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Old 05-26-2013, 02:11 PM   #1
tennyis OP
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How long to feel confident on bike?

I finally realized my life long dream and at 32 years old got a motorcycle.

The thing is though that I am really nervous on it, I wouldn't say I'm scared of it just nervous.

Over 40mph and the wind feels like is going to blow me away, I don't like being in the left tire track, etc. I have yet to take the msf course but I have paid for it and it is on June.7th. I am debating just waiting until then before I take the bike out again but it is such a beautiful day today :)

The bike is a 2006 Ninja 500, it's not the dual sport that I wanted but a trade came along for my atv so it meant I could get into motorcycling without a lot of upfront cost. Gear, course, license, etc was enough of a cost. I already have an ad up to trade it for the dual sport that I really want :)

Anyways just look to hear other peoples experiences about there first few times on a bike. I've only got about 5km so far, but a lot of that was starting and stopping and practicing uturns.
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Old 05-26-2013, 02:20 PM   #2
joexr
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Just keep riding it as much as possible , you just need seat time.
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Old 05-26-2013, 02:56 PM   #3
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I disagree with Joe. If one repeats bad movements one develops bad habits. Perfect practice makes perfect...trite but true.

Read these books:
Mastering the Ride: More Proficient Motorcycling, 2nd Edition (2012), David L. Hough
A Twist of the Wrist 2: The Basics of High-Performance Motorcycle Riding, Keith Code (Note that this is the #2 or #II book) His "Survival Reactions" are a list of riding actions that are natural, instinctive, and WRONG!

Begin to practice what is explained in these books, and you will gain confidence along with skill. You get even more from your MSF class with increased understanding of what they're teaching.
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Old 05-26-2013, 03:02 PM   #4
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I recommend you stay off the bike until your MSF.

And, you WANT to be a little scared of your motorcycles. You should have a healthy respect for them. This does not mean riding scared, holding up traffic, and tiptoeing down the roads -- it means being aware and having a full understanding that what you are doing is more dangerous than some other activities.

Don't ignore the risk -- manage it. Understand it. Take proactive steps to mitigate it, when and where you can.

The day you stop being just a little nervous about swinging a leg over the saddle should be the day you stop riding.

You'll get over the jittery feeling while riding in a few thousand miles.

Take what they teach you at the MSF and use it as a springboard to learn more, more, more! Keep practicing the skills they teach -- yes being able to do tight U-turns IS actually important for everyday riding! Plus, it's not even so much about the U turn as it is the throttle/clutch coordination.

Good luck!
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Old 05-26-2013, 07:29 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by LuciferMutt View Post

And, you WANT to be a little scared of your motorcycles. You should have a healthy respect for them. This does not mean riding scared, holding up traffic, and tiptoeing down the roads -- it means being aware and having a full understanding that what you are doing is more dangerous than some other activities.

Don't ignore the risk -- manage it. Understand it. Take proactive steps to mitigate it, when and where you can.

The day you stop being just a little nervous about swinging a leg over the saddle should be the day you stop riding.

You'll get over the jittery feeling while riding in a few thousand miles.

Take what they teach you at the MSF and use it as a springboard to learn more, more, more! Keep practicing the skills they teach -- yes being able to do tight U-turns IS actually important for everyday riding! Plus, it's not even so much about the U turn as it is the throttle/clutch coordination.

Good luck!

Ditto.

But do ride, even if it is only in an empty parking lot slowly.

As kids we went from mini-bikes to dirt/enduro bikes so the transition to street was natural for me. I cannot imagine suddenly riding on the street, however.
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Old 05-27-2013, 04:26 AM   #6
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I am in the 'wait for the class' camp. It's only a week away. It is a great confidence builder. And there is no need to put oneself in undue risk at this point in time. Bad riding habits really are tough to un-do. And I still suffer major twitches from falling off in my yoot nearly 50 yrs later.

Having one's own bike to practice on when coming home from the class is really great. That re-enforces skill deveopment quickly and builds confidence that mastering basic riding techniques is not that hard. Once some basic bike control is built and absorbed, traffic is a lot easier to manage.

I suspect that the OP's nervousness is due to being slightly overchallenged by the process of trying to it all, all at once. Separating learning bike control from traffic management would greatly enhance learning each part more easily and quickly. The safety course's 'ride a little then rest and think a little bit more' layout eases a lot of noob anxiety and promotes quick, confident learning. In this instance, that is probably the best way to go and is the hot set-up.

Polite reminder: The learning to ride (better) never stops.
ymmv
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Old 05-27-2013, 10:17 AM   #7
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You need to get through your MSF course. They have a format they go by. Do what you're told and it will be easier.

You might want to find an empty parking lot beforehand and work on throttle/clutch co-ordination and slow speed steering. You'll be doing a lot of that during the class.

If you don't have it, get some riding gear. I use armored mesh gear in the summer. Wear gloves and boots. Proper gear builds confidence.

Don't be afraid. Fear is not a good thing. Rather, be respectful of the things that can happen and work to minimize them. Safe riding demands 100% of your attention all the time. You'll develop a technique over time, and things will become easier.

Get a copy of "Proficient Motorcycling", second edition, and study it. Then go ride, come back, and debrief yourself using the book to work out any problems you might have had.

You're at a time where there is good instruction, gear, and bikes available. None of that existed when I started riding. The dealer would put you on the bike and show you where the controls were, then wave goodbye.

Look for a group to ride with. Having a destination and other riders to talk with helps a lot. I hang out with a bunch of old timers on Sunday mornings over breakfast, and get in 150 miles round trip. I also belong to a Norton owner's club.
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Old 05-27-2013, 12:59 PM   #8
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Wait for the class. You won't pick up any bad habits you'll have to forget then. The class also goes through a lot of useful exercises you'll then want to do with your own bike a lot (and subsequent bikes) until you are confident in your ability to handle the bike well. Occasional refreshers aren't a bad idea, just random practice when you have a moment available.

It will take seat time and practice to get confident, but knowing what to practice helps. There are other useful things you get from the course such as tips you'll get about lane positioning (which is, or should be very dynamic), and even how to do a good "pre-flight" inspection of the bike, and what to look for.

My confidence in all conditions improved after I got comfortable with the low speed stuff, swerving, emergency stops, etc. Of course the class won't take you out on roads or at high speeds, so it won't help the confidence regarding the wind or any of that specifically.

Be cautious that you don't try to push too far too fast with your newly aquired confidence. Overconfience in too big a quantity or at the wrong time can be harmful or fatal.
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Old 05-26-2013, 03:11 PM   #9
txwanderer
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I agree you need seat time. I disagree that you aren't scared.

Fear isn't all bad. It stops most of us from doing stupid things. You don't have the advantage of knowing what is stupid and what isn't right now. Good since and the thousands of years of being human don't always make good motorcycle since. Example: we look at danger. It is inbred and reinforced through generations of being peditor and prey. It is natural and the right thing to do 99.999% of the time. It will get you dead on a motorcycle. We go where we look. See?

Cool your jets and take the course. Practice the things you learn, and get some saddle time that way. Take it easy for a while on the street.

In the mean time, get your car, roll down the windows, and go for a drive. Look at other drivers as if you have nothing between you and them. Take mental notes of the way the wheels stop, or not. Check out the rolling stops. People chasing yellow lights because they should have left yesterday and the goodwill of the planet depend on them getting there no matter what. Lots of traffic this weekend and plenty of chances to people watch. Look where you are diving. Are you too close? Probably. Are you riding in peoples blind spots? Are you lingering in places that could get you boxed in? Are you speeding? Doing hard starts and stops? Be honest.

Why are you afraid of the left track? It is the safest place for you in almost every case. You can see and be seen best from there, you have space to move and evade while you stay in your lane, you show that you own the lane, you better own it or someone will own it for you. Less debris is there. Lots of reasons for it, you just don't know them all yet. It sounds dumb, but things like this will teach you how to stay alive.

Congrats and have patience, good things for those who wait. Your time will come.

Cheers

txwanderer screwed with this post 05-26-2013 at 03:20 PM
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Old 05-26-2013, 07:26 PM   #10
LetItRoll
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Quote:
Originally Posted by joexr View Post
Just keep riding it as much as possible , you just need seat time.
+1

I would ride as much as possible before the class, as long as it is in a safe controlled area that you are comfortable with. You will be more confident in the class and be able to absorb/do more.
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Old 05-26-2013, 03:07 PM   #11
joexr
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He's only got 5K of seat time , he needs to RIDE. Not necessarily on the street , but RIDE.
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Old 06-01-2013, 11:28 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by joexr View Post
He's only got 5K of seat time ,.
If buy 5k, you don't enjoy riding, or are still uneasy, it may not be for you.

I don't it should be forced on a person. Some people want a bike, cause they have something in there mind. He got the courage up to buy one, and tried it. It is not for everyone.

Motorcycles are dangerous, if you don't enjoy it, I don't see the point in taking the risk. Not saying a guy should be a pro at 5k, and hot dogging. But by 5k, he should feel comfortable over 40mph. He still has room to be a better rider. But he should enjoy it by now, and feel a little comfortable. I agree with what was said, you should still have respect for them though.

If you don't enjoy riding, why do it?


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Is this 5k miles or km? If we are talking 3 miles. Take the course, and see how you like it. Either way, I disagree with the mindset to force riding on people.
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Old 05-26-2013, 03:16 PM   #13
4TooMany
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tennyis View Post
I have yet to take the msf course but I have paid for it and it is on June.7th. I am debating just waiting until then before I take the bike out again but it is such a beautiful day today
The class will help for sure, but being in traffic (and at higher speeds) is something you're not going to experience in class.

I believe what you need is a combination of the class and what joexr and PT Rider said. On one hand it is true that just riding will reinforce bad habits, but just reading books won't help much by itself (not that PT was suggesting that).

Where I think joexr hits the nail on the head is that your confidence will improve every time you go out and successfully make it home. You're learning to ride as an adult who already has a healthy sense of his mortality, and that's where the nervousness comes from. If you had learned as a kid, this would be a very different experience. Take it slow, it will come.

One of the most important things you'll learn from the MSF class is to ride within your abilities (and your comfort zone). That means if you're really not comfortable doing something, don't do it. Spend a lot of time on the back roads until you start to feel better at higher speeds and mixed with traffic. If you have friends who ride, DON'T let them push you out of your comfort zone. Take this at your own pace.

Stick with it, it's worth it!
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Old 05-26-2013, 05:19 PM   #14
Bubbachicken
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Laugh MSF is worth the wait

I got my first bike in December of last year. I waited two weeks for the MSF before I sat on the thing. I did not think that I could wreck just sitting on it, I just knew me, if I sat on it, I would want to start it. I would then want to put it in gear, and then I would want to know how the clutch felt, and things would have gone downhill from there, as it turned out. The CB 650 C is not a sport bike, and by todays standards, 68 Hp is not even that massive for a bike that weighs this much. But let me tell you, if you wreck now, you are going to tend to have a flinch that will take FAR longer to remove, and you also will have scuffed or broken something your bike for NO reason (especially since you want to trade it for what you really want already (another discussion is in that concept)).

Now, if you wait for the MSF, this is what will happen:

A, if it is not for you, you will know.
B, if you are having any sorts of problems with simple things, you will get a chance to have a qualified person ONSITE tell you what the problem is and how to fix/overcome it.
C, You will get a reduction in insurance cost (insurance being mandatory in most US locations, not sure about overseas)
D, You will be getting licensed properly (also required in the US, and not having the license in the US will range from a stern look to a fine or other issues, especially if lack of insurance proof FOR A MOTORCYCLE is involved; overseas, your milage may vary on this one as well).
E, you will gain appreciation for that wonderful left section (middle) of the roadway lane. It is your friend!
F, you will learn about friction zones and emergency braking, as well as target fixation and how to keep from being embarassed when you run out of fuel (petcock check!)
G, you may find some new friends, and your ride coach should offer his/her advice as you move forward in your new potential passion, which is pretty helpful in most cases.

H, you will have a statistically FAR LOWER probability of having a crash if you wait until after the course to ride than you will if you are riding before it, regardless of what the folks who claim "I just jumped on and was fine!" or "everyone wipes out, you dust it off and keep on going!" are going to say.

I dumped my bike only a few weeks after the course, going less than three miles an hour, leaving my driveway. Minor scuff on my protective gear and helmet (!!), no real damage, but it was eye-opening and I felt it a couple days later to be sure, sore as heck but no marks anyplace. Last spill I have had, despite MANY opportunities not only to wipe out, but to DIE since, primarily caused by cagers not paying attention or violating laws (intersections are potential death traps) or in two cases, me not trusting that the bike had ability to turn as rapidly as it needed to for negotiation of a bend that was far sharper than what it appeared to be as I set up my entry angle (another thing covered in MSF class, by the way!). I even did a U turn or SEVEN already...

Do the class FIRST, don't make your odds of issues higher than the first six months already create for you. There is no need to get hurt. Take your car, as stated above, and do some driving as if you are sedately motorcycling along, and see what the other drivers are up to, especially in those intersections. See how close they come to your lane in those turns especially, and what they do on the twisties, and carry that information over AFTER your class is done and your very next bike ride starts. Wait for the class.
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Old 05-26-2013, 05:24 PM   #15
Bubbachicken
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another reason for the class FIRST

By the way, missing that 1972 Ponti-Buick that suddenly stalled in the intersection as you were approaching too quickly with a loaded Semi truck tailgating your azz in traffic is FAR easier if you have done that drill in the class, as well as passing the driving test if the instructor properly gives it in places the class does not replace that test. Nothing like rear ending a big 70's automobile then being pinched by the Semi to cut your days of riding short...
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