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I'm a new rider (just got my KY Permit about a month ago), and I've mostly limited myself to riding in a parking lot and the connected industrial park (I've got a 2004 V Star 650 Classic). Last couple of weeks I've ventured out a little further, 10 mile ride, then a 25 mile ride all on back roads going 20-40 MPH on early Sunday Mornings. Today, with the temperature getting up to 54 degrees I got in a pretty good ride. Rode 78 miles using back roads and a two lane Highway that I was able to get it up to 55 MPH. It was windy today, so I got a good taste of riding into the wind along with cross winds. The bike ran good, but I'm still a little cautious with speed (seems like a lot of cars were going 70 in a 55). The biggest thing I got out of it today was how fast 55 on a motorcycle feels. I kept it about 55 for about 40 Miles (20 out and 20 back the rest on back roads at lower speeds).

Also I think I learned a little bit about how to ride this bike. I'm 5' 11" and 210, I thought the bike didn't have enough power but I realized I was in too high a gear. I had it in 5th going up a hill and it was struggling a little bit, I shifted down and let it rev up a little more and it had plenty of power to get up the hill at speed.

I think I need to let the RPM's get a little higher and not shift as early, it seems like it does better (power wise) and allows me to accelerate out of curves better also.

Anyway, I got out today, rode and got back safe while I hopefully learned a little bit along the way. :wink:
 

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I was hoping to get a ride in today, but the streets never dried off, it was too humid and only about 42F.

A VS 650 hits its peak HP in 4th gear at about 55mph. With the throttle wide open the air box literally growls. It does it again at 75mph in 5th gear. You are probably not quite hitting the peaks shifting up yet.

These bikes have a shorter throw on the piston travel than a harley, so they rev up higher than you would expect. The rev limiter will keep you from red lining the engine, as long as you dont down shift and let out the clutch at too high of a speed.

Before I got my VS650 I had a 16 foot hobie cat sailboat. That thing would go 25mph in a 20mph wind, and when the wind was gusting to 30mph I was hanging on and doing my best not to capsize. A 30mph wind was terror on the water.

I sold the Hobie Cat and bought the Vstar. For the first few months when I got the bike over 45mph all my sailing reflexes kicked in... It took me all summer for my brain to switch over from "sailing wind" to riding wind.

Ride however you enjoy it and feel comfortable.
 

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This thread just helped me out sooo much with shifting on my bike because I totally thought I was losing my mind or doing something wrong there for a bit ahaha. I ride the same bike as you but only about 2 years older, I got it with only 7k miles and now it has about 8k
 

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Hey tbzg, sorry for being so late in responding but IMO you got a seriously nice bike... I'm a huge fan of the XVS650 and unfortunately it's an underestimated bike and in many cases also misunderstood. The motor is not a big V-Twin like with a lot of popular cruisers, it basically has more in common with a v-twin sport bike motor as in a Suzuki SV650 so it's meant to rev. Granted Yamaha made some concessions to give it a little more low end torque than the XV535 it was derived from but it's still a short stroke motor that loves to rev. Yamaha knew what they were doing when they gave it the gearing that it has and it's up to the rider to accept that and not treat it like a big twin push rod motor (you know what I mean ;)). Take your 650 onto the highway and do 70-75mph... take a note of how high it seems to rev and know that rpm range is it's sweet spot and don't be afraid to take the motor to that rpm range in all gears.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Yeah I really like this bike too. I haven't been able to get it out much with the weather lately. I've been playing around with the jetting and tuning trying to get it as good as I can. With Cobra Slash Cuts and Standard air box, the best combo I have found so far(to get rid of decel and pilot circuit pop) is 22.5 pilots, 100 mains, 3.5 turns out and pins on #4, and synch carbs.

I'm going to try to get out this weekend if it gets as warm as the weatherman is predicting. Fastest I've ridden is 55 mph so far. I haven't taken it to the interstate. I usually ride early on Sunday Mornings on backroads and two lanes (Less traffic as I am still pretty new to this) and this time of year its can be pretty chilly in the mornings.
 

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Dont be in a hurry to see how fast the bike will go. It will run at 80mph easily on the interstate, and the top speed is about 100mph.

When I got my 650 it seemed crazy fast at 55mph for a while. I had that "lets see what she can do" thing going on for the first two weeks. I cranked it out to 70 on a two lane road and it still had a lot of throttle twist left.

A day later I hit a long straight road and thought "Im gonna hold it WFO till I get to those trees up ahead and see what speed it hits... what is that by those trees? that looks like... crap those are deer.. didnt do it.

A few days later just as I was cresting a hill, I thought, OK Im gonna open it up at the top of this hill and see how quick it accelerates down the other.. and a cop passed me going the other way, just as I was about to crank it hard.

I know they were all a coincidence, but take your time, and dont ride faster than you feel confident that you can counter steer around the bends or stop quickly if you have to.

Practice your countersteering by pushing the grips to push the bike left and right in your lane as you approach a curve in the road. Get yourself setup to be wide going in, on the inside edge in the middle, and wide coming out while you speed up. And practice countersteering while you take curves at a moderate speed to pull the bike to the inside and outside of the curve while you are in it, as if you had to avoid a brick in the road in the middle of the curve.

And practice your braking when you stop and there is no one behind you. Dont do a full panic stop, just stop a little more aggressively than you need to when no one is on your tail. Load up the front brake to get the front shock to lean down, get on the rear brake harder than necessary. You will find the pressure where the rear tire will lock up and skid, hold a rear tire skid till the bike stops. If you let off the rear brake when its skidding the bike can snap straight and throw you off. If the front wheel even hints at skidding, get off the front brake instantly, or you will drop the bike. While the rear tire is skidding, if it starts sliding out to the right turn the handle bars to the right to keep the front tire pointed in the correct direction. When I was a kid we use to skid the back tires on our bikes till they were worn down to the cords. You dont want the motorcycle to whip around and do a 180 on you, steer "into" the skid.

The rear tire locks up and skids much easier than the front tire, because as you load up the front brake and shocks 75% of the weight shifts to the front wheel, so as you practice braking hard you eventually (or quickly) will lock up the rear tire. So you might as well try it going 20mph deliberately and practice handling it, and holding the rear skid till the bike stops.

Also be aware, if you are riding in traffic and there are cars behind you, if you lock up the back tire you still have to hold it locked till the bike stops. If the traffic does not warrant stopping completely, the car behind you will not know why you are stopping, they will not expect it. But its better to stop with the tire skidding than to let off the brake and have the bike throw you off, and drop infront of the car. The driver REALLY wont be expecting that! This is why you practice stopping aggressively when there is no one behind you.

Practice all this every day you ride, when you are just stopping for a stop sign or red light, but you dont have to stop quickly. You will work your way up to a full panic stop, and since you are doing it every day, you will have it when you need it.

100mph will always be there for the interstate when you can see two miles down the empty highway. Get your skills up first.
 

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I'm a new rider (just got my KY Permit about a month ago), and I've mostly limited myself to riding in a parking lot

Welcome first off to not only the group but the brotherhood of 2 wheels and the open road

I have a VS 650, 1100 and Road Star 1700 - all can and will keep up with the others through patients.

I think you seem to be on the right track of riding, just test yourself in different situations and stay in your comfort zone for the most part. I'm in NO way an expert as I taught myself to ride about 6mths ago on my 1100 which in itself is pretty stupid being it's not a starter bike however am kinda known as a gambler and have way too much faith in myself then anyone should honestly. AKA I'm not very smart

I've since taught both my sons to ride and each day after getting one part down we did another.

Just be safe and enjoy, don't scare yourself

Most riders scare themselves into parking the bike and never riding again within a few weeks - just be patient and smart

ENJOY !!!
 

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IMO the most important thing a new rider can learn is how to use the front brake. I know of too many riders who don't use it out of fear or because they don't have one because chopper style dictates not having one. Having practiced using the front brake effectively when I first started riding has saved my butt more times over the course of four decades than I can count using all fingers and toes.

Don't be this guy.
 

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Having raced motocross I can testify. But that was to keep the power to the ground longer into the turn and exit speed out of the turn. But it was good practice and mentally I’m prepared to use front brake. Front braking is crucial to keeping the bike planted and stable. Once you get the hang of it you will rely on it. I use 80% front brake under normal circumstances and 100% coming to a stop.
 

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guy in that video did not use either brake, he had both feet on the ground before he rear ended the car

he panicked and froze
 
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