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The Best Motorcycle Helmets for Beginners Under $500 [2023 Edition]
I didn’t watch that video (at work earlier) until just now, and I was a little surprised. This looked more like a trail ride obstacle course, the type of riding that I hope to learn to do (going to an “offroad challenge class” on Sunday as my first step) rather than what I thought trials was. The skills in this video look very helpful for advanced street riding.
When I hear trials, though, I normally think of videos of tall boulder scaling/jumping, like in your avatar, the kind that you would never ever encounter on a street nor hope to do on anything less than a dedicated trials bike. Or those free-style street trials where they ride over cars, pulling wheelies up/down stairs, on top of bridge railing, 8-ft + drop kind of stuff. So there are many different forms of trials?
While the skills displayed by trials riders are mind boggling (and look like a lot of fun), I see very little coorelation between trials riding and normal street riding, in terms of equipment and techniques. Am I wrong, TrialsRider?
I thought the Vulcan 500, being a twin, had more power than the single cylinder Savage 650, which is supposed to be pretty tame.
Dual-sport bike choice is very simple – how good a dirt rider are you? If you’re an accomplished dirt rider and can handle those big adventure bikes offroad, by all means get the fancy (expensive) BMWs if that’s what you want. I’ve never ridden a real dirt bike and my dirt skills are limited, so for me to have fun offroad, the cheaper/ligher the bike, the better.
I spray WD-40 into a rag, the wrap the rag around the chain and pull the chain thru the rag by rotating the rear wheel. After that, I clean off the WD-40 as much as possible with a clean rag, then spray chain lube (BelRay Superclean) directly onto the chain.
Of the 650 dual-sports from Japan, Honda XR650L is the tallest and considered the most off road worthy, Kawasaki KLR650 is the heaviest and considered the most highway worthy. Suzuki DR650 is in-between in terms of on/off road, and the lowest in seat height; many feel the DR650 is the best compromise, and that’s what I’d get.
I came within an inch of getting a DR650 but the deal fell through. I ended up getting a DRZ400sm instead and have been very happy with it for the type of riding I do – day long ride in the hills on crappy pavement, and the occasional dirt/gravel trails. DR650 is a little heavier, can carry a heavier load, more suitable for highway (due to higher gearing) and long distance touring (higher load capacity). DRZ is more agile and sporty, sexier (especially the SM version), and better off road (due to the lighter weight).
1. A few days ago on my way home, I made a hard right at the intersection onto my home stretch. As I came around the corner, I noticed a car parked next to the curb on the right, very closed to the intersection, was about to pull into my path. To her, a second ago I wasn’t there, and a second later I came around the corner and sped past her. To me, there was very little reaction time when I went around the corner fast like that. If I got there a second or two later, that car would have pulled out and in my path as I came around the corner.
2. I was following a SUV which slowed to turn right into a driveway, and I was going to continue and go straight. Before the SUV turned right, I saw there was another car ready to come out of that driveway. Since the SUV was between me and that car waiting in the driveway, I thought that the car driver might not have seen me. Sure enough, as the SUV turned right into the driveway, that car came out of the driveway thinking it’s all clear, directly in front of me, to turn left.
3. I was behind a big rig dirt hauler at a freeway off ramp. The light turned green, and the big rig made a slow and wide right turn, and took the second lane from the right. I turned right to the far right lane, thought about accelerating pass that big rig from the right, but something didn’t feel right. Why wasn’t he moving into the far right lane? I decided to hang back, move left, and pass him on the left instead. Just then, I saw another big rig, which I didn’t see earlier and was ahead of the one I was behind, starting to turn right into a lot. He was taking 2 lanes to turn right. Shortly after, the big rig I was following also turned right into the same lot. Had I tried to pass it on the right, that big rig could have nailed me with his wide right turn.September 4, 2010 at 7:11 pm in reply to: Article that compares Yamaha FZ6R, Suzuki GSX650F, and Kawasaki Ninja 650R (… and FZ8!) #28480
About the same weight but much more powerful and with more modern design, a late model 600 I4 or 650 twin will feel way different from a GS500.
See if you can find a regional moto forum in the LA area with riders who’re familiar with the area. There are like only 6 guys scattered across the country posting regularly in this forum.September 4, 2010 at 3:54 pm in reply to: Article that compares Yamaha FZ6R, Suzuki GSX650F, and Kawasaki Ninja 650R (… and FZ8!) #28472
Absolutely read between the lines and choose the best bike based on your own preference.
Since your first bike is a GS500 (me too), it’d be nice to get an inline 4 next so you’d get a taste of an I4. To me, a torquey twin is nice on a very tight road or at lower speed, but an I4 is more thrilling when the road opens up.
The 531 lbs curb weight of the GSX650F is mind boggling. I read it uses the same frame/chassis as a Bandit 1200 except they put a 650 engine in there, and that explains the weight. That’s way more weight than it should have for a 650.
FZ8’s expected MSRP is US$8,490.
I’ll go out on a limb and say that the only 250 worth considering is the Ninja 250. Between a GS500 and a Ninja 250, the choice is fairly easy for most people, because although these two bikes have somewhat similar maximum performance, they have pretty different characters.
First you ask if you like the fully-faired racy look? I prefer the naked look for my first bike, so I went for a naked GS500. If you prefer a fully-faired bike, then you can still compare a newer faired GS500 with the Ninja and decide.
Then you ask if you prefer a lighter bike with a higher-strung engine (the Ninja), or a heavier bike with a torquier/more relaxed engine (the GS500)? Do you like to rev it like you stole it without going that fast (this could be fun or tiring, depending on your mood), or are you happier to putt along at lower rev?
Then you search Craigslist to see what’s available, what’s the best deal, and weigh your decisions.
It looks easy on You Tube when they back the bike up, but I have not been able to pick up my bikes (GS500, SV650, DRZ400sm) by backing my butt into the seat like they do. Usually my bike would be lying a weird way, on dirt shoulder, or a slope, with loose footing, and I just couldn’t seem to squat that low and get enough foot traction and body leverage to back my body into the bike. It could be the type of bike and how low it lies, like eon said, and it could also be something wrong with my technique.
What I do instead is to use the handlebar as a lever, squat down and hold the grip with both hands, and dead-lift the bike up. Since this is a straight-up lift, loose footing is much less of a problem (except the time when I was standig on a steeply sloped dirt trail). You need to have enough strength to dead lift 70-90 lbs (my estimate) initially with the bike lying flat, depending the bike, but it quickly gets lighter as the bike moves upright. Still, I got a sore back for days every time I did this. Again, poor lifting technique.
Your size is not a problem – seeing 5-10 year-olds sliding and jumping on motocross tracks convinced me of that – so don’t let your size discourage you. Riding, like skiing, skating, mountain biking, etc., is a learned skill. It doesn’t come naturally to the vast majority of us, so you just need to keep at it.
Riding is about finding that balance point, and when you lose that balance even the biggest guy woudn’t be able to keep a bike upright, with the tremendous weight and momentum. I’m 6′, 170, and my back gets sore for a few days everytime I had to pick up my bike. I know to use my legs and not my back, but it’s not easy.
A lot of the small mishaps of a new rider can be avoided if you had an experienced rider giving you a few extra pointers. Internet helps a lot, but still most of us sort of find our way in the dark and learn from each small mistakes. Where I am I find a lot of experienced riders are generous with their offer to help a new rider; I often had to politely turn down the persistent offers to help because I dont like to trouble people. I know I’d be perfectly happy to spend some time tutoring a new rider on my free time.
When I said don’t think too much about countersteering, I meant not trying to figure out the “physics” behind it too much in the beginning; you can do it later when you want a brain teaser. Concentrate on the “action” – push the grip forward on the side you want to turn.
I really dislike the choice of word in “countersteering”. To me, this word describes more a concept than a physical action, and it can’t help but leads to a lot of unnecessary confusion on the physics behind it. If you tell a non-rider that you “countersteer” to turn, you’ll get a blank look. If you tell a non-rider that you “push the handgrip forward on the side you want the bike to turn”, that’s plain English description of a physical action that everyone understands.
“push steering” means the same thing as “countersteering”; they describe the same action using different words. “Push steering” is a direct-term, like saying, “do this”; “countersteerig” is an indirect-term, like saying, “do the opposite”. For most people a direct term is more intuitive, less confusing.
I hope I’m not making this more confusing…
Ninja 500 is supposed to be similar to GS500, with maybe a slight performance edge. There are a lot of enthusiastic GS500 owners here and elsewhere; however, I’ve never seen Ninja 500 owners posting their experiences here. Wonder why…