My First Motorcycle

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    Apr 15, 2012 5:30 AM GMT
    so a while ago i bought my first motorcycle, a suzuki sv650 about 3 weeks ago,1999_SV650_red_500.jpg

    not my bike but really close, mine has a better exhaust and doesnt have that style mirrors

    but buying it was more than i had, so its mostly been parked due to the fact that i needed to get some of the maintenance stuff done. anyways, after all new brake pads, and a new chain, putting the original handlebars back on and fixing various other minor things i'm about ready to take my first road trip tomorrow, and i have no idea what i need to bring, i'm only goin about an hour and a half away, and prolly straight back, but then again who knows, i've only been about 20- 30 miles on this thing, and all around town so any tips i can get would be cool, i've never even had this thing on the highway before so this could be interesting. jus thought i'd hit u guys up n see what you thought
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    Apr 15, 2012 5:38 AM GMT
    Get a good helmet if you don't have one already.

    Consider a motorcycle safety course.

    Realize drivers will look straight at you and won't see you.

    Really ride defensively. Anticipate drivers doing crazy things and have an out.

    Wear appropriate protective clothes and riding boots.

    Don't be distracted. Keep your mind on the road.

    Have fun. I've ridden for many years and currently have a Suzuki GSX-R1000.
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    Apr 15, 2012 5:43 AM GMT
    i have a helmet, gloves, boots, and a decent backpack, but what should i take other than some $$$ like what if it rains, tools?
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    Apr 15, 2012 6:23 AM GMT
    You didn't mention a jacket in your list of equipment. If you don't have one, please consider getting one.

    Tools? Not sure. I think maybe a Leatherman at the very least. But the trip is 90 minutes, and presumably in the city right? So you probably won't need much else. If something goes wrong, you can always call for help/tow.
  • BuddhaLing

    Posts: 107

    Apr 15, 2012 1:52 PM GMT
    socalfitness saidGet a good helmet if you don't have one already.

    Consider a motorcycle safety course.

    Realize drivers will look straight at you and won't see you.

    Really ride defensively. Anticipate drivers doing crazy things and have an out.

    Wear appropriate protective clothes and riding boots.

    Don't be distracted. Keep your mind on the road.

    Have fun. I've ridden for many years and currently have a Suzuki GSX-R1000.


    Social Fitness: You provided the best advice that I would have given had you not posted. I ride a Honda Shadow VLX and I took the Motorcycle Safety Foundation course. It was great and provided me with alot of information that has come in handy out there on the road with the cagers! The cagers will look right at you and then pull out! WTF! Great advice!
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    Apr 15, 2012 2:07 PM GMT
    Johnnyhotsauce said jus thought i'd hit u guys up n see what you thought

    I've been a licensed biker since 1966, ridden from coast-to-coast, used to put 20,000 miles a year on my different bikes, in addition to my cars. (One bike saw 30,000 in 14 months, and that included winter storage time)

    The SV650 is a fine beginners bike, relatively light, easy to ride, not excessively powerful, with excellent handling. Good choice, though obviously I can't comment on the condition of the one you bought.

    Don't wanna be a downer, but I would NOT take the trip you're planning at this time. You need more miles and experience, so that in a sudden emergency you take the appropriate actions in an instant, without even thinking. At present you would likely have to think your actions through to control the bike, and that's often not quick enough, especially at highway speeds. Your emergency responses must become automatic, so that you take the correct ones before you even realize it.

    Also, you don't yet know how the bike will respond in many different conditions. Do you know how slippery your tires will become if it rains, and to avoid the road center strip at stops, where the most motor oil collects, keeping your bike in the 4-wheeler tire tracks? Do you know how to make a sudden stop on a curve? Do you know you should try to bring the bike back upright before you jam on the brakes hard? Otherwise you run a higher risk that the bike will slide out from under you.

    These and dozens of other aspects of the physics of a bike in motion must be understood and learned. It's part of what they teach you in the MSF beginners course, which you really should take before you attempt any long high-speed rides.

    But I envy you your new bike, and welcome you to the family. Just don't bite off more than you can chew right now, and you'll have more fun in the long run. Oh, and BTW, successfully completing the MSF course will get you a discount from many insurance companies, typically 10-15%.
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    Apr 15, 2012 2:31 PM GMT
    NEVER NEVER NEVER expect people to stop at red lights when you go through an intersection.

    Especially late at night.

    Slowing down for green lights saved my ass MANY times.
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    Apr 15, 2012 2:46 PM GMT
    paulflexes saidNEVER NEVER NEVER expect people to stop at red lights when you go through an intersection.

    Especially late at night.

    Slowing down for green lights saved my ass MANY times.

    Great advice, Paul. Studies have shown that many drivers have a mental template of what kinds of vehicles they expect to see sharing the road with them. Those are cars and trucks, but not motorcycles.

    With the result that the driver can be looking right at you, but THEIR BRAIN DOES NOT PROCESS THE INFORMATION OF A MOTORCYCLE IMAGE, BECAUSE IT'S NOT WHAT THEY EXPECT TO SEE. You have become a "stealth" bike to them, invisible, they truly do not "see" you in the sense that the image simply doesn't register with them.

    For that reason you assume that every driver is not seeing you, and you are always prepared to take evasive action, when they move into your lane, or pull out in front of you from the curb. Coupled with the common violations that drivers commit, like running stoplights and stop signs.

    One habit I acquired is to turn my helmeted head and look a stopped driver at an intersection right in the eye. And if I don't see them looking back at me steadily, I expect they may do anything, like pull right out in front of me. It's saved me a crash many a time.

    Motorcycle visibility is why there are numerous campaigns, and lots of car bumper stickers and billboards, like these:

    MCSafe2.jpg

    MCSafe28.jpg

    428583_378793328802071_259862840695121_1
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    Apr 15, 2012 3:07 PM GMT
    Art_Deco said... One habit I acquired is to turn my helmeted head and look a stopped driver at an intersection right in the eye. And if I don't see them looking back at me steadily, I expect they may do anything, like pull right out in front of me. It's saved me a crash many a time.
    I can't stress the bold words enough. That is imperative for survival.

    And I'd like to get a bumper sticker that says "watch for motorcycles - they'll dent your car."
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    Apr 15, 2012 3:09 PM GMT
    BuddhaLing said
    socalfitness saidGet a good helmet if you don't have one already.

    Consider a motorcycle safety course.

    Realize drivers will look straight at you and won't see you.

    Really ride defensively. Anticipate drivers doing crazy things and have an out.

    Wear appropriate protective clothes and riding boots.

    Don't be distracted. Keep your mind on the road.

    Have fun. I've ridden for many years and currently have a Suzuki GSX-R1000.


    Social Fitness: You provided the best advice that I would have given had you not posted. I ride a Honda Shadow VLX and I took the Motorcycle Safety Foundation course. It was great and provided me with alot of information that has come in handy out there on the road with the cagers! The cagers will look right at you and then pull out! WTF! Great advice!

    Thanks much. Your bike is nice. Good comments along with Paul's. Only thing I would reemphasize is if you're in traffic, your mind has to stay 100% focused on the traffic.... And again, the safety course.
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    Apr 15, 2012 3:22 PM GMT
    great advice from Art Deco...I ride as if I'm completely invisible to other drivers...always look for your "out" .... suit up completely...jacket (with kevlar) , pants with (kevlar knee pads and padded hips) good sturdy boots that go above the ankle...good gloves (mine have kevlar on the knuckles)...a DOT approved helmet...even if you're just "going down the road" to run an errand...crashing even at 25mph is still gonna hurt like hell if you're not properly protected...best advice I got: Always dress for a crash

    enjoy your sweet ride!
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    Apr 15, 2012 3:27 PM GMT
    oaktownguy saidgreat advice from Art Deco...I ride as if I'm completely invisible to other drivers...always look for your "out" .... suit up completely...jacket (with kevlar) , pants with (kevlar knee pads and padded hips) good sturdy boots that go above the ankle...good gloves (mine have kevlar on the knuckles)...a DOT approved helmet...even if you're just "going down the road" to run an errand...crashing even at 25mph is still gonna hurt like hell if you're not properly protected...best advice I got: Always dress for a crash

    enjoy your sweet ride!
    Pfft...I used go ride in the triple digits with nothing but swim shorts and flip flops.

    And I crashed a bicycle at 28 MPH...endo'd it after hitting a dog that ran out in front of me. It didn't really hurt, but I did have to replace a couple spokes.
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    Apr 15, 2012 4:01 PM GMT
    I third Art_Deco's advice. Ride more around town and take some short trips on the freeway to get some mileage in before you take a longer trip!

    Being a relatively new rider myself (licensed for 6 months today, actually) that advice alone is the best thing you can do at the moment. Take the course, shell out the extra dough for a GOOD helmet.

    After you get some practice/experience/etc., take that trip. Bring some extra tools in a small pouch, as it sounds like a used bike. Probably the best thing to do would be finding a buddy who will take the trip with you, on their own bike of course... Wouldn't hurt if something goes wrong with the bike and you need an extra hand icon_smile.gif
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    Apr 15, 2012 4:39 PM GMT
    gscomp89 saidProbably the best thing to do would be finding a buddy who will take the trip with you, on their own bike of course... Wouldn't hurt if something goes wrong with the bike and you need an extra hand icon_smile.gif

    Great advice! And what I did myself a great deal when I first started riding in the 1960s. Later I wasn't phased by solo rides of 5000 miles, where I often stopped and helped other bikers get going who had broken down. But it took me many years, and a Master Mechanics Certificate, to get to that point.

    A novice should learn to walk before running. I commend our OP for joining the motorcycle fraternity, but this trip may be too much too soon.

    And can we mention wearing a quality helmet again? I bought one with my first cycle in 1966, and have never ridden without one, I don't care what you see others riders doing.

    A helmet saved my life in a number of crashes, and leathers spared me some road rash. Especially after I had a 100-foot sliding downhill crash one summer night in 1968, wearing only cut-offs and a T-shirt, and was nearly skinned alive. Never again.
  • drypin

    Posts: 1798

    Apr 15, 2012 4:59 PM GMT
    I'm not up to date with what it takes to ride a motorbike in the states. Here in Germany, the training I needed for my license was more than enough practice to take a bike on the highway and ride around for a few hours.

    Here it's typical to pack a water or juice and a snack for on the road. I love my Suzuki - they have a reputation for 1 in 100 being a real lemon, but when they work they're a great, and most important - easy - ride.

    As mentioned, I'd make sure you've got the full attire with jacket, pack something to drink and eat, perhaps a camera if you don't have a smartphone, and go out and enjoy!
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    Apr 15, 2012 5:44 PM GMT
    Congrats! On your first motorcycle!!!
    My first was at 18. A 2001 Ducati 750SS I literally rode that bike the whole first day and into the night!! You'll find that you will probably stay loyal to that brand. 4 bikes later and I'm with my 2010 Ducati 1198S Will keep this one for about another year, then see what Ducati has to offer for their 2014 line up!

    Congrats again! ENJOY!!!! icon_cool.gif

    Tristan
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    Apr 15, 2012 5:54 PM GMT
    What the other guys said, although as far as a road trip, all miles are not the same. That is, an hour and a half drive in the west is pretty much just a grocery run. However, if you've just completed a big maintenance checklist for the first time, get a hundred (or more) miles on it to make sure everything was done correctly. The side of the highway is not the place to find something wrong.
    Tools... don't bikes come with tool kits any more? My Honda could be completely disassembled and reassembled with the little pouch of tools that came under the seat. (I love it when engineers actually do their jobs.)
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    Apr 17, 2012 2:21 AM GMT
    Hey! thanks for all the replies, i had to take the class, it was required for the license, always wear my helmet n gloves. i ended up not being able to take the trip after all, (i h8 wal mart) i've been being as careful as possible, the leather stuff is in the works, an im pretending im invisible, that actually makes it a lil scary lol. i was mostly wonderin bout the survival kit, things you guys wouldnt leave home without, so far mine has my iphone, camelback, leatherman, beef jerky and a lighter, some $$$ and a flashlight, not much but im tryin to only keep important stuff. i'm havin a blast on this thing, and im slowly getting more comfortable. i spent my entire day sunday wiring in dual power outlets so i can run a gps and charge my phone, (id post pics but never cn get that to work) this thing is well on its way to bein a ready for the zombie apocalypse icon_biggrin.gif as for condition, now that the chain and sprockets have been replaced, i need to find a speedometer, rear brake hose, adjust the valves, replace the front fork seals, the rest is just trivial stuff, hopin ta have the brakes done by wednesday. on thursday im gonna go over it with a fine tooth comb and see what else needs done, i had no idea how expensive this was gonna be.