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Hi All,

This is just to say thanks to everyone on this forum. A couple weeks ago, I bought not only my first Wee, but it's also my first bike. I absolutely love it and the sport! I'm continuing to practice, riding every day through the neighborhood and parking lots, building skills, comfort, and confidence. I'm even planning to take my new bike to the next intermediate riding course. The bike just feels great so far.

As an added bonus, what I unexpectedly found in getting a Wee is a great community within this forum to support me. From buying the bike itself, to installing the SW Motech Crash Bars, proper tire pressure, and even setting the clock. The information and support here is great. I find myself reading through the threads just to pick up practical tips within each topic. So thank you to all those that contribute. You are helping guys like me be better riders and wee owners.

By the way, here is the picture of my new baby... 2009 DL650 ABS - picture from the first day I brought it home. I've subsequently added crash bars. Will need to get new photo.

One question to the group... as I'm brand new to the V-Strom and brand new to riding... What lessons would you offer me that may not be obvious, but the ones you learn only from experience?
 

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+1 on the fork brace. I finally put one on my Wee after I'd had the bike for six months and was pleasantly surprised at the improved performance while riding slab and in cornering.

I'm relatively new back to motorcycling, myself, and got my Wee in May '11. I'm going through withdrawals because I took her off the road for the winter, here in New England (gonna hafta come up with a different plan next winter). I suggest you always ride sober and continue to practice, practice, practice what you learned in motorcycling school. A big plus for me was finding a buddy who rides a dual sport and is up for early takeoffs every Saturday and Sunday for full days of riding until sunset. Regretably, I can't commute on my bike for now but I'm scheming a change there, too.
 

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Where to begin . . . the journey of a thousand miles . . . ?

Your own common-sense will point you towards many of the front wheel (and rear) traction problems associated with bitumen "polluted" with sand/grit/gravel spray, and black-ice, wet leaves and wet metal plates or road-marking paint, and the grease/oil dripped onto lane centers by trucks and old cars [most particularly just on the "waiting" stretch before traffic lights].

Actually, motorcycling is remarkably safe ~ provided there are no other vehicles near you! ( . . . nor deer . . . )
Unfortunately, others are usually in proximity, so I hope you can maintain a 3-second gap [for reaction time and braking] and be constantly vigilant for those many car-drivers who are oblivious of you [even when looking straight at you] as well as your second-guessing ALL car-drivers likely future actions . . . or lack of actions. [I especially "like" the slightly-slowing driver with his turn indicator on, who looks like he must be about to turn at the obvious spot . . . but he carries straight on ~ or is intending to turn AFTER he has passed your position.] And for yourself, try if possible, to avoid lingering in the middle of the road waiting to make a turn ~ move on, and make the turn elsewhere when there's a suitable gap . . . so you're not a stationary target [or an almost "invisible obstruction"].
And those many situations when a car-driver has poor or little (or almost fully-obstructed) view of you . . . and he is eager to turn into the road [or pull out, or make a lane-change, or a U-turn] and he is just not looking for a bike or expecting to see one. Especially in moderately heavy traffic, when he is trying to look several ways at once, to see if that approaching & desirable "gap" that he needs is available and car-free RIGHT NOW, GOTTA TAKE IT.

I hope you are "out of" cotton & polyester, "into" leather, Kevlar, and heavy-duty nylon.
Consider some combined knee/shin guards, that can be quickly slipped under your trouser legs [accessing up from your ankles, of course] and quickly clip in place. They are cheap and comfortable (or should be!) . . . and may turn out to be worth a 100 times their weight in gold, if they prevent a bone fracture / joint injury. A broken arm is so much less expense & life-style-hampering than a broken leg / knee-injury . . . .

Braking during cornering . . . often some moderate front-brake usage is reasonable . . . but beware the rear brake, since the weight-transference effect is often large enough to leave no worthwhile rear traction available for that rear braking . . . and the rear wheel slides out [rather counter-intuitive, this . . . and often not emphasised in training-class].
ABS loses 90% of its value, when you are cornering.

Sure, there's much that can be discussed in the non-safety area.
But there's no hurry needed in picking that up.
.
 

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I'm currently teaching my 16 yo daughter how to drive, and trying to find a way to describe how an experienced rider/driver views the world. The best I come up with is a combination of the Terminator and Nicholas Cage in "Next". Classification of all possible threats in view, and the extrapolation of those threats most harmful possible actions into the next five (more or better) seconds. Sounds like riding paranoid, I suppose, but after a while, it becomes a habit, requiring not much effort at all. Make a mental game of it. Every ride you make without anyone getting into your bubble, you win the game. Your bubble, to me, is defined as that space that makes your sphincter tense up when you share it with another vehicle.
 

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Nice bike & welcome aboard!

There's a big elementary school just west of my house, with big parking lots, turnaround circles and bus lanes, and even areas with hopscotch grids & game stuff painted on the pavement. One thing that helped me a lot when I started riding (at age 50) and still helps today, is before every ride I'd spend 15 minutes inventing training exercises at that school (usually weekends or evenings when the lot was empty). It was actually a lot of fun - nowadays I rarely pass a school without whipping in for a few figure 8s and drills in the lot, then on the way again "refreshed". Easy habit to form that helped me a lot.
As you will learn, it's fun to pi$$ off your riding friends when you can whip a smooth U turn on a narrow country road & never think about putting that foot down! Ride Safe! Buckee
 

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Discussion Starter #7
safety

I hope you are "out of" cotton & polyester, "into" leather, Kevlar, and heavy-duty nylon.

Absolutely. Have a bright Neon Yellow Jacket with CE armor in shoulders and elbows with an additional back pad, and pants with CE pads in the knees and hips. I didn't skimp on the equipment and got the stuff to get me noticed. In my younger days, I would have wanted to look cool. These days, I want to be safe. I'm glad I didn't pick up this sport until now. :)

Great advice on the practice of riding. My father-in-law (long time rider), who I've been riding with, gave me the advice to ride like everyone is about to kill you. I took that to heart and do not take any driver's actions for granted, no matter who has the actual "right of way". Really like your tip about hanging out for a left turn. Hadn't thought about it... but I will be thinking about it now.

Thanks! B.
 

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Hello and Welcome!!

Will you be using your bike for commuting?

The most important thing I have learned while commuting in I-5 rush hour is to ALWAYS have an escape route. No...I don't mean from work. That should be a given right? :mrgreen:. But yes, while commuting among the slog of cages who are talking on the phone, shaving, texting, makeup, or watching movies on their dash mounted ipads (which I've seen on more than one occasion) I always know what cars are behind me, in front of me, along side me, as well as a quick personality "tag" based on the driver and their driving habits.

Always be on the lookout for a drivers intent. The first thing I realized when I went from a ear-drum rattling Buell running HID fog lights to the quiet wee-beast is that drivers didn't know I was there which caused me to be cut-off or merged into on an almost daily bases. Thankfully through the amazing Stromtrooper community I was able to get my bike setup for commuting but the most important thing mentioned was to always pay attention and always be ready to react if you notice anything out of the ordinary.

Be safe and ride ride ride!!!
 

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I'd say to never miss a chance to practice your low speed maneuvering. Anyone can ride fast, to have the stability and control to ride and turn at a slow walking pace shows true control of the bike.
 

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Welcome; suggest picking up a copy of Proficient Motorcycling by David Hough. My wife gave me a copy when I came back to riding after 20 years off. Augments the great stuff taught in the MSF course.
 

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These things can be controversial for some, but I'm an ATGATT rider and used a helmet in the 60's even. It made sense in a helo then so seemed to be right on a bike too. Also, a jacket & helmet is just part of the gear-proper boots will not only keep your feet on your body they will also be dry and comfortable . I like my Sidi's with the side zip. Pants with liners for convertible season use are nice to & I wear them with suspenders for larger size as an overpant and comfort. Helmets are not all equal and worth the extra $ for one that fits your head shape & quiet. Buying a book is one thing going to a MSF course is better!!!!!!!!!!!!! This not the place to teach yourself and learn by trial and error! Gloves are another must have. I like a soft deerskin or goat glove for almost all the time & have an Olympia winter glove(I forget your locale) for extremes. Remember the heavy gloves will block much of the heated grip effect.
Gerbings is a must for really cold & to be safe too.Enjoy.
 

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No matter how many years you ride you will always ( as in all life ) learn something knew, but put simply, Wear protective gear, Practice emergency braking (in a deserted street) Watch the road surface for any kind of potential problem, and keep a big clear space around you when in traffic...always.

Always remember...getting hurt,..hurts! Someone who loves you wants you home to-night.


Saturn 5
 

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+1 on the emergency braking practice. staying well away from cars in front is a GREAT general rule as well. nothing like following a car too close and have a rusty old exhaust suddenly appear in front of you.
 

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Welcome to the group and the sport in general!

I am nearly a carbon copy of yourself when it comes to experience and first bike. For the longest time I thought about getting into motorcycling because my brother had always ridden and it seemed like something I should do. However, my biggest fear was not necessarily my ability to ride but rather who I would be sharing the road with.

This thread has a TON of really fantastic advice that I would never attempt to dispute. At age 44 the first thing I did was take the MSF course. The experience and training were invaluable. The Monday following the course a good friend from Knoxville, TN rode my recently purchased 07 Wee up (nice 6 hour ride) and the next thing I knew I had a real motorcycle.

My riding experience since last May primarily consists of short trips of 20 miles here and there with an occasional 100 mile round tripper. What helped me most was just slowly branching out. I live in the country so finding places to ride with no traffic is easy. However, I knew I was going to face traffic someday and so I gradually exposed myself to it. I regularly do empty parking lot drills that replicate the MSF course. I don't commute to work on the Wee and really don't plan on doing so because my route is extremely busy plus my wife works at the same place.

The 650 V-Strom is a really good bike to begin with in my opinion. I am 6'1" and have no problem reaching the ground with both feet nearly flat. There are some in here that suggested the Wee is a bit much for a beginner because of the weight, high center-of-gravity, horsepower, etc. That may very well be true but my thought is if I can learn on it then I am way ahead of the game.

Riding a motorcyle has unquestionably made me a better car driver. Your awareness of everything around and ahead of you while on a bike goes up exponentially. After nearly 2500 miles on the Wee I would say that I have gotten comfortable with the bike and riding in general but FAR FAR from complacent.

I wear all of the protective gear even for that short 10 mile round trip to the store. I realize the hazards and that every trip is a new experience. Riding with a purpose makes it a lot more fun to me as well. Riding just to ride is ok but I get far more enjoyment going places for a reason. The V-Strom is great for that because it is so utility in its set up. Throw on the Givi cases and away you go!

Anyway, congratulations on your purchase and we look forward to hearing more of your progress!
 

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I hope you truly integrate the suggestions made on the forum. The experiences of others will help you become aware of things to anticipate, but only your personal experiences will help you learn how to ride safely. One of the first things I do on my bikes is add lights, front and rear. I learned that from a cop who stopped me "just to chat". He suggested Motolites but they are pricey and there are other manufacturers. You want to be as visiable to others as possible. Do some research and you'll find a wealth of knowledge and experiences of other riders to help direct you.
 

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+1 on the emergency braking practice. staying well away from cars in front is a GREAT general rule as well. nothing like following a car too close and have a rusty old exhaust suddenly appear in front of you.
Agree 100% with this. Never had an exhaust on the vehicle in front of me come off, but I did have a flatbed trailer come off of the truck in front of me. No security chains. If I hadn't been paying close attention to the weaving trailer after I turned on to the road and had some practice emergency braking I suspect I would be dead or at the least severely injured. It totaled the car that was behind me.

Wakes you up ... that's for sure.
 

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Plowstrom, I also have an '09/ABS and love it. Since you are in Sunnyvale you might consider taking the Alameda County Sheriff's 1-day Civilian Basic Motorcycle course. It teaches the low speed turn skill that is very handy. Also consider the MSF Basic Rider 2 course.

+1 on David Hough's Proficient Motorcycling.

+1million on ATGATT.
 
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