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Ok, first some background: 6 weeks ago I got a new 2004 Burgman 650 (black). This was a jump from my 50cc scooter (obviously a BIG jump). I'm a new rider, still on a permit (taking the MSF class first weekend in August). I did take the MSF class 4 years ago but didn't finish due to a family emergency. Starting with rides around the neighborhood to build up confidence, I graudually went into traffic and started riding to work (2 miles) and eventually taking 50+ mile rides.

So much for the background. Being in southern California, I took the 650 out on the well-known Mullholand Hwy (and a big biker favorite in these parts). Very, very relaxing... at least until it starts getting really winding, blind curves, steep inclines, etc. Ok... just as soon as I saw that stretch coming, I'd turn around and head back. Well, the other day I went back onto Mulholland Hwy and was enjoying the ride so much that it didn't dawn on me to watch for when the road started getting curvy. Next thing I knew, I had a death grip on those handlebars that could've bent the bars off!! A cliff on my left, mountainside on my right, narrow 2-way road (no where to pull over), not enough courage/experience to turn around on this narrow road and head back... nope, I was in for going forward with ever increasing altitude, narrower roads, twistier turns, even tighter grip on the handlebars, lack of experience on this kind of road, and wondering if I was going to make it. Next thing I know, the cliff side is on my right, mountainside on my left. One false move and I'm in for a drop of several hundred feet... or into someone's oncoming bumper. Needless to say, I really feared for my life! But... I didn't look anywhere but where I was going and where I wanted the bike to go. That's what made it successful. Man, if I looked down the cliff, I'd be falling down the cliff. Gotta say this though... the 650 handled really, really well. It did exactly what I wanted it to do. No skidding, no skipping of the rear wheel, nada...

When I finally came out of this several-mile-long mess, I hit Kanan Rd (for those who are familiar) and felt a sigh of relief that my life was spared! As a side benefit for my troubles, Kanan road was a breeze. Actually all roads from that point onward were a breeze! Making turns or fast curves was suddenly not a problem any more. This was a real learning experience that carried over. I wouldn't recommend what I did to any new rider, but if they can't be stopped, they'd be surprised at how much better a rider emerges from them.

Now, if this wasn't enough, I took a different mountain road the next day (Box Canyon). Had the fear again but not quite to the extent as the previous day. Once again, emerged even better a rider. My rides are now up to 80 miles/day. Hopefully I'll pass the MSF class in August!

So I ask... am I crazy? Has anyone else who's a new rider (with just a permit, not an M1 endorsement yet) done anything as crazy as this? Or is this just part of the thrill of it all and not much different than something anyone else would do?

- Chuck
 

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You're crazy man! :geek: Holding on to the handlebars with a death grip is not a good thing. You need to relax. Next time you ride the mountain pass just chill and take it easy........enjoy the ride.

I wish I had access to roads like that in my area. Just ride at your own speed and don't push it. All will be fine if you don't ride over your head. It's probably better that you went on your own and not with a bunch of riders who would ride at a more aggressive pace. I recommend that you do the pass several more times to get comfortable with the road before you consider a group ride.

ENJOY!
 

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I've found the Burgman 650 to be the easiest machine to ride on tight curvy roads that I've ever owned. I did find that putting it in "Power Mode" makes it much more comfortable to ride in those conditions when it is hilly and speeds are generally in the 15 to 45 mph range - like my ride through the Black Hills in South Dakota. It sets the gearing right for that kind of riding. I absolutely had a ball riding the 650 in the Black Hills - it would have been a lot more work to ride those roads on my 1000cc V-Strom.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Allwalk, thanks for the advice! I guess the deathgrip on the handlebars is a natural thing for me when I feel I might be falling off a cliff!! It got a lot better the next day. Thanks for the advice -- I will do that pass a few more times to get more familiarity and confidence up.

Pauljo - I actually did put it in power mode on that road. Didn't want to mess with manual mode, just picked power mode using the same logic as dropping a car's automatic shifter down a gear or two (higher revs to do steeper inclines).

- Chuck
 

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chuck807 said:
...So I ask... am I crazy? Has anyone else who's a new rider (with just a permit, not an M1 endorsement yet) done anything as crazy as this? Or is this just part of the thrill of it all and not much different than something anyone else would do?...
Every rider, no matter what the skill level, will at some point do something he hasn't done before. You just did it a little sooner. :)

Now that you know what you, and your Burgman, can do you'll be better able to relax and enjoy the ride on less challenging routes. 8)

A few weeks ago I went on a group ride in the Olympic Mountains. I was meeting the group at the lodge at Hurricane Ridge, and had never been there before. I passed the lodge, and continued on a narrower stretch of road looking for them. Soon the road was too narrow for even a car and a bike to pass, there was a 3000 foot drop on my left (and, boy, was I keeping to the right! :shock: ), and patches of loose gravel and occasional bigger rocks that had fallen from the cliffs above. When I finally reached the end I was exhausted from the concentration, but felt really good.

After a brief rest I turned around and headed back, and got to the lodge just as the rest of the group was arriving. Someone then pointed out the sign I had missed (an RV was parked in front of it): Primitive Road Ahead. Single Lane. No Trucks or RVs. Motorcycles Use Extreme Caution!

On August 7th I'm joining the group for a "Three Pass Ride" in the Cascade Range (Snoqualamie Pass, Bluet Pass, Stevens Pass).

I think I'll follow the leader. :D
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Brian said:
Every rider, no matter what the skill level, will at some point do something he hasn't done before. You just did it a little sooner. :)

Now that you know what you, and your Burgman, can do you'll be better able to relax and enjoy the ride on less challenging routes. 8)

A few weeks ago I went on a group ride in the Olympic Mountains. I was meeting the group at the lodge at Hurricane Ridge, and had never been there before. I passed the lodge, and continued on a narrower stretch of road looking for them. Soon the road was too narrow for even a car and a bike to pass, there was a 3000 foot drop on my left (and, boy, as I keeping to the right! :shock: ), and patches of loose gravel and occasional bigger rocks that had fallen from the cliffs above. When I finally reached the end I was exhausted from the concentration, but felt really good.

After a brief rest I turned around and headed back, and got to the lodge just as the rest of the group was arriving. Someone then pointed out the sign I had missed (an RV was parked in front of it): Primitive Road Ahead. Single Lane. No Trucks or RVs. Motorcycles Use Extreme Caution!

On August 7th I'm joining the group for a "Three Pass Ride" in the Cascade Range (Snoqualamie Pass, Bluet Pass, Stevens Pass).

I think I'll follow the leader. :D
Exactly!!! Your scenario that you describe practically mirrors mine (except for the fallen rocks, but there was gravel), right down to the 3,000 foot drop! And yes, I was exhausted from the concentration when it was over. The only difference was, there was no way I was going to turn around a go through it again (but then again, I wasn't supposed to be meeting a group of people for a group ride either). And yes, the less challenging roads were far more relaxing and enjoyable after that... including the roads that would have been more of a challenge had I not gone through that ordeal first!

Thanks for sharing your experience!

- Chuck
 

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chuck807 said:
...The only difference was, there was no way I was going to turn around a go through it again (but then again, I wasn't supposed to be meeting a group of people for a group ride either). ...
Actually, I didn't have any choice, or I might not have done it.

It was a dead end road. :oops:
 
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