Forum Replies Created
How to Get Started on a Motorcycle
Eon, have you had your suspension set up by a pro (usually less than $50)? Are your front springs matched to your weight (usually around $150 installed)? Those two things make a big difference for most riders.
When I first read 100+ bikes I thought, absolutely not! I hate those moto parades. Then I saw you doing it right by going with a small group. The snow covered mountain is scenic but looked pretty cold. When it gets down to the 40s it becomes a challenge for me to stay warm on long rides , since I have no heated gear. A month ago it got so warm here (I think it was consistently over 70) I was sweating during my ride to lunch. The past couples of weeks winter returned with a vengeance with the cold and rain, even though it’s officially spring now, and I’m loving the bad weather riding.
This topic is almost like asking a) how often do you change oil? and b) what kind of oil you use? There’s what the manual tells you to do, and there’s what people actually do, and some of it is very surprising. One the one end of the extreme, you have people changing oil every 500 miles, when the manual says 3k miles. On the the other end of the extreme, you have people who says it’s fine to change oil every 7k miles or more if you use synthetic, and they have oil analysis data to back that up. For chain lube, the common recommendation is every 500-600 miles, but like TrialsRider pointed out, there are many high mileage riders, including adventure riders who do a lot of dirt, who say they hardly ever clean sealed chains (o-ring and/or x-ring), lube infrequently, yet their chains still last a long time. There are those who say WD40 eats o-ring seal, and others who say they use nothing but WD40 on their o-ring chains. One time I asked a trusted bike mechanic (from the UK where it rains a lot) if I needed to lube the chain much more often during the winter rainy seasons, and he surprised me by replying that you might do it a bit more (like lubing every 3-400 miles instead of the normal 5-600 miles) but not a hell a lot more.
Personally, I feel the manuals’ recommendations are conservative for normal use, so I tend to stretch my oil change and chain lube intervals.
My forearms get a little sore from twisting the throttle and shifting after 6-8 hours of riding in the hills, but I get no wrist pain. From your avatar I assume you ride a cruiser with high bars so the wrist pain is not from putting weight on your wrists while you ride. Can’t comment on your pre-existing carpal tunnel. One thing to try is to adjust the angle of the brake and shift levers, so when you squeeze on the levers, your wrists are at a natural angle. More often than not, the lever angles are off for a new owner. Second is to relax your grips. Wrap your hands around the grips very loosely, like your holding canaries – don’t want them to fly away, but don’t want to squeeze and hurt them either.
About stalling when taking off from a stop, try giving it more throttle, and slipping the clutch more. Beginners tend to let out the clutch too quickly, and not give it enough throttle (afraid the bike will jump up to speed too quickly) -> the bike stalls. Instead, give it more throttle, but let out the clutch much, much slower. How quickly/slowly you let out the clutch controls how fast/slow you take off from a stop.
Congrats, Eon! By all account it’s a very nice bike. Many people are not keen on its looks but I think it looks great, kind of Super-KLR-ish, or a poor-man’s F650GS. I may eventually get one to replace my SV650.
This site was great when I was brand new to motorcycling two years ago. It’s easy to digest, not intimidating, and the advise on the type of bikes a beginner should consider are spot on.
The memory of being a total newbie is still very fresh for me, so after gaining some experience, I keep coming back with the intent of helping brand new riders just like I was not long ago. I have to say, however, it got tiring after seeing, “Which bike should I get for my first bike?” asked once or twice a week. The lack of search function on this site is a big drawback. Also, a forum is only as good as the members who are willing to share their experience and knowledge, and it seems like this forum has many lurkers, but few contributors.
Jeff in Kentucky, how do you know that “the owner has split”?
Being a supermoto (w/ 17″ wheels and street tires) it looks like a cool/fun bike mainly for pavement. If you really expect to ride a lot of dirt (which is great fun), you’re better off with the dual-sport version of that bike – 21″ front/18″ rear wheel with knobby tires.
The first time I felt my GS500 was underpowered was during a group ride. We came out of the hills and turned onto Hwy 1 (Pacific Coast Highway). Everybody on bigger bikes just took off. I had my throttle pinned and wished for more power.
Another time, on a freeway going against a stiff headwind, it topped out at a steady 75 mph, at 6,500 rpm in 6th gear, with the throttle wide open. It would not go any faster. That gave me a real lesson on aerodynamics, wind resistance and horsepower. Before that, I never expected or experienced drag-limited top speed at only 75 mph. I guess if the headwind was blowing at 35 mph, my relative speed against the air was 110 mph.
I enjoy the manual shifting aspects of driving/riding a lot, but I can see this may have more to do with the present day technology than an intrinsic pleasure. Automatic transmission designs in cars have reached the point of outperforming manual even in race cars. Manual shifting, while vastly satisfying to operate for many performance-minded drivers, is becoming more of a hobby than a necessity. It would be very interesting to see what technology will bring to motorcycle transmissions in the next 20 years.
My first thought was this is indeed a pretty strange question, but then I remember when I was a kid and had only seen stick-shift cars, I had no idea how a car with automatic transmission worked. I thought you would see the “shift lever” moving thru the gears automatically in a car with auto transmission. So here goes –
In a car with manual transmission, you select the gear manually by using your left foot to operate the clutch pedal, and your right hand to control the shift lever. On a bike with manual transmission, you select the gear manually by using your left hand to control the clutch lever, and your left foot to control the shift lever.
In a car/bike with auto transmission, the transmission does the shifting and gear selection for you, so there is no clutch nor shift lever for the operator to control.
I visit China a lot and was told that motorcycles are NOT allowed on the freeway there. They’re also banned in many major cities. The small displacement bikes and scooters are mostly for local transportation in smaller towns. For long distance, most people take trains/busses. Riding across the country, i.e., long distance touring, especially on a small bike, would be pretty hard logistically.
500cc (i.e., GS500, Ninja 500)
I prefer to have a 600 I4/650 twin, or bigger/more powerful engine, to comfortably cruise in the fast lane.January 5, 2011 at 7:47 am in reply to: One possible tactic for cars making a left turn toward you #28996
I find the above post questionable in a number of ways –
– Riding directly at a car further reduces the driver’s ability to judge your distance/speed. That makes yourself harder to see, because you’ve reduced any side-way movement to the opposing driver and made yourself look like a stationary object.
– From farther away, the angle would be so shallow it wouldn’t make much difference.
– From closer in, the time would be so short it woudln’t make much difference.
– Counting on moving left to clear the car’s tail as it left turns in front of you? What if that driver panicked and stopped mid-turn? You should never “assume” what the other guy would do, because he’d do the opposite.
The normal advice to guard against a left turner is to keep your speed in check, keep your distance, stay alert, cover the brakes and be prepared for a stop. Take any of these internet posts, mine included, with a grain of salt. Your results may vary.
I kept my first bike for about 1 yr 6 months. By that time I had 4 bikes, my side of the garage was full, so I had to sell one of them to make room for another. It was nice to have room to walk around for a while. Now I’m back to 4 bikes and back to the same problem – which one would I sell so there’s room for another?
If I could have only one bike at a time, I probably would have sold the first one before one year, because I’m always itchy to try something different.
Some people think the first generation SV650 looks similar to Ducati Monsters (not the Streetfighters, though). However, you’re better off focusing on finding a bike that’s good to learn on, rather than on the looks. Read the “motorcycle reviews” section of this site and old posts in the forum for ideas.