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  1. #1
    Squid
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    A Brit moving to Georgia - What do I need to know?

    Hello all,

    At some point in the next 3-6 months I'll be moving from the UK to Georgia Alpharetta to be exact.

    I ride in the UK, and I have to say that I'm really looking forward to riding in the US as it seems so much more bike friendly.... the cars go a lot slower, the roads are a lot wider and are generally in a lot better condition and there is a lot more sunshine..... so maybe I can remove the heated grips!

    Anyway, thats all in theory. I was hoping you guys could give me some advice about the practicalities of riding in the US.

    Some specific questions:
    - How do Insurance companies view guys with sports bikes? Is it really expensive?

    - Are US car drivers as blind to bikers as UK drivers are? it's pretty lethal over here even wearing Hi-Viz and leaving lights on at all times....

    - If I (accidentally of course ) happened to go a couple of MPH over the speed limit, how do the police react? What sort of attitiude do they show to bikers? What sorts of fines etc?

    - Using the bike to commute: I'll be living perhaps 15 miles from my office, but the traffic is horrific, and it can be a 90 minute drive in the car.... but there seems a lot of space for a bike to filter between the traffic.... what are the rules and regulations in GA on this? Even though the roads and traffic seem tailor made for bikes to whizz around, I don't see many on the road.

    - I have a Triumph ( Tiger 800xc ), a Ducati ( 1100 Monster ) and a Royal Enfield Bullet - so two Brit bikes and an Italian. Am I going to struggle to get spares and find mechanics with all the right tools and computers for services? Is it going to be more practical to think about selling them and buying something Japanese with a better parts supply?


    I have been riding for a good few years, and my International Driving License lets me jump on a bike and ride, but I was thinking it might be sensible to get some training to bring me up to speed on US rules and regulations ( I need to get used to driving on the right for one thing.... ).... can anyone suggest a course that might be good? I can see that there are some beginners courses, but these are not really what I'm looking for.


    Thanks, and I hope to bump in to some of you guys on the road in the near future

    Steve

  2. #2
    Just Ramm it Georgiacbr's Avatar
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    Welcome to the United States I have to say I'm willing to bet the drivers here are about the same as the uk or worst just depends on location stay away from Atlanta and its cluster **** .


    About training I suggest this place



    Alpharetta Rider Education Center
    1450 Morrison Parkway
    Alpharetta, Georgia 30201-2199
    (770) 442-2043
    Contact: Don Wilson
    Opened: July 1990
    Classes offered
    Street:
    Motorcycle Safety Foundation Basic RiderCourse (BRC)
    Motorcycle Safety Foundation Experienced RiderCourse (ERC)
    ATV:
    ATV Safety Institute (ASI) ATV RiderCourse
    Off-Road:
    Motorcycle Safety Foundation Dirt Bike School (DBS)
    Classes per year: approx. 90
    Instructors/coaches trained per year: approx. 150
    Number of motorcycles and ATVs for training: 56
    Trails: 1.5 miles
    Site acreage: 4
    Building space (includes Motorcycle Division regional office): 10,000 square feet
    Last edited by Georgiacbr; 03-25-2013 at 02:10 PM.
    - I'm Eric and I approve this message

  3. #3
    Senior Member Topher's Avatar
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    Welcome! I personally don't ride on the street any more because of too many close calls with people in cars not seeing me. I have been to the UK though, and I would say there really isn't much difference in the ways cars see, or don't see, motorcycles. You have to ride with the mentality that every car on the road is out to run you over.

    Insurance will depend on the bike and your driving record. I payed about $70 a month for my cbr 1000rr when I was still riding on the street last year. My insurance company figures the cost on how much they have had to pay out before for that type of bike. I was surprised that a 600cc jap bike insurance would have cost me more than a high end litre bike. This is not necessarily always the case though.

    I have never had any major issues with cops/tickets while on a sport bike, I have always saved my spirited riding for roads in the middle of nowhere and the real fun for the track. If you are going way over the speed limit, it can be really bad. Anything over 85 mph will get you a "super speeder" ticket on the interstate, which will double the fine. They don't use speed cameras (yet) so there's a little plus. With laser, they have to have a straight line of sight, so if you're paying attention, you should see them in time to slow down. With radar, you can detect them from a mile away with a high end detector.

    As far as traffic goes, you can not split lanes in GA. You can use the High Occupancy Vehicle (HOV) lanes though, which have a limited access (cars aren't supposed to cut in and out of that lane except for a designated places). It seams a little safer to me, but you still have to watch out because cars don't always follow the limited access rules. It does get very hot (compared to what you're used to) in the summer, and getting stuck in traffic in 100 degree (F) weather in no fun, especially with a hot engine between your legs. Spring, fall, and even winter riding at times can be very nice though.

    You shouldn't have any trouble with parts/mechanics for any of those bikes. There are dealers for all of them in the metro Atlanta area.

    Almost all of the courses are aimed towards beginners, but if it is a certified course, it can sometimes get you a discount on your insurance. You can also get online or go to the DDS (department of driver services) and get the rules/laws information and read over them on your own. It really isn't complicated. It should probably be more complicated actually. I think it's too easy to get a license here in the states.

    You shouldn't have any trouble finding people to ride with and show you around on this forum, and some really nice mountain roads are just an hour or two away from Alpharetta.

    Hope this helps! Good luck with the moving process. When you get settled and want to have some real fun on a bike, join me at a track day. You can ride as hard as you want without fear of cars, police, signs, curbs, oncoming traffic, etc, and it's only $100 a day to ride at Talladega GP (about 2 hours from Alpharetta).

    If you have any other questions, feel free to ask.

    Christopher
    To be old and wise, you must first be young and stupid.

  4. #4
    Senior Member Spicoli's Avatar
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    In the UK do women drive around in 3 ton tanks doing make up with a cellphone glued to their head? Drivers aren't better here.

  5. #5
    Senior Member Huey130's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SlowSteve View Post
    Hello all,

    At some point in the next 3-6 months I'll be moving from the UK to Georgia Alpharetta to be exact.

    I ride in the UK, and I have to say that I'm really looking forward to riding in the US as it seems so much more bike friendly.... the cars go a lot slower, the roads are a lot wider and are generally in a lot better condition and there is a lot more sunshine..... so maybe I can remove the heated grips!

    Huey - I've lived there. Some in London in Highgate but mostly in the Midlands.. Bristol and Chippenham. Cars here go a LOT faster. Everything else you say is true. One thing though is there bikes are considered transportation. Here they're considered for most part entertainment. You're going to crap when you see some of the stuff that would give an MOT inspector a heart attack!!!!!!!
    Anyway, thats all in theory. I was hoping you guys could give me some advice about the practicalities of riding in the US.

    Some specific questions:
    - How do Insurance companies view guys with sports bikes? Is it really expensive?

    Huey- Depends on your age and they're very specific about the bike. R1 is more expensive than FZ-1 just because it has fairings!
    - Are US car drivers as blind to bikers as UK drivers are? it's pretty lethal over here even wearing Hi-Viz and leaving lights on at all times....

    Huey - even more so. Way more so. I don't want to scare you but it's not just the blindness but the flippant attitudes.
    - If I (accidentally of course ) happened to go a couple of MPH over the speed limit, how do the police react? What sort of attitiude do they show to bikers? What sorts of fines etc?

    Huey- Most don't look at you going less than 10 over. If you do get nicked and are polite most cops are cool with bikers. This will explain the society over here: the few times I've been stopped the cop actually thanked me for stopping and not starting a chase. Seriously. Fines are pretty fair until you get to "super speeder". I can't quote it, google it... you don't want it!
    - Using the bike to commute: I'll be living perhaps 15 miles from my office, but the traffic is horrific, and it can be a 90 minute drive in the car.... but there seems a lot of space for a bike to filter between the traffic.... what are the rules and regulations in GA on this? Even though the roads and traffic seem tailor made for bikes to whizz around, I don't see many on the road.

    Huey - No filtering. Only in California. As Todd said you'll get a door by a jealous / vindictive redneck.
    - I have a Triumph ( Tiger 800xc ), a Ducati ( 1100 Monster ) and a Royal Enfield Bullet - so two Brit bikes and an Italian. Am I going to struggle to get spares and find mechanics with all the right tools and computers for services? Is it going to be more practical to think about selling them and buying something Japanese with a better parts supply?

    Huey- I own a shop but... we don't work on any of those except oil changes and tires. I can't think of a good Triumph shop I could recoomend right now. The Ducati take to The Duc Shop in MArietta near me. I could be talked into tinering with the Enfield. . But my vote: sell the Triumph and Duc and get a VFR and a GSX-R 600 track bike!
    I have been riding for a good few years, and my International Driving License lets me jump on a bike and ride, but I was thinking it might be sensible to get some training to bring me up to speed on US rules and regulations ( I need to get used to driving on the right for one thing.... ).... can anyone suggest a course that might be good? I can see that there are some beginners courses, but these are not really what I'm looking for.

    Huey - You don't need a course. With your Brit liscense you could probably teach our most advanced motorcycle safety foundation courses! Seriously, you've probably recieved more actual training to get your liscence than everyone on this board has combined! I can't think of a single course that would help with what you're asking. Few things: We're just now getting roundabouts in the South. The lights go straight to green. People will run over you if you try to stop at a yellow. No zebra crossings. Any lane is OK (seriously... they're having to make a LAW to make people stay right except for passing), You can leave it in gear at traffic lights. That's all I can think of for now.

    Thanks, and I hope to bump in to some of you guys on the road in the near future

    Steve
    Give us a bell when you get here. I know a few places for curry but you'd better get used to Mexican!
    Cheers, Huey

    Oh yeah: Fanny means bottom. :-) Seriously.
    Craig "Huey" Stewart
    "How fast do you wanna go?"

  6. #6
    Squid
    Join Date
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    Ducati 1100 Evo, Triumph Tiger 800XC, Enfield Bullet ( modern version )
    Guys,

    Thanks very much for your responses.

    Spicoli: Women over here drive cars 1/2 the weight and twice the speed - which I find a lot more scary, especially around blind bends. At least with Tanks you can see them coming a bit earlier.

    If it's OK, I'll ask a few more question based on what you said.
    From what you guys say, the concept of commuting on a bike seems a little hairy - do any of you guys commute to work? If so, how do you find it?

    Insurance questions:
    I'm 32 with a clean UK license. If I get rid of my Duc and Triumph, I would probably look for something like a VFR to commute on and a s1000RR or HP4 to have fun on - what sort of insurance costs do you think I might be looking at?

    Bike questions:
    It seems like Ducati and Triumph may be limited in terms of supply ( if there's only one Ducati place locally, it means they've got you over a barrel if you ever fall out with them ).
    What makes of bike are there in good supply with a good network around? I guess Honda by the number of CBR's on the forum, but I was wondering about BMW, Moto Guzzi etc, as well as Kwak's and Yamaha. BMW I'm especially interested in - selling the Duc and the Triumph would definately earn me enough Wife Points to get an HP4....... after all it's a very safe and sensible bike what with the active suspension.... I'm willing to take one for the team on that....

    Also - what are the rules regarding 2-strokes in Georgia please?

    As for equipment, how is that in the Atlanta area? Key requirement is to find a supplier of Michelin Pilot Road 3 types.... like most of Europe and the UK now I've made the switch, I will never, ever ride on anything else again.... if they aren't easily available, I would probably re-think riding in the US, they are just that good - the difference between being dead and alive.

    Riding:
    If there is no filtering, how about the rules regarding keeping either tight left or tight right and making head way that way? Not filtering in the UK will lead you to fail your test...... it's going to take a LOT of getting used to. Definate;y need to either find a course or hook up with some riders and ride behind them for a while I think.

    I take on board what you say about opening doors, but I ride like everyone is an idiot already, so hope I'll be OK. Besides, if someone DOES open a door, it's their door that's getting wrecked because at highway speeds, it's going to be safer to hit the door than to dump the bike into a different lane, and they may also find that an Arai to the face and an armoured glove to the groin makes then think the next time they see a biker.

  7. #7
    Senior Member wbeck257's Avatar
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    The DucShop isn't the only duc place around.. it is just the best.. in all the southeast, and some will argue the nation. There is a dealer down the street from you in Alpharetta, and two or three more within 45 minutes. There isn't a whole lot of independent shops (besides the DucShop) that like to work on ducs, but still plenty of support out there. You'll be fine if you keep the Duc.

    What sort of two-stroke? On-road? Year? There's ways around everything. Not a whole lot of street two strokes have been sold here since the 80's...

    No filtering, period. No cutting in line. No staying to the sides to get to the front. If you are coming up to a stop behind a car, you stop behind the car. And, here is another thing to get used to -- try not to pick fights. You might think your helmet and armored glove are gonna do some damage, but the gun the guy has in his door will probably do more damage to you. Not to scare you, but a lot of people carry weapons around here. It is something to be mindful of.

  8. #8
    I like triples, too. secondgen7's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SlowSteve View Post
    From what you guys say, the concept of commuting on a bike seems a little hairy - do any of you guys commute to work? If so, how do you find it?
    I've primarily commuted on bikes since I started riding in 05. Atlanta traffic sucks, there's no getting around that, and people are absolute idiots who pay zero attention to what is going on around them. However, it also generally saves me between 10 and 15 minutes on my all-highway commute each way and, more importantly, makes the commute that much more bearable (almost enjoyable, even).

    There are no guarantees, but as long as you ride with your head on a swivel, always expecting the drivers around you to make the worst decision possible, you should be ok. I generally find it's best to ride just above the pace of traffic as well - at least when it's moving.

    And to your earlier question about police attitude towards bikes: I've been fortunate enough to only get one ticket the past 8 years, and it was a bike cop that was pretty cool about it and gave me a decent break on the indicated speed. And on more than one occasion I've had an officer (running radar) give me a wave to slow down, instead of pulling out. If you ride like a sane person, you should be fine.

    Quote Originally Posted by SlowSteve View Post
    Insurance questions:
    I'm 32 with a clean UK license. If I get rid of my Duc and Triumph, I would probably look for something like a VFR to commute on and a s1000RR or HP4 to have fun on - what sort of insurance costs do you think I might be looking at?
    Insurance rates are incredibly variable from company to company . Your best bet would be to call an agent that can shop the rates for you. I was very fond of ACE but they just left the business ... http://www.hansardinsurance.com/home.html is the one that took over for them. I've not dealt with him personally (yet) but they speak very highly of him.

    Quote Originally Posted by SlowSteve View Post
    Bike questions:
    It seems like Ducati and Triumph may be limited in terms of supply ( if there's only one Ducati place locally, it means they've got you over a barrel if you ever fall out with them ).
    What makes of bike are there in good supply with a good network around? I guess Honda by the number of CBR's on the forum, but I was wondering about BMW, Moto Guzzi etc, as well as Kwak's and Yamaha. BMW I'm especially interested in - selling the Duc and the Triumph would definately earn me enough Wife Points to get an HP4....... after all it's a very safe and sensible bike what with the active suspension.... I'm willing to take one for the team on that....
    As mentioned, there is more than one shop that handles Ducs around town, and there's one of the best Aprilia/MV/Guzzi dealers in the US as well, if you were to opt for another Italian brand. I have a Speed Triple but haven't had to take it anywhere as I generally do my own wrenching, so I can't speak to any of the Triumph dealers (although there are a few). But there are also a good number of excellent independent shops around (like Huey's) that may or may not work on them - I believe MSP in Decatur is familiar w/Ducs and other European breeds as well.

    Quote Originally Posted by SlowSteve View Post
    As for equipment, how is that in the Atlanta area? Key requirement is to find a supplier of Michelin Pilot Road 3 types.... like most of Europe and the UK now I've made the switch, I will never, ever ride on anything else again.... if they aren't easily available, I would probably re-think riding in the US, they are just that good - the difference between being dead and alive.
    You should have no problem sourcing tires ... assuming the Euro PR3's are no different from the US version.

  9. #9
    Senior Member shnyhed's Avatar
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    And the food is a lot better here and more of it. and your conversion rate everthing will be a bargin! You can get pr3s all over the internet and most shops can get them without a problem. I run the pr2s.

    There is a BMW/ Ducati dealer in Marietta. A Triumph dealer in Kennesaw. another Bmw dealaer in Norcross, all jap dealer in Marietta as well. your covered in Atlanta!

  10. #10
    Just Ramm it Georgiacbr's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by shnyhed View Post
    And the food is a lot better here and more of it. and your conversion rate everthing will be a bargin! You can get pr3s all over the internet and most shops can get them without a problem. I run the pr2s.

    There is a BMW/ Ducati dealer in Marietta. A Triumph dealer in Kennesaw. another Bmw dealaer in Norcross, all jap dealer in Marietta as well. your covered in Atlanta!

    Food is better here depend's on what your looking for. Southern fried food is great here but Bbq go to Tenn Georgia isn't known for good Bbq. Mexican here to some degree is crap and pretty much non authentic Mexican food. Italian recipes here tend to be very good tho
    - I'm Eric and I approve this message

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