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Discussion Starter #1
I just got my license a little over a month ago (through the safety course). Got a 03 v star 650 about a week later. I enjoy riding and anxious to do it.

But I don't know much about motorcycles.

I'm starting to get use to shifting (I think, based the declining number of stalls).

What are some tips you guys can give me:
1: for shifting in a way that doesn't put a lot of wear and tear on the bike
2: When I start the bike, how importing is reving the engine and using the choke.
I want to make sure that I'm not causing unnessary wear and tear unknowingly.
3: Anything else you could think of that will be helpful for a guy who is totally new to riding. I learned a lot in the safety course, but I know I've only scratched the surface.

Thanks ahead of time for you comments...I really appreciate it
 

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Welcome Cool from a fellow Pennsylvanian. Congrats on yer new acquisition. Smart move taking the BRC course. Good place to start the learning process. Shifting is a learning process also. Just try not to ride the clutch too long on pulling out and you should be fine. Just takes practice is all.
 

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Hi Cb, welcome to the forum. Sonysnek is correct about the riding the clutch too long. I personally never revved the engine on my 650 until I felt it had warmed up. I highly recommend getting a service/repair manual to familiarize yourself with how everything works. We'd love to see some pics of your ride , we're quite the visual bunch here. Ride safely and let us know how you're progressing.
 

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Welcome, CB.

Good shifting is low-wear shifting, basically. The smoother and more proficient you get, the better for your bike too.

You will also find that you can often upshift without clutch at all: just blip off the throttle, toe up, roll the throttle back on and you're good. That certainly saves wear on the clutch... but whether it's a 'good' practice, I don't know. I've done it for years and years with no problem.

Having said that, as you'll see in BRC, the BRC bikes' clutches take a beating as they teach you how to play the clutch properly. I said to my instructor that they must replace a lot of clutches and he said "not really, since they're wet clutches, they do better than you'd expect versus dry-clutch on a car"... YMMV, but this is a guy who's seen a LOT of bikes get a LOT of abuse...

Another note: much more than main clutches being a problem on our bikes, you hear about the starter clutch (a separate thing) going bad. The A#1 advice you'll see on the forum to prevent this is: Make sure you read the manual and start as it says... Short version: hold the starter button in until the bike is fully going (e.g. maybe 3-5 seconds), rather than what you may be used to (e.g. release the starter button the moment it 'fires'). I had a Honda CB650 that would start with just a touch of the button: bam! You could literally press and release it as fast as you could and the bike started. From what I've read here, doing that on a Vstar will doom your starter clutch.

Also, read up on 'valve noise' here. The consensus seems to be (and I agree personally) that our engines make valve noise. If they're NOT making valve noise, the tolerances are too tight and that's a problem! Best advice I can give you is learn your bike's noises. What you need to worry about isn't "noise X" so much as "new or different noise than usual"...
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Wow. I have totally been riding the clutch too long lately....I've been riding it so long, that sometimes my bike is waiting for me to go to 2nd gear!! Good thing you guys said something. And I know started doing it because as I got more comfortable on the bike, I started releasing to clutch more quickly while going into 1st gear. I would stall, feel stupid and vow to do it more slowly. So, i guess I figured more slowly is better than stalling. I will definitely work on that one.

The starter clutch is another good one. When I bought the bike, it had a bad voltage regulator (which I didn't know at the time, just bought a new battery since i thought that was the problem). So I've had plenty of failed attempts at trying to start the bike.
I probably need to hold it in longer, and be more patient, because i've gotten in the habit of using the throttle to help it start (IS THAT BAD?). I'll definitely try to wait the whole 3-5 seconds - I remember reading that in the manual.
- which i read a lot of in certain sections, tho they lost me in all the parts.

I will look into valve noise.

It may be a while before I get a picture up if I ever do. Im not the most technologic. I have no computer, phone, cable. But I might figure out a way.

It's white with gray on the top center from top to back. It's got bullet holes (came with), which I don't mind tho might remove. but i have the sneaky suspicion that there are covering chipped paint spots).

Thanks for all the tips.
 

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Great bike to learn on! I got a 01 650 after almost 40 years of not riding and love this little scooter. What I found right off the bat was difficulty with the clutch also. they engage rather quickly on release. I made adjustments on the cables to no avail and searched thru the site. I found and installed a "Clevver lever" and it helped a little but it just took time to get use to for me. Shift that puppy on the tens 1st gear 0-10mph, 2nd 10 -20mph, 3rd 20 -30mph and so forth preferably with the clutch. Keep the recommended oil fresh and at the proper level and be safe out there. Best way to learn is to ride! :)
 

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FWIW, I still find the VS relatively tricky to start moving at 'parking lot' rates (vs. other bikes I've had, esp. 4-bangers). Banging on the throttle and going quick no problem, but I still occasionally kill it doing slow-smooth start at low speeds. I think it's a combination of very small friction zone on our clutches and engines that tend to be a bit lumpy at low revs... Just saying it's not -all- you...
 

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I probably need to hold it in longer, and be more patient, because i've gotten in the habit of using the throttle to help it start (IS THAT BAD?). I'll definitely try to wait the whole 3-5 seconds - I remember reading that in the manual.
Most definitely BAD. Worst thing you can do for the starter clutch is use the throttle on startup. Adding throttle also advances the timing which can cause the motor to kick- back which is hard on the starter clutch. Start it exactly like the manual says and you will b fine.
 

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FWIW, starting my 1100 goes like this:

1) Choke full on if bike is cold (even in hot weather)
2) Push and hold starter until bike is fully going (typically 3 seconds)
3) Let it idle high on choke until it starts to slow on its own (typically 5-10 seconds)
4) Let choke off and give it a little throttle until it smooths out (typically 5-10 seconds)

The bike's gone over regularly and all is copacetic... that's just how it starts. Amazing how the beasties all have their own personality, so YMMV for sure.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Oi. I thought I posted something yesterday, but I guess I never did.

Basically, I've been taking a lot of your tips and its been working out pretty good. I'm feeling much more comfortable on the bike. I haven't got a tachometer at this point, tho I do like them.

One thing I'm a bit hesitant on how long to hold the starter for? I wanna do it right after it fires up like a car. I waited a little longer {per caseyjones advice} and it doesnt quite feel right either. Is it possible to hold it in too long after it starts? (understanding the manual says not to hold it longer than 5 seconds if it doesn't start). I feel like Im splitting hairs perhaps, but idk.

Also, is it better to use more throttle when letting the clutch out for first gear? Typically I'd be pretty shy with the throttle while letting the clutch out for first gear. I've been trying to use more throttle (last ride or so) and its seems to be better as far as less likely to shut off on me
 
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