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    Thread: Motorcycle Forum FAQ and Frequently Asked Rookie Questions

    1. 07-29-2009 09:02 PM #71
      Just got my first bike (Suzuki GS500) and loving it.

      I have done a few rides at night now and have come up with my major newb question: should I operate the high beams the same as in the car?

      I ask because when I get outside the city/suburbs there is so little light that when I switch to low beam to avoid blinding oncoming motorists I can't see ANYTHING! Experience or none not being able to see in front of you is an issue, and I got to thinking whether I can recall other cycles turning their highs off when I am driving at night. Am I blinding people by not turning them off or is the one light on my bike easy enough for them to look past/not as bright as it appears from my perspective.

      I'm still a bit hesitant to ride at night but now that I have my license (thanks to the MSF course) I can ride to friends houses and such without worrying about the time.


    2. Vortex Media Group Staff Tim@VMG's Avatar
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      07-29-2009 10:09 PM #72
      Quote, originally posted by 2Slo2Run »
      Just got my first bike (Suzuki GS500) and loving it.

      I have done a few rides at night now and have come up with my major newb question: should I operate the high beams the same as in the car?

      Yes, because they act basically the same as a car - if you are running the high beam, you'll blind oncoming traffic.

      Quote »

      I ask because when I get outside the city/suburbs there is so little light that when I switch to low beam to avoid blinding oncoming motorists I can't see ANYTHING! Experience or none not being able to see in front of you is an issue, and I got to thinking whether I can recall other cycles turning their highs off when I am driving at night. Am I blinding people by not turning them off or is the one light on my bike easy enough for them to look past/not as bright as it appears from my perspective.

      I'm still a bit hesitant to ride at night but now that I have my license (thanks to the MSF course) I can ride to friends houses and such without worrying about the time.

      It's good that you are cognizant of this, because one of the big risks of riding at night is out-riding your headlight (that is, riding so fast that your light doesn't light far enough for you to be able to see hazards).

      The first thing that I would check (don't know if your bike is the faired one or the naked) is how the headlight is aimed. On a lot of naked bikes, it is really easy to have the headlight get bumped and aimed too far downward, which would result in not being able to see well. Check that out and see if it helps.

      The second thing that you can do is add some auxiliary lighting of some sort to your bike. This is what I did on my BMW, as I just wasn't happy with the amount of light I was getting, and I love the peace and calm of riding at night. I ordered a set of Hella FF50 auxiliary driving lights from http://www.rallylights.com There are plenty of other solutions too, like motolights and some others, but the Hellas were only about $100 for a complete kit with a switch and relay and such, and they throw a LOT of light. I have them aimed low and slightly outward, and they make me feel SO much safer riding in low light.

      Here's a pic from my install:

      -Tim

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    3. 07-30-2009 12:35 AM #73
      Thanks man, that is what I was thinking but I wanted to ask anyways. Rather ask here than just guess on the street. The bike is a naked, so I might have to look into some lighting like that. Actually going out right now to see if the light should/could be tilted upwards more.

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      08-17-2009 02:37 AM #74
      Just finished the MSF course today.

      I *highly* recommend this to anyone thinking of two-wheeling.

      I don't have much to say on the beginner-bike debate, except my typical statement on the subject (which got a few chuckles at the MSF class):

      You're better off as a beginning motorcyclist if your *car* is *much faster* than your bike. You'll be less likely to try anything stupid.

      Hop on a Honda Nighthawk 250 and aim for a stoplight and you'll see what I mean. Is it yellow? Will it be yellow soon? Decision time!

      (Seriously, I am a wiser pilot of both the S4 and the R60/6 because of this. The Audi's about 2 seconds faster than the BMW in the 1/4 mi. If I move up to that R100/7 I've been thinking about- I'll have to go RS2 spec to keep the S4 out front...


    5. 11-24-2009 02:37 PM #75
      (I'm considering taking an MSF course)

      Q: What can I expect at an MSF course? What should I bring? What if I've NEVER ridden a motorcycle before? What if I've never SAT on a motorcycle before?

      Q: Is there such a thing as a newbie bike thats too old (mid 70's)? ARe there features on a bike that should be considered when looking for a newbie bike (disc over drum, light weight, etc...).

      Q: How do you size yourself for a bike (I'm 6'4", 200lbs)?


      Modified by Daedalus at 1:55 PM 11-24-2009


    6. Member Triumph's Avatar
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      11-25-2009 01:15 PM #76
      Quote, originally posted by Daedalus »
      (I'm considering taking an MSF course)

      Q: What can I expect at an MSF course? What should I bring? What if I've NEVER ridden a motorcycle before? What if I've never SAT on a motorcycle before?

      You won't be alone, many people there have never ridden a motorcycle before. It starts very basic, and all of the trials are 15 mph and below. Starting and stopping, riding in circles, turning your head, basic stuff that you need to know.

      Quote »

      Q: Is there such a thing as a newbie bike thats too old (mid 70's)? ARe there features on a bike that should be considered when looking for a newbie bike (disc over drum, light weight, etc...).

      Never ridden a 70's bike so I'm not sure. But I hear the harley designs hail from the 1930's, and people still ride those.

      Quote »

      Q: How do you size yourself for a bike (I'm 6'4", 200lbs)?

      Basically your feet should touch the ground. It's mostly how comfortable you are. It has nothing, nothing to do with engine size. Don't let anyone tell you that. Your weight is not a problem, but your height may cause some issues. A sport bike is made for someone 5'8" or so. You may find cruisers to be comfortable, or a standard upright like a Vstrom 650. Sit on a few at the dealership, it's mostly a comfort thing.

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      I saw this in a movie about a bus that had to speed around the city, keeping its speed over fifty, and if its speed dropped, the bus would explode! I think it was called, "The Bus That Couldn't Slow Down."

    7. Member Viss1's Avatar
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      11-28-2009 10:02 AM #77
      Quote, originally posted by Daedalus »
      Q: Is there such a thing as a newbie bike thats too old (mid 70's)? ARe there features on a bike that should be considered when looking for a newbie bike (disc over drum, light weight, etc...).

      My first bike was an '82, but it was a '70s design. Most older bikes have the "standard" riding position (upright, not leaned forward like a sportbike but not laid back like a cruiser), which is pretty much ideal for a beginner.

      I'm all about inexpensive bikes - they're great to learn on because you don't have to worry about expensive repairs if you drop it, and you can learn how to work on/modify them because if you screw something up, parts are cheap.

      As far as equipment/specs go, I personally wouldn't bother with a really small-engined bike because you'll grow out of it pretty quickly (by really small I mean older 250's and the like). As for brakes, front drums are pretty ancient at this point, but if maintained correctly they'll be adequate for everyday use. There are plenty of disc-equipped bikes available out there for next to nothing, though, so there's really no reason to get a "vintage" bike unless you like the looks.


    8. Geriatric Member AKADriver's Avatar
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      12-08-2009 10:59 PM #78
      I posted a thread a while back about an old bike as a newbie bike, asking for opinions. For most of the UJMs parts are readily accessible and they're reputed to be easy to work on. As a newbie the biggest concern seems to be getting a bike that's ride-able out of the box, though. Regardless of your own mechanical aptitude, get a well-regarded motorcycle mechanic to look it over, paying close attention to safety items like brakes, lights, wheels/tires. Beyond that, it's probably not an issue for you, but the old "big bikes" can get very heavy for a smaller guy.
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    9. Member LiveToRide08's Avatar
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      10-19-2010 12:41 AM #79
      cars never see you i ride with the notion that there all out to kill me so im more cautious lol

    10. Member mad8vskillz's Avatar
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      11-23-2010 03:26 PM #80
      1) great site with lots of tips: http://www.msgroup.org/ some of these are pretty much solely responsible for me keeping my butt alive

      2) do a trackday, it will show you that what you think are the limits of your bike are nowhere near where the limits are. don't ride on the street like you're at the track, but do take this knowledge and know that if you're worried about making some turn your bike CAN do it

      3) if you find yourself struggling with some practice maneuver, tell yourself "just f'ing do it". The bike will do much more than you think most of the time, and a good chunk of inability is only mental.



      resources (or my opinion on stages of how to go about learning). this is a combination of a few info threads.

      1) MOM (motorcycle operators manual) - just enough to pass the permit
      2) MSF book - enough for pre-street
      3) MSF course - free in PA, $300 in NJ, price varies elsewhere
      4) msgroup.org - street riding tips, especially concentrating on where to be in relation to traffic and how to avoid hazards
      5) total motorcycle control, lee parks - race-proven techniques for the street paperback
      6) total control ARC - $300ish course concentrating on smooth cornering, etc.
      7) twist of the wrist 2 dvd, keith code - track and street cornering bible
      8) twist of the wrist books, keith code - track and street cornering bible, much more detailed than dvd obviously
      9) track schools - team promotion, tony's track days, cali superbike school (keith code's school), etc.

      there are also these, but i haven't got to them yet
      -ride like a pro dvds
      -Sport Riding Techniques (Develop Real World Skills for Speed, Safety, and Confidence on the Street and Track) by Nick Ienatsch and Kenny Roberts
      -Ride Hard Ride Smart (Ultimate Street Strategies for Advanced Motorcyclists) by Patrick Hahn
      -Sportbike Performance Handbook by Kevin Cameron
      -Proficient Motorcycling: The Ultimate Guide to Riding Well
      -101 Sportbike Performance Projects by Evans Brasfield
      -street smarts motorcycle dvd

      If you want the pure science behind motorcycles, here is one that requires an engineering/math degree to read it. -Motorcycle Dynamics by Vittore Cossalter
      Last edited by mad8vskillz; 05-04-2011 at 02:24 PM.
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    11. 07-23-2011 08:28 PM #81
      first half of msf completed today. def worth it! cant believe how much i learned today. here i was thinking it was going to be as boring as drivers ed

    12. Member TooFitToQuit's Avatar
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      07-26-2011 06:51 PM #82
      Quote Originally Posted by Red Pocket Rocket View Post
      first half of msf completed today. def worth it! cant believe how much i learned today. here i was thinking it was going to be as boring as drivers ed
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    13. Member atomicalex's Avatar
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      08-23-2011 03:50 AM #83
      Please don't shoot me.....

      What engines make a sort of Jetsons sound? I hear these going past the house in Germany, and by the time I can run out the front door (dodging the shrubs and other crap the owners think is a great privacy fence), they are gone. They seriously sound like that whoosing noise used on the Jetsons (mabe the Jetsons noise IS the bike?). I think it is some sort of cruiser bike, but I'm not sure...
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    14. Vortex Media Group Staff Tim@VMG's Avatar
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      08-23-2011 09:26 AM #84
      Ha ha ha...

      Depends, to be honest.

      There are some scooters that do that.

      Sometimes the older BMW Airhead boxer twins can sound a bit that way too, depending on what exhaust is on them.

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    15. Member atomicalex's Avatar
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      01-08-2012 02:47 AM #85
      I have come to the conclusion that when cold, my bike also makes this noise.
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    16. Member mad8vskillz's Avatar
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      01-08-2012 12:56 PM #86
      Quote Originally Posted by atomicalex View Post
      Please don't shoot me.....

      What engines make a sort of Jetsons sound? I hear these going past the house in Germany, and by the time I can run out the front door (dodging the shrubs and other crap the owners think is a great privacy fence), they are gone. They seriously sound like that whoosing noise used on the Jetsons (mabe the Jetsons noise IS the bike?). I think it is some sort of cruiser bike, but I'm not sure...
      i can tell you the sv650 with the stock exhaust is commonly referred to as making the jetsons sound at low rpm. Though it's not identical it sounds a little like it
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    17. 01-13-2012 09:34 AM #87
      Quote Originally Posted by mad8vskillz View Post
      i can tell you the sv650 with the stock exhaust is commonly referred to as making the jetsons sound at low rpm. Though it's not identical it sounds a little like it
      I read this yesterday at work and chuckled. Yeah, my SV650 doesn't sound anything like the noise from the Jetsons... I get home from work and take the bike around the neighborhood before going out for a ride. As I'm coming to a stop sign, the freshly started exhaust note hits my ears. MOTHER $*&%#@, IT IS THE SOUND FROM THE JETSONS!?! Time to order an exhaust from Two Brothers.

      I grraduated from the MSF Course (One put on by Harley Davidson, the Rider's Edge Program) last Wednesday. I highly recommend it, I had no motorcyle expeirence before the class. By the end of the second day, everything clicked and I became comfortable on a motorcycle. I've put on 250 miles since then (It would be more, but work, a lovely girlfriend, and weather got in the way). I now have a new passion.

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      02-28-2013 08:30 PM #88
      I have a rookie comment. Signed up for a local motorcycle safe beginner course. I have ridden on the back of one yearssss ago, and that's where my experience ends. But, after thinking about it I feel like it is something I would enjoy.

      As a firefighter, I have picked up my fair share of motorcycle parts, and bodies up off the road and from the ditches. However, I feel like I know enough about careful driving to where I would be OK on one, and defensive driving will be key. Several of the wrecks I have been on were the "I swear I didn't see him when I pulled out." Terrible way to cause a major accident.

      But! Maybe I will come away from the safety course never wanting to sit on a motorcycle again. We'll see.

      I have kinda fallen for the little Suzuki TU250X. Love the retro styling it has, and just seems like a good, mild little first bike.

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      03-01-2013 03:51 AM #89
      Taking the class is the perfect way to have a peek at riding! You are doing it right. If it grabs you, cool. Those little bikes are wicked fun. Slow bike fast. If it doesn't grab you, well, then you know, before you bought a bike and invested who knows how much in gear.

      Do buy good gear if you like riding. It can't always save your life, but it can make living after a crash one hell of a lot better/easier/cheaper! Look for certifications to the CE norms and wear a FF helmet. Think of your armor as the proper PPE for riding. You woldn't walk into a burning building without the right gear one, correct?
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    20. Member VDubby18's Avatar
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      03-04-2013 10:21 AM #90
      Nvm.
      Last edited by VDubby18; 03-21-2013 at 11:59 AM.

    21. Member mad8vskillz's Avatar
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      03-28-2013 11:30 AM #91
      one random bit I learned by experience for bleeding a rear brake.
      it takes many many many pumps to build any pressure on a sportbike. I thought something was wrong, and my MC was busted. turned out I needed to pump the brake pedal ~50 times to get any pressure in before ever opening the bleed screw.
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    22. Global Moderator Paul@VWvortex's Avatar
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      03-28-2013 04:09 PM #92
      Quote Originally Posted by mad8vskillz View Post
      one random bit I learned by experience for bleeding a rear brake.
      it takes many many many pumps to build any pressure on a sportbike. I thought something was wrong, and my MC was busted. turned out I needed to pump the brake pedal ~50 times to get any pressure in before ever opening the bleed screw.
      I installed braided lines on my 2009 KLR650 and couldn't get the rear master cylinder and operating system to produce and pressure. It didn't help that I was doing this by myself and had to both pump the brake pedal and work the bleeding screw on the caliper.

      What I did find that worked nearly immediately was one of those inexpensive reverse-bleeding tools from Harbor Freight. It was about $25 with my coupon (or cup un as Tater says) but man, you connect it to the bleeding screw on the caliper, open up the resevoir top and add fluid. I think that I had the whole thing bled in about 20 seconds.

    23. Vortex Media Group Staff Tim@VMG's Avatar
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      03-28-2013 04:37 PM #93
      Quote Originally Posted by Paul@VWvortex View Post
      What I did find that worked nearly immediately was one of those inexpensive reverse-bleeding tools from Harbor Freight. It was about $25 with my coupon (or cup un as Tater says) but man, you connect it to the bleeding screw on the caliper, open up the resevoir top and add fluid. I think that I had the whole thing bled in about 20 seconds.
      Those vacuum brake bleeders are the best thing ever. I can do a complete brake job on my BMW (pads and new fluid) in about 20 minutes with one. I *love* it.

      -Tim
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    24. Member mad8vskillz's Avatar
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      03-28-2013 09:06 PM #94
      Quote Originally Posted by Tim@VMG View Post
      Those vacuum brake bleeders are the best thing ever. I can do a complete brake job on my BMW (pads and new fluid) in about 20 minutes with one. I *love* it.

      -Tim
      i broke mine after about 2 uses. now I use either the syringe method or the good'ol manual bleed. this was the first time i had an issue with either.
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    25. Member mad8vskillz's Avatar
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      03-28-2013 09:07 PM #95
      Quote Originally Posted by Paul@VWvortex View Post
      and couldn't get the rear master cylinder and operating system to produce and pressure.
      what you could have done is pumped the pedal ~50 times with the bleeder screw closed.
      Demokratikally Elekted Fist Lieutenant of the Outside Cavalry of the Independent People's Republik of Offtopikstan
      Quote Originally Posted by GodSquadMandrake View Post
      That's too bad but, VWVortex said so... so you have to do it now.

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