for commuting a few miles up the road and back as I work locally so there will be mostly slow speed biking required to start with. Motorway rides etc will follow...

Will let all know what happens when I do the test ride.
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Post  biscut on Thu Sep 20 2012, 20:03

@ellie wrote:The thundercat was my first bike, fresh from passing my test and I'm just a girl! girlpower


LOL, guess thats a good enough reason to get one then :-) sold !!
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Post  Panzerbuilder on Thu Sep 20 2012, 20:04

B, I got back to riding after 25ish years. Bought the cat off ebay, no reviewing, no checks. A bit of an impulse buy. I'm now in my 3rd year on the bike.

You'll love it.
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Post  biscut on Thu Sep 20 2012, 20:07

>And don't worry about inability to pick the bike up, as long as you're not injured adrenalin will kick in to help you lift the >bike if you do drop it Wink

yeah, it was adrenaline that helped me pick up the bike before and that was a struggle, am SUCH a wimp LOL think it was more anger at myself for being stoopid that helped me pick the bike up. Would have been bright red too if I didnt have a helmet on LOL
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Post  biscut on Thu Sep 20 2012, 20:12

>[quote="Panzerbuilder"]B, I got back to riding after 25ish years. Bought the cat off ebay, no reviewing, no checks. A bit >of an impulse buy. I'm now in my 3rd year on the bike.

LOL, have come very close a couple of times to just clicking "buy it now" so I know how you felt on that one. I brought a really cheap VFR on ebay and got a biker friend to give it a once over before I handed over any cash and thank god he did as it was a real lemon so think I learnt a lesson on that one...dont think that the VFR750 would have been a sensible choice despite it looking sex on legs...or wheels or forks or whatever.

>You'll love it.

I am starting to agree, I haven't seen another bike that I have fallen in love with so far so its looking positive.
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Post  kwakkat on Thu Sep 20 2012, 20:44

hi
well the thunder cat is 1 of the most forgiving sports bike ive rode
if you do some thing wrong it will not spit you off like some other 600 will do all so the clip ons ie handle bars are slightly higher than other 600s so your not bent doubled over the tank
low centre of grav if you buy a naked bandit hornet in 6 months you,l be buying a sports bike no protection from the weather can,t get the speed up with out trying to be pulled of the back of it try it test it buy it go cat go
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Post  biscut on Thu Sep 20 2012, 21:03

@kwakkat wrote:hi
well the thunder cat is 1 of the most forgiving sports bike ive rode
if you do some thing wrong it will not spit you off like some other 600 will do all so the clip ons ie handle bars are slightly higher than other 600s so your not bent doubled over the tank
low centre of grav if you buy a naked bandit hornet in 6 months you,l be buying a sports bike no protection from the weather can,t get the speed up with out trying to be pulled of the back of it try it test it buy it go cat go
pete

Hi Pete
As you can see its the riding position that I am most interested in, reading others responses has certainly helped my confidence levels with pursuing this course of action...as I said before, I cant see another bike that looks half as good so really looking forward to arranging a test ride when I can get the time in a couple of weeks...
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Post  stevemcc on Thu Sep 20 2012, 21:05

Also my first bike, at the ripe old age of 44 last November I hopped on to my Cat straight from doing my Mod2.
I learned on an old beat up ER5, it was a right shed but I didnt realise how much until I felt the smoothness of the Cat, you will be amazed at the difference.
I personally found the Cat easier to ride with a much more comfortable riding position, you really have the option to sit fairly upright for bimbling around town or hunch up and get into race mode.
I'm 6 foot and can ride it pretty much upright with my elbows just slightly bent.
I can honestly say the riding position for me was not a worry, I was more concerned about the power/speed jump, but to be honest its been no big deal, just took it easy and put in loads of miles and the rest all just fell into place.
After a couple of months you will be able to jump on to pretty much any bike and not have a worry.

Plus ER5 and es500 look pooh, you will regret buying one after a month. go for it!

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