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Old 05-04-2010, 02:44 PM   #1
jeff10236
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Default I am finally all set

I finished the Rider's Edge course this weekend, got my M-endorsement on my license late yesterday afternoon, and my bike was delivered yesterday evening around 8pm.

Some aspects of riding I found easier than I thought, some I found a lot harder. I really did a pretty lousy job on the figure-8/double U-turn exercise in the class but I did well enough to pass (it was my worst exercise and it was on the test) but I did well (very well) on the rest of the test. I will be practicing a whole lot of U-turns in parking lots with my bike (I am a perfectionist and can't stand the idea of not getting it down, and I got a heavy bike so mine will be even tougher than the little Buell Blasts used in the class).

My Suzuki C50 Special Edition is really a nice looking bike. However, it is a lot bigger than the Buells used in the class. When I moved it from the outer parking lot where the salesman left my bike to the garage I was more than a little nervous. I was kind of wishing I took everyone's advice here and bought a smaller bike.

Today after work I didn't have a lot of time (hopefully I'll have a little more before dark) but I did some practice for about 30min in my apartment complex garage. When first starting out I was a little nervous, some of the ramps to the upper levels are pretty steep (the upper levels are generally empty and a great place to practice), and I wasn't used to my bike at all yet. I had no experience in the class with the heal-toe shifter and I kept stalling out on the ramps because I accidentally engaged 2nd or even 3rd (I was heavy on the clutch so I hope I didn't cause too much premature wear). After about 2 minutes I was used to it though and knew where to position my feet. It actually didn't take long to start to get used to my bike and I am starting to feel pretty confident with it at slow speeds (it is actually easier to control than the Buell despite the 250+ LB weight difference in the bikes). I do still need a lot of practice with circles and figure-8's, and with the extremely heavy traffic here it will probably be a few days before I get out of the parking lot or garage (I am in a very commercial and urban area). However, I think I'm going to like my bike as I get to know it better- I think I'll be just fine.



Last edited by jeff10236 : 05-04-2010 at 02:48 PM.
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Old 05-04-2010, 03:00 PM   #2
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Congratulations, and Welcome.

Ride Safe.
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Old 05-04-2010, 03:31 PM   #3
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+1!

Remember, it's not 'paranoia' if everyone really is out to kill you!

Keep your head on a swivel. Your awareness of your surroundings is critically important.

Ride safe, and have fun!
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Old 05-04-2010, 06:32 PM   #4
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I went out again for about 20min just before dinner. I had to fight the urge to go out into traffic too early (traffic around here can be quite heavy, I would probably already have gone out there if I was in a more typical suburban neighborhood). So, more parking lot practice, some U-turn practice, a lot of practice starting on an incline, slow speed practice. I'm really starting to feel comfortable with the cruiser forward controls (at first yesterday that bothered me after a weekend on a standard) and the weight of the bike is no problem in slow speed maneuvers so far. I think I'm going to like this bike
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Old 05-04-2010, 07:28 PM   #5
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Congrats! Sounds like you're off to a good start. Keep practicing. I know the traffic you deal with. (I used to live over there.) Stay cautious but stay relaxed.

And, don't worry about the u-turns. It'll come.
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Old 05-04-2010, 07:41 PM   #6
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Congrats on your M classification and the bike!
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Old 05-04-2010, 07:49 PM   #7
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Shoulda just saved up for a turbo Busa.
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Old 05-05-2010, 06:35 AM   #8
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Ah, to be starting riding all over again. I still get a thrill when I ride, but not like the early days. Sorta like sex...it still has it's moments, but it just ain't the same.

Can I make a suggestion Jeff? Pull off that heel shifter and just use the front 1/2. The heel and toe shifter was designed for cops with giant boots that wouldn't fit under a toe shifter. The majority of bikes you'll ride in the future will have just the front 1/2 anyway.
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Old 05-05-2010, 06:54 AM   #9
jeff10236
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dr_Sprocket View Post
Congrats! Sounds like you're off to a good start. Keep practicing. I know the traffic you deal with. (I used to live over there.) Stay cautious but stay relaxed.

And, don't worry about the u-turns. It'll come.

The U-turn was definitely my weak spot in the class. With my even bigger bike I keep ending up putting down a foot when I do it (well, not every time). Oh well, that isn't the end of the world and I'll keep practicing.

I will spend more time in the garage. I especially want to do some panic stop practice. I was good at that in class, after the test the instructor commented that I stopped quite short for my speed and still had great control of the bike, but I need to get a feel for it on my bike. Later today I may take it to a larger parking lot nearby (which of course means a little road time).

I do need to wait a bit to go on the road though. If you know the area, I live on the corner of West St. and Chinquapin, so it is quite busy here. For those who don't know Annapolis, I live in one of the new style mixed use communities- nice apartments on the higher levels, retail on the ground level- in a very busy commercial area. In a day or two I'll probably ride out a couple miles to get to a less busy suburban area to practice on.
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Old 05-05-2010, 05:44 PM   #10
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So I went out on the road today. Where I live there are no good beginners residential streets with low speed limits and mild curves without a time on a couple very busy commercial streets. So, what I did is simply go to a set of streets nearby that are in a grid with mainly offices and some shops (but not very busy) that I could get to with a minimum time on the busy roads. So, I didn't get much cornering practice, but I rode around a bit at speeds up to 35MPH for the first time. Wow it was fun. It took some discipline not to spend some time I'm probably not ready for on a busy road to get to a better residential street. I figure I should wait a day or two practicing riding in traffic and at speed before I spend 5-10min on a very busy street.

Still, I got some good practice riding in traffic, dealing with dogs (quite a few people from my apartment complex apparently pick 6:30-7 to walk their dogs, and just riding on the roads. My biggest issue was remembering to cancel my turn signals since you don't have to on cars and we didn't use them at all in the class. Also, in the class I used my half-helmet (it was hot and we were going slow) and using my full-face helmet will take some getting used to. I felt very little breeze until I hit 30mph. When the weather gets really hot around here I may well find myself wanting to use the half-helmet a lot more than I planned (I planned for it to only be when I expect to only be in city traffic or I expect to hit stop and go).

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