Forum Replies Created
How to U-turn on a Motorcycle
Did you know how to drive stick before taking the class? I can’t imagine an MSF class being my first encounter with shifting!
Like other folks here, I spent a LOT of time in the parking lot practicing basic skills before going on the street. I also took my MSF class after months of practice (long waiting list to take it). I already knew all the stuff in the class but I was still amazed at the fast pace. They blew through stuff in a few hours that I had spent months on. I couldn’t believe any of my classmates were keeping up: many of them had NO previous riding experience! So if you aren’t one of those people who just gets it in one day, don’t despair.
Do you have any friends who ride? 1on1 parking lot lessons at your own pace can be great! (Be careful what kind of bike you learn on though…)
Muscle memory, trusting the gyroscopic effect of the bike, progressive braking during an emergency stop…these things take time and practice to get right.
I applaud your dedication to wearing gear, but I think you should do yourself a favor and make it an easy habit to keep!
I will echo what others have said: get vented easy to wear street gear that you will ALWAYS WEAR NO MATTER WHAT. The example of going out to get half and half or mail a check is the perfect one. Sadly, I’ve already crash tested my gear (new rider this season!). I had to get up early to make a meeting at work, and took a risk in a situation that had traffic patterns I wasn’t used to (8am traffic is very different than 10am traffic). I made it but ended up going too hot into a tight turn, dragged the pegs trying to make it and lowsided. In hindsight, a million things I would have done differently…lesson(s) learned!
I got lucky and there were no cars in the two oncoming lanes of traffic I skidded across. I was wearing:
cortech FSX II jacket
shift kevlar reinforced riding jeans
a-stars SMX-R boots
snell + dot HJC helmet
I can’t remember the model of my gloves
I was completely uninjured. $1000 damage to the bike as it got wedged under the guard rail on the opposite side of the road, tore some seams and holes in my jacket, sanded down the nice moulded armor pieces on the boots completely flat, the black painted metal studs on the palms of my gloves are now shiny and pock-marked, and the seams of the gloves show some slight wear although the stitching held. There were several large holes torn through the bottoms of the legs of the jeans (no reinforcement) at where my boots were, and the boots absorbed all the damage. (And are still completely wearable and look awesome still! A+++ for the smx-r!) The butt and theighs of the jeans show a few tiny spots of distress, but completely held up in the tough/reinforced spots where I must have slid. Another tiny miracle: I was wearing a big backpack at the time, and early on in the slide I happened to roll onto my back and slid backwards on the backpack for much of the distance (it is full of holes but still usable as well!).
The point is…I was late for work, rushing in for a meeting. I have gear that I always wear no matter what and I can put on in about one minute. It was more than enough to save my bacon, and if I *HAD* been hit by a car, it wouldn’t have mattered if I had on leathers or cortech…
Gear is like sunscreen. The difference between spf 45, 60, and 90 is really academic. The best stuff is the stuff you wear!
Look luck, and stay safe
I watched every vid on your channel a bunch of times before taking my test. Awesome stuff! Thanks for making this.
Grats! 650r is a blast
650 twins should be the most aggressive options you consider! Like others have said, forget about the gixxer or the cbr. Seriously, they won’t offer you anything! You will be able to ride faster, harder, and have more fun on a powerful bike you can actually control.
Some folks recommend staying away from an sv650 as a first bike. I would say, this is your call, but realize that sv650 or ninja650r should be treated as your “I’m going balls out!” options, and drop anything more powerful off your list. That said, I’m glad I started on a ninja 650, and very glad I didn’t get a 250 or 500. It’s all about an honest assessment about your own habits and control. A 650 will have more power than you can use – at least for a while. Can you respect that? When you start to lose control or make a mistake, will you be able to stay calm and recover?
I had ridden a powerful stick shift car for years, and I know that I’m able to stay calm in panic situations, like sudden loss of control on snow/ice. I also have a ton of friends who ride who gave me basically a private MSF class before I went on the road. On top of that, I live next door to a dmv that had the skills test painted in the parking lot, and spent hours and hours practicing. When I got my license, I got a perfect score. This is after hearing from lots of folks with years of riding experience that they didn’t think they could even pass the test on a 650. In addition, I watched hours of safety/skills videos on youtube, and I’m about halfway through reading Proficient Motorcycling.
All that said, I still made the following mistakes when I was learning:
1.) first lesson on the ninja: target fixation in a turn. rode straight off the parking lot onto the grass. stayed calm, and rode it back onto the pavement.
2.) parking lot cone weave + U-turn practice. Stopped the bike in the middle of a slow turn on a hill, and couldn’t get it back up. Had to let it down on the frame sliders and then pick it back up
3.) first or second street ride with a friend. started too soon behind him at an intersection taking a left turn at a light. in trying to recover, accidentally did a BIG clutch wheelie. I had already watched vids about how to handle wheelies so I gently rolled off the throttle, set the wheel back down, and took my turn.
You won’t know the crazy shit that you will do until you do it. When it happens, what protective gear will you be wearing? What will your emergency responses be? Will you be calm enough at all or will you freak out and lock up the rear brake, then release it and high-side? It’s hard to answer those questions about yourself at age 20, imo. But if you can, then 650 may be for you! Good luck
I’m also torn on riding pants. Grats on losing 70 lbs!!!May 4, 2010 at 4:42 am in reply to: New Female Rider….any Suggestions, Experiences or Words of Advice? #26154
And yeah, I talk myself through lines on twisties. No shame in that
Thanks! Yeah the MSF class is weird, since I’m already on the wait list and have already paid…just haven’t heard when my class will be. I even opted to take the weekday ones at locations far from my home (despite living next door to one). I’m serious about taking the class, but it may not be until later this season.
You make a good point about bad habits. The plus side (or not*), is that I have a TON of friends who ride who have all taken the MSF class. My early instruction from them was their best effort of recreating the class. I also did much of the bookwork for it when I got my riders permit. (In NH you can get a one-shot 30 day daytime riding permit if you take a written test…seems like basically the written half of the motorcycle certification).
I’ve been studious in building good basics (and not so basics), but like you say, it’s the stuff I don’t realize I’m doing wrong that will hurt me. And of course there’s no replacement for actual road time and experience physically building the habits that I know in my head.
*According to the Hurt Report, riders reporting “taught by friends/family” had a significantly higher accident rate than “self taught.”May 3, 2010 at 6:03 pm in reply to: How soon after getting your first bike did you go out on the freeway? #26142
Btw, I would suggest getting it registered/inspected (and maybe insured) ASAP, don’t wait until you have your license. At least in NH you don’t need a license to do ANY of those things, but you CAN be arrested for riding an unregistered bike. The insurance could go either way since it might cost more if you don’t yet have a license/course completion. However I got my insurance as soon as I got it inspected, and it was cheap as hell. You can always call later and tell them you have the MSF course and a license, and they’ll adjust your premiums.
As for highway, I haven’t yet done a real interstate highway, so I’m interested in reading this thread! Honestly the scariest thing to me I think are the hairpin on/offramps and crazy merging. Actually cruising on the superslab should be pretty easy. I’ve also heard trucks are a big problem, since they create a pretty big amount of turbulence…you have to actually lean INTO the truck. Yikes!
As for speed, that’s the easiest part! I hit 90+ mph in my first solo ride on a wide straightaway (back-roads highway I guess you could call it). It’s the slow parking lot manoeuvres that feel scary to me. I get the sensation I could dump the bike at any moment…at least when I’m doing it wrong! It’s hard to go fast in a straight line “wrong.”
With the research I did, both the SV650 and the ninja650r came up as good beginner bikes in about the same category. The head-to-head comparison review I read summarized it that the ninja650 was a little easier on beginners, but had a slightly lower skill cap, whereas the SV650 was a little harder up front, but you could eventually do a little more with it.
Personally I don’t like the partially-faired look of the classic SV650 and the fully faired models are only very recent and I couldn’t find any for sale used. It ended up coming down to the best deal though and I found a great deal on a ninja 650r that had 600 miles on it, so I went with that.
I would not recommend the ninja 500…it’s old technology and ugly imo.
The previous poster makes a good point about a ninja250…it might be good for city commuting. It’ll be easier to make sharper turns, and you wont’ get yourself into as much trouble in tight situations in traffic. Of course, the 650 is better able to get out of its own way if you need to take evasive action, get around on the highway, etc. You may also get bored of the 250 quickly, especially if a cbr125 was too weak.
If you get an sv650 or a ninja650 I think you will be happy
Forgot to mention, I’m 5’6” (28″ inseam) and even with a lowering link on the 650r I can’t get both feet flat on the ground if I’m in thin soles. You’ll probably want to get it lowered, or if you are lucky, find one that’s already lowered! I got mine off craigslist with 600 miles on it. It was ridden by the seller’s wife – a new rider who had frame sliders installed and had it lowered. She ended up not liking it, and I was happy to take over for her.
Oh yeah, and the other advice if it isn’t obvious is don’t buy a new bike. If you want the shiny new feeling, get one 1-2 years old. Plenty of people buy a bike and then don’t want it for many different reasons. Let them pay the 3 grand extra to ride it off the dealer’s lot…
+1 to the grats on joining the military. Good luck in basic!
I did a bunch of research on this same topic, and what I came up with is that the 500 is really dated technology. I also think it looks ugly! I’ve read a ton of forums comparing the 250r and 650r as a first bike, and read success stories for both. I personally got a 650r as my first bike, and so far so great! I would heartily recommend it HOWEVER I think it depends a lot on your mentality. The 650r was a longer term investment for me; I wanted something exciting that had more power than I needed. I wanted to learn on something I could grow into, that was also accessible to a novice. (Unlike, say, the 600RR that the jackass at the dealership tried to sell me. WTF???)
I think it comes down to an honest assessment of your goals and your personality. Can you know that the bike has power in the bank that you won’t use for some time, and slowly work your way up? Or do you want to master a smaller bike that you can push to its limits sooner, and that has a hard cap on how much trouble you can get yourself into?
The 650r has a very smooth power band (not that I have much to compare it to), and if you are in a cautious and thoughtful frame of mind, you can keep yourself safe on it. However it also has the power to respond to dangerous thinking with dangerous action.
Also, be careful about subconscious thoughts along the lines of “I’m about to be doing [xyz deadly military thing], so what do I have to fear from riding?” Remember lawrence of arabia died on his motorcycle.
Be safe, and try to be honest about what you will do with the power in your hands!