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For those who have successfully taught their wives/gf to ride...

4209 Views 31 Replies 24 Participants Last post by  Hooligan63
Can you share some advice? I bought a Suzuki DS80 to let her learn on, that is whenever I'm not trying to jump the snake river with it. I'm worried the touchy 2 stroke is making this process more difficult than it should be.

She took a pretty nasty digger off of it a few days ago after she panicked and went full throttle off into the back yard. I'd prefer she still be in 1 piece when this is completed.

She signed herself up for the HD course which is in 2 weeks, I'm trying to help her cram some clutch and foot work before the class but im not that great of an instructor, hard to explain how to ride to someone.

How did you do it?

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All you're going to do is make her panicky and giver her bad habits.
Sign her up for a real MSF course (if that isn't what the HD course is.)
Do her and yourself a favor and sign her up for the MSF course. She will be taught in a safe and positive learning enviroment. I took the course a few years ago and was impressed so much that I became an instructor here in Illinois.
Ok, turns out what she signed up for is the real MSF course, it's affiliated with Tilley HD in Salisbury. Not the HD learn to ride course.

My opinion was that she needed a little experience first, but I'll heed the advice here and STFU!

So what did you buy her as a first road bike? Honda Rebel 250? Seems reasonable to me but as above I could be leading her down the wrong path.

My wife's course had a little 250 Japanese bike.
They go on the assumption that you don't know anything, and processd accordingly. She'll be in good hands.

She rode a 600 Monster for a while; she now has a BMW R1100 and an FXE shovel and occasionally steals the Hayabusa.

One of the small Ninjas might be a good choice.
All you're going to do is make her panicky and giver her bad habits.
Sign her up for a real MSF course (if that isn't what the HD course is.)
Best advice and yeah a Rebel would be a good choice for her first bike!
Trying to teach her will just make her mad, as everyone else has said. I signed the wife up for the MSF course and went with her to make her feel more comfortable. She rode for a while before we had kids and may again later after they're older. I took her to Daytona one year, rode up through the Great Smoky Mountain Park and we had a good time, but I learned a long time ago that when I try to teach her something I get frustrated and she doesn't listen for shit because of it, so I'm better off dishing out the cash for someone else to do it.

Oh, and far as first bike, I got her a Shadow 600 and she did great (well, other than almost destroying a parked truck one time). Those bikes are like toys if you're used to a big bike and a 250 while legal, is gonna be even more toy-ish.
Not to bust your balls but if you haven't taken the course take it with her. You will be surprised what you may learn even if you have road for years. then take the advanced course with her later.
+1 on the praise for the MSF course. Have you thought about taking it with her? Afterwards, you'll be able to help each other out with proper technique. And you won't be as pissed off when she starts pointing out the things you've been doing wrong all these years. Not to mention the course is a blast.

Just make sure whatever bike you get her fits her build and performs well enough to keep her out of trouble as well. I have a Triumph Legend that my wife plans on riding after she logs some miles on her XS400 (lighter). Some of the benefits of the Legend as a beginner bike are the low seat height, excellent handling, smooth power delivery, and good brakes. For those same reasons it makes for a bike that you never "outgrow" either.
+whatever number we are on now on the MSF course. When my girl wanted to learn I got her an XR100 Honda and we went up north. There is alot of sand in northern Michigan and riding in it really gave her a feel of how the bike reacts when traction isnt the greatest, when NOT to hit the front brake and generally much more confidence on the bike. She took the course in the fall and now rides a 1200 Suzuki Bandit as good as anybody.
Mine took the course ..I got her as her first bike a honda rebel 250...after about a year,she then progressed to an XS650 which she still has..after 2yrs on that,I found her an ST2 Ducati which she loves..we'll be riding out to Bub's in a couple weeks
As has been suggested,the course wil be exstremely helpfull to her and take you,out of the equation...
All of the above! Trying to do it yourself is the best way to turn her off forever on the concept. Or she'll be riding with someone else!
When My wife (girlfriend at the time) decided she wanted to try riding , the MSF course was the FIRST step. She basically went in cold and killed it. Got her license and a Honda GB500 as a first bike. She rides a VFR and is very good at it! We have been to both coasts and both international borders with no issues and no battles. (And she is hard to keep up with!). That initial class was 21 years ago! She still has a GB500, her second VFR, rides my '47 WL, and loves to ride my '55 BMW R69.
Question. Did your wife ever drive a stick shift before you attempted to teach her how to ride?
I'll never try to teach anyone how to ride a bike until they know the science of the manual gear box.
If you want to give her some prep for the MSF get her comfortable using a clutch in something she is familiar with.
Thanks for all the responses, I did consider taking the course with her but we decided she needed to do it on her own. I've been very careful not to pressure her, I'd rather she ride double up on either of my bikes as opposed to being scared to death on her own.
When we were dating she had no issue driving my sports car that was 6 speed, I got rid of it a couple years ago but she's definitely car capable.
Thanks for all the responses!
I did take the course with my wife, even though I had been riding for 30 years at the time. And, I learned stuff, stuff I didn't know and bad habits I'd picked up. It was also the first session of the year, and it was about 30 degrees out.

We started her out on a 535 Virago, and the following season I set my shovelhead up for her. Couple years later is was a new '02 Dyna SuperGlide.
+1 For pretty much what everyone said, except one thing: I agree you shouldn't teach her how to ride, leave that to the pros. But one thing you CAN teach her, safely, is clutch control. Have her sit on the bike, in gear, and slowly let the clutch out until she hits the friction zone, then pull it back in. You're not only teaching her the basics of friction control, but establishing a learned response/reaction; i.e., when things go wrong, pull in the clutch! That might just save her life until she gets enough time in the saddle to learn that there are times when a hand full of throttle can save your butt. But for a newbie, that's a good response to avoid whiskey throttle, which it sounds like she's already had fun with... :-/

'49 panchop
when my wife chose to ride, I bowed out & told her she would have to do it on her own. She signed up herself & learned at the course on 250 rebels. When she finished, she picked out her bike, did all the footwork & I checked it out mechanically. She wanted a rebel & I told her it wasnt practical as my group does alot of long rides, that she should find something a little more practical for her application. She picked an 04 suzuki intruder, 800cc with 2200 miles for 2k. I told her to put 4000-5000 miles on it & then when your serious about riding I will buy the ride of her choice. 4300 miles later, she got her Heritage softail. I believe if you start with a tiny bike, she will be intimidated by the bigger ones. The zuki is 365 lbs & plenty of pep to keep up with the big twins. I also refused to let her ride in a pack until I knew she was acustomed to the rules, paterns & signals of our group, & that all members were comfortable with her skill level.
She has now clocked over 40K miles in 3 short years of riding. And yes she has dropped both her bikes, once in a sand driveway, and once at a stop sign. The suzuki turn signal cost $12 !!!
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I bought my wife a 70's Yamaha DT125 for a couple hundred bucks. She did not start wearing a helmet until we really got going on the road but I alway preach gloves and good foot wear. I started off by turning the idle up a little bit. This helps with initial take off. I start with letting them know you can pull in the clutch any time. I just have them slowly release the clutch lever and pull it back in without really going anywhere at all. 2 feet down just kinda rocking.( just like Kuda said) After that it's a slow progression to speeding up and shifting. I think most people have it in their head they HAVE to use the clutch for take off and shifting when in fact you can use it anytime to disengage power. Helpfull????? If it is great :D If not I might not be explaining that well but I have taught a dozen or better folks how to ride and now they all have street bikes and are part of OUR world. :cool:

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One of the small Ninjas might be a good choice.
this si the best advice going - love the little 250 Hondas and Kawis - great bikes to learn on and actually now grow with...
I taught my ex to ride in one day on a KE 100. Put a helmet, some insulated Carhart overalls, boots, and some gloves on her and gave the basic course right in my driveway.
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