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Old 10-31-2012, 02:31 PM   #61 (permalink)
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I started on a Suzuki 90 when I was 12 for 2-3 years. In my early 30s I had a Honda 250 for about 4 years. Didn't ride again till I took the MSF course. I always wanted a Harley! Thought I wanted a Heritage, liked the look . Ended up getting a Road King! Took one loop around the back of the dealership and was off and riding. Loved that bike!! Had to trade it in for a Tri Glide in August 2012. Road King sat in the garage for 2-4 years because of pain and eventually surgery (unfortunately never got rid of the pain). Back out riding and love it.
I think it all depends on "YOU", your mental state and abilities! Good luck on your choice!
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Old 10-31-2012, 04:43 PM   #62 (permalink)
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I am also a believer in starting small and growing larger as abilities and experience increase. Taking the MSF course seems typical of someone like me who didn't have any prior riding experience and wants to jump start the learning curve.

As a late comer to motorcycle riding, I always wanted to own a Harley Davidson since I was a kid watching them roar by on the streets. Fifty plus years later, my wife and I completed the MSF course and my first motorcycle was a used metric. Although it wasn't my ultimate ride, I kept the dream alive by visiting the HD dealerships and attending the Demo rides. Even though I could have gotten a HD right after getting my license, I'm really glad I didn't because as they told me at MSF class, dropping my bike is a sure thing... it will happen.

Sure enough, I dropped my metric three times. Twice from just losing my balance while stopped and another when I hit a slippery spot on a cool night while turning left at an intersection. I also rear-ended a stopped car while merging into stop-and-go traffic on a Los Angeles freeway. All were because of novice mistakes, but each incident taught me valueable lessons and made me a better rider. I wouldn't have wanted a brand new Harley Davidson (esp an RK) to have gone through the beating I gave the metric. But it was inexpensive and an invaluable learning tool.

Today, I commute on a 2011 Dyna Street Bob with much more confidence and safety. I may step up to a Softtail Heritage Classic or Road King in the future.
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Old 11-01-2012, 02:21 AM   #63 (permalink)
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I started with a Softail Heritage Classic. Since then I have had several bikes, most recently I traded my Ultra Classic for a V-Rod and I also have a Road King Classic.

What I rode was less important than where I rode and how I gave myself time to get comfortable riding. I didn't jump on the highway right away. I rode quieter back roads for a while then moved up to busy streets and then progressed to the highway.

I kept practicing what I was taught at the MSF course and as I felt more comfortable I expanded the distance I rode and the type of roads I traveled on.

I think the only assurance anyone can give you is that if you practice what you were taught then you should get more comfortable with whatever bike you choose. The important thing is to know your limitations and give yourself time to gain experience.
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Old 11-01-2012, 10:17 AM   #64 (permalink)
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I rode a lot when I was younger on a honda 750. The a few years back I wanted to get back to riding. Took a safety course and bought a used Fatboy. I love it and wouldn't have gone any other way. Ride what you like.
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Old 11-01-2012, 02:30 PM   #65 (permalink)
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Straight scoop from an old rider

Right on Krazilee !! The reason not to get a large first bike is because if you have to stop with a lot of braking, most likely locking one or both of the wheels, you most likely will be going down. In other words lighter bikes are much easier to stop and in a shorter distance. As a new rider you are much more likely to get into such a situation where you need to stop NOW. You are going to have numerous experiences of having the crap scared out of you and coming close to death on a motorcycle. If you're getting a new bike and you have absolutely no biking experience then start on a lighter bike and then figure out when you are truly ready to move up. Happy biking.

Last edited by Dirtball; 11-01-2012 at 02:32 PM. Reason: none
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Old 11-03-2012, 10:35 AM   #66 (permalink)
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I got a very late start biking at age 67, but I took the MSC. I bought a used HD Dyna Super Glide and for the next three months I spent a lot of time going over the skills taught at the course. In the next 4 months I put 11,000 miles on the bike. I believe you should practice on what you want to ride, so go ahead and buy. I did drop the first bike four times but there was no damage...but once. I also started quickly practacing with my GF behind me...she absolutely insisted...but we practised and practised so more. My new Fat Bob with the 103 is much easier to balance than the Super Glide and I love the difference in the gears in the 96 and 103.
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Old 11-03-2012, 09:30 PM   #67 (permalink)
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Quote:
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Do these courses give ya a break on insurance rates or some benefit like that or are all yuou guys just takin them because?? Not saying it's a bad idea at all , just curious, I don't think they were around when I stsarted ridin on the street.
In Rhode Island you HAVE to pass the state sponsored motorcycle safety course in order to get your endorsement. Upon completion you receive a certificate which you take to the DMV to get your learner's permit. After 30 days, you are, once again, back at DMV to get your endorsement. As for insurance, I got a discount for having passed the course.
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Old 11-03-2012, 10:22 PM   #68 (permalink)
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Started 56 years ago on a 175 cc Allstate Puch. Since then have owned 2 Suzuki's, 1 Yamaha, 1 sportster and 1 Roadking. I scratched my Harley itch with a Sportster about 8 years ago with an 883 that I upgraded within 2 weeks to a 1200 cc machine. Never was really happy with the Sportster, too many close calls in town from cager idiots, and felt too light on the highway at 70. Went to my Roadking about 5 years ago, and couldn't bee happier. That said, my style is 55- 70 mph on back country roads, not a choice everyone would make, but the RoadKing just eats them up. If cruising is not your style, I would strongly suggest one of Harley's mid-sized sport/cruisers, an fxdw or similar bike.

Last edited by gjblaha; 11-03-2012 at 10:43 PM. Reason: Changing the subject, if you ever get the chance ride the Dragons Tail in Tennesee, a ride you'll never forget.
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Old 11-03-2012, 11:47 PM   #69 (permalink)
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I'm riding my very first bike, a 2011 RK. I purchased it for commuting in heavy traffic in the San Francisco Bay area. I cross the Richmond Bridge which can be very windy so a heavy bike is a plus there.
The bike was definitely a handful to start with and took a lot of determination to keep riding it. In the first couple of months I wore holes in my gloves from having a death-grip. I’ve now got 14k miles on it and am much more relaxed rider. I consider myself a novice still, but have had complements from HOG and CMA riders.
If you can go with a lighter / smaller bike I'd definitely recommend that first. If not, it's possible to start of with a RK, but it takes some real effort at first.
I know what you mean about the wind on the Richmond bridge. I was crossing it heading to Oakland and wasn't sure I was going to make it. I was leaning into the wind as hard as I could and still drifting toward the oncoming lane. I couldn't believe the change in the weather. It was calm and warm before I got to Richmond when it turned cold and windy as I crossed the bridge and stayed that way the rest of the day.
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Old 11-05-2012, 11:02 AM   #70 (permalink)
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I drove my first mc when I drove my brand new 1971 FX out of the dealer lot in March of '71. Never had a course, but I did have 3 days to read the owner's manual. Four HD's later (63 yrs old), still ridin'. F__K 'em all and their advice, just ride!
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Old 11-05-2012, 01:33 PM   #71 (permalink)
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Windy Bridge

Quote:
Originally Posted by utrvp View Post
I know what you mean about the wind on the Richmond bridge. I was crossing it heading to Oakland and wasn't sure I was going to make it. I was leaning into the wind as hard as I could and still drifting toward the oncoming lane. I couldn't believe the change in the weather. It was calm and warm before I got to Richmond when it turned cold and windy as I crossed the bridge and stayed that way the rest of the day.
As a beginner rider on a RK I took a lot of advice from this forum and from friends. Much of the advice was helpful.

I once rode the Richmond bridge on a windy day riding on a borrowed FatBoy and had so much trouble I would never do that again.
I can do it on my RK without any trouble now. The best advice I got was to "let the bike be the bike". Slowing down makes it worse and fighting the bike makes it worse so I just relax and go along as if it's no problem and it is no problem.
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Old 11-06-2012, 11:40 AM   #72 (permalink)
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To those who have trouble in the wind..... It is imperative that you study "counter steering" to learn to more effectively handle your bike. To put it in simple terms, apply pressure on the handlebar that is on the side of the bike in the direction you want to turn. Push on the right bar to turn right and left to turn left. For years this technique was known only to road racers but became general knowledge through the MSF and racing schools such as those taught by Keith Code. To apply this to the wind, gentle pressure on the windward side can counter the tendancy to be pushed around in your lane. This takes a conscious effort that eventually becomes second nature. This can also be practiced at slow speeds in deserted parking lots as well as defensive front wheel braking. It is also the most efficient technique to change your "line" in the middle of a turn. I still often practice while going around curves on entrance ramps as it makes you more adept at increasing lean angles quickly to avoid obstacles in the road.
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Old 11-07-2012, 06:20 PM   #73 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by coastie56 View Post
To those who have trouble in the wind..... It is imperative that you study "counter steering" to learn to more effectively handle your bike. To put it in simple terms, apply pressure on the handlebar that is on the side of the bike in the direction you want to turn. Push on the right bar to turn right and left to turn left. For years this technique was known only to road racers but became general knowledge through the MSF and racing schools such as those taught by Keith Code. To apply this to the wind, gentle pressure on the windward side can counter the tendancy to be pushed around in your lane. This takes a conscious effort that eventually becomes second nature. This can also be practiced at slow speeds in deserted parking lots as well as defensive front wheel braking. It is also the most efficient technique to change your "line" in the middle of a turn. I still often practice while going around curves on entrance ramps as it makes you more adept at increasing lean angles quickly to avoid obstacles in the road.
Solid Advice!
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