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This may be a bit long, but I thought I'd share my experiences with my first 1000 miles on any motorcycle, aka the DL650. I had never ridden on a motorcycle let alone driven one until it was deposited on my driveway about a month ago. Needless to say, it has been interesting so far and I love it.

Firstly, I'd like to thank everyone that offered me advice with my previous posts. I have read them all and have tried to apply them as best as I can. The books suggested have helped me to identify potential threats I never would have thought of before.

I can say with a lot of confidence, I can handle this bike at low speeds very well. I posted a topic concerning the BRC and the pile of crap bike I had during the course and how it kept be from completing the figure 8. I thought that damn maneuver was the thing from hell, but I have used it several times to turn around - hahah. What a dumbass I was, and still am - lots to learn.

Traffic here in Tulsa is just nuts. There are a couple of intersections that were named as the top 10 most dangerous in the country, believe it or not. I have avoided them, but have still been caught by surprise several times.

The biggest threat to me so far has been the ****ers behind me. I swear they just don't have a brain coupled with depth perception. Three times I have heard the dreaded squealing tires behind me or have been nearly hit. The first time I was making a right turn off of a busy road and had my signals on long before the turn, slowed, started to make the turn, sqeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeelllll behind me. Damn, I got around that turn as fast as I could because I knew what was behind me.

The second time was me again signaling long before I moved into the left hand turn lane, but the bone head behind me decided to not obey the well marked traffic lanes and moved over to make a left turn and try to pass me. Fortunately I saw him in my mirrors and didn't move into the left hand turn lane as he roared by. If had had moved over, I would have been crunched.

The third time was today. I exited off of the freeway onto a side road that had two on ramps for the next freeway. A car was merging onto this road on my right, and again signaling long before the problem arose. I slipped in behind the merging traffic, sqeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeelllllll behind me. Now I knew this guy was there and figured he knew I was moving over, but noooooooo, I was just somebody in his way.

So, what is the general theme here? I think it is because nobody can see my signal. In each case I have done exactly what was expected of someone making a turn, yet nobody behind me reacts like I am making turn. I know my signals work, and I have read on this forum that they are hard to see in daylight. I am going to do something about them not being seen. I will share my results.

On a side note, I sat on a FZ1 at the dealership. I have been thinking my bike doesn't have enough cow bell; it doesn't feel fast anymore. Today I (safely, long stretch of new road, no traffic) took the dl650 over 100 indicated and have decided that going that fast was just nuts. I am not remotely ready for a bike like the FZ1 and what it can do. Maybe a year or two from now, but knowing myself the FZ1 would spell bad things at my experience level.

Thanks again for all the advice everyone here has provided. I really appreciate it.

Steve
 

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The biggest threat to ALL of us is the people behind us and those not watching. All you can do is make yourself as visible as possible. If you think someone is not paying attention when you are turning you might try using a hand signal as well as the turn signal. Things like supplemental lighting, additional turn signals, etc. are always a good thing as well.

I also think you are wise to stay away from the FZ1 for now. I've had my 650 for a year now, and it was my first bike in many years. I also want something larger from time to time, but I just find a place with no traffic and let it wind out pretty hard. That will usually convince me that the 650 will do all I need from a bike right now.
 

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Thanks SCraig for the reply. My biggest problem so far with the high speeds is not being able to identify when I'm getting myself into trouble. Wearing a helmet somehow makes me feel like I'm in a video game at times. I know that sounds weird, but I have a tendancy to approach turns and what not too fast, although I am much better at that now.

As much as I hate to spend the money on full leathers and safety equipment for this class (I'm guessing 1200 bucks easy), I plan to take a class on a road course here http://www.hallettracing.net/ . They have instuctors for advanced rider training. I've had several situations where I have drifted too far on the outside of turns due to my inexperience, aka too scared to lean the bike over far enough.

Steve
 

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Maybe if you were wearing the full black leathers, Dixie flag doorag and riding a Panhead, the cagers would respect you more!:mrgreen:

Seriously, you are either going to make yourself more conspicuous and always practice your defensive riding techniques. Or take different routes.

What's up with wanting a FZ1? If 100 is as fast as you'll want to go, why not stick with the six-fiddy or consider trading up to the DL1000? I had mine up to 90, then realized it wasn't too smart (at twilight, nonetheless.)

You're lucky you have a track nearby that offers advanced riding techniques. You should do it if it's available. We have a new track here in central Iowa, but I don't know if they're offering any track days or advanced riding schools.
 

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dvdt,

Hey, you are not alone with you self-analysis of what the U-turns, aka "The Box" exercises did for you in the BRC. I have so many students that drop back and tell me how much they are now using that skill that they were hating during the class. It's just something that will show you how little you once knew about riding. It takes all the skills you have learned up to that point.

With regard to being timid about leaning a bike over, let me offer a bit of a suggestion. If you keep your eyes level with the horizon instead of tilting your head, you will find it much easier to lean the bike over. When you tilt your head with the bike it feels like you're ready to fall over. However, when you keep your head level with the horizon, you will really lean the bike over.

Before doing so, put yourself at ease. With a couple of friends helping, stand behind the bike and have them tip your DL650 over enough so that the bike is at the limit of the tread on the tire. Then you can actually see that you can really lean this bike prior to losing traction.

Now, go out and practice. Remember, if you are going wide in the turn, a little bit more "press" is required to bring the bike through the curve. Are you turning your head enough? That will also make you turn a bit sharper. Just keep working on it and get back to us.

I would also like to leave this tidbit with you. Do you know that when you are stopped at a traffic signal on a multi lane roadway that your DL650 will fit between parked cars in front of you? If you keep your bike in 1st gear when you come to a stop, and stop in a place that will give you room to manuver, you can quickly "hide" yourself between those cars in front of you and let the fool run into one of them. Just a thought.

 

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The Strom turn signals are invisible during the day. Search the forum on how to replace them with halogen bulbs or at least put some aluminum tape in there to get some sort of refector action. And yes, stop in gear, lined up to scoot into the gap just in case.
 

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Ah, the great car driver! Such a disappointing species.

When I was over last year I had a full blown argument over driving technique with the people I was staying with about driving. What was it about, you may ask? Well, it started when they let me drive their Mini Cooper with stick shift. I happened to comment on how strange I found it having to change gear with my right hand (as opposed to my left here in the UK). Their advice was to leave one hand on the gear stick at all times, whilst steering with the other hand. My reply that you should keep both hands on the steering wheel as much as possible was apparently wrong.

Cue a silly argument about how it's better to just steer with one hand as opposed to two, and that feeding the wheel is wrong and less safe than just using the heel of your palm to steer it.

Apparently the small fact that I'm a trained police response and pursuit driver was irrelevant, along with any of my arguments about accident sI have attended as a result of driving one handed, and their injuries (I can remeber a compound fracture of someone's forearm caused by having their arms crossed when the airbag went off).

My point is, don't ever have faith in the driving abilities of car drivers!!!

PS DVDT, stick with it and you'll find your riding will only ever improve. And the 650 is a great first bike - if they'd been available when I started out I'd have had one!
 

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Ah, the great car driver! Such a disappointing species.

When I was over last year I had a full blown argument over driving technique with the people I was staying with about driving. What was it about, you may ask? Well, it started when they let me drive their Mini Cooper with stick shift. I happened to comment on how strange I found it having to change gear with my right hand (as opposed to my left here in the UK). Their advice was to leave one hand on the gear stick at all times, whilst steering with the other hand. My reply that you should keep both hands on the steering wheel as much as possible was apparently wrong.

Cue a silly argument about how it's better to just steer with one hand as opposed to two, and that feeding the wheel is wrong and less safe than just using the heel of your palm to steer it.

Apparently the small fact that I'm a trained police response and pursuit driver was irrelevant, along with any of my arguments about accident sI have attended as a result of driving one handed, and their injuries (I can remeber a compound fracture of someone's forearm caused by having their arms crossed when the airbag went off).

My point is, don't ever have faith in the driving abilities of car drivers!!!

PS DVDT, stick with it and you'll find your riding will only ever improve. And the 650 is a great first bike - if they'd been available when I started out I'd have had one!
I can relate to your frustration. I have taken driving classes on closed race tracks, and I learned that I didn't know squat about driving a car at its limits. There's a lot more to it than I imagined.

I am really loving this bike so far. It feels much better to me now and I like sitting up high where I can see over cars.

The Strom turn signals are invisible during the day. Search the forum on how to replace them with halogen bulbs or at least put some aluminum tape in there to get some sort of refector action. And yes, stop in gear, lined up to scoot into the gap just in case.
I'll check it out. I need to make that a priority since I'm thinking some of my problems have been related to unseen signals.


dvdt,
Are you turning your head enough? That will also make you turn a bit sharper. Just keep working on it and get back to us.

I would also like to leave this tidbit with you. Do you know that when you are stopped at a traffic signal on a multi lane roadway that your DL650 will fit between parked cars in front of you? If you keep your bike in 1st gear when you come to a stop, and stop in a place that will give you room to manuver, you can quickly "hide" yourself between those cars in front of you and let the fool run into one of them. Just a thought.

I have a bad habit of not looking through the turn, i.e. looking straight ahead or nearly straight ahead. I am working on correcting this problem though.

I never thought of being able to dodge between parked cars to avoid getting hit from behind. That's a good idea. I do try to have it in first when I stop though. Learned that in the BRC.

Seriously, you are either going to make yourself more conspicuous and always practice your defensive riding techniques. Or take different routes.

What's up with wanting a FZ1? If 100 is as fast as you'll want to go, why not stick with the six-fiddy or consider trading up to the DL1000? I had mine up to 90, then realized it wasn't too smart (at twilight, nonetheless.)

You're lucky you have a track nearby that offers advanced riding techniques. You should do it if it's available. We have a new track here in central Iowa, but I don't know if they're offering any track days or advanced riding schools.
Yeah, I'm going to make the directional signals as bright as possible. I was just fantasizing with the FZ1. I read a post on the FZ1 owners board from a guy who just bought a FZ1 as his first bike ever. I hope he lives through it. Ninety plus mph is plenty fast for me. BTW, I grew up in Cedar Rapids.

The biggest threat to ALL of us is the people behind us and those not watching. All you can do is make yourself as visible as possible. If you think someone is not paying attention when you are turning you might try using a hand signal as well as the turn signal. Things like supplemental lighting, additional turn signals, etc. are always a good thing as well.

I also think you are wise to stay away from the FZ1 for now. I've had my 650 for a year now, and it was my first bike in many years. I also want something larger from time to time, but I just find a place with no traffic and let it wind out pretty hard. That will usually convince me that the 650 will do all I need from a bike right now.

I agree, I certainly don't need anything with more power at this point. I went back to the Suzuki dealer asking about the DL1000. I had two different people there tell me I should wait at least 6 months or a year before considering a more powerful bike. In all honesty, for the type of riding I am going to be doing, a DL1000 would satisfy my lust for power.



Thanks again for everyone's advice. I hope in the not too distant future to be able to offer advice to other noobs, but I still have way too much to learn.

Steve
 
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