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Old 04-19-2006, 04:59 PM   #21
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Default Re: Done with MSF Training Cass. Now What?

All of the above is excellent advice and I agree. While I think the k1200s is a lot of bike for a beginner, part of me thinks it is better to buy what you want the first time and spare all the inbetween bikes that you will outgrow. If you did that and have no money for another bike then I would suggest riding with someone that knows your situation and is willing to help teach you the ropes. When I got into riding on the street my neighbor had a GSXR 750 that he could ride the wheels off of. Everytime I went riding with him he would teach me at every stop, he would ride slowly showing me proper lines, and once he know I would not try to keep up with him he would occasionally show me how slow we were going by dissappearing and then waiting for me at the next stop. I learned a ton from him and I think he taught me to be a very safe street rider. You know, the MSF advanced rider course is really designed for someone like you...I wrote about it recently (under how to on the MO home page) so read about it and see if you think it would help you (I think it would be perfect for you). Then after you take it go and practice everything in an empty parking lot until you can do it without thinking. Then go and ride with someone responsible that will help look out for you and show you the ropes. You can also get into the mindset of everyone being out to run you over even when you are in the cage...pretend you are on the bike and learn to predict what the cages will do. All that being said the best advice given is to buy that SV650 and learn on that, and turn it into a track bike later. It is so much lighter and cheaper to fix by a mile if you drop it. Also consider DRZ or another dual sport bike that you can take to the dirt and use on the street to get used to the dynamics of how the motorcycle feels in different traction situations, and how it feels to fall, slide, wheelie etc. I can't believe the dealer has not told you all of this already...he should have been looking out for you. No worries though, your fellow MOrons will probably step up to the plate with any help you need. I am in central CA and would be happy to help you learn anytime if you are in this area (especially if I can ride the K1200!). One last thing- NO PASSENGERS until you are totally comfortable riding the bike in any situation. They change the whole dynamic and can really screw you up if you are not prepared.
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Old 04-19-2006, 05:00 PM   #22
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Default Re: Done with MSF Training Cass. Now What?

Finish the second level MSF, then do not wait, go to a school and ride with the beginners.

Go to a school, not a track day as such. (Track days in any case are NOT for racing). The track CAN be the best place to learn. Keith Code, Reg Pridmore and Kevin Schwantz all do a great job with beginners. Their schools are carefully divided by skill level.

Code and Pridmore have 2-day schools that are absolutely wonderful for beginners. They will NOT let you get in over your head, they restrict speed and monitor you carefully, following and leading you as you learn.You will learn to control and manage the bike at speed and ameliorate the fear which can paralyze reactions.

My son chose not to follow me into racing, but I insisted he go to Pridmore's school, and he found it invaluable.

You obviously have the ego and attitude under control and want to learn, that's 90 percent of the battle.

Good luck and I for one would love to get an occasional update on how you're doing.
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Old 04-19-2006, 05:29 PM   #23
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Default Re: Done with MSF Training Cass. Now What?

I totally agree with the above... this is a real good news / bad news situation.

The bad news is that you've made a really really horrible choice for a first bike.

The good news is that so far no harm has been done, neither you nor the bike have suffered any damage

My advice is to get one of the other bikes being recommended here and ride the crap out of it for a while until you're ready to step up to that beautiful BMW.

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Old 04-19-2006, 05:43 PM   #24
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Default Practice Practice

My MSF instrutor said after the class "Go to a big parking lot and practice those MSF drills. Especially the braking one..Braking need become an instinct. Practice swerving then braking etc etc. Shifting needs to become an instinct. Clutch friction zone stuff too... " Then pick a nice street route you know that you are aware of trouble spots.. When you get bored of it you are on your way.. .Have fun...
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Old 04-19-2006, 06:37 PM   #25
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Default Re: Done with MSF Training Cass. Now What?

Quite a range of advice - I'm sure a lot of it is useful, but I'd take issue with the the group riding suggestions. I like riding with one, or at most two, friends with similar bikes and riding experience/skill/attitude, but having to deal with another bike or more near you when you ride really complicates things (IMHO). Even if you're not encouraged to ride over your head, trying to keep track of what the rest of the group nearest you is doing uses up some of the concentration that you're relying on to ride safely and enjoy yourself. It'll be more fun and easier to enjoy after you've been riding awhile.
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Old 04-19-2006, 07:43 PM   #26
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Default Re: Done with MSF Training Cass. Now What?

Wow, first off I'd like to say You have Great taste in Motorcycles . . .

Since were about the same age, I feel I can at least relate a little here so lets see hmmmm...

#1: Ride Like Your invisible! (no one see's You and trust No One). Thats Your first rule of riding in Traffic.

#2: Oh yea, Get a Copy of "Sport Bike Riding Techniques" burn that one into Your sub-conscious!

#3: Never go riding with out Your Gear and if at all possible, don't go without a Bud. It would be ideal to find folks of greater skill of course but also with the same motives (ex: not here to die, go to jail, etc. etc. etc.).

Over the years I've been blessed to meet some fantastic people with this same dizease even though We come from all walks of life, etc. It's the Sport We Love . . .

The more folks on Your phone tree the better. . . This way You can plan ahead and schedule a ride or track day with anyone You can.

Hint: rides or track days on a week day tend to be a much better deal since every one else is at work or school and it gives You more quality time riding etc. . .

#4: Get as much quality training as You can muster from Now on! Make it a commitment to Your self . . . Track days are Fantastic, just research who is putting it on and so on. . . some groups provide basic/new rider courses or even coaching as part of the service . . . be advised though not all track day programs are the same and may not even welcome You if Your a weak rider.

There's nothing wrong with retaking the Basic MSF course and the beauty is It's some one else's equipment so if something does go wrong You didn't throw Your pride and joy down the road . . .

Uncle Sam made me take MSF probly 4-6 times in My 20 Yrs. It's one of the reasons I'm still alive today . . .

I'm not going to re-hash the choice in Your first bike thing but ethier way I hope You live and learn as long as I have cause This is a Fantastic Sport!

Good Luck, Elias

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Old 04-20-2006, 06:08 PM   #27
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Default Why a smaller bike might be better for learning

On that bike, with your level of experience, I don't know if it's possible to be overcautious. The K1200 is a huge engine for a beginner, and wrapping a supersport bike around it more than doubles the challenges. (0-60 in 2.8? Holy crap!) On a really hot bike, potentially tragic mistakes are really easy for a beginner to make. Lesser but still achingly unpleasant mishaps, like dropping your big, heavy, shining beauty on the cruelly sharp pavement, at one-half mile an hour in a parking lot, can be next to impossible for a beginner to avoid.

The specific problem is that as bike performance increases, so do the demands on the rider's skill and judgement. The margin for error gets thinner and thinner; thin as a razor when you start to push the envelope. The lead time to disaster can get shorter than an eyblink, to the point where only skills and reflexes honed by thousands or even tens of thousands of miles of experience--I am not exaggerating--can save your life.

On top of that, a hopped-up, sport-model bike simply isn't designed for the kind of low to moderate-end use that offers the most opportunity to learn the basics. Many are even less stable at beginner-reasonable speeds than at high speed. A bike like that is impatient. It doesn't want to go any speed but faster Faster FASTER FASTERDAMMIT! It's not willing to wait around while you learn to handle the basics; it's not going to cooperate if a rider tries to treat it like a beginner's bike.

The third time I took the MSF course (and glad I did, too), my instructor put it this way. Once you've picked up the rudiments of safe riding, a small-to-moderate bike will teach you how to ride it, all by itself. Handled alertly and responsibly, it will give you lots of warning when you're pushing the envelope. It will give you the opportunity to learn what a mistake feels like while you can still correct it, before you break traction and learn how good your helmet really is. On certain occasions, a lighter bike will also let you manhandle your way through an uncertain moment, where a heavy bike would respond only to a finesse that, no offense, you probably don't have yet.

So, I agree with the suggestion that you buy a cheap beater to practice on. I've owned and ridden a moderately wide spectrum of bikes, and I'd strongly suggest something in the 400 to 650cc range, and not a sport bike. It doesn't need to be pretty, or powerful, or anything else but reliable. Then, practice, practice, practice. Every single day or even twice a day isn't unreasonable.

If you can get out there on your practice bike at least 30-40 minutes every single day, and maybe an hour or two couple or few times a week, it might only be a month or two before you can safely take that 1157cc, 167 horsepower monster out for a spin. That is, short rides, in good weather, with no passenger, no serious traffic, no other distractions, and no real challenges.

Don't rush to the big bike. There's a lot of road out there waiting for you; you won't regret preparing for it properly. Even after you feel you're ready to make a careful start with the beemer, continue practicing on the smaller bike as much as you can, until you're entirely confident meeting every ordinary challenge on the smaller bike, and a few not so ordinary ones. Then you'll be ready to start learning to meet challenges on the big beast.

Having a friend can definitely help. A seasoned riding partner can share his experience, observe your mistakes and help you grow out of them. And, he can help you decide when you're ready for a faster road, more challenging maneuvers, or (yay!) the bigger bike.

However, I definitely do not agree with recommending a group ride. In my case at least, a group ride demands extra attention that's better spent minding the road, the ride and the traffic. Definitely find an experienced riding partner if you can, but avoid groups larger than two or at most three until your skill level gives you attention to spare. (After 18 years, six bikes, two coast-to-coast crossings, and a few years daily commuting, I still don't like riding in groups. It takes too much away from the ride, and I just don't feel safe.)

Something I particularly like is a weekend-morning diner run. A bunch of folks ride separately or in small groups to meet at a prearranged mom-and-pop joint out away somewhere. Over a cheap, hearty meal they swap stories about riding and bikes and just plain life. They admire each others bikes, occasionally trading test rides. Then everyone rides off again by ones and twos. It's a great way to get a good ride in, and meet some nice folks on bikes.

I hope some of this is helpful to you. Good luck. You definitely have a lot to look forward to!
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Old 04-21-2006, 06:40 AM   #28
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Default Re: Done with MSF Training Cass. Now What?

Hmmm, tough question there. Firstly, the K1200S isn't the bike I would've recommended for your first foray into street riding at any age, much less one where you find yourself thinking about your family! A bike like that can make the riding seem "easier" than it really is with good suspension, acceleration, and braking: on the other hand, this can also lull you into travelling at speeds greater than your experience can cope with. Ideally, I'd recommend you buy a $1500 to $2500, mid-sized UJM from Craigslist and put some miles on it, starting in the parking lots with the skills you learned in class, moving to your neighborhood streets, then lanes and roads before tackling highways and commuter traffic. Make sure the beater runs well, and has fresh tires on it, then park the BMW untill fall and ride the ratbike. You can sell the UJM next spring for what you paid for it, and you'll be able to take your polished skill set to the Kbike with much less trepidation. Remember in class when they talked about risk management? This is just one way to manage that risk.

Bryan...there are other ways as well...
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