My first ride out on the road.
August 4, 2009 at 10:06 pm #3235
Saturday was the first day my new Ninja 650R was home. She was clean and detailed for me upon delivery of the bike. Yea, I got it delivered since I didn’t feel 100% comfortable riding 30 miles back home since I only passed the MSF course back in June. I don’t feel like I had to prove anything so I coughed up the $50 to get it delivered. After the delivery guy dropped it off the trailer and put her in my spot, I immediately ran inside and got my gear on so I can drive her around the condo development. I spent about 30 minutes riding around in circles trying to get a feel for her and to get accustomed to all of the controls and I have to admit, I was a little overwhelmed since it’s been 2 months since I’ve been on a bike but I was smiling every minute I was on her. Last night was my second time riding and this time I upped the ante. After one go around the development, I decided to take her out on the road and let me tell you that I felt like I was going to $hit my pants.
The night was cool and traffic was light, I guess that was my motivation to get her out in the open. I told myself that I need to go out there and get myself acclimated with real life traffic situations so last night was the best opportunity to do so. After I take her around the development one time, I muster up the courage to whip her over to the left and drive her out the development. This is when I felt my heart go up in my throat. I started to breathe a little heavy so I took one deep breath as I pull up to the road which is a 55MPH zone. I rode faster than 30MPH let alone ride on a major roadway. I keep cool and make sure to concentrate on the clutch and throttle so I don’t stall. The coast looks clear so I pull out and begin shifting up as smooth as I can so I can get up to speed. I hold her on fifth so I can make sure I get up over the hill and give myself ample power to pick up speed quicker if I needed to. After coming over the hill, I can feel her wanting more speed so I upshift to 6th and I’m on my way down the road and around the bend. After the bend, the road begins to decline and the speed decreases to a 45MPH zone and a little further up the road will be my first traffic light. I get lucky cause the light was green and stayed that way until I passed, but sure enough, the next traffic didn’t fair in my favor. I’m behind a 1998 Toyota Corolla that is louder than my bike when I come to complete stop at the traffic light. For whatever reason, I decide to look down at my gauge to make sure I didn’t accidently shift in neutral. What I thought took a split second must have been longer than I thought. I look up and the Corolla is already 100ft. up the road. “Holy scheisse!” (Thank my wife for teaching me some German curse words ). So of course, instead of keeping my cool, I didn’t give her enough gas and let the clutch go…and then of course I stall. I feel like an ass so I take another deep breath, get her powered up and this time remember to give her the power she demands. After a few minutes of feeling like an idiot, I quickly get over it and focus at the task at hand: keeping myself keen, alert, and safe. Half an hour later, I realize I drove 20 miles up the road with no stalling at all. I began building more confidence the longer I rode and a few waves from fellow riders boosted up my ego as well. Believe it or not, I got a wave from a guy on a chopper and a Harley rider which made me smile from ear to ear! Anyway, the road was a little windy with ups and down so it wasn’t boring at all, but not too challenging so it was just right for me. After 20 miles riding, I reached my destination that I set out before I hit the road and took a 10 minute break to think about my mistakes and how I could’ve done certain things differently. After my break was over, I hop on and head back home.
I don’t know if I pushed it for my first time on the road, I completed the 40 mile trip without any cuts, scrapes or broken fairings. I was proud of myself for pulling it off, but at the same time I was a little upset with a few things such as the stall and nearly dropping the bike when I just got home! Overall, I had a great time riding and realized a lot of the stuff at learned at MSF is true. The one thing that echo’s in the back of my mind was something my instructor reiterated several times throughout the course, “Riding is 10% physical and is 90% mental.” That’s what I took away from my ride and something I have to keep reminding myself when I’m out there; plan my route, strategize, and be mentally prepared before hitting the road. Also, I will try my best not to look down at the LCD gauge display even though it’s so pretty .August 4, 2009 at 10:40 pm #21222Joseph HannaParticipant
Congrats on your bike and your first ride…must have pumped you up.
Please be safe and……………and ride it (her?) safelyAugust 5, 2009 at 1:08 am #21226fl adamParticipant
Great to hear. I was the same way…Passed the MSF course in Dec and did not start riding until I got my bike (’03 650 V-Star Classic) in June. I practiced on side roads until I got the courage to go on the open road. I stalled several times at stop lights and signs. I was getting real frustrated until I slowed down and concentrated on what I was doing. Now I have taken it to work several times and have almost 300 miles on it. Getting more confident the more I ride. The MSF course helped out a lot…August 5, 2009 at 2:29 am #21232owlieParticipant
Sounds like a great trip. Good job on keeping your cool.
You might spend some time duck walking the bike to get used to your clutch.August 5, 2009 at 4:57 am #21248EliasParticipant
I have years of experience with bike clutches, and even I stalled at a light driving my bike the 30 miles home from where I bought her this weekend. Don’t let it eat you up, because even if you were a pro at shifting bikes, you would still have to learn the friction zones and clutch limits of a new bike. Glad you had a good safe ride, have fun and think ahead.August 9, 2009 at 8:26 pm #21415Clenzer72Participant
Congrats on the bike.
My first reaction to reading your story is that your using too many gears. Look at the tach…alot different then your car huh? Cars usually shift around 3500 rpm and redline at what 5 or 6?? (been a while since I e been in a car) but get usd to riding in higher rpms. You’ll be able to focus more on riding/turning/stopping than shifting to 5th to go 60mph.
Find a big lot and redo the MSF course on your bike. Start with duck walking to get a good sence of the clutch and progress from there. Practice your stopping! It’s easy to get up to speed, but alo harder to stop!
Take it slow, seat time, practice and muscle memory will increase as you get used to the bike.
A good tip, slow speed menuevers require the rear brake and clutch! If your slowly turning into your spot and
grab that front brake you might take a little dip.
Ride in your comfort zone, as it expands so will your riding.
the MSF website and YouTube have alot of the exersizes to use.
Don’t beat yourself up over small stalls or mistakes, new rider + new bike = learning curve!August 9, 2009 at 10:48 pm #21419
Yea, I tried keeping the RPM’s lower than 4000 for the first 1000 miles recommended by the manual, which is why I went up all the way to 6th gear on the 55MPH zones. It sucks that right when I leave my condo development, I have no choice but to hit 55 to keep up with everyone and not get plowed over.
Would you recommend I take the bike out of the development and drive to nearby parking lot? What would be the best lot to practice without getting the cops called on me?August 10, 2009 at 12:22 am #21421Clenzer72Participant
Uh-oh… Here comes the great break-in debate.
Do some searching on proper breakin procedures for modern bikes.
I am of the ride it like it’s going to be ridden group, not the reccomended by manual group. Research and decide which you believe and ride appropriatly.
I don’t think anyone will call the cops if your in a lot practicing, and even if they did I’m sure the cops would give you a pat on the back for practicing (given that your legal) You’re not out there doing stoppies, highchairs, heel clicks and burnouts!
I’m not sure what your development or city is like, but you just need an open area big enough to give you room to do practice manuevers, no gravel, slopes, curbs. If you have to hit the road to get there then that’s what you got to do. Maybe pack a backpack with “cones” half cut tennis balls, frisbee, something to mark your points.
Picks of new bike always make a thread better ***hint hint***August 10, 2009 at 1:37 am #21423
I have a few lots around here that sound just right… I might stay away from Price Chopper since that’s where all the “Fast and Furious” kids hang out… hehe. No drifting for me!
I got some pics posted on Pics and Video section.August 11, 2009 at 8:51 pm #21520SafetyFirstParticipant
I used the doctor’s parking lot behind the hospital a block down the street. After about 6 PM, the daytime doctors have gone home for the night. And, the thinking was that if it ever went too far, I can crawl my way inside to the ER and save the ambulance charge. It wasn’t the best surface, there was some small gravel at parts and sand traps, but it worked. Imagine my amazement when I hit a small rock in the emergency braking practice, that stop took a bit longer.
My other favorite place to practice, once I got enough confidence up to ride around town, is the vocational school’s parking lot. Which just also happens to be where they teach the MSF classes, so the markings are on the pavement.
The main thing to worry about is car traffic, the edges of the parking lot, and the light poles. You don’t want to hit any of those. Also, watch out for parking lot crap, like smashed soda cans, beer bottles (college parking lots), McDonalds’s bags, chunks of broken concrete. Capt. Crash found a solution to that — use parking lot crap as cones in a cone weave.
And if someone tells you to buzz off, then do it. It’s so much easier just to say sorry and leave, then turn it into a trespassing charge because you had to be thickheaded.August 11, 2009 at 9:07 pm #21521Zig308Participant
Congrats… same boat here. I almost bought the Ninja650, but with with the Yamaha FZ6R in the end. Dealer delivers tomorrow.
I’ve already been on a real road once with a CBR600, but when we got where we were going, I could feel just a bit of adrenaline going through my system having just gone a whopping 50mph on something with no seat belt or air bags.August 12, 2009 at 12:21 pm #21531
Congrats on the FZ6R… I butt tested a FZ6R and it’s very nice. I ended up getting the Ninja650R since the price was just right. The dealer knocked off a few hundred bucks from the sticker price and didn’t charge me any freight fees. Even trailored the bike to my place which is 30 miles from the dealership for $50. They were good to me.
Today is your day with your new machine, have fun and be safe. Post some pics when you get a chance.August 12, 2009 at 11:31 pm #21558Zig308Participant
Thanks… just got it a couple hours ago…sitting in the garage…
Had to make dinner, then it poured rain, now I have to give my son a bath and go to bed…
Maybe I’ll take it around the neighborhood tomorrowAugust 13, 2009 at 12:34 pm #21567
This rain is killing me. I wanted to go out yesterday after grocery shopping but down came the rain. This summer has been a real let down. But congrats on the bike! Since it’s taking a nap in the garage, you should sneak in and take some pics for us.
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