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Discussion Starter #1
Hola all,
I just purchased my first bike of all time. Never rode dirtbikes as a kid, and have very limited time on a dirtbike as an adult. Decided to get a motorcycle because my husband LOVES to go out on the weekend, and I hate being left behind. Settled on an '02 Yamaha Vstar 650 Classic.

Any advice is helpful.

Thanks!
 

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Nice! Read the story about MC reliability on the home page.

You 'settled' for THE most reliable cruiser bike on earth.

Strongly recommend you take the MSF beginners course to get your license. You dont have to take the road test, you get your license in 3 days

and it will literally save your butt sooner or later.

BTW, you may find that when he takes off on the weekend on his bike, you may want to do the same, in the other direction. There is a great deal of satisfaction riding alone, the freedom of going where you want at your own pace is incredible.
 

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I definitely plan on taking the MSF course. There's a couple colleges around the area that have classes available in June I'm looking at.

Glad to hear the 650 is a universally solid bike. Just riding around parking lots i've had tons of fun on it.
 

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I definitely plan on taking the MSF course. There's a couple colleges around the area that have classes available in June I'm looking at.

Glad to hear the 650 is a universally solid bike. Just riding around parking lots i've had tons of fun on it.
very cool. I will tell you the very first thing they teach you in the riding training, since you are already riding your bike.

It may sound silly and obvious, but one of the biggest problem new riders run into is dropping the bike in the driveway.

When you get on the bike, keep the kickstand down, grab the front brake tight, swing your leg over, sit down and put the kick stand up.

When you are on the bike YOU are keeping it up. dont sit on the kickstand. Even if you are not going to start the bike, always do it the same way.

When you get off the bike put the kickstand down, holding the front brake tight, put the weight on the stand, and swing your leg off the bike.

Make it second nature that when you are on the bike the kickstand is up, and when you get off you put it down.

This also implies that if you need to move the bike, sit on the bike and duck-walk it, dont try to push it standing next to it.

Again: you will be amazed at how many people drop their bikes because they jump off and then try to put the kickstand down, or they just forget.

You cannot 'man handle' a street bike like a bicycle or a dirt bike.

You can do a lot of damage dropping the bike sideways at zero mph.
 

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Hello chol great you have joined the forum. All great advice from fello members....you will be glad to have taken the MSF course. Would love to see a pic or two of your ride? Even after taking a course, it doesn't hurt to read materials, books, etc. and watch some videos. YamaMassGirl has some posted on our forum. They are very helpful and remind us of the important things concerning motorcycle riding. Ride safe and enjoy~YammyV
 

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Welcome chol. You have a great bike and this is the best place to get advice and ask any questions you may have. I agree, those MC Rider videos contain a wealth of knowledge.
 

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Hi chol13! Welcome to the forum and always glad to have another lady rider in our midst. Ditto on the MSF course and what KCW stated. You're going to love the reliability of your 650, great starter bikes and very nimble. Glad you joined us!


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Very nice. They look so good in classy black paint.
 

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Welcome from Reno Nevada. Good advice on the course. Learn to counter steer and how to break quickly without a skid. Other than that enjoy and be safe

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Discussion Starter #17
Learn to counter steer and how to break quickly without a skid.

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Funny Enough, I was practicing with my husband last night (riding around the roads under construction near our house), and he slowed down pretty quickly. (Or it felt like he slowed down quickly). Anyway, he scared me so badly I locked up the breaks and skidded. I was fairly balanced the whole time, no issues, and didn't even realize I had done it until he yelled into my headset "Did you just lock up your breaks?!".

Anyway, point of the story is that learning to stop quickly is now on the top of the list.
 

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Practicing your stopping is something you do everyday.

There are three key points on a street bike.

1. When you apply the front brakes the weight of the bike shifts forward and compresses the front shocks. For this reason you never slam on the front brake. If you do the wheel will lock up immediately because the weight has not yet shifted, and once it skids it will keep skidding and will slide out, making your fall over the handlebars. You always need to brake the front increasingly, loading up the weight more and more, not all at once.

2. If the front wheel locks up let go of the lever instantly. Motorcycles are self balancing because the wheels act like gyroscopes. When the front wheel stops spinning the bike falls over, just as if you stopped and forgot to put your feet down. DONT practice locking up the front brake.

3. The back wheel is the opposite. You can slam on the back brake and lock it up. It may start twisting the bike sideways but you can steer through it and ride it out. The big difference is: if you lock up the rear brake and skid then KEEP IT locked until the bike comes to a stop. If you let it go the bike will suddenly snap straight and throw you off like a wild horse. You can practice skidding the rear tire using no front brake, while not going too fast (less than 25mph).

This sounds complicated. To make it simple practice every day. When no one is behind you stop a little harder than you need to: stop short of the red light or stop sign by braking harder. Progressively do this till your normal stop feels pretty aggressive. If you do lock up one wheel or the other, remember 1, 2 and 3 above. By doing this you will learn how fast you can stop, and it wont be an OMG! moment... it will feel normal.

and one last thing. DONT hit the brakes while turning. Get the bike straight first, then apply the brakes. If you brake while turning either you will spiral into the turn harder (and hit the curb or cross the center line) or the wheels will lock up and you will drop the bike. This is why you need to setup your turns and sweeping curves, slowing down before you get into the curve, because once you are turning you are committed.
 

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I had my back lock up the other day but it was a controlled skid. Sometimes you can't avoid it. Just never the front or your probably going down. Practice on your bike after the class if they give you different bikes to use like my class did.

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Here's one other tip, learn to switch to reserve on the fly. I wasn't paying attention to my miles and I had to do it going 75 in the fast lane recently... It'll wake you up.

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