Forum Replies Created
This is confusing me:
Picture 4 (rider crouched right down) -> resulting in more bike lean than picture 5.
Picture 5 (rider sitting high) -> resulting in less lean than picture 4.
How can this be right?! Picture 5 (rider sitting high) = top heavy = higher CG, so how can it be more effective in turning than Picture 4 (rider crouched right down) = lower CG?
Do we see racers sitting high like that to reduce lean, increase cornering traction/speed?July 17, 2009 at 6:47 am in reply to: SV650 > FZ6 –upgrade, lateral change, downgrade, or what? #20703
I’ve been looking for a clean first-gen SV650 for a long time. Already got a GS500 and a YZF600R so don’t NEED another bike, but everybody’s been talking how great a SV is so I’d like to own one just to see. What are the design flaws/electrical problems you mentioned, other than the burned rectifier issue you wrote about?
Have you considered getting a low mileage, first-gen FZ1 as a replacement for your SV?
A few months ago I had a private shop (non-dealer) did an oil change plus minor tune-up (changed spark plugs, topped off fluids, lubed things, blew clean air filter, etc.) and that cost about $180 for my ’01 GS500 here in San Jose, CA. I didn’t do valve adjustment, but they told me it would be 2 hr labor + parts (valve shims) = about $200. So, if you’re first service for $250 includes valve inspection/adjustment, that sounds like a good deal to me. If you like your existing clutch friction zone engagement point, tell the shop not to mess with it; I had to adjust the clutch cable back to where I liked it after the shop adjusted it during their service.
I recently had my ’01 GS500 serviced at a local, independent motorcycle shop. Oil change alone added up to about $90-$100, parts and labor. Compared to a $30 oil change for a car that seems unreasonable, but it is what it is. In addiion, they changed the spark plugs, topped off the brake fluid, lubed the brake lever and the chain, cleaned the air filter, adjusted the clutch (which I had to adjust back to my own liking), adjusted the tire pressure (which I also had to re-adjust). The total came to about $260. Yes, that seemed high, and I could have done most of the work myself to save money, but it was my decision to pay a professional shop to do the work while I used my time for something else.
Given what I just paid, it seems like what the dealership just charged you was in the ball park of the going rate. I’m not saying it’s cheap, just that that’s what services cost nowadays.
I’m 6′ even, 32″ inseam, 170lbs, and had never operated a motorcycle before January 09. I started on a ’01 GS500E which has been great. The night I finished the MSF class I took my GS out for a ride in the neighborhood. Being first time out on real streets on a motorcycle, I didn’t really know what I was doing but the GS worked great – very controllable, no evil tendency. To make an analogy, it’s like driving a Honda Civic – easy to operate, no surprises. I can easily flat-foot on the GS, so at 5’10” I would guess you can flat-foot it too.
I’ve ridden about 2700 miles on my GS so far. This is what I think now:
1. Fun on twisty roads in the hills. Plenty of power for this since you’re limited by your cornering skills.
2. No problem on the freeway. It’ll cruise easily at 80-90 mph. I’ve taken it up to 100 mph (at over 8000 rpm in sixth gear) and it still felt stable.
3. For stop-and-go surface street riding, it begins to feel a little slow and could use more torque/power.
Again, I want to say it feels like a Civic in the car world – once it gets rolling and builds up speed the nimble handling is great and fun. But in stop-n-go it’s fairly low power does not give you the “wow” like a higher powered motorcycle/car would.
I fill up about every 200 miles, and I think it probably still has another 40-50 miles of reserve before the tank runs dry. My average fuel economy over 2700 miles is around 57 mpg.
Yup, still happens to me now and then. To physically verify that I’m really in first (instead of neutral, or even second some times), I would get back into the friction zone to move the bike forward a couple of inches. That way I know for sure if the bike is ready to take off from a stop.
When I first started riding in January 09 I bought a pair of high top work boots to satisfy the MSF class requirement on foot wear. They looked good and were comfortable enough to wear all day. One day, at the end of a 80 miles ride, I messed up a 3 mph u-turn in front of my house, hit the curb, dropped the bike, and during the jump off I nicked my shin slightly. Wasn’t too bad, but the high-top work boot was not high enough to protect my shin. The next day I bought of pair of tall motorcycle boots. These tall boots are pretty much limited to riding; I change to regular footwear after getting off the bike. Still, more protection is alway better in my mind, so I always put the tall motorcycle boots on when I ride.April 17, 2009 at 6:02 am in reply to: Best bikes for the vertically challenged beginner? #17818
As a new rider I was often surprised that the ground next to where I stopped was not flat, but slopes down. Could be from a dip in the driveway, could be from a slight incline, could be due to the crown of the road, could be the height difference between pavement and unpaved shoulder, etc. I would realize that after I had stopped. If you could flat foot a bike on flat ground, that gives you some cushion when the ground slopes away. If you have to tip-toe on flat ground, you won’t be able to reach the ground when it slopes away even a little. You’re likely to drop the bike during a stop that way.
I don’t know why your bike stalls like that but I know octane rating has nothing to do with the “richness” of the gas. Higher octane means there is more anti-knock additive in the gas. If your bike (or a car for that matter) is working right, there is no way for the small difference in octane rating (87 or 91) to cause stalling.
My bike is a 2001 GS500 with a small Givi fly screen. I rode on surface streets for 10 days and about 300 miles before getting on the freeway for the first time. The surface streets included some sections of expressways where I would go about 60-65 mph which gave me some close-to-freeway speed experience. When I first got onto the freeway I got out at the next exit to make sure I felt ok. Then I re-enter the freeway and went for a few miles which felt mostly ok. You’re right that the first thing I noticed was the wind blast, the second was the wind roar. If you let the wind blow your body backward it tends to make you straight-armed which made turning difficult. At first I felt I was locked into a general path but had much less control on quick direction change compared to riding at lower speed. The I found out leaning forward a bit, unlock the elbows and loosen the arms and just relax made things smoother. You’d get used to the speed and become desensitized quickly. One section of the freeway I ride has grooves that made my bike wander and oscillate slightly, made me feel like the wheels were loose or something. Now I just relax and let the bike do its slight wander. Two weeks ago I was riding Hwy 1 (coastal highway) on a super windy day going about 70 mph. The wind was strong (something like 40mph gusts per weather report) and unpredictable as the road changed direction followed the coast line and as the terrain closed in and open up. My upper body was being blown around like a sail in all directions, it got so bad I was concerned about being blown off the bike and I struggled to held my knees against the tank. But I kept my hands steady and not let the body movements affect my steering input, and my bike remained very controllable. After about 30 mile of that I had enough and turned inland to get out of the wind exposure.
Riding on a calm day (light breeze) is certainly much more comfortable. Even then, the direction you go relative to the wind direction makes the big difference. Yesterday I went up to 100 mph (very briefly just to see what it’s like) then slowed down to about 90 in a south-east direction and thought, hey, the wind blast was not that bad at all. It felt gentle. Then I turned north and felt the wind blast was much stronger going 70 mph.
By the way I have a waterproof winter jacket and a mesh summer jacket. I didn’t feel the jacket made any difference when it came to wind blast.March 24, 2009 at 7:07 am in reply to: What after MSF class and a few days riding in traffic? #17305
I started riding this year and have about 1400 mils so far, so I’m still learning lot of new things everyday. I also wondered if attending a non-racing type track school was the way to quickly learn beyond the basic MSF course, but it turned out there are a lot learning you can do on your own. A few things I’d like to share:
1. A lot about riding is mentally knowing what to do. I spent a lot of time reading books and motorcycle related internet sites. One of my favorite site on Motorcycle Tips and Techniques is http://www.msgroup.org/default.aspx
2. I think u-turn must be mastered early on by practicing in the parking lot. Practice it from a stand-start, and turn at different speed from 2 mph to 10 mph. Then practice a bunch of figure-8 from 2 mph to 10 mph in the parking lot. Varying the speed lets you see how steering transitions from direct-steering at low speed to counter-steering at around 6 mph. Don’t practice it in the street at first cause when you get confused you’d run out of room quickly. One day early on I rode 90 miles with no problem and felt pretty good about myself, but ended up messing up a 3 mph u-turn in front of my house, hit the curb and dropped the bike. I knew I should have practiced but didn’t take the time before dropping the bike. Once you’ve mastered the low speed u-turn you can handle any low speed maneuvers.
3. Uphill starts confounded me at first. I couldn’t imagine how anyone could deftly manipulate the rear brake, the throttle and the clutch just right to get moving. I finally figured out it’s as simple as staying in the friction zone longer, allowing the bike to pick up some speed before letting out the clutch completely. It’s very simple in retrospect, but it wasn’t obvious to me at first since I had my hands full trying to juggle the rear brake, the throttle and the clutch.
4. Twisty mountain roads are terrific training ground, but the first time I went on a twisty road it really took me by surprise. The sustained turns are very different from a simple 90 degree low-speed turn in the city. The first curve I hit I went wide and nearly went over the double-yellow line with cars coming from the opposite side. That scared the hell out of me. The road was damp, winding and steep, cars were on my tail, and I didn’t know how to determine entry speed, so that was a white-knuckled ride. I pulled over to let the cars behind me pass. That took the pressure to go fast off and I continued at my own rather slow pace. Later on I figured out although I knew all about counter-steering (push in the direction you want to go), I was so nervous so that when my right hand was pushing to turn right, my left hand was also pushing on the handle bar which nearly cancelled my steering input to go right, causing me not turn sharply enough. The solution is to deliberately push in the direction you want to turn and consciously back off the opposite hand. After a couple of hours riding in the twisties you’d get into a rhythm and the bike seems to magically steer itself without you consciously thinking about it. But, still, keep it slow and deliberate until you know you can trust your muscle memory to always provide the right steering input. And after taking enough turns you’d figure out the entry speed just by looking at the turns.
5. Ride as much and often as you can. I find myself loosing that riding rhythm after not riding for even just one day.
Friendly waves are cool when I’m just cruising around at a leisurely pace and once a while another rider comes by, but it gets kind of “artificial” (like a frozen smile when you pose for a picture too long) when there are a lot of riders and you feel like you have to wave at everyone you come across. Also, in the twisties riders should really keep the hands on the bar and focus on the road. Waving in many situations breaks the concentration and reduces safety margin. I guess nodding is a good alternative, but I’m also cool with some riders not waving/nodding. I just figure that they need to focus on the ride and there’s nothing wrong with that.
I was looking for a decent used bike and trying to decide between a GS500, a Ninja 500, or a SV650 as a first bike for the last 2 years. Ended up getting my 2001 GS500 on 1/4/09. Never ridden a motorcycle before. After getting the bike I took the MSF class, got my M1, and have ridden about 1400 miles so far. I commute to work when it doesn’t rain, and ride in the local mountains on the weekend. This bike can do it all – surface streets, freeways (I’ve take it up to about 90 mph so far), 30-65 mph scenic country roads with sweeping turns, very tight 5-20 mph trails with end-less blind corners, fast and twisty 15-60 mph mountain roads, etc. It’s not a torque monster, but the linear and user friendly power is there when you’re in the right gear from about 4-5k rpm and up. By 6k rpm the engine is singing happily and eager to do more. Earlier today I was on Highway 1 going about 60-70 mph. It was super windy – gusting up to 40 mph (per weather forecast) and very unpredictable as the terrain (dunes and hills) changed. My body was being blown around like a kite and I had to struggle to keep my legs held against the tank. The head wind was strong backing off the throttle just a bit felt like putting the brakes on. It was unnerving yet scary fun. But my GS500 was rock steady in the gusty cross wind as long as I kept my hands steady and not let my body motion affect steering input. The only thing the GS doesn’t have is the hugh amount of reserved torque/power that bigger bikes have. Sure, I’ve been day dreaming about getting a SV650, or ZRX1200R or FZ1 (for their “crazy acceleration” and reserve power rather than just “more than enough acceleration”) next now that I’m totally addicted to riding a motorcycle, but my GS is so capable and so much fun I’ll probably keep it for a long time.
San Jose, CA