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Hi everyone, new female motorcyclist here. I just got my endorsement last Friday via the MSF course and purchased a 2018 V-Star 250. I am a vertically challenged individual with a 25.5 inseam and was going to go for a 2018 Honda Rebel (500 was the plan), but found the V-Star to be oh so much more comfortable, especially for my stature. I love my new ride, now if I can get more comfortable with actually riding it (slow speed stuff mostly, I can rock over 10 mph... so far).

Nice to meet everyone!!
 

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MSF course! Nicely done.

above 20 mph a motorcycle is self balancing, you just counter steer to make the bike go where you want it to go.

At lower speeds you have to steer and balance the bike - that takes practice, and your mind has to switch modes, because you steer the bike in the direction you want it to go, and balance it with your body position, slipping the clutch to control the speed of the bike, and turning your head to look where you want to go, because thats just how it works.

Now that you have your license you can practice and put your foot down whenever you need to - you wont get a ticket for putting your foot down while riding slow, but being able to ride at 2mph with your feet on the pegs is something to shoot for.

VS 250 is a nice bike - we dont see too many here, and never have people asking questions about how to fix them, because they are incredibly reliable.

BTW, what part of Earth are you presently occupying?
 

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Thanks for the tips KCW. It's funny, I thought the same thing about putting my foot down after I got my endorsement, but know I can't let it form into a habit since it's not helping me. I ride it around on my street when there aren't a lot of cars around that I can hit. :) I stay in the driveway for a while because finding the friction zone on this is a little weird (compared to my vast experience... the old Rebel 250 they had me on at the MSF). Seems like the FZ was closer to the bar on the Rebel, on the VStar, I'm almost full out on the clutch. I tried adjusting the cable yesterday, it seemed to help a little bit but think I need to play with it some more. Now, it seems to chug at all times in 1st, either while practicing slow maneuvers or when getting up to speed to shift into 2nd.

I am in upstate NY. I always preface NY with "upstate" otherwise everyone immediately thinks New York City and I am no fan of that area, especially driving anything. :D No offense to anyone that might reside there... just too many people for my tastes.

Good to hear that the 250 is so reliable. I typically don't get along with small gas engine anything. I can't even have a gas lawn mower, top mechanics can't fix what I've been able to do them after my first year.
 

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Welcome from Atlantic Canada and to the wonderfully addictive world of motorcycling. As KCW mentioned, you picked a good reliable bike to start out on and this is the best forum I've ever been a part of. Feel free to ask any questions you may have and you'll get plenty of friendly, helpful responses. I've never seen the old standby 'that's been answered before - do a search' on here.

And we love pics here so post a pic of your new ride when you get a chance!
 

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We are somewhat neighbors - Im just a bit south east of Rochester. Upstate NY is a wonderful place to ride a motorcycle!

The Rebel bikes they use for the MSF course have a very wide and soft friction zone. You got use to that in the class. Vstar bikes (all of them) have a much narrower friction zone when it comes to how far the lever actually moves.

you can get a different clutch lever to make it more like the Rebel, but you dont really need to - you will get use to the one on your bike quickly.

Dont think about how far the lever is moving - think of it more as the amount of pressure you are using to hold it in. As you relax the pressure on the level the clutch will start to engage and pull the bike - focus on the feel (pressure) and the pull of the bike.

as long as the lever has 1/4" of free play you can adjust it in further if you want, but that wont make the friction zone any wider, it just moves it closer to the grip.

If you feel like the bike is lugging in 1st gear sometimes its possible you only kicked it down into 2nd. Always downshift while the bike is still moving - kicking down into 1st is easier at 10 to 15mph than it is a 3mph or less. If you try to shift down after the bike has stopped there are some gear positions where they hit teeth to teeth and it wont shift - then you need to slip the clutch a bit to get the gears to creep slightly so they line up. Shifting down before you stop is easier.

Losing track of which gear you are in is common on a motorcycle. My 650 has 5 gears, but I joke that sometimes it has 6, and 6th gear is exactly the same as 5th (because I lose track and keep kicking it up).

When you shift down the gears sound all the same, but from 2nd to 1st it has a slightly different clunk, and after a while you will recognize that sound.

Going back to the pressure you put on the clutch lever, that is true for all the controls on the MC (and for cars too). When you put pressure on the throttle to twist it up, its like a giant hand is putting pressure on the back of the bike to push it faster down the road. Same with the brakes to slow the bike down - same with countersteering to lean and steer the bike around curves. You apply pressure to the controls, which gets amplified and applied to the bike itself.
 

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Welcome to the site.

Just keep practicing (especially the slow stuff...or anything you feel less comfortable about) and it will eventually become a second nature reaction and not something you have to process in your mind.

Enjoy your new ride and be safe.

Brad
 

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Hi Eleart!
Welcome to the forum from East Tennessee. You’ve gotten some great advice from our awesome members, so I can’t really add that much. Please share some pics with us and we’re glad you joined us.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 

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If you are feeling a bit sketchy still on your new bike, ride on residential streets and secondary roads where you can ride at your own speed, and get some practice at the stop signs and going around corners.

When you feel a little more confident get out on some 45mph 2 lane roads where you can practice your outside-inside-outside curves and bends in the road. If you feel a bit anxious as you come up to a curve in the road, use countersteering to push your bike to the right side of the lane, then the left side, then the right while staying in your lane, to get the feel for the push right-go right, push left-go left response of the bike

then setup your curve on the outside and push the grip thru the corner.

That is the one thing you dont get any practice on in the MSF course, riding at speed on roads and around curves. I dont think I got over 25mph when I took the beginners class 5 years ago.

If there is anything you feel confused about while riding just ask someone here.

Do you have anyone to ride with? Someone that can follow you and give you pointers, like when you took the course?
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Thanks again for the tips KCW. I have been riding my street exclusively, mainly because it's a no-outlet road. The way into my street is smack dab in the middle of a giant hill. I go left, it's a steep incline, right, a steep decline, straight ahead is a one-way going the wrong way. I just have to get a bit more comfortable, then I'll pick the right turn. My neighbor is a motorcyclist, he's going to take me out fairly soon, I really just want to get a little more comfortable.
 

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If you have steep hills on both sides of your street, there is something they did not talk about in the MSF course that caught me offguard.

When you are riding you need to stop where you can put your feet down on both sides of the bike - that means the ground has to be level on the left and right sides. You can be pointing up a hill or down a hill when you stop, but not cutting across one sideways.

Where this will get you - if you start going up or down a hill and you decide you need to make a U turn - dont do it!

Halfway thru the U turn you will not be able to put your foot down on one side of the bike or the other, and since the bike is changing from going up to down or down to up its tricky to keep your speed steady as you make the turn. If you have to 'bail out' off the street on a hill, wait till you get to a driveway or other level spot and pull in the driveway - otherwise keep going till you get to the top or bottom.

Almost got me once riding right next to Canadaguia Lake - started going up this steep hill by the shore of the lake, realized it was the wrong street, and I did a U turn. Almost dropped my bike in the worse possible way.

Your bike has all the power it needs to climb any hill. If it starts bogging down kick it down to a lower gear.

Another place to look out for sloping ground is when you pull off onto the shoulder of the road. Dont get off into gravel or any other shoulder that is leaning steep to one side, and dont get caught in a wonky parking lot that is not level.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Wow, I never thought of that, and sort of shocking that the MSF course didn't even mention it. I suppose there are several things that weren't covered, hopefully not as dangerous as a mid-hill u-turn. I really appreciate this info, and all of the info that's been provided. This is a great forum!
 

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they teach you a lot in those three days. I had been riding a motorcycle off road for over 30 years, and I took the MSF so I could get my license before I purchased a street bike. Its so much easier than taking the MC road test in NY state.

I thought the class would be a formality for me, but I was surprised right from the start (literally starting the motorcycle) how many things I did not know, and how many things I was doing wrong.

the things learned have saved my butt countless times - the first day I rode my Vstar 650 to work it saved me twice, because I knew what to do in a risky situation.

There are more MSF courses you can take once you get a little experience riding. Some people go back and take one of the advanced courses every couple years, just to have the advantage of an experinced instruction watching you and pointing out things that you could do better. I say this alot here, 110 people get killed in vehicle accidents in the US every day, and about 200,000 people total their cars every year. People cannot stop running into each other in cars, so we have to be better than everyone else out there, because we are the bumpers and the crumple zones and some of us are the air bags on our vehicles. The more you practice your riding skills the more confident you will be riding in that soup, and the more you will enjoy riding.

If you are riding and the bike or the conditions or the traffic is scaring you then you are riding above your skill level. For example: I dont like riding on interstate highways, and I dont like riding on busy 4 lane roads, esp in rush hour. There are too many other vehicles to keep track of. I intentionally ride to work on 2 lane streets, that takes me about 5 minutes longer to get to work, but its a far more enjoyable and safe ride. Its all about managing the risks.

Have fun riding. Practice the things you learned every time you ride: swerve around manhole covers just for practice, stop a bit aggressively at stop signs and red lights when no one is behind you, when you pull into a big empty parking lot do a couple 360s

the only thing I dont practice is intentionally running over 2x4s or pot holes - I hit enough pot holes and rail road tracks already to stay in good form :^)
 

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Discussion Starter #18
I'll post a pic or two over the weekend. I have a bit of a mess here... huge t-storms whipped through yesterday and blew my new, as of yet, un-anchored, shed-in-a-box (12x12x8) into my bottom yard. I got it all together so at least my brand new bike would have shelter... best laid plans and all. It's not that I didn't know I'd have to anchor it, I just thought it could wait a wee bit, LOL. So yeah, it spent yesterday and last night in the torrential downpour, but fared ok, it's just a mess out there.
 

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How is the new bike working out?

When I got my 650 it took about a month before I started to feel comfortable and confident riding it at anything over 40mph.

It didnt help that I had a Hobie Cat sailboat, which I sold and used the money to buy the VS650. On a sailboat when the wind is blowing across your face at 30mph, you are hanging on for dear life and getting a wild and wet ride.

So being out in 40, 50, 60mph winds on the motorcycle, it subconsciously triggered a sense of panic that took a while to overcome.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
I actually haven't been able to ride much, we've either had torrential downpours, thunderstorms, or it's blisteringly hot. Since I'm not yet comfortable going fast enough to cool off, I've kept her parked for the most part. I'm erring on the side of caution. Of course the days where weather was nice enough for a ride around the block, I had some other commitment. So frustrating. I know cooler weather is not too far off, but right after that the snow will come. I'm just hoping to get comfortable enough so when riding season comes around next year... it'll be like, well, riding a bike. :)

I would never want to be on a sailboat, let alone in 30 mph winds! I think I may have been slightly traumatized just thinking about it. I totally understand your panic since you've experienced it. I love being surrounded by air, hate the thought of being surrounded by water.

Thanks for checking in! I know I said I was going to post some pics, and I will... soon I hope.
 
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